The winter meeting of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter is scheduled for January 30, 1994 at the Municipal Building in Kinsley, Kansas. The business meeting to include election of officers for 1994 will begin at 2:00 p.m. The program will start at 2:45. Speaker will be Dr. Leo Oliva editor of Wagon Tracks. His topic will be The Cimarron Cutoffs.
A contest is being conducted to select a name for the newsletter. Interested members are urged to submit names for the newsletter by March 15, 1994. The winning entry to be selected by the Chapter officers will be announced at our regular spring meeting. The winner will be awarded a one year membership. As a part of this membership, the lucky winner will receive a year's subscription to Wagon Tracks, the Santa Fe Trail quarterly publication. Members wishing to submit information to the newsletter (announcements, articles, etc.) may mail them.
Annual Chapter dues for 1994 may be paid by mail to Ida Yeager at the above listed address or paid in person at the winter meeting of the Chapter scheduled for January 30, 1994 at Kinsley. The dues remain $10.00, family or single memberships.
A portable learning box complete with text and a number of artifacts has been prepared by David Clapsaddle as a teaching tool for elementary teachers. The text, A Tree Grows in the Trail, tells the story of the Santa Fe Trail through the experiences of a cottonwood tree near Caw Creek (Rice County Kansas). Presently the learning box is being field tested by Shirley Stein, Chapter member and teacher at Ulysses Elementary School. Mrs. Stein is a two time winner of the National Science Foundation State Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and Science. Other interested teachers may contact either Mrs. Stein or David Clapsaddle for further information.
Another Traveling Display
The second traveling display to be used by the Chapter to interpret the Santa Fe Trail will be an exhibit at the winter meeting in Kinsley, January 30, 1994. The display which traces the evolution of transportation on the Santa Fe Trail will feature commentary and artifacts related to the various beasts of burden used to transport trade goods to and from New Mexico. Included in the display are a pack saddle, harness hames, a stay chain, ox shoes, an American ox yoke, a Mexican ox yoke, and an ox chain. This display is available for showing in any community throughout West Central Kansas. At this writing, the display has been on exhibit in Larned and is scheduled for viewing at St. John and Stafford prior to the January 30 Kinsley meeting. Larry Mix, Chapter member from St. John, Kansas has volunteered to transport the display from place to place. Interested parties may contact any Chapter officer. The original traveling display which portrays the fifty-nine markers set along the five separate routes of the Trail between Larned and Dodge City is presently under going an update and will be available soon for more showings.
Faye Anderson Award
During the fall meeting of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter, members voted to establish the Faye Anderson award. This award will recognize the significant contributions of an individual or group with respect to the publication or preservation of the Santa Fe Trail. In addition to a Plaque of Appreciation, the award will honor the recipient/s with a lifetime membership in the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter. The award will be presented annually at the Winter meeting of the Chapter. Faye Anderson, one of the Charter members of the Chapter who died unexpectedly in November 1991, was a true trail enthusiast and a credit to our Chapter.
In Memory of the Nelson
The Chapter recently received a donation of $20 from Larry and Barbara Nelson in memory of their uncle and aunt Conrad and Ethel Nelson. The Nelson family owns the property west of Garfield where the Chapter marker is placed at the junction of the Fort Larned Military Road and the Wet Route. Our thanks to Larry and Barbara for this thoughtful contribution.
Enclosed is a list of members of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter at this writing. Those with asterisks are also members of the parent organization, the National Santa Fe Trail. Included is the roster are 24 single memberships and 45 family memberships. Sixty eight memberships are represented by Kansas 14 counties. One membership is from Colorado. As analysis of the membership by county and state is as follow:
|County or State||Total||County or State||Total|
|Barton County||Seven||Edwards County||Nineteen|
|Ford County||Eleven||Harvey County||One|
|Ness County||One||Reno County||Two|
|Saline County||One||Comanche County||One|
|Ellis County||One||Grant County||One|
|Hodgemen County||One||Pawnee County||Nineteen|
|Rush County||Two||Stafford County||Two|
Such a distribution indicates a high interest in the activities of the Chapter. Please share the newsletter with friends in your community and solicit their memberships. While the majority of the members reside in Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties, the are traversed by the wet and dry route of the trail, many people removed from that vicinity enjoy belonging and contributing to the Chapter's functions. The present president, Lon Palmer, resides in Barton County.
The author succeeds in taking you on an indepth tour of the trail, city by city from Missouri to Santa Fe. The Mountain Branch and Cimarron Cut-Off are both explored in good detail. The back of the book contains space for you to make trail notes and your own additions or corrections.
This book is most helpful as a quick reference while you are traveling. Often the question arises just where or how did the trail go through this area. If you have Simmons guide quick at hand, you will be able to focus in greater detail on the trail as you travel.
A Tree Grows In The Trail
Holling Clancy Holling
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.
56 pages, includes partial map of early U.S. showing the Santa Fe Trail, location of various Indian Tribes, forest, grassland and plains areas, as well as the major rivers. Illustrated by Holling Clancy Holling.
This wonderful little book does an excellent job of telling about life on the plains in the time period of 1600-1870. The book centers around a cottonwood tree, located northeast of the great bend of the Arkansas River. The tree is befriended by a young Kansa boy who piles rocks around it's trunk to protect it from the buffalo who come to water at the pond it is growing next to. The tree is witness to many events, including a buffalo hunt, fights between Indian tribes, a visit by the Spanish, trappers, traders and various Indian Tribes. The tree becomes known as the Talking-Tree, and the Hill-of-The Talking-Tree became known as an island of peace set in the seas of war.
As with all cottonwood trees, it eventually dies. But a trader on his way home from Santa Fe needs a new ox yoke, and so the tree is carved into a yoke and leaves the hill to travel up and down the Santa Fe Trail.
The illustrations are wonderful and an added benefit are the margin illustrations with text that give more details about life on the plains.
This book can be read by a 3rd/4th grader with some help on new and different words. Even pre-schoolers enjoy being read this book, with the colorful illustrations and fascinating story, and the content is so interesting it can keep an adult's attention, also. A good addition to any family, especially those with an interest in the Santa Fe Trail.
The Marion and Will Corner
Beginning with the next issue of the newsletter, an attempt will be made to introduce a feature called the Marion and Will Corner. The reference is to Marion and Will Sloan who made multiple trips on the Santa Fe Trail, the first one being in 1852 when Marion was seven years of age and Will was nine. In her senior years, Marion dictated her memoirs of the Trail to her daughter-in-law who faithfully recorded those fond memories in Land of Enchantment: Memoirs of Marian Russell Along The Santa Fe Trail.
The Marion and Will Corner will feature drawings made by elementary school children which depict scenes related to the Santa Fe Trail. The drawings should be done in pencil on unlined paper. Parents, grandparents and teachers are urged to share this information with their little "rut riders."
Did You Know
Among the trade items brought back to Missouri following his first trip to Santa Fe in 1821 were jacks and jennies, forerunners of the famous Missouri mule. In short time, the mule replaced the horse as the preferred draft animal on the Santa Fe Trail. The mule had several advantages over the horse: (1) The mule was not so susceptible to diseases as horses; (2) the mule required about one half the amount of grain to supplement grazing as the horse and (3) the mule was less prone to harness sores than the horse due to its short hair.
In 1829, But. Maj. Bennet Riley experimented with oxen in the first military escort of freight wagons on the Santa Fe Trail; and by the early 1830's, the ox superseded the mule as the draft animal of choice on the Santa Fe Trail The reasons were several: (1) Oxen costs less than half the price of mules; (2) the cost of outfitting oxen was much cheaper than outfitting mules. A yoke ($5.00) and a chain ($5.00) was all that was required for a yoke of oxen as compared to harness for a span of mules costing $25.00; (3) oxen could subsist by grazing. No grain was needed to supplement their diet as in the case of mules; (4) the split hoof of the ox spread to provide better traction than the single hoof the mule. Such served well, especially in the sandy of stream beds and the slippery embankments of river crossings; and (5) Indians did not value oxen as they did horses and mules. Finally, if an ox became lame, he could always be butchered and eaten.
Eagle Service Award
Meeting requirements for the Eagle Service Award, Scout Josh Woolard, Troop 238 of Lewis, completed a project of installing nine markers on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road on December 4-5, 1993. Organizing the project which called for a considerable amount of labor and equipment, Josh was assisted by his older brother Eagle Scout Jason Woolard and two Eagle candidates Scott Divis and Matt Waldron. David Clapsaddle, Program Director for the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the National Santa Fe Trail served as project advisor. Ron Lindberg is the Troop 238 Scout Master. Josh is the son of Dan Woolard of Kinsley and Cathy Woolard of Lewis.
Sad to say, but two sets of ruts have disappeared from our area during the past year, one on the Dry Route near Offerle and the other one on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road near Hanston. Additionally a dugout has been destroyed at the site of Duncan's Crossing on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road. All three sites, nature pastures, have been plowed and planted to wheat. While private property owners have the right to use their land any way they choose, the loss of these physical evidence is unfortunate. Perhaps all of us can help our neighbors understand and appreciate the last remains of the old trail by kindly reminding them of our common heritage.
Third Annual Tour
The Third Annual Tour to be conducted by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter is scheduled for October 8, 1994. The first tour in 1992 followed the Wet Route; the second tour in 1993 followed the Dry Route; and the third annual tour will follow the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road. Because of the extra mileage involved in this tour, the departure time from Larned will be 7:30 a.m. and the cost of the trip including travel, lunch, and literature will be $20.00. A maximum of fifty participants can be accommodated. Our best advise, send in your reservations soon to Ida at the above stated address.
Included in this issue of the newsletter is a roster of Chapter members. If you identify any corrections with regard to spelling, address or phone numbers, please contact us.
Dues are always Due to the
Fastest Hand in the West
Chapter dues in the amount of $10.00 per family, are due at the Winter meeting or may be mailed to Alice Clapsaddle, 215 Mann, Larned, Kansas, 67550. Checks should be made out to the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter. Dues and email addresses are welcome.
"Printable Dues Form"
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.