Wet/Dry Routes Chapter
Quarterly Newsletter
Vol. 2 "1995" No. 1

     The Winter Meeting of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter will be conducted on January 15, 1995, St. Joseph Parish Hall, Offerle, Kansas.

New Members to the Chapter
     Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wenstrom, Kinsley, Ks -- Mr. & Mrs. Ray Schulz, Great Bend, Ks --Barbara Nelson, Overland Park, Ks.

Fall Meeting
     The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter conducted its Fall Meeting on September 11, 1004 at Pawnee Rock, Kansas. Announcements were made regarding Barton County College Travel Seminars to Beecher's Island on September 17-18 and to the Washita Battle Site on October 22-23; the appointment of a committee to complete the lime kiln project consisting of Louis Van Meter, Joel Walker, and Mildon Yeager; the Third Annual Chapter sponsored tour, The Fort Hays Self Guided Auto Tour of Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road. Chapter Members voted upon $325.00 to pay printing costs on the Self Guided Auto Tour of Sites Associated with Henry Booth. Other contributions are forthcoming. Certificates of Appreciation were presented to Bart and Travis Wenstrom for recently completed Eagle Service Award projects. Both Scouts are from Troop 239, Kinsley, Kansas.

     Following the business meeting, Ray Schulz of Great Bend, Kansas delivered a lively presentation on events at the Walnut Creek Crossing 1855-1859.

     The Self Guided Auto Tour of Historic Sites Related to Henry Booth. The tour has been printed and distributed. The booklet contains commentary and photographs of the nine sites marked by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter in the Larned, Kansas area. The Booklet may be obtained at the Larned Chamber of Commerce Office, the Santa Fe Trail Center, the Fort Larned National Historic Site or the Best Western Townsman Motel.

Eagle Service Award Projects
     Bart Wenstrom, Boy Scout Troop 239, Kinsley, Kansas recently completed an Eagle Service Award Project, the removal of tons of debris from a giant rut, 200 yards long and shoulder deep, is one of the most pronounced ruts in the entire length of the Santa Fe Trail. Serving as an advisor to the project was David Clapsaddle.

     Also completing an Eagle Service Award project was Matt Waldren, Troop 238, Lewis, Kansas. Matt's project was the compilation of a directory of sites marked by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter in Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties, Kansas. In addition to t he name and addresses of the property owners on whose land each marker is placed, the legal description of each site is noted. The directory will be placed at the Santa Fe Trail Center, the Fort Larned National Historic Site, and the Kansas State Historical Society for future references. Assisting with the project were Larry Mix and Linda Cross. David Clapsaddle served as project advisor.

Fort Atkinson Marker
     In a joint venture, the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter and the Fort Dodge/Dodge Chapter have installed a marker two miles west of Dodge City to identify the site of Fort Atkinson, the U. S. Army post which found its 1850 origins in Camp Mackay and continued in operation through 1854. The site is located on property which previously belonged to the parents of Janet Bevers, President of the Fort Dodge/Dodge City Chapter. Many thanks to Chuck Frankenfeld and the Lynch Feed Lot for the equipment used to place the marker.

The Bents & The Cheyennes/Tragedy & Travesty Seminar
     From the day in 1829 when William Bent hid two Cheyennes from sure death at the hands of their Comanche enemies, the Bent Family and the Southern Cheyennes became linked n a social and economic relationship which continued till the Cheyennes were forced on the reservation following the Battle of Washita in 1868. The Historical Series sponsored by Barton County Community College is pleased to announce a traveling seminar titled The Bents and the Cheyennes/Tragedy and Travesty designed to explore the above mentioned relationship which covered a period of some forty years. Included in the seminar will be visits to Bent related sites; Bent's Old Fort, Bent's New Fort, Old Fort Lyon, New Fort Lyon, and Boggsville. Highlighting the trip will be a visit to the Sand Creek site where four of William Bent's children witnessed the destruction of Black Kettle's village by troops of the 3rd and 1st Colorado Cavalry on November 29, 1864. Robert, George, Charles, and Julia Bent were all there, also Edmond Gurrier, who later marred Julia Bent.

     Conducting the tour will be David and Alice Clapsaddle, long time instructors in the Historical Series. Alice is the Coordinator of Home Economics at Barton County Community College. David, recently retired from Larned State Hospital is devoting full time to research and teaching related to the Santa Fe Trail and associated subjects.

Chisholm Trail Tour
     In December 1865, Jesse Chisolm left his trading post at present day Wichita, Kansas with a wagon train of trade goods. His destination was his old trading post called Council Groove, Located n the northwest area of present day Oklahoma City. This proved to be the inaugural trip on what was to become the Chisolm Trail, a wagon road for the transport of Indian trade goods and the first leg of a military supply route to Fort Sill near present day Lawton, Oklahoma. This wagon road was later incorporated into the cattle trail also known as the Chisolm Trail which ran northward from south Texas to Abilene, Kansas and the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.

     Barton County Community College is pleased to announce a traveling seminar titled The Chisolm Trail scheduled for June 10-11, 1995. Sites to be visited will include Jesse Chisolm's grave site near present day Geary, Oklahoma; the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Fort Reno, Oklahoma' The Chisholm Trail Museum, Kingfisher, Oklahoma; Pat Hennesy Grave Site, Hennesy, Oklahoma; and Caldwell, Kansas, the Queen of Cattle Towns. The final stop will be in Wichita, Kansas to visit the site of Chisolm's trading post, the site of the 1865 Little Arkansas Treaty where Chisolm served as interpreter for the Kiowas, and the All American Indian Center.

Markers Replaced
     The two remaining markers damaged by weather have been removed and replaced by sturdy stones which have survived a century of use. Those markers are located at Rock Hollow and Big Coon Creek on the Dry Route. Assisting with the project were landowners Charles Schmidt and Jim Habiger.

The Learning Box
     The Learning box has been put to good use in recent months. Schools to include the Learning Box in their curricular include the Youthville School in Dodge City and Westside School, Larned, Kansas. An addition to the artifacts included in the study is a medicine shield made by Mildon Yeager.

Lime Kiln Committee
     Appointed to the Lime Kiln Committee by President Lon Palmer are Louis Van Meter, Joel Walker, and Mildon Yeager. The committee will be responsible for the construction of a protective roof over two lime kilns located near Burdett, Kansas, also a retaining wall designed to prevent further erosion of the kilns. Funds for the project are promised by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter, the Burdett Lions Club, and the SAL of the American Legion Post of Burdett Kansas.

Self Guided Auto Tour of the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road
     The long awaited Self Guided Auto Tour of the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road was released for distribution in September 1994. This publication traces the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road with reference to each of the eighteen sites as marked. In addition to a brief historical account of each site, odometer mileage are included to direct trail buffs from one site to the next. A map of the Road is also provided.

     Printing costs were subscribed by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter, Fort Dodge, Dodge City Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail and the Society of Friends of Historic Fort Hays.

     The publication may be obtained free of charge at Historic Fort Hays, The Kansas Soldiers Home Museum and Library, Santa Fe Trail Center in Larned, Kansas, and Fort Larned Historic Site.

Book Reviews
"If You Traveled West In A Covered Wagon"
by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Elroy Freem
Published by Scholastic, Inc., New York
Copyright 1986 & 1992

     While this children's book is about traveling the Oregon Trail and not the Santa Fe Trail, it is still an interesting and educational book for children interested in trail travel. The unique thing about the book is that it is written in a question/answer format. The questions vary widely and cover almost every topic that a child may wonder about relating to traveling a pioneer trail. Some of these questions are as basic as "What is a covered wagon?" and "What is a wagon train?", while others are more in depth, such as "How would you cross a river when there were no bridges?", "What type of clothes would you wear?", "How do you make buffalo meat last a long time?", "What chores did children have:" and "Would you go to school during the trip?" These and many other questions are answered to ensure that children today know what it was like to travel on a pioneer wagon train. Reading level is third grade.

     There are a few references to places along the Oregon Trail, but this book can easily be related to travel on the Santa Fe Trail as well. While the majority of travelers on the Santa Fe Trail were traders, especially in the early years, many pioneer families also used this trail to settle the western areas. The illustrations are in color, and a map of the Oregon Trail is included.

Did You Know?
     People in the lore of the Trail often find it difficulty in identifying ruts. The reason for such is that they are predisposed to think in terms of tracks, two strips the width of a wagon rim (called a tire in the historical period) spaced three-to-four feet apart, the width of a wagon axle. Such would exist only with the recent passage of a wagon over an area not given to much traffic over an extended period of time. Ruts take the form of depressions, sometimes called swales, about the width of a wagon box with an embankment on either side. In some areas, the embankments between the ruts have been leveled by increasing traffic and/or erosion so that a single rut may be many yards wide.

     Ruts tend to become more pronounced when located at a slope where wheels were braked causing the wagon to skid, thus cutting more deeply into the terrain. Ruts located on slopes are also more prone to drainage thus allowing for increased erosion.

     Further southwest in New Mexico, the lack of rainfall prevents the formation of grass roots which retard the erosion of the ruts. Thus, in such arid areas, the sides of the ruts take on a ragged, vertical appearance. Consequently, such ruts are difficult to distinguish from small streams whose banks have been cut away by heavy rainfall.

     Because of the impaction of the soil, a different type of vegetation often grows within the ruts then in the immediate area of the ruts. Also, because the ruts collect extra moisture, the grass tends to green much earlier within the ruts than adjacent areas. Such differentiation makes ruts quite easy to spot in early spring. Another aid in the identification of ruts is light snow which drifts into the depression area producing broken ribbons of white across an other wise winter brown pasture.

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"

Do Not send Wet/Dry Routes Chapter dues to the Santa Fe Trail Center
Thank you for supporting all our Wet/Dry Routes Chapter projects!
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