Wet/Dry Routes Chapter
Quarterly Newsletter
Vol. 4 "1997" No. 3

     The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter conducted its Spring Meeting at St. Joseph's Hall in Offerle on April 13, 1997. Included in the reports were an update on the marking project; the dedication of Henry Booth Blvd historic street in Larned on May 24; the Talking Tombstone program at the Larned Cemetery scheduled for May 26; the May 3-4 traveling seminar of the Santa Fe Trail in Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties, Kansas; the Murder on the Santa Fe Trail Seminar, June l4; the introduction of literature to be presented to new members; and the Santa Fe Trail Symposium. Also Richard Ford presented a report of the mapping project being undertaken by the National Santa Fe Trail. The Chapter voted to purchase two additional plaques for the markers in Pawnee and Ford Counties, also four plaques for the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road. A work day was scheduled for May 10, 1997.

Summer Meeting
     The Chapter's Summer meeting is scheduled for August 3, 6:00 p.m. at the Clapsaddle Ranche. The main focus of the meeting is the meal. The meat, drink, and dessert will be provided. Members are asked to call Alice at 285-3295 as to suggestions for covered dishes. The program will be a viewing of the recently completed video of Larned and the surrounding area by the Larned Chamber of Commerce. Featured in the video are the Wet/Dry Routes SFT markers and Sibley's Camp. Please bring lawn chairs.

New Members
     Cecil and Virginia Johnson, Larned, KS -- Anita Graves, Larned, KS -- Mary Ellen Cottell, Larned, KS -- Chester Smith, Larned, KS -- Howard & Joyce Losey, Maize, KS -- Dennis Michel, Bazine, KS

Murder on the Santa Fe Trail Seminar, a Success
     The officers of the Chapter wish to thank all who make the Murder on the Santa Fe Trail Seminar a success. A special vote of thanks goes to Rusti Gardner and her crew for the delicious meal. Among those helping Rusti were: Clara Goodrich, Thelmarie Wilhite, Clara Lowrey, Barbara German, Lon Palmer, Lee and Dorothy Kroh, Kathy Jadwin, Janice Klein, Shirley Stein, Carolyn Rein, and Galen and Rosetta Graff. Not to be ignored are those members too numerous to mention who donated bread, desserts and condiments. Also to be recognized for providing logistical support are Bob Rein and Mildon Yeager. Last but not least, a big hand of applause, please, for Ida Yeager whose secretarial work proved invaluable.

Second Edition of a Self Guide Auto Tour of the Santa Fe Trail
Pawnee, Edwards and Ford Counties, Kansas

     The second edition of the Self Guided Auto Tour is hot off the press. The new edition will include fifteen new locations featuring campsites used by the 1825-1827 Survey Team and other locations west of Fort Dodge, four of which were placed in cooperation with the Dodge City/Fort Dodge Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail.

More Markers on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road
     Five more markers were placed on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road on May 10, 1997. All five were set at rut locations in Hodgmen County recently discovered by Richard Ford, one of the Chapter's most enthusiastic members. Included in the work crew were Richard and Mary Ford, Chester Smith, and David Clapsaddle. At this date, twenty-six markers have been placed on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road.

Interpretive Marker at Sibley's Camp
     On May 24, the new interpretive marker at Sibley's Camp in Larned was unveiled. The marker, a glass fronted display constructed by Mildon Yeager, contains commentary, historic photographic and artifacts related to the site. The marker can be viewed at any time at Sibley's Camp, 502 West 2nd, Larned, KS.

     This Newsletter "Traces" is the official publication of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter. Annual subscriptions are obtained through membership in the Chapter. Dues are $10.00 annually, single or family. Checks should be made to; Wet/Dry Routes Chapter

President: -- Janice Klein
Vice President: -- Rusti Gardner
Secretary-Treasure: -- Ida K. Yeager
Typist: -- Ida K. Yeager
Editor: -- David Clapsaddle
Program Director: -- David Clapsaddle
Webmaster: -- Larry & Carolyn Mix

Another Marker on the Dry Route
     Another set of ruts have been identified on the Dry Route. They are on the Carlson property adjacent to the Zedren ruts as described in the A Self-Guide Auto Tour of The Santa Fe Trail in Pawnee, Ed-wards, and Ford Counties, Kansas. Gary Carlson and David Clapsaddle recently installed a marker at that site.

An Auto Accident on the Santa Fe Trail
     Ed Carlson of Wichita, Chapter member, and former resident of Kinsley sends the following article from the Kinsley Mercury, May 18, 1916.

     Mrs. J.C. Lowry was fatally injured, her husband's shoulder dislocated, their daughter-in-law suffered three broken ribs, and other occupants of a Ford were bruised when their car was ditched on the road one mile southwest of Offerle Tuesday morning at 11 o'clock. Mrs. Lowry succumbed to her injuries that evening at 5:15.

     The Lowry's live seven miles north of Hoisington, from where they had left that morning in two cars for Meade county for a family reunion. They had been making from 30 to 35 miles per hour on the way, it is said, and were happy in the thought that they would soon be with their Meade kinfolks.

     Southwest of Offerle one mile, just over the line in Ford county, is a bad turn in the road, where the highway they were traveling joins the Santa Fe Trail. The Trail at this point is a fill several feet high. Numerous accidents and near accidents have occurred there and the place has been traveled with great caution by motorists who realized its danger. It seems that the first of the Lowry cars almost went into the ditch in making the turn and this nettled the second driver, who lost control of his car, it evidently rolling over and over.

     Are these ruts still visible? Maybe some of our Offerle area members can identify the spot. If so, please respond to your editor.

Black Pool Fact or Fiction
     In recent years, interest has been renewed in a spring adjacent to the wet route of the Santa Fe Trail in Ford County, Kansas. The spring, known in local lore as Black Pool, is situated northeast of Ford, Kansas, about three and a quarter miles west of the point where the Arkansas River makes an abrupt turn to the northwest. Close by the spring is an outcropping of sand-stone in which is carved the following inscription.
Black Pool Dis by E. Post 1843

     A previous landowner scribed the inscription annually; and more recently, some one has etched the characters to a pronounced depth and stained the inscription with some dark material. Resultantly, the inscription is well defined, especially in comparison to other faint inscriptions carved close by.

     In 1859, Charles Post confided to his diary that he had found a beautiful pool which he named Crescent Pool. On June 5, 1859, Post confided to his diary.

     We concluded to travel until noon as we did not have large enough range for our cattle; quite cool, pleasant driving. Our road led up on the high land in consequence of the bluffs running down to river, which is rarely the case on the north side of river, but on south side the sand hills for a great portion of the way lead into river. I was riding ahead of train and found a beautiful pool in a basin some thirty feet lower than the top of bluff with an outlet to the river. I have not yet seen anywhere an account of this pool, so I named it Crescent Pool; it is about seventy-five miles from Pawnee Fork. I carved my name and address in the rocks, also the name of the pool; it is a beautiful spot. We encamped at eleven o'clock for day and night at old Fort Atkinson, nothing of it remains except a bridge with four sides showing the outline of walls which were of sod.

     Post's estimate of pool being seventy-five miles from Pawnee Fork was in error. Fort Atkinson, at which he camped west of the pool, was about sixty eight miles from Pawnee Fork.

     A comparison of the two sites is instructive.

  1. The so called Black Pool is located about forty-nine miles from Pawnee Fork. Crescent Pool was about sixty-eight miles from Pawnee Fork.
  2. The Black Pool inscription is dated 1843. The Crescent Pool inscription was carved in 1859.
  3. The Black Pool inscription speaks to E. Post. The Crescent Pool inscription was the work of Charles Post.

     What then is the resolve for these conflicting accounts? The author feels that the Black Pool inscription is bogus. Until further documentation is found, the author contends that the name of Black Pool is equally erroneous so far as the historic period is concerned. While 20th century newspaper accounts speak often of Black Pool, no 19th century references have as yet been identified which refer to the site as Black Pool.

     However, a single piece of documentation has surfaced which does describe the site, not by name, but by location and appearance. That reference is found in the 1850 diary of William Quesenbury who accompanied a group of Cherokees and Whites from Washington County, Arkansas to the gold fields of California. The route they pursued which came to be called the Cherokee Trail departed a point near present Saline, Oklahoma, entered southeast Kansas and, continued in a northwestwardly orientation to merge with the Santa Fe Trail at Running Turkey Creek in present McPherson County, Kansas. From that juncture, Quesenbury's party followed the Santa Fe Trail to Bents Fort, westward to the Rocky Mountains, and then northward along the eastern slope to Wyoming. There the gold seekers pioneered a new wagon road westward.

Quesenbury's entries for May 23-25 follow:

May 23 (Thursday)
     Owing to there being no grass at all at the creek, we left as soon as we could get breakfast. All day the wind has blowed hard. It has been disagreeable to travel. Buffalo in sight all the time. No grass all day. Nooned near a stream where a wagon had been abandoned. Got some of the spokes for stakes. At Pawnee Fork the banks were steep but the wagons got over without difficulty. Pawnee Fork is the largest stream we have crossed since we left the Verdigris. The course of the road has been almost due south for the last five or six hours. At night concluded I would finish a letter I had commenced. Wrote till ten, and then was kept awake till twelve by Jack Hildebrand and someone else talking just outside by tent. Buffalo dung! The little prairie dog is doing well.

May 24 (Friday)
     This stream that we are camped on I think comes from a spring. It is twelve or fifteen feet wide on an average, and of the same depth all the way that I have been along. It can't be crossed but on horses without wading. Got off from the creek about nine. Road still S. Buffaloes constantly in sight. Buckner killed one but it was poor. Nooned at a pond close by the side of the road on the left hand. Ducks on it. Took a nap under the wagon. Made about twenty miles. I suppose, we have no way of measuring distance. Our encampment is now on the bank of the Arkansas for the first time. The water is not so dark as it is at Fort Smith, it about the same color as the Rio Grande. It is as warm however, as it has anywhere been. The range is still bad. We must be in the middle of the Great Buffalo Range. Dog towns continue. Buffalo dung for fuel.

May 25 (Saturday)
     Permitted our animals to graze for sometime before we got off. Our road is as ever, but runs almost due south. Led Buckner's pack animals to give him a chance for a buffalo. Whilst we were nooning, he, Merrill and some others came in with a large supply of meat. Riley Buchanan and myself, after a hard chase caught a dog in the ----- of a city. But killed it in the taking. Our road ran closer to the river bank than it has heretofore. Pyeatt, Jo Williams and myself went over on to an island. Nothing but a land bank with grass and stunted cottonwood lies on it. Passed a large spring some forty yards to the left of the road. A great many names are carved on the rock. We learned from the inscriptions the ox team company had passed here on the 17th. A short distance after passing the spring, two or three Indians came to us. They were on patrol. Left the road and camped about a quarter of mile from the river for the convenience of water. We still use buffalo dung. The Indians camped with us. It appears that leaving Pawnee Fork, the gold seekers followed the Santa Fe Trail to Coon Creek (11 miles) and continued on some twenty miles to camp on the Arkansas. On May 25, the party pressed on to the southwest where Quesenbury observed "A large spring some forty yards to the left of the road." A short distance later, the Arkansawyers went into camp. If we would allow twenty miles of travel for May 25, the same as Quesenbury estimate for the 24th, and add 11 miles for the distance between Pawnee Fork and Coon Creek, the total would be fifty-one miles. Deduct two miles for the distance between the spring and the campsite, and the figure of forty-nine miles will appear, the actual distance between Pawnee Fork and the so called Black Pool.

One final note.
     The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter has several markers in the immediate area of Black Pool: one about three fourth mile east which identifies the September 5 campsite of the 1825 Survey Team; another about one half mile west which marks the ruts traversing the entire length of the pasture in which the spring is located; and still another about one fourth mile north west where the ruts again make brief appearance.

     "The Arkansas Route: The Diary of Charles C. Post," in Overland Routes to the Gold Fields 1859 From Con-temporary Diaries, The Southwest Historical Series, Vol. II (1942), 42.

     William Quesenbury's Diary, Flashback Vol. 29 No. 1-4 (February, May, August, and November of 1979, Washington County Arkansas Historical Society.

     Jack E. and Patricia K.A. Fletcher, "The Cherokee Trail," Overland Journal 13, 1995.

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!
News Letter Archive

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"