The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter conducted its Fall meeting at the Dodge City Public Library on November 2. Included in the business agenda were reports on the mapping project, the marking projects, and the relocation of DAR markers. Also discussed was the second annual seminar scheduled for June 13, 1998 in Larned, Kansas.
Approved were the sponsorship of the Civil War Tombstone Restoration Project at the Larned Cemetery and the purchase of two bronze plaques for the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road.
Following the business meeting members of the Dodge City/Fort Dodge Chapter joined the group to hear Dr. Leo Oliva speak on the history of Fort Dodge.
The Winter meeting for the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter is scheduled for 2:00 at the Municipal Building in Kinsley, Kansas. As usual, the Winter Meeting will include the election of officers for the coming year and the presentation of the Faye Anderson Award. Following the business session, Lawrence Hart from the Cheyenne Cultural Center in Clinton, Oklahoma will speak on the Sand Creek/Washita Battles. Hart, a 4/4 Cheyenne, as he puts it, is a descendent of people who were present at both battles.
Jack Warner, Wright, Ks.
Owl Creek Crossing Marker
Don and Lil Zwick have requested the Chapter's help in placing a marker at the Owl Creek Crossing site on their farm in Rice County.
South of this crossing on the Santa Fe Trail, John McDaniel and his mercenaries from Jackson County, Missouri killed and robbed Antonia Chaves, a Mexican, merchant, in April 1843. The Zwicks are interested in a bronze plaque mounted on a limestone post like the markers the Chapter has used extensively to mark other sites.
Chapter Web Site Established
Larry and Carolyn Mix of St. John, Kansas have established a web site to distribute information relative to the work of the Chapter. Already, Larry has loaded his data base with a world of information regarding our marking project and articles by your editor concerning the Santa Fe Trail in our area. In the future, the "Traces" will be featured on a quarterly basis.
If Larry and Carolyn have not done enough, they also have made a generous cash donation to the Chapter. I'm sure the entire Chapter joins the editor in saying thanks to Larry & Carolyn Mix.
A Timbered Terrain
Again, Ed Carlson has provided "Traces" with an interesting item from an early edition of the Kinsley Graphic.
If fires could be kept away from the river for five years, there would be quiet a heavy belt of cottonwood timber along that stream, from one end of the valley to the other. The young trees come up every spring, and thrive the whole season and until killed by fire. It is just so along the Coon and in all the low or damp places in the valley. In breaking up the old fields in the spring, many of them are just literally covered with young cottonwoods. Now, when the country becomes thickly settled, prairie fires will be kept out and these young trees will have a chance to grow. There is no question but what time will come when this country will grow its own fuel. Both up and down the Arkansas river there is an abundance of timber, and trees such as cottonwood, elm, plum and a few other varieties, have no enemies in this climate but the prairie fires. Even the Pawnee, twenty five miles east of us, the Saw Log or Buckner, fifteen miles west, and all the streams thirty to forty miles south, were well supplied with timber until it was cut down and hauled off by settlers. The Forts Larned and Dodge have been supplied with wood for the past twenty years, cut from the little creeks mentioned, and there is no calculating the timber used up by the travel over the Santa Fe Trail for years and years. Plant trees and take care of them after they are planted, is all that is required to grow timber in this country.
Saturday 24, January 1880
This contemporary account does not agree with many of the "Uncle Joe" stories which have been told and retold over the past several decades. However, it does square with first hand accounts of the period found in diary and journal accounts.
More About the Tie Float
In a previous issue of "Traces", mention was made of railroad ties being floated down the Arkansas river form the mountains in Colorado to the mouth of Walnut Creek east of Great Bend in 1872. Additional information on the subject comes form Jetmore's favorite rep, Richard Ford. Richard quoted from Craig Minor's West of Wichita that the ties numbered 200,000. Minor's account, the Hutchinson News, July 18, 1872, tells the full story.
From up the River
We had a long conversation with Mr. J. S. Duncan, who with his brother has just finished a boom across the Arkansas river, between Zarah and Great Bend, (Kansas) against which to lodge ties floated form the mountains for A.T. & S.F.R.R. Mr. D. says they will have no trouble in catching the ties. The boom is 805 feet long, 350 feet of which is very (work illegible) made of heavy pieces of timber, Bolted together with iron bolts, and swung angling across the stream, with large guys extending to the shore. Messrs. Duncan are brothers in law of Mr. Green, who has a contract with the A.T. & S.F.R.R. for getting out 200,000 ties. Mr. Green cut the ties in the Rocky Mountains, near Fair Play post office, and proposed floating them six hundred miles down the Arkansas river, to the above mentioned boom. We presume the floating operation has already commenced. It is proposed to throw about twenty thousand ties in at a time and have a body of men follow in boats and otherwise, to prevent them lodging. Mr. Green is sanguine of success, we learn, and if the experiment succeeds it will throw a new impetus into the timber region of this valley. There is a vast amount of timber in the mountains, and if crossties can be floated down other timber can. Mr. Duncan says that if the experiment succeeds a company will be immediately formed for getting down a general assortment of lumber. He promises to let us hear from the enterprise frequently.
The fall issue of "Traces" spoke of the removal of the DAR marker at the Larned Municipal Airport to the Peace Lutheran Cemetery north of Kinsley, Kansas. Since that time, the marker has been set on a sturdy base. Working on the project was Mildon Yeager, your editor, and Ray Wetzel, the cemetery sexton. A special thank you goes to the Wilbert Vault Company and Strate Construction, both of Kinsley, Kansas, who donated the concrete, also to Kevin Wetzel, Ray's twelve year old son who worked like a trooper.
The Survey Seminar
Please circle the date of June 13, 1998 as a reminder of the Chapter's second annual seminar. This year's focus will be on the Survey of the Santa Fe Trail conducted between the years of 1825-1827. As the writing, negotiations are underway for a bus to accommodate a field trip to survey sites in Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford Counties on the 14th. The final word on the field trip will be announced at the January 11th meeting in Kinsley, Kansas. Tickets will be available at that time.
Did You Know
George Bent wrote Joseph B. Thoburn on July 12, 1911: "Black Kettle has no grand children during his life."
Bent's testimony should put to rest the claim of some who contend they are the Chief's descendants.
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.