The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter met for its summer meeting at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center on August 16, 1998. Reports were given with regard to the 1998 seminar related to the Survey of the Santa Fe Trail, the marking project, and plans for the 1999 seminar which will be conducted around the theme of Trading Ranches on the Santa Fe Trail. Reports were also given with respect the Web Site operated by Larry and Carolyn Mix and the Chuckwagon dinner to be served at the Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous. Members voted to amend the constitution by the addition of another officer, the immediate past president to, serve in an advisory capacity. Also approved was the purchase of a plaque for the marking program and the establishment of a $200 award to be given annually for the best entry by Kansas students in the National History Day Competition.
Fall meeting to be held at St. Joseph Parish hall Offerle, Kansas October 4, 1998. As usual, the business session will begin at 2:00 to be followed by the program at 2:45. David Clapsaddle will be speaking on the burial of a 1st Illinois infantryman who died at the Pawnee Fork Crossing in 1847. The title of the presentation is "Burying Private Easley."
Wet/Dry Routes Chapter
Initiate an Award for National History Day competition
The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter will, beginning in 1999, present a $200 award to the best entry relative to the Santa Fe Trail by a Kansas student in National History Day Competition. The Coordinator of the National History Day in Kansas is Joel Walker, Educational Coordinator, Kansas State Historical Society. Mr. Walker will be mailing to a large roster of Kansas teachers an announcement of the award and several suggestions for resource topics in keeping with the 1999 National History Day Theme, Science, Technology, and Invention in History. Wet/Dry Route members have volunteered to assist with bibliography on other resources.
1999 Seminar Planned
Plans for the 3rd annual seminar to be conducted by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter on June 5, 1999 are in progress. The seminar will feature presentations focusing on the theme of Trading Ranches on the Santa Fe Trail. Speakers will include, Michael Olson, Las Vegas, New Mexico; William Chalfant, Hutchinson, Kansas; Leo Oliva, Woodston, Kansas and David Clapsaddle, Larned, Kansas. Consideration is being given to conducting the seminar at some other location than Larned. That location will be determined at the Fall meeting of the Chapter.
Sibley's Camp to be Featured at the Kansas Sampler Festival
Sibley's Camp along with other Larned, Kansas attractions will be featured at the Kansas Sampler Festival to be conducted on October 3 and 4, 1998 at Pratt, Kansas. A display of historic photographs and, commentary will interpret the Camp located at 520 West Second Street in Larned. The Larned booth is sponsored by the Larned Area Chamber of Commerce, Pawnee County Economic Development Commission, and the City of Larned Convention and Tourism Committee.
Wet/Dry Routes Home Page
Larry and Carolyn Mix's Home Page has undergone a revamping. The new format is attractive and helpful. Larry reports that the Home Page is visited about 800 times per month. E-mail inquiries have been received from several foreign countries. I'm sure that all the Chapter members join your editor in saying a special thanks to the Mixes.
Duncan's Crossing Completed
The sign damaged by vandals which directs the public to the site of Duncan's Crossing on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road has been repainted and replaced. The superb restoration of the marker was completed by President Rusti Gardner. Some say husband Jack had a part, also. Your editor and Chapter member Leonard Aufdemberge were pleased to return the sign to its usual haunt on K-156 west of Burdett, Kansas. With regard to markers, one of the chapter's limestone posts was snapped off at the ground level during a tornadic storm which leveled a nearby machine shed one mile east of the Fort Larned Historic site. The marker has been removed to a safe place and will be reset in the near future. Other limestone posts which have long awaited placement in the Fort Dodge area have been set. Highway construction in the area has prevented the installation of new markers and the resetting of others for a two year period. The marker one mile east of the Soldiers Home will require a new plaque as the present one is misleading in the light of recent research which clearly indicates that the original western terminus of the Dry Route was ten miles west at the Caches. Four markers are yet to be set on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road. They are lying in wait at the Richard Ford residence near Jetmore. Time is our only problem.
Jones Point Confirmed
Some six miles southwest of the Pawnee Fork crossing at present Larned, Kansas, the Dry Route of the Santa Fe Trail reached the location where Michael and Lawrence Smith, employees of the Hall and Porter Mail Company, were killed by Kiowas on September 24, 1859. Marking that site is a bronze plaque mounted on a limestone post which reads Jones Point, the name of the location according to James Brice, a fellow stage company employee of the Smiths. Your editor was pleased to read in the August 1998 Wagon Tracks the October 22, 1858 diary entry of Charles W. Finley: "Left camp early and breakfasted at Buffalo wallow west of Big Coon, suppered near Jones Point." Observe that Finley, also then Hall and Porter employee, makes reference to Jones Point. It is helpful to have this second source to confirm Brice's testimony.
Did You Know?
Prior to the advent of the Concord coach on the Santa Fe Trail in the early 1860's, mail and passengers were transported in several wagons, whatever number was required to haul mail, baggage, and equipment for camping and cooking. Such a retinue employed as many as eight men: drivers, outriders, and conductor. The conductor who sometimes shared the driving was ultimately responsible for the welfare of the passengers and safe and timely delivery of the mail.
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.