Wet/Dry Routes Chapter
Quarterly Newsletter
Vol. 6 "1999" No.4

New Members
     The Chapter continues to grow. This quarter we welcome three new members: Harley Halladay, Fort Dodge, Kansas, Thomas Mora, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Earl & Linda Cavanaugh, Machesney Park, Illinois.

Summer Meeting
     The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the SFT held its Summer Meeting at the "Little Red House" in Larned, Kansas on Saturday Evening, June 26, 1999. To explain, the "Little Red House" is a replica of Larned's first building. The building was originally the sutler's mess house at Fort Larned, Kansas. Town founder, Henry Booth, moved the building from the post down the south bank of the Pawnee Fork and floated it across the swollen stream to a site now occupied by Schnack Lowrey Park. It served as a post office, residence, saloon, dance hall, and school. The first school teacher christened it "TheLittleRed House" and it has been called that since. The replica is now located at 2nd and State streets and when completely renovated will serve as an historic landmark.

     The feature event at the meeting was sumpuous potluck supper with a mouth-watering entree of deep-fried turkey furnished by hosts Alice and David Clapsaddle.

     Items discussesd during the business meeting included: completion of the Sites Directory book, report on the recently held seminar, preliminary plans for the 2000 seminar, Faye Anderson Committe member continuity, liability insurance for interpretive marker sites, chapter boundaries for mapping purposes, by-law articles, and speakers bureau grant for 1999.

"Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites"
David Clapsaddle

The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail
is pleased to announce the completion of:

"Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites"

     This compilation is the culmination of a ten-year study related to the various routes of the Santa Fe Trail in the Wet/Dry Area between Forts Larned and Dodge and the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road that served as the eastern end of the Santa Fe Trail during 1867/1868. Each of the 105 sites researched by the Chapter is identified on the original township survey maps that showed the various routes as they appeared in the early 1870's. Each site is also identified as to location, G.P.S., topographical evidence, physical evidence, historic description, and distance as measured from another site as documented by contemporary accounts. Each site is also identified as to legal description and landowner.

     The book has been produced in loose-leaf fashion to allow for easy corrections. Each chapter has been paginated according to its own numbering system which will allow for deletions or additions in an expedient manner.

     The directory is replete with historic maps, contemporary photographs, and modern photographs, all of which enhance the atractiveness of the directory.

Faye Anderson Award
     Attention Members: Nonimations for the Faye Anderson award may be submitted now and until November 1, 1999. Only members in good standing (1999 dues paid) are eligible to nonimate individuals who are members or non-members. The award will be presented at the January meeting. An application is included with your member copy of "TRACES" and may be submitted to Alice Clapsaddle, 215 Mann Ave., Larned, KS 67550. Clara Goodrich of Larned, Kansas was the 1999 Faye Anderson Winner. The award was presented to her at the 1999 winter meeting in Kinsley, Kansas by Rusti Gardner and Faye Anderson's daughter, Joan Forest. Clara was honored for her hard work as Chapter Historian and other efforts on behalf of The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter.

Book Signing
     The Fort Larned Historical Society will host a book signing by David Clapsaddle, 2:00 to 4:00, Sunday, September 12, 1999, at the Santa Fe Trail Center, Larned, Kansas. Prior to the signing of David's recently published "A Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites, he will present an historical interpretation of Richard Blinn, the husband of Clara Blinn who was killed in November 1868 during the attack of the 7th Cavalry on Black Kettle's village near present Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Those who have already purchased one of the books are welcome to bring their copies for signing.

     The Santa Fe Trail Center is located 2 miles west of Larned, Kansas on K-156 highway.

     The public is cordially invited to attend.

Santa Fe Trail Balloting
     Responding to a request to count the ballots for the election of Santa Fe Trail officers, Clara Goodrich, David and Alice Clapsaddle tallied the votes on July 7, 1999. Results of the year 2000 election can not be disclosed yet, but other bits of information are thought provoking. The membershipof the Santa Fe Trail is approximately 1200. Ballots were mailed to each member. Family memberships were allocated two ballots; single memberships, one ballot. A bit tedious. Yes, but such data is necessary to help us all wonder at the 177 total ballots cast, including a total of three from Oklahoma. All this should tell us something. This writer will leave it to the individual reader to interpret these figures.

October Meeting
Where: St. Joseph Parish Hall, Offerle, Kansas
When: Sunday, October 17, 1999
Business Meeting: 2:00 p.m.
Program: Award winning educator Shirley Stein (former Wet/Dry Chapter member) will present a display of projects, and show videos and discuss her teaching methods of subjects relative to the Santa Fe Trail. at 2:45 p.m.

Wet/Dry Route Chapter Display
Pawnee County 4-H Fair

     The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter was pleased to exhibit "Scenes Along The Santa Fe Trail" at the Pawnee County 4-H Fair, July 22-24 at Larned, Kansas. Handsomely displayed were paintings depicting the following well known Santa Fe Trail Sites: Westport Landing in Kansas City, Mo. by Charles Goslin; Pawnee Fork Crossing at Larned, Kansas by Max Grundlach; and Wagon Mound in northeast New Mexico by Nick Eggenhofer.

More Markers Placed
     On July 6, 1999 a hot and humid day, four markers were placed on the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road. For those who have ordered "A Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites", a description of those sites are on pages I-49, I-61, I-65, and I-67. Involved in the work were Leonard Aufdemberge, Chester Smith, Richard Ford, and David Clapsaddle. A special thanks goes to Richard Ford and the Wetzel brothers for the use of their trucks.

Interpretive Markers
     Work has commenced on the turn-out for the Interpretive Marker at the Junction of the Fort Larned Military Road and The Wet Route (site G-3 in your "A Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites"). Landowner Ron Nelson and Program Director David Clapsaddle spent a few days working on moving gates and fences and landscaping the site. Liability insurance issues have apparently been solved and there is a possibility that Pawnee County will help with some black topping. Ron borrowed some heavy equipment from fellow site landowner Elmer Hogan (Hogan Ruts, Site E-4) to make the grading for the automobile turn-out easier. Observers will be able to drive in and read the marker from their car or get out and stretch their legs.

No Santa Fe Trail Entries For Kansas History Day
     "TRACES" readers will recall that the chapter established a $200 award for the best Santa Fe Trail related entry in the annual Kansas History Day.

     There were no such entries in the 1999 event; consequently, no award was given. The theme for the "2000" event will be Turning Points in History. Such a theme should attract some entries which have a Santa Fe Trail Focus.

Did You Know?
     Many issues ago, this column provided information regarding a contraption which was used to shoe oxen. The contrivance rigged with a belly sling and a windlass was used to elevate the ox, thus rendering him immobile while shoes were nailed to his hooves. Such a procedure was useful as a bovine unlike an equine has much difficulty in standing on three legs. Recently, this writer had the opportunity to visit the Mount Pleasant Shaker Village in Kentucky. There, one of the staff related that this type of contraption was referred to variously as a ox press, an ox sling, or shoeing stalls. The latter designation was confirmed a few days later by an old fellow in Virginia who described his father shoeing oxen on their family farm. He said, "We put them in the stalls." At least we now know what to call the contraption.

{Note from Larry E. Mix}
     I believe that this is what David is talking about. I took this picture several years ago at the Hays House Restaurant in Council Grove, Kansas, this picture is in the lobby.

Ox Shoe Sling In Use

     There is also a painting of the same contraption as David calls it in the Kaw Mission, also in Council Grove, Kansas. This picture was taken at the Santa Fe Trail Symposium in 1999.

Ox Shoeing Sling Painting Kaw Mission, Council Grove Kansas

The Pawnee River
     This is the third of a series of articles related to the Pawnee River.

     In the first installment, the Pawnee River was traced from its headwaters in Grey County to its confluence with the Arkansas River near Larned, Kansas. The second article described the Santa Fe Trail crossing at that confluence as one of the most difficult on the entire length of the trail. This third and final article will speak to the various names used to designate the stream in the early part of the 19th century.

     In July 1820, Captain John Bells party, separating from Major Stephen Long's exploratory expedition, followed the Arkansas River eastward to the Pawnee River which he called Vulture Creek.

     In 1821, while William Becknell was making his inaugural trip to Santa Fe New Mexico on the south bank of the Arkansas River, the trapping party led by Hugh Glenn and Jacob Fowler were pursuing the north bank of the Arkansas. On October 20 of that year, the party arrived at the Pawnee. Fowler, without question, one of the 19th century's worst spellers, recorded in his diary that the party crossed the "poney River." In 1839, the celebrated Matt Field, recorded the Spanish designation of the Pawnee, "Rio de Panamas." Five years later, Rufus Sage reported that the Indians called the stream Otter Creek because of the abundance of otters found along its course.

     In a generic fashion, many 19th century writers, referred to the stream as a creek. Such persists to this day with local Larnedites referring to the Pawnee as the creek to distinguish it from the Arkansas which they call the river.

Sand Hill Plums
     My brother, Walter; my sister, Kathryn; and I were born and raised on a farm about two and a half miles southwest of Garfield, Kansas. This was during the great depression or as we called, "the dirty thirties." Our family didn't have much cash money, but neither did any other family in that farming community so we didn't consider ourselves to be poor. We always had plenty to eat, nice enough clothes (some hand-me-downs) to wear, and a warm, wood burning heating stove to cozy up to on cold winter days and nights.

     One of our mother's specialties was canning food. We butchered our own meat from animals we raised and the canned beef sure tasted good with noodles and gravy. Our cellar shelves were always loaded to the sagging point with canned fruits and vegetables from the garden.

     When the sand-hill plums that grew "south of the river" ripened in mid summer, the whole family went plum picking. Mom put up many-a-jar of plum butter and my all time favorite, sand-hill plum jelly.

     As a young adult, our father spent a couple of years running a restaurant in his hometown in souteast Kansas. His specialty was making the baking powder biscuits every morning for the breakfast trade. He had no recipe for these biscuits and didn't use any measuring cups or spoons, but no matter how many biscuits were required, they always turned out perfectly. He didn't use a "store bought" biscuit cutter either. Instead he used an old tin can that was just the right size. I don't know what came in that can, but he kept it and used it to make biscuits all his life. He was always drafted to make biscuits for the chicken pot pie at the Garfield Congregational Church's annual, Harvest Home dinner and for the Garfield Lyons Club's annual, sausage and pancake suppers. The can (read Biscuit Cutter) was handed down to Joyce and Howard Losey and now has a prominent place on the fireplace mantel in our living room.

     What a combination! Perfect, light and fluffy, warm biscuits and sand-hill plum jelly for breakfast on school mornings. I think of them often and a couple weeks ago, I was craving sand-hill plum jelly on hot biscuits. I went to a specialty shop in the Farm and Art Building in Old Town, in Wichita, Kansas to get some of the jelly. The price was $4.25 for an 8-ounce jar. Anybody that had $8.50 per pint jelly on hot, home-made biscuits for breakfast during the depression era certainly wasn't poor.

     Well, you say, that's a nice story, but what does it have to do with The Wet/Dry Routes of the Santa Fe Trail?

     A couple of things come to mind. First, that farm that we grew up on, sat right astraddle of the Pre-1859 Dry Route, just one-mile northeast of the Hogan Ruts that are marked by The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter (site E-4 in your "A Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites"). A connection to the Wet Route will be established later. Of course, we didn't know that we grew up on the Santa Fe Trail. We were only made aware of it after Kathryn and I joined the chapter two years ago. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like having lived there during Trail times. Maybe we kids could have set up a stand (a sort of Plum Jelly Trading Ranche) to sell hot biscuits and sand-hill plum jelly to Samuel and Susan Magoffin and other trail travelers as they passed by.

     Sand hill plums are not new. Coronado encountered them on his travels to Quivera in 1541 only he called them prunes. Travelers on the Santa Fe Trail also enjoyed the same sand-hill plums that we enjoyed as kids. There was a Santa Fe Trail landmark west of Cow Creek crossing near the present city of Chase, Kansas called Plum Buttes. They were not actually buttes but were three fairly high sand dunes that were covered with wild, sand-hill plum thickets. In season, these wild Plums furnished a welcome variant to the monotonous diet of travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Bvt. Maj. William Anderson Thornton who was accompanying a detachment of recruits from St. Louis to Santa Fe, had this to say in his diary entry for July 19, 1855:

     Marched at 7 A.m. and Crossed Walnut Creek and encamped on the Arkansaw about 12 Miles from the creek. Saw thousands of Buffalo and killed three, and a calf. Three infantry Soldiers deserted with their Arms. 80 Men in our Sick wagons Caused by eating wild plumbs. No wood but good grass. Passed a Surveying Party at Walnut Creek, locating a position for the establishment of a Mail Depot.
A fine Spring at the creek. Prospects of a Thunder Storm. Tired from horse riding but quite well--distance about 18 Miles.

     I guess that wasn't such a welcome variant after all. Now we know why the grass is always greener in the bottoms of rut swales. This area wasn't considered to be the Wet Route yet, either, but read what Bvt. Maj. Thornton has to say in his July 21, 1855 diary entry:

     Marched at 7 Am. Morning rainy. Crossed Coon Creek about Noon turned to the left and advanced to the river,and encamped at 3 p.m. This days march was peculiar hard on the Men, as it rained heavily almost all the time. 120 Men Sick in the wagons. stampede of our train Shortly after Crossing the Creek. Crossed it at the upper foard [ford] Good grass on the river but no wood. The Country on the right bank of the river very level, but on the other bank rising in Sand hills. The river foardable [fordable] and was crossed by Men to obtain wood. No Buffalo Seen during the day, And but little other game on the prairiies. Distance about 18 miles.

     There's The Wet Route connection. The detachment's encampment after crossing Coon Creek was evidently Plain Camp on the Wet Route, about 3.8 miles southwest of the crossing (site C-5 in your "A Directory of Santa Fe Trail Sites"). I have never been sick from eating green sand hill plums, but I understand one of the symptoms is excruciatingly painful stomach cramps. I wonder if any of the recruits purposely contracted cholera just so they could feel better?

     This was not the first spell of bad luck these unfortunate recruits experienced on their march down the Santa Fe Trail. I'm sure you will enjoy reading Bvt. Maj. Thornton's entire diary. Stephen Clyde Blair and Bonita M. Oliva Transcribed the diary and the first installment appeared in the May 1999 issue of the Santa Fe Trail Quarterly, Wagon Tracks Leo Oliva is the editor of that fine publication!

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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