Wagon Bed Springs Area
Santa Fe Trail Auto Tour

  1. Historic Adobe Museum Ulysses, Kansas [Map]
         The Historic Adobe Museum was built in the 1930's as a WPA project. It is constructed of adobe blocks. The original building has been added on to three different times. In the museum complex is a Santa Fe Trail exhibit, the Hotel Edwards from the original town site of Ulysses, and a one-room schoolhouse. The exhibits in the Museum follow a time line of history as you walk in the door. In the back of the Museum is a display of Indian artifacts that were collected by a local collector form the Illinois area. The Museum also has a gift shop and book store that has the latest information on the area.

  2. Fort Aubry, Syracuse, Kansas [Map]
         The site of Fort Aubry is located in a 120-acre parcel along a spring fed branch of the Arkansas River, east of the present day town of Syracuse, Kansas. A description of the Fort published in the Rocky Mountain News in January of 1866 said in part: "The men are quartered in half underground caves, dug and built in the bank of a little spring branch about 300 yards from the Arkansas River. The only other buildings put up are of adobe, or sod, covered with earth. They are quite comfortable, but not very stylish in appearance.
         (The Beginning of the West by Louise Barry 1973: 195-196)

         The land adjacent to the stream is presently being used as pasture, and has three areas that contain visible features. These features are concentrations of depressions, a midden area, and an area labeled a "hay yard".

         There are three clusters of dugout depressions. Two clusters are located on top of opposite banks of the stream at a point near its source where it makes a loop to the east. Eight depressions are located on the north and seven on the south side of the creek. Approximately 100 meters south of these clusters is another consisting of a double row of depressions on the east side of the creek. Each row contains eight depressions.

         Fort Aubry, a U.S. military outpost of brief duration, was established in 1865 near a dependable spring just north of the Arkansas River and on the Santa Fe Trail.

         The first military occupation at the spring was Camp Wynkoop, established in May of 1864 to keep lookout for rebels, and to check on Indian movements. This camp, garrisoned at company strength, continued in existence until September 1864. One year later, special order No. 20, from headquarters of the District of Kansas established Fort Aubry, and the October, 1865 post return showed a compliment of over 300 men composed of two companies of cavalry (K & D, 13th Missouri volunteer cavalry) and two companies of infantry (D & F, 48th Wisconsin volunteer infantry). Their assignment was to provide an escort for stagecoaches and freight wagons on the road between Fort Dodge, Kansas and Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory. In January 1866, regular arrny units consisting of one company of infantry, and one of cavalry replaced the volunteer forces. Another company of infantry was added in February, and this troop strength was maintained until the abandonment of the Fort in April 1866.

         The site of Fort Aubry continued in use as a stage station at least until 1867. By 1872, it was in use as a ranch, and it has continued to be used for agricultural purposes since then.

         Fort Aubry was one of several temporary military post located in the western part of the state which came in to existence to meet a specific threat, served their purpose, and then abandoned. The site of Fort Aubry contains worthwhile features in the form of the "hay yard", midden area, and dug out depressions. These could be interpreted through archeological methods to provide additional infomation to complete the historic accounts available for the fort.
         This site is on "Private Property" and should be treated as such!

  3. DAR Marker Number 84 at Fort Aubry, Kansas [Map]
         Near the abandon rail station of Maline, the Marker sits at the military post established in 1865 to protect the Santa Fe Trail. The dugout Fort was garrisoned for only six months and abandoned in 1866. Surveyors have missed this marker several times. US 50 to Road S, south .4 mile, east 1/2, south .2 mile in an abandoned farmyard on the west side of the road.
         This Marker is on "Private Property" and should be treated as such!
         Section 23, Township 24 South, Range 40 West

  4. Kendall, Kansas DAR Marker Number 81 [Map]
         Nearby is the beginning of the Aubry Cut-off. The Marker sits 1 block north of the railroad tracks on the Trail. US 50 to A23, south 3/4 mile on the west side of the road.
         Section 25, Township 24 South, Range 39 West

  5. Heartland, Kansas DAR Marker Number 80 [Map]
         The Marker is on the Trail near the abandon town site of Hartland, Kansas. US 50 to M23, south 3 miles, west 2.8 miles on a dirt road on the south side by the railroad tracks.
         Section 15, Township 25 South, Range 37 West

  6. Indian Mound, Chauteau's Mound DAR Marker Number 77 [Map]
         The Marker sits atop the Mound overlooking what was Chouteau's Island. It was moved here before 1968. The Marker was originally set at Long Rural School, but it was moved several times. Because of that and the historical significance of Indian Mound, this should now be considered an original location. It marks the Mexico/United States border prior to 1846. It commemorates where Auguste P. Chouteau and other French traders, who traveled to Santa Fe long before Becknell, crossed the Jornada. Sibley's party left the river here on September 27, 1825 heading for Taos. US 50 to M23, south 2 1/2 miles enter through the cattle crossing, follow the dirt path 1.8 miles to Indian Mound, signs point the way.
         Section 12, Township 25 South, Range 37 West

  7. DAR Marker Number 84a in Hamilton County [Map]
         The tales this Marker could tell, of life on the high plains, of bitter winters, scorching summers, days of black dust clouds and days of pristine blue skies, from seas of grass to oceans of waving wheat, of being lost then found and being lost again. This Marker patiently waited ninety years for the Daughters. Francis X. Aubry was a Santa Fe trader, who is best remembered for his five day, twenty-two hour Santa Fe to Independence speed record. He searched for a road between the Arkansas and the Cimarron that didn't go through the Jornada. This Marker, commemorating that road, is located between the Fort Aubry Trail and the Aubry Cut-off. It was dedicated and photographed September 23, 1997. When "found" on November 15, 1996, it was lying on its back as it had for about forty years. Though the efforts of the Byrd Prewitt Chapter, DAR, the Wagon Bed Springs Chapter, and the Ebenfleur Community, the Marker was reset in the Ebenfleur Cemetery near its original location. Ruts of the old trail can still be found. Cordry didn't identify this Marker. US 50 to KS 27, south 10 miles to Road 31, east 4 miles to Road S, on the south side in the Ebenfleur Cemetery.
         Section 3, Township 26 South, Range 40 West

  8. Kearny County Museum [Map]
         Stop and tour the Museum. It has a great Santa Fe Trail room, and also a Conestoga wagon on display.

    DAR Markers located in Lakin
         Location of these markers, are posted on the tour map.

  9. Lakin At The Courthouse DAR Marker Number 78 [Map]
         This is another one of the few Markers that has not been moved, it has always sat in front of the Courthouse. It is near the Upper Cimarron Crossings. US 50 to Main Street, south to the Courthouse on the west side of the building.
         Section 27, Township 24 South, Range 36 West

  10. Lakin, Kansas at the School DAR Marker Number 79
         The Marker is on the Santa Fe Trail. US 50 to Campbell, south to the east side of the school grounds by the flagpole.
         Section 27, Township 24 South, Range 36 West

  11. Menno Road Trail Ruts [Map]
         These ruts are about 13.9 miles north of Ulysses, Kansas on the west side of KS 25 Highway in Kearny County. These ruts are of the Upper Crossing of the Arkansas River. They are at the south edge of the sand hills in Kearny County, Kansas. This area is close proximity of the Charles Bent caravan attack by Indians, and Major Bennet Riley came to aide the Caravan.
         There is account of this attack in Leo Oliva's book Soldiers on the Santa Fe Trail pg 29 - 31

  12. Higgs Ruts [Map]
         These ruts are also part of the Upper Crossing of the Arkansas River. Carl Higgs owns the pasture that these ruts are on.

  13. Klien Ruts [Map]
         Upper Crossing of the Arkansas River segment. Gerald Klien is the tenant of the property that these ruts are on.

  14. Jedediah Smith Marker [Map]
         In 1937, the 4-H Clubs of Grant County presented an outdoor pageant based on the Smith tragedy and won first place with it in a contest at the Southwest Free Fair at Dodge City, Kansas. With the prize money, they purchased the monument to Jedediah Smith, which stands at the Roadside Park on hi-way 270 south of the Cimarron River.

  15. Mormon Battalion Marker [Map]
         More than 500 men and officers of the Mormon Battalion camped at the Lower Cimarron Springs, Sept. 19, 1846. They had volunteered to fight in the War of 1846 against Mexico.

  16. Lower Cimarron Spring [Map]
         The Lower Cimarron Spring (14GT401) was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960 under the name Wagon Bed Springs.

         On August 6, 1998, Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt approved changing the name of the National Historic Landmark to "Lower Cimarron Spring." He also approved the expansion of the NHL boundary to include the historic campground associated with the spring. The Lower Cimarron Spring NHL is a historical archeological site that encompasses approxmately 195 acres. The site includes the Lower Cimarron Spring, which is dry now, it's associated campground, and several remnants of the Santa Fe Trail. The Cimarron river formed a natural boundary for the historic camping are associated with the spring, and archeological investigations have revealed a high concentration of Santa Fe Trail related artifacts within the site boundary.

  17. DAR Marker Number 91 at Lower Cimarron Spring [Map]
         This is a special Marker for Wagon Bed Spring. E. F. Towler had it placed about 50 yards from the spring. The spring on the Cimarron River was one of the first watering places after crossing the Jornada, making this a good resting area. Legend has it that the Spring didn't always run, so a wagon would be sunk in the quick sand, allowing water to flow into the bed, hence the name. November 1996, it has a new base and sits in front of a buffalo cutout at its original location. From Marker #90 continue west on Road 19 to KS 25, south to the Y split keep right on Wagon Bed Spring Road 3.3 miles to the cattle crossing follow the dirt path west .9 mile to the National Historic Site.
         Section 33, Township 30 South, Range 37 West

  18. Joyce Pasture Rut's [Map]
         Ten to thirteen sets of ruts are present in this pasture. These ruts are west southwest of the Cimarron Lower Spring.

    DAR Markers in Grant County

  19. DAR Marker Number 88 [Map]
         The Marker, which sits on the Trail, has moved back and forth across the Haskell/Grant County Line several times. It belongs in Haskell County. In September 1997, plans were being made by the Byrd Prewitt Chapter, DAR and the Wagon Bed Spring Chapter, to move the Marker 1/2 mile east to where it belongs. Section 31, Township 28 South, Range 34 West. US 83 to US 160, west 12 miles to Road Y, Grant/Haskell County Line, southwest corner of US 160 and Road Y.
         Section 1, Township 29 South, Range 35 West

  20. Ryus, Kansas (East of Hickok) DAR Marker Number 89 [Map]
         The Marker is midway between Ryus and Hickok on the Santa Fe Trail. From Marker #88 continue west on US 160 3 miles to Road V, south 1.9 miles on the west side of the road.
         Section 9, Township 29 South, Range 35 West

  21. Hickok, Kansas (South of Hickok) DAR Marker Number 90 [Map]
         This Marker was placed south of Hickok on the Trail. New landowners want the Marker moved out of their front yard. In September 1997 plans were being made to move it 90 feet to the east of the current location. US 160 to Road R, south 6 miles to Road 19, west 1 1/2 miles on the north side.
         Section 34, Township 29 South, Range 36 West

  22. Zeiler Crossing of the Cimarron River DAR Marker Number 92 in Stevens County
         The Marker overlooks the Cimarron River on the Santa Fe Trail. This is the only Marker in Stevens County. From Marker #91 return to Road 23, head west 5 miles to Road E, south 2 miles to Road 25, Grant County, or Road DD Stevens County, west .6 mile to Road 6N, south 2 miles to Road BB, west 1 mile to Road 5N, south 2 miles to Road Z, east .2 mile on the south side.
         Section 29, Township 31 South, Range 38 West.

    DAR Markers in Morton County

  23. Richfield, Kansas, Morton/Stevens County Line DAR Marker Number 93
         The Marker is east of Richfield on the Trail. It sits on an out of the way comer, hidden periodically in sunflowers. Another one of those, find me if you can Markers. From Marker #92 continue west on Road Z to Road I, Stevens County, Road 28 in Morton County, south 4 miles to V Road, northwest corner of V and 28 Roads.
         Section 9, Township 32 South, Range 39 West

  24. Rolla, Kansas South of Richfield, DAR Marker Number 94
         The Marker was placed on the Trail north of Rolla. From Marker #93 continue west on V Road 2 miles to 26 Road, south one mile to U Road, west 3 miles to KS 51, south 2 miles, southeast corner of KS 51 and S Road.
         Section 35, Township 32 South, Range 40 West

  25. Wilburton, Kansas DAR Marker Number 94a
         The Marker sits on the Trail, visible ruts are nearby. Santa Fe Trail markers adjoin the site, midway between Richfield and Wilburton, in the Cimarron National Grasslands. This is another Marker that Cordry didn't identify. From Marker #94 west on Road S 7 miles to Road 16, south 4.1 miles on the east side.
         Section 22, Township 33 South, Range 41 West

  26. Middle Spring Morton County
         Joseph C. Brown, surveyor of the team, wrote in his Field Notes: "Middle Spring is near a half mile from the creek, on the north of it, near a mile below a sort of rock bluff at the point of a hill. Above this middle spring the road is in the creek bottom, which in places is very sandy."

         The Middle Spring is located in what is now the northeast quarter of Section 7, Township 34 South, Range 42 West, in Morton County, Kansas, some 9.3 miles north and 2.0 west of the town of Elkhart, Kansas. It is located .6 mile north of the Cimarron River. The Point of Rocks bluff is 1.0 mile upstream and both features are on the north bank of the Cimarron, with the bluff overhanging the channel and the spring .3 mile north of the river.

  27. Point of Rocks DAR Marker Number 95
         Fred G. Glenn, county clerk, reported to George W. Martin, Secretary of the Kansas Historical Society that the Morton County Commissioners assumed the expense of transporting the stones from the railroad and setting them. "The markers are located, one on the east county line and one on the west line, or where the trail leaves the state. There is one located very near the center of the county, and the other two at places between these where they will most likely be seen. The trail for the first twelve miles in this county is all together, except for a short distance about five miles from the east line, where there is a short branch to the Cimarron river for water. For the remainder of the distance across the county there are practically two trails, one keeping parallel with the river at a distance of two miles, or about that. There are connecting roads every few miles, and appearances indicate the main trail for the last one-third of the way across the county to be on the river-bottom" It should be remembered that in those days the railroad was a distance of about sixty-five miles. The Markers were delivered by wagon, which exemplifies the interest and efforts of the people of Morton County to mark the Trail.

         Unbeknownst to the Daughters three of the Morton County Markers sat in Richfield for a number of years. In a letter dated December 27, 1912, Lavinia J. Smyser, of Pawnee Rock fame, writes to Lillie E. Guernsey, State Regent, that her son has seen these Markers in Richfield and "one was injured by someone who had built a fire to near" In January 1914 Mrs. Guernsey, not being satisfied with the written responses, traveled to Morton County to see why the Markers had not been set. Being a rather formidable lady, we don't know what transpired when she arrived.

         A letter from E. M. Dean, dated November 26, 1914, may say it all, "The marker set at "Point of Rocks" was the last one to be set in this county, and I presume the last one in the State of Kansas, These markers were sent to Morton county several years ago and three of them were placed the other two, that is the one at Point of Rocks, and the one on the State line were not placed until last spring, when myself and a few others in this county interested ourselves in getting them properly located. The Stone was set at Point of Rocks on the 26th day of April 1914. It is placed on a rocky point about 50 feet above the river on the north bank of the Cimarron River, and about 1/2 way up the Bluff that constitutes the "Point of Rocks." On the cement base the following inscriptions appear. Mo River 550 Miles, Santa Fe 226 Miles Surveyed in Sept 1825. Also on the cement base is the Square and Compass with the letter G in the center, this you of course know is the emblem of the Masonic Fraternity, and was placed on this base for the reason that Msrs Thomas, Brite, Wilson and myself happen to be "Masons."

         Point Of Rocks is the first bluff found on the River in going west, it is a sharp rocky point very steep and 108 feet above the water level of the Cimarron River. The place called "Middle Spring" is a spring 1/2 mile east by north of the Point, is was a noted Land Mark and the only spring in what is now Morton County."

         The Marker was reset in approximately the original location at Point of Rocks in time for the 1997 SFT Symposium. It was dedicated September 25, 1997 in memory of Fannie Geiger Thompson, Emma Hills Stanley, Zu Adams, Grace Meeker, and Isabelle Cone Harvey, without whose untiring efforts the Santa Fe Trail through Kansas would not have been marked by the DAR.

         Enter the Grasslands at KS 27 entrance north of Elkhart, Kansas, follow the gravel road to Point of Rocks, the Marker is on the interpretative trail below the Point, you must walk down a steep incline to view the Marker.
         Section 12, Township 34 South, Range 43 West

    State Line DAR Marker in Morton County

  28. DAR Marker Number 96
         We have no interesting tales about the State Line Marker. We assume its significance is that it marks the Kansas boundary on the Old Trail. Originally set in 1914, the Marker was moved to a more accessible location along KS 27. This is where Traffas and Coupal found it and wondered why. A few inquires later, the U. S. Forest Service had it moved back to the State Line in time for the 1997 Symposium. It is in an undeveloped section of the Grasslands but accessible for the adventurous. A corner is broken off probably due to a lightening strike. It has a new base and was dedicated September 25, 1997. Enter the Grasslands at the KS 27 entrance north of Elkhart, follow the gravel road 12 miles past Murphy Trail Head, be aware of the poisonous gas wells in the area, turn south at the State line .2 mile on the east side in Kansas. You must crawl through the fence and walk to the Marker!
         Section 7, Township 34 South, Range 43 West

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