Santa Fe Trail Research Site Cottonwood Crossing

     We pickup the Santa Fe Trail in the area at Lost Springs, Kansas. As you enter the town of Lost Springs from the east off of US56 on Chicago Ave, take Smith Street and go one block north to the city park. In this park on the northwest corner, sits a large DAR marker with a beautiful bronze plaque on it. Return back to Chicago Ave, turning west the street changes names to Broadway.

     Proceed west two and one-half miles to another large DAR marker on the south side of the road. The Santa Fe Trail era, Lost Springs is across the road to the north of this location. From Lost Springs continue west 2.5, at this intersection turn south on Ramona Road towards Tampa, Kansas. About three fourths of a mile south on the west side of the road is what appears to be a DAR marker, this marker is on the trail but isn't a DAR marker. The DAR states: School District #90 also placed a marker very similar to and often confused with the DAR Markers. It sits on the Ramona Road to Tampa, where the Trail crosses. At the next intersection south, about .25 mile, turn west towards the town of Tampa, Kansas.

     As you enter Tampa, Kansas on the north side of the road is the Tampa Cemetery. Running across the cemetery is a faint rut. This rut is marked by a limestone marker in the fence line on the east side. At the intersection on the west side of the cemetery look across the intersection to the southwest for another large marker. This marker is another Old Settler stone at the northeast corner of the town of Tampa. In an aerial photo of this area, the marker can be seen.

     Continue west through Tampa to K15, a distance of about four miles, turn south towards the town of Durham, Kansas. Turn west on Fifth Street on the southern edge of town, follow it through town to the west about 1.5 miles to a DAR marker on the north side of the road. About one quarter of a mile to the west of this marker was Cottonwood Crossing. From the DAR marker go north, crossing Cottonwood Creek to see a marker placed by School District #57 of Durham on the west side of the road and trail ruts a very short distance north on the east side. These ruts are coming from the Lost Springs & Tampa area.

     In an area six miles beyond Cottonwood Crossing was a place called Cottonwood Hole. About twelve miles beyond Cottonwood Hole was Running Turkey Creek Crossing.

     Follow the road you came to this location back to Durham and K15. Turn south 8.5 miles to US56. Here turn west for 8.3 miles. At this intersection proceed north .25 mile to a large limestone marker placed by the Cottonwood Chapter showing the Santa Fe Trail & Chisholm Trail as it crosses the county in this area.

     Back to US56, turn west for 1.0 mile. At this intersection turn north to just before you get to the railroad tracks. On the south side of the tracks is a two lane road leading to Jones Cemetery where Ed Miller is buried. Ed Miller was a young man killed on the Santa Fe Trail by Indians on July 20, 1864, as he was returning from Turkey Creek Ranch. His grave marker is in the center of this cemetery, there is also a DAR marker at this location.

     Big Turkey Creek Ranche was established by Charles O. Fuller in 1855. A native of New York state, born in 1828, Fuller came to Missouri as a young man where he obtained employment as driver for the Waldo Hall Company, the first mail contractor on the Santa FeTrail.

     From Jones Cemetery return to US56, turning west towards McPherson, Kansas. At I-135 turn south 2.1 miles to K61 highway turning west 2.5 miles to old K81. On K81 turn south about 1.0 mile on the east side of the road stands another DAR marker. Returning back to old K81, proceed south 4.1 miles on the west side of the road is a DAR & Kansas Historic Marker. Originally at the Kaw Treaty site, this DAR marker is south of Elyria, Kansas in a road side park. It is a special DAR Marker inscribed on both sides. One side has the usual inscription, the other side "Sora Kansas Creek near this spot August 16, 1825 The Treaty was made with the Kansas Indians for the right of way of the Trail" The Marker was set with special services, Friday, August 23, 1907, in connection with the annual reunion of the Old Settlers of McPherson County. An attempt is being made to return the marker to the Treaty site. It was relettered in Spring, 1997. The actual Treaty site of 1825 was about 2 miles west on Dry Turkey Creek.

     Make your way back to US56, turning west to the intersection of Plum Street about 13.2 miles. Turn south 5.0 miles. Sitting on the southeast corner of Plum and Dakota, on the McPherson County side. This DAR marker was moved to the McPherson/Rice County line several years ago. It is on the Trail near Camp Grierson but no longer marks the Dry Turkey Creek Crossing south of McPherson, Kansas.

     This tour of the area, it is by no means all the sites to be explored, but is a good starting point for your tour of the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas.

Links to USGS Photos of Santa Fe Trail Sites!

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