Daughters of the American Revolution Markers
When going over the old Trail from the east through Kansas, as many will by automobile or otherwise, it is advisable to leave Kansas City, Mo., by way of Broadway, Westport avenue, and Forty-third street. The first marker is found at Overland Park, and from there the road goes south to Olathe, and then in a general western direction.
When Kansas City had placed markers in prominent historical parts of old Westport, the Kansas DAR put a marker on the part of the old Westport which was in Kansas. This is now Overland Park, and is just over the Kansas line from Missouri. Westport was the outfitting place for the long trip. Its history is an eventful one, the chief event being the battle of Westport in 1864. This marker is near the electric line between Kansas City and Olathe. The next marker is found a mile and a quarter south of Lenexa, Johnson county, on the top of the divide.
The marker at Lone Elm tells of a famous camping ground under an immense elm, and which marks the dividing point of the travel toward Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the California travel. The latter went northwest by way of Wakarusa and the "Devil's Backbone" where the University of Kansas now stands, at Lawrence. The Olathe Register of November 13th, 1906 had a fine article about the unveiling of the Lone Elm Camp Ground marker, unveiled the Friday before. It is one of the regular markers, set in a marble slab, bearing the words, "Lone Elm Camp Ground"
The city of Olathe has a very handsome marker in the courthouse grounds, which was erected by the citizens and the Old Settlers Association of Johnson county. The central feature of the marker is the bronze tablet used by the DAR and the State of Kansas. Below that is the inscription, "Erected by Johnson County and the Old Settlers Association, 1907" carved at the top is an old ox-yoke, and the chain follows back of the inscription to the bottom.
A marker stands at the schoolhouse grounds at crossroads, just half way between Olathe and Gardner, set by the DAR and unveiled with appropriate ceremonies by old settlers and school children.
In Gardner, also the scene of Civil War troubles, is another handsome marker, erected by the Johnson County Old Settlers Association, and bearing the bronze plate.
The next DAR marker is at a place called Lanesfield, two and a half miles northeast of Edgerton, it marks a spot that all travelers of the Trail will remember. This marker has the distinction of being the second one set in the State. It stands on one corner of the schoolgrounds.
Black Jack, the historical battle ground of the John Brown days, e John Brown days, has the next marker on the great highway.
The handsome marker which marks the old trail at Palmyra, now Baldwin, was erected by the Ottawa and Lawrence Chapters, and stands in a small tract of ground, a gift to the city, which shall be known as Trail Park. Palmyra, was known as the "repair stop" even in the earliest days, and here many blacksmiths and wagonmakers were kept busy repairing damages and seeing that everything was in good order to withstand the long hard trip. The Bodwell brothers, Ed and Lee were the leaders in this work. Here, almost the exact spot where the marker stands, on June 5th, 1856, the two armies, the Free State leaders and the Missouri border crowd met face to face.
Following the trail northwesterly, we find at Brooklyn a marker, and to the thoughtfull it will stand for the horrors of the retreat from Lawrence of Quantrill after his memorable raid on Lawrence on the 21st of August, 18863.
A few miles on, we find a marker at Willow Springs. This little town was robbed by Col. Pate and his band of ruffians, early in 1856, and a few weeks afterward he returned and burned the town. Its first postmaster was appointed in 1855, when the town was called Davis.
The next marker is at the village of Globe, this little town has a similar history behind it.
Half way between Globe and Overbrook, a marker was placed at the famous Flag Springs, where canteens were filled.
A handsome marker is found at Overbrook, and was unveiled with very impressive ceremonies. Like the Overbrook marker, those at Scranton and Carbondale mark either campsites or crossings. Scranton is near the old 110 mile Creek crossing, the creek having been thus named because it is 110 miles from Independence, Missouri.
In the center of the town of Burlingame, at the intersection of Santa Fe and Topeka avenues, stands the beautiful monument erected by the Topeka Chapter in memory of Mrs Fannie Geiger Thompson.
Burlingame has a very interesting history in connection with the Trail. One writer said, probably no point on the Trail has seen the rise and fall of so many boom cities, Council City, as it was once called, was mapped out by the American Settlement Company, but it failed to progress. Then the name was changed to Burlingame, and this proved more successful. In the center of the town was a fine well, the watering place for miles around in the dry seasons. During the Civil War this well was walled around, to protect it from attack and ruin.
Another marker in Osage county is four and one half miles west of Burlingame, and marks the crossing of Soldier Creek or Switzler Creek. It was here that the DAR wanted the Santa Fe Railway to place a marker, as the railroad crossed right over the old Santa Fe Trail Crossing.
Wabaunsee county was crossed only just a little in one corner by the Trail, but Wilmington was an important point and the citizens of the county had the monument placed and unveiled with impressive ceremonies. The Leavenworth and Westport roads united a little east of the town. A stone hotel built in 1858 is near the marker, and the school house built in 1870 is also near this location.
In Lyon county, the three markers, one at Elm creek crossing, one at the crossing of 142 mile creek and one at Agnes City, have histories of a more quiet nature than the others, but all of the necessary importance to the early traveler.
As the trail crosses into Morris county there are places of vital interest. The first marker we find is at the Santa Fe Schoolhouse grounds, near Rock Creek Crossing. This place was the scene of a dreadful event when cutthroats from Missouri murdered and robbed two prominent ranchmen and their families in 1862.
The marker in Council Grove marks the place of the Council of the Commissioners of our Government with the Osage Indians, in August, 1825, and where the treaty was signed for the right of way for the Trail. There was a settlement at the place, where all caravans camped and combined forces to make a more solid front against the Indians on the western plains.
On August 10th, 1907, at the identical spot where 82 years before the treaty with the Osage Indians providing for a right of way, was signed, and close by the Council Oak, still standing, the handsome marker secured by the citizens of Council Grove was unveiled, and dedicated to the memory of all who "had passed that way in sorrow or joy" in the days of the Old Trail's usefulness. Under this stone was placed a memorial history box prepared by Mr. George P. Morehouse, a pioneer settler of the city. The keys to the box will be kept in the Kansas State Historical Collection at Topeka, Kansas. Mr Morehouse gave a fine talk which interested all old and new settlers alike, as it bore directly on the history of the town and surrounding country. One thing of interest told by Mr. Morehouse was that the Government paid the Indians $500 in money and $300 in merchandise for the "right of way forever"
Five miles west of Council Grove, on the divide, is another marker, where section lines cross the Trail. Another is at Wilsey, near the railway station.
The fifth marker in Morris county is at Diamond Springs, near the head of Diamond Creek.
At Burdick, a town in southwest Morris county, another marker was placed, with an all day ceremony, on Friday, October 10, 1908. The marker stands on the old "Six Mile Ranch" one of the most historic spots in Trail Days. The ranch is three and one half miles due north of Burdick, at the head slope of Six Mile creek, and about five miles south of Delevan. The deep furrows of the Old Trail are still visible, and will be for many years to come.
Crossing over into Marion county, we come to another famous spring, "Lost Spring" There are many conflicting statements as to why it was so named. The place has two markers, one at the railroad park at the crossing of the Santa Fe and Rock Island Railroads, given by the DAR and the State, and one which was erected by the Wichita Chapter of the DAR in the City Hall Park. This marker was dedicated on November 14th, 1908. Mr George Morehouse made the address and made this comment on the name of the Springs. "There are several reasons why this place was called Lost Springs. Probably it was from the fact that it failed to flow at times and afterwards burst forth as usual. This might have happened at some long droughty spell, and persons who were looking for the spring, which they had previously visited, or heard described, would naturally say it was lost. Others claim that it was so named for the reason that it refreshed and saved a party of travelers or hunters who were lost on the Plains. Some have said it was covered up or destroyed by Indians so that it would not assist the White man crossing the Plains, and there was something mysterious about its actions, running for some and dry for others. here is no doubt that the name came from the fact that certain Indians or other travelers across the Plains who had once camped there were unable to find the spring during some subsequent trip. Its ancient name given by the Indians was "Nee-nee Yol-ly" meaning "Good Spring". Later some of the tribe reported that Nee-nee Oke-pi-yah, or The Lost Spring was used."
The other markers in Marion county are placed as follows, one at "Moore's Ranch" the site of the first trading post and post office in Marion county, one mile east of the town of Waldeck, and the other at "George Miller's Grave, on the McPherson County line.
Crossing the county line into McPherson county, this county has five markers. The first marker we see is set one mile north of the town of Canton. West of Canton, one was placed at the southwest corner of Section 9, and the next one at the southwest corner of Section 10.
The inscription on the next marker shows it to be of special importance,as it reads, "Sora Kansas Creek. Near this spot a council was held with Kaw Indians, and a treaty made for the right of way of the Santa Fe Trial" This marker was set with special services on Friday, August 23rd, 1907. It is easy to locate, as it is three miles south of the old crossing over Dry Turkey Creek and six miles south of the present town of McPherson, Kansas. Sora Kansas Creek has been lost to history by being called Dry Turkey Creek in present times.
Another marker in this county was placed at Windom, Kansas almost on the west line of the county.
Moving into Rice county the markers at Cow Creek Crossing, Jarvis Creek, Plum Butte, and the Stone Corral, The large marker half way between Lyons and Sterling was set in 1906.
At Chase, Kansas, stands another of the DAR markers, placed by the State, the DAR, and citizens of the town of Chase.
In Barton county the first marker is at the city of Ellinwood. When about two and a half miles east of Great Bend, travelers will see on a prominent place not far from the Santa Fe Railroad, an old Spanish war cannon mounted on a pedestal of stone. This marker was erected by the Citizens of Barton County to mark the former home of Old Fort Zarah, the first of the western forts.
The DAR and State markers are placed one and a half miles east of Great Bend and one in Santa Fe Depot Park in the city of Great Bend. Almost to the line into Pawnee we find one in the little town of Pawnee Rock, and just beyond in the distance can be seen the remains of old Pawnee Rock, the most thrillingly historic spot on the entire trail.
On the monument on the Rock itself, in Pawnee county, is a handsome bronze tablet erected by the DAR and the State of Kansas, and pointing its white shaft finger to the sky is the monument erected by the Women's Kansas Day Club, DAR, Women's Relief Corps, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Rising from a sandy, wind swept plain, it was a great camping place and lookout for protection from Indians.
Pawnee County is filled with historic places. One of the regulation size monuments stands between the old Trail and the Santa Fe Railway in Section 13. The next we find in the city park in the town of Larned a town with a thrilling history.
The marker at Fort Larned stands on the old parade ground. Besides the usual inscription, it tells a little of the history of the fort, which was established in October, 1859, and was known as Camp on the Pawnee Fork. The name changed to Camp Alert in 1860, in February, and in June of the same year it received the present name of Fort Larned. It was abandoned as a fort in 1884.
The trail crosses the Pawnee River just east of the fort. The other markers in this county are one in the old Fort Larned Burying ground, and the other in the present town of Garfield, in their city park.
In Edwards county there are two distinct trails, one called the Wet-weather trail, and there are two markers there, while on what was called the river trail, going northwest, there are three. The most prominent marker is in Kinsley, and this one was dedicated on the thirty third anniversary of the organization of Edwards County. On June 18, 1848, at the place where the marker stands, 800 Comanche Indians attacked 76 Missouri volunteers on their way to Mexico, the latter were armed with breech loading carbines. It was a desperate charge, but sixty two Indians were buried in the sand near by.
The first of the five markers in Ford County is two miles west of the east county line on a hill about the only hill around for miles, Another marker stands on the road from Spearville, another, one mile east of the Kansas Old Soldiers Home, a handsome one on the Old Trail is in the center of the city hall square in Dodge City. Another is on a highpoint of rock near the west county line, a favorite lookout place on the trail.
Gray County has four markers, the principal one being in the city of Cimarron, at the intersection of Main street and Avenue A. It is near the site of a favorite camping ground. In the eastern part of Gray county the trail divided, the oldest and original trail going north of the Arkansas River. In 1829, a shorter route was discovered, which crossed the river in Gray County and went in a southwesternly direction.
Finney County, on the northern route, there were placed five markers, all on the public highway of today, and most of them on or near school grounds. They are placed at Pierceville, Harmony, Garden City, District No. 51, and Sherlock district.
In the next county on the northern tail, Kearny, there are five markers placed at former camping grounds, or scenes of Indian troubles. They are placed as follows, two in the town of Lakin, Deerfield has one, on the school grounds in Section 17, and the other in Hartland.
The county of Hamilton is the last county on the old north Trail and is on the Colorado state line. In this county five markers were set and located at the following locations, One in Kendall, one in Syracuse, exactly on the trail at the corner of Main and Logan streets, where the ruts of the old trail are still to be seen, one at Coolidge, near the Santa Fe Depot, and one near the center of Section 23. No report was given on the fifth marker at this time.
After leaving Gray county on the southern route, we find in Haskell couty four markers, one just north of the town of Cousa, two north and near the county seat, Santa Fe, Kansas and another near Conductor, at the west county line. The two near Santa Fe are where the Trail crosses section lines and are placed diagonally across from each other.
The two near Santa Fe were set on May 11th, 1907. A history of Haskell County was placed in the tin box under the cement base of the stones.
In Grant conty there are three markers, the most prominent place being Wagonbed Springs, a noted watering place and camping ground. The others are, one at the southeast corner of Section 9 and the other on the northeast corner of Section 3.
The tail following the Cimarron River is found only for a few miles in Stevens county, the northwest corner, and only one marker is there.
Morton County, the very corner county of the State of Kansas, five markers were sent, and as far as known are located as follows, one as the trail enters the county on the east, and one on the State line on the west, the others occupy central places.
The marker on Section 12, Township 34, Range 43, is at "Point of Rocks" the one on Section 7, Township 34, Range 43 is on the Kansas Colorado State line. The marker set at Point of Rocks was the last one to be set in this county, and probably in the State of Kansas. The Markers at the State Line and Point of Rocks were not placed until the spring of 1914.
As one looks at the map of Kansas now it would seem an easy matter to retrace the old trail by counties, but it must be remembered that in the earliest days of travel there were no counties at all, and later the counties in the western part were very large. Farms with wheat fields and corn fields cover the old Trail in many places now, so it took infinite patience and much consulting of local notes of history and the mimories of the old Trail travelers to finally wrest from almost oblivion, the pathway of the ancient travel along the Santa Fe Trail.
The Trail did not only make Kansas history it made the connecting link between the settling of the West by the people of the East. As those early travelers prized the Old Trail as the road to the future, we hope the people of years to come will use it and keep its early history in remembrance.
The cost of this marking project is something that you just can't believe. The whole marking project for the DAR cost a total of $1,000.00.
59 markers were paid for out of the State appropration of $1,000.
6 Special markers placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution, individual chapters.
30 Markers placed by the Conference of the Kansas DAR.
This gives a total of 95 markers placed along the Santa Fe Trail in the State of Kansas.
|October 13, 1906||Ten granite bolders||$160.00||October 18, 1906||Thirty five granite bolders||$560.00||December 18, 1906||Prepaid freight on Rock Island to Marion, Kansas||$4.11||December 18, 1906||Setting markers in Rice County||$16.00||June 11, 1907||Freight on marker to Council Grove||$2.53||June 11, 1907||Setting markers in Lyon County||$13.00||June 11, 1907||B.F. Dole, hauling marker, Waldeck||$4.60||June 11, 1907||Fourteen markers at $16.00 each||$224.00||June 11, 1907||Postage||$13.36||June 11, 1907||Grand Total||$1,000.00|
To the State Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution we all give boundless gratitude for its loyal help in the Trail Marking and to the State of Kansas they will ever give the true loyal help in caring for the State's treasures of history, that the State gave them to make this grand work the success it is.
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Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.