Many Trails Crossing
by Brian Stucky
(and maybe ancient) Kaw Indian Trail. This passed from about 3 miles
SE of Council Grove to about 3 miles SE of Lyons. It was roughly
parallel to the SFT. It was a buffalo hunting trail, used in spring
and fall for the Kaw (Kansa) Indians to go out to the short grass
prairie to hunt. This was after the Kaws were squeezed down from
vast living areas in NE Kansas, to strip reservations, and finally a
20x20 mile area around Council Grove. Eventually they were kicked
out to Oklahoma. This is described in a 1903 article in the Kansas
Historical Collections periodical by George Morehouse, who grew up
on that trail by Diamond Springs, KS. This passes about 3.25 miles
north of Goessel. Kaw Trail shown in royal blue or purple near the
top of the map, from NE to SW.
1821-1872 Santa Fe Trail. Not on the map
below. It is a hair more than 9 miles to the NW of Goessel.
1857 or before: Lt. Col. Morrison trail. Not
drawn on this map, but it should be at the bottom, from SE to NW.
You might see a bit of Hesston to the lower left, and it passed
through that. From Ft. Gibson, OK. to the Santa Fe Trail between
McPherson and Inman (to the SW) and thence out to the Dodge City and
Bent's Fort area: "Indian hostilities were harassing a large extent
of the surrounding country and Colonel Pitcairn Morrison was ordered
out from Fort Gibson with three companies of the Seventh Infantry,
numbering 235 officers and men. They left in June and went out over
the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas to Fort Mann (Dodge City) and Bent's
Fort, where Morrison held councils with the chiefs of the Kiowa,
Comanche, Arapaho, Apache, and Cheyenne Indians." This trail is
visible on early pre-survey maps, with trail lines only relative to
rivers. But I found it by dowsing, and it goes
1858-59 Valley of the Cottonwood to Pike's
Peak trail. Shown in pink on the bottom half. This is an obscure but
apparently a gold rush trail, showing up by name in only two
townships: Highland and Walton townships in Harvey County. It is
drawn on survey township maps in broken pieces from Emporia all the
way to Meridian township, in McPherson County just west of Goessel,
but then it disappears. I have dowsed it to connect to the Santa Fe
Trail SE of McPherson.
1861. Black Beaver/Col. Emory Trail. In dark blue, from bottom to top, roughly paralleling the Chisholm Trail. Another long story. In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Col. Emory was a northern Col. in charge of 400 people including soldiers, women, children, and some Indians. They were in southern Oklahoma when he heard that 6,000 confederate soldiers from Arkansas were coming after him to wipe him out. He decided to high-tail it out of there, north to Fort Leavenworth for safety. Some from his company said they were born in the south and wanted to join the confederates. He graciously let them go. In the area was Black Beaver, a Delaware Indian who had scouted for the US Army for 25 years. Col. Emory did not know the way through Kansas, but he hired Black Beaver who did. With the rest, they moved quickly through three forts, then up through the Wichita area, Newton area (since neither existed then) traveling for some of the way on what was later the Chisholm Trail. They went up to join the Santa Fe Trail near the Cottonwood Crossing at Durham. There his soldiers said, "Yes, we know where we are.
We've been on the SFT before." So, they said
goodbye to Black Beaver and continued to Leavenworth. This showed up
on some of A.J. Frey's maps. When I found it by dowsing, it had a
unique trail pattern---that of 7 pairs of wagon tracks, sandwiched
between two Indian trails. Why that, I don't know. But I have found
this pattern as far south as El Reno, OK, and occasionally up to
Wichita, where I dowsed it mile by mile up to Durham. This confirms
the written record. For all we know, this trail was used only once,
but locals may have used it more, and it may have been an ancient
Indian trail to begin with.
1867-1871 Chisholm Trail. The great Texas
Cattle Trail. It went up to Abilene beginning in 1867. In 1871 when
the railroad came through what became the Newton area, the cattle
were loaded there and there was no need to go to Abilene. A square
mile of the town of Newton sprang up within a year, with its
brothels and gambling halls and gun violence. In 1872 the railroad
was extended to Wichita, so that became the end of the trail. On
this map it is shown in light blue. Not only are there more than one
path, in some places there were multiple paths, over an area 2.5
miles wide. If you are herding as many as 600,000 cattle in a year,
they can't all go down the same path. But people wrongly assume the
cattle spread out that wide. Anyone who has herded cattle know they
don't do that. They follow more or less one after another. There may
be a long teardrop-shaped herd, with cowboys along the sides to
contain runaways, and some to bring up the rear. If you can find the
town of Goessel, there are several strands of wagon tracks going
through the city. And the mile to the east, just east of highway
K-15, I find a continuous group of wagon tracks a half mile wide.
Going north of Goessel there are two main branches and then three. I
call the main branch the one roughly a half mile east of K-15. Down
by the Harvey-Marion County line, where the highway jogs and the
Monument is located, you can see a split going NW, then skirting
just to the east of Meridian Road, the Marion-McPherson County line.
If you contact the Kansas State Historical Society archives and
library, and ask for an official map of the Chisholm Trail, they
will send you this west branch trail.
What is fascinating about the Chisholm Trail
is, that there are no ancient maps of the trail north of Wichita.
That is because the surveyors came through this area about 1860,
give or take a few years, and the Chisholm Trail did not arrive till
1867. So, of course it wouldn't be on the survey map. Now, from
Wichita going south into Oklahoma, the CT IS on the survey maps,
because they didn't make the surveys till later. So, in Oklahoma,
they know exactly where it is. So, how is there any map at all of
the Chisholm Trail north of Newton? Simple. A dowser. A.J. Frey of
Newton (d. 1980) was a building contractor, Chisholm Trail buff, and
member of the Harvey County Historical Society (and a "shirt-tail"
relative of mine). He's one of two people responsible for the
Monument on K-15. He dowsed the trail going north; however, he
wasn't certain of this west route. But the KSHS was in such a hurry
to get a map published, a fold-out map in the Kansas Historical
Quarterly of 1967 (CT Centennial) and they wanted it mile by mile
from Oklahoma to Abilene, they pushed ahead and published it. What
A.J. Frey didn't know, but I know, is the difference between wagon
tracks and Indian trails. Wagon tracks are pairs of marks about 4 ft
apart. An Indian trail is a set of 7 single marks, 7-20 ft. apart.
Sometimes he dowsed an Indian trail and called it a wagon trail. But
yes, look at the light blue lines.
Before 1874. Cresswell (local) trails (in
black, to the right side of the map). From Goessel, 5 miles east, 1
north, and 1/4 east is the extinct site of Cresswell. Not much more
than a post office and store for 25 years, yet I have found 5
different trails coming in and going out of this hub.
1872-1874. Before the influx of Mennonites
from Russia, there were the "Old Mennonites" coming from
Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. Four settlement places,
only one of which exists today, were tied together by trails. I made
this map before I knew of them, so at least one would be on this
map. One was called the "23-Mile Furrow" and connected the
settlements by a plow furrow in the prairie, so they would not lose
their way. There were 4 such trails.
1874 Peabody to Alexanderwohl Mennonite Immigrant trail, in green. As Mennonite immigrants, Mennonites of Swiss and Dutch background coming from Russia and Poland got off the train at Peabody (8,000 of them there), Newton, Halstead, and Hutchinson, they made trails to their immigrant house set up for them as a perk by the Santa Fe Railroad. Some did not negotiate that privilege, but had a community or worship center. I have found 5 such local trails.