Pioneering the Trail

Virtual Kansas




Many Trails Crossing
by Brian Stucky

Many Trails Crossing1847 (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.
1849-1861 Cherokee Trail. Passes within a mile south of Goessel, and about a mile west. Shown in orange below. There is a newer branch to the south of the original, which is also mentioned on the monument. Don't forget this is the first gold rush trail in the area. Do not forget that there was some military presence on the trail. At a residence from Goessel 3 south, 1 north, and 1/4 north, Lauren Flaming is at a crossing of the Sand Creek. He has dug up 10% of what I call a "wagon dump." There is one hill about 50 ft. long that is littered with iron parts; his metal detector goes crazy. Artifacts include an 8 lb. cannon ball, looks just like a shot put; a 17" square stone chisel; a 12" metal pot with gray glazed lining and a bullet hole in one side and blown out the other side (now, there's a story!) as well as the metal part for a Sharp's rifle, branding iron, and routine horseshoes and other insignificant parts. I keep urging him to get an archaeologist out there. This was a stop on our little tour in 2010 from an OCTA Mapping and Marking meeting in which people came to Galva from 7 states.

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
through this area.

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.
First use of Buffalo Chips

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.