Pioneering the Trail

Virtual Kansas




Where the Cherokee Trail Meets the Santa Fe Trail at Running Turkey Creek

Running Turkey Creek

Near where the Cherokee Trail meets the Santa Fe Trail

Running Turkey Creek

Sign marking town of Empire-Dr Jack Fletcher & Patricia Fletcher

Sign marking town of Empire

Just east of 22nd Avenue on Iron Horse Road the Cherokee Trail joined the Santa Fe Trail.   Arriving at the junction of their new wagon road and the Santa Fe Trail, the company devised a post office, wrapping news of their arrival and accomplishment in pasteboard and oilcloth, then placing it firmly under the only large rock they could find. "We obtained a large stone and planted it in the fork of the road. and one of our cunning workmen cut these letters upon it: 'To Fayetteville, Ark., 300 miles-Capt. Evans' Cal. Com'y, May 12, 1849' to apprise the prairie traveler of a new road." (Page 45-46 of Cherokee Trail Diaries Volume I)

 Running Turkey Creek is so named because it is spring fed and never runs dry. In 1858 H.B. Moollhausen, passing by on the Santa Fe Trail, wrote, "Why the little river had been named after the wild turkey, for as far as they could see they discovered not a tree or a bush, and it is well known that turkeys prefer wooded regions in order to be able to escape from their numerous enemies by taking refuge in the tree tops at night."