Santa Fe Trail Markers Kansas

Santa Fe Trail Markers in Kansas

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Santa Fe Trail Markers in Kansas

Prior to 1821 the "west" was controlled by the Spanish who had colonized and controlled current states like New Mexico and California.

The "Kingdom of New Mexico" was claimed for the Spanish Crown in 1540. You have to remember the Spanish Conquistador Coronado traveled through this area in 1515. It is tough for "Americans" to deal with these dates since we tend to think (and are taught) that "Americas" colonization was generally centered in the northeast.

Spanish colonists first settled in northern New Mexico in 1598 when Don Juan de Oñate led a group of settlers north from Mexico City. The actual city of Santa Fe was established a few years later in 1608 and made a capital in 1610, making it the oldest capital city in what is today the United States. For reference Jamestown, Virginia (1607) is of similar vintage just not as a capital. Santa Fe is at least the third oldest surviving American city founded by European colonists, behind the oldest St. Augustine, Florida (1565). A few settlements were founded prior to St. Augustine but all failed, including the original Pensacola colony in West Florida, founded by Tristán de Luna in 1559, however the Pensacola settlement was abandoned in 1561 due to hurricanes, famine and Indian attacks. Fort Caroline, founded by the French in 1564 in what is today Jacksonville, Florida only lasted a year before being obliterated by the Spanish in 1565.

When the Mexicans overthrew the Spanish in 1821 it opened trade opportunities between Mexico and the United States. During the Spanish occupation & Control Mexicans could only trade with Spain. Now that Spain was no longer in control Mexico was eager to trade with the their nearest neighbors the Americans.

In 1821, sensing this trade opportunity William Bucknell, a Missouri trader, put together a mule train loaded with trade items and headed out from Independence, Missouri for Santa Fe (now in New Mexico) but at that time a northern city of Mexico. The Santa Fe Trail was an ancient passageway used by buffalo herds and Indians. After 1821 Mexican and American merchants & traders used the trail extensively.

Now with that history firmly in hand we are now viewing a portion of that trail in Kansas. Keep in mind that those traders used the trail between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. And also keep in mind that Mexican traders were equally prominent on the trail. The recorded history of the trail, that we have access to, only tells the story of American traders unfortunately.

Kansas Stone marker map of Santa Fe Trail

Sante Fe Trail marker


Here a stone marker map shows the portion of the old Santa Fe Trail that passes through Durham and Canton, Kansas. Today this trail is through grain fields. Well, sometime through an alfalfa field as you see behind this marker.

We just happen to be close to where the Chisholm Trail passed during the years 1867 - 1872 as cowboys pushed longhorn cattle rounded up in Texas to markets in Abilene, Kansas. In 1866, cattle in Texas were worth only $4 per head, compared to over $40 per head in the North and East. This vast difference in market price occurred because of a lack of market access during the American Civil War. Cattle herds in Texas increased size during the war. The nearest rail head in 1867 was in Abilene, Kansas so enterprising individuals started driving those "excess" Texas cattle north through Oklahoma to the railhead in Abilene, Kansas where the price was so much better. In later years the railroad extended to places like Wichita and Dodge City, Kansas. Each time the rail roads moved closer to the Texas cattle country the Chilsholm Trail got shorter finally ending in Dodge City.

Kansas Santa Fe Trail Marker

Santa Fe Trail Marker


Markers such as this one are scattered all across Kansas. Without them the Santa Fe Trail would almost be forgotten. It is becoming harder and harder to see physical signs such as ruts.

The wheat field behind this sign will be harvested any day now.

Kansas Santa Fe Trail Marker

Santa Fe Trail Marker






This Santa Fe Trail marker was near Durham, Kansas. I can not tell if that is corn or milo. I would say corn because it appears to be taller than milo I am familiar with.




Kansas Santa Fe Trail Marker

Santa Fe Trail Marker



Signs like this lead down nice dirt/gravel roads to markers where the Santa Fe Trail crosses the road.

OK, lets complete the story started by the Santa Fe Trail since we all know that Santa Fe is currently a city in New Mexico one of the "states" in the United States.

In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico, and Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny led the main body of his Army of the West of some 1,700 soldiers into Santa Fe to claim it and the whole New Mexico Territory for the United States.

Two years later in 1848 the United States "officially" gained New Mexico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Ok, I am going to end this history lesson and not bore you anymore. Lesson over. VBG

Here are some of our other Kansas Travel Adventures:

Flint Hills Scenic Byway, & Council Grove ** Kansas Wheat fields ** Salt mine tour in Hutchison-Over 600' underground

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas ** Santa Fe Trail through south-central Kansas

The world's bread basket ** Lyons, Kansas Underground Salt mine ** Post Rock Fences of Kansas

Grain Elevators of Kansas ** Limestone Buildings of Kansas ** Kansas Grazing land ** Quintessential Kansas

Grain Transporting Equipment ** Wilson & Russell Kansas ** Wilson Reservoir ** Kansas ** Coffeyville

Harvesting Grain in Kansas ** Kansas Pontoon Boat "Happy Hooker" ** Kansas Countryside ** Kansas Soy Beans

Typical Kansas ** Old Native Limestone Churches of the open plains ** Brown Mansion in Coffeyville, Kansas

Little House on the Prairie Historic Site near Coffeyville, Kansas ** Soy Bean Harvest in southeast Kansas

Fall in Coffeyville, Kansas ** Southeast Kansas ** Coffeyville, Kansas Industry ** Dalton Gang

Click here for some Kansas travellogs

Until next time remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

More Kansas Adventures

Adventures by State ** More 2009 Travel Adventures


Mike & Joyce Hendrix

Mike & Joyce Hendrix




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