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.58 Caliber Minie Balls from Fort Zarah, 14BT301

.58 Caliber Minie Balls from Fort Zarah, 14BT301
Date: 1855-1869
These five minie balls were excavated at Fort Zarah in 1972 by Kansas Historical Society archeologists at the site of the original fort building. The minie balls are .58 caliber, have three grease grooves and conical or hollow bases. The fort was a small outpost on the Santa Fe trail in Barton County occupied from 1864 to 1869.


1853 Half Dime from Fort Zarah, 14BT301

1853 Half Dime from Fort Zarah, 14BT301
Date: 1853-1868
This silver half dime was recovered from Fort Zarah during the 1969 Kansas Archeological Training Program field school, a joint project undertaken by Kansas Historical Society archeologists and Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers. The obverse side shows a Seated Liberty with her right hand resting on a striped shield and her left hand holding a Liberty pole. Six-pointed stars surround Liberty and arrows are present on each side of the date of 1853. The reverse side has the words "HALF DIME" and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves. Fort Zarah, located along the Santa Fe trail in Barton County, was active from 1864 to 1869.


A Portfolio of Mormon Trail Engravings

A Portfolio of Mormon Trail Engravings
Date: 1874
A pamphlet of Mormon Trail engravings by Frederick Hawkins Piercy and Thomas Moran. The engravings offer a glimpse of what travelers saw along the Mormon Trail.


Abstract of journals from the 1845 Kearny Expedition

Abstract of journals from the 1845 Kearny Expedition
Date: 1846
This excerpt from the congressional report of the Secretary of War includes the abstracts of two journals, one by Lieutenant William B. Franklin, a topographical engineer, and another by Lieutenant H.S. Turner of the 1st dragoons stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Under the command of Stephen Kearny, the 1st dragoons and their accompanying engineers left Fort Leavenworth on a military march, heading northwest on what would become the Oregon Trail, down along the Rocky Mountains to Mexican territory, and back up via the Santa Fe Trail. This march was intended as a display of the United States' military power to both native tribes and the British government (which at this time was exerting its authority over Oregon Territory). For the most part this abstract details their route, but it does include a transcription of a conversation between Kearny and a Sioux chief named Bull Tail.


Act establishing commission for treaties with Osage Indians a creation of trail

Act establishing commission for treaties with Osage Indians a creation of trail
Date: March 3, 1825
This act was written establishing a commission to make treaties with the Osage Indians to create the Santa Fe Trail and treaties with the Osage tribes.


A local history of Jerome Township, Gove County, Kansas

A local history of Jerome Township, Gove County, Kansas
Creator: Baker, Fred
Date: 1918
This is a local history of Jerome Township, Gove County, Kansas, as recollected by Fred Baker, Gove City, Kansas. Baker wrote this sketch and submitted it in March 1918 to the Golden Belt Educational Association at Hays, Kansas, and was awarded a prize. Also included is a letter from Judge J.C. Ruppenthal, Russell, Kansas, to William Connelly, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas, who received the sketch from Baker and wished for it to be donated into the Society's holdings.


Along the trail west of Ingalls, Kansas

Along the trail west of Ingalls, Kansas
Date: September 5, 1914
This is a colored photograph of a covered wagon traveling along the trail west of Ingalls, Kansas. Next to the trail is one of Soule's irrigation ditches.


Alternately Beveled Knife from Morris County

Alternately Beveled Knife from Morris County
Date: Unknown
This alternately beveled knife was found along the Santa Fe trail near Wilsey, in Morris County. Repeated sharpening on the knife's alternate sides created the bevels. It is likely that the knife was hafted.


Andrew J. Mead to John A. Halderman

Andrew J. Mead to John A. Halderman
Creator: Mead, Andrew J.
Date: March 14, 1859
In a letter marked "Confidential" and dated March 14, 1859, Andrew J. Mead of Manhattan, Kansas Territory, writes to enlist John Halderman's help to get Russell, Majors, and Waddell to use a new Blue River ferry at Manhattan, called Johnstons ferry, when they begin hauling freight over the "Great Central Route via Smoky Hill" to the gold mines. Mead is "deeply interested" in this ferry and wishes to negotiate a contract with the freighters for its use.


Annabelle Delp's map of Township 14 South, Range 14 West, Russell County

Annabelle Delp's map of Township 14 South, Range 14 West, Russell County
Creator: Delp, Annabelle Lee, 1895-1986
Date: 1910
A map drawn by Annabelle Delp, showing creeks, the Denver Trail, and the homesteaders of Grant Township, Township 14 South, Range 14 West, Russell County. Annabelle also compiled a comprehensive list of homesteaders in the township. This is one of several maps drawn by school children for a contest organized by Judge J. C. Ruppenthal of Russell, Kansas. The maps were to meet a "requirement of presenting historical data, together with excellence and accuracy of drawing."


Arrival of the Caravan at Santa Fe

Arrival of the Caravan at Santa Fe
Date: Between 1844 and 1845
This illustration from Josiah Gregg's Commerce on the Prairies depicts a caravan of Americans arriving in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Santa Fe Trail, opened in 1821 by William Bucknell, served as a freight route and passed through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico.


Arrival of wagon caravan at Santa Fe

Arrival of wagon caravan at Santa Fe
Date: 1844--1845
Photo of an illustration "Arrival of the caravan at Santa Fe" from Josiah Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies.


As The Old Santa Fe Trail Looks Today

As The Old Santa Fe Trail Looks Today
Creator: Palenske, Louis F., 1858-1943
Date: 1930
This is a monograph by Louis Palenske, addressing the Old Santa Fe Trail as it looked in 1930 shortly after the author traveled the length of the trail by car, taking panoramic photographs along the route. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission through the Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board.


Ball and Cone Earrings from Fort Zarah, 14BT301

Ball and Cone Earrings from Fort Zarah, 14BT301
Date: 1864-1868
These three ball and cone earrings were excavated at Fort Zarah in 1969 by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. The fort was a small outpost on the Santa Fe trail in Barton County occupied from 1864 to 1869. The trading post, where these earrings were located, burned in 1868. Ball and cone earrings were a popular trade item. Two of these are missing their cones. The remaining cone has been flattened.


Beads from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop

Beads from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop
Date: 1858-1886
These two beads were recovered at excavations in 1988 during a joint venture between Kansas Historical Society archeologists, Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers, and the City of Olathe. Both beads are oblong and red, but the darker red bead may be manufactured of wood, while the brighter red bead may be of glass. It is difficult to tell the materials without harming the bead. The site consisted of the residence and out buildings built by James and Lucinda Mahaffie in 1858. The farmstead later served as a stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe trail.


Beer Bottle from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop, 14JO356

Beer Bottle from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop, 14JO356
Date: 1858-1886
This brown glass bottle has the typical neck of a beer bottle, but is much shortened in the body. The bottle has what is called a blob style finish at the rim. It was recovered during excavations in 1988 during a joint venture between Kansas Historical Society archeologists, Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers, and the City of Olathe. The site, 14JO356, consisted of the residence and out buildings built by James and Lucinda Mahaffie in 1858. The farmstead later served as a stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe trail.


Bennington Door Knobs from Fort Zarah, 14BT301

Bennington Door Knobs from Fort Zarah, 14BT301
Date: 1864-1868
These two door knobs were excavated at Fort Zarah in 1969 by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. The ceramic door knobs are decorated in a style known as Bennington, after the manufacturer, and show a threaded interior. The fort was a small outpost on the Santa Fe trail in Barton County occupied from 1864 to 1869. The trading post building within the fort, from where these door knobs were located, burned in 1868.


Bent's Fort, Colorado

Bent's Fort, Colorado
Creator: Palenske, Louis F., 1858-1943
Date: 1928-1938
This panorama was taken from Bent's Fort on the Old Santa Fe Trail, about nine miles west of Lamar, Colorado. In this view, looking west, we see the Arkansas River as well as the remains of old Fort Lyon. This photo was created by Louis Palenske using a Korona Panoramic View Camera. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission through the Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board.


Bertha Fink's map of Township 14 South, Range 14 West, Russel County

Bertha Fink's map of Township 14 South, Range 14 West, Russel County
Creator: Fink, Bertha M., 1898-1984
Date: 1910
A map drawn by Bertha Fink showing creeks, the Denver Trail, and the homesteaders of Grant Township, Township 14 South, Range 14 West in Russell County. Bertha also compiled a list of the homesteaders in the township. This is one of several maps drawn by school children for a contest organized by Judge J. C. Ruppenthal of Russell, Kansas. The maps were to meet a "requirement of presenting historical data, together with excellence and accuracy of drawing."


Billings & Bryant to John Brown, bill of sale for horse wagon

Billings & Bryant to John Brown, bill of sale for horse wagon
Creator: Billings & Bryant,
Date: Between 1855 and 1859
The state of Iowa frequently served as a relatively safe haven for abolitionist John Brown and his followers during the late 1850s, and Iowa City was on the famous Lane Trail which carried many free-state activists and settlers to and from Kansas. This document, from "Billings & Bryant," indicates that the partners had received $100 from John Brown as payment "in full for a heavy Horse Waggon" that they agreed "to ship immediately to J B Iowa City, Iowa; care of Dr. Jesse Bowen." Bowen was a member of the Kansas Central Committee of Iowa who later lived in Leavenworth, Kansas Territory.


Brass Bracelet from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop, 14JO356

Brass Bracelet from the Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop, 14JO356
Date: 1858-1886
The brass fragments shown here came from a single bracelet that was recovered during excavations in 1988 during a joint venture between Kansas Historical Society archeologists, Kansas Anthropological Association volunteers, and the City of Olathe. There are very few hints of the delicate bracelet's former shine. The Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop was the residence and out buildings of James and Lucinda Mahaffie, built in 1858. The farmstead later served as a stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe trail.


Brass Plate from Fort Zarah, 14BT301

Brass Plate from Fort Zarah, 14BT301
Date: 1864-1868
This brass plate was excavated at Fort Zarah in 1969 by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. The plate advertises "BEARD & BRO" of "ST. LOUIS, MO." This may be a reference to the Beard and Brother company of St. Louis, established in 1848, that manufactured safes, vaults, cotton ties, and a nut-lock for safes. The fort was a small outpost on the Santa Fe trail in Barton County occupied from 1864 to 1869. The trading post building within the post, where the plate was found, burned in 1868.


Buffalo hides in Dodge City, Kansas

Buffalo hides in Dodge City, Kansas
Date: April 4, 1874
This photograph, taken in Dodge City, Ford County, Kansas, shows a large pile of buffalo hides obtained from hunting expeditions in western Kansas. It is estimated that the pile contains around 40,000 hides. Charles Rath, who purchased the hides, is seated on the pile. The men in the background are operating a hide baling machine. Dodge City was located on the Santa Fe Trail. During the period in which these hides were gathered, American hunters decimated the bison heards in the West, leaving Native American tribes without one of their primary sources for food, clothing, and tools.


Bull train crossing the Smoky Hill River at Ellsworth, Kansas. On the old Santa Fe crossing 508 miles west of St. Louis, Mo.

Bull train crossing the Smoky Hill River at Ellsworth, Kansas. On the old Santa Fe crossing 508 miles west of St. Louis, Mo.
Creator: Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
Date: 1867
This stereograph shows a bull train and cattle crossing the Smoky Hill River at Ellsworth, Kansas. Visible in the photograph is a covered wagon. It is from Alexander Gardner's series, Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.


Buttons from the Plowboy Site, 14SH372

Buttons from the Plowboy Site, 14SH372
Date: 1840-1950
These six buttons were collected from the Plowboy site in Shawnee County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2017. The Plowboy site was home to the Kansa, the Potawatomi, and Euro-Americans. At various times, the site contained a farm, a trading post, and a post office with nearby military trails, Mormon routes, a railroad and the California-Oregon trail. Shown on the top row are a black plastic four hole coat button, a shell two hole coat button, and a faceted pink glass button with a loop back. Those on the bottom row include two shell two hole buttons, one of a fish-eye style and the other decorated with incised squares and cross hatching. The final artifact is a metal button front with the profile of a Greek or Roman lady.


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