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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - Prehistory to 1854 (Benchmark 1) - Kansas forts and trails (Indicator 5) - Santa Fe Trail

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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.


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.


Covered wagons, Manhattan, Kansas

Covered wagons, Manhattan, Kansas
Date: 1910
This photograph, taken by an unknown photographer in 1860, shows a train of covered wagons, oxen, and men on horseback setting out from Manhattan, Kansas. These wagons were a common form of transportation on the plains.


James R. Mead to his father

James R. Mead to his father
Creator: Mead, James R. (James Richard), b. 1836
Date: August 13, 1859
In this letter, James Mead writes from Tecumseh, Kansas Territory, to his father about his efforts to secure a claim. He includes information about the people of the territory, the beautiful vegetation, and the flourishing towns. Mead also writes of the immense amount of traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and of the roads to Lecompton and Topeka, which he declares are "the best roads I ever saw anywhere." In addition, he describes the buildings of Burlingame, Kansas Territory, and the make up of the community. At the end of the letter, he mentions the new constitution, which "is all Free State." These typed copies of the James R. Mead's letters were donated to the Kansas State Historical Society by Mr. Mead's family in 1940 when the originals were still owned by the family. The originals are now held by Wichita State University.


Kansas : early routes, old trails, historic sites, landmarks, etc.

Kansas : early routes, old trails, historic sites, landmarks, etc.
Creator: Root, George A. (George Allen), 1867-1949
Date: 1939 December
This map, created by George Allen Root and later reproduced by the Kansas Turnpike Authority, depicts trails, landmarks, and historic sites in the state of Kansas. The original map was compiled by George Allen Root and delineated by W. M. Hutchinson from information obtained from the Kansas State Historical Society.


Map of Kansas, with parts of neighboring states and territories

Map of Kansas, with parts of neighboring states and territories
Creator: Hunnius, Ado, 1842-1923
Date: 1870
This map was drawn by Ado Hunnius at the request of Major General J. M. Schofield. It was compiled under the direction of 1st Lieutenant Henry Jackson of the 7th U.S. Cavalry in March 1870. It includes the location of forts in Kansas, southern Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and northern portions of Indian Territory (Oklahoma), as well as noting natural features (rivers, hills, etc.), trails, and Indian reservations.


Map of the route pursued by the late expedition under the command of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny

Map of the route pursued by the late expedition under the command of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny
Creator: Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903
Date: 1845
This map, included in the Report of the Secretary of War, illustrates the route taken by Stephen Watts Kearny and the 1st Dragoons in an 1845 expedition. This expedition began in Fort Leavenworth and proceeded on a circular march, heading northwest on what would later 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, both for the benefit of local Indian tribes and also for the British government, which at this time was trying to exert control over Oregon Territory. The map was drawn by a topgraphical engineer named Lieutenant William B. Franklin. It was published in U.S. serial set 480.


Report of a summer campaign to the Rocky Mountains, etc., in 1845

Report of a summer campaign to the Rocky Mountains, etc., in 1845
Creator: Kearny, Stephen Watts, 1794-1848
Date: September 15, 1845
This typescript recounts the journey of the 1st Dragoons under the command of Stephen Watts Kearny. In 1845, the dragoons (cavalry troops) left Fort Leavenworth on a circular 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 displayed the military power of the United States to both native tribes and to the British government (which at this time was exerting its authority over Oregon Territory). Kearny described in detail the route taken by the dragoons, their encounters with the Pawnee, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho, the soil and landscape of the plains, and the traders moving goods to and from Santa Fe. Kearny also discussed his opinion on the best way to protect American settlers traveling to Oregon--he disliked the idea of establishing a military post near Fort Laramie and instead advocated making large circular marches every few years to remind the Indian tribes of "the facility and rapidity with which our dragoons can march through any part of their country." The report includes a postscript by General Winfield Scott and was published as part of the Report of the Secretary of War delivered to the 29th Congress, in serial set 480, document 2, no. 1, pp. 210-214.


Santa Fe Trail ruts

Santa Fe Trail ruts
Creator: Kansas Industrial Development Commission
Date: 1956
This aerial photograph, taken in 1956 by the Kansas Industrial Development Commission, depicts some Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts in Ford County, west of Dodge City, Kansas. 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.


Santa Fe Trail ruts, Dodge City, Kansas

Santa Fe Trail ruts, Dodge City, Kansas
Creator: Kansas Industrial Development Commission
Date: 1956
This photograph, taken in 1956 by the Kansas Industrial Development Commission, depicts some Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts located northwest of Dodge City, Kansas. 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.


Treaty between the U.S. government and Kansa tribe

Treaty between the U.S. government and Kansa tribe
Creator: United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Date: December 28, 1845
This treaty allowed the U. S. government to create a road connecting the western portion of Missouri to New Mexico (which was still in the hands of Mexico at this time). The treaty goes into some detail about the specifications for this road. It bears the signature of ten Kansa leaders and three Indian commissioners, included George Sibley. Attached to the back of the treaty is a travel pass for the "bearer of this, a Kansas Indian," allowing him undisturbed passage and requesting that he be provided with any necessary supplies. The document is dated August 16, 1825, but the note on the back is dated 1845.


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