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Trails correspondence

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[XXXXX].  Jan. 1905,


Dec. 29, Jas. R. Meade examined the route of the Santa Fe road as traced by Roy Marsh on the topographical maps from the survey of 1825-27, & the U. S. land surveys of 1855 up.


Mr. Meade also drew the routes of the three trails, given below, in an official railroad map of 1904, now [XXXXX] in red ink:


Osage Trail from Neodesha to the Arkansas river at Valley Center.  The Little Osage had


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a village in 1863, when I went to Towanda, near the present site of Neodesha, Wilson County.  The principal chief was Mintsho-Shin-ka, (Little Bear), while No-po-wal-la was the second chief.  The Osages would go hunting each year about --------, and always followed the same trail, quite a direct road between Neodesha & Valley Center.  It was a broad, plain road.  Their main camp would be just below the present site of Valley


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Center, on the Little Arkansas.  They would leave their families here & go hunting up and down the valley of the Arkansas & neighboring streams and far to the west.


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I also became familiar with parts of the California Trail from Fayetville, Ark., to the Santa Fe Trail in 1863, and traveled over a portion of it up to 1868.  This trail entered Kansas near the present site of Coffeyville, crossing the Verdegris there, & passing in quite a direct line thro Montgomery, Chautauqua, Elk, Butler, Harvey, Marion & into McPherson County, west of Caulin, entering the Santa Fe trail directly south of the head


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waters of Gypsum Creek.  It crossed the Osage trail about 2 miles south of the present El Dorado, Butler Co.  It was entirely abandoned & grown up to grass when I knew it, but it was cut down so deep from so much travel, that it could have been plainly seen for ages.


I have always supposed that the Cal. Emigrants continued west on the Santa Fe trail, at least I have no knowledge of any road leading northwest from the Santa


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Fe trail, which might have been a continuation of the Cal. Road.


After leaving Ottawa County I opened a trading house where Towanda, Butler county now is.  As late in 1864 I saw two buffalo killed just north of Sycamore Springs, Butler county.


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The Phillips Divide Road was laid out by Col. Wm A. Phillips when he founded Salina, between that point and Topeka.  He marked it out with stakes for people to follow.  The road at first passed in a southeasterly direction near the present site of Kepp, then quite directly east-south of Holland, Woodbine, White City, Alta Vista, & thro Eskridge, a little south of Dover & northeasterly to Topeka.  It was


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on a divide most all the way.  I traveled the road east in the spring of 1860.  I had 4 wagons heavily loaded with buffalo hides & fur pelts, & from 2 to 4 yoke of oxen to the wagon.  One day I started at 3 in the morning & drove without halting until 9 that evening, 35 miles, stopping at big springs near Eskridge.  That was a long drive, without water, & was in the month of August.  20 miles a day was a usual drive with an ox team.  We generally drove oxen, as they fed on the grass, & it was not necessary


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to take other feed with us. 


Mr. Martin says he remembers the Phillips Divide road because of the unpopularity it gave Col Phillips among the people of the Kansas valley, who wanted the road to go their way.  During Phillips first campaign for Congress Mr. Martin, then editor of the June C. Union, had a hard fight to effect a reconciliation.


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In my last paper before the Historical Society I mentioned a fight between the Otoes and wild Indians during my stay in Ottawa County in June 1861.  The fight occurred in the northern part of Lincoln County, and over a large piece of ground, within a circle between Denmark & the west branch of Salt Creek on Brown Trail & Little Timber Creeks branches of Spillman’s Creek.


Mr. ------ Spillman now lives at Mc Pherson.


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My camp in 1859 was on the eastern curve of the Saline just west of the present town of Culver in Ottawa Co.  I made this the center of my operatives until 1863 when I went down to Towanda, in Butler County.  The Indians were becoming hostile, & I knew that it was the best policy to go to a place of safety. 


It was during my stay at camp – that I found that the Saline river is fresh water above Salt Creek, below that tributary it is salty.


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Stein & Dunlap, Osage Indians, had a trading post at Old El Dorado, established in 1858.  It was at the Osage crossing of the Walnut, and was called El Dorado.


Yes, I have examined the earthworks north of Neodesha in Wilson county. They seemed to me to have been made by white men & not by Indians, possibly by some early Indians; explorer or trapper.  I did not re-




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gard them of very early [XXXXX], perhaps now 50 or 75 years old.  In 1890 an old Osage trader took me out to the earthworks.  He did not seem to know anything of their origin.  If he had thought it Indian work he would have said so.


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July 20” 1939 –


Geo. A. Root.

State Historical Society.

Topeka, Kansas.


Dear Mr Root,


I am sending you under seperate cover a map of Mead Co showing the old trails across the county as well as the route of the Indian uprising in 1878, and various other old time data.  This map is an old time one made by another party but is quite thoro and authentic, but is getting faded with age.  If you have a copy made please make two and send me one back with the original.


The Palo Duro trail was made in 1874 by buffalo hunters from Dodge City freighting supplies to Adobe Walls when that place was selected as a base of supplies for hunters.


The Palo.duro trail and Adobe Walls trail are one and the same.


The Jones & Plummer trail led from Dodge City to the Jones & Plummer Ranch on the South Canadian in Texas about due south of Dodge City.


I do not know the date of its establishment but in 1877 when I first


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saw it, it was a well defined trail.


Just south of the Beaver river in Okla. a branch trail led from the Jones & Plummer South-west to Tascosa Tex. and still farther on another branch led to Mobeetie, Tex.


I have all of these on the large map drawn by my son in law under my directions.  This is the map Mr Cox mentioned.


I hope some day to have photo static copies made of this map & will send one to Kansas State Historical society as well as Okla.


If I could see you and talk with you would be able to tell you many things that might help you.


The manuscript by Mrs Anshutz is not at present available.


We have an uncorrected copy here at home that would not do to send out altho we would let you examine it here.


Any other old time information I can give will gladly do so.


As to the men who established the old trails they were from various states – some from Kansas, a good many from Mo. some from Tex, Ill, and other states of the union.


Yours Truly,

M. W. Anshutz




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Nye, Kansas.

Aug 11” 1939.


Mr George Root

Topeka Ks-


Dear Mr Root,


Your letter of Aug 2” and the maps reached me in due time.


As to the further information you would like to have relative to Ford Co. perhaps Merritt Beeson of the Beeson Museum Dodge City, would give you the help you ask.


I could draw you the trails leading into Dodge City from the South as I have them all on my large map.


The Jones & Plummer trail was more a freight than a cattle trail altho many herds from Texas panhandle ranches were driven over it to Dodge in the old days.  But the main cattle movement from the Coast Country & Southern Texas was over the old “Texas” or “Through” trail as it was called in those days.


It crossed the Cimarron River into Kansas south of where Ashland Ks. now is and angled across Clark Co into Ford Co where it ran between the present towns


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of Minneola & Bloom and blended with the Jones & Plummer a few miles South of Dodge City.


The map I sent you was drawn by Ed Smith, now deceased, who for many years was an upright & respected citizen of Meade, Kans.  He claimed relationship with Jedidiah Smith so no doubt had some family records on the subject you refer to.


Ed Smith’s son, Ralph Smith and daughter, Miss Lura Smith still live in Meade, Ks. and I have no doubt a letter from you to either of them would get you the information you ask.


The “Prehistoric Indian Trail” no doubt was the trail used by Indian Territory tribes on summer trips west to the mountains.


It as nearly as possible followed the course of the Cimarron River.  This trail was sometimes a battle ground when warring tribes from East and West met.  All the old time hunters and trappers knew of this trail.  Read “The Life of Billy Dixon.”  He mentions this trail.


I’m sure I should enjoy showing you my map and other old time data so hope to meet you some time.



M. W. Anshutz

Nye, Kansas –


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