1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Chapter 8 Part 2

Pursuant to an act of Congress and the stipulations of these treaties the Commissioners proceeded to lay out, survey and mark the Santa Fe Trail in the year 1825. This survey was not complete until 1827. It began at Fort Osage, now Sibley, Jackson County, Missouri. The field notes of this old survey are in the library of the Kansas State Historical Society, and they are here given - with explanations and identifications interpolated and enclosed in brackets:

FIELD NOTES BY JOSEPH C. BROWN, UNITED STATES SURVEYING
EXPEDITION, 1825-1827

From Ft. Osage.FromTaos.
Miles.Chns.Miles.Chns.
74773Beginning.
7774066Little Blue creek, 100 links wide and runs northward. Ford shallow and rocky.
[9]
19

18
[Independence, nine miles southwest from crossing of Little Blue and ten miles northeast of crossing of Big Blue.]
26

4

25

58

72148Big Blue creek, 100 links wide and runs northward. Ford shallow and gravelly. The camping is here good. Immediately west of this creek bottom which is narrow, the prairie commences, which extends to the mountains near Santa Fe.
31
8
03
40
71670Western boundary of state of Missouri, crosses it just nine miles south of the mouth of the Kansas river.
39

9

43

27

70830Flat Rock creek [a branch of the Big Blue, south of Lenexa], 30 links wide, runs southward into Big Blue. The ford is good and the camping good for wood, water and grass.
48

13

70

62

6993Caravan creek [Cedar creek - tributary of Kansas river, 2 miles from Olathe, runs north], 30 links wide, runs northward and is a tributary of Kansas river. At this place, called Caravan Grove, is excellent camping ground and plenty of timber for shelter and fuel.
62
1
52
57
68521Hungry creek [head branch Coal creek, tributary Wakarusa] is small and runs northward. It affords some pretty groves and good land and water. The ford is pretty good.
64
1
29
21
68344Dove creek [head branch Coal creek, tributary Wakarusa], at the "Four Oaks." This creek is small and runs northward. The water is good, some small groves, and land from Hungry creek to it good.
65
1
50
68
68223Gooseberry creek [head branch Coal creek, tributary Wakarusa] 25 links wide, runs northward. This creek affords good water, pasture and wood, and the ford is good.
67
2
38
45
68035Grindstone creek [head branch Coal creek, tributary Wakarusa], 30 links wide, runs northward. Here are good camping places, water, wood and pasture good, and plenty. This creek affords some excellent timbered land.
70367770Muddy Branch of Cut Off [Ottawa creek] crossing, bears south'd.
70
3
69
43
677704Cut Off crossing Osage, water, ford
good, and water and fuel plenty.
74
2
32
55
67341Big Cut Off crossing [branch of Ottawa creek], 30 links wide, runs south'd. It is a pretty creek and affords some pretty groves. At the ford, which is very good, is good camping grounds for water, pasture, shade and fuel.
77
9
07
30
67066A small branch of Big Cut Off; very
little timber on it.
86
11
37
46
66136Mule creek [a branch of Wakarusa - Flag Springs], small, runs north'd and has no timber near the road. Down the creek at about 1 mile is a little timber, and southward at about; 2 or 3 miles distance is some timber on the waters of the Marias de Cygnes which is the principal fork of the Osage river.
98

7

03

52

64970Oak creek [110 Creek crossing], 50 links wide, bears southeast, is a branch of the Marias de Cygne. This creek affords good water, pasture fuel and camping ground at and near the ford, which is good. Above and below are to be seen some considerable groves of timber. The land on it is very good. In these groves honey is to be found.
105

2

55

05

64218Bridge creek [Switzler's creek near Burlingame], 100 links wide, runs southeast. It affords good water, timber and grass. The bed of this creek is muddy and must of necessity be bridged. Timber is convenient, and no better crossing is to be found near the road.
107
2
60
64
64013Muscle creek [branch of Dragoon], or Marias de Cygne river, is 100 links in places and runs southeast. It is a pretty stream, affording fine land, timber and water and excellent camping places. The ford is good.
110
5
44
63
63729Waggon creek [branch of Soldier creek], 50 links, bears southeast into Muscle creek about one-half mile below. The crossing on this creek is good camping, for water, wood and grass.
116
1
27
31
63146Murder creek [branch of Elm creek, N. E. Lyon county], 20 links wide, runs southward. Very little timber; ford and water good.
117
2
58
58
63015Willow creek [Chicken creek, near Waushara post office, north Lyon county], 40 links wide, runs south'd.
120
2
36
71
62737Elm creek [north of Admire, Lyon county], 50 links wide. runs southeast. Ford and water good; not much timber.
123
7
27
10
62446Elk creek [142 creek, Lyon county, north of Allen], 40 links wide, bears southward; ford and water good. This creek affords some pretty groves and very good land and camping places.
130
5
37
38
61736Hickory creek [Bluff creek, near Agnes City, Lyon county], 20 links wide, runs southwest. Ford and water good. This creek affords some very pretty hickory groves, some good lands and good camping places.
135

4

75

60

61178Rock creek [eastern part of Morris county], a beautiful stream 50 links wide, runs southward. Ford and water good. Here is excellent camping ground. This creek has some fine land and is tolerably well timbered.
140

1

55

57

60718Gravel creek [Big John creek and Big John spring], 30 links wide, runs southwardly. This is a pretty little stream, affording some excellent land and handsome groves; at 12 1/2 chains N., 20 E., from this ford is a very fine fountain spring and good camping grounds.
14232

19

60541Council Grove, where the commissioners met the Osage chiefs in council on the 10th of August, 1825. This is the largest body of woodland passed through after leaving Big Blue; 'tis here about a quarter of a wide mile; above and below are some groves more extensive. The timber and land are of superior quality and the general face of the country interesting. Springs of excellent water are frequent, and no doubt good water-mill seats may be found on this fork of the Neozho and its numerous small branches that water this beautiful tract of country.
142
10
51
30
60522Council fork of Neozho [Neosho river], here 50 links wide and runs boldly southward. Ford good.
153
5
01
217
59472Small creek [branch of Elm creek], 15 links wide, runs southward; no timber.
158

1

2858945Diamond of the Plains [Diamond Springs, four miles north of Diamond Springs station, on A. T. & S. F. railway], a remarkably fine large fountain spring, near which is good camping ground. Otter creek [Diamond creek] is 3 chains west of this spring, and affords wood for fuel. It is 15 links wide and runs southward.
159
1
28
78
58845First timbered creek [Mile-and-a-half creek], 10 links wide, runs south'd.
Some timber, but little water.
161
1
26
02
58647Second timbered creek [Three-mile creek], like the first.
16228
72
58545Third timbered creek [Six-mile creek], like the first.
163
5
32
12
58453Fourth timbered creek [Camp creek], like the first.
168
7
32
74
57941Cottonwood creek [Clear creek], 10 links wide, runs southwest. A very few cottonwood trees are on this creek, and water not very good or plenty.
176
3
26
72
57147Duck creek [east branch of Muddy or Luta creek, this point is about three miles south of Lost Springs, and a noted stopping place on the trail], 20 links wide and runs southwest. Plenty of water and pretty good grass, but no wood near.
180
7
18
18
56755High Bank creek [west branch of Muddy or Luta creek], 20 links wide, runs southward. Has no timber, and the banks being high makes it rather bad to cross. Plenty of water and tolerable grass.
187

19

18

63

56055Cottonwood fork of Neozho [Cottonwood river near Durham], 50 links wide and in places 100 links, 'tis the last water of the Neozho which the road crosses. Here is plenty of wood, and water and the grass is tolerable. No other wood will be found on the road after this until at the Little Arkansas, and commonly no water before Indian creek. About ten miles on the road, in the head of a hollow south of the road and near it, water may be had; the hollow bears southward. The road is over high level land and is sufficiently beaten and plain.
207

7

01

66

54072Indian creek [branch of Turkey creek, McPherson county], 10 links wide, runs southwestwardly. Affords good water and grass, but no fuel. from the higher parts of the prairie hereabout the sand hills appear west of [Little Arkansas. Sora Kansas creek, 10 links, bears southward. About three miles south of the ford is a grove of timber on this creek, and at the upper timber it may be crossed, but generally the crossing south of the road would be bad. At this grove the commissioners met the Kansas chiefs in council on the 16th of August, 1825. [A few miles south of McPherson.]
214

15

67

20

5336From the Sora Kansas creek [branch of Turkey creek, McPherson county] to the ford on the little Arkansas the road bears to the southward of the direct line to avoid (or head) a branch of the Kansas river. It is important that the ford on the Little Arkansas be found, as it is generally impassable on account of high banks and unsound bed. The ford is perhaps half a mile below the mouth of a small creek, which runs into it on the east side.
230

7

07

48

51766At the crossing of the Little Arkansas [east Rice county] there is wood for fuel and the water and grass are tolerably good. Having crossed the creek, travel up a small creek of it, continuing on the south side of it. There is no timber on this creek, which is short. When at the head of it the sand hills will appear a few miles to the left.
237
2
5551018Difficult creek [branch of Cow creek], 15 links, runs southward into Cold Water [Cow creek]. There is no timber near the road on it, and the bed is rather soft and bad to cross.
239
7
55
09
50818Timbered creek [Jarvis creek, branch of Cow creek], 10 links, runs south'd. It should be crossed just at the upper timber. Water and grass tolerably good.
246

15

64

56

5019Cold water or Cow creek [near Lyons, Rice county] is a narrow stream, from 30 to 50 links wide, for the most part miry, banks commonly high. There is tolerable crossing just above the largest body of timber on it, which is very conspicuous; on the two branches eastward of the creek is timber. The camping is good on this creek for wood, water, grass and (commonly) buffalo.
262

10

40

01

48533From Cow creek the traveler should be careful not to bear too much to the left or he will get on the sands; he may travel directly west or a little north of west, as he may choose, to fall on the Arkansas. After crossing Cow creek the beaten road, which hitherto has been plain, will probably be seen no more as a guide. The Arkansas will be the guide for about two hundred miles. In general the traveler should not keep near the river, as 'tis sandy. Near the foot of the hills the ground is firm and the traveling better. Where it is necessary to turn in to the river to camp 'tis commonly best to turn in short or at right angles, and fuel may be picked up almost anywhere, and the grass is commonly pretty good. Generally the river is a quarter of a mile broad, and may be crossed on horseback almost anywhere if the banks permit, and they are generally low. The water is pleasant in this part of the river and above.
272

25

41

24

47532Walnut creek, from 60 to 100 links wide, runs into the Arkansas at the north bend a little above a handsome grove of timber on the south part of the river, called "Pit Grove." The crossing of the creek is directly between the bends of the river next below and next above the creek. The ford is good. On this creek is more timber than on any from Council Grove, principally low, crooked ash and elm. When in season, plenty of plums are to be had here, and the camping is very good for water, fuel and grass. The latitude of this place is 38° 21' 10". The road may continue straight by Rock Point [Pawnee Rock], as dotted, to the crossing of the creek above it.
297
4
65
61
4508Crooked creek [Ash creek], 50 links wide, bears southeast and affords plenty of excellent wood and grass, but the water is not very good. Its bed is shaded with ash and elm. It may be crossed in many places; in the fall it is nearly dry.
302

10

46

77

44527Pawnee creek [Pawnee river], 100 links wide, runs nearly east. Ford tolerably good; west bank a little soft. The ford is at the south point of a sort of bluff. The camping is good for grass and water and tolerable for fuel. The creek is shaded with elm and ash. From this point some travelers prefer to continue up on the south side of this creek for some distance, then crossing it several times, continue westward, passing [from] the headwaters over to the Arkansas, as being nearer than the river, but the river route is more safe and convenient for man and beast.
313

41

43

19

43430Mouth of Clear creek [Big Coon creek], a small stream of transparent running water. Its course is from its head, nearly parallel with the river and near it, in what may perhaps be called the river bottom. On the south side of the river among the sand hills, which border it opposite the head of Clear creek [Big Coon creek], elk are to be found and a few deer, and, when in season, plums and grapes.
354

33

62

22

39311South Bend of the Arkansas river. Here is the first rock bluff seen on the river. The latitude of this place is 37° 38' 52". It would be much nearer to cross the river here and ascend Mulberry creek to its source and then go directly to the lower spring [Wagon Bed Spring, near Zionville, Grant county] on the Semaron [Cimarron]; but on trial of the way travelers have discontinued it as unsafe. It is incommodious of water and timber for fuel, and wants such prominent land marks as will be a sure guide. On this route has been much suffering; in a dry time 'tis dangerous. Some turn off at a place known to the Santa Fe travelers by the name of the "Cashes" near to which is a rocky point of a hill at some distance from the river, composed of cemented pebbles, and therefore called Gravel Rocks. At about 3 miles southwest from this rock is a place of crossing for those who travel the lower route, or directly to the aforenamed Semaron Spring, but this (though in a less degree) is subject to the same objections as that directly from the south bend. The road this way is good, and in the spring and early summer, to those who may be acquainted with it or may have a compass to direct them, it is about 30 miles higher than the upper route. The direct course from this point to the spring is S. 71 3/4, W. 71 miles [about 72 miles southwest]. But the upper route is more safe for herding stock and more commodious to the traveler, as he will always be sure of wood and water on the river and a sure guide, and in general it is easier to kill buffalo for provision.
388

39

04

35

35969The Mexican boundary of 100th degree of longitude west from Greenwich is where a few cottonwood trees stand on the north side of the river, about 1 1/2 miles above a timbered bottom on the same side. At this timbered bottom is very good camping for grass and fuel. [This is about 15 miles east of where the 100th meridian is now on maps.]
427

20

3932034Crossing of the Arkansas [about 6 miles above the present Garden City and 20 miles east of Chouteau Island], just below the bend of the river at the lower end of a small island, with a few trees. At this place there are no banks on either side to hinder waggons. The crossing is very oblique, landing on the south side a quarter of a mile above the entrance on this side. The river is here very shallow, not more than knee deep in a low stage of the water. The bed of the river is altogether sand, and it is unsafe to stand long on one place with a waggon, or it may sink into the sand. After passing a few wet places, just beyond the river, the road is again very good up to Chouteau's Island. Keep out from the river or there will be sand to pass.
447

32

39

50

30034At Chouteau's Island [near Hartland, Kearny county], the road leaves the river altogether. Many things unite to mark this place so strongly that the traveler will not mistake it. It is the largest island of timber on the river, and on the south side of the river at the lower end of the island is a thicket of willows with some cottonwood trees. On the north side of the river the hills approach tolerably nigh and on [one] of them is a sort of mound, conspicuous at some miles distance, and a little eastward of it in a bottom is some timber, perhaps a quarter of a mile from the river. The course of the river likewise being more south identify the place.

On the river through all the space traveled there is great similarity of features; the hills are commonly very low and the ascent almost everywhere so gentle that waggons may go up them. They are covered with very short grass, and the prickly pear abounds. The soil on the hills is not very good. The bottoms on the river are sometimes good, but frequently not so. They are sometimes a mile or more in width, frequently rising so gently it would be difficult to designate the foot of the hill. It is generally sandy near the river, and the grass coarse and high, consequently the traveling is bad near the river, but a little off it is almost everywhere good. On Cow creek or Cold Water short grass commences, and the short grass bounds the burnings of the prairie. This creek is almost as nigh home as buffalo are found, and from this creek they may be had at almost any place until within sight of the mountains near Santa Fe.

Before leaving the river, where fuel is plenty, the traveler will do well to prepare food for the next hundred miles, as he will find no timber on the road in that distance, except at one place, which will not probably be one of his stages; At least he should prepare bread. In dry weather buffalo dung will make tolerable fuel to boil a kettle, but it is not good for bread baking, and that is the only fuel he will have.

After leaving the river the road leads southward, leaving the two cottonwood trees on the right, which stand perhaps a mile from the river. From the brow of the hill, which is low, and is the border of the sand hills, the road leads a little east of south to a place which sometimes [is] a very large pond. and continues along the western margin, and after passing some trees standing at the south end, reaches a very slight valley, through which in wet weather flows a small creek, coming from the plains beyond the sand hills. From this place the traveler will see some trees in a southwest direction, which he will leave on his right, and will continue along the valley in the bed of the creek (which he can hardly recognize as such) very nearly due south for about four miles to the southern edge of the sand hills, where generally he will find a large pond of water in the bed of the small creek, which is now more apparent. But this pond is sometimes dry; due south from it for about two miles distant are several ponds of standing water, where the grass is fine and abundant. The distance through the sand hills here is about five miles, and the road not bad. These hills are from thirty to fifty feet high and generally covered with grass and herbage. From this place a due south course will strike the lower spring [Wagon Bed spring, near Zionville, Grant county] on the Semaron creek, and as that creek then is the guide for about eighty miles, and waggons can in one day drive across the level, firm plain from the ponds to the spring, the road was so laid out. There is another advantage, namely, the certainty of traveling due south and north from the pass of the sand hills to the spring, and vice versa, is much greater than if the course were oblique to the cardinal points, and at any rate there is but little loss of distance, for the creek bears so much from the southward that the diagonal or long side is almost equal to the two shorter sides of the very obtuse angle that would be made by striking the creek higher up. The road crosses Half Way creek [North Cimarron river, near Ulysses, Grant county] at somewhat more than ten miles north of the spring, at which place are water and grass. The creek is about 50 links wide and bears southeast, and may be easily crossed.

480

38

09

63

26764Lower Semaron Spring [Wagon Bed spring, Grant county] is at the west edge of a marsh green with bullrushes. The marsh is north of the creek and near it. The spring is constant, but the creek is sometimes dry until you ascend it ten or twelve miles, where it will be found running. The stream is bolder and the water better as one travels up it. It is the guide to the traveler until he reaches the upper spring near eighty miles. Three miles above the lower spring is some timber, from which place the road is on the hill north of the creek for twelve or fifteen miles. One may then either continue on the hills north of the creek or travel in the bottom, but the hills are best for ten or fifteen miles further, as the valley of the creek is sandy in many places. One must necessarily camp on the creek to have water, but the water is very bad until one travels a great way up it, as it is impregnated [with] saline matter, which, like fine powder, makes white a great part of the valley. The grass in this valley is not so good as that on the Arkansas, the land not being so good either in the valley or on the hills.
518

31

722291Middle Spring, near half a mile from the creek, on the north of it, near a mile below a sort of rock bluff at the point of a hill. [This place is in southwest Morton county, about 7 miles north and 6 miles east of the southwest corner of Kansas. The rock bluff is the "Point of Rocks" on southeast 1/4, 12-34-43, as noted on maps of later date; the old "Point of Rocks" is about 130 miles further on in New Mexico.] Above this middle spring the road is in the creek bottom, which in places is very sandy. One must pick the firmest ground, and for this purpose must cross the creek occasionally, which may be done almost anywhere, as the banks are commonly low and the bed sandy.
549

6

72

54

1981Timber on the Semaron at this place, which is the first timber on the creek above the few trees near the lower spring. The road leaves the creek and continues in a southwestwardly direction to a patch of timber, which may be seen from the hill (near this timber) on the south of the creek. At the patch of timber is a spring, called the upper Semaron Spring, and around it are some mounds of coggy rock several hundred feet high.
556

11

46

08

19127Upper Spring. At this place is wood and water, but not much grass for stock. In season there are plenty of grapes. From this point the road passes by a spur of a hill southwest about a mile from the spring. From this hill will be seen two small mountains very near together, called "Rabbit's Ears," bearing about 60 degrees west of south. Those points guide the traveler, but he will at first bear a little to the right of the direct course that he may avoid some points of hills and will fall on a small creek, and will find it best to cross it and continue up it on the west side a mile or two and then recross it, keeping pretty well the general direction.
567

18

54

56

18019Mire Spring at this place is no distinct spring, but a miry place where water can be had, but no wood; grass is only tolerable. From this place, after continuing in the general direction to the Rabbit's Ears some five or six miles, "Pilot Mountain" will appear a little more to the west. The road leads by the foot of it, keeping pretty well the general direction to it.
586

19

30

07

16143Louse creek, say 30 links wide, and bears southeast. The best camping ground is at a pond of water in the bed of this creek, which does not generally run, about half a mile below one or two trees standing on the creek. Commonly a little fuel of drift wood may be picked up, as there is some timber up the creek, though none about the camping ground. The water and grass are good.

From this to Turkey creek and thence to the Rabbit's Ears creek the routes are various, agreeably to the traveler's notions. There is some sand (I may say sand hills) to pass from this to Turkey creek. The road as here laid down continues up a small fork of Louse creek, on the south side of it, which runs into the creek a mile or more perhaps above the camp, and from the head of this fork pass us over to Turkey creek, which is near. Perhaps a better way would be to turn up a valley nearly south, which will be seen after leaving the camp a mile or two, continue in the valley a mile or more, perhaps, until the general direction to Pilot Mountain may be resumed. The sand will then be on the right hand. The road is tolerably good.

605

15

3614236Turkey creek. On this creek the camping is good for wood, water and grass. The creek is 30 links and bears S. E.

Rabbit's Ears creek, 50 links wide, runs from this place, where the traveler leaves it, nearly east. On the south of it everywhere is, at a little distance from the stream, a rocky hill several hundred feet high, from the top of which is level land to southward. On this creek camping is good for water, wood and grass. Here also are some deer, the first seen after passing the south bend of the Arkansas.

620

7

3712736Pilot Mountain, on the left hand. From about this place will be seen many small mountains on the right at ten or fifteen miles distance, extending to the southwest; the extremity of which is called the Point of Rocks, to which the road leads, at first bearing more southward to avoid sand.
627

14

37

27

12036A creek, ten links, bears south'd. On this creek a scattering bush or two appears, but no timber; water and grass are tolerable. On the west edge of a board and sometimes dry pond covered with grass and weeds, and where are some rocks above the ground, at one mile eastward of this creek, is a good spring; no drain from it except for a few feet.
641
7
64
19
1069Don Carolus creek, 50 links wide, bears southwest. Here is plenty of wood, water and grass, and the crossing of the creek is tolerably good.
649
1
03
40
9870Nooning branch. Here is generally water and grass and fuel.
650

13

43

78

9730Point of Rocks. At this place is a very constant and good spring. The mountains are in full view, and as no beaten road will be discovered until more traveled, the traveler will be guided by the strong features of the country, which with care on his part will conduct him safely on his journey.
664

6

41

31

8332From the Point of Rocks the traveler will proceed a little south of west, as indicated by the map, leaving a higher swell of the plain or a little hill a fourth or half a mile to his left and will proceed until at the brow of the high tableland on which he will find himself to be. Looking across the valley before him through which a small creek flows to southwest, he will see the southern point of similar highland to that on which he is, a little beyond which point is the Canadian river. The road passes as near the point on the south of it as is convenient and continues forward to the Canadian. On the creek in the valley short of the Canadian is water and grass plenty, but no timber. There are a few willow bushes.
670

8

72

52

771Canadian river, a bold running stream from 50 to 80 links wide, bears southeast. The ford is rocky and shallow and is easy to find. If missed the traveler would not be able to cross below the fork in many miles. Camping is good for water and grass, and fuel may be had, but it is here scarce. On the west bank of this stream the road to Santa Fe by the way of St. Miguel turns off to the left, on which see the remarks at the end of this work from the crossing of the Canadian the road continues a little west of south just by and on the south side of a hill with small bushy pines.
679

14

44

28

6829A pond of water in the valley near to the pine hills, where fuel may be had, and water and plenty of grass for stock. From the pine hill the road bears a little more south, and will in 5 or 6 miles pass some very elevated tableland or a low, flat-top mountain. Leaving it on the right, will cross the bed of a small creek (frequently dry), bearing southeast, and will cross the valley obliquely to the elevated tableland which bounds the southern side of the valley, and will continue to the southwest quarter of the valley (which is several miles broad and projects with several prongs westward) to where the tableland on the south of the road joins a spur of what may be deemed a low mountain projecting to the south'd two or three miles. At the junction the road, turning more to the left, up a narrow valley, ascends to the top of the tableland. From this place, where there are a few small, bushy trees, fuel may be taken to a pond of water about half a mile eastward, where there is plenty of fine grass.
693

19

72

17

541The road continues around the spur of the mountain and turns westward up a small creek with rocky cliffs, which will be immediately on the left, and will cross it immediately at the upper end of the cliffs, and will continue up it, passing a gap of an arm of the mountain, and just a high cliff or point on the left, will cross a small fork of the creek and will continue up the north fork of it, which is the most considerable to the foot of the mountain. On the south side of the small creek, which runs boldly, the road ascends the mountain winding to the southwest to advantage until the brow is gained at the edge of a prairie. This part of the road up the mountain is strong and there is timber of pine and dwarf oak.
713

15

09

07

3464This hill is the worst part of the road. As it is, waggons can carry up light loads, but with labor . . . it might (and with no great difficulty) be made tolerably good. This is the first hill of difficulty . . . from the commencement. It is about a mile and a half from the foot to the summit, and when at the summit a prairie, which like a fillet borders the brow of this spur of the mountains, will conduct the traveler in a western direction to its descent. The soil of the prairie is dark and rich and the grass luxuriant and fine. It abounds with springs of finest water. All the way on this mountain there is much more elevated land on the right of the road, which is thickly timbered for the most part. Several species of pine, the aspen, some cedar and dwarf oak are the timbers of the mountain. Here also are found several sorts of game - bear, elk, deer, and turkey. Having descended the western side of this mountain which is tolerably thickly timbered, at the foot of it the road enters a prairie, where there is a small beaten path leading in a western direction, as the road goes, continuing up a branch on the north side of it, crossing almost at right angles, one fork of it about 10 links wide running very boldly south about two miles from the foot of the mountain. At about three miles further are three fine springs in the valley, where is plenty of fuel, but grass only tolerable - nothing comparable anywhere in the valley to what it is on the mountain. The road continues westward along the small path, bearing a little more from the branch and falling on it again near the foot of a mountain, which is the dividing ridge, and which is about two miles from the valley springs.
728

4

16

01

1957Foot of the dividing ridge. This mountain, especially on the east side, is more timbered than the other, but not so bad to cross. It also has prairie on the top like unto the other, through which the road passes to the western brow. Through the timbered parts of the mountain the road is open.
732

15

17

56

1556Western foot of the dividing ridge. Here is a small stream, which flows with increased size into the valley of Taos. Just by the village of San Fernando the road continues down it to the best advantage, crossing it frequently. This valley is extremely scarce of grass and the road not good, though with little labor it might be excellent.
74773San Fernando, the principal village in Taos. This being the nearest of the Mexican settlements, the most northern and the most abundant in provisions for man and beast, determined the survey of the road hither, although the way to Santa Fe by St. Miguel is said to be somewhat better and equally high. From Taos which is in latitude 36° 24' 00", to Santa Fe, in latitude 35° 41' 15", the distance as traveled is about 70 miles, and with a little labor a good wagon road may be had. The course is about south-southwest. The Rio Del Norte, 7 or 8 miles west of Taos, and about twice that distance west of Santa Fe, is about three chains wide and has many ripples and places to hinder navigation. The road leading from one place to the other falls on the river and continues along it a few miles. Between these two places are some half-dozen villages or more, the chief of which is Santa Cruz, about 22 miles above Santa Fe and in sight of the river.

In conclusion a few remarks will be made on the road by St. Miguel, not from observation, but from information. Immediately after crossing the Canadian the traveler will turn nearly south, and after going a few miles will reach a bold running stream, the same which the road to Taos continues up. He will cross it at a fall or rapid, as below he can not for its rocky cliffs, and above he can not on account of mud and quicksand. After crossing this creek he will continue forward in the same direction, and, where convenient, will ascend the high tableland which extends all along on the right, and will proceed forward just by the east end of a small mountain shaped like a shoe, with the toe to the west. . . . It is very plain to sight from the elevated lands before crossing the Canadian, and when first seen bears 25 west. It may be a day's travel or more from the crossing of the Canadian. After passing it a longer mountain will be passed, leaving it on the left. This too is in sight as soon as the other, which is called the Pilot. After passing the long mountain on the left the directions are general. The mountain will be a guide on the right; some small, isolated ones will be on the left. The road is level and generally good. Several creeks will be crossed, and the road, bearing a little west of south, will lead to St. Miguel, which is about 45 miles southeast from Santa Fe, from which the road is plain.
OCTOBER 27, 1827.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans , written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 1998.

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