The historic Santa Fe Trail entered McPherson county a little north of the middle at the eastern border and ranged southwesterly until at McPherson its site is two miles south of town. From there it ran almost due west, seeking the high ground between the Big Basin and the Chain Lakes, leaving the county in a northwesterly direction a little south of the middle of the western boundry. Its course is still quite visible in a number of places and is marked by granite boulders erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
One of these markers, northeast of Canton records the death of Ed. Miller, a youth of 18 who was dispatch carrier for the government and who lost his life at the hands of the Cheyenne Indians in July of 1864. The boulder marks the spot where he is buried and his grave was the beginning of the Old Canton Cemetery. Another marker west of Elyria records the treaty made in 1825 by the government with the Indians for the right of way for the Santa Fe Trail. The treaty was made in the grove on Sora Kansas creek several hundred feet north of the road. This grove is no longer there.
Just after the Taril leaves the county at the west it crossed the Little Arkansas river where there are still ruins visible of the "Stone Corral," which was used by General Custer for sheltering his troops while defending the settlers against the Indians.
The Santa Fe Trail automobile highway crosses McPherson county from east to west, following as closely as possible the site of the historic trail and passing through the county seat, the City of McPherson. Within a hundred feet of this trail and easily visible to all tourists is the statue to General McPherson in beautiful Central Park.
Another continental highway, the Meridian Road, passes through the county from the north to the south, crossing the Santa Fe Trail in the center of McPherson city, a block and a half from the General McPherson Monument.
From Kansas City to El Paso the tourist will find many evidences of the historic trail but nowhere else will he find such an elaborate and beautiful monument to the events of the past as the statue of General McPherson and the tribute to the 752 McPherson county Union veterans of the Civil War. It is safe to say that for years to come this spot will be sought by travelers as the one big attraction in Kansas on these two historic trails.
McPherson county is unique in the state for the variety of nationalities represented in its citizenship and the graphic presentation of the true function of the American idea - the fusion of the best manhood of the world. In McPherson county there are three large groups, the descendants of Americans, the sturdy and progressive Swedes, and the industrious Germans. Besides these the following countries are represented with smaller groups: France, Russia, Austria and Bohemia, in each of which the parent language is being perpetuated. There is a generous sprinkling but scattered from the following nationalities: Norwegians, Danes, Scots, Welsh, Irish and Jews. Strange to say there are no negroes, except a few transients.
The remarkable fact shown in McPherson county is the wonderfully progressive and cosmopolitan spirit that pervades every activity of the county and it will astonish many that utmost co-operation exists between all these varied antecedal tendencies, showing conclusively that the American "Melting" process is productive of the very best citizenship.
The people of McPherson county are prosperous and enjoy to the fullest a contentment rarely to be found and emenating from the diffusion of diversified tendencies that have been molten into a new and better Americanism. Everywhere in the county are advanced evidences of art and literary appreciation and it is rare that one finds a community in which the finer attributes are not being fostered as a community feature. The county is rich in educational advantages and its citizens are posted and exceptionally co-operative in community and county activities. Everywhere is evidence of progress and nowhere exists the spirit of envy when a good idea is presented.
Transcribed from Official Souvenir McPherson County, July 4, 1917 [n.p., 1917] 56p. illus.
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