Stylized sunflower

Oregon Trail Nature Park

Stylized sunflower
 
      The trail that passed on the southern edge of the Western Resources
Oregon Trail Nature Park was the original route of the trail to Oregon
and California.  In every year after 1830, caravans of fur traders,
hunters and adventurers, missionary parties, and government surveyors
and soldiers traveled west on this trail.
 
In 1843, the first large emigration traveled west on the trail. This
wagon train included approximately 1,000 people.  In every year after
that, wagon trains traveled this road on trips to the Rocky Mountains
and the west coast.
 
The emigrant trains usually passed the Western Resources Oregon Trail
Nature Park during the last week in May and first week in June.  The
2,000 mile journey to Oregon took an average of 5½ months during the
1840s.  Travel time was cut to about 4 months in the 1850s due to trail
improvements like bridges and/or ferry boat service over major rivers
and other trail improvements.
 
Virgel Pringle described this section of the trail in 1846. "May 17,
1846.  Our course this day was on the hills running parallel with the
Kansas River.  This morning cool.  Drove ahead till after two o'clock. It
became very hot.  Several oxen overcome with the heat. Stopped about
three hours on a branch at the bottom of the Kansas bottom. Country
still very fertile and handsome, timber scarce."  (He camped on the bank
of the Vermillion that night.)
 
Goldrusher Kimball Webster also reported that his party camped near this
location in 1849. He wrote, "June 6, 1849.  We leave camp at 12 o'clock
and travel 18 miles.  We passed a Catholic mission erected for the
purpose of Christianizing the Indian tribe and converting them to the
Catholic religion.  Indian settlements are quite numerous here.
Rattlesnakes are seen in large numbers [sic] We camped in the evening,
after which a very violent shower came up.  The wind blew so violently
that all of our tents were leveled to the earth over our heads, which
was not very agreeable."  The next day they traveled 4 miles to the
Vermillion.
 
Courtesy of Barbara Burgess
 
Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS
 
Pottawatomie County  
Oregon Trail Road, northeast of Belvue,
In Oregon Trail Nature Park,
Sea of Grass Trail at Oregon Trail Overlook
Pottawatomie County
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August 19, 2002 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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