The Santa Fe Trail
Written on the dedication of the marker on the
Santa Fe Trail at Lone Elm, Johnson County,
Fifty years___'Twas a prairie then
And the deer roamed wild and free;
Fifty years___I see it again
As it appeared to me.
The old trail ran where the barn stands now,
The trail was here long before the plow,
And we drove ox teams with sometimes a cow,
In the days that use to be.
Fifty years___Yes I lived here then
And a lively place 'twas too.
Wagons for miles with their fearless men
Coming and passing from view.
On the wagon covers "Pike's Peak or bust!"
Yes, the fever was high for the yellow dust
Just a lot of grit and then their luck to trust,
For those that won were few.
Fifty years___'Twas a camping ground
Where the trees now cast their shade,
And the faithful oxen rambled around
And rarely if ever strayed,
And the camp fires burned each night of the
In the pastures there and the cornfields here,
Yet I slept each night with never a fear,
And many the friends I made.
Yes, fifty years___What a striking change
From the way we do things now,
No less these farms from the boundless ran
Or the way we sow and plow
The sickle is gone and the binder's here,
But the sickle still to my heart is dear,
But I look in vain for the roving deer
And the prairie chicken now.
Fifty years___Ah, I love to know
That the old trail shall remain,
That the markers tell in the years to go
Where the ox teams crossed the plain
Of the men who travelled the toilsome w
But few are left to tell it today,
But their march was Progress on its way,
And its glory ne'er shall wane.
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)