“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Council Grove in Morris County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Father Juan Padilla Monument

Father Juan Padilla Monument Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 19, 2011
1. Father Juan Padilla Monument Marker
In 1542, Fr. Juan Padilla, a Franciscan Friar, (the First American Martyr), accompanied Coranado [sic] on his expedition from Mexico some 50 years after Christopher Columbus landed in the USA [sic] and 78 years before our pilgrim fathers landed on shore at Plymouth Rock. It is believed Fr. Padilla may have been marytred in this location near Council Grove, Kansas. The following are excerpts taken from an article written by George P. Morehouse in the Kansas Historical Collections, Volume X, pp. 472-479,

"Father Juan Padilla reached Quivira (near Junction City) and prostrated himself at the foot of the cross, which he found in the same place where he had set it up; and all around it clean, as he had charged them to keep it, which rejoiced him, and then he began the duties of a teacher and apostle of that people; and finding them teachable and well disposed, his heart burned within him, and it seemed to him that the number of souls of that village was but a small offering to God, and he sought to enlarge the bosom of our mother, the Holy Church, that she might receive all those he was told were to be found at greater distances. He left Quivira, attended by a small company, against the will of the village Indians, who loved him as their father. At more than a day's journey the Indians met him on the warpath, and knowing the evil
Father Juan Padilla Monument Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 19, 2011
2. Father Juan Padilla Monument Marker
intent of those barbarians, he asked the Portuguese that as he was on horseback they should flee and take under their protection the oblates and the lads who could run away and escape...and the blessed father, kneeling down, offered up his soul, the felicity of being killed by the arrows of those barbarous Indians, who threw him into a pit, covering his body with innumerable stones. In the year 1542, near this place, this pioneer missionary of the Cross gave his life at the hands of those he had come to serve and save. One of the accounts speaks of his body being covered with a pile of "innumerable stones."

This surely corresponds with the place near Council Grove, and these "innumerable rocks" were finally formed into this crude but picturesque monument. After much inquiry and search during many years past, I know of no artificial pile of stone in the state as this one, which dates back of the memory of man and is known to have been in existence long before white men or Indians of modern times visited or occupied this part of Kansas. The writer "George P. Morehouse" realizes that another place (Herington, KS) is claimed to be in the neighborhood of his last resting place, and that his memory has been honored with a monument there. This is well, but they bring forth no proof of the claim."

The monument was destroyed by lightning in May of 2009. The people of St.
Father Juan Padilla Monument and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 19, 2011
3. Father Juan Padilla Monument and Marker
Rose Catholic Church rebuilt the monument in October of 2009. Because this site is also believed to be an Indian Burial Ground for the Kaw Indians, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered on this site on November 2nd, 2009 for the souls of the Indians believed to be buried here.
Erected 2010 by Members of St. Rose Catholic Church.
Location. 38° 38.756′ N, 96° 30.047′ W. Marker is near Council Grove, Kansas, in Morris County. Marker is on 900th Road one mile west of Neosho Street (Kansas Route 177), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Council Grove KS 66846, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Greenwood Cemetery Wall (approx. 0.8 miles away); Maple Camp W.W. II Cabin (approx. 0.9 miles away); Maple Camp Tourist Cabin (approx. 0.9 miles away); Field School (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named Maple Camp Tourist Cabin (approx. 0.9 miles away); Atkinson Log House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Baker's Food Market (approx. 0.9 miles away); Maple Camp (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Council Grove.
More about this marker. The monument sits on private property.
Related markers.
Father Juan Padilla Monument Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 19, 2011
4. Father Juan Padilla Monument
On distant hillside
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Francisco Juan de Padilla in Kansas Cyclopedia (1912). (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Herington, Kansas, Monument to Padilla. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. Juan de Padilla in Catholic Encyclopedia. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.ExplorationNative Americans
Padilla Monument Sign Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., February 19, 2011
5. Padilla Monument Sign
At intersection of Neosho Street (Kansas Route 177) and 900th Road
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 926 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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