Council Grove in Morris County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Rendezvous on the Trail
This was once a place of early morning racket, dust, and confusion, as wagons bound for Santa Fe rattled and jockeyed for position to form a train. Wagonmasters shouted, "Catch up!" to the teamsters - then "Stretch out!" as the wagons began to move.
In the early 1820s, only pack trains and a few wagons headed west to Santa Fe, but, by 1846, traffic had increased dramatically. That year, the ring of a blacksmith's hammer clanging against the anvil echoed over Council Grove as he repaired wagons and shod horses, mules, and oxen.
A large grove of hardwood trees - the last one encountered by westbound trains - along with water and grazing nearby made this spot an ideal campground for trail travelers.
Soldiers, freighters, gold seekers, and adventurers collected here to join other travelers, and to organize into caravans before crossing the 625 miles of mostly treeless plains. Members elected officers and established rules of travel. Most years, freighting took place from May to October.
In 1863, a local merchant recorded that 3,072 men, 3,000 wagons, 618 horses, 20,812 oxen, 8,046 mules, and 98 carriages hauled 15,000 tons of freight valued at $40 million through Council Grove to New Mexico.
"There s a quantity of fine timber consisting of oaks, hickory, walnut....Each company coming out generally
- Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846
Erected by National Park Service and City of Council Grove.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Santa Fe Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 39.72′ N, 96° 29.242′ W. Marker is in Council Grove, Kansas, in Morris County. Marker is at the intersection of Union Street (State Highway 177) and Main Street (U.S. 56), on the right when traveling north on Union Street. Touch 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. Madonna of the Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Guardian of the Grove (within shouting distance of this marker); Council Grove (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Post Office Oak (about 300 feet away); Brewery (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Post Office Oak (about 300 feet away); Neosho Crossing (about 400 feet away); Bur Oak (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Council Grove.
Also see . . .
1. Santa Fe National Historic Trail (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Santa Fe Trail Association. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Council Grove, Kansas. (Submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Environment • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 352 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 24, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.