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

Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail

 
 
Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 2, 2011
1. Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker
Inscription.
Westport
Westport, along with Independence, was a major outfitting point for the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails. Founded in 1834 by John C. McCoy and platted around the trading post he built the previous year, Westport's early fortunes were directly tied to it's [sic] namesake landing on the Missouri river four miles due north of the town. Through the decade of the 1830's, Independence was the main outfitting point for Santa Fe traders. But as the decade closed and opportunities for commerce expanded to including outfitting for emigrant wagon trains bound for Oregon and California, Westport equaled and eventually, by the 1850's, surpassed Independence in the size of the trade.

Francis Parkman launched his famous 1846 journey to the west from Westport. The Bidwell-Bartleson party, the first emigrant wagon train destined for the Pacific shores, started from Westport in 1841. Thomas Fitzpatrick, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger, three of the greatest mountain men and traders, lived in Westport for a time. Before his rendevzous with destiny in California, John Sutter kept shop in Westport in 1837.

Santa Fe Trail
This famous trail was founded in 1821 when WIlliam Becknell led a small group of men from Franklin, Missouri to Santa Fe on a trading expedition. Having recently declared its independence
Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 2, 2011
2. Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker
Rightmost marker, with Shawnee Mission Pkwy in background
from Spain, Mexico threw off years of trade restrictions, and the colonial trading village of Santa Fe welcomed Becknell. Thus this trade route between two nations was opened, and for almost sixty years the wagons kept rolling. The Santa Fe Trail saw traders, trappers and mountain men, gold seekers, soldiers, and emigrants all walk it's [sic] dusty trace, but it found its most lasting legacy as a two way trail of commerce. In the Kansas City area, the Santa Fe Trail area had two trailheads, Westport and Independence.

Present day Shawnee is on the route from Westport. Both routes met near present day Gardner and then continued southwest as one trail. The Santa Fe Trail was designated by Congress as a National Historic Trail in 1987.

Oregon Trail
Hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to the western frontiers along the Oregon Trail, laying claim to much of the West from the late 1830's through the Civil War. Originally a route established by mountain men and fur trappers to and through the Rocky Mountains, by 1836 the Oregon Trail was being followed by missionaries to the Indians in Oregon Territory. In the Kansas City area the Oregon Trail actually followed the route of the earlier established Santa Fe Trail west, until branching off on its own west of present day Gardner. By 1841 the Oregon Trail traffic included people destined for California,
Westport Image on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, undated
3. Westport Image on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker
and today the route is commonly referred to as the Oregon-California Trail. By 1849, the rush to the Pacific shores for gold filled The Oregon Trail. However, it is the image of families seeking a dream in the west, one wagon at a time, that is the defining moment of the Oregon Trail. In 1978 the Oregon Trail was designated by Congress as a National Historic Trail, and the California Trail was so designated in 1992.

Solomon N. Carvalho, 1853
Traveling as a daguerreotypist with the westward expedition of John C. Fremont S.N. Carvalho described his travel through present day northern Johnson County

"....started in excellent order and spirits'...[the group camped at] 'the Methodist Mission, about six miles from Westport'...and the next day proceeded to the "Shawnee Mission, a few miles further, and camped for the night."

Carvalhos's referral to the "Methodist Mission" describes the existing Shawnee Methodist Mission site in present day Fairway. His reference to "Shawnee Mission" refers to the location of the Shawnee Indian Church that was located at about present day 59th Terrence [sic - Terrace] and Bluejacket.
 
Erected 2006 by City of Shawnee and State Historical Society of Missouri.
 
Location. 39° 0.862′ N, 94° 
Santa Fe Trail Image on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, undated
4. Santa Fe Trail Image on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker
42.401′ W. Marker is in Shawnee, Kansas, in Johnson County. Marker is on Shawnee Mission Parkway near Melrose Lane, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in Pioneer Crossing Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10401 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee KS 66203, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gum Springs (here, next to this marker); Wagonmaster's House (a few steps from this marker); The Development of the Kansas City area Frontier Trails Network (a few steps from this marker); Fort Leavenworth Military Road (a few steps from this marker); California Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Shawnee Friends Mission (approx. 0.4 miles away); Quantrill's Raid on Shawneetown (approx. 0.8 miles away); Campbell Home (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shawnee.
 
Also see . . .
1. Santa Fe National Historic Trail. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Oregon National Historic Trail. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. California National Historic Trail. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. National Frontier Trails Museum. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Emigrant Family on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, undated
5. Emigrant Family on Westport - Santa Fe Trail - Oregon / California Trail Marker

5. The History of Westport, Missouri. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
6. Pioneer Crossing Park, Shawnee KS. (Submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
Wagon Trail Sculpture in Pioneer Crossing Park image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
6. Wagon Trail Sculpture in Pioneer Crossing Park
By Charles Goslin
Pioneer Crossing Park, Shawnee KS image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
7. Pioneer Crossing Park, Shawnee KS
Looking east
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,379 times since then and 120 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 19, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   6, 7. submitted on December 17, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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