Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Blue Rapids in Marshall County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

A Respite In The Wilderness

Alcove Spring

 
 
A Respite In The Wilderness Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 1, 2014
1. A Respite In The Wilderness Marker
Inscription.

The water is of the most excellent kind. The spring is surrounded with Ash Cotton wood and Cedar trees. It is an excellent place to camp for a day or two to wash, recruit the cattle etc. I this day cut the name of the spring in the rock on Table at the top of the falls.
- Emigrant journal entry: George McKinstry, May 30, 1846.

This cold-water spring was named by Edwin Bryant, a member of the ill-fated Donner and Reed emigrant wagon train that camped here for several days in late May of 1846. The company, which lost most of its members to starvation before reaching their destination, suffered its first loss here at Alcove Spring. Mrs. Sarah Keyes, the elderly mother-in-law of James Frazier Reed, died after an extended time suffering with consumption.

It took courage to venture into the wilderness. Pioneers on the Oregon and California Trails faced many obstacles - scarcity of water and food, sickness, rough terrain and harsh climate to name a few. Sanctuaries, like Alcove Spring, provided a reprieve as well as a place to bury the dead. Although more than 30,000 emigrants were buried along the trail, many more survived to begin a new life in the west.

[Inset photo captions read]
Alcove Spring inscription placed by George McKinstry of the Donner and Reed wagon party, May 30, 1846.

"J.F.
A Respite In The Wilderness Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 1, 2014
2. A Respite In The Wilderness Marker
Alcove Spring is beyond the marker
Reed 26 May 1846" inscribed into one of the rocks now lying below the falls. Photo courtesy of Ray Ellenbecker.
 
Erected by National Park Service and Alcove Spring Preservation Association.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the California Trail, and the Oregon Trail marker series.
 
Location. 39° 44.921′ N, 96° 40.607′ W. Marker is near Blue Rapids, Kansas, in Marshall County. Touch for map. Marker is near Alcove Spring, in Alcove Spring Park, off East River Road (unpaved), about five miles north of Blue Rapids. Follow the signs from US Hwy 77. Marker is in this post office area: Blue Rapids KS 66411, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oregon Trail Memorial Garden (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alcove Spring Park (about 700 feet away); A Quiet and Restful Place (approx. 0.2 miles away); The 1840s American Dream (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historical Baseball Game (approx. 4.6 miles away); Blue Rapids Station Bell (approx. 4.6 miles away); Oldest Roundabout in Kansas (approx. 4.6 miles away); Blue Rapids Public Library (approx. 4.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Blue Rapids.
 
Also see . . .
1. Alcove Spring National Register Nomination (Amendment)
Alcove Spring and Naomi Pike Falls image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 1, 2014
3. Alcove Spring and Naomi Pike Falls
. (Submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Oregon National Historic Trail. (Submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. California National Historic Trail. (Submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Oregon-California Trails Association. (Submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. EnvironmentRoads & VehiclesSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
"Alcove Spring" Engraved in Rock image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
4. "Alcove Spring" Engraved in Rock
J. F. Reed Engraving Near Alcove Spring image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 1, 2014
5. J. F. Reed Engraving Near Alcove Spring
Alcove Spring and Naomi Pike Falls image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
6. Alcove Spring and Naomi Pike Falls
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 186 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on November 23, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   5. submitted on November 24, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   6. submitted on November 23, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Paid Advertisement