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Old February 8th, 2011, 03:13 PM   #41

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Centrix, you will have to come to Kansas some time and i'll show you some of the Smoky. I do have a passion for Kansas history, but a real love of it's land. My granddad's folks homesteaded in south west Kansas close to the Oklahoma border near Meade Kansas. He would haul me around to some of these places and tell the story of the area, he was the second youngest of 12 and a great story teller!

A pic of his folks, my great grandparents, they would be some of the first to homestead that area around Meade.


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My Grand Mothers folks staked a claim in Oklahoma during the Cherokee Strip land rush. Shes standing on the chair.


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Ruby Rita my grandma and and my gramps Jimmy.


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Old February 8th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #42

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The Hoodoo's of Castle Rock.



As you circle the bluff to the south you are right above the Hoodoo's looking down in.


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The road circles down off the bluff to the formations on the prairie below. The formation's are made of Niobrara chalk, The chalk was deposited at the bottom of a great inland sea that covered most of North America during the later part of the Cretaceous Period, about 80 million years ago.


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1861: Henry Green of Leavenworth, KS was hired to build a road across the plains and to establish a well-marked route. They used big mounds of dirt, one about every mile ‘so that there could be no trouble in finding it hereafter.


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’“One man returning in late October praised the road but issued a warning. He reported that herds of buffalo were destroying the mounds of dirt piled up by the road builders to mark the road and said if something wasn’t done a new survey might have to be made.”


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1860-1865: Frequent Indian troubles and the lack of protection from the government led to the trail’s unpopularity for a while. Indian attacks were common while the white man transversed or trespassed through prime Indian hunting grounds.


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1865: David A. Butterfield decides to have the Smoky Hill route resurveyed as the shortest way to Denver since there was a dramatic increase in freight shipments coming up the Missouri river to be transported to Denver.


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1865: B.O.D officials said that it was essential to have troops protecting the route.


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1865, June 24: A small wagon train carrying 150,000 pounds of freight left Atchison on the newly established Butterfield Overland Despatch route. Cost was 22 ˝ cents per pound on these first freight trains.


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1865, September 11: The first stagecoach to ever use the new B.O.D. or Smoky Hill Trail leaves Atchison and arrives in Denver on September 23, 1865. The fare from the Missouri river to Denver was $175.00 with meals costing an extra $1.00 in the west.


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As with other places along the trail the sand stone was a place to leave your mark.


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Castle Rock is about 90 miles east of the Colorado border, and it is about 60 miles west from the castle to Fort Wallace. Fort Hays is about 50 miles east.


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I have heard that this was a spiritual place for the Indians, and I can see why it would have been.


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Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history
Castle Rock.—One of the most interesting works of nature in the state from a geological standpoint is known as "Castle Rock," a natural formation located in Gove county. This castellated mass is composed of a coping of limestone and the shaft of chalk and compact shale. Its unique formation was produced by the shales wearing away, the strongly cemented stone serving as a protection to the upper surface. In this way mountainous appearing masses are frequently produced, especially where various streams cut their way through the hard stone into the softer materials below. Similar formations are met with in Ellis county which show isolated columns which rise from 20 to 73 feet in height.


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This area is rich in fossils from the Cretaceous Sea which covered this land, the Indians kept the geologist's out of this area for some time even after it was known what was here. Fossils from the Smoky Hill's are in museums around the world.







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Old February 11th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #43

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The Castle.


[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB7XegOQwSA"]YouTube - GHOST DANCERS[/ame]

I am going to post a few more photos of Castle Rock and then move west up the Smoky again towards Monument Rocks.

The oldest pic of Castle Rock i have ever seen, notice the man siting on the right side of the Rock has a rifle across his knees, bottom middle is pointing his rifle. It is a pic of a pic from a pizza joint in Quinter just north of Castle Rock on 70 the locals had all brought in their old photos of the formation for the walls. Good pizza!


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A little more info on the trail and Monument Rock, or station our next destination.

1865, October and November: Troops arrived at Monument Station--Company A of the 1st U. S. Volunteer Infantry and the 13th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. Confederate Prisoners of War made up the 1st and were called the “Galvanized Yankees”. These soldiers, upon being released from prison, were sent out to the west, where they could not take up arms against the Union.


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1865, October 26: Fort Wallace was established shortly after this time period. Troops there included the 2nd U.S. Cavalry; 6th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, another Galvanized Yankee unit; and the 3rd, 5th, 19th, and 27th U.S. Infantries.


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John German, of the family I have mentioned, while being held as a prisoner of war had the chance to see the frontier much earlier than 1874 but turned down joining the galvanized units and remained in prison, acording to the German family in the book The Moccasin Speaks.


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1866: Monument Station (formerly Antelope Station) was proposed as an actual Fort, but remained as a station throughout its brief years of activity.


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1867 & 1868: The Buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Wallace in September of 1868 and were also active out of Fort Hays in 1867. These soldiers were stationed all across the plains during the Smoky Hill Trail days and Indian uprisings.


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1868, June 24: “On June 24, the soldiers at the fort at Monument Station were ordered to the new end-of-the track town of Monument to guard supplies and protect the railroad workers. Since both stages and freighters were meeting the train at Monument there seemed little need of a fort down on the river. The town of Monument was thirty-five miles northwest of the Monument Station of the B.O.D.”


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1868 June 24: The original Monument Station was ordered abandoned by the U.S. Government and the troops marched to Antelope Springs which was thereafter known as Monument Station.


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1870, August 21: The Last stage coach rolls down the Smoky Hill Trail.


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Old February 13th, 2011, 04:58 AM   #44

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Buffalo Bill Cody & Buffalo Bill Comstock.


[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21RqqZSXSBY"]YouTube - The Wild West - Buffalo Bill in Art[/ame]

The next town up the rail, or along 70 is Oakly Kansas, the Cody Comstock Buffalo Killing contest happened here along the rails near Oakly, the winner would get the handle Buffalo Bill. Oakly is 17 miles straight south of the Bod and Monument Rock, the trail and the rail are intertwined.


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Oakly has a sculpture of Bill just on the west end of town, and it's impressive sculpted by Kansan sculptor Charlie Norton. Bill Cody on his favorite buffalo running horse, Brigham with his buffalo rifle, Lucretia taking aim at a buffalo as they both race across the prairie.


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The sculpture was dedicated in 2004.


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William Cody while in the Kansas territory and upon meeting a group of military men preparing for a buffalo hunt in the summer of 1868. He gave the following account of how he won his name.




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"Come along with us," offered the captain graciously. "We’re going to kill a few buffalo for sport, and all we care for are the tongues and a chunk of the tenderloin; you can have the rest.
"Thank you," said Will. "I’ll follow along."
Nearby there were eleven buffaloes in the herd, and the officers started after them as if they had a sure thing on the entire number. Will noticed that the game was pointed toward a creek, and understanding "the nature of the beast," started for the water, to head them off.
As the herd went past him, with the military quintet five hundred yards in the rear, he gave Brigham’s blind bridle a twitch, and in a few jumps the trained hunter was at the side of the rear buffalo; Lucretia Borgia spoke, and the buffalo fell dead. Without even a bridle signal, Brigham was promptly at the side of the next buffalo, not ten feet away, and this, too, fell at the first shot. The maneuver was repeated until the last buffalo went down. Twelve shots had been fired; then Brigham, who never wasted his strength, stopped. The officers had not had even a shot at the game. Astonishment was written on their faces as they rode up.



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"Gentlemen," said Will, courteously, as he dismounted, "allow me to present you with eleven tongues and as much of the tenderloin as you wish."
"By Jove!" exclaimed the captain, "I never saw anything like that before. Who are you, anyway?"
"Bill Cody’s my name."
"Well, Bill Cody, you know how to kill buffalo, and that horse of yours has some good running points, after all."
"One or two," smiled Will.
Captain Graham—as his name proved to be — and his companions were a trifle sore over missing even the opportunity of a shot, but they professed to be more than repaid for their disappointment by witnessing a feat they had not supposed possible in a white man—hunting buffalo without a saddle, bridle, or reins. Will explained that Brigham knew more about the business than most two-legged hunters. All the rider was expected to do was to shoot the buffalo. If the first shot failed, Brigham allowed another; if this, too, failed Brigham lost patience, and was as likely as not to drop the matter then and there.


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It was this episode that fastened the name of "Buffalo Bill" upon Will, and learning of it, the friends of Billy Comstock, chief of scouts at Fort Wallace, filed a protest. Comstock, they said, was Cody’s superior as a buffalo-hunter. So a match was arranged to determine whether it should be "Buffalo Bill’ Cody or "Buffalo Bill" Comstock.


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The hunting-ground was fixed near Sheridan, Kansas, and quite a crowd of spectators was attracted by the news of the contest. Officers, soldiers, plainsmen, and railroad men took a day off to see the sport, and one excursion party, including many ladies, among them Louise, came up from St. Louis.


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Referees were appointed to follow each man and keep a tally of the buffaloes slain. Comstock was mounted on his favorite horse, and carried a Henry rifle of large calibre. Brigham and Lucretia went with Will. The two hunters rode side by side until the first herd was sighted and the word given, when off they dashed to the attack, separating to the right and left. In this first trial Will killed thirty-eight and Comstock twenty-three. They had ridden miles, and the carcasses of the dead buffaloes were strung all over the prairie. Luncheon was served at noon, and scarcely was it over when another herd was sighted, composed mainly of cows with their calves. The damage to this herd was eighteen and fourteen, in favor of Cody.


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Bill Comstock, scout Fort Wallace.


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In those days the prairies were alive with buffaloes, and a third herd put in an appearance before the rifle-barrels were cooled. In order to give Brigham a share of the glory, Will pulled off saddle and bridle, and advanced bareback to the slaughter.
That closed the contest. Score, sixty-nine to forty-eight. Comstock’s friends surrendered, and Cody was dubbed "Champion Buffalo Hunter of the Plains."


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The heads of the buffaloes that fell in this hunt were mounted by the Kansas Pacific Railroad Company, and distributed about the country, as advertisements of the region the new road was traversing. Meanwhile, Will continued hunting for the Kansas Pacific contractors, and during the year and a half that he supplied them with fresh meat he killed four thousand two hundred and eighty buffaloes. But when the railroad reached Sheridan it was decided to build no farther at that time, and Will was obliged to look for other work.


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Old February 16th, 2011, 05:02 PM   #45

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Medicine Bill Comstock, scout Fort Wallace.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SARb8vJJmuA&feature=related]YouTube - 1885 Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull[/ame]

Comstock's life ended a few months after his contest with Bill Cody. During the summer and into the fall of 1868 indians were on the rampage on the Kansas plains. As to the nature of their activities and Comstock's death see the follow excerpt from Gen, Philip Sheridan's Memoirs.


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William Comstock would meet his death on August 27, 1868, in his twenty-sixth year.


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When this frightful raid was taking place, Lieutenant Beecher, with his three scouts—Comstock, Grover, and Parr—was on Walnut Creek. Indefinite rumors about troubles on the Saline and Solomon reaching him, he immediately sent Comstock and Grover over to the headwaters of the Solomon, to the camp of a band of Cheyennes, whose chief was called "Turkey Leg," to see if any of the raiders belonged there; to learn the facts, and make explanations, if it was found that the white people had been at fault. For years this chief had been a special friend of Comstock and Grover. They had trapped, hunted, and lived with his band, and from this intimacy they felt confident of being able to get "Turkey Leg" to quiet his people, if any of them were engaged in the raid; and, at all events, they expected, through him and his band, to influence the rest of the Cheyennes.

Lieutenant Beecher, below, was involved in the recovery of the bodies at the Kidder massacre site (later in this report), he would be killed at Beechers island just across the Kansas, Colorado border.(later in this report)

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From the moment they arrived in the Indian village, however, the two scouts met with a very cold reception. Neither friendly pipe nor food was offered them, and before they could recover from their chilling reception, they were peremptorily ordered out of the village, with the intimation that when the Cheyennes were on the war-path the presence of whites was intolerable.


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The scouts were prompt to leave, of course, and for a few miles were accompanied by an escort of seven young men, who said they were sent with them to protect the two from harm. As the party rode along over the prairie, such a depth of attachment was professed for Comstock and Grover that, notwithstanding all the experience of their past lives, they were thoroughly deceived, and in the midst of a friendly conversation some of the young warriors fell suddenly to the rear and treacherously fired on them.


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Comstock was killed, Grover excaped wounded. There is a second story to this tail. A little of that old west mystery.

He was reportedly ambushed and killed by Indians, but others believe he was killed by another scout known as Sharp Grover, who survived the ambush and shortly after the incident took over Comstock's ranch.
Bill Comstock's body lies in an unmarked grave, so far as we know, in the old Fort Wallace Post Cemetery in the State of Kansas. He met his death on August 27, 1868, in his twenty-sixth year. For the winning of the west, in such a short span of time, few men did more. Grover is buried in a marked grave at Fort Wallace. Grover would be killed at Beechers Island along with Beecher.



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Due to the hostilities being conducted by the indians Sheridan prepared his command to conduct a winter campaign against the raiders. The plight of the indians and the future of free ranging hunting parties in pursuit of buffalo essentially had come to end. The Medicine Lodge treaty of Oct. 1867 stipulated that the indians would retire to designated reservations and that Indians roaming outside of the reservations were in violation of the treaty.


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Gen. Philip Sheridan submitted the following report to General Sherman dated November 1, 1869 describing the military operations in the Department of the Missouri from October 15, 1868 through March 27, 1869. The report included a sworn statement from Edmund "Guerriere" which was titled "In the field, Medicine Bluff Creek, Wichita Mountains, February 9th, 1869." Guerrier's statement was this:


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"I was with Cheyenne Indians at the time of the massacre on the Solomon and Saline rivers in Kansas, the early part or middle of last August, and I was living at this time with Little Rock's band. The war party who started for the Solomon and Saline was Little Rock's, Black Kettle's, Medicine Arrow's and Bull Bear's bands; and as near as I can remember, nearly all the different bands of Cheyennes had some of their young men in this war party which committed the out rages and murders on the Solomon and Saline.


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Red Nose, and The-man-who-breaks-the-marrow bones, [Ho-eh-a-mo-a-hoe] were the two leaders in this massacre; the former belonged to the Dog Soldiers, and the latter in Black Kettle's band. As soon as we heard the news by runners who came on ahead to Black Kettle - saying that they had already commenced fighting, we moved from our camp on Buckner's Fork of the Pawnee, near the head waters, down to North Fork, where we met Big Jake's band, and then moved south, across the Arkansas river; and when we got to the Cimarron, George Bent and I left them and went to our homes on the Purgatoire."


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Monument Rock, on the BOD.


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Old February 20th, 2011, 05:27 PM   #46

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Oakly


[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXXCMPKjBRc"]YouTube - Kiowa[/ame]


Before I show you Monument Rock's it's worth mentioning the Fick Museum in Oakly, at the public library, the library shares space with the Fick Fossil Museum, these small town Kansas museums have hidden treasures in them and are usually worth a stop and the Fick is a really well done exhibit, and it does have artifacts from the stage stations that were dug by the land owners as the sites were marked, and again Oakly is right on 70.


One of the first exhibits you will see in the Fick when you walk in is a Xiphactinus audax, known as the bull dog of the sea, some of these go over twenty feet long and have teeth that would put a gator to shame, this one was pushing twenty foot, the mural in the back shows what was swiming and flying around out here way back when.


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A description of a Xiphactinus, and this was not even the bad boy that was swiming around out here, you would not have lasted very long in these waters 80 million years ago!

In a later report Cope (1872b) wrote, "The head was as long or longer than that of a fully grown grizzly bear, and the jaws were deeper in proportion to their length. The muzzle was shorter and deeper than that of a bull-dog. The teeth were all sharp cylindric fangs, smooth and glistening, and of irregular size. At certain distance in each jaw they projected three inches above the gum, and were sunk one inch into the jaw margin, being thus as long as the fangs of a tiger, but more slender. Two such fangs crossed each other on each side of the middle of the front.


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Oakly.


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If you are touring the trail you will want to stop at the Fick as it has exhibits of artifacts dug at the different stations. Towards the back you will find the display of B.O.D. artifacts from the old stage stations, some of these are not the best pics, the camera was acting up, but they show what the majority of finds at these sites were, and that was lots of .45 and.50 cal cartridges, the 45 70 seemed to ruled. Each of the panels below are a different station with a photo of the marker and the landowners family, these are just a portion of what was dug at the sites.



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Again, please excuse the quality of these pics.


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Oakly. Kansas.


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The Fick is full of fossils, sharks teeth, stone artifacts and is just a cool place to walk around taking a look, cost is nothing just a donation box at the front, if you visit throw them a couple of bucks to help keep the lights on. These small Kansas town museums can be a treasure trove of cool stuff.


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A painting depicting the German Family Massacre hangs in the museum.


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Below is a photo that hangs in the museum of the German girls much later in life, the family was attacked in 1874, the last sister Julia passed away in 1959.


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Julia far right, shortly after being brought in by the Cheyenne.


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One more painting from the museum, sorry about the quality or lack of. It's called Monumental Journey. It shows Custer and his men, if you notice they sit their horses on the Smoky Hill Trail, or B.O.D.


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Old February 22nd, 2011, 11:00 AM   #47

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Awesome stuff Sod! THANKS!!!

I'm enjoying the images and the notes that you add.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:47 PM   #48
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YouTube - Stagecoach

Though the Government was using it some, as were probably many emigrant parties and gold-seekers, the life of the Smoky Hill route really began when David A. Butterfield took hold of it in 1865. Though living at Atchison, he had an extensive acquaintance in Denver from several years residence there, and the people of Denver had unbounded faith in him. He was a smooth talker was very ambitious and had few equals as an organizer, and evidently believed in advertising, for he spent large sums of money advertising his enterprise through the leading papers in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Atchison, Denver and Salt Lake, and it became one of the leading topics of the day all over the country.


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Alexander Gardner, 1867, 6 miles west of Hays, 886 miles west of St Louis.
(The prairie apears to have burnt in this photo)

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Meanwhile the actual road was being prepared. The surveying party, consisting of Lt. Julian R. Fitch and four men of the U S Signal Corps, Col. Isaac Eaton and his party of twenty-six constructionists with eleven four-mule teams and wagons, and an escort of two hundred and fifty cavalry under Maj. Pritchard, left Ellsworth July 14 on the actual work of surveying and constructing the road and stations.


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Some extracts from Lt. Fitch's report concerning this particular part of the trail will be interesting, - "Our road from this point laid over a hard stretch of level bench land covered with a luxuriant growth of buffalo grass. Finding fine springs as we traveled along, erecting mounds for every station, forty-six miles from Ft. Ellsworth we came to Big Creek at its mouth, a large stream having a beautiful valley with heavy timber. Here we made a good rock ford and erected a mound for a station. On the morning of the 18th we left camp, bearing a little south of west, close to the Smoky, and at a distance of twenty-eight miles we came to a fine large spring, one of the finest in the west. (This was the spring at Fremont's Pawnee Indian Village located on the N E quarter of 21-15-19, which village site H. C. Raynesford surveyed and mapped in 1953).


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Fifteen miles further (at the John Allman ranch) we bore away from the river and kept on high level ground about three miles north of the river which here makes a southerly bend. On the south side of the river, opposite this point, we discovered high bluffs covered with cedar. (Cedar Bluffs).

(The Smokey is now damed at Cedar Bluffs, below is a photo from the top of the bluffs looking out over the trail, which is covered by the reservoir now, looking west)

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(Looking east, the thing you must remember is that out here on these Great Plains places like this that had some elevation were a magnet for people, if you traveled the Smoky you were going to come up here for a look, you can see forever)

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Twelve and a half miles west we camped at the head springs of a stream emptying south three miles into Smoky Hill. The water and grass at the place we found unusually fine. We called this place Downer Station. Nine and one-fourth miles furtherwest we crossed Castle Rock Creek (Hackberry). Camped two days to rest. The scenery here is really grand. One mile south is a lofty calcareous limestone bluff, having the appearance of an old English castle with pillars and avenues traversing it in every direction. We named it Castle Rock....The advantages of the Smoky Hill route over the Platte or the Arkansas must be apparent to everybody. In the first place it is 116 miles shorter to Denver, and emigration, like a ray of light, will not go around unless there are unsurmountable obstacles in the way. In this case the obstructions are altogether on the Platte and Arkansas routes. Aside from the difference in the distance in favor of the new route, you will find no sand on it, whilst from Julesburg to Denver, a distance of 200 miles, the emigrant or freighter has a dead pull of sand, without a stick of timber, or a drop of living water, sane the Platte itself, which is from three to five miles from the road; and when it is taken into consideration that a loaded ox-train makes but from twelve to fourteen miles a day, it will not pay and will double the distance to drive to the Platte for the purpose of camping, and all will admit that the Platte waters are so strongly impregnated with alkali as to render it dangerous to water stock in it, whilst on the new route not a particle of this bane can be found." "Another advantage of the new route is hardly a spear of grass can be found to hide the sandy desert-like appearance of the route: whilst on the new route an abundance of excellent buffalo grass and gramma grass can be found all the way."


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The enterprise started off with a rush. Business was big from the start. The first train sent out -- a small one -- was on June 4th, 1865 and was known as "Train A", loaded with 150 thousand pounds of freight for Denver. On July 15th another train carried seventeen large steam boilers and another carried 600,000 lbs. of miscellaneous supplies. Steamboats discharged great quantities of freight on the Atchison levee for shipment on the "Despatch line",


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Butterfield himself went through on the first coach, which reached Denver Sept. 23d, 1865. The people of Denver had the greatest confidence in him and his enterprise and gave him an enthusiastic welcome. They met him a few miles out of Denver with a delegation of prominent citizens -- his old friends and neighbors -- transferred him to a carriage and drove him direct to the Planter's House, where they received him royally with enthusiastic speeches and a great banquet.


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All of these photos are the landskape of the Smoky Hill Trail, they are taken just off to the side or directly off of the trail, this is what you would have seen minus the crops out the window of your coach.


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Kansas Mud Wagon, I took this pic at the Kansas Historical Museum in Topeka this is what a lot of the coaches looked like, they were rag tops.


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What they would have used to grade the trail.


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Lt. Julian R. Fitch is my great great great grandfather.....
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:36 PM   #49

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Julian, that is awesome that your GGG grandad had a part in the B.O.D. and the Smoky Hill Trail. I bet you have heard some storys.



"Meanwhile the actual road was being prepared. The surveying party, consisting of Lt. Julian R. Fitch and four men of the U S Signal Corps, Col. Isaac Eaton and his party of twenty-six constructionists with eleven four-mule teams and wagons, and an escort of two hundred and fifty cavalry under Maj. Pritchard, left Ellsworth July 14 on the actual work of surveying and constructing the road and stations."
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:48 PM   #50
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My research has just begun... So to find information on here about him was very exciting.

At a young age he was also an escort to Lincoln when he was here in 1859..
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