History

The Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail was one of those natural routes sometimes found between countries far separated. The physical conformation of the Southwest made this road a commercial highway. Over its course—at least, over courses approximating its final location—savage tribes had migrated and warred and traded for many generations before America was discovered. It could not be otherwise. For some definite way was necessary from the mouth of the Kansas River across the Prairies, and Great Plains to the depressions in the mountain systems of Western North America. The breaking down of these mountain chains produced the arid lands and desert …

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Sante Fe Trade Bibliography

The supreme authority on the Santa Fe Trail and the trade developed over it is The Commerce of the Prairies, by Dr. Josiah Gregg. It is the foundation of every work on the subject since its appearance. It was published in 1844 in New York, and London. Dr. Gregg was born in Overton County, Tennessee, July 19, 1806. His father moved to Missouri in time to have his family interned in the blockhouse in Boone’s Lick settlement in the war of 1812. After that war he settled in Jackson County, Missouri, just north of Independence, where he grew up, as …

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Quivera

The march of Coronado having for its immediate object the discovery of Quivira began at Cicuye. This pueblo had been by many identified with the ruins of Pecos. If we accept Mr. Dellenbaugh’s location of Tiguex, the village of Cicuye was far south of the Pecos ruin. The direction from Cicuye was to the east by south, coming out on the Llano Estacado, where the buffalo herds were found in such numbers. Following the buffalo were found two plains tribes, the Querechos and the Teyas, now supposed to have been the Tonkawas of West-central Texas, and the Comanches. The Turk …

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The Retrocession Of Louisiana To France

Many of the causes of the situation which developed in Louisiana during its detention by Spain lay far back in the history of the country. The Floridas (East Florida and West Florida) were established by Great Britain in the Proclamation of October 7, 1763, defining the British colonies in America. West Florida embraced the country between the Mississippi and Chattahoochee rivers south of the thirty-first parallel. The west boundary of the United States as fixed by the treaty concluding the Revolution was the Mississippi, down to the thirty-first parallel. Thence it ran east along that parallel to the Chattahoochee. Spain …

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The Purchase Of Louisiana

he prospect that France would establish a colonial empire in America was not pleasing to the United States. To counteract its influence Jefferson believed it would be necessary to form a close alliance with Great Britain. For France was then at the zenith of her power. She did not take immediate possession of Louisiana, but left the administration in the hands of Spain. In 1802 the Spanish Governor suspended the right of the Americans to deposit commercial products in New Orleans. This action caused intense excitement. President Jefferson was compelled to take notice of the state of mind in the …

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The Pony Express

The most romantic enterprise connected with the Oregon Trail was the Pony Express. It was the conception of Senator Gwin, of California. In 1859, the only Overland Mail to California was by the Butterfield Route—from St. Louis and Memphis to Fort Smith; thence to El Paso; thence to Los Angeles, and thence to San Francisco. The Senator believed a shorter route could be found by the Oregon Trail and the road from Salt Lake City to the Pacific Coast. In the winter of 1859-60, W. H. Russell, of Russell, Majors & Waddell, was in Washington in connection with contracts his …

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Pike’s Excursion Through Kansas

The start was made on the 15th of July, 1806, from Belle Fontaine, on the south bank of the Missouri, fourteen miles from St. Louis, then the military post of that city. The party were embarked in two boats, and the Indians marched along the bank of the river. The mouth of the Osage was reached on the 28th of July. The exploration ascended the Osage. On the 12th of August it was at the mouth of Grand River, above the present town of Warsaw, Mo. There the Indians expressed a desire to strike across the country to their towns, …

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Pike’s Expedition Bibliography

Sources Consulted: The principal authority consulted in the preparation of this section is The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, edited by Dr. Elliott Coues, three volumes, Francis P. Harper, New York, 1895. It is one of the great authorities on Western history. The work next in importance is Discoveries made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River and Washita by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley, and Mr. Dunbar, Washington, 1806. This book contains much of value pertaining to the Western Indians of that day. The copy in the Library of the Kansas State Historical Society was once the property of …

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The Overland Stage on the Oregon

It was to be expected that the contractors to transport the mails overland to Salt Lake City, and later to Denver, should engage in the business of carrying passengers in their wagons. Hockaday & Liggett put on a line of stage coaches from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Salt Lake City in connection with their mail contract. As the mail went out but twice a month this was a slow line, and if a passenger barely missed a departing coach he was doomed to a wait of two weeks. In the winter of 1858 the Pike’s Peak gold excitement was at …

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Peter H. Burnett

In 1843, Peter H. Burnett, living then in Clay County, Missouri, determined to move to Oregon. He was induced to do this by the Congressional report of Senator Appleton on that country. Senator Linn, of Missouri, had introduced into Congress a bill granting a settler six hundred and forty acres of land for himself and one hundred and sixty acres for each of his children. Under that act, should it pass, he would be entitled to sixteen hundred acres of land. Dr. Whitman, the missionary, was then on the western border of Missouri. Burnett and others forming the company were …

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