Thursday, May 20, 2010

Council Grove

John and I have always wanted to go to Council Grove, KS. The historic significance has always intrigued us.

One of the most documented crossings on the Santa Fe Trail, this natural rock bed crossing over the Neosho River. We saw the wagon wheel ruts worn into the rock beds.

We stood on the banks of the river and closed our eyes trying to picture the many wagons that had crossed here so very long ago. There was a slight wind and meadowlarks calling one to another. I could almost hear the wagon wheels, the men calling to the oxen and the children walking along side.

I wonder what it was like to walk those many miles, to endure the many hardships and tragedies. I wondered if I would have the courage to leave my home and my belongings behind in search of a new land. I hope I am that strong.

This statue honors the Native American Kaw or Kansa Tribe. Together with the Madonna of the Trail, these two statues symbolize the true story of the West. They both stand near the waters of the crossing of the river.

A shelter east of the Neosho River bridge protects the stump of the Council Oak. Gathered in the shade of the big oak on a hot August day in 1825, agents of the Osage tribe and the U.S. government signed a treaty giving Americans and Mexicans safe passage along the Santa Fe Trail through Osage territory in return for $800. The tree no longer stands here but the memory is still here.

Not too far away it the Kaw Mission. Methodist missionary's built a mission to school the Kaw children. They felt that if they could teach them White ways they could fit into society better. The Kaw nation were hunters. The missionaries taught them to farm. The Indians were never accepted into the white ways liked the missionaries had hoped. The Kaw nation became more and more poor.

During the Mormon battalion march, they camped at the Kaw mission for a time. Out church has erected a small historical marker on the property.

1 comment:

Leesa said...

Wow - that is very cool! I've never been there, but it looks well worth the visit. I am like you, wondering what it would have been like to travel by foot with only what I could carry in a wagon.. It's amazing.