KanColl: The Kansas
Historical Quarterlies

Surveying the Southern Boundary Line
of Kansas: From the Private Journal of
Col. Joseph E. Johnston

Edited by Nyle H. Miller

February, 1932 (Vol. 1, No. 2), pages 104 to 139
Transcribed by lhn; HTML editing by Name withheld upon request
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.


ON March 25, 1856, nearly two years after Kansas was organized as a territory under provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska act, May 30, 1854, a bill was introduced in congress by John S. Phelps, representative from Missouri, to provide for the survey of the southern boundary line of the territory. [1] The boundaries of the territory after its organization were described as follows:

     "Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same (about thirty miles north of the southwest corner of Missouri, or 36° 30' parallel of north latitude); thence west on said parallel to the eastern boundary of New Mexico; thence north on said boundary to latitude thirty-eight; thence following said boundary westward to the east boundary of the territory of Utah, on the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence northward on said summit to the fortieth parallel of latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the state of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state (being a meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas river) to the place of beginning." [2]

     Until January, 1854, the parallel 36° 30' was the proposed southern boundary of the new territory. This was to enable the territorial government to control the Santa Fe trail. [3] The significance of the line 36° 30' in the Missouri compromise also might explain its use in tentative bills for territorial organization drawn up previous to that date; the proposed repeal of the Missouri compromise did away with this significance. [4] A map of Kansas and Nebraska, indorsed August 5, 1854, by George W. Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shows the thirty-seventh parallel as the dividing line between the Osage and Cherokee reservations. [5] This and similar mappings of the territory may have influenced Senator Stephen A.

1. House Journal, 34th Cong., 1st and 2d sess., part 1, s.n. 838, p. 719.

2. Martin, Geo. W., "The Boundary Lines of Kansas," Kansas Historical Collections, v. 11, p. 65. See, also, Kansas-Nebraska bill, 10 U. S. Stat. L., pp. 283-284.

3. Hall, Willard P., February 10, 1853. Congressional Globe, 32d Cong., 2d sess., p. 560.

4. Gittinger, Roy, "Separation of Nebraska and Kansas From the Indian Territory," Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 1, p. 28.

5. The compiler erred. Corrected maps show the division 3 miles north of the thirty-seventh parallel.



Douglas to establish the thirty-seventh parallel in section nineteen of the Kansas-Nebraska bill as the southern boundary of Kansas. [6]

     Indian tribes located within the limits or jurisdiction of the territory were expressly "excepted out of the boundaries," in the provisions of the act, and were in no way to become a part of the territory of Kansas until such signified their assent to the President of the United States to be included within said territory. [7] A similar "exception" clause was contained in the act of January 29, 1861, admitting Kansas as a state. [8] Thus, the thirty-seventh parallel did not become the effective southern boundary of Kansas until the treaty of February 23, 1867, when the Quapaws, last of the tribes to conform, ceded all their right, title and claim to land in Kansas. [9] The Cherokee Nation, another principal Kansas land-owning tribe, relinquished its title by the treaty of July 19, 1866, ratified and confirmed by the act approved July 31, 1866. [10]

     Surveying of the ultimate boundary line was not to be delayed until such Indian claims had been quieted, however, for the house referred the bill providing for the survey of the southern boundary of Kansas (34th Cong., 1st sess., H. R. 197) as introduced by Mr. Phelps, to its committee on territories. The bill was returned with an amendment in the nature of a substitute therefor which was passed by the house June 23, 1856. [11] Seven days later the senate concurred, [12] and the act as approved on July 8 became law:

     "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized and directed to cause the southern boundary line of the territory of Kansas, between the state of Missouri and the territory of New Mexico, to be surveyed and distinctly marked, and a plat of said survey shall be deposited in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, and another plat of said survey shall be deposited in the office of the secretary of the territory of Kansas." [13]

     A supplementary act making an appropriation of $35,400 for the work was approved August 18, 1856. [14]

     The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, on April 25, 1857, printed notices of military movements for the spring and summer. Among these was the announcement that Lieut.-Col. Joseph E.

6. 10 U. S. Stat. L., p. 283.

7. Ibid., p. 284.

8. 12 U. S. Stat. L., p. 127.

9. 15 U. S. Stat. L., Treat. 3, p. 30. 10. 14 U. S. Stat. L., Treat. 8, pp. 120-121.

11. House Journal, 34th Cong., 1st and 2d sess., part 2, s. n. 839, p. 1100.

12. Ibid., p. 1132.

13. 11 U. S. Stat. L., p. 27.

14. Ibid., pp. 139-140.


Johnston, [15] First cavalry, with four companies of that regiment and two companies of the Sixth infantry, was to proceed early in May upon duty connected with the survey of the southern boundary of Kansas.

     On May 2 the Herald reported that extremely cold weather assured but little grass for two or three weeks and the expedition might be delayed as a result. Colonel Johnston had been in St. Louis, April 25, on business relating to the survey. He was to return to Fort Leavenworth and conduct the troops to the starting point on the Missouri line at the thirty-seventh parallel, there to be met by J. H. Clarke and Hugh Campbell, astronomers, and J. E. Weyss, surveyor, with their party.

     Colonel Johnston kept a day-by-day account of this survey, covering the period from May 16, when the expedition left Leavenworth, to October 29, 1857, when he encamped on Spring river below Cherokee county, Kansas, on his return. The journal was penciled in an account book, 8 x 14 inches, and is a part of the Johnston collection donated to the library of the College of William and Mary in Virginia by Hon. Robert M. Hughes, a nephew of Joseph Johnston. Through the courtesy of Dr. E. G. Swem, college librarian, the journal is here reproduced exactly as written except for the employment of punctuation marks and capitalization for clarity.

     A plat of the survey, in seven sections, is a part of the Kansas State Historical Society's map collection. It was an 1878 accession from former-governor James M. Harvey and assisted materially in the preparation of notes for the journal. Presumably it is the copy provided the office of the secretary of the territory in compliance with the act of congress relative to the survey. The trail of the wagon train as it meandered about the thirty-seventh parallel to the New Mexican boundary line and as it returned through the confines of present-day Oklahoma is clearly shown.

     The supply train which was due on the Santa Fe trail August 31, near the end of the line, was delayed, and part of the command was dispatched nearly 80 miles toward Fort Leavenworth to meet it. [16]

15. Joseph Eccleston Johnston was born at Cherry Grove, Va., February 3, 1807. He was graduated at West Point on July 1 1829. Following the customary advancements for meritorious service, he attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the First cavalry March 3, 1855, and was in command of the surveying party sent to mark the southern boundary of Kansas in 1857. On June 28 1860, he was made quartermaster general of the army with the rank of brigadier general but resigned April 22 1861, after Virginia seceded. He was then made major general of Virginia volunteers and later full general in the Confederate service. He died on March 21, 1891, in Washington, D. C.

16. Letter from the Secretary of War, house of representatives, 35th Cong., 1st sess., Ex. Docs., No. 103.


     A report from friendly Kiowas that a large band of Cheyennes was in the vicinity sent the troops scouring the countryside while the surveyors were completing their work, but the search was futile.

     Final calculations on the line were made September 10. The corner stone was established on that date near the source of Willow creek, a small tributary of the Cimarron river. Total distance from the Missouri border was 462 miles, 1,001 feet. [17]

     The homeward march was begun September 20. A copy of a letter from Colonel Johnston to the adjutant general, June 5, indicated that the party would return via Crawford's Seminary. [18] Receipt of a communication September 8 from John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, dated May 5, 1857, directed Colonel Johnston to ascertain the most practicable route for a railroad from the initial point of the boundary to the Rio Grande. [19] The tardy delivery of the message prohibited a thorough exploration of the terrain, but, obviously as a result of this order, Colonel Johnston split the caravan when it reached the juncture of Buffalo creek with the Cimarron river in order that the two divisions might examine more territory on their return. Captain Wood was instructed to lead the wagon train back to the Missouri line. Colonel Johnston, with a cavalry company, turned south to the bend of the Canadian river near the ninety-ninth meridian, before again resuming the northeasterly trek to the southeast corner of Kansas.


     May 16th. Left Fort Leavenworth about 11 o. c. A. M. with two companies 6th Infy (E & K-Capt. Garnett; Lieut. Smith & McLemore,20 & two squadrons 1st cavalry, with two-fifths of six months provision. Cavalry officers: Capts. Wood, De Saussure, &

17. Methvin, J. J., "The Fly Leaf," Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 6, pp. 348-349.

18. The letter, Johnston to Samuel Cooper, was copied on a flyleaf of the journal, now in possession of the College of William and Mary library. Crawford Seminary, a Quapaw mission school of the M. E. Church, South, was established in the Quapaw Nation, March 27, 1848 and was named for T. H. Crawford, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1832-1845. About April, 1848, it was moved to a new site about five miles north, near and east of the present Baxter Springs, close to the north line of the Quapaw lands. This new site was on the military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Gibson, about five miles west of the Missouri line and was the most southern post office on the government mail route in the territory from 1848 to 1863. See Mrs. Frank C. Montgomery's list of "Dead Towns of Kansas," Kansas State Historical Society. (Not published.)

19. House of representatives, 35th Cong., 1st sess., Ex. Does., No. 103.

20. Infantry officers were: Capt. Richard Brooke Garnet, who became a brigadier general, C. S. A., and was killed July 3, 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg; Lieut . Benjamin Franklin Smith, who was made a brigadier general of volunteers in the Union army, and Lieut. Owen Kenan McLemore, who went into the Confederate army as a lieutenant colonel, and died from wounds September 14, 1862. Heitman, Francis B., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, v. 1.


Anderson; Lieuts. Bell, Otis, Thompson, Ingraham & Taylor. [21] 1,000 bushels of corn had been sent forward 200 miles by Capt. Beall. [22] Forage for 12 days accompanied the party. Three Delaware guides were employed: Jim Connor, Benjamin Love & George Washington (the last name probably selected by the bearer). The 1st encampment was on 9 Mile creek.

     May 17th. Marched at 7 o. c. The Comy train which had started on the 15th & the two companies of Infy with their wagons were sent to the Delaware Crossing. [23] The rest of the party went to Tola's ferry. Companies F & K with the prairie guns, crossed. So did the Infantry at the lower ferry.

     May 18th. Companies C & I crossed, the latter at the lower ferry, & joined the other four near the Baptist church on the California road, [24] where we waited for the Comy & forage wagons which came up about 9 A. M.

     May 19th. The whole party encamped on Indian creek, where Dr. Wright joined it, about 13 miles from the ferries.

     May 20th. Passed Little Santa Fee, [25] about 2 miles from Camp. 4 miles further a branch of the Big Blue. A mile further the Big Blue. Four M. further wood & water on the left. Four further crossed the head of Grand river. [26] Encamped 2-1/2 M. further on a small branch, at the upper timber.

     May 21st. March at 611 45m. Crossed a small stream at 7h 45m & at noon reached Sugar creek [27] & encamped.

     May 22d. Misled by the guides through West point Mo. [28] 5 M. from camp. A mile from it, passed into the valley of the Marais des Cygnes, crossing several of its small branches. Troublesome.

21. Captains of the cavalry were: Thomas John Wood, who remained in the Union army and retired with the rank of brigadier general; William Davie De Saussier, who joined the Confederate army as a colonel, and was killed July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, and George Thomas Anderson, who became a Confederate brigadier general. Lieutenants of the cavalry were: David Bell, who died December 2, 1860 ; Elmer Otis, who became a colonel, U. S. A.; John A. Thompson, who followed the same flag to attain the rank of major; Edward Ingraham, who became a Confederate captain; and Joseph Hancock Taylor, who reached the rank of a colonel, U. S. A. Ibid.

22. Capt. William N. R. Beall joined the Confederate army and reached the rank of a brigadier general. Ibid., p. 203.

23. Delaware crossing was at the mouth of Delaware creek, about seven miles west of the Missouri border on the Kansas river. The stream is now known as Mill creek, Wyandotte township, Wyandotte county.

24. The Baptist church was located about three miles west of the Missouri border, and about the same distance south of the Kansas river, on a trail leading from Westport, Mo., to California.

25. Little Santa Fe or New Santa Fe is near the state line in Jackson county, Missouri.

26. Grand river rises in northeastern Miami county and is a tributary of the Osage river.

27. Sugar creek has its source in the east central part of Miami county and flows south, emptying into the Marais des Cygnes river in Linn county.

28. West Point, Mo., was about three miles east of the old Fort Leavenworth -Fort Scott-Fort Gibson military road, a trail followed by the caravan for a considerable distance. The old town site was north of the present city of Merwin, Bates county, Missouri.


     Crossed the stream (at the lower crossing) & encamped about a mile from the ford at noon, on a small tributary. Twenty-five Comy wagons remained on the N. side.

     May 23d. A fatigue party deployed until 7h 30m in assisting the wagons which had encamped on the N. side, in crossing. Marched at 8h. Crossed in 1-1/2 mile, a bold little stream. 3-1/4 miles further a creek in timber & a small tributary on the S. At 10 on summit of "divide." At 12 crossed (in timber) a branch of the Osage. In three miles the little Osage. [29] Encamped a mile from it, on a little branch.

     May 24th. Marched at 7 A. M. At 8h 5' halted at a little prairie stream (or rather succession of pools) to water. In motion again at 8h 30'. Crossed the Marmiton [30] at 9h 50'. Fort Scott at 10h. Encamped at 11h 30' on a small creek which looks as if it might be dry in summer. Heavy rain in the afternoon & evening. Coal found in the bank of the creek.

     May 25th. On account of rain of yesterday, started at 10. At eleven crossed a stream with wood on its banks. At 11h 40' crossed the big Dry Wood. Stream rising rapidly, so that only 3 or 4 of the Compy wagons were able to cross. Encamped on a bold stream 3 miles further, to "wait for the wagons."

     May 26th. Moved at 9h 10'. Road parallel to the stream two miles. At four, about a thousand yards from it. At 11h watered at a prairie stream. A patch of timber a half M. below (east). In motion again at 11h 35'. At 1h halted to encamp on a creek in which the water lay in deep pools. No wood. Timber visible about two miles to S. W. Coal visible in the channel of the creek.

     May 27th. Marched at 7h 10'. In a half hour opposite to the wood mentioned yesterday & about a mile from it. The wood of another creek almost parallel to the road from this point. At 8h 20' halted to water at such a creek as that at the last encampment. At 8h 45' in motion. At 10h 50' at Cow creek. At 12h 45' reached & encamped on a wet-weather stream with abundance of wood. Coal in its bed also. Rain before night.

     May 28th. Waited until 9h 10' to let tents & the surface of the ground dry. At 10h 30' the party left the Mil. Road to avoid spring river. I followed that road. Crossed the river at the mouth of Shoal creek, at 11h 45'. At 1h 15' passed the Agency, once Crawford Seminary, & in an hour's ride up "five miles creek," reached Mr.

29. The Little Osage river, flowing eastward through northern Bourbon county.

30. Marmaton river.


Clark's Camp. Found his position established (in lot:) by satisfactory observations. Extreme difference between means of the results of each of three nights being 0" 18. Found the party encamped on a creek a half mile N. of Baxter's, [31] the 2d below the road. Coal abundant in the neighborhood. A strong Calybeate spring [32] at Baxter's (or rather two near each other), each rising in the vertex of an obtuse cone of red mud.

     May 29th. Moved to the edge of the wood opps to the ford near Baxter's. Mr. Clark fixed his meridian, about 150 ft. W. of the Missouri line. Gave it to Mr. Weysse on May 30th. Mr. Weysse commenced work on the line. Marked the initial point 5,770 ft. north of Mr. Clark's observation. The Missouri line is marked by blazing trees on a breadth of from ten to twenty feet, so that we had no mode of fixing the initial point accurately with reference to it.

     May 31st. Mr. Weysse commenced running & marking the Kansas line. The wood being thick & the ground broken, his progress was slow. About a mile & one monument.

     June 1st. Moved the camp about a mile S. Mr. Clark established his observatory by it (N). Mr. Weysse at work on the line. Mr. Kennerly [33] moved his camp to within about a mile of "the Agency" on five mile creek.

     June 2d, 3d, 4th & 5th. Mr. Clark established another astronomical point [34] & Mr.Weysse reached the prairie W. of Spring river & connected his work with it & measured 1-1/2 miles beyond.

     June 6th. Heavy rain in the morning. Mr. Clark moved his observatory to the W. side of the Neosho. Troops moved about 7-1/2 miles to Tar creek, [35] to which the line was measured.

     June 7th. The troops encamped on Russell's Ck [36] about 4 miles from the ford of the Neosho near Mr. Clark. Mr. Weysse crossed Four Miles creek, on which Mr. Kennerly made his camp.

     31. Home of A. Baxter, a squatter, and a Universalist missionary. His claim, lying along Spring river in Cherokee county on the military road, was a favorite camping place for travelers. Later, the townsite of Baxter Springs was located here. See Kansas Historical Collections v. 7, p. 245 and Allison, N. T., History of Cherokee County, pp. 35, 152. A correspondent of the Missouri Democrat, quoted in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, June 27, wrote of the assembling party as follows: "The surveyors are already on the ground and prepared for running the southern boundary line; their duties to commence about first proximo, and continue during the season. Surveyors, commissioners, dragoons-more than one hundred wagons with their teamsters- a thousand horses and mules! Such are a few of the requirements for running the line of the state . . . ."

32. Chalybeate springs-impregnated with salts of iron.

33. Mr. Kennerly probably heads the wagon train.

34. Astronomical station was located about 1/2 mile south of Baxter Springs.

35. Camp was established one mile south of line on Tar creek, nearly midway between the Neosho and Spring rivers.

36. This stream runs nearly parallel to the line (in Oklahoma) and empties into the Neosho river 112 miles from the boundary.


     June 8th. The cavalry started at 10 A. M. for Camp Snow [37] twenty miles W. where we have 800 bushels of corn. Mr. Weysse reached the Neosho too late, when it was rising rapidly and no longer fordable. Rained all night.

     June 9th. River still rising. Another rain at night.

     June 10th. Mr. Weysse's surveying party crossed the river in a canoe. Ran the line about 3/4 mile in the bottom. On the 11th, reached Mr. Clark's station. On the 12th, Mr. C. gave the Meridian & the new tangent was established. The river falling, but not fordable. [38]

     June 13th. Mr. Clark went to (started) the west side of the Verdigris. Neosho not fordable. Two fords above examined, near Roger's & Magee's. Said to be shallower than the lower one.

     June 14th. McMaster employed to guide Mr. Kennerly to Magee's ford. Reached the camp so late that the wagon couldn't get nearer to the ford than a mile. Mr. Weysse's party crossed in the canoe in the afternoon & worked two or three hours.

     June 15th. Mr. Kennerly crossed the river during the forenoon (including cutting a road) & went. about 7 miles. Encamped in the prairie on a rain-water stream. Capt. Garnett moved to the same ground. Mr. Weysse made about 6 miles on the line, passing the 30th [mile]. The line marked this side of the Neosho, with a mound (conical) at the end of every mile; a stake in the center with the distance marked on its east face, & the letter K on the north. The mounds two feet high, except every sixth, which is four. The line to-day parallel to Russell's creek & from half to three quarters of a mile from it. The country gently undulating & soil rich black loam, limestone showing itself occasionally. Wood showing itself two or

37. On Snow Camp creek, which crosses the border four miles east of the Verdigris river.

38. A letter from the Neosho river, dated June 11, was published in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, July 11. It was signed by "Camanche," a member of the expedition, and is herewith quoted in part: This morning four companies of cavalry and one of infantry struck tents and, together with seventy-five wagons laden with supplies, took up their line of march westward across the prairie toward the Verdigris river, thirty miles distant, where they will again encamp until they shall be joined by those in the rear. The services of the military portion of the expedition being wholly unneeded at this early stage of the route, they are enabled to make more rapid progress than the scientific corps and those in immediate attendance thereon.

     "Messrs. Clark and Campbell, who have charge of the astronomical calculations are now encamped on the western bank of the river, near the mouth of Russell's creek, where they must, of course, remain until an observation can be had. Yesterday the surveyors struck the eastern shore near the mouth of Fly creek, where they are detained by reason of high water, the Neosho having been swollen by recent heavy rains. Every twenty-four hours we are favored with one or more heavy storms of wind and rain accompanied by thunder and lightning; and at this writing, the Neosho is rising and rolling rapidly. At this point, owing to a sudden bend in the river, the line will run for a distance of three miles, directly through the heavily timbered bottom, which being now covered by water, is impassible; therefore a detention of several days must be endured. And here the great thoroughfare from the vast lead region and Grand Falls in S. W. Missouri which has been greatly improved by the passage of this expedition along the route, crosses the Neosho, whence a good carriage road has been opened along the southern boundary to its western extremity.


three miles to the S. E. on the crest of a ridge beyond the creek. The wood of the creek terminates opposite to the camp. Heavy rain in the afternoon & night.

     June 16th. Mr. Weysse made near 7 miles stopping on the "divide" between 12 Miles creek & an affluent of the Verdigris, the latter running to the S. W. in a broad & beautiful valley, the Western side of which is abrupt; wood scattered through it. The surface of the country like that passed over yesterday. A 2d wood visible to the S. E. of that seen from the last camp. Found Mr. Kennerly & the two companies encamped on 12 Miles Ck near the road. The 37th mile passed.

     June 17th. The ground more broken than yesterday. After crossing the valley mentioned yesterday, the line follows the "divide" between a branch of that valley & Su-ka-tunk [Turkey creek]. The camp was fixed by Capt. G. near (about a half mile above) Camp Snow. Parallel to this creek (the portion below Camp Snow) is another, some 3 miles to the N. W. The wood skirting it visible from its mouth to a point nearly N. of Camp Snow, from a hill W. of the latter. Its Osage name is Watunk a kashink (Pumpkin creek). The 44th mile was marked. The line passes near two miles S of Camp Snow. The soil passed over rich like that of yesterday. Mr. Clark observed dis: Z. D. of 10 prs. of stars.

     June 18th. Capt. G. marched at 9 A. M. following Capt. Wood's road, it being ascertained from Joe Spaniard that the left-hand one, which is nearest to our course, terminates at the wood on this side of the Verdigris. 6 M. from camp crossed the Wa tunkakashink at a very bad ford, thence to the ford of the Verdigris, 3 M. The mouth of Nenetunk [Big Spring creek] is just above the ford. An Osage village of 27 huts, a half mile west of the ford. [39] The inhabitants buffalo hunting. Two miles to the S. is Niskeokaka (Salt creek) coming from the west; well wooded. [40] Found Capt. Wood encamped on the south side near its mouth. Mr. Clark, a mile to the S. W.; by his observations of the night before 19" north of the line. The most beautiful district of Kansas visible from a hill ¼ M. S. of his observatory. Mr. Weysse reached the wood skirting the river on the E. Mr. Clark observed Z. D. of 14 prs. of stars.

     June 19th. Looked for a route westward, accompanied by Lt. Bell, who had ridden over the ground. Went to the crest of the

9. The Osage village was located in what is now the northwest part of the city of Coffeyville, Montgomery county.

10. Description fits that of present-day Onion creek.


dividing ridge this side of the Little Verdigris, [41] from which everywhere S. of the line the country appeared to be much more broken & wooded than that east of the Verdigris.

     Mr. Weysse crossed the river. The dis. to the E. bank: 52 miles, 1,400 ft.

     Night cloudy. A little rain. No ast'l observations.

     June 20th. Mr. Weysse came up to Mr. Clark's camp at noon (about 5 M. back to the river). Night not favorable. 8 prs. of stars observed.

     June 21st. The party (except Capt. Wood's company left to follow with Mr. Weysse) moved at 9 A. M. Lt determined & Medn fixed by 10. Mr. Weysse's line [omission] ft. S. of ast'l pt., the route taken along the dividing ridge between the Piematunk & the Niskeokaka as far as the divide & between the Main & E. b. of Little Verdigris. [42] A large body of timber on the left. A magnificent view from the summit of the ridge, about 9 miles from the last camp. A wide valley on the west, that of the Little Verdigris enlarged by several intermediate tributaries. The country beyond wooded & broken. Encamped on the nearest branch, about 4 M. further.

     June 22d. Marched at 10 A. M. preceded by a pioneer party of 20 under Lt. Thomson. In 5 miles reached the Little Verdigris. Pioneers employed some 2 hours in making a road across it. The ford S. of the line. Moved on a little S. of W. to avoid rugged hills. In 4 M. another creek (water stagnant) which employed the pioneers an hour. 5 M. further encamped on a creek, Cow-a-wha (horse head) having a very deep channel, 1½ M. N. of its mouth in a stream W. branch (largest) of the Little Verdigris, the valley of which seems to come from a little N. of W. An Osage trail apparently crossing the little Verdigris S. of our ford, was struck 2 M. from the latter & followed to camp. The country, especially to the N., very broken. A good deal of oak in the heights. Observations on B. U. M. & B. Librae showed our camp to be in Lat: 37° 58' 20".

     June 23d. After crossing the creek went about 20° N. of W. (the Osage trail bearing S. of W.) 2 M. to the top of a ridge from which the route entered & followed the valley of a small creek, which was crossed 3 M. further, then passed over a rugged ridge covered with

41. The Little Verdigris, as described here by Colonel Johnston, is now known as the Little or North Caney creek where it crosses the boundary.

42. Between the Verdigris river and Little or North Caney creek.


post oak 12 M. into the valley of a middle branch of the Little Verdigris some 2 M, above its junction with the S. one which seemed to come from the S. W. Both broad, well wooded & deep. Followed this valley a little N. of W. 7 M. & encamped. The channel of the stream very deep; the water accessible at very few points. Lat: as determined with the sextant by Mr. Clark, 37° 00' 12". A large valley enters this one from the S. which has its course from the W., a mile above the junction.

     June 24th. Mr. Thomson reported a ford a mile above & an easy route from it to and along the ridge between the vallies & made a road thro' the river bottom. [43] Capt. Anderson & Lt. Ingraham followed the ridge 15 miles, finding it nearly due west in its course, & a good route. Moved camp in the afternoon to its point, between the branch & main stream. Mr. Clark fixed his observatory; commenced operations. [44] The additional obser. made 25 and 26th were thought sufficient. The Meridian was marked.

     June 27th. Moved 1-1/2 mile up the creek, crossing it. Saw Mr. Weysse in the afternoon, in the N. edge of the valley, 4-1/2 miles below.

     June 28th. Capt. Anderson, with Compy I & the pioneers, went forward to reconnoitre & make a road. Mr. Weysse connected his line with the astronomical point; his tangent 1,531 feet N. of the pt fixed astronomically. Capt. Wood came into the camp with his company.

     June 29th. Left Capt. De Saussure with compy F to escort Mr. Weysse & moved with the other five on Capt. A's road. Found that he had left the "divide" after 4 or 5 miles, to enter & follow the creek on the north, two or three miles from the line. [45] The troops followed to his camp. I followed the dividing ridge about 12 Miles opposite to where I supposed his camp to be, then turned to the creek. Found the camp 3 M. below. Moved it up to where I had struck the creek. Our last camp was just with the timbered country. The march to-day was in prairie. The dividing ridge opposite is a plateau about 300 feet above this valley; the sides very abrupt & rocky. Limestone near the summit. The distance by the road to the last camp said to be 16 miles.

     June 30th. Muster & inspection between 7 & 9 A. M. Moved up

     43. The Big Caney crosses the boundary three times, in two miles, in central Chautauqua county, and caused the party considerable trouble.

44. The observatory was established in Oklahoma, one-quarter mile southwest of Elgin, Kan.

45. The troop train followed Rock creek, which flows east from Cowley county, emptying into the Big Caney above Hewins.


a branch about 2-1/4 miles S. to the plateau & turned then due west. Soon found that the slopes on the left are those of the Arkansas. Encamped on the W. side of a small creek (Ne-is-ka-bi-ka-kha or Spring creek) after bridging it. [46] The slopes on this side of the dividing ridge are comparatively gentle. This valley broad & rich. A good deal of timber below (S. S. W.), apparently. Mr. Clark observed with his sextant & found our position to be 1/2 M. S. of the line.

     July 1st. Marched at 8-1/2 due west, after turning a branch which enters the Ck a little below the pt at which our camp had been. Four miles from camp crossed a little stream; clear, cool water, skirted with wood. 2 M. further a canon with a clear stream. 7 M. further, after crossing two gentle ridges & a broad valley, encamped on the W. side of a little creek lined with timber, in a very narrow valley, 1-1/4 M. from its mouth in the Arkansas. The soil passed over to-day is much like that E. of the Verdigris. The grass knee high & very thick & fresh looking.

     July 2d. Moved into the timbered bottom. The Infantry made a ferry boat, under Capt. Garnett's direction, of four of the metallic wagon beds. Crossed & encamped on the W. bank, the loads of more than half the wagons carried over in the boat. The wagons forded a half mile below. Mr. Ingraham sent up the valley of river, crossed a clear creek 3 miles above the ferry & a much larger one 9 M. further, both coming from the N. E. [47] The river valley here is about a half mile wide, very sandy. The surface irregular. Mr. Clark crossed immediately after the infantry. The course of the valley a little W. of S. from the mouth of the creek 3 M. above, to a point about 4 M. below.

     July 3d. Mr. Taylor went down the river on the west side about 10 M. & made in the afternoon a sketch of it & its little tributaries. The 3 companies of cavalry crossed after the remainder of the comy wagons & encamped above the ferry. Mr. Clark fixed his observatory on a hill 1 M. N. of camp & about a half M. S. of the line. The neighbouring country resembles very much that E. of the Verdigris.

     July 4th. National salute fired by "Taylor's Battery," the troops being under arms, at noon. [48] Capt. De Saussure arrived, with his

46. One of the streams now known as Beaver creek rising in southeastern Cowley county and flowing south into Oklahoma.

47. Lieutenant Ingraham crossed Grouse creek and Walnut river, in Cowley county.

48. The troops were encamped slightly over five miles east of Chilocco, Okla., on Independence day.


company about 3 o. c. P. M., reporting the surveyors have sent back a guard for their camp.

     July 5th. Mr. Kennerly's wagons in sight at 8 A. AM. A party detailed to assist him in crossing. Mr. Weysse in sight at 10. Mr. W. triangulated across the river. Mr. Clark's observations very satisfactory. His observatory 2,601 ft. S. of 37°.

     July 6th. Mr. Clark's obsv of last night excellent. Pioneers moved at 8-1/2. Troops started under Capt. Wood at l0h A. M. The Meridian marked & 2,601 ft. measured northward on it. Mr. Weysse unwell. Capt. Anderson & his company left to escort the surveyors. Instructed to lead the unmounted men every day with the party on the line. Found the camp on the Ni-hi-pa [Good-for-nothing creek], about 14 miles from the Arkansas. The road crossed the Bay-Chay-ne-ata [49] at about 7 miles. The dividing ridge between the Ck & river very broad & low. The grass on it thick & luxuriant. Soil, black loam. Limestone shows itself in the bluffs on the river. The Ck is marked by a line of trees about 8 M. The dividing ridge between the last Ck & this one is also low and broad with very gentle slopes. The top of it dry with poor thin grass; in the valley vegetation is fresh. Another branch of the Ck heading a mile E. is indicated by a strip of wood, like this one. They seem to join 1-1/2 M. southward & probably flow into what Joe says the Osages call the Little Arkansas: the Red fork as Col. Boone calls it. [50]

     July 7th. March at 9 A. M., an hour after the pioneers, crossing the Ck a little above the camp & a branch of it coming in from the W. 1/4 M. further. After crossing a gentle ridge, another Ck 1-1/2 M. from camp. Our route then crossed a plateau 5 or 6 miles wide, the soil of which seemed very dry & the grass thin. Another Ck, the wood of which commences 1/2 M. S. of the road; 7-1/2 M. front camp. Then another low ridge & broad rich valley in which we crossed two branches of a Ck 1/2 M. apart, [51 ]the 2d 10 M. from

49. Bache-e-ne-o-to or Whisky-drinking creek.

50. The "Little Arkansas" and "Red Fork" refer to the stream now known as the Salt Fork of the Arkansas river. Col. Nathan Boone whom Colonel Johnston cites, made a circuitous trip from Fort Gibson (eastern Oklahoma) in 1843, along the Arkansas river, crossing into Kansas in Harper county and traveling as far north as McPherson and Barton counties before heading south again, touching at the Cimarron and Canadian rivers on his return. Nathan Boone was the youngest son of Daniel Boone famous Kentucky pioneer. He moved with his family in 1796 into the present borders of Missouri, and grew into manhood there. At the outbreak of the War of 1812 President James Madison commissioned him captain of a company of Missouri volunteers. When Missouri was admitted to statehood under the provisions of the Missouri compromise of 1820 Nathan Boone was elected delegate to the state constitutional convention. Later, when the First regiment of United States Dragoons was organized, Boone quit politics and accepted a captaincy with that unit. After 'twenty years' service he retired, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, to a Missouri farm where he died January 12, 1857. For a copy of Boone's journal and a map of the route traversed, see Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 7, pp. 58-105.

51. Forks of Shoo Fly creek.


camp. From the table land just mentioned, a broad valley is visible 3 or 4 M. to the south, a line of timber in it indicating a considerable stream. The Cks crossed yesterday & to-day have not running water. A slight ridge in which (E. side) soft whitish limestone appears, separates this valley from that mentioned above. After riding in it across more than 3 M. came to a small river flowing from N. W., clear, with a sandy & deep channel. [52] It joins 3 or 4 M. E. S. E. another of nearly the same size, but less clear, flowing nearly from the west. [53] The grass in the low bottom land (the valley first mentioned is a 2d bottom) is in some places very luxuriant; in others, like much of that passed over to-day, thin & burnt. The country this side of the Arkansas seems to have [been] much frequented by buffalo until the last two or three weeks. The soil is easily washed; every little hollow has a deep gully. The channels of the creeks are very deep. The bank of this river wherever the stream strikes the side of the bottom, is perpendicular & 30 or 40 ft. high, of red clay. A spring of cool water found, as usual.

     July 8th. Marched at 8-1/2, 1-1/2 hours after the pioneers. The route lay for 4 M. in the 2d bottom, then crossed the S. branch of the Ne-shu-chesink & was carried so near its valley on the S. as to cross innumerable spurs & ravines. [54] The soil, red clay, apparently sterile. Limestone visible occasionally. Passed the red bluff seen ahead yesterday at 10-1/2. Just opposite to it the Ck seemed to fork, one branch coming from the N., [55] the other pa[ssing] a little N. of W. Encamped on the last timber of a S. branch of the latter 11/ M. from the main valley, & 14 from the last camp, 1/2 M. from our course. Wood within sight 4 or 5 M. to the S. when we turned off. Water very near, lying in pools which have been frequented by buffalo very lately. A party of 30 or 40 Osages of the band of Big head & Black Dog, [56] made us a visit while we were pitching tents, under Big Head & Shun-ma-lo. Gave them a little hard bread & sugar. They asked for more sugar, coffee & tobacco, & thought people who travel without a supply of the latter to give away, very improvident. They informed us that some of their people were hunting Comanches & that another party would set off in a few

52. Chikaskia river.

53. Bluff creek and Fall creek become one, before crossing the boundary line and join the Chikaskia four miles south of Hunnewell, Kan. (in Oklahoma), all emptying into the Salt Fork of the Arkansas river about 25 miles south.

54. This creek is now known as Bluff creek.

55. Fall creek.

6. A Party of Osages under Black Dog met the Nathan Boone expedition in southern Pratt county on June 27, 1843. See Boone's journal, Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 7, p. 88.


days, to join in the war. They had heard of no Comanches this year.

     July 9th. Marched at 8h 10' due west, soon getting upon a plateau near 6 M. wide. 8 M. from camp crossed a small stream in a very slight valley. A mile further another with a single cottonwood in sight. The first on slaty limestone. The red clay was much washed by the rain. After crossing a broad ridge near 3 M. wide we came to a lower country with much fresher vegetation. That passed before is parched by the sun. Encamped after marching 18 M. on a ravine containing a few pools of muddy water. [57] Hot south wind all day.

     July 10th. Marched at 8h 35', a range of sand hills on our left which our route gradually approached. Jim Conner says that "the salt" is beyond it. The end of it was passed 6 M. from camp. I turned to the left to see the country from the range of S. hills. The country from the last pt low & sandy. A creek crossed at 3 M. I overtook the party at another 3 M. further & turned it back to encamp on the first, opposite to "the salt." Said to be 5 or 6 M. to the south. Mr. Clark prepared to observe. [58] Rain soon after tents were pitched.

     July 11th. A buffalo hunt; two bulls, two cows & three calves killed. Mr. Clark made obsns on 12 prs. of stars. A little rain in the morning.

     July 12th. Started at 8h 45' to the salt plain. [59] accompanied by the Hon. J. S. Phelps, his nephew Mr. Eno, Capt. Garnett & Lts. Otis & Thomson. Rode S. 8 miles to a range of sand hills on which there is a growth of low cottonwood. From the top of one of these hills the salt was seen 5 or 6 miles to the S. Continued on that course. A mile before reaching it, crossed a stream of fresh water in a broad shallow channel. The plain is about 4 miles in extent, formed probably by the filling up of a lake. It is a bed of sand in which the salt water coming from the river above is absorbed, appearing in occasional pools generally filled with crystallized salt. The higher parts are covered with a thin efflorescence, not clean enough for use. Found several broad & shallow dry channels entering the plain from the West & one small stream of salt water. The cavalry sent to encamp 4 M. further west for better grazing. Hot south wind.

57. Encampment was made in southern Spring township, Harper county.

58. Observatory set up one-half mile south of the line on Sandy creek, Alfalfa county, Oklahoma.

59. Salt plain visited on July 12 was in Alfalfa county, Oklahoma.


     July 13th. Waiting for surveyors & astronomical point. Hot south wind.

     July 14th. Hon. Mr. Phelps left camp with Mr. Eno to return home [60] Compy I & Mr. Kennerly's party came into camp at 1 p. m. Mr. Weysse in the evening. Hot, south wind.

     July 15th. March 10 miles to a clear stream of sweet water in a broad channel shallow & sandy. [61] The valley nearly a mile wide. The sandy country ended about the middle of the march, the latter half of it over a dry hard soil and gentle undulating country. Mr. Weysse's line brought up before sunset. The hot wind repeated.

     July 16th. Mr. Weysse desired not to move. Marched at 8h 30', 17-1/2 miles over a plateau in which we crossed several ravines along which are scattered cottonwoods. The first, 5 M. from camp, is moist and sandy. The two last contain chains of pools of clear & slightly brackish water. Encamped on the W. side of the last. The plateau has been much frequented by buffalo. The soil very hard & dry, covered with very short buffalo grass. The south wind hotter & stronger than ever.

     July 17th. March at 8h 40'. In 2 M. crossed a dividing ridge from which a broad valley is visible, on the farther side of which we could see abrupt hills of red clay. At 6 M. passed a Ck with pools of water & a little timber. At 8 M. reached the river of the salt plain, in a valley of 1/2 M. wide; sandy & sterile. [62] The channel 50 yds. in breadth. A bed of sand saturated with water. No stream. The grass in the valley thin; a little timber, principally elm & cottonwood. 1-1/2 mile further encamped on a little Ck resembling the river in character. A high cliff of red clay over hanging the creek opposite the camp. The country passed over today a desert, like that of yesterday, & indeed the 3 previous days March. Cool water, but brackish (68°), obtained by digging 7 ft. in the "bottom."

     July 18th. Marched at 8h 30', following for 12 M. the ridge dividing the valley of the river from that of the camp of last night.

     60. Mr. J. S. Phelps, Missouri congressman, returned after reaching the present Harper-Barber county line. An article published in The Missouri Republican, St Louis, August 15 reprinted in the Kansas Tribune, Topeka, September 5, 1857, and the Lawrence Herald of Freedom, September 12, said: "Maj. Phelps was in this city yesterday on his way to the East. He accompanied Col. Johns[t]on's expedition to survey and mark out the southern boundary of Kansas, for about 220 miles west of the Missouri boundary line. When he left, the expedition was making good progress, expecting to complete their work and return by the month of November. The command had met with no interruption whatever, and Col. Johns[t]on it is believed will make a very flattering report of the country over which he has passed and will have to pass hereafter. A well-marked road has been made by the number of wagons attached to this expedition and work done upon it at the crossing of streams and other difficult places. Hereafter there will be no difficulty in following this route to New Mexico and wood and water will be found in abundance."

61. Probably refers to the Medicine river.

62. Salt Fork of the Arkansas river.


     The country, red clay, intersected in every direction by hollows and deep ravines worn by rain water. The course of the dividing ridge being too southerly, left it & after marching 3 M. further over its spurs, encamped in a little grove of elm & cottonwood, on a creek percolating in sand. A few cedars seen in the heads of ravines near the top of the dividing ridge.

     July 19th. Marched at 8h 30', the country less dry, the hills less abrupt, & the ravines less decided. After marching 12 M. we halted on the ridge between the valley of the Cimarron & that of the Salt Plain river. George Washington pointed out, a little E. of S. what he took to be the mouth of the Cimarron. [63] Conner, when he came up, agreed with him. Turned to the left & encamped in a hollow with pools of fresh water & a line of cottonwoods in it. The top of the dividing ridge & those of the spurs near it are of pale yellow clay, having a thin covering of sandy soil. This yellow clay is shown in the ravines too, near the ridge. All the hollows near this ridge have lines of cottonwood & elm.

     July 20th. Mr. Clark prepared to observe. Night cloudy. Thermometer at 4 P. M. 106°.

     July 21st. Cavalry moved 1-1/2 M. to the north, for better grass & water.

     July 22d. Went with Company I (Capt. A. & Mr. I.) to find the junction of the Cimarron & Red fork. Morning rainy. Started at l0h. Jim Conner, guide. Course, a little E. of S. 3h & 40' to the edge of the channel of the Cimarron opposite to the point of the cliff between the two rivers. Just 20' in riding across it at a brisk walk. A good deal of small drift in the channel. Near the middle we came to a thin crust of salt, which gradually increased in thickness; then shallow & apparently stagnant salt water in which the salt is not less than an inch thick. Near the S. W. shore for 15 or 20 yards, the water was 6 or 8 inches deep & the salt several inches in thickness. Conner pointed out a cove to the S. E. on the farther side of the Red Fork as the point where the salt is thickest & hardest. In riding to it across the bed of the Red fork, we crossed two streams of very strong salt water each 15 or 20 yards wide with smooth swift current, on a bed of crystallized salt 3 or 4 inches thick. About the point which Conner showed, the salt lay in broad sheets between the running water & S. shore not in water. Several

63. Buffalo creek, originating in Harper county, Oklahoma, joins the Cimarron river to form what Colonel Johnston, and other members of his party, designated the Red Fork of the Arkansas river. Now, the whole length of the river, until it unites with the Arkansas river at Keystone, Okla., retains the name of Cimarron.


holes cut in them showed a thickness of not less than 8 inches. At one of these holes there is a very small discharge of salt water. The nearest approach we could find to the salt springs mentioned in Capt. Boone's journal. The ridge separating the two valleys is, for a mile, very narrow. A heavy stratum of transparent gypsum near the middle of its height makes cliffs on both sides. [64] From the point, the Red fork is visible 10 or 12 miles below. Its course a little S. of E.; the salt disappeared in a mile or mile & a half. Beyond, the reddish sand between high bluffs made a shore like the Mississippi.

     We crossed the Red fork a half mile above the Cimarron, finding no change in the quantities of water & salt. Encamped in the valley of a creek which has fine running water 10 or 12 miles off. Here, but two or three bitter pools. The grass destroyed by buffalo & grasshoppers.

     July 23d. Moved up the Red fork. The appearance of salt & water diminished gradually & ceased [al]together about 2-1/2 M. from the Cimarron. The valley from 3/4 to 1/2 M. wide. Quite green compared with the country we have been seeing for the last 100 M. A few hundred yards above the salt, I found a small pool of salt water. Some 3 miles further, abundant pools of fresh water were found in the channel. Between 5 & 6 miles from the fork, two little groves of wild China trees. [65] Cottonwood occurs after 7 M. From this point turned N. N. E. & reached the salt plain of the Cimarron in about 5 M. No salt, the water percolating through the sand strongly saline. 4 M. from the plain, in the valley in which our camp lies, Jim Conner found a very bold boiling spring of cold water, near which we encamped.

     July 24th. Moved up the ridge west of the valley. 2 M. from camp saw the troops & train moving westward, Mr. Clark's astronomical tent visible at the same time. Compy turned N. W. to join. I reached camp at 9-1/2. Found the Pt satisfactorily determined. (39 Obns.) The Meridian marked & Lat. computed so that Mr. Weysse resumed his line westward about 12 M. I found

64. The above is a description of the salt marsh near Leafie, Okla., at the juncture of Buffalo creek with the Cimarron. John Bradbury in Thwaites' Early Western Travels, v. 5, pp. 192-193, says the "Grand Saline" is situated "between two forks of a small branch of the Arkansas, one of which washes its southern extremity; and the other, the principal one, runs nearly parallel, within a mile of its opposite side. It is a hard level plain, of reddish colored sand, and of an irregular or mixed figure. Its greatest length is from northwest to southeast, and its circumference full thirty miles... This plain is entirely covered in hot dry weather, from two to six inches deep, with a crust of beautiful clean white salt, of a quality rather superior to the imported blown salt; it bears a striking resemblance to a field of brilliant snow after a rain, with a light crust on its top. See, also, Nathan Boone's description in Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 7, pp. 89-91.

65. A shade tree sometimes known as chinaberry, pride of India, bead tree, Indian or Persian lilac, etc.


Capt. Wood, with the Cavalry, encamped 3 or 4 M. W. Capt. Garnett with the Infantry and Mr. Kennerly's party, 2 M. further.

     July 25th. Capt. De Saussure reported the death of private Brown of Compy F last night. He was buried this morning. Marched at 9-1/2. Came to the edge of the salt plain, after passing through a slight range of such sand hills, on a small scale, as those of Cape Cod, 4 M. from camp. Our route crossed a sort of bog of this plain, bordered E. & N. by the sand hills, then a green low sandy ridge 1/2 M. wide, then the Cimarron (its channel waterless) 200 yds. wide.

     By digging a foot in the sand we found water very slightly brackish & near above, a pool of water nearly fresh. Above the line the valley turned almost. westerly, the line itself gradually rising for 3 or 4 miles over very gentle spurs. The soil hard & dry. Buffalo grass short. 7 M. from the Cimarron we crossed a hollow having in it a few pools of water. 6 M. further, in the next hollow, we encamped on Pioneers Ck, [66] the Cimarron apparently 3 or 4 miles to the N. A violent storm at night.

     July 26th. Didn't move until 10 on account of the rain of last night. The crest of the ridge dividing the valley of the last camp from the next one W., the Cimarron on the right, a branch seeming to join it from the N. W. The line nearing the river. At 6 M. crossed a creek of swift, dark red water, the deep channel 60 or 80 yards wide. [67] From the crest of the next hill saw the Cimarron on our course, the valley broad. A range of sand hills on each side, the northern one much the largest & covered (thinly) with scraggy cottonwoods. A stream of clear salt water at the edge of the valley, the first sand hills separating it from the river valley. The channel of the Cimarron 200 yards wide, water not visible; wet sand. Water about a foot below its surface, slightly brackish. The sand hills about 1-1/2 M. apart. A pond of strong salt water in the flat N. of the channel. At 15 M. Mr. Thompson's route led into the sand hills on the right. Waited there 1-1/2 hour for the wagons. They then appeared 3 M from [us]. Moved S. W. to the Cimarron 1-1/4 & encamped. The wagons came up at 5-1/2. 7 M. of the day's march in deep mud or heavy sand generally. A little water running in the broad bed of the river. Thunder & heavy clouds in the west in the afternoon & evening. The pioneer party didn't come in. Jim Conner reported it 5 or 6 M. ahead.

66. Probably Snake creek, Cimarron township, Clark county.

67. The stream is now known as Redoubt creek. (Named for the redoubts built by the government, for Indian protection in southern Clark county on the trail between Camp Supply and Fort Dodge.)


     July 27th. Marched at 9-1/2, guided by Ben Love, to where he had passed the night with Mr. Thompson. Found him 6 M. off, at the W. edge [of] the very broad valley of the Cimarron which terminates here, beginning 12 or 15 M. below. A mile further reached the top of a high ridge from which the valley of a large Ck [68] [was visible] & beyond it that of the Cimarron, could be seen crossing our course. Took the first to be that described by Jim Conner as rising near Fort Atkinson. The country broken. Deep gullies washed in the hillsides. Grass more abundant & green. 3 M more to Conner's branch, 15 yds. wide, running in a broad deep valley from the N. W. Destitute of wood, but very green. 4 more miles into the valley of the Cimarron & one along it to camp. The valley 3/4 M. wide, without trees, but grass abundant & green.

     Just before we marched the channel of the Cimarron, about. 200 yds. wide at our camp, & until then showing very little water, contained a stream near two feet. deep entirely across it. Here the river is about 30 yds. wide, running freely, probably from the late rains, as the water contains a great deal of pale mud.

     July 28th. Private Charlton of Compy C died at 2 A. M. & was buried at 9 o. c. this morning. Marched 7 miles due west up the valley, after crossing the stream. The lower slopes of the hills on the S. side very sandy. Left the valley immediately after crossing a broad arroya with a few cottonwoods on its banks. Marched about 5 M. over abrupt. ridges, having the river in view on the right. Then turned N. W. 2 M. & encamped in the valley, the appearance of which is unchanged. [69] After we had encamped Ben Love reported a good spring in an arroya which we had crossed, 1 M. from camp.

     July 29th. Marched up the valley at 8-1/2. 6 M. from camp crossed a very large dry creek. The lower slopes of the hills sandy. At 8 M. from the last camp left. the valley. After crossing several spurs, reached in 3 M. more, a plateau. Several ponds of rain water. [71] Grass poor, very, the country a sandy desert. Very little buffalo "sign." Encamped 2-1/2 M. further on some little ponds about which we found better grass. Storm of wind & rain at night.

     July 30th. Mr. Thompson with 18 men besides two of the Delawares, sent forward to examine the country for 25 M. on our route. Three wagons sent back 14 or 15 miles for wood. They returned at

68. Crooked creek.

69. A notation on the surveyors' maps near the place of this encampment reports "No wood along the line from this point till after crossing the Santa Fe road. Dist. about 105 miles."


4-1/2, the corporal in charge reported that the party had met & talked with (in Mexican) two Indians calling themselves Kioways & that Capt. Garnett's party had encamped on the river 8 or 9 M. from us. A little after 6 o. c. 4 of Capt. G.'s men, mounted on mules, arrived. They were sent, they said, to report that "the Indians had driven in the surveying party, killed the ambulance driver & driven off its two mules." [70] Capt. De Saussure ordered with Jim Conner as guide, to go with his company to Capt. Garnett's camp to-night to take up the pursuit: at daybreak. The messengers questioned could give account of but two Indians seen. Lieut. Ingraham was sent to ascertain the distance north to the Cimarron & its course. Reported the distance 7-1/2 M., course N. N. W. The plateau extends to the river valley.

     July 31st. Mr. Thompson returned with his party at 2 p. m. Had gone nearly 30 M. due west, finding the plateau unbroken, plenty of water from the recent rains, & grass; but no fuel. No signs of buffalo, or any other animals than antelopes.

     August 1st. Capt. Garnett's party arrived about 10. Mr. Weysse about 12. His account of the affair two days ago was, that two Indians joined his party from the front, shook hands with everybody. Gave them to understand partly in Mexican, partly in English, that they had talked with me & with Capt. G. & that they were going then to find a broken-down horse I had given them. They accompanied the party for some time, long enough to see who were armed, then took leave & went off to the rear. Soon rejoined, accompanying the party as before, watched their opportunity &, when the little wagon was hidden by a low ridge from the guard, shot the driver & drove off the vehicle at full speed, one riding on each side. The guard ran back, but when they reached the crest of the hill the Indians were at long gunshot. The soldiers, out of breath, fired without effect. After crossing the Cimarron, they cut the mules out of the harness, ransacked the wagon, cutting off some of the curtains, & drove off the two mules. They had thrown the driver, Le Clair, out, on stopping. He was probably dying, for when our men came out, his hand was grasping the single tree as if he had caught it in his fall & died instantly. Mr. W. corrected by the new astronomical determination & went on. We marched in the afternoon 4 miles to find better grazing & encamped near Capt. Garnett's party.

70. The skirmish occurred in the vicinity of the ranch kept by Geo. H. McCoy, thirty years later, at the most northern bend of the Cimarron in Meade county.


Jim Conner came up before dark, reporting that he had left Capt. De Saussure on the Cimarron 2 or 3 miles above our last camp on it, & that Capt. Wood had, when he left, just encamped a little above Capt. D. The trail of the Indians (2, each with a led mule) had been followed about 33 miles E. of N. They had, after riding 6 or 7 miles, mounted the mules; had evidently traveled all night & were on their way to the gathering of Indians in the vicinity of Fort Atkinson to receive their annual presents. Capt. D. after becoming satisfied on this point, turned back, according to instructions. Poor Le Clair was probably killed with a gun & ammunition just presented to the savage by the strange policy of the Indian Department.

     August 2. Capt. De Saussure came into camp just. as we were about to move a half mile to get near more abundant water. Encamped on a comparatively large pond close to Capt. Garnett's road. His party had just passed. Capt. Wood came up at 11-1/4. A shell fish like the king crab found in the pond, about 2 inches long. A storm passed from N. to 8. a few miles west of us.

     August 3d. Marched at 8h 40'. In 5 or 6 miles found the ground very heavy from the rain of last night.. Passed a great many ponds of several acres each, the country more level & less sandy. The place of the Infantry camp of last night 12 M. from their previous one. Marched 8 M. further & encamped, 300 or 400 yds. 8. of the road on 3 or 4 little pools of rain water. [71] Bois de vache abundant for the first time on this plateau.

     August 4th. Marched 8h 40'. Appearance of the country unchanged for seven miles. Water abundant. Found Capt. G. just leaving camp at 6 M. The pools of water disappeared. Surface of the ground sand. This continued 15 M. In the next 3, the sand almost disappeared, the grass becoming fresher, even luxuriant. A good deal of what. the Texans call Gramma grass. [72] Encamped at the end of 24 miles on a large pool of good water. Another still larger 1/2 M. to the south.

     ugust 5th. Remained in camp to give horses & mules the benefit of the good grazing. Mr. Weysse made 10 miles on the line, passing the camp [at] 7.

     August 6th. Remained in camp for the sake of horses & mules. Directed Mr. Bell, with company K, to prepare to move southward tomorrow morning to look for the N. fork of the Canadian.

71. Encampment was south and slightly west of Liberal, just across the boundary line in Oklahoma.

72. Grama grass, a creeping grass, belonging to the genus Bouteloua.


     August 7th. Marched at 8-1/2. Mr. Bell & his company taking the Delawares, set off on his expedition. We found the plateau very flat for 10 or 12 miles, then it seemed to take the form of a ridge, very flat, the crest on the right. 8 or 9 M. further crossed this crest & had the valley of the Cimarron in view. After crossing the spurs of the dividing ridge for 6 M. encamped without water. The ground for the last 2 or 3 M. very sandy. Grass fresh, but coarse. A refreshing shower at night.

     August 8th. Left the Infantry & surveyors & marched at 8h 22', 10 M. due west, the ground sloping gently toward the Cimarron, the valley of which seemed to be about 5 M. from camp & 2-1/2 from the 10 M. pt. Turned from this pt N. W. & encamped on the dry channel 15 or 20 ft. wide & 3 or 4 deep. [73] The Santa Fe road 150 yds. N. of camp & a pool of water in the channel 400 yds. above. The bottom of the valley 1/2 M. wide. The slopes of the hills gentle. Obtained abundant water by digging 1 or 2 feet in the channel. The route to-day through loose sand. Mr. Weysse came into camp with his party a little after dark.

     August 9th. Moved up the valley (by the Santa Fe road) 10 M., its character unchanged. Halted to fix an astronomical station. We had made so much southing that I thought we could not be north of the parallel. It turned out by Mr. Clark's observations, that we were 3' 43" S. of it.

     August 10th. Marched down the valley at 8h 30' to place the observatory near the parallel, which was done by moving nearly 5 miles.74 Met Capt. Garnett's party & also Mr. Weysse's, just at the point. A teamster dangerously wounded with a butcher knife & picket maul by another. Mr. Clark observed at night, also, August 11th.

     August 12th. Meridian marked & Mr. Weysse placed on its intersection with the parallel, about noon. March at 0h 50' to the point at. which the road leaves the Cimarron & encamped at 2h 40'.

     August 13th, 14th & 15th. Remained at this point waiting for the Santa Fe mail party to inquire concerning the supplies to be sent to us from Fort Leavenworth, expected at the end of August. This mail party arrived about noon on the last of the above dates. Heard from Dr. Geisler, U. S. A. & Capt. [A. A.?] Gibson, Mil. Storekeeper, that they had not left F. L. on the 24th July.

73. The party encamped approximately four miles west of the present Kansas-Colorado boundary.

74. The observatory was set up nearly nine miles west of the southwest corner of Kansas.


Mr. Weysse running the line westward under protection of the two Infantry companies.

     August 16th. A party of New Mexican Indian traders coming up the Cimarron, arrived about 7-1/2. Waited until 9 o. c. to order [at the order of?] the general, while the men were buying moccasins, &c. The course up the valley 287° 30' for 10 miles. At 7 M. passed Capt. Garnett's first camp; at 12 M. the 2d. At 10 M. crossed Aubrey's road, [75] above which the valley becomes narrow, the bluffs coming in close to it. These bluffs of sandstone. The valley very winding. Cottonwood in view everywhere above Aubrey's road. The soil very poor, grass scanty. At 15-1/2 M. found the Cimarron a bold running brook. Encamped 1-1/2 M. further. A Texan "wet" norther at night.

     August 17th. North wind with rain, all day. Remained in camp.

     August 18th. Marched at 10. Found Capt. Garnett's camp within four miles. Four miles further the valley widens very much. At this point met Lt. Bell & his company. He had come down Cedar creek, which joins the Cimarron 3 miles above & is the larger stream. [76] Encamped & rode up the Cimarron S. W. 3-1/2 & W. 2. Then N. 4 M. to a branch of the C. on which is a large (comparatively) clump of cottonwoods & several deep pools of good water.

     August 19th. Moved to the point last named. Mr. Ingraham, with 12 men, went up the creek, leaving camp at 7-1/2, to examine its valley. Made at night, an unfavorable report.

     August 20th. Moved up the Cimarron about 7 M. above Cedar Ck, then turned N. N. W. into a broad valley, & encamped 1-1/2 M. from its mouth. [77] The ridge which divides it from the valley of the Cimarron twice as high as the hills east of it. The upper half of burnt sandstone. A scanty supply of water in a deep winding & muddy channel lined with young willows. The grass short & poor. The line crosses this valley about. 3-1/2 M. from its mouth. Capt. Garnett remained at the camp of yesterday. Mr. Weysse's party came at night to our camp.

     August 21st. Capt. Garnett's party came up. We encamped a mile further up the valley. Mr. Weysse reported at night that but

75. Aubrey's road or trail was named after the famous freighter Col. F. X. Aubrey, who went over this short cut in a record-breaking ride from Santa Fe to Independence. It crossed the Cimarron river about 25 miles from the southwest corner of Kansas. See Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, p. 51.

76. Cedar creek rises south of the present town site of Mineral, Okla., and flows north into the Cimarron river.

77. Apparently Colonel Johnston's train turned up Carrizo creek, rising in Colorado, and encamped lay miles from its mouth in the Cimarron. The troops remained in this valley until the morning of August 26.


1-1/2 M. remained to be run. Capt. Anderson & Mr. Ingraham spent the morning in looking for the best position for the final astronomical station & reported a good one within about 1-1/2 M. of the end of the line. Rain at night.

     August 22d. Moved camp 1/2 M. north for better grazing, the grass in the country everywhere too poor & thin to permit us to occupy any one point for several days. A N. E. storm at night.

     August 23d. Storm continued & prevented another move.

     August 24th. Moved at 2 P. M. 1 M. N. E. Remained in this place.

     August 25th. Mr. Clark encamped about 6 M. W. of camp to establish his final observatory. [78]

     August 26th. Moved about 3 M. W. into the valley in which Mr. Clark is encamped.

     August 27th. Mr. Ingraham (with a party of 13, including a corporal, of company I sent to Cedar Spring [79] to meet the upward Santa Fe mail to inquire concerning the train with our supplies. Moved camp 10 or 12 hundred yards up the valley for fresh grass.

     August 28th. Moved camp a few hundred yards to place the horses on fresh grass at night. Mr. Clark had made observations on the 3d pairs of stars. Very satisfactory. Set up transit instrument & prepared to observe moon culminations.

     August 29th & 30th. Moved each day far enough to put the horses on fresh grass at night. Same 31st. Muster.

     Sept. 1st. Mr. Ingraham returned at 11 A. M. The mail had passed Cedar Spring on the night of Aug. 30th. Left our train at Council Grove on the morning of the 19th. The conductor of the mail was told, he said, by the w agonmaster, to say to Col. Johnston that "the train would reach Cedar Spring in 20 days." Moved a few hundred feet. Left that place Sept. 3d to approach the Santa Fe road, down the Cimarron. Marched 12 miles. Rain at night.

     Sept. 4th. Continued the march down the valley. Somewhat less than 8 miles below, turned out. of it to the north. Encamped on a rocky ravine, after marching 5 M. further. Night cold & rainy. N. E. wind.

     Sept. 5th. Marched S. S. E. about 3 miles into the valley & encamped about 3 M. above Aubrey's road. N. E. wind continued.

78. Observatory was established on or near the Oklahoma-New Mexico boundary on the left bank of the Cimarron river.

79. Authorities and maps differ as to the location of Cedar Springs. Colonel Johnston does not include it on his map but, presumably, it was near the present town site of Garrett, Okla.


Weather of course cloudy with drizzling rain. Capt. Anderson set off with his company, before us, to go down to the road to watch for our supplies.

     Sept. 6th. Moved a mile down the valley & encamped. At 12 o. c. at night received a note from Capt. A. He stated that a party or traders who had passed his camp during the day had just sent to inform him that a small party of Kioways reported a body of about 300 Cheyennes (on foot) passed on the road 22 or 23 miles below his (Capt. A's) camp. They further said that an ox-wagon train had crossed the Arkansas on the 4th. I supposed it to be ours.

     Sept. 7th. Marched at 4 A. M. Breakfasted 13 miles from camp near the "upper crossing." [80] The Kioways came up. Knew of no Cheyennes. Had not been on the road. Had seen Cheyennes several days' journey to the E. between the Arkansas & Cimarron. Nevertheless, we moved on. Reached the trader's camp about 3 p. m., about 13 M. further. Encamped two miles below it. Informed by the chief of the party, Mr. Hickman of Westport, that. the Cheyennes were reported to be about 10 miles off, on the Smile ridge.

     Sept. 8th. Set off at 4 A. M. Searched the locality designated to no purpose. No other "sign" than a few pony tracks. Went on to the middle Cimarron spring. [81] Met one train there. Encamped & remained till the morning of (borrowed $15 from Capt. Wood for 5 of Mr. Kennerly's men).

     Sept. 9th. Returned. Met the mail party 3 or 4 M. below the mound marking the line. Advised Mr. Fields, the conductor, to wait for Mr. Wells & his train, regarding the road as unsafe for so small a party; but five. Encamped a little above the mound. Mr. Wells went on with his train to the neighborhood of the upper crossing.

     Sept. 10th. Went to our old camp at the upper crossing. Left Capt. De Saussure . . . . the unloading was

[remainder of page torn off containing entries for September 11, 12 and 13].

     Sept. 14th. Marched 7 or 8 miles to McNeiss creek, [82] 4 miles

80. The troops breakfasted at the trail's upward crossing of the Cimarron river.

81. The middle Cimarron spring was located in southwest Morton county, about seven miles north and six miles east of the southwest corner of Kansas. See Kansas Historical Society's Eighteenth Biennial Report, p. 122.

82. Ralph E. Twitchell in Leading Facts of New Mexican History, v. 2, p. 127, wrote: "McNees' creek was the site of one of the melancholy tragedies of the days of the old trail. Here McNees and Munroe, two traders from Franklin, Mo., on their way home from Santa Fe, in 1828, were killed by the Indians. This creek is now known by the name of Currumpaw; it flows into Beaver creek, thence into the North Fork of the Canadian." The trail; crossed the creek 555 miles from Independence, Mo.


below the road. Went down the valley 4 miles for wood. Remained there for 1 day. Sept. 15th. That the men might wash their clothes.

     Sept. 16th. Marched to the Cottonwood [83] without touching the Santa Fe road, & encamped 1-1/2 M. below the road.

     Sept. 17th. Marched to the Rabbit Ear [84] & encamped on it 1-1/2 miles below the point at which the road crosses it. The valley narrow, the south side abrupt & rocky, like the hills about the upper [remainder of this entry and that for September 18, torn off].

     [Sept. 18th or 19th]-they asked as an addition to their escort, two skeleton companies of [omission]. Didn't feel authorized to comply.

     Sept. 20th. Marched at 9h 40', parallel to the Rabbit Ear. The character of the valley changed very much 4 miles below camp. The valley widening & the south side sloping gently, water disappearing. 8 or 9 further it again contracts & is very narrow for some five miles. The channel lined with cliffs of sandstone, at the base of which are occasional pools of water. Below this it again widens. Is joined by McNeiss' Ck; the channel very wide & dry. Its valley sandy. Occasional cottonwoods. Found water & wood 25 1/3 M. from the last camp. Halted for the night.

     Sept. 21st. Marched at 9h 55', about E. leaving the valley to the left. The country like that over which the line runs before striking the Cimarron near the Santa Fe road. After marching nearly due east 11 7/8 M. struck Mr. Bell's trail & followed it into the valley, finding several large pools. Encamped. Distance 19-3/4 M.

     Sept. 22d. Marched at 7 o. c., leaving the valley to the right. Course S. 76° 30' E. The plateau level, ground smooth & fine; grass short. 14-3/4 M. from the camp of last night encamped on a shallow pond of 50 or 60 acres.

     Sept. 23d. Marched at 8h 20" due east. Country like that passed over yesterday, the grass short, but green & thick. 14-3/4 M. from last camp found a large pond (about 40 acres, shallow water) on the right, near our course. Course struck the Ck (N. F. of Canadian) 21 M. from last camp. A mile from Ck turned N. E. &

83. The Cottonwood, as referred to by Colonel Johnston, was a tributary of Rabbit Ear creek, rising in New Mexico and flowing southeast. Its entire length as shown on the Surveyors' maps was not over 13 miles, and crossed the Santa Fe trail between McNees' and Rabbit Ear creeks.

84. Rabbit Ear creek derived its name through its proximity to the Rabbit Ear mountains, so named by early travelers because of the peaks' fancied resemblance to a rabbit's ears. The stream flows eastward, joining the Currumpaw to form Beaver creek (N. F. of the Canadian).


reached the Ck 23 1/3 M. from camp of last night. [85] The valley 600 or 800 yds. wide, water abundant; grazing very good. Some fuel, dry brushwood, picked up (drift).

     Sept. 24th. Marched at 8h 30' N. 62 E. (first 2 M. E., the course above then commenced). At 12-3/4 M. recrossed the Ck, a bold, running stream of excellent water. [86] The valley broad, sides sloping gently. Valley about equally divided between sand & soil, the latter partly covered with luxuriant grass. The course of the valley below the camp of last night being concave to the south, the march was on the chord of the arc. The plateau on the south of the valley is as level as that on the north & covered with short but abundant grass. No wood. Distance 14 M., 2,000 ft. Lat. 36° 42' 18".

     Sept. 25th. Marched down the valley at 8h 30'. First 5 M. on N. side of the stream which, where we crossed, is twice as large as at our camp of last night. Some two miles after crossing the stream a party of Indians met us, about 20 Kioways headed by the principal chief. Their camp, they said, was a few miles down the valley. They accompanied our march, guiding us by what they said was a better route than that of the valley, along the hills on the S. Passed in sight of their camp of about 50 lodges, more than half of which had been dismantled, their owners having fled, probably at the news of our approach. [87] Few people or horses were visible about it. Encamped in the valley some two miles below. March 16 M., 2,920 ft. Had a conference with [omission in the MS.] in the after noon in relation to the existing treaty. He professed to be most friendly to the whites, in which expressions the members of his party joined. He averred his determination to execute faithfully the terms of the treaty. Promised to have the two murderers of the man of the surveying party surrendered to us as soon as they could be discovered. The stream 12 or 15 feet wide & two deep, with a bold current. Distance marched, 16 M., 2,900 ft. Lat. 36° 42' 42".

     Sept. 26th. 30 or 40 Kiowas, a few women among them, spent the morning in camp trading buffalo robes, moccasins, & lariets. The spokesman of yesterday, who seemed to [be] the old chief's staff officer, was so grieved to see us going, that he thought nothing but whisky could revive his drooping spirits. Marched at 8h 30'.

85. Camp was established approximately nine miles east of Rice, Okla., on the North Fork of the Canadian.

86: The train crossed Lowe creek, Texas county, Oklahoma, at 7-3/4 miles and recrossed it at 12-3/4 miles.

87. The Kiowa camp was located about 2-1/2 miles west of Hardesty, Okla. The troops passed to the south of the camp and spent the night of September 25 almost on the present town site of Hardesty.


The valley to the east seemed to make a long bend concave to the N. Our march was on the plateau, by the chord of the arc, the latter part of the march in heavy sand. The descent into the valley was thro' bare sand hills like those of the seashore, down which it was difficult to pull the wagons. The valley a mile wide, the stream much larger than at the last camp. The soil poor, much of it bare, in which a salty efflorescence is visible. A salt pond 300 yds. long between our camp & the stream. A little cottonwood among the sand hills. Distance marched, 18 M., 4,600 ft. Found afterwards that the. salt pond is a copious spring discharging itself by a bold stream into the N. F. of Canadian. Lat. 36° 41' 55".

     Sept. 27th. About 20 mules missing this morning. Not found & brought back until 11 A. M., consequently we marched but 9 M., following the valley N. of the stream for about 4 M. then crossing it, & marching on the S. slope, a gentle one, the soil poor. Encamped on a little tributary from the S. Fresh water, bois de vache & gramma grass abundant. The N. side of the valley more abrupt, generally high bluffs of bare sand. Lat. 36° 45' 05".

     Sept. 28th. Marched at 8h 50', continuing to follow the slope on the S. side of the valley. The soil like that of yesterday, hard poor, the grass short but green; water abundant. A stream in every 2 or 3 miles, two of them copious. All the banks of a very bright red clay. Distance to-day, 20 M., 1,800 ft. Lat. 36° 46'. Camp on Kiowa Ck, the valley broad (500 yds.), stream 25 ft. wide. [88] Visited by 3 begging Kiowas.

     Sept. 29th. Marched at 8h 30'. Sent Jim Conner under escort of 8 men, including a corporal, to look on the N. side of the valley, for our route to the hd of the Red fork. The country like that of yesterday. A large bank of chalk, or something very like it, passed 2 or 3 miles E. of Kiowa Ck. After marching 18 M. & 2,000 ft., encamped on the N. side of the little river, a good running ck, crossed 11&172; M. from Kiowa ck, the hills on the N. showing red banks instead of the bare sand banks seen on that side above. Ben Love gave [me] a lump of what seems to be red chalk picked up near Kiowa Ck. Lat. 36° 46' 15".

     Sept. 30th. Marched at 8h 30' leaving the valley & ascending the hill N. E., obliquely. After marching about 2 M. along the hill found a hollow in front running to the N. into a large valley we supposed to be that of the Red fork. After moving N. E. about 8 M. further,

88. Possibly one of the streams now known as Clear creek, emptying into the North Fork of the Canadian 3-1/2 miles east of Beaver, Okla. (Not the present Kiowa creek in Beaver county.)


recognized the valley of the Cimarron, the broad plain & sand hills in the neighborhood of the 2d "crossing." Turned back & encamped on a shallow pond 13-1/4 M. from last camp.

     Oct. 1st. Marched at 8h 30', as usual, moving due S. 4-1/4 M. to a range of sand hills 1/2 M. from the Canadian. Turned then Eastwardly, & about 11 M. further struck the first branches of the N. branch of the Red fork & encamped. [89] We crossed no perceptible ridge between the valley of the Canadian & this one, but after turning eastward, until the first branches of the Red fork were met, the ascent was insensible. It seemed, until we looked down the valley of the Red fork, from the "divide," that we were still among the sand hills of the Canadian. For the last 4 or 5 M. the heights on the N. of the Red fork were visible; those on the south only when we had almost reached the summit. Level. The distance between these heights from N. to S. there, seemed to be 5 or 6 M. March to-day, 16 M. The heights all appear to be of red clay. In the gullies, at their bases, pale yellow clay appears.

     Oct. 2d. Marched at 8h 30' in the general direction of the valley (E) or rather, basin, crossing the spurs running down from the S. Rain began to fall just before we started & continued all day. The broad valley dotted with herds of buffalo. Encamped in the bottom of the valley, immediately on the stream, the channel of which is here about 30 yds. wide. A small stream of clear & pure water in it. A great deal more percolating in the sand. Distance, 17.8 M.

     Oct. 3d. Marched at 9h 30', having waited for tents to dry, taking a route along the S. slope as yesterday. Entered the valley about 2 M. above the mouth of the S. branch. Followed it to within 2-1/2 M. of the Cimarron. Encamped on a small S. tributary. Distance, 13.7 M. The frequent crossings of the creek made the march a hard one. The appearance of salt gone. It was abundant opposite our camp in July, probably swept out by the recent flood, which seems to have been a very high one.

     Oct. 4th. Moved a mile eastward, & encamped on a little stream in a wide valley coming from the south. Detailed a party of 75 cavalry under Capt. De Saussure (Lt. Thomson) to accompany me to the Canadian. Capt. Wood instructed to conduct the main party E. to the Arkansas; thence Mr. Weysse connect the marking of the

89. Surveyors' maps show that the train had now reached tributaries of Buffalo creek, which empties into the Cimarron (or Red fork of the Arkansas as Colonel Johnston sometimes calls it) farther east.


line to the initial pt. Capt. W. to endeavour to strike the head of the S. W. branch of the Little Verdigris. Mr. Ingraham, after examination, reported that the large deposits of crystalized salt that we had seen in July had disappeared.

     Oct. 5th. The two parties marched at 8h 40'. [90] Our course 35° (by Smalkalder) crossing a very rough country, the main hollows running to the N. E., but their sides cut up by deep gullies worn by rain water. At 5 M. crossed a clear stream 12 ft. Wide in a sandy channel of 40 yds.; the valley narrow, between rocky bluffs. 8 M. further came to a broad valley, or rather cove, in the S. E. side of which we found a good stream, in a narrow hollow. Its bed sand. Lined with trees. Pine (short leaf) & cedar on the bluffs. Encamped. Distance about 15 M.

     Oct. 6th. Marched at 8h 30', S. 35 E. 3 M. to the summit of the ridge between the N. F. of Canadian & the Salt [Cimarron] river. The dividing ridge crossing our course, we turned due south 15 M. to the N. F. of C. & encamped, the valley 1-1/2 M. wide, Sandy, intersected by ranges of sand hills. [91] The channel of the river about 50 yds. wide, the stream 30 [feet wide] & 2 ft. deep, with a bold current. Course of the valley S. 39 E., the S. slope of the "divide" a sandy plain, dotted with sand hills, like that we ascended in passing from this valley to that of the Red fork. Cottonwood & Elm abundant; comparatively.

     Oct. 7th. Marched at 8h 30' S. for 1-1/2 M., crossing the river at the 1/2 M. Then turned S. 22 E. for 3 M. on a plain somewhat sandy, but sufficiently firm. Then struck & passed thro' a range of sand hills 1/2 m. across (running from W. to E.) ; on their S. side a bold & clear Ck 5 or 6 ft. wide, lined with wood of different kinds. S. 53° E. the rest of the march, ascending very gradually for 7 M., a Ck running from the W. crossing our course at three miles. Remains of an Indian camp just above. 1-1/2 further encamped on a

90. At the division of the party here at the junction of Buffalo creek with the Cimarron river, Captain Wood was directed to conduct the train in a northeasterly direction to the original starting point. The surveyors accompanying Captain Wood marked the camp sites of the train on their maps until the return trail converged with the outward one. On October 6 the party encamped about four miles southwest of Whitehorse Woods county, Oklahoma; October 7, near Hopeton; October 8 and 9, near Daley, Alfalfa county; October 10, three miles southwest of Florence, Grant county; October 11, five miles west of Medford; October 12, north of Numa; and October 13, on Bluff creek, in northeastern Grant county, Oklahoma. On October 14 the expedition again entered Kansas southwest of Drury, Surnner county, between Bluff creek and the Chikaskia river. The return trail was lost here, but it is likely they followed the outward road back to the Missouri border. Colonel Johnston turned south, October 5, with seventy-five cavalrymen, and does not again refer to Captain Wood's party in his journal. The government maps do not show his route from here, but it may be traced fairly accurately by a check of directions and distances in the journal.

91. Colonel Johnston's party encamped about midway between Sharon and Cedardale, Woodward county, Oklahoma.


branch of the last.. The course of the N. F. of C. nearly parallel to the last course & about 3 M. distant.

     Oct. 8th. Marched at 8h 30' 8. 40 E. about 6 M. to the top of the dividing ridge whence the Canadian was visible 2 or 3 M. before us, coming from the S. W. & bending around to the S. E. Turned along the "divide" about 4 M. & encamped on the E. side of a little branch running into the Canadian which was about 1-1/2 M. distant S. [92] The channel about as wide as that of the Arkansas where we crossed it (250 yds.). A bottom of nearly the same breadth, only 2 or 3 ft. higher, & the 2d bottom, some 1/2 M. wide, about 20 ft. higher, still. The N. F. seemed to be but 6 or 7 M. from the curve of the Canadian, the ridge between them 300 or 400 ft. above the Canadian. The valley of the N. F. not so low as the former.

     Oct. 9th. Marched at 8h 45' N. 75 E. along the N. edge of a postoak wood extending as far southward as we could see on both sides of the N. F. & into the valley of the Canadian. All the heads of the creeks emptying into the N. F. make gaps in the dividing ridge. About 8 M. from last camp we left the crest of the ridge & after crossing two arroyas crossed the N. F. 14 M. from camp of last night, & encamped on its bank a M. below. [93] Its course being nearly E., 1-1/2 M. below camp it turns strongly southward. The valley where we entered it very broad. The slopes gentle. Its appearance less barren than above.

     Oct. 10th. Marched at 8h 45' in the direction taken yesterday. At 4 M. in the edge of a blackjack wood which proved to be 4 M. in breadth, its E. edge at the brow of the hill from which we looked down into a very broad valley running eastward, which we followed, & encamped on the Ck running thro' it at. 3 P. M. 4 M. from Ne-ishkekoash-ke-pi (Rock Salt river). [94] A S. branch, apparently the largest, joined that [Which] we had followed, just above the pt at which we encamped.

     Oct. 11th. Marched at 8h 30'. At 9h 30' reached the river & crossed two channels divided by an island, the E. one the main. Ascended a gentle slope 15' (N. 75 E.), found a plateau covered with black-jack woods. Marched on this plateau 8 M., wood & prairie about equal. Encamped a M. E. of the last wood, on two little pools, at the head of a hollow running N. into a larger, 3 M. distant, apparently running E. Grass poor, having been consumed by buffalo.

92. Camp was situated west of Munice, Dewey county, Oklahoma.

93. The expedition encamped about three miles east of Fonda, Okla.

94. Colonel Johnston and party were now approaching the Cimarron river, southeast of Isabella, Major county, Oklahoma.


     Oct. 12th. Marched at 8h 30' 115° (by Smalkalder). At 9h 45' crossed a clear Ck of brackish water flowing Southward (the hollow of last night's camp joins its valley), the branches of this Ck being troublesome. Worn deep in the red clay. At 2h 15' crossed a 2d clear Ck, but of fresh water. [95] The valley like the last, very broad. Buffalo numerous. 3 or 4 Osages chasing them, spoken with by Joe Spaniard. Said their camps & families are on the Little Arkansas. Encamped on the E. side of the Ck.

     October 13th. Marched at 8h 30', 115°, 6 M. to the ridge separating the valley from one running northward, the channel in which was 9 M. from the last camp. The summit E. of it 3 M. further. A valley running E. visible from it, of which the one last crossed is a branch. A line of cottonwood marking the course of the stream winding thro' it, as far as the eye could reach. Numerous branches indicated also by cottonwood. Encamped on one of them at 3 p. m. Joe Spaniard gives as the Osage name of the creek, Wasaape oche (Black bear). [96] We crossed the Ck 2 M. above camp. The grass luxuriant.

     Oct. 14. Marched at 8h 30' (115°) 5 M. to the crest of the dividing ridge. A very broad valley visible to the N. & a heavy line of timber. Opposite to us a large branch of the Ck on our right seemed to come in from W., the branch we had just left bending strongly S. to meet it. Our course for 13 M. crossed the S. branches of the valley, gradually approaching the timber marking the streams. Encamped on one of them, about 1-1/2 M. from the main stream. The soil passed over to-day better than any seen W. of the Arkansas. The grass fresh & rank.

     Oct. 15th. Marched at 8h 15' (115°), the Ck on our left receding. Our course still over the spurs from the ridge on the S. Appearance of the country unchanged. 12 M. brought us to the edge of the valley of the Arkansas, 1 M. from it, & 2 M. S. of the mouth of the Ck, which is near the head of an island (main channel on its E.) some 3 M. long. [97] At the lower end of the island the river turns to the N. E., the lesser channel first striking a rocky bluff. We moved S. about 2 M. & encamped on an Osage trail from the E. after crossing the two branches of a Ck, the mouth of which is just above

95. Probably Mulberry creek, south of Enid, Garfield county, Oklahoma.

96. The expedition encamped in mideastern Garfield county, on a tributary of Black Bear creek, the latter creek bearing the same name to-day.

97. The creek referred to here may be the present Red Rock creek emptying into the Arkansas river in western Pawnee county, Oklahoma. The camp site on the evening of October 15 was south of the mouth of the creek and west of the present town of Masham.


the bluff aforesaid. Where we struck the Arkansas, a high ridge covered with post oak, is parallel to it & E. The river runs from N. E. around the N. end of this ridge & in the same way turns to the N. E. around its S. E. end. A good deal of post oak on the hills S. W, of the river. Much more on those opposite. A quantity of sandstone.

     Oct. 16. Marched E. on the Osage trail found yesterday, 14 M. to the point at which the party making it had crossed the river. Found it barely fordable. Crossed & encamped, the ground passed over being rough; our course being perpendicular to the ridges which run to the Arkansas. [98] A deep gully in every hollow. The valley of the A. broader than at the 37th parallel & the land better. More timber also.

     Oct. 17th. Marched at 9 up the valley on the Osage trail about 1 M., then turned up a steep hill of 200 ft. high. A short detached ridge. From its summit turned to 115°. Great deal of wood (oak) on the right. Our course crossed ridges running almost due S., to the river, all day. Near the top of each hill & on each side, a ledge of rock was encountered. The soil good, & grass fresh & abundant. Encamped in the edge of an apparently extensive oak wood. Distance 14 M. Rain, with a cold strong S. wind, began about 1 o.c. & continued.

     Oct. 18th. Rain continued. Marched at 12. Country very rugged & wooded. At 3 M. crossed a Ck in a deep valley which was followed about 2 M. The road required great labour. Encamped at 4 o.c., rain continuing.

     Oct. 19th. Marched at 9h 30' over the ridges (rocky & wooded) between the branches of a deep stream, the valley of which could be seen running off to the S. E. near 20 M. [99] This valley is broad & beautiful. Prairie & woodland mixed. Its branches, which we crossed, have very rich soil. The rock, like that on the Verdigris, generally sandstone. Some limestone. Encamped in one of these branches at 3 o.c., the third. All the water crossed E. of the Arkansas seemed to flow into the same valley.

     Oct. 20th. Marched at 9 o.c., crossing a ridge covered with post oak & blackjack. The valley E. of it broad & open in both directions (N. & S.). Crossed a small Ck following its valley on the N. E. side 2 or 3 M. 3 or 4 M. of high prairie succeeded. Then a

98. The camp was located across the Arkansas east from Ralston, Okla.

99. Bird creek, a stream rising in Osage county, Oklahoma, empties into the Verdigris


wooded & stony hollow & ridge. Then a broad valley (open) in which are two streams a mile apart, the first 30 or 40 ft. wide with a good current, the other, on which we encamped, small.

     Oct. 21st. Rain. Moved (115°) at 11h 40', about 5 M. in rough prairie & one in a blackjack wood. The ground so heavy that we encamped at the end of these 6 M. on a little stream flowing S.

     Oct. 22d. Marched at 10 (drizzle), 120, about 6 M. thro' oak wood (P. 0. & B. J.) over ridges running S. retained near 2h making a practicable road down a steep & rocky hillside. A broad open valley at the foot of this hill. Encamped on a branch (W.) of the main stream, 2 M. from the foot of the hill. This main stream, the Little Verdigris, was but a quarter of a mile from our camp. [100] Lined with heavy timber 400 yds. wide, the low ground more than a mile in breadth, perhaps 1-1/2 M. on an ave.

     Oct. 23d. Employed all day in making a way & getting the wagons across the L. Verdigris. Encamped in the N. E. edge of the low ground, near a Cherokee road. A Mr. Keyes has a house 1-1/2 W. of the camp, near the L. V. Trades with the Osages.

     Oct. 24th. Marched at 10h 15' (124°), having been kept waiting for two wagonloads of corn. Ascended gently for a mile, then marched 4 M. on a level prairie, 3 M. crossing obliquely a valley running to the S. W., then 4 M. on a plateau, a step (upward) in the country about 3 M. to the N. running across to the valley of the Verdigris from that just left, parallel to our course. Then 12 M. brought us to the top of the descent into the valley of the Verdigris, very broad & open. The courses of the river & its tributaries marked by belts of wood. Encamped near the foot of the hill.

     Oct. 25th. Marched at 9 o. c. E. 4 M., under the guidance of Joe Spaniard, to the first house of Coodey's settlement. 2 M. further E. S. E. struck the California road. [101] 5 M. from this point, reached the Verdigris at Costley's. [102] Detained 2h repairing the road & encamped a Mile to the E.

     Oct. 26th. Marched at 9h 20' in a heavy rain which continued until noon, for 5 M. followed a trail leading E. N. E. Then struck a road leading, Joe Spaniard said, to Hudson's on the Neosho just

100. The expedition was now nearing the Little Verdigris in southern Washington county, Oklahoma.

101. The California road mentioned by Colonel Johnston probably was the route which passed through Fayetteville Ark., thence across the corner of the Indian Territory, entering Kansas in Chautauqua or Montgomery county. The trail joined the old Santa Fe trail in McPherson county. See Kansas Historical Collections, v. 5, p. 90 ; v. 9 pp. 576-577 ; and "Early Trails Through Oklahoma," Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 3, pp. 110-111.

102. The expedition may have crossed the Verdigris at the present town site of Coodys Bluff, Nowata county, Oklahoma, although maps and references do not entirely coincide.


above its junction with Spring river. [103] A range of heights like that west of the Verdigris, parallel to the road on the left. Encamped on a creek running S. E. This road from the pt where we entered it to the brow of the hill, 1/2 M. above camp, runs thro' a high and almost level prairie; apparently the dividing ridge between the Verdigris & Neosho. Camp 1/2 M. from the road.

     Oct. 27th. Marched at 8h 35' a little S. of E. in a very broad valley subdivided by low ridges separating several branches. At 9 M. opposite to a projection from the range of heights mentioned yesterday (timber hill). Course to the pt in the road opposite to the camp of last night 272° (n. 51 E.). At this pt the course of yesterday was resumed; the road had been bent around the wooded hill. The country passed over to-day generally better land; the ridges low, all of rich soil. Encamped on E. side of a Ck which, Joe Spaniard informed me, is the last this side of the Neosho. [104]

     Oct. 28th. Marched at 8h 35' (114°) over a succession of low ridges separating hollows running S. E. into Grand river. In 10 M. struck the road leading down the Neosho from Blyth's, following it 2 M. (S. E.) came to the Emigrants' road to Texas at Hudson's. [105] Turning into that road (154°) we reached the Neosho in 1-1/2 M., 2 M. above its junction with Spring river. Marched 7-1/2 M. from the ford, the 1st 2 M. 154°, 2d 148°, 3-1/2 M. 167°. Encamped in the edge of the timber of Spring river. Country, high prairie.

     Oct. 29th. Marched at 8h 30' (145°) 6 M. to the lower ford of Spring river. Crossed & encamped in the W. edge of the prairie near the middle ford. Rain.

103. Present-day maps show Hudson creek flowing northeast into the Neosho river in Ottawa county, Oklahoma. It is likely that this stream is identified with the Hudson mentioned by Colonel Johnston.

104. Little Cabin creek, Craig county, Oklahoma.

105. During the Mexican war many emigrants to Texas left Kansas through Cherokee county and followed the divide between the Verdigris and Grand rivers to Fort Gibson. Chronicles of Oklahoma, v. 3, p. 117.

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