The broad and beckoning highway or it’s good to have a hobby

by chuckofish

On this day in 1822 Missouri trader William Becknell arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico over a route that became known as the Santa Fe Trail.

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As you know, I am very interested in this historic route which connects Independence, MO and Santa Fe. One reason I am so fascinated by it is because my ancestor, John Simpson Hough, was an Indian trader in his youth and he made many trips up and down the trail and knew all the old timers, as did his brother-in-law, John Wesley Prowers.

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Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site today

I have been to several stops along the way, including Arrow Rock, Mo, Westport Landing, MO, Council Grove, KS, and Bent’s Old Fort in La Junta, Co. There is a lot more to see! For instance, I can’t wait to make my way out to Pawnee Rock, KS,

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the scene of many a dramatic encounter and the mid-point of the long road. I would also like to see the Santa Fe wagon ruts near Dodge City, KS, which are also (thank goodness) on the Historic Register.

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Recently I have been reading Colonel Henry Inman’s famous book, The Old Santa Fe Trail, the Story of a Great Highway. A book reviewer in 1897 noted that

Colonel Inman sees his material with the eyes of a frontiersman, and herein lies the great charm of his book. He has accepted things as he found them, and has not stayed to philosophize on the deeper meaning of the scenes he describes, but has contented himself with the role of raconteur.

This is delightfully true.

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It’s good to have a hobby.