From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

Leavenworth Woman Makes Study Of Kansas Military Trail

by George Remsberg

Mrs. Karl Gonser, 411 Elm street, Leavenworth, is making studies of the history of the old Fort Leavenworth-Fort Scott Trail or military road, being naturally interested because this historic frontier highway ran across her father's farm near Wallula. Writing under date of September 16, she says:

"This trail can still be recognized by the depression in the coarse prairie grass on our farm near Wallula, being part of the old Markham place (Inn). This farm had been owned for the past fifty years by the late William A. Barnard, who was my father. The Warren W. Barnards, (he was Mrs. Gonser's grandfather) a large family, mostly school teachers, lived for many years near Winchester.

Mrs Gonser finds the following concise sketch of the old trail in volume XI, of the Kansas Historical Quarterly:

"Originally surveyed in 1837, this frontier military highway was known as the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Scott Military Road. In Fort Scott, frontier post for nearly 12 years, established in 1842, as protection against Indians, was a link 'n the development of a system of defense for the Western border. The 286 mile route between the Missouri river at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Gibson on the Arkansas river, was marked by blazing timber in the wooded sections and erecting mounds in the prairie country.

Fort Riley was established in 1852. Then Fort Scott was abandoned the next year. The military road continued for several years to be an important highway. In 1854 Kansas became a territory and this road was declared territorial road. Within a decade other highways came to be more traveled. Only a few landmarks can be pointed out today as marking the route of this old Western Military Road in Kansas."

Commenting on the mound trail markers mentioned above, Mrs. Gonser says: "We think there is either one of the mounds mentioned or a horse thief's grave (so the old-timer say) on our prairie at Wallula."

The Fort Leavenworth-Fort Scott-Fort Gibson military road crossed the Kansas river at what was variously known as Delaware Crossing, Grinter's Ferry, Military Ferry, Secondine, etc. Moses Grinter, a well known member of the Wyandotte Indian tribe, operated a ferry there are early as 1831. It was a prominent place in the early days. Several trading posts were operated there; also the government blacksmith shop, which was an important industry in those days. A post office was established there in 1849.

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