Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Great American Plains

This is a vast area stretching westward from the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Here you can experience St. Louis, Missouri’s birth as a trading post in the wilderness. From there you can travel up the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark as well as other explorers.

Before Zebulon Pike, Manuel Lisa, and later John Charles Fremont with Kit Carson at his side began to discover and record the wonders of this bountiful and lonely land it was far from empty. Here was the home of the buffalo, the wolf, and prairie dog. They lived in a harmony of survival with their brothers the Wichita, Pawnee, Kansa, and the Osage people who were later joined by the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Comanches. Some of the first white men on the plains were missionaries who, like all creatures, brought both good and bad to the plains.

Homesteaders built sod houses and raised their crops and children in this wind-blown, wildflower scented world where prairie fires killed, grasshoppers devoured, and crops grew taller and more abundant than could ever be dreamed.

Here, from the earth of the prairie, grew broad expanses of grasses that fed the buffalo until hide hunters nearly depleted them. Then those same grasses fattened longhorns being driven northward from Texas to the wild and lawless cow towns and railheads in Kansas and Missouri. These towns drew not only cowboys but gamblers, outlaws with lawmen on their trails, and “soiled doves” to the rows of saloons that lined the streets in such places as Abilene, Dodge City, and Sedalia.

We Are The God Dogs

The Comanches called us God Dogs. We were known by other names as well. The Sioux called us Medicine Dog, while the Blackfoot referred...

The Turkey Was an Immigrant

If the Pilgrims had landed at Independence Rock, about fifty miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming on the Great Plains, instead of at Plymouth Rock...

Heart of the Plains

When Coronado explored that part of the Great American Plains known today as Kansas this wild and rugged land was inhabited by the Wichita,...

Fort Raymond

During the summer and fall of 1807, Manuel Lisa, a swarthy Spaniard, known around St. Louis, Missouri and other extended parts of the young...

Ghost on the Plains

The harvest moon is waning. Buffalo meat as well as squash, pumpkins, and corn have been harvested and stored away for food during the...

Thank You, Mr. Bonaparte

Thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte, and other historical notables, our birthplaces might be determined by when we were born. The way I see it, Bonaparte started...

Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, part 6

At last it was time for the Whitmans and Spaldings to leave Elizas decaying city of St. Louis. Now it was up the Missouri...

Saint Louis, Missouri – Where the American West Began

What other American city can claim to having been under Spanish, French, and American rule all within the space of twenty-four hours? Also, had...

Fort Vancouver

Standing on the grounds of Fort Vancouver, Washington today I feel the spirits of the past beside me. I look around and envision what...

Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, part 8

By Monday, June 13, 1836, if Eliza Spalding could have viewed St. Louis again she might not have considered it such a moldy and...