Friday, October 30, 2020
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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.

Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, part 1

In Prattsburg, New York, in the early years of the 1800s there stood a church whose combined congregation consisted of Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This...

Forts of the West

Until the mid-1840s about the only protection for westward bound travelers was Fort Leavenworth in present-day Kansas. Leavenworth’s major function, at that time, was...

Prairie Dog Town

On May 20, 1804 Captain Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal that he was on his way. He was referring to the Lewis and...

Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, part 5

Doctor Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Prentiss were married in February of 1836. That Narcissa was considered bordering on old maidenhood no longer mattered and...

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...

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...

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...

Mary Fields

Mary Fields had at one time been a slave. But now, about 1894, she packed a gun and did not avoid a good ole...

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 3

Narcissa Prentiss continues to uphold her desire to bring Christianity and salvation to the Indians in that nearly unknown land in the Far West....