Mile 48: Kennekuk Station

“After Mosquito Creek the toiling caravans passed, in staging days, an important home station called at first Kickapoo Agency and later Kennekuk Station in honor of chief Kennekuk of the Kickapoo. The military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Kearney joined the Oregon Trail at Kennekuk, and all travelers proceeded together to Wolf Creek where they camped. They found here a rude log bridge floored with poles guarded by the Sac and Fox Indians, and toll was collected by friendly but firm braves who looked (so one woman wrote) ten feet high. The very moderate price was twenty-five cents. Every one used the bridge and begrudged the money verbosely in his or her diary.

Nearby was the old stone mission to the Kickapoo, which cold be seen for miles in all directions and was surrounded by cultivated farm lands. Many of the emigrants blamed their vanished coin on the business acumen of the white missionaries; but others, watching the imperturbable Sac and Fox playing cards in the intervals of collecting two-bit pieces, figured that they were quite capable of thinking it up for themselves.”

[N.B. According to the NPS, “A granite stone west of the marker and across the road indicates the site of the relay station.  The stone memorial marker is one-and-one-half miles southeast of present-day Horton, Kansas.” One source located that site on Road 326, between Cheyenne and Chautauqua Roads. To get there from the Pony Express Bikepacking Trail, you’d need to turn off the Trail and onto Cheyenne Road just before Mile 46.]