Through Edwards County, Kansas both the Wet and Dry Routes of the Santa Fe Trail continued. The Wet Route kept between the Arkansas River and the parallel stream of Big Coon Creek and passed by the present sites of Nettleton and Kinsley. The Dry Route kept from four to six miles from the river, crossing Little Coon Creek about three miles west of Kinsley at the Battle of Coon Creek, and passing out of the county about a mile south of the present village of Offerle.
Wet Route (Mountain Branch) Through Edwards County
In Edwards County, the Wet Route continued about five miles from the site of Love’s Defeat to another Indian attack site called the Battle of Coon Creek. A marker on the left side of U.S. Highway 56 designates the spot where Comanche Apache Indians attacked a military escort for a paymaster and wagon train On July 18, 1848.
As the path continues into Ford County, there are a number of trail routes still visible.
Dry Route (Cimarron Branch) Through Edwards County
Along the Dry Route, the trail made its way to the Big Coon Creek Crossing, which was once the site of a stage station established in 1863. Following the abandonment of the stage station in 1867, the U.S. Army occupied it briefly as an outpost known as Fort Coon. Here, cut downs can be seen on both sides of the creek. In the Santa Fe Trail days, this stream was called Big Coon Creek; however, it is actually a tributary of Coon Creek and is presently labeled Little Coon Creek
About eight miles further down the path was a campsite on the stage company’s route called Dinner Station. As the path moves into Ford County, numerous ruts can still be seen along the way.
©Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated October 2019.