Picturing history: Mormon Battalion, Cimarron, Kan.

Published: Wednesday, April 18 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

While in Kansas, the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail for more than 300 miles. After passing through Dodge City, they reached the town of Cimarron, where the Santa Fe Trail split.

Kenneth Mays

While in Kansas, the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail for more than 300 miles. After passing through Dodge City, they reached the town of Cimarron, where the Santa Fe Trail split.

The first option, or Mountain Route, was a longer but cooler road with more and better sources of water.

The second, or Cimarron Route, was a shorter but drier route on which water sources were extremely limited.

Most groups chose one route or the other at Cimarron, but the Mormon Battalion evidently traveled a few miles beyond to the town of Ingalls before deciding. At that point, some of the men and families were required to leave the main body of soldiers and take a different route.

Several historical signs and markers in the present-day town of Cimarron provide information about this major Santa Fe Trail cutoff.

— Kenneth Mays

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