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Picturing history: Middle Spring in Kansas

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

As the Mormon Battalion traveled through Kansas on the Cimarron Cutoff, Middle Spring was a much needed water source.

Kenneth Mays

Traveling through Kansas on its long, historic march, the Mormon Battalion followed the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. This route was shorter than the Mountain Route, but it was much hotter and lacked reliable sources of good water. As battalion members struggled along the usually dry Cimarron River, they finally reached Middle Spring, a much needed water source. These men and women had traveled for as many as 60 miles in the heat and sand since their last source of decent water. This historic site on the Santa Fe Trail has been preserved as part of the Cimarron National Grassland. Battalion members moved on toward the Oklahoma panhandle, northeastern New Mexico and, eventually, historic Santa Fe. This was the end of the line for many, but not the Mormon Battalion. They faced the task of blazing a way through the desert to San Diego.

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