It seems so far

The Catoosa County News - - SPIRITUAL - Joe Phillips

Joe was 10 when smoke cleared around the OK Cor­ral, when Billy The Kid and Jesse James got shot. His older brother, A. B. Phillips, went west about 1885 and lived around Fort Sum­ner, N.M. It is un­likely he could have avoided know­ing sher­iff Pat Gar­rett and oth­ers as­so­ci­ated with Billy The Kid.

He was six­teen when Doc Hol­i­day died in 1887. Joe was mar­ried with four kids in 1908 when Butch Cas­sidy and the Sun­dance Kid were (sup­pos­edly) killed in Bo­livia. He would have heard of the death of Apache Chief Geron­imo in 1909.

He fol­lowed the 1913 trial of Leo Frank and kept clip­pings from At­lanta news­pa­pers. In 1929 Joe’s youngest child, my fa­ther, grad­u­ated from Berry Col­lege and Wy­att Earp died.

The transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road ended the need for the Ore­gon Trail in 1869 but con­tin­ued to a less ex­tent into the 1890s. In its 23 most ac­tive years nearly a half-mil­lion peo­ple fol­lowed it. That works out to about 50 per day.

I once par­tic­i­pated in a project for Ne­braska Public Tele­vi­sion and I wish we had space here to share all I learned. One

Dear me in­ter­est­ing story was how Na­tive Amer­i­cans picked up items dis­carded along the trail to lighten the load, took them east and sold them again. In­di­ans also sold sup­plies to “Trail­ers.”

Movies showed lone wagon trains as small groups in trail but there was a steady stream of peo­ple of­ten trav­el­ing abreast rather than in line to avoid dust. Rather than a long line of dou­ble ruts the Ore­gon Trail is still vis­i­ble as wide ditches or small val­leys. In some places hills washed away from ero­sion.

There are two sites well worth vis­it­ing. The Hol­len­burg Pony Ex­press Sta­tion near Hanover, Kan., sold sup­plies to fam­i­lies on the trail. As I write this a fes­ti­val and in­ter­pre­tive event is about to begin.

Rock Creek Pony Ex­press Sta­tion near Fair­bury, Neb., in­cluded a toll bridge over Rock Creek charg­ing less than a dollar per wagon to cross but saved time. Wild Bill Hick­ock be­gan his ca­reer sling­ing lead at Rock Creek Sta­tion. Both are work­ing, worth­while in­ter­pre­tive mu­se­ums.

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