It seems so far
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.