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Early Trails Through Richmond Township
1900 Nemaha County Plat

 

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This  is a 1900 plat map of Richmond township  with the early trails added. These trails were  the highways to the west and used  between 1848 and 1870. This traffic started when gold was discovered in California in  1848. Trail traffic  lasted till the railroad came 1870.  The railroads replaced the trails  Those who lived next to the trail could  traded with the wagon trains with necessities and services for the travelers.  Many would come by Steam Boat up the Missouri River to Kansas City, Leavenworth, Atchison or St. Joseph and from there take one of the trails to the west.   This brought many who's destination was California, Utah or Oregon through Nemaha County either crossing first at at Richmond and later at  at Baker's Ford on the Nemaha south of Turkey creek and  after 1859 crossing at Seneca over Smith's bridge.

The  Richmond crossing  was about two and a quarter miles north of Seneca and Baler's Ford was seven miles north of where Seneca.   This trail traffic was switched to Seneca by a Capt. John E. Smith in 1857 by placing a signs direction traffic to his bridge. He also seeded oats or millet on the trail to Richmond to make it looked unused.  That is another story on another page.  The dotted line is where the trail was  likely located after   Capt. seeded the oats or millet.    Many of our first ancestors that came to Nemaha county arrived over one of these trails.  Today if you drive near the   trail you will see why they were traveled.  The best route is on the high ground which avoided crossing many streams of low wet areas where there there was a chance for wagons to sink into the mud. This also gave them a good view of the surrounding area as there times when the Indians were on the warpath. Notice above where the trail comes slightly into Richmond township. This is a point two miles north of St. Benedict. The trail on the south of St. Benedict was only on mile. See Story of trails in St Benedict story of 1880s. Use your backspace  key to return here

There were local trails and Indian trails in the area which were not shown on this map.  See same area map with all the trails marked when the area was surveyed in 1855 to 1857.

 Seven miles north of Seneca on the Nemaha River was another river crossing on the trail out of St. Joseph Mo. Villages sprang up on either side of the Nemaha River, to the east of the Nemaha River a town called Taylor Rapids and another town to the west by the name of Farmington.  These town sprang up because they could do business with those traveling the trails and the villages died when the trail died. A towns survival depended on the trail or later the railroad.  There is a pasture north of Seneca along the west side of highway 63 where the old trail is marked and one can still see the trail ruts  heading up hill to the south west. This  marker is a  white post with the markings of the Oregon trail which is located about one and a half miles south of Turkey Creek.     See Baker's Ford.

Some seven miles west of St. Benedict or what was Wildcat as it was called in those days  was Ash Point where the two trail join. To this day there is a small cemetery located there. =

 

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