It has been almost 200 years in the making for Franklin. As the mother of the Santa Fe Trail, Franklin became the starting point for individuals such as William Becknell, George Caleb Bingham, Kit Carson, Mildred Brown, Josiah Gregg and Ezekial Williams who traveled the trail. A monument dedicated to these individuals was unveiled on Saturday near the Katy Trail in front of over 150 people.
Guest Speaker Bob Priddy who is known region-wide as a historian and radio announcer, spoke of the importance of the trail. He noted the histories of some of the individuals who traveled the trail and stated the trail included thousands of individuals who collectively made up the trail's history.
According to www.nps.gov, the Santa Fe Trail was the primary commercial highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1821-1880. Furthermore, from 1821 until 1846, it was an international commercial highway used by Mexican and American traders.
The nps.gov site explains in 1846, the Mexican-American War began. The Army of the West followed the Santa Fe Trail to invade New Mexico. When the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in 1848, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the United States to the new southwest territories. Commercial freighting along the trail continued, including considerable military freight hauling to supply the southwestern forts. The trail was also used by stagecoach lines, thousands of gold seekers heading to the California and Colorado gold fields, adventurers, fur trappers, and emigrants. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history.
Before the monument was unveiled, Priddy also spoke of the individuals who were etched in stone by artist Harry Weber.
Once the speaking was completed, one by one, each individual monument was unveiled, ending with Becknell.
Other guest speakers for the evening included Jim Steele who served as the master of ceremonies, Paul Quinn who said the invocation, New Franklin Mayor Frank Frevert who welcomed everyone, Sue Thompson thanked the donors and Ray Glendenning said the benediction.
The monument committee individuals included Sue Thompson, Dorothy Whitten, Art Schneider, Cathy Southerland, Donna Corneilson, Stephanie Fuemmler, Dorris Markland, Shirly James, Jacque Schaller, Jim Steele, Ray Glendenning, Marty Ferry, Be Weston and Marilyn Rogers.