photo and information courtesy Baxter Springs prn services.
The Great Osage Trail was actually a network of trails where the different Osage bands crossed our region.The Black Dog Trail was more specific. Although Black Dog’s Band lived in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, the Black Dog Trail extended across southern Kansas.Day-by-day and week-by-week accounts indicate where the cleared 1830 Black Dog Trail extended through Cowley County. It went from Baxter Springs to Cedar Vale, to Hooser, up to Dexter, to Silver Creek, near Winfield and across to the Arkansas River north of Oxford. The five,Kansas historical markers vaguely indicate this route. An 1895 map of the present US 166 also supports this account. Another book (first published in 1885) said it crossed Grouse Creek about 1 1/2 miles north of Dexter.The Black Dog band had become "road builders", in a sense. It wouldn’t be hard to believe that they cleared additional traveling routes in Northern Oklahoma. That was, however, a different time span and different occasions. They surely realized the success of their Black Dog Trail as a primitive road and, out of necessity, created more road-like routes which took them where they needed to go. By this time their confinement had begun, and their freedom to roam was near its end. They were forced to restrict their travel to a much smaller and specific area.Dexter celebrates this trail and the rich history that extends back thousands of years before the trail was scratched into our valley. Both good and bad happened on the Black Dog Trail and those happenings have touched our lives and become a part of who we are today.