Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

GEOLOGICAL FORMATION.

127

parts of the territory, on both sides of the Kanzas river. The limestone on which the soil rests is the carboniferous limestone. Near the state line, south of the mouth of the river, is one of these beds of coal at the surface. At the Wah-ka-rusi river, forty miles west, the Shawnee Indians work the coal, and carry it as far as Westport in Missouri.

Coal is also found in New Mexico, in the immediate neighborhood of the south-western parts of the territory, and the coal region of south-western Nebraska probably extends through western Kanzas.

Capt. Stansbury's notes of the geology of the section from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Kearney are full and interesting. The strata are generally shale, sometimes carboniferous, on which is limestone, sometimes siliceous, and always with fossils, and a ferruginous sandstone lying over the limestone. The limestone is sometimes tinged with iron. The fossils are spirifer, productus, terebratula and some crinoideæ. Flint is found with the limestone, and on the surface are pebbles and granite, of quartz and porphyry, with some large blocks of porphyritic granite. At the Big Blue river, where, in a ravine a hundred feet deep, he saw the strata best exposed, they were horizontal from north to south, with a dip of ten degrees to the west. Here the lowest stratum of all was red clay and sand, gray shales were next, then blue limestone, gray limestone, with fint and white sandstone. All these but the clay contained fossils.

The specimens collected here are pronounced by Prof.

James Hall to belong all to the limestone of the carboniferous period, and apparently form the upper of the two great limestones of this period in the west. This limestone continues as far as the Big Blue (in longitude 97°). It is succeeded by strata of cretaceous age, covered in considerable measure by drift.

Of the route from Fort Kearney to Fort Laramie, which indicates the geology of the whole western region, Prof. Hall remarks that nothing older than tertiary formations is observed. In the neighborhood of Fort Laramie is carboniferous limestone again, probably of the same character as that of the eastern part of Kanzas. Farther west the rocks are metamorphic, probably of “silurian” age. The coal of that region (already described) coming in with sigillaria and calamites as fossils, and in the neighborhood of limestone, probably belongs to the true coal measures, and indicates to Prof. Hall the existence of a great coal basin.

From the general aspect of the country it is probable that the most available water-power for immediate use will be found on the streams flowing into the Kanzas from the north. These have often a bold, rapid current, and invariably flow through quite deep channels.

CHAPTER v.

Stations — Military, trading and missionary posts - Projected cities in

Nebraska and Kanzas.

We have already said that at the present time, Aug. 1, 1854, there is nothing which deserves the name of a town either in Nebraska or Kanzas.

The most prominent positions, as yet, are the military posts established by government. In Nebraska there are two of these, already alluded to, Fort Kearney and Fort Laramie.

Fort Kearney was established in accordance with Col. Fremont's suggestion, in his first report, at the head of Grand Island, in the Nebraska river. All the emigrant routes by that river to California, Utah or Oregon, converge here, so that it becomes a position of importance. Col. Fremont selected the site because in the neighborhood of Grand Island, which supplies it with timber. It has scarcely any other natural advantages. The government has established a post-office there; the military hospital is supplied with ample stores for the relief of emigrants, and the soil, though not good, has been made to yield some vegetables in the gardens and farm of the fort. The return of last autumn names the 6th regiment of infantry as the garrison, under command of Capt. H. S. Wharton.

We have already spoken of Fort Laramie, which also occupies an unpromising position. In 1849 it was transferred to the United States government by the Fur Company who had established it, and the accommodations of the fort were considerably enlarged. It is the fort originally known as Fort John, and so marked on the oldest maps. At the last return it was garrisoned by a company of the 6th infantry, under Lieut. Garnett. There is a post-office here also.

A post-office is established also at a spot on the Nebraska river known as Wood River, which is called the Nebraska Centre post-office. This is one hundred and fifty miles up the river, not far below Fort Kearney. It is said the service is not very regular.

The insignificant stations of the Omaha and Ottoe Indians take rank, with names, as towns, at the present time.

Table Creek post-office is at Old Fort Kearney, at the mouth of Table Creek, thirty miles below the mouth of the Nebraska. Here is Boulware's Ferry, one of the principal ferries across the Missouri, and the site of NEBRASKA CITY, so called on paper.

NEBRASKA DEPOT is a ferry three miles below the Nebraska river.

[blocks in formation]

BELLEVUE is a lovely spot on the Missouri river, about nine miles above the mouth of the Nebraska. Here is an Indian agency, and the school of the Ottoe and Omaha Mission.

In the northern parts of the territory, Forts Pierre, Union, Clarke, Benton; Manuel's Fort, Fort Berthold, Fort Alexander, are stations of the Fur Company. The last three are on the Yellowstone. Fort Mandan, at which Lewis and Clarke made their winter quarters in 1805, has not since been tenanted. It is in the territory of Minnesota.

In Kanzas the government forts now occupied are Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, and Fort Atkinson.

FORT LEAVENWORTH is on the west side of the Missouri river, three hundred and ninety-eight miles above its mouth, thirty-one miles above the mouth of the Kanzas river, and four miles below Weston, Mo., in lat. 39° 21' 14" N., and long. 94° 44' W. It was established in 1827. "It is the great frontier depot for the other military posts on the Santa Fé and Oregon routes, and the general rendezvous for troops proceeding to western forts. The government reservation of nine square miles is on a handsome location, which rises gradually from the river to a height of one hundred and fifty feet. There is a good landing for steamboats. All the buildings are well constructed of stone, and present quite an imposing appearance. They consist of the barracks for the troops, a large structure, three stories high; a hospital, which cost from $12,000 to $15,000; the quartermaster's build

« ZurückWeiter »