Sponsored by

Santa Fe Trail Center Museum & Research Library
Santa Fe Trail Association
Fort Larned National Historic Site

The 18th biennial Rendezvous history seminar in Larned, Kansas will be held September 22-24, 2016. This year’s theme is Shadows on the Land: Women of the Santa Fe Trail. Through presentations by scholars, authorities on trail history, re-enactors, and descendants of trail travelers attendees will explore the history of the women who traveled, lived, and died along the historic trade route. With notable exceptions, such as Susan Shelby Magoffin, the women of the trail are often overshadowed by their male counterparts. This seminar will bring their experiences into the light.

Sessions include the dedication of a marker at Ash Creek Crossing, an overview of women from trail history, presentations about African American, American Indian, and Hispanic women, a panel of modern women of the trail, first person narrative of Cathay Williams, history of the D.A.R. trail markers, and more.


Principal funding for this program is provided by the Kansas Humanities Council,  a nonprofit cultural organization promoting understanding of the history, traditions, and ideas that shape our lives and community.

Click Below for More Information

  • Program Schedule

    Thursday September 22

    9:00 a.m.
    SFTA Board Meeting – Open to the Public – Santa Fe Trail Center Museum

    2:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Registration – Santa Fe Trail Center Museum

    5:30 p.m.
    Dedication of the Susan Shelby Magoffin Marker at Ash Creek Crossing
    Join Dr. Leo Oliva and members of the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter as they dedicate a new marker at the Ash Creek Crossing where Magoffin’s carriage had an accident which eventually led to her miscarrying a child.  Due to limited parking, we suggest arranging with fellow attendees to carpool. Directions will be included in the Program Guide and at the Registration Table. Limited seating will be provided.

    6:30 p.m.
    Dinner and Program – Santa Fe Trail Center Museum
    BBQ Pork Chops, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Garlic Bread
    Dr. Ann Birney Portraying Julia Archibald Holmes.
    Dr. Birney holds a PhD in American Studies/Women’s Studies from the University of Kansas,  is co-director of Ride Into History, and has held workshops on first-person narrative, storytelling, and more.  Using Holmes’ letters, Birney will bring her to life as we learn about Holmes’ adventures on the Santa Fe Trail and becoming the first white woman to climb Pike’s Peak.

    Friday September 23

    7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    Registration – Larned Community Center

    8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
    Welcome to Rendezvous

    9:00 a.m. – 9:45
    Remember the Ladies
    Dr. Alice Anne Thompson has devoted much of her research to the history of women of the Central Plains, in particular the Santa Fe Trail. In addition to extensively lecturing on the subject, she is co-author of the book, Women of the Santa Fe Trail. Her presentation introduces the theme of this year’s Rendezvous seminar. It will include a collection of images of the diverse women who traveled and lived along the Santa Fe Trail. Attendees will also see illustrations, maps, and photos of women who were “casualties” of trail travel and portraits of the women who launched the initiative to mark and preserve the Santa Fe Trail in the twentieth century to the present.

    10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
    Coffee Break

    10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
    Lives of Cheyenne Women during the Period of the Santa Fe Trail
    Minoma Littlehawk-Sills holds an interdisciplinary degree in American Indian Studies, Art Education, and Park & Recreation.  In addition to previously working at Washita Battlefield National Historic Site and Little Bighorn National Monument, Littlehawk-Sills is an enrolled Cheyenne and a direct descendent of the Sand Creek Massacre, Washita Battle, and Little Bighorn.   Drawing from her experiences, Littlehawk-Sills will share the culture and language of the Cheyenne and explore how much things have changed in the last 100 years.

    11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Lunch – Larned Community Center
    Box Lunch – Ham, Turkey, or BLT Sandwiches, Potato Chips, Pickle Spear.

    1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
    Those Literate Women: Women Writing on the Santa Fe Trail
    Dr. Michael Olsen has published extensively on the social, cultural and economic aspects of the Santa Fe Trail and trade. Using the published diaries and memoirs of women who traveled the trail over many decades, Olsen will assert that if it were not for these literate women, we would know a great deal less about the trail than we now do.

    2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
    African-American Women on the Santa Fe Trail
    Dr. Leo Oliva taught classes on American History at Fort Hays State University, was the editor for Wagon Tracks for 25 years, and is co-author of the book Women of the Santa Fe Trail. His presentation will look closely at the African-American women who traveled the trail, both free and slave. Some of these amazing women include Cathay Williams, who disguised herself as a male Buffalo Soldier; Mary Ann Wilson de Tevis, who operated a store in Taos; and Katie Bowen’s slave Margaret, who was eventually freed for her faithful service.

    3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Coffee Break

    3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
    Kitty Frank Portraying Kitty Hays
    Kitty Frank is a trained and juried member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historical Performers.  Frank will portray the adopted daughter of Seth Hays, a successful trader, rancher and tavern owner on the Santa Fe Trail.  Through Kitty Hays’ eyes, Frank will contrast the wealthy lifestyles of investors in the heavy freighting business against the hardships of others who were impacted by the Trail, such as the Kanza tribal people.

    4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    On Your Own
    Community Center will remain open. Things to do: Visit the Santa Fe Trail Center Museum (open until 6 p.m.), bid on SFTA Silent Auction books, or discover local DAR markers.

    6:00 p.m.
    Dinner and Program – Larned Community Center
    Glazed Chicken Breast, Steamed Veggies, Roasted Potatoes, Roll, Strawberry Shortcake
    Donna Madison Portraying Cathay Williams
    Donna Madison first learned of Cathay Williams, a woman who disguised herself as a male and enlisted as a Buffalo Soldier in order to survive after the Civil War, at the dedication of the Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth in 1992.  She was so intrigued by Williams’ story that she began collecting every bit of research about her that she could.  Eventually Madison developed a first person portrayal of Williams as an old woman, sharing her experiences as a suddenly freed, illiterate black woman with no home, job or plans for a future.
    SFTA Awards and SFTA Hall of Fame Inductions

    Saturday Morning September 24 – Larned Community Center

    7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Registration – Larned Community Center

    8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
    SFTA Membership Meeting

    9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
    Why the DAR saved the Santa Fe Trail
    Shirley Coupal and Pat Traffas have both been members of the Daughters of the American Revolution for over 30 years, serving in numerous chapter, state and national offices, including as State Regents.  Using their vast combined research about the DAR markers along the Santa Fe Trail, Coupal and Traffas will delve into the history about the impressive DAR program to mark and preserve the heritage of the Trail.

    10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    Coffee Break

    11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Panel of Modern Women Preserving, Protecting, and Promoting the Santa Fe Trail
    Moderated by Alexa Roberts, Superintendent of Bent’s Old Fort and Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Sites, this panel comprised of Roberts, Faye Gaines, Sharon Haun, and Carolyn Kern, will talk about the issues related to preserving the trail from various perspectives.

    12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    On the Trail to Santa Fe – Performed by the St. George Elementary Honor Choir
    Janet Armstead graduated from Kansas State University with a Master’s degree in Music Education. She recently retired after 41 years of teaching.  She is co-director of the Santa Fe Trail Youth Trips and is a life long member of the Santa Fe Trail Association.  On the Trail to Santa Fe, written by Armstead, is an elementary musical that teaches children about the trail through word and song.

    12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    Lunch On Your Own

    Saturday Afternoon September 24 – Fort Larned National Historic Site

    2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
    Prostitutes of the Santa Fe Trail
    Jan MacKell Collins is a prolific writer who has published numerous articles and books on the topic of prostitution in the West.  She is the former director of the Cripple Creek District Museum and Old Homestead Museum, Colorado.  Collins’ presentation will highlight the women and bordellos which kept the trip down the Trail lively from beginning to end.

    3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Coffee Break

    3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
    Fashion Show – Ladies Clothing at Fort Larned 1859-1878
    Fort Larned National Historic Site will treat attendees to a fashion show depicting the various clothes worn by women during the time the fort was an active military post.

    4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
    Black Women of the West
    Angela Bates is the Executive Director of Nicodemus Historical Society & Museum and an historian of the African American experience in the West. Through her persona as Stage Coach Mary, Bates will explore the westward migration of African American women from the south, their employment opportunities, and the mark they left on the western frontier.

    6:00 p.m.
    Retreat Ceremony

    6:15 p.m.
    Dinner and Program – Quartermaster Storehouse, Fort Larned NHS
    Garden Salad, Roasted Beef, Turkey Divan, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Carrots, Rolls, Cheesecake
    Katie Bowen, Domestic Doyenne of the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Union, New Mexico Territory, 1851-1853
    Susan Haug Ward is the Great great granddaughter of Katie Bowen, the wife of Army Captain Isaac Bowen.  After her husband was appointed Chief of the Commissary for the New Mexico Territories, Katie and her husband traveled the Trail to their new home.  Katie Bowen’s letters provide an intimate view of domestic life while on the Trail.  Ward will read excerpts from these letters, as well as passages from journals kept by both of her Great great grandparents.

  • Registration

    Those interested in attending Rendezvous 2016 may register in advance or on either day of the event.  However, meals reservations can no longer be made.

    To register please download the Registration form and bring it to the event.  You may pay with cash, check, or credit card.  We recommend that you do not mail the registration and payment this close to the event.

    Download Registration Form

  • Lodging

    There are a number of great places for attendees to stay during Rendezvous.  Additionally, we have arranged for a reduced group rate at several hotels in Larned and Great Bend. The dates for these rates are for the nights of the 22, 23, and 24 of September.  Reservations must be made by phone and you need to tell them you want the Santa Fe Trail Center Rendezvous rate.

    Lodging Accommodations with Group Rates:

    Quality Inn
    3500 10th Street
    Great Bend, KS 67530

    Non-Smoking & Smoking – King, Queen & Double Beds – $67.99 – $77.49 + taxes

    Comfort Inn
    911 Grant St
    Great Bend, KS 67530

    Non-Smoking Rooms Only – King, Queen & Double Beds – $79.99 – $99.99 + taxes

    Holiday Inn Express
    3821 10th Street
    Great Bend, KS 67530

    Non-Smoking Rooms Only – King, Queen & Double Beds – $104.00 + taxes

    Additional Lodging Options in the Area

    Country Inn
    135 E. 14th St
    Larned, KS 67550

    Best Western Angus Inn
    3500 10th St.
    Great Bend, KS 67530

    Camp Pawnee
    West of Larned, Apprx. 2 Miles from the Santa Fe Trail Center
    Call City Clerk’s Office for Availability

    Rodeway Inn
    Only RV Spots Available
    802 E. 14th
    Larned, KS 67550





  • #foundDARmarker Game




    Oops….this isn’t a Superman movie!


     -AND LAST-


    If you answered yes to all of the above . . . and even if you didn’t . . . we challenge you to test your knowledge of Trail history.  Join the newest social media craze, #foundDARmarker. OK, it is only a craze in our minds but you know what we mean.

    Visit our DAR page for complete information and to play #foundDARmarker.

  • Silent Auction - Harry Myers Book Collection

    Duplicates and non-related books from the Harry C. Myers Collection will be offered for auction on Friday and Saturday of Rendezvous at the Larned Community Center. The silent bidding will be available on Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, bidding will be from 7:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m. The auction will not be open during speaker sessions. Winners please pick up and pay after the last morning session. Good luck to all!

    If you would like an advance copy of the available books that will be auctioned please contact Linda Revello at trailassn@gbta.net or 620-285-2054.