Bullwhacker Eastern Terminus Activity Text

The Junior Wagon Master Eastern patch is orange and shows a wagon train
The activities for the Bullwhacker Eastern Terminus patch are below. To earn your patch, complete these activities. Use the Junior Wagon Master Story Map to read each sites' supporting historical information.

Reading Between the Lines: Old Franklin (p. 13)

You are standing near the site of the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail. The town of Franklin was the birthplace of the Trail. However Old Franklin doesn’t exist today because of a flood.

Locate the stone plaque (marker) that describes the Missouri Intelligencer newspaper. This newspaper was the first to be printed west of St. Louis. It was in this newspaper that William Becknell advertised for a company of men to join him on a trip to round up wild horses and mules. This actually became a trading trip to Santa Fe. Because of this first successful trading trip, Becknell is called the “Father of the Santa Fe Trail.”

After reading the plaque answer these questions:

1. How many feet west of this mark was the newspaper office?

2. The office was in what town?

3. A newspaper was published here. What was its name?

4. When was the first issue was printed?

5. Why is the newspaper important to the history of the Santa Fe Trail?


Stones and Stories (p. 15)

As you walk down the main street of Arrow Rock look for the stones gutter.

1. Did you find the gutter?

2. What was its purpose?

3. When was it made?

4. Who did the work?

5. According to the legend William Becknell cut open leather bags filled with silver and let them drop into the stone gutters of Arrow Rock. Name two reasons this legend does not fit the town of Arrow Rock.

6. In what town did the legend probably happen?


Legendary Histories (p. 17)

As you view the exhibits in the museum find the section that tells legends of the American Indian tribes in the region. One of these legends is from the Kansa (Kaw) who lived in this area during the time of Lewis and Clark in 1804. Eventually this tribe was moved further west by the U. S. Government as settlers moved into this region in Missouri. During the time of
the Santa Fe Trail, the Kaw Indians were living on a reservation near Council Grove, Kansas.

1. Listen to the legend of the Kansa (Kaw) Indians. What part of the proud bird became the nagging wife?

2. List the nine American Indian tribes featured in this museum. Circle the ones that were impacted by the Santa Fe Trail.

Hint: If you need help answering this question ask museum personnel when these tribes were removed from this area and where they went. Remember the beginning date of the Santa Fe Trail and the lands through which it passed.


Battle Cover (p. 19)

1. What is hemp?

2. During the battle how did the soldiers use the hemp bales to their advantage?

3. What kept the hemp bales from catching on fire when the bullets hit them?

4. What made this battle unique?

5. Why would hemp have been valuable to the freighters on the trail?


Re-Fortifying the Past (p. 21)

1. Why would this fort have been important to the traders on the Santa Fe Trail?

2. Imagine you were with Becknell on his trip to Santa Fe. Pick a spot to sit and sketch what you would have seen while waiting on Becknell to finish his business here. Include things that you might have heard or smelled.


Packing Your Wagon (p. 23)

Both the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon-California Trail are featured here. Walk around the museum until you find the “Pack Your Wagon” activity. Follow the instructions provided.

a. For which trail did you pack?

b. After packing your wagon, ask a museum employee or other adult for a personal autograph, to confirm that your wagon would be ready to embark on one of the trails!

c. List some items that would have been packed for the Santa Fe and Oregon-California trails:

Santa Fe Trail:

Oregon-California Trail:

d. Why is there such a difference in the items packed?

e. What difference would this make in the size of the wagon?


On the Move (p. 25)

This museum clearly shows the importance of the steamboats to the Santa Fe Trail. But there are two other types of transportation that played an important role in the history of the Santa Fe Trail—freight wagons and trains.

Write a paragraph of at least five sentences explaining why all of these were important to the success or end of the trail.


Talk to the Animals (p. 27)

For the first few trips on the Santa Fe Trail horses were used as pack animals. Once the traders got to Santa Fe they found an animal that had been previously unknown in the United States. This animal was the mule. For years the Spanish government had carefully guarded the secret for developing mules. Mules are hybrid animals which come from a horse and a donkey. Once Missouri traders began to trade with the Mexicans in Santa Fe the mule became a valuable animal and important to the Trail.

It was the U. S. Army that introduced oxen into the trail business. Major General Riley and a group of soldiers were sent from Fort Leavenworth to protect traders on the Trail. Most of the soldiers had to walk—no horses or mules were available but their supply wagons were pulled by oxen. The traders scoffed at this, thinking the oxen would just slow them down. However, they proved to be the best suited animal for pulling the heavily loaded freight wagons.

The Mahaffie site has oxen that they still use for farming and pulling wagons. Bullwhacker is the name that is given to an ox driver. Bullwhackers used standard commands to get the oxen to do what they want.

Find the pen with the oxen. After listening, tell what a bullwhacker says to make an oxen:

a. Go left

b. Go right

c. Stop

d. Go

Next, draw the scene at the pen, including the oxen.


Traveling Folks (p. 29)

Read the signs in the kiosk that tell you about the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon-California Trail and the types of people that traveled these trails.

Beside each person write S if the person would have been found mainly on the Santa Fe Trail; write an OC if they would have been found primarily on the Oregon-California Trail. Be careful: some may have been found on both trails. Mark those with a B.

S= Santa Fe Trail
OC = Oregon-California Trail
B = Both

Gold miners


Last updated: February 7, 2018

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National Trails Intermountain Region
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(505) 988-6098

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