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Early Days in Nemaha County, Kansas

The Kansas Heritage Server would like to thank John Minger for contributing this article written by his grandfather, John A. Minger, "Reminiscences of Early Days in Nemaha County, Kansas" Bern Gazette, April 1940.

A branch of the California Trail passed right over the Bern town site. Its eight- or ten-deep worn tracks were still in evidence when the town site was laid out, crossing main street somewhere between the lumber yard and the bank, then northwest, crossing the little Four Mile Creek near Fred Miller's place.

In the early days this trail was held in reverence and awe. It started somewhere in the East and ended in the goldfields of California. It was a thing apart from the rest of the country. Many were the stories of adventure and tragedy that took place along its course. When the country between Four Mile and Sabetha was still a wide expanse of prairie, stones were found along its course with dates and initials--no doubt markers of graves. Such a marker was found a few miles east of Bern, Kansas.

There were strange looking outfits passing over this trail as late as 1870. They camped along the trail and many destructive prairie fires started from these camps.

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