487. McNees Crossing

Beware of rattlesnakes & watch where you walk.

McNees Crossing is a rock bed crossing on the North Canadian River. Other crossing places had only dirt bottoms and wagons would get stuck, so most travelers preferred to cross here. If you stand on the rock bed edge of the river and look up the hill and to the east, you can see ruts coming into the crossing from two sides of the hill.

Look at the riverbed—some say the marks in the rocks are from the heavy wagons that crossed here. The dirt ramp leading down to the crossing has been cut by all of the wagon traffic - this cut is 25 feet wide and eight feet deep.

In the fall of 1828, two scouts for a wagon train heading from Santa Fe to Missouri went ahead of the train to see if there was water and grass for all of the animals on the wagon train. These scouts were Robert McNees and Daniel Monroe. There was water and grass, so the two men sat down on the bank of the river to rest and wait for the wagon train to arrive.

They fell asleep. An Indian hunting party came across the men. McNees was killed and Monroe was severely wounded. The wagon train found the two men and buried McNees somewhere in this area. Monroe was put aboard a wagon and cared for as the train continued northw ard. He did not survive his wounds and died when the train was near the Cimarron River. The deaths of these men caused the traders to ask the army for more protection.