491. McNees Crossing (Cimarron Route)

McNees Crossing is a rock bed crossing on the North Canadian River. Other crossings 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. 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.

This crossing was named for Robert McNees. In 1828 he and Daniel Monroe, young eastbound traders, rode ahead of their caravan to scout the trail and look for water. Indians attacked the two while they rested at this spot, killing McNees instantly, and mortally wounding Monroe. 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 northward. He died when the train was near the Cimarron River. The deaths of these men caused the traders to ask the army for more protection. Just three years later Josiah Gregg recorded Fourth of July celebrations taking place here, probably the first ever held in New Mexico.

Santa Fe Trail New Mexico - McNees Crossing

McNees Crossing - Clayton, NM

Freighter and Bullwhacker Hint
Scout Hint