FORTUNE AND LOSS ON THE SANTA FE TRAIL
Kittie Hays Houghton was adopted by the aging, gruff bachelor and life-long frontiersman, Seth Hays of the trading post at Council Grove. Why did he open his home to this orphaned newborn? Who was Sarah Taylor, the free woman of color, who lived and worked alongside Seth at the trading post and raised young Kittie? What were the risks and rewards for the men, mules and oxen carrying freight on the road to Santa Fe? And where did the capital come from to fund these risky and expensive ventures?
Born in the year Kansas took statehood, Kittie was a child underfoot at the trading post while her adoptive family provided supplies and services to the great government freighters, the local Kanza tribal members, Mexicans bringing goods east and investors from the east taking goods west, as well as, "goldseekers too numerous to mention".
Seth became a wealthy man due to his entrepreneurial drive. But what happened to that wealth that caused Kittie to become a penniless orphan before reaching adulthood?