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Presentation explores the lives of frontier freighters
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Jim Gray

Join the Quivira Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association in Lyons as they celebrate Kansas Day with the program “A Bullwhacker’s Life Freighting Supplies over the Plains,” a presentation and discussion by Jim Gray on January 29th 2013 at 7 p.m. The program will be held at the Lyons State Bank Community Room, 104 E. Avenue North in Lyons. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. Contact Linda Colle at 620-241-8719 for more information. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.
Bullwhackers traveled the Kansas frontier freighting supplies and shaping a profession akin to today’s long-haul truck drivers. Traveling the Santa Fe, California-Oregon, and Smoky Hill Trails, commercial and independent bullwhackers walked beside their ox-drawn wagons, courting danger with every trip. Gray will discuss the many troubles they faced and their vital role in the developing frontier.
Jim Gray is a sixth-generation Kansan who co-founded the COWBOY (Cockeyed Old West Band Of Yahoos) Society to promote and preserve Kansas’s cowboy heritage through the bi-monthly newspaper, Kansas Cowboy. He is the author of Desperate Seed: Ellsworth Kansas on the Violent Frontier and writes the newspaper column “The Way West.”
“In the popular culture of the Old West most ‘wagon train’ stories are of immigrants traveling west in search of a better life. For some reason the commercial freighting operations have been largely forgotten.” Gray observed. “I felt that the bullwhacker deserved his place in Kansas history.”
“A Bullwhacker’s Life Freighting Supplies over the Plains” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s The Way We Worked Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions examining the theme of work and working in Kansas and how these stories help define us.
The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities. For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785-357-0359 or visit online at
For more information about “A Bullwhacker’s Life Freighting Supplies over the Plains” in Lyons contact the Linda Colle, President of the Quivira Chapter, SFTA at 620-241-8719 or email at