Metal-Pittsburg Gorilla Skull TB
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Friday, August 5, 2016
Texas, United States
In the hands of Tipsy_1.
This is not collectible.
Use TB6BZ45 to reference this item.
First time logging a Trackable? Click here.
Please drop this item in rural OR Premium Member Only caches. Do not place it in an urban cache or abandon it at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; the bag keeps the trackable clean, preserves the tracking number and prevents tangling with other items. Otherwise, take the travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission is needed to leave the U.S.
Travel bug photos in the logs are appreciated. I will re-post them here, where they can be seen by other cachers.
About This Item
While I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years, I was born and grew to an adult in Kansas. When I tell someone of my origins, they almost always respond in one of two ways: “I have been there but I don’t remember much about it” or “that 400 mile drive across the state on Interstate 70 is really boring.” There is more to the state than that. The wheat grown there feeds the world, and the people are nice, but I will focus on the sometimes lawless history of the state.
Kansas achieved statehood in 1861, but it was far from civilized. From 1850 until 1900 the region was a frontier, and at the center of important events in US history: there was the westward movement of pioneers from Europe and the eastern US and the subsequent conflicts with Native Americans; the Santa Fe Trail crossed the state and the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail passed through a corner; there was a border war because Kansas was a free state and a center of the abolitionist movement, whereas neighboring Missouri and Arkansas were slave states; and finally the several new railroads were extending westward into hostile territory and furthermore some of the railheads were the destinations of cattle drives from Texas. Each trackable in this series of metal travel bugs is named for towns with interesting histories, some of which have connections to my youth.
In October 1864, a wagon train of about 500 refugees from Arkansas was being escorted by troops from the 6th Kansas Cavalry under the command of Col. William Campbell. The soldiers were mostly local men from Cherokee, Crawford, and Bourbon counties in the southeastern part of the state. By chance, the soldiers and wagon train encountered the Confederate 1st Indian Brigade led by Maj. Andrew Jackson Piercy near the future site Pittsburg. This unit had just raided Kansas community of Marmaton and was trying to avoid detection on their way back to safety. A skirmish between the troops ensued. In a panic, one small group of wagons broke away in an unsuccessful rush to safety. The Confederate troops caught up with them and burned the wagons. The death toll from the brief engagement was three Union soldiers and 13 civilian men. It was likely that one of the Confederates had also been killed. Such was life in eastern Kansas during the Civil War.
Pittsburg began as a coal mining camp in the 1870s. A community sprang up in the fall of 1876 on a railroad line being built through the region. It was named after Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the more famous mining town. Maps of the time give the town's name as "New Pittsburgh." For some reason the “h” was later dropped from the name.
Pittsburg is the home to Pittsburg State University, founded in 1903 as a Normal institution (teacher’s college). The school mascot is the gorilla, which is the connection to skull depicted on this travel bug. In the early 1960s, when I was still living in Kansas, the Pittsburg State Gorillas were perennial small college football powers. They were undefeated and ranked No. 1 when they were improbably defeated by my school (Fort Hays State) at our Homecoming game in maybe 1963.
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Tracking History (15762.9mi) View Map