Jesse Chisholm Trading Post

Wichita Urban Native History Tour

Jesse Chisholm Trading Post

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Wichita History Walk


Jesse Chisholm, of Cherokee and Scottish descent, was a guide, interpreter, treaty facilitator, and humanitarian for Indigenous Americans. Chisholm is also the owner of Wichita’s first business: a trading post. Jesse Chisholm’s trading post heavily contributed not only to Wichita’s economy but also to the development of Wichita culture.

In 1826, Chisholm first visited the area that would become Wichita as a member of a gold-seeking party. He returned many years later, near the end of the Civil War, to establish his trading post. Thus began an important trade route that would eventually become known as the Chisholm Trail. The Chisholm Trail was originally known as an American Indian trail from Wichita to Oklahoma. Chisholm used this trail to transport and trade goods with other Indigenous Americans within and outside of Wichita. Chisholm would trade cloth and staples, such as sugar and flour, in exchange for furs and other interests. Chisholm’s trading trips became so successful that he established additional small trading posts in Oklahoma and Texas. As a result, it was convenient for cattle drives to use Chisholm’s trading path. The cattle drives started in Texas, passed through Wichita, and ended in Abilene, Kansas. It was heavily used from 1867-1976. It was only after Chisholm’s death that the trail was named in his honor.

The success of Jesse Chisholm’s trading post placed Wichita at the intersection of a major trade route. The route welcomed thousands of people, including Indigenous Americans, to the area, as well as many more travelers. Jesse Chisholm’s trading post and other work reflect how Wichita culture is Indigenous American. To honor the original trading post, a monument was placed on the lower level of Twin Lakes Shopping Center. There is another historical marker commemorating Jesse Chisholm near the bike trail on 19th Street, where the street ends near Interstate 135, denoting the location of his family farm.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Wichita Urban Native History Tour


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