Osage Chief Black Dog gave his name to the earliest known road across Kay
County. It was also known as the Manka Shonka Trail. Chief Black Dog was born
near St. Louis in the late 1700's. Though he claimed the right to the title
"chief" by birth, his height, seven feet, and his weight, three hundred
pounds, probably reinforced his claim. Black Dog frequently led his people
west from the vicinity of Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Salt Plains, in
order to hunt buffalo and raid other tribes. The route went west from Salt
Creek and crossed Kay County north of present day Kaw City. It then proceeded
up the Salt Fork River to the Salt Plains.
In 1803, Black Dog moved his village of four hundred people south to join
those of Chief Clermont; they reestablished their home at Pasuga near
Claremore. From there Black Dog opened a new trail west to the Salt Plains
hunting ground: it went up the Caney River, across the ridge to Buck Creek
and down Buck Creek to the Arkansas River. After fording the Arkansas, the
trail led west along the Salt Fork to the Salt Plains.
The Osage hunters carried buffalo hides and tongues home, over this trail,
to trade with French trader Pierre Chouteau for manufactured goods. The trail
also served a ceremonial purpose. When an Osage died, it was customary to
avenge his death by sacrificing the scalp of an enemy over the grave of the
loved one. Close relatives of the dead, then, often traveled west over the
Black Dog Trail in search of candidates for the sacrifice.
William Paul Corbin
"Oklahoma Highways:Indian Trails to Urban Expressways"
An unpublished doctoral dissertation,
Oklahoma State University, 1982
Found on page 26 of NCOHA's award winning book.