The first white men upon the soil of Webster county, — at least so far as we have any historic records, — were an exploring party of the First United States Dragoons, who passed through the country in 1835. The Dragoons were a military organization created by Congress in March, 1833. They were enlisted from nearly every state in the Union. Their commanding officer was Colonel Henry Dodge. The Lieutenant Colonel was Stephen W. Kearney. One of the captains was Nathan Boone, and Albert M. Lea was a lieutenant. The rendezvous was Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. Four distinct exploring expeditions were made by the dragoons. The first was from Jefferson Barracks to Fort Gibson. The second was from Fort Gibson to the Pawnee village on the Red river and back. The third was from Fort Gibson to Fort Des Moines in Lee county, Iowa ; and the fourth was from Fort Des Moines to Wabashaw's village in Minnesota and back. It was this last expedition in the year 1835 that passed through what is now Webster county on its return trip. It was a march of 1,100 miles by Companies "B," "H" and "I," under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kearney. On June 7, 1835, this detachment left Fort Des Moines and marched between the Des Moines and Skunk rivers to near the mouth of Boone river. Then taking a northeasterly course they arrived at Wabashaw's village on the Mississippi river in Minnesota. After remaining here about a week the company marched westwardly. Then taking a southerly course they reentered Iowa in Kossuth county and reached the Des Moines river. Here at the close of the day's march, Monday, August 3, 1835, they camped near the present site of Rutland in Hum- boldt county. The next day they marched some twenty miles and this time made camp on the North Lizard creek in Webster county. Descending the river on its western side the dragoons reached Fort Des Moines August 19, 1835, without a case of sickness or the loss of a single horse or man.
Fifteen years later this same route was followed by another body of United States soldiers on their way north to establish a fort at the mouth of the Lizard creek, and which afterwards became the fort and city of Fort Dodge. A few years more and tne stage line followed the same path, which by this time had become known among the early settlers as the "Dragoons' Trail."
Records of this expedition of the First United States Dragoons have survived.