FATHER JUAN DE PADILLA & QUIVIRA
In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado marched north from Mexico with 300 Spaniards in search of “The Seven Golden Cities of Cibola.” With them were several priests, including Juan de Padilla, a Franciscan friar. When the golden cities proved to be only adobe pueblos the Spaniards went on to explore the Southwest and Padilla was among those who discovered the Grand Canyon. Later he marched with a party of 30 picked horsemen to the land of Quivira in (Kansas). For 25 days in the summer of 1541 Coronado remained among the grass hut villages of the Quivira Indians then returned to (New Mexico). Padilla went with him, but the following year came back as a missionary. Here he was later killed by the Indians, the first Christian martyr in what is now the United States. Although the exact place of his death is unknown there is a monument to Padilla in City Park in Herington.
– Kansas Historical Society