Diamond Springs, Kansas

by Neal Danielson, Editor

Diamond Springs, located in Morris County was originally organized as Wise in 1855, with the County Seat being Council Grove. The name was changed in February, 1859 in honor of Thomas Morris, a U.S. Senator from Ohio in 1832, who distinguished himself as an opponent of slavery. The History of Council Grove dates back to the early 1800 when treaties were negotiated with Indian Tribes.

A treaty with the Great and Little Osage was made August 10, 1825 in order to promote and direct commercial and friendly intercourse between the citizens of the United States and those of the Mexican Republic. This treaty also gave authority to the President of the United States to cause a road to be marked out from the Western frontier of Missouri to the confines of New Mexico. The meeting was held at Council Grove, on the river Nee-o-zho, 160 miles southwest from Fort Osage (now Sibley), Jackson County Missouri.

William Becknell, called the father of the Santa Fe Trail, combined several Indian paths and created a line of commerce between the United States and the residents of Santa Fe, then governed by Mexico. When the Santa Fe Trail was first surveyed in 1825, Diamond Springs was called the 'Diamond of the Plains'. From field notes by Joseph C. Brown, United States Surveying Expedition 1825-1827 'Diamond of the Plains' was noted as a remarkable fine large fountain spring, near which is a good camping ground, Otter Creek (Diamond Creek) is 3 chains west of this spring, and affords wood for fuel. It is 15 links wide and runs southward.

The Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico, having been established, a contract was let by the Government, in 1849, to Waldo, Hall & Co., to carry the United States mail to Santa Fe, a point 700 miles west of the Missouri River. For a number of years after the trail was opened Council Grove was the only trading post between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, and, as a consequence, became a point of considerable importance to westward bound travelers.

The springs were the first stop going west on the Santa Fe Trail from Council Grove. The Springs were the last safe stop for wagon trains going west. It was also the last dependable source for clean water. The trail going west from this point was littered with the remains of many travelers who did not survive the trip.

In 1850 the Methodist Episcopal Church entered into a contract with the Government to establish a school for the education of the Kaws, which numbered about 1,700. Most inhabitants of Morris Country up to 1854 were Indian tribes and government employees as were the buildings or outposts. When the territory was opened to settlers it resulted in an increase of population in Morris County.

A general store was opened at the springs and on the night of May 4, 1863; the Dick Yeager Gang killed the storekeeper, Augustus Howell, wounded his wife and burned the buildings. The limestone foundations can still be spotted in the area.

The pictorial post card (front of card shown above), is very interesting this time of year when Valentines Day rolls around, depicting a party of yesteryear with a poem:

"When the Heart is Young"
O' Merry goes the Time
when the heart is young,
There's naught too high to climb
when the heart is young,
A spirit of delight scatters roses
in her flight
And there's music in the night
when the heart is young.

The post card is postmarked at Diamond Springs, Kans October 13, 1910. The post card is a little late but the thought is what counts. The population was reported in 1910 as 27 people living in Diamond Springs. The address and message side of the post card is shown on the next page. The Diamond Springs post office was in existence from 1886 to 1930.

Address & Message Side of Card Showing Postmark & Stamp

If you go looking for Diamond Springs, it's located about 20 miles southwest of Council Grove. The springs are on private property, therefore, permission must be granted, just stop at the Ranch Headquarters and they will provide directions.

Diamond Springs

References:
Website: Morris County
Website: Diamond Springs
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Connelley, W. E., Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL, 1919.

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Posted Jan,2005 RR