The United States Commissioners, to survey and obtain right of way for a road from the Missouri River to Santa Fe, NM, reached Council Grove, Kansas on the Neosho River, on the tenth day of August, 1825. There they held a council with the chiefs of the Great and Little Osage Indians under the famous "Council Oak" A part of the fine grove. After that event, this place has always been known as Council Grove. A treaty was made there with this tribe for a right-of-way over the plains. Five-hundred dollars in gold was paid, and three-hundred dollars in merchandise was given. On their way southward, over a trail already somewhat used, the next day, August 11, 1825, they reached "The Diamond of the Plains" on the headwaters of what was then known as Otter Creek. It was a most welcome resting spot after a day's journey over the hot and arrid plains, and they were so struck with its enormous flow of clear, cold water, that they were slow to leave the cooling shade of the beautiful stream and its picturesque valley. On the field notes of the Surveyor of the Expedition, "The Diamond of the Plain" is recorded as being 758 miles from Taos, NM, with the following notation: "Diamond of the Plain, a remarkable fine, large fountain spring near which there ia a good camping ground. Otter Creek is three chains west of the spring and affords wood for fuel. It is fifteen links wide and runs southward."
Insert: Webster States for the Gunters (or surveyors), a chain is sixty-six feet long. The engineer's chain is one-hundred feet long. A link is a single ring of a chain. One surveyor's link equals 7.92 inches. One engineer's link equals one foot.
Charles Atkinson, who once lived in Burdick, Kansas and had been a teamster on the Santa Fe Trail in 1862, described a train. A train consisted of twenty-five wagons heavy enough to carry four tons of freight. Wheels were four inches wide, axles were heavy and strong, both of wood and iron. Wagons were drawn by either six mules or twelve oxen. When it was hot the day's drive was from four to eleven a.m. and in the late hours of the day, from three to nine or ten p.m. Camping places were selected for easy access to wood, water and grazing. Often both wood and water had to be carried, as well as forage for the team. Each train had twenty-five wagons, two Wagon Masters (first and second), two mounted extra wagon masters and three night watchmen.
West of "Diamond of the Plains" was a region of danger, as it was the home or range of the Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and other tribes, who often attacked the train, but seldom went east of this place.
In the course of time, as the traffic along the great trail increased, it became a well-known stage and relief station. Several, large two-story stone buildings and a large stone corral were constructed. These buildings were erected by Waldo Hall & Co., who in 1849, obtained a contract from the United States Government to carry the mail from the Missouri River to Santa Fe, NM; a distance of about eight-hundred miles.
The old Diamond Spring Post Office was established July 21, 1859, and was discontinued February 9, 1863, then moved six miles west , the the Six Mile Stage Station. Six Mile was discontinued October 3, 1866, and moved to the (new) Diamond Spring, about four miles south of the spring.
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.