Diamond Spring
Morris County, Kansas

     Diamond Spring, is located sixteen miles southwest of Council Grove in present day Morris County, Kansas, was a favorite stop on the Santa Fe Trail. The spring is a few feet south of an interior ranch road near the bottom of a westward facing slope. The spring was first named Jones Spring by George Sibley during the 1825 survey of the Santa Fe Trail in honor of Ben Jones who discovered the welcome source of water. Two years later, when Sibley was correcting the original survey, he visited the spring again. Sibley's June 10, 1827 diary entry reads: "This spring is very large, runs off boldly among rocks, is perfectly accessible and furnished the greatest abundance of most excellent, clear cold sweet water. It may be appropriately called The Diamond of the plains', and so I had it marked on an Elm which grows near and overlaps it. "Since that time, the site has been known as Diamond Spring. In the early 1830's, Council Grove became the rendezvous point for wagons headed to Santa Fe. Here traders would wait until sufficient numbers were gathered to assure adequate defense in case of Indian attacks as they crossed the plains. By the 1840's Diamond Spring had superseded Council Grove as the underway point.

     Originally the Santa Fe Trail passed a short distance to the north of the spring and the whole area was open and grass covered. Now a great deal of brush and undergrowth and snakes are found in the immediate spring vicinity. For many years the spring has not had the original appearance and beauty as described by travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Where the spring flowed freely, it is today enclosed in a circular concrete coping. Although the viewer cannot see it gushing or bubbling forth, the spring still flows and the water leaves the concrete cistern through iron pipes and runs down the hill to the creek. Up the slope to the east of the spring is a commemorative marker placed in 1907. The legend on the stone has been almost erases by the elements and the marker, too, is in midst of heavy brush.

     Diamond Spring was one of the most widely known camping sites along the Santa Fe Trail. Located sixteen miles west of Council Grove it had the three necessities for overland travelers: a plentiful supply of good water, grass and timber.

     The spring was discovered on August 11, 1825, by "Old Ben Jones," a huinter with the U.S. Surveying Expedition. According to the report of George C. Sibley, one of the three commissioners appointed by the President to mark the road from Missouri to Santa Fe, he had named it "The Diamond of the Plain" and caused that name to be carved on a nearby elm tree on a return visit in 1827. Sibley wrote the following:

     "This spring gushes out from the head of a hollow in the prairie, and runs off boldly among clean stones into Otter creek, a short distance it is very large, perfectly accessible, and furnishes the greatest abundance of most excellent, clear, cold water, enough to supply and army. There is a fountain, inferior to this in the Arabian Desert, known as 'The Diamond of the Desert.' This magnificent spring may, with at least equal propriety, be called 'The Diamond of the Plain."

     At some unknown date, the Waldo Hall Company established a mail station at Diamond Spring. When the mail service was initiated in 1850, Waldo Hall established a mail station at Council Grove. At the same time, the company was granted a license to trade with the Kaws. This license allowed company employees to maintain residence in Indian Territory. No such arrangement was made for Diamond Spring Station employees. Thus, by conjecture, the station would have been established after May 30, 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the area for settlement. The station complex was impressive. Two large stone buildings were constructed, one to serve as a hotel, restaurant and saloon; the other to serve as a warehouse and store. In addition, a blacksmith shop, a number of corrals, and a full complement of out buildings was situated nearby.

     During the border war period of 1855-56, the station appears to have been closed for a period of time. Young Marian Sloan and her mother arrived at Diamond Spring in 1856 with a caravan headed for Fort Leavenworth. Where they found the place deserted, the windows of the station house "boarded up, and its massive door barred and bolted." Afraid to proceed further without an escort, the little party broke into the house where they stayed, awaiting the arrival of a larger caravan before continuing on to Fort Leavenworth. After two weeks of waiting, Mrs. Sloan and little Marian left on foot for Council Grove. Along the trail they met a man who claimed ownership of the Diamond Spring Station. When told of the party camped in his property, the man replied ". . I aim to throw that bunch, of cowards right out on their noodles. I'm going to find out what in the tarnation they mean a house breakin'. I'll hev' the law on 'ern and the United States Government. See if I don't."

     Following the turbulent time of 1855-56, the pre-civil war turmoil subsided and the station was reopened. A post office named Diamond Springs was added in July, 1859. George C. Newberry was appointed postmaster. However, the station suffered a fatal blow in May 1862, when Dick Yeager, a Quantrill confederate, raided the ranche, killing the proprietor Augustus Howell and seriously wounding his wife. Following the raid, the station was moved to Six Mile Creek, so named for its distance from Diamond Spring.




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