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Morris County, Kansas Santa Fe Trail -  Page 3

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Kaw Mission State Historic Site, Council Grove

 

Kaw Mission, Council GroveThis land was once part of Kaw and Osage Indian homelands. In the early 1800s, the Kaws' domain extended well beyond the present-day borders of Kansas. In 1846, the federal government forced the Kaw people onto a 20 square-mile reservation surrounding Council Grove. About 1,000 people, struggling with disease and starvation, lived in three nearby villages. The Kaw lived on the reservation for less than 30 years when, despite an impassioned plea to Congress by Chief Allegawaho in 1873, the US government relocated 600 Kaw Indians to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

 

Kanza peopleIn 1850, workers from the Shawnee Methodist Mission near Kansas City traveled 110 miles on the Santa Fe Trail to build the Kaw Mission and boarding school for Indian boys. The mission opened in 1851, with funding from the US government. For three years, 30 Kaw boys called this building home and school.

 

Mission schools were part of the effort to assimilate Native Americans into white culture and toward Christianity. However, the government reported that the operational costs were too high, and the school and mission closed in 1854.

 

It then became a school for white children, becoming the first all-white school in Kansas. Today, the Kaw Mission, located is one of the oldest buildings still standing in this part of Kansas and is operated by the Kansas State Historical Society as a museum.

Kanza/KawIndians who gave the State of Kansas its name, the headquarters for the Kaw Nation is now in Oklahoma, where the tribe was removed to in 1873.

 

Hermit's Cave, Council Grove, KansasHermit's Cave, Council Grove

Hermits Cave located on Belfry St. near Hays St. (2 blocks north of Main Street) was the temporary abode of an Italian religious mystic, Giovanni Maria Augustini, Born in 1801, this religious mystic lived here for a brief period in the spring of 1863. Born in 1801 in Novara, Italy, he was the son of a nobleman and received a fine education in preparation for the priesthood, but, was reportedly forced to leave Italy after falling in love with a young lady. He came to America and wandered from one Indian tribe to another teaching the gospel and administering the last sacrament to people on the Santa Fe Trail. InCouncil Grove, he was known as Father Francesco.

 

Later in 1863, at the age of 62, he left Council Grove in the company of a wagon train, walking the 550 miles on the Santa Fe Trail to Las Vegas, New Mexico. There, he is said to have performed miracle cures, which attracted crowds. The Hermit left for southern New Mexico and the Organ Mountains in 1867. He was mysteriously murdered in 1869.

 

Terwilliger Home

 

 

The Terwilliger Home, located on 803 West Main, was built by Abraham and Mary Rawlinson in 1860-61. The stone home was the last house freighters passed going West when leaving Council Grove as late as 1863. From their home on the edge of the frontier, the Rawlinsons witnessed long trains of freight wagons loaded with goods, heading to or from Santa Fe. Today, it is one of the four oldest homes remaining alongside the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas and currently houses a  bakery café in the restored part of the house.

 

 

 

Last Chance Store, Council Grove

 

Perched on the edge of Council Grove, the Last chance Storewas built in 1857 by Tom and Lucy Hill, whowho had come to Council Grove from Hew England. It was used as a store and residence. Since it was the last place where supplies could be obtained on the Santa Fe Trail, it became known as the "Last Chance Store". Here was the last opportunity for traders and travelers bound for Santa Fe, New Mexico to purchase supplies before crossing some 600 miles of territory that was called home to the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa and Plains Apache tribes. The store supplies were brought from St. Louis, Missouri by boat to Westport Landing and then by mule teams to Council Grove. The building also served as a post office for several years. Later, a Government trading post was located here and the building served as a polling place.

Located at the corner of Main Street (Highway 56) and Chatauqua Street, at the west end of the Council Grove business district, it is the oldest
commercial building in Council Grove and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The privately owned building remains near its original state today. There is an historical marker on the property.

 

Last Chance Store, Council Grove, Kansas

The Last Chance Store in Council Grove, Kathy Weiser, October, 2006.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE.

 

The Council Grove Cemetery houses a number of graves belonging to historic Santa Fe Trail pioneers.

 

Morris County, Kansas, 1899From Council Grove, for several miles, there were two routes, one along the high divide to the north of Elm Creek, and the other passing up the valley of the creek. The two roads united about a mile or two southeast of the present town of Wilsey.

 

Santa Fe Trail Ruts west of Council Grove, KansasSanta Fe Trail Ruts, Morris County

 

Located about five miles west of Council Grove, is a wide swale created by Santa Fe Trail Travelers. It is located 0.7 miles south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 56 and 1400 Road. A sign, "Santa Fe Trail Ruts", near the fence marks the center of the swale. It is on private property and may be viewed from the road in the spring after the range management burning.

 

Diamond Springs
 

The path then continued on to Diamond Springs where the famous prairie fountain, called "The Diamond of the Plains," was a favorite stop on the Santa Fe Trail due to its high-quality water. A stage station and small settlement grew up here prior to the Civil War, but these were destroyed in a raid by Missouri bushwhackers. Diamond Spring continued to be a valuable water source and popular campsite as long as the Trail was active in this vicinity. The spring now rises in a concrete cistern and is piped to a nearby concrete stock tank on private property, though a historic marker designates the site.

 

The road continued westward to the Six Mile Creek Crossing and Stage Station. The site is on the road that runs south from US Highway 56 toward the town of Burdick, Kansas, just south of the bridge over Six Mile Creek. It was given its name because it was six miles from Diamond Spring. There are good trail ruts coming into the crossing site from the east, but the actual crossing is no longer visible. The stage station was built about 1863, after the Diamond Spring station was destroyed. It was in use until 1866 or 1867 and served as a ranch house until after the turn of the century. Today, only the basement walls and some debris from the upper stories can be seen, with some trail ruts nearby.

 

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2015.

 

 

Diamond Springs, Kansas

Parts of the old stage station continue to stand in ruins, Kathy Weiser,

September, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE.

 

Morris County, Kansas Slideshow:

 

 

All images available for photo prints or commercial downloads HERE.

 

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