~ Diamond Springs ~
Submitted by cousin Ina Atchison
Article written by Aretus Loomis
More History of Diamond Springs
(One of a series of local stories being published by The Republican during the Kansas Territorial Centennial Years)
I was born in 1872 at Diamond Springs and will try to tell a few things of interest found in records of my forefathers, and some that I remember.
Diamond Springs can furnish historical lore rather then growth of town. When the Santa Fe Trail was surveyed in 1825 the Kaw Chief Big John led the men to a spring at the head of Diamond Creek on what is now the Whiting ranch, and it was walled up in diamond shape and given the name of Diamond Springs ("The diamond of the prairie") From about 1830 the place became an important station on the trail. Large stone houses were built. A post office was established and hotel. The creeks that headed near the trail were named according to their distance from the spring. Going west there is Mile-and-a-half creek Three Mile Creek. Six Mile Creek and going east Four Mile Creek. The station continued a lively town until 1866 when the railroad having reached as far west, as Junction City. Travel on the old trail suddenly stopped the town vanished, the P O. was discontinued but was re-established, with the same name five miles down the creek. Mr. Travis built the first store in this location. John O'Byrne was its first P.M.. This was on a new route front Council Grove end and on to Marion.
The first settlers here were Irish; O'Byrne, Watson, Dodd, O'Brien and others. In 1856 Wesley and Marion Lyon, Denton, J. W. Randle, Courtney Holmns, John and Bill Edwards, Dickson and Chas. Owen. In the spring of 1869 having bought land in 1868 the following came with their, families from Yankeetown, Ill., Elijah Phillipps, N. G. and Cyrus Rice, Jason Loomis, W. A. Harris, Alpheous, L. P. and D. B. Rude and Julius Stanley. The Bennets came to lower Diamond Creek in 1859. Later Mollie Bennett married Mr. Frank Bar, and moved to the Barr place. Her brother Adolph also settled here. The first settler, built their homes of stone or log. Some of the latter hauled their lumber from Junction City.
John Edwards and his mother (homesteaded in the Six Mile neighborhood. In 1836 in order to get two claims the stone house was built do the section line. The house us still standing and occupied by his youngest son Ralph Edwards.
On May 9, 1869 Lincolm Harlow preached the first sermon here in a log shanty. The church was built in 1832-83.
The first school was taught by Harriet Phillipps in 1869-70 in a log shanty. Later the schoolhouse known as Bobtail was built. When the railroad came through the districts was divided into two districts as the pupils outnumbered Bobtail. Now there is the one district.
Dr. Rodgers was the first doctor followed by Dr. S. D. Barren. Wesley Lyon was the first to be buried in our cemetery. (1870).
For many years prior to 1873 when the Kaws left to their reservation on Big John, they had a trail up Four Mile and over the prairie passing hall-way between Diamond springs railroad station and Stock Yards, crossing Diamond Greek southwest of Stock yards, and on west to their hunting grounds. Every spring and fall large companies of them would go over that trail to kill buffalo. They always camped an Diamond Creek often stealing and eating carcasses of dead animals. In 1870 a company of Kaws camped here and the next morning a squaw was thrown from her pony and killed ---- her back was broken. They took her up on the high bluff west and buried her beside their trail. They staked her pony to kill it also put her teakettle and other possessions on grave so she could have them in the happy hunting grounds as the Indians believed. On their return they camped the same place. Just at sunset the settlers heard a piteous half-human, half-animal cry or howl coming from the direction of the grave on the hill. It was the woman's husband giving vent to its grief. This episode shows that the Indians have sorrows as well as white people. There are other Indian graves both known and unknown.
Another spring earlier than this some Indians on their way through stopped at the Owen's place, went in and took one of her prize feather beds she had brought with her from England. They took it outside, cut slits in it and tied their rawhide lariat to it and ran on their ponies across the hills whooping as they watched the feathers fly. Mrs. Owen sat on the second feather bed refusing to let them have it.
In the spring of 1868 the Kaws while after buffalo came in contact with a band of Cheyenne and killed seven of them. The sequence of this was the notorious Cheyenne raid made for the purpose of vengeance to the Kaws.
Captain Moore at Marion learned one evening just after dark that Chief Little Robe with 400 warriors were going east on the Santa Fe Trail. Stover at Council Grove, Dave Lucas, an ex-union soldier, volunteered to carry the message. He rode his horse the 24 miles to Diamond Spring, at top speed, fully expecting to be given a fresh horse at John O’Byrnes. O'Bryn having three Morgan horses. But he refused to honor the order for a horse that had been given him. Lucas kept on and although he and, his horse were both. exhausted before reaching Council Grove, got his message through before daylight. Thus doubtless saving the Kaws a bloody if not disastrous battle. Little Robe camped at the Old Diamond Springs and on Dodge (Dodd') Creek. Most of the Diamond Springs settlers went E. Stoot’s stone house during the raid near where Hymer now is
We had our share of longhaired frontier "Bills”. "Oregon Bill" spent a winter here. And "Ventriloquist Bill" (a brother of John, Edwards) was a buffalo hunter and Indian fighter. He said, if hostile Indians came near him be would give a yell, then throw a yell to the right and a yell to the left making them that every ravine was full of white men trying to surround them.
The Santa Fe railroad went through in 1887. Thus brought a boom to our little village. After this the Rock Island people surveyed for their railroad to cross the Santa Fe here. This brought a big boom to the settlers. A town was blocked out and lots sold as high as $150. Some wanted to name it Loomisville, but Jason Loomis said it was to be Diamond Springs as it started years ago when located 5 miles north: But the saying went Loomisville, Jackson St, Cooks Hotel and nothing to eat.
Severest drought and grasshopper years were 1860-1874. Earthquakes 1868-1906. A cyclone in 1892. Two houses were destroyed, the Miser home and the house on the lower Barr place.
In the early days numerous wildcats infested the ledges of. rack. along the creek, end gar fish. Also antelope and prairie chickens. Some of these I can remember especially the prarie chicken hunts.
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