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Diamond Creek a popular Santa Fe Trail stop
Santa Fe Trail memories
photos 7-12 022
Jim Misunas Great Bend Tribune Historian David Clapsaddle of Larned speaks to a group from Country Place Senior Living about the Santa Fe Trail.

By David K. Clapsaddle

Editor’s Note: Local historian David Clapsaddle writes about aspects about the Santa Fe Trail. The early years before trading on the Santa Fe Trail eventually included Fort Larned and Pawnee County. The sixth installment profiled Arthur Ingram Baker, a blacksmith who served as a public servant

Diamond Spring
From Rock Creek to Council Grove was eight miles, and 16 miles more miles was Diamond Spring located in what was to become Wise County, later changed to Morris County.
A popular stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the site was named by George C. Sibley in 1827.
He wrote — It might be appropriately called Diamond of the Plains. There, Waldo, Hall and Company established a mail station. Though the exact date at which the station came into existence is unknown, Morris Taylor stated that it was in operation by 1853.
Waldo, Hall and Company had received an Indian trading license in 1850 when it opened a trading house at Council Grove in competition with its mail station. The license allowed the company to comply with the Indian Intercourse and Trade Act which permitted settlement in Indian Territory for army posts, authorized Christian missions, and licensed Indian traders.
In 1852 and 1853, the company was licensed to trade with the Kanzas.
Perhaps, the 1852-1853 licenses were intended for the mail station at Diamond Spring. The station complex was impressive. Two large buildings were constructed — one to serve as a hotel, restaurant, and saloon; the other — a combination warehouse and store.
Additionally, a blacksmith shop, a number of corrals, and a full complement of outbuildings were situated nearby. No doubt, the hotel was the scene of entertainment listed in the 1858 table of distances. The only other item listed was corn.
During the Border War period of 1855-1856, the station was closed for a time. Young Marion Sloane and her mother arrived at the station in 1856 with a caravan en route to Fort Leavenworth.
Afraid to proceed further without an escort, the wagoners and the Sloanes stayed two weeks at the station awaiting the arrival of another caravan which could accompany them to Fort Leavenworth. Finally, Mrs. Sloane and Marion left on foot and proceeded to Council Grove.
Following the turbulent time of 1855-1856, the station was reopened and a post office was established in July 1859, with George Newbery as postmaster.
Four years later, the station suffered a fatal blow when Dick Yeager, a Quantrill associate, and his band of brigands arrived at Diamond Spring. The proprietor Augustus Howell was killed and his wife was seriously wounded. Following the raid, the station was closed and the post office was moved to Six Mile Creek.
Six Mile Creek
Six Mile Creek, obviously named for its distance from Diamond Spring, was located in Morris County, originally Wise County.
In February, 1863, the post office was transferred from Diamond Spring. Samuel Shaft, appointed postmaster, was presumably the proprietor of the ranch located at the Santa Fe Trail crossing of the creek.
In the fall of 1865, two brothers, Frank and William Hartwell, came from New Hampshire to Kansas seeking their fortune. At Topeka, they were advised that a ranch would be a good investment; and subsequently, they purchased the Six Mile Creek enterprise.
At that time, the ranch consisted of a “low stone structure with three rooms, and a log building used as a grocery, all under a dirt roof.” There was, in addition, “a stable capacity of 10 horses, and a good stone corral.”
Adequate facilities, it appears, but not adequate patronage.
Business was dismal through the winter months and not much better in the spring.
Word was that the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division was laying tracks to Junction City, and that the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail would seen be relocated there, thus eliminating overland traffic in the Six Mile area.
The Hartwells, who had paid $2,000 for the ranch, sold it for a mere $500, and departed to the Cimarron crossing of the
Santa Fe Trail where they learned that the Santa Fe Stage Company was planning for a new station.
The new owner was Charley Owens. Not much of his tenure at the ranch is known; but in 1868, Cheyennes, returning west from their confrontation with the Kanzas near Council Grove, burned the buildings. Fortunately, Owens and his wife were away at the time.

(To Be Continued)