“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baxter Springs in Cherokee County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

The Earliest Residents

Native Americans find healthy spring waters

The Earliest Residents Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, April 6, 2021
1. The Earliest Residents Marker
The Osage at Baxter Springs

The Osage once controlled a vast territory in the center of North America. In the mid-1600s, the tribe moved to the area around Baxter Springs. The area was important to the Osage because, for the tribe, it was a natural camping spot and a place of healing. They believed drinking the water could cure illnesses while bathing in the water could physically rejuvenate the body. The story is told that famed Osage Chief Black Dog stopped at the mineral-rich springs during summer hunting trips to Oklahoma. Their route, the "Black Dog Trail," was the first improved road in the region, a precursor to Route 66.

The Osage excelled as hunters and warriors and were described as powerful, tall, and warlike. As characterized by Frenchman Victor Tixier, "all the physical qualities which denote skill and strength combined with graceful movements." Despite this, European settlement overtook them. As early as the 1670s, French trappers and traders were in contact with the Osage, and soon after, the Osage adopted the horse. By 1750, the Osage controlled a large area spreading into Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas,
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and Oklahoma. The U.S. bought their land with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Following Missouri statehood in 1821, many Osage were relocated to Indian Territory, along with tribes from eastern states. To keep peace, federal troops patrolled the border of the "Permanent Indian Territory," which included the Baxter Springs region.

The Neutral Lands

The Neutral Lands of present-day Cherokee and Crawford counties and southern Bourbon County were originally a buffer between settlers in Missouri and the Osage territory in Kansas. The area was ceded to the Cherokee in 1835 when they were relocated from the Southeastern United States. However, few Cherokee settled the "Cherokee Neutral Lands" as it became known. Instead, settlers squatted on the land during the 1860s, leading the Cherokee to sell the land. In 1867, the United States sold the land to the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad on behalf of the Cherokee. This sale angered squatters because the railroad resold land at what they saw as inflated prices. The two sides became violent, growing into one of the biggest railroad-settler disputes in Kansas history.
Erected by Kansas Byways, Historic Route 66 Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native Americans
The Earliest Residents Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, April 6, 2021
2. The Earliest Residents Marker
Marker is the first on the left.
Railroads & StreetcarsRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1750.
Location. 37° 2.043′ N, 94° 44.424′ W. Marker is in Baxter Springs, Kansas, in Cherokee County. Marker is on West 2nd Street near Willow Avenue (Old U.S. 66), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 522 W 2nd St, Baxter Springs KS 66713, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Baxter Springs: from Fort to Town (here, next to this marker); Tbe Economic Engines (here, next to this marker); Civil War Tour (approx. 0.3 miles away); Baxter Springs Massacre (approx. 0.3 miles away); Baxter Springs Massacre 1863 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Baxter Springs, Kansas (approx. 0.3 miles away); Baxter Springs Massacre Burial Site (approx. 0.4 miles away); Battle of Baxter Springs (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baxter Springs.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 30, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 203 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 30, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Dec. 9, 2023