Council Grove, Kansas History

Towns Council Grove Council Grove History Family History Thomas S. HUFFAKER Kansas Heritage

Council Grove, seat of Morris County, is situated on the Neosho River.

For many years after the Santa Fe Trail was opened, Council Grove was the only trading post between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Council Grove was the rendezvous of westward bound travelers and freighters and traders who were crossing the plains.

1541 - Coronado crossed the Neosho River where Council Grove, Kansas now exists.

1825 - By a council under a tree (Council Oak) and a treaty signed with the Osage Indians, the United States Government obtained the right of way for a public highway, established as the "Sante Fe Trail."

1825-1847 Post Office Oak. Letters from passing caravans and pack trains on the Santa Fe Trail were left at the base of this oak tree.

1831 Council Grove first used as rendezvous by a Santa Fe, New Mexico bound traders' caravan.

1835--The Kansa, or Kaw were a small tribe; only 1,606 of them would be counted when a census was made in 1835.

Spring 1846--The Kansa (Kaw) Indians signed a treaty with the government, ceding their reservation land along the Kansas River near Topeka in exchange for a new but smaller reservation located along the upper valley of the Neosho River, in what is now Morris County.

April 1847--A reservation 20 miles square was established in what is now Morris County near Council Grove. The Kaw Indians were relocated from their reservation near Topeka and moved on to the land embraced within the limits of the reservation. They remained on the Kaw reservation until 1873.

April 1847--At Council Grove, on the Santa Fe Trail, traders (Albert G.) BOONE and (James G.) HAMILTON, of Westport, Missouri, established a trading post on the Kaw reservation (by virtue of their Kansa Indian trading license), placing bachelor Seth M. Hays in charge. Seth M. Hays, a citizen of Westport, Missouri, having obtained a license from the Government to trade with the Indians in "Kansas."

1847 Seth M. Hays was the first white settler in Morris County. Seth M. Hays built the first house/store (business) at Council Grove. It was a log cabin on the west bank of the Neosho River near where the Commercial House later stood. He lived there with his adopted daughter and freed slave.

1849/1850 The Kaw Mission at Council Grove was built by the Methodist Episcopal Church South with government funding to serve as a school to educate the Kaw Indians after they were relocated from their reservation near Topeka in 1847. Thomas S. Huffaker contracted to teach the school. He acted in the capacity of the teacher until 1854 when the school was closed. The Kaw Mission later became a first school for the settlers' children.

Mid-May 1853 At Council Grove, there is a large, well-furnished store (run by Seth M. Hays), where a constant supply of everything required for the road is kept.

1857 The Hays House, said to be the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River, was founded by Seth M. Hays.

1857 Last Chance Store, built in 1857, was the last chance for those headed to Santa Fe to stock up on supplies.

February 2, 1858 Hezekiah Brake, Mr A., Louis Boyse reached Council Grove that night, and began our arrangements for the trip to New Mexico. Seth M. Hays kept a store and an outfitting station at Council Grove at this time. He had in keeping now six small Mexican mules, a good pony, a large wagon, and various other necessary acquisitions to our outfit. It took us four days to get the animals ready and lay in a supply of everything needful for our journey. A freed slave who worked for Mr. Hays roasted coffee, made cakes, and gave us a keg of pickles and sauerkraut as relishes.

October 1858 The first term of the court was held, and the place of holding it was in the old log cabin built by Seth M. Hays. The court officers were: William Weir, of Wyandotte County, was prosecuting attorney; L. McCarthy, clerk, and W. B. Harrold acted as Sheriff. The place where the jury deliberated upon their verdict was under the shade of a tree that stood in the yard.

1867 The Seth M. Hays home was built of bricks from a local factory and native lumber.

1868 The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (Katy) Railroad, built through Morris County in 1868, passed through and brought citizens to Council Grove.

1871--The Brown Jug was the first school in Council Grove.

1873--The Kaw Indians were removed from their reservation in Morris County to Oklahoma Territory, thus opening this land for white settlement.

1873--Seth M. Hays died and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Council Grove, Kansas.

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