Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
This is a study of the historical background and the settlement of Baxter Springs, which is located in the southeastern corner of Kansas, one mile from the Oklahoma line and six miles from the Missouri line. It was one of the first settlements in Cherokee County and the first frontier town near the southern boundary line of Kansas.
The town was named tor John L. Baxter who settled upon the present town site in 1849.
During the civil war, a military post for the Union Army was maintained at Baxter Springs. The principal engagement of the war, in this section was an attack upon the post, and the massacre of General Blunt's escort, by Quantrill who· commanded a band of guerrillas in the name of the Confederacy.
In this study it seemed necessary to trace the sale of Indian Lands, as "Neutral Lands" became an important feature in the development of Baxter Springs. The sale of Neutral Lands had much to do with the building of the Missouri River, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad. From 1869 to 1875, Baxter Springs experienced a wave of prosperity through the development of the cattle industry, the settlement of the country by the farmers, the discovery of lead, and the establishment of trades to satisfy the needs of the cattlemen, the farmers and miners.
For many years Baxter Springs was the end of the railroad and became a supply center for a large section of the country. It was foremost in the building of substantial public buildings and residences, many of which are still in use.
The county seat of Cherokee County was removed from Baxter Springs to Columbus in 1869.
Baxter Springs did not realize the dream of its founders, who foresaw a city of twenty-five thousand population, due to the reasons (1) mineral in larger paying quantities was discovered in other locations (2) the distribution of the cattle industry among other towns, and (3) the extension of the railroad to other developing cities.
But the new discovery of larger deposits of lead and zinc ore near Baxter Springs, in later years, revived business and since that time, the town has had a normal substantial growth.
During the last decade, Baxter Springs has developed a good school system and all the civic organizations that a normal city requires.
A review of the development of the lead and zinc industry is not given in the study as it is a study in itself.
St. Clair, Ruth Rodman, "Historical background and settlement of Baxter Springs, Kansas" (1940). Electronic Thesis Collection. 128.