Great Spirit Spring.This noted spring is situated about two and a half miles southwest of the town of Cawker City, at Waconda Station, Mitchell county. Its existence was known to all the plains Indians, and it was held in veneration by them. Probably the first mention of it is to be found in the "History of Baptist Indian Missions," published by Rev. Isaac McCoy in 1840. His description is as follows: "About 100 yards from the bank of the (Solomon) river, in an extensive level prairie, is a mound of stone, formed by a deep ravine which surrounds it; it is 170 yards in circumference at its base, and it rises above the bottom of the ravine 30 feet, and is level on the top, with a diameter of 120 feet. The ravine on one side is 40 yards wide, and on the other 10. The summit of the mound is about a foot higher than the adjacent plain. No stone of any kind is seen in the vicinity of the place, except that which composes the monnd, which appears to be a secondary, shelly and porous limestone. The sides of the mound being stone, form a striking contrast with the outer bank of the ravine, which is only earth. The salt water forms a stagnant pool in the center of the mound, 55 feet in diameter, and rising to a perfect level with the summit, so that a wind from any quarter causes the water to run over the opposite side of the basin. About half way up one side issues salt water, which runs off in a small rivulet into Solomon river. Along this rivulet, and generally on the sides of the mound, salt is crystallized in such quantities that it might be collected for use. The pool on the top is deep. Solomon river is, by the Kauzaus, called Nepahollameaning, water on the hilland derives its name from this fountain; but the fountain itself is by them called Ne Woh' kon' dagathat is, 'Spirit water.' The Kauzaus, Pawnees, and other tribes, in passing by this spring, usually throw into it, as a kind of conjuring charm, some small article of value. The structure of the mound may be accounted for by supposing that the source of the water at a distance is higher than the plain which immediately surrounds the mound. The quality of the water has produced the rock formation, and the resort of buffalo and other animals, and the descent of rains, have formed the ravine about it."
Many Indian legends attach to the spring, one being that Waconda, daughter of a chief, became infatuated with the son of the chief of an opposing tribe. These hostile tribes met at the spring and the intimacy was opposed by a conflict of arms. Waconda's lover, wounded and weak from loss of blood, fell or was thrown into the spring, whereupon his faithful sweetheart plunged in after him, both being drowned. Ever since the Indians have called this the "Waconda" or "Great Spirit" spring. The Pottawatomies never passed the spring without stopping for a "pow wow," dipping their arrows in the waters. The property has been the cause of much litigation in recent years and comparatively little has been done in the way of improvement. Some of the water has been bottle and shipped, and much taken away in kegs and jugs.Pages 786-787 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project