The earliest permanent white settler in present Labette County is believed to have been John Mathews, trader and blacksmith, who arrived here about 1840. He established a post to trade with the Osage Indians of one of White Hair's villages, located on the bluff northeast of this marker. Mathews dug and walled this spring-fed well and built a large double log house which served as a tavern and trading post.
Beginning in the late 1850's the Humboldt-Fort Gibson Road passed this point. In 1861 Mathews, a Southern sympathizer, was killed by Union troops and his buildings were burned.
Following the war white settlers began to stream in, and the Osages were removed to present Oklahoma. The community established here, called Little Town, became Oswego in 1866.