Located today at 59th Terrace and Bluejacket in the city of Shawnee, Gum Springs was the site of the Shawnee Indian church and meeting house, as well as the location of several excellent springs, all near the intersection of the Fort Leavenworth Military Road, the California Road, and at the start of the cutoff road to the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trail[s].
It was used as a campsite for travelers on all these routes, but especially by the frontier military during the Mexican War of 1846-1848. After the Kansas/Nebraska Act opened the territory up for settlement in 1854, the little town that grew up around the old campsite was known as "Gum Springs" and was the first county seat until replaced by Olathe in 1857.
Today a small remnant of the Shawnee Indian graveyard, and a small spring pond just to the northeast, are the only physical reminders of the sites' [sic] important past.
Private E.N.O. Clough
June 23, 1847
"Crossed the Kaw river to-day, and camped four miles this side of the crossing....We camped about 3 P.M. and found a beautiful gum spring right at the side of the Shawnee church. We are only about six miles from Westport....The place is known as Gum Spring among the people.
Private Clough had left Fort Leavenworth and was traveling on the Fort Leavenworth Military Road when he came upon this camp that was located at present day 59th Terrace and Bluejacket in Shawnee. He continued down to the junction with the Santa Fe Trail and into the West in this action in the Mexican War.
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