The beginning of Sycamore Springs or Sycamore Mineral Springs began when the Native American Indians roamed the Plains. The place was not called Sycamore Springs, but it was the land where “healing waters” flowed.
Sycamore Mineral Springs Health and Pleasure Resort has a background of service to suffering humanity that reaches back in the earliest history of the North Western Tribes of American Indians.
The following is a summary (with added information) of a recorded story by Alice Gray Williams:
American Indian Background:
The old Indian tribes had no written history (Oral Traditions-Storytelling). Their history was passed from father to son. From some of the oldest Indians the knowledge of Indian tradition, customs and life were revealed to her.
It is said by these Indians, and history bears them out in their statements, that the first Indians of Kansas were a part of the Great Dakotah Tribe, and that they came here with the great bands of Indians who migrated from north of the Great Lakes. They wandered around for many years and finally settled on the Missouri River and its tributaries.
They were called the Kanzas (Kansa) or Kaw Indians and the Osages. The Kanzas had as their territory the land from Nebraska on the north to Arkansas on the south and all west of the Missouri river. The Osages were to have Missouri and all the land along the Missouri and that along the Osage River, and part of their hunting grounds extended into Kansas.
The Story of Alice Gray Williams:
Alice was the daughter of John Gray, one of the earliest pioneers in Kansas, growing up near Hiawatha, Kansas. John Gray became friends with a Kickapoo Indian Chief named Chawkeekee who spoke of “healing waters”. The Chief would frequently call at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Gray and daughter, Alice.
Alice Gray of whom the Indians delighted to call, “Soniskee,” meaning- “Our Good Red Mother.”
The Indians attached a superstitious importance to Alice’s red hair. She was a favorite among the friendly Indians. As Alice grew older, this association with the Indians grew continually closer until she was at time permitted to sit in some of their tribal councils, a privilege accorded few white men and almost no white women.
Chief Chawkeekee said that many times he had seen sick Indians carried to the banks of the Healing Waters unable to walk, and after a few day’s sojourn, go away full of life and health again. He said Indians came from “out of the sun” (the far west) and trekked many “moons’ just to recover their health at the magic health springs.
Because of the many tales that Alice and her father had heard about the springs, they were greatly curious to see them and after much urging. Chief Chawkeekee consented to take them to the springs within a period of five “sleeps” (five days). True to his promise, on the fifth day, Chief Chawkeekee appeared at the door of the Gray Homestead riding one pony and leading two others. Alice and Mr. Gray mounted and they were off on their journey to the spring of “healing waters”.
Until next time…ahhhhh