Little Town Well
John A Mathews Park
 
 

4th Street and Union Street
Oswego, Kansas
 

Little Town Well Map

John A Mathews Park - Little Town Well
John A Mathews Park - Oswego, Kansas
John A Mathews Park

Though trees and bushes have been planted, John A. Mathews Park in Oswego, Kansas is largely undeveloped. The exception is the Little Town Well on a vacant lot west of the rest of the park. This area was the site of the first white settlement in Oswego. The park is named for John Mathews, who settled in the area in 1841. The well was an improvement to an everlasting spring used by native Americans for generations before the first white settlers arrived. 

A crude historic marker appears to have stood next to the well for many years. It reads:

John A. Mathews Park

A Kansas Landmark
This old well is whiteman's improvement to an everlasting spring used by the indian tribes for ages
and marks the first known white settlement in southern Kansas.

John Mathews settled here to serve as blacksmith for the Osages about 1841 and became their
licensed trader in 1847. His slaves dug and walled this well during that period. Mathew's home
and trading house was a two story, double log structure located about one hundred, eighty feet
west. It stood lengthwise north and south with a large stone fireplace in each end, and was
painted white. His race track and stables were located about two blocks southwest.

The Little Town Band of Osages occupied a village scattered below the bluffs to the east.
Little White Hair (Pawhuska) became village chief about 1855, and succeeded to principal
chief of the tribe in March 1861. Mathews was killed by Union Soldiers from Ft. Scott
September 18, 1861 and his settlement burned. Little White Hair moved his village
immediately to a point on the Verdigris (River) near the present Independence, Kansas.
Mathew's home and trading house was a two story, double log structure located about
one hundred. eighty feet west. It stood lengthwise north and south with a large stone
fireplace in each end, and was painted white. His race track and stables were located
about two blocks southwest.

A visit to the Little Old Well takes only a few minutes, but it is on the way to the much larger Riverside Park with the Neosho River dam & falls.
 
 

Little Town Well - Oswego, Kansas
Little Town Well

Oswego, Kansas historical marker
John A. Mathews Park historical marker

Little Town Well Map - Oswego, Kansas
Little Town Well Map

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