This Barnes Enclosure and Cave Spring were made famous by overland travelers who mentioned it in their letters and diaries. Cave Spring, on the National Register of Historic Places, was a noted midday rest area for travelers heading west. Imagine that much of the Jackson County countryside, even in the early trail days, was owned by private landowners who had substantial estates.
At least two 1846 first-hand accounts mention the Barnes Enclosure-Cave Spring. Susan Shelby Magoffin, one of the first women to travel along the Santa Fe Trail to Mexico, wrote in her diary of “traveling with her husband, Captain Magoffin, a trader, and spending the night in the Barnes home. Also, in a letter to his sister, William Glasgow, a Santa Fe trader, stayed overnight with the Barnes in 1846. A few days later a Susan Magoffin and her maid also stayed overnight with the Barnes Family. Magoffin’s diary also mentions meeting these brothers on the trail.