On May 27, 1831, near this area, Jedediah Smith, a
mountain man and scout, was killed as he was looking for water for a wagon train. He was attacked by Comanches as he was digging for water in the sand of the Cimarron River's bed.
There were three springs on the Cimarron Route: the lower, middle and upper springs. The lower spring was also known as Wagon Bed Spring. The upper spring was known as Flag Spring. Middle Spring had no other name.
Because the Cimarron River often had no water, the
springs were essential to survival on this route of the Santa Fe Trail. In 1847, someone decided to sink a wagon bed into the spring. This made a holding tank of sorts for the water, making it easier to obtain water.
Born on January 6, 1799 in Bainbridge New York,
Smith left home at 22 years of age to trap beaver in the upper Missouri. A year later, he trapped all the way to Oregon-California territory. Smith had many scars from his mountain man days, including a large scar from his eyebrow to his ear from a run-in with a grizzly bear. He was a devout Christian and kept his Bible and his rifle with him at all times.