Baxter Springs is a city in Cherokee County, Kansas, United States, and located along Spring River. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 4,238; it is the most populous city of Cherokee County.
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples had lived along the waterways throughout the west. The Osage migrated west from the Ohio River area of Kentucky, driven out by the Iroquois. They settled in Kansas by the mid-17th century, adopting Plains Indian traditions. They competed with other tribes and by 1750 they dominated much of what is now the region of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
One of the largest Osage bands was led by Chief Black Dog (Manka - Chonka). His men completed what became known as the Black Dog Trail by 1803. It started from their winter territory east of Baxter Springs and extended southwest to their summer hunting grounds at the Great Salt Plains in present-day Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. The Osage regularly stopped at the springs for healing on their way to summer hunting grounds.