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Archive for Thursday, January 31, 2002

Historical re-enactments serve as ‘Bleeding Kansas’ highlights

January 31, 2002

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Abraham Lincoln, a women's suffragist and the state's other constitution hall will be a few of the highlights of the sixth annual "Bleeding Kansas" program series in Lecompton.

Tim Rues, administrator of Lecompton's Constitution Hall State Historic Site, 319 Elmore St., said this year's program will feature four presentations and two re-enactments on a variety of subjects.

"It's really fascinating to hear Kansas played a significant role in our nation's history," he said.

The event kicks off at 2 p.m. Sunday with the lecture "Constitution Hall in Topeka."

Robert Johnson, Lawrence, will discuss the history of the historic building where the Free State Topeka Constitution was written in 1855.

"The free-staters didn't want to live under these rules created by a foreign Missouri government," Rues said. "So they wrote their own laws, had their own government and had their own governor."

By 1857, Rues said the free-staters had won a majority of control over the Kansas Legislature. The Friends of the Free State Capitol presently are trying to restore the building in Topeka.

Other lectures in the series, all of which are free and open to the public:

"Lincoln and Kansas: Partnership for Freedom," by Carol Dark Ayres, Leavenworth, 2 p.m. Feb. 17. She will discuss the role of "Bleeding Kansas" in the presidential campaign of Abraham Lincoln and his first speeches delivered in Kansas.

"Florella Adair's Story," by Mary Florella Buster, Emporia, 2 p.m. March 3. Buster will re-enact the life of Adair, wife of abolitionist preacher Samuel Adair of Osawatomie, and the half-sister of John Brown Sr.

"The Free Sons of the North vs. The Myrmidons of Border Ruffianism: What Makes a Man in Bleeding Kansas?" by Kristen Tegtmeier, a history professor at Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss., 2 p.m. March 10. She will discuss the role of free state and proslavery men and women in Kansas during the 1850s.

"Clarina Nichols: Frontier Freedom Fighter," by Diane Eickhoff, a Kansas City, Mo., historian, 2 p.m. March 24.

Rues said Nichols was a strong activist in Kansas, involved with the temperance movement and fought for women's right to vote at the Wyandotte County Constitution Convention in 1859.

"She was there really representing all Kansas women asking for women's right to vote, but to vote in Kansas you had to be three things white, male and 21 years old," Rues said. "She was just ahead of her time."

"Ely Moore's Story of Lecompton," by J. Howard Duncan, a Lecompton historian, 2 p.m. April 7. During this re-enactment, Duncan will portray Moore's firsthand account of Lecompton's history, a document published by the Kansas State Historical Society in 1910.

The annual series is sponsored by the historical society. For additional information, contact Rues at by telephone at (785) 887-6520 or by e-mail at consthall@kshs.org.

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