Archive for Saturday, July 7, 2007

Filmmaker to re-create Quantrill’s raid in docu-drama

July 7, 2007


Andrew Tash, left, cinematographer, and Ken Spurgeon, director, film behind-the-scenes footage in July for "Bloody Dawn" at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Andrew Tash, left, cinematographer, and Ken Spurgeon, director, film behind-the-scenes footage in July for "Bloody Dawn" at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Three questions with ... Ken Spurgeon, executive director for Lone Chimney Films

Ken Spurgeon, executive director for Lone Chimney Films, discusses his latest movie "Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre." The movie is about Quantrill's Raid in Lawrence during the Civil War, and part of the movie is being filmed here.

Ken Spurgeon doesn't want people to just know about William Quantrill's 1863 raid in Lawrence; he wants them to deeply feel it.

Spurgeon, executive director of Lone Chimney Films, is making "Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre," about the local raid during the Civil War.

On Friday, he spent most of the day in Lawrence filming at the Miller House, 1111 E. 19th St., and at Oak Hill Cemetery, 1605 Oak Hill Ave.

"I believe this story is the most unique story in the Civil War," he said. "People were murdered for just being at home."

The beginning of the movie, a docu-drama, will feature historians explaining the situation that Lawrence was in during the war - a free state recently admitted to the union.

The movie then will break from narration, and the massacre will be re-enacted. In the third and final part of the movie, the narrator and historians will analyze what happened.

Spurgeon said he thought it was important to re-enact the massacre.

"I don't want to alienate education and children, but I've battled on how to tell you this was death and destruction to the worst order," he said.

Spurgeon is worried people don't understand that Quantrill's raid was really an example of terrorism.

"We don't have any idea what war is," he said. "It hasn't been on this land since then. It's political jargon, not life."

He explained a docu-drama can be risky, if the history is not re-enacted exactly as it occurred. Spurgeon, however, believes he's covered his bases by putting historians on set.

Spurgeon, who now lives in Andover, was particularly interested in Quantrill's raid because he had relatives who lived in Lawrence at one time. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in history, but he doesn't have a long background in film.

He believes "Bloody Dawn" will make a big impact once it debuts this fall in small theaters.

"My own crew has been affected by what they have seen," he said. "I think people should be moved by this story."


Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Except this time Quantrill accidentally tried to enter Lawrence via Redbud lane. So by the time they got downtown, they had been robbed of all their stuff, shot for not having more money and at least three of them had to go to a clinic to get their VD treated.

ksmom 10 years, 9 months ago

Oh my Ragingbear! I'm still laughing!

kansasnative 10 years, 9 months ago

LOLOLOLOL - *disclaimer of my laughing out loud - I am in no way making light of Quantril's raid on Lawrence I am simply enjoying Ragingbear's humor - no ill will is to be construed or implied herewith.

partisanranger 10 years, 9 months ago

Not that those of us from the Sni-a-bar region ever claimed Quantril for our own(from Ohio)Many did agree with his views on Lawrence. Hope this film will include a brief history of folks named Lane, Jennison, Montgomery and Brown, and their raids into Missouri. Folks might also be interested in the goods these fellows were bringing back from Missouri, and hence some of the reasoning behind the raid. Not to say that it was right or wrong, but being a decendent of one who visited on that day, it wold be nice to see a different perspective. Remember, history is written by the winners

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Being that he was pro-slavery, I would say he was WRONG. I guess not all readers of this board think that slavery was bad.

partisanranger 10 years, 9 months ago

Well Raginbear, here is where the problem lies. Most of those who rode with Quaintril were poor ol farmers, just out of Tennessee and Kentucky, 30yrs prior. Most were pioneers, not slave holders(less than 1% Mo. population in 1860 were slaves). Most accounts I have read mention nothing of slavery. Furthermore, some blacks rode with this group(Baxter Springs raid-see account). No, slavery is not RIGHT, but unfortunatley, still exist. Quantril, did not even have a beef in this fight, his was personal. The same people on his death list were the same people who had snubbed him while he was a residant of Lawrence. He produced such a following for the raid by convincing folks that they were going to take back the spoils captured during Jennison and Montgomery raids into Missouri. You may also find interesting the falling out amoung QUANTRIL'S BAND after the raid. Many just went back home after the raid, disillusioned by the violence, never to take up arms again. Just remember, these people lived in an era, where even this DISCUSSION, could land you and your family in a military prison !!!!!

Leprechaunking13 10 years, 9 months ago

There is a movie that depicts the raid from the side of the bush-whacker. It's called Ride with the Devil, pretty good movie.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 9 months ago


I haven't seen such tortured rationalization since that leading up to the Iraq war.

camper 10 years, 9 months ago

Quantrill and his group were opportunists who capitalized on the conflict to fill their pockets. Happens in all wars, by both sides. But these actions should never be defended or rationalized as stated above.

Virginia 10 years, 9 months ago

The Partisan Ranger isn't completely off base. Early in the war, Lane and Jennsion appeared to loot and burn at will in Missouri. Lane destroyed Oseola in 1861. The Missourians retaliate by forming guerilla organizations and raiding border towns. By 1863, the Federals are detaining civilians who support Quantrill. Some of them were killed when their jail in KC collapsed right before the raid, which may account for the raid's ferocity. Lawrence is the unfortunate result of a series of chain reactions. As for slavery, Quantrill's supporters were not happy to see their slaves escape to KS, but many Missouri slaveholders supported the Union as well. Read the exception pertaining to them in the Emancipation Proclamation.

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