Schedule of events
“Lawrence: Free State Fortress”: 27-minute film that chronicles the first 10 years of Lawrence’s history and culminates with Quantrill’s Raid. Available by request Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1p.m.–5 p.m. Lawrence Visitor Information Center, 402 N. Second St. 865-4499. No charge.
Blanton’s Crossing on the Wakarusa: 7 p.m. Presented by Fred Six. Watkins Museum, 1047 Mass. No charge.
Kansas Women in the Civil War: 11 a.m. Presented by Diane Eickhoff. Watkins Museum, 1047 Mass. No charge.
Hey Kids, Let’s Build a Mud Fort: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Pre-registration required. Admission charge. Register at South Park Rec. Center, 1141 Mass. Contact 832-7930; firstname.lastname@example.org
Underground Railroad in Bleeding Kansas: 7 p.m. A first-person presentation by Anne Hawkins. Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. No charge.
Lincoln in Kansas: 7 p.m. Presented by William S. Worley. Watkins Museum, 1047 Mass. No charge.
“Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre”: 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Film that recounts Quantrill’s Raid. Based on the book by Thomas Goodrich. Lawrence Visitor Information Center, 402 N. Second St. 865-4499. No charge.
Tour Historic Lecompton: 1 p.m.– 2:30 p.m. Presented by Paul Bahnmaier and Charlene Winter. Territorial Capital Museum, 640 E. Woodson, Lecompton. 785-887-6148. No charge.
Tour Historic Lecompton: 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Presented by Paul Bahnmaier and Charlene Winter. Territorial Capital Museum, 640 E. Woodson, Lecompton. 785-887-6148. No charge.
Tour of Black Jack Battlefield: 3 p.m.–4 p.m. Guided tour of what many consider to be the first battle of the Civil War. Presented by Black Jack Battlefield Trust. Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park,163 East 2000 Road, Wellsville. No charge.
Judge Louis Carpenter, Victim of the Raid: 7 p.m. Presented by Kerry Altenbernd. Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. No charge.
An Evening with John Brown: 7 p.m. First-person presentation by Kerry Altenbernd. Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. No charge.
Liberty and Freedom in Bleeding Kansas: 7 p.m. Presented by Rita Napier. Watkins Museum, 1047 Mass. No charge.
Quantrill’s Raid Graveyard Walk: 8 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Ages 14 and Up. Presented by Katie Armitage. Must pre-register at South Park Rec Center, 1141 Mass. 832-7930. $10 per person.
Walking Tour of Quantrill’s Raid: 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Gather at Watkins Museum, 1047 Mass. Benefit for Watkins Museum, donations welcome.
Roll Call of Quantrill’s Victims: noon, First United Methodist Church, 10th and Vermont. No charge
“Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre”: noon–1 p.m. Film recounts Quantrill’s Raid. Based on the book by Thomas Goodrich. Lawrence Visitor Information Center, 402 N. Second St. 865-4499. No charge.
For more details, go to www.visitlawrence.com/history
One is the picture of calm determination; the other, of fierce passion.
The first, President Abraham Lincoln, and the second, abolitionist John Brown, both played pivotal roles in the formation of Kansas as a free state. Their contributions — along with those of many others — will be explored in coming weeks as part of the 15th “Civil War on the Western Frontier,” an annual event commemorating the Lawrence area’s role in the war between Union and Confederate states.
“It’s the Kansas-Nebraska Act that really re-engaged Lincoln in politics in 1854,” said historian William Worley, who will present “Lincoln in Kansas” at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at Watkins Community Museum of History as part of the “Civil War” series.
Before that, Lincoln had been working as a lawyer and former legislator, but his fierce opposition to the act, which let settlers in the Nebraska and Kansas territories decide whether they wanted slavery, re-ignited his political fire. From there, Worley said, “There’s a straight line to his running for the presidency in 1860.”
On Dec. 2, 1859, Lincoln was even campaigning in Kansas when the notorious Brown was hanged for trying to incite a slave insurrection in Harpers Ferry, Va.
“He wasn’t a maniac,” says local historian Kerry Altenbernd, of Brown, who is often portrayed as a violent madman, and that’s not how Altenbernd will play him during his first-person presentation, “An Evening with John Brown,” at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Lawrence Public Library.
Brown, he said, was dedicated to not only stopping the spread of slavery into Kansas, as Lincoln was, but, more importantly, to stopping slavery altogether.
“He was a hero to many people,” Altenbernd said. “His brothers and sisters were in bondage — 4 million enslaved at the time — and that’s something he couldn’t tolerate.”
The “Civil War on the Western Frontier” takes place each August, beginning this year on Thursday (Aug. 5) and ending on Aug. 21, the 147th anniversary of Confederate guerrilla William Clarke Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, which left more than 140 dead and the fledgling town in ruins.
“We’ve got a lot of good programs this year,” said Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, noting that the event is “not a festival” but a series of informative presentations and activities, many of which fill up quickly, including one in which kids learn to build mud forts like those that protected early Lawrence; a graveyard walk focusing on Quantrill’s victims; and a walking tour of the raid itself.
The series culminates at noon Aug. 21 with a roll call of the people killed in the massacre.