Archive for Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War 150th anniversary inspires host of activities in Lawrence

April 11, 2011


Kansas Sesquicentennial

The State of Kansas celebrated its sesquicentennial (that's a fancy word for "150th birthday") on January 29, 2011. has compiled a collection of stories, photos and documents about Kansas history from the Lawrence Journal-World and the Wichita Eagle.

Battle of Black Jack

Stories and resources compiled for the 150th anniversary of the historic battle near Baldwin City where many say the Civil War began.

When news broke of shots fired on Fort Sumter and the proclamation of war that followed, the residents of Lawrence greeted it with excitement — and as a call to action.

More than 80 men joined the Independent Company of Mounted Riflemen, led by Captain Samuel Walker. The company anticipated the quick arrival of carbines, pistols and sabers from the arsenal at Fort Leavenworth.

And a Lawrence newspaper, The Kansas State Journal, noticed that “everybody that has a piece of ground that can be plowed or otherwise cultivated, is devoting it to the useful, if not political purpose, of raising potatoes, onions, beans, peas.”

Long a hotbed of violent activity between abolitionist and pro-slavery forces, Lawrence of 150 years ago was ready for the history-transforming events that transpired on April 12, 1861.

“Lawrence was immediately thrown into supporting the Union cause,” said local historian Katie Armitage, who recalls reading one newspaper headline that noted “Lawrence aflame with Union spirit.”

Although for different reasons, excitement has returned to Lawrence as plans are under way to commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.

Over the course of the next few years, expect to see more exhibits and events that highlight the region’s connection to the Civil War.

“We aren’t reading about something that happened in Virginia and Georgia. The people that founded our community and the places we walk past every day have connections to the history of our nation,” said Steve Nowak, director of Watkins Community Museum of History and the Douglas County Historical Society. “That makes it really exciting to be in western Missouri and eastern Kansas at this time.”

Many of Douglas County’s ties to the Civil War took place in the years before Fort Sumter, punctuated by skirmishes between the Missouri and Kansas border that involved shootings and sackings on both sides.

In fact, some believe that the first gunshots of the Civil War were fired five years before Fort Sumter at the Battle of Black Jack, which is now a wooded grove just east of Baldwin City.

“It didn’t just start with the first shot at Fort Sumter. There were a lot of things going on that led up to that and a lot of that happened here,” said Judy Billings, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area executive director.

Without a doubt, Lawrence’s defining Civil War moment came in 1863 when William Quantrill raided the town, killing more than 150 men and boys.

That event will be one of the many commemorated during the next four years.

On July 2, Freedom’s Frontier will open an exhibit in the former Carnegie Library, which will highlight the region’s American Indian, territorial, Civil War and civil rights history.

Annual commemorations of the area’s Civil War heritage — the Battle of Black Jack in June and Quantrill’s Raid in August — will be ramped up this year in honor of the war’s 150th anniversary.

In August, the Watkins Museum plans to open an exhibit highlighting the evolution of downtown Lawrence from a business to retail to entertainment district. The legacy of Quantrill’s Raid will be prominently featured in that display.

In the fall or next spring, the museum is also looking at bringing in scholars for a speaking series that will explore the Civil War, Nowak said.

And, discussions have already begun on how to best commemorate the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid in 2013.

Both Nowak and Billings said more events are likely to come.

“There are new things popping up all the time,” Billings said.


Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Run-on sentences are not your friends, les.

mloburgio 7 years ago

Bleeding Kansas’ Threatened with Bloodshed by Anti-Abortion Extremists: Just Remember Dr. Tiller During the 19th century, the state became known as ‘Bleeding Kansas,’’ and was a staging ground for abolitionists. Years later it was a stronghold of late-nineteenth century Populism and host to the largest selling socialist newspaper in the country. It recently celebrated its 150th year of statehood. For the past century it has been a citadel of conservatism.

Kansas: a place, a state of mind, a state of contradictions. Kansas is John Brown’s liberation army and Sam Brownback’s conservative crackdown. Its storied history encompasses critical pre-Civil War battles over slavery, the rise of populism and the home of the largest selling socialist newspaper in the country. One-hundred fifty years later and the state embodies a curious blend of the Religious Right’s “culture wars” with Koch Brothers free-market fundamentalism, which over the past decade has produced a school board immune to scientific data, and a ruthless anti-abortion movement.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

Of course, Lawrence was excited. It was a veritable Yankee fiefdom populated by mercenaries recruited by the New England Emigrant Aid Society.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

mercenaries - really??? Hmm, only been reading one side of the story I see and it wasn't even a good one.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

Au contraire. Their transportation to Kansas was paid for, they were given a stipend, and supplied with weapons (Beecher's Bibles ring a bell?). They were supported in Kansas by the Emigrant Aid Society. What is non mercenary about that? Apparently it is you who has only been reading one side of the story, and not a good one at that.

ferrislives 7 years ago

They were abolitionists "SoutherRights". Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery. Regardless of if they were supported by other like-minded individuals in the East, what was wrong with abolitionism "SoutherRights". Would you prefer that Americans didn't fight to abolish slavery?

SouthernRights 7 years ago

John Brown was the first modern day terrorist. No matter what the cause, terrorism is still just that, terrorism. The south was right about everything except slavery. The north was wrong about everything except slavery. John Brown was executed for treason and murder. The recipients of support from the New England Emigrant Aid Society were mercenaries of the first degree.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

Oh, you are so wrong, about the New England Aid Society. SO WRONG.
Brown can not be considered a terrorist, because you can not apply a current term to a past event.
And you have to look at him from his times, which I don't believe you are. No, the murders he committed were not right, but neither was the sack of lawrence, or the murders which were committed by Missourians between December 1854 and 1856. He was reacting, and depending on which scholarship you read, he was also defending his life and his family. But that depends on what you read.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

Hardly. The Massachusetts legislative assemblies appropriated $5,000,000 dollars to finance the New England Emigrant Aid Society. Do the math. Not only were the transportation costs paid, they were equipped "in the field" with first rate weaponry and money for support. Why do you think they were able to win the numbers battle with the Missourians? They had money, weapons, and plenty of financial support. When war came, they were already ready to fight or veterans of the Battle of Black Jack, etc. You can say it from now until doomsday, mother of three, but it will not make it any more so. Check the real facts.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

I have checked my facts. Believe me, I know what I am talking about. I would like to see where you have your information, of course, your title of "southern rights" hardly makes you seem hhmmm....legitimate for your information. They did not have plenty of financial support. They were not all rich, or supported. I have seen documents to the otherwise, and you can spew this garbarge all you want, but until you prove it, its still garbage.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

They were approved for that amount under massachusetts, but that was under the first charter. They never moved on that charter and had to reorganize several times. I think the final charter had 1,000,000, but not sure where the money came from, although I don't think it was from the legislature.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

They paid for their own transportation, but it was subsidized by the New England Emigrant Aid Society. And they were supplied with weapons to defend themselves, because they came out with almost nothing. They were NOT supported the New England Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas, although the company was to help build businesses. There were farmers, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and lots of families. Your "history" sounds like it was written by a Missourian.
I am pretty sure my history is right. Not sure about yours. the mercenaries were found by Jim Lane, and were a little later than the original companies which came to settle in lawrence, and the term mercenaries can not be construed on every single person who arrived in Lawrence through the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Your "mercenaries" sound like something I have read through Missouri history.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

Well, I bet they all held hands and sang Kum-By-Ah by the campfire.

mom_of_three 7 years ago

Tell me where you found your information and I will tell you where I found mine.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

The facts are there if you look for them. If you are satisfied with Yankee history, fine. I have been an avid student of history for many years, and in studying that period it became readily apparent that if one made the most cursory investigation of the Yankee "facts" that things just didn't add up. To the victor goes the spoils and so it is with history. The Yankees won and the history was theirs to write, right or wrong. Mostly wrong, if one merely looks into it.

oldbaldguy 7 years ago

It is true that the winning side writes the history. The Civil War was about slavery and not "state rights." However the North was not without acts of atrocity. Many were committed in Missouri and Kansas. I suggest you travel to Harrisonville to see the Burnt District memorial. We fought our own particular kind of war back then, primarily in Missouri. At the battle of Mine Creek, Confederate prisoners were shot for wearing blue jackets. This does not excuse Quantrill's actions. My great great grandfather was a "bushwacker." I doubt he was fighting for slavery. After Order No. 11, it was for revenge. Only 150 years ago we fought each other. It cannot happen again.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

Well, Bootlegger. With a picture of Nathan Bedford Forrest as your (i.d.), perhaps you should join in this merry fracas.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

You changed your avatar to Josie Wales. Josie is fictional, but just as culpable as Nathan Bedford Forrest. Did you just not want to endure the lambasting, as I have?

boxers_or_briefs 7 years ago

When I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long.

Shane Garrett 7 years ago

Why is it that the legislature in Lacompton is never much written about . And I have heard that the "Free Staters" were not so much about freeing slaves as they were about keeping Kansas free of slaves and freed men. Just what I happend to catch on that PBS show the other night.

SouthernRights 7 years ago

One of the "constitutions" written by the free staters indeed banned all people of color from the Territory/State of Kansas. So much for Utopia. as for the Lecompton so-called "Bogus Legistlature" many of them remained in Kansas during and after the war. So much for them being "ruffians and outsiders". After the war members of the Lecompton legislature were often castigated by members and associates of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic). The members who had served in the Lecompton legislature were pressured to remain silent and take the verbal and written abuse they were saddled with following the war.

Mike Ford 7 years ago

Lawrence was founded in 1854, as was Topeka, Leavenworth, and Atchison. The kansas-nebraska act was passed and thousands of squatters came to fight over slavery on Wyandotte, Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa, Munsee, Miami, Peoria, and Sac and Fox lands just to name a few. That act led to the Manypenny treaties of 1854-55 with thirteen tribal nations in Kansas and Nebraska leading to the theft of 13 million of the 15 million acres of tribally held land in eastern kansas and nebraska. Americans love historical amnesia right Tom Shewmon?

Mike Ford 7 years ago

Lawrence was founded in 1854, as was Topeka, Leavenworth, and Atchison. The kansas-nebraska act was passed and thousands of squatter came to fight over slavery on Wyandotte, Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa, Munsee, Miami, Peoria, and Sac and Fox lands just to name a few. That act led to the Manypenny treaties of 1854-55 with thirteen tribal nations in Kansas and Nebraska leading to the theft of 13 million of the 15 million acres of tribally held land in eastern kansas and nebraska. Americans love historical amnesia right Tom Shewmon?

Mike Ford 7 years ago

ol tommy, I've studied indigenous history since 1995. the information I referenced above is my words. Topeka, Lawrence, Atchison, and Leavenworth were all formed in 1854. This date is stated on the city seals of each citie's official city or police cars. Secondly, there are four or five books I own that reference the kansas-nebraska act and the loss of tribal lands in 1854-55. if you want a general source of this information I state, it's in the books Indians of Kansas by William Unrau and The End of Indian Kansas by professors William Unrau and Craig Miner of Wichita State University. I've memorized this information as I've studied it over the last fifteen years. Off of the top of my head, the tribes who signed Manypenny treaties and gave you land to live on include the Delaware, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, Iowa, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Peoria, Piankishaw, Wea, Kaskaskia, Miami, Omaha and Otoe-Missouria peoples. That was from instant recall. Install recall is something dumblicans know nothing of as they run from real questions and people all of the time like Herr Kobach did tonight as I protested with my wife at the Lied Center. Nothing like a fascist preaching to the fascist choir.

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