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Archive for Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War 150th anniversary inspires host of activities in Lawrence

April 11, 2011

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Kansas Sesquicentennial

The State of Kansas celebrated its sesquicentennial (that's a fancy word for "150th birthday") on January 29, 2011. LJWorld.com 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.

Comments

Mike Ford 3 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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seeker_of_truth 3 years ago

But tuschkahouma and merrill at least can back up their posts. Can you, without referencing Fox, Beck and the druggie as sources?

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Mike Ford 3 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?

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Mike Ford 3 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?

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Shane Garrett 3 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.

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CWGOKU 3 years ago

Outlaw Josey Wells, great movie. Just having fun

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CWGOKU 3 years ago

Nothing good ever come out of Missoura, nothing

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tange 3 years ago

You don't see that much, anymore... "civil" wars... what with all the killing and maiming and....

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bootlegger 3 years ago

Well; well; well..............interesting story..........

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oldbaldguy 3 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.

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SouthernRights 3 years ago

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

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mloburgio 3 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. http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/12591

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

Run-on sentences are not your friends, les.

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Les Blevins 3 years ago

Perhaps residents of Lawrence greeted it with excitement - and as a call to action - when news broke of shots fired on Fort Sumter - and the proclamation of war that followed, but Lawrence then likely had a newspaper that informed people of these events. Today such events are ignored by the media, and there is no call to action, only an aloof silence by the news media that fails to urge us to action in an attempt to ward off the death and destruction that has already started and is sure to rain down on Lawrence when we fail to prepare for the threat to our health and welfare. And yet the people feel the growing threat is real, and is likely to impact us here sooner or later, but are being lulled to sleep by an uncaring media, not preparing us for what lies ahead.

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