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Archive for Thursday, November 1, 2012

Test excavation of possible grave site at Ninth and New Hampshire likely to happen in next few days

November 1, 2012

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It now appears that the mystery of whether there are Civil War-era graves at a vacant lot at Ninth and New Hampshire streets may be solved in a matter of days.

Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm said he’s been told that the state archeologist will conduct test excavations on the vacant lot at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets, which has been approved to house a multistory hotel building.

Schumm said he was not sure when the excavations would happen, but another source said the tests are scheduled for Monday. Attempts to confirm that with the state archeologist or the city manager’s office weren’t immediately successful.

The issue of possible unmarked graves re-emerged last week when the Journal-World reported that state archeologist Robert Hoard had sent a letter to city officials in March expressing interest in testing the site.

Several opponents of the proposed hotel project had argued to city officials that the site may well be an unmarked burial ground for several black soldiers who were killed in Quantrill’s Raid. A 1903 master’s thesis by a Kansas University student contends the site was a burial ground for victims of the raid, but historians haven’t been able to find any other corroboration for the claim.

The test excavations also come after some archeologists at Kansas University began to express concern that the site may not be properly researched to determine if unmarked graves are present.

“If human remains are discovered there, I think there is a very good chance they represent union soldiers who died during Quantrill’s Raid,” said John Hoopes, an associate professor in KU’s department of anthropology. “I think it could potentially be a very important find.”

Hoopes said he spoke with City Manager David Corliss about the scheduled test excavations. Hoopes said it is his understanding that a backhoe will be used to determine whether a trench once existed on the site. If signs of a trench are found, more detailed archeology work can proceed. Hoopes said he’s been told the state’s archeologist will oversee the excavation.

The idea of a trench on the site is important because the 1903 KU master’s thesis contends black soldiers were buried in an open trench that was part of construction of the St. Luke AME Church.

Property records confirm St. Luke AME bought the lot just 10 days before Quantrill’s raid, so it is conceivable an open trench existed on the property at the time of the raid. For reasons not documented, the church never completed construction at the site.

Hoopes said he thinks there is a good chance unmarked graves may be on the site. He said he has talked with a noted Civil War historian who said it is known that the makeshift burial of bodies was common in the aftermath of Quantrill’s Raid, in part because the attack came in the heat of the summer.

But Hoopes said there is a more basic reason he believes the reports of graves there may be true. He said it is significant the master’s thesis was written only 40 years after Quantrill’s Raid.

“You have to remember that when this was written, there were still people walking the streets of Lawrence who were eyewitnesses to Quantrill’s Raid,” Hoopes said. “It seems very likely to me the author would have accessed eye-witness accounts.

“And I don’t know why someone would make up a story like this.”

If remains are found on the site, there are state laws that dictate how the bodies must be treated or removed. The grave site issue, however, is not the type of issue that would stop the hotel project from moving forward.

A state review board would have to decide whether the remains should remain on site or be moved to a more appropriate burial. Hoopes said if moved, the bodies very well may be entitled to a proper military burial.

Comments

ascgrown 1 year, 5 months ago

What is gonna happen in a few hundred years? No one has cared about the bazillion human corpses that have fought, for right or wrong, and died under the very homes which we sleep so comfortably until this point. Blood has been spilled for eons over every tract of land since the first 2 cavemen had a disagreement. Do what we have always done and build forward and move on. Hasnt stopped Lawrencians from building before. Outside the parking garage on New Hampshire and 10th there used to be a bronze memorial plate that called attention to the many men, women, and regretably, children who died during the raid near that spot. That plate no longer rests there since the switch from parking lot to parking structure. Has anyone else noticed this? I just wonder where people would live if not for blood spilled for that land. Their fight is over. Been called home long ago. Although I believe in respect for the dead I have to acknowledge the fact that they are just that. Dead. If someone dies in a house should the building be razed? However, historical signifigance is paramount. If any are found, by all means, exume, identify, respectfully bury somewhere else and build away. It matters not who they were, what life they led, Black or White...They are poor souls who either died in fear or died for what they thought was " right " Bottom line is dig away. If you find remains go the appropriate route, remove,examine,identify,report,re-bury,rebuild. And I'd like to know what happened to that Bronze plate.....

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jwhoopes2 1 year, 5 months ago

“The following were ‘Unmustered Recruits’ who were killed in their tents unarmed:

Anderson, C. Allen, Chas, R. Cooper, Jas. F. Green, John R. Griswold, Walter B. S. Walderman, Aaron Markel, David Markel, Lewis Markel, Samuel Parker, Ashbury Parker, Isaac Riggs, Chas. F. Speer, Robt. Watson, John Waugh, Wm. A. Wilson, Jas. Woods, Andrew

“Of a company of twenty-three recruits, of the ages of from eighteen to twenty years, only five escaped with their lives.” http://archive.org/stream/gungospelearlyka00fish#page/194/mode/2up

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BadAssterson 1 year, 5 months ago

They should just dig up the whole lot to the specifications needed for the new hotel foundation...then we can save the developer some money.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 5 months ago

Tushy, these guys were federal troops. Army. The Calvary. You know, the guys that came to the rescue when the Indians were getting pesky.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 5 months ago

Bozo, there won't be any bodies. You deft clown.

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Mike Ford 1 year, 5 months ago

I guess the newbies want to benefit from theft and not be reminded of it. now hand the newbies the remote control. they want everything easy and no reminders....what's history to americans anyway......

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rockchalker52 1 year, 5 months ago

After a few more centuries, we'll all share the same point of view and, hopefully, it'll be something we can build upon.

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catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 5 months ago

I think its a pretty crappy materialistic society we live in when we can't leave the dead alone. Rest in peace means just that. If there are bodies there, leave them be and find another place.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 5 months ago

When they find nothing send the bill to KT Walsh.

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jwhoopes2 1 year, 5 months ago

The reference is:

Fisher, H.D. (1897) The Gun and the Gospel: Early Kansas and Chaplain Fisher. New York: Medical Century Company.

A full digitized edition is available online.

It contains detailed, eyewitness accounts of the events of Quantrill's Raid and a full list of the victims. With the 150th anniversary of this event coming up next August, it's a story all Lawrencians should know.

Note that the author makes an impassioned plea for a monument commemorating the people who died that day and the abolitionist cause they represented. Where is that monument?

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jwhoopes2 1 year, 5 months ago

There is no indication that the dead recruits were black. In fact, it seems probable that they were white. They were reportedly between the ages of eighteen and twenty and were killed, unarmed, in their tents. Their names can be found on p. 194 of this 1897 book, published just six years before the 1903 Master's thesis: http://archive.org/details/gungospelearlyka00fish

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alcoholbliss 1 year, 5 months ago

Other accounts, Quantril's rider , that people were chased and bled and died from 9th St. (Warren St) encampment all the way to the river banks, think Bowerstock PP, Abe & Jakes, City Hall, & Marriott , and others from town were drove into a ravine West and shot, that was probably Watson Park now (pool - train area) Kentucky St. to the river. EXCAVATE IT ALL?

Has South Park area always been a field or park? Or Watson Park a park ravine? Anyone buried and forgotten in those? Is that why they are parks and not cemeteries or round about hotels and memorials?

Perspective map 1869 6 years later not drawn to scale http://www.loc.gov/item/73693409

Nice civilized town, bury dead only blocks away and for get them?
1867 Mass St. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/stereo.1s00016/

rotisserie squirrel

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Mike Ford 1 year, 5 months ago

I rightfully insult those who either have no concept of their disrespect towards of minorities or deny it and troll anyway. Own your culture's implementation of land grabs, slavery and the like and stop ignoring history where this country is in the wrong and saying dumb things like love it or leave it when you're probably the descendant of immigrants to a country where people already lived who brought people for labor purposes when they could've done the work themselves if not for greed.

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Liberal 1 year, 5 months ago

if there are individuals buried there then move them and start digging the foundation...No problem.

No wait a minute where the rotting corpse is laying is sacred, let's flood it with water and never build on it, because the needs of the living are nothing, compared to the needs of the maybe there might be dead people.

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Mike Ford 1 year, 5 months ago

I find it funny that all of the deniers attack this academic like the simpletons they are.....

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alcoholbliss 1 year, 5 months ago

"the·sis/ˈTHēsis/ Noun: A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved: "can you support your thesis?"

Excavated? http://goo.gl/maps/hB38C

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