Archive for Monday, November 5, 2012

State archeologist finds no Civil War graves at Ninth and New Hampshire development site; plans no more testing

November 5, 2012, 11:33 a.m. Updated November 5, 2012, 6:17 p.m.


The search for unmarked graves at the corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets turned up a host of bones Monday morning, but they’re not the type of bones that shed any light on whether victims of Quantrill’s Raid are buried at the site.

They’re more like the type that might provide clues of what was for dinner years ago.

They were cow and pig bones.

A crew with the state archeologist’s office spent nearly seven hours Monday excavating a 50-foot by 50-foot area on the southeast corner of the intersection, seeking either to prove or dispel speculation that victims of Quantrill’s Raid were buried on the site that has been approved to house a multistory hotel.

After a day’s worth of work, State Archeologist Bob Hoard was ready to declare the case closed.

“I’m certain there are not burials here, but it is possible to be wrong about anything,” Hoard said.

The test excavations come just weeks ahead of construction work that is scheduled to start for a multistory hotel project planned by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor.

Test excavations for grave sites get under way Monday morning at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Observing the dig and ready to sift through any evidence are Robert Hoard, state archeologist, center, and Gina Powell, right, contract archeologist, both with the Kansas Historical Society.

Test excavations for grave sites get under way Monday morning at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Observing the dig and ready to sift through any evidence are Robert Hoard, state archeologist, center, and Gina Powell, right, contract archeologist, both with the Kansas Historical Society.

Hoard asked to do the test excavations based on a 1903 Kansas University master’s thesis that contends victims of Quantrill’s Raid were buried in an open trench that existed on the site at the time of the raid.

Historical documents show that Lawrence’s St. Luke AME Church had bought the lot just 10 days before Quantrill’s raid. The master’s thesis contends there was an open trench on the site because construction of a new church recently had begun.

But Hoard said Monday’s dig produced no evidence that a trench ever had been dug on the site. A large backhoe dug a series of rows — 6 feet to 8 feet deep — across the 50-foot by 50-foot site. Hoard or his assistant watched every scoop of dirt turned. Hoard was prepared to begin hand excavations if there was any sign — such as a change in the color or consistency of the soil — that indicated the soil previously had been disturbed.

No such signs ever emerged. The crew did find two cisterns and the outline of a small house or storage shed. As for the cow and pig bones, Hoard said that wasn’t too unexpected. He said there is evidence of a boarding house being located near the corner, and it is likely a cook for the house occasionally would have butchered livestock on the site.

“They probably would throw some of the remains into the yard or an empty lot,” Hoard said. “It probably is just what they would think of as kitchen debris.”

Katherine “K.H.” Harris, a neighbor who lobbied for the archeological investigation, was on the site when Hoard declared it to be free from graves. Harris said she was satisfied Hoard had done a thorough examination.

“I’m disappointed, though,” Harris said. “I wanted something to be here because it would have been a fantastic piece of our history.”

Hoard said the development group will pay for the bulk of the costs related to the archeological testing. The developers will pay for the cost of the backhoe and operator, while Hoard and his assistant’s time will be covered by the normal state salary. Hoard didn’t yet have an estimate for how much the test excavation had cost.

If remains had been found, the hotel project would have been allowed to continue construction once a state-appointed review board determined how best to remove or preserve the graves.

Hoard asked for the excavations despite there being no evidence of graves on the site other than the 1903 master’s thesis, whose author didn’t provide details about how she determined graves were on the site.

“I came into this with an open mind,” Hoard said. “There was enough evidence to support that it was a possibility.”

Construction on the hotel project will include an underground parking garage that will require the entire corner to be excavated. Hoard said if remains are found during construction, the construction crews will be responsible for notifying local law enforcement.

Construction work is expected to begin next month on the hotel. =


RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 5 months ago

Shhhh, I will tell you a secret...

Check the controlled fill area where the excavation from the parking garage was dumped.

fiddleback 5 years, 5 months ago

And just where is that and what's your source? I haven't found any stories regarding that excavation, or when it even occurred.

thefisherman 5 years, 5 months ago

I bet you a dollar it isn't Doug Compton or Mike Treanor.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years, 5 months ago

The developers will pay for the cost to excavate the site, Hoard told me. He didn't yet have a cost estimate on that work. Hoard's time was paid for as a normal part of his state salary. Thanks, Chad Lawhorn, Journal-World

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

Taxpayers have to I think. There's something about it in the Kansas Constitution. Something like "the unmarked grave equity act".

lawslady 5 years, 5 months ago

The Kansas State Historical Society is a state agency. The state archelogist (Mr. Hoard) works for that state agency. The work they are doing appears to be in furtherance of carrying out the duties that are assigned to them by state law (the unmarked burial act) which was put into law in the 1980's after the Native Americans persuaded the Kansas legislature that unmarked graves deserved as much protection as marked graves. If you want to read the actual law, you can start here;

Clara Westphal 5 years, 5 months ago

My mother used to live close to 11th and Rhode Island St. There was a bronze marker on the easement on the northwest corner stating that it was the site where many men and boys were killed by Quantrill's men.

The marker was moved for safe keeping when some street repair was going on. The last time it was seen as reported in the LJW, it was in former City Manager Wildgren's office. This might be a clue as to where those bodies are buried..

Lee Saylor 5 years, 5 months ago

That marker is located near the entrance to the parking garage on 9th street, right next to the cross walk signal.

5 years, 5 months ago

Well, it was a long shot anyway. Thanks, Dr. Hoard, for taking a look.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

It's just like the Arrowhead Project from "The Mist"!

lunacydetector 5 years, 5 months ago

i had a dream i saw dead people......but it wasn't the southeast corner, it was the northeast corner (where there's a parking lot and a bank)

Scott Tichenor 5 years, 5 months ago

Any of Dennis' old dolls buried there maybe? Would that suffice?

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago


Where's Bozo.


jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Bozo and the rest of the obstructionists are planning their next move to delay this project. And when they come up with whatever scheme they propose, we'll all be expected to give that scheme it's due respect. After all, they're not really obstructionists, they're concerned citizens.

Credibility, what credibility?

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know what grade the Master's thesis received? I think it's time to revisit that topic.

Tomato 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't know how they did things in 1903, but a graduate thesis isn't normally "graded" in the traditional sense. Today, it would receive a Pass/Fail on a transcript, but it's really more of an Approved/Not Approved or Complete/Not Complete.

You have a thesis adviser who keeps sending you back to work on it more, until finally it meets his/her approval and you defend it in front of a group of professors and colleagues.

it is possible to fail a thesis defense - but it would have to go really terribly for that. Your adviser shouldn't really allow it to take place if you aren't ready.

As for the accuracy of a thesis - you don't usually have to be right. You just need to have solid research and evidence and the preference is that you contribute something new to the field. The standard for what constitutes solid research and evidence depends on the field of study - just talking to a bunch of people and theorizing about rumors could be enough when adding a new idea to a historical field.

For instance - people don't get their PhD's revoked because carbon dating has since proven them wrong. Simply positing a theory that could be challenged is plenty good enough - since all good theories should be falsifiable.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

My professors popped a bottle of champagne after I defended my thesis. I don't know if they were happy for me or happy to be rid of me.

5 years, 5 months ago

"As for the accuracy of a thesis - you don't usually have to be right."

This is correct, though one ought to add that it helps to not be obviously wrong, either. The thing about a thesis is that, if done on new data or old data sliced a new way, the person writing the thesis is the best expert on the subject. He or she will likely know more about it than the advisor or anyone else on the committee. That means that the advisor is looking for obvious errors (names and dates) as well as poorly constructed arguments, but not necessarily able to judge if the thesis is "correct." "Thorough and Convincing" would be a better goal.

As far as I can tell, the only problem with the thesis in regards to this dig is that the author made a claim that lacked documentation. Therefore we don't know if it was something she read and failed to cite, some local oral tradition that should have been noted as such, or something she cut out of whole cloth. That's a failure of the advisor as much as the author (though it remains the author's responsibility).

But in any case, the claim that soldiers were buried there seems to be merely incidental to the description of the church and not part of any argument. Therefore the worst we can ding her grade for would be sloppiness in the handling of sources. She's hardly the first historian to get away with that.

Paul Wilson 5 years, 5 months ago

Stolen from who? ...and who did they steal it from?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

So, should be invade Canada and Mexico (again) so that we can annex some of their prime real estate? Should all existing Indian reservations be similarly invaded and sold off to the highest bidders? Should home invasion be made legal?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

In the midst of a massacre such as the raid, in which a large percentage of all males teenage and older were killed, burying the dead, especially those who had no family here, and/or couldn't be identified, as quickly as possible would have been the priority, not land-use planning. An open trench directly across the street would have been a very expedient place to dispose of them.

It's good that they looked, even if nothing was found.

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

That entire neighborhood is a freak show. Drive around down there sometime. JK and KT and BO "artists" I'm sure.

streetman 5 years, 5 months ago

Can't wait to see what delay tactic will be used next by the opponents of this project -- they can use the time and money waste game plan used by the SLT opponents -- probably a lot of the same goons. Perhaps those old, handy spirits can be trotted-out -- the sacred-ground-unless-it's-a-casino routine.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm grateful to Bob Hoard for doing his job well, to Bob Schumm and the City Commission for taking this research seriously, and to the developers for paying the burdensome expense of seven hours of equipment and operator to undertake such a careful excavation to investigate a century-old mystery in the history of Quantrill's Raid. One only needs to visit the grave of George Burt, a victim of the raid buried in the tiny Davis Cemetery (behind the Pennzoil on 6th St.), to realize how dramatically our landscape has changed in 150 years and how fragile and ephemeral the traces of our nation's violent history actually are. I hope this is just the first of many events to remind the citizens of Lawrence of the lives lost and lessons learned on that fateful day in August 1863. I hope its150th anniversary next year will be commemorated with appropriate solemnity and respect for those who paid for their beliefs with their lives so that others could enjoy freedom.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

An 1897 account of "the Quantrell Massacre" that mentions the names of the young Union recruits, ages 18 to 21, for whose bodies the State Archaeologist was searching yesterday:

The author's comments on why the citizens of Lawrence suffered so in this violent terrorist attack of 150 years ago are worth considering. The contrast between concern for investigation and commemoration of the events and victims of September 11, 2001 and those of August 21, 1863 is sobering.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

The contrast behind the expenses people begrudge to investigate the details of Quantrill's Raid vs. those of 9/11 is stark. The contrast between local commemoration of that event and the nation's commemoration of 9/11 even more so.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

Thinking of 9th & New Hampshire, or really the whole downtown area, as Lawrence's Ground Zero puts things in a different light.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

Where were your ancestors and what were they doing on August 21, 1863?

5 years, 5 months ago

My thesis subject (a man of the same last name as I, but unrelated) was chasing Quantrill out of Lawrence. That's as close a relation as I can claim.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

The state has a relatively clear policy on what to do about suspected unmarked graves, and the search was done in accordance with that policy.

The city, however, has no clear policy on development downtown. The policy mainly consists of letting developers do whatever they want, neighbors and neighborhoods be damned.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

I picture the little lady from "Poltergeist" standing in the middle of property saying "This cleeeean."

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

And there's the rub. Bozo, KT, etc never cared about bones. They think they are more important than anyone else. Self centered ninnies. That area is full of them and their junk filled yards.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

You should cut Bozo and his ilk a little slack here. There was some concern sparked by a KU grad thesis from within a few decades of the attack that unmarked graves were on the site. The state was right to look for graves, and did it in a very timely manner.

If the bozo crew were trying to block construction, this ploy did very little to help them.

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

It's hard to pout when I'm grinning ear to ear at your being proved wrong for the 10,000th time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Proved wrong about what? There was evidence (none of it provided by me) of unmarked graves there that by state law needed to be carefully investigated. The law was followed. I don't see what that has to do with me or you, other than your need to satisfy your narcissism.

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

Look at Bozo, everyone. Rationalizing like a pro. You have to admire it on some level.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

No you don't. Bozo's behavior has been deplorable when it comes to this issue.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

And pretty much every other issue on this award-winning website.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Deplorable, eh? Interesting word choice.

Could you please explain why you think that word is applicable on a topic in which I did nothing more than express my opinions, none of which included endorsing axe murders or rape or any other crime?

Or is merely having a different opinion from yours all that it takes to be "deplorable?"

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

First, your concern has been disingenuous at best. While you've called for the graves be treated with dignity and respect, you showed none yourself. I admitted I had not been aware of the possibility of graves being present. But you said you were aware. Given that, you had the opportunity to treat that ground with some form of respect and dignity. You could have marked where you believed the graves to be present. You could have been placed flowers, a cross, a sign, something. You did nothing. For the entire time you knew about them, you did nothing. But suddenly, it's everyone else that is being disrespectful, showing no dignity.

Then, you play the race card. You all but called everyone who disagreed with you a racist because you erroneously claimed the likelihood that the graves were of African American soldiers. Of course, they weren't, but no apologies to those you called racist.

And now your fall back position is that you were relying on information from someone else. A dead person no less. It wasn't you who made the claims, it was that dead person.

There is a big difference between having a difference of opinion and calling people racist, erroneously I might add.

There is a difference between having a difference of opinion and behaving like a hypocrite when you expect someone to behave in ways you're unwilling to behave.

And it's not a difference of opinion when instead of owning up to your mistake, you blame a dead person who cannot defend their position.

I'd say that pretty much defines deplorable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

The really sad thing is that you really believe the drivel you're puking.

The fact that you were ignorant of the suspected graves doesn't mean diddly. The developers knew of them all along. The city knew of them all along, but for some reason, you think it was my responsibility to do something about it, even though I have absolutely nothing to do with this project.

Get a grip, man.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

If my lack of knowledge about these suspected graves is "ignorant", I wonder what word(s) would be appropriate for your erroneous contentions that they were the graves of blacks and your erroneous claims of insensitivity due to race. "Race baiting" comes to mind. As does the simple "racist".

Yes, Bozo, I am not arrogant enough to suggest I know everything about every topic. I plead "ignorance". What I am not, nor will I ever be is a "race baiting racist". I can say that with absolute certainty. You can not "honestly" make that claim.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

They were not my claims. But mere existence of those claims (perhaps erroneous, perhaps not-- we'll never know for sure) was enough for some of the usual suspects around here to oppose taking a careful look.

If you aren't among them, bully for you. But please, your complaints of personal injury because of my "deplorable" posts is downright juvenile. Grow up.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

I am certainly not among the usual suspects. I don't even know who the usual suspects are or might be. In fact, when you make serious claims such that you made, you need choose your words wisely. And be clear, when I say the charge you made is not that there may or may not be graves, or that those graves may or may not be of blacks. It was your claim that the reason for opposition was a specific insensitivity to the possibility that they were black graves and then linking that to people being upset we have a black President. If what you describe is true, I would agree that behavior would be racist. Then name names. Call individuals out. Let the light of truth shine on them. But ...

Painting with such a wide brush, when making serious charges, is inappropriate. And it's 100% on you for having made the claim.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

You choose to be dense. That's 100% on you, not me.

But I understand that you have a real problem whenever anyone disagrees with you on anything, and that gets you all twisted in knots, and you look for whatever rationalization you can for denigrating anyone who has the temerity to do so. I don't take that personally.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Whatever, Bozo. I've made my point. You made ill tempered and erroneous remarks and you stand by them. I stand by my condemnation of your remarks.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 5 months ago

I suspect on the day of the event, my 15 year old future great great grandfather was active as a Missouri bushwacker in Jackson and Clay Counties. I do know he was shot and wounded in the leg that year in a firefight with Union troops in Missouri.

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

What was the quantity and quality of archaeological investigation done prior to recent construction on other corners of 9th (formerly Warren) and New Hampshire?

jwhoopes2 5 years, 5 months ago

With perceptions of Lawrence liberal activists as "a freak show," one wonders whether a version of the mentality of Quantrill and his "bushwhackers" might not still be with us today. If Lawrence persists as an island of blue in a sea of red, might not hostile terrorist attacks--whether actual or metaphorical--happen yet again?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

The moon might not turn into butter and fall on our pancakes. I'm not going to fret about it much either way.

5 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of perceptions of Lawrence, here's the beginning of one newspaper column from about 3 weeks before the raid (August 1, 1863) laughing at the very idea of Quantrill attacking:

The Very Latest From Lawrence

Lawrence is sage. The beleaguered City Of Martyrs, at last, thanks to the exuberant energy of its people, is in such a condition of defense that we only fear the cowardly guerilla will not penetrate even to the suburbs.

Barber, Shombre, Hoyt, - sleep in peace on the lofty crest of Oread! For these, your old comrades and brethren are still awake. The old Missouri foe will never enter Lawrence save to be welcomed to an “inhospitable grave.”

You can rest assured no “six hundred light brigade” of bushwhackers can scare Lawrence. We are accustomed to these things.

Mac and I are on a tour of observation. Sixteen Malkoffs guard the city on the easterly approaches. Four Redans stand ready to belch their flamely terrors on the South. Oread, with its ancient earthworks, is on the west. The subtle Kaw runs between us and the north, and, in awful silence, the iron-clads of Lawrence float upon its waters.

Who fears for the safety of our northern Vicksburg? Like the impudent boy of old, I say, “Go up, Baldhead!”...

bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 months ago

jwhoopes, in answer to your question: my paternal ancestor, had the same name as I save for the middle, great great grand father (perhaps I've forgotten one great in thar) served in northern blue, was wounded, in n iowa artillary unit though being fom northwest Mo.

he always said "was like a little skeeder bit me in tha head" so I am told. of his civil war injury.

yes, as usual, boozo has been deplorable on this topic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

It didn't make any sense when jhawkins said it. What makes you think being his pet parrot would add any legitimacy to it?

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

Pardon me for asking, but what did he do that was deplorable? I don't think very highly of him, but all I've seen is him spouting his opinion. That is never deplorable.

If he has done something else, what was it?

Paul Wilson 5 years, 5 months ago

That's Bull. I have been going back and forth with Bozo on and off for years. I think he is a misguided leftie fool...but one that I completely respect. "Deplorable"? That has to be one of the most irresponsible descriptions I have read. I want the quote from Bozo that was "deplorable"? Put up or shut up.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

I looked back at Bozo's posts under the headline "City likely to require test to answer puzzle at 9th. & N.H.".

On Oct. 26th. at 10:30 a.m., Bozo said: "I'm noting a strong pattern of indifference towards the unmarked graves of non-white folks. No speculation needed". Then on Oct. 27th., at 10:46 a.m. Bozo linked those opposed to this grave digging to those who dislike our "black President".

Race should have played no part in this discussion. Bozo's claim that anyone was indifferent because of race is not supported by fact. What is supported by fact is that Bozo was wrong on every count. Having been proven wrong, Bozo now claims that he/she relied on information of a now dead person. That doesn't absolve the claim of indifference because of race. And of course, there's no truth that the same people who showed indifference are those opposed to our black President.

I stand by my description that Bozo's behavior in this matter has been deplorable.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

Pork if you really think someone saying that bozo is deserving of censure or contempt is one of the most irresponsible descriptions you've read, you really need to get out more.

Paul Wilson 5 years, 5 months ago judgement. I was actually defending him genius.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 months ago

sadly, this isn't the first time that boozo has abused race baiting. also, he's used class warfare too. sadly, sounds like his president.

no excuse.

and now, thus race relations are worse since the election of Obama in Amerika. thank you.

now you see how.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure you'll find comfort in the many volumes of white supremacist literature and videos you have around the house.

Paul Wilson 5 years, 5 months ago

You guys just don't get it yet. Bozo voices what all liberals actually think but won't say out loud. From his president all the way down to his angry self...they are the modern day racists. Deplorable?....No...just the scary truth about liberals. They seek to divide people over race and wealth. Don't seek to shut him up...he is the window that we can learn from. He is what people with integrity strive not to be like. He is a great example of what not to be. I have shown his posts to my teenagers many times. Something to laugh at? Yes. But better something to learn from and teach youth that the reason there are so many leaches in this country, as evident by the election last night, is that there are so many people like Bozo...The king of the something-for-nothing crowd that demonize success and divide people by race. They seek to make white people feel guilty for the sins of the past...and expect you to give them something for them. It's all they have left. I respect his opinion and hope he continues to fill his role as this forums perfect example of a modern day liberal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, you're not just dancing with the strawman, you're giving him a big wet French kiss. Do you think you'll ever get your tongue back out of his throat?

bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 months ago

a while ago boohoozoo spouted: I'm sure you'll find comfort in the many volumes of white supremacist literature and videos you have around the house.

uh no, in fact it is you who is the racist, clown, judging people by race. if you met me and my family you would be so incredibly embarrassed by your own words! you assume so much to your own foolishness. and you continue to make race relatios worse.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 5 months ago

now, back to the original topic of this article ...

I suppose they'll be sending in the salamander wranglers next!!! lol

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