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Archive for Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Re-enactors live-tweet Quantrill’s raid events

Kerry Altenbernd, center, playing the part of Lawrence resident Louis Carpenter, looks up at a projector screen of live tweets as he waits for his cue to tweet his final words before his death during a reenacted live tweet of the Quantrill's Raid events of Aug. 21, 1863. At right is Lawrence resident Courtney Shipley, playing the part of Mary Carpenter, wife of Louis Carpenter, who according to historical record, was pulled off of her husband just before raiders shot him in the head. At left is Lawrence resident John Nichols playing the parts of Colonel John Holt, C.S.A. and Lt. Colonel C.S. Clark, U.S. Various Lawrence residents participated in the Twitter reenactment which began around 5:30 a.m. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kerry Altenbernd, center, playing the part of Lawrence resident Louis Carpenter, looks up at a projector screen of live tweets as he waits for his cue to tweet his final words before his death during a reenacted live tweet of the Quantrill's Raid events of Aug. 21, 1863. At right is Lawrence resident Courtney Shipley, playing the part of Mary Carpenter, wife of Louis Carpenter, who according to historical record, was pulled off of her husband just before raiders shot him in the head. At left is Lawrence resident John Nichols playing the parts of Colonel John Holt, C.S.A. and Lt. Colonel C.S. Clark, U.S. Various Lawrence residents participated in the Twitter reenactment which began around 5:30 a.m. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

August 21, 2013, 6:32 p.m. Updated August 21, 2013, 4:20 p.m.

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#QR1863

To sort through the social media chatter, follow the project's curated Twitter list.

Lawrence resident Courtney Shipley, playing the part of Mary Carpenter, wife of Louis Carpenter, left, who is played by Lawrence resident Kerry Altenbernd, scrambles to tweet her lines as the two participate in a reenactment of the Quantrill's Raid events of Aug. 21, 1863 via Twitter on Wednesday at the Carnegie Building.  According to historical record, Mary Carpenter was pulled off of her husband Louis just before raiders shot him in the head. Various Lawrence residents participated in the Twitter reenactment which began around 5:30 a.m. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Lawrence resident Courtney Shipley, playing the part of Mary Carpenter, wife of Louis Carpenter, left, who is played by Lawrence resident Kerry Altenbernd, scrambles to tweet her lines as the two participate in a reenactment of the Quantrill's Raid events of Aug. 21, 1863 via Twitter on Wednesday at the Carnegie Building. According to historical record, Mary Carpenter was pulled off of her husband Louis just before raiders shot him in the head. Various Lawrence residents participated in the Twitter reenactment which began around 5:30 a.m. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

One hundred fifty years ago on Aug. 20, Lawrence residents gathered for a concert in the park. As they were greeting neighbors and enjoying music, William Quantrill announced to his followers in Missouri, “We remember! We ride!” and started his journey to Lawrence.

Last night, he made that same exclamation ... on Twitter. Other historical figures are making their own statements regarding the start of Quantrill’s raid via social media.

“Getting ready to take our picnic down the hill,” said Annie Bell, the wife of the Douglas County Clerk, George Bell, just before 7 p.m.

A few minutes later, a Missourian tweeted.

“Nothing can stop us from our vengeance,” said John McCorkle, who was a border ruffian and scout for Quantrill.

Several dozen area residents signed up to "re-enact" Quantrill's raid on Twitter using the hashtag #QR1863. Individuals have taken on the roles of both Lawrence residents and raiders, and are tweeting their actions as if they are happening in real time.

The project is meant to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the massacre and educate both locals and a larger audience on what was happening 150 years ago.

At about 6 a.m., the time that Quantrill’s raiders would arrive in Lawrence, the tweeting picked up pace. More than 30 characters from Missouri and Kansas were beginning to tell their stories on Twitter.

Lawrence residents and Twitter followers began to take note of the trending hashtag and tweets, some even making rogue Quantrill’s Raid reenactment accounts. By about 8 a.m. Christine Metz, the communications manager for the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, noticed it was no longer a community event for Lawrence – the hashtag was trending worldwide.

“People are excited,” Metz said. “They’re proud of their town. It’s a very quirky thing to do and Lawrence is known for being quirky. The people here love social media and history so it was a good fit.”

Although comical rogue tweeters are participating in the re-enactment, like a horse who claims his rider is mistreating him or a corn field helping to hide Jim Lane, the preparation and research to accurately portray the raid has taken months. The tweeters have been studying and learning about their characters the entire summer.

Dawn Shew has tweeted as Annie Bell. "It's very real," she said. "I can imagine some of the things that Annie would have gone through."

In real life, Dawn Shew's husband is the current county clerk, Jamie Shew, who also serves on the county's emergency management team. He's also tweeting as George Bell, who was one of the first to face the raiders and eventually was killed.

"It was easy to get into [George's] mindset," Jamie Shew said. He said he and Dawn had a discussion about what he would do if Quantrill's raid happened today.

"I could see the argument," he said. "We could really put ourselves in their position."

Jamie Shew said his office is about a block away from where George Bell was killed. The Twitter re-enactment makes it connective, relatable and about the people, he said.

Abby Magariel, the Watkins Museum education and programming coordinator, plays Jetta Dix.

@JettaDix1863

I coax and beg of two guerillas to not kill Mr. Dix. They agree, but the third says “No, I’m going to kill every damn one of them.” #QR1863 -Abby Magariel as Jetta Dix

"I knew Jetta had an interesting and hectic story," Magariel said. "I wanted to treat Jetta with as much sensitivity as could be had on Twitter." Dix's husband was shot in front of her.

As the virtual carnage began today, other media, such as the Washington Post and Kansas City-area television stations, covered the hashtag, helping it to build a larger following.

“It really shines a spotlight on this part of the country,” said Julie McPike, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area Project Coordinator. “This place is kind of the spark that lit the powder keg that began the Civil War.”

"I think it's a new way to look at history," Magariel said. Some events have been live-tweeted but haven't been done this way, she said. "We can see it from the perspective of the individuals who lived it."

The actors behind the Quantrill characters revealed themselves on Twitter at 3 p.m. today by either changing the photo of the character’s account to their own picture or by tweeting out who they are. At midnight, the names of those who died in the raid will be listed on Twitter as well, but that isn’t the end of the re-enactment. Many characters will continue to tweet for at least the next couple of days to tell more about the aftermath and the rebuilding of Lawrence.

“There’s more action to come so stay tuned,” McPike said.

Comments

Katie Dennis 1 year, 4 months ago

does anyone else think this is really lame?

Liberty275 1 year, 4 months ago

It's an easily digestible way to describe the raid to a technology-friendly audience, so I think it has some merit there. Besides that, it is to some extent an art "happening", so that's a plus.

I wouldn't really call it lame. I think maybe it has a small audience of interested people, but that isn't really a negative.

tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

I think it's an interesting way to learn history. Even some classes around town are following it. Of course, you have to be interested in history.

jdawson 1 year, 4 months ago

Not lame at all! Try reading some of the tweets...amazing how quickly you can get caught up in the telling of the story.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 1 year, 4 months ago

The story of Judge and Mrs. Carpenter has always been the most heart wrenching and compelling of all to me. I'm glad someone chose to play out their parts. This isn't lame at all. This is history making history. If you find this lame, you probably don't appreciate our local history much.

hiphopsux 1 year, 4 months ago

I appreciate our town's histoy, I just think Twitter is an absolute waste of time.

Katie Dennis 1 year, 3 months ago

yeah no kidding! I absolutely love history, but I hate Twitter. Seems to cheapen it. That's the lame part.

Matthew Herbert 1 year, 4 months ago

if it tricks some young kid somewhere in Lawrence into becoming interested in history, it's totally a worthwhile activity.

fiddleback 1 year, 4 months ago

Honestly, watching Ride with the Devil would be a much better bet for getting them interested.

This was a cute idea for telling individual stories people may not have heard before, but I'm not sure something "cute" fits the occasion. There's a balance to be struck between trying to share stories to add depth to our remembrance, yet trying to err on the solemn side given the carnage. I'd say using twitter totally ignores the latter issue of tasteful delivery.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 1 year, 4 months ago

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~auntsissie/lawrenceksmassacre.html

These are newspaper reports from the first few days after the raid.

From the Leavenworth Conservative, August 24, 1863: "We arrived in Lawrence at seven o'clock. Flying rumors had painted a terrible picture, but the reality exceeded the report. We found Massachusetts Street one mass of smoldering ruins and crumbling walls, the light from which cast a sickening glare upon the crowds of excited men and distracted women gazing upon the ruins of their once happy homes and prosperous business."

Currant 1 year, 4 months ago

I do not use Twitter, and have no interest in doing so in the future. While I initially thought this "re-enactment" was a somewhat stupid idea, I totally changed my mind when I read the posts. Everyone has done a great job of capturing the chaos and fear of that day, in a way that would have been hard to do otherwise. Congrats to all involved! (But I am still not getting a Twitter account.)

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