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John Brown, Black Jack and the Border War

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Birds chirping, butterflies flitting about with a slight breeze rustling the tall grass. You would think the terrain, with its ditches and ravines, and morning atmosphere is June 2, 1856, when John Brown, anti-slavery opponent, is set to lead his militia against a pro slavery force from Missouri.

Actually, it is Saturday, June 5, 2010 and men from Kansas and Missouri dressed in period costumes are set to recreate the Battle of Black Jack at its original location east of Baldwin on Hwy 56.

Obviously, the authenticity of the day was a priority. The booths were selling period items and the people selling them dressed in appropriate attire. The blacksmith was using equipment of that time. Ladies were hand piecing quilts in addition to a basket and broom maker selling their wares. All the while, soldiers were milling around the area as if preparing for a confrontation.

Soon the guns start firing.

John Brown, set apart from the others dressed in what appeared to be preacher attire, carried his gun as if daring a man to disagree with his antislavery stand. His militia looked to be farmers gathered from the area.

The Missouri contingent, dressed similarly was led by Capt. H. C. Pate, commander of a company of sharp shooters looking for John Brown.

There was a lot of shooting, yelling, groups of armed men advancing then dropping back. It appeared several were wounded. Finally, the Missourians waved the white flag and with plenty of guns aimed at each other, talks began with Pate eventually, seeing he was outnumbered, surrendering. Check here for a written account of the battle.

After the battle, I walked to both encampments. John Brown's men were traveling light. They gathered down a ravine for bread, cheese, apples and water. The Missourians had tents but ate similar food. The pro slavery bunch was ready to talk. It took them a while to load up their pipes and settle back. It seems there was bad blood on both sides. The skirmishes back and forth between the Kansas territory and Missouri during the early days of the Civil War were small but bloody, likened to gang wars of today. Missourians came into Lawrence and burned the hotel and newspaper office including the printing press, but killing no oneā€”that time. John Brown had blood on his hands with his alleged involvement with executing five proslavery men at Pottawatomie Creek.

Truthfully, as I stood off to the side listening and watching, I somehow felt, even yet, some tension between the visiting Missouri bushwhackers who stalked like tigers and the group gathered listening with their Jayhawk caps and shirts.

Comments

Ronda Miller 4 years, 4 months ago

It would have been most difficult for me to have lived during that time period unless I could have been shooting with the men. Sewing bores me to tears.

Nicely written, Linda. I particularly enjoyed your end observation.

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Linda Hanney 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Ronda. I could see you fighting with the best, too.

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Ronda Miller 4 years, 4 months ago

What travels do you have going on this summer?

Enjoying your newest setup I'll bet. I'm so envious. I've got a cousin who has moved with his family to Seattle. Boy do I ever want to use that as an excuse to hit Yellowstone, maybe next year! I've done very little in terms of National parks. I need to stop flying and take the scenic route - much more poetic.

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Linda Hanney 4 years, 4 months ago

Ronda, we definitely love those roadtrips. Yellowstone and Washington state. I am envious. You have to do that trip. Here is a link I enjoy looking at for local destinations.

http://www.trazzler.com/regions/north-america?sort=close_to_me&view_as=list

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments - Kansas was not yet a state when the Battle of Black Jack (june 2, 1856) took place. It was an organized territory, in May of 1854. Kansas was not a state until January, 1861.
The Battle of Black Jack, the sack of Lawrence(May 21, 1856) and the Pottawatomie massacre had nothing to do with Civil War battles. The Civil War wasn't until April, 1861, however, historians in Kansas, and many others, do consider the Battle of Black Jack the first battle of the Civil War, because it was pro vs. antislavery.
And the facts about the sack of Lawrence are sort of correct. Missourians, who were part of the Kansas militia came into Lawrence with the U.S. Marshall to arrest a few people, who did so peacefully. Then the Sheriff got carried away, and the town was sacked. More was done to the town than just burn the Eldridge (they actually fired canons at it for over an hour, as it wouldn't burn), and threw presses into the river. Lots of damage was done to houses during the sack, and citizens left town.

But I wish I would have been able to attend last Saturday.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments - Kansas was not yet a state when the Battle of Black Jack (june 2, 1856) took place. It was an organized territory, in May of 1854. Kansas was not a state until January, 1861.
The Battle of Black Jack, the sack of Lawrence(May 21, 1856) and the Pottawatomie massacre had nothing to do with Civil War battles. The Civil War wasn't until April, 1861, however, historians in Kansas, and many others, do consider the Battle of Black Jack the first battle of the Civil War, because it was pro vs. antislavery.
And the facts about the sack of Lawrence are sort of correct. Missourians, who were part of the Kansas militia came into Lawrence with the U.S. Marshall to arrest a few people, who did so peacefully. Then the Sheriff got carried away, and the town was sacked. More was done to the town than just burn the Eldridge (they actually fired canons at it for over an hour, as it wouldn't burn), and threw presses into the river. Lots of damage was done to houses during the sack, and citizens left town.

But I wish I would have been able to attend last Saturday.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments - Kansas was not yet a state when the Battle of Black Jack (june 2, 1856) took place. It was an organized territory, in May of 1854. Kansas was not a state until January, 1861.
The Battle of Black Jack, the sack of Lawrence(May 21, 1856) and the Pottawatomie massacre had nothing to do with Civil War battles. The Civil War wasn't until April, 1861, however, historians in Kansas, and many others, do consider the Battle of Black Jack the first battle of the Civil War, because it was pro vs. antislavery.
And the facts about the sack of Lawrence are sort of correct. Missourians, who were part of the Kansas militia came into Lawrence with the U.S. Marshall to arrest a few people, who did so peacefully. Then the Sheriff got carried away, and the town was sacked. More was done to the town than just burn the Eldridge (they actually fired canons at it for over an hour, as it wouldn't burn), and threw presses into the river. Lots of damage was done to houses during the sack, and citizens left town.

But I wish I would have been able to attend last Saturday.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments - Kansas was not yet a state when the Battle of Black Jack (june 2, 1856) took place. It was an organized territory, in May of 1854. Kansas was not a state until January, 1861.
The Battle of Black Jack, the sack of Lawrence(May 21, 1856) and the Pottawatomie massacre had nothing to do with Civil War battles. The Civil War wasn't until April, 1861, however, historians in Kansas, and many others, do consider the Battle of Black Jack the first battle of the Civil War, because it was pro vs. antislavery.
And the facts about the sack of Lawrence are sort of correct. Missourians, who were part of the Kansas militia came into Lawrence with the U.S. Marshall to arrest a few people, who did so peacefully. Then the Sheriff got carried away, and the town was sacked. More was done to the town than just burn the Eldridge (they actually fired canons at it for over an hour, as it wouldn't burn), and threw presses into the river. Lots of damage was done to houses during the sack, and citizens left town.

But I wish I would have been able to attend last Saturday.

0

mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

Just a couple of comments - Kansas was not yet a state when the Battle of Black Jack (june 2, 1856) took place. It was an organized territory, in May of 1854. Kansas was not a state until January, 1861.
The Battle of Black Jack, the sack of Lawrence(May 21, 1856) and the Pottawatomie massacre had nothing to do with Civil War battles. The Civil War wasn't until April, 1861, however, historians in Kansas, and many others, do consider the Battle of Black Jack the first battle of the Civil War, because it was pro vs. antislavery.
And the facts about the sack of Lawrence are sort of correct. Missourians, who were part of the Kansas militia came into Lawrence with the U.S. Marshall to arrest a few people, who did so peacefully. Then the Sheriff got carried away, and the town was sacked. More was done to the town than just burn the Eldridge (they actually fired canons at it for over an hour, as it wouldn't burn), and threw presses into the river. Lots of damage was done to houses during the sack, and citizens left town.

But I wish I would have been able to attend last Saturday.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

whoops, not sure my comment got posted 5 times, as it took forever.......

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Ronda Miller 4 years, 4 months ago

I guess that truly was just a couple of comments, mom! Good ones though.

Linda, that's a terrific site. Thank you. I ended up on festivals in foreign lands. So much for not flying! My brother is in Israel these days. So many places close at hand, yet so far away.

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Linda Hanney 4 years, 4 months ago

Ronda, guess I am a slow learner, or not paying attention but I see now how to reply. Israel would be a wonderful place to visit but traveling abroad does have it's safety issues. However, having someone you know would be huge--you need to go!

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Linda Hanney 4 years, 4 months ago

Mom, obviously I did not check my dates. I should have known Kansas was not a state & will edit that. The reenactment was good, especially to see the clothes, guns and manner of fighting. Pate and Brown came up in front of the crowd and talked some "in character" but might have been better to have someone narrate or give an overview.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 4 months ago

alot happened during the summer of 1856 and its all connected.... wonder what leavenworth is going to do to celebrate its history during bleeding kansas

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