Meade County

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Bisel. I want to talk a little bit about Meade County. I love studying how the counties got their names and of course so many of our counties were named for Civil War soldiers because so much of Kansas was settled following the Civil War. Meade County of course named for General George Meade, victor at Gettysburg, the first man to beat Robert E. Lee. It’s funny, I spoke to the Meade Society, or the Meade Victory Dinner at Gettysburg a few years ago, and being a Virginian I said you know, I never heard of Meade until I met you guys. General Meade was obviously beloved and it was a real honor in 1873 when Meade County was named for him. And then it got disorganized and for some reason they just disbanded the county. Meade County was re-organized in 1885. Its been there ever since, down on the Oklahoma boarder. Now one of the claims to fame in Meade County is the Dalton Gang Hideout. Just recently we want to give a shout out to the folks that operate the Dalton Gang Hideout, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places. So way to go! A great tourist attraction and you all remember we talked about the Dalton gang a few weeks ago on Around Kansas and they’re from Coffeyville, but the sister Eva moved to Meade County, where her husband built her this lovely little home and you know what, they found afterwards tunnels going from the house to the barn. This is what was turned into the tourist attraction. The barn has a gift shop and that’s where you can buy tickets to go through the tunnels where the Dalton brothers, her notorious brothers, used to hide from the law. It’s just a great, great tourist attraction. Now I have had the occasion to go to Philadelphia many times to celebrate the birthday of General Meade and my good friend Andy Waskie portrays General Meade and actually founded the General Meade Society. And they celebrate his birthday every year at Laurel Hill Cemetery with a champagne party which is really ironic since Meade County is a dry county. Its one of the few dry counties left but apparently still a dry county. And they have a big champagne party every year for General Meade at his gravesite there in Laurel Hill Cemetery overlooking Schuykill River. He had the great foresight to be born on New Year’s Eve. So combining his birthday with the New Year’s Eve party just worked out perfectly. So the General Meade Society basically exists to venerate the memory of General Meade and to celebrate his role in winning the war, the Civil War, and expanding freedom, of course. This is a wonderful group and you all have a standing invitation to go out to Laurel Hill and join to celebrate his birthday. I was hoping to bring that group out to Kansas. If you visit the West, there’s Meade South Dakota, there’s Fort Meade, so many places named for General Meade in the West. He was an engineer, had a role in building several lighthouses. One on the great Lakes maybe and just an incredible career. All those Civil War veterans that came back to Kansas obviously loved him very much. His memory survives in the town of Meade and Meade County. We’ll be right back.