Battle Canyon, Macey Hensley

(Frank) Today Around Kansas starts with a look at Battle Canyon, the tragic site of the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork outside of Scott City. Next meet Kansas’ own Little Miss Sunshine, Macey Hensley. Then enjoy a poem from our Poet Lariat, Ron Wilson and we’ll end with the history of Baxter Springs and the City Cemetery. Stay with us!Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

(Frank) And good morning, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Thanks for joining us this morning. (Deb) It’s beautiful month of May. (Frank) God, isn’t it? (Deb) it’s a most beautiful time of year in Kansas. Get to go all over the state, green grass everywhere and just new calves on the ground. It’s a really pretty time, everything blooming. (Frank) May is great. (Deb) May is great. (Frank) October is great. May and October. [Laughs] (Deb) Except for the allergies, May and October. [Laughs] (Frank) I don’t know why I brought that up. It’s just I’m an October person. I love October. (Deb) I like October too. But I’m real happy with May so far. (Deb) I dread the summer a little bit, honestly, all the heat. Not have to worry about heat this weekend. Dr. Jake and I are headed up to Denver. Which kiddies, remember, it used to be part of Kansas? Don’t forget that when you take the quiz, make sure you mark that correctly, Order of the Indian Wars Conference is meeting up there. And that’s just wonderful group of folks from all over the country that meet to discuss the Indian wars of the beginning of the founding of America on some things are still going on. But it’s a great, great group of folks. And I did a segment on the Order of the Indian Wars Group. I don’t know, a while back but you can go and that’s archived on our website. When we went down to Las Cruces. And lot of Kansas connections, I don’t care where you go, there’s going to be a lot of Kansas connections. And the fall trip this year is going to be, the French and Indian war, so it’s going to be back in Western Pennsylvania. And of course Kansas has an amazing connection to the French and Indian wars, and that’s Fort Duquesne. That is sort of where Fort Leavenworth is today. So there were French soldiers stationed at Fort Duquesne who were in Western Pennsylvania fighting. And I think actually shooting at Daniel Boone, if the story I have is right. All kinds of crazy Kansas connections in there. (Frank) We’ve talked about Don Coldsmith’s books, Trail of the Spanish Bit. (Deb) Yes. (Frank) And the thing is, people really thought he was Native American because Native Americans asked him that. And he said; Well, because the stories you have told are so true to form. And so if you really want to get into, well, not only really good stories but some history, you might want to read those books and it does refer to the various tribes which are primarily here in Kansas, and he talks about the Western which now we know, he was more referring to the Colorado area and of course Eastern and Southern and Northern and all that. And anyway, sometime at least start with book number one, Trail of the Spanish Bit by Coldsmith. (Deb) They’ll put you there. One of the things we’re going to talk about today is Scott City and of course, especially the South– the Western and Southwestern part of the state, have so many connections to this, Spanish history. And you’ll be a fan for life as a history and Coldsmith’s stories. There’s just so much to be explored. And we’ll do it with you in just a minute, stay with us.

(Deb) While I wrestle the alligator, Marlin over here is going to [laughs] I had to that give away your age and if you’re talking about Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. (Frank) I was pretending to read a book here. (Frank) So I’m going to, [chuckles] present it again. (Deb) My lovely assistant. (Frank) Tell us about this. (Deb) Okay. This is a fantastic book. Ramon Powers. Many of you know Ramon was former Director of the Kansas State Historical Society before he retired. Native of Gove County. So he grew up in the middle of all this history. And Jim Leiker wrote this great book on the Northern Cheyenne. Now remember the movie Cheyenne Autumn? (Frank) [Hmm-hmm] (Deb) Okay. That’s based on this incident. So the book talks about how this Cheyenne exodus, where the Cheyenne have been moved to Oklahoma and they’re trying to get back to their native home in Northwestern Nebraska and that area right around Rapid City in South Dakota, a little South of there. So as they’re coming through Kansas in 1878, with the raids. So, the one we’re going to talk about today, the piece of that is the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork, which is just outside of Scott City, it’s just there next to the lake. I had never been there until just this month or a few weeks ago, last month maybe. Dr. Jake took me out see it and I’m embarrassed to say I had not been to Battle Canyon before. And you’ve got to see it, you will be blown away. It’s a fantastic site and the history is very tragic, as many of our Indian War stories are, but really important and the community there is doing an awful lot to interpret that and they got the El Quartelejo Museum in Scott City which helps interpret that history and the State Park there and there’s just so much going on. So it’s a fantastic place to go spend a day. And again, get some exercise during the spring and learn some fantastic history. Now Frank might actually read the book instead of just pretending to read. (Frank) Yes. I’m going to read this and she’ll tell you the story. (Deb) Driving along Highway 83, North of Scott City, the prairie breaks into occasional bluffs, the grass is short and yucca dots the landscape. Even with these hints however, you can’t help but gasp when you turn off the road to the West and drive down into historic Scott Lake State Park. Yes, down, the road winds down the hillside. The scenery and abundant wildlife, the sunrises and sunsets over the lake, the incredible history within its confines all beckon in the visitor to stay awhile. This corner of Kansas has many stories to tell. And today I will share just one, the Battle At Punished Woman’s Fork in 1878. There are enough tragic stories in the annals of the Plains Indian Wars to fill volumes. Sadly this story is among them. The Northern Cheyenne had been moved from Northwestern Nebraska and bordering South Dakota to the Indian Territory. Conditions were deplorable and they decided to go home. Historian John Monnett calls it an Exodus, as we refer to the Children of Israel fleeing Egypt. Most Kansans of the day called it something else. The Dodge City Times covered skirmishes with the band of Cheyennes in their neighborhood. The red devils, the wild and hungry Cheyennes commit murder and arson. Several herders murdered. A house burned down. Wholesale stealing of horses, an Indian fight. Three soldiers killed and three wounded. The border wild with excitement. Straggling bands of Indians, raiding everywhere. Another Indian skirmish, an Indian killed, a soldier wounded. Emigrant trains robbed. Four companies of cavalry ordered to Dodge. I will not do the disservice of using that event to a couple of lines here. Let it be said Louis was mortally wounded and died en route to Fort Wallace and the Indians horse herd was destroyed. A devastating blow. The most significant effect however, lay in the attitudes on both sides, leading to pressure from the public for real protection. And a more violent and personal response from Dull Knife and his followers resulting in the brutal raid near Oberlin. This is a story you must experience. Visit Punish Woman’s Fork adjoining Historic Scott Lake State Park. Visit the Gerry Thomas Gallery at the El Quartelejo Museum in Scott City where you will find photos and artifacts, along with Gerry’s incredible art. Visit the Last Indian Raid Museum in Oberlin. Read the Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory by Jim Leiker and Ramon Powers. Read Tell Them We Are Going Home by John Monnett. The story is far too rich and complex for sound bites. But I will leave you with a couple. Louis was described by a friend as the most tolerant and least prejudiced man I ever met. And when Dull Knife’s people reached the Promised Land and were imprisoned for crimes committed along the way, he responded that if the authorities tried to send us back we will butcher each other. Let us never ever forget these were real people, not just dusty photographs.

(Frank) And we’re back. Aren’t you happy? (Deb) You know I am. [Laughs] (Frank) Sunbeam used to make, well that was a brand of bread, and Little Miss Sunbeam was on there, well, of course Kansas now has essentially Little Miss Kansas. (Deb) I was thinking, it’s funny you should say the Sunbeam thing because I look at Macy Hensley and I think Little Miss Sunshine or Little Miss Sunbeam or something because she’s just this boundless ball of energy. I got to meet her in Council Grove last year when Michael Martin Murphey was doing a concert there. And he had Macey come on stage and then after the concert or during the concert after she had gone off stage, I could see her sitting over there with their mother and Daddy. And she falls asleep in her Daddy’s arm and she is all curled up with her little cowgirl boots in her Daddy’s arms. And I’m like, here’s this incredibly bright child who is still just a little girl. And that really brought it home; she is just a little girl. (Frank) And you might have seen her on Ellen. So let’s hear about her– [chuckles] (Deb) –you may have seen her just any number of places, she’s amazing. (Frank) Macey Hensley is the best thing to happen to Kansas, since Dorothy. The precocious five year old, won the hearts of the nation when she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and wowed her host and the audience with her knowledge of the US Presidents. Since then she’s been back to Ellen’s show and has appeared alongside some of the biggest stars in the business. She’s been to the White House and met President Obama. She met the House of Cards fictitious President Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey in a game of Presidential Trivia. She’s taken to ventriloquism since Council Grove neighbor Dave May gave her a George W. Bush dummy in a couple of lessons on throwing her voice. The demonstrations over a new found hobby left television audiences rolling with laughter. Macey’s fascination with the nation’s chief executives began when her grandmother gave her a set of flash cards. Her favorite is Zachary Taylor because he wore blue. She is vocal about her love for Kansas as well, making her the perfect spokesperson for the sunflower state. Commercials featuring the now six-year-old Macey at Kansas tourist sites began airing in April and her being shared on the Internet like germs in preschool. Macey has announced her ambition to become President herself some day. Well, we better be clearing out a spot in the State House for her statue.

(Ron) Kansas was the key crossroads of several historic trails. There was the Chisholm Trail, the Great Western Trail, the Oregon California Trail and the Santa Fe Trail. The Cattle Trails were the ones that came from the South. The Oregon California Trail was a migration trail of people going west. But it was the Santa Fe Trail that was the trail of commerce. “Along the Santa Fe Trail.” One of the great stories of the American tale is the history of the pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail. We picture those times from bygone day, when traders went traveling down the Santa Fe. They left from Missouri and southwest they would go to search for riches in old Mexico. They braved the hardships of hazards and weather and they connected this part of the world together. After the years of the Mexican-American War came stagecoaches and fur trappers, gold seekers and more. There were bright Senoritas, bandits, Indian attacks, padres, muleskinners and freighters with packs. This was the great highway to the American Southwest, traveled by pioneers on opportunities quest. Here’s what makes this story especially great, the Trail has more miles in Kansas than any other state. So looking back, we marvel at how they survived as in our mind’s eye, the old Trail comes alive. We give thanks that those pioneers made their journey without fail, as they tamed the frontier along the Santa Fe Trail. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Okay. Who’s going to start? [Laughs] I guess, I will. Hi, welcome back. Southeast Kansas, I don’t know how many of you have been down there but there’s a lot of history. So anyway, we wanted to talk about Baxter Springs. (Deb) Baxter Springs and the City Cemetery there, there is a corner of that that is the soldier’s lot. And that is another one of our national cemeteries. And Baxter Springs happened a little bit by accident, sort of like the Arlington Cemetery did. Its roots go back to the Civil War with Quantrill’s Raid on Baxter Springs and this followed shortly after the raid on Lawrence. And it was a really terrible affair. And the people who died in that, the soldiers who died in that were buried there. And I think the segment may talk a little bit about that but again just like Arlington our first National Cemetery, it has roots in the Civil War. And on a related note another great book is the Baxter Springs Massacre. And it is written by a descendant of a man who was killed there. And we talked about it on the Star Wars connection, remember that? We talked about the Star Wars connection. So another plug for that Baxter Springs Massacre book, it’s really good. So let’s take a look at this very small but very significant national cemetery. (Frank) I think our chicken is here– (Deb) Oh great, we’ll be back. (Deb) Baxter Springs soldiers’ lot is located in the North Central portion of the City Cemetery in Baxter Springs. The earliest burials in the plot include 132 union soldiers and officers killed on October 6th 1863 during the Battle of Baxter Springs. The battle often referred to as the Baxter Springs Massacre, followed closely on the heels of the Lawrence Massacre. William Clarke Quantrill and his confederate guerrillas were responsible for both. The Federal government intended to remove the bodies of the men who died during the massacre to Springfield Missouri National Cemetery. But the citizens of Baxter Springs petitioned to keep them. As part of the arrangement to retain the burials, the City of Baxter Springs donated the tract of land to the government and agreed to keep the graves in good order. In 1886, the federal government erected a large marble and granite monument at the soldiers’ lot, in memory of the man killed in the Battle of Baxter Springs, as well as soldiers and officers killed and other nearby engagements. Funds were appropriated to build the monument after the local Grand Army of the Republic; GAR Post launched a petition drive in 1885, collecting signatures from more than 7000 veterans. The monument was fabricated by Mitchell Granite Works of Quincy Massachusetts, at a cost of $4,000. Dedicated on Decoration Day 1886. The monument is inscribed with the names of 163 soldiers and officers. The monument is over 20 feet high and it’s surmounted with a marble statue of a union soldier, at parade rest. From 1853, 24-pound siege gun cannons mounted in concrete bases are located within the monuments perimeter one at each corner.

(Frank) Well the chicken was delicious. (Deb) Yes, it was. (Frank) I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we will see you somewhere (Both) Around Kansas.

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