(Deb) I’m Deb Bisel, your co-host for Around Kansas. Welcome and if you tuned in last week, you saw this same house behind me, the Rice-Tremonti home in Raytown, Missouri and we had way too much history to get it all in one show, so we’ve got a lot more in store for you today. Please stay with us. I think you’ll enjoy this.
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(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. we’re visiting with Ralph Monaco, who’s portraying George Caleb Bingham, the artist who did, in fact, make General Thomson Ewing infamous with pen and brush and we were talking earlier about the Jayhawkers coming into Missouri and some of the things that they did when we were reenacting the issuing of Order Number 11 recently at the Pacific House. A lady walked up to me and said, I’ve never understood why those Kansans would want to be represented by a Jayhawk when you’d see what these Jayhawkers came over and did in Missouri. So let’s talk about that Jayhawker and what it means on the Missouri side of the line. (Male) Well let’s first define what Jayhawk is, you know the pedigree or the name Jayhawk seems to come from some Irish story from Ireland, but it’s defined as a mythological bird that swoops down on its prey, that destroys and kills and pillages all around it, so it is a ravenous animal, a bird. I don’t know, what was the dinosaur’s name, you know, it’s one of those type. (Deb) The Velocoraptor or something. (Male) Yeah, something like that and that’s the type of bird. Now frankly, Kansans and Missourians have evolved into this so called theme of the border war and they don’t realize that that whole theme of the border war dates back to the 1850’s. They think it’s something between Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks. Why do the Kansas people like the Jayhawk? I personally think it has to do with the Civil War. You know they were able to come over and dominate an area that they felt like had been so much behind the privations scourged of the Bleeding, Kansas days that this gave them an opportunity to retaliate under the nomenclature of a Jayhawk. So it’s kind of a pride thing for the Kansans and what I always thought was funny from my friends in Missouri, you know, Missouri Tigers. Well, you know, Missouri Tigers were actually a home guard from Columbia who served at the side of the federal government and defended the area around Columbia, so the border war between those two, the Tigers and Jayhawks really don’t work too well because they’re both Union sides on each of that issue. (Deb) Well they probably didn’t get along anyway. (Male) Oh, they never did get along. (Deb) They probably never did get along. (Male) No. Missouri seceded to go to the SEC, you know, there’s no longer a border war, so maybe we’re finally at peace. (Deb) Maybe. You know that’s great, with sports, we can put all this at rest. Stay tuned. We’ll have some more of Around Kansas in just a minute.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m sitting here with Ralph Monaco and we’re debating the relevance of the Missouri-Kansas border war with today’s warfare and I’ve had the good fortune of working with a lot of the soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood or Fort Leavenworth and sadly, the Missouri-Kansas border war is very relevant today. There are a lot of the same issues and I really liked the comparisons that you were drawing between some of those Jayhawker leaders and the tribal warlords of today. (Male) I think they were both guerrillas in their own sense and they all were able to coalesce their following and if you look at Quantrill, when he goes down to Sherman, Texas after ’63, you see a factional war break out between him and Bloody Bill Anderson, George Todd and they break away because you now have your own little chiefdoms taking more distant actions that they thought maybe Quantrill wasn’t going far enough. You saw that even over in Kansas. You saw Genesin, you saw Dan Anthony was the Mayor of Leavenworth, Kansas by 63. You saw Ewing literally throwing Dan Anthony in jail, arresting the Mayor of Leavenworth because he was going so far in his vindictiveness, so they became their own guerrillas and their own little special groups, so you had guerrillas under Quantrill, guerrillas under Anderson, guerrillas under George Todd, then on the Kansas side, you had them under Doc Genesin, James Montgomery, Dan Anthony and from a teaching perspective, you’re looking at where’s the fun? You know the line was there was no front. Vietnam, you know, where was the front? You know you knew where the front was in Japan, you knew where the front was in Germany, but you had no idea in Bosnia, you don’t know where the front is and Afghanistan and I think the best way to say it was when you read and writings, a person comes up to your home wearing a blue uniform. Is it a Jayhawker? Is it a federal officer, a federal troop? Is it a Missouri Border Ruffians dressed in a Union uniform? And the wrong answer that you give to their question is the difference between life, death or the destruction of your property. So there is not front. You know battles were not fought in great battlefields out west. They were fought in front yards, porches, backyards, streets and guerrilla warfare of today immolates the guerrilla wars that we saw in 1861 to 1865, especially along the western border of Missouri and eastern border of Kansas. (Deb) And the prevalence and the use of that terrorism, those terrorist tactics, some chillingly relevant lessons from those. (Male) It’s haunting and unfortunately, all we do is take those pieces and the federal government can learn from that in how they advise their troops as they venture into an area that has no fronts. (Deb) Right, exactly. Ralph, it’s been great to be with. (Male) I’ve enjoyed it very much. Thank you for having me. (Deb) Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us on Around Kansas. Stay tuned and we’ll have some more right after this.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Bisel, your co-host and I’m happy to be joined by my good friend Gregg Hildreth. Gregg, nice to have you with us today. (Male) Thank you. Always wonderful. (Deb) Gregg is a re-enactor and obviously, today, he’s doing a Yankee. So tell me number one, how it feels to come over here and throw these good Missourians out of their homes when you are, in fact, a good Missourian. (Male) I knew I was being setup when I sat down here. I don’t look at it that way. The way I see it is we’re trying to portray a slice of history. Trying to give people at least an inclining of what might have happened and, so, we have to do some nasty things sometimes because history has some nasty segments in it. (Deb) That’s not a pretty picture is it? (Male) No and it’s like anything else surrounding the Civil War, you’ve got the slavery issue. You’ve got issues like this, Order Number 11. You’ve got the prison camps that were horrible on both sides and, so, in order to tell those stories, somehow has to portray some really nasty, evil people and that’s what we’re doing. (Deb) So as a Missourian, honestly, how did you grow up viewing the Civil War and the relationship between Kansas and Missouri? (Male) I grew up in southwest Missouri in Jasper County and my grandmother and grandfather both grew up on the Oklahoma-Kansas border down in the southwest corner and my grandmother always had a prejudice against people from Kansas. She didn’t understand people from Kansas. She didn’t like people from Kansas and that was a carry-over from all the back to the Civil War and she didn’t even understand it. I grew up hearing from her, hearing from my father, we’d cross the state line and dad would say, Lock your doors, we’re in Kansas now. (Deb) Really? (Male) Yeah, and that still exists that people don’t really understand that it goes all the way back to 1855, 1854. (Deb) Right. So do you think the reenactments really help people today understand the story a little better? (Male) I hope so. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years and I’ve thought about that a lot over those years and I finally decided that I hope they do, but I don’t know and to be honest with you, I do it for me, so. I hear re-enactors all the time or living historians say, Oh, we do this to educate the public. The public is gonna be educated or they’re not, but we do it to educate ourselves. (Deb) Well it’s a great way to learn isn’t it? (Male) Oh, it’s a fabulous way to learn. Right now, I’m all eaten up with finding out more about the Civil War Navy and the Union side of the Civil War. I love studying it. I love researching it. I love finding those facts and when you come across some little tidbit that you didn’t know before, it’s like finding a treasure. (Deb) It is, it is. It’s an endless treasure hunt. That’s what I love about history. (Male) Me too. (Deb) Gregg, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it. (Male) Thank you, Deb. (Deb) We’ll be back with more of Around Kansas.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m sitting here with Gregg Higginbotham and, Gregg, one of the things that you do as a historian is help make scenes accurate whether it’s the clothing or the accoutrements, the furnishings, so you’ve got a scene that you’re setting up right now that has a connection to Harry Truman. So talk about Truman’s connection to the border war. (Male) It’ll be our last scene in the Candlelight Tour and it’s regards, Harry was in the National Guard and he was a young man. He was gonna come home on leave and he was going to his grandmother’s farm, which was in Grandview, Missouri. Now his grandmother, of course, had lived during the Civil War and she had experienced Order 11 and this was a sad story that comes out that, which Truman tells in an interview much like mine today and he says that he remember well that there were two hundred hogs in the field on his grandmother’s farm and they were ready to butcher them. It was getting, I mean, this was September and it was getting close to that time. The Jayhawking Red Legs, as she called them, came in, butchered all two hundred hogs and just took the hams and left everything else in the field to rot and as a small child that never was erased from her memory. (Deb) Sure. (Male) Now when Harry was in the National Guard, of course, the uniform was still the blue uniform, so he comes home on leave, he makes his arrival somewhat unannounced wearing his nice, tailored National Guard uniform and we understand that he came through the door and the first thing his grandmother told him was, Harry, you get back in that garage and you change to your regular clothes because that blue uniform is not allowed in my house. You look like a Yankee Kansan and you ain’t coming in here with that uniform on. And, of course, Harry, I guess just kind of lowered his head and made his way on out and changed to his clothes and then grandmother allowed him to come into the house. (Deb) And, of course, we know from reading history, that his family’s experience in the Civil War had a huge impact on the Marshall Plan the reconstruction of Europe following World War II and the lessons learned here did turn out to be valuable for the Europeans, you know, rather than keeping Germany crushed, they knew they had to raise up Germany at the same time they did the other countries in order for it to work and so, it was a very valuable lesson from history. (Male) And I find it, for the Candlelight Tour that we’re going to do tonight, we’re gonna use historical subjects which is going to be an incident that happened on the Rupe farm with making some nails for horseshoe nails for gorillas and they requested five hundred horseshoe nails to Rupe and if Rupe didn’t have the nails done, they were gonna come and kill him and they told him that and then there’s an incident that not far from Lone Jack, a rider, a poet at that time, a fellow by the name of Martin Rice, he experienced that. He writes in a book at later years, and what he tells is that he actually spoke with Captain Coleman of the 9th Kansas Calvary and they were out just, I guess, searching for bushwhackers or suspected gorillas or whatever. Well they find these six men, the youngest I think being about fifteen and the oldest about seventy-five and we understand that they were looking for livestock and rounding up livestock that had got away. Well they ask him for oath of allegiance. I guess they couldn’t produce any. Martin Rice left the scene and then the next thing you know, gunfire rang out. They went back to the scene and they had executed those six men that were out there rounding up their livestock and they were buried there a short time, had a monument for themselves. Another scene is showing people as we were talking about earlier, Deb, showing them being forced out of the county with whatever they could carry and they had carts and wheelbarrows and that’s because all of their horses and everything had been used and then next to the last will be the painting of Marshall Law by George Caleb Bingham or Order Number 11 and it depicts Bingham in his studio in independence. I think that’s where he did that at and painting up what later becomes the famous painting. We’re gonna talk about the significance of that and we’ve made a reproduction of that, kind of shows the painting in progress, so it’s kind of an interesting way to look at that too. We’ll kind of get Bingham’s, we’ll kind of get his point of view on all of this and see what he has to say about it. (Deb) Thanks for joining us on this episode of Around Kansas as we visit Missouri and I hope you can join us next week because we just had way too much today to get it all into one episode, so there’s gonna be a lot more next week and as you will see, from today’s episode and next week’s as well, Kansas and Missouri may not be able to get along, but they can’t get along without each other.
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