pumpkin, the Mine Creek Battle

(Frank) Today Around Kansas takes a look at the pumpkin…its history and the tales that surround it. Next up is a story about one of the largest Civil War engagements on Kansas soil, the Mine Creek Battle, where you can almost hear the battle cries, cannons and the pounding of horses’ hooves. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with Wild Bill Hickok reenactor Wade Tuxhorn.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Good early morning, I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) This is Around Kansas, the show where we talk about people, places and things that make Kansas a great place to be, to visit, to live. (Deb) We never run out, do we? (Frank) No, it’s unbelievable, the history that’s here. I’m sure every state has history, but Kansas is kind of unique because– (Deb) It is. (Frank) – it was the midpoint. Well, not the midpoint because a lot of the trek west started in Missouri, came across the Missouri River, across the Kansas River and then, on west on the Oregon Trail and Santa Fe Trail. (Deb) We’ve got more miles on the Santa Fe Trail than any other state. Yes, we’ve got some incredible history. I have said, as a historian, I grew up in Virginia. Virginia’s history is like America’s creation myth; everything goes back to Virginia. Now my friends in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts would beg to differ, but I can make a good solid case for that. There are four or five unique histories among the States, and Virginia’s one of them and then all the colonies are the same thing. Then you have Texas, which was a whole another country, and you’ve got Louisiana, which is just the Louisiana. You’ve got Utah, a theocracy, so that was a little bit different. Then you’ve Kansas and Kansas seriously has a very unique history and mostly it’s a history we can be really proud of. For one thing, it’s never dull, and just to prove that point, my friends, The Smoky Hill Trail Association will be having their conference in Hays this year. It’s the weekend of 14th, 15th, and 16th, with tours and speakers. Oh, my gosh, it’s a great time to join that organization and learn more about it. You can find them online, and we’ll put up their website. This weekend, my own personal history, I want to wish Dr. Jake happy birthday on Saturday. Guess what I got him for his birthday. (Frank) I have no idea. (Deb) Actually, it was the ending of a story we did last week. [Laughter] (Deb) That was part of his birthday present. Fortunately, he loves history too so he’s easy to buy for. (Frank) Good, you can get him something old. (Deb) Get him something old? (Frank) Pick up a rock and say, “You know where this rock is from?” [Laughs] (Deb) Honey, you joke but– [laughter] (Frank) No. (Deb) –we’ll go along, or I’ll get to go pick up in the barnyard, and I’m like, “Look, another artifact.” It’ll be a little rusty nail or whatever. [Laughter] (Deb) That’s very sad isn’t it? (Frank) Well. (Deb) Yes, we’re easily amused. [Laughter] (Frank) Hey, we’re into October, so that means Halloween is coming very soon, and I think you have a story about Pumpkins coming up, right? (Deb) I love Pumpkins. I just love Pumpkins, I do. I think they’re fascinating; I’ve always enjoyed them, and they’re just magic. Pumpkins show up in all the fairy tales. (Frank) Have you ever gotten a gift from the great Pumpkin on Halloween? (Deb) No. (Frank) What can I say? (Deb) I sit here sadly waiting still but– (Frank) What can I say? (Deb) Speaking of Halloween, are you going to wear a costume? (Frank) Yes, absolutely. I always do. (Deb) How about the show; last show this month, we’ll get the costumes? (Frank) Yes, we will. (Deb) Stay tuned. That will be a Kodak moment. What are you going to dress to play? (Frank) I have no idea [laughs]. (Deb) Could be a witch with that sort of typecasting and then take much of a stretch. Jake got me some purple lipstick. Yes, because, K-State– Veterinarian K-State, so he bought me some purple lipstick. I may wear that on that day, would that be fun? (Frank) Okay, I may come as a Bearcat because my granddaughter now is a Bearcat at Northwest Missouri State so I may come as a Bearcat. They have a Mascot there, and it looks more like a squirrel, but nevertheless there- (Deb) They call it a Bearcat? (Frank) They call it a Bearcat [laughs]. (Deb) Okay, so we’ll have a Bearcat, Willie Wildcat, that’s what we’ll do. (Frank) There we go. (Deb) Hey, we’ve got a great show, stay with us.

(Frank) Okay, we’re back. Our director says we were overtime on that, so this is going to be very quick, I’m done. (Deb) [Laughs] I like Pumpkins, yes, there we go. (Frank) There we go. (Deb) Hey, I make awesome pumpkin soup, you like pumpkin soup? (Frank) No, I’ve never had pumpkin soup. (Deb) All right then. Next time, in addition to the costumes that we’re going to be coming up with, I will make you some Pumpkin soup. Now, it’s rich; it’s full of butter and cream and all the things that make the south great, but it is good. (Frank) Okay. (Deb) A little dash of nutmeg. (Frank) Sounds good. (Deb) It is to die for, it is so good. We’ve got this pumpkin segment coming up which reminds me share your Pumpkin recipes with us. (Frank) Pumpkin spice. (Deb) Not that I might share them with anybody, I just want to use them. [Laughs]. (Frank) Everything is pumpkin spice. (Deb) Yes, and I love it. I got some spray the other day, house spray, because we can’t have candles around the cats but the Pumpkin Spice- (Frank) I thought it was a joke, but they have laundry detergent that’s pumpkin spice. (Deb) –on everything (Frank) Really? (Deb) I’ve got the air freshener, yes. (Frank) [Laughs] I’m gone. (Deb) We’re nuts about pumpkins. No fruit or vegetable captures the imagination like the pumpkin. Cinderella used it as a coach; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater kept his wife inside its shell; Charlie Brown fell asleep awaiting the arrival of the Great One. It scares us, it entertains us, it feeds us. My favorite scene from all the Harry Potter movies is Hagrid’s pumpkin patch. Aren’t those pumpkins wonderful? Don’t they conjure images of coaches and dwelling places for little beings? There is a wonderful mystery to a pumpkin. Now comes the season for pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ale, pumpkin truffle. . . oh my. My friend, Bryce Benedict, used to grow hops to make his own pumpkin ale which he generously shared a couple of years ago. It made the best cheddar ale soup I have ever tasted. The pumpkin flavor was just the extra touch to make it interesting. The website, All About Pumpkins, lists dozens of varieties and gives us a little history. Pumpkins and squash are believed to have originated in the ancient Americas. These early pumpkins were not the traditional round orange upright Jack-O-Lantern fruit we think of today when you hear the word pumpkin. They were a crooked neck variety, which stored well. Archeologists have determined that variations of squash and pumpkins were cultivated along river and creek banks along with sunflowers and beans. This took place long before the emergence of maize, corn. After maize was introduced, ancient farmers learned to grow squash with maize and beans using the “Three Sisters” tradition. According to Pumpkin Patches and More, the tradition of carving a jack-o-lantern from the pumpkin began in Scotland and Ireland, well, of course! Except, they used turnips, since pumpkins were native to the New World. Can you imagine homes decked out in turnips, or being scared to your stocking feet by a candle inside a turnip? Well, my friend Ian Hall, token Scotsman, verifies the tale and adds that the turnips were pretty hard to carve! And now, dear viewers, I’m off to the pumpkin patch.

(Frank) Here we are again. (Deb) Now, we’ve been talking about some awesome history, as always in the state of Kansas. October marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Blue and then eventually the Battle of Mine Creek which is one of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War, I think it’s the second largest and happened right here on Kansas soil, down near Pleasanton, just north of Fort Scott. If you’ve never been down to that site– keeping those sites open is a challenge for the Kansas State Historical Society and so call ahead or go on the website to make sure they’re open. But this site, even if they’re not open, the museum there, you’ve got an incredible walking path and so the fall of the year, this is an awesome time to get out and walk well marked paths. Fortunately, the battleground is pretty much as is. It’s still there, it’s been preserved thankfully, and this is a great one you can take the kids, you can go at your own pace, you can get out and walk and enjoy the fall air and learn a little history at the same time. (Frank) Yes, the Civil War battlegrounds were not all that big, even though there were thousands many times that were involved. The battleground when you look at it, and you go, “Really?” (Deb) How many horses, how many people? (Frank) From here to there and this was a Cavalry battle, and it was recounted by civilians that were there and of course, some of the soldiers. It’s a great story, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. (Frank) This year marks 152 years since the largest Civil War battle on Kansas soil, and one of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War. We turn to the Kansas State Historical Society for a personal story of that day. On the morning of October 25, 1864, the settlers who lived along Mine Creek in eastern Kansas awoke to the rumblings of war. Barbara Jane Dolson, young wife of a Union soldier serving the state militia at Marais des Cygnes, was at home with her mother on the Palmer Family Farm. As the women prepared breakfast and minded the children, they soon came to realize that they were not alone. The Confederates came first. Rebel officers compelled Barbara Jane and her mother to feed their men with the meager fare of the women’s own table. All along the path of the 15-mile long Confederate wagon train; in fact, women and children surrendered their food and clothing to enemy soldiers who then teased them for crying. Soon, though, the scene changed. Confederate men passed the Palmer homestead more and more swiftly, and the line became a disordered mob. For not far behind the rebels rode the Union cavalry, intent upon halting the destructive march of their foe. Before long, the pastures of the Palmer land, as well as the land of their neighbors from the town of Trading Post south along the old Ft. Scott road teamed with men and horses. The women of Mine Creek greeted these men in Union blue with more hospitality than they did the ragged, grey Confederates. In his later writings, Mine Creek Union Army veteran Captain Richard Hinton reminisced: In front of a log cabin stood an old lady, with several children clinging to her skirts, fearless of the leaden shower which ceaselessly pattered against the cabin wall; with dress disordered and grey locks floating in the wind, the old lady shouted while we whirled past, ‘God bless you, boys! God bless you boys! Hurrah for the Union! Hurrah for Kansas! Give it to ‘em!..’ The sight was inspiring. The blessing came like a draught of wine. Inspiring it must have been; for in the ensuing battle, though 300 Confederate soldiers lost life or limb that day, and 900 lost their freedom, only eight Union soldiers died, with 100 wounded in the field. Indeed, as the battle raged on around her, Barbara Jane describes standing in the doorway of her father’s home, watching the melee: “…soon the rattle of musketry was so great I could hear nothing else. I could see the cannons a mile away belch out their flames and smoke, but could not hear them for the noise of the small arms all around me.” How horrifying to feel the ground quake beneath the horses’ hooves, to hear the thunderous war raging all around, to see the spurting blood, and to wait; such is so often the lot of women during war. Fortunately for Barbara Jane, her wait was relatively short: the battle had lasted a mere 30 minutes. But in that time a Confederate wagon train had foundered in Mine Creek, and the Confederacy had lost the war in the West.

(Ron Wilson) I’m proud to say that my daughter is a Veterinary student at Kansas State University and as a result, I’ve been able to learn some things too. This is the term she shared with me; the poem is entitled, Zoonotic. Those boys were working cattle one day in early Spring, a veterinarian watched carefully and checking everything. Our Vet is a terrific guy for all these operations, he was preg-checking cows and giving vaccinations. We moved in a bunch of cows at the bosses’ direction, when the boss spoke up and said, “Hey, Doc, I’ve got a question; what is Zoonotic?” he said, “I saw that word while reading about possible diseases in a herd?” “Well,” Doc replied, “It’s something we’re not often seeing, it’s a disease that transfers from livestock to a human being. We watch this very carefully with diagnosis or a blood sample in case a germ jumps from monkey to a human, for example.” Doc continued to explain as we got the cattle headed till we had just one cow left but it was the cow I dreaded. This old cow was ornery, had a mean streak a mile wide. She was tossing and kicking and all snotty and wild-eyed. Young Billy tried to head her in but as he got in close, she turned her head and kicked him, right into a fence post. The other cowboys pushed her in and got her in the chute while Billy cursed that angry cow and kind of nursed his wound. Well, Doc gave him some Vet Wrap for where she broke the skin, that tickled our old boss, and he got a little grin. He said, “Doc, you’re an expert on disease and antibiotics, would young Billy’s ailment be considered Zoonotic?” Doc said, “Well, in one sense, as anybody sees, young Billy might be called a victim of Mad Cow disease.” Happy Trails.

(Frank Chaffin) Here we are again. This is Around Kansas. In case you just tuned in and wondering who we are, I’m Frank and she’s Deb. (Deb Goodrich) Where were you while we were sitting here waiting for you? (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) What have you been doing? It’s about time you were up and out, and making biscuits, and (Frank) [laughs] (Deb) slopping the hogs, and milking the cows and all that stuff. What am I saying? These folks have probably already done all that and just came in and turned on the TV. That’s where they’ve been. (Frank) Early people. (Deb) We’ve got another segment that Michael Goehring did while he was out in Abilene. He made the most of it and he interviewed the ‘Marshal’ in Abilene. We’re just going to hit that run here, aren’t we? (Frank) Well, your infatuation with Wild Bill. (Deb) I’m really infatuated with Buffalo Bill – but it was so funny, I posted a photograph on Facebook of me in the Steakhouse. You know the old Steakhouse down on the flats in Kansas City? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) That changed things that got sold or whatever. There was this old painting Buffalo Bill. That’s me and I’m looking very happy because it’s a picture Buffalo Bill. All these folks are saying, “Wow, that’s the painting of Dr. Jake.”[Laughs] It really does look like him, doesn’t it? (Frank) Okay, I know you’re going to talk about a Gunfight in Abilene. (Deb) No, Michael is going to talk about a Gunfight in Abilene. (Frank) Well, Michael is. But the thing is I grew up in Newton, Kansas. The biggest gunfight, even bigger than that one, even bigger than the O.K. Corral took place in Newton, Kansas in 1871 and I’m going to do a story on that. Not today but some time. (Deb) Newton was a wild town. (Frank) Newton was a wild, wild town, yes. (Deb) Dan Turner grew up in Newton and I think his grandfather played poker with Wyatt Earp some time in Newton. (Frank) I wasn’t there for the gunfight even though people accuse me of being here. But I was not. It was in 1871. I was born a couple years later. (Deb) Let’s go to Abilene with Michael. (Wade Tuxhorn) Well, today is our kickoff for the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary. They decided to start it a whole year early and so we’ll have things planned for the whole year, of course. But, this week has been really good. We had good crowds, longhorns are cooperating, haven’t had any mishaps around. Everything is running pretty smoothly for our first year event. We do gunfights every Saturday and Sunday on through to October. Sometimes we get a little extra money working for other cities. We’ll go do other events somewhere else but not very often. But just sometimes during the year. We just put on the gunfights actually. And as far as I know, we’ve been pretty much continuously here since 1959 when this started. When they opened this up. I haven’t heard of anybody that’s ever told me any stories at any times that it hasn’t had gunfighters here. I’ve been here a long time. There has been some people, well, there has been one person here that’s still here who was here before me and that’s the only person that’s been here longer than me. He’s Old Red, Shotgun Red. I just enjoy doing it. The people we have now this year, I like all the people we have and we get along well. We just go out there and we do gunfights and we have a good time. The people show on the sidelines, they seem to be having a good time. We’re not scripted and like I said, when its not fun no more then I’ll be gone. Like I said, about 15 years ago they had a Wild Bill contest. I was one of the bad guys at that time, doing the robberies and shooting at the sheriff and everything. Somebody said, “You know what, you ought to enter that contest.” And I said, “Enter that contest?” He said, “Yes, you look just like Wild Bill.” I said, “No, I don’t.” [Laughs] Because I had a little goatee then and I had my handlebar mustache and long hair. I’d wear a great, big Texas-style cowboy hat and everything. So, I trimmed my beard off finally and got different clothes, different guns and I become Wild Bill. We’ve got a few guys that are in character but they don’t play the character, they just have their names. Old Abilene is still the only Old West Town in Kansas that has — that doesn’t charge admission. Now, we ask for donations to help us offset our costs, our guns and powder and stuff. The can-can girls, they ask for a donation that helps to buy new dresses and stuff. But other than that it’s all free except for the train depot and the train rides.

(Frank) Okay, time to go. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere– (Frank and Deb) –Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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