Lawrence, Kansas Remembers the Civil War

Long before the firing on Fort Sumter, long before the War was official between the North and the South, Kansas was already at war. The folks in Lawrence, Kansas will be observing their part in the War, as well as the skirmishes prior to the War. The following teaser is from an article in the April 11, 2011 edition of LJWorld.com.

When news broke of shots fired on Fort Sumter and the proclamation of war that followed, the residents of Lawrence greeted it with excitement — and as a call to action.

More than 80 men joined the Independent Company of Mounted Riflemen, led by Captain Samuel Walker. The company anticipated the quick arrival of carbines, pistols and sabers from the arsenal at Fort Leavenworth.

Many of Douglas County’s ties to the Civil War took place in the years before Fort Sumter, punctuated by skirmishes between the Missouri and Kansas border that involved shootings and sackings on both sides.

In fact, some believe that the first gunshots of the Civil War were fired five years before Fort Sumter at the Battle of Black Jack, which is now a wooded grove just east of Baldwin City.

On July 2, Freedom’s Frontier will open an exhibit in the former Carnegie Library, which will highlight the region’s American Indian, territorial, Civil War and civil rights history.

Annual commemorations of the area’s Civil War heritage — the Battle of Black Jack in June and Quantrill’s Raid in August — will be ramped up this year in honor of the war’s 150th anniversary.

In August, the Watkins Museum plans to open an exhibit highlighting the evolution of downtown Lawrence from a business to retail to entertainment district. The legacy of Quantrill’s Raid will be prominently featured in that display.

Read the full article. Thanks to Charlotte Muckey for alerting me to the piece.

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