Saturdays at the Museum
When: April – October 2015, 2nd and 4th Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum, 6601 Swope Parkway, Kansas City, MO
The Battle of Westport Visitor Center is pleased to announce a new series called "Saturdays at the Museum" about the people, places and events which happened in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas during the American Civil War period in the 19th Century. Each lecture/presentation is scheduled to last approximately 90 minutes.
This was a tumultuous time in our tri-state region. It began in 1854 when the newly organized Territory of Kansas became the focus in the struggle for and against that “peculiar institution” of slavery. When the war began, Missouri became a flashpoint as both North and South strove to grab Missouri for their side. The struggle turned neighbors into enemies as the fight for Missouri turned to guerrilla warfare. Then came the beginning of the end of this era when the Radical Republicans took control following their landslide win in the elections of 1864. Ten years of reconstruction followed in the region.
Join us as friends of the Battle of Westport Museum share what they have learned about these tumultuous times. There is no charge to attend, but the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund would appreciate any donation you care to give.
Saturday, April 11, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Dick Titterington will speak on “A Day Late and a Dollar Short: The Fate of A. J. Smith’s Command during Price’s 1864 Missouri Raid”
Major General Andrew Jackson Smith, commanding the Right Wing of the 16th Army Corp, is on his way east to join Major General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. This is the story of how A. J. Smith’s command is diverted to Missouri to defend the state against Sterling Price’s invasion. Find out if Smith's operations against Price in the fall of 1864 are successful. Learn about the difficulties in managing a campaign in 1864 Missouri. Understand some of the personalities of the Federal commanders who are the key decision makers in Missouri during Price's raid.
Saturday, April 25, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Dick Titterington will speak on “The St. Louis Arsenal: The Prize that Started the Civil War in Missouri.”
It’s 1861 and most Missourians want the status quo maintained. But both extremes of the political spectrum, Secessionists led by new Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and Unionists led by Congressman Frank Blair, know there’s a fight coming to the state. They turn their attention to the Federal Arsenal in St. Louis for the thousands of arms it contains. Who will win the prize to be found in the St. Louis Arsenal?
Saturday, May 9, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Dick Titterington talk entitled The Lyon Roars: The Significance of the “Battle” of Boonville
This is the story of how the Federal government strengthened its grip on the state of Missouri following the Camp Jackson Affair. An uneasy truce between Federal authorities and Missouri ends when Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon moves against Jefferson City. On June 17, 1861, a brief skirmish took place just east of Boonville between Lyon's Federal volunteers and the Missouri State Guard and sent the Missouri state government into exile.
Saturday, May 23, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Jim Rehard, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will screen the video documentary, The Battle of Island Mound
The Battle of Island Mound video tells the story of the first time an African-American unit fought during the American Civil War. Companies from the First Kansas Colored Volunteers fought in Bates County against a group of Confederate guerrillas and new recruits. Following the video will be a question and answer session with Jim Rehard and Willa Dean Johnson.
Check out the trailer ...
Saturday, June 13, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Brother John in character as Lt. Patrick Minor
"Brother John" Anderson is well known in Kansas City for portraying Civil War era personalities. Brother John, as Lieutenant Patrick Minor, will discuss his role as the commander of a section of artillery during the Battle of Westport. Lt. Minor will also lead a general discussion of the African American officer's contribution in the Civil War. In the photo to the right is Brother John portraying Lt. Patrick Minor during the Battle of Westport 150 Commemoration last fall.
Saturday, June 27, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Kansas City film maker, Gary Jenkins, will be screening his documentary, "Negroes to Hire: Slave Life and Culture on Missouri Farms."
We are pleased to have documentary filmmaker Gary Jenkins his film, “Negroes To Hire.”
This film tells the intriguing story of life on slaveholding antebellum farms in Missouri. The WPA Slave Narratives provide compelling firsthand accounts of the day-to-day existence of those held in bondage. Along with insightful commentary by noted historians, authors and educators, this unique documentary sheds new light on a controversial and troubling subject. Not just history, but a shared heritage between African-Americans and European-Americans. A better understanding of this relationship allows us to see our shared humanity, and not fear our differences.
Here's a link on YouTube to a KMBC news spot about Gary and the film.
Here's a link on YouTube to a 6 minute excerpt from the film.
About Gary Jenkins
Saturday, July 11, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Kansas City film maker, Gary Jenkins, will be screening his documentary, Freedom Seekers, about the western Underground Railroad.
Learn about how the Kansas/Missouri political conditions created the opportunity for the Underground Railroad along the western frontier. Freedom Seekers will reveal the secrets of the Western Underground Railroad. This film uses primary source documents, experts, moving readings and dramatic depictions to tell exciting stories of Underground Railroad activities. Viewers will see the pristine ruins of Quindaro, the Kansas town where every resident was a Stationmaster or Conductor.
Danny Cox narrates the thrilling and inspirational story of the Missouri field hands and house servants held in bondage and how they found freedom. Forget what you thought you knew about the Underground Railroad and learn the untold secrets. Freedom Seekers tells about slaves shipped in boxes from Quindaro to Lawrence. John Brown’s raid on Missouri slave farms and subsequent winter trek north through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, on to Canada.
Here's a link to a the film's trailer on YouTube
About Gary Jenkins.
Saturday, July 25, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Tom Rafiner speaks about "Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri’s Burnt District"
As a Jackson County native and Civil War historian, Tom Rafiner has done extensive research on the conflict along the Missouri Kansas border. His latest book, "Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri’s Burnt District 1854-1870," follows up an earlier work, "Caught Between Three Fires: Cass County, MO., Chaos and Order No. 11"
Cinders and Silence provides the first chronicle of Missouri’s “Burnt District.” Between 1854 and 1870, three western Missouri border counties plunged from prosperity to devastation, and finally, to oblivion. The border conflict between Missouri and the Kansas Territory intensified during the Civil War. Revenge driven, Kansans leveled western Missouri between 1861 and 1863.
In August 1863, William Quantrill’s retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas triggered General Orders No. 11. Within six weeks the district suffered depopulation and total destruction. A majority of the refugees never returned to western Missouri.
Between 1865 and 1870 northern immigrants by the tens of thousands flooded into the “Burnt District.” Historical silence shrouded the tragedy for decades. Cinders and Silencerecovers the history and breaks the silence.
Cinders and Silence contains 330 pages. Fifty photographs bring the period’s leaders and locations to life. Over 30 maps, clearly illustrate Western Missouri’s 16 year turbulent history from 1854 to 1870.
Check out Tom's website.
Saturday, August 8, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Please join Lane Smith for "A Conversation with General Robert E. Lee."
For over a year, an intrepid correspondent for the New York Times has been trying to get an interview with Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but has never been able to cross into Virginia. When he hears rumors about Lee’s invasion of the north, the correspondent travels to Cashtown, Pennsylvania, hoping to track down the general. Much to his delight, the correspondent finds Robert E. Lee around 8 a.m. on July 1, 1863. Lee agrees to talk with the correspondent.
Listen in on this conversation Robert E. Lee has with the correspondent, as Lee talks about his family, training at West Point, military experience, and what’s happening on the morning of July 1.
Lane Smith, Past President of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City, is well known by local Civil War enthusiasts for his portrayal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Saturday, August 22, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Dick Titterington talking about Eads's Ironclads
James Buchanan Eads was a self-taught engineer and prosperous citizen of Missouri who was living in Missouri at the start of the Civil War. When the US War Department put out bids for a fleet of Mississippi River ironclad gunboats, Eads won the contract. Come hear how Eads built the fleet of gunboats that helped wrest control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy.
Saturday, September 12, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Dennis Garstang, Past President of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City, will be speaking about the Mormon War, its relevance to the area, and as a precursor to the Border War and Civil War.
Shortly after forming the Church of Christ, Joseph Smith, Jr. informed his followers that the Second Coming of Christ was going to occur near the town of Independence, Missouri. Smith told his followers, "If ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies." So many of his followers migrated to Missouri, settling in Jackson County. It may come as a shock to many of you, but tension and strife followed.
Among many other items of interest, come to find out what Missouri Senator David Rice Atchison meant when he made the following statement about abolitionists settling in the newly organized Kansas Territory in the 1850s:
"The men who are hired by the Boston Abolitionists, to settle and abolitionize Kansas will not hesitate, to steal our slaves … We will before six months rolls around, have the Devil to pay in Kansas and this State; we are organizing, to meet their organization. We will be compelled to shoot, burn & hang, but the thing will soon be over; we intend to “Mormanise” the Abolitionists."
Saturday, September 26, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Living History Day
We will be hosting a "Living History Day" event with folks in period dress encamped around the Battle of Westport Visitors Center and Museum. This will be an exciting day for the whole family. It is planned as a casual, fun day of learning and fun. This event is free and open to the public. This will be an exciting day for the whole family. It is planned as a casual, fun day of learning and fun. This event is free and open to the public.
Sarah Poff (children's hands on history), Mark Armato (period music), Lane Smith ( Genl. Robert E. Lee), John Anderson (Lt. Patick Minor), Joelouis Mattox and Willadine Johnson (African American stories from the Civil War), Dick Titterington (battlefield tour), Jazzy B's BBQ (food)
Click here to find out more detailed information.
Saturday, October 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - Joelouis Mattox, topic tbd
Saturday, October 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon - speaker and topic tbd