Civil War on the Western Frontier

Lawrence: Civil War

Activities this year commemorate the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence.

Monday & Tuesday, August 12 & 13

Kids, Let’s Build A Mud Fort

In the years before the Civil War, when Kansas was still a western territory, the residents of Lawrence built forts made of mud to use in case of raids by pro-slavery guerrillas. Learn about this exciting time in Lawrence’s history and build a real mud fort on the banks of the Kansas River.  Advance registration required. Held at the Lawrence Visitors Center, 402 N. Second Street.

9 a.m.–Noon. Ages 8–12. $25 per child/adult pair. Register with Lawrence Parks & Recreation.

Friday, August 16

Watkins Museum Core Exhibition Opening Gala

Be among the first to see the new permanent exhibit on the Watkins’ second floor at this special event. Remarks and ribbon-cutting at 6:30 p.m. 
6–8 p.m. $35 per person. Call 785-841-4109 for tickets.

Saturday, August 17

Core Exhibit Public Opening

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, this permanent exhibit explores Quantrill’s raid and its effect on the community, Douglas County’s role in the struggles of the Bleeding Kansas period, and the 100 year struggle to achieve freedom for all people in this “free-state stronghold.”
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Free

Saturday, August 17

Quantrill’s Raid Walking Tours

8:30–10:00 a.m. and 11:15–12:30 p.m.  $5 for Douglas County Historical Society members; $10 for non-members in advance; $15 day of the event. Call 785-841-4109 to sign up.

Saturday, August 17

“The Quantrill Men Reunions” Dr. Jeremy Neely, Missouri State University

By the turn of the twentieth century, many veterans and survivors of the American Civil War had shown themselves willing to forgive and reconcile with old foes.  On the Kansas-Missouri border, however, such reunion proved elusive.  Beginning in 1898, many men convened each summer in Jackson County, Missouri, for an annual gathering of the guerrillas who once rode with William C. Quantrill.  The Quantrill men picnics continued for some thirty years, and these events, often held on or near the anniversary of the Lawrence Massacre, revealed sharp limits to postwar reconciliation.  Dr. Jeremy Neely will consider the meanings of those controversial gatherings and the bitter memories they continued to stoke along the state line.
10:15–11:15 a.m. Free.

Saturday, August 17

“Fire and Fall Back: Quantrill’s Leave-taking from Kansas.” John R. Nichols and Deborah Barker

When Quantrill finally turned his back on Lawrence, he and his men went south and then east over Franklin and Miami Counties, burning and terrorizing as they went.  Stopping at the farms of former students, occasionally skirmishing with posses and troops, Quantrill and his men left stolen property and at least one dead raider as they high-tailed it for Missouri.  Mr. Nichols and Ms. Barker are local historians of Miami and Franklin counties, and proud partners in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
2:00–3:00 p.m. Free. 

Saturday, August 17

“Music of the Civil War Era.” Kaw Valley Concert Band

The Kaw Valley Cornet Band presents a program of music popular during the Civil War.
4 p.m. Free. All ages. Sponsored by Weavers, Inc.