tWe drove across Missouri and managed to set up before the rains came, we could handle the rain if it was a little warmer then the mid 40's, it was in the mid 30's when I woke up this morning and it made it all the way up to 46 today. Global Warming, Right.
Our first stop today was at the Truman National Welcome Center, which is only about two miles from the campground, it's located in an old fire station and other then having a 12 minutes film about Truman there was nothing there, other then the fact that this is where you have to buy tickets to tour the Truman house, but since it's being remodeled they are not doing any tours. At short drive brings us to the Harry S Truman Library and Museum, here they had a 40 minute film about Truman's life and political career. After see this all I can say is he had a lot of shady characters helping him out during the start of his political life and “the buck stops here” took on a whole new meaning.
Wednesday, still cold wet and cloudy, good thing we planned some indoor stuff today, we're driving to downtown Kansas City. They say that if you go to Kansas City that you have to go to 18th and Vine and that;s where we are standing in front of a building that houses the Jazz Museum and the Negro League Baseball Museum, we neither one of us is that crazy about jazz but we do love our baseball. This a decent size museum and covers Blacks in baseball from right after the civil war up to the present, but focuses on the Negro Leagues. There was way to much information and history there to even think of putting in a blog, we spent over two hours there and it would have been longer if the two school buses hadn't shown up. This museum isn't just for Blacks but for anybody that loves the game of baseball and it's history. Leave your camera in the car, no pictures allowed.
Negro League Baseball Museum
After this it was a short drive over to Overland Park, Kansas for lunch and to stop at another Penzey's Spice store, this makes the eleventh one that we have been to. They have the best selection of spices, if your ever near one give them a try. Pensey's SITE
Thursday, still cloudy, even colder and a light mist in the air but it's time for another historic road trip. Today starts at Fort Osage, pronounced O-SAGE, it's located on the high bluffs above the Missouri River in Sibley, MO. This a location that Lewis and Clark stopped at on their journey west and it was Clark who later recommended this location for a fort. The fort was built in 1808 and was used for many different functions, outpost for the Louisiana Purchase territory, protection for the US factory trade house that was located here and sanctuary of travelers on the Missouri River. Inn the mid 1820's Congress ended the Factory system and the fort was abandon in 1827. To read about the Factory System click on the picture. The fort has been reconstructed just as it was originally and is manned by staff members in costume to answer your questions, there is also a small museum in the basement of the visitors center.
It's still fairly early so we hit the road for Lexington MO about 30 miles down river. During the Civil War Missouri was a divided state, Lexington was controlled by the the Union Army, in September of 1861 the (pro-Confederate) Missouri State Guard, attacked Lexington and started what would be known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales. The reason for the name is that during the battle the union troops were surrounded and held up in the Anderson house, which was the center of the families hemp plantation, the Missouri Guard used the bails as a rolling barricade which they fired from behind, the union bullets and canon where unable to penetrate the bails and the guard moved right up to the house behind them. The Union troops surrendered and were paroled after promising not to take up arms again, the Guard then pulled out of the city and returned to southern Missouri, a few weeks later the Union troops returned to Lexington to control the city again. So pretty much a lot of people died in this week long battle and a few weeks after it was over everything was just the same as when it started.
Lexington is also the location where the steamboat Saluda exploded on April 9, 1852 around 7:30am she had just pulled away from the dock when there was a tremendous explosion which disintegrated 2/3rds of the ship.
Dinner bell and a pulley from the Saluda
Click on picture to read about the Saluda
We found another little park that has one of the original canons from the US Frigate Constitution “Old Ironside” Launched October 21 1797, another chance to reach out and touch history.
And then on the way out of town we found another Madonna of the Trail Statute, this makes 4 that we have found out of the 11 on the National Highway (US-40). This was also the Trail of Death path.
All that and we found one of the original Maid - Rite restaurants on Main Street, these were like McDonald's except they were about 30 before McDonald's, they serve a loose burger type sandwich.
OK that's enough for today right , no way we still have another stop to make and it's on the far side of the county, the Battle of Lone Jack Museum, we got there 20 minutes before the museum was to close. We asked if we had time to look around and the volunteer told us not to worry about the time, we paid for our tickets and then he took us on a hour tour of the museum, it's only in this little places that you'll find people willing to do stuff like this.
Pretty much the town of Lone Jack was a center of trade and activity, it was a central location with roads running to all points of the compass, but this came to an end on August 16th 1862. About a week prior to this date the Guard sent some troops up to Independence where they surrounded a Union Headquarters and captured the occupants, this pissed off the Union command so they sent 800 troops south to Lone Jack to teach the Guard a lesson. The Guard had them out numbered by about two to one but with very little ammunition, the predawn battle took place right in the center of town. Five hours later and after much hand to hand combat the Union commanded realized that he could not win and with drew his troops and went back to Lexington. The Guard seeing that then Union had retreated and that they had won then packed up and headed south, with both armies gone the citizens of Lone Jack were left to clean up the mess. Every building in town except one, had been burnt to the ground and 300 dead soldiers were left lying in the streets. This being August in Missouri they had to bury the bodies fast, right in the center of town they dug to 80 foot long ditches six foot deep and seven feet wide. All the Union troops were buried in one and the southerners were buried in the other, this pretty much finished off the town and it was never able to recover to the thriving town that it was.
The house in the background was rebuilt on the original foundation.
Click on this to read about General Order No.11, it's unbelievable how they gave the people just days to leave their farms and homes which were then burnt to the ground. There is a small cemetery with just six bodies and one stone located on a private farm, it's here because Union troops found six farmers loading stuff on their wagons to take with them a few days after the deadline and shot them down.
The monuments in the cemetery for the Union soldiers and the Confederates, Since this cemetery is in Confederate territory it's not hard to tell which monument belongs to who.
Confederate Marker at Cemetery
Notice the stain on the Union marker. Every year during the first few days of October this stain starts to appear as a small spot right around the number 16, as the month progresses the stain spreads out over the stone until by the end of the month the entire stone is covered. They have tried many different things to clean the stain but nothing works, then something happens during Halloween night, and in the morning the stain is completely gone. They told use that they haven't found anyone brave enough to spend the night in the cemetery to see what happens, and I'm not going to volunteer.
Every National Cemetery has a plaque with the Poem "Bivouac of the Dead", I was surprised to find out that it originated here at one of the anniversary's of the battle.
Just a little correction on this, something didn't set right with me on this so after some research I found out the this is an entirely different poem that was about the Battle of Lone Jack ,but has the same title as the more famous one by Theodore O’Hara which was written about the Battle of Buena Vista, which was fought during the Mexican War.
It's pushing 5:30, so it's time to grab a bite to eat and get home in time for the baseball play-offs.
OH, I made up all that crap about the stain, it rained that day, just an early Devils Night prank.