Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GW Carver-stuff and Baxter springs

We did a short drive Sunday over to Neosho which is a little town just south of Joplin. After getting set up at the Stage Stop RV Park, we figured that it was to nice a day to sit around, so we took a ten minute drive over to Diamond to tour the George Washington Carver National Site (his birthplace). The visitors center has a small museum, a large area for school groups with tons of hands on stuff and a 28 minute video on GW Carver. Born a slave, died a master, that's what they say about him but there is a whole lot more about the man between those two points.

He was born a slave to Moses Carver, who happened to be a black man and had to be pretty amazing himself. Pre-Civil War he was awarded a 40 acre warrant in Diamond MO and with in ten years he owned 240 acres and must have been pretty wealth since he paid $700 to buy 13 year old girl who would later be GW Carvers mother. George and his mother were stolen and taken out of state, Moses sent a chaser after them and he returned with George but his mother was never found, his father, a slave on a neighboring farm died shortly after this, so George was raised by Moses and his wife. At 13 he was allowed to go to nearby Neosho to attend school, from this point on there was no stopping him, fast forward about 15 years and he's joining Booker T Washington at Tuskegee as a teacher, where stayed until his death 47 years later. One of the more interesting thing I found out was that is salary was $1500.00 a year and that is all he ever took from the school for the entire 47 years,yet in his will he left over $33,000.00 to start a research foundation. At different times he turned down job offers from Henry Ford and Thomas Edison who offered him $150,000.00, he never applied for a patent because he felt that he was just passing on knowledge that was given to him by God. After all this we went for a walk on the ¾ mile trail that takes you to the location of the slave cabin where he was born, then down to the spring and little stream that he played in as a boy and then past the family cemetery (he's buried a Tuskegee). If you are ever in the area be sure to schedule about 2- 2 ½ hours to spend here.

For some reason tonight I was only hungry for a peanut butter sandwich.

Another beautiful day Monday so we're going to get our kicks, on Route 66, but first we have a few little out of the way things to find. Our first quest was to find “Great Falls on Shoal Creek”. We found Shoal Creek and had to cross what they call a low water bridge, it gets it's name because it's only visible during low water, very narrow and no rails or sides. A few miles down stream there is a small pull off and you can walk out to the falls, only about a 12 foot drop but pretty.

Now to the Tri-State Monument, which was built in 1938 by the National Youth Administration, when you drive around it you go from Kansas to Oklahoma to Missouri then back to Kansas, in a matter of seconds.

Now where ready to go find the Attack on fort Blair and the Battle of Baxter Springs (1863) which was really a massacre, where 163 soldiers and civilians were killed. Quantrill's Raiders approached the Fort in three groups from different directions, many of the raiders were wearing Union uniforms and were carrying a captured Union flag. The men from the fort went out to greet them and were shot down, as they scattered and ran to different sections of the city they were chased down and slaughtered.

We drove over to the Baxter City Cemetery and found something we've never seen before, they have deeded a one acre square plot which is fenced off and labeled as a National Cemetery Plot by Congress.

In 1870 the 163 dead from the massacre were moved here to a mass grave, if you look at the picture, there are four upright cannons, the mass grave is between these cannons.

Back in town we stopped at the City Museum which we figured would be a short stop before lunch, three hours later we went looking for a restaurant but we could have spent another hour there without any trouble. They have tons of information on the battle and some great artifacts from the battlefield, this is one of those battles where years later they started having reunions we the soldiers would return with there families for a week, because of this and the fact that many of the soldiers settled here that the museum has so many items donated by their familys.

They had so many different exhibits at this museum that it would take pages to describe, the battle, mining, city history involving Indians, Blacks, Foreigners, Route 66 and much more.

Back in Joplin we found a Red Hot and Blue BBQ, we used to go to one in SE Michigan all the time and just over night they closed, so for the last four years I've missed their ribs and Cathy has missed their potato salad, after lunch it was back to camp Fat and Happy

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