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June 17, 2018

1878 Three, 50-yard long Indian Mounds exhumed 3 Miles Northeast of Warrensburg, just off the Blackwater, fifteen skulls found. From the 1500s?

April 2, 1878 
(3 miles NE of Warrensburg)

From the Rocks of Ages.
(With references to “Hiawatha” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
Representative Indian Mound, perhaps similar to those just 3 Miles Northeast of Warrensburg, MO
A Wonderful Discovery in Warrensburg.
Yesterday morning, our curiosity led us to visit the old Indian graveyard, three miles northeast of Warrensburg, Mo., From which the Normal school boys have lately been excavating so many curious and interesting relics. At the early peep of dawn, H. C Fike, G. F. Heath and "We," were gazing inquisitively upon the venerable monuments of an extinct, rare extinct, indeed, so far as this portion of the Man's former possessions are concerned. There are three of those large mounds in this group, occupying the positions of the three corners of a triangle whose sides are fifty yards in length. They are on top of 
covered with a forest of large, tall saplings and now and then a large white oak or a hickory tree. The ridge rises abruptly from. Blackwater Creek, and extends southward 
are about a hundred and fifty yard from the creek. The first and largest one is at the northwest corner of the triangle. It is about thirty feet in diameter at the base, and five feet high in the centre, and is gracefully rounded off, presenting a somewhat the appearance appearance of a large potato hill. A rectangular wall of 
Was originally built on the level surface, eight feet square, and four feet high, into which the bodies of the dead were stored away, there to rest in peace until the voice of the Great Spirit should summon the painted warrior to arise and take up his march to
in their blissful Ponemah (From “Hiawatha” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). After the bodies were placed in the rude tombs, the earthen mound built over it. The stone of which the tombs were made was evidently carried from the creek a hundred and fifty yards distant as that is the nearest place from which they could hare been obtained. Perhaps this laborious task was performed by the women, as they, among all 
have been made the menial servant of their "Lord and Masters," and among none more completely than with the American Indians. We were provided with picks and spade with which to resurrect the remains of the hunters and warriors who danced around their camp fires on Blackwater, perhaps three centuries ago. We were aware that the statutes of Missouri make it a misdemeanor to remove 
of any human being from the place of interment, through wantonness or mischief, but, of course, we were not actuated by any such motive, and were only laboring to add to the cause of science and history. Besides, from the
that we found, it would be very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these were the remains of a class of mammals sufficiently developed according to the Darwinian theory to entitle them to be ranked as members of the human family. In fact we saw a bone taken out that had the perfect appearance of a short piece of the caudal appendage of an ape. My mind lent to that theory of the case in about the ration of eight to seven. There were dried up skulls and bones; arrow heads and pipes; point balls and pieces of unique pottery and a variety of beautiful stones that must have been brought from a far country. 
"From where the Rappahannock sweetly sleep; 
On green Virginia's breast." 
were mostly in the northwest corner of the vault. There were fifteen taken from this large mound, but they had been there so long and decayed to such an extent, that none of them could be preserved in their natural condition. The place where the brains ought to be if these savages ever had any brains, was filled with dark, slimy earth, and "In these holes that the eyes were wont to inhabit, were crept, as it were, 
the same slimy substance. Only the larger bones of the skeletons could be found. The others had all decayed. The teeth, however, were in a perfect state of preservation, and would doubtless be a valuable acquisition to the resources of some "Practical Dental Surgeon." We indulged fond hopes of finding a goodly supply of the flowing tresses of some gallant Yenadizzies's (Yenadizz From Hiawatha Poem Link By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) charming Neenemoosha (means my sweetheart, my darling, my love) in this 
it would be so valuable in these halcyon days of fashionable head dresses and ornamental ornamental wigs. But nothing of the poor Indians remained, except their bones, and to remove these from the resting place where they had been laid in the long ago, seemed a pity. We thought of the 
in the distance of the brave hearted warriors who witnessed the last sad ceremonial rites when these graves were filled while friend and relatives sobbed their sorrowful Wahonowin. (From “Hiawatha” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) But our 
were changed to practical thoughts when our chief cook and bottle-washer told as he thought it was our time to "dig awhile." The mounds must have been made when the surrounding country was all a prairie, as their existence antedates the recollection of the oldest settler who can remember when the surrounding forest was only small shrubbery, the smoke pipes that were found, will, perhaps, save some young gentleman a cigar bill now and then; by the way, this is a gentle reminder of the source from which this time honored eastern was originated. Whoever smokes one of these pipes will have the consolation of knowing that he is smoking one of the 
 The discovery of these mounds aroused a good deal of latent curiosity that will not satisfied until the last one is demolished and no trace of their existence left.

 - of at at to j i EXHUMED From the Bocks of Agtt....


The Song of Hiawatha
1855 - by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Never stoops the soaring vulture
On his quarry in the desert,
On the sick or wounded bison,
But another vulture, watching
From his high aerial look-out,
Sees the downward plunge, and follows;
And a third pursues the second,
Coming from the invisible ether,
First a speck, and then a vulture,
Till the air is dark with pinions.
  So disasters come not singly;
But as if they watched and waited,
Scanning one another's motions,
When the first descends, the others
Follow, follow, gathering flock-wise
Round their victim, sick and wounded,
First a shadow, then a sorrow,
Till the air is dark with anguish.
  Now, o'er all the dreary North-land,
Mighty Peboan, the Winter,
Breathing on the lakes and rivers,
Into stone had changed their waters.
From his hair he shook the snow-flakes,
Till the plains were strewn with whiteness,
One uninterrupted level,
As if, stooping, the Creator
With his hand had smoothed them over.
Through the forest, wide and wailing,
Roamed the hunter on his snow-shoes;
In the village worked the women,
Pounded maize, or dressed the deer-skin;
And the young men played together
On the ice the noisy ball-play,
On the plain the dance of snow-shoes.
  One dark evening, after sundown,
In her wigwam Laughing Water
Sat with old Nokomis, waiting
For the steps of Hiawatha
Homeward from the hunt returning.
  On their faces gleamed the firelight,
Painting them with streaks of crimson,
In the eyes of old Nokomis
Glimmered like the watery moonlight,
In the eyes of Laughing Water
Glistened like the sun in water;
And behind them crouched their shadows
In the corners of the wigwam,
And the smoke in wreaths above them
Climbed and crowded through the smoke-flue.
  Then the curtain of the doorway
From without was slowly lifted;
Brighter glowed the fire a moment,
And a moment swerved the smoke-wreath,
As two women entered softly,
Passed the doorway uninvited,
Without word of salutation,
Without sign of recognition,
Sat down in the farthest corner,
Crouching low among the shadows.
  From their aspect and their garments,
Strangers seemed they in the village;
Very pale and haggard were they,
As they sat there sad and silent,
Trembling, cowering with the shadows.
  Was it the wind above the smoke-flue,
Muttering down into the wigwam?
Was it the owl, the Koko-koho,
Hooting from the dismal forest?
Sure a voice said in the silence:
"These are corpses clad in garments,
These are ghosts that come to haunt you,
From the kingdom of Ponemah,
From the land of the Hereafter!"
  Homeward now came Hiawatha
From his hunting in the forest,
With the snow upon his tresses,
And the red deer on his shoulders.
At the feet of Laughing Water
Down he threw his lifeless burden;
Nobler, handsomer she thought him,
Than when first he came to woo her,
First threw down the deer before her,
As a token of his wishes,
As a promise of the future.
  Then he turned and saw the strangers,
Cowering, crouching with the shadows;
Said within himself, "Who are they?
What strange guests has Minnehaha?"
But he questioned not the strangers,
Only spake to bid them welcome
To his lodge, his food, his fireside.
  When the evening meal was ready,
And the deer had been divided,
Both the pallid guests, the strangers,
Springing from among the shadows,
Seized upon the choicest portions,
Seized the white fat of the roebuck,
Set apart for Laughing Water,
For the wife of Hiawatha;
Without asking, without thanking,
Eagerly devoured the morsels,
Flitted back among the shadows
In the corner of the wigwam.
   Not a word spake Hiawatha,
Not a motion made Nokomis,
Not a gesture Laughing Water;
Not a change came o'er their features;
Only Minnehaha softly
Whispered, saying, "They are famished;
Let them do what best delights them;
Let them eat, for they are famished."
  Many a daylight dawned and darkened,
Many a night shook off the daylight
As the pine shakes off the snow-flakes
From the midnight of its branches;
Day by day the guests unmoving
Sat there silent in the wigwam;
But by night, in storm or starlight,
Forth they went into the forest,
Bringing fire-wood to the wigwam,
Bringing pine-cones for the burning,
Always sad and always silent.
  And whenever Hiawatha
Came from fishing or from hunting,
When the evening meal was ready,
And the food had been divided,
Gliding from their darksome corner,
Came the pallid guests, the strangers,
Seized upon the choicest portions
Set aside for Laughing Water,
And without rebuke or question
Flitted back among the shadows.
  Never once had Hiawatha
By a word or look reproved them;
Never once had old Nokomis
Made a gesture of impatience;
Never once had Laughing Water
Shown resentment at the outrage.
All had they endured in silence,
That the rights of guest and stranger,
That the virtue of free-giving,
By a look might not be lessened,
By a word might not be broken.
  Once at midnight Hiawatha,
Ever wakeful, ever watchful,
In the wigwam, dimly lighted
By the brands that still were burning,
By the glimmering, flickering firelight
Heard a sighing, oft repeated,
Heard a sobbing, as of sorrow.
  From his couch rose Hiawatha,
From his shaggy hides of bison,
Pushed aside the deer-skin curtain,
Saw the pallid guests, the shadows,
Sitting upright on their couches,
Weeping in the silent midnight.
  And he said: "O guests! why is it
That your hearts are so afflicted,
That you sob so in the midnight?
Has perchance the old Nokomis,
Has my wife, my Minnehaha,
Wronged or grieved you by unkindness,
Failed in hospitable duties?"
  Then the shadows ceased from weeping,
Ceased from sobbing and lamenting,
And they said, with gentle voices:
"We are ghosts of the departed,
Souls of those who once were with you.
From the realms of Chibiabos
Hither have we come to try you,
Hither have we come to warn you.
  "Cries of grief and lamentation
Reach us in the Blessed Islands;
Cries of anguish from the living,
Calling back their friends departed,
Sadden us with useless sorrow.
Therefore have we come to try you;
No one knows us, no one heeds us.
We are but a burden to you,
And we see that the departed
Have no place among the living.
  "Think of this, O Hiawatha!
Speak of it to all the people,
That henceforward and forever
They no more with lamentations
Sadden the souls of the departed
In the Islands of the Blessed.
  "Do not lay such heavy burdens
In the graves of those you bury,
Not such weight of furs and wampum,
Not such weight of pots and kettles,
For the spirits faint beneath them.
Only give them food to carry,
Only give them fire to light them.
  "Four days is the spirit's journey
To the land of ghosts and shadows,
Four its lonely night encampments;
Four times must their fires be lighted.
Therefore, when the dead are buried,
Let a fire, as night approaches,
Four times on the grave be kindled,
That the soul upon its journey
May not lack the cheerful firelight,
May not grope about in darkness.
  "Farewell, noble Hiawatha!
We have put you to the trial,
To the proof have put your patience,
By the insult of our presence,
By the outrage of our actions.
We have found you great and noble.
Fail not in the greater trial,
Faint not in the harder struggle."
   When they ceased, a sudden darkness
Fell and filled the silent wigwam.
Hiawatha heard a rustle
As of garments trailing by him,
Heard the curtain of the doorway
Lifted by a hand he saw not,
Felt the cold breath of the night air,
For a moment saw the starlight;
But he saw the ghosts no longer,
Saw no more the wandering spirits
From the kingdom of Ponemah,

From the land of the Hereafter.
Karl Bodmer lithograph of Missouria, Otoe, and Ponca Indians
Missouria Link
Karl Bodmer

June 16, 2018

1890 Land Purchased for the Confederate Home of Missouri - Higginsville

The ex-Confederate Home
Without government pensions like those available to their former adversaries in the Union Army, aging, indigent Confederate veterans with disabilities relied on family and friends for assistance. By the late 1880s, it was apparent that the burden was too great for individual acts of charity.
Groups such as the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Confederate Home Association waged a massive fund-raising campaign to build the Confederate Home of Missouri. It was conceived as a place where former Confederate soldiers could spend their waning years.
All funding for the home came from private contributions solicited throughout Missouri, from ex-Union and ex-Confederate veterans alike.  The home was incorporated in 1889, and a year later more that 300 acres of land belonging to Grove Young was purchased as the site for the institution.
The first buildings, that went up in 1891 were 18 attractive cottages where Confederate veterans could bring their families to live out their lives. 
Eighteen different Missouri Counties each contributed money for one of the homes.
A large avenue, alternately called Lee Avenue, Confederate Avenue, or Cottage Avenue ran between the houses - nine on each side.
Very soon, applications for residency flooded in and administrators realized they needed a much larger facility to house everyone.  The first men's dormitory, Old Main, was built in 1893.

 Old Main is on the right.  The smaller building on the left was the commissary.  Behind it was a utility building containing boilers that provided heat for the facility.

This was once the cornerstone of the Old Main Building.  The Old Main has been torn down and the cornerstone removed to the Cemetery. Early administrators aimed at self-sufficiency.  Residents performed some maintenance on buildings and helped produce food in the fields and gardens.
Confederate Soldier's in the Confederate Home of Higginsville, Missouri
The home provided "Confederate" uniforms for the men to wear to special events. 
Much of the land set aside for the old soldiers was a potato field farmed by employees, and to a lesser extent, the residents of the Confederate Home.  It is apparent from the above picture, however, that most of the residents couldn't be expected to help keep the facility running very much longer. Mounting operational costs forced the state of Missouri to assume control of the home on June 1, 1897.
Since widows of Confederate soldiers were also welcome, a women's dormitory stood on the grounds.  At the far right, you can make out a covered walkway that led to the hospital.
The hospital with a better view of the covered walkway.
The chapel was also an important part of community life for the ex-Confederates.
In 1913, the state of Missouri passed a bill to give surviving Confederate veterans a small state pension.
Confederate Memorial Park
In 1925, the Confederate Home Board requested the state legislature to set aside 92 acres of the home's farm unneeded for food production as a memorial park dedicated to the valor of the Confederate soldier.  Both houses of the legislature unanimously passed the enabling legislation.
Hillard Brewster, a landscape engineer from the State Penal Board, volunteered his time to help create the park.  The response in the Higginsville area was profound.  On Feb. 28, 1925, the stores closed, the schools dismissed. "...and after a parade through the main streets of the town bands of men and boys went on farm wagons, for the farmers were there too, dug up good big trees in the timber everywhere, for nobody refused this privilege on their property.  And some hundred trees were brought into the Park, and planted on that rainy, gloomy, cold day."

The United Daughters of the Confederacy donated a stone to be placed in the park to commemorate their fund-raising efforts.
The Confederate Cemetery

Over 800 Confederate Veterans and their wives are buried in the Cemetery.  The state provided small rectangular stones.  Some who could afford them bought tall spiked monuments so that no Union sympathizers could sit on them.

Probably, the most famous individual in the cemetery is William Quantrill a local terrorist who never actually joined the Confederate Army.  Pieces of him were laid to rest in Higginsville in the 1990s.  One leg bone, two arm bones and a lock of his hair were put in the ground.

John R. Moore's real name was Mortimer Adair.  After the Civil War he went to North Dakota but had to leave that state in a hurry in order to escape some gambling debts.  He went to Arizona, changed his name to John Moore and served as a sheriff there until his retirement.
John Graves was the last veteran to reside at the home.  After all of the other men died, the state closed Old Main and moved Johnny to the women's dormitory where six widows still lived.  The centenarian was still a ladies' man and would often try to break into the women's rooms.  After John's death in 1950, the six widows were placed in area nursing homes and the Confederate Home became the Confederate Memorial Park

 Obediah Strange Barnett was born in Holden, Missouri
 Obediah's wife, Martha Ann Barnett, was also born in Johnson County.
The Confederate Monument
The Asbury Home
This mansion which stands close to the railroad depot in Higginsville was the home of A.E. Asbury, a railroad and banking tycoon.  A Confederate veteran himself, Asbury was a major contributor to and supporter of the Confederate home.

The Ex-Confederate Home
excerpts from a poem by
 Will Ward Mitchell
Yes, this is the place - you are welcome, young man
The home of the soldiers who fought for the cause
They believed to be right.  But excuse me; come in,
I was almost forgetting ubanity's laws.
Have a seat on the porch; it is pleasant up there.
In a moment, I'll join you, you see I walk slow,
And it takes me some time to ascent the front stair;
But then, I'm rheumatic and crippled, you know.

Sometimes I was told that the poorhouse was made for
Such beggars as I was.  I knew it too well.
But crippled and friendless, the death that I prayed for
Came not at my prayer, though my life was a hell.
It was just at this time that Missouri's good mothers,
And sisters and daughters and generous wives
Resolved to erect a grand home where the brothers,
Then homeless might live for the rest of their lives.

No sooner conceived than the home was designed, sir;
It shortly was builded; and soon I was here.
I love the dear place, Everyone is so kind, sir;
But I feel that my time of departure is near.
Each Sunday, a minister comes from your city;
Whatever our creed, they all love us, they say,
And the citizens come with their wives and their pretty
Young daughters, to see us old men in the gray.

And not only the soldiers who fought for fair Dixie,
Have helped us, as only true brothers would do;
The North heard the call, and a true sister, quick she
Responded with aid from the brave-hearted Blue.
And so on each Lord's Day, in yonder white chapel,
We gather to worship, we comrades in gray;
And to meet with the Blue, not in murderous grapple,
But to mingle in peace, and in reverence pray.

There are not many left of us old "rebel" soldiers,
But we love the dear people who built us this home.
The pride of Missouri.  The countless beholders
Declare it the loveliest under God's dome.
Missouri's good women the Blue and the Gray, sirs,
Shall ne'er be forgotten as long as we live.
A few years at most, and we'll all pass away, sirs;
But in heaven to them still some praises we'll give.

In the cemet'ry there at the home is a lowly
And beautiful mound, where the veteran sleeps;
And passing the place reverentially, slowly,
We look on this one of the many sod-heaps
And gazing sometimes on his grave in its beauty,
We think of the story he told us that day
The sadly scarred soldier to loyal to duty,
Who battled for Dixie in colors of Gray.

He fought for a cause that he ardently cherished,
The cause that the brave Southern soldiers held dear.
Surviving for years his beloved who perished,
He rests him at last in the God's acre here.
And there with his comraes at peace he is sleeping
The chivalrous Southrons, heroic and true;
But often the grasses their graves over-creeping
Are kissed by the tears of the generous blue.

The war is departed, is buried forever,
The flowers of love hind its terrible wave.
The North and the South nevermore will dissever,
And sectional hatred must mould in its grave
The stars and the stripes float from ocean to ocean,
But furled and revered are the stars and the bars.
Yet none are more loyal, more true in devotion,
Than southerners now to the stripes and the stars.

O, long may the flag of our country wave o'er us,
A nation of free men united and strong.
And we will be swift, as our fathers before us,
To fight for our standard and battle the wrong.
For closer together the struggle has brought us.
United and mighty, our people today.
Full soon will we master the sweet lesson taught us
The years have united the Blue and the Gray.
For more information about the Confederate Memorial Park see:
Main Building, Missouri State Confederate Home near Higginsville where Cummins wrote "lost" manuscript.

1861 Blackwater Bridge, Blackened Post Marks Four Union Soldiers' Graves, Just North of Warrensburg - Set Fire to the Bridge to Slow Gen. Price's Advancing Army to Lexington

Blackened Post Marks Four Soldiers' Graves. 
1918, History of Johnson County, Missouri
by Cockrell, Ewing
Remains of First Blackwater Bridge on Lexington Road Reminder of Price's Raid. 
— Just west of the bridge (Old Hwy 13 Bridge) which spans Blackwater, on the road that leads from  Warrensburg to Lexington, and only a few yards from the place where Post Oak empties into the mother stream, one may, by creeping down the steep bank, and peering into the water, see the top of a blackened post. The wood is old and decayed, for murky floods have flown over and around it for seventy years. It is a part of the pioneer bridge which spanned the stream. 
The original shingled, wooden covered bridge over the Blackwater just North of Warrensburg , Mo., could have looked similar, before it was burned down to slow advancing Confederate Army...."(The) bridge was built of wood, and timbers of white oak sunk deep in the mud, upheld the framework and the floor. Surmounting the floor was another framework some twenty feet high with rafters and roofed with shingles. Taken altogether, it was a massive structure, all built of heavy timbers."
A few yards to the east traffic from the north thunders over a steel bridge and gay parties pass in automobiles who never dream that hidden near are the remains of the old causeway whose blackened stump stands as a monument to the first four Johnson county boys who gave up their lives that the nation might live. Even the names of these martyred heroes have been forgotten and perhaps their bones rest yet in the mold beside the blackened post, for their comrades left them where they fell and hastened on. For at the heels of the retreating Federals were the victorious hordes of General Price. 
Confederate General Sterling Price
Sterling "Old Pap" Price (September 14, 1809 – September 29, 1867) was an American lawyer, planter, soldier, and politician from the U.S. state of Missouri, who served as the 11th Governor of the state from 1853 to 1857. He also served as a United States Army brigadier general during the Mexican-American War, and a Confederate Army major general in the American Civil War. Price is best known for his victories in New Mexico and Chihuahua during the Mexican conflict, and for his losses at the Battles of Pea Ridge and Westport during the Civil War–the latter being the culmination of his ill-fated Missouri Campaign of 1864.Following the war, Price took his remaining troops to Mexico rather than surrender. He unsuccessfully sought military service with Emperor Maximillian there. He ultimately returned to Missouri, where he died in poverty. He was buried in St. Louis.
 This bridge was built of wood, and timbers of white oak sunk deep in the mud, upheld the framework and the floor. Surmounting the floor was another framework some twenty feet high with rafters and roofed with shingles. Taken altogether, it was a massive structure, all built of heavy timbers. 
After the little army of recruits had passed over the bridge, Colonel Marshall decided it must be burned to stop the progress of the pursuing enemy. Torches were applied and the great structure was soon burning. Colonel Marshall then ordered a company to stay at the bridge and defend it while the balance continued their long march north to Lexington. 
The smoke of the burning structure was seen rolling over the hills to the south by the advance guard of Price's army who hastened forward in order to save the bridge. They reached the bluff to the south of the bridge and saw the little company in the bottom beyond guarding their work of destruction. Rifles, fast swept the line of blue, and six men fell. Their comrades replied, firing into the dense underbrush which covered the bluff, with such vigor that the advance guard retired. But again advancing the rebels poured a deadly fire into the little company who slowly retreated with their faces to the foe across the broad Blackwater bottom. But four of their men lay at the edge of the burning bridge. They had given their lives for their cause and they did not die in vain, for the bridge at Blackwater burned to the water's edge and the soldiers of General Price were delayed many hours in their victorious march on Lexington. J. M. S. 
Confederate attack on Lexington shows the hemp bales at the center, with gun smoke rising above them. The Masonic College is in the right background of this drawing.

Price’s victory at Lexington accomplished much. At the cost of only 97 casualties, 25 dead and 72 wounded, he had captured more than 3,300 enemy troops and inflicted 150 casualties. His poorly armed troops obtained more than 3,000 rifles, seven cannons, 750 horses, and large quantities of wagons and equipment.

 Although Price returned all the cash seized by the Federals from the Farmer’s Bank of Lexington, he retained $37,000 in badly needed gold which the state legislature had authorized him to appropriate for military expenses. Most importantly, he had lifted the morale of secessionists and State’s Righters throughout Missouri.

The Civil War covered bridge would have been in this area, West of the new Highway 13 bridge.