Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Forgotten Buddies

  What started out as a service project for our homeschool coop is a continuing project for me.  I am slowly looking up all the obituaries and regimental information for all of the veterans in Osage County.  I've gotten to know these guys so well by now that I call them my "buddies".  My most intensive searching has been at Burlingame Cemetery, partially because I can access most Burlingame papers for the time period I need on the internet for free. Because of this I've been able to find many veterans buried there that are unmarked by any tombstone - something my family hopes to be able to correct.  I've been focusing on these forgotten buddies so that they can be remembered too. 
  The first one that I was able to find information on was James S. Montgomery.  James signed up with the 2nd California Cavalry.  Before the war he was engaged to a woman, who said that she would wait for him.  While he was in service he was "dangerously" wounded by a gunshot wound to the lung and was discharged because of it.

When he came home, he found that his betrothed had not waited for him.  He was so saddened that he became a mountain man/miner and wandered the Wild West.  His lung troubled him terribly and he took the common treatment for the day - laudanum.  Unfortunately the nature of laudanum lends itself towards overdoses and he died from one while on a trip back to Topeka. He was buried by his Burlingame G.A.R. veteran friends with a full military burial.
  One of the newest veterans is going to be a challenge.  John Hardison was a gentleman of African descent who lived primarily in Topeka, but moved to Carbondale in the mid-1890s.  He had served with Co. I of the 17th United States Colored Troops as an Orderly Sergeant.  He became paralyzed in later life and the $12 pension he was receiving was not cutting it.  If you were receiving a pension, you could not be placed in the county poor farm, and the city of Carbondale would not offer him assistance, so he was on his own.  He died in a house fire in 1904 before anyone could get to it.  There is no record of his burial in Carbondale, and none that I have found yet in Topeka.  The search continues!
One of my other buddies is Isaac Williams.  Isaac also served with the USCT.  Because of his common name it has been hard to track down a pension record for him, and none of the newspaper articles listed his service designation.  I finally found a reference in the 1885 census that put him in the 4th Missouri.  Yay!  Trying to find his regimental designation after the USCT went federal, I did find that he was one of the first 4 people of color in Burlingame in 1865 (the town was about 300 people).  I also found this newspaper article on him:
1885 Osage County Chronicle
The title makes it seem like its going to be prejudiced in one way, and then what a slam!  The Stoddards that owned the Osage County paper at this time were very equal in their treatment of their colored friends.  They published such wonderful articles on people from the black community that it met with opposition.  They responded with an awesome editorial that pretty much said that they were just covering people of note in their community and that there were good and bad of both races and people just needed to let it go.  :)
  Another one of my guys is William "Pitt Green" Gaines who is also of African descent.  His double name confuses me, but it has me wondering if it doesn't have to do with his previous life in slavery (I would definitely appreciate any thoughts on this).  Pitt served with the 83rd USCT.  He was a well known penny pincher, in fact, the paper did a whole article on the time he spent a nickel.  The whole community of Burlingame was dying to know what he spent it on!  At the end of his obituary even, it said that he was supposed to have hidden a great deal of money in his house and the people of the community were going to hunt for it.   
  There are more than 20 veterans in Osage County without stones.  I am hoping I can bring them back from their forgotten status and share their wonderful stories!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Candlelight Tour

  On our wishlist for a while has been the Fort Scott Christmas Candlelight Tour. We had never been, but had heard wonderful things about it.  This was our year!  Tickets go on sale Nov. 1st and the tour is only offered for 2 days.  Our tour took place on a drizzly night this past weekend, but really it wasn't too cold for December.  Dress warm! It was perfect timing because we're covering the Civil War for our history in school right now. 
  Our tour guide was one of the rangers (Ft. Scott is a National Park) and he gave background information prior to and after each station we stopped at where volunteer actors re-enacted Fort Life.  Mookie whispered to me about a dozen times, "this is SO cool!" They don't like photography, but I did snap this shot while one of the skits was going on inside one of the buildings and I was out running Shorty around. Beautiful!

  It all ended with a dance with live historical music, food and drink, and activities for the kids.

  Because of the distance from home we stayed overnight.  The kids would not have allowed us out of town anyway since Ft. Scott is a National Park and had a Junior Ranger program anyway :)
   We had printed off our Junior Ranger booklets ahead of time and the kids had worked on them on the way down South.  This was great because the next morning was as drizzly as the night before and even chillier!
We were there about an hour and a half working on our Ranger booklets and wandering.  Definitely one of the more intensive ones.  Not that I minded, I'd rather one of the tougher ones be in local history.
  One of the things that stuck out to me on this trip was the fort jail.  This year for Christmas I am getting the pension record for who we think is my ggg-grandpa George Marshal.  George is one of my black sheep in the family and was in the Arkansas St. Penitentiary for stealing.  He also was naughty during the war and was caught stealing.  So he would have ended up someplace like this I imagine.  
 Doesn't look very comfortable.  I'm not sure if that cured Grandpa George of his problem, but it probably put an end to it temporarily. :) 

Samuel Rutherford

  I was given the opportunity to read a "Bitesized Biography" Samuel Rutherford by Richard Hannula. I enjoy these bite-sized biographies.  Packed full of great information, and just the right sized for both my kiddos and this busy mom to increase our knowledge.  I admit, when I heard it was Samuel Rutherford, I had no idea who he was.  I love learning new things, so I dove in.  Let me tell you, I was excited to learn he was a Presbyterian minister in Scotland during the 17th century.  My gg-grandfather Murray's great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in Scotland at or after that time period, so this book grabbed my full attention right away.
  The book starts you out with a timeline, which is great for giving you an idea of what you are getting yourself into.  The author took an interesting slant and let Samuel talk mostly through his own words.  While this got tiresome at times, boy you can't beat the original source! It covers Samuel's own personal conflicts to ones where he battled corruption in the church.  The faith and how he handled himself and others was wonderful to see.
  I am definitely going to have to do some more research on John Knox and the other circumstances that shaped the environment that Samuel lived in.  Simonetta Carr has one in her Christian Biographies for Kids series on Knox, that is going to be next on my list.
  The book ends with a listing of recommended reading, of which it is noted that many of the selections can be found for free on-line.
  These bite-size biographies don't disappoint.  They pack a whole bunch of information into a small package.  I am thankful for Cross Focused Reviews for the chance to read and review this book.  Any opinions given were my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Field Trip Thursday: The Little Apple

  We hadn't seen my folks for a while and we needed a Ducky and Gigi fix, so we altered our field trip day so they could go with us!  One of my folks' favorite treat places is getting ice cream at K-State, we used that as a base and built our trip around it and headed to Manhattan.  The place that best fit what we are learning now is Goodnow House. Goodnow House was built in 1859 by Isaac and Ellen Goodnow.  The Goodnows were abolitionists from New England and moved out here with the New England Emigrant Aid Society.  Isaac started the pre-cursor to K-State University, Bluemont College.  The museum was small but exemplary because all the artifacts that were in it were used in the household either by the Goodnows or their adopted daughter. 
  Oh how pretty this house was, and how I think I would have enjoyed the Goodnows.  They shared similar interests...
In fact, the house would be a reflection of our lives, but just 150 years ago.  Books galore, artifacts - yep:) 
  While there was a lot of hands off type of areas, there was a section where our guide let the kids try out some period artifacts...
  The high point, just for this homeschooling momma, was when we walked by this picture of a soldier with excellent hair on a horse, and Bubby says to me, "Mom, do you know who that is?".  I answer, "George Custer?".  Bubby, "No, Mom, that's Nathaniel Lyons."  Our guide was pretty shocked, and actually so was I.  It was indeed Nathaniel Lyons who we had learned about when we visited the Wilson's Creek battlefield.  He too had excellent hair;) As a homeschooling parent, I still get those moments of, "what are they retaining?", but its sinking in!  Yay!
  I am so glad we chose this site for our destination today.  Suggested donation is $1 for kids and $2 for adults, and it is chalked full of free-stater history and architecture:)  Even Shorty did relatively well which is always a bonus.
  Right across the drive is the Riley County Historical Society, so we made it part of our trip. 

  The area for displays was not really big, but it was well laid out with interesting displays.  You also can't beat free admission!  The biggest find for me was some artifacts from Sikes' Store in Leonardville.  My hubby's gg-grandfather worked there, so it was fun to make personal application for the kids.
  Our next stop was Call Hall on the K-State campus.  Since K-State is an agricultural based college, you can buy all kinds of wonderful things that they produce at the Dairy Bar at Call.  We started with the ice cream...
and checked out where they process the milk...

that was especially fun since my gr-grandpa attended K-State dairy college in the early 1900s before it was K-State.
On our way out we bought some of the meat, cheese and ice cream that was for sale (they also sell flour too!).
  We're definitely going back to the Little Apple soon.  Every sign we saw (for the zoo, the Flint Hills Discovery Center, art museum, etc...) was met with "oooh, I want to go there!" And, well, I have some genealogy research that I need to make an appointment for as well!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Finding William & Field Trip Thursday

  This morning I woke up to Shorty cupping my face in his hands, saying "Mom, the sun is up, its morning."  Me, "mumble, mumble".  Shorty, "come on Mom, adventure is out there!".  The kid has watched Up too many times I guess, but he had a point.  So up was where I went.
  I've been dying to make some headway in my genealogy lately, but I'm stuck!  I haven't had a new break in forever.  So the other night I was piddling around looking up surnames in digitized newspapers for Kansas.  I found an obituary for my ggg-uncle William Pouppirt.  Nothing too spectacular, except it said he was buried in Van Winkle Cemetery in Leavenworth Co., KS.  Years ago when I first started research on my Pouppirt line, a cousin of my grandma's took us out to Van Winkle and said that my ggg-grandfather Charles Louis Henry Pouppirt (William's father) was buried there.  We didn't find a stone for him then, but with this new obituary with a Van Winkle reference, I was dying to go and give it a go again!  We stopped by and picked up Ducky and Gigi and we were on our way!

  The last time we made this trek, we had to walk in 1/4 mile and then climb a field fence to get in.  Today, we drove right up to the fence and walked through!  Whenever we go to a cemetery I try to snap as many pictures as I can for Find a Grave, I figure as long as I'm out I might as well try to help someone else in their quest for family.
  We took pictures of all the stones, doubling what Find a Grave had listed for Van Winkle Cemetery, but no William or Charles:(  We did find stones like this...

We could read the month and day on this one, but that's it
The cemetery was well kept, so possibly William & Charles' stones were like the ones above or even wooden ones.  I think our next step will be trying to find some internment records for the cemetery.
   Our next stop was intended to be the railroad park down by the Missouri River.  We pulled into the parking lot and were lured across the street to the C. W. Parker Carousel Museum by organ music spilling out from the speakers.  Ducky and Gigi had taken the kids years ago, but we'd not hit at a time when they were open until today, so we wandered in.  They do have a large part that is an actual carousel museum, but we didn't go in there today, we were there to ride!  Rides cost $1.25 per person.  The music is really the old time contraption, not just a cd and the ride has been nicely restored too.  The cool thing is (for the older kids) that this isn't just a kiddie ride, those horses have some get up and go!
In the large room where the carousel is housed, they have some small exhibits, so even if you don't buy in for the whole museum, you can catch a little carousel history.
A carousel from the 1860s

Fun with the fun house mirrors

 After we'd looked around, we headed back to our original destination in hopes of finding a train (Shorty LOVES trains!).  We had to walk the rivers and roads on the giant map...
And then the train!!!
Actually two, the gal at the carousel said they usually come every 15 minutes.  Our train time was not totally over, we went to go eat with one.  Pullman Place is just down the street and they have the whole restaurant decorated in trains, and even a train table!  We tried to get it last time, but it was occupied.  It had been waiting empty all morning, just for us!

 The table top is glass and there's a little motorized train that runs in it.  Um, the train table is kind of  a double edged sword....super cool, but how much food do you think Shorty ate for lunch???
  Ducky and Bubby had been eyeing up a cookie place across the street, so we headed to Sis' Sweets for dessert - we did stuff enough good food in Shorty to make it somewhat feasible;)  Yuuuummmmm! We all tried either their sugar cookies or brownies. My favorite was the sugar cookie with maple frosting.
 I think I've given up trying to plan out a field trip day.  Who knows where our travels will take us next...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Field Trip Friday: Of Camo & Cabooses

  Today didn't work out quite like we planned.  We had to scrap our original field trip plans, but life as a homeschooler, you roll with it!  So instead of geocaching we explored a museum that was on our wishlist & in the direction our day was taking us: The Old Depot Museum in Ottawa. Trains are Shorty's favorite, and with some upcoming study on the trans-continental railroad, it actually was pretty good timing.  After we arrived and were exploring the caboose outside (they are renovating it and will let you see inside if you ask) I noticed that all the kids were wearing camo pants!  If I attempted to coordinate this, you know someone would balk...
  I had never been to this particular museum, but had heard wonderful things about it, and rightfully so.  The cost was right: $5 for all of us together.  They had an excellent exhibit on early Ottawa since it was their 150 anniversary this year: the front room was filled with artifacts from the first 2 decades of Ottawa.  We kind of skipped the next room which had some more local history (a cool exhibit on the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre & an interesting local silk worm farm that was around in the later part of the 19th c.).  This poor room got neglected by us because in the room adjacent was...TRAINS!!!
  Almost taking up the whole room was a model train track with a recreation of Ottawa.  Not just that, but you could push certain buttons and make things on the model move & play music!
After quite a while, we had to literally drag Shorty away to see the rest of the museum upstairs.
  The upstairs was really well laid out.  The grand photo op...
And theme rooms chalked full of artifacts.  The cool thing about it was they were so full, you didn't just walk in, but they had these little sheets at the door that explained things in depth while getting you to find it.  It was the ultimate I Spy!
The General Store
They also had a classroom.  It was totally hands on and a group can even reserve it for a one-room schoolhouse day.  The best part is getting to use the rope outside the door for the schoolroom & ringing the bell! Definitely considering going back for just a school day!
This place was definitely not your ordinary county historical museum.  They found a great way to incorporate tons of history and local artifacts without the run of the mill exhibits or high dollar bells and whistles.  We'll definitely be making a return trip!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Field Trip Friday - Naturally...

  Who can resist dinosaurs?  Not this family!  We found out about a recently opened natural history museum in Overland Park, so made it our next stop. The cost is a little pricy - so much that it might be enough to make you consider buying a year membership if you want to take it all in.  I'll tell you what though, the Grand Hall is free and if you're in the area it would be something to take in just for that!
  In the Grand Hall they have replicas of a T-Rex, pteranodons, and marine fossils as well. 
 But the main draw is the dino screen! You can go off in a side room and create various dinos or dragons, name them and then watch them appear on the big screen in the Great Hall.
 If you stand in the right place, you can even get eaten!!
This thrilled the kiddos so much we spent over an hour doing this, we circled back several times so it may have been way longer than that total.  What is cooler than getting eaten by a dino??
  They had a fantastic discovery area that you bought an appointment for.  You could stay as long as you want once you got in, and we spent around an hour there.  They had excellent things for the kids to do:
You can hold a bug, touch a snake, or gaze at the poison dart frogs...
Or put together dinosaurs or even a 3 foot praying mantis...
  They also had a special exhibit hall that you could pay separately for.  The exhibit this time was on mythic creatures.  Everything from unicorns, bigfoot, mermaids, dragons, and gryphons.  I think overall, I was a little disappointed on the displays of artifacts for the whole museum - most were replicas (from the dino bones to the Figi Mermaid).  But if you're a kiddo it doesn't really matter, its just thrilling to see!  Bubby was thrilled to see a Figi Mermaid and a life-sized dino does not disappoint.
We have plans to go back and check it all out again when they switch up exhibits.  The kids loved it!