Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I was motivated to write this after I had watched a television show where a stale rendition of the same ol' history was churned over and over while the newest and most famous history was completely chucked out the window. History is a fickle subject to the masses. What interests some does not interest others and so forth and that's called freedom of choice.
However, when the exact same history, that has been beaten like a dead horse, is revived like it's something new, it's an illusion and can wear thin very quickly. Not that there isn't different and new additions to be made to someone who has been in our history pages for years and years. But when the same stories are recharged verbatim, it can be what sinks a cemetery or historical spot.
Thus....the Quantrill Special Collections Research.
The QSCR was built for one purpose.....to create a sonic boom, a thunder clap, into the history of Civil War Arkansas. To announce their share of some of the most intense, debated and heated subjects in our American history! The writings of Quantrill's men does not begin and end with Prairie Grove, Cane Hill and various side trips down the eastern side of the state. It began with Pea Ridge and the end is NOWHERE in sight! The guerrillas are among you! They are right THERE next to your family members, your friends and acquaintances! The events that you have read about in your history books are THERE with your family members, friends and acquaintances! I should know. There is a guerrilla buried within a few rows of my best friend from my days in Arkansas!
The Lawrence raid, the Centralia massacre, the Baxter Springs fight, Jesse & Frank James, Cole Younger, Bloody Bill Anderson, the Kansas Jayhawkers, are ALL among your family members, friends and acquaintances!
You, Arkansas, can now go to the gravesites of the various Missouri guerrillas and Confederate soldiers without traveling to Missouri! As you take a history book along, with a picture of the Lawrence raid, and stand at the grave of Thomas Warren in Rogers Cemetery, you know he was THERE! When you hear another tall tale and spun yarn about who knew Jesse and Frank James and rode with them through Missouri, you can go to the grave of Joseph Coyl at Bozarth in Gentry and know Joseph DID, IN FACT, know Jesse and Frank and DID ride with them through Missouri! Take Samuel Hays' military info with you when you see him at the Eureka Springs I.O.O.F Cemetery and read that he was recruited by Quantrill captain, John Jarrette!
Arkansas, you now own outright, chapters of the most famous, talked about and known men in the ENTIRE Civil War! YOU are now a part of Lawrence! YOU are now a part of James Lane! YOU are now a part of Independence, Lone Jack, Kingsville, White Oak Creek, Danville, Osceola, the Perdee fame, the Grinter farm and Concordia!! YOU, Arkansas, are a part of the border wars of Missouri and Kansas.
Armed with this new knowledge, the QSCR will serve as an asset to the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group and the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society as well by putting emphasis on cemeteries with border history and help people track any hint of guerrilla background in their family. Spotlights can be placed on many QSCR individuals to help promote cemeteries in need of repairs and maintanance and further preserve their resting spots. Meanwhile, the many names in the QSCR pages can be highlighted to attract any family members that have had cause or sheer curiousity to research their genealogy!
In closing, it is up to us that are interested in this subject to promote it without fail. We must be the ones to rally the cause and engrain it within education. The only way our history endures is by the endless search of that which is new and those that needs their stories to be told. Fame can be a wonderful thing and when it makes someone's eyes widen or their eyebrows to raise, we know we have struck a nerve! And remember......if someone engages you about something you have heard over and over again, stop them.....and then ask them if they have heard the one about the respected and popular Arkansas resident that was one of the most active Missouri guerrillas in Bloody Bill Anderson's command!
Posted by Richard L. Stewart at 2:20 PM