Kansas

This is Kristina Yezdimer from the Sioux City Public Library and You’re Listening to Check It Out. 

A House Divided

Feb 1, 2021
Missouri Historical Society exhibit in Missouri State Capitol

Once you find the road in—it’s out of the way--the signs tell the story. The Marais des Cygnes Massacre State Historic Site is not a mess, but both times I was there the place could have used some TLC.

But why make it look clean when rowdy weediness is more appropriate? Five men were murdered here, gang-land style, stood up and then shot. Six lived to tell the tale, Free-Staters, newcomers to Kansas, still a territory in 1858. They were murdered because they opposed slavery.

Thomas M. Easterly

Had I gone to school in Iowa, perhaps, I’d have known a headman, a chief, named No Heart; after all, his people left their name behind when they travelled west and south. We're Iowans because of him--and them. They left their name behind, but little more we design to remember.

Nonetheless, you should know that No Heart’s descendants are a proud people who live in Oklahoma and have for years, despite their name. They call home just outside the town where my son's family lives, just across the Cimarron. 

Battle of the Spurs

Aug 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

There's something vintage Old Testament about the whole story, something that feels like myth. But it happened; and just a bit north of Topeka, an unkept highway marker up on a hill tells part of the story that can't be doubted. What can is far more fascinating.

Bleeding Kansas

Feb 26, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Since 1920, the Osawatomie/Paola game was the Super Bowl, the game no one missed, the big one that shut down both Kansas towns and most the countryside. For 93 years it went on.

But the rivalry got started long before that, if you read the history. For a time in the 1850s, those two burgs did a whole lot more than mount great passing games. Kansas was bleeding in the 1850s. Just about everyone opening up the sod on the new state's eastern edge did so because they wanted to fight, wanted to win, sometimes at all costs. 

The Bloody Benders

Oct 31, 2017

For reasons that likely have to do with desired ends, the Oregon Trail has a more wholesome reputation than its southern sidekick, the Santa Fe. The Oregon Trail once carried the hopes and dreams of whole families. The wagon trains leaving Missouri carried hundreds of thousands of little girls in sun bonnets and boys in bibs bobbing along beside the oxen, Mom holding the youngest up on the seat of the wagon.

James Schaap

We visited Stratford-upon-Avon, toured Shakespeare's house and watched the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Julius Caesar in the Royal Shakespearean Theater. I vaguely remember the grave of Jane Austin, but Piccadilly Circus is gone completely.

For reasons I can't explain, nothing in jolly old England left as hearty an impression as the bombed-out hulk of Coventry Cathedral. For a moment, the Battle of Britain was more than a grainy newsreel or a whole album of old black-and-whites.