Black Jack Battlefield
FOLLOW                              Courier
IN THE

FOOTSTEPS OF
                         V OL UME ...
Prairie Restoration Area successes are many
         PAGE      2



                          By Karl Gridley, Board Membe...
THE BLACK JACK HISTORY CORNER©                                                                                            ...
PAGE      4                                                 Frequently asked questions……..



     Are those trees planted...
PAGE     5




              Battlefield Tours hit unexpected high
As awareness of the Battle of Black               The m...
Yes! I want to be a part of preserving The Black Jack Battlefield.

____ Student/Senior $10                          ____ ...
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Spring 2009 Black Jack Battlefield Newsletter

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Spring 2009 Newsletter for the Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park. Douglas County, Kansas

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Spring 2009 Black Jack Battlefield Newsletter

  1. 1. Black Jack Battlefield FOLLOW Courier IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF V OL UME 2, ISSUE 1 SPRING 2009 “OLD JOHN BROWN…” 153rd Anniversary of the Battle Join us on Saturday, May 30th The Lecompton Reenactors will be on stage to present INSIDE THIS as we commemorate the characters from the Kansas/Missouri Border War days. ISSUE: 153rd Anniversary of the They will entertain and enlighten us with a recreation of that Battle of Black Jack. historic time in our nation’s history. Festivities begin at 1:00 p.m. A quilt show will be a featured event during this year’s Anniversary 1 and run until 8:30 p.m. anniversary. The show will be in the Robert Hall Pearson Event House, the main building of the Pearson Farmstead. Pearson Battlefield Tours will be fought alongside of John Brown in the Battle and years later, he Pearson Home 1 available throughout the day, bought the land and built the house in the 1880’s. Quilt show restoration with a special tour at visitors will be able to go inside this historic farm house and 3:00 p.m. given by John admire how it has stood the test of time. Prairie 2 Brown himself, portrayed by Restoration Dinner will be served from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Advance tickets will be sold in Kerry Altenbernd. Baldwin City at Mid-America Bank, Baldwin City Chamber office, and the Work Day 2 Period musicians will play, Lawrence Visitors Center at the price of $12.50. Tickets sold at the door April 4th vendors will offer up their are $15.00. Children eat for $5.00. wares to sell, old time photos Barbequed Brisket of Beef, with sides, and cobbler will be served. Black Jack 3 will be available, with many Dinner will also include tea, coffee, or water. History Corner other things to see and do. We look forward to seeing you! The Sugar 4 Pearson Farmstead home ready for restoration Maple Grove Getting 4 Involved Born in the year 1828, Robert Hall Pearson was a man of vision. As many who settled the Kansas Tours a big 5 Hit Territory found out, life was sometimes ordinary, and sometimes not. Robert Hall Pearson was one of the brave men who fought alongside John Brown in the Battle of Black Jack on June 2, 1856. Calendar of 5 Events This battleground is just to the north of the Pearson House, the main building on the Pearson Farmstead property. Membership 6 Some time after the battle, Robert Hall Pearson returned to purchase Sign up this property. The home was constructed in the 1880’s and is a prime example of a Kansas farm house during that period. It is scheduled for rehabilitation.
  2. 2. Prairie Restoration Area successes are many PAGE 2 By Karl Gridley, Board Member, Site Committee The Prairie Restoration brush hog and then planted and numerous prairie Area at The Black Jack by Jim Niehoff, with an wildflowers. A large Battlefield & Nature Park is assortment of prairie number of volunteer Black coming along well in it’s grasses and wildflowers Jack Oaks line the upper first full year since the native to this area. banks of Captain’s Creek. removal of the trash dump The perimeter trails of the The restoration area will there by the Kansas restoration area have been eventually be expanded to Department of Health and mowed several times this include a total of 10 acres Environment. summer, and the central in the southwest part of the Shortly after the trash area itself is showing strong property. It is hoped that removal, Mary Lynn Stuart signs of returning to the area can be burned off oversaw the removal of prairie. in the spring, perhaps in scrub trees and red cedars 7-foot tall turkey foot coordination with the Prairie Restoration with equipment and grasses have made a burning of the Ivan Boyd Area in late Summer volunteer assistance particularly strong Prairie. provided by R.D. Johnson comeback in certain areas, The Black Jack Nature Trail continues to Excavation Company. The be maintained by Karl Gridley and Stan as have bluestem grasses Roth. It will be expanded this year. ground was later mowed by Volunteer at Black Jack April 4th! By Kerry Altenbernd, Board Member, Volunteer & Tour Committee Chairperson I am very excited to let you know of a significant volunteer opportunity in which Black Jack is “Our good works participating. This year we are an official site for the Civil War Preservation Trust’s annual Park Day, in which thousands of people turn out to volunteer at Civil War sites across the country. are like stones This is the first year that Black Jack has been able to participate and we hope to have many cast into the pool volunteers come out and help. of time; though We plan to demolish and remove several dilapidated modern outbuildings, clean out other outbuildings, clean out the Pearson House, clean up trash, collect sticks and branches, and the stones generally spruce up the Battlefield and the Park to get ready for this year’s touring season. themselves may We will be meeting at the Pearson House in the Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park at disappear, their 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 4th. Wear work clothes and sturdy footwear. Please bring your own work gloves, water, and lunch. If you have tools and want to bring them, please do so. ripples extend to We will work, rain or shine. eternity.” RSVPs are not necessary, but it would be easier to plan if we had a rough estimate of how many volunteers to expect. Please do not hesitate to come if you have not RSVPed ahead ~anonymous of time. Our being permitted to take part in this year’s Park Day is more evidence that people are recognizing the importance of the Battle of Black Jack to the history of the Civil War. For more information on the CWPT’s Park Day, go to www.civilwar.org/parkday To RSVP to us: 785.883.2106 volunteers@blackjackbattlefield.org BLACK JACK BATTLEFIELD COURIER
  3. 3. THE BLACK JACK HISTORY CORNER© PAGE 3 by Richard Wellman At the time of the Battle of Black Jack in 1856, residents of the area were very concerned about survival in the political climate that existed. There was no effort to document all the details of the fighting activities. Many participants did not want their names associated with specific actions as there was a high probability of reprisal from the other side. We also know what happens when we try to recall details after the passage of time---say 20 years or more. That is part of the reason we have so many differing views of how the battle actually was fought and who participated in it. One of the sources that provides information on persons involved in the Battle of Black Jack is the obituaries. The following is an obituary that states that George W. Fitz took part in the Battle. No other source mentions Mr. Fitz as being a participant, but there is reference to reinforcements of up to 50 men from Wakarusa, arriving shortly after the surrender of Henry Clay Pate to John Brown. It is likely that Mr. Fitz was among that group. Does anyone have any information that would verify his participation? We would also welcome any information or documentation about the Pro-Slavery participants and their view of what happened during that time. Any suggestions of material that has been written will be appreciated. Our contact information is: Phone: (785) 883-2106, e-mail: info@blackjackbattlefield.org Postal mail: PO Box 44, Baldwin City, Kansas 66006 FITZ, GEORGE W. From The Baldwin Ledger, 10 Oct. 1885, page 8, col. 2 Mr. Geo. W. Fitz, one of the early settlers of this county, died at his residence, near Vinland, last Saturday and was buried Sunday. The deceased was born in Sandford, New Hampshire April 21, 1814. He remained at the place of his birth until 1832, at which time he removed to Chester, Mass., and engaged in grain and milling business. He continued to reside there for over 20 years, but when the struggle on the slavery question was transferred from the halls of Congress to the prairies of Kansas, he early enrolled himself in a company which was gotten up to come here and make Kansas a free state. He arrived in Lawrence in March 1855, with his wife and children, and soon after settled on the farm where he has resided ever since. During the struggle which followed between the forces of the free state and pro-slavery parties, he took an active part, being a member of the old Coal Creek company. He was present and took part in the battles of Black Jack, Franklin, the defense of Lawrence, and numerous other contests in which his company played an important part. Whenever men were needed he was always ready to go, never holding back through fear of personal danger. During the civil war, although he was unable on account of the infirmities of age, and the cares of a family, to take part in his country’s service, he encouraged his sons to enlist in the union army. He was a member of the Kansas militia and assisted, in the fall of 1864, to repel Price and his horde of hungry followers. Mr. Fitz was a public spirited citizen and was always foremost in all movements which were for the public good. He was a true friend and a neighbor in the true sense of the term. He was liberal to the poor and no one in distress ever appealed to him in vain. The deceased leaves an aged wife, 7 children and several grandchildren to mourn his loss. They have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community in their dire affliction. In the death of Mr. Fitz it can be truly said that his family lost a kind husband and father, the country a true patriot, and the world an honest man. Lawrence Journal NOTE (from cemetery records): Mr. Fitz was born 21 Apr. 1814, died 25 Sep. 1885, and buried at Stony Point cemetery. His wife was Ellen, born 20 March 1828, died 3 Jan. 1895.
  4. 4. PAGE 4 Frequently asked questions…….. Are those trees planted that way intentionally? This is a perennial question at The Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park; are the trees adjacent to the picnic shelter planted that way intentionally? The answer is yes ! Robert Hall Pearson, the man who owned this property and built the farmstead after fighting along with John Brown and his men during the battle, was from Pennsylvania where it is popular to tap sugar maple trees for syrup in the very early spring. We hope to find out just how much sap is left in those old trees and make a batch or two of syrup like Pearson would have wanted us to. When it is too late for tapping, the beauty of the Grove is too much for professional and amateur photographers alike to resist. The Grove is the most photographed area at the site ! …………….What can I do to help? The Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park can always use your help! Here are some of the ways you can get involved with the ongoing process of preserving and interpreting this Historic Site:  Help do some of the physical work that is needed on what we call our “Work Days.” This can be anything from clearing the property of broken limbs and sticks fallen from our many trees, helping to dismantle old or construct new buildings, work on restoring the Pearson Farmstead home, mowing, trimming, or any random chore that is needed at the time.  Help to serve food, set up or take down, be a parking attendant, or in general help out at one of our major fundraising events during the year.  Be a greeter for a few hours or a whole day during the weekends between May and October. This would only require a pleasant personality to welcome our visitors to the site and pass out brochures.  Become a tour guide for guided tours. You will receive instruction from one of our experienced tour guides. You will be able to learn the history of the area and the site in order to provide a good tour to small groups of visitors. Dressing in period clothing would be a plus but not required.  Give period demonstrations or don your period garb on weekends and scheduled events.  Make a monetary contribution. As much as we appreciate all of our faithful volunteers, money to meet our operating expenses and to provide improvements that are needed is always appreciated. Please contact us in one of the following ways to let us know how you would like to help become part of our efforts: volunteers@blackjackbattlefield.org - (785) 883-2106 PO Box 44, Baldwin City, KS 66006 BLACK JACK BATTLEFIELD COURIER
  5. 5. PAGE 5 Battlefield Tours hit unexpected high As awareness of the Battle of Black The miles traveled by those who Jack grows, along with other pre-Civil visit us have no bearing on how The battlefield isn’t the only War sites in the surrounding much interest they have in what we attraction here at the site. Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage are doing in our preservation For nature lovers, we offer a Area, more and more people are efforts at Black Jack. Everyone who Prairie Restoration area complete coming from far and wide to pay us a visits, leaves with a feeling of with a walking trail that winds visit. gratitude that they are able to take through native vegetation. There with them information of what was is also a nature trail that will take We have had visitors from as far away as the Netherlands, Sweden, and happening in this part of the you through a wooded section of England and as close as a few miles up country from 1854-1861. the property, and the ever the road. popular Pearson Farmstead. Visitors may take self-guided tours of the battlefield year round, from dawn to dusk, using a free self- guided tour brochure provided on site. In addition, we conduct guided tours on weekend afternoons from May to October. Self-guided tour and other informational brochures are available in the picnic shelter area in A group of medical professionals from the Netherlands spent some time at Black Jack the Robert Hall Pearson Memorial Guided Tours of the Battlefield and grounds are in the Summer of ‘08. Park. given on the weekends from May - October. 2009 Calendar of Events  April 4th - Civil War Preservation Trust Park Day “Suburban growth Help clean up the Battlefield & grounds, begins @ 9 a.m. threatens to  May 2nd - October 18th destroy the very Regular Tour Season open for guided tours Saturday & Sunday, some Fridays land where John  May 30th - 153rd Anniversary Event Brown and Henry Clay Pate fought. Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Battle If we fail to 1-8:30 p.m. Music, entertainment, vendors, & dinner preserve this site,  June 2nd - Dawn at Black Jack an irreplaceable 5-7 a.m. tour the battlefield at the exact date and time of the battle part of the history  October 18th - Breakfast at Black Jack of Kansas and of 8-10 a.m. eat breakfast with us while you enjoy The Black Jack Battlefield, our nation will be The Nature Park & The Robert Hall Pearson Farmstead lost forever.” * more events TBA *
  6. 6. Yes! I want to be a part of preserving The Black Jack Battlefield. ____ Student/Senior $10 ____ Individual $35 ____ Contributing $50 ____ Supporting $100 ____ Sustaining $250 ____ Patron $500 ____ Benefactor $1,000 ____ Other amount $ ___________ Name _______________________________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________________ City _________________________________ State __________ Zip Code _______________ Phone ________________________ e-mail _________________________________________ Send your tax deductable payment with this form to: The Black Jack Battlefield Trust, Inc. P.O. Box 44 Baldwin City, KS 66006 Thank you ! . g{x UÄtv~ ]tv~ UtààÄxy|xÄw gÜâáà xåàxÇwá |àá wxxÑxáà tÑÑÜxv|tà|ÉÇ àÉ tÄÄ à{Éáx ã{É {täx vÉÇàÜ|uâàxw? |Ç áÉ ÅtÇç ãtçá? àÉ à{x xyyÉÜà àÉ átäx à{|á ä|àtÄÄç |ÅÑÉÜàtÇà ÑtÜà Éy ÉâÜ áàtàx tÇw Çtà|ÉÇËá á{tÜxw {|áàÉÜçA Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park P.O. Box 44 Baldwin City, KS 66006 785.883.2106 info@blackjackbattlefield.org www.blackjackbattlefield.org 3 miles east of Baldwin City, KS, just south of Hwy 56 on E 2000 Road 163 E 2000 Road, Wellsville, Kansas

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