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Kansas History - Autumn 2000

(Vol. 23, No. 3)

Kansas History, Autumn 2000

Rex Buchanan, Robert Sawin, and Wayne Lebsack "Water of the Most Excellent Kind: Historic Springs in Kansas"

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In the arid or semi-arid West of which much of Kansas is a part, locating good, reliable sources of water to supplement the region's meager rainfall has often been a matter of survival. Thus, it is not surprising that springs have always been vital to the existence of plants, animals, and human beings on these plains. This article identifies, describes, and discusses the significance of Kansas' best known and most important historic springs. "Literally thousands of springs are scattered across the Kansas landscape, and undoubtedly many of those have been important in the state's history," explain the authors, all of who are with the Kansas Geological Survey. "However, the number of springs that have documented historic importance is relatively small and can be grouped into four categories: those clearly visited by and used by Native Americans; those that were important stopping points along many of the historic trails across the state; those that were important or well-known mineral water resorts or spas; and those that were used for water supply, gathering places for people, or some other purpose."

James C. Juhnke "Clashing Symbols in a Quiet Town: Hesston in the Vietnam War Era"

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According to the author, a long-time professor of history at Bethel College and a 1970 candidate for the U.S. Congress, "Kansas never became a hotbed of anti-war protest, but uneasiness, with the war escalated rapidly in the late 1960s as failures of American war policy became manifest." Juhnke uses the conservative, Mennonite community of Hesston and Hesston College as a fascinating "case study in the tensions raised by the Vietnam War" and tells an intriguing story that includes a "love-in," peace marches, counter demonstrations, and a protracted incident involving a home-made North Vietnamese flag. Not surprisingly, the war divided this small Kansas community, and the author uses his own election campaign against Republican incumbent Garner Shriver and the experiences of history teacher Solomon Yoder to illustrate the intensity of the polarization that had developed by the fall 1970 and spring 1971.

Gary L. Cheatham "'Kansas Shall Not Have the Right to Legislate Slavery Out': Slavery and the 1860 Antislavery Law"

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Although the free-state movement and the Republican Party emerged victorious in Kansas Territory by the end of 1858, antislavery Kansans could not yet have their way. The legislature of 1860 ultimately failed in its effort to eradicate the "peculiar institution" in the territory, despite its passage of an antislavery law. According to Gary Cheatham, the author of three previous Kansas History articles on the Bleeding Kansas era, "the failure of the courts to enforce the law incensed antislavery activists," but its constitutionality was suspect from the beginning, and "the weakness of the statute . . . resulted in an erosion of support for it among many antislavery Kansans." Ultimately the statute was declared unconstitutional by the territorial District Court at Leavenworth in late December 1860 and unceremoniously became moot with Kansas admission to the Union, January 29, 1861.

Amanda Laugesen "Making a Unique Heritage: Celebrating Pike's Pawnee Village and the Santa Fe Trail, 1900-1918"

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The "search for a usable past" has preoccupied many Americans throughout the years, and now many scholars, interested in its implications, are focusing their attentions on this search. Amanda Laugesen, a graduate student at the Australian National University, joins this expanding group by examining for us the early twentieth-century search in Kansas. Kansans were looking for a past "worthy of comparison with the events of the [American] Revolution. . . . They were searching for an historical consciousness, a heritage specifically of, and for, Kansas." They found it, as the author demonstrates in this well-written and fascinating essay, in the story of Pike's Pawnee Village and the Santa Fe Trail. Laugesen concentrates on the 1901 dedication of the monument in Republic County, the 1906 centennial celebration of Pike's alleged visit, and the Santa Fe Trail marking project, commenced by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1904.


(The following books and collections are reviewed in full in our print version.)

Sex in the Heartland
by Beth Bailey
265 pages, photographs, notes, index.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999, cloth, $27.00.
Reviewed by Rusty L. Monhollon, visiting assistant professor of history, University of Missouri at Columbia.

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age
by John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle
xiii + 394 pages, photographs, maps, tables, notes, bibliography, index.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Jason Wesco, local records archivist, Kansas Historical Society.

Opothleyaholo and the Loyal Muskogee: Their Flight to Kansas in the Civil War
by Lela J. McBride
vi + 250 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., 2000, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Gary L. Cheatham, assistant professor of library services, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West
by Michael L. Tate
xx + 454 pages, illustrations, maps, notes, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by William A. Dobak, archives technician, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Black Cowboys of Texas
edited by Sara R. Massey
xix + 361 pages, photographs, notes, bibliography, index.
College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000, $29.95.
Reviewed by James N. Leiker, instructor of history and western civilization, University of Kansas.

Kansas Temperance: Much Ado About Booze, 1870-1920
by Kenneth J. Peak and Patricia A. Peak
xvi + 256 pages, photographs, illustrations, notes, appendixes, index.
Manhattan, Kans.: Sunflower University Press, 2000, paper $22.95.
Reviewed by Rebecca Edwards, assistant professor of history, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Death on the Western Frontier: Kansas, 1875-1879
by Eugene D. Fleharty and Gary K. Hulett
266 pages, citations, photographs, bibliography, index.
Manhattan, Kans.: Sunflower University Press, 2000, paper $20.00.
Reviewed by Susan S. Novak, associate editor, Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains.

There Goes The Neighborhood: Rural School Consolidation at the Grass Roots in Early Twentieth-Century Iowa
by David R. Reynolds
xii + 306 pages, figures, tables, notes, bibliography, index.
Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2000, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Bill Samuelson, professor of educational foundations, Teachers College, Emporia State University.

Records of the Adjutant General Department
Kansas Historical Society
Reviewed by Joseph P. Laframboise, processing archivist and cataloger, Kansas Historical Society.


Fort Riley: Citadel of the Frontier West By William McKale and William D. Young
Topeka: Kansas Historical Society, 2000. ix + 146 pages. Paper $8.95).

Fort Harker: Defending the Journey West By Leo E. Oliva
(Topeka: Kansas Historical Society, 2000. ix + 107 pages, paper $8.95.)

Fort Riley and Fort Harker are the latest two volumes in the Society's eight-part series on Kansas frontier forts, published in cooperation with the Kansas Forts Network. In both cases, the authors have written highly readable, engaging books that blend the best of military and social history and will appeal to readers interested in Kansas, military affairs, or American Indian history. Both volumes are heavily illustrated and feature cover art produced especially for the series by Kansas artist Jerry Thomas.

"This Blue Hollow": Estes Park, the Early Years, 1859-1915
By James H. Pickering
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. xx + 321 pages, cloth $29.95.)

Technically a part of Kansas Territory when Joel Estes first came upon the future mountain resort in 1859, Estes Park, Colorado, quickly became an alluring destination for farmers, ranchers, and tourists. Thus, the history of this favorite vacation spot of many a Kansan, including William Allen White, who came first in the summer of 1889 with a group of college friends and later became a regular "summer resident," might well be of interest to readers of Kansas History. It tells of "change and continuity. In little more than half a century," writes James H. Pickering, professor of English at the University of Houston and himself a summer resident, "Estes Park evolved from a hunting ground and ranch land for the few into a summer resort and vacation spot for the nation."

The American West: The Reader
Edited by Walter Nugent and Martin Ridge
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. xvi + 335 pages, paper $19.95.)

This useful volume combines seventeen previous published essays by fifteen different scholars, including the editors, to cover aspects of western history from the eighteenth century to the present. Here are classics such as William H. Goetzmann's "Mountain Man as Jacksonian Man" and pieces of special interest to readers of Kansas History, including Janet LeCompte's "Sand Creek," David E. Lopez's "Cowboy Strikes and Unions," and Dan Flores's "Bison Ecology and Bison Diplomacy."

A Century of Kansas City Aviation History: The Dreamers and the Doers
By George R. Bauer
(Olathe, Kans.: Historic Preservation Press, 1999. xiii + 202 pages, cloth $39.95.)

Often, when Kansans focus on their state's storied aviation heritage, Wichita is the center of attention, but as George R. Bauer, author of Fairfax Ghosts, again reminds us, Kansas City also holds a central place in the history of flight. This nicely illustrated volume, which contains biographical sketches of persons inducted into the Kansas City Aviation Hall of Fame, 'tells how . . . dreamers and doers in Kansas City successfully established a leadership position both for themselves and for the area, and how they not only made a significant contribution to the developing aviation industry in Kansas City but also in the nation and in the world during the first half of the [twentieth] century.'

Westward the Immigrants: Italian Adventurers and Colonists in an Expanding America
By Andrew Rolle
(Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1999. xxxiv + 391 pages, paper $24.95.)

First published in 1968 as The Immigrants Upraised, Andrew Rolle's seminal work was the first to systematically study the experiences of one nationality west of the Mississippi River-included are a number of references to Italians in Kansas-and it remains an important book for historians and students of immigration, ethnicity, and the American West. In the foreword to the first edition, historian Ray Allen Billington called Rolle's study "a book that significantly alters the interpretation of past events" and "demonstrates for the first time that the western environment could escalate the foreign- no less than the native-born."

Images of America: Osborne County, Kansas
By Von Rothenberger
(Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 1999. 128 pages, paper, $18.99.)

By using 191 captioned photographs, this brief volume seeks "to give a general pictorial overview of what the past was like" in the north central Kansas county of Osborne. "This book is not intended to give a complete detailed history of Osborne County," writes author and local historian Von Rothenberger, "but rather to present visual scenes that will often instruct the reader on the county's history far better than a thousand pages of text ." Here are numerous street scenes from the 1870s to 1924, businesses and special buildings, people and homes, schools and churches, and depictions of rural life and recreational activities.

From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City
By Pat O'Neill
(Kansas City, Mo.: Seat O' Pants Publishing, 2000. xii + 244 pages, paper, $25.95).

This is an "informal" history of Kansas City's "Irish Catholic immigrants and their children." Other Irish people contributed as well, writes author Pat O'Neill, a fifth-generation Kansas Citian, "but it was immigrant Irish Catholics who had the greatest collective impact on the city, its politics, its neighborhoods and its sense of identity." O'Neill covers that influence in interesting fashion, beginning with Father Bernard Donnelly, who came to Chouteau's Landing at the mouth of the Kaw in 1845, through several generations of Pendergasts to the city's more recent Irish American leaders and personalities.

Consolidated Ethnic History of Wyandotte County
By Loren L. Taylor
(Kansas City: The Kansas City, Kansas, Ethnic Council, Inc., 2000. iv + 832 pages, paper $26.00.)

This large, generously illustrated volume includes a lengthy introductory essay followed by chapters covering nineteen different ethnic groups from Wyandotte County's African American community to its Welsh population. There are no notes or bibliography, which limit the volume's value for research purposes, but it contains references to many notable Kansans, appendixes listing early mayors and cumulative census data, and a rather complete index.