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Kansas History - Autumn 2007

(Vol. 30, No. 3)

Kansas History, Autumn 2007

Gary L. Cheatham, "'If the Union Wins, We Won't Have Anything Left': The Rise and Fall of the Southern Cherokees of Kansas."

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While scholars have said much about the tragic Trail of Tears and subsequent experiences of the "Five Civilized Tribes" in Oklahoma, little has been written about the Kansas Cherokees and their settlement of the Neutral Lands and the Chetopa area. The first Cherokees to settle on the tribe's lands in the area that would become Kansas arrived in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Historian Gary L. Cheatham, assistant professor, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, demonstrates that through continued immigration and intermarriage the number of Cherokees in the area increased and may have exceeded one thousand by the time of statehood in 1861. Predominantly Southern in their ancestry, these Cherokees mostly supported the Confederacy and suffered much at the hands of Union men during and after the Civil War. Many Kansas Cherokees were exiled from their homes, and the Union army burned the town of Chetopa. Although some Kansas Cherokees returned home to rebuild at war's end, their plans for starting over were altered when the tribe ceded its Kansas lands in 1866. Within a couple years most of the remaining Kansas Cherokees had relocated to Indian Territory.

Deborah C. Kidwell, "'Lest We Forget': Building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the University of Kansas."

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In the wake of the successful campaign to erect a Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 1982, veterans and student activists at the University of Kansas (KU) formed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee for the purpose of accomplishing the same objective on the Lawrence campus. Similar efforts four years earlier had failed to gain widespread support, explains Deborah C. Kidwell, assistant professor, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1983, however, the timing was right; and the success of the new "initiative suggested a profound change in the popular image of the Vietnamese conflict and its veterans." Political polarization and activism characterized the KU campus during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but within a decade students, faculty, and administrators were ready to memorialize the war dead. The KU memorial's "'wall' with names of the fallen, the flag, and the relief sculpture depicting a combat-zone grave marker were widely accepted compromise that honored soldiers without making a specific statement about the war." Vietnam memorials such as the one in Lawrence, Professor Kidwell argues, "did not assign meaning to the war, rather they honored the fallen and the veterans' service." Many such post-1982 memorials "communicated an ambiguous message that spoke to each observer on an individual level."

Peter Fearon, "Kansas History and the New Deal Era. Review Essay."

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Love it or hate it, the New Deal marked a major turning point in American history, and as a result New Deal historiography is exceptionally rich and controversial. Although most of the scholarship focuses on the national level, and "knowledge of national policy is essential for an understanding of the New Deal's aims and its philosophy, the multitude of programs that began life in Washington could only operate with the close cooperation of state and local officials." A review essay focusing on the New Deal in Kansas is vital for an understanding of our state's twentieth-century history. Who better to execute this task for the journal's review essay series than Peter Fearon, professor of American economic history at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, who has written extensively on this subject and just recently published Kansas in the Great Depression: Work Relief, the Dole, and Rehabilitation (University of Missouri Press, 2007). "The changing relationship between the central government, the states, and the localities during the depression decade is a fascinating area of study which, unfortunately, has attracted the attention of too few scholars," observes Professor Fearon. "Regional studies provide an essential insight into the complexities of local reaction to crises."


True Tales of the Prairies and Plains
by David Dary
xvi + 248 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007, cloth $24.95.
Reviewed by Raymond D. Screws, Department of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Cowtown Wichita and the Wild, Wicked West
by Stan Hoig
xvi + 210 pages, photographs, notes, bibliography, index.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007, paper $19.95.
Reviewed by Jay M. Price, associate professor of history, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas.

The Rise and Fall of Indian Country, 1825-1855
by William E. Unrau
xiv + 201 pages, maps, tables, bibliography, index.
Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2007, cloth $29.95.
Reviewed by Tony R. Mullis, associate professor of criminal justice and security studies at Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio.

The Border Between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line
by Jeremy Neely
xx + 305 pages, maps, appendixes, notes, bibliography, index.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Kristen K. Epps, PhD. candidate in history, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Conceiving the Future: Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938
by Laura L. Lovett
xi + 236 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, Series on Gender and American Culture, 2007, paper $19.95.
Reviewed by Rebecca Edwards, Eloise Ellery Professor of History, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864-1898
compiled and edited by Jerome A. Greene
xliv + 388 pages, photographs, maps, notes, index.
New York: Savas Beatie, 2007, cloth $45.00.
Reviewed by Jack W. Traylor, professor of history, Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee.

Marching with the First Nebraska: A Civil War Diary
by August Scherneckau, edited by James E. Potter and Edith Robbins, and translated by Edith Robbins
xxxii + 335 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by Ben Wynne, assistant professor of history, Gainesville State College, Gainesville, Georgia.

Book Notes

Other Noted Guerrillas of the Civil War in Missouri. By Larry Wood. (Joplin, Mo.: Hickory Press, 2007, 304 pages, paper $19.95.)

Although much has been written on Civil War guerrillas in Missouri, the majority of this material has focused on the Confederate leader William Quantrill, his infamous raid, and his close associates. In Other Noted Guerrillas (a title borrowed and adapted from John N. Edwards 1877 romantic account of Quantrill's bushwhacking, Noted Guerrillas) Larry Wood chronicles the lives of lesser known, but still influential, Missouri guerrillas. Wood bases his retellings on newspapers accounts, military service records, war files, and trial transcripts, among other sources. He provides a concluding chapter in which he makes a few critical observations about the Missouri guerillas, most notably that the stories of such men have been used historically to register pro-Union and pro-Confederate arguments. Wood himself attempts a more balanced examination, seeking "merely to tell their story, whether it casts them in a good light or bad."

100 Common Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie. By Susan Lamb. (Tucson: Western National Parks Association, 2007, 64 pages, paper $9.95.)

"Like the sea," Susan Lamb begins, "the prairie is more sky than planet. Yet it teems with life" (pp. 1-2). In her exploration of the flora of the tallgrass prairie-from Canada to Texas, Nebraska to Indiana-Lamb provides readers with the scientific and common names, families, and approximate bloom times of one hundred wildflowers and grasses. Each plant is well photographed, which makes not only for a beautiful book, but also for easy identification of flowers in the field (though the book's grouping of flowers according to color of bloom may hinder identification of single varieties that range in color). Additionally, Lamb includes brief discussions of matters such as climate and flower anatomy. Lamb's book is an easily portable, yet thorough, introduction to the tallgrass prairie, "a child of the last Ice Age, youthful and still evolving" (p. 3).

American Windmills: An Album of Historic Photographs. By T. Lindsay Baker. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, xi + 168 pages, cloth $34.95.)

As this anthology amply demonstrates, over the past thirty years T. Lindsay Baker's search for historic windmill pictures has been "unstoppable." From his personal collection of over two thousand photographs the author has selected nearly two hundred images of these "machines that were familiar and almost ever-present throughout rural America" (p. ix). This America, and more specifically its Great Plains, is the primary focus of Baker's book. Many of the images included are from the hand of Nebraska photographer Solomon D. Butcher, who used windmills as landscape elements in his photographs from the 1880s and 1890s. His subjects often wished to have their windmills included in family photographs "because wells and windmills were among their most expensive improvements to [their] land" (p. 21). In gathering these photos Baker compiles a history of those who used them, providing readers a glimpse into the everyday lives of a broad range of Americans.

Gall: Lakota War Chief. By Robert W. Larson. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, xvi + 320 pages, cloth $24.95.)

In this volume Robert W. Larson undertakes the first scholarly biography of Gall (1840-1894), the Hunkpapa warrior mentored by Sitting Bull and joined with him in the fight against the U.S. government's efforts to annex the Black Hills. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which he is said to have killed Custer, Gall eventually broke with Sitting Bull over the question of surrender. Once settled on the Standing Rock Reservation his disposition changed and where he once fought against the white man's way of life he now assimilated to it, working as a farming instructor and judge on the Court of Indian Offenses. Believing that assimilation was inevitable, Gall worked to reconcile his culture with that of his former enemies. In his study of this complex man, Larson navigates the sometimes-contradictory primary and secondary sources on his subject, charting a new portrait of this important Lakota chief.

Rock Island Line in Focus: The Railroad Photographs (1898-1925) of Jules A. Bourquin. By I. E. Quastler. (Dallas: DeGolyer Library; Coronado, Calif.: R&I Publishing, 2007, 160 pages, paper $29.95.)

Jules A. Bourquin (ca. 1878-1964), a self-taught, amateur photographer, took "well over 21,000 exposures" (p. 12) in his lifetime. Given that number, the fraction of his collection that captured scenes of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway near his hometown of Horton, Kansas, from 1898 through 1925 still makes up an impressive number of images. In this compilation of images depicting the life of one Kansas town through the lens of its railroad, I. E. Quastler utilizes collections of Bourquin's photographs at the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and the Spenser Research Library at the University of Kansas, continuing the story begun in his Prairie Railroad Town: The Rock Island Railroad Shops at Horton, Kansas, 1887-1946.

Native American Placenames of the United States. By William Bright. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, xviii+ 608 pages, paper $29.95.)

New in paperback, this "dictionary of the origins of US placenames, used in English, which have American Indian origins or associations" (p. 3) is the product of linguist William Bright, a team of twelve editorial consultants, and many other contributors. The first such dictionary to cover the entire United States, it contains the etymologies of eleven thousand placenames. Many of these names, of course, are familiar to Kansans, such as Potawatomi, traditionally defined as "people of the place of the fire" (p. 395), Wabaunsee, said to mean "dawn of day" (p. 537), and Kansas, "derived from the name of an Indian group, also called the Kaw" (p. 202). This volume also contains a concise pronunciation guide and a helpful introduction to its methods.