The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 18, 2013

Civil War committee honors sacrifice of soldiers ambushed at Rader Farm

JOPLIN, Mo. — Dozens of local residents gathered Saturday at the Rader Farm on the 150th anniversary of the massacre of 15 soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and three white soldiers from the 2nd Kansas Volunteer Artillery Battery by guerrilla Confederate forces.

Located near the intersection of Peace Church and Fountain Roads outside of Joplin, the five acres of land where the skirmish took place was purchased by the Jasper County Commission in 2009. Since then, members of the Sherwood-Rader Farm Jasper County Civil War Park Committee have worked toward establishing a living history homestead that will recognize the role that Jasper County played during the war. Committee member Steve Weldon said that Saturday’s event, which included a walk through of the nearby field by reenactors, helped draw attention to the importance of the site and the committee’s fundraising efforts.

“We were at the edge of the frontier here and this place played a pivotal role in how events unfolded,” Weldon said. “When the soldiers came out, I wanted people to see what they saw. Eventually, we want to be able to tell the whole region’s story that way.”

The committee has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the project, which will include a replication of the Rader farmhouse, a primitive cabin and a split-rail fence around the property.

On May 18, 1863, 25 black soldiers of the 1st Kansas and 22 white soldiers with the 2nd Kansas arrived at Rader’s farmhouse. The black soldiers had put their weapons aside to secure supplies from the location. Seventy of Confederate guerrilla leader Thomas Livingston’s men descended upon the farm, surprising the Union soldiers. Most of the white soldiers quickly took off on horseback, leaving many of the black soldiers to a harsh fate. Reading from a first-person account from Union soldier Hugh L. Thompson, Missouri Southern State University professor Jim Lile summed up the 10-minute battle in five words during Saturday’s ceremony.

“We rode into an ambush,” Lile said as he read from the account.

Retired MSSU professor Virginia Laas also spoke Saturday on the importance of the site’s role in shaping regional history during the Civil War.

“We had to evaluate what freedom, equality and citizenship meant to our country and our commitment to the republic,” Laas said during her remarks. “What happened in our county mirrored what happened nationally. We saw armed civilians acting independently of organized government. We saw civilians in Jasper County supporting different sides. The war was in our backyard.”

Laas also spoke on the importance of the African-American soldiers, many of whom were former slaves, in fighting the war.

“It wasn’t just the end of slavery that they were fighting for, but it was their guarantee of citizenship,” Laas said. “Some 180,000 black men fought to secure their freedom, including the men that died here.”

Members of the Supply 203rd National Guard unit in Joplin placed a wreath in the field to commemorate the military sacrifice that was made. For Spc. Gregory Coopwood, the Kansas infantry’s sacrifice had extra importance.

“As an African-American soldier, their sacrifice meant a lot and it made me feel honored to be a part of today,” Coopwood said. “There are so many untold stories about what happened in the war, but a day like today helps tell that story. I want to see that story keep going.”

Funding

Thus far, money toward the Rader Farm project has been a $25,000 donation by Ed and Allison Hershewe, used to buy the tract of land, and $7,500 set aside by Jasper County for incidental expenses in the project’s development.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage Council reorganizes

    The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in as Ward 2 councilman on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nevada City Attorney chosen to advise Neosho Ethics Board

    The Neosho City Council on Monday appointed Bill McCaffree, Nevada city attorney, as special counsel to the Neosho Ethics Board. McCaffree will provide the ethics board with legal advice as it investigates an ethics complaint against council members Steve Hart and David Ruth. The vote to hire McCaffree was 3-2, with Hart and Ruth voting against the motion.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jasper County Commission approves contract for storage building expansion

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract to expand an equipment storage building at the county’s Highway Department Complex on North River Street. The commissioners accepted a bid from Matt Denney Construction Co., Carthage, to build the 3,000-square-foot addition at a cost of $62,375.

    April 22, 2014

  • Carthage School Board advances funding for building projects

    Financing for a series of building projects planned in the Carthage School District was advanced Monday by members of the Carthage School Board. The board approved a resolution authorizing the sale of $18 million in bonds to finance a series of building improvements and approved lease-purchase financing for the early childhood center currently under construction.

    April 22, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Golf tournament supports SIDS research, awareness

    There are probably a lot of reasons the Marshall Dean Keller Memorial Golf Tournament continues to grow year after year, but one of the biggest just might be the cause it supports.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014

  • Gov. Nixon raises new concern about income tax cut

    Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon raised new concerns Tuesday that a tax cut the Legislature approved could have “cataclysmic” consequences for state revenues — an assertion a Republican legislative leader dismissed as “absurd.”

    April 22, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that a tax cut approved by the Legislature could have a “cataclysmic” effect on state revenues to the tune of $4.8 billion. House Majority Leader John Diehl calls that “absurd.” Who do you believe?

A. Nixon
B. Diehl
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter