Today we explored a piece of Kansas history, taking us back to pre-Civil War days and the border wars between anti-slavery forces in Kansas and pro-slavery forces in Missouri.
The Marais des Cygnes Massacre near Trading Post, Kansas, is recognized as the bloodiest incident in the Kansas-Missouri border struggles.On May 19, 1858, approximately 30 pro-slavery Missourians captured 11 Kansas Free-State men near Trading Post and marched them to a ravine where they lined them up and shot them. Five died, five were wounded and one fell to the ground escaping injury.
John Brown, the famous Kansas abolitionist, arrived a few days later and built a two-story log fort near the ravine. He and his men occupied the fort through that summer. Later Charles C. Hadsall, a follower of Brown, bought the property and built a stone house which still stands today.Unlike the bloody ravine of 1858, the area today is home to tall trees and historical markers that tell the story of what took place. Picnic tables and grills line the road. For those who enjoy quiet walks, the gravel road offers, not only the massacre site, but also a trail through the fields, an old stone fence and Hadsall’s stone home.
If you’d like to know more about Kansas Territorial history and the Civil War, this historical site is located about forty minutes south of the Kansas City area on Hwy 52 between the Missouri state line and Hwy 69 in Kansas. Follow the Marais des Cygnes Massacre markers. Once you turn off the highway, the road winds a couple of miles through the country before you enter the site.
The new rest area at the junction of Hwy 69 and Hwy 52 offers a nice display of places to visit along the Frontier Military Scenic Byway.