Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25.....148 years ago

Take a moment out of your day and think about your life.  Do you think times are hard?  If you are reading this, then you have internet access, a way to connect with millions worldwide.  Is your husband there with you, maybe watching his favorite show on tv?   Get up for a minute and go outside.  Does anything seem out of place?  Life-altering?  Did you just wander outside, without fear? Are your neighbors peaceful?  Do you go to sleep at night without worrying about who or what might be hiding just outside?

Now I want you to imagine you are living in western Missouri and the year is 1863.  What would your life have been like?  August 25, 1863...and for a majority of the people living where I currently live, they were being forced to leave their homes by an order stating that unless they would pledge their livelihood and allegiace to the Federal army then they must leave their homes behind.  You cautiously step outside, afraid that someone might be out there to capture you, make you a prisoner of war, or worse.  It wasn't long ago that many of your  friends were captured, thrown in a makeshift jail in Kansas City, and ultimately lost their lives when that building collapsed.  You are convinced it was sabatoged.  Women and children are now casualties of the horrific scenes you have begun witnessing.  Many nights your husband isnt home, not wishing to give the Jayhawkers any clue that you are associated with this guerrilla warfare.  You step outside and the smell of smoke is overwhelming and you know you must hurry inside to gather up what few precious belongings you can take with you.  Whenever the order  is issued you prepare to leave, but not without hard feelings,you are an emotional basketcase  on the inside.  On the outside you have to be strong.  You have to let your husband know that you support the cause he's fighting for while also letting him know how much you will miss him.  You are relieved to be going for the sake of the children.  The world they are witnessing is atrocious, not to mention ther lives aren't safe either.  So you are glad to be going, for them.   The wind stirs and you  catch another whif of smoke.  Another neighbor's home going up in smoke, likely at the hands of the Jayhawkers, days before the set date that they said you must leave by.  You cringe.  Then you put on a brave front, return inside and get the children.  You carry afew things and you leave, leading one small calf..the only livestock that hasnt been stolen.  As you leave you look back...this was where you had built your home, you love the land, the house you had worked so hard to make into a home, the place where your children were born.  All that is lost in a fleeting glance over your shoulder.  You have no idea if you'll ever return, when and if this war will ever end.  You look ahead, unsure of where that is leading you too.  You are headed south and west.  You have family there.  They will help you.  And with that, you leave Cass County...and wonder, what kind of story will history tell about this horrendous day?

Now think about it.  Isn't your life good?  Remember you ancestors that, if they were in America then, saw the blood splattered fields of the every day life.  And be thankful for what you have.

For those of you non-history buffs, google Order No 11 and get a full history of the events of the border wars, remembering that history is generally written by the winners:)  And if you are really interested (or bored) I have a 45 minute living history presentation I did on this a couple years ago!

1 comment:

Tara said...

you forgot to mention how screwed you would've been because you're an