Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Historian to give tour of John Brown’s trail

May 25, 2006

Noted historian Brenda Day, curator of Baker University's Old Castle Museum as well as a board member of the Friends of the Battle of Black Jack, will lead the motor coach tour of John Brown's trail starting at 1:30 p.m. June 3.

Cost is $10 for the three-hour tour, which has a limit of 50 people.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance from the Lawrence CVB, Mid-America Bank or a Black Jack Board Trustee member. The coach leaves at 1:30 p.m. June 3 from Parmenter Hall at Baker University.

Day has studied the area for 40 years and knows the stories and country like the back of her hand.

"I think it's the greatest tour there is," said Day, who also lives in Lane, where the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre occurred, which spurred the Battle of Black Jack. "I've got them for only three hours. I try to tailor it to their desires."

If those desires are all the history of the area, Day can deliver it. Stops along the tour include her hometown and the site of the massacre; Osawatomie, which was home to John Brown; and Greeley, where August Bondi, another key player in events, lived.

But, there is plenty of history in between.

"I am so lucky to be able to live here and do what I do," she said. "The tour could last two hours or two days. It depends on a person's time and interest level."

Day knows the details of the massacre; likewise the Battle of Osawatomie; and the Greeley leg of the tour includes some information that is telling of the time. Many of the residents suffered from ague, or malarial fever, because of the mosquitoes from the many creeks in the area.

"August Bondi's account of his struggle with ague is priceless, as is Hannah Ropes' tale of wallpapering a cabin with newspaper while in the throes of ague," Day said. "She sought refuge in Lawrence. She thought she might need help, she wrote. All I can say is, 'Ya think?'"

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