On April 6, Research Director M.J. Morgan gave a Kansas Speaker’s Bureau talk (Kansas Humanities Council) on the culture of early settlers and food production to a historical museum in Fredonia, Wilson County. Wilson County is threaded with the streams and creeks of three major river watersheds: the Neosho, the Verdigris, and the Fall Rivers. In 1880, the area had over 12 working grist and merchant mills, built predominantly by settlers from Indiana and New York.
One left standing on the Fall River below Fredonia is still beautiful, despite age and wear.
The Old Iron Club is vitalized through volunteer efforts of community members who celebrate the diverse heritage of their southeastern county. Leanne Githens, Secretary-Treasurer of The Old Iron Club, explains,
“In the fall, the Iron Club holds the Wilson County Old Iron Days for 4 days and we are host to around 2,000 school children from southeast Kansas. The children visit about 30 exhibits and working demonstrations of rural ways of the past, both farming and domestic arts. We love doing it and teaching children, and our response is very positive. As an organization, we are committed to finding ways to preserve the knowledge of the past and how things work.”
For more information about the Wilson County Old Iron Days, go to their website: http://www.oldironclub.org/Wilson_County_Old_Iron_Club/Home.html.
Chapman Center is proud to have contributed to this striking effort to preserve the history of Kansas!