We’re bringing back “Share Your Story” mini-events to the Going Home exhibit

smaller-story-storeYou and a friend are invited to Share Your Story with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies Sunday, December 18; Saturday, December 31; Saturday, January 7; or Sunday, January 8.

Sign up for a 45-minute “interview.” Each designated “Share Your Story” day will include four interview options beginning each hour from 1 pm to 4 pm. Call 785.587.2784 to register or sign-up when you arrive at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, 315 South 3rd Street, Manhattan, Kansas.

Going Home exhibit curator, Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, will be available to help start and keep the conversation going. Your interview will be recorded on the StoryCorps “StoryCorps.Me” application and made available to the Library of Congress archives!

Explore the Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ “Going Home” featured exhibit at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. You have until January 8, 2017, to discover – and record your own – Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills.

Visit the Chapman Center for Rural Studies on YouTube for more video trailers, student-crafted multi-media projects, and discussions of rural Kansas history.

Explore hidden places of the Flint Hills and their stories! You’ll also be invited to tell us all about what ‘Going Home’ means to you. 

 

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Adams Peak Cemetery: Adventure in History

Lost Kansas Communities Students and Gravestones

Blog by Mallory Harrell, CCRS Fall 2016 Intern

In September, Dr. MJ Morgan, her Lost Kansas Communities class, and other interested visitors participated in a field trip to the Adams Peak cemetery located in western Pottawatomie County. The cemetery had once been a part of the town of the same name, now long gone. Dr. Morgan’s purpose of the trip was to give students opportunity to learn about the process of deciphering and drawing information from head stones which are often rich sources of historical research.

Adams Peak lies within the Shannon Township of Pottawatomie County. It was named for the small hill that was reportedly located near the site of the community’s post office. This cemetery and the names etched upon the stones are all that remain of the town.  The gravestones yield what may seem like a Adams Peak Gravestonemodicum of information which can be absolutely vital in forming a cohesive part of the history of any town.

Using the gravestone inscriptions, students were able to construct a simple history of the toll disease took within Adams Peak town. Student research later confirmed epidemics of scarlet fever, diphtheria, and small pox in the area. This was especially supported by the tragic abundance of small children’s graves within the cemetery. In particular, one family had appeared to have lost four children to disease in a very short period. Many of these stones were very difficult to read due to their age, which resulted in many students adopting whatever position necessary to read them.

in the grass at Adams PeakFor example, the grave being examined in the photo at right, is one of the oldest in the cemetery. This student found it necessary to lie flat on his stomach to read it.

Dr. Morgan commented that this field trip marked a record for her as the 75th rural Kansas site visited and also being an opportunity to allow students from five different Chapman Center Courses to explore visible evidence of the past. According to Dr. Morgan: “This was Mark Chapman’s original vision for our Center. He wanted K-State students to learn by going out into the hidden places of Kansas, even if it meant – as with Adam’s Peak – encountering these sad stories of human struggle and loss.”

It’s no secret that history can be full of tragedy, but it’s clear that no tragedy can shake the human spirit that is constantly at work within human society throughout the ages. By learning about the sad events of yesteryear we become wiser in our endeavors for the future. It is the duty of any historical researcher to preserve those lessons taught by the past and to make sure that we continue to search for them wherever they may be.

Lillis, Kansas: In Puzzle Pieces

10122016-lillis-ksby Mallory Harrell, CCRS Fall Intern 2016

Every semester, K-State students enrolled in Dr. Morgan’s ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ class are given the responsibility and opportunity to create their own piece of historical research. This is the very research fueling a large portion of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

Among the students enrolled this semester is Mary O’Connor, and her subject? The lost town of Lillis, Kansas, a community which once flourished in southeastern Marshall County on Irish Creek, established between the years of 1856 and 1860.

O’Connor, a senior majoring in psychology, enrolled in ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ after taking a history of Kansas class over the past summer. Her interest in Kansas history grew as a result of both the class and her personal ties to Kansas. “I’m interested in the Kansas historical aspect because it’s where I’m from, and there are many stories about resilience.”

10122016-lillis-ks-blueprintMiss O’Connor also intends to offer a very personal touch to her project. She explained that her interest in researching Lillis largely stems from her own family history. “I’m mostly interested in it because it was founded by Irish Catholics and my Catholic background roots are from Nebraska. I wanted to find something similar because my family has a very similar story.”

One of the more fascinating aspects of the Lillis project involves a town plat that had been donated to the Chapman Center several years ago. It came in many pieces due to its age.

Mary has committed to piecing together the plat like a puzzle as a part of her project. “It’s cool to see that piece of history and not knowing its story, it’s like a cool mystery to put together because you can tell it has a lot of history behind it.”

Mary is also grateful to be working with another donated collection from Francis Hupp, long-time resident of Lillis.

Linda Hupp Morse offered this collection of letters, newspaper clippings, maps, and stories collected over a lifetime by her mother, Frances Hupp, of Topeka. Mary is excited for the opportunity to interview Francis Hupp about her memories of Lillis.

This emphasizes one of the most fundamental rules in studying history:  information can be found anywhere even if one may not know exactly where and how to begin looking. All it takes is a little passion and enthusiasm!

New Video Trailers: “Going Home” Exhibit, September 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “Home is the nicest word there is.”
What if your home or hometown no longer stands?

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies will host “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills,” an exhibit at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, starting September 24. You are invited to explore the histories of seven Flint Hills, Kansas, towns including: Bodarc, Broughton, Cedar Point, Chalk, Maple City, Volland, and Big John Creek Village, the Kansas home of the Kaw Nation. Kids will have a very special area dedicated to exploring how Kansas kids of the past played, learned, and more!

08042016 James Pepper Henry

An interactive map of all verified towns will help you envision how the Flint Hills population waxed and waned. Vintage photos and video will be displayed throughout the exhibit where you can explore towns and ideas like communication, travel, and recreation of Kansas’ past. Several iPad stations will be posted for more exploration of the seven featured towns.

Plan to stop at the Story Store, a place to record your memories of home throughout the exhibit. This is also where we will partner with nationally-recognized, StoryCorps, in November. “StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” We hope to add Flint Hill stories to their archive housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

This exhibition represents the work of undergraduate students working with Chapman Center for Rural Studies faculty and made possible by an estate gift from Mr. Mark Chapman. The stories, images, sounds and exhibit films were written, discovered, and created by an amazing and talented group of young scholars who care deeply about the Flint Hills. ( View more videos on our YouTube channel!)

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 24, at 10 am to the public.

Explore hidden places of the Flint Hills and their stories! You’ll also be invited to tell us all about what ‘Going Home’ means to you. 

Visit the Chapman Center for Rural Studies on YouTube for more video trailers, student-crafted multi-media projects, and discussions of rural Kansas history.

Chapman Center Intern and 2016 Graduate, Anthony Porter, Leaves Written Legacy

Anthony Porter Spring 2016 webby Dr. MJ Morgan, Research Director, Chapman Center for Rural Studies

Chapman Center for Rural Studies intern, Anthony Porter, a 2016 K-State graduate, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history, left a written legacy of his time with us. Anthony’s study of the vanished community of Magic, Riley County, Kansas, appears in the May issue of Kansas Kin, published by the Riley County Genealogical Society (RCGS). “Magic: The Ultimate Vanishing Act” was an invited piece and marks the start of a fruitful collaboration between Chapman Center and RCGS.

Magic, Kansas, Schoolhouse

Magic, Kansas, Schoolhouse

We hope to offer more student work for inclusion in Kansas Kin as undergraduate researchers tackle the long-disappeared communities, villages, and trading centers of a lost Kansas landscape. Like many of our researchers, Anthony used both documentary and oral history sources, conducting interviews with Magic community descendants.

Through leads and contacts often suggested by RCGS, students learn to piece together the fascinating and sometimes quirky history of rural Kansas. Readers can also enjoy Anthony’s study of Magic in our Lost Communities Archive, at http://lostkscommunities.omeka.net/items/show/180. (Click the link, scroll down below the featured photograph, and click the printer icon on the black top bar above the pdf-copy of Anthony’s Magic paper. You can now print off and read Anthony’s paper at your leisure.) 

Coming Soon: make sure to catch Anthon’s digital museum exhibit on the Quivira Society, an early 20th century amateur archaeology club in Wabaunsee County appearing later this summer in our Kansas History and Life Collection.

Passion for History Evident in Smallpox Research

04282016 Shannon Nolan Emmalee Blog 3By Emmalee Laidacker, Intern

Every semester, students in Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class research a local history topic that interests him or her. Students then write an in-depth essay detailing the results of their semester-long research. For her project, “The End of an Old Enemy: Smallpox in Clay County from 1900-1925,” Shannon Nolan discusses the devastating effect the epidemic had on the small communities in Clay County.

Small towns were especially vulnerable to the spread of disease due to many hospitals and doctors often being poorly-equipped to treat contagious disease. Railroads had the catastrophic ability to transport disease from town to town with ease. Shannon also mentions specific cases of infection among unlucky residents in Clay County. Only two out of three people infected with smallpox survived, but the disease has since been eradicated with the last known case occurring in 1977.

Portor Morgan Clay CountyShannon is a sophomore majoring in secondary education with a focus in social studies. She chose to take the class due to her strong interest in history.

“The syllabus said we got to write our own paper and I thought that was really interesting to be able to do our own research in a field that I’m interested in. I just really like history so I thought it would be a good fit.”

Like all students, Shannon faced a number of challenges during the research process.

“I’m not from Kansas, so I didn’t have any connections to any town or area in Kansas, and so I decided, instead of focusing on a lost community, I wanted to focus on a broader topic that would make more sense to me…”

Prevention From State Board of HealthAfter doing some research, Shannon discovered that there were a high number of smallpox cases in Clay County and decided it was the topic for her. Other obstacles Shannon ran into simply included a lack of information. “There were a few years that I couldn’t find any research from so that was pretty difficult… Also, pinpointing the exact reasons why this disease was stopping.” She visited Clay County museums in order to fill in the gaps in her smallpox story.

Despite this Shannon enjoyed many parts of the research process, including sifting through original documents. “I liked looking through all the old books that we have here at the Chapman Center and seeing the doctor’s notes first-hand; I thought that was really cool.”

Shannon has always had a passion for history which is the reason she decided to incorporate her passion into teaching; it is the best of both worlds. “You get to teach but you get to teach what you love.” she said.

With her degree, Shannon plans on teaching American history abroad and then later in her career, plans on working for a non-profit organization by teaching women’s rights in developing countries.

Straight to Video: Meet our Chapman Center undergraduate researchers

Chapman Center for Rural Studies undergraduate students and researchers Make History come to life!  Check out this video/slide show of who we are, what we do and why; and where we are headed. Click here for the Spring 2016 Video (or you can click on the photo below)!

CCRS Staff Fall 2105

Wondering what new Lost Kansas Communities have been added to our online archive?
Click the photo below to find out!

Wabaunsee Cowboy

You are invited to the Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills exhibit coming to the Flint Hills Discovery Center this fall! You’ll have a chance to tell your town’s story in our “Story Store,” explore hidden histories of people and places of the Flint Hills, and discover more about what has made Kansas and the Flint Hills home to so many for so long.

Screen shot advert from open house video

You’ll also find all the Chapman Center for Rural Studies news online at www.k-state.edu/history/chapman.