A presentation on an archaeological discovery at the site of a local Civil War battle will be offered at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Corley Auditorium at Missouri Southern.
Chris Dukes, a 2013 graduate of Missouri Southern, will present “Unearthing the Past – The Discovery at Sherwood/Rader Farm Civil War Park.” Four area authors and historians will participate in a roundtable discussion following the program.
During two days in May of 1863, the severe brutality of the Civil War became painfully real to the soldiers and residents of western Jasper County. Members of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Kansas Volunteer Artillery Battery came under attack by 70 men led by Confederate guerrilla leader Thomas Livingston.
Eighteen soldiers were killed in the attack. The following day, Union reinforcements burned the farm and along with the village of Sherwood and other nearby communities.
“Western Jasper County was ripped apart,” said Brad Belk, director of the Joplin Museum Complex and president of the Sherwood/Rader Farm Civil War Park Inc. “It became a microcosm of what was going on during a horrible time in our history.”
Dukes will discuss in detail his findings at the site during research for his master’s thesis. The following discussion will feature a roundtable that includes Steve Cottrell, Steve Weldon, Roland Diggs Sr. and Larry Wood, who delve deeper into the significance of the events that took place there.
“Chris hit the jackpot with these 57 artifacts he found at the site. It’s a game changer for us because it gives greater significance to this property.”
The five acres of land, located at the northeast corner of Peace Church and Fountain roads, are now owned by Jasper County.
Co-sponsors for the event are the Southwest Archaeological Society and Missouri Southern’s Social Science Department.
“It’s always a proud moment for Missouri Southern when we can welcome back students to discuss their accomplishments and life after graduation,” said Dr. Paul Teverow, professor of history. “The Social Science Department is co-sponsoring this program because we think that many people in the campus and local community will be interested in the discovery of new evidence about an important episode in local history.”
KGCS-TV, the campus television station, will record the program for broadcast at a later date.