Wiley, David A.,--Serg., Co. F, 30th Iowa Inf., Galena, Kan.
Williford, W. A.,--Priv., Co. K, 55th Ill. Inf., Galcna, Kan.
Walker, John,--Corp., Co. K, 10th Ill. Inf., Waco, Mo.
Witherell, Theo.,--Priv., Co. E, 11th Ill. Cav., Opolis, Kan.
Wylie, Calvin,--Priv., Co. C, 57th Mo. Inf., Scammon, Kan.
Wooten, J. J.,--Priv., Co. A, 81st Ill. Inf., Scammon, Kan.
West, James,--Priv., Co. G, 112th Ill. Inf., Weir, Kan.
Wallace, John,--Priv., Co. C, 2d Ill. Inf., Scammon, Kan.
Wooten, Edward,--Priv., Co. C, 51st Mo. Inf., Scammon, Kan.
Wade, Alexander,--Priv., Co. G, 36th Ill. Inf., Scammon, Ran.
Wilcox, J. D.,--Priv., Co. C, 155th Ill. Inf., Starvale, Kan.
West, E. F.,--Corp., Co. B, 62d Ill. Inf., Sherman, Kan.
Wallace, John M.,--Corp., Co. D, 118th Ohio Inf., Columbus, Kan.
West, J.,--Priv., Co. E, 94th Ill. Inf., McCune, Kan.
Walker, W. H.,--Priv., Co. A, 43d Ind. Inf., Oswego, Kan.
Watson, Dennis,--Priv., Co. C, 11th Ill. Inf., Hallowell, Kan.
Williams, Jas. M.,--Priv., Co. I, 41st Ohio Inf., Hallowell, Kan.
Westervelt, Louis R.,--Priv., Co. B, 14th Iowa Inf., Starvale, Kan.
Worthen, Peter,--Priv., Co. H, 6th Colo. Inf., Sherman, Kan.
Walke, William,--Priv., Co. K, 96th Ohio Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Walton, Henry,--Artificer, Co. H, 1st U. S. Engineers, Hallowell, Kan.
Wall, Solomon,--Priv., Co. E, 69th Ohio Inf., Crestline, Kan.
Wiggins, H.,--Priv., Co. A, 102d Ohio Inf., Crestline, Kan.
Wells, E. C.,--Corp., Co. G, 54th Ill. Inf., Crestline, Kan.
Watson, Charles,--Corp., Co. C, 6th Kans. Cav., Messer, Kan.
Williams, Clinton,--Corp., Co. H, 154th Ohio Inf., Crestline, Kan.
Williams, Lane,--Corp., Co. M, 11th Mo. Cav., Smithville, Mo.
White, Nathan G.,--Corp., Co. K, 156th Ill. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Warner, Samuel S.,--Corp., Co. G, 203d Penn. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Weaver, Joshua,--Corp., Co. D, 38th Ill. Inf., Crestline, Kan.
Williams, Edward,--Corp., Co. I, 21st Ill. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Word, John,--Corp., Co. G, 76th Penn. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wallace, G. W.,--Priv., Co. H, 4th Mo. Cav., Baxetr[sic] Springs, Kan.
Wagoner, J. J.,--Priv., Co. H, 106th Ill. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wallaver, W. H.,--Priv., C o. I, 45th Mo. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wile, W. H.,--Priv., Co. H, 3d Penn. Res. Co., Galena, Kan.
Williams, Jas. F.,--Priv., Co. C, 2d Wis. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wright, Andrew,--Priv., Co. F, 11th U. S. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Wenzel, William,--Priv., Co. D, 47th Mo. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Whiton, William,--Priv., Co. H, 25th Mo. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Wallace, Joseph,--Corp., Co. D, 18th Ohio Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wahl, Lewis,--Priv., Co. I, 35th Ohio Inf., Keelville, Kan.
Winkleman, Fred,--Serg., Co. I, 2d Mo. Inf., Keelville, Kan.
Wright, L. M.,--1st Lt., Co. A, 2d Ohio Militia, Baxter Springs, Kan.
Wilbur, L. C.,--Corp., Co. B, 143d Penn. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Webber, Jacob,--Priv., Co. A, 3d U. S. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Wasson, John R.,--Priv., Mo. Independent, Melrose, Kan.
Waymire, N.,--Corp., Co. K, 48th Ind. Inf., Melrose, Kan.
Wiley, B. J.,--Priv., Co. F, 2d Ill. Lt. Art., Melrose, Kan.
Wax, Samuel,--Priv., Co. G, 38th Ill. Inf., Chetopa, Kan.
West, I. P.,--Priv., Co. D, 148th Ill. Inf., Kansas City, Kan.
Willis, R. M.,--Priv., Co. I, 102d Ill. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Woolsey, P. H.,--Serg., Co. D, 46th Ill. Inf. (dead.)
Walbert, Jonathan,--Priv., Co. D, 25th Mich. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Wilson, W. H., Priv., Co. D, 21st Kan. Mt. Inf. (dead.)
Weir, H. P.,--Musician, Co. B, 42d Ill. Inf., Weir, Kan.
Wagoner, James,--Priv., Co. K, 138th Ill. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Winter, D.,--Serg., Co. I, Ohio Militia, Columbus, Kan.
Whitcraft, John,--Priv., Co. D, 35th Iowa Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Wells, James H.,--Priv., Co. A, 103 Ill. Inf., Columbus. Kan.
Williams, Samuel,--Priv., Co. C, 40th Tenn. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Wilson, T. J.,--Corp., Co. M, 2d Iowa Cav., Columbus, Kan.
Wiilard, A.,--Priv Co. C, 6th Kans. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Weaver, T. C.,--1st Lt., 53d Ill. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Walker, Henry S.,--Priv., Co. G, 6th Ind. Cav., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Whipple, E. R.,--Musician, 20th Ill. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Woostern, I.,--Priv Co. M, 2d Kans. Cav., Empire City, Kan.
Winters, Solomon L.,--Serg., Co. I, 56th Mass. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Webb, Thomas,--Kansas Militia, Empire City, Kan.
Williams, E. M.,--Corp., Co. A, 6th Mo. Cav., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Warren, E. T.,--Serg., Co. G, 18th Conn. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Walker, W. A.,--Surg., Co. L, 5th Mo. Cav., Galena, Kan.
Warren, L. A.,--Ist Lt., Co. G, 19th Ky. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Wasson, J. A.,--Priv., Co. G, 15th Iowa Inf., Galena, Kan.
Williams, Thomas,--Serg., Co. E, 10th Mo. Militia, Baxter Springs, Kan.
Willabee, John,--Priv., Co. D, 94th Ill. Inf., Baxter Springs, Kan.
Williams, H. C.,--Priv., Co. C, 92d Ill. Inf., Galena, Kan.
Webb, Geo. W.,--Capt., Co. A, 38th Ind. Inf.,
Weldy, L. C.,--Priv., Co. F, 83d Ohio Inf., Galena, Kan.
Zimmerman, J. J.,--Priv., Co. B, 111th Ill. Inf., Columbus, Kan.
Zook, Thomas,--Serg., Co. B, 15th Kans. Cav., Columbus, Kan.
Zimmerman, J. T.,--Priv., Co. H, 187 Ill. Inf., Sherwin, Kan.
Held annually at Baxter Springs, Kansas; is perhaps the greatest soldiers' reunion in the world. It has become such wholly without public aid of any kind. The enthusiasm which gave rise to it, and which has since sustained it, came itself out of the spirit of the "Border War" back in the late "fifties," and which extended to, and became a part of, the great Civil War, which had its outbreak in 186I. While the reunion had its rise under the control of men who, for the most part, were from other States, and did not participate in the ante-bellum struggles on the "Border," it is not wide of the truth to say that no State but Kansas could foster and sustain so great an annual soldiers' reunion. The incident which, more than all other incidents, gave rise to the reunion is that of the massacre of General Blunt's body-guard, by Quantrell, guerrilla chief of the "troublous times," on the side of the South. In the chapter of this volume devoted to the history of Baxter Springs an account of the massacre is given.
Charles W. Daniels, of Baxter Springs, one of the men who have been in control of the reunion since the first, and who is yet as enthusiastic as ever has written me a letter which gives an account of the inception of the reunion and an outline of what it has grown to be; and to me it seems proper that the letter shall be given here, in full, in his own language, which those who know him will quickly recognize. It follows:
"In October, 1863, Quantrell, the famous guerrilla, made an attack on the garrison in the fort at Baxter Springs then a small, half-way station, between Fort Scott and Fort Gibson. He was repulsed with some loss; but he was preparing for another attack, when he was informed that a small detachment of Union soldiers were on their way from Fort Scott, and would soon arrive at the fort. He then deployed his men in such a way as to form an ambuscade just north of the famous chalybeate springs and succeeded in almost completely surrounding the union force before they were aware of his presence. The Union soldiers surrendered, without firing a gun.
"The detachment was acting as a body guard to General Blunt, and it consisted of two companies of the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, some detached horsemen and a brass brand. The General and a few of the soldiers escaped; but about one hundred and sixty, who surrendered, were lined up and shot down, in cold blood. It was one of the most fiendish, brutal and uncalled-for massacres of the war.
"About the year 1883, twenty years after the massacre, the government had all the bodies of the murdered men that could be found taken up and transferred to a military lot in the Baxter Springs Cemetery. A magnificent monument was erected on the lot, and the American flag now floats over the sacred remains of our fallen comrades. In this same year a few of the Union soldiers concluded to hold a reunion on the old battle-field. Some of these men are alive to-day and are still in control of the big reunion at Baxter Springs; but J. R. Hallowell, R. P. McGregor, J. P. Hartley, L. C. Weldy. and others, have passed away. Among those living are John M. Cooper, J. J. Fribley, C. W. Daniels, F. D. W. Arnold and S. O. McDowell.
"The first reunion was held in the north part of the city of Baxter Springs, where our martyred comrades fell; and it was a real hot one. It was all blue. There was no comming-ling of 'the blue and gray' on that old battleground. The attendance was quite liberal, and the enthusiasm and the effervescent loyalty was immense. The sham battle was a particularly noted feature, with quite a number of casualties; but the sortie at night was terrific. Soldiers seemed to forget that the war was over, or that Kansas might be a loyal State. Raids were made on the peaceful citizens, by squads and details; chicken houses and pig pens were assa ulted; gardens were bombarded; cows were milked; drug stores were ravished; mules dared not bray, and pigs ceased to squeal: two 'blind tigers' were raided and demolished. and no rooster attempted to crow in Baxter Springs for more than a month. In fact, it was sure enough war times in old Baxter Springs. The entire night was made hideous with jay-bird bands, tom-toms, hew-gags, and other musical instruments of warfare, accompanied by war songs war whoops and rebel yells.
"This first reunion proving such an eminent success, it was decided to hold another the next year; and this also proving satisfactory, they have been held annually ever since that time, until they have grown to be the monster gatherings we now behold, where, annually, at least fifty thousand people gather around the fires of Camp Logan, to listen to the war stories, music, songs and speeches of the men who made things hot for the 'Solid South' in the days of 1861-65.
"In 1890 a charter was obtained, a stock company of old soldiers formed, officers elected, grounds purchased and buildings erected. As the institution continued to grow, more land was required, and in 1899 one hundred acres were bought, on the banks of Spring River, just south of Baxter Springs. It is a most magnificent grove of forest trees, hills, hollows, springs, brooks and everything to make an ideal camping ground. In this new park The Inter-State Reunion Association has erected a new and commodious amphitheater; they have cleared and beautified the grounds, made roads, built a fine system of water works, purchased an elegant electric launch and induced the St. Louis San Francisco Railway Company to build a track two miles long, into the grounds, so that passengers may be landed right in the center of the camp.
"There are no meetings in the West, of any kind, that approach the Baxter Springs reunions, in point of numbers, enthusiasm or perfect enjoyment. Thousands of people, citizens as well as soldiers. come every year, with their families, and spend a whole week, tenting on the old camp ground. The association provides soldiers and war widows with tents, wood, straw and water, all free. They have shady groves for citizens private tents, and more than eighty acres for parking teams. They provide the best of instrumental and vocal music, glee clubs and orators that the country affords.
"In order to attract and entertain this vast crowd of visitors, there are a half a mile of sideshows, restaurants, fakers, peanut roasters, juice racks, hot tamales, cider mills, lunch joints, Jew stores, cigar spindles, shooting galleries, knife racks, red lemonade, fortune tellers, faith healers, witch doctors, and a thousand other interesting, instructive and amusing features to please the old and the young. Then there is Red Hot street, with its many varied and unique devices, leading up to the show grounds, and the celebrated Midway, or 'Pike,' where may be found twenty or thirty shows, museums, exhibitions, vaudevilles and spectacular sensations. Here we have the Ferris Wheel, the Grand Carousal, the Loop-the-Loop, the Shoot-the-Chutes, the Scenic Railway, the Electric Fountain, the Slide-for-Life, the High-Dive and many other thrilling and astounding devices of the Twentieth Century. Every year new and attractive features, and better accommodations for the Old Boys in Blue, are added, so that all may be assured of a full measure of enjoyment and comfort.
"Nearly all of the old officers of the association who are living are still in control; but the active management has been, to a great extent, relegated to some of the younger men, or Sons of Veterans, who will gradually but surely replace the old veterans. Whose terms of service will soon expire. The following is the list of the present officers: President, John M. Cooper; 1st vice-president, J. J. Fribley; 2nd vice-president, J. M. McNay; secretary, C. W Daniels; treasurer, J. J. Fribley; platform, A. C. Hillegoss; re ception, J. M. McNay; general manager, C. E. Collins; license agent, Charles L. Smith."
A more lovely or a more suitable site for great gatherings could not be found anywhere in all the country than the Inter-State Reunion grounds near Baxter Springs, Kansas. The immediate site of the grounds where the pavilion is located is upon a high bluff overlooking Spring River and a broad valley beyond. Between the bluff and the river there is a narrow lowland covered with stately elms and other forest trees beneath which there is a sward of bluegrass and white clover running down to the edge of the stream. The view of the landscape, from the bluff, looking toward the east and northeast for many miles, is of a beauty rarely equaled, and in some respects never excelled. The whole valley is checked out in farm plats, and here and there are the comfortable homes of thrifty, contented families whose industry and tasteful care have given to the whole an attractiveness which always delights and never tires the beholder. On the 20th of July, 1904, Preston Daniels, a brother of C. W. Daniels, secretary of The Inter-State Reunion Association, took me over the associations grounds and pointed out the natural beauties which make up their attractiveness. A great deal of work has been done in clearing out the undergrowth and opening longer vistas along the little valleys and up and down the sloping hills, and much yet remains to be done; but under the skillful direction of the association's managers nothing is being left undone that will add comfort and delight to the thousands of people who annually gather there. In years to come it will most surely be one of the most popular resorts in the great Southwest; for to its natural beauty will be added what art can do. The water power of Spring River, turned into electric energy, will be a big factor in the work. An electric road is soon to be built, a thorough system of lighting the grounds will be put in and numerous electric launches will be provided.
It is a part of the program at the annual meetings of the reunion to have the best speakers that can be obtained, many of them being men of wide reputation. In former years the reunion has been addressed by J. R. Hallowell, George T. Anthony, D. R. Anthony, Governor Humphrey, Governor Bailey, Governor Stanley, Governor Glick, J. K. Cubbison, T. B. Dawes, John J. Ingalls, Bishop W. Perkins, Senator Plumb, Chester I. Long, Senator Lucian Baker, Webster Davis, Henry Watterson, Col. R. W. Blue, Charles Curlis, A. M. Jackson, P. P. Campbell, Thomas Moonlight, Mary Ellen Lease, Bernard Kelly, General Prentiss, Judge Glasse, Judge Madison and Charles Scott.
The part which the ex-Union soldier, more than any one else, will take in the development and permanent establishment of the resort, will grow less as the years go on; but to him is due the credit for the effort which marked the inception of the undertaking, and which, up to the present, has given it a direction and growth portentious of greater things. He may be outnumbered in the vast throngs which annually come to spend a few days amidst the delightful surroundings which Nature and Art have provided; but the influence which he has exerted in laying the foundation, and in making possible the great superstructure yet to be builded, can never be eliminated and counted as naught, even by those who look upon it from a viewpoint far in the future. The boom of the cannon may cease, the sound of the fife and drum may die away and the stories of heroism and valor may pass into history, to be read and not told; but the effects of what men have done, in the feverish hour of strife, in the battle struggles of the nation, and what they have done toward commemorating the events which have marked the nation's course, can never cease to be of interest to the coming generations, though they can never gather it only from the lifeless page of cold, historic facts.
Go to Chapter 17
Go to table of contents
Go to 1904 index