Finn County Park
La Gygne, KS
Yesterday we got out and about for a while. First we went to:
The refuge and wildlife area are named for the Marias des Cygnes River. Marais des Cygnes is French for Marsh of Swans. It is actually a transaltion of an Osage Indian name for the region "Mixa-chau-tes" that means "where the white swans are plentiful" Trumpeter and tundra swans are now rare visitors to this area.
We drove through some of the refuge but there was not much to see. Mostly prairie grass. Amy, the Ranger at the station suggested we visit two places. The first is:
In May 1858 a band of pro-slavery sympathizers rode into the area. They took 11 men captive at gun point. They lined up the men at this site and shot them. Five died, five were wounded but survived their wounds and one pretended to have been shot and survived without injury.
John Greenlief Whittier wrote a poem about it that was published in the September 1858 issue of Atlantic Monthly. In July 1858 John Brown build a log fort near the massacre site. He and his men patrolled the area all summer to prevent further incidents. Brown was so well thought of in this area that a group of men traveled to Harpers Ferry seeking to have Brown released after his capture by Gen. Robert E Lee. However, on Dec 2, 1859 Brown was hung for treason.
Browns house is no longer there but this house build shortly after Brown arrived is still standing.
Next we went to:
Inside is chock full of items relating to the history of this area from the beginnings through both World Wars and into today. The name of the area is actually Trading Post. Around this site in 1838 a line in the sand was drawn dividing the land to the east for White Settlers. That line is now Route 69. All U.S. land west of this road were to be Indian Territory for "as long as the grass grew" without the fear of molestation from the White Settlers. We all know how this ended.
Our tour guide was this gracious lady, Alice Winder.
One can sense her pride of this treasure.
Next to the museum is a cemetery where Civil War casualties and veterans are interred.
In you are ever traveling Route 69, a four lane highway that runs parallel to the Kansas/Missouri border from Kansas City to Oklahoma, stop in to visit the museum. It is less than one mile from the highway near the town of La Cygne. The museum is open April 1 through November 7 Tuesday to Saturday from 9 to 5 and Sunday from 11 to 5. Admission is free but donation appreciated.