Recent News

rider on road

rock wall

three riders

union cavalry

union at fence

LOCAL HISTORY BOOKS you should know about from the
Jackson County Historical Society

missouristarMissouri Star: The Life and Times of Martha A. "Mattie" (Livingston) Lykins Bingham by Rose Ann Findlen.

This is the first comprehensive, book-length biography of Kansas City pioneer, featuring two never-before published portraits, and making extensive use of rarely viewed excerpts from her scrapbook and her original journal, "Recollections of Old Times in Kansas City," written before her death in 1890, and donated to the Historical Society in 2009. This book also uses cluster history/genealogy techniques to place Mattie within a larger context and her inspiring work to found The Lykins Institute and the first Confederate Women's and Orphans' Home.

The wealth of information available online makes in-depth Civil War research, both personal and regional, a much easier task than would have been possible just a few years ago. The online researcher can find enlistment records for Union volunteers and trace family members who were guerrillas or Southern sympathizers.

With large numbers of recruits joining in one location, finding a soldier from one area can lead to dozens more from the same town or region. At other websites, original reports and records of battles, actions against bushwhackers and violations of martial law are available.

For a look at news as it was presented during the Civil War, the State Historical Society of Missouri has the Daily Missouri Republican, a pro-Union, Democratic St. Louis newspaper from 1861 through 1865. The type is small, and it doesn’t look anything like a modern newspaper, but writing gems occasionally grace the pages alongside city, Missouri, national and even international news.

Family Research

A number of websites provide information where you can learn more about a family member who lived or fought during the Civil War. The Missouri State Archives has two that can be searched by names:

The Provost Marshal Database: Searchable by name or county, the database gives information about people accused of Southern sympathies, reports of guerrilla activities and other violations of military law. For entries with two or more names, images of the original documents are also available. 

Soldier records: View images of service cards detailing when and where a soldier enlisted and was placed on active duty. The records can be searched by last name or military unit.

David Long’s Battle of Wilson's Creek website: This website has in-depth information about the battle near Springfield where Gen. Nathaniel Lyon died when Union forces were defeated by a combined army of Confederates and Missouri State Guard units. The site has lists of the soldiers involved, arranged in alphabetical order, with units and hometown details.

Regional History

Missouri Sesquicentennial Commission: A good place to keep up with events statewide, many in Central Missouri, showcasing re-enactments or educational programs on a particular aspect of the war.

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion: A 24-year effort to compile every available military report and communication of the war. The 130-volume report is available through several sites, but Cornell University has a searchable set of original page images. Among Central Missouri stories in the records are military interference with prosecutions and intervention by President Abraham Lincoln on behalf of exiled Boone Countians.

The State Historical Society of Missouri Civil War collection: These materials can be searched by date or by words and phrase and includes the Daily Missouri Republican. The best way to view the newspaper in chronological order is to use the advanced search and enter a range of dates.

University of Missouri Law Professor Frank Bowman’s War and Reconciliation website. Begun, Bowman grudgingly admits, as a community service project for a red-light ticket, it has become a passion for him. He presents maps, an annotated transcription of the diary of Henry M. Cheavens, family tutor-turned-soldier, and other detailed material about Central Missouri in the Civil War.

National History websites

Although there is no national sesquicentennial commission, there are two interesting places to follow events as they developed 150 years ago.

The New York Times interactive Civil War timeline: The Times has thumbnail descriptions of significant events with links to articles published during in the Times during the war.

The American Civil War: This blog that only publishes on the anniversary of events, quotes at length from documents and diaries.

Copyright 2011 Columbia Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

This article was published on page A12 of the Sunday, March 20, 2011 edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline "WHERE TO GO: CIVIL WAR WEBSITES TO START YOUR SEARCH."

"The Battle of Westport: Missouri's Great Confederate Raid" book coverPaul Kirkman       

On October 23, 1864 the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi river took place just a few miles south of Kansas City near the old trail town of Westport, Missouri.  Author and Historian, Paul Kirkman traces the roots of the conflict through to its conclusion in "The Battle of Westport: Missouri’s Great Confederate Raid".  In September of 1864 General Sterling Price had set out with several thousand men on a desperate cavalry raid into Missouri.  Tens of thousands of federal troops were deployed to protect St. Louis and the capitol at Jefferson City and other potential targets from the raiders.  In a sweeping arc across the state Price’s army gathered loot and recruits, while eluding pursuing state and federal forces.  The armies finally met in a running battle that would leave wounded and dead from Kansas City down the Kansas state line to the Arkansas border and beyond.  The History Press honors the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States with this latest offering in its Civil War Sesquicentennial series.  Contact The History Press at or email Paul Kirkman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri is distributing copies of The Civil War in Missouri—Essays from the Missouri Historical Review, 1906-2006. The paperback edition collects twelve essays from the collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri. Sample topics are "General Nathaniel Lyon: A Portrait" by William E. Parrish, "The Battle of Lexington as Seen by a Woman" by Susan A. Arnold McCausland, and "Springfield is a Vast Hospital: The Dead and Wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek" by William Garrett Piston. William E. Parrish also writes an introduction for the volume which is a part of the Century of Missouri History Scholarship Series.

Paperback copies are available for $25.00 plus $2.15 for mailing. Copies may also be bought at the monthly meeting of the Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri in Independence, Missouri. On January 10, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. the Round Table will hear from John Martin speak on the topic of the Grand Army of the Republic and other members will share artifacts and short research in the Open Round Table. The Round Table meets at the Old Blake Museum, 106 E. Walnut, Independence, Missouri. This is also the home of the Blue and Grey Book Shoppe. Visitors are always welcome!

To order by mail, please make your check payable to the "Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri" in the amount of $27.15 and mail to Beverly Shaw, 17313 E. 51 Ter. Ct., Independence, MO 64055. For questions call (816) 478-7648 or send an E-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Round Table is distributing these books as a fundraiser for publishing a driving tour of the Civil War sites in eastern Jackson County Missouri.

The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri, in cooperation with The Little Blue Battlefield Preservation, the Fort Osage School District, preservationists, historians and neighbors of the Little Blue Valley area, sponsored this fun event to publicize, educate, and inform the public about The Battle of The Little Blue (part of Price's Great Missouri Raid, October 21st and 22nd, 1864). There were exhibits, preservation information, music, food, fund raising and reenactors.

The purpose of this gathering was, of course, to have fun and learn about Civil War history. However, it also marks efforts toward preserving the battlefield with fund raising efforts geared toward enhancing The Sonny Wells Little Blue Memorial Fund. Information was available concerning the threat to The Little Blue Battlefield via possible commercial development and the impending Missouri River Corridor (MRC) road project.

October 18, 2009

The Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri dedicated two low-profile historic markers for the Battle of the Little Blue on Sunday afternoon, October 18, 2009, at the Ripley Junction Park. These markers are in memory of past presidents, Sonny Wells and Tim Cox.

The Battle of the Little Blue was Day One of the Battle of Westport which was part of Confederate General Sterling Price's Great Missouri Raid on October 21, 1864. The new markers are an attempt to tell the story in an accurate and enlightening fashion with graphics, maps, pictures, and text. This is our way of helping to observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War which will start in 2011.

The Battle of the Little Blue is among the National Park Service's top 384 battle sites in the U.S., in the top 15 at risk sites in the U.S., and is in the top 10 endangered battle sites in Missouri.

These markers were funded by private donations, and no government money was used to erect them. We are grateful to Jackson County Parks and Recreation for allowing us to place the markers on park land.