One of the most irritating things about being in the Museum biz in KC is when you mention "The Kansas City Museum" (the official one on Gladstone Blvd. I'll get to it later), people say "Oh, you mean the Nelson?"
No, no I do not. Don't get me wrong, I heart the Nelson. But it's art. Not history.
Consider this your weekly, "Get off your ass and go do something interesting" pep talk for the week.
This weekend, check out the Shawnee Indian Mission. Here's your invite:
22nd Annual Fall Festival
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday
12 – 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Featuring family friendly fun, crafts, entertainment, and food. You'll see living history re-enactors, mountain men, American Indian dancers, spinners, weavers, blacksmith, storytellers, musicians, traditional craftsmen, pony rides, tipis, food, and a quilt show. Handmade crafts for sale.
Mountain man campfire, music, and storytelling 7 p.m. Saturday.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Shawnee Indian Mission and Kansas Historical Society.
Maybe you're saying, "Sure, Moxie, but what do pony rides and quilts have to do with hauntings?
Well, let me tell you a little story they probably won't tell you at the museum...
The murder of the Reverend Thomas Johnson, who started the Mission, is one KC's great History's Mysteries. The official story is that he was murdered for $1,000 that he had in his house in Westport (where he lived after the Mission closed). The unofficial story involves guerrillas (upset by the fact that he switching from the Confederate side to the Union side) and possibly people hunting for his son, who had gone AWOL.
The Rev. was a slave owner, who blatantly bought slaves in Westport, MO and carried them across state lines to the mission. As a citizen of a free state, this was illegal. According to some first hand accounts I read in my museum's archives, his slaves were often 14 yr old girls (you go ahead and do the math.)
He was a man who made enemies. The Mission, as well as being a school and a church, also served as a camp for union soldiers during the American Civil War (not by choice) and serving as a state capital for pro-slavery Kansas in 1855. Check out this article about him, especially the "Friend or Foe" section.
I haven't found any accounts of hauntings there, but hundreds of Native American children and Civil War soldiers passed thru there. It seems propable...go, find out and report back! I would wager you won't get any staff stories though. Since it doesn't seem like any investigators have been there, I bet the official story is "It's not haunted." Museum people say that to preserve the "scholarly" aspect of their sites.
I'd love to hear of any hauntings in the neighborhood.
Happy Weekend! I might post this weekend, but probably not. I'll be back on Monday for sure!