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My friend from the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie noted that when I was placing geocaches along the Kansas Underground Railroad, I forgot to add a geocache in that area. I found a cache located at the Beecher Bible and Rifle church cemetery, click here. I found another geocache at the Homestead site, click here. For a complete education on the importance of Wabaunsee County and the struggle to make Kansas a Free State, click here.
The New England emigrants like Capt. William Mitchell were instrumental in making Kansas a free state and part of that struggle was operating an Underground Railroad. The Mitchell homestead is one of the few structures known to have provided shelter for Freedom Seekers.
The story of how the church became known as the Beecher and Bible Church is worth the trip out.
More about this and a map can be found on my newly released Western Underground Railroad app.
Melissa Gard and I placed another geocache to mark the Clinton Cemetery. This is the Cemetery where our late and great friend Jimmy Johnson’s, great grandfather is buried. George Washington escaped from the Platte County farm of Jessie Miller in 1863. He made his way across a frozen Missouri River to Quindaro. He soon joined the U.S. Army and the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Regiment. He fought with other former slaves until the end of the War. Many of the white officers were from the Wakarusa River Valley. George and other “Colored” troops returned to this area and purchased land. George raised 5 children on his farm. George was known to hold large July 4th picnics and all the area farmers attended. George is buried on this site and here is a photo of his tombstone. The First Kansas Colored became the 79th U.S. Colored Infantry.
I recommend a trip to the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum and search for another geocache we placed there. This museum tells the story of these early settlers. Ask for Martha Parker, the Director. Martha wrote a book about these farmers and their Underground Railroad exploits.
Jimmy Johnson conducted an archaeological survey of the Platte County farm where George Washington was held in bondage. The museum holds a few artifacts from that dig.
George Washington and his wife Armanda Simpson left a huge legacy in their children and grandchildren. All have obtained advanced degrees and contributed much to society. Below is a picture of the late James S. “Jimmy” Johnson in his role as his great grandfather, Private George Washington.
“Western Underground Railroad” is the first app on the market to explore the western branch of the Underground Railroad. It was created by documentary filmmaker, Gary Jenkins.
For the first time, history enthusiasts now have an opportunity to follow the same path that many southern slaves took to find freedom in Canada. Best of all, they can do it from the comfort of their smartphones.
“This app is very educational because it tracks the real history of the western Underground Railroad by following John Brown and 12 slaves he freed from Missouri farms.” explained Gary Jenkins, the app’s creator.
“This app is perfect for anyone who loves history or for anyone who has ties to the area,” stated Jenkins. “I like the idea of using modern technology to entertain and educate others.”
The app can be purchased on Apple and Google Play for $.99.
Below are listed a series of websites that contain information about the various present day Underground Railroad sites and museums.
Purchase at itunes click here.