(Special note: please forgive the typos, the misspellings, and the awkward sentences. I have been pushing on writing these posts to catch up and realize, after sending them, that there are a lot of mistakes😔
This will be the last post of this section of our trip. As you may have read in previous posts, we had determined many purposes for this trip. We wanted to visit our final six states to complete visits to all fifty. We wanted to visit any sites that would help us know more about three themes of history and the people that lived them. We wanted to visit our friend Rusty, and as it worked out, our former student, Effie. And a very important destination for the end of November was the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma for a very special celebration of Latona's birthday with tickets for a Willie Nelson Concert. We would spend several days here to make it a special Thanksgiving/Birthday week! So this post will take you along our route from Kansas to Oklahoma!
We started at Osawatomie, Kansas and here we hoped to visit the John Brown's Museum. Although it said that it was open during this day from 10-4 we never had a chance to get inside and see the Adair Cabin. The house belonged to a minister and his wife, Samuel and Floella Adair. His wife was a half sister to John Brown and the cabin was a station on the Underground Railroad.
This building houses the Adair Cabin.
Statue of John Brown that had been sculpted by the same artist that crated the Statue of Liberty.
On this land was fought a battle that was part of Bleeding Kansas, a forceful attempt made by warring factions to sway the state to go one way or the other on the slavery issue. The factions of proslavery advocates were led by John Reid and the abolitionists were led by John Brown.
We left the park so disappointed that we were never able to really view the Adair Cabin and learn more of the history of John Brown and the abolitionist movement of this area.
In our reading about the Trail of Tears, we learned about the Indian Removal Act of 1832. The shock of learning and realizing for the first time that this was actually done by the US government probably showed me how ignorant I have been about history in general, but made me realize how much I didn't know about the true plight of Native Americans. My sympathies have always been naturally supportive of this group but very uninformed. So, I was really sickened when I read that President Andrew Jackson actually signed a bill that would require over 125,000 Native Americans to leave their land in the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida so that white settlers would have more land for growing cotton. The government designated land across the Mississippi to what was then Oklahoma Territory. This began the Trail of Tears. Some routes of the forced march were so ridden with the deaths of Native Americans that it was that section was called the Trail of Death.
When we moved on to Fort Scott National Historic Park, we learned that this Fort had three purposes over the period from 1842 to 1873. First, the Fort was to protect the "permanent Indian Frontier". It was part of,a string of forts built from Minnesota to Louisiana for this purpose. Soon this idea of a protective territory for Indians died a quick death.
The Fort played an important role in Bleeding Kansas, the violent battle over slavery, as well as the Civil War. Eventually, after the Civil War ended, soldiers from the Fort assisted in the Railroad Expansion.
So we ride along with the beautiful skies and open fields with new awareness of so much suffering that occurred was this country was formed.
Lake Pleasant Resort where we finally decided we needed to have the full services of a campground, dumping, electricity and showers. We were given this site along the lake and then never charged for our night stay. A nice gift!
We decided to take a little jog back into Missouri to visit the area of Joplin and to visit the George Washington Carver Memorial Park. We saw the statue of him as a boy in his beloved woods, saw the cabin were he was raised by foster parents, the Carvers, and finished our hike at the bust of the adult Carver. He had been a hero of mine since learning of his work with the peanut and the great efforts he made to bring agricultural advantages to the common person.
Now, we finally headed to Oklahoma. We had a first planned stop at the Walmart in Muscogee because we wanted to visit The Museum of the Five Civilized Tribes. Again, my education was expanding. Who were these tribes, and why did the white culture dub them 'civilized.' What measure was used to determine that category and who decided that. We had a very informative visit here learning about the Cherokee, the Chicksaw, the Creek (Muscogee), the Choctaw and the Seminole.
One guide shared information about the art we saw and read us a wonderful book called Crossing the Bok Chitto. Although a children's book, I would recommend it. We learned how the five tribes were forced into Oklahoma and how quickly the land they were promised disappeared.
Not a great picture, but,it shows the progression of how the land originally promised to each of the five tribes diminished and by 1907 there were no more Indian lands in the Oklahoma Territory.
On we went, looking for the local colour of Oklahoma!
Finally, a day before Thanksgiving we landed at the RV Park for the Casino where we would see Willie Nelson. It was so much fun to finally be here and to be in the subculture of a gambling resort. We walked around wide-eyed and dumbstruck by the fountains, all the people, and the 7500 slot machines. We did try our luck eventually and won several times...about $190.
But the best part was this happy birthday girl!
Waiting for The big present!
And the birthday dinner!
Our site at sunset!
Today, we will leave Oklahoma and start east and south through Arkansas and Loiusana eventually moving toward Florida and Mom in the next ten days. We will keep you posted - more learning moments and more times of sharing, and having fun as we travel "On the Road Again".
Sending love to you all and hope you all already knew what I have been relearning in a very vivid and real way!