Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum

Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum The Museum documents the history of this region with ties to the Bleeding Kansas Era and the Underground Railroad & shares the stories of the early Clinton Lake Communities.
(4)

Please call for appointments and tours, 785-783-4420.

Operating as usual

The Remembering Richland exhibit is just days away from opening to the public. Here's just a peek at what you can expect...
04/20/2021
Touched by a Story About Shoes

The Remembering Richland exhibit is just days away from opening to the public. Here's just a peek at what you can expect when you visit. Open to the public Saturday, May 1, 1-5PM. See you there!

"What a privilege to grow up in such a place as Richland and in such a time. I thank God for that blessing." -- Marian Barrett Vassar

Beautiful view from the Steele House site at the museum. So thankful Spring is here.Come enjoy our museum grounds while ...
04/13/2021

Beautiful view from the Steele House site at the museum. So thankful Spring is here.
Come enjoy our museum grounds while we work hard inside prepping the 2021 Remembering Richland exhibit.
The museum is currently open by appointment and will be open to the public with limited hours beginning in May. Open hours will be posted soon.

Beautiful view from the Steele House site at the museum. So thankful Spring is here.
Come enjoy our museum grounds while we work hard inside prepping the 2021 Remembering Richland exhibit.
The museum is currently open by appointment and will be open to the public with limited hours beginning in May. Open hours will be posted soon.

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring!  Our postcard collection donated by Martha Parker is a treasure trove of holiday greetings....
04/04/2021

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Our postcard collection donated by Martha Parker is a treasure trove of holiday greetings. This Easter postcard was sent by Dollie Patton to Marie Thurber of Richland, KS in 1914.

We share an important resource with Eudora - the Wakarusa River. This river played a major role in development or downfa...
03/16/2021

We share an important resource with Eudora - the Wakarusa River. This river played a major role in development or downfall of many communities in the valley. Learn more about water ethics and land resources from our friends in Eudora with this program on Facebook. Check it out!

Happy Women's History Month!Join us this month as we introduce you to women who played a role in the settlement and deve...
03/13/2021

Happy Women's History Month!

Join us this month as we introduce you to women who played a role in the settlement and development of the Wakarusa Valley in Douglas County, KS.

Sarah Maxwell Gardner is, unfortunately, known only as the wife of Joseph Gardner in most of the retelling of history. Nothing against Joseph Gardner, but Sarah was certainly a wife AND more. Not only did she have the fortitude and conviction to move to a disputed and hostile Kansas Territory with a large family and homestead to care for, but her home also became a hub of the abolitionist movement, with Joseph’s anti-slavery militancy and involvement in the Underground Railroad happening at her kitchen table. Luckily and lovingly, her children wrote a tribute to Sarah at her passing with the booklet “To the Memory of Father and Mother, Lawrence, Kansas June 10, 1907.” Her children state, “It is impossible to write anything concerning the life of this noble specimen of womanhood without coupling therewith something of the life of the man whose name she bore.”
Sarah Maxwell was born in Salem, Indiana on October 19, 1824. She was the neighbor of Mr. Gardner in and came to help him care for his two children after the death of his first wife. The two were married in 1849. Sarah and her five children would move to Kansas in 1857 to settle in the cabin Joseph built, she was 33 years old at the time. “Traveling by covered wagon from Indiana to Cincinnati, OH, they loaded their household goods and worldly possessions onboard the steamer Silver Wheels, and sailed first down the Ohio River, then up the Mississippi to St. Louis. There they transferred to the steamer Omaha, which carried them up the Missouri River to Leavenworth, KS.” (Soil of Our Souls) They reached Kansas Territory after 24 days. When Joseph was away, which was a lot, (see footnotes on his various exploits) Sarah would tend to the home and their three living children plus Joseph’s two children from his first marriage. As Sarah was home alone there are stories of strangers coming to the house demanding Sarah to tell them where Joseph was, to collect the bounty on his head. Joseph’s actions like openly hiring runaway slaves and paying them wages would eventually lead to the raid of the Gardner’s home. Sarah passed away at age 82 on May 5, 1907 and is buried in Coyler Cemetery near Lone Star, KS.
Although Joseph Gardner receives most credit for his anti-slavery work, it is important to remember that Sarah also aided in the free-state cause. Women are too often forgotten in history or their roles are too simplified by simply writing “Joseph Gardner and wife”.

If you would like to know more about Sarah Gardner, see her bonnet and apron, and learn about other local abolitionists, visit the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum (by appointment only, just call 785-783-4420) or follow us on Facebook to learn more about the influential women of the Wakarusa Valley.
Happy Women’s History Month! Next week’s post - Rachel Macy!

Timeline of Joseph’s Exploits:
• Summer of 1859 – Joseph Gardner was one of the select few to play a part in the rescue of fellow abolitionist, John Doy, from jail in Missouri. Stories are written about “The Immortal Ten” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Immortal_Ten
• Dec 1859 - Joseph traveled to Harrisburg, Penn to attempt to rescue John Brown.
• May 1860 – Letter describing requesting and keeping rifles and sabers at the Gardner Home. https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/90534b
• June 1860 – Pro-slavery men looking to capture former slaves attack the Gardner home and gunfight ensues. Napoleon Simpson, one of the men escaping slavery and who had joined in the gunfight, was shot and killed.
• Early 1861 – Joseph walks to Washington D.C. to see Lincoln inaugurated, 6-week journey.
• July 1861 – Joseph Gardner enlists in 3rd KS Infantry.
• Summer 1862 - accept a commission as a first lieutenant in the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry
• Oct 1862 – Gardner served as first lieutenant for the First Kansas Colored Infantry regiment at the Battle of Island Mound, the first time an African-American regiment engaged in combat against Confederate forces during the Civil War. https://civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/battle-island-mound
• August 1863 – Joseph dies at Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)

Preserving headstones at local cemeteries and searching out lost family cemetery plots has been a pet project at the mus...
03/01/2021

Preserving headstones at local cemeteries and searching out lost family cemetery plots has been a pet project at the museum.

Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council and the County Clerk's Office worked to create an interactive map to search out the cemeteries for the entire county. It is a work in progress, but still a great research tool. Check it out!
https://gis.douglascountyks.org/cemeteries/

Wanting to honor Black History Month, these KU Football players (Kyron Johnson, Sam Burt, Caleb Sampson, and Kenean Cald...
02/27/2021

Wanting to honor Black History Month, these KU Football players (Kyron Johnson, Sam Burt, Caleb Sampson, and Kenean Caldwell) visited the museum Friday to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad in the Wakarusa Valley and the early African Americans who settled here.

If you would like to visit, please call 785-783-4420 to schedule a time.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!Here are a few vintage valentines to enjoy from the Collection
02/14/2021

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Here are a few vintage valentines to enjoy from the Collection

Happy 160th Birthday Kansas! Today we celebrate Kansas' admission into the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861.
01/29/2021

Happy 160th Birthday Kansas!
Today we celebrate Kansas' admission into the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861.

Happy 160th Birthday Kansas!
Today we celebrate Kansas' admission into the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861.

History became personal for some recent visitors.  Cousins, Ryder Skinner & Lincoln Mers, found a photo of a familiar ho...
01/19/2021

History became personal for some recent visitors.

Cousins, Ryder Skinner & Lincoln Mers, found a photo of a familiar house on the Old Belvoir Community Banner. The 2-story stone house, originally built by John L. Moss in 1873, is Ryder's home. John L. Moss, a stonemason from Illinois, and his wife, Elizabeth, built the stone house when they moved to the Belvoir community in 1873.

The cousins are the great grandsons of Floyd Gaines, who also lived in the house and the great, great grandsons of Art Gaines of the Twin Mound community.

Happy MLK DAY !Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a National Day of Service. This is a chance for all of us to find a way to...
01/18/2021

Happy MLK DAY !
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a National Day of Service. This is a chance for all of us to find a way to give back to our communities - volunteering, donating to food and clothing pantries, or serving through community leadership roles.

A special thank you to the museum volunteers who show up throughout the year. Their work (scanning, filing, researching, etc.) makes local history more accessible to all.

Happy MLK DAY !
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a National Day of Service. This is a chance for all of us to find a way to give back to our communities - volunteering, donating to food and clothing pantries, or serving through community leadership roles.

A special thank you to the museum volunteers who show up throughout the year. Their work (scanning, filing, researching, etc.) makes local history more accessible to all.

Happy Holidays from the Board of Clinton Lake Historical Society! (Photo is from last year's Santa Days. L to R: Janet F...
12/25/2020

Happy Holidays from the Board of Clinton Lake Historical Society!
(Photo is from last year's Santa Days. L to R: Janet Faust Marin Massa, Santa, Saundra Gaines Hiller, and Betty Gaines. Board members missing: Ken Roberts and Kevin Maxon)

Christmas in Richland, KS"It's the Time of the Christmas Rush in Richland", Topeka Capital Journal, Dec. 24, 1967Merry C...
12/24/2020

Christmas in Richland, KS
"It's the Time of the Christmas Rush in Richland", Topeka Capital Journal, Dec. 24, 1967

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Board of the Clinton Lake Historical Society and the Museum. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!The Clinton Lake Historical Society and Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum are very grateful for.....
11/26/2020

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
The Clinton Lake Historical Society and Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum are very grateful for...
- The support of our Members. We wouldn't be here without you!
- Douglas County for their support and recognition of the importance of local history
- CLHS Board of Directors who are always ready to tackle the next project
- People who write names on the back of photos (Really, we love you! You make our work so much easier.)
- The curious and the adventurous who visit museums

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

A message from Clinton Lake Corps of Engineers....
11/18/2020

A message from Clinton Lake Corps of Engineers....

#DGKSCOVID
Total Cases: 3,979 (3,100 Inactive)
Current Active Cases: 879
Cases Added to Total: 70 (since Monday report)
Added to Inactive: 26
Deaths: 20
Current LMH Health Inpatients Positive for COVID-19: 35

https://ldchealth.org/456/Case-Numbers-Data

Eudora Historical Society is hosting this program THIS Thurs 11/19. No need to drive, just join them on their Facebook p...
11/15/2020

Eudora Historical Society is hosting this program THIS Thurs 11/19. No need to drive, just join them on their page.

Be sure to watch our next program, which will be live-streamed right here on our page! Our next program will be on Thursday November 19th at 7pm. The program, which is sponsored by Humanities Kansas is "When Freedom Changed America" by Dr. Edgar Tidwell, who teaches African American and American literature at the University of Kansas.

One hundred years separate the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the March on Washington (1963). Both movements were defined by the pursuit of freedom: one from the institution of slavery, the other from economic and political inequality. But what did freedom mean to Americans who participated in these important historical events? Today, as seekers of the American Dream, we can learn a great deal from the devotion and commitment of those looking to reclaim America and the principles for which it stands.

Eudora has historically had a large Black community, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Our museum proudly continues to focus on the important theme of Black History in 2020!

We will not have an audience for this program because of COVID-19. We are not meeting at our usual program location (Eudora Community Center). Instead, our speaker will speak live on our page from the Eudora Community Museum. Humanities Kansas has a policy that limits how long one of their programs can be posted to social media after the program’s original date. Therefore, the program will only be available on our page for two weeks after November 19th, or, until December 3rd. So be sure to watch the program while it is available!
EudoraEvents, Eudora Chamber of Commerce, Eudora Chamber ED, The Eudora Times, City of Eudora, Watkins Museum of History, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc., Historic Lecompton, Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum #BlackHistory #kansashistory #civilrightsmovement

Check out our new message board! And yes, even though the museum has not been able to open regular hours this year due t...
11/05/2020

Check out our new message board! And yes, even though the museum has not been able to open regular hours this year due to COVID-19 safety concerns, we have board members who are always willing to share our museum. Just call and set a time to have a personal tour. (With masks, of course!)

Beautiful Fall morning for a walk at the museum. I wasn't able to get pics of the pelicans out on the lake.Have a safe &...
10/31/2020

Beautiful Fall morning for a walk at the museum. I wasn't able to get pics of the pelicans out on the lake.
Have a safe & fun Halloween! 🎃👻🍁🍂

Are there more cemeteries in the Wakarusa River Valley who would like to organize a work day? The museum’s board will be...
10/11/2020

Are there more cemeteries in the Wakarusa River Valley who would like to organize a work day? The museum’s board will be happy to help!

What great weather to gather for a cemetery cleanup day. Thanks so much to long time Twin Mound community families for volunteering to help on a Sunday morning. The fellowship, visiting and a hearty lunch made a few work hours go really fast! The cemetery board so appreciates everyone’s help.

FYI. Marin did an OUTSTANDING job last night on her first Zoom presentation for the museum. She highlighted the Angels o...
09/29/2020

FYI. Marin did an OUTSTANDING job last night on her first Zoom presentation for the museum. She highlighted the Angels of Freedom exhibit that shares the stories of settlers in the Wakarusa River Valley who supported freedom for all in the 1850s. Watch a recording of it on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/FjPr-sLIczc

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc.

Check out these other programs! Each night another fascinating topic.
09/29/2020
See Our Updated Schedule!

Check out these other programs! Each night another fascinating topic.

You Won't Want To Miss These Programs Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program Connections Program Alert!!! We've rescheduled our Battle of Island Mound, our "Western Route," and our Fort Scott

Yesterday was "winterize" day for the Bidinger's Memorial Purple Martin homes at the museum. Museum volunteer Fred Dimic...
09/26/2020

Yesterday was "winterize" day for the Bidinger's Memorial Purple Martin homes at the museum. Museum volunteer Fred Dimick helped Dan and Sue from the Topeka Audubon Society clean out, clean up and close up the openings until time to reopen next spring. Tanner, the dog, gets an honorable mention for her assist! #topekaaudubonsociety

**If you missed tonight's presentation, don't worry. It was recorded. We will post it on our page as soon as we...
09/26/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Month - Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

**If you missed tonight's presentation, don't worry. It was recorded. We will post it on our page as soon as we get it from Freedoms Frontier.**

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 6:30pm —Marin Massa, President of the Clinton Lake Historical Society, will present an online video presentation about Angels of Freedom as part of a series organized and orchestrated by the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. Please pre register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/3215989625493/WN_AAjKmzrTRWOOX9cpo-hCKQ

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Month - Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

09/14/2020
Richland Bell Rings

What a beautiful reverberating chime from the Richland bell (casted in 1909 by Stuckstede E F Co, St. Louis, MO) as it announced its arrival at the museum.

A Wakarusa River Valley relic came “home” today as volunteers helped move a Richland bell from Topeka to the museum.  Ca...
09/14/2020

A Wakarusa River Valley relic came “home” today as volunteers helped move a Richland bell from Topeka to the museum. Capitol Federal generously donated this artifact back to its local community. We are excited to have it and look forward to building its own belfry on the museum’s property so all can enjoy a little piece of local preserved history!

09/05/2020
wakarusavalleymuseum.org

We are honoring the early settlers who fought for and supported KS as a Free State during September, proclaimed as National Underground Railroad month. Enjoy this excerpt posted on our webpage about Joseph Gardner, an avid anti-slavery activist who dedicated his life’s mission to the cause. https://www.wakarusamuseum.org/network-to-freedom

09/03/2020
Watkins Museum of History

To celebrate the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we worked with Watkins Museum to highlight a local suffragist from Kanwaka, Flora Colman.

Flora Colman, the first woman to graduate from the University of Kansas, promoted women's association in educational and social activities including arts, literature, science and kindred pursuits.
Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum

To learn more about Flora tap on the link below.
https://watkinsmuseumexhibit.wixsite.com/exploredc-suffrage/wakarusa-clinton

Address

716 N 1190 Rd
Lawrence, KS
66047

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum:

Videos

Category


Other History Museums in Lawrence

Show All

Comments

My aunt and uncle, Lucille and Jim Sanders, owned the farm where the current outlook hill at Clinton Lake is located. Here's a photo of their house and also a photo of their driveway with the hill in the background. These photos were taken after my aunt had moved from the farm and before the area was flooded.
The museum is very lucky to have Santa coming for a visit. Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 8th, 1PM - 3PM. Bring your kids, grandkids and even your pet for a photo opportunity! Homemade cookies and hot drinks will be waiting for you. If the weather is inclement, no worries! Santa will set up inside the museum so every child will still get to visit him. Hope to see you there.
I've "rescued" an old photograph of Bess HOLMES SEHON which was taken at the C. F. Lewis Studio in Lawrence, KS in the early 1900's. Bess appears to be in her teens or 20's at the time the photograph was taken. Based on limited research I was able to locate the following information regarding Bess and her family: Bess or Bessie May HOLMES was b. 27 May 1889 or 1892 and married Russel William SEHON (b. 14 Sept 1892 in Lecompton, KS-d. Mar 1964 in Douglas Co., KS – son of Charles W. SEHON and Rosena Margaret “Winnie” HILL). Bess died in 1979 in Douglas Co., KS and is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, KS. Census records provide the following details: 1915 census of Lawrence, KS: E. L. HOLMES, age 55 Paul L. HOLMES, age 28 Lily E. HOLMES, age 25 Bessie M. HOLMES, age 23 Russell SEHON, age 24 Agnes MORTON, age 22 1940 census of Wakarusa, KS: Russell W. SEHON, age 49, born KS, a Carpenter Bess SEHON, age 47, born KS, a Flour Mill Clerk I’m hoping to locate someone from her family so that this wonderful old treasure can be returned to the care of her family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
The sing-a-long was Junior's favorite. 👏👏👏
Saundra Hiller and Linda Faust led a sing-a-long before the show.
Movie Night
I'm excited about the Marion Township Survey Stan Hernley presented info about today at the museum. I know there are some wonderful and historic places out there.
Opening of the Education Exhibit! Such a cute classroom with items from Lone Star, Old Belvoir, and Apple Pie Schools.
Bring on the Douglas Co. Water Fest! Around 900 Douglas Co. 5th Graders will be participating today with over a dozen different presenters (the museum highlighting the history under the water).
A great group for a fun evening
The fun Donut-on-a-String contest.
The banner is up! Invite your friends! Only 10 days until Harvest Home Picnic.......the countdown begins!😅