Dr. Jeremy Neely discusses how his research found many residents wanted to put the war behind them in the decades after the war. Only later did persons begin to tell of the anger, injustice and hard-feelings which are a legacy.
Dr. Jeremy Neely
Neely grew up in Adrian, MO as the son of a social studies teacher. He lives on a farm 15 miles from the Kansas-Missouri line in rural Vernon County, MO with his wife and three young children. Neely has a Ph.D. from MU. His book published in 2007 is highly recommended as a source for the study of the Border War/ Civil War era.
The repercussions of the 1865 Drake Constitution passed by Radical Unionists to punish anyone who in any way, shape or form aided the rebels, deprived many citizens on their civil liberties. One of the most dramatic stories was that of Cass County Baptist preacher Abner Deane.
How could a minister be arrested for preaching? Abner Deane’s story provides the answer.
Abner Deane moved from Cass County to Kentucky in 1857. He settled in Austin, Cass County where he became an ordained Baptist minister. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Deane formed a battalion of 400 loyal Union men and became a Major with the 1st Missouri Cavalry, stationed in Kansas City.
After the War, he moved to Harrisonville and began preaching. However, the Missouri Radical Republicans created a strict new constitution which demanded that all office-holders, teachers, and preachers take an “Ironclad Oath” to the Union. Deane refused to sign the oath because he stated,
“I have never rebelled against any government and, therefore, do not need to take such an oath. My commission to preach comes from the Lord and not from the government.”
Because he would not sign but continued to preach, Deane was arrested and taken to the jail in Independence in spring of 1866. Hearing of this injustice, celebrated Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham visited the jail and painted two pictures of Deane behind bars.
Copies were used to demand that the oath be found unconstitutional. Deane was released from jail in June 1866 The Supreme Court found the oath unconstitutional in 1867. Deane continued to preach in Cass County and surrounding areas until his death in 1912. He was a powerful speaker and popular preacher who baptized over 3,000 people and married over 2,000 couples. The octagonal house he built in 1867 at 702 West Wall Street in Harrisonville still stands.
Videos: Archaelogical Digs in Bates County
Ann Raab and students look for clues of the effect of the Border War on the town of West Point, which was totally obliterated.
Videos: Building the Burnt District Monument in Harrisonville, Missouri
Stonemasons Jerry and Jarrod Saling work on cutting the stones for the Burnt district Monument with hammers and chisels.
Continuing to work on the construction of the 22 foot monument, raising the heavy stones.
Finishing the monument, and placing the interpretation panels and name plaque.
For more in-depth information:
- Neely, Jeremy. The Border Between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line. 2007. University of Missouri Press.