Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Uncivil War

Farther Along also recalls his Tennessee family past and the Civil War. JWK's ancestors came from exclusively from Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. Some venerable old geezers on his (paternal) German half were pro-Kaiser during WWI, but they had come to America as draft-dodgers largely after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), so they missed out on the horrible mess that was the Kansas-Missouri "front" during the Civil War. (When they got to southern Missouri, they tended to keep to themselves and practice endogamy, although they stopped speaking German after 1917.)

JWK's "American" side, however, was thoroughly enmeshed in the war. The evidence of this involvement is conspicuous in the absence of any family history in its Kansas branch before 1870 (and the fact that a name spelling change occurred, and we don't know which side ended up with our spelling, and whether "ours" or "theirs" was the right one). It probably was both meaner and far more complicated than I can grasp in the region where Kansas and Oklahoma meet Missouri and Arkansas. Probably Farther Along can elucidate more, but my grampa, who was anti-racist in the 1950s, also loved to tell the story of Stan Watie, a Cherokee Confederate general who remains the only Native American to rise to that rank in an army in what is now the United States.


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