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Examiner
  • David Jackson: Pink Hill caught up in Civil War drama

  • Plan to attend the Veterans Way Memorial dedication ceremony Tuesday, April 2, from 3-5 p.m. (2715 Pink Hill Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015). Come honor veterans of all wars fought in defense of our nation. This free event is open to the public.

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  • Plan to attend the Veterans Way Memorial dedication ceremony Tuesday, April 2, from 3-5 p.m. (2715 Pink Hill Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015). Come honor veterans of all wars fought in defense of our nation. This free event is open to the public.
    Debuting that day, too, is a booklet the Jackson County Historical Society is publishing documenting the history of Sni-A-Bar Township; Pink Hill, Missouri; the Civil War in that area; early pioneer families; and, of course, the success of The Wall that Heals and how it inspired the Veterans Way Memorial.
    Pink Hill Park (and Burr Oak Woods State Forest) were once a rural setting in Sni-A-Bar Township, home to local residents involved in an agrarian way of life, more familiarly called “farming.” Pink Hill Park gets its namesake from the now defunct eastern Jackson County town of “Pink Hill, Missouri,” from which the name of the road is also derived that sprang up to welcome the Chicago and Alton Railroad. On November 21, 1854, Rev. George W. Love, M.D., and David Asbury Neer, recorded the survey by Martin O. Jones, Jackson County’s preeminent surveyor.
    Two prominent, early landowners in the area who acquired extensive property were James Morgan Walker, commonly called Morgan Walker, and James Lewis (and families). James Lewis Elementary School is, therefore, aptly named.
    As Pink Hill townsfolk anxiously awaited the arrival of the railroads, the Border and later Civil War befell their doorsteps instead. On December 10, 1860, 19-year-old William Clarke Quantrill was imprisoned in the 1859 Jackson County Jail for “protective security” by Sheriff Burrus for one night. Quantrill had organized a group of Kansas Quaker abolitionists for a raid to liberate the slaves at Morgan Walker’s farm. Quantrill turned traitor on the Quakers, informing the Walker clan of the impending raid. The result was a disaster for the Kansas group; only two of the original five made it back across the border. Andrew Walker obtained Quantrill’s release only to find a large crowd on Independence Square demanding to hang him. Only by Walker’s impassioned plea was the guerrilla outlaw’s life saved.
    Most of the citizens there were from Kentucky and Virginia and had more than passive sympathies for the South. Quantrill and his men found refuge in many Sni-A-Bar Township homes.
    Order No. 11 enforcing martial law in August 1863 practically de-populated the area. The Jackson County Society, Jackson County Parks and Rec and others have scheduled three re-enactments this summer commemorating the 150th anniversary of Order No. 11 (see the Society’s online HistorE-calendar at jchs.org).
    The town of Pink Hill never fully recovered. But, its memory continues to be perpetuated. In the 1970 the city of Blue Springs acquired the land for Pink Hill Park. In 2010, the city of Blue Springs, Blue Springs Public Art Commission, Blue Springs School District and area businesses and veterans’ organizations opened for viewing The Wall that Heals, a replica of the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, D.C. It drew more than 50,000 visitors during the four exhibit days. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs registered more than 160 new veterans for benefits and the “Put a Face with a Name” campaign collected 123 photos during the event. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund collected $10,651.73 at The Wall That Heals while it was in Blue Springs event, the highest amount collected in a host city to date!
    Page 2 of 2 - Veterans Way Memorial is newly installed and honors the sacrifice, courage and valor of all veterans who served our nation. In addition to serving as a place for personal contemplation or reflection for veterans and veterans’ families and friends, the Memorial may be scheduled for special memorial events by veterans’ groups, organizations, or schools by contacting the Parks and Recreation Department.
    We hope to see you at Pink Hill Park in Blue Springs on April 2.
    David W. Jackson is archives and education director of the Jackson County Historical Society.
     

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