"Disorder On The Border" Symposium

August 16, 2019 @ 6:30PM — August 17, 2019 @ 10:30PM

A Symposium on the Civil War on the Western Frontier

"Disorder On The Border" Symposium image

Join us for a look into the Civil War on the Western Frontier.

Ticket Details
Symposium Admission
Available For 50 More Days!

Includes symposium and a reserved seat at Saturday night keynote/musical event


A broad-based group of historians will travel to Lawrence on August 17, 2019, to examine the conflict and casualties of one of the most divisive periods of American history. Titled “Disorder on the Border” the day-long symposium held at the Carnegie Building will examine topics such as Women on the Border, Slavery in Missouri, Bleeding Kansas, the Occupation in Civil War Missouri, Guerrillas as Combatants, and Order Number 11 among a series of presentations.

The symposium brings together presenters highlighting different and often combative elements of the history of the time. The “Disorder on the Border” symposium features several noted historians from both sides of the border.

The day time presentations will be held at the Carnegie Library at 200 West 9th Street in Lawrence. The symposium costs $35 to attend the presentations at the Carnegie. That evening, the keynote of the conference on “Order Number 11” will feature historian Tom Rafiner and a concert of period music. That event will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Lawrence Art Center. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Happening concurrently with the symposium, the Douglas County (Kansas) Historical Society’s long-standing annual program, “Civil War on the Western Frontier,” will offer presentations, exhibits, and tours focusing on the Civil War and life in early Lawrence at the Watkins Museum of History from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The convergence of these events, both presented by Freedom’s Frontier partner organizations with the support of the heritage area, creates a unique opportunity to explore this turbulent era of our region’s history from multiple perspectives in one place—a goal of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. This Is the first time the William Clarke Quantrill Society has participated in a symposium such as “Disorder on the Border.”

Both “Civil War on the Western Frontier” and the “Disorder on the Border” symposium encourage participants to gain a better understanding of the events of the late 1850s and early 1860s that shaped our region and influenced national history. Co-locating both events presents an opportunity to expand understanding of this history from multiple perspectives—a goal of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

“One of Freedom’s Frontiers guiding principles is to be tolerant and respectful of diverse stories from multiple perspectives,” said Jim Ogle, Executive Director of Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. “Both the Douglas County Historical Society and the William Clarke Quantrill Society join us in presenting this symposium in that spirit.”

The Boards of Directors of all three organizations are pleased to offer this opportunity to foster greater understanding of our shared history. More information about the planned programs will be available in early summer on the Watkins Museum and Freedom’s Frontier websites.

Friday, August 16 – Watkins Museum of History

  • 6:30–7:00 p.m. Opening reception, Watkins Museum
  • 7:00–7:45 p.m. Presentation, Resilient Lawrence: Rebuilding after the Civil War, Steve Nowak
  • 7:45–8:30 p.m. Presentation, When Eyewitnesses Disagree, Chris Edwards
  • 8:30–8:45 p.m.Q & A

Following the presentations Self-guided walking tours of Quantrill’s raid, and other local history sites, on return to Eldridge Hotel.

Downtown Lawrence, Inc. passports, featuring great deals at local restaurants and shops, provided by the Watkins to Symposium participants.

Those who want to arrange room reservation can contact the Eldridge Hotel for a special reduced "Disorder On The Border" symposium rate: (800) 527-0909. Deadline for the rate is July 17, 2019.

Saturday, August 17– Morning Session, Carnegie Building

  • 8:15–9:15 a.m. Doors open for check-in, book sales, exhibit areas & seating; Hospitality Room open (continental breakfast available)
  • 9:00–9:20 a.m. Welcome, announcements, Intro of speakers for a.m. session
  • 9:20–10:05 a.m. Kay Barnes - Women on the Border
  • 10:05–10:50 a.m. Diane Mutti-Burke – Slavery in Missouri
  • 10:50–11:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:00–11:45 a.m. Randy Mullis – Bleeding Kansas
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Q & A for Diane & Randy & Kay, and announce afternoon sessions

Lunch Break 12:00–1:30 p.m. Lunch provided for speakers in hospitality room

  • Book sales open until 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 17– Afternoon Session, Carnegie Building

  • 1 :30–1:50 p.m. Welcome back & announcements, Intro for all Afternoon speakers.
  • 1:50–2:35 p.m. Chris Phillips “Netherworld of War: The Contours of Occupation in Civil War Missouri”
  • 2:35–3:20 p.m. Bill Piston “Guerrillas as Combatants: A Call for Research”
  • 3:20–3:35 p.m. Break
  • 3:35–4:20 p.m. Jeremy Neely “Moral Bushwhacking, Political Quantrellism, and the Shadows of Border War Memory”
  • 4:20–4:35 p.m. Q & A for Jeremy, Chris, Bill
  • 4:35–5:00 p.m. Closing remarks for afternoon session announce evening session & Social Hour.
  • Last chance! Book sales open until 6:00 p.m.
  • 5:00–6:45 p.m. DINNER ON YOUR OWN

Saturday, August 17 – Evening Keynote & Concert - Lawrence Arts Center

  • 6:45–7:00 p.m. Evening announcements & intro of Tom Rafiner
  • 7:00–7:45 p.m. KEYNOTE Tom Rafiner – Order Number 11
  • 7:45–8:00 p.m. Q & A
  • 8:00–9:00 p.m. For Union & Freedom: Songs of the Civil War, presented by the Watkins and singers of Lawrence Opera Theatre.

Downtown Lawrence Inc. passports, featuring great deals at local restaurants and shops, provided by the Watkins to Symposium participants.


"Disorder On The Border" is a combined presentation of the William Clarke Quantrill Society Missouri Partisan Rangers, the Watkins Museum of History, and Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area.

Call Jim Ogle at (785) 856-3635 for more information.

Those who want to arrange room reservation can contact the Eldridge Hotel for a special reduced "Disorder On The Border" symposium rate. (800) 527-0909. Deadline for the special rate is July 17, 2019.