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Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri's Burnt District, 1854-1870

Presented by:
Tom Rafiner

Publish Date:
April 21, 2014

Presentation Length:
49 minutes 21 seconds (49:21)

A program hosted by the Missouri State Archives exploring the history of the "Burnt District," an area of Civil War conflict located along the Missouri-Kansas border. The program was held at the Missouri State Archives, a division of Office of the Missouri Secretary of State, on Thursday, April 10, 2014, at 7 p.m. Author Tom Rafiner spoke about his new book, "Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri's Burnt District, 1854-1870."

Cinders and Silence provides the first chronicle of Missouri's "Burnt District." Between 1854 and 1870, three western Missouri border counties plunged from prosperity to devastation. In the early years of the Civil War, when the border conflict between Missouri and the Kansas Territory intensified, Union soldiers from Kansas leveled homes, barns and fields in western Missouri. In August 1863, William Quantrill's retaliatory raid on Lawrence triggered the issuance of General Order No. 11, forcing the evacuation of all residents, regardless of their allegiance, from rural areas in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties. Over 2,200 square miles were devastated with more than 20,000 civilians displaced.

Silence shrouded the tragedy before author Tom Rafiner spent 11 years recovering and documenting the history of the region. His presentation will explore the dramatic happenings that led to the area's destruction in the 19th century.

The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value, and is located at 600 West Main Street in Jefferson City. All programs at the Archives are free of charge.


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