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The Border Wars of the West – Kansas vs. Missouri, the Feud Continues!

The Border Wars of the West – Kansas vs. Missouri, the Feud Continues!

This memorial stands as a reminder of the many burnt structures within the “Burnt District” of Missouri.

The Civil War on The Western Border (the real border war)

Most people reading this are familiar with the civil unrest that occurred along the border of Kansas and Missouri prior to the first official battle of the Civil War.  What they may not realize is that this region was the actual flash point of the American Civil War.  

Prior to the first official battle of the war (Battle of Fort Sumter), Kansas had experienced this civil unrest constantly from the mid 1850′s through the beginning of the war.  The unrest involved two political parties:  The Freestate Men of Kansas, and the Pro-Slavery Secessionists of Missouri.  The war revolved around multiple different issues, most notably whether or not Kansas would be admitted into the Union as a state free from slavery or as a Southern, pro-slavery state.

Although slavery was not the only issue of the war, it was by far the most front-and-center.  If nothing else, it served as a valid reason for Freestate Militiamen to “jayhawk” pro-slavery “rebels” to supply their own war needs.  Jayhawking was a process during which involved looting and destroying the property of those with opposing viewpoints.  


In Missouri, certain counties (Jackson, Bates, Cass, parts of Vernon) were subject to Order 11.  This order  required “all persons” living in Jackson, Cass, Bates, and northern Vernon counties “remove from their present places of residence.”  This order came in quickly and resulted in the immediate uprooting of almost every home and farm in the region within just a mere 15 days. Many did not find out about the order until only days before having to vacate.  After the counties were evacuated, Union soldiers were permitted to confiscate commodities and anything left on the farms to prevent their falling into the wrong hands.  This had very little effect as both soldiers and bandits alike regularly pillaged and burnt anything in sight.  The area later became known as the “Burnt District”.  For those who were able to return back to the area, most returned only to the charred remains of their farms.  The region was pock marked with destroyed dwellings with nothing left but the chimney stack as a reminder of what they once had.

Why is this relevant to the sport of metal detecting you ask?  Because there are countless home sites and small ghost towns scattered along this region to metal detect.  Whenever banks are few and far between and you are forced to stash your valuables quickly, places like this are prime for the picking.

Of the two modern border wars between Kansans and Missourians, the economic war is just heating up!

The Current Economic Border War Between Kansas and Missouri

On a side note, in the latest series of skirmishes between Kansas and Missouri, the two are now battling for jobs, not slavery or secession…or college sports.  I heard the clip on NPR News one morning several years ago on my way to the shop and got a chuckle out of it.  I had recently been reading up on the Border War and was tracing its path and history very closely.  The “Economic Border War,” as it’s being coined, has been taking place for quite some time.   After all, when you have a large metropolitan area that straddles a state line, there is bound to be some stiff competition in some aspect.  As a business person I would not be swayed too much by the carrots these states put in front of us.  They are typically short lived and, in the end, are not usually a deciding factor in a business’ reason for choosing a location…they are just added bonuses.  As an existing business it is a good thing to have your state fighting to keep businesses in-state. At this point in time the Kansas Governor is vying to end the Kansas-Missouri economic border wars. I am not too concerned and will move along to other, more important historical border conflicts between Kansas and Missouri.  None of this has anything to do with treasure hunting really, I just find it interesting we still cannot find peace across the border.

Of very little importance to treasure hunting, the sports border war between Kansas and Missouri sure is entertaining!

The Border War After The Civil War

Not long after the end of the American Civil War, began another conflict that would continue for over 100 years.   The University of Missouri was founded in 1839 and The University of Kansas was formed in 1866 shortly after the war.  Apparently Kansans were not done delivering their ass-kicking.  Below is a summary of the results of over 267 “skirmishes” in which the two states have encountered each other (courtesy Wikipedia).

Men’s Basketball
First Meeting March 11, 1907
Games Played 267
All-time series Kansas leads: 172–95

Conference championships (regular season only): Kansas 57, Missouri 15
National titles: Kansas 3, Missouri 0
Consensus All-Americans (first team): Kansas 21, Missouri 5
NBA players produced: Kansas 62, Missouri 26

The basketball rivalry has really nothing to do with metal detecting, treasure hunting, or civil unrest for that matter.  But, I figured I would outline the history Kansas has of whipping up on Missouri!

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  • Josh Turpin