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Civil War Lecture Series Spurs Talks of Local Learning Center

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It might be quiet here now, but back in the 1800's this field was the site of a brutal Civil War battle in Jasper County that left 18 men dead, and led to the burning of Rader Farm along with the Village of Sherwood, something 8th grade history teacher Kimmie Sawder is familiar with.

"I actually got a ghost book one time and it mentioned the Rader Farm. That's the first place I heard about it was in that book," explained Sawder.

Sawder has made it a point to attend each of the lectures on the Civil War because for her, it's personal.

"I grew up in South Louisiana, right next to actually Vicksburg, Mississippi so Civil War is sort of in my blood," said Sawder.

The Civil War discussions at MSSU focus on unique aspects of life during this era, and bring up local ties to this time period. 

"We want to really try to connect with Fort Scott and Wilson's Creek and Battle of Carthage. You, know the Civil War history is deep in this area and sometimes forgotten. So we want everybody to remember that past," said Brad Belk, Community Historian for Missouri Southern State University.

And that's why Belk hopes that these lectures will get people excited about developments at Rader's Farm Civil War park, a place he hopes will bring the past to life.

"We're hoping to add some structures here so we can have a living history museum on site here. We can do demonstrations and tell people of this fascinating period," Belk stated.

Belk hopes that, in time, this field will be filled with people, learning about history.

"That would be brilliant. That would be fabulous because anytime we can be hands on with this age group, the more that they learn and absorb that learning," said Sawder.

Belk is also the president of Sherwood Rader Farm Civil War Park Inc. He says the group plans on collecting $125,000  to establish the learning center.

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