The Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards held an appreciation dinner at the Zeandale Community Center on October 19, 2014 for volunteers, neighbors and donors who have contributed to the development and maintenance of the Mt. Mitchell Prairie. Guests enjoyed good food and good company and were entertained by two groups of local musicians, “The Haymakers” and “Just Us.” The park is growing in popularity among schoolchildren and visitors from far and wide who enjoy experiencing a walk on the prairie while learning about the site's historical importance.
MITCHELL FARM AND PRAIRIE CELEBRATION
MAY 20, 2017
Mount Mitchell-Mitchell Farmstead Celebration
June 20, 2015
The Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards celebrated their 10th anniversary at their annual summer open house on June 20th. Twenty-two descendants of Captain William Mitchell and his son W.I. Mitchell were in attendance, having come from seven states for the occaission.
The day began with a dedication ceremony of a park bench memorializing neighbor and friend Junior Breymeyer, who was instrumental in the development of the park. Junior passed away in August of 2014. Wildflower docents from the Kansas Native Plant Society and Konza Prairie then led nearly one hundred visitors on walks highlighting the park's plant community.
In mid-morning Mitchell family members were joined by about fifty regional visitors at the farmstead for a program that began with introductions by Prairie Guards Vice-President John Hund followed by Janet Armstead and Chris Day, performing as Prairie Larkspur, playing music from the Civil War period. Michael Stubbs, President of the Prairie Guards, then spoke about the Mitchell family, beginning with Captain Mitchell's father's connection with anti-slavery efforts in Connecticut during the 1830s.
Stubbs spoke about the generosity of William Izott Mitchell, who donated thrity acres of his parent's farm to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1953 as a memorial to his father and the Connecticut Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony. Mitchell had stipulated in his gift that the park be called "Mount Mitchell", which was amusing to local residents who had always called it Mitchell's Hill.
Kathryn Mitchell Buster, of Kansas City, followed Stubbs reading excerpts from her grandfather's memoir about life on the farm and in the Wabaunsee community at the turn of the 20th Century. A gifted writer, Mitchell related a number of interesting and amusing stories from his childhood.
Activities at the farm were accompanied by a chorus of newly emerged 17-year cicadas that added their own entertainment to the proceedings.
Michelle Crisler, who with her husband Morris are the current owners of the property, was a gracious host leading tours of her home highlighting the living room, which is the original log cabin that Captain Mitchell and members of the colony built in 1856. Above this room was a loft used to shelter fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in Canada between 1857 and 1861. The Wabaunsee community is known for its invovlement in the Underground Railroad during this period.
Larry Goodman, a Mitchell descendant from Florida, ended the program by singing an old Bible hymm.
Decendants of William Izott Mitchell and their families gathered for a group photo at the annual Mount Mitchell/Mitchell Farmstead Celebration on June 20th.
Amid family and friends, Junior Breymeyer was fondly remembered by John Hund, Vice President of the Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards, at the dedication of a park bench in Junior's honor.
Members of Junior's immediate family gathered for a photo at the newly dedicated bench.
Janet Armstead, left, and Chris Day of Prairie Larkspur, entertained guests with music from the time of Bleeding Kansas and the Civi War.
Susan Rose, a member of the Missouri Valley Impressionists Society and the Columbian Artists, braved heat and humidity to paint "plein aire" at the farm during the days activities.
The preceeding photos are courtesy of Michael and Reece Buster
Some of the wildflowers in bloom for the event
2014 PRAIRIE GUARDS APPRECIATION DINNER
7th Annual Mitchell Farm and Prairie Celebration
… a day to celebrate history, nature, art and community at the historic Mitchell Farmstead and the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie, recognized sites of the National Park Service's Network to Freedom Program commemorating the Underground Railroad
29213 Mount Mitchell Rd., Wabaunsee County, Kansas
May 20, 2017
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards will host their annual Mitchell Farm and Prairie Celebration on Saturday, May 20th from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Docents will lead wildflower walks beginning at 9 a.m. at the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie, 29377 Mitchell Prairie Lane. In addition to the wonders of a springtime prairie, park visitors will have the opportunity to walk in the ruts of the old Topeka-Fort Riley Road used by the Underground Railroad.
Tours of the historic Mitchell log cabin will run from 9 to 11 a.m. The farm, a private residence, is located at 29213 Mount Mitchell Road, Wamego. The log cabin was built by Captain William Mitchell in 1856, and was used soon after to hide enslaved people seeking their freedom in Canada. The home has been recognized by the National Park Service Network to Freedom program as a documented Underground Railroad site of national significance.
Rex Buchanan, Director Emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey and co-author of Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks, will speak on the geology of Mount Mitchell and the Wamego area at 11 a.m. at the farm. He will also discuss the recent earthquake activity in the region.
Throughout the day artists will be painting plein air, the practice of painting out doors on location. Maude J. Mitchell, Captain Mitchell's daughter, painted many local scenes using this technique.