Border War Flares

A few years ago some high-minded folks at the University of Missouri-Columbia and some similarly high-minded folks at the University of Kansas decided it was no longer appropriate to refer to the MU-KU football game as a border “war.”   That’s why the teams play an emasculated contest known today as a border “showdown.”

The city of Osceola, in southwest Missouri, does not seem too interested in such a half-baked truce, however.  Osceola is still symbolically smoldering after “a group of domestic terrorists, referred to as ‘Jayhawkers,’ sacked the city…and burned all but four or five of the city’s buildings to the ground.”  A dozen peace-loving citizens were executed, says a resolution adopted by the city council.

The resolution concedes that William Clarke Quantrill kind of evened things up when he burned Lawrence.  After all, “Missourians had no choice but to defend themselves from the murderous attacks perpetuated by the jayhawkers….”

But what really gets Osceola’s goat (no, wait a minute.  Mexico already has the goat. You might remember those stories last year)……

What really gets stuck in Osceola’s craw is that the University of Kansas for 120 years has honored those domestic terrorists who burned the city by calling its sports teams “Jayhawks,” a slight modification of “Jayhawkers.”  The city resolution says the name “willfully, wantonly, and recklessly” disregards the “domestic terrorist” attack of 1861.

Therefore, the city of Osceola, CONDEMNS “the celebration of this murderous gang of terrorists by an institution of ‘higher education’ in such a brazen and malicious manner” and asks the University of Missouri to educate the school in Lawrence on “the full historical origins of the ‘Border War.'”   Not a border showdown, mind you.  This is still a war as far as Osceola is concerned.   The city also asks  MU alumni never to capitalize the “k” in Kansas or ‘k’ in KU.   Neither, says the resolution, “is a proper name or a proper place.”

The resolution does not come right out and demand the school in Lawrence stop using the mascot name “Jayhawk,” but it does hint that the citizens of a little town in southwest Missouri will be purty darned unhappy if they don’t.

It’s all mighty big talk for a town where the high school football team is known as the Indians.

(Our thanks to our senate press table colleague Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune for calling our attention to the resolution.  Rudi’s daily articles about the Civil War can be found at


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