Missouri author, Tom Refiner, talks about the Burnt District at Westport Library

Westport Historical Society News Release

Contact: Alana Smith, President 
(816) 561-1821, (913) 231-6749
4000 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO 64111
Facebook: 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum

Date: February 25, 2014 For Immediate Release

Missouri author Tom Rafiner to discuss "Burnt District” at the Westport Library

The Westport Historical Society is pleased to welcome author Tom Rafiner to Kansas City Public Library's Westport Library, 118 Westport Road, as a continuation of the Second Saturday Library Speaker Series. Rafiner's discussion will be held March 8, at 2 p.m. A reception and book signing will follow at the nearby 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum, at 40th and Baltimore.

Rafiner will discuss Missouri's burnt district, together with his second book, Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri's Burnt District, 1854 to 1870. This work recovers and shares a history of western Missouri long forgotten. Following General Thomas Ewing's issuance of General Order No. 11 in August 1863, three Missouri counties along the Kansas border were completely depopulated. Soon after the Civil War, the devastation and violence that had occurred in the area disappeared from historical record.

Cinders and Silence provides a detailed history of the burnt district from 1854 to 1863. The violence and destruction began long before the issuance of Order No. 11. This history also explores the reasons for the history's quick disappearance from local memory. Rafiner provides a comprehensive and gripping history of the area, focusing on the communities and families.

About Tom Rafiner
Tom Rafiner is an independent researcher and author. In the last 10 years he has spoken in over 30 counties in Missouri. He has also spoken at the Civil War Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Missouri History Museum at St. Louis, and the State Historical Society of Missouri. Rafiner has visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C. five times to collect material for his two books. His research focuses on the communities and families of Missouri's burnt district.
Tom graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969, and later earned a master's degree from UMKC. Tom and his wife Nancy are residents of Parkville.

About the 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum and the Westport Historical Society
Located at 4000 Baltimore in Kansas City, MO, the 1855 Harris-Kearney House is the oldest remaining residence in Kansas City. The house was built by the Harris family in 1855, and is now a museum owned and operated by the Westport Historical Society. The WHS was founded in 1956 to promote, preserve, and foster public interest in the significant history of Westport, Missouri, the Town of Kansas, Missouri, and their founders.

Please note:
the museum routinely closes for the winter season in late December, though tours can be scheduled throughout the year by calling the museum. The 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum will re-open for tours on March 5, 2014. Museum hours will be Wednesday-Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit our website, www.westporthistorical.com. Contact us at (816) 561-1821, or westporthistorical@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook.

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