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Jayhawker finds Callaway’s rich Civil War history arresting

Sons of Confederate Veterans and Civil War reenactors Richard Houf, left, and John Burgher accost Rob and Debbie Givens’ tour guide, Warren Hollrah at Beks on Tuesday. The Givens’ were in Callaway County on a Civil War tour.

Sons of Confederate Veterans and Civil War reenactors Richard Houf, left, and John Burgher accost Rob and Debbie Givens’ tour guide, Warren Hollrah at Beks on Tuesday. The Givens’ were in Callaway County on a Civil War tour. Photo by Dean Asher.

The term “Jayhawker” might leave a bitter taste in any mid-Missourian’s mouth, but that has nothing on the reaction the term would have elicited 150 years ago in Callaway County, when it said more about politics than it did sports. While the Civil War raged through Missouri and the rest of the country, the Kingdom of Callaway was a holdout for Confederate support in the state — which never seceded from the Union — in contrast with the Union Jayhawkers in nearby Kansas.

This makes Fulton and the surrounding towns the perfect place for Civil War enthusiasts like Rob Givens to visit. Givens and his wife Debbie were in Callaway Tuesday and Wednesday, when local historian and tour guide Warren Hollrah gave them a tour of Callaway’s spots on one of Missouri’s premier Civil War attractions, the Gray Ghosts Trail.

Givens, who was born in St. Louis and eventually settled down in Kansas City, developed an interest in the Civil War about three years ago, when he visited a family friend in Chattanooga, Tenn. More recently, when he was retiring from Mazuma Credit Union, his coworkers wanted to give him a memorable gift.

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