Civil War Era Trial Reenactment at Historic Fort Scott

Civil War Era Trial Reenactment at Historic Fort Scott
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History came to life at the Fort Scott Historical Site Sunday.

The park hosted a reenactment of the William Griffith trial, an important Civil War era trial. Griffith was accused of taking part in the Marais Des Cygnes Massacre in 1855. During the reenactment, the actors debated out one of the biggest controversies of trial, determining whether Griffith’s motive for the murders was due to his pro-slavery views, or if it was because of personal reasons. Organizers said regardless of the motive, this trial marked an important point in Kansas history.

“Hopefully we can learn from mistakes that were made in the past,” says seasonal park ranger Robert Thomas. “This country didn’t always do the right thing. These things happen and it’s a darker side of our history. But it’s a part of our history that we should remember.”

The audience played the jurors in the trial, finding him not guilty. In real life, William Griffith was convicted and hung for his part in the massacre.