The 149th anniversary of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek will be observed at 10 a.m. on August 10, 2010. Missouri State University Historian Dr. William Piston will be the featured speaker at a program in front of the Visitor Center at the park. Decades of grassroots efforts to preserve the battlefield culminated on August 10, 1961 when the site was dedicated as a unit of the National Park Service. Drury University Professor Dr. Lewis Meador and local attorney John K. Hulston were instrumental in the park’s establishment. Information about their work and the early days of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation can be found in Hulston’s book An Ozarks Lawyer’s Story, 1946-1976.
"Bloody Hill" Land Donated from the Springfield (Mo.) Leader & Press, July 8, 1961, page 8.
"Transfer of first land for the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield National Park was made this morning when the board of the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield Foundation, Inc., voted to give the 37 acres it owned to the federal government.
"The meeting was held in the office of John K. Hulston, attorney and member of the board, with Dr. L.E. Meador presiding. Also present were Louis W. Reps, secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Fred C. Thomson, Charles Sheppard, Dr. Benton Manley, W.P. Keltner and James E. Ruffin.
"The Foundation was organized in 1951 when through subscriptions of around 600 persons, including school children, the 37 acres on Bloody Hill were bought from Mr. and Mrs. Bob McClure as a nucleus for the park.
“'Our purpose in acquiring this land,' said Dr. Meador, 'was to give it to the government to establish a national park. Now that legislation has accomplished that, we are ready to make a deed to the tract.'
"It was recalled that the movement for the purchase of the Bloody Hill acreage met instant and widespread response, indicating the great interest in the battlefield. Total contributed at that time was $2,843. In addition to the $1,600 land purchase, the Foundation was able to do considerable work at the site, including fencing an access road and planting considerable grass seed. It also had two printings of 5,000 copies each of a booklet giving the history of the battle, which was distributed to school children and other interested persons.
"Reps reported $26.97 still remains in the treasury. The board voted to use that to buy barbed wire to fence a lot that will be used as parking area at the dedication on August 10.
"Although the establishment of the park has been accomplished, the Battlefield Foundation still has a program ahead of it. Among the additional things it will seek to accomplish is interesting governors and legislators of several states in establishing memorials at the park. They believe at least five states may be interested in this because they had troops in the battle."
The portrait of John K. Hulston is courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
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