Though most often referring to a mythical bird of Kansas today, utilized as the University of Kansas’ mascot, and often applied to anyone from Kansas, Jayhawkers were very real during the Kansas-Missouri Border War and continuing into the Civil War.
The term was first known to have been used in 1849 by a group of California bound travelers passing through Kansas who called themselves Jayhawkers. The term was thought have been inspired by a cross between a hawk and a blue jay, taking on the predatory habits of the former, and the noisy nature of the blue jay. By the 1850s, the term was widely accepted in the region as anyone from Kansas. When the new territory was opened for settlement in 1854 and flooded by both anti-slavery advocates and pro-slavery residents, mostly from Missouri, tensions were immediate between the opposing factions, which soon led to the Kansas-Missouri Border War, often referred to as “Bleeding Kansas” in the years prior to the Civil War.
Today, the “Jayhawk” is the official mascot of the
University of Kansas.
As tension mounted between the two groups, a number of skirmishes and battles occurred between the two factions, with the anti-slavery proponents referred to as Jayhawkers, and the pro-slavery advocates referred to as Bushwhackers or Border Ruffians.
The battles between the Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers continued even after Kansas was declared a “Free-State” and into the Civil War. By this time, the term was so well-known that many Confederates referred to any Kansas troops as Jayhawkers, but this was not the case. The true Jayhawkers were guerilla fighters that were often undisciplined, unprincipled, thieving and murderous. Because of their ruthless ways and tendency towards theft, the term “Jayhawking” became widely used as a synonym for stealing, and the term “Jayhawk” itself, was also used as an epithet for any marauder, robber, or thief.
Liking the tough image the term conveyed, Kansas soldiers continued to use the term and members of the Seventh Kansas regiment, commanded by Colonel Charles R. Jennison, were widely known as Jayhawkers. Jennison’s troops, who wore red breeches, were also referred to as “Redlegs.” Other prominent Jayhawkers of the time were renowned politician, James H. Lane who commanded what was known as “Lane’s Brigade,” and Daniel R. Anthony, an ardent abolitionist and the brother of suffragette Susan B. Anthony. In many cases, true Jayhawkers and Redlegs refused to join units officially sanctioned by the U.S. Army; however, guerrillas on both sides of the Missouri-Kansas border achieved some measure of legitimacy through sanction from the Federal and Confederate governments.
During the Civil War, Jayhawker bands invaded Missouri, often committing some of the most notorious atrocities of the conflict including the Sacking of Osceola on September 23, 1861, led by James H. Lane, in which the entire town was set aflame and at least nine male residents were killed.
Two years later, when William Quantrill attacked Lawrence, Kansas in August, 1863 in what has become known as the Lawrence Massacre, Confederate guerillas could be heard shouting, “Remember Osceola!” Though Lane was in residence in Lawrence at the time, he was able to escape the attack by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.
After Lane’s attack on Osceola, these Jayhawker bands began to receive much criticism from the Union leaders and they were “reigned in.” As the Civil War continued and the Jayhawk raids diminished, the ruffian image gave way to patriotic symbol and Kansas Governor Charles Robinson raised a regiment called the Independent Mounted Kansas Jayhawks. By the end of the war, Jayhawks were synonymous with the impassioned people who made Kansas a Free-State.
In 1886, the mythical bird “appeared” in a cheer during a University of Kansas athletic event — the famous Rock Chalk chant. Later it was adopted as the school’s mascot.
Today the term is applied to Kansas natives and as the University of Kansas’ mascot.
#10 Oklahoma State Cowboys 49 vs #4 Baylor Bears 17
Big 12 Showdown
#4 Baylor Bears a team rolling over the competition averaging some 60+ points per game, an offense that couldn't be stopped, came into Stillwater and literally ran into a brick wall in the form of Pistol Pete and the Oklahoma State Cowboys defense.
The scoreboard told the story. As well as the Baylor Bears offensive has been this year they were just the opposite tonight.
I can't recall the last time I saw a running back stretch out and try to put the ball over the goal line only to have it knocked out of his hand for a fumble. Again in the red zone ready to score Baylor Bear center snaps the ball to the left side of the Baylor QB. Baylor's QB jumps on the ball. It looked like a hot potato the way it came out of his hands only to have a Cowboy and his Posse take the ball to the opposite end zone for 6 of Oklahoma State Cowboys 49 impressive points
The Baylor Bears will be on the road next week to face a TCU Football team that has struggled all season.
Baylor will try to get their impressive offense rolling again in what should be a warm up game, preparing for their final home game in a stadium that will be replaced in 2014, against a Texas Longhorn team that has been strong in Big 12 play
Oklahoma State will have a week off then host The Oklahoma Sooners in The Bedlam Series that dates back as far as 1904 in football. November 6, 1904 The Oklahoma Sooners beat The Oklahoma A&M, as they were originally called, in a very lopsided score 75-0
Oklahoma A&M became Oklahoma State in 1957.
Since the beginning of The Football Bedlam Series began in 1904 Oklahoma State has only beaten Oklahoma 17 times. They also tied 7 times. The Oklahoma Sooner have a very impressive record in The Bedlam Series of Football with a record of 85-17-7
The Baylor Bears have now lost all 10 games of the Big 12 Era played in Stillwater and haven't beaten Oklahoma State in Stillwater in 75 years!
History tends to repeat itself. The "Stillwater Jinx" that has haunted Baylor in Stillwater for 75 years tells me that Oklahoma State may be prime for their own Bedlam Jinxi n a series that in 109 years The Oklahoma Sooners have dominated 85 of the 109 games played.