Mary Madden, director of the Kansas Museum of History, said Mc Coy’s name is “synonymous with Kansas history,” noting his accomplishments both as a land surveyor, a missionary and an advocate for Indian rights.
Mc Coy made more than a dozen trips to Washington, D.
However, the government didn’t follow through with all of Mc Coy’s wishes, leading to tragic consequences for the Indian population, Madden said. Museum officials said they hoped the spoon and watch would serve as conversation-starters on the Mc Coys’ contributions to Kansas history.
Allin Phister, 74, said his late parents were avid historians who kept many of the family’s heirlooms.
About five years ago, while going through a box of belongings, he came across the spoon.
Gary Long, a historian from Springfield, Mo., who has written five books on the Mc Coys, urged the Phisters to donate the spoon to the museum.
“It means more to me now than it used to because I know more about it,” Phister said of the spoon.
The spoon may not be that significant — certainly not as a mere eating utensil.
Its real value comes from those to whom it belonged, and their story as it played out in the annals of Kansas history, as they endured hardships and danger while working to help settle the state.
“The life they lived is a story we ought to make available to our children,” Allin Phister said.
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