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A Brief Camp History

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In 1999 the Brigadier General William Steele Camp #1857 was chartered in Leavenworth, Kansas. The camp was under the command of retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Edwin L. Kennedy with Colonel James L. Speicher serving as Adjutant. Recruiting was one of the primary functions of the adjutant and all such membership inquiries were forwarded to Colonel Speicher for follow up. A large number of these inquiries came from individuals residing in the metropolitan Kansas City area. When contacted about joining the Steele Camp in Leavenworth most of these individuals said it was too far to go for a meeting and did not, therefore, join.

By early 2000, Colonel Speicher, a resident of Shawnee, in the metropolitan Kansas City area, felt that there was sufficient interest in the Kansas City area to warrant the formation of a camp. Contact was made with several of the individuals who had shown interest in joining and an organizational meeting was set for Thursday April 6th at Zarda’s Barbecue Restaurant in Lenexa. Steele Camp members Gary and Heath Roland and Jim Speicher formed the nucleus for the meeting, which ten people attended. Those present voted to form a new camp. That camp, the Major Thomas J. Key Camp #1920, was chartered on May 22, 2000, with ten charter members:

Charles B. Bennett
Wylie A. Brooks, Jr.
Allen R. Broome
Ronald H. Jackson
Roy A. Lafferty
Gary L. Roland
C. Heath Roland
James L. Speicher
Bobby L. Webster

Since that time the camp has grown continuously to over seven times its original membership.(As of August, 2012, Key Camp has 66 members and 5 cadet members.) The meeting location has also changed several times as the camp outgrew the facilities. From the original meeting place at Zarda’s, the camp moved to Old Shawnee Pizza then to Smokehouse Barbecue and again to Fire Mountain Restaurant. Then, from December 2005 to June 2007, the meeting location was Chen’s Super Buffet. As of the July 2007 meeting, the camp has returned to Zarda Bar-B-Q.

Background of the Sons of Confederate Veterans

The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.

Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.

The SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. Organized at Richmond, Virginia in 1896, the SCV continues to serve as a historical, patriotic, and non-political organization dedicated to insuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved.

Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendents of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Do you have a Confederate ancestor?

"We must have patience and longer endurance, then, with our brethren, while under delusion; give them time for reflection and experience of consequences; keep ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents; and separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.

"Between these evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation. But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights; to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms; to protest against them a wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgements or precedents of right, but as temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation shall outweigh that of separation." - Thomas Jefferson 12-26-1825

The "Key" camp of the Kansas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Exemplars to a Future Age