Documentary about ‘riverkings’ to be featured Tuesday in Tonganoxie
A documentary about “riverkings” along the Kansas River will be shown Tuesday as part of the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society’s Fourth Tuesday programming.
The documentary “When Kings Reigned,” which was produced in Lawrence, will be show at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Tonganoxie Community Historic Site, 210 W. Washington St.
The film begins with Jake Washington (a runaway slave) arriving in Lawrence just before the end of the Civil War. He sets up shop, building a fishing cabin on the banks of the Kaw River in Lawrence and is actively working the waters by 1870.
The timeline of the riverkings runs from 1870-1970.
Barbara Higgins-Dover, the producer, will talk about the making of the movie and give more insight into the history of the Kaw River and some of the men who made their living and their homes on the river. Higgins-Dover shares this film and presents on the fascinating topic of commercial fishing on the Kaw River by men she calls “the Riverkings.”
They were a unique group of men who fished the Kaw and sold what they caught.They were also highly controversial figures fighting for their livelihood against the Kansas Legislature in the early 20th century, making them heroic, river outlaws.
After the film screening, Higgins-Dover will share artifacts, images, and personal stories. Her life as the descendant of one of these men makes her particularly qualified to speak on the subject matter. There will be a Q-and-A to follow the film and talk.
Higgins-Dover originally was scheduled to present the documentary this past winter, but inclement weather postponed those plans.