Dan currently serves as chairman of the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund. He was one of the founding members in 1977 of the Westport fund which is a §501(c)(3) non-profit group dedicated to the commemoration and preservation of the Civil War battlefields of Kansas City.
Reared a few miles from the Mine Creek battlefield in Pleasanton, Kansas, Mr. Smith developed an early interest in history and historic preservation. He has been actively involved in Civil War battlefield preservation efforts since 1970 including nomination applications for the National Register of Historic Places. As a congressional intern in 1969, he performed research on Civil War topics at the National Archives and Library of Congress.
He has served as the editor and historical consultant for various works including October 25th and the Battle of Mine Creek by Lumir F. Buresh and Border Warfare in Southeast Kansas by Murlin G. Welch.
He authored in 2002 the study entitled “Interpretive and Development Plan for Byram’s Ford Big Blue Battlefield” (http://www.battleofwestport.org/Plan.htm). This study has been adopted by governmental agencies in the preservation of the site. He and fellow historian Shirley Christian are co-chairs of the “Saving Kansas City’s Battlefield” initiative (http://battleofwestport.org/Video.htm) which is reclaiming and restoring the battlefield at the Byram’s Ford crossing. On behalf of the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund, he and Alisha Cole collaborated in 2008 to create and establish the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum located at Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri. More recently he has served as a speaker and consultant on Civil War topics to the Missouri Humanities Council. In 2010 he served as consultant to the National Park Service on matters pertaining to the revision of the Civil War Sites Advisory Committee’s listing for the Byram’s Ford (CWSAC 027) and Westport (CWSAC 028) sites in Missouri.
He has also served as president of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City in 1980 and 2005. He is currently an officer of the Westport Historical Society and a life member of the Kansas State Historical Society.
Mr. Smith received his undergraduate degree in political science with honors from the University of Kansas in 1973. He graduated from Duke University Law School in 1976. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law.
Since 1976, Mr. Smith has been engaged in the practice of law in the Kansas City metropolitan area as a trial attorney. He resides in Overland Park with his wife Alana.
Dick is theCivilWarMuse, an amateur historian with particular interest in the American Civil War. Dick maintains a website, http://www.thecivilwarmuse.com/ that provides virtual tours of Civil War battlefields with interesting facts about the battle and biographies of key individuals. The virtual tours allow you to travel back in time and personally take walking and auto tours of various battlefields and expeditions. Area maps, waypoints and pictures are provided to orient and guide you through your visit.
Dick also has a blog Trans-Mississippi Musings (http://www.transmississippimusings.com/)writing about interesting stories that took place in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War, including the Reconstruction era following the war.
Dick founded Trans-Mississippi Musings Press which has published a number of books about the Civil War in Missouri and Kansas. Check them out at http://www.thecivilwarmuse.com/index.php?page=my-books.
Dick currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City as second vice president.
Dick is currently retired and living in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area after a 26-year career as an Information Technology professional.
Dick is a volunteer docent on Civil War Wednesdays at the Harris-Kearney House (https://battleofwestport.org/) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dick has volunteered for SPARK (Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge) teaching classes on the Civil War in Missouri and Kansas. SPARK is an Elderhostel Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) and a member of the Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN). SPARK partners with the University of Missouri-Kansas City.