Category Archives: Living History

Illumination Ceremonies held at the American Civil War Memorial

American Civil War Memorial Illumination and Remembrance
Friday, May 26, 2017, 7:00 PM
The Star Spangled Banner – Waterloo Varsity Ensemble
Roll Call of Waterloo Fallen – Gen. George B. McClellan, a.k.a John Goloski
Keynote Address – Pres. Abraham Lincoln, a.k.a. Fritz Klein
Taps – Jim Goloski, Past Commander, 148th NYVI, SVR

General George Brinton McClellan, portrayed by the 148th NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Sons of Veteran Reserve’s own John Goloski

General George Brinton McClellan is one of the most controversial figures in American history. Praised by friend and foe alike as the brilliant organizer who developed the impregnable defense of Washington, D.C. and established the basic structure and supply mechanism of the Union army that allowed it to defeat the Confederacy, yet vilified for not following through on battlefield victories and always way over-estimating enemy strength, being blamed for dragging out a war that many believe(d) could have been won in a matter of months, rather than the years it took.

Come and meet the man himself and form your own opinions, or at least gain a desire to learn more about this very interesting, and some say very misunderstood, genius of our American past, portrayed by the 148th NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Sons of Veteran Reserve’s own John Goloski.

John is a public school teacher of 7th and 8th grade Band at the Indian River Central School District in Philadelphia NY.  John started reenacting as a child in 1992 when his family joined the 148th New York Volunteer Infantry Company E, based in Waterloo NY. The 148th, which is both a reenacting organization and a Sons of Veterans Reserve unit, attended many events and living histories at which John’s love of history and military music sparked his interest and developed a passion that would last all of his life.

Shortly after joining the 148th John started practicing ancient rudimental drumming to be able to portray a musician and continued to develop his music skills.  He attended the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and graduated with a bachelors and masters degree in Music Education.

His interest in reenacting saw him portray many roles in the hobby. He has been asked to portray everything from a civilian child to a Captain leading a company of reenactors at Henrico VA.  In 2011 John was elected to the Commander position of the 148th NYVI and has held that position since then. He also was elected Adjutant of the Army of the Ohio in 2017 after serving as Sgt. Major of the organization for 2 years.. The Army of the Ohio is a regional reenacting organization made up of other reenacting units with members from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. after serving as Sgt. Major of the organization for 2 years.

Of all the achievements accomplished with the 148th John is most proud of the units restoration of the original battle flag of the 148th.  It is currently housed in Saratoga at the New York State Military Museum.  He is very excited to portray General George McClellan at Celebrate Commemorate Memorial Day this year and looks forward to the weekend!

Period music at M’Clintock House-Featuring Merry Mischief

Merry Mischief (Merlyn & Harry) are costumed theatrical musicians of many eras. They will be performing some music from the Civil War era through the days of Rights for Women at the McClintock House at 12:30 and 2:30pm Saturday, May 27, and noon Sunday, May 28. The beautiful harmonies and songs of Merry Mischief from by gone times will set the mood in advance of the characterizations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and President Theodore Roosevelt which will take place at 1 and 3 pm Saturday there as well as 12:30pm on Sunday. Step back in time with music and learn from the wisdom of those who have tread the stairs of politics and women’s rights at this historic museum.

http://merrymischief.net

In a special exhibit, Waterloo’s own Blue Star flag will be on display at the National Memorial Day Museum

Some of the toughest jobs in the military are filled by people who don’t wear uniforms, salute or march. The families who wait at home play an important part in providing support and comfort to the men and women in the military.

This year the Celebrate Commemorate Freedom Parade will honor Blue Star Mothers, the women who kept the home fires burning during the country’s various wars. Members of the Blue Star Mothers from Canandaigua will ride on the honor float.  The 17th annual parade will march down Main Street promptly at 11 a.m.  Saturday, May 27.

 

 

Bill Holmes shows off the Blue Star Flag at the Waterloo Historical Society. The flag will be on display at the National Memorial Day Museum for Celebrate Commemorate.

 

 

Gold stars covered blue star when a serviceman died.

 

 

 
Some of the toughest jobs in the military are filled by people who don’t wear uniforms, salute or march. The families who wait at home play an important part in providing support and comfort to the men and women in the military.

This year the Celebrate Commemorate Freedom Parade will honor Blue Star Mothers, the women who kept the home fires burning during the country’s various wars. Members of the Blue Star Mothers from Canandaigua will ride on the honor float.  The 17th annual parade will march down Main Street promptly at 11 a.m.  Saturday, May 27.

Parade Chair Sarah Smolinski is coordinating the scores of military groups, reenactors, students, organizations, businesses and fire departments who come to the Birthplace of Memorial Day to pay tribute to those who earned our freedom.

“The Freedom Parade is always a highlight of our annual celebration and commemoration. It is an honor to organize the parade,” said Smolinski, who stepped up to take over the task after the team of Doris Wolf and Kaaren Gerlach retired last year.

And in a special exhibit, Waterloo’s own Blue Star flag will be on display at the National Memorial Day Museum on East Main Street.  Oh, what stories that old banner could tell!

The red, white and blue 47-inch by 70-inch wool and cotton Service Flag was for several years on display at the First Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, honoring the 33 men from the church who answered their country’s call to serve in World War I.

Service Flags are displayed in the windows of family members of service men and by organizations to honor members’ service in the Armed Forces. It is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense. Also known as Blue Star Banners, the Service Flag was designed and patented by a WWI Army Captain who had two sons serving on the front line.

Each service man is represented by a blue star on the flag’s white center panel. When a service member has died or been killed, the blue star is covered with a gold star.  The blue star represents hope and pride, the gold star represents sacrifice in the cause of liberty and freedom.

Two of the stars on the First Presbyterian Church’s Service Flag are covered with gold paper, signifying the deaths of Ralph Betts in Syracuse on October 11, 1918 and Harold Bachman in Buffalo on November 16 that same year.

Bill Holmes of the Waterloo Library and Historical Society said the Service Flag was officially lowered from its place of honor in the church on March 28, 1920.  The program for the service, conducted by Rev. David L. Roberts, lists the names of the men honored by the stars on the service flag, names still common in Waterloo – Clark, Hall, Damon, Marshall, Reid, White, Christopher, Andrews, Carleton, Mauer, Huff, Sweet,  Velte, Hatch, Reeder, Schaffer, Yost,  Menzer, Shaffer, Geise, VanRiper, Judd, Zelner, Cook, Eshenour, Boak, Tarr.

The program says the flag was presented to Judge George F. Bodine, who accepted it for the Board of Trustees.

Holmes found the flag on Ebay in 2012 while searching for Waterloo-related items,, a hobby of his.  Holmes told his friend, Bill Sigrist , then president of the Waterloo Historical Society, about his find.

“We knew we had to bring it back to Waterloo, whatever the cost,” Holmes said.

The pair successfully bid on the item, which arrived from Florida in a dusty old plastic bag from Florida,  Bodine’s son. Peter, and his family moved to Florida in 1981, and may have taken the flag with them.

Holmes and Sigrist donated the banner to the Waterloo Library and Historical Society. The Historical Society hopes to obtain a grant to preserve the flag so it can permanently be displayed at the National Memorial Day Museum for all to see.

Federick Douglass

 The most Prolific and Highly Regarded Frederick Douglass Presenter to Attend

Frederick Douglass / aka Michael Crutcher Sr.,
will speak on Abolition and Human Rights at
3:15 Saturday at Pavilion 1, and
at 11:30 Sunday at Pavilion 2.

General Ulysses Grant a.k.a. Larry Clowers, Robert E. Lee a.k.a. Robert R. Joy, Sojourner Truth a.k.a. Carolyn Evans, Frederick Douglas a.k.a. Michael E. Crutcher, Sr.

Frederick Douglass – “A fugitive slave who rose from bondage to become a foremost orator, writer, abolitionist, and the most influential black leader of the mid-nineteenth century. Douglass was instrumental in convincing President Lincoln and the U.S. Army to raise regiments of former slaves and free northern blacks to help fight the war and liberate their enslaved brethren in the South.” Douglass was a Martin Luther King Jr. type of that time! A well-known Frederick Douglass message to us today: “Without a struggle, there can be no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”

“Michael Crutcher Sr. is perhaps the most prolific and highly regarded Frederick Douglass presenter in the world!”

“His greatest honor to date was representing Douglass at the request of Frederick’s descendant family at the unveiling of the new Frederick Douglass statue in Emancipation Hall at the Nation’s Capital in Washington, DX, on June 19, 2013.”

He has been in several television commercials and training videos and was a stand-in actor in the movie Seabiscuit and can be seen in the movie Dreamer, with actors Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell Douglass’ statue is the first to represent the District of Columbia and the third of an African-American at the Capitol. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks from the modern civil rights era also have statues, as do abolitionist Sojourner Truth

In early 1863 Brigadier General Lorenzo Thomas Sr. was sent to the Mississippi Valley by the Honorable Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War to organize self-emancipated “slaves” into regiments of United States civil war troops. On April 12th while at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana headquarters of General Grant, he was satisfied that 20,000 troops alone, could be organized on the west bank of the Mississippi in answer to Douglass’s Call to Arms at the time.

”Freedom to the slave should now be proclaimed from the Capitol, and should be seen above the smoke and fire of every battle field, waving from every loyal flag.”—Frederick Douglass, 1861

SELF-EMANCIPATION ABOUNDED IN THE MISSISSIPPI “RIBBER” VALLEY IN FREEDOM SUMMERE 1863 AS EX-SLAVES SOLDIERS FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM’S GLORY ON THE BAYOUS

In April U. S. Colored Troops fought Confederate Armies at Pascagoula Mississippi and won. In May they lost in battle at Port Hudson near Baton Rouge, while proving they could and would fight their “masters.” In June they won in battles of Fort Butler in Donaldsonville and Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana. On July 4, they won in battle at Helena Arkansas. These battles were for Union control of Mississippi River and victory at Vicksburg.

In Freedom Summer 1863, Vicksburg fell to the Union Army on July 4th, four days later Confederates at Port Hudson surrendered. Then thousands upon thousands of enslaved African Descendants self-emancipated (runaways) “in ways that showed once and for all they were not content to be held in bondage.”

Up and down the Mississippi River and her tributaries, thousands of able-bodied African Descent males joined and were recruited into the Union military as freedom fighting soldiers, sailors and cavalrymen. Thousands of other African Descent men, women and children served the cause for freedom as spies, scouts, nurses, cooks, laundresses, servants, teamsters, stevedores, foragers, wood choppers, general laborers, field hands, blacksmiths and builders of forts, breastworks and roads.

frederick Douglass 2

4th annual plein air painting-Memorial Day in Waterloo

Come and join the visual excitement of this year’s Celebrate/Commemorate Memorial Day in Waterloo. A plein air painting session will start on Saturday, May 27rd with registration at the Main Street Shop Center at 10 AM. Pick up your entry form and then decide which of the many exciting scenes will be the subject of your painting; the Civil War reenactors camping and water activities on Oak Island, the parade, the many craft and food vendors, the musical entertainments in Lafayette Park, the National Memorial Day Center. Just people-watching offers great subjects for a painting. Acrylics, watercolors, pastels, colored pencils-it is your choice of media to be used. Bring your canvas with you, when you enter.
The painting session will be from 11-3 PM, at which time you will bring your ready to hang, painting, done that day, back to the Main Street Shop Center for display. First place prize will be $100 and second place is $50. Paintings can remain on display at the Shop Center until Sunday at 4:00 .

Female Heroes of the Civil War

Espionage and Samaritans are as old as conflict itself, and women have often played major roles as spies, doctors and nurses.. The American Civil War was no exception. This year’s Celebrate Commemorate Living History event will include portrayals of female spy for the North – Elizabeth “Crazy Bett” Van Lew, portrayed by Nancy Karasinski, Dr. Mary Walker portrayed by Marilyn Dirk and Clara Barton portrayed by Eleanor Sterns.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, for her work as a surgeon during the Civil War. Mary Walker was born in Oswego, in upstate New York, in 1832. She graduated from Syracuse Medical College and, while serving as an assistant surgeon during the Civil War, was captured by the Confederate army. Following her release, Walker briefly returned to Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1864, she received a contract as an “acting assistant surgeon” with the Ohio 52nd Infantry, and soon began supervising a hospital for women prisoners and then an orphanage. She went on to lecture on women’s rights, dress reform and suffrage. She’s also known for her work as an outspoken women’s rights activist, for seeking to change the restrictive styles of women’s fashions of her day, and for refusing to be held back by her gender.  Walker died in Oswego in 1919.

 

 

Dirk, former President of the New York Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. You may recognize Marilyn from her previous appearances as spy Belle Boyd.  Dirk enjoys bringing to light the heroic contribution of women to our national history, a contribution too often overlooked by mainstream history books.

 

 

CLARA BARTON:
Educator, nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton became a teacher, worked in the U.S. Patent Office and was an independent nurse during the Civil War. Barton sought to help the soldiers in any way she could. At the beginning, she collected and distributed supplies for the Union Army. Not content sitting on the sidelines, Barton served as an independent nurse and first saw combat in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862. She also cared for soldiers wounded at Antietam. Barton was nicknamed “the angel of the battlefield” for her work.

After the war ended in 1865, Clara Barton worked for the War Department, helping to either reunite missing soldiers and their families or find out more about those who were missing. She also became a lecturer and crowds of people came to hear her talk about her war experiences. While visiting Europe, she worked with a relief organization known as the International Red Cross, and lobbied for an American branch when she returned home. The American Red Cross was founded in 1881, and Barton served as its first president.

Eleanor Sterns is a popular actress and board member of the Geneva Theater Guild.  She brings history alive through her portrayals of  “women of vision” — Clara Barton, Emily Dickinson, Amelia Earhart and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. “I am passionate about doing them. It’s my goal to bring these women alive and to bring history to people,” Sterns said.  “One of the most exciting times was when I did Clara Barton in her home down near Washington, D.C. on the 100th anniversary of her resignation from the Red Cross. They let me get changed upstairs and I came down the stairs that she would come down.”

Historical dialogue featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Portrayed by Dr. Melinda Grube & President Theodore Roosevelt, Portrayed by Gib Young

We are proud to have Women’s Rights National Historical Park as a sponsor again this year. The M’Clintock House on East Williams Street was the home of Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock from 1836-1856. The family were active Quaker abolitionists, actively engaged in the Underground Railroad, and were major organizers of the first Woman’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY, in July of 1848.

At the M’Clintock House at 1pm and 3pm Saturday, May 27th and 12:30 pm Sunday, May 28th, there will be Historical dialogues on women’s rights and women’s suffrage featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Portrayed by Dr. Melinda Grube & President Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, Portrayed by Gib Young.

During this time, the M’Clintock House will be staffed by Waterloo High School Student volunteers who are assisting the National Park Service during the weekend activities.

 

 

Melinda Grube focuses on the life and work of suffragist and freethinker Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who helped to organize the first Woman’s Rights Convention in her hometown of Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.  Melinda Grube is an adjunct lecturer in history at Cayuga Community College in Auburn, New York, and a longtime interpreter of regional women’s-rights history.

 

 

Besides the physical resemblance of Theodore Roosevelt – circa 1915 – Mr. Young has been able to develop the vocal and movements of his subject to a high degree.  Mr. Young has appeared before audiences from Boston to Seattle and from Houston to Marquette.  He has had the honor of appearing at White House, Mt. Rushmore Natl. Memorial, Devils Tower Natl. Monument, Jewel Cave Natl. Monument, Washington’s Mt. Vernon, Lincoln’s Boyhood Home in Indiana, Lincoln’s Springfield, Ill. home, US Grant’s home in St. Louis, the Ottawa Ohio Wildlife Refuge, the JFK Library, the Smithsonian’s American HistoryMuseum, and Ft. Caspar in Wyoming to name just a few venues on his resume.

The beautiful harmonies and songs of Merry Mischief from by gone times will set the mood in advance of the characterizations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and President Theodore Roosevelt which will take place at 1 and 3 pm Saturday there as well as 12:30pm on Sunday. Step back in time with music and learn from the wisdom of those who have tread the stairs of politics and women’s rights at this historic museum.