Category Archives: Living History

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.



On Saturday at 1:15 AND Sunday at Noon, 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.

 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.


At the M’Clintock House at 1:45 pm and 3:00 pm Saturday, May 26th and 12:30 pm Sunday, May 27th, 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.



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 History Museum, and Ft. Caspar in Wyoming to name just a few venues on his resume.

 Here is a sample from the 2017 dialogues:

The School of Instruction for Engineers: Waterloo 2018

The Civil War encampment this Memorial Day weekend on Oak Island will feature a two day long “School of Instruction for Engineers / Pioneers”. Engineers were one of four branches of the Army including the infantry, artillery and cavalry during the American Civil War. The general public will be able to see Civil War reenactor participants build some of the various defensive pieces during this school of instruction. Pioneers were infantry troops that were skilled tradesman that acted as “infantry engineers”, one per every 100 man company if they were available.
Photos courtesy of Dennis Luthart


The role of the engineer was extremely vital for the Army to move across the land and fight on the battlefield. The engineers were instrumental in clearing paths through woods, laying down “corduroy roads” on muddy surfaces, building wooden trestle bridges and transporting / deploying pontoon bridges over rivers.  Defensive works needed the guidance of the engineers to construct gabions (three foot tall, round wicker containers filled with dirt to place around artillery batteries), and direct the building of field fortifications especially towards the middle through the end of the war when trench warfare was more prevalent. Chevaux-de-frise (or Friesian horses) were anti-cavalry defensive pieces built by engineers that were often logs with projecting sharpened spikes alternating every foot out of the timber. When placed in front of defensive works they acted as a barrier or obstacle for both cavalry and infantry offensives. Abatis were large branches that were placed in front of works as well to serve as a obstacle to slow down an advance of troops. Also in front of such works were shallow rifle pits (much like foxholes) that the defenders would use to repel the offensive forces. Signal towers were often constructed behind the lines for both observation of the enemy and use by the signal corps to transmit semaphore messages with flags. Lifting gins, with their pulleys, were used to lift heavy objects such as cannon barrels. 

During the course of the “School of the Engineer / Pioneer”, the public will be able to witness participants rotating through 45 minute learning sessions on how to build gabions, chevaux-de-frise, lifting gins, dig rifle pits and a construct a signal tower. The Engineers’ Tool Depot will feature hand tools, entrenching / felling implements and cartography (map making) equipment. Witness history yourself, see their camps, examine their personal belongings, food and equipment. The school located at the Oak Island encampment will commence on Saturday at 1pm following the Memorial Day Parade. 

The school is hosted by two Western New York engineer reenacting units. Capt. Ray Ball of Co. A of the U.S. Regular Engineers has been reenacting since 2010 and is a veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers. Capt Alex Johnson of Co. F of the 1st N.Y. Volunteer Engineers, has reenacted since 1992 and is a descendant of an immigrant sergeant of the original New York regiment. If you’re so intrigued to, join in on the fun and enlist in either Co. A of the U.S. Regular Engineers or Co. F of the 1st N.Y. Volunteer Engineers. 

Photos courtesy of Dennis Luthart


Illumination Ceremonies held at the American Civil War Memorial

American Civil War Memorial
Illumination and Remembrance
Friday, May 25, 2018  7:00 PM
Welcome and Introduction
Marsha Ashbarry, Secretary Tent #109 Mary Gahan, Waterloo
Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865

Master of Ceremony – Susan Sheldon, Tent #109, DUVCW
Invocation – Carla Agonito, Chaplain, Tent #109, DUVCW
Post Ceremonial Flag – John Goloski, Commander, 148th NYVI, SUVCW
To the Colors – Jim Goloski, Past Commander 148th NYVI, SUVCW
Pledge of Allegiance – Ann Zwart, Tent #109, DUVCW
Star Spangled Banner – Waterloo High School Varsity Ensemble, Krista Serrett, Dir.
Dale Theetge Memorial Lantern Procession – Diane Theetge, Past Dept. President,
SUV Aux. and Family
Roll Call of Waterloo Fallen
Key Note Address President Abraham Lincoln a.k.a. Fritz Klein

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

Fritz Klein as President Abraham Lincoln May 26th-28th

Klein’s portrayal of Lincoln brings this American icon to life. He bears a striking physical resemblance to Lincoln. His programs are thoroughly researched, historically accurate, and blend Lincoln’s humor with his great humanity. His ability to adapt to any audience and adapt his program’s content to your theme means that you are guaranteed to walk away with new insight into the man and a genuine sense that you have been with Lincoln himself.

To prepare for a performance, it takes about an hour with costume and make-up. However, if you happen to have Lincoln in mind, his natural resemblance to Abraham Lincoln can be quite convincing. Several years ago when visiting Washington D.C. he created something of a stir when he walked into Ford’s Theater, the place where Lincoln was shot. Though Klein was dressed in ordinary street attire, with his 6’3″ height and Quaker beard one woman screamed outright when she looked up to see him casually strolling down the stairs.

FritzAbe 1

Actor Fritz Klein of Springfield, Illinois has been a professional actor and speaker for many years. His portrayal of Lincoln brings this American icon to life. Klein brings striking physical resemblance as well as historical accuracy, acting ability, humor, and relevance to the audience. Productions vary in content and length according to the need and character of the audience, but you will come away with new insight and the sense that you have been with Lincoln himself. Klein was first asked to portray Lincoln after performing as Lyman Beecher in a local history pageant in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i where he lived at the time. After a number of requests for repeat performances, he decided to begin extensive research in order to write a one-man production on Lincoln. That production has led to many others. He has since performed as Lincoln in 38 states and internationally as well. He and his wife Linda now reside in Springfield, Illinois where he performs at the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, as well as many other venues around the country. In the summer Klein plays Lincoln in a variety of venues in a program called “History Comes Alive. In 2011 Klein was featured in the National Park Service’s recreation of Lincoln’s Inaugural Journey, travelling from Springfield to Washington, DC. and performing for some 5,000 people enroute. Klein portrayed Lincoln in a feature entitled “Lost River” and four History Channel Lincoln Bicentennial spots, as well as the award-winning Lincoln film at the Lincoln Home National Park “Journey to Greatness” by Aperture films of Los Angeles. On President Obama’s Inauguration night, Klein was Lincoln in the first American showing of a German film called “Lincoln’s Last Night” produced by VIDICOM of Hamburg and again featured at the Smithsonian for the 2013 Inauguration. Klein was also featured in the 2013 Ford’s Theater exhibit put together by History Channel. Klein has also done numerous documentary and feature films for National Geographic, Discovery and History Channel including “Stealing Lincoln’s Body”, “Lincoln’s Secret Killer”, and “American Mastermind”. In 2013 the Smithsonian film, “Lincoln’sWashingtonWar” aired in 2013, on the Smithsonian Channel, and he appeared on National television with “Larry the Cable Guy”. In April 2015 a new documentary “Lincoln’s Last Day” aired on the Smithsonian Channel. Recent plays include a 2012 role in the Pulitzer – Prize nominated production “The Heavens Are Hung in Black” by James Still, and a 2014 appearance with actor Carlo Garcia in “Of Mutual Interest – Lincoln and Mexico” before Illinois Governor and delegates from Mexico. In the Fall of 2014 a new Ken Bradbury play about Lincoln’s assassination called “Last Full Measure” opened at Union Theater in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. That play will continue to run in locations around the country through 2016.

On May 24th, 2013 President Abraham Lincoln (Fritz Klein) spoke at the American Civil War memorial in Waterloo, New York. As keynote speaker at the annual Illumination Ceremony, He was asked to make some comments about the battles at Gettysburg and his part in the dedication of the cemetery. His comments conclude with his famous Gettysburg Address, recited as only the President could.
<p class=”wpview-selection-before”></p>

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.

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


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