Talk: Civil War Letters

101st IllinoisSaturday, April 25 at 2 pm
Farley’s Music Hall, 37 Mill Street

Cass County husband Wilbur Lee Meyer and wife Peggy discovered a box of old letters in their attic—letters from the American Civil War, letters between a husband and wife, ancestors of Wilbur Lee. The Meyer’s are the featured speakers in a special Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series that is sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and the Green Tree Inn, Elsah, Illinois. The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series is underwritten by Liberty Bank of Godfrey, Illinois.

“What a treasure trove of family history—and American history—the Meyer’s discovered in their attic,” says Tim Tomlinson, President of Historic Elsah Foundation and host for the Series. “They understand the importance of their find and are willing to share these very personal reminiscences of that terrible time in our country’s history. Their stories prove all history is local and all historical events are personal”

This is the story of a soldier in the 101st Illinois Infantry Regiment in the Civil War. The Regiment, organized in Jacksonville in 1862, first saw action around Holly Springs, Mississippi and later in campaigns around Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” The 101st was in North Carolina when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The Regiment was mustered out, paid off, and disbanded in Springfield, Illinois in June 1865.

The Meyer’s live on a farm near Beardstown when they are not traveling about Illinois sharing their stories of family, the Regiment, and the war. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the lecture. Reservations are not required. Parking is available.

For additional information and a digital copy of an informational flier, contact Tim Tomlinson, Historic Elsah Foundation, 618.374.1518, text a request to 618.513.7119, or email a request to trt1033@aol.com.

Special Preview: the Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin

Lincoln Coffin 03Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

Farley’s Music Hall, 39 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois

The Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin is the official coffin for Reenactment Ceremonies in Springfield, Illinois on May 2-3, 2015. It was produced by a consortium of local history organizations to participate in the commemorative events for the 150th anniversary of the return of Abraham Lincoln’s body from Washington, D. C. to Springfield, Illinois, the 16th President’s final resting place.

The Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin can be previewed and photographed at Farley’s Music Hall in Elsah, Illinois, Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 10:15 in the morning. The timing for this opportunity is relevant: April 9 is the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia.

This is a photo opportunity as well as an opportunity to meet project committee members who will describe the making of the coffin. An Abraham Lincoln reenactor will provide a ghost-like presence. President Lincoln’s Washington undertaker, Mr. Frank Sands, will make an appearance to describe briefly the Lincoln funeral. The coffin will be draped with an 1865 American flag which will be removed and folded by an honor guard of veterans of the military services of the United States.

The project was a voluntary effort for committee and its many partners—Mosby Woodwork of Grafton, Illinois, who fabricated the coffin; Federal Steel and Erection, East Alton, Illinois, which provided schematics for the coffin dimensions; Fehlig Brothers Lumber Company, St. Louis, Missouri, who provided the lumber for the coffin; Brooks Brothers, Ltd. of New York City, who donated the black wool broadcloth that covers the entire coffin; Batesville Casket Company, Batesville, Indiana, who donated decorating and assembling services and materials to finish the coffin; Annin Flagmakers, Rosewood, New Jersey, for providing a replica of the 1865 flag to drape the coffin;, and Elias, Kallal & Schaaf, Alton, Illinois, who donated transportation services and storage facilities. Representatives of the partners will be available for questions and interviews.

On May 2, 2025, near the Amtrak Station in Springfield, Illinois, the Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin will be removed from a replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train Car, placed ceremoniously in a waiting replica hearse, and then processed through the streets of Springfield, led by President’s Lincoln’s Own Band and followed by several hundred military and civilian reenactors to a site where the coffin can be viewed as part of an overnight candlelight vigil. The hearse and coffin will process to Oak Ridge Cemetery the next afternoon, May 3, 2015, for final ceremonies.

Please put this press conference on your calendars. For more information, please contact Tim Tomlinson at 618.513.7119.

Photography courtesy of PhotogBuddies.

Talk: Lincoln’s Ladder by historian and scholar Guy Fraker

11021299_907843402601916_8579809231049268633_oMarch 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Lincoln historian, and scholar Guy Fraker will be the featured speaker in the popular Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois, Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm. The lecture is sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation. The Series is underwritten by Liberty Bank of Godfrey, Illinois.

A retired attorney from Bloomington, Illinois, Fraker is the author of Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit. As a central Illinois lawyer himself, Fraker knows well the 8th Judicial Circuit. In Lincoln’s Ladder he describes the personal side of Lincoln, his relationships with his colleagues, clients, and the communities of the Circuit. He looks at the participants in Lincoln‘s cases and analyzes Lincoln’s considerable networking ability as he built his law practice and political base. This is the story of how Lincoln was catapulted to the Republican nomination for President in 1860.

Fraker is Chairman of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, the action arm of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, a 42-county area in downstate Illinois established by act of Congress on May 8, 2008. He was the consultant on the award- winning PBS documentary, “Lincoln, Prelude to the Presidency,” and co-curated “Prologue to the Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit,” a traveling exhibit that is also on permanent display at the David Davis Mansion, a state historic site in Bloomington. He served as an adviser to the National Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Fraker is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and a past president of the McLean County Bar Association.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The book Lincoln’s Ladder will be available for purchase and to be autographed by the author. Refreshments will be served following the lecture. Reservations are not required. Parking is available.

For additional information and a digital copy of an informational flier, contact Tim Tomlinson, Historic Elsah Foundation, 618.374.1518, text a request to 618.513.7119, or email a request to trt1033@aol.com.