The Drummer Boy of Shiloh

Historian, songwriter, and storyteller Barry Cloyd will be the guest performer at a Collaborative Lecture sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and the Chautauqua Historical Society at Farley Music Hall, Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 2 PM.

Cloyd’s topic will be The Drummer Boy of Shiloh, telling the story of the American Civil War from the perspective of a young teen, the story told in song and narration. The Drummer Boy of Shiloh tells the story of the Civil War through the eyes of Joseph Henry Monroe. While there were many drummer boys who served in the war, Mr. Monroe was the youngest drummer boy to enlist in the war effort, when he was merely 12 years old. He led the troops at Shiloh, was captured by the Rebels, was imprisoned, and escaped from that prison and made his way back to his unit to continue to fight in many significant battles. The story of the war is presented through the music, mostly written by the soldiers themselves.

Barry tells us “Mr. Monroe was a musician throughout his life…more of that story later…I don’t want to give it all away. But the songs and stories of this terribly tragic war are presented as signposts of the actual history that was being created at that time. In it I portray Mr. Monroe as an adult…looking back on his time in the war (he was merely 16 when it ended). The music is delivered with vocals, guitar, 5-string banjo and Dobro slide guitar. Some of the songs are my original pieces…in particular the story/song of Joseph Henry Monroe and the battle of Shiloh, which is the opening piece of the show. It’s titled “Shiloh Train”.

Barry has co-written, produced and toured more than 20 original folk musicals, written more than 350 songs, and has appeared in over 300 TV commercials and 70 industrial films, some of which have been shown internationally. He is also a regular guest on radio and television programs wherever he travels. Barry is featured in a Prairie Folklore Theatre documentary film project entitled “Voices for the River” (funded by the Illinois EPA).

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 poster, contact Tim Tomlinson, Historic Elsah Foundation, 618-374-1518, text a request to 618-513-7119, or email a request to [email protected]

Bringing Home Mr. Lincoln: Twenty Days April-May, 1865

Local historian and scholar Timothy Tomlinson will be the featured speaker in the popular Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois, Friday, May 22, 2015 at 7:30 PM. The Series is sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and underwritten by Liberty Bank of Godfrey, Illinois.

Tomlinson’s topic will be Bringing Mr. Lincoln Home, the incredible story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the long journey of his body as it was returned to Springfield, Illinois from Washington City in the spring of 1865.

Tomlinson is Chair of the Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin Project, the group that created the replica coffin that was used for the Lincoln Funeral Reenactment Ceremonies in Springfield on May 2-3, 2015. “We built a museum quality replica that is well authenticated,” says Tomlinson. “In doing so, we learned a lot about our 16th President and the national grief that was part of the America of 150 years ago. In sharing photos and stories of the Lincoln funeral I believe we can all learn a little more about this great man.”

In his first experience speaking as a reenactor, Tomlinson will appear as Benjamin St. James Fry, Methodist minister, scholar, college president, newspaper reporter, and Chaplain of the 63rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry to tell the story of the Lincoln funeral. “Fry was the founder of the Chautauqua on the Great River Road, and a great admirer of Lincoln,” Tomlinson notes, “and it is possible he would have attended the viewing of Lincoln’s body in Indianapolis and even Springfield. I think he can tell this story well.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. Tomlinson’s book, The Western Chautauqua 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.

Photo thanks to Photogbuddies.

Download an informational poster here.

For additional information, contact Tim Tomlinson, Historic Elsah Foundation, 618-374-1518, text a request to 618-513-7119, or email a request to [email protected].

Lincoln Coffin

Historic Elsah Foundation is a key participant in the Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin project. May 1-3, 2015 is the reenactment of the funeral procession from Washington, DC, to Springfield, Illinois. This coffin is part of the event. Read more about the reenactment and the coffin, and listen to interviews with historians, including Tim Tomlinson, President of Historic Elsah Foundation, here:

Talk: Civil War Letters

101st IllinoisSaturday, April 25 at 2 pm
Farley 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 [email protected].

Special Preview: the Great Rivers Lincoln Coffin

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

Farley 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 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.