Monday, May 18, 2020

Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village: The Best of (Part One 2005-2009)

Most of our reenactments for 2020,  so far,  have been cancelled.
I am sure I don't have to explain why.
It is very difficult for me to not be able to have this to look forward to,  for we all need something to keep us going.  As much as I hate wanting time to fly by,  I can honestly say that I am looking forward to have 2020 be over with.
And,  I have a feeling I will also be looking to have 2021 and even possibly 2022 over with,  too.  Let's just say I have a bad feeling about the future.
So I am trying - really trying - to get through this the best way I know how,  and part of my therapy is to go through my older reenacting photographs,  some of which I haven't looked at in literally years.  Many certainly have not ever been posted on this blog,  which began in 2007,  or even on the internet.
The pictures in this posting were all taken at Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village,  which was one of the events that took a hit,  and since Civil War Remembrance is one of the most looked-forward-to reenactments for us here in southeastern Michigan,  I thought I'd pay tribute to CWR Past.
I can tell you right now there will be more than one part to this posting...

Let's start at the beginning,  shall we?  Though Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village began many years earlier,  my first time participating with my family as reenactors was in 2005:
The Union Army marching past historic houses from the 18th and 19th centuries.  The young lad front and center is my now almost 
29 year old son.

In 2005,  Robbie wasn't old enough to shoulder a musket,  so he 
played the fife during marches and battles.  
The Confederates shot him!  So a Union soldier grabbed him and 
flung him older his shoulder to get him off the battlefield.

This was the year my wife Patty and I had our first 
tintype taken.  It was also the first time we wore 
correct period clothing at a reenactment  (we didn't
start off on the right foot initially).

About half of the Civilians from the 21st Michigan at that time.
Our group now has around 50 civilian members.

Mrs.  Cook lives up to her name.
Getting ready to cut chicken up to fry.

In the early spring of 2005 I joined a second reenacting group,  
the civilian-only Michigan Soldiers Aid Society  (or MSAS). 

Heading into 2006:
The early morning drill.

Military members of the 21st Michigan

Some of us in the 21st Michigan portray military while others 
portray civilians on the homefront.
That's a much younger me on the left.

Back in those earlier days of Civil War Remembrance,  
Greenfield Village had a house of mourning  (utilizing the Adams 
House).  Unfortunately,  they have not done that in years.  They 
closed the Adams House up initially for some repairs and 
possible changes,  but for some reason it's been put on the back-
burner and remains closed.
But the 19th century mourning presentation was a very popular 
and well-done display.  I was proud to play a small part.

One of the perks on reenacting is we usually will have a fine-

cooked meal with vegetables and fruit of the season.  We do our 
best to keep in season,  though every-so-often something,  such as 
an apple in May,  could slip though  (lol).

For a number of years,  the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society 
utilized the 1850s Smiths Creek Depot for varying historical 

Here we were making up packages for the men in blue off 
fighting in the south.  Similar to mourning,  CWR gave me my 
first opportunities to participate in living history.  This was also 
my first time doing 1st person  (aside from the Holly Dickens 
Festival,  which was mostly scripted anyhow).

The train coming into the station to pick up our packages.

Now we move up to 2007:
Just before the battle...
I remember taking this picture.  When I saw the two horses up on 

the hill,  I saw what I considered the perfect period picture.

Of course,  the battles on the field is always a highlight.

I believe this just may have been the Cary family's first time 
participating in this event.

Evenings are always special.  
We love having the visitors during the day,  but night time is our 
time,  and most of us will hang out while still wearing our period 
clothing.  We're not the 9 to 5 reenacting kind.  We take it all  in.
By the way,  that's my son,  Tommy,  with the guitar.  He is now 
married with three kids.

Mrs.  Cook is making the doughnuts for the soldiers!  This has 
always been one of her most favorite activities to do.
Yes,  they are always excellent!

Marching after the battle had ended.

Three lovely ladies:  Chaela,  her mother,  Karen  (center),  
and my wife,  Patty,  on the right.

The Schroeder Family as of 2007.

The Morgan Family.

Another year and another  "package"  scenario with the 
Michigan Soldiers Aid Society.

2007 was the first year I began doing a postmaster impression.  
And since Greenfield Village has a 19th century post office,  I 
could hone my impression to a higher level.

Now let's move into 2008:
My two sons are in front,  

and that's family friend Jonathan in the back.
Family and friends - this is what makes reenacting 
the wonderful hobby that it is.

The preacher,  Mike Gillett,  reads letters from home 
to the men who have difficulty reading.

Emily,  our own  "ice angel,"  gives water to the wounded and 
dying men on the field.
"Ice angels"  are mainly reenactor-isms.  You really would not 
have seen this sort of thing while a battle was raging.  
However,  after the battle,  women of the town and nurses would 
have gone out to where the wounded lay to help comfort them,  
bringing along water to help quench their thirst.

Part of the battle scenario.

The Torok Family.

Telling ghostly tales in the wee hours at the foot of the 1832 
Ackley Covered Bridge was always a treat for adults and 
children  (not too young!)  alike.  It's too bad we couldn't do this 
at Hallowe'en.

At the house of mourning once again.
Unfortunately,  it would not be too long that I mourned my 
friend,  Cindy Houston,  here,  for she passed away in 2011.  I so 
very much appreciate not only her friendship,  but the fact that 
she would allow me to be in the mourning room,  which was off 
limits to the general public.
Utilizing this house and the post office was the beginning of my 
fondness for using historic structures during reenactments,  
greatly enhancing my living history experience.

These three little ones are all adults now.
That's my daughter in the middle.

Nancy only reenacted with us for one season,  I believe.
Another sad note is that she passed away earlier this spring.  
How so very sad.

The Perry Family

The Memorial Day laying of the wreath ceremony is always the
true highlight of the weekend for nearly everyone who attends,  

including reenactors.

A thorn among the roses~
A few of the ladies of the MSAS truly taught me much when it 
came to living history - they know who they are - and I so 
appreciate their willingness to help this newbie  (at the time)  

Again,  putting care packages together for the boys in blue.

When we did our presentations here at Smiths Creek Depot,  we 
certainly drew large visitorship,  for it brought well-researched 
homefront history to life.

Welcome to 2009:
Before the Memorial Day Ceremony,  the military men and a few 
civilians take a few minutes to rest in the shade behind 
Doc Howard's Office.

Though there are many different units that participate,  this 
picture mainly concentrates on the 21st Michigan,  the reenacting 
unit I belong to.

The men marching to where the battle presentation will take place.

I count Jennifer Schmidt to be among my very good friends.
Here we are at the grand ball.

The Michigan Soldiers Aid Society began as a women's 
organization,  but as more and more men began preferring 
civilian reenacting over military,  we also became a part of their 

Steve gets a shave from Mike.

Dave Tennies has portrayed Michigan's Senator Jacob Howard 
for years.  Senator Howard played a major role in getting the 13th 
Amendment,  which abolished slavery,  passed by 
working closely with President Lincoln.

My daughter and I enjoying some morning quiet time 
at the Ackley Covered Bridge.

Mrs.  Cook began doing laundry in earnest during this time.  And 
she truly did work;  she would actually wash laundry for other 
reenactors for barter - she might get a pie or bread in exchange 
for washing clothing.

My poor son - real blisters upon his swollen feet.
The young ladies took real good care of him.

My wife is standing next to Carrie.  This was Carrie's 
first time out at a reenactment,  if I'm not mistaken.
Now married with a child,  she still does it to this day.

Kids being kids.
My daughter  (the highest one)  loved to climb trees at the 

I always said that she and Laura Ingalls could have been great 

friends had they lived in the same era.

Joyce was smoking her cigar and gambling.
I wonder what her pastor will say about that?

Forget the pastor---it's his bible-toting wife she needs to worry about!
Yes,  we like to have fun,  too.

Well,  good folks,  it looks like this is going to have two more parts to it,  for there are just too many photos and too many years to attempt to put it all in one posting.
So stay tuned for part two coming within the week.

Until next time,  see you in time.

~   ~   ~

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