The John Brown Lives traveling exhibit Dreaming of Timbuctoo opens Saturday June 10, the first day of the 25th Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend.
The exhibit explains Gerrit Smith’s 1846 gift of 40 acres of land to each of 3000 black men in order to assure voting rights, describes the persons who moved to the Lake Placid area to work their land, and describes the ongoing archeological work at the site of the 120,000 acres that came to be known as Timbuctoo.
At 11 am on Saturday, June 10 at the exhibit in The Barn of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, Norman K. Dann PhD will explain Smith’s “practical dreamer” philanthropy, how Timbuctoo introduced John Brown to Smith, and how that relationship led to an ignition of the Civil War. Dr. Dann is the researcher and author of several books on Peterboro, including a 21st Century biography of Gerrit Smith.
At 7 pm on June 8th, the movie UNION BOUND will be introduced by the great-granddaughter of the film’s hero, and by the producer and director. The public is encouraged to attend this restricted showing of the film. Admission is five dollars.
In observance of the Centennial of NYS Women’s Suffrage, programs on women in the Civil War will be presented in the Program Tent next to the Civil War statue. Authors of Civil War and local history are scheduled for thirty minute sessions in the Mercantile tent.
Saturday, June 10 at 10 am the 25th Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend will open with a memorial service by the 12th U.S. for members who passed this year. The public is invited to witness the solemn military ceremony. The 12th will direct a children’s drill for visiting youth at 11 am. The Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department will be serving their Chicken BBQ at noon until all is gone. At 1 pm Joseph Brown will demonstrate tintypes. At 3 pm in The Barn John Goodnough from the Binghamton Civil War Roundtable will present Civil War Support Units: Army Engineers and the U.S. Military Railroads. The presentation will include exhibit panels to illustrate the narrative. His exhibit will provide photographs, descriptive panels relating to regional Civil War military personnel, battles and campaigns, and insights into military and civilian life 1861-1865, as well as suggestions for genealogical information. On the Green at 3 pm the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers will present music Campfire Songs and Melodies. At 4 pm Sue Greenhagen will referee a Town Ball game as Sheriff Bonney of Loomis Gang history fame. Saturday night the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers will present a concert Patriots all: America’s Songbook 1861-1865. Admission for the concert is $5 and free for reenactors, hand stamped Saturday participants, and registered weekend volunteers.
Sunday, June 11 the gates will open at 10 am directly after the 7 am to 10 am Pancake Breakfast by the Peterboro United Methodist Church at the Smithfield Community Center. Visitors can eat a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and beverage while chatting with Civil War reenactors. At 11 am Tom Brokaw will deliver his annual military sermon and at 1 pm Ron Beaver will speak on Railroads during the Civil War. Merry Mischief will play Civil War music at 1 pm. At 3 pm Cheryl Pula will explain the History of Taps.
At Noon on Sunday, June 11 Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian, will present a slide show at the Timbuctoo exhibit on The Secret Six (supporters of John Brown) one of whom was Gerrit Smith. The talk will explore the individual lives of the six members, how their relationships developed, and their support of John Brown in Kansas and Harper’s Ferry and the aftermath. The illustrated talk will also show some of the events that took place in Madison County to help explain the area’s role with the national events.
On both days of the event there is a skirmish at 2 pm that displays the military techniques, skills, and equipment using accurate reproductions. The plan for the encounter is worked out before the activity and afterward the reenactors invite questions from the audience.
At noon each day Jody Luce, the Tailor of Peterboro, will guide a walking tour in her bloomers. The children’s area will have sack races, tug of war, crafts to take, and period games. Historical Exhibits will include the Civil War Round Tables from Binghamton, New Hartford, and Onondaga County, Homer Searles Camp #114 Sons of Union Veterans, Julia Hibbard-Tent 71 Daughters of Union Veterans, and the Memorial Day Museum.
Museums that will be open include The Barn with the Timbuctoo exhibit, the Land Office, and the Lodge with the Peterboro Mercantile at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark. The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will be open with exhibits on abolition, abolitionists, and women’s transatlantic anti-slavery networks. Donna Burdick, the Smithfield Town Historian will be hosting the Peterboro Area Historical Society.
The Peterboro General Store-Deli on the Green will open each day at 8 am with its extended outdoor service menu including homemade Italian sausage, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Shopping at the event includes the Peterboro Mercantile, a community heritage shop in The Lodge and On the Green, at the General Store, at sutlers in the encampment, and with vendors. 19th Century clothing is discussed in programs and sold in shops.
Demonstrations by the Finger Lakes Lace Guild will be ongoing. Vendors will include A Crafty Chick, Collodion Tintype Artists, Hillard’s Civil War Books, Handmade Baskets by Luann, Just A Poppin, Ma and Pa Kettle Korn, and the Onondaga Audubon Derby Hill Bird Observatory.
The weekend is an educational and fund-raising event for the Smithfield Community Association (501c3) in Peterboro. Adult admission is $10, ages 6 to 12 are $5, and children under 6 are free. $5 advanced adult tickets are available at Deli on the Green in Peterboro, online, and at the UNION BOUND movie Friday night. For more information, click here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (315) 280-8828.
Photos from above: Gerrit Smith Estate; and 12th US Drill, 2016, provided.