by Janet Lyons, Local & Legendary project consultant, Maine Humanities Council
Over the past few months, Civil War events and talks have been popping up all over Gorham and Windham, a two-town team participating in the Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War community grant program. Here are the highlights:
- The Civil War was the theme of last November’s Veterans Day observance in Gorham and the Veterans Day ceremony included a special presentation on the town’s Civil War connections. A variety of presentations, talks and book signings took place in Windham, Gorham, and North Gorham. Presenters included Don Wescott, steward for the Gambo Gunpowder Mill site, and Maurice Whitten, author of The Gunpowder Mills of Maine.
Also in November, young people participated in a printmaking and lithography workshop in Gorham, where they had the opportunity to explore the history of stone lithography and its use during the Civil War. Participants then had the opportunity to create their own drawings on litho plates.
- Author Carol Manchester (Joseph K. Manchester: Northern Son in the South, 1861-1863) has given two well attended talks about her recent book based on her ancestor’s letters home during the Civil War.
- Despite a raw, rainy, foggy evening, 15 people turned out to hear Lynda L. Sudlow (A Vast Army of Women: Maine’s Uncounted Forces in the American Civil War) speak at the North Gorham Library. Lynda highlighted the contributions of the bold women from the Gorham-Windham area who contributed to the war effort.
- In January Libby Bischof, history professor at USM spoke to a an interested group of photography and Civil War buffs about photography during the Civil War. Her presentation included information about well-known Civil War photographers Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and T.H. O’Sullivan among some lesser-known image makers.
- The fifth-grade students in Manchester School teacher Sabrina Nickerson’s class are saving their pennies to purchase Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) markers for local Civil War soldiers whose graves are missing them. Sabrina, a member of the Local & Legendary team, has been doing a series of Civil War activities with her students using the team’s community read choice, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.
- Most recently, on February 8, an intergenerational group in Windham had the opportunity to learn how to turn a piece of fabric into a useful pouch. Civil War soldiers used these pouches to carry small treasures and sewing supplies.
Thanks to Local & Legendary Maine Humanities Council project consultant, Janet Lyons, for this update.