Saturday, September 22, 2012
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'The Fiery Trial: Civil War Stories by Candlelight' to be presented at 6 Springfield historic sites

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[September 22, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- The public is invited to come and experience several Springfield historic sites by candlelight on Sept. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m.:

  • Edwards Place at the Springfield Art Association

  • Old State Capitol State Historic Site

  • Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site

  • Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site

  • Elijah Iles House

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site

By candlelight, each site will offer programs based upon this Dec. 1, 1862, quotation from Abraham Lincoln: "The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."

Below is each site's program description.

Edwards Place at the Springfield Art Association

The Edwards family was torn apart by the Civil War. Benjamin Edwards' grandparents were originally from Virginia, and many of his cousins resided in the Deep South. Daughter Alice's fiancÚ Benjamin Ferguson was a captain in the 114th Illinois Infantry. Join the family in their parlors as they share the latest news from their loved ones far away. Learn about camp life, and hear about the siege of Vicksburg from Capt. Ferguson and the trials faced by Benjamin's cousins in Alabama and Georgia.

Old State Capitol State Historic Site

During the Civil War the Springfield Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society often used the Illinois Capitol building as a base of operations. The society was formed in August 1861 to gather food, clothing and other supplies to aid Illinois soldiers, especially the sick and the wounded. For months during 1862, members met in the Senate chamber to make clothing and bandage material for use in hospitals. Eventually, the society expanded its work, providing aid to many civilians whose lives were changed by the war. Learn how thousands of men, women and children were touched by the efforts of these women from Springfield and neighboring communities.

Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site

On Oct. 15, 1922, in his introduction to "Adventures While Singing These Songs," Vachel Lindsay said: "The Mason and Dixon's Line runs straight through our house in Springfield still, and straight through my heart."

Visitors at the Lindsay Home will see Vachel Lindsay at his desk on that mid-October day, writing those lines and reminiscing about his Kentucky ancestors' Civil War heritage and the effect it had on three generations of Lindsay men.

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Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site

For the first time, the Lincoln Tomb will be open for candlelight tours that will highlight a Civil War story that took place shortly after President Lincoln's assassination. As a result of this national tragedy, designs for Abraham Lincoln's tomb were created. Larkin Mead's original tomb design, as well as other tomb submissions, will be displayed. Information about where the funds came from to build the tomb and pictures of the original members of the National Lincoln Monument Association will also be exhibited. Interpreters in period dress will be on the grounds.

Elijah Iles House

The Iles House was home to Clara and Robert Irwin during the Civil War years. As community leaders, they were active in organizations that assisted soldiers and their families. During this program a soldier from Camp Butler, a Union army mustering site only 5 miles east of Springfield, will come to the Irwin family's front door. This young soldier will talk about his experiences at Camp Butler, which became a detention camp for Confederate prisoners and, later, Camp Butler National Cemetery, as it is known today.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Hear stories about Jameson Jenkins, a local Underground Railroad conductor, who risked his life for a cause he was passionate about. Even though Jenkins was a free black man, the Illinois "black codes" limited his rights. Learn about Jenkins' life, his travels from North Carolina to Indiana to seek greater opportunity, and his desire to help others to freedom. Discover other acts of heroism and bravery as slaves sought a better way of life by seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad.

[Text from National Park Service news release received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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