afternoon was spent with children coming into the museum dressed in
their Halloween costumes.
were greeted by exited museum volunteers who marveled at the great
disguises. Kids were asked to wait in the main floor lobby until Mr.
Lincoln himself arrived to escort them upstairs.
year, the role of Abraham Lincoln was portrayed by Randy Duncan.
Duncan is a season interpreter who may often be found at Lincoln
Historic sites such as New Salem State Park.
Many were very excited to see the tall lean man, who spent a good
deal of time in Lincoln and other parts of Logan County prior to
being elected as our nation’s 16th president. Several sought out the
opportunity to have their photo taken with Mr. Lincoln.
Then, Mr. Lincoln escorted the group upstairs to the interactive
museum. As the group went from scene to scene in the museum they
were greeted with characters from Mr. Lincoln’s history - the
history of the town of Lincoln - or from the Civil War.
first person to greet the children was Marie Kaesebier (interpreter
Mary Ellen Martin). Kaesebier lived in the Postville region and
actually saw Mr. Lincoln for the first time on the day he christened
the city of Lincoln with juice from a watermelon. Kaesebier recalled
that she didn’t know Mr. Lincoln, but noted that he was a very tall
man who shook her hand and gave her a slice of watermelon.
During the tour each interpreter also demonstrated a specific game
that children would have played in the days of Abraham Lincoln’s
children. Some of these were also games played by civil war
Kaesebier showed the children the card game “Old Maid” and played a
quick hand with a few as others watched and learned.
After the children had moved on, Martin stepped out of character
long enough to explain that she was a descendant of Marie Kaesebier.
The Kaesebier and Shoup (Marie’s direct family) families had both
lived in Chicago, but moved to Postville to get away from terrible
living conditions in the big city. They lived in Postville to start,
and later the Kaesebier’s moved to the Emden area and took up
farming. Marie Kaesebier was Mary Ellen Martin's great-grandmother.
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Lincoln then led the group to the next room where a civil war
soldier (interpreter Tom McLaughlin) was playing marbles on the
floor. The solider explained to children that during the Civil War
not every day was a battle. The soldiers carried small games with
them that could be carried or stored away easily in their packs. One
such game he said was shooting marbles. He then demonstrated how
such a game was played.
McLaughlin, who is the director at the museum, also stepped out of
character for a moment after the kids had passed through. He noted
this is the second year for the Trick or Treat with Abe and he was
hoping for a good turnout. He said last year, there were
approximately 100 children and adult companions passed through the
museum for the event.
next stop, kids found Mary Lincoln (interpreter Anne Moseley)
searching for her young sons. She and the boys had been playing hoop
and stick when the boys suddenly took off. Spying her husband among
the crowd, she quickly asked if he knew where the boys were. He
noted that the last he knew they were in her charge, but figured
they’d turn up soon enough. In the meantime, Mary Lincoln took the
opportunity to play with the children on hand. She demonstrated how
to play hoop and stick, then let the kids take turns if they wished,
trying their hand at the game. Some were very good at it.
President’s office, Noah Brooks, a Civil War journalist who became a
close friend and confidant of the President (interpreter Ron Keller)
visited with the kids and explained how to play a game using a small
bean bag and two tin cans nailed to each end of a small piece of
wood. The kids tried their hand at tossing the bags from one tin can
to the other, and again some did very well.
stop of the day was a visit with John Boy (interpreter Bill Donath).
Boy was also a resident of Postville when Lincoln was a regular
visitor to the Postville Courthouse. He showed the children how to
play jacks, and a few tried their hand at it. Donath noted afterward
that he too is a descendant of the character he portrayed.
At each stop the children received candy treats from their hosts.
When the upstairs tour was completed, President Lincoln escorted the
children back downstairs where they were invited to participate in
other activities including writing a letter to President Lincoln
that would be placed on the letter wall in the museum gift shop.
At the Saturday afternoon event there was no admission charged, but
attendees were encouraged to bring along canned food items that
would later be donated to the Logan County Food Pantry.