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August 2012


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Robert Sullivan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Aug 2012 10:35:05 -0400
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Locals learn about connections to the Civil War

[Amsterdam Recorder]

Outside the Old County Courthouse in Fonda on Saturday, Randy
McCullers kneeled on the ground to explain the equipment that a Civil
War soldier would carry.

Dressed in a confederate uniform, McCullers, a reenactor who lives in
Johnstown, explained the contents of a soldier’s haversack – a pack a
soldier used to carry personal items and food – for many who stopped
by his spot at Camp Mohawk Day.

Matches, candles, a knife, silverware, a plate, a cup, and more were
displayed on the ground, items replicating those of an earlier time.

When asked why he got involved as a reenactor, McCullers simply
replied, “my heritage.”

Put on by the Heritage and Genealogical Society, along with the
Montgomery County Department of History and Archives, Camp Mohawk Day
was all about commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 19th-century
war, and highlighting the connections that the local area and people
had to it.

Walking together closeby examining other artifacts from the time were
Wyatt and Teresa Sammons.

“Both his and my family are from the area,” Teresa Sammons said. “And
I’m interested in knowing about the history of both families.”

Wyatt Sammons said he was especially interested in exploring his
family history knowing that information on Col. Simeon Sammons, who
commanded the 115th New York Regiment, might be present there.

The artifacts they were looking at were from the Margaret Reaney
Memorial Library and Museum in St. Johnsville, who had a table at the
event covered in samples of their collections.

Becky Sokol, president of the Board of Trustees for the museum,
enticed residents to visit as she shared stories of the legendary shoe
from a Union drummer who was involved in the Fort Fisher explosion, a
cane from a Confederate soldier that was found at the Battle of the
Wilderness, and frames showing the names of the members of the 115th
Regiment, companies D and E.

“Today is a celebration of the 150 years since the Civil War began,”
she said. “We gathered up a minor part of our collection and want to
share it with the public because when our museum does reopen ... we
want to people to be aware of all the available history we have in our

Sharon Fuller, a trustee of the museum, added that the museum and
library will open up sometime in the near future after restoration and
renovations are finished.

As Rural Felicity, a reenactment band from the Capital District,
played music from the Civil War period, children had the opportunity
to play with toys from an earlier time and families grabbed lunch at
the Texas Barbecue.

And inside the old courthouse, attendees could walk through and glance
at artifacts linked to the area, like a Camp Mohawk lithograph, the
Civil War Pension Benefits ledger, and Col. Sammons sword and hat.

 A great deal of planning went into the event, said Montgomery County
Historian Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar, as it was the first themed event
that they have done.

“A lot of people may not even realize that we’re commemorating the
150th anniversary of the Civil War, and I think it just gives people
an idea of what is out there, what is available as far as history
resources,” she said.

Mark Silo, author of the book, The 115th New York in the Civil War: A
Regimental History, gave a presentation later in the day about the
regiment and what it did around Fonda as it formed up for war.

“I think it helps people maintain a pride in their history, in their
country, as well as their locality,” he said of the event. “These
people around the Mohawk Valley were a big part of American History.”

Bob Sullivan
Schenectady Digital History Archive
Schenectady County (NY) Public Library