Lanier Days

Re-enactors bring to life
events of another time

Demonstrations, music,
artisans are among the offerings

Staff Report

(June 2012) – Celebrate the life and culture of early Victorian-era Madison, Ind., with thundering cannons during Lanier Civil War Days on June 16-17. Experience mock Civil War battles, wonder at a humorous travelling medicine man show, see 19th century spiritualism demonstrations, meet an Abraham Lincoln presenter, listen to period music, watch Victorian artisans, play children’s historic games and toys, enjoy historical talks and a free Saturday evening concert. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Spiritualism demonstrations, presented by Shonica Hartless as a 19th century medium, are a new addition to the event. “Spiritualism became a major movement in America during the Civil War since so many people lost loved ones during the conflict,” said Gerry Reilly, Lanier site manager. “Mary Todd Lincoln was especially interested in spiritualism and she attended several séances in the White House.”
Lincoln presenter David Wolfe will also discuss Lincoln’s eerie dreams and some of his other paranormal experiences.

6th Kentucky Infantry Co. C

Photo provided

The 6th Kentucky Infantry Co. C
charges during a mock battle at
last year’s Lanier Days celebration.

Several Civil War re-enactor groups, including the Vernon Greys, the Nelson Artillery Co., Freemans Battery and the 1st Wisconsin, have agreed to participate in this year’s event. Besides an encampment, the re-enactors will fire artillery on the hour, explain lives of Civil War soldiers, fire a Gatling gun and conduct mock battles at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. A remembrance ceremony to honor all those who served in the Civil War from Jefferson County will kick-off the event at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Jefferson County Civil War memorial on the Visitor Center Plaza.
“We are excited about the return of Dr. Thelonious Balthasar’s traveling medicine man show,” said Anne Fairchild, eastern region program manager. “Audiences last year found Mike Follin’s portrayal of a snake oil salesman, who claims his elixir can cure everything from a common cold to a death of two weeks standing, hilarious,” she added (Saturday only).
Historic Trades such as woodworking, blacksmithing, plastering and surveying will also be demonstrated on the mansion grounds. Activities for children include a carpenter’s apprentice area where children will be able to use a hand-plane; make wooden pegs and play with old-time games and toys. Civil War re-enactors will also explain their weapons, uniforms and flags to children. All children’s activities will be available 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Historic presentations (both days) include Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by David Wolfe; Flowing River performed by the Rivers Institute; Civil War music, performed by Jed Marum; Spiritualism demonstrations, by Shonica Hartless; and General George Thomas, portrayed by Daniel Hughes. Dr. Thelonious Balthasar’s Traveling Medicine Man Show, by Mike Follin, will be performed four times on Saturday.
Talks presented on Saturday include: Victorian Death Customs by Anne Fairchild, 11 a.m.; Indiana’s Home Front During the Civil War by Dr. Patricia Dillon, noon; The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection at the Indiana State Museum by Dale Ogden, 1 p.m.; and Lincoln and the Speeds of Kentucky by Bryan Bush, 2 p.m.
• Bring your own lawn chairs for the free Civil War music concert, performed by Jeff Marum, at 7 p.m. on the Lanier lawn. A resident of Texas, Marum has been playing Civil War, Celtic or folk-bluegrass music at festivals and concert venues around the United States since 1986.
Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students. Children 3 years old and under are free. For more information, call (812) 273-0556 or visit: www.indianamuseum.org/lanier.

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