Peterboro to celebrate Civil War sesquicentennial

With a walk a few hundred yards up Pleasant Valley Road visitors can learn about the haven that Gerrit Smith and Peterboro provided to abolitionists mobbed in Utica trying to establish an antislavery society for New York State. The Smithfield Community Center is the municipal building for the Town of Smithfield and also the home of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF). An introductory video on the 1835 NYS Antislavery Society, exhibits on the history of American Abolition, a facsimile of Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation won by Gerrit Smith, and banners for inducted abolitionists are among the points of interest at NAHOF.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9 the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers will present a one act play “Dear Friend Amelia” with music and songs at the Smithfield Community Center. The director of the 77th Balladeers John Quinn wrote the original song Amelia with John Kenosian. Narrated by John Quinn, Maxine Getty, and Melanie Martin, the play will feature Alexander Stowe as Private John Tidd and Jody Luce as Amelia Haskell.

The letter exchange shows Tidd’s changing thoughts on the war. The play was written by Mary Jordan and Joyce Hatch using letters sent by John to Amelia during the Civil War. Haskell and Tidd were residents of Speedsville in the Southern Tier of New York State. The 77th Balladeers will also present Civil War musical programs at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $10 at the door.

A United State Postal Service postal cancellation and cachet on Saturday at the General Store on the green will recognize the United States Colored Troops and Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which was owned by Gerrit Smith of Peterboro. The General Store will also carry an abundance of Civil War and other historical items. A Civil War sword made for Gods and Generals will be available for silent auction. A chair caned and donated by Lisa Gardinier will be available by raffle at the store.

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