Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lincoln's Assassination--150th Anniversary


"Abraham Lincoln November 1863"by Alexander Gardner*

The interior of the President’s Box at Ford’s Theatre. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith.
       
View of the President’s Box at Ford’s Theatre. Photo by Maxwell MacKenzie.
 
 
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 8, 2015
Lisa Saunders
P.O. Box 389
Mystic, CT 06355
 

150th Anniversary of President Lincoln's Memorial Service at
Union Baptist Church

Commemorated by Civil War Love Letters and Eye-Witness Accounts of Assassination and Death

Mystic, Conn.--In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination on Friday, April 14, 1865, and memorial service hosted by the Union Baptist Church of Mystic the following Wednesday on April 19, 1865, the Union Baptist Church will present a dramatic reading of Civil War love letters plus eye-witness accounts of Lincoln’s assassination and death.  Presentation includes live Civil War era music. 
 
Sunday, April 19, 2015, 4p.m.
Dramatic Reading/Live Music: Civil War Letters
Union Baptist Church, 119 High St., Mystic, CT 06355
Admission:  Suggested donation of $5.00 to benefit the Union Baptist Church Historic Preservation Fund for painting and repairs scheduled for summer 2015. More info: www.ubcmystic.org, 860-536-9659, office.ubc.mystic@gmail.com

About the memorial service held for President Lincoln in April 19, 1865: "This was held in the Union Baptist Church in Mystic on the Wednesday following the assassination. All business was suspended, schools were closed and the people turned out en masse to do honor to the martyred President. A procession was formed at the Liberty Pole near the bridge at 10 a.m. ...The procession moved through the principal streets to the church, where services were held at 10:30 a.m...An air of deep solemnity pervaded the whole community and the large crowd of people--estimated at from twelve to thirteen hundred--filled the house to its utmost capacity, hundreds remaining standing through the entire service."--excerpt of book "Groton, Conn. 1705-1905" by Charles Rathbone Stark (1922, p. 409).
 
About the play: Charles McDowell married Nancy when she was 15 on Christmas Eve of 1860. In 1862, he enlisted as a private in the New York 9th Heavy Artillery and served for three years until the end of the Civil War. Together, their letters speak of talking with President Lincoln, battles, hangings,  desertions and the court marshalling of a cow. The eye-witness account of Lincoln’s assassination is told through the letter of an attending physician from the regiment. The play uses excerpts from the book, “Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife” (Heritage Books, 2004), and article, “Widow/er History - Mary Todd Lincoln the Widow(Pathfinder - A Companion Guide to the Widow/er’s Journey, Sept. 2014), both by Lisa Saunders, the great-great granddaughter of Charles and Nancy McDowell.

Cast includes: 
Lisa Saunders of Mystic, author of Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, is an award-winning freelance writer, local TV talk show host, and part-time historical interpreter at Mystic Seaport. More info about the play: LisaSaunders42@gmail.com or www.authorlisasaunders.com 
 
Geoff Kaufman of New London, folksinger and guitarist, performs all over the world, sharing ancient ballads and poignant songs of people in struggle, giving humorous glimpses of human foibles and insights into history. More info: http://geoffkaufman.com/
 
Sheri Winter of Mystic is a public speaker, writer, and professional businesswoman. A member of the Union Baptist Church, Sheri supports local theater and performs voiceovers and narration for radio, television and other industrial productions.
 
Jane Coates of Mystic is a sophomore at the Science and Technology Magnet High School of New London. A member of Union Baptist Church, the Emerson Theater Collaborative, and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Jane has performed in plays and musicals since 4th grade. She plays piano, violin, recorder and handbells.

For more information and images, visit: http://civilwarloveletters.blogspot.com/2015/04/lincolns-assasination-150th-anniversary.html
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Notes: The play first debuted in New York in 2004. The Emerson Theater Collaborative was the first to produce it in Connecticut on Valentine's Day, Feb 14, 2012.

 

Click on links and see below to learn more about the Mystic memorial service at the Union Baptist Church on April 19, 1865 (which began as a solemn procession from the Mystic Liberty Pole).
 

 About the Union Baptist Church: Excerpt from Mystic Seafarer's Trail by Lisa Saunders:

With criteria in hand, my daily wonder-seeking routine began precisely at noon so Bailey and I could stroll downtown to the bell chimes of a massive New England-style church perched precariously on the edge of a little cliff near my house. Overseeing the Mystic Valley, the former Mariner’s Free Church doubled in size when a team of oxen dragged another church building up the hill on sleds in 1861 to unite the two buildings—well in time to accommodate the 1,000 residents who gathered to mourn Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Now called the Union Baptist Church, its original steeple was destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938 and rebuilt even taller. Visible and heard throughout the valley, it’s an overwhelming presence. Should it be declared a Mystic Wonder?


More information on the Lincoln's memorial service held Wednesday following his assassination on Friday, April 14, 1865. According to the book "Groton, Conn. 1705-1905," by Charles Rathbone Stark (1922), page 409 :



Excerpt:
"...funeral service for Abraham Lincoln. This was held in the Union Baptist Church in Mystic on the Wednesday following the assassination. All business was suspended, schools were closed and the people turned out en masse to do honor to the martyred President. A procession was formed at the Liberty Pole near the bridge at 10 a.m. in the following order:

Mystic Cornet Band
1st Division--Citizens
2nd " Charity Lodge No. 68, F. & A.M.
3rd " Citizens
4th School children
5th " Citizens in carriages

The procession moved through the principal streets to the church, where services were held at 10:30 a.m., participated in by the following clergyman: Rev. Lorenzo Sears of the Episcopal Church, Rev. Erastus Denison and Rev. A.C. Bronson of the Baptist Church, Rev. C.H. Boyd of the Congregational Church and Rev. Isaac Stoddard of the Methodist Church. Colonel Hiram Appelman also took part in the programme. An air of deep solemnity pervaded the whole community and the large crowd of people--estimated at from twelve to thirteen hundred--filled the house to its utmost capacity, hundreds remaining standing through the entire service. "

**


According to the following online calendar, the Wednesday following the assassination (Lincoln was shot on April 14, Good Friday) would mean the 150th anniversary of the Union Baptist Church Lincoln memorial service would be on Sunday, April 19, 2015. Here is an online calendar showing April of 1865. http://www.rocketcalendar.com/calendar/1865-04

Other play cast members in Connecticut have included: 

Captain Marcus John Fisk of New London, a retired Navy Captain and consultant with the Department of the Navy on Special Operations and Irregular Warfare.  He has appeared in over 30 stage productions, most recently in A Christmas Carol (Scrooge). He authored the book to the Vietnam POW musical, Four Part Harmony, slated for a 2015 NYC production and was the Technical Advisor to the Discovery Channel production, Vietnam POWs: Stories of Survival, which received the 1998 Emmy Award for Best Documentary. 


 

Connie Howard of Niantic, Singer/Songwriter on piano, is Grand Prize winner of the first Nashville Songwriter's Association Contest. Connie writes songs with heartfelt lyrics and infectious melodies. More info: www.conniehowardmusic.com

 


Pamela Collins Fisk, author of recently released memoir, The Innkeepers Diary. More info about Coastal Cottage Inn: www.bedandbreakfast.com/ct-new-london-coastalcottageinn.html.


*"Abraham Lincoln November 1863" by Alexander Gardner - http://www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/112498/1/0/0. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863.jpg#/media/File:Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863.jpg