VOL. XLIII, NO. 1 JANUARY 2003 IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Farmington Public Libraries have instituted a new policy—all meetings must be ended and the buildings cleared out by 9:00 P.M. Consequently, we will begin our meetings one hour earlier at 6:30 P.M. The doors to our meeting room will be open at 6:00 P.M. for early set up of coffee, speaker’s equipment, etc.
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Although Abraham Lincoln loved music, he was not an accomplished musician. In a Lloyd Ostendorf painting, we see Lincoln, as a young man, playing a harmonica. It has also been written that he occasionally played a jew’s-harp, mostly for his own amusement. He never had any formal musical training, but he greatly enjoyed minstrel shows and loved a variety of songs. It has been said that he so much admired Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that he stood up whenever it was played. The simplest and most poignant tale of Lincoln’s own appreciation for music, as well as his humanitarianism, is told in a story at war’s end by Myrta Lockett Avary:
General Lee’s surrender had been announced; Washington was ablaze with excitement. [On April 10, 1865] delirious multitudes surged to the White House, calling the President out for a speech. It was a moment for easy betrayal into words that might widen the breach between sections. [Mr. Lincoln] said in his quaint way that he had no speech ready, and concluded harmoniously: “I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I ever heard. I insisted yesterday that we had fairly captured it. I presented the question to the Attorney-General and he gave his opinion that it is our lawful prize. I ask the band to give us a good turn upon it.” In that little speech, he claimed of the South by right of conquest, a song—and nothing more.
Beginning our 43rd year, the Michigan Regimental is proud to announce that our guest speaker for this month is Dr. Weldon Petz, presenting “Musical Note in Lincoln’s Life.” This special program, using music and slides, will depict Lincoln’s involvement with music as well as Lincoln as a subject for music. Dr. Petz’s Master’s Thesis at Wayne State University was the first study on Lincoln and music, a subject that many, including Carl Sandburg, denied could be done. Weldon is a nationally acclaimed speaker, author, and recognized authority on Abraham Lincoln. Over the years Weldon has entertained thousands of audiences with his splendid expertise on a variety of subjects. This is a must-see program, so circle the date now—MONDAY, JANUARY 27.
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The MRRT extends its thanks to November’s guest speaker, John Moore, for his fine presentation, “Lafayette McLaws Visits Pleasant Valley.” If you weren’t in attendance, you missed an outstanding program.
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On Sunday, February 2, Al Oakes will again hold the “Annual History and Military Memorabilia Show” at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Clawson (870 N. Main Street). Featured items will include antique arms, a variety of Civil War paraphernalia, battlefield finds, Indian artifacts, antique knives and swords, and much more. Al promises this will be the biggest and best show thus far. Further details will be provided at this month’s meeting. Table space may still be available. You may contact Al at 248-541-8037.
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Our Treasurer, Carroll Tietz, has once again made dues paying a simple task. Inside your newsletter envelopes you will find a smaller envelope to mail your checks back to Carroll. The fees remain the same—$15 for regular; $10 for seniors and students. Make the checks out to Carroll Tietz. Please DO NOT make them out to the Michigan Regimental.
ODDS & ENDS:
A new slate of officers will be announced by Don Garlit at this month’s meeting. Our thanks again to President Gary Pike, Vice President Mark Farrell, Secretary Bea Friedlander, and Treasurer Carroll Tietz for their outstanding contributions to the Michigan Regimental over the years.
Program Chairman Jim Burroughs has once again scheduled an impressive array of speakers for this year. Jim is to be commended for his stellar work.
The long-awaited movie, “Gods and Generals,” is slated to be shown in early February. Previews indicate that the performances by Stephen Lang (Stonewall Jackson), Robert Duvall (Robert E. Lee), and Jeff Daniels (Joshua Chamberlain) are exceptional.
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QUIZ: All questions pertain to Abraham Lincoln…..
Why were the dates October 5, 1818, and January 17, 1851, important to Lincoln?
To what was Lincoln referring when he said at an early age, “If ever I get a chance to hit that thing, I’ll hit it hard”?
What prompted Lincoln’s only visit to the state of Michigan?
Of what did Lincoln say, “the process was anything but agreeable”? And, to what was Lincoln referring when he wrote, “Do you not think people would call it a silly piece of affection if I were to begin it now?”
Who took the most photographs of Lincoln? Who was second? Who was third (a tie)?
Name Lincoln’s sister and brother, and what happened to each of them?
What did Lincoln refer to as a “wet blanket”? And, why was Lincoln given the denigrating nickname “spot Lincoln” while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives?
Who was Lincoln’s bodyguard on most occasions? And, who was his appointed bodyguard on the night of the assassination?
According to many historians, what military event took place which ensured Lincoln’s re-election in 1864? And, who was George McClellan’s running mate from Ohio in 1864?
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When President Abraham Lincoln arrived at Gettysburg, he was ushered to the home of a local citizen, David Wills, a prominent attorney. Mr. Lincoln was conducted to the guest room on the second floor, immediately over Mr. Wills’ law office. John Hay wrote in his diary that when the President’s group reached Gettysburg, “our party broke like a drop of quicksilver spilled.” Mr. Wills stated that William Johnston, the President’s negro servant, accompanied Lincoln. According to one of the college students present, a serenade of Mr. Lincoln began immediately after he reached the Wills’ home and “did not allow time enough for the President and his party to partake of supper,” before he was called out. Another student stated that in response to the call: “The President appeared in the doorway standing for a few minutes but not speaking.”
The evening meal in honor of the President and special guests, served at the home of Mr. Wills, lacked the presence of Governor Andrew Curtin and several other celebrities, due to the late arrival of the train. Among the twenty-five guests was Edward Everett, the keynote speaker for the following day’s ceremony, who later noted, “in gentlemanly appearance, manners and conversation [the President] was the peer of any man at the table.”
A New York Tribune reporter wrote: “After supper the President was serenaded by the excellent band of the 5th New York Artillery. A group of young women sang, ‘We are coming Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand Strong.’ Also, a male quartette rendered several numbers. A great crowd had gathered by this time and called continually and vociferously for the President.” The Tribune further reported Lincoln’s brief comments. “I appear before you, fellow-citizens, merely to thank you for this compliment. The inference is a very fair one that you would hear me for a little while at least, were I to commence to make a speech. I do not appear before you for the purpose of doing so, and for several substantial reasons. The most substantial of these is that I have no speech to make. In my position it is somewhat important that I should not say any foolish things. It very often happens that the only way to help it is to say nothing at all. Believing that is my present condition this evening, I must beg of you to excuse me from addressing you further.”
One reporter who commented on the remarks observed: “He had said nothing, but he had said it well.”
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His mother, Nancy, died on October 5, 1818, at age 34; his father, Thomas, died on January 17, 1851, at age 73.
Slavery—he made this comment while viewing a slave auction in New Orleans.
On August 27, 1856, he visited Kalamazoo to campaign for the Republican Presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, an event almost unnoticed in the newspapers.
Having a plaster mask made of his face—when the mask was removed, it pulled a few hairs from his temple; And, the possibility of growing a beard in a return letter to Grace Bedell who suggested that he grow one.
Alexander Gardner (30), Anthony Berger (13), Mathew Brady and Preston Butler (11 each).
Sister Sarah, born February 10, 1807, died at age 21 on January 20, 1828, during childbirth. She and her stillborn child are buried in Little Pigeon Baptist Church cemetery. Brother Tommy, born c. 1811, lived to be about two years of age, and may have died of mumps. He is buried in the Redman Cemetery in Larue County, Kentucky, near the Knob Creek farm.
$1762 salary, plus $188 traveling expenses, totaling $1950.
His Gettysburg Address—“that speech fell on the audience like a wet blanket.” And, when Lincoln demanded to know from President James K. Polk the exact “spot” that “American blood had been spilled” in starting the Mexican War.
Come help us start our 43rd year with Dr. Weldon Petz’ presentation, “Musical Note in Lincoln’s Life,” on MONDAY, JANUARY 27. The meeting begins at 6:30 P.M. at the Farmington Public Library (Grand River and Farmington Road). PLEASE NOTE THE NEW STARTING TIME! It’s guaranteed to be a great program; you won’t be disappointed.
Have you taken a look at our new website? http://www.farmlib.org/mrrt/. Check it out.