What a great sesquicentennial celebration we had at Newtonia last weekend.
Large crowds turned out to watch the re-enactors perform with their cannon, their guns, their uniforms, their drilling and the field hospital. Thanks so much to them for coming and being part of our celebration.
I was stationed inside the Ritchey Mansion and didn't actually get to see many activities. Once in a while when there was a lull I got to step outside and, on one of those occasions, I got to watch the Union soldiers firing their guns. That time, they "shot" a group of Confederates — to the surprise and joy of the crowd. This was one occasion when the Union and Confederates cooked up a scheme together, to the delight of onlookers. I also got outside to see the parade which was very good.
There were more people in the Ritchey Mansion that day than any time I can remember. Inside the house, we had a Civil War coin collection, a Civil War lapel collection, Larry Wood autographing books, Doug Hall with his art, and the museum, which was very popular.
People were so good and gracious in spite of the crowds. People had intelligent questions and were interested in everything. One gentleman even came bearing a gift. It was an eight-pound ball.
One year during the Newtonia Fall Festival, a man came and brought most of an old rifle that he had found. It was from the Civil War era. We appreciate gifts and promise to take care of them to the best of our abilities.
We had several first-time volunteers who did a magnificent job. Amy Ward, clad in a Civil War dress, manned one of the upstairs room in the mansion. Don Deffenbaugh helped upstairs also and did relief work for people to go get lunch. Mary Deffenbaugh did a number of jobs, but mostly she helped feed the re-enactors. There may have been others that I don't know about, but all our volunteers were just great!
The village of Newtonia had their annual fall festival. They had good support and served a great dinner. We had guests from Iowa who really enjoyed their dinner. He is a professional photographer and took a great picture of it. They will no doubt brag about their dinner to all their friends and relatives in Iowa.
On Sunday, we wrapped it up with a memorial service at the Newtonia Baptist Church. Glenna Wallace was our speaker and gave a wonderful talk. The service included the awarding of gifts to people who have helped over these 20 years. The gift was a shiny engraved tin cup and those honored were named to the Order of the Tin Cup. It was very impressive and is a ceremony that may well continue for years to come.
Page 2 of 2 - The Tin Cup was symbolic of a Civil War soldier and of the honorees. I will quote from the ceremony, "A tin cup, so simple and so basic, yet so vital to those who need it, could easily represent the soldiers who served in the Civil War. Men who every day followed orders, and did the best they could to serve their country, their homes, and their families in an honorable manner."
If you didn't come out for the festival and to the memorial service, you really don't know what you missed.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.