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Orange Empire Railway Museum ~ Perris CA ~ 2005 ACWS Civil War Reenactment

OERMCivilian Town Happenings at Orange Empire Railroad Museum!

Continuing the tradition since the inception of the Yahoo group, I will report on “Town Happenings” at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum over the weekend and some of the new and unusual things that happened!

First off, we should thank two of our ACWS sutlers, Strickland’s Q. M. Mercantile and Valentine’s for generously setting up at both events. We appreciated the opportunity to shop and the great expense and toil it took to man two events simultaneously (setting up and tearing down twice must have been exhausting). Both did a terrific job and we appreciate their efforts. Word has it that all the extra work paid off, with sales at OERM being the highest!

Special thanks for double duty also go to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Sheila Smoley who relentlessly passed out Tea flyers in Prado on Saturday, ran home to OERM to host the Ladies Tea with Barbara, danced a few quadrilles as Capt Atkins called our dance Saturday night, and then went back to Prado on Sunday to pass more flyers out and invigorate the masses to attend our Ladies Tea on May 21st!

New people in Town:

Ms. KrisMs. Kris Amerine came out from Las Vegas with one of the best Civil War kitchens around and blessed the Civilian Corps with 5 delicious home cooked meals from scratch! Kris is a delightful addition to Civilian Town, and bustled cheerfully around serving up eggs and biscuits with honey butter, fried bacon and then used the drippings to fry potatoes the next morning, ham and eggs, apple crisp, red beans and rice and delicious BBQ beef sandwiches, steamed asparagus and more. She had coffee going all the time, had cold tea, lemonade and other camp fare and she wants to cook for our Civilian Corps! Going to her tent was like stopping in the neighborhood café, and you were welcomed in and felt like you have known Kris for years!

Crazy Larry of 8th Louisiana and his lovely wife D’Anna joined us in Civ Town for the weekend. D’Anna is playing Miss Uella, the postmistressMiss Uella - Postmistress and had a fine time showing visitors her Civil War correspondence and explaining how the postal system worked in the tenuous times of war. Miss Uella is looking forward to delivering mail and packages to our soldiers, so get ready to sew for the cause, can your summer jellies and jams, and “mail” them through Miss Uella’s post. In-between battles, Larry showed folks his woodworking skills and handmade boxes. They are a vibrant addition to our town!

Ms. Valerie Stanol is portraying Miss Susan Pringle, the spinster daughter of a wealthy rice planter from South Carolina. Valerie showed up early Saturday morning in a lovely dress with beautiful ruching and enjoyed the day, rode the trains, and helped take pictures for the website updates planned for our Civilian section. Several of the civilians “assisted” the military as the battle raged through town this year, and Valerie was right there in the middle, helping wherever she could, trying to comfort Captain Atkins from his battle wounds. She even baked a Shoefly Pie for our tea!

Tom Willson came with his lovely daughter and his violin. He has a lovely, soulful way of playing the fiddle, and it was an absolute joy to hear him play. He has only been playing a few months, and you could never tell…we look forward to hearing him more in the future, and meeting the rest of the Willson family. Ohhh…he plays the hammered dulcimer too!

We had the pleasure of meeting Ginny Morgan and John Twoshirts, Tonya and Ivan Clevenger, on Sunday and enjoyed their colorful presentations in our fashion show! I had NO idea this was their second event, they are doing beautifully, impeccably dressed with great stories! We look forward to getting to know them better.

Folks that have been around for awhile, doing new and exciting things:

Miss Kimberly Fickas, mom Diana and sister Melina debuted their “Ladies Finishing School” Saturday morning. They began by making booklets for all of the young ladies (a table full of our ACWS young ladies) and covering them with fabric. Each girl attending their Finishing School will use this booklet as they progress through their lessons. They began with learning how to write with a quill and ink, learning the proper script of the day. It was absolute charming to see all of the girls concentrating so hard on making their booklets and their letters! We can’t thank the Fickas ladies enough for this wonderful period appropriate school, all of their hard work, and for coming in specially on Saturday to debut the school at OERM! We look forward to watching the Ladies Finishing School grow our ladies into proper debutantes under their able instruction!

Madame Mariushka regaled the public telling fortunes, for the cause of course, donating her profits to the ACWS. She was a hit in the fashion show, explaining that she is Mrs. Jeff Copeland, who is a Union Brigade Commander and she was a wealthy woman of status and how the Victorian women would dress up in whatever they thought a gypsy might wear, Oriental, Indian, Japanese, etc. Later on, when accosted by an angry soldier for bringing “this heathenism in town” Madame coyly replied that she was summoned to town by Mary Todd Lincoln and that she was there at her request. (Look for fun scenarios there in the future!)

Pinkerton ManMr. Dave Baughn arrived in Town this weekend with a whole new wardrobe, a new identity and a new way to reach out to the public, portraying a gentleman from the Pinkerton Detective Agency. How fitting to be at the Railroad Museum as he debuted the character, as Pinkerton agents kept the railways safe from gambling swindlers and riff raff. Even better, Pinkerton and his agents foiled a plot to assassinate Mr. Lincoln on his railroad trip into Washington for his inauguration. Having fought for both the Union and the Confederacy – Dave knows many of the soldiers, and the civilians so look for some wonderful fun and role playing at future events.

Mrs. Rose O’Neal Greenhow, played by Joyce Bolin (our dear PR Director) avoided capture as a Confederate spy for the weekend, but look for future scenarios and arrests! She told her delicious story at the fashion show both days and the crowd is shocked to see a wealthy WOMAN as a spy! Joyce generously manned the ACWS membership booth over the weekend and sold the most fabulous hats I have seen yet! WIDE brimmed hats woven of palm fronds that actually protect the face from the sun. She sold out in the first few hours and promised to bring more, helping us ladies gently protect our delicate complexions! Thank you Joyce.

Catherine Elliot set up as a laundress again for the weekend and had her hilariously spelled signs out in front along with her buckets, and a clothes line full of shirts and socks! Her laundry is such a great attraction, and she charmed the crowds with her lack of schoolin and her laundry impression.

I had the pleasure of talking to people all weekend about our USSC quilt as I sold tickets for our Civilian Corps fund. We had homeschoolers, school kids, parents and grandparents all listening to the story of the Fisks, the USSC, and the women’s need to stitch their sorrows and their hopes into quilts as they supported their loved ones at war. One of the best things about reenacting is connecting with the people, and it is always our honor and hope that we connect with their hearts and they come to see the people and times we portray as real flesh and blood people, with dreams and lives, families and friends, ripped apart by a tragic war. The quilt is a wonderful way to tell stories….and stories are the heart of Civilian Town, the military camps and what we are doing!ACWS Ladies

I have typed more than most want to read and barely touched on anything! I was hoping our dear Civilian Director would talk about our Honorary Town Mayor and the unveiling of our new sign…and our town’s name! I will save that for Miss Shelley, for tomorrow! I daresay, she is in recovery after a weekend FULL of activity at the Kansas Mercantile and running the town, and the dear lady deserves a rest!

Thank you to all who made Orange Empire Railroad Museum such a resounding success! Ohh, and I know I am spilling the beans here (impatient though I am!) we surpassed LAST year’s spectator attendance by 25%!!!! The public enjoys OERM as much as the reenactors do, it is exactly what Tonya said, a delightful little railroad town!