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Sue's Good Co at Shasta.com was a fabulous website that I can no longer find. Run by the devoted people who did the workshop we attended in Northern California in 2004, they were pioneers in authentic reenacting. These are some of the scenarios discussed suggested by Miss Vera and Miss Fannie to grow civilian towns. So sorry that I can no longer find their wealth of research based information or their redesigned website.
Their number one idea… RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. If you can back it up with research, you can portray it!

Some Ideas for Civilian Living History
The Home Front ~ By Fanny &Vera (where are you?)

Wives and Mothers,  Sweethearts and Sisters
This was the role of most women in the 1860’s, although this would not preclude you from doing any of the other roles. Remember, Harriet Beecher Stowe was a wife, mother, sister and daughter as well as a best selling author.

Here are a few of the activities that kept women busy on the home front:

    Reading the latest news, the bible, a period correct book or a letter from camp
    Writing letters or in a journal.  Singing.   Visiting.

    Sewing, knitting, mending, quilting: working on your own or your children's' clothing.
    War effort work: rolling bandages, scraping lint for bandages.  Knitting socks, making or mending uniforms, making quilt blocks, making bedroll quilts or ticking for the soldiers.
    Tending to the children: playing games with them, teaching them to read and write, teaching sewing skills. The heart rending care of the newly orphaned.

The Farmers Wife   In addition to all of the above, a farm wife could bring baskets of vegetables for sale. She could take baskets of produce, eggs and butter to the camps or camp cooks, selling them to support her family.  This would be a good role if you have, or know someone with a large garden.  Preparing food is always interesting.  People respond well when they see you cutting up vegetables and making stew.  Someone may like to try baking bread or biscuits.

Town Women can include:  post mistress, news paper editor, shop keepers, factory worker, public speaker on social issues and reform, laundress, seamstress, abolitionist, slave, escaped slave, freeman,  Southern refugee, feminist, actress, chanteuse, phrenologist, town gossip, busybody, local character, grieving widows, society matron, social belle or ladies of the upper classes exhibiting their skills in watercolors or fine needlework.
The following civilian roles can be portrayed by men or women  (with a few exceptions)

Charity Organizations
Women's Central Association of Relief, Relief societies specific to a state or ethnic group,
U.S. Christian Commission, US Sanitary Commission, Ladies Loyalty League, Soldier's Aid Society, YMCA (a male part)

Religion was a very important part of life in the 1860’s.  Portrayals of religious people would be a good addition to our living history.  Quaker and other pacifist, Bible Tract Society Member,  Minister,  Preacher, Nun (who could also be nurses)

Hospital matron, nurse, spy, daughter of the regiment, cook, laundress, soldier in disguise.

Anti war activist, copperhead, democrat, agitator, Southern sympathizer, feminist, abolitionist.  Office holders: Congressman, mayors, councilmen, judge, justice of the peace, bureaucrats and other windbags.  Owing to the date we portray, elected positions would be characters for civilian men.

Additional Male Roles
Telegraph operator, traveling medical show, phrenologist, blacksmith, scalawag, carpenter, baker, tinker, barber, photographer, rum seller, brewer, postmaster, printer, newspaper reporter, saddler, dentist, doctor or nurse, preacher or chaplain, patent medicine hawker, grouchy old man, town drunk, naysayer, actor, farmer selling produce.

So you see, there are many roles to choose from and bring to life.  But you must do the research necessary to give a true representation of the persona you select.  Remember, all new personas must be approved by your club's board of directors.  Please contact your Non Combatant or Civilian Board Representative for help with this process.

Onward and Upward -

Read more at: http://www.shasta.com/suesgoodco/newcivilians/advice/role.htm