By Jim Krencik
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — MEDINA — The village’s role in the American Civil War will be brought to life next month during an encampment of visiting re-enactors at GCC Medina, which has the guardians of local history eager to share the Civil War records and regalia in their collection.
The Medina Historical Society plans to take an active role in the April 26-28 events, President Reinhard Rogowski said, with some of the artifacts from the society’s museum on display and helping out with a planned parade of re-enactors through downtown Medina.
“We’re trying to bring our history to life, to make people proud of what we have in Medina,” Rogowski said.
Adam Tabelski, who is the honorary chairman of the Civil War Encampment, visited the museum Tuesday to see some of the artifacts that could be shown at the event.
While some items like a large lithograph of the Andersonville prison are too fragile to transport across town, Tabelski said the display of others will bring the closeness of the conflict to full view in a special room at the college.
“These are artifacts that belonged to Orleans County residents. It shows that the Civil War was never far from us,” said Tabelski, a former President of the historical society.
Among the artifacts at the museum are the records of the Samuel J. Hood Grand Army of the Republican Post, which was made up of local veterans, and a book filled with hand-written accounts of those veterans’ experiences. There is also a shadowbox containing the diary and personal effects of Ziba Roberts of the 28th Regiment.
Most of the museum’s artifacts came from the descendants of Col. Hezekiah Bowen, Medina Historical Society Vice President Craig Lacy said, with all the items at the museum coming from local families.
“Most of it came over after the men had passed away and their wives couldn’t bear to throw them away,” Lacy said. “We’re very fortunate to be the recipient of all the memorabilia that people had kept for 50, 75, even 100 years.”
Lacy said the historical society has strived to maintain the aging artifacts, with a large shadowbox of memorabilia from GAR reunions moved to a new container with acid-free backing about a decade ago.
The historical society will also shine a light on one of the local men who served in the 28th Regiment at its March 25 meeting. A program on Col. Erwin Bowen will be given by Mary Zimmerman Robinson, a descendant of the illustrious leader of Company D.
Tabelski said the descendants of Civil War veterans will also participate in the Saturday morning parade through Medina, which is designed to follow the walk taken by departing soldiers in 1861.
But beyond their role in helping to plan the event, the local history buffs are just excited to see everything that’s coming to Medina — from the re-enactments of skirmishes and camp life to a cotillion dance.
“I want to hear the sounds and see the electricity in the air,” Rogowski said. “We’ll be able, for a brief moment, to put ourselves in another time.”