Day 4: April 27, 2013
Happy Birthday to U.
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Not only do Bailey House owners Stan and Nancy Purdy live in the midst of local history, they are very active in promoting it. Stan is currently president of the U.S. Grant Homestead Association and I would see both of them pop up at various events throughout the day. My day started with a wonderful breakfast, delightful conversation with Nancy, Abe/Fritz, & Sylvanus/Stan, and watching a variety of 1860ish looking folk drop things off, pick things up, or just check up on things. Eventually Abe and I walked across the street to join the people gathering at the Grant Boyhood Home. Shortly after 9:00, Ned Lodwick (a.k.a. Col. Ely S. Parker) called interested parties to the street to begin a walking tour. Ely/Ned, with an occasional assist from Abe/Fritz, educated us with tons of facts about events and people. While Ned delivered a most entertaining and informative tour, armed escorts assured Mr. Lincoln's safety.

The tour ended at the new Grant statue where, not coincidentally, opening ceremonies were about to take place. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was part of those ceremonies. The speech has taken on the trappings of a "greatest hit" and is delivered by all manner of speakers in all manner of circumstances. Today's circumstances were as good as any and the delivery among the best. The extraordinarily concise and elegant speech is a wonderful trigger for thoughts about liberty, equality, and the relationship of people and government. And those are things that ought to be thought about often.

The ceremonies concluded with a musket salute and three rousing huzzahs from the troops. Union leaders then posed, whether by design or accident, by height for pictures in front of the statue.

By now, things were really starting to pick up in Grant's back yard. I snapped a photo of the dulcimer players and other musicians but will just have to tell you about the magic show, the cannon and musket demonstrations, and the various historic displays. I did attend and photograph some of the events in the Living History Tent. The first was a well done presentation on Vicksburg where, aided by a commentator, Sherman, Lincoln, and Grant read excerpts from their own communications as the campaign progresses.

I knew very little about Thomas Hamer, the man responsible for Grant's West Point appointment, and Lynn Gardner's presentation was truly educational. Because of deeply held political differences, Hamer and Jesse Grant, Ulysses' father, were not even speaking to each other at the time of the appointment. With a certain amount of reluctance, Jesse Grant sent a request to Hamer that arrived just a day before he left office. What if it had arrived a day later? What if Hamer had let his disagreement with the elder Grant keep him from assisting the younger? Hamer's 1846 death from dysentery while serving in the Mexican War is fuel for more conjecture. Many experts believe that, had he lived, Hamer would have been elected president in 1852 rather than Franklin Pierce. What if?

The last picture is of a pre-war north vs. south debate with Ernie Parnell representing the south, Stan Purdy representing the north, and Pat Hornschemeier moderating. While the arguments did not change my mind in any significant way, events like this are important reminders that I cannot be 100% certain that my 2013 opinions exactly match those I would have had in 1863 had I been around.

Ulysses Grant's boyhood friend, Daniel Ammen, lived in this circa 1826 house on the north edge of the courthouse square. Current owner Mike Fadeley has done (and continues to do) a phenomenal job of restoration. The flooring in the picture is much newer than the house. It's from an 1840s structure that was being torn down by a friend. Mike also operates a number of farms -- in the basement. The old jail, built around 1870, is now home to the Brown County Genealogical Society which maintains a small museum and an impressive genealogy library in the building.

Dang, I gotta get me one of those hats. They really do make you look taller.

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