As Glenwood celebrates its heritage this weekend with the annual Keg Creek Days, The Opinion-Tribune will participate by adding two major components of the era in which the newspaper was founded: Abraham Lincoln and a Union army encampment, complete with a cannon used in the Civil War.
Lee Williams, a nationally-recognized Lincoln impersonator, will make three presentations Saturday afternoon from the perspective of the nation’s 16th president.
At 1 p.m., Williams will discuss Lincoln’s experiences as a young man growing up in the untamed wildernesses in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. After moving to Illinois with his family at the age of 21, Lincoln worked as a store clerk, surveyor, boatman and even a militia soldier, fighting in the Black Hawk War, before becoming a lawyer.
At 3 p.m., Williams will discuss Lincoln’s next phase of his life: that of a politician.
After losing his first election bid to the Illinois House of Representatives, Lincoln would serve five consecutive two-year terms, followed by a term in the U.S. House.
Lincoln would later run against Stephen Douglas for U.S. Senate, a campaign that spawned the historic Lincoln/Douglas debates. While losing that election, the national notoriety Lincoln obtained was invaluable in his presidential bid, in which he defeated Douglas.
After his election, President Lincoln served the duration of the U.S. Civil War, of which Iowa played a major role.
While no battles occurred in Iowa, the state provided the largest percentage of soldiers to the Union army, at more than 11 percent of the male population.
Descendants of members of the Union army will be encamped throughout the day Saturday and Lincoln will visit the camp and inspect the soldiers at 2 p.m. During his visit to the camp, Lincoln will also deliver the Gettysburg address, which was delivered 151 years ago during a national cemetery dedication outside of the Pennsylvania town.
Williams will be at The Opinion-Tribune booth following the 3 p.m. performance for free “photos with Lincoln.”
The Civil War encampment includes members of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Members of camps located in Council Bluffs and Atlantic will attend, dressed in Civil War uniforms while displaying historical items from the era.
The largest Civil War artifact on display will be a cannon that was actually used in the Civil War. One of only six working Civil War cannons in existence, this cannon’s history can be traced to the 1862 Battle of Shiloh, where it was fired.
The SUVCW was originally called the Grand Army of the Republic, which was formed in 1866 to preserve the heritage of the values of the Union while providing an opportunity for veterans to reunite. It was renamed SUVCW in 1925. To be a full member, one has to prove he or she is an ancestor of a Civil War Union soldier.
Members of the group travel around west and southwest Iowa with the cannon making living history demonstrations while also protecting and revitalizing Civil War graves.
The camp will be open throughout the day Saturday.