Batavia, NY- When reenactor Simon Taylor saw how many people had gathered to watch elements of Civil War history parade through downtown Medina Saturday morning, he was “shocked.” Taylor, playing Captain Erwin Bowen from New York’s 28th Infantry Unit, accepted a sword during the parade from Bowen’s great-great granddaughter. The moment commemorated the actual send-off local soldiers received back in 1861. Taylor told a local reporter, “It’s very obvious this community cares about its history.”
GCC History Professor Derek Maxfield, one of the lead organizers of the Civil War Encampment at GCC’s Medina Campus Center, agrees. “I’ve never seen a community rally around something quite the way the folks in Medina have,” he said. He estimates at least 2,500 people attended the weekend’s events, from the parade, to the battles, to the Cotillion Ball Saturday night. “How could I not be pleased with how everything went?” Maxfield said. “The parade went off without a hitch. The weather cooperated very well. We had a wonderful Cotillion Ball. Praise is rolling in from all quarters. I feel like it was fantastic.”
Visitors had a chance to experience a variety of historic elements throughout the weekend, but there’s no doubt the parade was a distinct highlight. Many were moved by the moment when Mary Zimmerman Robinson handed Capt. Taylor her great-great grandfather’s sword. “It was beautiful,” said Maxfield. “Many people came up to me later and said how touched they were by the parade and the sword ceremony.” The ceremony took place in front of Bents Opera Hall at the four corners of downtown Medina. Bents Hall was completed the year the Civil War ended. A recording of the parade has been posted on You Tube. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APh7_cg1zJ8&feature=youtu.be.
To help offset expenses of the event, a volunteer created souvenir t-shirts sold during the weekend. Maxfield said there are some still available, both Union blue and Confederate gray, for $10 (S,M,L, XL) or $15 (2X, 3X). Those interested can contact Maxfield at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6288 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Medina Campus Associate Dean Jim Simon at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6552 or email@example.com to purchase.
This is the second year GCC has put on a Civil War Encampment and it continues to grow. “By Saturday, we had already exceeded our numbers from last year,” said Maxfield. “We’ve already begun planning for next year.” The event will be held in April again next year at the Medina Campus Center.
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A photo of Mary Zimmerman Robinson handing Capt. Taylor her great-great grandfather’s sword is available here: