Lincoln's Secret Visit Focus of Civil War Talk

GCC's Civil War Lecture Series Features Two Upcoming Speakers

Batavia, NY- Joyce Thompson-Hovey of Pavilion considers herself a bit of a history detective. On Wednesday, November 6, 2013 the retired Attica Middle School teacher will share the results of her sleuthing when she presents “Lincoln’s Secret Visit” at Genesee Community College. The talk begins at 7 p.m. in Room T102 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia campus. It’s part of GCC’s ongoing Civil War Initiative, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War that shaped our nation.

Thompson-Hovey spent forty years teaching. When she retired in 2011 she further pursued her interest in the Civil War and began studying a little-known book written in the 1970s by Ida Hoyt Chamberlain, a well-traveled playwright and concert pianist from Genesee County. Chamberlain’s self-published book “Lincoln’s Fifteen Lost Hours,” chronicles events of February 17-18, 1861. In it, she posits that the president, during his inaugural journey to Washington, D.C., left a Buffalo hotel and headed to the town of Alexander, where he spent the night at the McLoskey Mansion on Route 20. Phillip McLoskey was Chamberlain’s great-great grandfather.

Are the details of the book fact or fiction, or maybe a little of both? Visitors can decide for themselves, based on the evidence Thompson-Hovey will share. “I have disproved much of the information about family members in her account,” Thomspon-Hovey has written. “But there is other material indicating the Lincoln visit could have happened.”

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, former Medina mayor Adam Tabelski will speak about “Copperheads, Carnage, and Campaigns.” His talk begins at 7 p.m. in Room T119 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia campus. Tabelski is a past president of the Medina Historical Society and has a Master’s Degree in Public History. He served as honorary chairman of the Civil War Encampment last April at GCC’s Medina Campus Center.

The recent film “Copperhead” focuses on a fictional upstate New York farmer who wanted peace above all else. Tabelski explores the real, and very tumultuous, history of politicians and citizens whose beliefs ran counter to the prevailing sentiment of preserving the Union, and freeing the slaves at all costs. He’ll also examine New York City’s violent reaction to the 1863 draft, and the great stakes of the 1864 presidential election.

For more information, go to the Civil War Initiative website ( or contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email:

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Editor’s Note:
A photograph of Adam Tabelski is available here: