Local & Legendary a Big Success in Belfast

Spring in Belfast was not measured by the temperature this year; rather it was measured by the 165+ people venturing forth in the cold weather to the Belfast Public Library for Civil War themed events.

In March, “Friday Night Flicks” presented four Civil War themed films which spanned the decades from the 1926 silent film The General to more current movies including: Lincoln, Ride With the Devil, and Glory. April’s screening of the MPBN film Sixteenth Maine at Gettysburg uncovered a local Belfast connection.  A regular patron and Friend of the library shared that she has a piece of the flag from the Sixteenth Maine; it belonged to her husband’s great-grandfather George D. Bisbee, 2nd Lt. Co. C.

ImagePatricia Bixel, Professor of History at Maine Maritime Academy, facilitated three well-attended book discussions. Participants read and discussed the battle of Gettysburg through the lens of Michael Shaara’s classic novel The Killer Angels and the more visual lens of The Graphic History of Gettysburg by Wayne Vansant.

ImageThe mixed group of teens and older Civil War buffs had great discussions on the individual books and how the books taken together enhanced their understanding of those three bloody days in 1863. One Civil War buff said that “for the first time the battle had some order to it”–the graphic novel laid out the sequence of the battle in a format that made sense to her. The discussions covered the battles, the different perspectives of the books (one told from the perspective of officers and the other through visual representations of the men in the field), and how both books inspired readers to read more.

April brought three additional Civil War events to town. Bob Rackmales presented a talk entitled “Belfast Divided: Political Conflict in the Civil War Era.” Ron Jarvella, a Local & Legendary team member, taught a one-day seminar titled “Shifting Racial Attitudes From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Birth of a Nation” at the Senior College at Belfast. Megan Pinette, historical society president and Local & Legendary team member gave the final talk of the month: “The Good Works of the Ladies of Belfast during the Civil War.” Megan’s talk focused on the many projects that the Ladies’ Volunteer Aid Society undertook to support the soldiers. Projects included sewing shirts, pants, and handkerchiefs, as well as sending great quantities of sanitary and food supplies. Additionally, in June of 1864, a group of young and unmarried women stitched the Belfast Civil War quilt and sent it to a soldiers’ hospital in Washington, D.C. That quilt, after being stored in a home in Montana for over 100 years, was returned to Belfast in 2011.

The final Local & Legendary Belfast event, an original theatrical presentation, followed by a memorial plaque dedication at City Hall, will be held on Sunday, May 18, at First Church, 8 Court Street, at 3PM. It is open to the public.

2 thoughts on “Local & Legendary a Big Success in Belfast

  1. Pingback: Local & Legendary Program Ends in Belfast | (RE)LIVING HISTORY

  2. Eileen Gloria Pelletier

    My 2 times great-grandfather James Parsons was with the 16h. Maine Co A, later to Co D but he was taken prisoner at Weldon RR Va. in August of 1864. He died at the Salisbury NC prison in Dec. of 1864 and is buried in the trench graves, as many as 3,000 to 10,000 Union soldiers are buried in that field, 203 from Me. units, 41 from the 16th. Me. On line is the Memorial Dedication of the beautiful Me. Monument in 1908. I have been there to visit, also at Weldon RR and at Gettysburg Pa. the actual spot where the 16th. held back the Rebel Army. James Widow was Hannah “Proctor” Parsons” , they had 6 children, Hannah moved to Lewiston sometime after 1870 I believe, she and 4 daughters are buried in Riverside Cemetery Lewiston Me. Another Daughter in Greene and a son in Auburn Me. The family lived in Lexington Me. before the Civil War.

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