Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reenacting a Civil War Encampment

Unless you have been completely blocked off from all types of media announcements, it has probably been brought to your attention that 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Furthermore, there is a very good chance that your ancestors were either directly, or indirectly, greatly affected by this war. If you live in the Ozarks, as I do, then you are close to where various Civil War activities took place. For these reasons and more, the public is invited to come and see a reenactment of a Civil War Infantry Encampment on the grounds of the Diamond City, Arkansas, Community Center, at the 2011 Parrish-Raley Reunion. Between 10:30 AM and noon, on Saturday, July 2, experienced re-enactors, Gene Waters and Kevin Middleton, portraying soldiers of the 14th Arkansas Infantry, CSA, will be present to meet and talk with those who attend, and tell about the life of the Civil War soldier in this area. They will demonstrate articles like those which were used in the daily life of the soldier and give insight into the sacrifices they made, and the heritage they and their families left. A company of men for the 14th Arkansas was raised at Lead Hill (which is near Diamond City) in the summer of 1861, and its first commander, Wm. C. Mitchell, lived in Sugarloaf Township (also near Diamond City). There is no admission charge for the reenactors' presentation.

This is an approved event of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and is listed on their Calendar of Events (along with a great deal of other interesting Civil War information) on their website, Anyone interested is invited to attend, but especially those with connections to the Parrish, Raley, Buckley, & Dunlap families/friends. There will be a pot luck dinner and visiting. So, bring your favorite dish and come ready to have a good time with friends and family. There is a children's outdoor playground adjacent to the building. Besides the Civil War soldiers' camp demonstration and potluck, Dr. Kenneth Threet will talk to us about his career and experiences at 1:00 pm.; Master of Ceremonies for the event is retired Judge Roger V. Logan, and he can be contacted for further information by calling 870-743-4011 or emailing .

Besides the Civil War veterans that belonged to the various families that have been sponsoring this reunion for the last thirty-seven years, there are some "famous" people that have connections with these same families. For example, the large supermarket chain in California, called "Raley's", has roots with some of the same families sponsoring the reunion. Likewise, famous Hollywood costume designer, Rita Riggs, who designed for numerous television sit-coms, such as All In The Family, has connections with this group. Mrs. Riggs has attended the reunion in the past, as well as television actress Donna Douglas, who played Ellie Mae on the television series Beverly Hillbillies. And I certainly do not want to leave out this bit of trivia--- that former U.S. President Bill Clinton also attended one year!

One thing I enjoy about visiting with older members of the family, is hearing their stories about long ago. For example, this mural, depicting "Parrish Shoes -- since 1856", painted on an outdoor brick wall, in the town of Keene, New Hampshire, (and also a familiar scene in the movie JUMANJI ) could have been based on the same family of Parrishes that are my relatives! By listening to one of my elderly Parrish cousins tell stores of his childhood, I learned that in the early 1800's, some of the Parrish pioneers had been cobblers---leather craftsmen who make or mend shoes. If you have never been to a family reunion, and are not sure what the "social etiquette" is for such an event, here is an ancient guideline from Leviticus 19:32 that still applies today: "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God." SOOOoooo, I would encourage you to turn off your iPods, iPads, iPhones, and do an iPause! Ask an old person to tell you a story! You might be surprised what you find out! Miles of smiles! Tricia

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