If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

History Coming Alive


This past week Ohio Chautauqua, an adult education movement, came to Warren, the county seat near me. They travel around Ohio picking different towns each year. The Chautauqua movement was founded in 1874 to bring entertainment and culture to rural America. It was named after the Chautauqua Institution in New York State.  Circuit or tent Chautauqua would be set up in fields near different towns. Early popular speakers, such as William Jennings Bryan, highlighted the programs drawing large crowds. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold up the tents and move on to the next town. It was in the mid-1920s that it was at its peak popularity and they appeared in more than 10,000 communities. However, by 1940 they had about disappeared when radio, movies and television brought entertainment into the home so Chautauqua was no longer very popular.

Then in 1998, the Ohio Humanities Council decided to bring back the Chautauqua idea to Ohio towns. Every other year since then Ohio Chautauqua has presented a new set of actor/scholars in a different theme: American humorists, the Civil War, the Roaring Twenties and World War II, etc. This year the theme was Journeys.  In addition to the Ohio Humanities Council, the local sponsorships in our community are The Tribune Chronicle, the Trumbull County Library, the Trumbull Tourism Bureau and Trumbull 100. They help finance this production that is completely free for participants.

Because Warren, Ohio has such a fantastic turnout every year it comes here, we are one of the only towns, not sure if there are any other towns with this distinction, who can count on having them come to our town every other year with a new set of historians portraying someone from history.

I try to go to at least two or three of the evening presentations, but due to a vacation two years ago I wasn’t able to attend. This year I made sure I’d be home when Ohio Chautauqua came. Before Warren got on their regular schedule, I traveled to several other towns to attend at least one or two Chautauqua events. One thing I haven’t done yet, but plan to do the next time they come, is to attend the daily workshops put on by the different historians. There’s one for children and one for adults.

I missed the first night with the historian Hank Fincken portraying J.C. Bruff, an adventurer and 1849er seeking gold. Even though it poured that night before, during and after the program, the tent with filled with at least five hundred people according to the woman from the Ohio Chautauqua who did the introductions. I did go the next night, Wednesday, to hear Dianne Moran, the historian who portrayed Olive Anne Oatman.
Hal Walker and his volunteer I Have A Hammer chorus

All presentations are preceded by musical entertainment for about forty minutes. That night Hal Walker, a folk singer/songwriter I’ve seen at the Kent State Folk Festival, played guitar and a few other instruments and sang. He also coaxed older men from the audience to join him in the “I Have a Hammer” chorus. It was a while before one brave man took that first step forward and then more and more followed him up on stage where they joined Hal Walker in this tribute song to Pete Seeger.




 After a short break, Dianne Moran came on stage dressed in black dress of the 1850s with a black veil over her head to hide her face and the Indian tattoos on her chin. Olive Anne Oatman’s family was killed by Native Americans on their trip west. Olive and her younger sister were taken as slaves and treated harshly and fed little food and worked hard that first year with those Indians. While with them the girls’ chins were tattooed in five vertical marks, marking them as the tribe’s slaves. A year later another Indian tribe heard about the girls and offered a horse in trade if they would let them have the girls. The first tribe agreed, and the Indians who rescued them took them into their tribe and treated them well and with affection like beloved daughters, and they soon gained back the weight they’d lost. When Olive was eventually found by her brother, who had been left for dead, she went back to the white world where she married and with her husband adopted a child. She traveled and spoke about her years, but was looked down upon by most white people because of her years with the Indians. Except for a flat tire I got in the parking lot, it was a great evening and the two friends who joined me that night agreed.

On Thursday night I skipped one of my book clubs to attend the Henry David Thoreau presentation.  My three sisters, a brother-in-law and I had been interested in not only Thoreau, but also in Emerson, Alcott and others in the Transcendental movement and had read their works and biographies and discussed them and visited their homes in Concord. So I told my two sisters who lived close enough to drive there, they needed to come. They drove the 30 to 50 miles needed to see Kevin Radaker portray Henry David Thoreau.

The Steven  Foster Chorus
The program started with The Steven Foster Chorus, a group led by a music professor from Youngtown State University. The singers, numbering about a dozen, were aged from one in his forties up to a ninety-two year old member. They are the oldest still singing Steven Foster barbershop chorus in Ohio. I enjoyed them. What I didn’t enjoy was the rude people at a table set up nearby selling T-shirts and passing out brochures, etc. who talked through the whole performance. I was quite tempted to put on my teacher scowl and stomp back there to tell them they were rude.



I wasn’t sure how many in an audience of well over five-hundred people knew much about Thoreau, and he didn’t have any exciting tales to tell since he was a philosopher and not an adventurer. However, he captured the audience’s attention as well as that of my sisters and I putting on a great performance. There were a lot of questions and answers afterwards. My sister pointed out to me when it was over, and I agreed that he was wrong when someone asked him about his religion; Radaker said he was a Christian who lived by the Bible. His philosophy and indeed that of the Transcendentalists is a bit hard to explain and has more to do with we’re all part of nature and connected. She felt that he said that because he didn’t want to turn some Christians against Henry David Thoreau.

I enjoyed the presentations and wished I could have gone to the next two; a survivor of the Titanic and Martin Luther King Jr., but I had other places to go the last two nights. One important thing I got from the Thoreau talk, though, was we are all a part of nature which means all plants are equal, right? So I’m not going to worry so much about the weeds taking over my gardens and just call them all “Henry David Thoreau Gardens.”


Have you ever gone to hear a historian portraying some famous person?

5 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

That sounds like fun! Thanks for all the pictures.

Since I live near Gettysburg (my kids went to Gettysburg schools) we get historic re-enactors all the time. Since it's the anniversary of the battle, we have a huge encampment just down the road a ways. I'm afraid I've gotten to the point that my first thought is, "How do I avoid the traffic? Both the spectators & the troops."

Shari Randall said...

I am not too far from Williamsburg and have spent quite a bit of time there. They have a "Martha Washington" who is amazing - she is portrayed as a younger woman, not the older lady in a mob cap one usually pictures. Historical re-enactors get asked some crazy questions. "Martha" was asked several times about George's teeth!

Kara Cerise said...

I live close to the spot where Thaddeus Lowe, head of the Union Army Balloon Corps, made tethered ascents to prove that he could use a balloon to spy on Confederate forces and assist in military movements during the Civil War. "Professor Lowe" gave a great talk and stood in a replica of his balloon basket.

Ramona said...

I have heard about Ohio Chautauqua for some time now, and this is the best coverage I have read. Thanks, Gloria. Fascinating.

I have never done it, but my across the street neighbors are huge Civil War buffs, and they love to have dinner in Gettysburg with various generals. Chamberlain seems to be the favorite.

Gloria Alden said...

My internet was down all day so I'm only able now to leave a comment.

Kathleen, I was only at Gettysburg once many years ago. It was fascinating, but incredibly sad, too. A young woman portraying a farm wife talked of all the dead bodies of men and horses and the horrid smell that covered Gettysburg and how every man, woman and older children spent hours and days burying the bodies of the soldiers, but the horses were left to rot.

Shari, I went to Williamsburg once for a few hours, but we couldn't stay long because my mother had a heart condition and the heat was causing her to have trouble breathing. I want to go back especially since one of my former students is a re-enactor there.

Kara, I've never heard of Thaddeus Lowe. That's interesting.

Ramona, I don't know how far away you live, but in two years if you want to come stay with me for the next one, I'd love to have you.