The Civil War Exhibition is being extended and will remain on display at Roberson through the current school year.
Roberson commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War with our grand exhibition featuring compelling real-life stories from individuals from our region and an interactive encampment setting.
Through various learning experiences visitors will discover how the Civil War changed lives in our communities. The exhibition is a collaborative effort utilizing items from local private collectors and the Broome, Chenango, Tioga, Delaware and Susquehanna County Historical Societies.
The Civil War features the profiles of 12 individuals from our region. The profiles have a variety of sectors of society, education level, war experience, home front experience, African-American experience, female experience, resistance and/or draft experience. These are the people’s stories and portray what it was like for many people living in this region during the Civil War.
1. Daniel S. Dickinson: A Democratic US Senator from Binghamton who was a state rights advocate instrumental in the passage of the Compromise of 1850 which exacerbated the coming of the Civil War. Nominated for president during two different Democratic conventions, he withdrew his name only to be considered for Lincolns’ running mate in 1864 because of his patriotic allegiance to the Union. Lincoln appoints him as District Attorney for NYC for his work for the country where he dies a year after the end of the war. If he had been Lincoln’s running mate, he would have been the 17th President. His story is told through his own letters and speeches.
2. Galusha Grow of Montrose: A former Democrat, later Republican who quickly rises to become the Speaker of the House at the outbreak of the war. His role is to hold together a large portion of the federal government before it spirals out of control as half of its members walk out the door and join the Confederacy. His work to keep things together during the years the Union was losing the war results in his own political downfall and return to Susquehanna County to sit out the war. Grow’s own words and accompanying dialogue tell his story.
3. Jermain Loguen, the King of the Underground Railroad was born a slave and escaped to freedom to become a major religious leader and abolitionist in New York State. He was a leader of the Jerry Rescue in Syracuse and a travelling clergy in this region before the Civil War. His daughter, Amelia Logue, taught at the African-American school in Binghamton before her marriage to Lewis Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass.
4. George Englis, a local private, His letters are used to tell just one the soldiers stories of the experiences in the war and his wishes to see home again. His death very shortly after surviving the war, from the toll of the war itself, adds to the drama of how war and its effects carry on long after the war ends.
5. Sara Rosetta Wakeman, one of two women profiles, joins the war effort by passing herself as of man. Coming from Chenango County, her letters home display the amazement of leaving home, the boredom of everyday camp life, and the fears of never seeing their family again. She dies of disease during the war, and the family hid her letters in shame from her life as a man for the next 80 years.
6. John C. Robinson, an army general from Binghamton, whose efforts during several battles showed his leadership on the battlefield. He lost his leg during the Spotsylvania Campaign, but won the Medal of Honor for his actions. He survived the war, and later became Lieutenant Governor of the State, and president of the Grand Army of the Republic.
7. Col. David Ireland, born in Scotland, joins the area forces in Binghamton (although he lived in Susquehanna County) and quickly helps to form the 137th Regiment and was instrumental in holding the line during the battle of Gettysburg. He died of disease during the war, and his wife, the niece of Sherman Phelps, is forced to move in with her uncle to make ends meet. His letters and correspondence are used in this story.
8. James Smith, the son of an Irish farmer living in Broome County, who was underage (16 was the required age) — acts as a substitute for his drafted older brother and joins the Union forces. Involved in several battles, he is shot in the head near Petersburg and when recovered he is captured and lives for 9 months in a Confederate prisoner of war camp under horrible conditions. He escapes and is hidden and helped by a slave family who assist his return to the Union forces in time for him to be near the Appomatax Courthouse for Lee’s surrender. Throughout the rest of his life and death, he would alter his age in fear that he would lose his veterans pension.
9. The Lyons Brothers, four brothers from Susquehanna County, who join the Union forces. Three of brothers die during the war (both of disease and wounds). The surviving youngest brother, Jerome, is compelled by his mother to go back to the south during the war and bring back his brother’s bodies because she refused to have her sons buried there. In some cases, the bodies are taken from mass burials and returned home. Jerome later designs the Civil War Monument in Montrose only to die a few days before the dedication.
10. Jedidiah Hotchkiss, a mapmaker from Windsor, becomes famous for joining the Confederate forces and becomes cartographer for Stonewall Jackson. Although his cousins fought on the side of the north, he serves on the side of the south. His maps were so well created, that they are in the collection of the Library of Congress. He later became one of the founders in the Army Corps of Engineers.
11. Delia Judd, the second woman profile, represents the home life story. Her diary and dialogue tell the story of watching the “boys” go off to war on the train, and how her brother-in-law, Capt. Seymour Judd, leaves his wife alone at home, and then dies during the war. She tells of watching her husband, Henry, go off to Binghamton to listen to lectures on the war, and talks of the need to preserve the Union. During the war, she loses both her husband and two infant children to disease, and after the war marries to avoid losing everything. She dies childless.
12. Gen. Edward F. Jones, represents the aftermath of the war (along with John Robinson), who comes here from Massachusetts and opens Jones Scale Works. His efforts during the war to protect Washington DC ended with a Congressional official thanks. Jones, become very wealthy and also becomes a Lieutenant Governor of NY, an author, and entrepreneur.
Thank You! Support for The Civil War Exhibition at Roberson is provided by:
The Roger L. Kresge Foundation
The Triad Foundation
Additional funding for Roberson is provided, in part, by general operating support grants from the United Cultural Fund, a program of the Broome County Arts Council and the New York State Council on the Arts.