Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Coshocton’

Coshocton Canal Quilters Have a Stichin’ Good Time

Quilt Room

The Conference Room at the Carlisle Inn was a quilter’s paradise.

Imagine your favorite getaway. It might be the ocean, the mountains or a cruise to a faraway place. That’s not the case with the ladies from the Coshocton Canal Quilters. A weekend retreat with all their sewing gear and good friends fits the bill for them. All their work was displayed recently at their 29th Annual Quilt Show, “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows”.

This year the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek served as headquarters for a weekend retreat for fifty-eight ladies of all ages. This being my first visit to a retreat, walking into the conference room where it was held filled me with wonder and excitement.

Quilt - Oldest

This member’s interest in quilting began back when, at the age of four, she played under her grandmother’s quilting rack.

They had all brought their sewing machines, tables, chairs, lamps, materials, all their sewing tools…and of course, snacks. How could all that have fit in their cars?

But everyone was having a good time with no obligations other than enjoying quilting and talking to their friends. The social part of the retreat seemed to be very important.

Their project this year was to make a Crow Quilt for the Crow Festival since Coshocton is often referred to as Crow Town. The ladies seemed to think the crows were pretty smart birds and knew how to live together well.  Perhaps they could teach people a lesson.

Each person is asked to finish one crow square for the quilt. While every crow turned out to be quite unique, they had to have three basic characteristics: a black crow, orange beak, and orange feet. Most of them had a sparkle of bling added someplace in the design.

The quilt will then be raffled off at The Pomerene Center for the Arts in October with proceeds to be used for the groups’ projects. This is a busy group as their guild has over a hundred members. When not making quilts for themselves or their family, they make quilts for veterans, chemo patients, battered women’s shelter, James Cancer center, and more.

Quilt WV

This quilt was made for a family member, who is a big fan of WVU.

This large family of quilters comes together for retreats because they want to have fun. One person said, “We let our hair down. It’s a big slumber party.” They encourage each other no matter how many times the threads of motherly patience, health and sanity keep breaking through their lives. The human connection might be as comforting as the quilts they produce.

Gambling might even be part of their day! Left, Right, Center is played here with bundles of fabric, called “fat quarters”, being used instead of cash. The winner takes all!

Quilt Gladys

A good friend works on her Multiple Madness quilt design, while enjoying the company of so many great friends.

Beautiful patterns surround you here and each quilt will become a treasure for someone. A pattern that is one of my favorites has a proper name of “Kaleidoscope Dresden Plate Pattern”, but it is more commonly called “Multiple Madness”. Once you make one quilt using this pattern, you have to keep making them.

This weekend also provides inspiration to try something new. Speakers have special workshops to make a quilted item, or give ideas for future projects. Talking with others about their projects, sparks the imagination to try something new. Words of encouragement are frequent.

Quilt TN Tees

This lady traveled from Tennessee to visit with friends and finish her tee-shirt quilt.

A popular item at the show was tee-shirt quilts. They could be of any size from throw to queen size and contain someone’s old tee shirts. Someone had recently lost their husband and a friend was making her a quilt of his old tee shirts to cuddle up to on a cold night.

Some of the ladies took a lunch break. Where do you think they went? To buy fabric! They came back remembering a special fabric they had seen in which aisle at a particular store.

Quilt New SMThe highlight of the visit occurred with the story of a lady whose sewing machine stopped working the first night she was there. As a surprise, the next morning her husband brought her a brand new sewing machine. What a guy! He’s sew special.

Upon returning home, my tee shirts were checked out carefully. Which ones might make a good quilt for a gypsy?


Unique Collections Fill Historic Roscoe Village Museum

Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum

Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Roscoe Village, Coshocton, Ohio

Sometimes when visiting a place time after time, you miss a treasure right in its midst. Such was the case with Coshocton’s Roscoe Village, a favorite spot for festivals over the years. However, there at its edge, a beautiful brick structure, The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, overflows with unusual historic exhibits.

This actually had its start back in the mid-1800’s when two brothers, John and David Johnson, spent their childhood in Coshocton. In later years, these brothers traveled the world collecting artifacts from all the places they visited.

Indian woven artifacts and Kachina dolls

Indian woven artifacts and Kachina dolls

In 1931, the Johnson brothers gave 15,000 collected objects to their hometown with the stipulation that a museum would be established to honor their parents, Joseph Johnson and Mary Susan Humrickhouse. Thus, the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum became a reality and has since added collections of other local residents. Displays frequently change because the museum has more artifacts than can be displayed at one time.

Two floors contain four main areas to explore: Native American, Ohio History, Coshocton Area Memorabilia, and The Asian Room. Each holds objects that are certain to lead you to recall memories of the past and even create a puzzle or two in your mind.

American Indian artifacts display natives’ skills at pottery, beadwork and basket weaving. These outstanding collections show not only local Native American handiwork but that of Indians throughout the United States. A large collection of kachina dolls, who hold a spiritual essence to the Indian tribes, and items used by the medicine men are a couple of the noteworthy displays.

Chinese royalty collar with silk kimona and pottery in the background

Chinese royalty collar with Ch’ing silk theatrical robe and pottery in the background

An Asian Room contains both Japanese and Chinese treasures. A Japanese warrior in full dress protects that section of the room, while Buddha statues and kimonas express the Chinese traditions. A beautiful jeweled collar worn by a member of the Imperial Court contains over a hundred embellishments.

Controversial Newark Holy Stones

Controversial Newark Holy Stones

The Newark Holy Stones present a controversial subject as these objects were found in 1860 while excavating a mound in Newark, Ohio. The largest stone, the Decalogue Stone, appears to have Hebrew writing around its edges. Many link it to the Hopewell Indian culture, which existed there between 100 BC and 500 AD, while others are skeptical as to its origin.

Early pioneer cabin in Coshocton area

Early pioneer cabin in Coshocton area

Much of the Historic Ohio Display has been donated by great-grandchildren of Nicholas Miller and Mary Darling, early Ohio pioneers. Nicholas came to the Coshocton area in 1802 with $36 and two axes. That first winter, Nicholas made his home in a cave with his dog. Then in 1806, the Darling family migrated to Ohio from Viriginia. 18 year-old Mary drove her family’s four-horse team pulling a covered wagon containing eleven brothers and sisters to settle in the Coshocton area.

Nicolas’ trade as surveyor provided him opportunity to purchase prime land with money that he earned. Therefore, when he married Mary Darling, they settled in the Coshocton area. Today a replica of the cave he slept in provides children a place to hide and pretend. Beside it, a cabin has been reconstructed similar to the one where Nicholas and Mary lived to raise their family.

As you can tell, there are displays here for various interests, and at a low admission price. Throughout the year, various speakers and workshops provide a variety of subjects for area residents. Visit this treasure filled museum that isn’t far from home. While you are there, step back in time and stroll the brick streets of historic Roscoe Village.

Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is located in  Roscoe Village near the south end at 300 N Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, Ohio.  From Ohio 83, exit onto North Whitewoman Street and follow it through Roscoe Village. The museum will be at the south end on the left hand side.


Abraham Lincoln

“Lincoln and Liberty,” the song Abraham Lincoln used in his campaign for presidency, opened a fun filled evening on the final night of Coshocton’s Bi-Centennial Chautauqua celebration.  Wildwood & Friends got the crowd in the mood with several Civil War era songs, including what they said was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite song, “Old Hundredth,” although some say it was “Dixie.”

When the easily recognized figure of Abraham Lincoln appeared, complete with top hat, he was greeted with a standing ovation. Dr. Richard Johnson, Professor Emeritus at California State Polytechnic University, became for the evening a very believable Abraham Lincoln.

“That reminds me of a story..” was an oft repeated phrase throughout his presentation as he fulfilled his reputation for humorous tales.  His first joke was told similar to this, although the exact words were not recorded:

In Washington D.C., they say that I am the homeliest person they have ever seen. This reminds me of a story…a woman I met once told me, “You are the ugliest man I have ever seen.”  To which I replied, “I can’t help it.” The woman then said, “You could stay home.”

The Republican party chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for president because he was a great spokesman and a moderate candidate, who they felt could get a lot of votes.

As the Rail Candidate, Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy was depicted as being held up by the slavery issue. In this cartoon characterization, Lincoln says, “It is true I have split Rails, but I begin to feel as if  this rail would split me.  It’s the hardest stick I ever straddled.”  The black man complains, “Dis Nigger strong and willin’ but its awful hard work to carry Old Massa Abe on nothing but dis ere rail!”  One of Lincoln’s foremost supporters in the Northeast, Greeley here assures him, “We can prove that you have split rails and that will ensure your election to the Presidency.”

During his election campaign, an eleven year old girl wrote to Mr Lincoln stating that she felt he would look much better with whiskers.  Lincoln answered her letter but made no promises; however, shortly thereafter began growing his beard, which is a familiar part of his image everyone recognizes today.

His wife and sons played important roles in Lincoln’s life.  Mary, his wife, was an ally in Springfield, but in D.C. was not a good advisor.  This perhaps due to the death of their son, Willie, which devastated Mary.  At this point she attempted to gain comfort from spiritualists and even conducted seances in the White House.

Lincoln felt the Civil War was worth fighting to protect future children and give them a chance to make something of themselves.  The government at that time and their sacrifices made this possible.  He called out for freedom in the land, and proclaimed that “We must come back together.”

The evening under the Chautauqua banner would not have been complete without the now famous Gettysburg Address, which received another standing ovation.  Later Lincoln said that he composed it in no more than seventeen days, and was actually still working on it when it was delivered.

His career advice to those entering the legal profession seemed very practical:    Try to be an honest lawyer.                                                                                                            Be honest in what you do.                                                                                                              Be respectful of others.                                                                                                                     Help them when you can.

Very simple advice, but still a wise lesson for us to follow today… as it was for Honest Abe.

Every summer the Ohio Humanities Council in conjunction with Ohio State University’s Humanities Institute provides compelling first person historical portrayals around the state of Ohio.  Tune in again next summer for another exciting line-up of influential figures in our country’s history.

Original New Woman of the Civil War Era at Coshocton Chautauqua

Sitting by the roadside on a summer’s day                                                                   Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away                                                           Lying in the shadows underneath the trees                                                                        Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.

Under the Chautauqua tent in Coshocton, Ohio, music of the Civil War entertained the crowd. Performed by Steve Ball and Larry Stahl, “Goober Peas” was one of the most popular and silliest songs of that era.  Not only did they sing such old popular songs as “Rally Round the Flag,” and the most popular love song of the day, “Lorena,” but they gave a short history of each song. This  made for an interesting introduction to the 2011 Chautauqua Civil War evening.

Guts, determination, and lots of humor described Dr Mary Edwards Walker as she was indeed a Civil War female activist. Debra Edwards Conner, a native of nearby Cambridge, gave an outstanding performance in the role of Dr Walker. The crowd under the tent, gave her their undivided attention at the Coshocton Bi-Centennial celebration.

As a graduate of Syracuse Medical College in 1853, Mary headed to Washington to assist with the wounded of the Civil War.  Cots were set up in the halls of the US Capitol and even amid the exhibits of the US Patent Office, where Mary eventually worked as an unpaid volunteer.  Her request for a commission was denied as they felt a woman’s brain was too small to remember medical knowledge.

Medical care was not high on the list of priorities for the military at that time as noted when one general said, “If all doctors sank in the ocean, it would be better for mankind and worse for the fish.” Death surrounded her as filth accumulated everywhere from improper disposal of waste. Two thirds of the deaths were from Tennessee Quick Step…dysentery. While little equipment was provided, there was a blade for amputations. During the course of the war, Dr Walker said three fourths of nearly 39,000 amputees survived. Using a chloroform soaked rag for anesthetic, it took three minutes to amputate, stitch the wound closed with cotton thread, and then wait for infection.

Mary persisted in her quest for a commission with the Army even after the medical board said she did not have adequate knowledge or training. Finally, General George Thomas, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, made a landmark decision and hired Mary Walker as the first woman doctor in the US Army.  General Thomas said, “It would be easier to take the capitol at Richmond, than to argue with Dr Mary Walker.”

Accused of spying by the Confederates while on a medical mission, Mary spent four months in Castle Thunder Prison. There she slept on the floor on a bed of straw in a room overrun with rats. Maggots usually crawled in their infested food supply. They were served” Lincoln coffee,” wood splinters boiled in water. When released from prison in exchange for a Confederate surgeon, she weighed 69 pounds.  Her health and eyesight deteriorated greatly during this prison time.

After the war, Mary always needed money desperately with only $8.50 a month in pension. So she donned a top hat and trousers and lectured regarding women’s rights. A lifelong advocate of freedom for women, when she married right out of college, Mary refused to use the word”‘obey” in the ceremony. She would not take her husband’s name, and even wore trousers to the wedding. Needless to say, this marriage did not last long, and afterwards Mary always referred to him as “that vile man.” When lecture opportunities disappeared, she was reduced to giving lectures at carnivals and dime museums. This was in her words, “A show for the poor where I could speak to keen minds with empty pockets.”

After the war, she was honored as the first and only woman to have ever received the Congressional Medal of Honor…and that honor stands to this day. At one point in 1917, the medal was rescinded by the government saying that it should only be given to those engaged in actual combat. The determined Dr Walker refused to give them back the medal.  Instead she made herself a uniform, promoted herself to major, and wore the medal proudly wherever she went. However, Jimmy Carter in 1977 restored Walker’s Medal of Honor.

Dr Mary Walker was indeed a trailblazer for women’s rights and certainly deserved the title of “Original New Woman” for her profession and dedication during the time of the Civil War.  The word “obey”  never appeared  in her vocabulary.


Harriet Tubman Delights Audience at Coshocton Chautauqua

“I didn’t think all you Yankees would show up,” quipped Harriet Tubman as she entered from the rear of the easily recognizable red and white striped Chautauqua tent.  Her sense of humor sparkled all night long as Harriet delighted the audience with stories of her leading slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Ilene Evans portrayed Harriet Tubman for this year’s Ohio Chautauqua presentation at Coshocton’s Bi-Centennial. She was a master storyteller and inspired young and old alike as she wove her story keeping the audience involved with rolling bandages and singing songs.

On the plantation where she was born in Maryland, birth records were not kept. Harriet was never certain about her birthdate. When she was about twelve,  an overseer struck her in the head with a two pound weight when she attempted to defend a run away slave.  This resulted in sleeping spells for the rest of her life where she drifted away for so long that she missed happenings in her surroundings. In her twenties, her escape from the plantation to the North began her lifelong quest for freedom of blacks from slavery.

Called “Moses” because she, too, led her people out of captivity, Harriet frequently burst into song.  After singing “Battle Cry of Freedom” she explained that when fighting for freedom, “a song in your heart is the best weapon.”

During her time of freeing the slaves, Harriet  served with the Union Army. There she took care of the injured soldiers, made and distributed bandages, and learned where the supplies were kept and where bridges were being mined. Often she said the injured men were covered with flies, so healing was a difficult proposition. The first United States Colored Troops during the Civil War did not receive any pay for eighteen months.  So their wives had to support themselves and their children by doing laundry for the officers, making pies and cakes to be sold to the boys in camp, and brewing ginger beer.

Harriet had nine scouts and a riverboat captain in her command. But this bold, young lady in her twenties said, “She felt no fear as long as she was doing what God wanted.”  She did however believe in a faith that required action and good deeds. She waved the 35 star flag proudly as she talked about her role in this fight for freedom.

After her performance, the tent was opened for questions from the audience to which she gave candid answers. Harriet felt that after the Civil War even though the Emancipation freed the slaves, they still had no rights.  She had hoped that the war would not be just a vehicle of freedom, but a way to real equality.

She thought that President Lincoln moved way too slowly during the war years both in abolishing slavery and allowing blacks to fight as soldiers. Later wished she could have thanked him, at least for the end result.

The biggest disappointment in her life was an issue she didn’t really like to talk about because it hurt her so much. After the war was over,  she returned to her husband, who was still living in the South in their family home, hoping he would go North with her. When he met her at the door, he had his new wife there with him in the cabin Harriet considered home.

One of the happy moments for Harriet that evening in Coshocton occurred when a third grader in the audience stood to ask her his second question of the evening:  “Could I give you a hug?”  He rushed down the aisle between the folded chairs and they hugged on stage while Harriet remarked, “This is the best present I could have.” The young boy’s mother later stated that the young man had been reading all day about Harriet Tubman  before coming to the evening presentation.

Freedom is what this country, the United States of America, is all about. It was begun with freedom at its core, and the hopes and dreams of men and women still struggle to maintain that freedom today.  God bless the USA!

Calliope and Monkey Organ Sounds Fill the Air

“The Happiest Music on Earth”  rang out through the streets of Roscoe Village. Strolling down the street, it seemed a carnival like atmosphere but the instruments used were exquisite. The Mid-American Chapter of the Musical Box Society brought about thirty varied automatic and mechanical instruments for the enjoyment of everyone who visited. Some were small hand-cranked music boxes, while others were large trailer size.

A larger music box called “Ruth Organ” was open on both sides, as were many, so you could see the inner workings as well. This was a German made calliope, owned by an enthusiast from Indiana, with carousel horses peeking out at the sides. There was an interesting sign on the open back side, which said Achtung (Attention in German).  Below was a humorous verse using a German like twist and it ended like this: “Relaxen and listenin to die gekneekicken und fusstampen musik.”

One of my favorites was a small monkey organ, or hurdy gurdy,  hand turned by a happy lady in a flowered hat.  Music was fed through the monkey organ on a paper-feed much like the old player pianos, but on a smaller scale.  She kindly gave me a chance to try my hand at being a monkey organ grinder by turning the handle at just the right speed for that particular song, Walkin’ Happy. Still makes me smile!

Many of the participants here at Roscoe Village were planning to attend many more Musical Box Festivals throughout the summer.  Next stop for some was New York or the Monkey Organ Rally in Indiana, and many of them had plans for the the 62nd Annual Meeting in Washington D C this year in August.

Visiting Roscoe Village was Myron Duffield, “The Calliope King of the World.”  Myron performed to a crowd standing in the street from his red circus wagon organ that he built himself.  His plan is to play at every surviving calliope event in the world. This is like a trip back to childhood for him as he grew up hearing the calliopes on the Mississippi riverboats.

Catching my eye at one end of the street, “Rolling Thunder” was one of the larger calliopes there.  It was built in Antwerp, Belgium and across the front it said: “Not Your Father’s Organ”.  In the center there were three accordians, where the bellows moved as well as the keys playing the lively carousel sounds. All of them seemed to have drums as part of their inner workings.

Apparently the music was enjoyed as several people were dancing in the street. Well, that is except for one lady, who told me upon arrival, “Get your aspirin handy.”   Music was loud but entertaining, and definitely “Fusstampin.”

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