Next month will mark the 200th birthday of my great, great, great grandfather, Civil War General James S. Wadsworth. There will be a celebration at Hartford House, the house he built, (and where I live) on his actual birthday Oct. 7th.
(I am indebted to Historian Judith Hunter for correcting an earlier version of this column and pointing out that the General was actually a Libra– one of the many advantages of online writing is you can fix your mistakes quickly!)
The event, billed as General Wadsworth’s 200th Birthday Bash, will feature an encampment of soldiers from the Wadsworth Guard of the NYS 104th. These re-enactors will hold demonstrations from noon until 4:45 when they are scheduled to march to the General’s grave at Temple Hill Cemetery.
Among the demonstrations will be a bayonet drill, medical techniques and a lady’s fashion show. At 3 p.m. there will be a program that will include a reflection on the General’s life by Judith and the Gettysburg Address recited by Honest Abe himself (as portrayed by my cousin Sid Symington, also a descendant of the General).
Admission of $5 a person or $10 a carload includes a free tour of the home that the General built in 1835. The house was modeled after the villa of Lord Hertford in Regents Park, London. The General and his bride, the former Mary Craig Wharton of Philadelphia, stayed at the villa during their honeymoon in 1834, and asked for the plans to the house.
All proceeds benefit the General Wadsworth Statue Committee, which has been raising money for a number of years to erect a replica of the General’s Gettysburg statue here in Geneseo. The General fought at Gettysburg and in a number of other campaigns before being mortally wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in 1864. For more information on the General and the statue please see www.generalwadsworth.org
I hope you can attend. If not, please consider making a donation to this worthy cause. Although the events of over 140 years ago may seem distant, they’ve had a great effect on the world we live in today.
Thanks to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to put this event together and especially to my girlfriend, Amy, who in addition to serving on the committee has labored mightily to do the house proud!