Mark Dunkelman’s 33rd Annual Descendants Reunion of the 154th “Hardtack Regiment” was hosted by CAMP on its Memorial grounds. It took place under a large tent at 2 PM with seating provided for 100 but, with the large turnout, many descendants were standing outside the tent in the beautiful weather provided by CAMP.
Period music was provided by Scott Frank. Mark Dunkleman was the “Master of Ceremonies” and after opening remarks introduced Karen Whipple Thomas who spoke about two Dedication Ceremonies; the 154th Gettysburg Monument and the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building, at which her Great-Great Granduncle James S. Whipple was the main speaker.
Mark also introduced Gettysburg sculptor Gary Casteel who talked about his recent replica of the 154th Monument. Gary has offered a portion of the sales of his replica monument over the next year as a donation to CAMP and had the replicas available for purchase.
CAMP President, Tom Stetz, thanked the descendants for their support and efforts in saving the Memorial Building from demolition by Cattaraugus County and that recognized without their efforts from day-one another historic site would have been lost forever.
Special guests Ulysses S. Grant (Ed Brodbeck) and President Abraham Lincoln (Dave Kreutz) addressed the descendants with a few appropriate remarks. “President Lincoln” gave a moving reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to the audience.
The Reunion concluded in the traditional fashion with the attendees introducing themselves and speaking about who they were representing at the reunion. All attendees received a white Reunion Ribbon from Mark Dunkelman and an information magnet from CAMP.
A large group photo was taken in front of the Memorial Building in an attempt to re-create a photo similar to the original 1914 Dedication photo.
CAMP members handed out information brochures and CAMP magnets. They explained CAMP’S preservation efforts for the Memorial site and collected donations which totaled a truly remarkable $1,627.
Several CAMP members personally thanked Juliet Mason Hornburg, who was in attendance at the event, for her recent generous donation to CAMP.
As part of the Little Valley Bicentennial, CAMP provided a peek into the past with a look inside the open Memorial entrance door and with Civil War re-enactors and displays on the grounds. Tom Place, CAMP member and the curator of the “Echoes Through Time” Learning Center and Civil War Museum in Springville, NY, recruited the living historians which included: Ed Brodbeck (as Grant); Dave Kreutz (as Lincoln); Henry Pogodzinski (as a hospital steward) and soldiers, John Stengel, Darin Everdyke, Thomas Hawkins, Jeffery Snyder, Ralph R., Mike Lavis, and Matt Lavis (sorry for the spellings). A special thanks to all these guys that volunteered to help make these events enjoyable.
The Little Valley Bicentennial events started earlier that morning at 8 AM with craft and food vendors set up in the Bicentennial Park area. Included were knife appraisers and the Ellicottville Brewing Company selling its special beer “1818” to celebrate the Town’s Bicentennial and brewed in its recently opened Little Valley brewery. (EBC employee Todd Fuller selling the beer). Music at the gazebo in the center of town and hot dogs at the Library were available through out the day. Brad Lockwood conducted tours of the Town’s historic homes, buildings and sites via a trolley ride with a stop at CAMP’S Memorial site included on the tour. The Little Valley Fire Department held a dinner and “Comedy Night” at the Fire Department Saturday night. The Hughes Hotel and Bear Brick provided live bands at their establishments for late night entertainment.
The people gathered at the Memorial Site for these two events was most likely the largest crowd assembled at the Site since the Dedication Day ceremonies on September 7, 1914.