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December 17, 2012

Historical society looks to chronicle Civil War stories

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — A local historical society is working to bring the area’s Civil War memories back to life to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war — and you can help.

The Historical Society of the town of Middletown, or HSM, is seeking to document the Civil War experience of people from Middletown and adjoining areas. The group is collecting photographs, letters and material about veterans, their families and local residents for an exhibit to be mounted in the summer. 

“We are hoping there may be photographs of soldiers in uniform or of elderly veterans, and portraits of their families tucked away in attics and dresser drawers that we might scan for this exhibit,” HSM President Diane Galusha explained in a media release. “We can also copy letters, discharge papers or other memorabilia and return them quickly.”

The Delaware County Historical Association will loan its exhibit, “Delaware County in the Civil War,” to the society, and HSM will augment the show with local images and information, in observance of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial.

“By ‘local’ we mean Margaretville, Fleischmanns, New Kingston, Arkville, Halcottsville, Dunraven, Kelly Corners, Dry Brook, Halcott, Denver-Vega, Hardenburgh, Weaver and Canada Hollows, Redkill, Clovesville and the farms and crossroads in between,” Galusha said.

The exhibit will be on display in HSM’s hall on Cemetery Road in1 Margaretville from July 4 through Labor Day. It will be complemented by several Civil War related talks and programs, including a reading from wartime letters to and from local soldiers. Anyone with letters to share for this program is asked to email HSM history@catskill.net.

In addition to putting together the exhibit, the society has been collecting the service records of more than 300 veterans who were reported as living in Middletown in 1866, the year after the War ended. 

According to the release, research volunteers are needed to help flesh out the personal lives of these men. 

“Did they have families? What did they do before and after the war? Did they have farms or businesses? Did they go West? How did their wives and children manage while they were away?” the release asks. 

To help with this exploration, contact Galusha at cybercat@history.com or (845) 586-4973. Organizers indicated that much of the research can be done online.

For more information about the programs and activities of the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown, visit www.mtownhistory.org.