Historical ball gives opportunity to remember past in the present

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At this weekend’s Civil War ball, Tom Ellis portrayed a member of the 18th U.S. Infantry, handling a sword made during the period. (Zach Nelson | For The Post)

Nancy Weaver and her partner dance during the Athens County Historical Society and Museum’s Civil War ball. Saturday’s event in the Ohio University Inn Ballroom commemorated the 150th anniversary of the clash between the North and the South. (Katharine Egli | Staff Photographer)

Bob Eichenberg decked himself out in Confederate duds for Saturday’s Civil War ball. (Zach Nelson | For The Post)

Donald Newell, a historian, and his wife Lynne, an archeologist, both used their expertise as volunteers at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum to add an authentic air to the ball. (Zach Nelson | For The Post)

Hoop skirts and Union soldiers dominated the Ohio University Inn’s ballroom Saturday evening.

In remembrance of the Civil War sesquicentennial, the Athens County Historical Society and Museum hosted the Civil War ball at the Ohio University Inn this past Saturday.

With food and activities, about 60 guests commemorated the 150th anniversary of the war fought between the North and South.

Philip Ley, owner of Ohio Volunteer Relics, exhibited guns and bullets from the era, a collection he said he’s been working on for more than 20 years.

“The biggest problem was the way they fought,” Ley said. “They used modern weapons with antiquated fighting methods.”

Guests also saw demonstrations of toys of the era, including an old marble racing game and the “game of graces,” which required passing and catching a hoop with two sticks. Thirty items were also raffled off, mostly local items such as jams, jellies and books.

Nathan Anderson, an 18th U.S. infantry solider re-enactor, has traveled throughout the state for Civil War events but said he appreciated the opportunity to attend one in Athens.

“You can dress up a little more (at a ball),” Anderson said. “It’s nice because you’re not coming off a battlefield. You can just dance and relax.”

An Abraham Lincoln impersonator also addressed the crowd, reciting the Gettysburg Address and inaugural speech, and discussing war tactics.

“This is great because we are around people who think the same way we do,” said Betty Rosser, an Athens artist. “It’s been a real fun evening.”

Guests were able to enjoy waltzes and other dances of the era, with music played by the Anonymous String Band, which offers “historically authentic music at its best,” according to its website.

“I really like the music,” said Can Sams, a local guitarist. “It’s been real nice to hear that good music again.”

Ron Luce, executive director of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, estimated the event’s profits to be between $100 and $300.

“It’s important to keep in mind and remember our history,” Luce said. “If we don’t realize our history’s mistakes, we’re likely to repeat them.”


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