Pontiac’s Pine Grove Museum Shares Civil War History (video)
(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 27, 2014)
NOTE: The first video is quick and has the highlights, while the second video has good educational stories of the Underground Railroad in Michigan, in particular Oakland County….
History came to life Saturday for those who attended the Civil War Ice Cream Social at the Pine Grove Historical Museum in Pontiac. Mayor Deidre Waterman and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson were among the hundreds who came to enjoy the stories, sights, and experiences of times long past.
The museum is centered around the home of former Michigan Governor Moses Wisner, which was built in 1854. Onsite is also a one-room schoolhouse, a barn with a museum showcasing farming tools, and a gift shop. Wisner was an attorney in Pontiac who became active in the antislavery movement around 1852. He spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 which opened up US territories to slavery. In 1854 he was part of the first Republican Convention which took place in Jackson, Michigan. He declined a nomination for Attorney General, but in 1858 won election to be Governor. In September 1862 he raised the 22nd Michigan Infantry and led the men south as Colonel. He died of Typhoid fever on the way to war, at the age of 47.
His home now serves as a landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, and is the home of the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society.
Brian Golden had the honor of playing Governor Wisner in the reenactments that took place Saturday. He was joined by other notable historical figures like Frederick Douglas (Melvin Hardiman), and President Abraham Lincoln with his wife Mary Todd (Fred and Bonnie Priebe).
A Civil War cannon fired on the hour, manned by Ron Cleveland. Sisters of the Union JoAnn Hazel and Dawn Pint showed what life was like cooking and tending to soldiers in the field. And historian Willie Payne spoke in the one room school house about the Underground Railroad and the role that Michiganders had in helping slaves escape to Canada to be free.
Pine Grove Historical Museum is located at 405 Cesar Chavez Avenue in Pontiac. For more information check out their website at http://www.ocphs.org/drupal-6.1/node/6.
They can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakland-County-Pioneer-and-Historical-Society/120339041310446?ref=hl.