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Exhibit, lecture to focus on Civil War and Porterville
Past and present meet Sunday at the Porterville Historical Museum, where residents will learn about their hometown history during the Civil War.
The museum’s exhibit — the Civil War: Conflict, Confederates and the Central Valley, 1861-1865 — will showcase many items from both the Confederate States of America and the Union.
The exhibit opens Sunday and will be at the museum through March 9.
In conjunction with the first day of the display, Bill Horst will present a lecture on the happenings in Tulare County at the time of the Civil War.
“It’s the first time we’ve done an exhibit on the Civil War,” said Deloris Mahnke, secretary for the board of directors at the museum.
Mahnke said the display focuses on anything used during the Civil War. Some of the items include a banjo from Peter Perkins Davis, 1840-1899, who founded the Porterville volunteer fire department, a Bible that was carried during the Civil War, a collection of sabers and an array of pistols and riffles. According to Horst, a local historian, the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being celebrated from 2011 to 2015.
“There’s stuff happening all over the Eastern U.S., in terms of reenactments,” said Horst.
Horst said during those years, Tulare County encompassed the area that is now Kern, Inyo and Kings counties.
The exhibit will also focus on the different individuals who played a role in the war, like Dr. Samuel Gregg George. George, according to Horst, was a physician and entrepreneur in the county. During the War, he fought for the Union and is buried in Porterville.
Another figure that will be discussed is Porterville’s founder Royal Porter Putnam.
“Porter will probably be talked about as possibly sympathetic to the South,” said Horst.
A third subject of the lecture will center on the two different camps the Union had in the area. During the war, Horst said the Union’s Second Calvary of California Volunteers had a camp in Visalia known then as Camp Babitt, and Camp Independence in Owens Valley.
According to Horst, the camps were used by the Union soldiers to control the Indians and to keep the secessionists from uprising.
Camp Babbitt, according to the California State Military Museum, was named for Lt. Colonel E. B. Babbitt, quartermaster general of the Pacific. It was established on June 24, 1862.
Horst’s lecture begins at 2 p.m.
The cost to enter the museum at 257 N. D St. is $5 for adults, $1 for students. Children ages 6 years and younger are free. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
To learn more about the Porterville Historical Museum, visit www.portervillemuseum.org.
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050, or on Twitter @EmilyShapirogar.