17 April 2014

May 2 2014: Women Soldiers in the Civil War with David Decker

"Women Soldiers in the Civil War"

David Decker
Friday, May 2nd 2014
7:00 pm
Goodwin Library
Historical Society Museum

presented by 
David Decker
Civil War Expert

In 1861, women had few opportunities for employment:  nurse, teacher, or governess, but some women wanted to fight for their country. Between 250 and 1,000 women disguised themselves as men and fought as soldiers during the American Civil War, during which they had more freedom than they would for the next century.  Civil War expert David Decker posits that these women soldiers played an important role in the women's rights movement.  At first, these women soldiers were scorned, but by the 1900's, they were praised, especially in their obituaries.  With an accompanying PowerPoint slide show, Mr. Decker will provide biographical sketches of heroic women who served for both the north and the south.  These women joined the army usually seeking adventure or out of patriotism or a desire to be with a brother or a husband, often staying with their units after a husband was killed in action.  They volunteered in all capacities and even served as officers, demonstrating equality with men in their fighting ability and bravery in the midst of battle.  When pregnant, ill, or wounded, they were frequently discovered and sent home, although some stayed with their units as nurses, laundresses, or spies.

Only in the last two decades have women achieved the same amount of freedom and opportunity in the military as they had in the Civil War.

Disguised as a man (left), Frances Clayton served many months in Missouri artillery and cavalry units. (Photos courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library)

Learn More

The Women Who Fought in the Civil War on the Smithsonian at

Women Soldiers of the Civil War on Prologue Magazine in the National Archives at


13 April 2014

Museum Toured by Pack 188 Wolf Den of Farmington

Pack 188 Wolf Den Leader ,Dawn, and her den of second grade Wolves at the Henry Wilson Museum.
Wolf den of Pack 188 in Farmington recently visited the Henry Wilson Museum for a tour guided by Historical Society members.  Led by Pack Leader, Dawn Shockley, the group of 7 wolves, who are all in the second grade, meet weekly from September to May and work on 12 achievement areas to earn their Wolf badge in mid-May. 

One of the achievement areas is “Know you home and community”.   For this achievement the boys have made a list of emergency phone numbers, explained what to do if a stranger comes to the door, explain what to do when someone calls on the phone, explain what to do when leaving the house, complete a one month chore chart and lastly visit a historic place in the community.  Additionally the boys have been working on their collecting belt loop. The requirements for this achievement are to begin a collection of at least 10 items, present collection to the den, and lastly visit a museum that displays different collections.  Through their visit the pack learned about some of the history of Farmington and why preserving history is important. The wolves had several questions for the Historical Society members, some of which were very challenging and all were interesting and engaging.  The pack wanted to know about how museums acquire their objects, how they are preserved, who decides what we do get and preserve, how old the objects were, and what functions some of the objects had.   

President Jim Horgan; Vice President, Dottie Bean; Curator, Kyle Leach; and Public Relations Co-Chairs, JoAnn Doke and Stan Freeda were on hand to talk to the Den members, answer their questions, and give the tour.  Wolves in attendance were Max, Mateus, Donovan, Damian, Drake, Jamison, and Ethan.  Some parents of the young wolves also attended the visitation.

The group enjoyed looking around and looking in the cases.
It was a general consensus that the antique dolls were scary looking.
Everyone loves the rattlesnake skin!  It's always a crowd pleaser!
The boys inspect some geological specimens in