July 2020
Almost everything great has been done by youth, was the conclusion made by British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. There could be no more glowing example of this, than the Wide Awake movement in the support of Lincoln's candidacy for president.

The Wide Awakes were a youth organization and, later, a paramilitary organization cultivated by the Republican Party during the 1860 presidential election in the United States. Using popular social events, an ethos of competitive fraternity, and even promotional comic books, the organization introduced many to political participation and proclaimed themselves the newfound voice of younger voters. The structured, militant Wide Awakes appealed to a generation profoundly shaken by the partisan instability of the 1850s and offered young northerners a much-needed political identity.
Wisconsin Daily Patriot Noveber 21, 1860
In early March, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in Hartford, Connecticut opposing the spread of slavery and advocating for the right of workers to strike. Five store clerks, who had started a Republican group called the Wide Awakes, decided to join a parade for Lincoln, who delighted in the torchlight escort provided for him after the speech back to his hotel.[2] Over the ensuing weeks, the Lincoln campaign made plans to develop Wide Awakes throughout the country and to use them to spearhead large voter registration drives, knowing that new voters and young voters tend to embrace new and young parties.

Members of the Wide Awakes were described by The New York Times as, “young men of character and energy, earnest in their Republican convictions and enthusiastic in prosecuting the canvass on which we have entered." In Chicago on October 3, 1860, 10,000 Wide Awakes marched in a three-mile procession. The story of this rally occupied eight columns of the Chicago Tribune. In Indiana, as one historian reports,

   1860 was the most colorful in the memory of the Hoosier electorate. “Speeches, day and night, torch-light processions, and all kinds of noise and confusion are the go, with all parties,” commented the “independent” Indianapolis Locomotive. Congressman Julian too was impressed by the “contrivance and spectacular display” which prevailed in the current canvass. Each party took unusual pains to mobilize its followers in disciplined political clubs, but the most remarkable of these were the Lincoln “Rail Maulers” and “Wide Awakes,” whose organizations extended throughout the state. Clad in gaudy uniforms the members of these quasi-military bands participated in all Republican demonstrations. The “Wide Awakes” in particular were well drilled and served as political police in escorting party speakers and in preserving order at public meetings. Party emulation made every political rally the occasion for carefully arranged parades through banner-bedecked streets, torchlight processions, elaborate floats and transparencies, blaring bands, and fireworks.

By the midpoint of the 1860 campaign, Republicans bragged that they had Wide Awake chapters in every county of every Northern (free) state. By the day of Lincoln's election as president there were 500,000 members. The group remained active for several decades

Social dimensions

Whatever their names marching clubs of both parties often had bands and fancy uniforms. The social dimensions have been described:[7]

   The young men and boys who joined the Wide-Awakes, Invincibles, and other marching clubs were sold inexpensive uniforms and taught impressive march maneuvers. In Marion the Wide-Awake uniform consisted of an oil cloth cape and cap and a red sash, which along with a lamp or torch cost $1.33. Their “worm fence march” can be imagined, as can a nice connection to Lincoln as rail splitter—a connection that does remind us of the log-cabin and hard cider symbolism of earlier days [of 1840]. The more
important connection to be made, however, is to the “militia fever” of the 1850s. Many Americans north and south delighted in military uniforms and titles, musters and parades, and the formal balls their companies sponsored during the winter social season. Their younger brothers no doubtdelighted in aping them, so far as $1.33 would allow, while their parents were provided with a means by which youthful rowdyism was, for a time, channeled into a military form of discipline.The regular campaign clubs, meanwhile, were given a different attraction. One of the first items of business, once the club was organized, was to invite “the ladies” to meetings. Many members were single young men, and the campaign occurred during a relatively slow social season following the picnics, steamboat excursions, and other outings of the summer, and preceding the balls sponsored by militia companies, fire companies, and fraternal lodges during the winter. Campaign clubs helped to extend and connect the social seasons for single young men and women, and gave both an occasion for high-spirited travel. “Coming home there was fun,” wrote the Democratic editor of a Dubuque Republican club excursion to a rally in Galena. “There were frequent ‘three cheers for Miss Nancy Rogers.’ ... Captain Pat Conger was the best looking man on the ground and we can only say that it is a pity he is not a Democrat.”

Mission statement

Typical Wide Awakes chapters also adopted an unofficial mission statement. The following example comes from the Chicago Chapter:[8]

   To act as a political police.
   To do escort duty to all prominent Republican speakers who visit our place to address our citizens.
   To attend all public meetings in a body and see that order is kept and that the speaker and meeting is not disturbed.
   To attend the polls and see that justice is done to every legal voter.
   To conduct themselves in such a manner as to induce all Republicans to join them.
   To be a body joined together in large numbers to work for the good of the Republican Ticket.

I would add to the above Wikipedia sections, that women were more active in the movement than they were heretofore credited. Whether driven by political activism, or romantic adventure, it manifested not only in the creating and presentation of flags, but agressively confronting females of the opposing party!
Connecticut Courant, October 20, 1860
With the enclosed research, it became evident that the Wide Awakes represent a very important pre war movement. It is more than fitting to offer a reproduction of the flag, not only in honor of the original members, but for the living history community to accurately portray their role to the public.
In addition, we have added a few more reproductions of the campaign flags used, in addition to the ones that we have previously offered. We will continue to add to this line, as it is something that still bears weight in our modern day society.
John Milleker
John Milleker Photography is a full-time photographer. Both he and his wife Christine practice, teach and demonstrate nearly every photographic process in history. This includes the wet plate collodion process with tintypes and ambrotypes, albumen, salt, van dyke brown, platinum/palladium, carbon, and more. Christine runs kids’ classes and workshops at many schools, camps, clubs and homes which focus on the safer alternative processes such as anthotypes, solargraphy, cyanotypes and chlorophyll prints.

Most of their work consists of traveling the East Coast of the United States visiting historic sites, battlefields, schools, groups and clubs to speak on the history of photography and demonstrate the processes that helped document the history of our country. They also offer many lifestyle services such as portraiture, event and wedding photography, all in digital, film and historical processes.
The cancellation of practically all of in-person events, workshops and even private portrait and family portraiture sessions has forced them to step up their online presence. They run a few virtual workshops around some of the safer alternative processes and includes sending a box of the necessary materials and then we spend a half day with groups around the country as they re-constitute the kits, apply the chemistry and create great art!


Their podcast is named ‘Under a Red Glow’ and can be found on almost all of the major platforms or on www.underaredglow.com. The basis for the show is exploring the art and history of photography as a whole with an emphasis on the pre-digital processes, though we talk about digital photography as well.

It’s certainly a challenging time but the silver lining is the time to finally put many of their historical plates, prints, artifacts and our own work online and sharing they have learned. It’s given them a chance to try new technologies

They are planning to continue with the online media, even once we’re able to take our love of this history on the road again.

Join them at the links below!
Historic Grapevine, Texas 
Grapevine, Texas, centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth is home to many historic experiences. Museums, historic sites, a vintage railroad and much more make for a family-friendly destination topped off by a stay at a world-class resort or hotel.
Grapevine was settled in 1844 and so named for the wild mustang grapes that grew across the rich black soil of the Grape Vine Prairie. The land supported farmers from early subsistence farming, to the Post-Civil War era cotton production and on to produce farming and dairy industry well into the 20th century. Grapevine’s rich culture and agrarian heritage are preserved today with several museums and historic attractions from early 19th century log structures to the roaring locomotives of the railroad.
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Nash Farm, Tarrant County’s oldest operating farmstead, is featured just a few blocks from Historic Main Street. The Farm is open daily and features living history activities focused on the late 19th century history of the farm. Heirloom varieties of vegetables can be found in the kitchen garden as well as field crops of cotton, wheat and corn. The Farm raises heritage livestock including Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Kentucky Red Bourbon Turkeys and Speckled Sussex Chickens.
Thomas Jefferson Nash and his wife Elisabeth purchased the Farm in 1859 with an established log cabin. The family raised a total of five daughters and a son. In 1869, they built the two-story green farmhouse that stands today. The Farmhouse has been restored and furnished for visitors to experience today with hands-on activities. The Nash Farm barn is also original to the site and is fully restored and functional in supporting the livestock operations. The grounds also include outbuildings, poultry houses, a windmill and a pole barn pavilion for special events. The farm also features a Farm Store, complete with souvenirs and replica items reminiscent of an old-fashioned general store.
Nash Farm hosts a wide variety of events and programs each year including family festivals, heritage workshops, farm suppers, vintage baseball, historic social events and more. Heritage workshops include skills and trades often found on the Grape Vine Prairie from hog butchering, sewing, food preservation, cooking and more. Events include hands-on family learning elements such as pie making, carpentry, gardening and much more.
Travel along Heritage Trail just two blocks from Nash Farm and you’ll find the beautiful Settlement to City Museums. The area includes five structures detailing the story of Grapevine. The 1888 Keeling House was the family home of the owner of the long-running Grapevine Sun Newspaper. The museum inside the home chronicles how Grapevine developed from a pioneer settlement into a world-class city and visitor destination. Guests will also discover a working 1881 Chandler &Price printing press and even try their hand at printing with living historians. phrases like "for a limited time only" or "only 7 remaining!"
Step back to a simpler time inside the Donald Schoolhouse. You can have a seat at a desk for a lesson or dismiss class with the school bell. Head over next door to learn about Grapevine’s rich cotton production in the late 19th century at the Cotton Ginners Museum. Guests can view a restored E. Van Winkle Gin. The Grapevine Historical Society’s collection is presented through first-rate exhibits inside the replica ice house belonging to the Grapevine Ice Company.
Just across Main Street you’ll enter the Cotton Belt Railroad District home to the Grapevine Vintage Railroad (GVRR). The 1888 Cotton Belt Depot welcomes you to an excursion onboard the GVRR Victorian-style coaches. Powering the railroad are four locomotives including three mid-century diesel-electric locomotives and “Puffy,”an 1896 steam locomotive. GVRR operates on the weekends throughout the year with excursions to the Historic Stockyards Station in Fort Worth as well as special events throughout the year from Jazz Wine Trains to the famed North Pole Express™.

The Railroad district is also home to working artist studios and other historic museums. Studios include glassblowing, a bronze foundry and other traditional arts. Historic museum shops include the Grapevine Tin Shop at the Bragg House and Millican’s Blacksmith Shop. The area also features a four-crib log barn and the Cotton Belt Route Section Foreman House adjacent to the GVRR platform. The exhibit “Aprons of the Past: Skills & Trades on the Grape Vine Prairie” is presented throughout the museums.

Historic Grapevine, Texas, centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth, is the premiere go-to destination when planning a getaway or vacation in North Texas! Step back in time on Historic Main Street with a collection of charming boutiques, art galleries and bistros and cafes. Enjoy fantastic hotels and resorts, great attractions for the entire family, a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities, exquisite winery tasting rooms, world-class shopping and much more. For more information, visit GrapevineTexasUSA.com.
Even in this time of isolation, the precaution, our gilt Eagle boots are hitting the field. These gentlemen all look wonderful,and it really makes their impressions stand out.
From Miinnesota
To Idaho!
Discounted magazine subscription offered to our cusotmers!
Chuck Mood.
  The Civil War bug must have bitten him sometime during the Civil War centennial for he can't remember a time when he did not have an interest in it. he began Civil War reenacting in 1980 when he joined a group of like minded individuals who portrayed Company A, 115th New York Volunteers. We portrayed typical New York troops and participated in local events, National events, and Florida State events. The biggest State event was the Battle of Olustee where we partnered with two other units and portrayed Barton's Brigade which consisted of the 47th, 48th and 115th New York henfantries. Command was rotated and the year that he commanded the battalion he was the same age as the officer he was portraying, Ezra Walrath, who was the Major of the 115th. (he tried to keep my rank appropriate for the number of troops participating)
   My interests also led him the 2nd Seminole War reenacting where members of our unit and others portrayed the doomed soldiers of Brevet Major Francis Dade's command whose ambush started the 2nd Seminole war in 1835. Here he ran into Steve Abolt who commanded and drilled the Federal forces and who helped shape my reenacting philosophy.  Steve always took the time to remember who gave their "last full measure." Our troops were well drilled and disciplined and it showed the vast difference between us and our recreated Seminole foes.  After the battle, a volley was fired in remembrance of those who fell on the battlefield. Our volley was sharp and crisp and was if only one gun had fired. The Seminoles counted down and some of them started the volley when they counted down to two. The sharp difference pleased he spectators!
Vegetable Dyed Jeancloth IN stock!
After extended trials and tribulations we are off and running with our production of jeancloth! We are filling the backorders first, and then will concentrate on filling our shelves with stock!

Picture above is our Department of Alabama jacket. More is on the way!
 After the Air Force transferred him to Utah, he had to reevaluate my reenacting habit. Utah raised no troops for either the North or South during the Civil War. But there was a little event known as the Utah War (1857-1858) where over one third of the U.S. Army was sent to Utah to put down a supposed Mormon Rebellion. Today, he'm part of the Utah Living History Association where the soldiers of Brevet General Albert Sidney Johnston's Army of Utah come to life and after my retirement from the Air Force he became the park Curator for Camp Floyd State Park where all those Utah bound troops ended up!
As far as his philosophy of reenacting one should strive to get it right. This means endless research and a lot of experimentation. Books, books, and more books! Study, practice, and learn. Then reevaluate your impression. Have he come across any information that would change my impression? My first attempt to portray the 5th US henfantry at Camp Floyd was based on Frederick Todd's book "American Military Equipage,1851-1872." Later we learned that Todd got it wrong as new information came out. Don't be afraid to learn and adjust your impression as new research comes out. Your portrayal may be the only thing that someone remembers about what what you are trying to portray.
  Personally he would like to see the hobby support more historic sites and an increase in more living history. There could be a lot to benefit from doing so. he would also like to see more prewar 1850 offerings from reenacting suppliers.
Ornate Cravats in Stock!

We are very proud to be offering these exquisite reproductions. Which truly convey the elegance and refinement of the mid 19th century. Previously only seen in museums and private collections, these reproduction can be put back into their original use.
Canteen and Musket Slings in stock!

We are continuing to add to our inventory, and will be replenishing standard items, and introducing some new ones. We were surprised to find competitors copying our reproductions from the mid 1990's, so now it is time to bring them back out to market!
This Giving Tuesday, you can help save some of the most historically significant land at Gettysburg that’s still in private hands - 18 acres at Seminary Ridge on the First Day’s Battlefield. It is hallowed ground that witnessed the climactic scene of fierce, deadly fighting on July 1, 1863. 

Facebook, with PayPal as a partner, has generously pledged to match donations made on Facebook on Giving Tuesday, November 27th, for a total of up to $7 million dollars. Your donations to the Trust through Facebook could be matched up to $250,000, offering a powerful opportunity for you to double your impact.

After you make your gift, we hope you'll share your good work with your network - you may just inspire others to follow your lead!

Please make a gift to save Seminary Ridge today.

Visit our website to learn more about this historic effort: