Posted: Aug 30, 2012 6:45 PM EDT Updated: Aug 30, 2012 7:00 PM EDT
By DON O’BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Quincy will get a chance to look into its past Saturday, Sept. 8, during the fourth annual Frontier Settlement Day at the Log Cabin Village on Quinsippi Island.
Specifically, people who attend the event will get a chance to see what things were like before Quincy became incorporated as a town. This year’s event will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Bill Wilson, who is president of the Illinois War of 1812 bicentennial celebration, made a stop in Quincy Thursday to explain why it’s important to remember the War of 1812.
“Had (the war) ended differently, who knows, we probably wouldn’t be here and it’s doubtful the city of Quincy would be here,” Wilson said.
The area in which Quincy lies is part of the military tract given to soldiers who fought in the war. Wilson said soldiers got either 160 or 320 acres of land for their service. John Wood played a big role in helping the soldiers claim the land that was given to them.
“I would say he was one of the first real estate agents,” Quincy Mayor John Spring, who attended the news conference with Wilson, said of Wood. “He was a real entrepreneur. John Wood became the agent to make sure those tracts (of land) got distributed. He was always thinking.”
Three log cabins from the early 1800s were moved from the area to Quinsippi Island. Those include a log church, a log corncrib and a stone smokehouse. Those structures will be central figures during the Frontier Settlement Day event. The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A group of 1812 re-enactors, the 17th Illinois Territorial Rangers, will raise an 1812-era flag at 11:30 a.m. to officially begin the event. Women of Sangamon River Chapter of the War of 1812 will be attending in period costume. Wilson and others will give presentations on the half-hour about the war’s impact on the region.
Descendents of soldiers from the war are encouraged to meet Wilson to help plan recognizing and properly marking the graves of soldiers who served in the war. John Gebhardt, who is president of the Friends of the Log Cabins Association, said there are 25 soldiers from the War of 1812 who are buried in Quincy cemeteries.
“I want to do whatever I can to help Quincy promote 1812,” said Wilson, who was wearing period-era clothing for the news conference Thursday in the City Council chambers at City Hall.
The festival will feature people impersonating a blacksmith, gardener, farmer and spinner. The Quincy Park District will have pioneer games for kids, including a three-legged race, barrel hoop rolling and a gunnysack race.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to get a better understanding of the history here with the War of 1812,” Spring said. “We need to understand our history and the historical significance that something like this meant. This was the start of the region, the start of the Quincy area before it became a city.”