Mother Bickerdyke Day returns to Central!

Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke, as portrayed by Pam Johnson, will be at Central Congregational Church on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Stories from her fascinating life will be told in a fast-paced presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.  Before and after the presentation, the South Room (parlor) of the church will be set up with living history displays of what was going on right here in Knox County during the Civil War.  Reenactors, all in period dress, will demonstrate some of the ways our town and  county supported the men and boys who were away at war.  Come and see how bedding, clothing and food were made, gathered and shipped to battlefields.  Learn about the personal items and mementos from home that the soldiers carried into battle.  You will learn about the role of horses, both at home and at war, and how the value of horses changed as the war went along.  Meet a Union army recruiter.  Talk with one of the townsfolk who took it upon himself to call on the families that the soldiers left behind, and hear how the town supported those loved ones.  Visit with Mary Allen West, as portrayed by Gail Masinda.  Songs from the Civil War era will be performed.  A bake sale, with proceeds to benefit the Central Church Preservation Fund, will be available.

The event is free and open to the public.


“Fran Riley Features…Marvelous Mother”

Our beautiful church was the setting for taping a TV segment about Mary Ann “Mother”Bickerdyke.  History knows her as the “Mother to the Boys in Blue,”  Civil War nurse and tireless advocate of health reform.  Here in Galesburg, she was also known as a member of First Congregational Church, pastored by Dr. Edward Beecher.  Her funeral service was held at Central Congregational Church in 1901.

Our thanks to reenactors Pam Johnson and Gail Masinda, and to John Barker for providing the behind-the-scenes photos.

Click here to see the TV segment and view the photo gallery.