Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota remembers Abraham Lincoln 150 years after his assassination April 14, 2015

THE PISTOL WEIGHS HEAVY in my hand. Cold metal and wood against warm flesh nestled in my palm. I am surprised, really, by the weight and smallness of this curved 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, which is exactly like the deadly weapon John Wilkes Booth fired at President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

An 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, like the pistol used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

My husband holds an 1840 Philadelphia Derringer. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2009.

I wrote that paragraph in 2009 after attending a meeting of the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable. There an area collector showcased Lincoln memorabilia. I’ve never forgotten that petite pistol he allowed me to cradle.

Today, especially, I feel the weight of that Derringer. April 14 marks 150 years since Booth shot our 16th President as he watched the play, Our American Cousin, in Ford’s Theatre in our nation’s Capitol.

The assassination of Lincoln—the President who, via the Emancipation Proclamation set slaves free in “rebellious states”—stands as a memorable and pivotal moment in U.S. history.

A Lincoln postcard which a collector brought to a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting several years ago.

A Lincoln postcard which a collector brought to a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting in 2009.

Today we honor this remarkable leader of humble roots, author of the Gettysburg Address wherein he vowed “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

An original photo of Abraham Lincoln in Roger's collection.

An original photo of Abraham Lincoln from a southern Minnesota collector’s collection.

I’m also particularly fond of a lesser-known Lincoln quote: “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Promotional poster for the Lincoln event in Northfield, Minnesota.

Promotional poster for the Lincoln event in Northfield, Minnesota.

Throughout our nation and even here locally in Rice County, folks are publicly remembering Lincoln on the 150th anniversary of his death. At The Grand Event Center, The Northfield Historical Society this evening presents Our American Cousin, A Night That Changed Our Nation, The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Held in an 1899 historic opera house/theatre with balcony booths much like those in Ford’s Theatre, the event includes summary presentations on the assassination and the nation’s reaction; a snippet from Our American Cousin; and a re-enactment of Lincoln’s assassination. Tickets are available in advance and at the door, although there is no guaranteed seating the day of the show.

An ink drawing of Abraham Lincoln by my artist friend, Rhody Yule, now deceased.

An ink drawing of Abraham Lincoln by my artist friend, Rhody Yule, now deceased.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, the President of the Wood Lake Battlefield Preservation Association will arrive on horseback at the Faribault Senior Center, 19 West Division Street, Faribault. There, at the monthly meeting of the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable, Tom Hosier of Rochester, dressed in period costume, will talk about Lincoln’s assassination. The presentation is free and open to the public.

A poster promoting the upcoming Lincoln's Traveling Troupe performance.

A poster promotes the upcoming Lincoln’s Traveling Troupe performance.

In Mankato, Lincoln’s Traveling Troupe will present the “true and dramatic story of Lincoln’s assassination” and its immediate aftermath in The Heavens Are Hung in Black, a play written by Lincoln historian and re-enactor Bryce O. Stenzel. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Dining Room.

How will you remember Lincoln today or this month?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Honoring Minnesota Civil War soldiers via history lessons & a puzzle January 25, 2013

Attendees, including Linda Karkhoff (whom you read about below) chat at a recent Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting in Faribault.

Attendees, including Linda Karkhoff (whom you will read about below) chat at a recent Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting in Faribault. And, yes, the guy on the right is wearing a Union cap. The display shows Karkhoff’s Civil War puzzle package.

MEMBERS OF THE CANNON VALLEY Civil War Roundtable, I’ve discovered, really know their history. They rattle off battlefields and battles, dates and names and other facts with convincing authority.

To be honest, I’m a bit intimidated by their knowledge. And I’ve told them so, even called them fanatics in a joking, but not unkind, way. That didn’t stop the club president from encouraging me to return to their monthly meetings. I’ve attended thrice during the past several years—when guest speakers’ topics especially interested me.

An 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, like the pistol used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

An 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, like the pistol used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, belongs to an area collector of Lincoln memorabilia.

First-time around, I listened to an area collector talk about some of the pieces in his collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. That was in 2009 and I posted about it here. He asked for anonymity given the value of his collection. I thought it wise to honor his request.

Dean Urdahl has written the trilogy of Uprising, Retribution and Pursuit.

Dean Urdahl has written the trilogy of Uprising, Retribution and Pursuit.

This past May, I heard Minnesota State Representative Dean Urdahl, a retired American history teacher, writer and co-chair of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, speak about the U.S. Dakota-War of 1862 and his trilogy of historical fiction novels. (Click here to read a post from that event.)

And just recently, educational consultant Quintin Pettigrew read excerpts from A Personal Narrative of Indian Massacres 1862, the diary of Lake Shetek Massacre survivor Lavina Eastlick. I’ve since acquired a copy of that survivor’s diary and will post about it at a later date.

Before Pettigrew took the floor at the recent Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting, Owatonna resident Linda Karkhoff spoke briefly about a Civil War related project she’s undertaken. She’s created a 550-piece limited edition (1,000) commemorative jigsaw puzzle honoring the 2nd Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.

A close-up of the 2nd Minnesota Civil War puzzle, made to commemorate Wasioja Civil War Days.

The photo shows the design of the puzzle Linda Karkhoff created as a commemorative piece for Wasioja Civil War Days. The puzzle honors the 2nd Minnesota Regiment, comprised of soldiers from southeastern Minnsota. Just note that lighting conditions were not good and I could not avoid glare reflected on the framed piece.

The 18 x 24-inch puzzle features, along with a U.S. map tracking the movement of the 2nd Minnesota, an imprint of a flag given to the regiment by the Loyal Ladies of the Louisville Soldiers Association.

Intrigued, I found an online copy of a letter presented to the Minnesotans along with that flag. Nanette B. Smith, president of the Loyal Ladies wrote:

Louisville Ky Feb 17th 1862

To Col Van Cleve 2nd Minnesota Regt

Sir I transmit to you a Flag to be presented in the name of the Loyal Ladies of the Louisville Soldiers Association, to your Regiment, designed to commemorate the battle of Mill Spring 19th January, and as a testimonial of our appreciation of the participation of yourself and those under your command in the glorious victory of that day.

Each Regiment is equally entitled to like honor; but the gallant conduct of those who come from a distant State to unite in subduing our rebel invaders excite the warmest emotions of our hearts.

I offer to you our congratulations and my individual acknowledgements of the important service rendered to our State by your command.

Very Respectfully Nannette B. Smith Prest L.S.R.A.

Now puzzle designer Karkhoff, who is a carpenter by trade, did not read that letter to attendees at the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting. But she did summarize that the Loyal Ladies’ flag was a thank you to the soldiers for pushing the Confederates out of Kentucky, thus saving Kentucky as a Union state.

She also shared that members of the 2nd Minnesota, comprised of soldiers from southeastern Minnesota, marched 6,000 miles—that’s walking—in four years. The unit’s drummer boy, she said, kept a diary, and survived the war. Such survival, she explained, was unheard of given drummer boys figurativley marched with targets on their backs.

This cloth bag holds the puzzle pieces and informational sheets.

This cloth bag holds the puzzle pieces and informational sheets.

You’ll find more information about the 2nd Minnesota, life as a Civil War soldier and the puzzle itself on informational sheets tucked inside the cloth bag holding Karkhoff’s puzzle. Even the bag is significant, similar to what a Civil War soldier would have carried for his tobacco and writing utensils, Karkhoff said.

A history buff, Karkhoff came up with the puzzle idea after she and several traveling friends discovered a lack of commemorative puzzles specific to an area or site they visited. She eventually formed Puzzled@ LLC and designed the 2nd Regiment puzzle.

The puzzle, she said, teaches history and geography and encourages teamwork, making it both educational and fun.

Now I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for puzzles. I’m too easily frustrated, don’t have the patience and, well, would rather read or write than puzzle over a jigsaw.

But for those of you who enjoy puzzles and/or are Civil War fanatics, and I mean that in a kind way, check out Puzzled@ by clicking here.

Puzzles may be purchased directly from Karkhoff (contact info is on her website; tell her I sent you); at Little Professor Book Center or the Steele County History Center in Owatonna; or at the Rice County Historical Society or Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault.

BONUS: An exhibit, “Minnesota and the Civil War,” opens March 2 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Click here to learn more about this.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


In Faribault: Scholar to address Lincoln’s response to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 September 5, 2012

A Lincoln postcard which a collector brought to a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting several years ago.

THE FIRST TIME I ATTENDED a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting nearly three years ago, I arrived expecting to view slave documents. The presenter, however, left the papers at home and brought, instead, memorabilia specifically related to Abraham Lincoln.

He did not disappoint. I viewed vintage postcards and original photos of Lincoln, Civil War buttons and replicas of Mary Todd Lincoln’s White House china, among many other items.

An 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, like the pistol used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

What impressed me the most, however, was the collector’s 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, exactly like the pistol with which John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln. The weapon was nearly small enough to hide in the palm of my hand.

Visuals like that teach me more about history than any textbook ever will. So do guest speakers. They address the monthly meetings of the Roundtable whose 25 members are interested in preserving and interpreting the Civil War.

Now the Faribault-based Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable is bringing in a scholar of Abraham Lincoln to kick off its eighth year as an organization. You needn’t be a Roundtable member to attend; I’m not.

Bryce Stenzel of Mankato portraying President Abraham Lincoln. Stenzel, among other things, directs Lincoln’s Traveling Troupe, a group of students and community actors who bring Lincoln’s life and legacy to life via a dramatic, living history portrayal and authentic re-enactment.

Bryce Stenzel of Mankato, who developed a first-person portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in 1989 and since has traveled around the country presenting, will present “1862: Lincoln Trials by Fire” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 20, at the Faribault American Legion, 112 Fifth St. N.E.

He will address, Stenzel says, “the ‘State of the Union’ as it existed in 1862 and Lincoln’s response to the U.S.- Dakota War, against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.”

It’s a timely topic given this year marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S. – Dakota War.

Specifically, Stenzel details, his upcoming program “is a means for Faribault to acknowledge its unique connection to the U.S. – Dakota War by paying homage to its native son, Bishop Henry Whipple. Even though no fighting took place in Faribault, your community played an active role in influencing the final outcome.”

This historian, who has authored eight books on local historical and Lincoln-related topics, possesses an advanced history degree and has taught social studies/history at all levels, including college, has long taken a personal interest in the U.S. – Dakota War. His great-great grandmother and her two-year-old daughter escaped a band of Dakota warriors by hiding in tall prairie grasses. And his great-great grandfather served with the Fifth Minnesota Regiment and fought in the decisive Battle of Nashville in 1864.

Stenzel grew up in Mankato, where 38 Dakota were hung in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. President Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 265 Dakota.

Says Stenzel:

The central question of my presentation is why did Lincoln feel compelled to intervene at all, when he didn’t have to? In fact, from a political standpoint, Lincoln committed political suicide—most Minnesotans at the time believed it was both right and necessary to hang the Indians as a means of preventing such a tragedy from ever happening again. It is useful for the modern audience to consider that what was “politically correct” in the 19th century, is no longer. Historical interpretation changes with time.

Dan Peterson, a member of the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable who has heard Stenzel speak, fully endorses him: “(Stenzel)) reminds me of my love for Abraham Lincoln just to be in his audience or close to him. Lincoln is on our money, our named streets, one state capitol, highways, buildings, businesses, cars and more. You just cannot get away from him.”

FYI: Tickets to the dinner and program are on sale now at the Rice County Historical Society in Faribault or from Chuck Peterson (507-301-2470), Jan Stevens (507-244-0500) or Dan Peterson (507-459-3140). Cost is $22 for non-members and $20 for paid-up members of the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Tickets for the meal of pork ribs with trimmings must be purchased by Saturday, September 8. The event begins at 5 p.m. on September 20 with a social and then dinner at 6 p.m.

If you want to attend just the Lincoln presentation by Stenzel, the cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students 16 and older, and free for those under 16. The program begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Faribault Senior Center with a speaker at each meeting. In October, the topic will be the New Ulm raid as part of the U.S. – Dakota War; in November, the Antietam Battlefield; and in December, the annual Civil War food potluck (probably with possum soup, hardtack and more, Peterson promises).

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Bryce Stenzel photo courtesy of Bryce Stenzel


All things Civil War at the Minnesota Capitol May 17, 2011

IN NOVEMBER OF 2009, I met Brandon Peeters. He’s an extraordinary kid. Tomorrow he’ll be at the Minnesota State Capitol, leading the Pledge of Allegiance as our state celebrates Civil War Sesquicentennial Day.

That’s quite an honor for this seventh grader from Owatonna who has a passion for the Civil War. He teaches Owatonna students and others about the war, has visited many Civil War battlefields and belongs to the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment re-enactment group and the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Brandon Peeters, front center, marches with Civil War re-enactors.

When Brandon discovered while working on a third grade family history project that his great-great-great grandfather, Valentine Katzung, served with the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment from 1861-1864, fought at Gettysburg and was shot in the left heel, he was hooked on history.

“Brandon is so excited and very honored to be included in the program,” says his mom, Cindy Hokanson. “Needless to say, Brandon’s passion for the Civil War has only gotten stronger. He actually has applied to be one of the nine citizen members of the Governor’s Civil War Commemoration Task Force.” He’ll learn in June whether he has been selected to serve on that board.

Civil War buffs aplenty will gather at the Capitol on Wednesday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Events begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m. with a noon program in the rotunda that will include speakers (Governor Mark Dayton, former Governor Al Quie and others) during dedication of the 2011-2012 Minnesota Legislative Manual, aka the “Blue Book.” This year’s edition is packed with Minnesota-related Civil War history and trivia.

Several members of the Faribault-based Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable will participate in a Civil War Information Fair in the Capitol basement Great Hall. “We will have Civil War memorabilia, books, brochures and a Civil War band poster,” says CVCWR member Dan Peterson of Faribault. “It should be fun sharing with the public, other roundtables and some re-enactors.”

Several roundtables, authors, historical organizations and others will present educational materials and information to attendees. Some will dress as Civil War re-enactors.

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson will dress in period costume during a presentation in court chambers. Civil War Capitol tours are also available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Three Civil War cannons given to the First Minnesota Infantry Regiment in 1862 by Major-General A. H. Sanford, the American Ambassador to Belgium, are sure to be a hit with Capitol visitors on Wednesday.

It is the first time in decades that the trio of cannons—kept at Camp Ripley, the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley and in Montevideo—will be showcased in one location, according to information from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. Two will be displayed in the rotunda and the third on the upper mall in front of the Capitol.

I’m certain tomorrow’s event will pack the Capitol with Minnesotans interested in the Civil War. Having attended one Cannon Valley Roundtable meeting and a recent Civil War event in Faribault, I know the passion people possess for this time in our nation’s history. I have yet to meet a young person more interested in the Civil War than Brandon Peeters. If anyone deserves to serve on the Governor’s Civil War Commemoration Task Force, it would be this self-proclaimed history freak.

If you’re at the Capitol tomorrow, look for Brandon. I expect he’ll be in his Civil War costume and sporting a smile a mile wide.

© Capitol photo copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Brandon Peeters photo courtesy of Cindy Hokanson


Serving up history and pie in Faribault April 12, 2011

I EXPECT YOU have no clue what you are viewing above. Perhaps you think this is a piece of art in a gallery exhibit.

You would be wrong. Way wrong.

Rather, this shows a portion of a Civil War battle flag that I’ve switched up with some photo editing tools to emphasize the stars and letters and numbers in the upper left corner.

Lighting conditions weren’t ideal for photographing this flag Saturday afternoon in the Guild House at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault.

Honestly, I hadn’t even expected to photograph this flag sewn by a group of women in Fairmont and carried by Company C, 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. The last time I asked to photograph the flag at the Rice County Museum of History, my request was denied by director Susan Garwood.

She didn’t know me from Adam, or Eve, although I gave her my business card and explained that I was a writer and blogger. That didn’t matter.

Thankfully, Garwood changed her mind and I got the go-ahead-and-shoot-but-without-flash OK.

Garwood has reason to be cautious. This battle flag is rare, among about a half dozen in Minnesota. Recent restoration cost nearly $7,300.

Here's how the flag really looks. Faded. The company which carried this flag was comprised of men primarily from Bridgewater Township in Rice County, Minnesota. On the back side of the flag 34 stars are sewn representing the number of states in 1862. You are seeing reflections here on the glass encasing the flag.


Just another, upside down, view of the flag and the reflections of visitors viewing it.

I don’t know the value of the restored flag. But it is valuable enough that a Faribault police officer was guarding the flag Saturday afternoon during “Recognition of the Fall of Fort Sumter–The Beginning of the Civil War” sponsored by the Rice County Historical Society and the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Likewise a collector of Civil War era artifacts was standing guard over his tables full of treasures. He had, among Civil War uniform buttons and other items, an original Lincoln photo engraving (used on the $50 bill) and signature. I didn’t ask the values. Sometimes it’s better not to know these things.


A slightly out of focus photo that I took of an original Lincoln photo engraving for a $50 bill on display Saturday.

The last time I photographed parts of his collection at a 2009 Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting, he made me promise not to reveal his name. I agreed. I didn’t want to go missing and have my family looking for me under a stadium. That’s an exaggeration, but this collector was serious. My lips are sealed.

I did ask him, though, why he didn’t bring his slave bills, which were advertised as being at the event and one of the key reasons I attended. He simply said he didn’t know he was supposed to bring them. He gave the same answer 1 1/2 years ago at the Roundtable meeting. I had gone to the session then specifically to see the slave documents.

But on Saturday I perused a few other artifacts I hadn’t seen before like…

these old bullets


and two Civil War era muzzleloaders which I was allowed to pick up and which were heavy at 18 and 21 pounds.

I also saw…

these costumed reenactors pull up in a pick-up truck

and this unidentified reenactor, left, posing for photos with Sharon and Richard G. Krom of Rochester. Richard is the great grandson of a Civil War soldier and has written a book, The 1st MN Second to None.

Finally, I sat down with friends and family to enjoy…

a piece of delicious homemade pie made by Rice County Historical Society President Jason Reher. He baked 16 pies for the event. (Jason could be a professional baker; his pie is that good.)

Fortunately for me, Jason had baked my favorite pie and apparently a favorite of many as everyone sitting at my table chose blueberry pie over apple, pumpkin or pecan. Most of us wondered if the blueberries were wild, yet never bothered to walk over and ask the pie-maker.

Jason wondered why I was photographing his pie. I just handed him a business card and figured he’d figure it out.

Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling




Remembering the start of the Civil War April 8, 2011

THE FIRST AND LAST TIME I attended a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting, I was impressed by the collective knowledge this Faribault-based organization possesses of the Civil War. The session opened with each member sharing a historical snippet about the conflict.

Even guests like me were expected to offer something, anything. I was getting nervous as my turn neared and I couldn’t think of anything intellectually impressive to share. I had come solely because I wanted to see the slave documents that a guest speaker was bringing to the gathering. I didn’t expect this.

But then I remembered my tour of the Minnesota State Capitol months earlier. I could tell them, although I’m sure they knew, that a Howard Pyle painting, The Battle of Nashville, hangs in the Governor’s Reception Room. The artwork, according to the Capitol tour guide, is among the most noted of the Civil War and depicts the bloody conflict at Shy’s Hill, often defined as the war’s decisive battle.

And just to make sure the Roundtable members understood that I wasn’t completely Civil War illiterate, I also told them that the inclusion of white Georgia marble in Capitol construction drew the ire of Civil War veterans. The marble comprises much of the building’s exterior.


Georgia marble graces the exterior of the Minnesota State Capitol.

I doubt my tidbit facts impressed them, but I tried.

If you’re like me, not well-versed on the details of the Civil War, this year—the 150th anniversary of that conflict—offers the perfect opportunity to learn more. The Minnesota Historical Society has a lengthy list of educational activities planned to commemorate the anniversary.

This Saturday, April 9, for example, is “Civil War Flag Day at the Capitol” featuring three recently-conserved Minnesota Civil War flags and one from the Spanish-American War. The 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. event, with a 1 p.m. program, also includes Civil War artifacts, reenactors, children’s activities and more.

I won’t be at the State Capitol on Saturday because I’ll be attending “Recognition of the Fall of Fort Sumter—The Beginning of the Civil War” hosted by the Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable and the Rice County Historical Society from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. in Faribault. On April 12, 1861, the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. Saturday’s event will be held at the Guild House of the 1862 historic Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, 101 NW Sixth Street.


The Guild House is attached to the historic Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour across from Central Park in Faribault.

I expect that some of the items on display at the Guild House will be artifacts—Abraham Lincoln photos and postcards, Civil War uniform buttons—I saw at the 2009 Roundtable meeting. Back then the presenter failed to bring his slave documents. Slave bills will be displayed on Saturday. There’ll also be weapons and money, buckles and bonds, and more.


Civil War uniform buttons and insignias displayed at a 2009 Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting.

This Civil War postcard was among the items a collector brought to a Cannon Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting.

An 1840 Philadelphia Derringer, like the pistol used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. A collector brought the pistol to the Roundtable meeting I attended in 2009.

Jan Stevens, an area Civil War enthusiast who creates replica historical clothing will dress in period clothing and greet visitors. Another reenactor will recruit visitors to join the cause.

Civil War music will fill the Guild House. Author Richard G. Krom, great grandson of a Civil War soldier from nearby Morristown, will sign and sell copies of his book, The 1st MN Second to None.

Finally, I’m looking forward to once again examining the recently-restored Rice County Civil War battle flag of Company C, Sixth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. I’ve seen the flag only once before, viewing it at the county historical society under the watchful eye of Director Susan Garwood.

I was disappointed then that Garwood wouldn’t allow me to photograph the flag, even when I promised to turn off the flash on my camera. She wouldn’t be swayed.

But I’ll have my camera with me on Saturday and I’ll try again.

I expect the Civil War artifact collector whom I first met at the 2009 Roundtable meeting will be there too. He, thankfully, allowed me to photograph his historical pieces. But he wouldn’t allow me to publish his name in a blog post I wrote then. He looked me directly in the eye and demanded anonymity to protect his substantial investment. He wasn’t joking when he told me he knew where he could find me.

FYI: This weekend’s activities at the Capitol and in Faribault are free and open to the public. However, donations to the Rice County Historical Society will be accepted at the Faribault event where homemade pie and coffee will be served.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling