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Wadsworth Area Historical Society offers sample of Civil War at annual fundraiser

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    Steve Ball, historian and musician, and his wife Lisa Ball perform Civil War songs Saturday during the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Gerald Payn, an Abraham Lincoln presenter, and his wife Marilyn Payn, portraying Mary Todd Lincoln, appear Saturday at the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    From left, Roger Smith of Wadsworth, Karen McFadden of Strasburg and Adam Smith of Wadsworth attend the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser Saturday at Memory Lane Event Center.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Kathy Kraus, Medina resident and vice president of York Historical Society, chats with Roger Havens, president of the Wadsworth Area Historical Society, during the Wadworth society's annual fundraiser on Saturday.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Weny Brickner, left, and her mom Pat McGaffick, both of Wadsworth, check out silent-auction prizes Saturday during the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser at Memory Lane Event Center.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Adrianne Krauss, left, executive director of Main Street Wadsworth, speaks with Kate Smith, spokesperson for the Wadsworth Area Historical Society, during the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser at Memory Lane Event Center.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Standing, from left, Vicki Fugate, Chris Cerino and his wife Michelle Cerino, all of Wadsworth, and David and Jennifer Hansen, seated, of North Royalton, attend the Wadsworth Area Historical Society's third annual fall fundraiser at Memory Lane Event Center.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    About 80 people, including President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, attend the third annual fundraiser of Wadsworth Area Historical Society on Saturday.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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WADSWORTH — About 80 supporters of the Wadsworth Area Historical Society attended the society’s third annual fall fundraiser Saturday evening at Memory Lane Event Center on College Street.

The theme of this year’s event was “Notes on the Civil War.” President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, were guests of honor, and historian and musician Steve Ball, accompanied by his wife, Lisa Ball, sang Civil War songs and told stories.

Guests ate a Civil War-era meal that included smoked chicken and potato hash. For dessert, they were served a version of Mary Todd Lincoln’s famous white almond cake. Silent-auction prizes included gift cards, homemade items and gift baskets.

Kate Smith, historical society spokesperson, said the annual fundraiser has brought in about $3,000 in past years. The money allows the historical society to offer free tours of its headquarters, the Johnson House Museum, built in the 1850s.

Also, the funds help the historical society host 15 events throughout the year at no charge to the public, Smith said.

The fundraiser wasn’t intended as a lead-in to Veterans Day, which was Sunday, but there was a connection. Before dinner, President Lincoln talked to the Medina Gazette about the soldiers who served during the Civil War.

“So many of those fellows gave up their lives,” Lincoln said. “We can’t thank our veterans enough for their sacrifice.”

During the event, President Lincoln relayed a story about a Union soldier who ended up settling in Medina County after the Civil War.

Also attending the fundraiser was Roger Havens, president of the Wadsworth Area Historical Society and principal at Franklin Elementary School. Havens grew up in Wadsworth and loves to talk about the town’s history.

“I am becoming a bit historical myself,” Havens joked.

Havens said he helped write a third-grade history book about Wadsworth. The book discusses the city’s pioneers, and the early sawmills, gristmills and coal mines.

“Wadsworth was the only community in Medina County to have coal beneath it,” Havens said. “Three-quarters of Wadsworth Township had coal.”

Railroad tracks laid to transport Wadsworth’s coal attracted factories and other businesses, and the city’s economy grew as a result, Havens said.

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