14 May 2009

Kent Courtney Interviews Dale Gallon

This is an interview with Historical Artist, Dale Gallon. We discuss his latest print, "Lee" which shows Lee on 1 July 1863 near widow Mary Thompson's house. This house, owned by Thaddeus Stevens, became his field headquarters for the Battle of Gettysburg. Thaddeus Stevens was a Republican leader and as Congressman from Pennsylvania, one of the most powerful members of Congress. Stevens iron works (between Chambersburg and Gettysburg) were burned by Confederates in 1864.

The video features music composed specifically for this project by Kent Courtney.

This is a direct link to the video:


08 May 2009

Building on our Past: Military Medicine into the Future

What an interesting Museum...You need to see this.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, on East Patrick Street in Frederick, Maryland, opened a new exhibit, “Building on our Past: Military Medicine into the Future’, a new exhibit sponsored by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick. Major General George W. Weightman, Commanding General, Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, and William J. Holtzinger, Mayor of the City of Frederick were joined by a number of elected officials, military, business and community leaders.

“This exhibit represents an unbroken timeline of medical innovation starting earlier than the Civil War and bringing us to our present day. “ NMCWM Executive Director, George Wunderlich goes on to explain, “You may wonder how it is that the Museum is relevant to today’s high tech medical practices. In fact we share the vision of delivering the best medical solutions to enhance, protect, treat and heal our Warfighters. The Museum’s role is to, preserve and interpret the past and USMRMC then builds on that past and continues to develop medical innovation well into the future.”

For more information about this fascinating museum, click here.

The exhibit is open to the public during regular museum hours Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11a.m. – 5 p.m. Admissions income helps to keep the lights on and our exhibits open. Adults are admitted for $6.50 each, Senior admissions are $6.00, students ages 10 – 16 are admitted for $4.50 and children 9 and under are free. In addition, groups of 10 or more are invited to call in advance to schedule docent-guided tours.

01 May 2009

John Brown House, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Kent Courtney and tour group in a bedroom in John Brown House
Photograph courtesy Randolph Harris

Kent Courtney examines early print of Thaddeus Stevens in Ritner Parlor
Photograph courtesy Randolph Harris

Kent Courtney in the girl's room of John Brown House
Photograph courtesy Randolph Harris

Exterior View of John Brown House, Chambersburg, PA
Mary Ritner Boardinghouse, 224 East King Street
Photo by Kent Courtney

From the Pennsylvania Humanities Council Brochure:

The John Brown House

Largely unnoticed on a side street in the quiet town of Chambersburg is a small house that played a critical role in the history of our nation. In 1859 it was a boardinghouse owned by the widow, Mary Ritner, whose late husband had been sympathetic to the abolitionist cause and who, it was said, had been a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

That may have been what drew John Brown and several of his accomplices to stay at the house when he was looking for a secure site from which to plan his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

Uncertain Ground for Abolitionists

Chambersburg, which lies only eleven miles north of the Mason-Dixon line, was uncertain ground for those with abolitionist sentiments. In the summer of 1859, there appeared in the streets an old gentleman sporting a white beard and driving a canvas-covered wagon.

He was known to the townspeople as Isaac Smith. John Brown (alias Isaac Smith), and his Secretary of War, John Henri Kagi, were able to travel about freely moving stocks of weapons through Franklin County to the Kennedy Farmhouse that John Brown rented four miles north of Harpers Ferry.

Price on John Brown's Head

A wanted murderer in Kansas for hacking pro-slavery sympathizers to death, John Brown had vowed to consecrate his life to the destruction of slavery. The Ritner boardinghouse provided the link between the beginning of his war against slavery in Kansas and the end of it in Harpers Ferry.

Frederick Douglass

In the middle of August, 1859, John Brown summoned Frederick Douglass to Chambersburg where they met at a local quarry for two days. Douglass wrote, "Brown was always well armed and regarded strangers with suspicioun." Brown spoke of his plans, and asked Douglass for his help. But, Douglass refused calling it "sheer madness", and "treason", and said that slavery must be abolished in other ways.