By Linda Dillman
The Canal Winchester Area Historical Society is celebrating a hometown war hero this year during its Founders Day celebration, albeit 160 years after he died in a Confederate prison.
The life of Pvt. Alfred Cannon—a Union soldier who volunteered to take the place of fellow soldier so the man could return to his family – ended as a POW in a Florence, S.C. Confederate prison on Jan. 21, 1865 – will be remembered on Founders Day, which will be held on Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 10 W. Oak St. historical complex.
“Alfred was a Canal Winchester resident serving in the Union Army who was captured and taken prisoner at Brices Crossroads, Miss.,” said event Chairperson Marie Gibbons. “He died of typhoid fever in a prison camp. We are starting the day with rededicating a plaque in the CWAHS complex for Pvt. Cannon and by a proclamation from the city naming Oct. 14 as ‘Alfred Cannon Day.’ There will be a short ceremony and the mayor will rededicate the plaque.”
Founder’s Day—held by the society for the first time in 1976 as a way to share and preserve the history of the village by touring historic homes and businesses—is filled with period-dressed volunteers, presentations, a vendor’s market, music, food and activities for all ages.
Visitors are invited to dress in period costumes as well.
“There will be a civil war encampment, which demonstrates what serving in the military was like during that time,” said Gibbons. “People can also meet and take pictures with Abe Lincoln, talk with him, and hear the ‘Gettysburg Address.’ You’ll hear Civil War-era music and there are kids crafts and games. All activities are free, except for the bouquet-making workshop.”
Mr. Lincoln’s morning presentation is geared more for adults, while his afternoon event is more elementary age oriented with fruit cobbler provided by O’Charleys. Roxanne Sams, who penned a middle-school age book about the underground railroad, will be reading to children from her “Whispers From the Shadows: An Underground Railroad Mystery.”
According to Gibbons, vendor offerings include pies; small batch fruit jams and butters; heirloom axe and tool restorations; and handmade leather goods and gifts for home, camp, and garden.
Handcrafted goods also include wooden bowls, cutting and serving boards; salsas; woven rugs; scarves; table runners and dyed silk products; soaps; honey and beeswax products.
Parking is available in a large lot immediately north of the historical society complex, along Oak Street and behind Prentiss School.
“It is inspiring to honor the people who founded our community and recognize their challenges and accomplishments,” said Gibbons.