Celebrating the Past

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Civil War group continue to learn together

By Anna Skinner

The investigation of our country’s history is what keeps its memories alive today. For some, history lessons through school satisfied our urge to delve into its past, but for others the continued exploration of our heritage lives on in the form of organized groups. One of these groups is the Civil War Roundtable.

The Civil War Roundtable, although their members far exceed the amount to meet around an actual roundtable, have been meeting for 12 years. For the past three years, they have met at Conner Prairie in Fishers.

Every third Wednesday of the month, the group of men and women gather to take a memorable trip back to a time period around 1863 as they spend an evening learning about the Civil War and listening to guest speakers speak on various topics of the era.

Their most recent meeting focused around a guest speaker from Fort Wayne, Margaret Hobson, who gave a presentation about three books she wrote about the Civil War.

“This is an organization of Civil War enthusiasts,” Jim Tremblay, current president of the Civil War Roundtable, said. “It is financed with membership dues, and all programs are free to the public.”

Tremblay said there are above 30 members in the organization, yet about 40 or 45 people usually attend the events. He said the members are from all over Hamilton County. Tremblay himself comes from Westfield.

“The aim of the roundtable is to set up an environment for people who have written about Civil War history, authors or other historians can come and speak to people about the history,” Tremblay said. “People here have all common interests, and therefore you have a conversation and something to talk about and share. That’s the main thing, the relationships that are formed.”

Tremblay did not have any family members who fought in the Civil War, his interest stemmed from learning about the war in grade school as a young boy.

Treasurer Jack Shaffer, Carmel, did have a family member in the war, however. Shaffer said that his father always spoke of his great-grandfather, who served in the Civil War, and sparked his interest in the history.

“The joy is seeing and listening to the different approaches people take,” Shaffer said, referencing the May 20 speaker who used a lot of statistics and graphs. “It’s a labor of love. It all started for me when my dad got me interested in it years ago.”

Shaffer said the group hopes to bring more speakers in from Richmond, Ind. to learn more about that history and their particular involvement with the war.

The organization is a bit skeptical about the move to Carmel, as they were quite pleased with all Conner Prairie had to offer. Yet Shaffer said he hopes the move will help get more schools and speakers involved in the organization.

Teenagers are also able to become members, and some attend meetings with their teachers. Membership fees cost $30 dollars a year.

Tremblay said that if someone has an interest in Civil War history, they should attend the meetings or become a member to learn all about the intricacies and special interests of the historian speakers that present each month.

The group’s next meeting will take place in September, where they will return to Carmel in September at Carmel City Hall. Carmel Mayor James Brainard has allowed them to use a room free of charge.

Join the Civil War roundtable

Current Location: Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers.

Future Location: Carmel City Hall, 11127 Crooked Stick Ln., Carmel.

Years active: 12

Speaker at last meeting: Margaret Hobson, author of three Civil War books

Next speaker: David Finney, speaking about Colonel Custer

Next meeting: September 9

For more information, email president Jim Tremblay at jimlin@gotouch.net


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