The Fenton History Center will take a look 150 years into Jamestown's past Saturday.
For the first time, the center is holding a half-day camp meant to teach adults about life in Jamestown's Camp Brown.
"It will be a discussion of the Civil War in 1862 - what has gone on thus far in the war and what's coming," said Greg Johnson, a Civil War re-enactor with the Civil War Heritage Foundation. "We'll get into some of the politics of the war and of the time. We'll get into some information about Camp Brown and how it played a part in the Jamestown area."
Col. James M. Brown
Johnson, a Frewsburg resident, will lead the camp. He will teach participants what recruits experienced in 1862, including what they wore, the equipment they used and what living at Camp Brown was like.
Named after former Jamestown attorney Col. James M. Brown, the camp was created after Gov. Edwin D. Morgan asked the men of the state to form units in the field as soon as possible. In all, 2,100 men gathered at Camp Brown, near the current sites of Brown and Prospect streets, including those of the 112th New York Volunteer Infantry. They left for battle in September 1862.
Johnson, who has been with the Heritage Foundation for 17 years, believes in the importance of maintaining the history of the Civil War.
"Like Lincoln said, 'If you don't understand our history, you're destined to repeat it,'" Johnson said. "You have a lot of people who are interested in history, who do a lot of reading about history, who like to have good discussions about it. Maybe they don't understand everything there is to know about it, so we try to fill them in. I think people would have a better idea of what's going on in the world today if they studied what went on 150 years ago. There's a lot of it that still applies."
Saturday's camp, called "Camp Brown Sr.," is based on the youth Camp Brown, which has drawn fourth to seventh graders to the Fenton each summer for the past six years.
Joni Blackman, Fenton director, describes the adult camp as "an information session."
"They're not going to be drilling or putting up tents or anything like that," she said. "It came about because, the first year we offered (Camp Brown) in 2007, I had parents saying, 'I wish I could go to this,' because the kids were having so much fun."
The event will be held outside the Fenton if weather permits and inside the history center in the event of rain. In addition to the discussions led by Johnson, attendees can join Fenton researcher Barb Cessna later in the day to examine the center's Civil War records.
"They can do some research on their Civil War ancestors or interests," Blackman said. "If people would rather sit around and talk about the Civil War, they can continue to do that."
Camp Brown Sr. will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The cost is $20 for Fenton members and $25 for non-members.
For more information, visit fentonhistorycenter.org or call 664-6256.