The Tama County Historical Society has received funding from Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to host a presentation called Iowans who Fought Against the Union by David Connon at The Historical Society Museum, in Toledo on Wednesday, Nov. 7 beginning at 7 p.m.
The public is invited and a social hour and refreshments will follow the presentation.
David Connon is employed by Living History Farms as an historical interpreter. He also works as a substitute teacher. He has a Master's Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. His wife is an Iowa native whose great-great-great-grandfather died on Sherman's March to the Sea. Connon moved to Poweshiek County in 2000. Knowing of Grinnell's abolitionist history, he was intrigued that their first riot occurred over fugitive slaves in the public school - about a year before Fort Sumter. He next studied Copperheads in strongly Republican and pro-Union Poweshiek County. Some 50 desperate residents vowed in mid- 1864 to not submit to a draft. When three of them were actually drafted, homegrown bushwhackers murdered two deputy federal marshals. This event prompted the question: Did any Iowa residents make the ultimate protest and "go South" to serve the Confederacy?
Most Iowans think that the state was solidly pro-Union during the Civil War. After all, some 75,000 residents fought for the North. In reality, many Iowa Democrats formed a spectrum of dissent. The majority of Democrats opposed abolishing slavery (and yet favored the Union war effort); the minority sympathized with the Confederacy. Of this group, at least 25 Iowa residents served the Confederacy. This talk will focus on five of them. Connon will explore their motivations and describe their pre-war, war-time, and post-war experiences. He will also explore why their stories have been largely unknown for the past 150 years.