Mimi Van Deusen

Potsdam, N.Y. - In the fall of 2016, a phone call to Mimi Van Deusen, curator of the Potsdam Public Museum, initiated negotiations to bring a railroad trunk back to Potsdam, New York, 155 years after it left in 1861 for Washington D.C.  Originally the trunk contained the belongings of Potsdam resident William A. Elderkin. Within a month of the trunk's arrival, Elderkin, a recent graduate of West Point, would get married in the White House, and fight in the battle of First Bull Run. Over the next 39 years of his life, the trunk travelled with him over 16,000 miles, tracing the history of 19th century U.S. Indian wars, the development of industrial steel, the spread of railroads, and the establishment of American capitalism. The trunk also shines a light on the tumultuous emotional life of President Abraham Lincoln.

 

The Tale of Elderkin's trunk will be interpreted by Jan Wojcik at the next North Country Civil War Round Table on Sunday, January 29th, 2 p.m. at the Potsdam Public Museum, located on Park St., Potsdam. Wojcik, a member of the Civil War Round Table, has given talks on the role of women in the Civil War, the Battle of Spotsylvania, the Overland Campaign, and the Surrender at Appomattox. He serves as the president of the board of trustees of the Potsdam Museum.

Visitors who own items with Civil War provenance are encouraged to bring them to the event for a "show and tell" session before the talk.

The North Country Civil War Round Table is a program of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, a membership organization open to anyone interested in St. Lawrence County history.  For more information, or to become a member, call the SLCHA at 315-386-8133 or e-mail info@slcha.org.  Civil War Round Table programs are made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  Visit the SLCHA's website, www.slcha.org, for more information on St. Lawrence County history. 

####

 

Contact:  Sue Longshore, SLCHA (315) 386-8133, SueL@slcha.org

 

Photo Caption: The Tale of William Elderkin's trunk will be interpreted by Jan Wojcik at the next North Country Civil War Round Table on Sunday, January 29th, 2 p.m. at the Potsdam Public Museum, located on Park St., Potsdam. Elderkin, a graduate of West Point, was married in the White House, and fought in the battle of First Bull Run. The trunk travelled with him across the country, tracing the history of 19th century U.S. Indian wars, the development of industrial steel, the spread of railroads, and the establishment of American capitalism. Wojcik, a member of the Civil War Round Table, has given talks on the role of women in the Civil War, the Battle of Spotsylvania, the Overland Campaign, and the Surrender at Appomattox. He serves as the president of the board of trustees of the Potsdam Museum. Pictured is Mimi Van Deusen and the Elderkin trunk.