Bellville Historical Society has big plans for new year

By Dutch Collins - Special to The Bellville Star

With March already here, the Bellville Historical Society is hopefully pointing to variety of programs in 2016. Since the time when the Society was first meeting in the upstairs of the Town Hall 27 years ago, a total of 93 speakers have been featured as well as five films .

Already booked for March 21 is the husband and wife team of Steve and Lisa Ball, who will perform a program of Stephen Collins Foster music.

Steve Ball has spent the past several years researching and learning about Foster. He has assembled a musical presentation of Foster’s life and career as America’s premier song writer.

The program consists of a dozen of Foster’s popular and not so popular tunes and the stories behind them as well as myths generated over the past 160 years.

Steve performs on a 19th century Martin guitar and a vintage tenor banjo, while Lisa accompanies him on an upright bass.. They were in Bellville last July with an historical program of Civil War music.

On April 18, Bellville resident Linda Hoeflich has agreed to give a program on the “Flood of 1987” and how her family was trapped with water in her house and how they survived.

Currently the Historical Society is looking at a number of possible speakers through next November. They include Harriet Merriman as Jerrie Mock, the first woman to solo around the world in 1964. Mock died at age 88 on September 30, 2014. Merriman previously appeared in Bellville as Maude Collins, Ohio’s first woman sheriff.

Ron St. Pierre, Emeritus Professor at the Ohio State University, is being considered for 2016. Doctor (real name) William Bliss was the first physician to reach President James Garfield when he was shot in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881. St. Pierre also does a brilliant portrayal of Captain Henry Wirz, the only Confederate convicted and executed as commander of the notorious Andersonville prison. Wirz was hanged on Nov. 10, 1885.

It is possible that Native American re-enactor and historian Roger Moore might consider a Bellville appearance in 2016. The main focus about Roger’s program is to teach the truth about Native American people in Ohio. Roger has appeared at a number of historical events and including WOSU Public television. He also has been featured at the New Boston Fair near Springfield over y Labor Day weekend.

Dr. Annette Jefferson may be able to schedule her role as Coretta King. Jefferson has appeared at the Historical Society several times with programs on Harriet Tubman and the “underground railroad.”

The Society is hoping it can book magician Rory Rennick of Columbus who presents his story of “Henry (Box) Brown”, the true tale of a slave who mailed himself to freedom in a wooden crate. Rennick has been appearing at central Ohio libraries and school events. His most recent performance was at the Grandview Heights Public Library.

At 55, Rennick is one of the hottest magic entertainers on the comedy and motivational landscapes. His unique blend of theatrical magic is guaranteed to amaze, amuse and inspire audiences of all ages including the Bellville Historical Society.

Like most magicians, Rory was bitten by the magic bug as a youth when he discovered some magic tricks in a box of cereal. His interest sky rocketed when he attended a Harry Blackstone Jr. magic show some years later.

The Bellville community is invited to all of the programs held at the museum on the third Monday of every month.

By Dutch Collins

Special to The Bellville Star