Living History Feed

Fort De Chartres Flintlocks


Les Coureurs des Bois show off thier muzzleloading rifles and other 18/19th Cenurty weapons.

Although they are primarly French and Indian War enthusiasts they did hava a selection of Civil War weapons on display.

Les Coureurs des Bois de Fort de Chartres, Illinois, is a flintlock only muzzle loading gun club that meets at and supports the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site through support of special events and interpretation. Les Coureurs des Bois holds a meeting and shoot on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 1:00 PM. Anyone is welcome to participate in the shoot, but must be dressed in historic clothes and shoot a flintlock muzzleloader.

Koerner House, June 6, 2015


Garry Ladd, Bob Mohrman, Dave Wildumuth, John Fulton, and John McKee presented a living history display at the Koerner House in Belleville, IL.

Koerner was a journalist, lawyer, politician, judge, and statesman in Illinois and Germany and a Colonel of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and served as a pall bearer for Lincoln's funeral.

The house was built in 1849 and is currently being restored.

Most of the artifacts presented here are from the 50 year collection of Robert Mohrman

- See more at:

Col. John Thomas: Revolutionary War hero


Revolutionary War hero

The Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, placed a marker next to the grave of the son of Revolutionary War Col. John Thomas Jr. at 11 a.m. Saturday, march 24, 2014, at the Shiloh Cemetery in St. Clair County, Illinois.

There were five groups in uniform: the Sons of the American Revolution, Society of 1812, Union and Confederate Sons and a group of Civil War re-enactors, who conducted black powder gun salute.

Descendants of Col. Thomas attended, along with Stephen Korte, of Belleville, who did research on Thomas for his Eagle Scout project.

Here is a biography of Col. John Thomas Jr., provided by the Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution:

Col. John Thomas Jr. was born May 26, 1751. He grew up in South Carolina, living first at Fishing Creek on the Catawba River, then, beginning in 1762, on Fair Forest Creek in the Upper or Broad River District. The area had to be defended constantly from marauding Cherokee Indians and other allied tribes. Just when it seemed a decade of self-defense had brought some peace and stability to the upper Piedmont, the Revolutionary War broke out in the northeast and swept southward.

Continue reading "Col. John Thomas: Revolutionary War hero" »

The rise and fall of Civil War reenactors

Civil War reenactors approach their hobby with the zeal of a prophet and the curiosity of an academic. On the battlefield they live to "see the elephant," a nineteenth-century phrase describing the rush that only certain daring pursuits — exploration, hunting or war — can provide. Those moments, however, are becoming fewer and far between. The old guys are getting out of the game and, although it's a young man's hobby, the kids aren't necessarily rushing to take their place. What was considered hardcore only a couple decades ago is now looked down upon. Meanwhile, the Great Recession has taken its toll on what was already an expensive endeavor. Time, in this case, may not be on their side. Their numbers have dropped significantly in the last 15 years and may never return.

They see themselves not as the gun nuts and losers that popular culture would have you believe, but as teachers, the self-anointed and self-effacing stewards of our nation's past. And to save that past — or rather, future — the 14th Brooklyn and their allies are leading the charge to do two seemingly irreconcilable things: make the hobby more appealing and yet more absolute.

And yet there may be a silver lining in the hobby's decline. Those members of a group or a movement who stick through it in good times and in bad are often the most devout.

Read the full story at Narrativley

Gustav Koerner House

Members from the Col. Hecker Camp #443 (SUVCW) participated in a living history day at the Gustav Koerner House in Belleville, Illinois, on Saturday April 5, 2014.

Gustav Philipp Koerner, also spelled Gustave or Gustavus Koerner (20 November 1809 –  9 April 1896) was a revolutionary, journalist, lawyer, politician, judge, and statesman in Illinois and Germany and a Colonel of the U.S. Army who was a confessed enemy of slavery. He married on 17 June 1836 in Belleville Sophia Dorothea Engelmann (16 November 1815 – 1 March 1888),[5] they had 9 children.[6] He belonged to the co-founders and was one of the first members of the Grand Old Party; and he was a close confidant of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd and had essential portion on his nomination and election for president in 1860.

The event was held to celebrate the City of Belleville's 200th anniversary. More living history event are scheduled throughout the year.

Koerner's House is currently under renovation by The Belleville Heritage Society.