Upcoming Civil War Society program highlights Portage County’s role in the war

A monument in Brimfield honors the township's civil war soldiers. Photo courtesy of Kent Civil War Society

The Kent Civil War Society will feature “Signs of Civil War in Portage County” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the Roy Smith Shelterhouse in Fred Fuller Park on Middlebury Road.

Mark Perkins, the society’s webmaster and long-time member, will be the speaker.

Numerous markers and monuments in Portage County serve as reminders of Portage County’s role in the war. Perkins’ presentation will feature some of the markers as he touches upon the stories behind them, and in some cases what they might have gotten wrong, he said.

“Portage County responded immediately to the call to arms that followed the outbreak of the Civil War,” Perkins said. “All told, some 2,000 men served in the Union army, out of 24,000 total inhabitants, and 312 of them died from the effects of battle or illness. On the home front, townspeople banded together to supply the troops and freed slaves with items of need or comfort.”

Portage County citizens were also active in the more than half a century build-up to the war, including supporting anti-slavery societies, the Underground Railroad and the debate over states’ rights, Perkins said.

Perkins learned about the Kent Civil War Society while he was engaged in war reenactment events in the early 1990s. Ever since, he said he’s been intrigued to learn about how common, everyday soldiers got through the experience.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information about the Civil War society, visit its website at www.kentcivilwar.org.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.