GEORGETOWN, Ohio -- One of the many tragedies of the Civil War was family members’ allegiance to opposing sides. Millie Henley of Historical Connections will present "Broken Country, Broken Families, Broken Hearts: Divided Families of the Civil War" at Grant Days in Georgetown on Saturday, April 23.
She will tell gripping stories of people who found themselves in this wrenching situation. There are many brothers who fought against each other, sometimes facing one another in the same battle. But other family members were affected, too. Fathers were pitted against sons, brothers and sisters experienced estrangements, and even some husbands and wives had different loyalties. The suffering of the war was not just physical and visible. Emotional ties were strained and psychological pain resulted when close relationships were stretched to the breaking point.
Henley says it is important for people to realize the Civil War affected everyone in the country, not only the combatants. The human dimension of the war is sometimes lost in the staggering numbers of battle casualties. Her aim is to bring the audience into a vicarious experience in which they can relate emotionally to those who endured the Civil War. This makes for a greater understanding of this pivotal time in the nation’s past.
Included are stories of ordinary families as well as some surprising aspects of well-known figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. Millie stresses that the stories are intriguing on a human interest level and are fascinating for everyone, not only for history buffs, because they are stories about people’s lives. The very word “history” includes the word “story,” and who doesn’t like a good story? She says that too often people think of history as a list of facts, but it is really about people and what happened to them.
Henley has a B. S. from the University of Illinois and a Master’s Degree from Kent State. She worked as a librarian for 25 years and is an avid lifelong student of history, spending months researching each project. She travels to historic reenactments of the 18th and 19th Centuries and delights in historic dancing. Henley says her great joy is to share her passion for history with audiences who may not have known how intriguing it is.
U.S. Grant Days begins Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. and goes through Saturday, April 23, with events scheduled at the U.S. Grant Boyhood Home located at 219 East Grant Street in Georgetown.