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Group seeks to make history come alive

Bob Leith and Steve Call have taken Ohio University Southern students all around the region to educate them on the Civil War, now they are taking their show off campus to offer their knowledge to the community.

The duo have started “History Alive,” a group they hope to have people join to help raise awareness for Ohio’s role in the Civil War and other events throughout history and to share their knowledge with all who would be interested.

“The 150th anniversary of the Civil War started a couple years ago,” Call said. “Lawrence County got a slow start in joining other communities around the country. A community initiative was started, but there were simply too many people involved, too many people working in different directions. Now it’s just me and my partner in crime, Bob Leith.”

Having fewer people pulling the strings will hopefully allow things to flow more smoothly, Call said. The initiative last met in August, and you cannot expect something to continue when there is no one there, Leith said.

“My main thing is I just want people to show up,” Leith said. “We need people to appreciate history. This is the single most important event in American history, nothing comes close. Most nations falter after a civil war. It tears them apart and they never come back together. Ours strengthened our nation. It’s just fascinating.”

Call said the main purpose of the group is to inform, educate and entertain the public.

“Right now we are open to suggestions,” Call said. “We need folks that want to help. Scheduling and coordinating events are not problems. We plan to have quarterly events, something like bringing in reenactors or other living history things, but also want people with family ties to come forward and share their stories.”

The group’s main event scheduled this year is a multi-day Civil Way history field trip to Harpers Ferry, Antietam and Gettysburg. Call said a lot of people approached him about the trip so he and Leith worked to make it happen. He said it has been worked out so the group can be at Gettysburg for the park’s 150th event.

The group is still building their calendar, but Call said they already have a couple events scheduled for the spring and summer.

• Chris Saunders, local history buff, will talk about the Burlington’s involvement in the Underground Railroad on Monday, March 23. Time and location are to be announced.

• An event focusing on Ironton’s Nannie Kelley Wright, America’s only known female ironmaster, is set for Sunday, June 23. Time and location are to be announced.

Those looking to provide suggestions for events or seeking more information on the group, its plan or the history field trip this summer can contact Call at (740) 533-4559 or call@ohio.edu.