By Nancy Covert
An 1863 newspaper—printed on the reverse side of a piece of wallpaper, an ornate, engraved sword, a brittle battlefield diary, tales gleaned from 104 letters between a Minnesota soldier and his wife…these were just a few of the 1860s-era artifacts that Nick Adams shared Tuesday night with members of Lakewood’s Historical Society.
Promoting his book, “Battle in the Classroom, The Uncivil War,” retired educator Adams not only told the “story behind that story” of his book—an outcome from teaching to make the subject relevant to his students, but he also shared Lakewood residents’ stories about their own Civil War connections to battles fought on the other side of the U. S.
Listeners with distant relatives who fought at Chickamauga, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Gettysburg, for example, learned about their connections to the Lakewood area.
“We know that Grant, Sherman, Pickett, Stevens, and Casey had been here (all connected with Ft. Steilacoom), but we don’t know much about others who fought and then came here to live,” he said.
Stories that he’s collected prompted after-talk discussions, as people
Dr. Waughop, first superintendent at Western State, had served as a surgeon’s assistant at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Edward Hipkins, for whom Hipkins Road is named, settled in the area after the War. Another society member’s relative had received a Congressional Medal of Honor during the War.
Adams autographed copies of his book afterward, a read that “uses contemporary settings, flashbacks based on historical characters and units, preserved family letters and actual battle events to demonstrate how history can become alive when students become personally involved.”
History of the Lakewood Fire Department (now West Pierce County Fire and Rescue) is the topic for the June 21 meeting.
A social event at Lakewood’s 1919 Villa Madera is planned for July 31.
Lakewood Historical Society is located at 6211 Mt. Tacoma Drive in Lakewood. Hours of operation are from Noon to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Phone 253-682-3480 or visit www.lakewoodhistorical.org for more information.