The Freedom Township Historical Society had a packed house for our Civil War program on April 10. Civil War re-enactor Mike McCoy came dressed as a member of the 104th Ohio Regiment, which had many soldiers from Portage County.

Freedom resident Kenneth Kristoff was dressed as a Union officer and Garrettsville resident Justina McCoy came dressed in women’s fashions of the 1860s. Mr. McCoy displayed his large collection of Civil War artifacts, including a circa 1840 cavalry saber that was used during the war.

We showed the documentary, "The Sojer Boys of Portage County in the Civil War." I learned a lot, including that the 104th’s mascot was a mixed-breed dog named Harvey, and that the 104th was nicknamed the "barking dog" regiment because so many soldiers owned canines.

There was also a lot of time for fellowship. I enjoyed talking with Pat Mallory and I spotted Mickey Christopher, Bob Miner, Chuck and Wilma Holka, and Robin Hatfield Murphy among other friends and neighbors. President Claudia Garrett and volunteers Pete Thornton, David Bultinck, and Phillip McCoy made up delicious batches of popcorn for us to munch on.

The next FTHS meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 8 at the Freedom Community Center, 8940 S.R. 700. We will have a charter signing ceremony for our charter members and Mrs. Garrett will give a PowerPoint presentation about the history of FTHS and our plans for the future. Cake and ice cream will be served.

A big thank you to James A. Garfield student Samantha Ensinger, who designed a beautiful charter document that will be framed and displayed. Samantha is part of art/digital photography teacher Kristine Gilmer’s class, and both Mrs. Gilmer and her students were cooperative, accomodating, and professional throughout the design process.

The historical society’s project to restore the former one-room schoolhouse on S.R. 303 as a community meeting place and museum is moving along nicely.

Mrs. Garrett and FTHS Vice President Jim Hammar signed a lease with the Freedom Township Trustees on April 5 and work to restore the schoolhouse has already begun. Thank you to Freedom business JC Electric for reconnecting the electricity, and to my Freedom Road neighbor Joe Roth of J&R Heating for installing a high-efficency furnace.

Also, thank you to FTHS members Charles Duffield and Dan Grafton and Tony Vansteenberg and Butch Roosa of the township road crew for all of their insight and work at the site. Most of all, thank you to Trustee John Zizka who worked closely with the Portage County Land Bank to acquire the property at no cost to the township or historical society. His vision to transform an abandoned property into a place that all Freedomites can be proud of will make this township a better place for generations to come.

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The James A. Garfield Alumni Association will be mailing out postcards about their 13th annual banquet later this month. The banquet will be held on Sept. 15 at James A. Garfield Elementary School. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with another wonderful catered dinner from Guido’s of Ravenna being served at 6 p.m. The event is open to graduates and anyone who attended Freedom, Garrettsville, James A. Garfield, and Nelson schools. The following classes will be honored this year: 1938, 1948, 1958, 1968, 1978, and 1988.

The cost is $18 per person. Payments and reservations must be postmarked by Aug. 31. For further information, call Helen Louise (Paul) Bouts (class of 1960) at 330-309-2734 or email hbouts@yahoo.com.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Freedom moms out there! I look forward to seeing everyone on May 19!

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Contact Amanda Garrett at agarrettsun@yahoo.com or 330-842-4374.