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A glimpse into Springville's past, with spaghetti and meatballs

A SLICE OF HISTORY — The Reynold’s Battery is pictured, marching in the WNY Dairy/Agricultural Festival parade, right before its gun salute. Photos by Andrew Manzella.
SPRINGVILLE — Reynold’s Battery joined the rest of the WNY Dairy/Agricultural Festival events in Fiddlers Green Park of Springville, from May 31 – June 2. Participants demonstrated what living in the time of the War of 1812 and the Civil War was like.

Actors reenacted early American life, utilizing canvas tents, 1800s vocabulary and period clothing, tools and artifacts.

ALL THE FIXINS — Pictured is cook Diane Bassette-Nelson of Interlaken, Seneca County.
Cook Diane Bassette-Nelson prepared meals in the fashion of a cook in a diet annex of a Civil War hospital. “The cooking methods haven’t really changed that much, in 150 years,” she said. “Pasta was actually served, in the Civil War.”

BACK IN TIME — Pictured, from left: Barbara Lawrence, Wendi Parisi, Jaime Finch and Georgia Shivers.
The Fiddlers Green Park menu consisted of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, sausage and pancakes with coffee for breakfast and venison stew for lunch. “At night, the men will go get the water and, in the morning, I’ll start the coffee,” Bassette-Nelson explained.

While devices such as the cast iron percolator atop the camp’s fire pit were utilized in the 1800s, items of this type are still used, by today’s outdoor campers.

The entire encampment was interactive. Individuals’ walking amongst the tents and cannons could ask the actors questions, pertaining to history or war life.

Kevin Ploetz, the barefoot soldier
Kevin Ploetz acted as a soldier from the Fiddlers Green Militia. He sat, barefoot, inside his canvas tent, with his rifle. He explained that his captain was not around and, he did not have to be in uniform. If his captain returned, Ploetz would be “in big trouble,” if he could not change quickly.

“[Wooden shoes] are actually period correct,” Ploetz said, motioning to the shoes in his tent, “but what’s more period correct is this right here: Bare feet.”

Not all of the individuals in the park were wearing clothing dating back 150 years. Many visitors stayed to observe the reenactors.

Joan Barsalou watched history unfold, from her spot in a folding chair. “I’m curious. I thought I’d wait until the ceremonies began [and] then I’ll meander a bit,” she said. “I’m sure they’ll do a great job. It’s amazing what they can do, in those cast-iron pots.”

Barsalou said that she is a fan of this type of Springville event and was happy to see the historical display. “It’s lovely, when they dress in costume,” she said. “It’s very apropos to this area.”

Georgia Shivers, an in-character historian, showcased the battery’s newly-acquired ordinance rifle. The cannon-like weapon, complete with Amish-made wheels, utilized a 10-pound shell and, according to Shivers, was the elite weapon, in its time.

“These were used in the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War,” Shivers explained. “It’s our baby.”

All of the encampment participants slept in their canvas abodes, through Saturday.

“The concert was very neat and the night was quiet,” Bassette-Nelson said. “It’s so nice, being in a town without much rowdiness.”

Before Civil War band Four Seasons, Four Years began its concert, Greg Artzner, the band’s guitarist, played a few tunes for the kids.


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