The Heritage has just received its first payment from the Illinois Humanities Council for the  Bishop Hill Chautauqua. On September 7th, 2013, The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will revive a long standing tradition in the region by hosting what we hope will become an annual event, The Bishop Hill Chautauqua. What is a Chautauqua? Teddy Roosevelt called the Chautauqua the most uniquely American thing in America. It is an entertaining celebration of American History and Music where the community is invited to meet famous characters from our past. Comedians, authors, popular songwriters, generals, First Ladies and presidents step out of the pages of history to regale us with their life stories.  This year’s schedule is below:


1 PM:   Carl Sandburg, poet, Lincoln biographer, two time Pulitzer Prize winner and Swedish Americans will regale you with songs and stories of his origins in Illinois, his life as a hobo and his love of American folk music. Barry Cloyd, as Sandburg will share some of his more famous poetry as well as a few lesser known works. He will sing a medley of the songs that trace America’s history through its music and reminisce about our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. He will share stories of his farm work in the Galva area.

3 PM:  Storyteller and Author Betty Kay will bring to life three Civil War Women: Galesburg native Nurse Mother Bickerdyke, whom General Sherman once said “She outranks me;” Irish Immigrant Jenny who came to American looking for work as the war erupted and decided a soldiering she would go, becoming Albert Cashiers; and the wife of US Grant, Julia Dent Grant.

5 PM:  Supper break

6 PM:  Ken Bradbury, the most published playwright in America will portray himself as he plays the piano and takes you on a rollicking tour of American History through your favorite songs. From old time gospel to modern rock, Broadway show tunes to folk revival classics, you will be invited to sing-a-long, or at least tap your toes and swoon to the songs that both broke your heart (and healed it) as your life was marked by these beautiful melodies!

7 PM:  The evening will end with the encounter of two of the most pivotal characters in the early days of Illinois history. Meet our Territorial Governor during the War of 1812 and the man for whom our local river is named, Ninian Edwards. He is also responsible for the forced migration of Illinois’ American Indian population, so he will be met by Pottawatomi Chief Gomo, friend of Tecumseh and the Prophet, who gave a pivotal speech in rebuttal to Edward’s admonitions. Both characters will be portrayed by Brian “Fox” Ellis so you can hear both sides of the story and decide for yourselves where the truth lies.

The BHHA thanks the IHC for its generous support.