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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Genealogy Group To Present 1871 â€Stories From The Ashesâ€

Issue Date: July 15, 2021

Instead of its annual cemetery walk this year, the Marinette Genealogy Group is working with the City of Peshtigo and Peshtigo Historical Society on some special events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the tragic forest fire that destroyed Peshtigo and much of the area around it on the night of Oct. 8, 1871.

They will present special fire commemorative events with a dinner show on Friday, Sept. 24, and a cemetery walk with historic stories at the Fire Cemetery during the Peshtigo Historical Society's Ice Cream Social on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Tickets are on sale now at Peshtigo City Hall for â€Stories From the Ashes, Chronicles from the Coals,†the dinner event to be held at Embers Friday on Friday night, Sept. 24. At that event, re-enactors will be depicting and recollecting actual articles from 1871 newspapers that told survivors' stories.

The presentation will be in a â€now†and â€then†format, with Brooke Uhl depicting a librarian assisting Jimmye Cox as a researcher. Performers include Allen Brey, Marty Eggener, Kyle Fischer, Nancy Krei, Liz Kotowske, Mary Falkenberg, and Joan Pace, who is in charge of organizing the Peshtigo Fire commemorative events presented by the Genealogy Group.

Pace said the presentations at the dinner show will be in a â€today†and â€back then†format, with a librarian teaching someone how to go back and find these old newspapers at Stephenson Public Library. The presentation will go back and forth between research in the paper and stories of those who actually survivedâ€How did they get here, why did they come here, what happened to them after the fire, and what the families are doing now, generations after the fire.

â€We're doing this to remember and honor the lives of everyone who went through that tragic event,†said Pace. She said in line with the Genealogy Group's motto: â€Nobody Deserves to be forgotten,†that everybody deserves to meet their ancestors for the first time. Events like this one help everyone to do just that.

The Menominee River Chorus will provide 1870s music before the dinner, and again for the Peshtigo Historical Society's ice cream social on Sunday, Sept. 26

The ice cream social will be held from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Fire Museum on Oconto Ave. The street there will be closed off and the museum will be open for tours, and the Genealogy Group has researched stories of fire victims to do their cemetery walk in the fire cemetery.

On the cemetery walk stories will be told by Allen Brey, Bonnie Edlbeck, Jim Martell, Ron Seguin, Jimmye Cox, of the Marinette Genealogy Group; Violet Fugere of Peshtigo Historical Society, and David Hall, from the Oconto Historical Society.

Voluntary donations will be accepted, but there is no charge for the ice cream social or the cemetery walk. Tours will leave every 15 minutes, so everyone should register on arrival, Pace said. The Menominee River Chorus will provide a background of live period music in the ice cream social area.

There are only a limited number of tickets available for the dinner show at The Embers on Friday, Sept. 24. Tickets, at $50 each, include a family-style dinner, entertainment, and a collectible commemorative coin. In addition to the â€now†and â€then†performances, there will be many historic images and informational displays, Pace said.

All proceeds from the dinner show go to the City of Peshtigo as a gift from the Genealogy Group to help defray expenses of fire anniversary observances, Pace said. There also will be a donation box for anyone who wants to financially help support the Genealogy Group, but there is no obligation.


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