Chautauqua will educate and entertain on Sept. 21

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Enjoy General U.S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant’s presentation about their lives together in Galena and during the Civil War on Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Chautauqua in Mt. Morris.

Hosted by the Mt. Morris Tourism Committee and will feature historic displays and information, educational opportunities, and music.

The theme of the event is “Small Town Living: Yesterday and Today.”

Visit blacksmithing, antique farm machinery, and today’s GPS tractor exhibits.

View historic and modern fire fighting equipment.

Compare yesterday’s library services with those of today.

Learn how to line dance and geocache. Take your family to a children’s art class.

Dance to the bluegrass and gospel music of Illinois Rail.

Celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Rock River Seminary, the Mt. Morris Campus, and music on the Campus.

Explore the Chautauqua experience.

Come to the historic Mt. Morris Campus, one block south of the Wesley and Ill. 64 (Hitt Street) intersection, from noon to 6 p.m.

Chautauquas, late 19th century rural entertainment venues, featured live performances, exhibits, and educational events focused on the arts, religion and recreation.

The Chautauqua movement was founded in 1874 by Bishop John Heyl Vincent, a former Mt. Morris pastor, resident and Rock River Seminary student.

Bench seating is available, but bring easily transported lawn chairs to assure a seat.

Wear comfortable walking shoes to visit nearby exhibits, all sidewalk accessible.

Light refreshments are available.

Check for more details and any possible storm delay or closure information on Sept. 21.

Cash donations are appreciated.

Most exhibits are open from noon to 4 p.m. Classes last about an hour.

The agriculture display features an old fashioned, end-gate seeder owned by area farmer Ralph Ubben and a modern, GPS guided tractor, owned and demonstrated by Greg Witmer of Witmer Precision Services.

Small farm animals can be observed in a grassy, shaded corral.

Rick Trahan, the blacksmith and supervisor of the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, will demonstrate and explain the blacksmith trade.

He will discuss John Deere the man, the anatomy of the 1837 plow, and the tools that built it.

John Deere’s eldest son, Francis Albert, attended Rock River Seminary in Mt. Morris.

The Mt. Morris Fire Department, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, will exhibit old fire fighting equipment and a state of the art fire truck.

The Mt. Morris Public Library will share historical photos and stories and compare the earlier, book lending library to the vast array of library functions and activities available today.

The library, once housed in Old Sandstone, was founded in the early 1900s by the women of the Current Events Club. The club is active today.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial will be observed with a 1 p.m. performance by Scott and Peggy Whitney, General U. S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant interpreters.

Grant’s close friend, military and presidential advisor John Rawlins attended Rock River Seminary.

The Grants will be introduced by Jeff Bold of the Performing Arts Guild.

Bold will portray Robert R. Hitt, local congressman from 1882-1906.

Grant appointed Hitt as the Secretary of the American Legation in Paris from 1874-1881.

Hitt attended classes at and later owned the Rock River Seminary.

Other educational opportunities include learning the art of line dancing, taught by experienced line dance instructor Linda Halley of Line Dancing with Linda. The class is from 3 to 4 p.m.

A geocaching class will be presented for people and families interested in learning how to find hidden caches by means of GPS coordinates posted on websites.

A fun art class for young children will be taught by Oregon Grade School art instructor Kelly Handschuh at 1 p.m.

The Sunday afternoon Chautauqua will be closed by the popular gospel and bluegrass band Illinois Rail, entertaining from 4 to 6 p.m.

Every Mt. Morris Church since 1840 has worshipped either on or within a block of the campus at one time or another.

Come celebrate those churches, the community, campus, and friends from nearby towns with music, dance and song.