Elkhart Historical Society
 Dinner-Lecture Series

Wild Hare Cafe in Elkhart, IL.

Dinner/talk: “Lincoln and Oglesby The Boys from Kentucky”

... at Wildhare Cafe - 5:30p on Friday MAY 19, 2017 ...

The long-time friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Gov. Richard Oglesby will be discussed at the Elkhart Historical Society’s May dinner lecture, Friday, May 19, 2017 at 5:30p, at the Wild Hare Café in Elkhart, Illinois. 


Elkhart native, historian Chuck McCue will present, “Lincoln and Oglesby: The Boys from Kentucky”.

Reservations can be made by calling 217 947 2238 or click on the registration forms below:


McCue’s talk will explore the life paths of two men, born as sons to Kentucky farmers just a few miles and a few years apart, who each grew to have an enormous impact on the legal system and government of Illinois and the nation.   Chuck McCue will recount how their tragedies and successes brought them to the highest levels of state and federal office, both individually and when their paths crossed.   

The primary theme will be the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Richard J. Oglesby, starting with a chance meeting in Decatur in 1840, and continuing through to 1865, when then-Illinois Governor Oglesby stood at the bedside of his friend who lay dying from an assassin’s bullet.  Even after Lincoln’s death, the bond continued, as Oglesby oversaw the project of building a suitable resting place for our 16th president.

Following a 20 year career in the Air Force, Chuck McCue returned to the area, and re-upped his long-time interest in history, which he credits to his friendships with the late Rick Gehlbach and Jim & Betty Hickey, all of Elkhart.  The exposure to a tremendous amount of historical material as well as conversations with visiting Lincoln experts, he developed a deep respect for our local history that continues to this day.   Upon his return to the area, he became a volunteer docent at the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site, and continues to provide tours one Saturday a month and on special occasions.   

The menu: either Red Lasagna or Chicken Pot Pie served with garden salad, freshly baked rolls and a choice of dessert.
  $40 includes the meal, taxes and tip as well as a donation to the Elkhart historical Society of $10.

Dinner/talk: “30 years of Restoring Natural Communities in Central Illinois, while walking in the footsteps of the Captain,”

... at Wildhare Cafe - 5:30p on Friday April 21, 2017 ...

by Vernon LaGesse, Executive Director of the Friends of the Sangamon Valley, a charitable membership organization dedicated to the preservation of our natural heritage by acquiring, restoring and protecting ecological significant lands within the Lower Sangamon River Watershed. The talk will encompass the fascinating challenges of restoring prairie, timbers and wetlands across Central Illinois for 30 years for various Conservation Groups.  A long time devotee of Captain A.H. Bogardus, he has not only collected items and stories related to Bogardus, but also has restored many of the endangered or threatened  natural areas described by Bogardus’s book,  “Field, Cover and Trap Shooting” written in 1878.


March 24 Dinner Lecture:

“Legacy: Inspiration from the Seven Daughters
of John Dean Gillett” . . .

which will highlight the lives of these interesting and influential women who were born at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. 
Theirs was a life that included both work and play, and exposed them to Springfield society during the beginnings of the
Abraham Lincoln era, he being a good friend of their father as well as his legal counsel.  Gillett, known in many circles as the
Cattle King of Illinois, raised his family in the Elkhart area, educating all of his children in the finest schools of the day, thus
preparing them for the future. 

     Our presenter is Marcy Brooks, who studied at LCU many years ago, and who now lives in Greeneville TN,
where she has established “Destiny Life Skills Institute”.  She is a skilled musician and speaker, and is remembered
 for playing the organ at our Christmas Candlelight Service in years past, as well as leading various motivational
talks in the area.    She has been intrigued by the history of Elkhart for numerous years, and promises to bring an
exciting and revealing inside look at the lives of the Gillett women.


Friday February 24, 2017 Dinner Lecture 5:30 pm

“Welcome to Hollywood”  with Karl Luthin, DVM

   Karl Luthin has been involved in over 60 movies, either in the capacity of on- site veterinarian, as a re-enactor, or as prop supply- - this category includes both live and plastic horses, uniforms and horse equipment from wars dating back to the French and Indian War thru WWI.   It will cover many of his experiences while working on the movie sets in over 60 productions and mini-series.  Multi-faceted Luthin  is often the on-site veterinarian, or re-enactor, frequently providing props, set dressings, and horses, or as an advisor helping to insure the historic accuracy of the equipment or costumes being used.

       Some of the productions he has been involved in are, “Gods and Generals”, “Glory”, The “John Adams” mini-series,  “Into the West”, “Gettysburg”, “Cold Mountain”, and most recently providing a massive amount of props as well as the horse Daniel Day Lewis  rode in the movie  “Lincoln”. Karl will be bringing film clips and slides from many of these movies, as well as movie posters, and the behind-the-scenes stories.