Quincy News

Frontier Settlement Day attracts big crowd to Quinsippi Island

Paul Moody assists Avery Sharpe, 8, as she makes a bird feeder made of a corn cob, peanut butter and birdseed on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the 11th Annual Frontier Settlement Day at Quinsippi Island. The event hosted demonstrators and re-enactors from the pioneer era, along with educational displays and games for kids. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 15, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Gorgeous weather and a slew of pioneer-style attractions drew a big crowd of people to Frontier Settlement Day on Quinsippi Island on Saturday.

The event, now in its 11th year, attracted a steady flow of families, couples and individuals with children who wanted to get a flavor of yesteryear at various stations set up in the Lincoln-era Log Cabin Village.

"It's been non-stop," said Terry Bordewick, a volunteer with the Friends of the Log Cabins, a 100-member organization that sponsors Frontier Settlement Day as a way to generate awareness and financial support for the restoration and preservation of the historic cabins.

Bordewick, a retired teacher, knows the value of having a year-round display of six log cabins and a stone smokehouse from the 1800s. She said local educators for years have been bringing school groups to the village for educational purposes.

"There's so much history sitting back there," she said. "These are real log cabins from the area that have been dismantled and brought here."

John Gebhardt, president of the Friends of the Log Cabins, said the main purpose of Frontier Settlement Day is "to get people down here to realize that this village is here."

Gebhardt said he knows people who have lived in Quincy all their lives who have never seen the collection of authentic log cabins, which provide a window to the past.

The cabins served as a backdrop for a variety of activities Saturday, including pioneer-era games for kids and demonstrations of such things as chair caning, blacksmithing, rug making, brick making and pioneer woodworking.

Even Abraham Lincoln was there giving demonstrations on how to use an 1800s-style pen dipped in ink to produce elaborate cursive handwriting. Honest Abe was being portrayed by Fritz Klein, a widely known Lincoln impersonator from Springfield who has been making appearances at Frontier Settlement Day for about 10 years.

Klein said he tries to educate kids while teaching them about the nuances of cursive handwriting.

"You get them jazzed, then they go home and learn things for themselves," Klein said as he carefully crafted the letters of 9-year-old Skyler Krise's first name on a small card that he later handed to her as a keepsake.

"It's cool," Skyler said.

Krista Clipper, who brought her five children to Saturday's event, said the kids were having a ball checking out the games and historical attractions.

"They definitely enjoy the educational part of it while they're having fun," she said.

Linda Strunk of Quincy came to Frontier Settlement Day with six grandchildren. She said everybody was enjoying themselves.

"I like seeing all this stuff," she said. "I like the crafts, and the kids like playing games and making stuff."

Paul Schwarzkopf, a retired Quincy minister, helped make the frontier era come alive by portraying Asa Turner, the resident clergyman who presided at Quincy's first church -- the Lord's Barn on Fourth Street, founded in 1830.

Schwarzkopf told visitors how religion was practiced locally in the 1800s.

He even gave a pioneer-style marriage demonstration by using a 1772 worship book while Rudy and Linda Gebhardt of Wisconsin renewed their wedding vows after 45 years of marriage at the village's log cabin church.

"This is an absolutely great event," Schwarzkopf said.

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