Pella Chronicle

Local News

September 12, 2012

Civil War Exhibit to open this weekend

Pella —

Opening Day Ceremony set for Sept. 15 (11 a.m., on north side of Tulip Toren)

  • Flags will be presented by Co. ‘A’, 49th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry
  • Music by the Pella City Band
  • Medley of Civil War tunes sung by the Central College Chamber Singers
  • Orations by:  Pella Mayor, Jim Mueller; Central College President, Dr. Mark Putnam,  Lincoln Historian, Dr. Ron. Rietveld
  • 200 small flags will be distributed by Pella’s Boy and Girl Scouts
  • The Central College Chamber Singers will end the program with their rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic as a wreath is placed at the base of the Colonel Hobbs Civil War Statue, Central Park, Pella Flags presented by  Iowa Post 89, American Legion -  Pella
  • In case of rain the ceremony will be held at Pella’s Community Center
  • Contact Ellie Gosselink, Exhibit Coordinator  641-780-6398  or email for additional information.


  • Opening September 15, 2012 through November 15, 2012
  • Scholte House Museum
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. – Tours available from 9 until noon, weekdays by appointment by calling 641-628-3684
  • Thursdays – 1-8 p.m., Saturdays – 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Closed Sundays
  • Free Admission to all who visit our Civil War Exhibit filled with unique and informative displays, thanks to a grant from the Pella Community Foundation

Step back into the world of Pella as the Civil War exploded with the firing on Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861.  Pella in the 1860’s was a struggling young community.  It had been  fourteen years since the Dutch immigrants arrived in 1847.  This fact did not deter the patriotic fever that consumed Pella as the boys and men of Pella, Central College and Marion County eagerly stepped forward to answer the Union’s call to save America from being torn apart.  In the Souvenir History of Pella Iowa 1847 – 1922 book the following statement written by George A Jewett in his article REMINISCENCES, describes Pella at the start of the Civil War. George Jewett was born September 9, 1847 in nearby Red Rock, Iowa.  His family moved to Pella in 1857 so that George and his older brother Homer could attend Central College.

“…old Central campus was but a vacant prairie; …I soon formed acquaintances with my Holland friends.  The cordiality, the hospitality, the sincerity of these people has always remained with me as a delightful inspiration…

…What great times we had during the Lincoln-Hamlin campaign.  We organized a junior Wide Awake Club, wore capes and caps and carried a torch and halloed for Lincoln while the older boys were in the regular Wide Awake club.  I remember one time during that campaign when we went with wagons across to Knoxville and took part in a parade.  Then came the Civil War and the shot was fired on Fort Sumter and what exciting times we were having in school in those days.  In our literary society we were debating in reference to the Dred Scott decision, was slavery to be carried into the territories, was Mason and Dixon line to be extended west to the Pacific?  We were in earnest as if the fate of the union depended on these debates.  Then came the call to arms when every able-bodied young man in Central enlisted in the war.  I was but thirteen and one-half years old and deep was my regret at the time that I could not go…”

The Civil War Exhibit at the Scholte House Museum is filled with unique civil war displays, quite different from other Iowa Civil War exhibits, as the stories and displays are unique to what took place in 1860’s Pella, a small community tucked in the northeast corner of Marion County.

A visit to our exhibit will inform all visitors on the war’s  impact felt in Pella in  1861, and how the community responded to support a civil war that lasted five long years.  The war left Marion County, like so many other communities in Iowa, dealing with the hardships imposed by the war, along with the loss of loved ones and the struggle they endured after the war unofficially ended in 1865.

Dr. Ron Rietveld has spent the past year researching newly uncovered information on the role of prominent Dr. Benjamin Franklin Keables of Pella, a surgeon who was officially designated “a brave man”, and served the 3rd Iowa Infantry until he was mustered out in 1864.  Iowa’s two Civil War governors, the popular Samuel J. Kirkwood and military hero William M. Stone, will be featured.  Major Stone of Knoxville, who became Governor of Iowa in 1864, became a personal friend of President Lincoln and was present at the time of the president’s assassination and death.  New information will be displayed on Pella’s Henry P. Scholte and his personal relationship with Lincoln from 1860 until Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865.

A display of  original signal messages transmitted by Pvt. Herman Bousquet when he served with the newly formed U.S. Signal Corp in 1864, while serving at Vicksburg, Mississippi, is one of our special displays.  Herman Bousquet saved 61 handwritten messages, many written by two famous Union generals, Brigadier General McPherson and Brigadier General Hawkins.  The messages tell the story of the Union officers and men trying to move equipment up and down the Mississippi River along with dealing with many problems encountered with the southern people and slaves that had to be dealt with after the siege of Vicksburg. Messages on sending and receiving needed medical supplies, as well as providing  transportation for some of the local people.

Watch the Civil War in 4 Minutes, a video provided by special permission from the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois.

A special video has been assembled that show the troop movements of the ten Iowa regiments that Marion County men served in during the war.  These Iowa Regiments played important roles in the major battles of Shiloh and the taking of Vicksburg along with many other skirmishes they encountered throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana as they defeated the confederate rebels.

A unique display covering many Marion County men who were imprisoned at the infamous Andersonville Prison.  Their stories are displayed through their personal account told to families  plus letters that tell of the horror of being held in this prison.

A Special Central College display that follows the men who enlisted through their written words in diaries and letters.  A continuously running audio tells the story of a Central College students narrating his experience he wrote in letters that have been saved by his family.

Original Pictures of many soldiers from Knoxville, who served with the 8th Iowa Infantry and was imprisoned in  during the war.  A small album was given to that included the pictures of many of his officers and comrades.  Copies of these young soldiers’ pictures have an impact on how young many of the soldiers were that fought so bravely during this terrible war.

In a small room off the main exhibit room is an interactive children’s display.  Hard tack, for the tasting, games played in the 1860’s, plus a pup tent and clothing they can try on, will educate as well as entertain the youngest visitor to our exhibit.

The important role that woman played is displayed in the far corner of the exhibit.  The  items displayed bring to life the way the woman supported the war effort by supplying food, bandages, and kept the moral of their loved ones through their letters from home. With strength and fortitude they continued to keep their homes and farms functioning during the long difficult war years.

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