By Daniel Salazar
“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” said Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It’s been over 150 years since Mr. Lincoln gave his speech, and it seems apparent that those words are more relevant in our society than ever. It seems that throughout history, leaders have left their mark and advice for the future, and thankfully because of people who care, these lessons will not be forgotten. Friday, November 16th, at around 12:30 in the afternoon, students gathered in the student center at the Muscatine Community College to hear O.J Fargo give a first-person presentation about the American Civil War.
Dressed in a Union uniform from head to toe with rifle in hand, O.J was ecstatic to start his presentation. The crowd waited patiently, and contrary to what some people might think, a large crowd of students were there of their own free will wanting to learn more about the Civil War. All of a sudden, O.J wasn’t O.J anymore. From then on, he was to be known as Thomas Goodfellow, born in August, and lived in Rock Island, Illinois. He spoke about moving to Iowa and being inspired to join the Army. He explained to us that he joined because he wanted to be a hero! To walk down the street in uniform and actually get paid good money was incredible, and that, at the very least he would die, and a statue would be erected in his honor.
Goodfellow told them about the call for 1,000 soldiers from the governor and how he received 1,500 men willing to serve. He even went on to describe the training they received and placing hay in one boot and straw in the other, so even if you didn’t know left from right you knew hay from straw, as well as the experience of going on rations and the way the soldiers actually fought. Goodfellow was kind enough to let people try on his uniform and hold his rifle. Like any good fellow, Mr. Goodfellow could not leave without thanking his wife and reminding people of the database they are able to tap into to locate relatives from Muscatine and surrounding areas who fought in the war. At the end of the presentation, O.J thanked everyone for coming and encouraged students to come to Civil War reenactments and not be afraid to dive into history.