The Robertson County Historical Society presented their 22nd Evening In Elmwood event at the Springfield Middle School Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Evening In Elmwood is an annual fundraiser for the Historical Society which helps fund exhibits, educational programs and operating expenses for the Robertson County History Museum.
“While we normally host the event at the Springfield City-owned Elmwood Cemetery, we decided on Thursday with all of the rain predicted for the weekend, we would need to move it indoors this year. I would like to add because of the COVID-19 Pandemic we also postponed the event from June to October," said History Museum Director Stacey Knight. “We were determined to host the popular event because we had a terrific lineup of five historical figures from Robertson County's past who made a significant impact to make our community so unique.
“We just knew people would want to see it. Plus, we also had the Inglewood Old Time String Band performing Americana music throughout the evening.”
Evening In Elmwood Chairman Jackie Bradshaw said, "Historical figures like Dr. Archibald Thomas, who was a 19th century physician and surgeon Dr. Thomas was also a friend of Andrew Jackson and served with the General during the Battle of New Orleans. Thomas was portrayed by Stan Stanley.
Miss Sue Taylor was Springfield's first librarian. Many Baby Boomers remember Miss Sue when she ran the Springfield Library when it was located in the Glenn Memorial Building on Fifth Avenue. She served in that capacity for over 40 years and introduced the children from that time to novels, historical biographies, and books on the Bell Witch and Dinosaurs. Miss Sue Taylor was portrayed by Sarah East Head.
Another historical figure featured at Evening In Elmwood was Dr. John Freeman, who was also a physician and surgeon who during his storied career, delivering over 6,000 babies. Freeman was an inspiring force in the organization of the first Robertson County Hospital and was on the front lines fighting a deadly worldwide pandemic called the Spanish Flu in 1918 that took countless lives locally and worldwide. Freeman was portrayed by Jon Graves.
Our fourth character came from Monroe, La. and married into a famous Springfield family. Caroline Logan Garner was an early 20th century homemaker and mother who also became involved in one of the most contentious events since the Civil War - the dramatic fight for women gaining the right to vote which celebrated this year its 100th anniversary of passage. Garner was portrayed by Nelda Atchley.
Our fifth character was Miss Lena Bransford, a beloved educator who taught African-American children for over 60 years. She had two schools dedicated to her memory because of her devotion and efforts to educate children during the dark times of Jim Crow and segregation. In fact, over 50 years after her death a new Springfield Community Center will also bear her name. Bransford was portrayed by Tameshia Martin.
Historical Society President Danny Atchley said, "Even though we didn't host the event at Elmwood Cemetery, it was still a sellout. We knew even with moving it indoors at the SMS auditorium, we could and would practice social distancing. We also had five wonderful actors who brought each one of the characters to life and told their compelling life stories in the first person.
“They were so believable during the presentation, you would swear that the historical figure was really there in person.”