“First Ladies, First!” to be presented at Wawasee High School

By Mary Hursh

Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were the wives of the first and second presidents of the United States, and, so much more!
These two women shared similar passions, which those in attendance at the “First Ladies, First!” program at Wawasee High School auditorium will learn. All are invited to this 2023 Patriotic Speaker Series event presented by Chautauqua-Wawasee from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. After the program, the annual Patriotic Pops concert on the lawn of the Oakwood Inn on Lake Wawasee will begin at 7:30 p.m. Carol Spacht and Kim Hanley, reenactment actors from the American Historical Theatre, will play Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, respectively. Because they are both experienced costume historians and seamstresses, they will be wearing costumes they made.

Martha Washington was born on June 2, 1731 at Chestnut Grove Plantation in Virginia. She married Daniel Custis in 1750. After his death, she married George Washington in 1759. When the Revolutionary War began, Martha worked with George at the Continental Army winter campground at Valley Forge as his secretary. She copied his letters, knitted for soldiers, and visited hospitals. Her passion was to raise money to help pay for uniforms and food for the soldiers. When George became president, Martha held public gatherings every Friday to receive members of Congress, dignitaries, and local citizens.
Abigail Adams was born on November 22, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although she did not receive a formal education, she could read and write and always championed women’s rights and the right for all to get a better education. She lived through the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Over that time period, she took care of the family farm and even made musket balls for soldiers out of melted utensils. Her letters to her husband John detailed life on the home front during the Revolutionary War. John became vice-president in 1788 and president in 1798. She, as well as Abigail Adams, promoted gender equality in public education, and equal rights for all people. She took the significant step of leaving a last will and testament claiming ownership of and the right to bequeath money that she had earned through her investments. “Abigal Adams just ended up in the right place at the right time for history to find her worthy,” said Hanley.

“Even though Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were of different backgrounds as far as socio-economic status, education, community involvement and lifestyle, they were both excellent managers of their home-economy. Both rose to the occasion presented to and required of their formidable husbands,” said Hanley. Carol Spacht, who will portray Martha Washington, studied theatre at Villanova University and graduated from Eastern University with degrees in literature and theatre arts. As a historic interpreter, she portrays several women from history. “Martha was a resilient woman. She was not afraid to speak her mind and make her own decisions,” said Spacht.

Three interesting facts about Martha are that historians believe Martha was probably left-handed and was forced to write with her right hand causing poor
penmanship; Martha’s beautiful needlework survives in the collections of Mt. Vernon; and Martha outlived all her children.For her presentation, Spacht will wear a 1790s hand-sewn silk gown. She will carry a period-appropriate fan. “Storytelling engages the imagination. The storyteller poses the question but encourages the listener to formulate his or her own response. Storytelling brings the past into the present with vibrancy,”
said Spacht.

Kim Hanley received her BFA degree from the State University of New York at Fashion Institute of Technology in the History and Restoration of Applied Arts. She began interpreting Abigail Adams with the American Historical Theatre in 1999. She has shared many portrayals of such women as Betsy Ross, Annie Oakley, ad Grace Coolidge with many historical and educational institutions around the country. She is an actor, singer, dancer, and costumer whose specialty is historical fashion.

When: Sunday, June 25th at 4:30 pm

Where: Wawasee High School Auditorium

Admission: FREE!

Patriotic Pops Concert

Patriotic Pops Concert-The Tradition Continues

Don’t miss the annual Patriotic Pops concert, featuring the Fort Wayne Philharmonic on Sunday, June 30th. This incredible outdoor event will take place on the Oakwood Resort lawn and is overflowing with the American Spirit!

Enjoy an evening of music featuring popular songs including Armed Forces Salute, Presidential Polonaise, and Sing Out America, concluding with the 1812 Overture. Led by Music Director Andrew Constantine, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic invites the public to attend. Be sure to bring a chair or blanket, or you may even anchor your boat near the beach at Oakwood Resort.

The whole family is welcome to attend. The concert starts at 7:30, but come early to enjoy a balloon artist and face painting for the kids. Don’t forget to stop by the Chautauqua-Wawasee tent to receive a patriotic gift.

This year’s concert is made possible by generous donations from various organizations and individuals, including the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Steel Dynamics Foundation, Chautauqua-Wawasee, Wawasee Property Owners Association, Harkless Foundation, Judy Pursley, Jim & Kay Young, and Al Zacher.


WHEN: June 25th, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The lawn at Oakwood Resort in Syracuse, Indiana

Chautauqua-Wawasee and Syracuse American Legion Post #223 are proud to present Taps Across the Water; a Memorial Day tribute that acknowledges and honors the sacrifices made by veterans and those who have fallen while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This solemn event will feature solo and echo renditions of Taps, and the participating musicians will include members of the community and surrounding areas, such as veterans, community bands, high school students, educators, and professionals.

The tribute will take place on Sunday, May 26th, (at dusk) at 9:09 pm, and will feature buglers playing Taps simultaneously, strategically placed on Wawasee, Syracuse Lake, and Papakeechie Lake. A jet fly-over will precede the playing of Taps.  Attendees can expect to hear Taps on all three lakes. To ensure that the tribute is given the respect it deserves, we kindly request that everyone observe one minute of silence starting at 9:08 pm, immediately prior to the performance. The musical director of this moving event is Dr. Matt Murdock, an esteemed educator who resides in North Webster.

We hope that you will join us for this moving and meaningful tribute, as we pay our respects to those who have served our country with honor and distinction.

Beautiful photo, courtesy of Larry Baumgardt.


What: Memorial Day Tribute
When: May 26, 9:08pm – 9:09pm
Where: Your pier, pontoon, shore at public areas, Lakeside Park, Oakwood

Follow us on Facebook or call 574-377-7543 for more details.



Here is your chance to show us family fun and see yourself ON THE BIG SCREEN!


We are providing a permanent link to upload your fun family videos if you wish to be included in our film festival this year!  The Film Festival is a collection of personal phone videos of individuals, friends or family having fun on the water or around their home. The videos are provided to Chautauqua Wawasee (CHQW) who will edit each to a short duration and combine with other videos for a one-time show on Saturday, August 5, from 10:00am to noon at the Pickwick Theater in Syracuse.


All individual submitters will receive a Chautauqua-Wawasee T-shirt (one per family). These will be handed out at the event, August 5!

Click HERE to upload your videos today!

Questions: Contact Debbie: debbie@CHQW.org (574)-377-7543

Cliff Kindy shared stories of his non-violent peacemaking as part of the Christian Peacemaking Team (CPT) to an audience of about 50 people last Wednesday night at a Chautauqua Wawasee event held at Oakwood.


Cliff and other CPT members were in a Baghdad hotel at the start of the Second Gulf War. They hoped that American pilots might refuse to bomb Iraq if they knew American grandparents were on the ground. They received a disturbing phone call – the bombings would begin in three hours. He asked the audience what they would do during those three hours and then paused to let them reflect. His CPT members shared emotions, prayed and sang songs.


Cliff shared other stories of his involvement in Iraq. One time, the CPT members were held at gunpoint. They also stayed at a water treatment plant to deter its bombing. In the First Gulf War, U.S. bombers targeted water treatment plants which later resulted in the death of 800,000 children from drinking bad water.

The CPT team was required to leave Iraq and drove through dangerous territory where they had a car accident. Several of the team members were hurt and Cliff himself sustained a life-threatening head injury. The injured were taken to an Iranian clinic that was bereft of medical supplies due to U.S. sanctions. The doctor overlooked the fact that, technically, these Americans were his enemy. He chose to see them as human beings in need, treated everyone’s injuries, and saved Cliff’s life.

Cliff also shared stories from other global troubled spots. He helped rebuild Palestinian homes destroyed by the Israeli military. He staged sit ins at the U.S. Navy bombing test grounds in Vieques, Puerto Rico resulting in several arrests. He also helped refugees return to their subsistence farms in Chiapas, Mexico, and helped refugees in Goma, Congo.

Churches and other groups in these trouble spots invited CPT to help. Cliff felt privileged to personally grow as he experienced the courage and nonviolent power of these local partners – what he calls “resurrection power.”

In each of these cases, Cliff and his CPT colleagues had to consider what tools they possessed to deter violence. Cliff then asked the audience what tools they currently possess. Responses included conservation, recycling, public transportation, restricting meat, not responding to fear, listening, and starting conversations with strangers. Cliff considered all of these tools as forms of resurrection power.


Cliff further explained that resurrection power stems from simple actions that tend to introduce hope into otherwise hopeless situations, oftentimes resulting in power shifts away from armed empires into the hand of ordinary people who are merely trying to survive.

Cliff and his wife, Arlene, live near North Manchester on a 7-acre organic farm. Their sole income comes from selling produce at farmers’ markets, intentionally keeping their income below federal tax levels to protest America’s $800 billion military budget. Solar panels supply their electricity and rainwater provides their water needs. Over the years, both Cliff and Arlene have participated in hundreds of disaster mission trips through the Brethren disaster relief ministries.

Arlene is planning to spend two months in Tennessee helping to rebuild communities devastated by flooding earlier this year. Cliff is seriously considering a request for CPT to fly to Ukraine and stay at a nuclear power plant in an effort to deter further Russian bombings.

In Resurrection Peacemaking: Plowsharing the Tools of War, Cliff Kindy explains that nonviolence is most effective when it intentionally retakes the initiative from the actors of violence. The New Testament is full of tools to retake the initiative for peace. Paul invites us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21); and to feed our enemies if they are hungry and to give them something to drink if they are thirsty (Romans 12:20). Jesus says to love our enemies by praying for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44); and to love our enemies by doing good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27-28). He said that the peacemakers are blessed (Matthew 5:9)!
Cliff further explains the implements and processes that plowshare violence and injustice. The tools of listening, crossing barriers that get built between people, truth, unarmed courage, accompaniment of threatened people, persistent protest in the face of injustice, and faith-based visioning will consistently overcome the weapons of violence, usually in the short run and always in the long run.

What: Presentation/Discussion/Workshop
When: Sept 28, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Oakwood Resort Event Center
Cost: Free

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Northern American History Series

Chautauqua-Wawasee and the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum are once again collaborating to offer a 3-day series of educational and entertaining programs focused on northern Indiana native American history. All programs are free to attend.

Thursday, September 1- 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Using Maps to Unlock the Past (1866 – 1903)

As Kosciusko County Surveyor, Mike Kissinger, has done a great deal of historical research and will share his findings and interest in Kosciusko County and the lakes area. Of special interest are old maps, Indian reservations, old schools/homes, and the stories of past residents.

About the Presenter: Mike Kissinger

Mike is a lifetime resident of the North Webster area and lives on the property that family acquired from the U.S. government in 1845. A 1979 graduate of Wawasee High School, he has worked in the County Surveyor’s Office for the past 41 years, Mike was licensed as a Professional Surveyor in 1999 and was selected as the County Surveyor when his friend & mentor, Richard Kemper, retired in 2015.


Friday, September 2- 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Reenacting Richard Stone’s Journal (1827-1842)

In 1827, as some of the first white settlers in Noble County, Richard Stone and his family set up a trading post at the junction of two highly traveled trails, known today as U.S. 33 & SR 5. The Indian village of Chiefs Papakeechie and Wawasee was just six miles away. Using Richard Stone’s journal, reenactor Jim Hossler will relate the life and times at the newly established trading post.

About the Presenter: Jim Hossler

Jim has lived in Noble County for the last 30 years. He has been a member of Stone’s Trace Historical Society for the last past 14 years, and the President for the last 9 years. Stone’s Trace is a historic site in Noble County that has restored Richard Stone’s tavern and three other pre-Civil War buildings. He and his wife, Pam, have five children and six grandchildren. He says “I’ve always enjoyed history, and I love teaching the kids and the people about Stone’s Trace.” Read more at www.stonestrace.com. A “Vintage Christmas” is planned for December 3, 1:00 –4:00pm. Jim owns and operates a small trucking company.



Saturday, September 3-  SIX individual programs are listed below 

Bring Your Own Artifact 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jim Bickel & Michelle Eddington

Do you have an old artifact that you aren’t sure what it is or when/where it originated? Jim and Michelle are available to examine your artifact and
(hopefully) tell you all about it.

Tribute to the Eastern Woodland Natives 10:00 – Noon /Led by Dan Lima, reenactor of Eastern Woodland Natives

Veteran reenactor Dan Lima will delight you with the lives of Potawatomi Chief Five Medals and Miami Chief Wawasee and his brother Chief
Papakeecha whose reservation was located near present-day Indian Village in Noble County.

 “Life and Times of Five Medals” discussion 10:00 – Noon  /Led by Mike Judson at WACF Amphitheater

Mike Judson, president of Five Medals Living History, Inc., will discuss the life and times of the Elkhart River Potawatomi Chief Wonongaseah (a.k.a. Five Medals).  Five Medals led his people in the defense of their homeland from the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 to the War of 1812.

1774 French Marine 10:00 – Noon /Led by Joe Zdziebko

Joe Zdziebko, dressed as a 1750s French Marine will display and discuss his equipment, uniform, musket, furs, maps, etc. He will also talk about old
sayings that are still used today.

Flintknapping Hands-on Demonstration 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jeff Mesaros

Want to know how native American artifacts were made by hand? Jeff Mesaros will show you how. And here’s your chance to try making one!

Atlatl Weapon Demonstration 10:00 – Noon /Led by Jamie Clemons

The atlatl was a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart or spear-throwing and includes a bearing surface that allows the user to
store energy during the throw. Jamie will be demonstrating types from around the nation and allowing the public to participate with samples.


Details: www.facebook.com/ChautauquaWawasee or

Over Memorial Day weekend, Chautauqua Wawasee and Syracuse American Legion Post 223 hosted the second annual “Taps Across the Water” to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

The following local men gave the last full measure of devotion to our country:


Civil War:

Hiram Bonner, John Bonner, Joseph Clemens, George Epert, George Gordy, Thomas Orr, David Snyder, Andrew Tom, James Veneman, Andrew Maloy, and Cyrus Weaver


World War 1:

Phil Garriott, Hugh Sloan, Fred Smeltzer, Bryan Vanpherson, and John Wilbur Wilkinson.


World War 2:

Curtis Bushong, Ernest Miller, Charles LeCount, Robert LeCount, Richard Ruple, Edward Whirledge, and Paul Thomas Xanders.


Korean era:

Carlyle Bob Weaver.


Vietnam War:

Max Irwin Baer, Dennis Lee Brock, Robert Wayne Ellis, Jerry Denver Thomas, and Kenneth Eugene Willard.


Second Iraq war:

Jim Snyder.


…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863.

We wanted to share this fun slideshow with you!

The kids had a great time making their very own art projects at the Oakwood Wawasee Fine Arts Festival this year!
We hope you enjoy this slideshow illustrating how very proud these young Picassos were.




Patriotic Pops Concert-The Tradition Continues

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is returning to Syracuse after a one-year absence to perform the annual patriotic pops concert at Lake Wawasee on Sunday, June 26.   The concert is held outdoors on the lawn of Inn at Oakwood Resort.  

This concert is a celebration of the American Spirit, featuring songs such as Armed Forces Salute, Presidential Polonaise, Sing Out America and others, concluding with the 1812 Overture.  The public is invited to attend, bringing a chair or blanket, or anchor your boat near the beach at Oakwood Resort Inn. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is led by Andrew Constantine, Music Director.

The whole family is invited.  The music starts at 7:30; come early to enjoy a balloon artist and face painting for children’s fun and entertainment.  Stop by the Chautauqua-Wawasee tent to receive a patriotic gift. 

This year’s concert is made possible by gifts from Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Steel Dynamics Foundation, Chautauqua-Wawasee, Wawasee Property Owners Association, Harkless Foundation, Judy Pursley, Jim & Kay Young, and Al Zacher.