Civil War Era wedding at the PA Heritage Festival

Civil War Era wedding at the PA Heritage FestivalPictured is the Children’s Church. Provided photo.

The PA Heritage Festival had a very special event this year, the Civil War Era wedding of Suzanne Billings and Richard Korb. Performed by Rev Ron Kelley (who also is a Civil War Re-eanactor Pastor), the wedding was held in the Children’s Church and followed by a public ceremony on the grounds of the Civil War Encampment.

How did the idea of a wedding at the Heritage festival begin?

Civil War Era wedding at the PA Heritage Festival
Pictured, are Suzanne and Richard Korb. Provided photo.

Both Rich and Suzanne are new to Civil War reenacting and members of the 137th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Rich joined at Old Mill Village in New Milford, Pa. and then Suzanne joined the155th Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment, Gettysburg, Pa. With support from the 137th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Rich has been invited to participate in reenactments in New York and Pennsylvania.  

Many personalities are ever present in the world and Rich is very outgoing through conversation with new people. One new conversation was with Pastor Ron Kelly. 

Rich met Pastor Kelly during the 2018 PA Heritage Festival in Troy, Pa., and came up with the idea of a real wedding in the Little Children’s Church and a reenactment wedding in camp at the 2109 PA Heritage Festival. 

Fast forward to September 2109, visitors were able to observe a Civil War wedding between a soldier, Private Richard, and civilian, Suzanne.  

“We both represented a lower income wedding in a Civil War camp,” said Suzanne, adding, “No frills, just the basics of a union between a man a woman during time of war. Rich in uniform and I in a camp dress.” 

Pastor Ron Kelly officiated at the ceremony. After the marriage, Rich was sent off to reenact a battle, while Suzanne waited for him to return.  

Charles Rockwell of Canton donated the Children’s Church, on the grounds of the Heritage Village and Farm Museum, to the museum in 2007. The Rockwell family used this building as a hen house in the 1880’s. In the early 1930’s the hen house was no longer in use and Charles asked his father if the building could be used as a church for children. 

Twelve-year-old Charles and his 13 year old sister Jane started a church for children in 1937. Charles preached the sermons and Jane played the pump organ. It became a church for children and run by children. No adults were allowed. From simple beginnings it became quite a success. Inside the church are photos of the early church, Charles preaching, his congregation of children as well as a clipping of a 1938 story about the church in ‘Life’ magazine.

The Heritage Village and Farm Museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. until the end of October. 

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