The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society will host its Society Program at 2 p.m. Sept. 16, featuring Peter Tomasak, co-author of the forthcoming book "The Fishing Creek Confederacy: A Story of Civil War Draft Resistance." The book will be released in October.
As the battles of the Civil War continued for months, and then years, many Union sympathizers tired of the imposed draft. Several like-minded men gathered at the barn of John Rantz near Fishing Creek to discuss an appropriate response. Word leaked out that an "uprising" was being plotted. The federal government deployed 800 troops to Fishing Creek in August 1864.
Forty-four males were arrested, some as young as 14 and some as old as 75. They were marched to Fort Mifflin, some not surviving the march or the subsequent incarceration. The arrested men had no access to civil courts, instead, they were tried in military courts. In 1866, the U.S. Supreme Court declared military arrest and trial of civilians unconstitutional.
Tomasak has been writing professionally since 1995, with five books and more than half a dozen magazine articles to his credit. He has been researching the Civil War and the local history of Luzerne, Columbia and Sullivan counties since 1973. Co-authored with Dr. Richard A. Sauers, "The Fishing Creek Confederacy" was produced in an attempt, according to Tomasak, "to write a comprehensive, complete and concise history of how the elite took advantage of the undereducated of the area and incense them with rhetoric that was almost impossible to not get overly excited and defensive about."
Combining the Thursday morning Coffee Hours with its Sunday afternoon Society Programs, the Lecture Series explores aspects of the U.S. Civil War. Historical organizations throughout the country are honoring the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which began in 1861 and ended in 1865.
The program is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.tabermuseum.org.