A 20-minute film “Parallel Lives: The Story of Abraham Lincoln and Eliakim Sherrill,” will be screened starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14 at the Geneva Historical Society's Prouty-Chew Museum on South Main Street.
Katie Whalen, a Geneva High School senior, spent the past year researching and producing the film; Sherrill was a Union general during the Civil War. Whalen will be on hand after the screening to talk about about her research and the film.
Supervised by social studies teacher Phil Johnson, Whalen researched the project at the Geneva Historical Society Archives, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and at the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields. In April, she presented the film at a conference of the National Council for History Education in Williamsburg, Va.
In the film, Whalen explores the lives of Lincoln and Sherrill: both were elected to Congress in 1846, served one term and left politics. Both returned to politics in 1854, Sherrill as a New York State Senator and Lincoln in a run for the U.S. Senate. Both served their country and died as a consequence of the Civil War.
Sherrill moved in 1860 to a farm on North Street in Geneva. Two years later, he organized the 126th New York Volunteer Infantry, composed primarily of men from Ontario County. He and many other men of the 126th were killed in the Battle at Gettysburg in July 1863. He was buried in Geneva's Washington Street Cemetery and the city's Sherrill Street is named in his honor.
Whalen, a volunteer at Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, is interested in the Civil War, 19th-century clothing and dressmaking. She is considering a career as a museum curator.
Parking on the evening of the film screening will be available on South Main Street or in the Trinity Episcopal Church lot. For details on the program, call the museum office at (315) 789-5151.
This program is sponsored in part by the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programs in the Humanities.