Pontiac, Michigan -- With the 5th Michigan Regiment Band playing nearby, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson unveiled the "Oakland County in the Civil War" map during a news conference today at the Governor Moses Wisner House in Pontiac to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this month.
The map, which highlights stories about what the people of Oakland County accomplished during the Civil War, will be available to the public for $20 at the One Stop Shop in Oakland County's Executive Office Building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. The map is also available to historical societies and commissions, museums, libraries, universities and schools.
"We encourage you to use the map to locate those special places that can connect you with the history that is uniquely Oakland County and to embark on your own exploration of the Civil War," Patterson said. "Our goal is to get this map into every Oakland County classroom."
Carol Bacak-Egbo, a member of the Oakland County Historical Commission and employee of Waterford Schools, is responding to that call to place the map in every Oakland County classroom. She administers a federal Teaching American History grant locally. Bacak-Egbo will use some of her grant money to develop a curriculum around the map.
"This map is a treasure trove of stories and facts for Oakland County students," said Patterson.
Those Civil War stories include:
- A remarkable story of a woman from Holly who enlisted disguised as a man and later became a spy for the Union
- The Rochester soldier spared from a Confederate hanging because of the intervention of a confederate family with whom he had shared his food rations
- The Lake Orion teacher who became the Commander of Michigan’s 102nd Colored Regiment
The map also notes the locations of 12 confirmed Underground Railroad stations and 13 unconfirmed Underground Railroad stations that exist today in Oakland County.
An electronic version of the map will be available to the public in the near future. So far, Oakland County has requests for more than 350 maps from 14 historical societies and commissions, four museums and libraries, and four universities.
Patterson acknowledged his staff in Planning & Economic Development Services and the people who volunteered countless hours to gather the historical data and that made the map possible. They include:
- Jennifer Radcliff, chairperson of the Oakland County Historical Commission (OCHC)
- Melissa Luginski from the OCHC who contacted all Oakland County museums, historical societies, and libraries, among others to gather facts for the map
- Rochelle Danquah, vice chair of the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, who provided much of the information about the Underground Railroad
- Mike West, president of the Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society (OCPHS), and Ray Henry, director of the OCPHS, for donating use of the Governor Moses Wisner House and contributing to the creation of the map
"I think the map creates an opportunity to share Oakland County Civil War era history with students and adults," said Luginski. "It also creates an opportunity for Cultural Tourists (including Genealogists) to travel Oakland County and experience our many Civil War era and Underground Rail Road points of interest."
Moses Wisner was Michigan's 12th Governor whose one term (January 5, 1859 – January 2, 1861) ended just prior to the Civil War commencing. His home at Pine Grove, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, was the executive mansion and office during his term.
Wisner worked to raise the 22nd Michigan Infantry and was commissioned a Colonel. He died in September 1862 at the age of 47 in a private home near Lexington, Kentucky after he was stricken with typhoid fever while en route to his regiment's deployment.
For more information about obtaining the "Oakland County in the Civil War" map, call the One Stop Shop at 248-858-0720.