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The life of Sam Whiting at WCHC May 9 (05/06/2012)
Winona Pioneer, Mariner, and Consul at Nassau 1862-63

Dr. William Crozier will present the life of Sam Whiting at the Winona County History Center, Wednesday, May 9 at 12:05 p.m.

Sam Whiting was an early Winona settler working for the newspaper, The Argus and the census. He was the Boatswain on the USS Release the ship that conducted a relief expedition sponsored by the US Navy to find the crew of a lost Artic expedition in 1855-57. In 1862 he was appointed U.S. Consul at Nassau. This turned out to be a historically significant post because Nassau, a British possession, was the transfer point for contraband goods, a gathering point for blockade-runners and the site of the “equipping” of the Oreto which was renamed the CSS Florida when it passed from British to CSA control. Whiting was also a writer and poet, a man of many talents.

There is a “dark” side—Whiting had a drinking problem that seriously affected his work and its significance. His enemies certainly used his weakness to defame and attack him. This problem adds a human aspect to Whiting’s life and work that must be take into consideration regarding the extent to which it affected his historical significance. In any case his work in Nassau was significant. He remained U.S. Consul till 1863. He returned to Winona and presented an address on his tenure as Consul.

Whiting’s writings, State Department documents, and other primary and secondary works are the sources for this presentation. The presentation will also include some illustrations and photographs (PowerPoint) and some handouts (examples of Whiting’s poetry etc). The Winona County Historical Society’s Food For Thought Lunchtime Learning Series is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch. This program is in conjunction with the traveling exhibit “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” on exhibit at the History Center now through June 8. “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War”, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War” is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center. Learn more by visiting www.winonahistory.org or call 507-454-2723.



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