Retired Naval Commander Owen Corpin has once again arranged the annual Watch Night in Peterboro on Monday, December 31, 2018 to commemorate the wait on December 31st, 1862 through the night to see if President Abraham Lincoln would release the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on the first day of January 1863.
The free program begins at 11:30 am on Monday, December 31, at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro, at which time a copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation from the NYS Museum will be on exhibit.
A light lunch will be shared at noon with brief introductory programs on the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and watch nights and proclamations. The watch fire will then be ignited On the Green where the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will be read. Proclamation copies will be provided.
According to The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the exhibit of the Proclamation organized by the Board of Regents, New York State Education Department, that toured the state in 2013:
On September 22, 1862, following the Union victory at Antietam, President Lincoln issued this document, ordering that in 100 days the federal government would deem all slaves free in those states still rebelling against the Union. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is the only surviving Proclamation document in Lincoln’s own hand.
In 1864, Lincoln donated the document to the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which raffled it off at the Albany Relief Bazaar to help raise money for the Union war effort. Abolitionist Gerrit Smith won the raffle after buying 1,000 tickets at $1 apiece. Smith then sold the document to the New York State Legislature, with funds going to the Sanitary Commission. The legislature, in turn, deposited the document in the New York State Library, where it remains today.
Owen Corpin, a native of Peterboro, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1974 and served around the world in many locations on many vessels, including the Forrestal, Kennedy, and Saratoga aircraft carriers, for 20 years as an aviator.
Admission is free. For more information call (315) 280-8828 or email [email protected]