Cessation Celebration in Keokuk

Apr 25, 2014

The Lee County Historical Society decided to offer something new this year as part of the annual Civil War Reenactment in Keokuk.

President Sue Olson said the organization also wanted to kick off the weekend festivities, thus the Cessation Celebration.

The food table was a popular place during the Cessation Celebration
The food table was a popular place during the Cessation Celebration
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

"That is what we are doing, we are just starting out with a bang and moving on to the cannons that make the big bang."

Olson said the end of the Civil War was a joyous time and it was celebrated in towns throughout the country.

This celebration at the Samuel Miller House and Museum featured live music, period costumes, and plenty of period food, including white almond cake.

The white almond cake was made in honor of one of the special guests for the event, former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Max Daniels of Wheaton, Il. portrays the president at events throughout the Midwest.

President Lincoln's "favorite" - White Almond Cake
President Lincoln's "favorite" - White Almond Cake
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

He said Lincoln especially enjoyed white almond cake.

"The favorite cake has really taken on a life of its own.  Mr. Lincoln was not a picky eater so whatever Mrs. Lincoln would fix, Mr. Lincoln would eat.  For some reason, someone along the way decided that the white almond cake was his favorite," Daniels said.

Daniels' wife, Donna, who portrays Mary Todd Lincoln, said white almond cake was one of the only recipes she knew when they got married.

There was plenty of white almond cake to go around for the dozens who attended the celebration.

President Lincoln (Max Daniels) poses for a photo.
President Lincoln (Max Daniels) poses for a photo.
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

President Lincoln had plenty to do during the event, greeting guests at the front door and even delivering the Gettysburg Address.

Donna Daniels said it was a great idea to hold a reception to start the reenactment.

"By the time we get to Sunday afternoon and the end of the battle, when you would expect to have something like this, most of the re-enactors are trying to pack up and get back home."

The actual battles will occur at 2:30 P.M. both Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27.