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posted: 4/18/2014 11:33 AM

Folk singer performs in support of Garfield Farm restoration

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Submitted by Garfield Farm Museum

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, folk singer Tom Neilson will perform at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva at 102 S. Second St., to benefit Garfield Farm Museum's 1842 barn restoration.

As part of Earth Day observation by the UUSG Social Justice and Green Sanctuary Committees, Tom Nielson will present an evening of political satire and social commentary. He is a winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival, the South Florida Folk Festival, IMA People's Choice Song of the Year, in addition to 21 awards and nominations. Singing since the age of 3, his music reflects a quick wit, creatively using folk music to make a point.

The evening will benefit Garfield Farm Museum's complete restoration of the museum's 1842 hay and grain barn. Built by Timothy Garfield and 50 neighbors between February and June of 1842, it was the fourth barn of its size to be built in Campton Township.

Since 1977, volunteers and donors from more than 3,800 households have contributed funds and labor to restore the farm as an 1840s working farm museum.

Hearing of the museum's efforts, the UUSG contacted the museum with an offer of help. Little did committee members realize that 160 years ago in November of 1854, a "Donation Visit" was held in Campton Township to support their first leader, the Rev. A.H. Conant.

In a recent gift to the museum, Jan Edwards of California donated her ancestor Gardensia Burr's copy of the handbill inviting people to Thomas Cooley's home for the benefit of the Rev. Conant on Thursday, Nov. 30, 1854.

On the handbill is a list of committee members totaling 30 people supporting this fundraiser. Not only is "Mr. T.P. Garfield and Lady" (Harriet) listed but so are two of Timothy's sons and two of his daughters, in addition to married and young single neighbors. Elderly people were expected to attend in the afternoon and the young people in the evening. Food was furnished by the ladies.

Although it is known that Harriet Garfield was a New England Baptist in practice, it is quite possible the Garfields and their Campton neighbors were supporting Conant for his strong support of abolition, a radical position for the era.

This is conjecture at this point as further research is needed.

A donation of $15 will be collected at the door. Specifics about the evening can be had by emailing For more information about the museum, call (630) 584-8485 or email

More information about Tom Neilson can be found on

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