“We Made History”   Presidential Living Historians



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Sent after Lucretia Garfield’s  appearance for the Delta Kappa Gamma retired teachers’ meeting in Mentor, OH on February 21, 2018: 

“Lucretia’s ‘candid chat’ certainly revealed interesting facets of her life with and without Mr. Garfield.  She was brought to life before our eyes as you not only beautifully looked the part, but your gentle manner of speaking and subtle sense of humor captured our attention.

We, as educators, appreciate the fine art of teaching and you indeed displayed your talent in successfully instructing us in a most engaging manner.

The books, photos, and handouts made for great visual aids to enhance your presentation.  Thank you for your careful attention to detail and willingness to tote these materials to the meeting.”  ~ Nancy Kurnat, Secretary

Received after Ulysses S. Grant’s  appearance for the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, OH on February 19, 2018: 

“Wonderful info during talk, it was closer to adult-oriented, but that is fine since the crowd was mainly adult.  It was also timed perfectly!  Visitors were very interested in talking to Grant on the museum floor...  We really appreciated having him here for the whole day as well.”  ~ Michael Fouts, Interpreter

Received after George Washington’s  appearance for the Bainbridge (OH) Historical Society on February 14, 2018: 

“What a wonderful program you presented to our group earlier this month.  It’s probably the best we’ve ever had…  It’s obvious that you’ve spent a great deal of time researching your subject.  In addition, you really look like George Washington, and your period costume is beautiful.

Most of the comments from the group involved your keen memory and knowledge of your subject.  ‘Did you notice he didn’t use notes, he could pluck answers out of the air without hesitation?’

You can’t be thanked enough for your interesting and enlightening presentation – we loved it.  You can be assured we’ll be telling everyone about it.”  ~ Harriet A. Novy, Secretary

From George Washington’s visit to the Bainbridge Historical Society in Bainbridge, OH on February 14, 2018: 

You have his spirit within you.”

Received after We Made History appeared at Presidents’ Day events in Hudson and Mentor, OH in February 2018

“Just think about all the chatter today in lunchrooms and classrooms across northeast Ohio... ‘Hey, didja know George Washington's teeth weren't made of wood...Hey, didja know James A. Garfield lived in Mentor and that Abe Lincoln lives in Illinois...or, Hey, didja know Taft got stuck in the bathtub; yep, took a dozen men and a crane to get him out,’ etc., etc. 

 All kidding aside, more than a few people now have some tidbits of knowledge they didn't have before.  And that, colleagues, is what it's all about.”  ~ Dale Liikala, former portrayer of William H. Taft

 From President Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Grace Church in Middleburgh Hts., OH on February 10, 2018:

 “John came to serve us any way he could.  He came to engage our group by visiting at most every table prior to his presentation.  That was quite a feat, given that we had 32 tables.  His stories were very engaging as well.  A+.”  ~ Pastor Jim Hicks

Thank you note received after the Garfields appeared at the James A. Garfield Birth Site Park benefit held at the Chagrin Valley Country Club in Moreland Hills, OH on November 4, 2017:

“Please accept our sincere appreciation for your time and talent in promoting our James A. Garfield Birth Site Park. The integrity, stories, authenticity that you bring is so very much appreciated.  I can’t explain how your support over the last years has empowered our group to forge ahead.”  ~ Maureen Geck, president Moreland Hills Historical Society

From the Lake History Center’s Fall Dine-Around held at Lawnfield Inn & Suites in Mentor, OH on November 1, 2017: 

“I  am continually amazed at your depth of knowledge about Lucretia.  Every time I hear you [Debbie Weinkamer] speak, I learn more and more about her.  I am awed with the entire presentation.  I wonder, do you become her in your dreams?” ~ Pat Coil, Volunteer – James A. Garfield NHS, Mentor, OH

Received after the Farley-Garfield Family Reunion at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, OH on August 11, 2017: 

I confess that I saved the best adventure for last... This was a delightful visit and tour. The National Park Service went out of their way for us and all there were great, but the star of the show was Lucretia Garfield (AKA Debbie Weinkamer).” ~ Jim Woods

From Abraham & Mary Lincoln’s visit to the I-77 WV Welcome Center in Williamstown, WV on June 20, 2017: 

“More than met our expectations.  They are the ‘hit’ of our celebration – 3 hrs. of non-stop smiles, info, entertainment.  This is our fourth year celebrating WV’s birthday with the Kings.  Our celebration wouldn’t be the same without them.  Both are very knowledgeable, friendly, kind, patient, and engaging with our hundreds of guests who flock to meet them.  Marian even shared a couple of recipes (Abe’s favorite cake/pie).  Once a visitor asked ‘Abe Lincoln’ to recite the Gettysburg Address, which he did entirely by memory.  There is not enough room on this sheet to truly express how wonderful John and Marian are both as themselves and as the characters they portray.  Simply The Best.  Thank You!!”  ~ Debbie Florence, Supervisor – WV Division of Tourism

Received after Abraham Lincoln’s  appearance for a birthday party in Mentor, OH on June 4, 2017: 

“John came to speak at my daughter’s 9 year old birthday party.  She is a huge Abe Lincoln fan.  John’s visit, as Abe, was the highlight of her 9th birthday party.  It was a surprise for her and boy was she surprised.  John did a wonderful job portraying Abe.  He not only looked like Abe, but he was extremely knowledgeable.  He did a great job keeping my daughter, her friends, and even the adults engaged.  You can tell John is passionate about portraying Abe and it shows.  He was on time to the party and made sure he spent adequate time with my daughter.  I am so glad I found him as it made my daughter’s day.  She is already asking for him to come back.  After John left I had several adults comment on how much he looked like Abe and how talented he was.  A few of them said that they learned new information about Abe.  It was pure joy having him at my home.  I would most certainly recommend him to others!  Thank you again.” ~ Karolyn Osborne

Received after Mary Lincoln and Lucretia Garfield’s “Conversation” at the Peace Bear Project Inc.’s Fund Raising Luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg, OH on May 20, 2017: 

“Excellent portrayal!  Very informative and engaging conversation.  Audience enjoyed and responded appropriately and asked questions.  Waiting for [the] train is a good way to end when time is up – another natural way for 2 women to part.” ~ Colleen Thompson

From Mary Lincoln’s visit to the CCPL – North Royalton Branch Library in North Royalton, OH on April 18, 2017: 

“Mrs. Lincoln was thoroughly engaging throughout the presentation.  Our audience of 53 raved about the program and asked for more.” ~ Laura Piskac

From George Washington’s visit to Willoughby Middle School in Willoughby, OH on March 1, 2017: 

“Dale made history come alive today!  He answered all of students’ questions and more!  Kids loved the presentation.  Thank you for sharing your gift!”  ~ Christy Downs, Social Studies teacher

 From Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Mt. Zion Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Erie, PA on February 11, 2017: 

“Mr. King was patient, kind and engaging!  His presence and knowledge sparked excitement and curiosity!”                                                                          ~ Jamie Gore, Head Elder

Recently received from the residents and families after George Washington’s appearance at Independence Village in Aurora, OH: 

“The re-enactor’s command of history was remarkable.  I learned more about and now appreciate more the brilliance of our first president George Washington.”   ~ George M.

“I have been to colonial Williamsburg and this was as excellent of a presentation as I have experienced there.  George Washington was portrayed with skill, respect, and with historical accuracy.  Well done and well-prepared!”
~Jan Schmidt-Akron, OH

“I learned things I didn’t know!  George Washington’s presentation was amazing!  The genius of our first President was brought to life in a beautiful performance of both personal and professional triumphs.  Thank you to Mr. Fellows.”  ~ J. Nedlecker

“Excellent presentation!  Brought our 1st President to life.  Extremely knowledgeable of history.  Thoroughly enjoyed this event.  I recommend this re-enactor to every grade school, high school, and university.” ~ Nick Adamo-Twinsburg, OH 

“You would not know this was a reenactment.  I felt as though George Washington was really in front of us and engaging in conversation with us!  Highly enjoyable event!”   ~Mary M.                             

From the Widow Lucretia Garfield’s program at the Ohio State Medical Association Alliance’s Fall Conference at the Lodge in Geneva, OH on September 22, 2016:

                “Comments from conference attendees was very positive!  There was not a question Mrs. Garfield did not field – very knowledgeable.

                   Warm and engaging with the audience.  Highly recommend to others!” ~ Kris Firth, President

From Abraham & Mary Lincoln’s visit to Yours Truly Restaurant in Hudson, OH to meet with Great Day! Tours’ group on July 12, 2016: 

                “Very knowledgeable about the Lincolns and played their roles very believably.” ~ Jan Rossick, Tour Director

Received after President James A. Garfield’s appearance at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont, OH on November 11, 2015:

 “I heard a report from one of the families that her girls were really enthralled by seeing a former president.  You must have won them over.” ~ Dustin McLochlin, Education Coordinator

Received after the Lincolns’ appearance at Messiah Lutheran Church in Ashtabula, OH on April 10, 2016:

 “Mr. and Mrs. King are extremely well-versed on the lives and history of Lincoln and present their program with dignity and   charm.” ~ Ruth Hlinovsky

Comment received after the Memoirs of U.S. Grant program at the Friends of the Austintown (OH) Library Meeting and Presentation on February 22, 2016:

“One woman [from the audience] was telling me that she really wasn't interested in history, but came because she was curious.  She told me how impressed she was with the dramatic nature of Grant's life and, in her words, she felt ‘spellbound.’”

From Dinner with the Presidents at Yours Truly Restaurant in Mentor, OH on February 15, 2016: 

“It’s just really great, especially because it’s on Presidents’ Day.  It makes it real, which is neat.  It’s not just something in a book.” ~ Stacy Neace, Mentor

“Personally, I was really impressed.  It was amazing.  I would definitely come again.  It was outstanding.” ~ Bonnie Swatowski, who said she was “especially impressed with how well the historians stayed in character.”

Comment on Facebook following George Washington’s appearance at the Northcoast Lions Club in Willowick, OH on February 9, 2016:

“One of the best programs that we have had!!” Greta Meyer Pate~ Attendee

From Widow Lucretia Garfield’s “Life after President Garfield” program at the NEO Civil War Round Table in Wickliffe, OH on January 12, 2016: 

“Ms. Weinkamer took on the persona of Lucretia Garfield around the turn of the century, reminiscing about her life with the martyred president and beyond.  She obviously has a wealth of knowledge about the first lady and she presented it in an organized and entertaining way.

She also brought a number of items (including several newspapers from the period) that she used to develop interest before our meeting began.  It was a fascinating evening.  We’ve had several We Made History presentations and Ms. Weinkamer certainly must be among the best of a very good group.”  ~ Franco Sperrazzo,  Events Coordinator

Received after Mary Todd Lincoln’s visit to the Strongsville (OH) Historical Society on November 17, 2015:

 “The attendance was about 70 individuals, much higher than our typical meeting of 40.  So I know the topic was interesting.  However, Marian’s many tidbits about Mary Todd Lincoln brought the positive comments from attendees.  She was able to answer all questions.  She and her stories of Mary Todd Lincoln were delightful.  I now know at least 6 things I didn’t know previously.  Thank you!’” ~ Jean Wittrock, Vice President

From Log Cabin to White House ~ the Life of President James A. Garfield performed for the Middlefield (OH) Historical Society on October 10, 2015: 

“This early northeast Ohioan, who had such an interesting and well-reputed career as educator, military leader, and renowned though short-lived presidency, was ably portrayed by Mr. Edward Haney.  Our sincere thanks to Mr. Haney/President Garfield, who presented this living memorial to a great Ohioan.”  ~ Gilberta Town

From Mary Todd Lincoln & Lucretia Garfield’s “Conversation” at the Western Reserve Society Sons of the American Revolution in Cleveland, OH on October 23, 2015: 

“Debbie and Marian were informative and entertaining.  This was one of our best programs.  Heard many compliments from members and guests.”  ~ William Shanklin,  1st Vice President, WRSSAR

Received after Abraham Lincoln’s appearance at the Ashtabula County (OH) Covered Bridge Festival on October 10 - 11, 2015: 

“He is a wonderful addition to any history-related event!  He always exceeds our expectations!”  ~ Ginger Whitehead

Received after James & Lucretia Garfield’s visit to the Watson Family Reunion held in Moreland Hills, OH on October 3, 2015:

 “The Garfields’ visit became the high point of our gathering.  Many thanks!’” ~ Katie & Jon Martin

From “Meet the Presidents” (Washington, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, & Taft) at the Wadsworth (OH) Public Library on July 16, 2015: 

“It was a pleasure having you all out!  We had great feedback from the community!”  ~ Joe Risdon

Received after the Lincolns’ appearance at the Lincoln Funeral Train held in Painesville, OH on June 6 - 7, 2015:

 “The Kings (Lincolns) played a key role in making our Lincoln Funeral Train event a memorable day for our guests and a great success for our Painesville Railroad Museum.  Thanks again for your participation…it was greatly appreciated!’” ~ James Wendorf, President

Comments received after Widow Lucretia Garfield’s appearance at the UMW Rose Luncheon held in Norwalk, OH on June 3, 2015:

 “Debbie was so personable and warm.  We had so many favorable comments.  Everyone said what a great program it was.” ~ Nancy Hoffecker, UMW - Norwalk FUMC

Comment to James and Lucretia Garfield following their “Civil War Letters” program for Skye Bistro’s “Lunch & Lecture” series in Mentor, OH on May 5, 2015:

“You two are SO convincing!” ~ Attendee

From Mary Todd Lincoln’s visit to Normandy Senior Living in Rocky River, OH on April 24, 2015: 

“Amazing!”  ~ Jen Lee

Received after James Garfield’s appearance at the Mentor Christian Church fund raiser in Mentor, OH on March 21, 2015:

 “Mr. Haney is very professional.  It is always a wonderful program and we hear wonderful comments from all the guests.’” ~ Renee Simko, Secretary – MCC

Received after Mary Todd Lincoln’s afternoon at the Chardon Friends of the Library Tea in Chardon, OH on April  12, 2015:

“Mary Lincoln was a delightful presenter.  She joined the tea and interacted as Mary with the women attending.  Several were heard to comment after… ‘It’s like Mary was actually here.’  Thank you so much.” ~ Betty Wallis

Received after Lucretia Garfield’s appearance at the Upper St. Clair Coterie’s Luncheon  held in Pittsburgh, PA on April 9, 2015:

 “On behalf of everyone in attendance this afternoon, we want to say ‘Thank You’ for a most informative and entertaining program. Your portrayal of Lucretia transported us all back in time.  You truly did make history ‘come alive!’” ~ Marlene Ganassi & Charmaine Patterson (Luncheon Hostesses)

Comment to Lucretia Garfield following her program at the Eastlake (OH) Public Library on March 24, 2015:

“You can sure spin a good yarn!” ~ Attendee

Said by an audience member to Lucretia Garfield (a.k.a. Debbie Weinkamer) after her “Dear Wife & Mother” program for the Mentor Woman’s Club on October 13, 2014:

 “I thought this was going to be really boring…  But it wasn’t!!”

 From President Lincoln’s reading of the “Gettysburg Address” to accompany the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” played by the Port Clinton (OH) High School Band at their Sousa Concert on May 17, 2014:

 “Wow!  John is the best!  He and his wife were the highlight of our event.  Bravo!”  ~ Rod Miller, Band Director

 “Goosebumps!” ~ Jean Rhodes, Audience Member

 Received after We Made History’s visit to John McIntire Elementary School in Zanesville, Oh for their “A Night in History” on March 20, 2014:

 “A wonderful night!  I only wish they were closer to Zanesville so I could use them more often! ” ~ Kacey Cottrill, Principal

 “The students really enjoyed all the speakers.  I like how you brought props [about the presidential characters] to display.” ~ Literacy Team, Grades 4, 5, 6

From teachers at Normandy Elementary School after the WMH troupe’s visit for “History Alive!” on February 13, 2014:

               “My students loved the assembly. (I did too!)  I have a few students who are really interested in American History and seeing the looks on their faces when the Presidents walked into the classroom [after the assembly] was priceless!  This was a new and successful idea.  Thanks!  Let’s do it again!”

              “We enjoyed the classroom visits very much.  The living historians were amazing!  I appreciated the detail of their costumes, hair, make-up, etc.  I also appreciated how they all focused on the importance of education.”

              “What a wonderful experience for the students to see presidents and first ladies up close and personal.  I loved the whole school together for such a patriotic assembly!” 

               “I loved how they stayed in character…  I also loved how a question from a student became a story about their [the President’s or First Lady’s] experiences.  What a memorable day for the students.”

Received after General Washington’s visit to the Valley of Youngstown, Scottish Rite on February 17th:

“Excellent program.  Very knowledgeable and informative.  More than worth the cost.” ~ Randal Davis

 After President & Mrs. Lincoln’s visit on February 12, 2014 to Normandy Manor Retirement Community in Rocky River:

“We enjoyed the presentation.  It was nice that they went around to visit other residents and staff afterwards and we were able to take pictures.  Thanks.”  ~ Tammy Danilovic 


About Debbie Weinkamer as Lucretia Garfield: James R. Garfield II, the great-grandson of President James Garfield, used to say,

 “If I want to know anything about my ancestors, I ask Debbie.”

Debbie Weinkamer about Ed’s and her joint programs:

“We know we’ve convinced the audience that we are the Garfields when they ask, ‘Are you married in real life?’”


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We Made History- a group of living historical re-enactors who are more than impersonators of historical figures-they are serious portrayers of U.S. Presidents and First Ladies

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Last modified: 08/23/2018