Adventure Cut Short

Gettysburg Military park in a snow storm and canons.

It’s just not the same.

Gettysburg is not meant to be seen in the snow.  It is just not the same.  It should be hot and sticky to be truly appreciated.  This is what I told myself anyway as the club made plans to return home early.  The projected snowstorm would engulf the entire area we would need to drive through to get home.  And the mountains of Pennsylvania are no place to be in a white out.

Instead of returning Tuesday as planned, the History Club spent three of the six hours we intended in Washington, DC then returned to Gettysburg where we got in our cars and drove home.  Thankfully, we did not run into any snow until we were about five miles outside of Batavia.  It was a little sad to cut things short, but we were all home safe.



History Club Campaign Advances to Washington, DC


The shivering never ended.

Whether it was contemplating the White House and it’s occupant or maybe it was just the weather, the shivering never ended.  Still, the members of the History Club persevered in their quest to make the most of their Spring campaign.

Among the many stops in DC were the Lincoln, Vietnam, World War II and Jefferson Memorials.  We also visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument, made a brief stop by the Capital and the White House.  The club also tendered their respects to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, though only one rather eccentric member of the group knew exactly who he was.




GCC History Club Conquers the National Civil War Museum


Departing from the itinerary, which had featured a trip to Harper’s Ferry, WV, the History Club opted instead for a more indoor adventure after braving the wind and the cold for several days.  The new destination was the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.  It was an interesting experience to be sure, though a bit disappointing to the expert leading the group.

The day turned suddenly brighter with the discovery of a massive indoor used book store in downtown Harrisburg that caused drooling and awe for at least one member of the group.  In fact, he had to be sedated and bodily removed from the store amid cries of “Oh, let me stay.  Let me die here.”  For the good of all, the club removed to Gettysburg and good order was restored.

History Club Ventures to Gettysburg


Despite bone-chilling cold and patches of snow, the determined members of the GCC History Club made their way to the battlefield of Gettysburg today.  Quite contrary to the conditions the soldiers endured in July 1863, the students would have gladly accepted the woolen uniforms discarded by the troops at that time.

In the photo above, the group sits atop the Devil’s Den.  This was a site that must be seen to be believed.  Huge glacial boulders made for a unique fighting environment during the battle on the second day of fighting.  Beyond the Devil’s Den, top right in the picture, is Little Roundtop which was also the scene of gruesome fighting.



“Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson: A Secret Correspondence”

Emerging Revolutionary War Era


Arguably the most fascinating friendship in early America was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  Partners in declaring independence, the pair would become like brothers while on assignment in Europe.  But the strain of political discord and partisan strife would first stretch and finally break the bonds first forged in Philadelphia.  Only after both men were retired to their beloved homes, Adams at Peacefield in Quincy, MA, and Jefferson at Monticello in Charlottesville, VA, would the friendship be renewed.  But a decade would pass in which the men did not meet nor correspond with each other.  There was, however, a brief correspondence that passed between those locations in those silent years involving Thomas Jefferson and an Adams – Abigail, wife of the second president.

Unbeknownst to her husband, Abigail Adams initiated a correspondence with Jefferson in 1804 after the death of the Virginian’s youngest daughter Mary, often called Polly.  Back…

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Sonny Mayo Concert a Hit!


BATAVIA – Singer-songwriter Sonny Mayo played last night at the Stuart Steiner Theater at GCC in a concert to benefit the GCC History Club.  Concert-goers were delighted with the mix of tunes, both old and new.  Many songs were featured on Sonny’s newest album “Chasing the Chord.”

Sponsored by CY Farms, all proceeds from the concert benefit the GCC History Club which plans to use the funds toward a trip over Spring Break in March.

An Evening with Sonny Mayo – SATURDAY, 2/11


Don’t forget that the GCC History Club fundraiser – An Evening with Sonny Mayo – is THIS SATURDAY, 2/11, beginning at 7:30 PM in the Stuart Steiner Theater.  Tickets will be available at the door.  GCC students and children under 12 are $5.00.  All others are $12.00.  If you have already reserved tickets, those will be available at the RESERVE table.

Anyone with questions may contact Derek Maxfield at or by calling 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.


“A Revolutionary Friendship”leads off lecture series on February 1st


The Historical Horizons Lecture Series, sponsored by the GCC History Club, launches it’s Spring line up of speaks on Wednesday, Feb. 1st with Prof. Derek Maxfield who will present “Adams and Jefferson: A Revolutionary Friendship” at 7:00 PM at Genesee Community College’s Batavia campus in room T102 of the Conable Technology Bldg.  The event is FREE and open to the public.

Maxfield will illustrate the tight friendship between Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and discuss the evolution of that bond, and how it was sorely tested during a time of intense partisanship.  Once both men had retired from public life, the friendship was renewed.  It is a touching story.  Come hear all the details of this remarkable story.

Anyone with questions may contact Prof. Maxfield at or go to for the full schedule of lectures.


Spring 2017 Historical Horizons Lecture Series Line-up

The GCC History Club is proud to announce the line-up for the Spring 2017 Historical Horizons Lecture Series.  As always, the lectures are FREE and open to the public.

Feb. 1st               

“Adams and Jefferson: A Revolutionary Friendship”              

-Derek Maxfield, Assoc. Professor of History, GCC

Two of the most important men in American History are John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  From the time they met in Philadelphia in 1775 until their deaths in 1826, these two men had a most fascinating relationship; much of the time it was one of admiration and love, but it was interrupted by a period of intense partisan strife that nearly ended the friendship.  Come hear the intriguing story of how the friendship was restored.

March 8th

Wilsonian Diplomacy at a Crossroads—1917: Missionaries of Democracy or Merchants of Death”

-Garth Swanson, Professor of History, GCC

 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I.  In his presentation, Professor Garth Swanson takes a fresh look at the events that brought about the nation’s engagement in the war. The lecture will focus on the complex domestic and diplomatic issues that challenged Woodrow Wilson’s internationalist vision of a new world order.

 April 5th

“Standing in the shadow of a giant: The life and labors of Col. Charles Marshall of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Staff”

-Henry Pogodzinski, retired teacher & re-enactor

Most known as a Confederate aide de camp and assistant adjutant general to Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War, Col. Charles Marshall is a fascinating figure.  But most people don’t know that Marshall was a one-time professor of mathematics at Indiana University and a successful attorney.  Come learn more about the man who penned Gen. Lee’s famous farewell address.

May 3rd

“The American Flag: The History, the Facts and the Myths”

-George McCaughey, retired social studies teacher

No, Betsy Ross did not design the first American flag.  Like the story of Washington and the cherry tree, the quaint old story of the flag is myth.  In fact, there is much about the American flag, its design and evolution that is interesting.  This lecture will explore that compelling story.


All events are in room T102 of the Conable Technology Bldg. and begin at 7:00 PM.


Give Concert Tix!

Looking to complete your holiday shopping?  The GCC History Club has a great idea.  Give Sonny Mayo concert tickets!  That way you tick off another name from your shopping list, while at the same time supporting a great cause.

The benefit concert featuring BMI singer-songwriter Sonny Mayo is February 11th at 7:30 PM in the Stuart Steiner Theater at Genesee Community College in Batavia. Mayo’s most recent CD, “Chasing the Chord,” is a blend of Folk, Blues and Americana, rich with vivid characters and editorial comments on societal issues.

Sponsored by CY Farms, all concert proceeds are to benefit the GCC History Club, which is hoping to make a spring journey to Washington, DC and Richmond, VA.

Tickets are available presale from Derek Maxfield, Associate Professor of History and History Club advisor, or any club member.  Presale tickets are $10 for adults or $5.00 for GCC students and children under 12.  Tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event for $12.00.

For more information or to obtain tickets e-mail Maxfield at or call 585-343-0055 ext. 6288.