PBS to air 'History Detectives' segment shot at Iowa Wesleyan
Published: Friday, June 11, 2010 12:09 PM CDT
Excerpt: "Henry Clay Dean was an ordained Methodist minister and attorney. He was appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate. He was a nationally-recognized Copperhead and a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. He was an outspoken opponent of Lincoln policy and the Civil War."
MOUNT PLEASANT - The PBS television series, "The History Detectives," will air an episode this month that was researched largely at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant.
The episode is scheduled to be broadcast on IPTV (Iowa Public Television Network) on Monday, June 28, at 7 p.m.
The segment explores the history of a Copperhead cane, said to have been owned by Henry Clay Dean.
Dean, a vocal opponent of the Civil War, was a member of a powerful anti-Lincoln group called the Peace Democrats. This group was nicknamed The Copperheads by political rivals. Although the cane was located in Missouri through a relative, Dean has strong links to Iowa Wesleyan College and southeast Iowa. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute in the mid-1800s.
"The History Detectives" host Wes Cowan filmed interviews on and around the Iowa Wesleyan College campus in December as he researched the story. Joy Conwell, Circulation / Special Collections Associate for the Iowa Wesleyan Chadwick Library, served as a key source in the research.
During filming, Cowan said a possible link between Dean and the Copperhead cane "is a great story. The cane provides a window into a bigger historical issue."
"The cane research captured our interest because of the back story it provides on the peace movement during the Civil War. It is an important aspect of American History," said Cowan.
Cowan also promised that "We will have a definitive answer about the cane's history" in the television segment.
Henry Clay Dean was an ordained Methodist minister and attorney. He was appointed as Chaplain of the United States Senate. He was a nationally-recognized Copperhead and a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. He was an outspoken opponent of Lincoln policy and the Civil War.
Commercials promoting the new History Detectives season include a segment filmed at the Iowa Wesleyan College Chadwick Library.
While on campus in December, the crew of "The History Detectives" filmed in the newly-restored Chapel, outside of Old Main and Pioneer buildings, and in Chadwick Library, including the Special Collections Room. In researching the cane, production staff visited a foundry in Kalona, Iowa; visited with Joy Lynn Conwell, Special Collections, Chadwick Library, Iowa Wesleyan College; and consulted with James McPherson, Civil War historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author.
On July 25, Conwell will be travelling to the Rebel's Cove Historical Society 30th Annual Meeting, to be held at Queen City, Mo. The Society preserves the history of and promotes research related to Henry Clay Dean, one of the leaders of the Copperhead Movement during the Civil War.
This year's annual meeting includes a gathering of the direct descendants of the Henry Clay Dean and a visit to the family homestead and cemetery, now a Missouri state conservation area and historic site. It will be the first time that Dean family members will be able to view the primary source research, provided by Conwell, that was used in the development of the show's story line.
Conwell's research, including her correspondence with Shervin Hess, producer of" The History Detectives," and LionTV will be available for general public viewing following the Rebel's Cove Historical Society's meeting at Special Collections, Chadwick Library by appointment only.