Tuesday, September 13, 2016. . . .

Seats to Present The Telegraph Operator

Payton Seats is returning to address the Big Walnut Area Historical Society at 7:30 on Tuesday, September 13, in the Myers Inn Meeting Room. Seats has selected The Telephone Operator as his topic for this presentation. In January he enlightened the BWAHS with a first person presentation of an Irish Union soldier who befriended drummer boy Johnny Clem. This amazing presentation resulted in asking him back for another program.

Seats has been interested in the Civil War since his grandfather, Jack, introduced him to it when Payton was seven. Two years later he became the drummer boy for the Rosecrans Headquarters Unit which did local reenacting and started the General Rosecrans Statue Fund. Today he is a senior in high school who outgrew the drummer boy re-enactor and has found his niche re-enacting other Civil War  topics.

In grammar school, one learned about Samuel Morse of Connecticut inventing the Morse Code but few know he was a portrait painter in Washington D.C. working on a portrait of Lafayette when he received a letter in the mail from home stating Samuel’s wife was very ill and he needed to come home. By the time he got home, his wife had died and was buried. A grief stricken artist had a chance encounter with Charles T. Jackson who was working on electromagnetism. Morse was inspired to experiment with ways to use electricity to send messages over long distance. In 1844, he sent his first formal telegraph message from Washington D .C. to Baltimore, MD.

When President Lincoln first took office there was no telegraph connection in the War Department or the White House. The best thing available was to send a clerk to the central

telegraph office in the middle of Washington. Soon lines were strung to the War Department which left the Secretary of War with the power. During the second Battle of Manassas in 1862 the President was online. This new technology changed the leadership in the Civil War.

Payton is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans, The 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Battery A at the Ohio Statehouse.

"I enjoy doing Civil War presentations throughout the state of Ohio. I have four main presentations: Johnny Clem, The Life of a Soldier, Toys of the Victorian Era, and The Telegraph Operator.

I currently hold the office of camp counsel of Dennison Camp No. 1 SUVCW. I have had the honor to receive the National Johnny Lincoln Clem award, I have also had the honor to serve as appointed chaplain between the election and installation of officers. I was quite lucky to have the opportunity to submit three pieces of writing that will form the closing chapter of a book on the history of Raleigh County, West Virginia, my home county, noted Payton.

"History has always been a major component of my life, because life revolves around time. There is always change, adaptation, invention; it helps to tell the story of our world. And history is the foundation of that story, without it we are left without an identity or purpose," Payton continued.

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