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The wine decanter above featuring a portrait of John McNulta, Lieutenant Colonel of the 94th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, originally arrived at the McLean County Museum of History as a time capsule. The contents of the decanter, assembled by McNulta, were accompanied by a November 1879 handwritten note instructing that the capsule's contents be revealed 100 years later. In November 1979, that is exactly what happened!

Among the objects pulled from the decanter are souvenirs from McNulta's attendance at the banquet for the Society of the Army of the Tennessee held in Chicago in November 1879. The objects include the Lieutenant Colonel's ticket to the event and the evening's menu, which included the tasty dining options of blue point oysters on the half shell, turtle soup, roast prairie chicken, buffalo steaks, filet of wild turkey, and many others. It is also interesting to note that Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was in attendance that evening and was responsible for delivering the 15 th and final toast of the evening.These items are currently held in the Museum's archives.

Additionally, the time capsule contained a cigar given to McNulta by General Ulysses S. Grant at the banquet. Accompanied by a note, shown below, instructing that the cigar be smoked by a descendant of McNulta's or “a soldier who has rendered good services (for) his country." The cigar was smoked by Fritz Beich during the time capsule's unveiling.

The cigar is currently on display in our Politics Gallery for all visitors to see. Stop by the Museum today and see our community's rich history come to life!


Written By

Tod Eagleton

Tod Eagleton

Posted in

September 14th, 2014

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