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‘Dinner with the Dead’ includes depiction of soldier’s demise

Participating in the recent Dinner with the Dead event held at Grace’s Restaurant were (left to right) Maggie Bammert as Ella Haskell; Tom O’Dea as Capt. Myron Dickinson; Debbie Toolan as Margaret Emerson; Dennis Martinez as Michael O'Connor; and Jim Corriveau as Marcus Russell. Attendees said the cast studied their roles well and presented their characters with flair and historical accuracy.

Participating in the recent Dinner with the Dead event held at Grace’s Restaurant were (left to right) Maggie Bammert as Ella Haskell; Tom O’Dea as Capt. Myron Dickinson; Debbie Toolan as Margaret Emerson; Dennis Martinez as Michael O'Connor; and Jim Corriveau as Marcus Russell. Attendees said the cast studied their roles well and presented their characters with flair and historical accuracy. Photo provided

— In the Oct. 22 installment of Turning Back the Pages column in the Adirondack Journal, references were made of the Russell family, including their servant, Carrie Doring, who labored at the Russell’s summer home, Bonnie Brae Villa, built after the Civil War.

The day after the story was published, Warrensburg Historical Society’s “Dinner with the Dead” event was held at Grace’s Restaurant in Warrensburg, and a Russell family member was depicted.

James Corriveau of Warrensburg portrayed Marcus Russell, one of the four sons of Capt. John L. Russell and his wife, Mary L. Denison. Corriveau, an accomplished actor, captured the character of the dashing Marcus Russell in his splendid performance.

Russell, a sergeant in the U.S. Cavalry, died a hero’s death June 24, 1893 at the age of 32 at Las Guasimas, Cuba when he became the second soldier killed in the Spanish-American War with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.

Fifty horses died on the boat going over and six drowned getting off in Cuba and charging up San Juan Hill, Teddy was the only one that was mounted. The first soldier to fall in battle was Sgt. Hamilton Fish, grandson of President U.S. Grant’s secretary of war and one of several young aristocrats who had joined the Rough Riders.

Corriveau appeared at the dinner with blue chalk smeared on his face to resemble death and wearing little else but a quilt, as after the Spanish killed Marcus Russell they took away his clothes.

Barry Woodward, Warrensburgh’s celebrated mortician, traveled to Cuba to bring Marcus’ badly decayed body back to his grieving parents and to be buried in the family plot in the Warrensburgh Cemetery. The train arrived in Thurman and a long line of mourners followed the coffin back to town. The children were let out of school for the occasion. It was probably one of the biggest funerals the Queen Village has ever seen.

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