Drinkin' With Lincoln

Clint Cargile

Drinkin’ with Lincoln is a new podcast from WNIJ Northern Public Radio that looks at Abraham Lincoln’s life, land and legacy through the eyes of the people who know him best: Lincoln presenters (commonly known as Lincoln impersonators, a term many Lincoln presenters avoid). Each episode, a Lincoln presenter joins host Clint Cargile as he explore

All Episodes

I refuse to just grow a mustache and say, “Well, my time is done for a while,” and wait for something to happen. –Lincoln Presenter Michael Krebs Due to Illinois’s shelter-at-home order, many of us are quarantined, working remotely or unable to work at all. But what about our Lincoln presenters? How has the coronavirus disrupted their profession, which relies almost exclusively on live events, many of them taking place in schools and senior centers? To find out, I checked in with three previous guests on Drinkin’ with Lincoln , two Abrahams and a Mary. I spoke with Kevin Wood ( episode 1 ) about switching to virtual visits, Laura Keyes ( episode 6 ) on the power of sharing live-history, and finally, Michael Krebs ( episode 4 ) on facing the uncertainties ahead. We also catch up on what everybody has been up to since we last spoke, and we discuss what words of wisdom Lincoln would have to offer during these unique times. You’ll find out all about that, and more, on this special

Sep 1

44 min

On this episode, we feature Navy veteran Rick Otey, who took up the mantle of Lincoln at age 67 and uses Lincoln to help those around him (especially veterans). Join host Clint Cargile as he travels to Rick’s hometown of Tremont, Illinois, a town rich with Lincoln history. In part one, we visit Rick at the Tremont History Museum and then he gives a tour of Lincoln sites around Tremont. We also hear the little-known story of a duel Lincoln took part in, and its connection to Tremont. In part two, we get to meet Rick’s acting partner, nine-year-old Abbey Kinkead, who portrays Grace Bedell, the girl who convinced Lincoln to grow out his beard. Then we talk to Rick about his work as Lincoln and why he is so dedicated to helping veterans. We also learn about his friendship with another veteran dedicated to helping veterans, Larry the Flag Man. Rick hasn’t been portraying Lincoln long, but he brings his own personality and sense of compassion into the role, something he believes all Lincoln

Mar 26

50 min

On this episode of Drinkin’ with Lincoln , we’re not drinkin’ with Lincoln at all. Host Clint Cargile marks the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote with a special spinoff episode we’re calling Sippin’ with Suffragists . To celebrate the occasion, he travels to Galena, Illinois, to interview one of the most famous suffragists of all: Susan B. Anthony. Susan B. is portrayed by retired educator and history presenter Cathie Elsbree. Susan B. didn’t drink, but Cathie is more than happy to sip a beer at the Galena Brewing Company while discussing Susan B. Anthony’s life and legacy. She walks us through Galena’s rich history and gives a tour of historic (and supposedly haunted) DeSoto House Hotel , where Susan B. Anthony and her lifelong friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton stayed in 1869. We’ll also learn about Cathie and how she came to be a historical reenactor. Sippin' and Tippin' with Susan 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and also the 200th birthday of

Jan 23

53 min

Drinkin’ with Lincoln continues. This episode’s guest is not the 16th president, but someone very close to him. Join host Clint Cargile as he interviews Mary Lincoln presenter Laura Keyes . Laura has portrayed Mary Lincoln for over a decade. She also portrays several other strong historical women: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Irene Adler, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In part one, we join Mrs. Lincoln at a Civil War reenactment in Hainesville, Illinois. She’ll discuss her role at these events, how other living history presenters have helped her career, and how she has to battle a system that prefers male over female reenactors. We’ll also meet and hear musicians John and Elaine Masciale , who have inspired and encouraged Laura’s career. Elaine also introduces us to a pretty unique instrument. Then we travel to nearby Gurnee, Illinois, home to Only Child Brewing , where we sit down for drinks and discuss Laura’s career as a history presenter. She shares how she got started, the research and time

Dec 2019

53 min

Drinkin’ with Lincoln returns! For our season 2 premiere, we visit with Abe and Mary Lincoln presenters Max and Donna Daniels, also known as Abe & the Babe . Max and Donna’s career has spanned three decades and they are known in the Lincoln community for their humor, their generosity, and for mentoring a new generation of Lincoln presenters. In part one, we join Abe & the Babe at the Chicagoland Civil War Collectors Show in Wheaton, Illinois. We’ll tag along as they chat with guests, pose for photos, and search for some collectibles of their own. Then it’s time to sit down for good drinks and good conversation at Dry City Brew Works in downtown Wheaton. Max and Donna share how they met, how they got into Lincoln presenting, and the grueling road schedule they’ve kept for 30 years. Get ready for Max’s good humor, Donna’s infectious laughter, and plenty of insight into Abraham and Mary Lincoln along the way. If there are any Lincoln topics you’d like us to cover in future

Nov 2019

53 min

For our Season One finale, we celebrate the unveiling of a new Abraham Lincoln statue in Naperville, Illinois. It is the world's only statue depicting young Lincoln laughing.* And it wouldn't be a proper Lincoln statue unveiling without a proper Lincoln presenter: stage actor and 25-year Lincoln veteran Michael Krebs . Michael has portrayed Abraham Lincoln in films, documentaries, TV shows, and commercials. He's a popular fixture at the Chicago History Museum and has performed in Washington, D.C., for the Lincoln Group, the National Archives, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress. President Bill Clinton once handpicked him to present before one of his speeches. In part one, we talk with the organizers who brought Laughing Lincoln to Naperville, including sculptor David Alan Clark. We discuss why Lincoln is there in the first place, in a city that seemingly has no connection to the real Lincoln. Or does it? Then it's off to Solemn Oath Brewery , where Michael and I sip

May 2019

70 min

For our third episode, we head down to Charleston, Illinois, a city bursting with Lincoln history, where we meet up with Joe Woodard, a veteran Lincoln presenter who also happens to be beardless. A beardless Lincoln? How is that possible? But Lincoln didn't grow his beard until the 1860 election, so anyone portraying Lincoln's career as a prairie lawyer in Illinois should, for authenticity's sake, be clean shaven. Woodard's tonsured chops have defined his Lincoln career, giving him opportunities not available to his bewhiskered colleagues. In the first half of this episode, Joe takes us on a tour of the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, which recreates and preserves the farm of Thomas and Sarah Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's father and step-mother. We also visit Thomas Lincoln's grave, the site of a Lincoln-Douglas debate that took place in Charleston, and the world's tallest Abraham Lincoln statue. There's a lot of Lincoln to cover in Charleston, and it's a complicated side of

Mar 2019

61 min

For our premiere episode, we are joined in DeKalb, Illinois, by full-time Lincoln presenter Kevin Wood. Kevin is also a running Lincoln. He runs races. In his Lincoln getup. Hat and all. And he is a multilingual Lincoln. He gives presentations in English and Spanish and translates Lincoln documents into French and German. He can recite the Gettysburg Address in all four languages. I'm your host, Clint Cargile. In part one, I take Kevin to the site of Coltonville, a town that no longer exists. But according to local legend, Abraham Lincoln once stopped there during the Black Hawk War where the 23-year-old future president had a fateful meeting with his future nemesis, Jefferson Davis. Did this actually happen? We'll find out with the help of our experts, DeKalb County Historian Sue Breese and Dr. Jackie Hogan, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Bradley University, and author of Lincoln, Inc: Selling the Sixteenth President in Contemporary America. Then Kevin and I visit the

Feb 2019

55 min

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