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A unique insight into the night Lincoln was killed


Pike County Historical Society and American Readers Theater (ART) brought “What Is for You Shall Not Go Past You,” to Pike County, where Patricia Durante portrayed the life Jeannie Gourlay-Struthers, who brought the Lincoln Flag to Pike County. Contributed.

MILFORD - Pike County is rich in history, and bringing the public back in time to appreciate the significance of the past is the specialty of the Pike County Historical Society and American Readers Theater (ART).


The third in ART’s “Living History” series, (the second in partnership with the Historical Society), was made possible through a grant from the Richard L. Snyder fund at Greater Pike Community Foundation. It brings to life Jeannie Gourlay-Struthers, who brought the Lincoln Flag to Pike County. The play, titled “What Is for You Shall Not Go Past You,” was written by Lori Strelecki of the Columns Museum, performed by Patricia Durante and directed by ART’s Jeffrey Stocker.


“Jeannie Gourlay was the actress who performed on stage the night President Lincoln was assassinated, and gives a first-person account,” Stocker said. The performance will be available to schools in the Delaware Valley School District during this school year.


Stocker will conduct a Zoom session for students so they can ask questions after viewing the performance. Stocker said Durante does a great job as Gourlay in the one-woman play by retelling the assassination story.


The events in Ford’s Theater the night of Lincoln’s assassination are well known to Durante; she has portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln, Laura Keene and Clara Harris at the museum. As an actor, Durante said she could imagine the disappointment Gourlay experienced since her first lead role in a play was to open the very next day, but of course the assassination closed the theater.


Strelecki wrote the play based on research including a few letters in the Historical Society collection. “I think Jeannie Gourlay should have been the original first lady of Milford,” Strelecki said because “she came here in 1888…was a star of the stage and gets glossed over

at film festivals.”


The American Readers Theater plans to present the play to the public this summer, so stay tuned for details. To learn more of the flag and history in Pike County, visit http://pikehistorical.org/.



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