Sunday evening, those gathered at the United Congregational Church of Tolland on the green were treated to a special visitor: Pres. Abraham Lincoln, or at least a look-alike.
Dressed in full Lincoln garb, Howard Wright, a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, gave a presentation to a group of 75 people at the Tolland Historical Society's annual meeting.
Wright is an educator and has performed for school groups, historical societies, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, and at the Connecticut's State Capitol Building. In 2008, then Gov. M. Jodi Rell honored Wright by appointing him to the Connecticut Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, where he served as co-chair alongside Lincoln scholar Michael A. Burlingame.
In 2009, Wright and Burlingame retraced Lincoln's steps through Connecticut of 1860, and delivered a presentation about Lincoln in five Connecticut cities.
Wright has been entertaining groups as Pres. Lincoln for the past seven years. When asked why he said, "I love words and language and I collect quotes and Lincoln had a lot of them."
In addition, Wright said that he has “the right height, beard (since 1981) and was always a history buff. I had an idea how I could portray Abe by using just his words. And I have a good memory."
During the historical society’s meeting Wright dressed in full regalia, including a stovepipe hat, real beard, authentic period attire, Kentucky-style accent, not to mention his 6' 3" statuesque posture.
Men of the 21st and 27th volunteer infantries escorted Wright to the meeting. Some of the volunteers who were part of the escort can trace their ancestry to those men who were in the 21st and 14th CT infantries. Alan Crane, who has been with the infantry for 12 years, has ancestors who were part of the 21st volunteer infantry and said that the men take their reenactments very seriously.
Wright is a teacher at the Renbrook School in West Hartford, where he has been since 1980. In addition, he is the school’s Dean of Students and the head of the Science Department.