Rejoining the Union

Inquiries into the town’s ambiguous history made their way to the desk of President Harry S. Truman, who reached out to the town in a sarcastically-worded letter. President Truman writes, “Why don’t you run down the fattest calf in Erie County, barbecue it and serve it with fixin’s in the old blacksmith shop where the ruckus started? Who can tell? The dissidents might decide to resume citizenship.” (1)

Letter from President Truman to Stephen V. Feeley of Town Line, NY. President Truman suggests that Town Line vote to rejoin the Union and sarcastically comments that roast veal would be an appropriate way to celebrate. (October 2nd, 1945)

The citizens heeded his advice and did just that on October 27th, 1945, although rejoining the Union was not the primary issue at hand. Citizens instead decided to repeal the ordinance that bound the town to the Confederacy, although questions remain as to whether this relationship actually existed. Later, on January 7th, 1946, the Town Line Reconstruction Committee reached out to members of Congress, inviting them to the rescheduled vote which was to take place on January 24th, 1946. Although the Congressmen unanimously declined the offer, the day was not without prestige.

World Premiere - "Colonel Effingham's Raid"
Pictured here is the celebration on the day of the vote to rejoin the Union, which coincided with the world premiere of the film "Colonel Effingham's Raid". Movie stars Cesar Romero and Martha Stewart can be seen in the front seat of the fire wagon. Photograph taken on January 24th, 1946. Digitized by Julia McGaugh at Blair's Hardware Store in Town Line, NY.

Luckily for Town Line, the premiere of the movie “Colonel Effingham’s Raid” brought some glamour to the town on the day of the vote to rejoin. To celebrate the film, celebrities Cesar Romero (of Batman fame) and Martha Stewart were sent to be photographed and count the ballots (pictured below). 

Ballot in regards to rejoining the Union (January 7th, 1946)

(1) Photograph from Blair’s Hardware found on Oct. 19, 2018.

(2) Photograph from Blair’s Hardware found on Oct. 19, 2018.

(3) Document from Blair’s Hardware found on Oct. 19, 2018.

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