Jackson County Public Library hosts Johnny Green: An Orphan’s Survival Chautauqua

Hear the powerful story of a young Confederate soldier traveling to his home state of Kentucky after the Civil War had finally ended as the Jackson County Public Library and Kentucky Chautauqua present Johnny Green: An Orphan’s Survival at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at the library, 118 U.S. 421 North, McKee.

Ethan Smith as Johnny Green

Ethan Smith as Johnny Green

Johnny Green was 19 when the Civil War broke out, and was one of the only soldiers in the Orphan Brigade alive when it ended. Orphan Brigade soldiers were unable to return to their home state of Kentucky until the war was over — lest they be tried for treason — because they chose to fight for the Confederacy. Though it is uncertain when the brigade earned its nickname, it also reflected the number of commanders the brigade lost during the war.

Though he had learned to love the Union, as his mother was from Boston, Green felt passionately that states should have the right to govern themselves. And when President Abraham Lincoln called for men and arms, Green traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to join the Confederacy on the day before his 20th birthday. Green’s story, as detailed in a journal he wrote for his daughters years later, provides extraordinary accounts of courage and bravery, and brings the story of the Orphan Brigade to life.

Ethan Smith portrays Johnny Green for Kentucky Chautauqua. Smith has been involved with theatrical performances since the age of 6, performing in plays and participating in speech and forensics. He is a three-time middle school state champion and received the 2005 Blyton Book Award as the outstanding middle school speech competitor in Kentucky. When he was 13, he became the youngest person ever selected for the Kentucky Chautauqua program for his portrayal of Price Hollowell and the Black Patch Tobacco War. Smith’s parents, Ed and Betsy Smith, are also Kentucky Chautauqua performers. He is a student at Georgetown College.

For information about Kentucky Chautauqua, visit www.kyhumanities.org.


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