Larry Stevens' great-grandfather was 18 years old, living south of Fallsburg when he enlisted in the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment for the Civil War.

Larry Stevens' great-grandfather was 18 years old, living south of Fallsburg when he enlisted in the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment for the Civil War.

Wounded twice, Private John W. Gardner survived the war and eventually became a farmer.

Stevens, who learned about his great-grandfather as a boy, said Gardner was lucky to have survived his wounds, given the lack of antibiotics.

"Those boys were very hardy individuals," Stevens said.

Gardner was one of 3,932 men from Licking County who left their homes and families to serve in the Civil War, he said. One hundred fifty years later, the present-day residents will honor those who fought, holding a series of events beginning in January.

To kick off the Licking County Sesquicentennial Civil War Commemoration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Harry Watson will speak about the course of the South's succession when he visits at 2 p.m. Jan. 16 at The Works: Museum of History, Art and Technology in Newark. The event - free to members of The Works or $7 for adult and $5 for senior nonmembers - is the first in a series of three lectures hosted by The Works in partnership with Denison University.

The lecture series is part of the overall observance. Twenty-five businesses and organizations across the county will participate in the Civil War commemoration, hosting more than 50 events such as performances, lectures and other interactive activities at their facilities throughout 2011.

Samantha Harris, director of marketing at The Works, an interactive learning center, said the public is invited to participate in the events.

From June 10 to 12, the Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau will hold a Civil War encampment featuring 150 soldiers who will camp overnight. Visitors will be able to watch and interact with the soldiers and sample beans and beef jerky - what might have been average fare for a soldier away from home.

Susan Fryer, executive director at the CVB, said the bureau is looking forward to the event, which is free to the public.

"It will be great for adults and children," Fryer said.

The Licking County Historical Society also will host a variety of events to highlight both the famous and everyday individuals of Licking County who were touched by the war.

The historical society will hold its memorial breakfast in May to honor Johnny Clem, a boy from Newark who ran off to join the war just before his 10th birthday. In June the society will hold a luncheon honoring Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a woman known as "Mother Bickerdyke" because of the care she gave to soldiers.

In addition to featuring the famous local faces of the period, the society will illustrate how life could have been for an average Licking County resident during the war.

In keeping with the Civil War commemoration, the society's yearly graveyard walk at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark will feature actors delivering monologues to illustrate how everyday residents, such as shopkeepers, small boys like Clem, or wives of soldiers, lived during the time period.

Linda Leffel, trustee member of the historical society, said society members wanted to educate both the young and old about how the Civil War affected Licking County.

"Licking County became very involved in the Civil War," Leffel said.

The county's contributions exceeded the average, said E. Chris Evans, a historical society liaison to the Civil War sesquicentennial committee. Sixty-six generals in the Union Army came from Ohio, and six of them were from Licking County, holding roles of major command. While 83 percent of eligible men from Licking County volunteered to fight, county residents also provided crops and wool for the Union Army.

"We were leaders," Evans said.

Additionally, because it has been 50 years since the last Civil War commemoration, many young people might not be aware of the impact the war made on the nation, Evans said.

"It was really a defining moment in this country's history," Evans said.

Visit for a listing of Sesquicentennial events.