Dinner program to feature Wilkinson and Wagener

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Anita Gaston and Stephanie Olsen as Jemima Wilkinson and Rebecca Wagener.

The Dundee Area Historical Society presents a dinner program featuring a visit with Jemima Wilkinson April 24 at the Methodist Church in Dundee.

Social Hour begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a chicken picatta dinner prepared by Steve Owens at 6 p.m. and the program presented by the Dearly Departed Players at 7 p.m.

Whether she is known as Jemima Wilkinson or the Publick Universal Friend, she was unique in the religious world. The first American born woman to lead a religious society was a pioneer in the wilderness that was Yates County in the late 1790s and early 1800s. Despite setbacks, non-believers, and legal entanglements, the Friend remained faithful to her society her entire life.

Anita Gaston will portray the Publick Universal Friend, a life that began first, with a death.

Stephanie Olsen will portray Rebecca Wagener, wife of David Wagener. With their sons, Abraham and Melchior, the Wagener family members are considered the founders of Penn Yan. The Wageners moved to Yates County as followers of the Publick Universal Friend, although the relationship between the Wageners and the Friend was problematic. Somewhat salacious details will be provided in Ms. Olsen’s portrayal.

The deadline for reservations is 5 p.m. April 19. To make a reservation call 607-243-7047 or email dundeehistory@live.com