Lincoln, Gen. Grierson to Attend First Annual Victorian Christmas Event at Newly Restored Ayers Mansion

By Jeremy Coumbes on November 25, 2022 at 5:50pm

Area residents are invited being invited to experience a Victorian Christmas in a historic Jacksonville mansion.

Villa DeWolf at the Ayers Mansion on West State in Jacksonville will be home to a Victorian Christmas celebration on Sunday, December 11th.

Owner and local philanthropist Scotty DeWolf says the afternoon event will take attendees back to Christmas in the 1860s with some very special guests.

We’re getting it all decked out for Christmas because we’re going to have a truly Victorian theme. We’re going to say welcome to Ayers Mansion, turn your clocks back about one hundred and seventy years.”

This will be the first of what we hope to be a regular annual event that will happen every December and we are going to do it always in a historical context. This time we are pleased to have David Nance come as Abraham Lincoln, and I’m going to be playing General Grierson which is why I’m growing the scruff out here because he was pretty much a full beard dude.”

David Nance as Abraham Lincoln stands on the porch of the Ayers Mansion/Villa DeWolf.

DeWolf says anyone attending is encouraged, though not required, to dress up in period fashion, as a few Civil War reenactors have already reserved tickets, such as Captain Steve Alexander of the 6th Illinois Calvary reenactment group and his wife Dierdre.

DeWolf says there will be a plethora of entertainment including music for dancing in the period ballroom. “I’d like for a few people to dress up so we can have some folks dance on the dance floor in the Civil War era way. We’ve got Chris Vallillo who I’m very glad to get to play because he’s made the bluegrass charts and the folk charts, and he’s a fantastic entertainer that specializes in historic music.

He’s going to be playing his hammer dulcimer, banjo, guitar, and vocals which is a real high-quality entertainment thing for the house. We also have extraordinary Christmas cookies and other refreshments and so forth. It’s just going to be a wonderful old-fashioned family-oriented Victorian Christmas.”

Theresa Schroeder sits in the ballroom of the Ayers Mansion in December 2021. Schroeder is a reenactor portraying the famous Civil War nurse, Mary Ann Bickerdyke.

A night’s stay in the newly finished three-room master suite, a $350 value, will be given away to one lucky guest during the event. The cost of a ticket is $30 and can be purchased by contacting Scotty DeWolf at 707-349-7790. He says a limited number of tickets will be available and several have already been sold.

You can find more information online at or on the Villa DeWolf Facebook page.