There are no selfies when you are re-enacting the Civil War.
No laptops or computer tablets or texting in general. And the public should never, ever see a plastic water bottle being used.
Those are just a few of the rules followed by Bill and Judy Ankeny, Civil War re-enactors for the past quarter century, as well as other members of their group who work to make re-enactments as authentic and realistic to Civil War life as possible.
The couple, from the Ellet area of Akron, are members of the 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Living History Association. That group is part of the Army of the Ohio, one of two organizations that Hale Farm & Village will honor at an event Saturday.
The 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, another re-enactors organization, also will be honored for its work to preserve the history and culture of the American Civil War when Hale Farm hosts its Legacy Award Benefit program.
The recognition comes amid events tied to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Bill Ankeny, 63, a retired postal worker, is the first sergeant of the 55-member group. His wife, Judy, 56, who works part time for Hallmark, is a civilian, along with the couple’s three grown daughters: Emma and twins Rebecca and Elizabeth.
The Army of the Ohio Battalion consists of 20 groups with about 550 members in Ohio and New York and features infantry, artillery, cavalry and civilians. The group is involved with Ohio’s efforts to mark the 150th anniversary of conflicts from the war.
The 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry is one of the largest mounted cavalry re-enacting units, with 95 members. The group often re-enacts at national battlefield parks and does drill presentations and living histories.
Both organizations took part in the Gettysburg 150th anniversary re-enactment last summer.
Bill Ankeny got the Civil War bug as a child and read (and reread) The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War by Bruce Catton, taking it out repeatedly from the Akron Public Library’s bookmobile at Lakemore Elementary.
“I was young and played with plastic Civil War soldiers,” he said in a recent interview.
In July 1988, he convinced his wife to go to Gettysburg to see the re-enactment of the 125th anniversary of the important battle. Once he witnessed the pageantry, he was hooked.
“I told Judy, ‘I have to do this!’ ” he said.
He convinced her to join the re-enacting group, too. They joined that fall and did their first encampment the next year.
She makes all of her clothes, the clothes worn by her daughters and her husband’s shirts. He buys other clothing from a manufacturer that specializes in supplying re-enactors.
“I like the camp life and cooking over the fire and baking pies,” Judy Ankeny said. “It just takes you away from everything.”
When the family is participating at a re-enactment, “you are transported back in time,” she said
She said she took the couple’s twins, when they were infants, to two re-enactments, including one to Gettysburg, when the temperature was sky high.
Bill Ankeny had to wear his wool uniform.
“I will tell you, it is hot,” he said of the heavy material.
Bill Ankeny had two great-grandfathers who served in the Civil War, including one, Isaac Madlem, who served in the 29th.
As first sergeant, one of Ankeny’s duties during re-enactments is to make sure re-enactors are not caught on their cellphones during the times when the public comes through to watch.
“From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., all modern amenities are out,” he said.