Heritage Day to remember a friend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2007

COURTLAND—Organizers are making last-minute preparations for Saturday’s Heritage Day at the Southampton Agriculture & Forestry Museum and Heritage Village.

Completing work that began in June, members of the Southampton Historical Society have been cleaning the site, coordinating the crafters and firming the schedule in preparation for what is expected to be one of the organization’s biggest fund-raisers of the year.

&uot;If you count the number of people who have worked and the hours they have worked, I’m sure it would be a huge number,&uot; Lynda Updike, president of the society, said Tuesday.

She said the event drew about 2,000 visitors last year, and organizers are hoping the predicted mild weather prompts an even larger turnout on Saturday.

This year’s event will be dedicated to Edward Lee Johnson, who died last month. Johnson, the former owner of Johnson’s Mill in Sedley, had been a major contributor to and supporter of the museum.

The cornmeal he ground at a gristmill he built on the museum grounds was a popular attraction at this and other museum events for years. Both the gristmill and a sawmill he ran on site will be working on Saturday, operated by people he trained to do the jobs.

Other items of interest at the Heritage Day event will include antique cars and tractors, hay rides, small gasoline engines, an operating diesel engine, fire tower tours, a petting zoo, an operating 1885 printing press and crafts on display and for sale by 27 crafters.

Updike said crafts on hand will include pottery, quilting, wood carving, Christmas ornaments, paintings of historical scenes, soy candles, sewing, basket making, chair-caning, crochet, glassblowing, whittling, jewelry, floral arrangements, fur tanning, flint knapping and rug-weaving.

Civil War re-enactors will be on hand to teach children to make rope, a storyteller will spin yarns in the one-room schoolhouse and artisans will demonstrate old-fashioned skills ranging from needlework to soap-making, from cooking to painting.

In short, there should be something for just about anybody to enjoy.

&uot;It’s a biggie,&uot; Updike said. &uot;It’s probably one of our biggest fund raisers of the year.

Among special treats this year will be tours of the Rochelle-Prince House. The home, located across from the parking lot of the Southampton Courthouse, houses artifacts from the Shands and Tyler families. John Tyler Jr., son of the 10th president of the United States, lived in the home with his wife for a number of years.

Also this year, the archives room in the Blount Building will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visitors to see the types of information the Historical Society has available for research.

Society member Rick Francis will give a special presentation on the history of the Rebecca Vaughan House, which the group is working to restore. He will be on hand to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lunch will be sold on-site, and entertainment will be provided at various times by the Shiloh Grass Band. Old-fashioned children’s games will be offered at 2 p.m., and wheelbarrow rides for preschoolers from 3 to 4 p.m.

Heritage Day begins with an opening ceremony that will honor Edward Lee Johnson at 9:30 a.m. It ends at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a parade through Courtland in honor of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown.