Heritage Day is Saturday

Published 8:16 am Friday, September 18, 2009

COURTLAND—The annual Heritage Day celebration, which offers visitors a glimpse of how older generations lived and worked, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The event will take place on the grounds of the Southampton Heritage Village and the Agriculture & Forestry Museum, both of which are located on Heritage Lane in Courtland. The Southampton County Historical Society sponsors the event.

Admission to the museum is $3 for adults and $1 for school-age children. Preschoolers are free.

Crafts people from Virginia and North Carolina, many in period costumes, will be on-hand to demonstrate their skills. The old tasks to be shown are expected to include making lye soap, butter and hominy, lard rendering, crocheting, knitting, making farm and Williamsburg baskets, quilting, whittling, working with wood and painted items, folk art and rug weaving, which will be done on a 1920s-era loom. Many craft items will also be for sale.

Wendell Goss, a local trapper, will demonstrate how to handle and tan fur.

Historic mechanical equipment will also be in operation. Bill Billings and Jimmy Creasey will demonstrate the old technique of typesetting on the museum’s two printing presses, including an 1885 Chandler & Price printing press. Visitors will get a free bookmark with the museum’s logo which will be printed that day.

Visitors can also see and hear the history of antique cars, trucks and tractors.

A ground sawmill and planing mill, both from the 1920s, will cut and plane logs. An old timey picker is scheduled to harvest peanuts at 2:45 p.m.

Shiloh Grass, a local blue grass band, will perform twice during the day. Janet Vincent and her friends from Murfreesboro will also provide dulcimer music.

Other attractions include:

Rick Francis will be on-hand at the Rebecca Vaughan House, located directly across the street from the Heritage Village, to talk to visitors about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection.

John Soderberg will make miniature hay bales with his baler and steam engine.

E.L. Vann will sharpen handsaws, saw blades, chain saw chains, knives and scissors for visitors for a reasonable fee.

There will be a sheep shearing demonstration, along with a goat and lamb showmanship exhibition, by the 4-Leaf Clover 4-H group.

A petting zoo will be provided for children to enjoy, featuring healthy, gentle pet farm animals.

Smokey the Bear will visit, and there will be hay rides, face painting, wheel barrow rides, baby chicks hatching, and a hen house of chickens. A local clown will make animal balloons for the children.

Lunch will be for sale on the grounds. BBQ, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple jacks and soft drinks will be available.

A popular attraction at the museum, the grist mill, will grind fine corn meal which is available for a donation. Samples of the hot corn bread made from that meal will be given away throughout the day.

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings and Heritage Village, which includes a country store, one room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, smoke house, old post office, and two outhouses, among other buildings.

A special exhibit at the Rochelle-Prince House will feature a large collection of Tyler, Blow and Rochelle documents. President Tyler’s son, daughter-in-law (Mattie Rochelle Tyler) and grandchildren at one time lived in what is now a House Museum. Admission is free.

Mahone’s Tavern, located across from the historic Southampton County Courthouse in downtown Courtland, will also be open to the public on Heritage Day. The house served as the boyhood home for Mahone, a civil engineer, teacher, railroad executive, Virginia delegate, two-term U.S. senator, mayor of Petersburg and Confederate army general.

Mahone, also known as the “Hero of the Crater,” is a well-known Southampton County native. He founded the Norfolk-Petersburg Railroad, the forerunner of the Norfolk and Western Railway. The Urquhart-Gillette Camp 1471, Sons of Confederate Veterans, own this significant landmark. The tour of the house includes a mule and wagon ride from the museum.

For more information, call (757) 654-6785.