Eating for a good cause

Published 10:41 am Saturday, May 29, 2010

COURTLAND—Nearly 400 people stopped by Mahone’s Tavern last Saturday afternoon for barbecue chicken, cole slaw and baked beans.

Although the meal was a good reason to visit, diners also were participating in one of the top fundraisers conducted by Urquhart-Gillette Camp 1471 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to help pay off the debt on the building

“It was a good crowd,” said Past Commander Tommy Simmons. “The weather was perfect, and it looked like everyone was having a good time, including two lady War Between the States re-enactors who just showed up”

He added, “We even had some of the general’s relatives.”

Simmons referred to Walter Frank Daughtery III and his son, Walter IV, great-great- and great-great-great-nephews, respectively, of Confederate Gen. William Mahone. Also in attendance was Katherine Gillette, great-granddaughter of the SCV camp’s namesake, Maj. Joseph Gillette.

The camp purchased the tavern in 2008 when it came up for sale, according to Simmons.

The boyhood home of Mahone, it is a historic landmark, and the camp wanted to preserve it. Built in 1796, it stands across Main Street from the Southampton County Courthouse and looks today much like it did when Mahone lived there.

It is now known as the Mahone Tavern and Museum Inc. Of the $210,000 purchase price, Simmons said, the camp already has paid the debt down to $89,000.

“But we are still in need of funds for renovation, and the house soon will need a new roof,” he said.

The fundraisers, which include fish fries and barbecue pork dinners in addition to chicken, also help with the camp’s operating expenses.

Simmons said the club has several other projects annually, but preserving the tavern is the largest.

A fish fry is scheduled for Sept. 10.