A lesson in 1800s America
Published 11:55 am Saturday, April 25, 2015
By MERLE MONAHAN\CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The festivities didn’t start until noon, but from then until 5 p.m., nearly 400 visitors strolled the grounds of the Southampton Heritage Village/Agriculture and Forestry Museum on Down Home Day, taking in the sights and learning first-hand how grandpa and grandma lived.
“It’s amazing how they managed,” said one visitor of how the 1800s artifacts were used.
“But they did, and they did a great job,” said Bill Vick, director of the museum.
Vick remembers growing up with some of the items displayed both inside the main building and on the grounds.
“I used to drive an old tractor like that on my grandfather’s farm,” he added, pointing to one of the antique tractors lining one side of the grounds.
“We think we had something of interest for any and all visitors,” Vick went on. “The younger ones especially have a hard time believing things like using an outhouse, making soap in an old iron pot and washing clothes on a washboard.
“But we believe it’s important for our younger generation to know how our ancestors lived. That’s one thing we’re trying to do.”
Vick added that the crowd included people from as far away as Pennsylvania and North Carolina, several of whom he talked to who were amazed at the size of the museum.
The museum is a good size, but it’s still growing, he said. Vick revealed that new members, as well as volunteers, are always needed.
Aside from displays of 7,000-plus items, some more than 200 years old, museum workers plan special events for visitors on the annual Down Home and Heritage Days.
This year, all of the old buildings, including the one-room schoolhouse, outhouses, country store, blacksmith shop and post office, as well as the main building, to name a few, were open. The sawmill and grist mill were in operation during the afternoon.
Jimmy Ricks and his Shiloh Grass band provided bluegrass music for country music fans, while giving them a place to rest and have a snack.
On the far end of the grounds, there were old farm tractors on one side and antique cars on the other.
The Rev. Hoyl Green, pastor of Sunbeam Baptist Church, was on hand to transport visitors to and from the Museum of Southampton History and the Rochelle-Prince House with his miniature train, while Lynda Updike provided her petting zoo for youngsters.
Updike, president of the Southampton County Historical Society, not only provided several types of animals, including sheep, goats, a young donkey and chickens for petting. But her husband, Glenn, gave a demonstration on sheep shearing.
“We had a good day. The weather was perfect as it did not rain. Even my animals cooperated,” she said with a smile.
“My little donkey was born just a week ago in time for the event and, I might add, was a big hit. But my chicken hen was the biggest surprise. She came up with three biddies, all hatched the day before, and I didn’t even know she was setting.”