Discover a treasured past at Heritage Day

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

by Lynda Updike

The 25th annual Heritage Day 2018 will be on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society and the Southampton Heritage Village /Agriculture & Forestry Museum  at 26315 Heritage Lane in Courtlan. Admission at the Ag & Forestry Museum is $5 for adults and $2 for school age children. Preschoolers are admitted free.

Museum equipment such as the saw mill, planer mill and grist mill will run intermittently during the day. Craftsmen from Virginia and North Carolina will demonstrate old crafts, with craft items for sale. Lunch will be for sale on the grounds: BBQ, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple and sweet potato jacks, water, and soft drinks.

The Museum of Southampton History, adjacent at 22541 Linden St., opening at 10 a.m., will feature several special exhibits, including to-scale models of local homes and historic buildings built by E.B. Gayle and photographs of many more of our old homes. Specially featured will be displays promoting the small towns throughout the county. A recently restored 1824-34 pistol, found by a diver at Monroe Bridge in the Nottoway River will be on exhibit. The Prehistory Exhibit displays prehistoric shells, sharks’ teeth, and whale vertebrae from when Southampton County was part of the ocean floor.

The very popular Military Room highlights the service of our local soldiers in all wars through uniforms, photos, memorabilia, and weaponry. Entry here is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Eight layouts with up to 14 trains will be running throughout the day inside the main building at the Ag Museum. One train is a hands-on for youngsters to run themselves. See if you can count how many trains are running.

Participate in an updated scavenger hunt to find items throughout the museum complex. Kids completing the hunt get a free bag of popcorn.

Dr. Will Dunstan and Rick Francis will be at the Rebecca Vaughan House, on site, from 10 am. ‘til 2 answer questions about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection. Mahone’s Tavern on Main Street will be open also with many Confederate exhibits.

Always a popular attraction, the museum’s grist mill will be grinding fine cornmeal, which will be available for a donation. Samples of hot corn bread, made from that meal will be given away throughout the day.

Volunteers will demonstrate the old technique of typesetting on the museum’s old printing presses, an 1885 Chandler & Price, treadle operated, hand fed. Visitors can print a free bookmark bearing the museum’s logo.

Antique cars and tractors will be on display. In addition, the 1920s ground sawmill, planer mill and factory whistle will be in operation several times during the day. The blacksmith shop too will be open, with blacksmiths at work.

Among the crafts being demonstrated and for sale visitors will find painted gourds, baskets, handmade jewelry, sewing, quilting, floral arrangements, wreaths, pottery, paintings, yard art, signs from reclaimed wood, as well as various types of needlework and wood work. Artisans from the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will blend contemporary and traditional art through beadwork and pottery making.

Other special demonstrations include wood carving, spinning, pottery making on an old kick wheel, and crocheting. Some of the old crafts to see are butter churning, washboard washing of clothes, and hominy making. See a bee keeper with a live hive.  ourds, pumpkins, produce, pickles, jams, jellies, and baked goods will be for sale.

“Shiloh Grass,” a local blue grass band, as well as “Potecasi Creek String Band,” will entertain during the day under the new Howell pavilion, dedicated to founding members William and Helen Howell.

The little country church is always an attraction, and will feature an old-fashioned hymn sing. Look for story-telling in the one room school house and corn-cob pipe making near the corn sheller.

Children of all ages will have a ball in a Petting Zoo featuring gentle pet farm animals. Have you ever seen baby chicks pip their way out of eggs? They will be hatching on Saturday. Smokey the Bear will visit, and there will be hay rides and face painting. Also, young folks can learn the art of milking a cow by practicing on “Mattie,” our replica cow.

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.

This 25th Heritage Day event promises to provide a wholesome and fun outing for the whole family. Visitors will see how the older generations lived, how hard they worked to make a living.

For the older generation, it’s a stroll down memory lane. Come and learn how they made the items in their homes and on the farm. Farming activities, by the way, included the whole family. We offer something for all ages to enjoy.

For more information, feel free to contact me, Lynda Updike at 654-6785 or at  or at 33335 Statesville Road, Newsoms, VA 23874.