21st Annual Seige of Fort Watauga. May 16-17, 2015


Pensive and watching

Pensive and watching

This weekend marked the 21st annual Siege of Fort Watauga. Each year, the complexion of the event has been different but this one, by far, has been the best for so many reasons.  The weather was clement; Friday was sunny and clear, Saturday was hot but dry and the rains held off Sunday until long after the event was done, but that’s not why it was so good. I’ll let the Johnson City Press and the master’s thesis written by Brian Patrick Compton , whose links are below, tell the story of the three pronged Cherokee siege which trapped one hundred-fifty people inside the fort for twenty days or so and how they managed to overcome three hundred very angry warriors with only five pounds of black powder and buckets of boiling water. What was interesting was what I saw in recreating the spirit of the place and its inhabitants and the number of youngsters who are keeping the story alive.

Many of the sutlers came from their stay at Martin’s Station the previous week and they were in place by Friday when the rest of the re-enactors came and set up throughout the day. One could hear excited voices and the clang of hammer on metal as tents were set up. All the cabins were manned and everyone was ready to roll. The most interesting was the Tory public house set up in the man cave. So what if they were loyalists? Will Caldwell, Kurt Stevens, Ethan Walling and others did a wonderful job capturing the feeling of a public house. I have to say though, that after hours was kind of staid by my standards .  I was next door and was was expecting to hear God knows what from these twenty-somethings. I was kind of hoping to live my youth vicariously by listening.  I was in my twenties once and I can remember kicking up my heels a bit. Instead, there was quiet conversation, plenty of laughter and the clinking of glasses. Whoopee!

Games, food and fellowship abounded at the Loyalist public house.

Games, food and fellowship abounded at the Loyalist public house.

pooped

RELAXIN’

There was a larger than normal number of participants, ranging from Brits to Tories, Natives and civilian impressions. What was so interesting was number of different 18th century living skills being demonstrated all over the park. There was salt making, chair caning, sewing, flax processing, hearth

German stuffed noodles in broth on Saturday and hasty apple fritters on Sunday at the Ramona Inn :o)

German stuffed noodles in broth on Saturday and hasty apple fritters on Sunday at the Ramona Inn :o)

and open fire cooking, leather working, children games, adult games,  weaving, spinning, weaponry, native living and of course, relaxatin’.  Between the two days, more than a thousand visitors came to view the battle recreations and visit with the reenactors, a very satisfying turnout.

When Saturday broke and the call to arms was made, there was musket toting militia almost equal in number to the original seventy five that were there in 1776. The line, crooked as it was, stretched from Blockhouse to near the back gate. (we need to have a tee shirt made,boys, with “Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia” in colonial lettering printed in a crooked line on the front and “We don’t do straight lines” printed on the back. Just sayin’)

Waiting for orders; look who's  at the end of the line?

Waiting for orders; look who’s at the end of the line?

On Saturday, the group recreated the ladies out in the field, the native attack and capturing of Lydia Bean. Strategic placement of men and ladies  with John Moss’s SC rangers, Militia members and those from the Anderson Blockhouse filled the wall and the field; shot was abundant and the smoke hung heavy over the field. The Brits, Loyalists and natives were a formidable group and it still gives me chills as I think of the natives streaking over the field with the sound of their war whoops still ringing in my ears. There was one young fellow especially who startled the living bejaysis out of me.

Charcoal streak!

Caleb and the Charcoal streak!

The native who I think is Kurk blended in to the tree canopy and the fort walls and it gave me a start to see him try to force his way into the Talbot House on Sunday . Fortunately for the Talbots, though, the natives at the door were soundly repelled! It was touches like this that made this event especially interesting.

I bet those natives had a pounding headache after they got pounded!

I bet those natives had a pounding headache after they got pounded!

Sweet sounds!

Sweet sounds!

There were other things that made a difference as well. On Saturday and Sunday, after the battle, the Fife and Drum Corp gave what I thought was almost a concert and on Saturday, there were three brothers from Jonesville , VA, who played violins and sang. It was pure heaven to listen to the Corp and these fine young gentlemen. Besides the usual doings, at 2 PM on Sunday, the ladies provided a fine tea for all and sundry. Dainties of all kinds appeared and  like the loaves and fishes, it fed the multitude,

It seems like we fed thousands at the tea.

It seems like we fed thousands at the tea.

The Fife and Drum Corp outdid themselves this year! Many visitors commented on how wonderful they sounded

The Fife and Drum Corp outdid themselves this year! Many visitors commented on how wonderful they sounded

The most interesting thing about this particular event was the number of children who were there. One could see them playing in and around the fort on both days. There was the sound of light  young voices, lithe bodies zooming around like fireflies and every where they landed, there was laughter and smiles. It gladdened our hearts to see these young people, from toddlers to twenty-somethings, So many of the members have worried that when we go, the story might die. But after seeing the amount of young people  taking part, I think the future of telling the story of the intrepid people who settled this place will be forever insured.

Keeping the story alive!

Keeping the story alive!

Melodie Daniels and one of her "man-cubs". so cute!

Melodie Daniels and one of her “man-cubs”. so cute!

Pearl

Pearl

A beauty!

A beauty!

Younger and older; our story lives!

Younger and older; our story lives!

Interesting and scholarly master’s thesis :Revised History of Fort Watauga.

http://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2260&context=etd

Johnson City Press:

http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/126642/living-history-sycamore-shoals-strives-for-accuracy-in-siege-of-fort-watauga-event

Watch the full Sunday battle!

Photos from JD Douglas and Ken and Retha Reece. Thanks for taking such beautiful pictures. It was tough to choose from so many wonderful shots! A special mention goes to thanking Earl Slagle. He has been working diligently on making the cabins look totally beautiful and authentic by framing the sides of all the buildings, fixing and insulating the eaves. It’s astounding what this man has done and many visitors commented on how beautiful the fort is.

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21st Annual Siege of Fort Wautaga, May 16 & 17, 2015


Militia is looking good

Militia is looking good

21st Annual Siege of Fort Watauga

May 16 & 17, 2015

On Saturday, May 16th and Sunday, May 17th, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area will host nearly 200 living history re-enactors for the annual Siege of Fort Watauga. Colonial, British, and Native re-enactors will converge at the re-created Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals to relive the days when America’s first frontier was the land beyond the blue ridge.

The Siege of Fort Watauga is a live retelling of the Cherokee attack brought on the settlers of the Watauga valley in the summer of 1776. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga offered protection to nearly 200 settlers during a two-week siege led by Cherokee War Chief, Old Abram, and 300 warriors.

Sycamore Shoals will once again be the scene of war during the Siege of Fort Watauga. The event lasts from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 16th and10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 17th. Step back in time as you visit the fort, militia camps, British encampment, and Native camp. Be immersed in 18thcentury frontier life as you witness daily aspects of colonial culture. See the clash of two cultures as the attack on fort Watauga is recreated both days at 1:00 pm. Also, attend our auction of 18th century reproductions on Saturday.

Take advantage of colonial merchants selling period wares in “Sutler’s Row”. There will be several vendors offering a myriad of 18th century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator. Vendors this year include Zettlemoyer Pottery offering reproduction redware and other 18th century pottery items, Trader Bob offering tanned animal pelts and hides, Ft. Vause Outfitters specializing in finished leather goods, and several other vendors offering everything from 18th century reproduction clothing, weaponry, and original antiques, to replica housewares, hand-carved wooden items, and military accouterments.

Several Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance and will make the 18th century come to life during the weekend. Units include the First Maryland based in Hendersonville, NC, Musgrove’s Mill Militia and the South Carolina Rangers based in upstate South Carolina, and two British units; the 42nd Light Infantry and the North Carolina Highland Regiment. The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia based at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. Numerous individuals also participate in the event portraying many 18th century walks of life including Cherokee Natives, Backcountry Hunters, Farmers, Housewives, African Slaves, Commoners and Gentry.

For more information on this and other exciting events at Sycamore Shoals please contact the park at 423-543-5808 or visit the park’s website atwww.sycamoreshoalstn.org. Bring the entire family and see how your ancestors played a crucial role in our region’s history and in the formation of our nation. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke, and see the 18th century come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga. This event is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.

Siege of Fort Watauga 2015 Schedule of Events

S A T U R D A Y,  M A Y  16th

10:00   Camps Open.

10:30   Raising the Colors & Militia Inspection (Fort Watauga)

11:00   Kids Militia Drill (Talbot’s Meadow – in front of Fort Watauga)

11:30   Colonial Games (Fort Watauga)

12:00   “Ms. Jane”, Colonial Frontier Slave Narrative: Ms. Lynette Stuart (Fort Watauga)

1:00     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga”

2:00     “Recruitment of Children into His Majesty’s Service” (British Camp)

2:30     Field Music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums (Fort Watauga)

3:00     Auction (Visitors Center)

4:00     Salt Making on the Frontier: Mr. Jim Boardwine (Fort Watauga)

5:00     Camps Close. Please join us tomorrow for another exciting day of living history!

S U N D A Y,  M A Y  17th

10:00   Camps Open – Worship Service (Fort Watauga)

11:00   Militia Inspection (Fort Watauga)

11:30   Colonial Games (Fort Watauga)

12:00   “Ms. Jane”, Colonial Frontier Slave Narrative: Ms. Lynette Stuart (Fort Watauga)

1:00     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga”

1:30     Field Music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums (Fort Watauga)

2:00     Ladies Tea & Sunday Social – Everyone Welcomed (Fort Watauga)

3:00     Retiring the Colors (Fort Watauga) Event Closed. Thank you for coming!

O N G O I N G   A C T I V I T I E S   T H R O U G H O U T   T H E   W E E K E N D 

Cherokee Lifeways and Demonstrations, Colonial Games, Salt Making, Tavern Keeping, Leather Work, Weaving, Food Preservation, Lard Rendering, Hand Sewing, Knitting, Flax Processing, Colonial Music, Open Hearth Cooking, Flintlock Firearms Demonstrations, 18th Century Militia Encampment, British Camp, And Many More Aspects of 18th Century Life!

18TH  C E N T U R Y   M A R K E T   F A I R

Ft. Vause Outfitters, Daniel Boone of Kentucky, Zettlemoyer Pottery, Grubbs Station,

Wintergreen Farms, Roy Carter, Trader Bob, Squirrel Town Traders, Johnson and Moffett, McDuffies Trade, Shaun Harley: Pewterer

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, 1651 W. Elk Ave. Elizabethton, TN 37643

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MAJOR BOGART SPEAKS: The Siege is Upon Us and Auction Items


Moving the line

Moving the line

To the Washington Co. Militia,

The Siege of Fort Watauga is in 15 days. Can you believe it?!  It promises to be a great event as we have some new sutlers coming, some new participants taking part, and of course all our old friends will be together again. As the host unit for this event let’s do what we do best, and that is make our guests feel welcomed and appreciated.

As usual I will need some help setting up and serving the dinner on Saturday Evening. Please let me know if you can lend a hand.

I would also like to have an information table this year with schedules, maps, a donation box, and general direction for people with questions. Let me know if you would be willing to tend the information booth for a time during the weekend. I’m thinking two hour increments each day: 10-12, 12-2, and 2-4. I am also going to ask the friends group to help with this.

I am still putting the schedule together so if you would like to do a program, presentation, talk, seminar, or display please let me know ASAP. We want this event to showcase the best we have to offer as living historians. You all are a very talented and knowledgeable group of people and the park is blessed to have you.

As always if you have any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me any time.

I am starting to get a few auction items in. However, we are nowhere near where we need to be. Please, if you can, dig around and find some of that “stuff” you no longer use (period correct of course) and donate to a very worthy cause.

Thank You,

Major Bogart

Thank You,

Major Bogart

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MAJOR BOGART SPEAKS: ALL CALL FOR AUCTION ITEMS FOR MAY SEIGE


Good Afternoon Washington Co.

The Siege of Fort Watauga is fast approaching. As you know the auction we have during the siege is the only major fundraiser we do, and we depend on the funds we raise. The more items we have the better off we are. If you have items that you would like to donate toward the auction please bring them by the park any time and leave them in my office. As always the items must be period correct, and books must pertain to the period.

Thank You,

Chad

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Carter Mansion Celebration, April 11-12, 2015


Five miles east of the fort is a little slice of elegance on the frontier and it’s always nice when the Militia has a muster at the John and Landon Carter Mansion. This year it was on April 11-12 and I’ll tell you, there were a lot of people sweating it  on Friday before the event. For one thing, it had been raining like a bee-ach-e and cold all week and the forecast didn’t look too promising almost right up to the very end. There weren’t too many people setting up on Friday and the question that was bandied about was whether there would be enough people there to hold the skirmish as the boss (Major Bogart) hadn’t really come up with a Plan B. Scott and Ethan Wallen, Bobby Hamm, Earl Slagle and the Garrous set up in the rain and prayed for good weather. With my bad luck when it came to events and the weather powers, I even offered to sleep at home thinking that with the Jonas removed, things would be good. Oh me of little faith!!! As bad as it was prior to the weekend, that’s how glorious it was from late Friday to Sunday.

Becky and John Garrou and their display of "Smalls" The place was jumpin' all weekend!

Becky and John Garrou and their display of “Smalls” The place was jumpin’ all weekend!

Part of the discussion regarding attendance was that so much was going on this particular weekend and the members were pulled in every direction. At Rocky Mount, there was Wooly Days and also a big meeting of the OVTA, and several members had to be there for that. There was a big Civil War event at the Tipton- Haynes house in Johnson City as well and several thought that these would pretty well siphon off members and the public too. In spite of that all, we had a decent public attendance and the members worked around their schedules and came in force.   Weather was dry and cool and people came from everywhere. There were all kinds of displays, from Jennifer Bauer’s husband doing flint knapping and she dying wool, to The Garrous’ mercantile stall, “The Gourd Man” Jim’s  fine display of gourd items, Ronnie Lail’s rope making machine, Cindy weaving and me spinning wool. Kay Milsap had the children all gathered as she demonstrated 18th century games , Bobby Hamm had fur and bone trade goods and the list goes on. At 1 PM, the group recreated a skirmish between the Tories and the Patriots. Actually this battle didn’t really exist the way we do it but the hard feelings and in-fighting sure did. After the Transylvania Purchase, John Carter and Charles Robertson fronted money for several families to buy the land they had settled on. When it was known that some of these families were loyal to the Crown, the Commitee of Five pulled the plug on these people. I suppose today we’d call it foreclosure. John, as Chairman, planned to take the deeds to New Bern to re-register them and it’s this that the argument and subsequent skirmish is based on. People LOVE the yelling, the shooting and it makes for a bit of drama. Of course, what they don’t know is that Carter never made it to the capitol but died along the way from smallpox and the box of deeds was never found. After the skirmish, the ladies laid on a tea for one and all. It always astounds me how much food we end up having- kind of like the loaves and fishes . the tea went off without a hitch!

Sunday came gloriously and instead of a tea, Major Bogart conducted a frontier service with communion. Everyone who was there was mindful of Easter that had just passed , Chad gave  a wonderful sermon, very touching and the Militia gathered  closely. Sunday was a more relaxed day but still it moved so fast that before one knew it, it was over.

The celebration at Carter Mansion is the beginning of the warm weather reenactment season and no more wonderful time could have been planned.

Thanks John and Becky Garrou for the great pictures.

Cindy Jordan and me in front of my domicile. Harry was with Earl Slagle down by at his camp

Cindy Jordan and me in front of my domicile. Harry was with Earl Slagle down by at his camp

Rope Making

Rope Making

Doug Ledbetter came from the Nolichucky with his Surveying equipment.

Doug Ledbetter came from the Nolichucky with his Surveying equipment.

Melodie Daniels and one of her "man-cubs". so cute!

Melodie Daniels and one of her “man-cubs”. so cute!

Ethan "God save the King" Wallen and Jennifer

Ethan “God save the King” Wallen and Jennifer

It was great seeing Col. Bob McCroskey.  Mel McKay is in the picture too.

It was great seeing Col. Bob McCroskey. Mel McKay is in the picture too.

communion with Chad Bogart, Jason Davis and Ronnie Lail

communion with Chad Bogart, Jason Davis and Ronnie Lail

gwthering

The place to meet and greet

The John and Landon Carter Mansion

The John and Landon Carter Mansion

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Carter Mansion Celebration. April 11-12


For sure!!!!

For sure!!!!

Travel back to the 1780s… The American colonies have declared Independence, but the outcome of this bitter struggle is still in question. Hardy frontiersmen have crossed the mountains in ???????????????????????????????defiance of British law and have carved out homes in the wilderness. Conflict is rising between American Patriots, Loyalists who support the Crown, and native Indians who struggle to retain their way of life. But the people of this time still find cause for celebration and merriment so come out and see it all come together at the oldest frame house in Tennessee.

The Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion, built ca. 1775-1780, boasts beautiful over mantle murals, hand carved moldings and raised panels making it one of the most treasured sites in Tennessee history. The house is the only surviving link to the famed Watauga Association, the democratic government set up by the early settlers in the Watauga Valley. The home’s builder, John Carter, served as a chairman of the Association.

The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, Sycamore Shoals’ host living history organization, will be celebrating its six-year anniversary during this exciting celebration! The Militia will be encamped on the grounds of the Carter Mansion and will present demonstrations of the daily lives of 18th century backwoods settlers. As part of the activities a re-enactment of a small battle between Patriots and Tories will be presented each day.

Local craftsmen and artisans will be on hand throughout the weekend showcasing and demonstration traditional arts and crafts. ???????????????????????????????Other activities throughout the weekend will include Tours of the Carter Mansion: Tennessee’s oldest frame house, Militia Drill, Musket and Rifle demonstrations, Traditional and Old Time Music, Storytelling, Colonial Military Music by the Watauga Valley Fifes and Drums, and much more. Come join us for a weekend of History, Entertainment, and Family Fun!

The Carter Mansion is located on the Broad Street Extension in Elizabethton, TN. For further information or directions to the Carter Mansion, contact:

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area

(423) 543-5808

http://www.sycamoreshoalstn.org

http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/sycamore-shoals

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MAJOR BOGART SPEAKS: CARTER MANSION CELEBRATION , APRIL 11-12


One of my favorite pictures. Major Bogart seeking inspiration before the service at the 2012 muster.

One of my favorite pictures. Major Bogart seeking inspiration before the service at the 2012 muster.

Next weekend (April 11-12) is the Carter Mansion Celebration. So far I have these people committed to doing a demonstration…

Bobby Hamm – Traps and Furs

Ramona Invidiato – Wool

Becky Garrou – Foodways & Gardening

Kay Milsaps – Games

Earl Slagle – Backwoods Skills & Cooking

Doug Ledbetter – Surveying

I need to know by tomorrow if anyone else has planned to do a demo. I also need to know ASAP who is planning to camp so I can get an idea of how much firewood to take up there.

Also the OVTA is having their board meeting that Saturday at Rocky Mount, and some of them may come by for a visit including John Slaughter, NPS group superintendent for Kings Mountain, Cowpens, 96 and the Overmountian  Victory National Historic Trail. John is great and really enjoys the living history aspect of interpretation. I am eager for you all to meet John.

Thanks,

Major Bogart

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