I hope I’ve been a good enough girl that when I pass on, I never know what Hell Fire feels like. I use the expression a lot when I’m mad so maybe I might feel a little celestial heat but not much. If anything were to approximate that heat, however, it had to been the weather that occurred when the Washington Co. Regiment had their Independence Day muster on June 30-July 1.
With the holiday being celebrated nationwide on the same weekend, frankly, I don’t think the powers were expecting a huge turnout from members or public .Add to that was a record heat that approximated Hades in all it’s thermal glory, with temps topping triple digits both days. I was pleasantly surprised , therefore, when I saw the number of members and public who did come (dedication, respect or desperation, you pick).
We night crawlers had the fort pretty much to ourselves Friday and Saturday nights. George Federer, our tavern keeper, set up the tavern, Molly’s Inn was open for business in number 4 and Harry Jordan and Earl and Jacob Slagle inhabited the trees in the primitive area. The other members such as Chad, Doug Ledbetter, The Reeces, Ronnie Lail, Adam and Sterling (who did a lot of fishing and stayed over Saturday night), Mike Mankin, Tony deVault, the Shooks and so many more, were wisely cautious and day tripped it.
Saturday was a pretty terrific day. The Militia mustered at colors and gave a tremendous shot and huzzah and that set the patriotic pace for the rest of the day. Jason Davis corralled the kid’s militia and they looked really good as they marched smartly around the fort armed with their wooden rifles. After lunch, Suzanna Kulikowski and Sherry Shook set a beautiful table full of platters of iced watermelon and crocks of cold lemonade in preparation for the State Bell Ringing honoring the Thirteen Colonies at 2 PM. About 1:30, the people gathered as they would have over 200 years ago to listen to the post rider announce that there was a formal split between great Britain and it’s American colony. J.C. Davis, Jason’s father and retired History teacher, brought this most vividly and passionately alive and the audience was riveted to his every word.
There was a beautiful ceremony, one I had never witnessed before. After Major Bogart’s welcome, the Pledge and Ronnie Lail’s prayer, various dignitaries spoke briefly about the importance of the day. These included Terry Davenport, General President of the Sons of the revolution, Charles Dammann, President TN Society of the Sons of the American revolution, Tim Massey, President TN Sons of the Revolution and Joe Chambers Society of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. After each spoke, Tim named each state and when it was founded and Suzanna rang the fort bell in honor. Then the Watauga Fife and Drum played a song for each that was particulary suited to that state. It’s a mark of progress to note that they had that many songs, played perfectly, in their repetoire. Once Georgia was named and the closing prayer was said, everyone present dove into the cold watermelon, iced lemonade and switchel, 18th century Gatorade.
After everyone refreshed themselves, the cannon crew had an artillary demonstration which was well recieved and the day was pretty much done.
Sunday was another very hot day and participants were very thin indeed which was just as well. The highlights of the day was the frontier service led by Harry Jordan. The message was particularly terrific and dealt with being thankful and that the present is a gift. After that, the ladies put on a tea to beat all teas commemorating the Edenton tea Party where in 1775, fifty-one ladies in Edenton, NC burnt their tea and signed a petition vowing never to buy tea or other products until the King lifted the taxes on necessities and luxury items. I have to say with the new cups bought with Militia funds, the table looked beautiful and the food was excellent. We struggled though the day as best as the heat would allow, told stories and enjoyed each other’s company as the public was almost nil. Then as 3 PM approached, we struck colors and wished each other the best 4th of July yet.
Retha and Tim took some really good pics and you can find them in a Webshots album at the bottom of this page and also the collage I created using some of the pictures.