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.
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.