Tag Archives: Tennessee

April Muster: Carter Mansion Celebration, April 2-3


Saturday, April 2 & Sunday, April 3   

Ramona Invidiato

 

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 seven-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 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!

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Filed under 2011 Militia Activity, 2016 MILITIA ACTIVITY, Carter's Mansion

2016 Winter Militia Muster, Feb. 6-7


fort winter

Fort Watauga in winter

Winter musters are usually miserable affairs. It is sub FREEZING, snowy, wet, and those who participate are not your typical sunshine patriots. This year the muster was on Feb. 6 and 7 and the weather, while coolish, was hinting at a stellar spring to come.

On Friday, those who were setting up the cabins and camps arrived to a dry fort . The Tavern was up for grabs but the Bennetts did their usual wonderful job making the Talbot House look prosperous and warm. (click on the pictures to see the captions) Somewhere in the preceeding month, Earl Slagle upgraded the Longhunter lean-to to a more secure structure and he and Kim had a very impressive camp there complete with a bear claw that Kim skinned, hanging from one of the poles. Bucky Simerly set up a primitive digs in the man cave and it was very comfortable. Doug Ledbetter and Bill White did a superlative job making the last cabin warm and inviting.

When there’s not much going on, my thoughts turn to COOKING and along with Lisa Bennett, we just about fed the whole militia. I’m thinking that the hillbilly Hilton is rapidly becoming a publik house, yet unnamed, but perhaps someone will make me a sign “The Cock and Bull”. There was fun, frolic and eating all day for two days.

Becky and John Garrou were in the visitor’s center with their fine display of period drink. It’s a great idea and serves two good functions. One is to get Becky out of the cold, yet she still can participate and the other is to welcome guests to the museum and to the doings of the day. The only thing is I miss being with her when she’s up there. I need a sign on the door… “visiting the Carters”… or something like that.

There was no set theme; mostly it was military drilling with practicing various commands and marching. I have often threatened to have a shirt made with the militia logo on the front printed crookedly and in the back, the sentence “Militias don’t do straight lines” but I have to say, the boys looked spectacular as they followed the officers’ commands.

straight line

BY GAD!!!  Straight Lines!!

 

 

Besides drilling and drilling, there was an artillery demo which always is a big hit.

lineboom

Ready, aim, Fire at Will!

ethan not will

Will?

 

The most notable thing on Saturday was the special recognition program at Noon. Several junior ROTC cadets from the Carter County high schools including Elizabethton High were recognized at a special and well attended ceremony. It was a pleasure to see these young people take the mantle of leadership.

The Watauga Fife and Drum outdid themselves on Saturday. There was a full compliment and they performed a medley of new songs. Hats off to the FIFE AND DRUM!

Sunday was a very quiet day. I bet there were only 20 visitors the whole day in spite of the fact that it was warm and beautiful. The Talbot House was packed for service and Dave Doan gave a beautiful homily about the meaning of Ash Wednesday. One has to hand it to him. Dave was sick, getting over a nasty stomach flu but was there and preached wonderfully. It , like Saturday, was a good day for laughter and seeing old friends and meeting new.

Thank you, Retha Reece, Doug Walsh and Tim Massey for taking such wonderful pictures.

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Filed under 2016 MILITIA ACTIVITY

OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY TRAIL MARCH, SEPT.25-27


To those who lived in the Eastern Appalachians in the last decades of the 1700’s, the Revolutionary War was a distant drumbeat being fought and stalemated somewhere up north. For these people, it was an echo in the mountains that surrounded their hard scrabble lives. For the most part, though there were others, these early settlers on the frontier were not English, per se,  but came from the large Irish territory, the Ulster Plantation. These Scot-Irish whose ancestors where already displaced once, ignored the Royal Proclamation where George III promised the indigenous peoples that there would be no British subjects settling permanently west of the  Alleghenies and dug out a tenuous  life in the wilderness and lived as they wished.

The call of war sounded closer when the British decided to end the stalemate , invade the Southern colonies thus splitting the colonies and the resistance with the hope of ending the war. They banked on loyalists fighting along side the British soldiers. What they didn’t bank on was the ragtag group, these “mongrels”, “barbarians” , these “Backwater Men” as Major Patrick Furgeson  disparagingly called them, who sometimes appeared in the low countries, who fought like devils with their strange Indian cries, who could fell a deer at 200 yards, who harbored rebels and their families in the depths of the mountains and lived to fight another day. The sound of war was made crashingly real when Furgeson,commissioned by Cornwallis to subdue the rebels on his western flank,  out of frustration, threatened the leaders of this group by saying  If the Rebels “did not desist from their opposition to the British arms,” he would “march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders and lay their country waste with fire and sword.”  This enraged the leaders of these very independent people who mustered over a thousand men and set off on a 330 mile journey in a nine day march which brought defeat to the Tories and death to Furgeson. These men  set off ,not to fight for a nation but to defend their cabins and farms and the mountain life they valued.

Why they fought! (Timothy L. Overman and son)

Why they fought! (Timothy L. Overman and son)

Every year in September, The Washington County Regiment , in conjunction with the OVTA (Overmountain Victory Trail Association) , holds its commemoration of the Overmountain Men’s gathering at Sycamore Shoals. This year it was held on September 25 through 27th. It threatened rain all weekend, so much so that the school day scheduled for Friday was cancelled. The day turned out sunny, however and the historic site hosted the Tennessee State Guard who were on maneuvers at the park. I didn’t stop for a head count but I bet there was a hundred  if there was one, and It was really cool to see them mass together, so erect and so serious. The Watauga Valley Fife and Drum leading the way, the Militia, distaff members and the whole company of Guard participated in crossing the Watauga as the Overmountain Men did 235 years ago. Prior to the crossing, Steve Ricker told the story of the battle of Kings Mountain to a rapt audience and the Reverend Doak, played by George Cobb, gave that rousing sermon which rededicated the men and brought the men’s determination to a fever pitch.

Steve Ricker telling the story to a captivated audience.

Steve Ricker telling the story to a captivated audience.

Interesting perspective of the crossing with Superintendent of the National parks in the south, John Slaughter, in the foreground.

Interesting perspective of the crossing with Superintendent of the National parks in the south, John Slaughter, in the foreground.

The militia, members of the OVTA and the Tennessee National Guard crossing the river

The militia, members of the OVTA and the Tennessee National Guard crossing the river

It speaks for itself!

It speaks for itself

After the crossing the Overmountain Men , followed by Representatives of the First Tennessee Regiment (War of 1812) and then the whole contingent of the Tennessee State Guard assembled in the ampitheater for a short program. It brought home that there has been a continuum of volunteer service protecting communities here and wherever they are needed for the last 235 years and that these last are the inheritors of a grand tradition. One member of the Guard  sang the most beautiful rendition of the national anthem I’ve ever heard and there were speeches. Then three guardsmen were singled out for recognition for excellence.

Scott Smith who lives in Church Hill, TN, was one of the three who received an award of excellence.

Scott Smith who lives in Church Hill, TN, was one of the three who received an award of excellence.

The Guard, the OVTA and the National Park Service all had display stations at the visitors’ center and they stayed all weekend, providing the public with information and answering questions.

Saturday was another one of those days, threatening rain which never came. There was good traffic throughout the weekend where people came and saw various displays of 18th century living. one of the more interesting ones , I though, was Ken and Retha Reece’s display of trekking equipment and how one made pemmicin to take on trips. There were militia drills throughout the day and the crowd pleasing cannon demonstration in the latter part of the afternoon.

Fine tradition of service over time

Fine tradition of service over time

After the public left for the day, many of the members went to the burial site of Mary Patton who provided the excellent black powder for the Overmountain Men. She was remembered in a moving ceremony culimnating in a military salute and the pouring of black powder on her grave.

Sunday was less fast paced and more relaxed. Under cloudy skies, George Cobb preached the sermon explaining the references to the sword of Gideon and Macedonia. The park was lightly attended which was just as well as the militia got together for the first time, and actually was able to socialize.

My breakfast buddies and I having biscuits and apple butter or molasses Sunday morning.

My breakfast buddies and I having biscuits and apple butter or molasses Sunday morning.

I think the members were gathering their reserves to see the changing of officers in the afternoon. At 3 :30, Colonel Bob McCroskey stepped down as Colonel of the Militia and passed the baton to now Colonel Chadwick Bogart. It was very moving to hear Bob enumerate the accomplishments of the regiment over his six-year tenure, listen to his reasons for stepping down and read Chad’s commission to him and all assembled. Chad had tears in his eyes and he accepted the commission and praised Bob for his service, His first command , though, was to the distaff members as he bellowed ” you WILL Wear modesty cloths at ALL TIMES”. The verdict? Yep, he has what it takes as every woman looked down at her chest to see that her cloth was put on correctly.

It was a busy weekend, full of fun and emotion as the Washington Co. Regiment of North Carolina Militia, the OVTA and the TN State Guard met together to commemorate one of the most important events in the Up Country of North Carolina.

Pam Eddy and Lisa Bennett pouring black powder of Mary Patton's grave

Pam Eddy and Lisa Bennett pouring black powder of Mary Patton’s grave

Salute at Mary Patton's grave

Salute at Mary Patton’s grave

Colonel McCroskey presenting the new colonel with his commission

Colonel McCroskey presenting the new colonel with his commission

Colonel Bogart accepting his commission, praising the militia and the willingness of its members to do whatever it takes to further the goals of the historic site and do it with willingness and humor.

Colonel Bogart accepting his commission, praising the militia and the willingness of its members to do whatever it takes to further the goals of the historic site and do it with willingness and humor

George Cobb showing Pam Eddy and myself the reference about Macedonia in Acts from the New Testament crafted by James Moore.

George Cobb explaining to Pam Eddy and myself the reference about Macedonia in Acts. The Bible in my hands is  the New Testament crafted by James Moore.

The passing of the baton.

The passing of the baton.

Colonel McCroskey explaining to the crowd that he felt the Militia needed a constant presence from a Militia leader and that his health prevented him from being with the group especially in inclement conditions.

Colonel McCroskey explaining to the crowd that he felt the Militia needed a constant presence from a Militia leader and that his health prevented him from being with the group especially in inclement conditions.

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Filed under 2015 MILITIA ACTIVITY, Sycamore Shoals Historical Site

Boman-Bogart Cabin 1812, OCT. 23-24


Bowman- Bogart cabin, Unicoi, TN

Bowman- Bogart cabin, Unicoi, TN

Just a reminder that the Unicoi Heritage Day event will be October 24th. With a school day on Friday the 23rd.

There was a bit of confusion among some of the members as to the date for the event.

I will send out more info regarding the school day as soon as I hear from the event coordinators.

Again this is an 1812 era event for us and we will be providing a program celebrating the end of the war of 1812 bicentennial.

Take Care,

Col. Bogart

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Filed under Officer Communication, OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

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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Filed under Officer Communication

Letters To Representatives About Sabine Hill Visitor’s Center; Have You Done This Yet?


I wrote letters to all the representatives today to fund the Sabine Hill Visitor’s Center. I keep thinking that it’s like having a Dior gown and not being able to wear it. Have you contacted the congressmen yet? The budget hearing is this coming Monday.

0210151522

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Front door with copper  fascia

Front door with copper
fascia

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Filed under NEWS and NOTICES

Trade Days Muster, FEBRUARY 14-15, 2015


That's how the militia felt this past weekend.

That’s how the militia felt this past weekend.

February is always an iffy month in Tennessee; some days are wicked, some days are spring-like. This past weekend proved to be the former in spades. There have been winter weather warnings for a few days before the event. They called for temperatures in the thirties by day and 3 degrees with windchill factors into the minuses. Anybody else would have had second thoughts about holding a muster in these conditions but we’re the Militia, descended from tough and hardy stock, iron men and women. A little snow and cold never stopped us before as it didn’t stop the Overmountain Men marching across the Roan. There was also the knowledge that Earl Slagle, God bless him rich and deeply, had gone through every cabin, filling in every possible place that was open with chinking material. Those that planned to stay overnight knew that we’d be warmer than we ever were before and with a full shed of wood, a semblance of comfort was achievable.

On Friday, Tony DeVault, myself and Kim set up our spaces for a long stay. Kim had a diamond fly under the trees outside the fort and actually slept there on Friday night. I worried about him but this mountain man knows what he’s doing.( He was persuaded to sleep in the Talbot House on Saturday; thank God he listened.) He also set up his outdoor smoker as he was planning to smoke six deer hides on Saturday. The Bennetts set up the Talbot House but they were smarter than us and day tripped it both days. Saturday night, Ethan and Scott Walling came and opened the Tavern so all but one of the buildings inside the fort were occupied. Friday night was cold, the sky was fully blanketed by clouds, but there was a luminosity that comes with a full or nearly full moon. It was eerie but beautiful and it was a cozy time for us, sharing food and stories. Before I went to bed I made biscuits and bacon for the morning and slept reasonably well except for getting up every few hours to stoke the fire. I could hear Tony doing the same, as I heard him at the wood shed every now and then.

Saturday was cold and clear, a good day for indoor activities. Lisa, Rachael and Susanna spent the day cooking and sewing, Tony was in the man cave doing woodworking, I cooked Saturday and did a wool processing demo on Sunday and of course, there was Ken with his hides. Many members came for the day including Ken Markland, Mel McKay, ,Bucky Claubaugh, Ronnie and Linda Lail, Donna and Doug Ledbetter, Earl Slagle, who had hand surgery right after he made things comfy for us, and daughter , Sarah, David (Who came after work) and Matt Simerly to name a few. It was especially nice to see Col. Bob McCrosky. He braved an irate wife to come out for a while to cheer us all on. He’s just gotten over pneumonia and Margie had every right to worry but Bob did come and we so loved it. Chad roused the militia to march from time to time, banging on the window saying “I mean it” (Mel: ” Militias don’t drill” as he laughed out the door, wooden musket over his shoulder). In spite of the bitter cold, there was a surprising number of people who showed up and while the wind whipped, Chad and the men did put on a fine cannon display each afternoon. For myself, I especially loved having the class from Milligan College who came, partook of chocolate cake and hot mulled cider and stayed a while. The professor was a very nice man, a country boy from west Tennessee, and he and Mel and Ken enjoyed a long conversation. I loved being in the cabin all day cooking and Mel, Ken and Tony made it ever so nice staying and talking. There was a lot of laughing coming through the door to be sure.

It was wonderful seeing Col. MCCroskey. Made my DAY!!!

It was wonderful seeing Col. MCCroskey. Made my DAY!!!

After everyone left, we combined our food and had a wonderful meal and then after all the clean up, the crazy ones resupplied themselves with wood for the night before we turned in. The acid test was going to be making it through the night, with blowing snow, and arctic temps. I made it really well through the night but began to notice that my nose was filling up. I ascribed it to the dry heat but around 2 :30, I woke with a raging headache and knew that stopped up nose signaled a head cold. DAMN!! Thinking about the frontier women, I figured I’d just “man on” as they say and do the best I could. everyone had speculated that we would have a very mean number of people on Sunday with all the advisories for them to stay indoors, but would you believe???? Shades of Field of Dreams- to paraphrase the famous quote “If you build it, he will come” to “if you’re crazy enough to be there, somebody crazier will come”. Sure enough, when Chad was conducting services in the Talbot House, here came two women, one cradling a hairless Chihuahua in a blanket. Throughout the day, people did come and enter the cabins to see what they could see, but when the coast was clear, most everyone but me went to the Talbot House for company. I didn’t want to share the wealth and kind of isolated myself so I wouldn’t share what no one wanted.At 3 PM, precisely, colors went down and by 3:10, I was on the road with my cabbage of a head to a nice warm shower and bed, Vicks on chest, box of tissue in hand.

You can say what you want about the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, but the one thing that you can say the most is that this is one dedicated group of people who cheerfully keep alive the heritage of the area no matter what. Herodotus must have been looking into the future when he said “….these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed.”

—Herodotus, Histories (8.98) (trans. A.D. Godley, 1924)

This is a close as anyone could be taking pictures. it was just too dang cold!

This is a close as anyone could be taking pictures. it was just too dang cold!

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Filed under 2015 MILITIA ACTIVITY