View Full Version : November daily life event in Missouri
08-21-2007, 06:07 PM
I'm sorry about the very short notice of this event. I just learned about an hour ago that we were finally granted permission to take over the Boone Village near Defiance, Missouri, during the weekend of November 9-11. This event has been in the works for some time but because the village belongs to a local University, it took a little extra time to get all the permissions we needed so that I could announce it publicly.
The theme of this event is simply daily life in November, 1861, in a rural village. Essentially we'll be getting ready for winter. Some of the chores include chinking log cabins, weeding and digging in the garden, and repairing fences. We have a schoolhouse and two excellent young school mistresses who will be teaching lessons in geography and the natural sciences (so children will be very welcome); we also have a dressmaker's cabin, a potter's shop, a grist mill, and a summer kitchen, as well as barns & other outbuildings. There's a great opportunity for a variety of authentic impressions.
We have the village entirely to ourselves for the weekend, so we can stay in the houses (which are clean and in good condition.) We're planning a Thanksgiving-style supper on Saturday night and a church service on Sunday morning.
For those of you who aren't too familiar with the Boone Village, it's a small town with about two dozen historic buildings. It's about 45 min. west of St. Louis. There are few modern intrusions (none that are really irritating, anyway.) The village was composed of antebellum farm houses and buildings, which were brought to the site of Daniel Boone's last home. That in itself is worth seeing. The village is set in a rural area, so you won't be bothered by a lot of traffic, and I don't remember any planes flying overhead.
Again, I really regret the very short notice, but it just couldn't be helped this time around. If you think you'd like to come, please feel free to send me a message or ask any questions. I think this will be a pleasant and interesting event.
The standards are about the same as for any other authentic civilian event, but if you need more information or details, you might check out the civilian guidelines for Marmaduke's Raid:
Edited to add: the standards for "Marmy's Raid" are intended to suit a refugee event that takes place in the woods of southeastern Missouri. Of course people living in a rural village would be able to wear clothing that might not work for a refugee event. The reference was meant only as a general guideline.
08-22-2007, 06:47 AM
This sounds good. I'll try and wheedle a kitchen pass. Bringing my daughter will help. Hopefully Rev. Pompey can come and bring Megan and Co.
08-22-2007, 08:07 AM
Yes indeed, Frank's children will all be there. We have folks coming from Wisconsin (members of the ONV) and North Carolina, as well as the usual suspects from Kansas City & St. Louis. It would be wonderful if you and Katrina could come! She should have plenty of other children to play with.
We can't charge anything for the event, so we're asking everyone to bring food and drinks to share. I'll take care of that individually with folks as they sign up. Saturday night will be a big church-supper meal; of course Thanksgiving wasn't instituted as an official national holiday until 1863.
We will have mail service, a Mercantile (we'll purchase items with period money) and services in the chapel on Sunday morning.
Anyone who feels that they might like to come should contact me as soon as possible so that I can get them situated in the various buildings. Because this event was posted so close to the date I don't think it's necessary to put a cap on it, but I assume that once we have the houses filled we'll have to ask people to set up a camp of convenience outside the village.
08-22-2007, 09:19 AM
If there are any Masons interested in attending this event, please let me know as it would be nice to set up a Widows & Orphans table similar to what was done at Shaker Village.
08-22-2007, 03:24 PM
"Saturday night will be a big church-supper meal; of course Thanksgiving wasn't instituted as an official national holiday until 1863."
It is my understanding Thanksgiving would be celebrated after the harvest. Depending on your area they picked when it may be celebrated. One area may celebrate it on one day and another county may celebrated it a week later/or earlier. People could celebrate more than one Thanksgiving if they had family/friends in another area and went to visit. The national holiday status only set it on a particular day for all.
08-22-2007, 04:40 PM
Not trying to hijack this good idea of daily life in the autumn of 1861 but if one is interested in more about Thanksgiving I invite you to check out Virginia Mescher's article on the subject: http://www.raggedsoldier.com/thanksgiving.pdf
But back to the reguarly scheduled program of event news...
08-22-2007, 04:58 PM
What are y'all mixing with the cabin chinking mud up in that part of the country?
We pack and mix with fully retted Spanish Moss down here---strongly documented even back into the French/Spanish periods. ( That mixing is a dandy muddy job for elementary aged children too:D)
Retted moss not being a ready option in other areas, I'm wondering what the holding medium was.
08-22-2007, 05:11 PM
I am interested as long as I don't get accused of theivery and you all agree to attend my tea party.
08-22-2007, 05:54 PM
Yes, of course, Brett, you will be an honored guest. I'm so sorry about missing your tea at Athens. We ladies had set up a little scenario for those folks who really did the stealing. Unfortunately we got caught behind the militia muster on our way back & couldn't return until all the drilling was done. By that time you and your friend had already left.
It would be great to see you at Defiance! I really hope you can come.
Susan, think of it as a "harvest home" kind of supper. It'll be a pot luck, like a church supper, in celebration of all our hard work bringing in the crops and so on. It should be a nice convivial evening. Any chance you might make it?
Here are some photos of the village:
The people in the photos are volunteers who show up at Boone Days and frontier type events. They're not CW reenactors.
08-22-2007, 07:16 PM
I'm definitely planning on this one. It's really a lovely little village. The first event we had there I almost felt as if I stepped back in time...
Here's some pictures from a few events we've had in the past at the Boone Village:
08-31-2007, 09:39 AM
We now have enough participants for our event, so if anyone else is interested, we'll put you on the waiting list. As we all know, things can change at the last minute, so it's entirely possible that a place will open up. There is one position that still remains open: running the potter's shop. If you have skills working with clay, by all means contact me.
11-12-2007, 05:37 PM
I have to say that this was the best civilian event I have ever had the pleasure to be a participant. This was Silvana's first time at putting an event together and she did a bully job. It was so easy to really place yourself back in 1861..from the excellent mercantile put together and operated by Deborah Hyland all the way to the capstone Saturday night supper complete with 2 huge turkies provided by the Sorchys.
The site was also part & parcel to having numerous magic moments, with it rolling hills and fall foliage..just as picturesque as one could imagine. The village just makes one feel like he or she has stepped back 140 or so years and I would encourage anyone simply to stop by and visit the site if passing though eastern Missouri by way of St. Louis. Better yet, why not be a participant as Silvana indicated that the site administration wants us to do more living history programs.
I could go on and on about this event, but you just have to experience the next one. I am sure you will hate seeing it end as I did.
11-12-2007, 06:10 PM
I did not find this website until too late to see this event. I hope your event went well. The weather was nice anyway. :)
Now, time for a new-guy dumb question or two. I ask here, because even though this is was civilian event, and I was attracted originally by the military side, your event is close enough to me to go easily. So I apologize in advance if my questions seem totally un-informed. Its only because they are, as I have never been to any Civil War era event.
1-Are spectators "only" allowed/encouraged to attend an event like this?
I understand that the people coming and participating in the event want to immerse themselves in the times and trials of living in those times, and I am not 100% sure if this is a private affair or if you are "performing" these skills and trades to show to "modern people" that come to observe and learn, or if you wish to not have people in modern clothing with cameras destroying your immersion.
2-A guy like myself, that is just beginning to get into this, wanting to purchase or get materials for crafting their own gear went to this event, are there suttlers or vendors attending to assist me in the aquisition of good quality period gear?
These questions may seem obvious to you-all that have done this for years, but it seems to me, that sometimes you may not want "modern" folk breaking the mood and feel of some of these events. Most events I can understand are done specifically for the education and entertainment of modern people, and so gawkers like myself would be welcomed and expected.
But it also makes sense to me to do an event where no one not in period clothing and such are welcomed. To attempt to maximize the feeling of "being there" and not being photographed and asked questions that break the mood.
So are there both types of events? And if so, how would I tell which is which? Again, I apologize for asking what is likely obvious to most here.
11-12-2007, 10:00 PM
Your questions are not silly at all, and I will be happy to answer them.
The site was open to the public during the normal hours of operation, so we were interpreting life in 1861 while the general public were present. We would interact with the public as we went about our daily routines. Our interaction with each other, meaning participants, was in first person. After hours, we were able to focus more on the immersion aspect of the event.
Deborah Hyland ran a mercantile shop, selling authentic items that one would find in a mercantile. So you would not find cartridge boxes or uniform items in her shop. There were no other "sutlers" etc there on site. So you could not have outfitted yourself at the event, but would have had to come with the proper impression. Genereally, at living histories, you will not find sutlers & vendors. You find these at mainstream events. That being said, you will often have authentic vendors selling uniform & gear at immersion events PRIOR to event kick off at registration.
Hope that answers your questions.
11-13-2007, 10:23 AM
I agree with Mike that this is an excellent question that may deserve further discussion in another thread. Lately there have been some good conversations about first-person vs. historic interpretation, so your questions are timely.
I'm going to report on the event in a day or two (when I have started to excavate my living room floor again) but for now I just want to say that there are a number of these historic villages around the country, and I feel they present excellent opportunities for authentic civilian reenactors who want to recreate the 19th century past as it was really lived. These villages are usually owned by educational or private groups who survive by bringing in visitors & running tours. So it's rare that you could take over a village like this without doing some interpretation. However, that is a useful and important "arm" of our hobby, & it's our way of giving back for the enjoyment we gain by reliving the past.
In this case, Boonesfield is owned by a university & serves as an educational site for both spectators and for interns who are learning about historic preservation. One nice thing about having the event in November: we weren't overwhelmed by lots of spectators. Those who did come were fascinated by the displays & activities and asked intelligent & thoughtful questions. They really did not interfere with the overall first-person element of the event. When our group does events for the NPS, then we don't have as much control over what goes on & we have to follow their scripts and information packets. That's still an extremely valuable educational experience for everyone, but of course it's a different kind of event & tends to have more third-person than first-person.
Your other question raises the issue of preparedness for an event like this. You should always feel free to ask for loaners, especially at first. Some of our participants have been at this hobby for a long time & are very willing to help out. Living history events don't tend to have sutlers, so you'd want to ask a lot of questions ahead of time. The problem and delight of the civilian end of the authentic reenacting community is that there are fewer regulations. That means that as you build your unique individual impression you'll have to do more of your own research. That can be enormous fun but also frustrating. Just keep asking questions.
Also, Ron, contact us about our next few events -- you're in our neck of the woods & probably would enjoy some of what we do here.
I am so excited about the way this part of our hobby is developing! I see more and more opportunities for civilian-military crossover. We're seeing more and more of the "people's war" as Abraham Lincoln called it in 1861. As some of the military guys explore the civilian side of things, they gain a greater appreciation for the fact that they're portraying a volunteer army. And we civilians play a more serious & authentic role, far removed from the tea parties and fashion shows of yore.
11-13-2007, 05:29 PM
Cool. Thanks for the info. :) I just had no knowledge at all about what these events were like. I'd not considered the civilian side much before I guess. In town here, we had a Heritage Days at the Stevenson House in town, and people got dressed up in period clothing and did demonstrations of life in the early 1800's, but it closed up and they all went home at evening. It was really pretty neat. Best thing would be to just go to one I reckon, and jump in.
I just figure that every soldier was a civilian both before and after the war, and so some items might actually do dual duty. I am sure soldiers carried some mundane items, like combs, writing sets, utensils and such. Things that regular civilians would also use. Also, soldiers returning home after their enlistment was up, or due to wounds, would likely retain some of their soldier's gear.
I'll just have to come to the next one and see whats up. :)
Hargis, G. 5 A-1
11-13-2007, 10:13 PM
Retted moss not being a ready option in other areas, I'm wondering what the holding medium was.
At Camp Ford (Texas), we fireproofed the wooden fireplaces and chimneys with clay and pine straw “cats.” The clay shielded the structure and the pine needles served as the binder.
11-14-2007, 05:19 PM
First, my AAR: I sold candy. That's it.
Seriously, I was busy from dawn until dusk on Saturday, updated my books starting at dawn on Sunday, and settled accounts and sold more candy until the event ended Sunday afternoon. I had a free period of about 30 minutes when someone spelled me in the mercantile while I introduced Melissa Walker (welcome!) to some other folks.
The weekend was such an immersive experience, that I really can't say what went on except for my very small part of it, which was about candy, candy, and more candy.
All I can do is thank the following:
Virginia Mescher, for her article on candy in the CW Historian and for so graciously answering my emails with follow-up questions.
Silvana Siddali, for all her behind-the-scenes work, most of which we'll never know about, for her supplies for the Mercantile, and for taking the time to write period letters for our post office.
Mike Kupsch, for running the Widows and Orphans table and for making a period mason's apron so that my husband did not have to spend his weekend surrounded by a gaggle of women.
Carl Anderton, for playing wonderful music. I'm so sorry that exhaustion prevented me from staying up and enjoying more of it.
Our schoolmistresses, Misses Souter and Miles, for keeping the children occupied for several hours. We all benefited and it is you who truly deserve the reward of merit cards.
The parents of said children, espeically the parents of young Fallon and Kyle P for entrusting them to us for the weekend. They were a testament to their good rearing.
Nancy Troxel for all her work in the kitchen and for her beautiful organ music in church on Sunday.
Terry Sorchy for first-person conversation and truly the best turkey dinner I've ever had in my life.
Vivian Murphy for all her help with the dinner and for being willing to drive so many others to the event, thus adding to our experience.
Trish Hasenmeuller for spelling me in the shop for a bit. I truly needed the break.
And to everyone else I don't mention by name, just for looking so nice. Everywhere I looked I was so pleased to see such wonderful impressions. Each glimpse was like stepping back in time.
11-15-2007, 12:04 AM
Great event, thanks to all the hard work of those who made it happen.
I am looking forward to more events at this site, trully a wonderful experience.
I suggested that we incorporate a Milita theme to the next one... thought Ideas?
once again this was a Bully weekend and I trully enjoyed myself. had to run a extra 5 miles on monday to work off all the extra food. terry made the young man traveling through town on his was to San fran feel at home.
11-15-2007, 08:28 AM
Top drawer idea about the militia theme. That wide open field would make a perfect parade ground for drilling.
11-15-2007, 10:26 AM
Yes, that is a great idea, and in fact the Lindenwood University administration were quite enthused about it. So mark your calendars for April 25-27 for a very early-war recruitment & militia drilling event, with strong civilian interaction, at Boonesfield. More info on that event shortly.
Like Deborah, I would like to thank everyone who attended and who did such a wonderful job with their impressions and their environments. Terry and Nancy created a perfectly cozy, detailed 19th century farm home. Yes, that turkey was stunning; almost unbelievably good. There was a chorus of gasps and cheers. That dinner was so lovely! What a treat to have such a fine banquet in a lamp-lit room with a cheerful fire in the background and friendly company around the table.
Vivian, Trish, Fallon, and Shirley worked monumentally hard on the cooking and cleaning. The Aufmuth Family was a pure delight as always, even if some of the kids didn't quite understand why they had to attend school on a Saturday! But the two schoolteachers Stormi and Sandi had prepared excellent and enjoyable lessons for them. By the way, the director of Education at the University was deeply impressed with the school.
Mary Gutzke and Mary Warren ran the Dressmaker's shop with their period sewing machine; Mike and Larry ran the Freemasons' "Widows and Orphans" table; Deborah's mercantile was truly a work of art. Not only did she have a magnificent and carefully researched display of period candy, she had arranged the whole store beautifully. She also researched period-accurate book-keeping and made sure everyone's bills were handled correctly. I know that was a lot of work while dealing with a steady stream of customers. Anna worked hard in the garden -- she cleared out half of it all by herself. Mr. Owens, Mr. Miles, and Mr. Smith chopped our wood for the winter and did other chores. Charles Hoskins was dapper as an attorney from out of town who blew a cloud with the other fellows. Carl Anderton and Kyle regaled us with their brilliant music all weekend. We enjoyed a little singing and some of us even took a few turns of "Soldier's Joy" around the room after the supper.
One of my favorite parts of the event was the Sunday service. Frank preached a good sermon that took into account Missouri's troubles in 1861 and the theme of Resurrection. Terry (our Sexton) seated everyone in church, took care of the collection for the poor, and arranged the procession. Nancy Troxel is a trained church organist, so she was able to provide inspiring music for our hymns. That was such a treat!
The village looked particularly lovely nestled in its valley, with the leaves on the trees just finishing their display of color around all the hills. What I love about the site is that it's surrounded by farmland, so as you approach it you gradually leave the present behind.
I'm happy to report that the university administration was very, very pleased with the event and has already asked us to come back as often as we like. They're envisioning "November Daily Life" as a regular annual feature, and have already scheduled a spring event. I think that's a tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the people who traveled so far and did so much research on their impressions. We had folks from North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Iowa (not to mention a few St. Louisans!)
So think about coming out next spring for our militia muster, and start planning some civilian impressions too! We will be able to invite more people next time and can probably accommodate a few more specialized impressions. We're particularly interested in someone who can occupy the print shop and someone who would be willing to run the pottery shop. We could also use a miller and certainly anyone who's willing to bring livestock.
Looking ahead to next fall, the village has acquired two new (well, antebellum, but new to the village) houses; those will be ready for occupation by next autumn.
I don't have too many pictures, unfortunately, but you can get an idea from these:
I hope others will contribute their photographs.
11-15-2007, 10:58 AM
Oh how fun. I'm so glad your event was such a success! I have the April date down; we'll see if I can swing it out of Texas....so many great events, so little time...oh, yeah and money :).
Congratulations on your success.
11-15-2007, 12:23 PM
The Boonesville event pictures looked fantastic and I'm greatly saddened that I missed it! The militia event in April sounds great and I hope I'll be invited to take part :wink_smil I hope to meet you all soon in April, fire on the Homeguard in Athens, and stomp through my native woods at Marmy's raid!
I'm also sending you a PM about the pottery shop at the event.
For Missouri and the Cause,
Matthew Jas. Shomaker
11-15-2007, 05:28 PM
Had an awesome time last weekend! I was amazed at how many people from far away showed up. It was really neat to be able to meet several of you who I'd heard so much about. I hope we'll be able to do more events together in the near future. I also want to thank those of you who spent hours, weeks and months preparing for this event. Silvana, you did an amazing job coordinating everything! Thank you also for sharing the cat... and for putting up with me all weekend. You know how much trouble I can cause. :rolleyes:
Deborah, your mercantile was fantastic! I can tell that you put a lot of time and money into it. I rarely saw you outside the shop all weekend! It was fun watching customers look at the colorful array of candy you had on the counter. Adults seemed to turn into little children as they eyed the sweet confections. Every time I saw a little one walking by I noticed their hands filled with candy. I'm sure their parents weren't too happy to discover the large amounts of sugar they had consumed throughout the day. The kids really added a lot to the event for me as well. While I was gardening I got to watch the children at school during their art lesson with Trish and then later in the day when they played games. It was a bit of a "period moment" for me. Stormi and Sandi did an impressive job keeping all those kids occupied the entire weekend!
Saturday's dinner was absolutely scrumptious! Everything tasted so lovely. It's a good thing I had my corset on; you can't really eat too much in one of those things... ;) A special thanks goes out to Frank Aufmuth for providing the lovely lovely cherry bounce after dinner. I know you said it wasn't quite ready, but it still tasted wonderful. Those cherries sure have a powerful punch, though! It enabled me to dance a few rounds after dinner. Doubt I could have done it without that bit of "inspiration." :) Also a huge thanks to Carl Anderton for playing his new banjo for us and for all the intelligent conversations we've had. I always enjoy talking music with you, Carl! It was fun to hear Kyle P. on the bones. You sure know how to move your arms! It was entertaining just watching you! Mike Kupsch, thanks for always being so pleasant to be around. You're a true gentleman. You Kansas City guys really make an event special for me. I know it's always going to be a great time when ya'll show up to an event.
Thanks to each and every one of you who attended. You're what made this event so special. My only wish would be that we all could have continued living in the village for at least another month! Perhaps one day... :) Hope to see many of you again next month in St. Louis!
Because pictures speak louder than words, click here to see for yourself. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gracefullady/tags/1861homeevent/) :D
11-16-2007, 08:02 AM
Here are some more pictures, taken by one of the dressmaker ladies.
11-16-2007, 09:01 AM
I will add to the chorus of gratitude and esteem for our North Carolina friends, Stormi and Sandy and Keith. My daughter and her friend have never had so much fun in school! I really enjoyed watching the period activities in the schoolyard. Katrina and Sarah haven't stopped bragging about it yet. I hope to see you all at an event again real soon.
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