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Thread: Westville AAR

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Franklin, TN

    Westville AAR

    WOW! Jim Butler and all the rest of the people behind this event deserve highest praise. It was magical in my book. My thanks also go to the people running Historic Westville. ALOT of planning and lengthy work went into this event which was quite evident after studying my character packet upon arrival. I was to become Samuel Atkinson from Columbus, Geo. who was a cotton broker buying cotton from local farmers, and working for a local brokerage, McDonald and Associates.

    Upon meeting another cotton broker Saturday morning, I learned he was actually Mr. McDonald and thus my employer. So with that I decided surely I must be his newly arrived associate from Columbus and this would be my first day to meet him and work in his employ. So being new to town, I felt it only fitting that my Mr. Samuel Atkinson character should be a man of questionable background. Over the course of the next 24 hours, Mr. Atkinson swindled cotton farmers with low rates, passed conterfeit currency, and became involved in jury tampering, his office being located at the court house. It was a busy day. You've heard that news spreads fast in a small town and Westville, Geo. is that sort of small town. The local judge and sheriff were smart and alert men and had Mr. Atkinson arrested and in manacles in very short order. The judge had Mr. Atkinson paying restitution as quickly as he'd been placed in the manacles. Mr. Yarborough, owner of the local tavern, was made whole from a bad note although he banned Mr. Atkinson from returning for the next three months. The other complaintant who claimed to have received a bad note in a cotton transaction, a Mr. Edmonson as related by the sheriff, was not found to have done business with McDonald and Associates after an examination of the companies Cotton Reciept Logs. This was verified by the sheriff and the complaintant, Mr. Edmonson is now in question. For the record, the amount of lawlessness in this small burg was appalling. In addition to the above, there was mugging, stealing, bribery, stabbing. Something for everyone really in this charming town. All of this and general small town affairs while the army enlisted the able townsmen in the service of the state. The weekend in a word: delightful!

    And now that I'm back to 2008, I owe the portrayers of the following characters the amounts by their name: Mr. Loverd Bryan, $1; Mr. William Harper, 50 cents; and the charming Mrs. Sophia Ball, $1. Please PM me your address so I can forward the funds to you. To everyone who came and brought your charater to life, you have my thanks and praise. The list of registered names reads as a who's who in the hobby, and I was priveledged to participate with all of you. I look forward to reading the activities of others there.
    Matt Woodburn
    Another Big Bug
    Hiram Lodge #7, F&AM, Franklin, TN
    "There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Atlanta, Georgia

    Re: Westville AAR

    Well said, Mr. Woodburn !!
    This was a grand and unique event. I can think of none other that I have attended in recent history that has left such a posative impression. I will treasure the memories from this event for years to come. Thanks to Mr. Butler for all his efforts in organizing this event. We impressed the staff of Westville so much so that they have invited us all back. This is no small feet considering they have been very adimit about not allowing any Civil War event to be held onsite until this one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Westville AAR

    Matt: For the $1. you owe to Sophia Ball - please make arrangements to pay that amount to P. Palmer Dry Goods (Kay Gnagey) as I, unknowingly, passed on the bad bill to her along with notes I took in for merchandize I sold in the spicer shop for a new bonnet. I honestly thought that whole counterfit bill thing was part of the scenario worked up for the court house and did not realize I shorted her on payment for the bonnet until last night. I rounded up her cell number and promised to make good on Sophia's remaining outstanding debt. I am pretty embarrassed, because as event co-coordinator I should have known the difference. After the lasik and 7 other eye surgeries I can see well enough at a distance, but I remain blind as a bat up close so I couldn't read anything or see any details on the bills, letters, or other correspondence. I did notice it was larger than the others which should have been my first clue. I have apologized profusely to Kay and promised to make good.

    I want to thank everyone for their participation. I had expected to work the weekend and really had no expectations of participating in any of the vignettes, however, I found myself involved in the courtroom drama which made for a magical weekend for myself as well. It's no secret I've spent more time in the 18th century than the 19th the last couple of years, but, the enjoyment I got from this event could well entice me back to the 19th on occasion. Everyone who participated in planning the courtroom vignettes (which I really knew nothing to very little details about) is to be commended for the most excellent job you did. After getting tripped up by the opposing attorney while on the witness stand I hope I never find myself really in that position. I cannot forget to say how totally impressed and pleased I am with Ed Henry, Andy Sjogren, and all the others who helped bring the Nuckolls tavern to life. When we saw that building on the walk through I never dreamed it could be transformed into what I saw when I went to supper on Friday night. It was truly magical.

    Now, to regress - you did an excellent job of your shady character. In fact when my son, Greer, came to tell me while I was in the dress shop that you wanted to see me next door, I peeked out the door, saw the look on your face, and immediately started to formulate a plan of getting out of that store without having to have another encounter with the cotton broker/dishonest jury foreman. You can ask the proprietors of the shop, I actually looked out the window to judge the distance to the ground and assess what chance I had of exiting through the window without breaking my neck. The kind ladies refused to consider allowing me that form of exit which given the distance even if I did no bodily harm would have made for quite the spectacle for anyone who happened to witness my flight. Instead they decided to go out into the breezeway and admire their bonnets allowing me to exit by the steps behind the cover of their hoops. Before that I never realized how large a target you can actually hide behind those skirts. LOL. You, sir, are a scoundrell and should be ashamed of yourself for your attempts to solicit money in order to sway the jury - money you attempted to extort from a lonely widow woman. Thankfully Mr. Logan and Mr. McDonald offered me wise counsel and Mr. Logan even told me that there could be serious consequences if I gave you money to bribe jurors. Thus, my efforts to avoid contact with you late afternoon.

    Sophia Ball/Victoria Rumble

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    In a Tractor Seat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    N. GA

    Re: Westville AAR

    Event photos are staring to come in:
    Here is a link to Rachel Ochs' event album:

    Jim Butler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Westville AAR

    The pictures look great. Congratulations to Jim and all who helped organize and to those who attended. By the accounts so far, it sounds like you guys had a great time. I was on baby duty this weekend, but was thinking of you guys. I will be reading the AAR's with great attention.

    Congrats everyone!

    AC Owner
    Founding Member, Mess No. 1
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Griffin, GA

    Re: Westville AAR

    I had visited the site a few times prior both in period and modern so I was anxious to see it full of proper folks. I was not dissapointed. It was an awesome scene. All that did not attend missed a truely rare opportunity.
    Working with the infantry reminded me very quickly why I "jined the cavalry"
    Just a private soldier trying to make a difference

    Patrick Peterson
    Old wore out Bugler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: Westville AAR

    Well, after crossing the Susquehanna at about 3 am this morning, I've found myself hoping for another civilian event of this caliber to appear in the next couple of years. Nothing would tickle me more than to spend a week in Westville. Three days proved to be enough time to get into trouble, but not enough to get out of it.

    Between beating the p!$$ out of the school master, stealing a few ten cent notes, busting in on the Hibernians, and various other equally lofty pursuits, I was pretty exhausted by Sunday morning. The girl(Sarah Sherman/Kortney Schmidt), from all of her testimony, enjoyed her first event immensely. With the generous assistance of Mrs. Vickie Rumble and Mrs. Terre Lawson, she was made as comfortable as possible. Now, well, she'll probably join this forum and start searching out events that interest her.

    Mrs. Rumble: I apologize for slipping out on Sunday morning without a farewell or a thank you. The nature of our intended exit would have been marred if I had been wondering around loose in town. So, just want to say thanks for all you've done, and it was a real pleasure seeing you again...

    Mr. Butler: Your attempt at waylaying me late on Friday night was very effective. Those two gentlemen were able to slow me down considerably as I was stalking you in pursuit of those Papist swine. Monsieur Trent and myself wore ourselves out, peeping in every window in town, calling out "Hail Mary" in the darkness as a sort of 'duck call', but we trust that we frightened you all enough to make our weariness worthwhile. As a convinced Catholic and havinng a great deal of Irish blood, the entire "Know-nothing" experience was new for me. All for the history...

    Mrs. Lawson: I appreciate your tolerance of a misbehaving. foul-mouthed, lazy young man like myself. Your kindness to both my girl and myself went above and beyond my own hopes.

    To our Deputy Sheriff: Thanks for allowing me a chance to pluck away on your banjo during my short incarceration. When you finish putting the gut strings on it, and install some better tuning pegs, you'll have a very nice piece.

    Well, I find myself in a quandry. I was going to thank everyone that helped make this event something for me, but I don't have the space here to do so. It was amazing, being the first ones on site, watching as the town took on a life of its own. Everyone was busy, doing what a 19th century person would be doing. Just looking down the streets on Saturday morning was an experience well worth the drive....

    Oh, and Mr. Heath... Thanks for the ride down. When can we do it again?

    Billy Birney, formerly Greer Ball
    William Birney
    Columbia Rifles

    "The OTB is made up of the dregs of humanity, the malcontents, the bit*#ers and moaners, the truth tellers, the rebellious, etc. In other words, the ones that make good soldiers when the firing starts or the marching gets tough. The $&#*$& is run by parade ground, paper collar soldiers, the ones that pee on themselves when a car backfires and would be better fit for counting beans and puffying up their own egos and kissing each others @$(#*$*..."
    Thomas "Uncle Tom" Yearby, 20 March 2009

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Tuskaloosa, Alabama

    Re: Westville AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Heath View Post
    Been a while since I helped a lovely young couple elope.

    T'was a scandal to the crickets too. Or at least to everyone in her boarding house. To think!

    More Folks Gone To Texas..........
    Terre Hood Biederman
    Yassir, I used to be Mrs. Lawson. I still run period dyepots, knit stuff, and cause trouble.

    Wearing Grossly Out of Fashion Clothing Since 1958.

    ADVENTURE CALLS. Can you hear it? Come ON.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Westville AAR

    Jim and Vickie,

    Thank you very much for planning this event. Thanks need to go out to the Westville staff for letting this event happen. Thanks to all of the participants that stuck to their characters/personas as well as they did. I'm getting spoiled on great events with persona/character driven emphasis. First Winter of 64 this past winter and now Westville this fall. There was so much that went well this weekend and made it an amazing event. I am very glad that from my perspective very little modern talk was heard. It is all fine and dandy to have kewl gear and inhabit a great little village, but if the participants did not put forth that final effort then it would have been for naught. Thank you everyone! I studied a little on my “guy” that I portrayed. Daniel McKennon the local sheriff. I hope the folks in town enjoyed Sheriff McKennon as much as I enjoyed fleshing the person out. Yeah he was a little shady, the fines levied were not quite legal, but all in all he liked his town to be run by the rule of law. Well, his law. But the town has a better Sheriff now in Mr. McDonald since McKennon has up and left for the army. I know the deputy is still around too.

    To the tavern keepers, kudos gents! I did not expect what I got to see and experience there on both nights. You gents ran what I would consider a great period watering hole. Too bad I had to abstain from most drinking on Saturday evening. Hey I had to keep the streets clean!

    To my deputy, Greg thanks for going along with shady sheriffs. Your help was much appreciated and needed since I was constantly moving ALL weekend long.

    To the Court Room Drama Club, (Tripp, Deese, Hicks, Matt Young, the corrupt and vomity jury and all of the witnesses) thanks for making what could have been fairly boring scenario become one of the highlights of the weekend.

    To Tim and Preston, my super Tennessee Darkness Vision trouble making comrades. I smelled a rat, and I should know since I was King Rat of the town. And know as your personas head north back to Tennessee you will probably meet up with the Columbus Sheriffs and become detained since I sent a courier Sunday morning to them and all of the other county seats nearby to be on the lookout for you. Mwa ha ha ha ha!!!!!

    To Hank, thanks for your part with all of the shenanigans. Truth be told I really wanted to be at the tavern Saturday evening with my pals, but as the brave and ever vigilant Sheriff McKennon I knew that he would have definitely helped the locals out. I need my constituents alive for the next election. Hope Mr. Lewis’s wounds heal quickly.

    To the occupants of the Bryan House. (#15) With Mr. Ball and his sweetie (the Judge’s Daughter no less!) spending time there it was always fun to make my rounds to see what type of trouble was brewing. The good news is that along with the Tennessee Terror Twins, if there was more time the good Sheriff would have sent more messages via courier to the surrounding counties. Hey, he has some ties…. (Billy, sorry we didn’t get the photo made. I hope the deputy was available for the wetplate)

    To Cpl. Mustache, So Jeeeorgia Furst By Gawd! You have now been initiated. Especially with the lovely GVB quartet’s version of “Old McDonald had a Deformed Farm.” I hope you had your fill of sweet tea and bbq.

    The Chawls, Thanks for the hard work getting that pig cooked. The rain worried me on Friday night! The sheriff cares about his town getting a good bbq, and particularly if he gets his stomach filled with glorious piggy! The food all weekend was excellent. Thanks to all of the folks helping with this endeavor.

    To the merchants: Guys and gals you knew what your trade and I was happy that I got to visit every store. Being able to do business with a carpenter, a general mercantile store, a tavern, a tailor, a leather worker, laundresses, and a gunsmith was truly a treat.

    To the folks that I served papers, mail to or arrested the different looks and reactions that you gave me were great. Chris Rideout I hope you enjoyed your letter. Not that the sheriff would know what was in there.

    The only downside to the event……. I didn’t personally know all the reenactors and it was difficult trying to serve some of the folks the court summons, etc. But (cough cough) if the event were to be stretched over a longer period of time let’s say 4 ½ days, etc then I’m sure that this problem would have been rectified very shortly. Then I think the town would have had a very true sense of community.

    Once again this event has been the highlight of the fall for me and it along with Winter of 64 have been the best first person intensive events that I have been lucky enough to attend.

    If anyone reading ever has a chance to go to Westville just to visit I highly recommend that you do. The collection of buildings, homes, stores, cotton gin, church, tavern, etc is amazing.

    I think the best moment of the weekend was Friday evening with Hunter Poythress, Pete B, Chris Henderson, and a few others in the tavern around the table just having a great fir-per moment talking about politics, the war, and religion. No script, just good living historians making it happen.

    Benji for Mayor!
    Herb Coats
    Armory Guards &

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