Public invited to experience Heritage Day

Published 4:48 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

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By Lynda Updike


The 26th annual Heritage Day will be on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., and sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society and the Southampton Heritage Village /Agriculture & Forestry Museum, 26315 Heritage Lane in Courtland.

Admission at the Ag & Forestry Museum is $5 for adults and $2 for school age children. Preschoolers admitted for free.

The saw mill, planer mill and grist mill will run intermittently during the day. Crafts people from Virginia and North Carolina will demonstrate old crafts, with craft items for sale. Lunch will be for sale on the grounds; the menu includes Steve Ivey’s famous BBQ, Brunswick stew, hot dogs, snacks, apple and sweet potato jacks, water and soft drinks.

The Museum of Southampton History, adjacent at 22541 Linden St., opening at 10, will feature several special exhibits, including to-scale models of local homes and historic buildings built by E.B. Gayle, and photographs of many more of our old homes.

A recently restored 1824-34 pistol, found by a diver at Monroe Bridge in the Nottoway River will be on exhibit. The Prehistory Exhibit displays prehistoric shells, sharks’ teeth, and whale vertebrae from when Southampton County was part of the ocean floor. The very popular Military Room highlights the service of our local soldiers in all wars through uniforms, photos, memorabilia and weaponry. Entry here is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Nine layouts with 16  trains will be running throughout the day inside the main building at the Ag Museum. One train is a hands-on for youngsters to run themselves. See if you can count how many trains are running.

Participate in an updated scavenger hunt to find designated items throughout the museum complex.  Kids completing the hunt get a free bag of popcorn.

Dr. Will Dunstan and Rick Francis will be at the Rebecca Vaughan House, on site, from 10 a. m. til 2 p.m. to answer questions about Nat Turner and the 1831 Southampton Slave Insurrection. Mahone’s Tavern, on Main Street, will be open also with many Confederate exhibits.

Always a popular attraction, the museum’s grist mill will be grinding fine cornmeal. which will be available for a donation. Samples of hot corn bread, made from that meal will be given away throughout the day. Volunteers will demonstrate the old technique of typesetting on the museum’s  printing presses, an 1885 Chandler & Price, treadle operated, hand fed. Visitors can print a free bookmark bearing the museum’s logo.

Antique cars, tractors and gas engines  will be on display. The blacksmith shop too will be open, with blacksmiths at work.

Among the crafts being demonstrated and for sale visitors will find painted gourds, baskets, handmade jewelry, sewn and quilted items, including doll clothes, wreaths, paintings, brooms, goat milk soap, knitting, crocheting, as well as other types of needlework and woodwork. Artisans from the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will blend contemporary and traditional art through beadwork and pottery making. Other special demonstrations include wood carving, spinning, and weaving.

Some of the old crafts to see are butter churning, washboard washing of clothes, lye soap making, flint knapping and hominy making. See a bee keeper with local honey for sale. Gourds, pumpkins, produce, pickles, jams, jellies and baked goods will also be for sale.

“Shiloh Grass,” a local bluegrass band, will entertain during the day under the new Howell pavilion, dedicated to founding members William and Helen Howell. The little country church is always an attraction, and will feature an old-fashioned hymn sing. Look for story-telling in the one-room school house and corn-cob pipe making near the corn crib.

Children of all ages will have a ball in a Petting Zoo featuring gentle pet farm animals. Have you ever seen baby chicks pip their way out of eggs? They will be hatching on Sept. 14! Smokey Bear will visit, and there will be hay rides and face painting. Also, young folks can learn the art of milking a cow by practicing on “Mattie,” our replica cow.

In addition to all the special activities, visitors are welcome to tour the Agriculture & Forestry Museum and all of its outbuildings and Heritage Village, which includes a country store, one room school, country dwelling, doctor’s office, smoke house, old post office and two outhouses.

This 26th annual Heritage Day event promises to provide a wholesome and fun outing for the whole family. Visitors will see how the older generations lived, how hard they worked to make a living. For the older generation, it’s a stroll down memory lane. Come and learn how they made the items in their homes and on the farm. Farming activities, by the way, included the whole family. We offer something for all ages to enjoy.

For more information, feel free to contact me, Lynda Updike, at 654-6785 or at,  or at 33335 Statesville Road, Newsoms, VA 23874.