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History Comes To Life
At Legends & Lore Tour
by Bill Bailey

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Last weekend, Calhoun Historical Society presented its first dramatic interpretation, Legends and Lore Tour, to acquaint visitors with life as it was lived in the days of our ancestors.

The three performances, two on Saturday and one on Sunday, were attended by more than 170 visitors, who were transported back to an unsettled time, when brother fought against brother, neighbor against neighbor, and lawlessness ruled the land. It was an ugly time in history (1861), near the onset of the Civil War.

The journey began with a talk by one of Calhoun’s leading citizens of the era, Louisa Hayes (portrayed by Terry Harris), who told us how things were going in the newly-made county of Calhoun, Virginia.

        Louisa Hays (Terry Harris) narrated the tour through Heritage Village.

After a short walk through a field, alongside trees displaying the brilliant colors of fall, the group stopped at the Stemple cabin, occupied by Myrtle Holbert Stemple (Susie Barnes) and her sister, Mable Holbert (Jackie Bach).

Myrtle Holbert Stemple (Susan Barnes) sews in the Stemple Cabin, while watching the “strangers” tour Heritage Village.

Myrtle told how her husband went off to the war, leaving her to tend to the children and work the farm, while fending off raiders, who could come by at any moment to steal food and livestock. She had not heard from him in quite some time, and since the postal service was intermittent at best, she prayed that he was still living and hoped that his letters were in the mail.

Mable Holbert was portrayed by Jackie Bach.

Mable Holbert said that the Yankees had come to the farm and appropriated almost everything they had to eat. She was vehement about her hatred for the Yankees and feared for her life.

 Rebel Spy, Nancy Hart (Casey Hill), told her story to a rapt audience.

Nancy Hart (Casey Hill), the lady spy of Calhoun County, jumped onto the porch and told her tale of spying, being captured, and of her daring escapes. She spoke of her love for Moccasin Ranger Joshua Douglas (Daniel Hill), and how she gave them information so that he might live through the war. She also wanted to make sure that no one believed all of the stories being told about her.

Next was one of the gossip spots of the era, the local blacksmith shop. Shadrach Badgett (Bob Bonar) filled everyone in on how the war was going and let it be known that both sides, North and South, had raiders running around in the area.

A blacksmith (Grant Clark) listens to Shadrach Badgett (Bob Bonar) tell visitors stories about the Civil War in Calhoun.

He said that since the trouble started, there was no government, courts or law enforcement. Suddenly, there were shots fired in the woods close by and Badgett told the men to protect the women and children and get them to the schoolhouse for safety.

Everyone made for shelter when the Moccasin Rangers rode into town.

A group of armed men, three on horseback and two on foot, came into the village and Nancy Hart handed over a package to her sweetheart, most likely containing information on troop movements and deployments.

The owner of Jarvis Store, Thomas Figgins Jarvis (Roger Jarvis) brought out a bag of supplies, which he handed over to the raiders, who were none other than the notorious Moccasin Rangers led by Captain Perry Conley (Clayton Barnhart). They took their supplies and information, and quickly vanished into the woods.

The group moved into the Stevens Schoolhouse, where more information on the war in areas outside the county was recounted by school teacher Til Stevens (Sandy Stevens Marshall). She spoke of one group of raiders that had taken over a nearby town, whose leader was arrested for the heinous crime of robbing the federal post office. She warned everyone to watch out for Nancy Hart, who was a suspected spy and was not to be trusted.

Til Stevens (Sandy Stevens Marshall) was the school marm at Stevens School.

As the group passed by the post office, they learned from postmaster Jacob Clammer (Andrew Smith) that due to the outlaws running free across the land, postal riders were afraid for their lives and mail was not being carried on a regular basis.

Jacob Clammer (Andrew Smith) plays his homemade instrument in front of Freed Post Office, while hoping mail service would continue soon.

Shadrach Badgett returned to tell how a Yankee recruiter had been assassinated in Roane County by Captain Conley, just as he stepped out of his house one morning.

After the tour was finished, historian Bob Bonar answered questions from the group.

Each of the portrayers followed up with the story of what happened to their character later in life.

Aisley Jarvis (Linda Jarvis) and her storekeeper husband, Thomas Figgins Jarvis (Roger Jarvis), complained of the lack of supplies at Jarvis Store because of the war.

A Moccasin Ranger (Andy Mlynek) guards the presence of Captain Perry Conley.

   Moccasin Ranger Joshua Douglas (Daniel Hill) and spy Nancy Hart (Casey Hill) were married after the Civil War ended.

History really did come to life through the research, hard work, and attention to detail by the Calhoun Historical Society. The Legends and Lore Tour was an exciting event that was enjoyed by people of all ages, and I look forward to going back in time with them again

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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