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