The Grassy Run Rendezvous in Williamsburg, Ohio held their student day today. I was expecting the event to be packed, but we were pleased to share the encampment with a couple of small local Catholic schools and likely a handful of other homeschoolers.
What I love most about these living history encampments is that the folks are really eager to share their knowledge and skills with the patrons. That love of history makes things stick longer in young (and old) minds!
Our first stop was where a lady was spinning wool. She explained to us the process of shearing sheep wool, how lanolin colors the white wool a yellow color, and how it needs to be cleaned and carded. We remembered carding wool from our visit to Sharon Woods Heritage Village and had the chance to do it again. Then she took the wool and showed us how she spins it into yarn on the spinning wheel. AJ was intrigued by how the wheel was threaded so that the yarn could be gathered on the spool.
We then stopped and chatted with a nice gentleman who told us a bit about the Battle of Grassy Run. He also shared a story about Simon Kenton running the gauntlet when captured by the Shawnee. Did you know that after Kenton's death, they had found a couple of indentations in his skull that they think had been caused by being hit with a pipehawk when he ran the gauntlet? Neither did I! Late in his life, old Simon had complained of frequent headaches, which they think was caused by the head wounds he suffered. I don't know if this is a completely true story, but it was interesting nonetheless!
We skipped the table where the school kids were crowded around, testing out writing with a quill and ink. We'll have to try that out here at home instead. We also skipped the tin punching since that was also a favorite of the school groups. We were entertained by a couple of different musicians. One fellow played the penny whistle and explained the lyrics of "Yankee Doodle", most notably what "macaroni" stood for. Another played the hammer dulcimer, which my sixteen-year-old daughter thought was really cool.
We watched many demonstrations and listened to explanations on what a typical 18th century settler would've work and carried with them when they were out hunting. We got to see and even handle a variety of weapons, from tomahawks to flintlock rifles.
The kids and I also got to try our hand at weaving after watching a demonstration by the very garrulous and friendly weaver. And a couple even attempted to work together to cut through a piece of wood!
Our last stop of the outing was the rope-maker. His station was crowded when we first came to the event, so we came back around and learned how to make rope. Liz was the anchor, holding the hook that would spin the individual cords into the rope, while AJ turned the crank that wound the cords. Each cord is twisted until it prompts the hook on the opposite end to twist the three cords upon themselves to make the rope. It was pretty cool and we got to keep our rope as a souvenir!
Here is a video clip of the kids working with the rope-maker to show how it's done.
Here are some resources that are good for early Ohio history (some affiliate links):