Kids get chance to learn what life was like during Civil War
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Aug 19, 2013, 12:26
ASHLEY MCLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The kids were able to hold equipment used in the war thanks to volunteer Dick Hoagland. From left: Chase Hughes, Colby Weston, Bailey Hughes, Larissa Flourney, Julia McQuage, and Campbell Irby.
HOPEWELL — The life of Emma and George Wood did not include technology, the opposite of the life of kids in today’s world. But eight children discovered what this was like at Weston Manor.
The Historic Hopewell Foundation hosted George and Emma Days last week at the historic home, giving the children the chance to learn about what it was like for kids during the Civil War.
George and Emma Wood lived at Weston Manor from the fall of 1863 through the spring of 1864. Their family came from Hampton to escape the Union occupation of the city.
While at the Manor, Emma kept a journal of her days there, which gives a child’s perspective of life during the war. This year’s program focused the two children’s lives and also a visit from an important person in history.
“We focused on talking about Emma and George who lived in his house, and also little Tad who came with his dad, President Lincoln,” said Betty Vanderslice, one of the instructors for the two-day program.
The program is in place in order to educate local children on the area, and to learn about history, while having fun at the same time, without the use of electronics.
“We hope that they learn to appreciate history,” said instructor Patsy Elmore. “They get to learn what life was like without electronics, and that you can have fun without being plugged in. I just think it’s a great experience for them.”
Children had the chance to learn about different weapons used in the war, and volunteer Dick Hoagland brought several of these for the children to see and touch during the event, even giving each of them a Minié ball, a common type of rifle bullet used in the Civil War.
The children were able to sample food that would have been served during the war, such as cucumber sandwiches and watermelon, served with lemonade. They also did arts and crafts, such as making a small keepsake box and painting Lincoln silhouettes.
“Last year we got to make candles and write with a feather ink pen,” said Chase Hughes, 11, who came to Weston for his second year in the program.
The children also got to play several different games led by living history performer and historian Debbie Phelps. The games played are similar to games today, such as musical chairs and tag, but held different names in the time that Emma and George played them.
“We do things that Emma, her brother, and her family would’ve done during that time, to teach them about what life was like during the civil war days,” said Elmore.
ASHLEY MCLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Patsy Elmore and Betty Vanderslice teach the children how to make a keepsake box out of a greeting card.
To make the program more authentic to the Civil War times, the girls in the program wore aprons, as Emma would have, and the boys wore hats similar to those worn by soldiers.
The program is held every year by the Historic Hopewell Foundation, and is in its third year. Girl and boys of ages 8-12 are invited to participate each year.