Transported in time: Campers learn about Civil War era during Emma and George Days
By ADRIENNE WALLACE
Aug 14, 2017, 14:55
Athan and Bella Hois create wind chimes at Weston Manor on Wednesday.
Hopewell – A trip back in time took youngsters to an era where technology didn’t exist, families worked together to create their every day home items and girls wore bonnets and dresses no matter what they were doing.
Emma and George Days attracted youth from the region who learned how to make their own wax candles, sew a haversack, and make homemade jam and much more over a two-day period on Tuesday and Wednesday. They heard the stories about Emma and George Wood who lived at Weston Manor during the Civil War.
Weston Plantation was the site of the time travel again this year as historian Debbie Phillips served as the travel attendant as she transformed the summer days into a lesson in Civil War era history.
For five years, Phillips has been invited to instruct campers at Emma and George Days, and while many were repeat customers from last year, they did things this week, they hadn’t experienced in the past.
“Since many of the kids come back, we try to change things up each year so they aren’t doing the same things,” Phillips commented. “We like to have different activities each year, but do recycle some of the activities every few years.”
This year, Trinity Blanding, McKenna Royster and Hannah Royster gathered in the downstairs kitchen cautiously dipping wicks into colored waxes just a little at a time as they built up their homemade candles.
“We made bags, wind chimes and took a tour of the house,” McKenna Royster said. “I have definitely learned that things were so much harder than they are today.”
Phillips said that back in the day, parents would have their children run around with the candles to help them dry – a little technique to hurry the job along, but also give the kids something to do while getting them to expend some energy.
Athan Hois’ favorite project was creating the haversack, which is basically a shoulder bag that could resemble what Civil War soldiers carried.
“That was my favorite thing,” he said. “But I have enjoyed it all including learning about the words that they used back then, like passage for door way.”
Weston Plantation volunteer and tour guide Julie Stamper said the camp is educational and offers something for the kids to do in the summer. Last year, her 12-year-old grandson participated. In fact, he traveled all the way from Wisconsin to take part in Emma and George Days.
“You never know how a 12-year-old may react,” she said. “He really enjoyed it, and he took away a piece of history from the south – this is something that is really original.”
Colonial Heights students Catherine Alderson and Kennedy Saunders were ready to start making candles as they put the finishing touches on their wind chimes crafted with a stick, they personalized with paint and unique beads provided.
“I really liked making the jam,” Catherine Alderson said. “We made butter last year, so it was fun to do the jam this year and was something different.”
The two found out about the camp through Catherine’s grandmother Carolyn Whitlock who works at Weston Manor.
While children enjoyed the many different activities, they received support and help from volunteers including Angel Taylor who will begin her senior year at Thomas Dale this fall.
“I came out last year, and it was a lot of fun,” she said. “I love the kids, and enjoy volunteering and giving back – besides its something to do, and I like seeing all the kids learn something and have fun while doing it.”