Celebrating fall and the harvest at Bennett Place

Sep. 29, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

Families gathered to celebrate the start of fall and the harvest at Bennett Place Historic Site this weekend as history came to life through arts and crafts of early America.

On the grounds, re-enactors brought a piece of history with them to share with a modern audience, some of whom couldn’t imagine life before computers, let alone electricity.

Dressed in colonial clothes, men and women went about a typical day during the beginning of fall. One man, wearing a vest and black, wide-brimmed hat sat quietly weaving a chair while a woman in a long dress and bonnet showed children how to make candles over an open fire.

Rick Sheets was one of the artisans on hand, transforming cow horns into powder horns for gunpowder and blowing horns.

Having worked at this craft for four years, Sheets said that with each horn he is sure to pay attention to historical details while infusing some artistic nuisances that are all his own.

“It’s been a good day so far,” Sheets said. “I do it for the kids and they’ve been real receptive.”

Rachel Royce was at the fair and market and cheered on her son, Caleb Farrelly, 11, as he competed in a sack race. Royce said that she and her family came to get a glimpse of history.

“We wanted to see the blacksmith and the animals,” she said. “It’s a beautiful day and we loved riding the wagon.”

Ming Yi Chou was out with his wife and two sons, 5-year-old Eric and two-and-a-half-year-old Eddie. Chou said that his sons were having a good time.

Also on hand was Kyla Eggen and her 5-year-old daughter Annika. Trying to convince her little one where to go next, Eggen said that her daughter already knew what she wanted to visit.

“She mostly wants to see the pumpkins and animals,” Eggen said.

Janet Pyatt of Mount Airy was set up under a tent beside the blacksmith. With dried herbs, clothes and books on display, Pyatt was a “sutler,” or a 17th and 18th century peddler.

“The public has a great need to know American history,” Pyatt said. “If you live in Durham, you need to know Durham history and American history whether you have been here two centuries or two weeks.”

Dressed in a high-collared green dress with her hair pulled back in a bun, Pyatt said that her family dates back to 1750’s America and that her interest lies in how colonial people lived their day-to-day lives.

“I’m more concerned with the way my mother, grandmother and great grandmother ran the house,” she said. “How they made their living, the food they would have eaten, the clothes they would have worn. That’s what makes me who I am.”