Annual Carter Mansion Celebration set for April 2-3

Published 10:31 am Monday, March 28, 2016

Star File Photo  On April 2 and 3 historic re-enactors will encamp at the historic Carter Mansion for a special weekend celebration.

Star File Photo
On April 2 and 3 historic re-enactors will encamp at the historic Carter Mansion for a special weekend celebration.

On the first weekend in April, visitors to the Carter County’s most historic will be invited to travel back in time at the annual Carter Mansion Celebration.
The celebration will be held on Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Sunday, April 3, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Carter Mansion, located at 1031 Broad Street in Elizabethton. The Carter Mansion is a satellite campus of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.
“We’ve got quite a bit going on,” said Chad Bogart, historic interpreter for Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. “Our living history re-enactors will be there encamped on site.”
Members from the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia will be on hand to transport visitors back to the 1780s.
The American colonies have declared Independence, but the outcome of this bitter struggle is still in question. Hardy frontiersmen have crossed the mountains in defiance of British law and have carved out homes in the wilderness. Conflict is rising between American Patriots, Loyalists who support the Crown, and native Indians who struggle to retain their way of life. But the people of this time still find cause for celebration and merriment so come out and see it all come together at the oldest frame house in Tennessee.
Hosting an event like this at the Carter Mansion helps to bring the history of the region to life by adding a personal connection, Bogart said.
“The house is the only physical tie we have to the Watauga Association and the Carter Family,” he said. “Our city namesake and our county namesake are buried right there in the cemetery.”
The Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion, built ca. 1775-1780, boasts beautiful over mantle murals, hand carved moldings and raised panels making it one of the most treasured sites in Tennessee history. The home’s builder, John Carter, served as a chairman of the Watauga Association.
The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, Sycamore Shoals’ host living history organization, will be celebrating its seven-year anniversary during this exciting celebration. The Militia will be encamped on the grounds of the Carter Mansion and will present demonstrations of the daily lives of 18th century backwoods settlers.
As part of the activities a re-enactment of a small battle between Patriots and Tories will be presented each day at 1 p.m.
“We don’t know if shots were actually fired there at the mansion, but we do know some of the folks still loyal to the British Crown had a plan to steal the deed books that John Carter kept,” Bogart said. “John Carter got wind of it and he fled with the deed books and he left behind a fake copy.”
“When John Carter left he never came back. He died in North Carolina,” he added. “We don’t know what happened to the original deed books. That led to some land disputes for the next couple of centuries.”
In addition to the battle re-enactment, local craftsmen and artisans will be on hand throughout the weekend showcasing and demonstration traditional arts and crafts.
Among the special demonstrations and skills presentations will be a sheep demonstration by David Doan; flint knapping by Bob Estep; a presentation on 18th century surveying techniques by Doug Ledbetter; corn shuck dolls by Tammy Markland; a demonstration of 18th century games by Kay Milsaps; a weaving presentation by Travis Souther; and a display of 18th century beverages like tea, coffee and cocoa by John and Betty Garrou.
Other activities throughout the weekend will include Tours of the Carter Mansion: Tennessee’s oldest frame house, Militia Drill, Musket and Rifle demonstrations, Traditional Music, Storytelling, Colonial Military Music by the Watauga Valley Fifes and Drums, and much more. The Smith Brothers of Jonesville, Va., will be on hand to perform fiddle and penny whistle music.
On Sunday morning, visitors can join the re-enactors for a church service at 11 a.m.
“We don’t do a period-type service,” Bogart said. “We usually do a devotional on whatever is on the heart of the person bringing it.”
For more information on the Carter Mansion Celebration please contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area by calling 423-543-5808.

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