History comes to life this weekend at the Carter Mansion

Published 6:16 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

Take a step back in time this weekend to enjoy some history, and even a little intrigue, at the annual Carter Mansion Celebration.

Each year, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park hosts a special living history celebration at the Mansion, which is one of the park’s satellite campuses.

This year the event will be held on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and on Sunday, April 9, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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Both days attendees can walk the grounds of the Mansion, take a tour of the historic home, and get a feel for what militia camp life was like in the late 18th century on the frontier.

The Washington County NC Militia, Sycamore Shoals’ host living history organization, will present several demonstrations on colonial skills and trades as well as games and militia drills. The event will also feature musical performances by the Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps.

“The big draw on both days is the battle re-enactment,” said Chad Bogart, historic interpreter at Sycamore Shoals and Colonel of the militia. “We call this ‘The Plot Against John Carter.’”

The recreation is based on an event that actually took place at the home of John Carter. In the summer of 1781, John Carter and John Sevier, who had access to the Watauga Settlement’s deed books, confiscated the lands of all those living nearby who were loyal to the British crown — who were known as “Loyalists” or “Tories.” Carter and Sevier entered their own names into the deed books for those lands, Bogart said.

When the Tories learned their lands had been confiscated, they plotted to kill both Carter and Sevier, take the deed books, and reclaim their lands.

“It’s a legend that one of the wives of one of the Loyalists was friendly with John Sevier and warned him they may be in danger,” Bogart said. “John Carter created a fake set of deed books and left them at his home, which was the Land Office, and fled.”

“While he was gone he died of small pox and took the location fo the real deed books to his grave,” Bogart added.

The militia recreates this tale of intrigue with a skirmish at the Mansion. The skirmishes will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The schedule for the events each day will be subject to change depending on the weather. “It’s kind of going to be touch and go on Saturday with the weather,” Bogart said.

The schedule of events for both days is listed below:

Saturday, April 8

10 a.m. — Militia Inspection & Salute to the Carter Family – posting of colors and grave decoration

11 a.m. — Carter Mansion Tour

Noon — Militia Drill

12:30 p.m. — “Echoes of Independence” – The Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums perform tunes from the American Revolution!

1 p.m. — Skirmish at the Mansion – “The Plot Against John Carter

1:30 p.m. — Carter Mansion Tour

2:30 p.m. — Militia Drill

3 p.m. — Carter Mansion Tour

4 p.m. — Retiring the Colors

Sunday, April 9

10 a.m. — Militia Inspection

11 a.m. — Worship Service – All are welcome to join us for Sunday Service on the grounds of the beautiful Carter Mansion.

12:30 p.m. — Carter Mansion Tour

1:30 p.m. —  Skirmish at the Mansion – “The Plot Against John Carter

2 p.m. — Carter Mansion Tour

3 p.m. — Militia Drill & Retiring the Colors