All fun and games at Sycamore Shoals

Published 8:04 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Fun and games may be commonplace, but the forms these games have taken over the years can vary drastically depending on the culture, time period or both. As part of Sycamore Shoals State Park’s efforts to preserve history, they have not left out the games people played almost two centuries ago.

The Sabine Hill Social Society will be hosting a game day early Sunday afternoon on February 3, filled with card games from centuries ago.

Leslie Brockley, a secretary at Sycamore Shoals State Park and a member of the Sabine Hill Social Society, said the event is part of the group’s ongoing efforts to bring to life the day-to-day traditions of the 19th century.

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“We concentrate on what might have taken place at the home during that era instead of the battles themselves,” Brockley said.

The game day will take place between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and will feature a variety of 19th-century card games, including Wisk, Bankafalet, Queen Nazarene and Lao.

If the names of these games alone cause concern, Brockley said not to be intimidated. She said many of the card games are still around today, just with different names and a slight variation in rules.

“Wick is kind of like Spades,” she said. “The games are simple to pick up.”

She also said some games revolve around some form of gambling, but said the players will be using buttons Sunday instead of real money.

These games use cards that are similar to modern decks of cards, except they lack the numbering system used in today’s cards.

Brockley said events such as these help fill in part of the region’s history. She said Nathaniel Taylor originally owned the Sabine Hill House when it was built, but he died before he could truly live in it leaving the estate in the hands of his wife, Mary Patton Taylor, in 1818.

“We are trying to give people a broad spectrum of what would have happened in the house throughout the years,” Brockley said.

The society will host the event at Sycamore Shoals State Park Sunday, and Brockley said the group will provide “light” refreshments like hot chocolate.

She said the event is open to both men and women, and said she wanted to assure those planning to attend they will not miss their other activities that day.

“You will be home in time for the Super Bowl,” Brockley said.