Monthly Archives: March 2017

Carter Mansion Celebration is coming April 8 & 9!

 

Saturday, April 8 & Sunday, April 9

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time? You can do just that during the Carter Mansion Celebration. Step back to the 1780s, when the Revolutionary War was raging in the colonies and hardy frontiersmen had crossed the mountains in defiance of British law to carve out homes in the wilderness.  One such man was John Carter, a wealthy trader who built his beautiful house along the banks of the Watauga River. Known as Carter’s Mansion, the elegant frame house stood in stark contrast to the log homes used by the settlers of the region. This event will celebrate that historic home and the early settlers that gave us our rich heritage and history.

Visitors will have opportunities to take a guided tour of the mansion built ca. 1775-1780. Known as the oldest frame house in Tennessee, the Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion boasts beautiful over mantle murals, hand carved moldings and raised panels making it one of the most treasured sites in Tennessee history. The house is the only surviving link to the famed Watauga Association, the democratic government set up by the early settlers in the Watauga Valley. The home’s builder, John Carter, served as a chairman of the Association.

Guests can also enjoy visiting the camps of The Washington County NC Militia, Sycamore Shoals’ host living history organization. There the militia members will be presenting demonstrations of the daily lives of 18th century backwoods settlers. These skills and trades will include quill pen writing, weaving, knitting, basketry, sewing, 18th century woodworking, leather work and much more. Also enjoy colonial games, farm animals, militia drill and training, musket and rifle demonstrations, and 18th century military music by the Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums.

A highlight of the weekend will be the re-creation of a small skirmish between Patriot militia and British loyalists, known as Tories. The Plot Against John Carter is a dramatic representation of actual events that occurred at the Mansion in the summer of 1781. The battle re-enactment will be presented Saturday at 1:00 pm and Sunday at 1:30 pm.

Experience the life of early settlers, smell the campfire smoke, hear the rattle of muskets, and see the 18th century come to life at the Carter Mansion Celebration. This event is free of charge so bring the entire family and enjoy a weekend of Living History, Education, and Family Fun! The Carter Mansion is located at 1031 Broad Street in Elizabethton, TN.

Schedule of Events

Activities Throughout Both Days Include…

18th Century Militia Camp, Flintlock Firearm Demonstrations, Flint Knapping & Primitive Skills, 18th Century Woodworking & Leather Work, Colonial & Traditional Music, Colonial Foodways, Quill Pen Writing, Colonial Games, Basketry, Sewing & Tailoring, Knitting, Weaving, Animal Husbandry, Displays of 18th Century Frontier Living, & Much More!

Saturday, April 8th  

10:00 – Militia Inspection & Salute to the Carter Family – Posting the Colors followed by a grave decoration and mourning of arms to honor the Carter Family. 

11:00 – Carter Mansion Tour Take advantage of this guided tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house and witness frontier elegance first hand. Hear about the Carter family and their many contributions to the history of our community, state, and nation.

12:00 – Militia Drill – The Washington County Regiment will demonstrate the tactics and firearms of an 18th century militia!

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

1:00 – “Skirmish at the Mansion” – It was the summer of 1781, John Carter and John Sevier, who had access to the settlement’s deed books, confiscated the lands of all Loyalists living nearby. When these Tories learned of this, they plotted to kill Carter and Sevier; take the deed books; and restore their lands. The wife of one of the conspirators, however, was friendly with John Sevier and warned him of his danger.  John Carter fled and took the true books with him, leaving fake copies in his office. He died of smallpox soon afterward; taking the location of this treasure to his grave…We will interpret this sequence of events as a skirmish at the home of John Carter

1:30 – Carter Mansion Tour  

2:30 – Militia Drill – The Washington County Regiment will demonstrate the tactics and firearms of an 18th century militia! 

3:00 – Carter Mansion Tour 

4:00 – Retiring the Colors – The militia closes the day’s activities by retiring the flag. Camps close to the public. Join us tomorrow for another day of living history, entertainment, and family fun.

Sunday, April 9th

10:00 – Militia Inspection The Militia kicks of the day’s activities by Posting the Colours. 

11:00 – Worship ServiceAll are welcome to join us for Sunday Service on the grounds of the Beautiful Carter Mansion.

12:30 – Carter Mansion Tour Take advantage of this guided tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house and witness frontier elegance first hand. Hear about the Carter family and their many contributions to the history of our community, state, and nation. 

1:30 – “Skirmish at the Mansion” – It was the summer of 1781, John Carter and John Sevier, who had access to the settlement’s deed books, confiscated the lands of all Loyalists living nearby. When these Tories learned of this, they plotted to kill Carter and Sevier; take the deed books; and restore their lands. The wife of one of the conspirators, however, was friendly with John Sevier and warned him of his danger.  John Carter fled and took the true books with him, leaving fake copies in his office. He died of smallpox soon afterward; taking the location of this treasure to his grave… We will interpret this sequence of events as a skirmish at the home of John Carter.

2:00 – Carter Mansion Tour Take advantage of this guided tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house and witness frontier elegance first hand. Hear about the Carter family and their many contributions to the history of our community, state, and nation. 

3:00 – Militia Drill & Retiring the Colors – The Washington County Regiment will demonstrate the tactics and firearms of an 18th century militia, and close the event by retiring the flag. 

*Schedule is Weather Dependent and Subject to Change*

 

 

 

An Evening with Dr. Jay Franklin and Cayla Cannon

Saturday, March 25   at   7:00 pm in the Visitors Center at Sycamore Shoals

 

Collapse, Coalescence, and Spanish Incursions into

16th Century Native Upper East Tennessee –

Presented by Dr. Jay Franklin, Professor of Archaeology, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, East Tennessee State University

In Search of the People Who Lived Here Before: from Historic to Prehistoric Significance at the Carter Mansion Site –

Presented by Cayla Cannon, Graduate Student, Dept. of Geosciences,                                         East Tennessee State University

 

Dr. Jay Franklin digging a medieval house site in the mountains of southcentral France

A 1958 TVA report held that the upper reaches of the Tennessee Valley along the Holston, Watauga and Nolichucky rivers were not suitable for permanent Native American villages. However, archaeological research conducted by East Tennessee State University from 2006 to the present indicates that our region contained dozens of large, vibrant Native American towns from at least AD 1350 to 1650. Jay will discuss his recent work at several of these sites. His research suggests that the upper reaches of the Tennessee Valley were not marginal hinterlands but rather newly discovered and well-connected cultural centers. It appears that at least some of these communities came into direct contact with early Spanish explorers.

Cayla will present her findings from her work at the Carter Mansion. Based on surface artifacts and decades-old excavations, we know the site also holds a prehistoric component, which may be vital for understanding Native American settlement and coalescence within the region. Our research in the broader region suggests that there may be a significant piece of Cherokee history here. The use of geophysics and targeted test excavations yielded many intriguing results at the Carter Mansion which Cayla will share during her presentation.

Please join us this evening for this unique opportunity to get a first- hand look at the most current research on these topics!   This lecture is free and open to the public.

Gardening opportunities at Sycamore Shoals!

Do you love to work outdoors and enjoy the beauty that results from your efforts in your gardens? If you do, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park would like to invite you to join the Sycamore Shoals Gardeners!

The Sycamore Shoals Gardeners is a group of dedicated folks who enjoy gardening and especially love to create and nurture natural places of beauty for others to enjoy.   Currently the group takes care of a North American Butterfly Association certified garden and Monarch Waystation near our trail by the Watauga River in addition to the herb gardens at the Carter Mansion.

We are planning a spring orientation and gathering and would like to know if you would like to learn more about these volunteer opportunities at Sycamore Shoals!   For additional information, please contact Jennifer Bauer by calling 423-543-5808 or email, jennifer.bauer@tn.gov