ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club was treated to a program about Harmony Hall Plantation Village from Bobby Lewis on Wednesday.
First, President Renee Horton welcomed new Rotarian Nick West to the group and presented him with his membership package. West is the chief of the Elizabethtown Fire Department.
Lewis regaled members with the history of Harmony Hall which was constructed about 1760 by Col. James Richardson. He told those present that Harmony Hall is reputed to have been the site of an overnight stay of Lord Cornwallis following the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
Lewis also itemized a list of various activities that take place at various times at the plantation. They include camping, outdoor cooking, demonstrations, teaching trapping, tomahawk throwing, tar pitch and turpentine making demonstrations, blacksmithing, and making of corn shuck dolls.
“We organized the Backwoods Militia,” said Lewis.
He told the group that a militia unit was different from the Minutemen that many are familiar with. Lewis explained that militia members furnished their own clothing and weapons.
Lewis added that their is interest in building a raft and floating down the river “like they did in the old days.”
He told the group that the Boy Scouts also visit the plantation periodically.
Lewis told the group that Harmony Hall Plantation Village is open to church groups and school groups.
He also updated the group on the plans for the Battle of Elizabethtown re-enactment.
“It has doubled in size from the first one,” said Lewis.
He added that Moore’s Creek National Battlefield has contacted the group and offered their assistance.
Lewis also explained that there is a demonstration of hand splitting wooden shingles. Horton asked if horses are used in the process and Lewis said no. He explained that when one wanted wood to make shingles, they would go into the woods and find an appropriate tree and cut it and split it into blocks. The blocks would then be split by hand into smaller pieces and placed into a shaving bench. On the shaving bench, the operator would use a drawing knife and eventually form the split wooden pieces into shingles.
—Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.