Rocky Mount to celebrate ‘Spirit of the Harvest’

9:38 am | October 15, 2012

Bringing in the harvest once served as a major social event during frontier times in the region.

Photo Contributed
A re-enactor stirs apple butter during a previous “Spirit of the Harvest” celebration at Rocky Mount Living History Museum.

Rocky Mount Living History Museum will present “Spirit of the Harvest” Saturday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “The event is Rocky Mount’s annual event celebrating the harvest season of the Cobb Family and the other early settlers of Tennessee. In addition to “Living History” tours of the Cobb home, there will be a number of demonstrations and craft classes related to the fall season and storytelling. Demonstrations include hearth side cooking, blacksmithing, apple butter making and apple cider pressing. A demonstration of historic salt making by Jim Bordwine of Saltville, Va., will be a distinctive demonstration for this year.

Admission for “Spirit of the Harvest” is $5 per person ages 5 and up; members of the Rocky Mount Historical Association get free admission. Craft classes for cornshuck dolls and candle dipping will be offered for an additional $2 per craft.

Bordwine has been demonstrating traditional saltmaking for 10 years. The European settlers first came to the Saltville area around 1750 and started the salt industry soon after discovering the huge body of salt under their feet. Before refrigeration, salt was of the utmost importance for preservation of food. During the Civil War Saltville was producing salt for all the Southern States. In 1864 alone, Saltville sold one hundred million dollars worth of salt, even with two battles fought in the valley that year. Salt is still being produced in Saltville today.

From 1 to 3 p.m., storytelling and music programs will be held in Rocky Mount’s theater. Featured performers are MaryGrace Walrath, member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and Trae McMaken, fiddler and storyteller. Walrath is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and Beaver Creek Storytellers in Bristol. She also belongs to the Tennessee Storytelling Association and the National Storytelling Network. More information about Walrath can be found at www.marytales. org

McMaken is an adjunct professor in the prestigious Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program at East Tennessee State University. Funds from the National Park Service are providing for his performance, which will focus on the story of the Overmountain Men and their victory at Kings Mountain. For more information on his illustrious music and storytelling career visit

Rocky Mount is a State of Tennessee Historic Site administered cooperatively with the Tennessee Historical Commission and the Rocky Mount Historical Association. Rocky Mount Museum is a “living history” museum, which uses first-person interpretation to portray people living in 1791. Rocky Mount is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Living History tours and the facility are available by reservation at any time, including Sundays and Mondays for school and other groups, with advance reservations. For more information, call 538-7396, 1-888-538-1791 or visit www.rockymountmuseum. com.

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