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Monday, August 4, 2014

18th Century Encampment in Elliston, VA

On Sunday we drove to Elliston to check out an 18th century encampment. I was thrilled I stumbled upon the event via a tiny blurb in the Salem Times, which I never read, but happened to read while at the library on Friday. The book I'm working on begins with early settlers emigrating from England. I've been having a hard time with this era because there's just not as much written about it as there is about the Civil War. I had hoped one of the re-enactors could shed light on The Great Road. From what I've read there seems to be two, maybe more "Great Roads;" one north to south from Pennsylvania through the Appalachians, and the other west to east from Virginia's coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unfortunately, I never found an answer regarding The Great Roads, but I did learn other things. Here are some pics...

Very knowledgable fellow who was portraying a fifer. Lots of info from him re. women who stayed with their husbands while they were in the army, and what happened to them if their husband died. He also showed me how to load and fire Brown Bess, his musket.

Didn't get to talk to these folks. If you want more info on spinning check out The Wheel & Distaff blog.

One of my characters is a Blacksmith so this set-up really helped me. There was a young fellow there who wanted to become a Blacksmith so I was able to piggy-back on his tutorial.

I really enjoyed speaking with this lady who was displaying children' toys from that era. Shirley Boone is from Boones Mill and her husband's great X5? grandfather founded the town. Shirely's husband died a couple of years ago and she was telling me how hard it was for her alone, especially with all the problems she has with light bulbs. If she had lived closer I would have given her my husband's number to call whenever she needed help. Shirley let me know that there are going to be many positive changes in Boones Mill's tourist area. It would be nice to know that town for something other than a speed trap.

Do not call this cornhole or you will upset Shirley! This is bean bag toss, and not that "silly game that was invented by Virginia Tech a couple of years ago."

The medical tent

They tried to gross me out with the details of how certain ailments were treated. This girl is holding up a device that was screwed into the skull to remove some flesh, etc. to relieve the brain.

I don't know if he was a leather worker or he  just sold leather goods, no leather workers in my book, but his style of clothes helped me.
The following photos are the backdrop of East Montgomery Park. The mountains and beauty of Southwest Virginia,  still fill me with awe. Even though wires, towers, or poles and splattered throughout them, it's easy to look beyond them and imagine a time when they were gazed upon the first time by settlers. I remember the feeling this first time NYC pioneer did 19 years ago...simply stunning. How lucky I am to live amongst such beauty...

When I zoomed in all the way I discovered there was a house hidden in the mountain. Now, this is what I would call the perfect writer's retreat...


  1. I had thought about going to that, but didn't think I could walk it. Glad you learned some info you needed.

  2. If I can help you any with Road questions, let me know. We ran into a lot of that when we were researching for Explore Park.