It was a typical day in Alabama. The air was sweet, the sky was blue, and the sun greeted the little farm nestled in the valley. All seemed right with the world. The War Between the States raged around them, but it seemed so far away. Soon the clouds of war would darken the sky.
It began with the sound of horses galloping and men shouting. Much to the disbelief of the family, they realized it was the enemy quickly approaching. Shouting as they ran, the family bolted for the safety of the woods, but their fears of safety soon turned to their farm.
They watched helplessly as their livestock was taken. The crops in the field were plundered and the staples in the house confiscated. Finally the bushwhackers set fire to their home. Women and children watched helplessly as the men rode off with their provisions. This was the scene and scenario for the skirmish in the valley.
The 9th annual Fiddler’s Green reenactment and living history was a grand success! With over two hundred reenactors, living historians and support people, along with an estimated audience of sixteen hundred, Fiddler’s Green exceeded expectations. The weekend events included a ladies tea in the yard of the grand house, artillery demonstrations, tours of the grounds, log cabin, Ada’s Mercantile, period cooking demonstration, blacksmith shop, and encampment. The Emmy award winning group known as Un-Reconstructed performed. One of the many highlights of the weekend was the tour of the house known as Fiddler’s Green and the formal garden.
Fiddler’s Green is taken from an Irish legend of a fictional afterlife where the fiddling never stops, the dancers never tire, and there is everlasting laughter. The house is an antebellum style dwelling. It was the vision of Chris and Heather Dempsey, along with Gary, Chris’s father. The furnishings are exquisite, ranging from a lovely rug in the bedroom dating from 1746, to actual era pieces throughout the home. Most of the floor, stairs, bannisters, baseboards, fireplace mantels, doors, windows, and floor joists came from the famed Lockett-Gidley House. Samuel H. Lockett was the chief Engineer of the defense of Vicksburg and an 1859 graduate of West Point. He was an artist and author. One of his many accomplishments was in designing and building the pedestal that housed the Statue of Liberty.
Another unique feature of the grounds is the old Ben Turner log cabin. It was built in the 1850s and is a ‘crib’ or ‘pen’ style design with four log walls joined together at the corners by ‘half-dove’ tail notches. George and Bessie Couch purchased the cabin and raised five children during the twenties, thirties and forties. Wylie and Adelia Homesly lived there in the fifties. Their son Harry and his wife Velma Homesley made it their home during the seventies and eighties. The Dempseys moved the home from the Overton Lake area and placed it behind Fiddler’s Green.
The skirmish was picture perfect and well executed. General Lee (David Chaltas) addressed the crowd and was on the line explaining the battle scenario to the audience during the action. After the skirmish, Un-Reconstructed performed once more and at 5 o’clock a reaffirmation of vows took place in front of Fiddler’s Green. The grand ball was held outside with over one hundred twenty participants. They learned and participated in Victorian dances under the stars, as the band played into the night. The next morning witnessed a very powerful and moving church service conducted by Chaplain Mike Jones. The Sunday battle once again excited the crowd and offered a glimpse into America’s history.
Fiddler’s Green possesses a wealth of our American heritage and antiquity. On a one to ten, this fielder rates it a 9.5. Next year’s event will take place on May 6-7, 2017. Please mark your calendar and make plans to attend this genuinely unique celebration of our common history. For more information about Fiddler’s Green, go to the following website: http://www.fiddlersgreenalabama.com/unreconstructed.html. Contact Chris at 256-435-6055256-538-3705, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-By David Chaltas, Edited by Miss Rachel Holland
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