I arrived at Henkel Square on Thursday afternoon to prepare for the school day on Friday. We had quite a group come in Thursday! The evening was cool but not uncomfortable.
Friday started with a bit of rain but soon cleared off. There were about 90 kids, a good manageable number. Our stations included photography, transportation of goods, fiber production, school house, explanation of the flags in the Mary Phelps house and a discussion on secession. It went off very well, I think. The teachers seemed pleased and the kids all seemed to enjoy it.
Friday afternoon, everyone began to arrive and brought with them a norther. It wasn’t so much cold as the wind was very biting. The fire in my room wouldn’t stay lit so things got a bit chilly.
Saturday morning the event started officially. I had a house full with the Ground Hornets. It was also an interesting situation as my room also served as the dining room. Once breakfast was cleared away, I requested the gentleman to go outside so that I could dress. I didn’t realize that the coffee was still not ready but they left without complaint. Once I was dressed, I opened the door and was greeted with “Annette’s dressed!” and a rush through the door to the dining room for the long awaited coffee. It gave us a good laugh afterward.
The 1861 Ordinance of Secession was read at the general store that morning and voting began. There was some confusion as the ordinance is written in quite fancy language and some of our community visitor didn’t quite understand exactly what was being said. A great discussion developed on exactly what was to be voted on: leave the Union, join the CSA or both. As the men lined up to vote, some women decided they wanted in on the action and confronted the poor elections clerk. They caused such a stir that the militia was finally called in to sort out the matter. The rest of the day was spent putting together meals, having wet plate pictures taken, playing dominos, visiting and catching up on the news in the paper. Some of the Ground Hornets had spent Friday night in the cups and Mr. Nix was insistent that the young men be reminded about the dangers of excess. While they played dominos, he read from Advice to Young Men on the dangers of swearing, gambling, cursing, drinking and the use of tobacco. It was a quite timely reading. We had more food at the house than could be eaten. There was pork and deer sausage, potato salad, cabbage, applesauce, rice, cakes, bread, lemonade, I can’t remember all what else; we did not starve over the weekend. In the late afternoon the ballots were counted and the ballot box was “borrowed” by some women who attempted to stuff the box with their votes. Saturday night we gathered at the church to hear some wonderful singing, music and poetry readings.
Sunday morning it was discovered that the Ground Hornets had appointed themselves the new Committee on Public Safety. As passports were required to travel from county to county, our committee decided to charge for them! They went from house to house to deliver the news. They did not count on the weaver women to not understand English. One of them spoke some German, at least enough to get their point across after showing her their gun. I believe it was finally worked out with a “gift” of some sausage. Church was wonderful with a very timely lesson on the observance of laws. The music was wonderful; we had some very good singers in our congregation. After church, the result of the vote was announced…Henkel Square has decided to secede. Congratulatory handshake all around.
At 2:45 or so we gathered again at the church to close up the event. I believe this was the best of the Henkel Square events so far. Many of the participants are hoping to return and are already working on their impressions for next year. The next Henkel Square event is being planned for May 20-21, 2011. The scenario will be the gathering and sending off of troops. A flag presentation is in the works as well as other celebrations for a grand send off. More information will be available at http://www.txcwcivilian.org/henkel.html as things are finalized.