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1812 Re-enactment at the Ermatinger-Clergue House (39 Photos)

Carol Zarudenec Smith for local2 sault ste. marie
July 23rd, 2012 at 1:18pm

It was the last day to partake of this event so I decided to go walk around and take in life as it was being portrayed a hundred years ago.

Outside the Old Stone House were several canvas tents and lean-tos. Various wares were being sold or displayed. There was bead work, arrow heads and powder horns along with hatchets to mention a few things. Under glass in display cases were various moccasins made of animal hide. Knives were fashioned from a deer leg. Arrow heads of all sizes could be viewed in another case. Wooden toy rifles, guns, pull toys and catapults could be purchased for a small fee. Simple toys from a simpler time. How easy it was to amuse children in that era.

Tents were spaced around the property so I was curious and ambled over to a couple of them. Accomodations in a soldier’s tent were sparse to say the least consisting of a couple of cots on the ground, blankets and pelts on the beds, a table and chair and a lantern. For washing up there was a metal wash tub outside on a stand.

However, the tent of a high ranking officer was very lavish for the time and could contain three sections, sleeping quarters, an office and a gathering area. He had several more pleasantries in his sleeping quarters consisting of fancier bedding, a night stand and a travel trunk.

As I rounded the corner, musicians were playing guitars, a banjo and mouth organ much to my delight. Women in period dresses joined in performing dances from a century ago. A couple young ladies played the wooden spoons and it sounded great with the accompanying music.

Browsing around I came across a few people weaving baskets. How interesting to watch them as their baskets took shape. It was encouraging to see a young lad concentrating intently while trying his hand at it.

In another area a woman demonstrated candle making. I asked her how many times it took to go around to the various melted wax cans to make a candle as you held the original string. Moving from one can to the next the wax cooled so layers built up one by one quickly. Approximately ten times around dipping in each one was her reply. Then you’d have your homemade candle to take home with you. She asked if I wanted to make one but I declined. I did watch a mother and daughter make the rounds to form a candle. They were pleased with the whole process.

A dentist was on hand to explain about tooth removal under another canvas enclosure. Viewing his tools and explanation of how to pull a tooth, I was happy not to be needing his services. Dentistry was a tad barbaric back then and remember the only anesthetic would be a swig from a bottle of hard whiskey or moonshine. A bonk on the head would work too.

A watched a gentleman carving a wooden stein with a lid. I found that quite intriguing also. I wonder how long it took him to make one? Onlookers like myself watched as he chiselled away at his work.

Inside the Old Stone House I marvelled at the simplicity of the furnishings of a kitchen with table, chairs, hearth, baking pans and a few cooking items. In the living room, a woman was spinning wool from different sheep. The raw angora wool was so soft when I touched it. She said she made blankets and sweaters with it because is was soft and warm when knitted.

Their gift shop sold some very interesting and unique wares.

There was so much to see, watch and experience that I was there for two hours taking it all in.

As I departed and took a photo of the cannon, the gentleman reminded me that it would sound in about half an hour. I thanked him for the information but I continued on my way home very satisfied with all the things I saw depicting life in 1812.

Photos taken by Carol Zarudenec Smith

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