From muskets to vinegar pie, history lovers enjoy Living History Day

History came alive for more than 300 visitors on Saturday afternoon at the Snuggs and Marks House Museum — the white clapboard two-story landmark on North 3rd Street — thanks to a partnership between the Stanly County History Center and Stanly County Historical Society.

Lawn displays of soldierly paraphernalia from the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War provided a glimpse into war-time camp life. Some folks even flinched from the unexpected crack of the muskets during firing drills.

The presence of Sarah Hunter and Morgan Baker of Monroe, with Kielan Weltner of Polkton, in period dress, reminded attendees that wives and families sometimes followed along as military units moved from place to place.

Jason Williams, a reenactor from Charlotte, brought his equipment and dipping wax to demonstrate 18th century candle making, explaining that candles were essential then like 21st century electric lights now. Craig and Diane Smith talked about ropemaking and attracted attention from youngsters eager to use their hands.

Curiosity reigned outdoors, but anticipation was the 2023 vibe pulsing from kitchen to parlor inside the 19th century Snuggs house. Eleven young people stood by tables laden with their carefully prepared versions of 150-year-old recipes.

The Stanly County Library furnished contestants with the “Little House Cookbook, Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories.” Melissa Hinson Eudy, co-owner of Albemarle’s Rosebriar Restaurant and known as the pie maker, moved from table to table, asking questions, tasting and commenting on each entry.

“You might be hearing from Cracker Barrel. You should take the call,” Eudy said to the trio of girls who made biscuits and jam.

Compliments abounded throughout the judging.

“Great presentation, wonderful texture, bacon grease is a cook’s best friend,” said Eudy.

In the end, two entrants were each awarded one-on-one time at a later date with the Eudy in the Rosebriar kitchen. Twelve-year-old Zachary Pike, a homeschool student from Mt. Pleasant, received “Best Over All” for his vinegar pie with a lard crust. Oakboro STEM School eighth grader Adelaide Ashby’s apple-onion-bacon savory dish was named “most unique.”

Stanly County Museum Manager Megan Sullivan was pleased with the response to the Great Frontier Bake Off — a new event this year.

“I couldn’t believe kids were making these dishes and the amount of talent, patience and drive they all had,” said Sullivan, who also expressed her appreciation for Eudy for judging judged and inviting the winners to the Rosebriar kitchen.

The other contest participants were Connor Burgess, Samuel Burgess, Elsie Crump, Rylie Fairfax, Hannah Franco, Penelope Hoover, Carly Honeycutt, Audrey Martinez and Lizzie Springer.
Eudy notes that each young person’s research expanded their knowledge beyond measuring and baking to historical and cultural knowledge, too.

“This was an awesome opportunity for them to embrace their love of food wrapped in an experience they will not soon forget. I was honored to be a part of it,” Eudy said.

Local chapter members of Daughters of the American Revolution shared colonial recipes for 18th century foods such as cabbage pudding, as well as tea cakes, snickerdoodles, shortbread and cranberry tarts.

DAR is a women’s service organization interested in education, American history and patriotism.

“We appreciated being asked to participate in this event,” said chapter regent Joan Eudy. “We hope to sponsor other events as a part of the American 250 endeavor for Stanly County.”

Kent Harkey, president of Stanly County Historical Society, agreed with Sullivan that attendance at this year’s event was the best so far.

“The Historical Society is glad to host the event,” said Harkey.

The day concluded with the season finale of the Society’s Rhythm & Brews Lawn Concert Series, and according to Harkey, 150 more people were enjoying what Stanly County offers.

Jo Grey is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.