Historical Society hosts Pioneer camp


Dean Harris takes a turn at the butter churn during the Friday session of the three-day Pioneer camp held at the Madison County Historical Society.

Each of the 25 campers were given a cloth bag, which they had complete creative control of how to decorate it. Kaitlynn Chastain likes cats.

Vince Shuler, right, demonstrates the function of a cooking crane, an 18th century cooking utensil during Pioneer Camp, a three-day event held at the Madison County Historical Society, London.

In the smoky confines of the forge, blacksmith Vince Shuler shows Pioneer campers how he shapes a piece of glowing hot iron. He will make it into a ringer for a triangle.

Twenty-five third through fifth graders witnessed skills and life activities that were part of pioneer life during a three-day camp at the Madison County Historical Society.The camp was held 9 a.m. to noon on June 10-12.

It was the first time for a camp to be held there, said Annette Rinesmith, co-director and vice president of the historical society.

The 25 boys and girls from most of the county school districts witnessed how day-to-day tasks were performed in a time before electricity and other conveniences of 21st century life.

Hannah Risner visited the one-room school house and was surprised to learn that grades one through eight were all taught there.

Emily Logue, who put her hands on the butter churn, was amazed by the butter-making process.

Lisa Richmond provided the cream, churn and information about the process as students took turns working the rod up and down. By hand, the process takes at least 45 minutes. Four quarts of cream yields two to three pounds of unsalted butter, Richmond said.

Joshua Lickliter vividly retold the story about Madison County’s first white resident, Jonathan Alder. He said while Alder was attempting to round up horses for his mother, he was captured by Indians. Lickliter was impressed by Alder’s ability to learned many tribal dialects.

Campers also saw a demonstration of military activity by the 76th Ohio Volunteers, a reenactment group.

Rinesmith said the camp was made possible by a grant of $1,920 from McDonald’s restaurants. Participants paid a $20 fee.

Children collected items they had made or acquired over the three-day event in haversacks.

Rinesmith said the camp was the result of a brainstorming session by the historical society’s board on how to get more people in the door.

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.

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