On October 19, we attended our first Texian Heritage Festival in Montgomery. What an event!
At the bargain rate of a $1 per person donation, it was one of the best living history presentations I have ever witnessed (and I've witnessed a few!). Highlights of the festival included: Texas Independence battle reenactments (complete with Mexican and Texian army encampments), a tableau of women of the Civil War in period costume, booming cannons, firearm demonstrations, Native American dancers, blacksmiths, musical performances, harvest-time activities for children, and so much more.
A display of 19th century school books and materials included a McGuffey's Reader. Dating as far back as 1836, these Readers underscore a harsh reality. We are losing things like literacy and civility at a breakneck pace. I actually attended a school in the 80's (not 1880's, either) that used some of these Readers as part of its language arts curricula. For some great historical fiction, also of this time period, check out the works of G.A. Henty. Many are available for free via the Gutenberg Project. We read The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades a couple of years ago and found it enjoyable. The books make great read-alouds to younger kids as the writing style and vocabulary can be quite foreign to our modern ears.
A reenactor and fellow homeschool mom shares a wonderful story about the scarcity of coffee during the Civil War (this canister would have been worth $50 -- Starbucks ain't got nothin'!) and, more importantly, the real cause of the war (i.e., not slavery). "Think for yourselves," she admonished. "Don't trust history books to tell you the truth." Amen, sista.
The Arnold-Simonton House -- one of the oldest houses in Montgomery County was built in 1845 in the Greek-revival style.
A bonus of the festival is "free" admission to all of the structures at Fernland Historical Park. These structures are always locked up and normally require a fee and scheduled tour in order to appreciate them. There are two log cabins (Crane and Jardine) that are just fascinating -- the craftsmanship is impressive.
I'm sorry that you'll have to wait an entire year until the Texian Heritage Festival returns to Fernland Historical Park in Montgomery. Perhaps I will see you there!
Montgomery is located approximately an hour north of Houston.
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