Flossie’s Fridays: Week 51

Flossie is ready to start making desserts for Thanksgiving………pecan pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake and more!  What do all of these foods need to taste good?  You’ve got it……SUGAR!

Flossie has introduced you to sugar cones before, but it was a long time ago, so she wanted to share information about them again in case you don’t recall.


In Bath, NC in the 1700s, sugar was very valuable and only wealthy families like the Palmers would have been able to afford the Caribbean-imported sugar cane harvested by enslaved people on large plantations.  Most people here would have sweetened their food with honey that was locally harvested.

The way the sugar was processed led to pouring it into cone shapes or into loaves after it had been boiled and filtered several times.  After the sugar was poured, it was taken out of its cone or loaf and allowed to dry.  Much of the sugar was wrapped and sealed in blue paper.

The sugar was packed hard into the cone, so nippers were used to break off larger pieces; smaller amounts could be scraped off the side with a knife.  If we have sugar sitting out for our guests today, it is usually in a small sugar bowl.  In Colonial times, the family might set the whole sugar cone on a special plate at the dining table.  Do you think they possibly did this to show off their wealth a little?

Flossie thinks it surely is easier the way we have it today…..sugar is already loose and in bags….all we have to do is pour it out!  Of course, a 5 pound bag is too heavy for her, so she flies out of the bag with a thimble full at the time!

All of us at Historic Bath hope that you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends………..Flossie says, “Be sure to eat something sweet!”


Flossie’s Fridays: Week 50

Flossie always loves it when school children visit the site!  October has been full of visits from 4th graders.  Although it is fun to see the historic homes, the Heritage Days program is full of living history activities, such as crosscut sawing, rope making, quill writing and more.

Floss enjoyed meeting up with a special friend before the activities began!


Many times Flossie has attended events like these and her favorite activity of all is making rope.  The machine is so big compared to her, she says it feels like being on an amusement park ride…..especially when the gears are going ‘round and ‘round and she tries to help turn the crank!  The machine that Historic Bath uses for demonstrating this important Colonial job is much smaller than the ropewalk and machine that would have been used in Bath in the 1700s and 1800s.  In the picture below with Flossie and 4th graders’ hands, you see a much larger rope than the type that can be made on our machine.  The larger ropes were needed for some of the jobs on ships, such as lowering the anchor.  Can you think of other jobs ropes were needed for………on land and at sea?


In another picture, Flossie is taking a ride on the “top” which keeps the strands of cotton twine separated until the twisting process has been completed and will hold the shape of a rope.  And of course, she has to get in her acrobatic act……..Floss is such an adventurous fairy!


If your school class hasn’t taken a field trip yet this year, we hope you get to travel soon and learn something new about life in the past………Flossie says if you aren’t too far away, come see us in Bath!

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 48

Flossie wants to show you a monument that has been seen on the streets of Bath since 1924.  It was a big job and a long time in the making!  The North Carolina Historical Commission and the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners presented the Bath Historical Society with a bronze plaque commemorating the founding and incorporation of Bath.  It seems the original intent was to mount the plaque at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, but for some reason, that installation never happened.


Several years went by and Flossie doesn’t know where the plaque stayed in the meantime.  The town needed a monument on which to display the plaque!   Mr. and Mrs. Timothy A. Brooks and Miss Lida T. Rodman traveled to the Neverson Quarry near Raleigh to select stones.  They were very heavy stones – two were chosen – the base weighed 16,000 pounds!  The top stone weighed 12,000 pounds.  After the stones were shipped by train to Bunyan (about 10 miles west of Bath) it became a real challenge to get them the rest of the way to town.  The bumpy road that the truck and trailer had to ride caused both stones to bounce out of the trailer!  Surry Bowen of Pinetown sent equipment to help reload the boulders.  Once they arrived at the Bath bridge, there was some worry that the wooden bridge couldn’t withstand the weight of the stones.  Mr. Brooks used heavy wooden beams from his lumber mill to brace the bridge.

Whew!  The monument was finally erected and was placed in the center of Carteret Street/Main Street intersection.  An unveiling celebration was held on June 19, 1924.  About 4,000 people attended the ceremony.  Men barbequed 32 pigs all night to get ready.  School children raised money to help with other food costs; they raised $150 but only $50 was needed for the lunch, so extra money was donated to the Bath Elementary School library for books.  The two girls who tied in raising the most money were able to unveil the marker.  The picture below shows the brand new marker with Mary Arcadia Tankard on the left and Helen Waters on the right. Their mothers or someone else made Colonial style costumes for them to wear for the occasion.


In 1960, the marker was moved back from its original location; it was pushed back onto North Main Street’s entrance due to the new bridge and widening of the road to allow for the paving of Highway 92 through Bath.  Flossie wants to thank Dr. Alan Watson for capturing this and much more information in his book Bath: The First Town in North Carolina, with a chapter of Bath’s 20th century history contributed by Bea Latham and Patricia Samford.

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 47

Flossie is beginning to get a little depressed in Bath…………..we’ve been having LOTS of rain, and now there is Hurricane Joaquin nearby in the Atlantic Ocean!  Earlier this week she had a quick chance to get outside and take a fly around town and she wanted to go check out the knot tying station that was added to the Lawson Walk path on the north side of town earlier this summer.


When Bath was a young town in the early 1700s, it functioned as a port of entry for the colony.  Lots of boats came in and out of Bath and the ships needed ropes!  A few of the jobs for which ropes would be needed are for hoisting sails, dropping anchor, creating foot ropes for climbing up to reach the sail lines, and creating “ladders” to climb up to the crow’s nest to look out a great distance.  Rope helped with small jobs too……….like hanging the clapper inside a bell in order to ring it and announce meal time or to alert sailors of things like when it was time to finish their work shift and for others to begin working. Sailors also used rope to help pass the time when they didn’t have to work……..they played a game similar to horseshoes called quoits.  Circular hoops of rope were used rather than iron horseshoes since those may have damaged the deck or more easily slid off deck into the water.  Sometimes sailors made decorative coverings for bottles, knife handles and hammocks, etc. in their spare time.  This ancient type of art form is called macramé; it is a form of textile-making that uses knot-making instead of weaving or knitting cloth.  Materials used would be cotton twine, linen, hemp, jute, leather or yarn.  Bracelets made in this manner are popular again today!

Flossie wants everyone to stay dry and safe during this hurricane………it looks like the storm may head out to sea, but do what you can to prepare.  That is one advantage we have today over folks in the 1700s…………we have some time ahead  to be forewarned and to prepare emergency supplies, thanks to television and weather satellites!

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 42

Flossie likes the edge drinking coffee gives her just before fairy racing, so she was interested in learning how much colonials enjoyed drinking hot beverages.  One way they might have prepared tea or coffee would be by using a beverage urn, much like the one you see in the photograph below.DSC04269

This artifact is made of painted tinware that was coated with an oil varnish and heated at a high temperature.  That process was called japanning (because its look copied Japanese lacquerwork used on furniture). The technique created a durable surface that has helped some of the original painted design remain, although much of it is now worn off.  There is a sieve under the lid on which Flossie sits.  That’s where you would place the tea or coffee.  Hot water would be poured over the sieve and then hot coals placed inside a tray on the back bottom side of the urn would keep the beverage warm.  You can see the spout on the front.  Flossie thinks this beverage urn is like a Mr. Coffee machine, just without electricity!

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 41

This week, Flossie felt like posing with the rich and famous………Charles II – King of England, Scotland, France & Ireland.


She got the giggles and almost couldn’t fly straight because she said he looks just like the actor Sylvester Stallone!  This black and white engraving is from a painting by Sir Peter Lely – visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/charles-ii-16301685-37676 to see this painting and others done by this Dutch born artist.

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 40

Floss and her visiting cousin Lil Bit (her name is short for Lily Bittersweet, not Little Bit!) really enjoyed their time at Bath Fest last Saturday and wanted to share some of their memories with you.  The fairies were pleased to see all the local art work and they enjoyed learning about planing and drilling boat-making skills.


The girls fell in love with Back Creek Soaps – items the Historic Bath’s gift shop will be selling soon.  In fact, they flitted around there for so long, they began to fly crooked (sweet-smelling lavender sometimes has that effect on fairies).


The bookbinding activity led by staff and volunteers from Hope Plantation was a big hit with adults, children and fairies!  (This project was funded by The Historic Bath Foundation, Inc.) The little booklet tells about Bath’s history, but as light and little as it was, it was still too heavy for Flossie and Lil Bit to take away as a souvenir.  They gave their copy to a child who was too young to make his own.


Fairies everywhere have a fascination with blown glass, so the girls oohed and aahed over Mr. Chip’s creations!  His friendship balls, witch balls and other glass can be found on sale at the visitor center.


They also thought Ms. Maureen’s horsehair (Raku style) pottery was lovely.  Imagine the sizzle of a piece of horsehair being placed on a HOT piece of pottery!  Lil Bit wondered how pretty fairy hair would look on a piece, but Flossie talked her out of trying that.


The girls finally got up their courage to fly over and visit with a couple of pirates.  They thought their fairy presence in the picture makes the men look a little less fierce.  What do you think?!


Bath Fest is a fun family small town festival where Art Meets History and it happens one Saturday each May.  Flossie and Lil Bit hope you can visit us in May 2016! Closer to that time, please check out http://www.bathfest.com for more details.