July 21, 2012 – Murfreesboro and Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Tennessee
This morning there was the cutest little trailer in the park. It must have come in late last night. It looks like a little house – and I mean a LITTLE house. There are pictures of it on Picasso. As soon as I can figure out how to add pictures here, I’ll add them to the blog. Right now there is a technical problem which they are working on.
The only thing on today’s agenda was a visit to Cannonsburgh Village. Cannonsburgh is the original name of Murfreesboro. Minos Cannon was a prominent early settler and the father of Newton Cannon, the 1st Whig Governor of Tennessee.
Construction of Cannonsburgh began in 1974 as an American Revolution Bicentennial project. After a national competition held by the federal government, the Cannonsburgh project received a $75,000 award for placing as one of the top 16 Bicentennial projects in the US. Funds received for this honor were used to buy and move buildings from throughout the Mid-South. Since the original project sought to serve the community as well as focus interest on the community heritage, Cannonsburgh also qualified for federal community development grants. These monies were used to clear the site of its earlier industrial blight, rechannel Town Creek to control a central flood problem, and hire and re-train over 100 local unemployed residents. It claims to be one of the few, if not the only, Bicentennial projects still operating.
There are 23 buildings and sites on the grounds. One of the most interesting to me was a windlass well. My great Uncle Jess who lived in the mountains near Mena, Arkansas had such a well. He lived on 120 acres which had been in the family since it was settled before the Louisiana Purchase. The title to the land when it was sold to settle his estate was the original land grant papers signed by Thomas Jefferson. The title was worth more than the land! Uncle Jess was shell shocked in WWI, and when he returned from the war, he never left the homestead except for a few short visits to see us in Missouri. When the house burned sometime in the 1920’s or 1930’s, his only remark was “At least that uniform’s gone”. His girlfriend married another man while he was in France, and he never married. He did a little farming and hunting and lived as a recluse. He had an old pickup which he drove over the 9 miles of logging road to get to the highway to drive into Mena about 10 miles further along the highway. I can guarantee that you did not want to be on the road when he was driving!
I remember visiting him as a child. He lived in a house on stilts which had a porch on 3 sides. I loved to be there in the summer when it rained. There was a tin roof on the house, and it was wonderful to go to sleep at night listening to the rain on the roof. That’s one thing I enjoy in the coach too as it reminds me of those days. The well was next to the porch, and I sometimes had to draw the water. His ice box was a spring house where he kept milk and other food cool by submerging it in the running water. He had a kerosene stove to cook on. He had no telephone and no electricity.
One time when we were there Mom was making breakfast. He always fussed at her that she didn’t know how to do anything properly. Well, this time he was right. He kept his coffee in a tin cannister on a shelf in the kitchen. He also kept his smoking tobacco in a tin cannister on a shelf in the kitchen. This particular morning, Mom was making the coffee while he was frying sausage. She grabbed the cannister and put the coffee in the percolator. She put it on the stove to perk and began making scrambled eggs. When everything was ready, we sat down to eat, and Mom poured coffee for Dad and Uncle Jess. Neither she nor I drank coffee. Dad tasted his and made a face but didn’t say anything. Uncle Jess took a big swig and began to choke. After he finally recovered his breath, he said that the coffee tasted like tobacco. Mom thought he was kidding, but Dad agreed with him. She had picked up the wrong cannister and had used the tobacco to make coffee! We’re lucky that no one got nicotine poisoning, but I don’t think either one of them drank enough so we were very lucky because getting out over the logging road and into town would have taken too long to get either of them to the hospital in time.
Well, now back to Cannonsburgh Village after that aside. They had a bridge tollgate, gristmill, one room school, telephone building from the early 1900’s, a Chapel and other buildings. They also had lots of old farm implements which were fun to look at. They had a horse drawn corn planter which was very similar to the one my Dad used. There were lots of old tractors many of which had steel wheels instead of rubber tires.
I visited the Art League building where they local artist’s work on display. I met a couple of very nice ladies and had a nice conversation with them about the area, their travels, my travel, etc.
Tonight there was a concert in the campground. I was close enough to the stage that I just sat in the coach and opened the window to listen. It was a country music group, and they were very good. I enjoyed just relaxing and listening to them.