The air is cold and crisp and winter is finally underway. That also means that the holidays are fast approaching, and people are beginning to prepare in earnest for it. Decorations are going up, presents are being purchased, and good deeds are being performed.
The staff members at the Heyward House are equally busy planning for the holidays. November 30th we are planning on decorating the Heyward House in a Victorian Christmas fashion. A Christmas tree will appear in the Gentleman’s parlor, decorated with old vintage ornaments. Giant wreaths will take their place on the front porch, along with yards of garland. Mantle’s will be decorated with Santa’s, oyster shell wreaths, and candle sticks. The doll houses in the Ladies parlor will join the festivities and be equally as decorated. Candles (electric, we promise) will glow in the windows at night, a symbol of welcoming guests into the home. We’ve even heard a rumor that a couple of mischievous elves will make an appearance.
Front Door Wreath
The Christmas Parade is steadily approaching (yay!) and we are participating again this year. However, this year we will have a trailer pulled by a tractor and ladies walking beside it in period clothing. Staff members are planning on how the trailer will be decorated, so make sure you keep any eye out for us during the parade.
Our Victorian Ladies in the 2013 Christmas Parade
We are also preparing for the upcoming Oyster Roast that is going to take place on December 5th. This is our annual fundraiser and should promise to be a great time. The event will be held at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park and the Toomers are going to provide delicious May River Oysters. If you aren’t a big fan of oysters, don’t worry they will have BBQ there as well. The tickets for the oyster roast are $30 per person, and children 12 & under get in for free. The winning tickets for the bird houses will be drawn at the oyster roast, and someone will walk away with replica bird houses of the Heyward House and the Teel House. If bird houses don’t peak your interest, then the 50/50 drawing and the silent auction should.
2014 BHPS Oyster Roast
We have many holiday traditions at the Heyward House, and we started a new one this year. We are an official drop-off location for Toys for Tots. We thought that this would be a good way to give back to the community that has supported us over the years. The donation box can hold 50 toys and we would like to give the Marine Corps a full box of toys, but we need your help! We will be accepting new unwrapped toys during business hours until December 16th.
If you have any questions about anything from the blog post, please call us at 843-757-6293 or email us at email@example.com
There is something about this time of year that makes things almost magical. The house seems to come alive in the fall, especially with all the visitors that stop by. Some are here to take a tour of the house while others are looking for information about Bluffton. We are constantly kept on our toes with the start of our busy season.
Everyone once in awhile, the door chime doesn’t ding and the house gets quiet. That is when you stop spinning and sit down, and that is when you look around you. Most of the time you don’t realize how special of place you are standing in, but then it creeps up on you.
The walls of this house have so many stories and if you listen hard enough you can hear them. If you listen, the walls will tell you about the little girl that died in the house when she was around 4 years old. Her death certificate said it was because of teething, but more than likely it was because of an infection. If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can almost hear the laughter of a little girl and her footsteps as she runs through the hallway.
If you listen, the walls will tell you about the dangers of war. If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can hear the chaos outside and feel the heat of the homes burning down next to you. Then you can hear the shouts of the men as they rummage through the house, taking an valuables with them–including a piano.
If you listen, the walls will tell you about the dark time when there were no families living the house. It was too quiet, too lifeless… but then there was life again. Another family moved in, and brought life back to the house. You can hear the shouts of happy children, toys being played with, and the gossip of their mothers.
This house has many stories, some are still waiting to be told. All you have to do is listen.
Tomorrow marks the 171st anniversary of the beginning of the Bluffton Movement, that took place underneath the infamous Secession Oak.
Secession Oak Photographed by Alyssa Krob
Robert Barnwell Rhett was a hot-headed politician from Beaufort. He served South Carolina as a State representative, attorney general, and a congress man. Rhett was one of the many Southerners that opposed the 1828 and 1842 Tariff that was passed down from the North.
The South often traded with Europe because goods were cheaper than they would be coming from the North. With the tariff in affect, the South’s trade with Europe was greatly restricted. Having no manufacturing abilities like the North had, the South was forced to trade with the North and pay a higher price for their goods. This enraged many in the Southern states, causing the talk of Secession.
“Although several days of consistent rain prior to the event hampered attendance, several hundred of Rhett’s constituents still appeared at the gathering. Rhett gave his fiery and now legendary speech atop of platform that had been erected under the shade of a sprawling live oak, which would later be referred to as the Secession Oak.”1
Rhett inspired many of his fellow states-men with his speech, but South Carolina was not prepared to handle a secession movement. “The popular and politically powerful John C. Calhoun, ‘South Carolina’s giant elder statesmen,’ was for a more moderate approach to the states’ rights movement.”2
The movement would still live on with the “Bluffton Boys” and sixteen years later, South Carolina would be the first state to secede from the Union.
To learn more about the Bluffton Boys,the Secession Movement, and the Civil War in Bluffton please refer to The Bluffton Expedition. The Bluffton Expedition was written by Jeff Fulgham, Director of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. The books are for sale in the gift shop of the Heyward House Historic Center.
1 Fulgham, J. (2012). Chapter One. In The Bluffton Expedition: The Burning of Bluffton, South Carolina, During the Civil War (Second revision. p. 8).
2 Fulgham, J. (2012). Chapter One. In The Bluffton Expedition: The Burning of Bluffton, South Carolina, During the Civil War (Second revision. p. 9).
On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Katie and I loaded up a minivan and took a total of 4 volunteers with us to Savannah. It was a volunteer field trip that we offer to all of our active volunteers as a way of saying thank you. This trip was smaller than usual, lots of folks were out of town that weekend. (Never fear, we are going to plan another one for later this year.)
We were on our way to Savannah, a place many of us had visited before but had we truly ever been a tourist there? I know I hadn’t been a tourist in the city. Normally I just stop off at the malls. (Shameful I know)
It was a beautiful day, I mean really it was. It was hot, but not too hot and it was just a nice day. We started our Savannah adventure with Oglethorpe Trolley Tours. They were nice enough to offer our group free trolley tours of the city. The Trolley tour gave us a great way to see most of the downtown area. We drove past places I hadn’t realized were there, and we were able to hear a great history of the house. Even better was the fact that they would pick us up from any of their stops along the way and take us back to our car. I cannot even begin to express how awesome that was!!
From Left to Right: Alyssa, Katie, and Marilyn
From Left to Right: Ed and Matt
Left to Right: Alyssa, Katie, Marilyn, Ann, and Ed
After the trolley tour, we stopped for lunch. I had made reservations at Soho South Cafe in the downtown area. It is a very nice restaurant/cafe that used to be a service garage during WWII. The decorations inside the cafe gave it a eclectic vibe. They had mismatched chairs, old wooden doors hanging on the walls, and a gorgeous clock hanging from the middle of the room.
The Clock that hung in the middle of the restaurant
The bar area for Soho!
After a filling lunch at Soho South Cafe (we didn’t save room for dessert :(). We walked down to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace for the 12:45 tour. First of all can I just say, the house is gorgeous!! The rooms are amazingly decorated and the story of the house is given very well by the house docent. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures of the rooms, except for one. The only room that we were allowed to take photos of was the library. The library was a space that showcased books, speeches, artwork from women throughout time. They had a speech that Eleanor Roosevelt gave playing on an Ipod. Books about women, written by women lined their bookshelves. Artwork hung all over the room. It was an amazing place for anyone, especially the young girl scouts that visit the house on a daily basis.
Quotes from Juliette Gordon Lowe line the sheets that decorate the wall
Interactive Table that was in the room
The leaves in the tree have quotes from different languages written by girls around the world.
After the Juliette Gordon Lowe house we set off for Ft. Pulaski. The Fort lies about five miles outside of Savannah, just before Tybee Island. We’ve been wanting to go to Ft. Pulaski for awhile now, to see if the rumors of the fort still having furniture from Bluffton were true. The fee to get to the fort was nominal, and we could use our pass for the next five days. (Great deal!) We were able to make it to the fort in time for the last tour. The tour was great, and we learned a lot of information. After the tour we walked around the fort, including the top. They had rooms set up like they would have been set up during the fort’s use. They had signs up describing each room, and two of the signs mentioned that furniture had been taken from Bluffton!! However, we weren’t sure which pieces of furniture came from Bluffton.
Civil War Graffiti
More Civil War Graffiti saying “This Way Out”
View from the top of the fort
They “confiscated” furniture from Bluffton.
Another sign mentioning that furniture was taken from Bluffton.
Over all, the docents really enjoyed the field trip. We try to do these types of trips as often as we can. It’s our way of saying Thanks to all of our volunteers. They do so much for us, and this is the least we could do for them! Katie and I are going to work on another field trip for the docents this fall, and hopefully more will be able to attend!
Today marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death. He had been shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater while he was attending the play, “Our American Cousin.” He died at 7:22 am in a stranger’s home, in a bed that was too small for his giant frame, and after enduring several hours of pain. The man that had just accomplished something so many thought would never happen, was gone. Killed by anger and frustration. Lincoln was a quiet man, fond of wearing tall hats to extenuate his already tall frame. I’ve read that he would often tell an elaborate story when asked a question that needed a simple answer. He fought and worked for what he thought was right. He ended slavery and he worked tirelessly to end the war between the states. He was a brilliant man who was often doubted. People thought he was incapable of being President, but he proved all of them wrong. He was a strong president at the time when our Nation needed him the most.
March is Women’s History Month, a time where people remember the women that have made an impact in the past and the present. Suffragette leaders, doctors, authors, etc. are highly remembered during this time of the year.
A few months ago I came across an article from Smithsonian Magazine describing the female soldiers that fought during the Civil War. I’ve heard about them before and knew a little about their history, but what I didn’t realize was how many actually fought during the war. The soldier article lead me to a spy article and so on and so forth. I started to read about these women that had done so many amazing things during the Civil War, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many people actually knew about these women?
That question lead me to putting together a lecture called Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Spies, and Nurses. The lecture is going to have three local women portraying a solider, spy, and nurse from the Civil War period. They are going to talk about what it was like during the war, and the different women who filled those roles. The lecture is going to be held at the Bluffton Branch Library on March 24th from 2-4 pm. The cost to attend in $5.
I’m hoping that the lecture will give people information about something that they don’t know much about, and help them understand the different roles that women played during the War. They didn’t just sit at home and fret over their loved ones that joined the war. They held active, and at times dangerous, roles during the war.
Spring cleaning? More like beginning of the year cleaning!
The Heyward House closed down from Jan. 5 through Jan. 10 so that the staff and some volunteers would be able to do some major cleaning! And let me tell ya, we got a lot of stuff done! We were able to do a deep clean of the downstairs and the upstairs. We were also able to completely re-organize the upstairs (YAY!), so now we know exactly what we’ve got to work with. We weren’t able to do all the renovations we wanted to do, but hopefully we will be able to do all of that soon!
We were also able to move some things around in the house, and it looks great! We were finally able to set up a display case where all of the artifacts are set up now. The plantation desk looks more like an actual in use desk now. We’ve got a Harper’s Weekly on the desk that talks about the assassination of Lincoln, and a wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth! We also moved some stuff around in the Lady’s parlor so now it’s more open and not so crowded.
We are very happy with all the work that we’ve accomplished and we would like to thank everyone for bearing with us while we were closed.
It’s hard to believe that this year is coming to a close. It might be a cliche, but time really has flown by us this year. I feel that we have accomplished a lot throughout the year, and I know that next year will bring us many more accomplishments.
This year we were able to create new educational programs that allowed for a more hands on experience for children and adults. We have done more research on the families that lived in the house and because of that we were able to depict a more accurate story. We have had several events that have proven to be profitable for the historical society, including the introduction of our tea parties.
We’ve also got some great things in the works for next year! A new exhibit, a new tour option for the house, and so much more! We can’t wait to show ya’ll what we have planned!!
I have to say that if it wasn’t for the support we receive, we really would be able to do everything that we do! The Bluffton community is one of the best, because they know how important it is to preserve the past. I hope that we will receive the same support for the new programs that we are working on for next year! We’ve got some good lecture ideas tucked away, that will hopefully prove to be successful.
Stick with us, we’ve got some great things planned.
Happy Halloween! This is such a fun time of the year where everyone gets dressed up and things go bump in the night! The staff at the Heyward House decided to dress up this year and it ended up being really fun!
Katie is a Pegasus, Maureen is Mrs. Incredible, and I am a witch. We all put these costumes together ourselves and I think it makes it really unique and interesting. All of the guests that come in seem to enjoy it, although there were some odd looks at first. 🙂 We are also giving out candy to the guests that stop by today. So if you’re out in Bluffton, stop by for a treat!
This is always an interesting day here at the Heyward House, especially since the veil between the living and dead is lifted. The house is haunted, and yes we pretty much know that as a fact. Staff members and volunteers have heard footsteps, seen things, and notice things that have been moved. We’ve had a lot of people say that they have seen a gentleman in our upstairs window when they pass by at night. We like to call him our security guard. hehe So if you happen to walk or drive by the Heyward House tonight, take a look around and let us know if you see anything! We would love to hear about it!
The Mourning Tea was a huge success! All of the ladies (& gents!) enjoyed the tea and the mourning talk immensely! Kim Poovey started the tea by giving a talk about the mourning practices of the Victorian Period, which included dress regulations, portraits, traditions, and hair jewelry. It was quite informative, and I believe everyone learned a lot. Much of what the Victorians practiced for mourning are still with us today. Did you know that women have to wear mourning clothes for a certain number of years (depending on who had passed) while the men only had to wear mourning clothing for three months!
Once Kim was done giving her talk we served tea and food. The tea was Charleston Breakfast Tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation! It was very well received, which is good because we did have a mix up with the tea order. The tea we originally ordered was lost in the mail, and we were worried that the tea we had over-nighted wouldn’t make it on time. So we set out to find the tea, and thankfully Le Cookery on Hilton Head had some! They saved the entire tea and we are so thankful for their help! The Sugaree did an amazing job at catering the event! The food was delicious and almost all the plates were clean by the end of the tea!
The staff at the Heyward House is very appreciative for all the of help that we received from our event committee in planning the tea, and thankful for all of their hard work. We are also appreciative that so many people wanted to come to our event! We sold out of tickets just a few days before the tea was held, and people still wanted to buy tickets! We are glad that it was such a success, and we are pretty sure that the Mourning Tea might be a regular event!