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Heritage Days return to Tranquility

These three young ladies work on their quilting skills during last weekend’s Heritage Days.
These three young ladies work on their quilting skills during last weekend’s Heritage Days.


Past and present converge during weekend-long celebration of  America’s pioneer spirit –

Story and photos by Patricia Beech –

Ralph and Patricia Alexander last weekend hosted the eighth  annual Adams County Heritage Days Festival at the John T. Wilson  Homestead in Tranquility.
The event sponsored by the Heritage Days Association honors the life and contributions of Adams County philanthropist John Thomas Wilson, who by the time of his death had given more than half a  million dollars to charitable causes, including the building of the  county’s Childrens Home. In addition to his humanitarian work Wilson was also a Civil War hero, an abolitionist, a statesman, and a merchant.

This fellow, armed with his copy of the Declaration of Independence, showed festival goers at Heritage Days the old-fashioned way of writing with a quill pen.
This fellow, armed with his copy of the Declaration of Independence, showed festival goers at Heritage Days the old-fashioned way of writing with a quill pen.

“A lot of work goes into preparing the festival,” said organizer  Angelena Newman, “It takes nearly a year to plan, and it’s a group  effort, we all try to bring our talents to the table.”
Sitting atop a bluff in Tranquility, Wilson’s colonial home, which he named “Prominence”, overlooks the quiet intersection of Ohio 32 and Route 770.  During the festival the lawn of the stately home is  transformed into an early American frontier-style gathering place by  history re-enactors from the Grassy Run Society in Williamsburg. Amid  white canvas tents and open camp fires, skilled artisans, dressed in  period clothing, greet visitors and share their knowledge about life  on the early American frontier.

Old-fashioned weaving on a loom was one of the many demonstrations available at last weekend’s Heritage Days.
Old-fashioned weaving on a loom was one of the many demonstrations available at last weekend’s Heritage Days.

“We coordinate our efforts  with the members of the Grassy Run Society and the Adams County Historical Society (ACHS) to make the festival a fun, educational experience for kids and adults,” said  Newman.
Visitors are encouraged to participate as period crafters demonstrate the techniques used by early settlers to create the goods they needed on the primitive Ohio frontier. Yarn spinners, weavers,  gourd crafters, blacksmiths, quilters, and many others create a vivid  image of the challenges pioneer families faced during the western  movement across the United States.
Speakers for the event included Lindsey Willman from the Ohio Brush Creek Herb Guild and John Martin of the Ohio Gourd Society.  Entertainment was provided by the Adams County Liberty Band.

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