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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    Let's Go: Waterford Historical Society’s ‘Second Saturday’ offers living history lessons

    For its Second Saturday program on July 9, the Waterford Historical Society’s historic buildings on Jordan Green will, for the first time, be the setting for historical reenactments by local accomplished historic researchers, tour guides and speakers in period attire, bringing to life those who lived and learned in them in the mid 1800s. Suitable for adults and children alike, the events from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. are free and open to the public. Donations to the society are gratefully accepted.

    On Saturday, July 9, widow Lydia Beebe, whose sailor husband, Albert, was lost at sea, will be in the Beebe-Phillips House to mingle with visitors and tell them of her life. Her husband’s demise left her with their son, Orrin, born in 1836, so Mrs. Beebe took to sewing to make a living for herself and her young child. Orrin later became a sailor like his father. Rebecca Bayreuther Donohue will be portraying Mrs. Beebe.

    Carrying through with the seafaring nature of the Beebe family men, sitting by the “try pot” in front of the Jordan Park House will be living historian Nate Rumney portraying a sailor sharing knowledge of canvas sails and natural fiber rigging with “Textiles at Sea: The Science of Natural Fibers.” Whaling vessels from the 19th century used such large iron pots, called try pots, to liquify whale blubber. (The Jordan Park House, the former Waterford Public Library, is owned by the Town of Waterford.)

    Near the 1740 Jordan Schoolhouse, Kathleen Roberts as the school teacher will be discussing needlework samplers, referencing the originals found in the Beebe-Phillips House.

    Upstairs in the Stacy Barn across the blue bridge, visitors will learn more about the sometimes-strange-looking but important implements of Waterford’s farming past: yokes, rakes, hay balers, corn shuckers and more. Waterford once was home to more than 100 dairy farms, with such familiar family names as Dimmock, Radway and Steward among them.

    The Waterford Historical Society has enlisted the group called the “Dirty Blue Shirts” to bring their museum-quality living history programming to Jordan Green for Second Saturdays. Members Bayreuther-Donohue, Rumney, Roberts and others have worked in the museum industry together for years. Sharing their knowledge and demonstration of local culture, fiber arts from samplers to sails, everyday history, sheep farming and much more, the Dirty Blue Shirts will bring the past to life in the Society’s historic buildings and on the Green. Learn more about the Dirty Blue Shirts.

    The Aug. 13 Second Saturday date coincides with the Town of Waterford parade and the society’s buildings will be open. A Second Saturday apple festival is being planned for Sept. 10, with hopes of putting the society’s antique cider press into action.

    Visit the Waterford Historical Society’s website and Facebook pages for further information and updates.

    Let’s Go is a regular feature. To submit email times@theday.com.

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