Waterford Historical Society (CT)
History came alive on Jordan Green on Saturday, July 9, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Second Saturday event: "Common Threads: Fiber Arts in 1850s Waterford." The event was family friendly and free.
The Waterford Historical Society enlisted a 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 brought the past to life in the Society’s historic buildings and on the Green.
Historic reenactments included:
Widow Lydia Beebe, whose sailor husband, Albert, was lost at sea, was 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 portrayed 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 was 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's Jordan Schoolhouse, Kathleen Roberts as the school teacher discusssed needlework samplers, referencing the originals found in the Beebe-Phillips House.
Upstairs in the Stacy Barn across the blue bridge, visitors could 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.