The loud booms of antique muzzle loaders could be heard echoing through the creek valley this week as history and the ways of generations gone by was relived south of Yadkinville.
For the past several years, early American history has been portrayed during the National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation’s Southeastern Primitive Rendezvous on Bleu Reavis’ land on Reavis Road. This year was the 36th annual rendezvous, and until a few years ago it had changed locations each year.
Those camping at the rendezvous or just visiting walked into a page from history this week as small villages and settlements of large and small white canvas tents and tee-pees, clustered along the creek and the edges of a large hilly field, were set up by participants.
In the center of the field was an area of larger tents where the sutlers, or traders, had their businesses set up for customers. One was a restaurant offering several menu options, while others sold toys, knives, powder horns, leather-bound notepads and ink barrels, cloth and thread for making clothes or other needed items, cooking supplies like small wood stoves, pottery and more.
For many of those camping, the event has become somewhat of a family and friends reunion. Participants ranged from young children to older men and women, all dressed in period clothing.
“I’ve been doing it a lot of years,” said Larry Fye of Lebanon, Ohio. “I’d say I was born in the wrong time.”
After shooting muzzle loaders, Fye then started participating in the living history events. “For years, I used a single-shot shotgun and I always camped primitive, so this was the next step.”
Fye invited his son, who lives in Charlotte and was with him in Yadkinville this week, to join him one time, and now both doing living history events.
“A lot of people travel to all of them,” said Beverly Heister of Hershey, Pennsylvania, whose husband, Jerry, first started doing living history events alone.
Heister said she never thought she wanted to dress up and participate, but this year was their seventh year at the Southeastern Primitive Rendezvous. She said they’d been out west to one of the living history events there as well as participating in others over the years.
Doug Leary and his son, Trevor, had visited the Yadkinville rendezvous the last several years. Sunday they brought mother Melinda and young Grace as well as friend, Bryson Riggs, with them to visit the encampment and see how the early settlers and frontiersmen lived. The family took the time to walk around and visit with the campers.
They were found visiting with Philip Owens of Arcadia shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday. Owens told them that he would stay set up all the time if life would let him.
“It’s like a big giant family,” said Janie Jones of Vines Creek, who has been participating for the past five years. She said her husband has been involved for longer.
In addition to the three public days, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, on Tuesday the rendezvous welcomed school groups for free admission. The sutler/trade area is open daily for public sales through the length of the rendezvous, which ends Friday.
For more information on the National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation, visit www.southeasternprimitiverendezvous.com.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.