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'Put History In Context'

Historical interpreters from around the U.S visited David Crockett Birthplace State Park in Limestone over the weekend, offering modern-day visitors a glimpse into frontier life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Coalition of Historical Trekkers, dedicated to the preservation and study of pre-1860 frontier people in America, set up three white canvas tents on the Crockett Homestead for the weekend.

The group had six members who traveled to Limestone from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Tod Wells, national president of the coalition, visited from South Dakota. “The six of us know each other well. We camp at least annually,” he said.

The organization has 125-150 members nationwide.

“They educate when they have the opportunity to do things in a time period they represent, such as the Colonial period,” Wells said.

Overall, the Coalition members are involved in one or more eras of the historical time frame from 1600 to the year 1860. “It depends on each individual’s interest level,” he explained.

“We use those skills we learn and go out on a hike, trek, or a meeting. ... When people from a modern camp come in, we interpret in a fashion modern people can understand. It’s important to put history in context,” Wells said.

The group set up their temporary camp on Thursday and planned to return home over the weekend.

“We all traveled (to Limestone) from a pretty far distance. We had hoped to see (Coalition) members in this area,” he said.

Some of the areas they helped out with at the Crockett Park were leather work, repairs, and cordage – or the weaving and making of larger cords — which women in the frontier area used to lace their tops up, or hold garters and stockings.

Cords were also used to tie feed bags, explained Tammy White, vice-president of the coalition.

“We kept ourselves busy learning about your area and the Crockett Birthplace” State Park, Wells said on Sunday. “We try to support historical sites ... and give back. What is not in your budget, we can get for you.”

On Sunday, Wells spoke by phone with a reporter as he traveled back to South Dakota.

“We enjoyed the heck out of it while we were there,” he said of the group’s visit to Limestone. “Jackie (Fischer, the park’s director) and the park staff made sure we had everything we needed. They made the restrooms available to us. They were very inviting and very accommodating. She did an excellent job.”

Coalition members were impressed with re-enactors who shared stories and the frontier way of life with guests.

“The two presenters were absolutely fantastic. Steve Ricker was fabulous, and Suzanne [Thomson] did an excellent job – phenomenal. If you didn’t cry [as she told the story of ‘Mad Anne’ Bailey], you didn’t have any feelings,” Wells said.

Wells explained the difference between an interpreter and a reenactor.

“We’re living history interpreters. A re-enactor is part of a larger thing, and very time specific,” such as a Civil War battle. “We (as interpreters) have no time frame we have to stick with.”

He said interpreters are like history teachers, “putting what they did then into the perspective of now, and why.”


First-person interpreter Suzanne Thomson traveled from Indianapolis, Indiana, to share her impassioned story of “Mad Anne Bailey,” a frontier scout, huntress, and American heroine who served in the fights of the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War.

Known as the “White Squaw” of the Kanawha Valley to some, and “Mad Anne” to the Native Indians she fought, Bailey experienced episodes of “blackness,” or mental illness, Thomson dramatically revealed during her monologue.

Bailey was born in Liverpool, England, in 1742 and died in 1825. She first arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia at about the age of 19 after both her parents died. In 1765, she married Richard Trotter, a British soldier, said to have black hair and deep blue eyes.

“They call me ‘Mad Anne Bailey’ behind my back,” never daring to do so to her face, Thomson said. “Is it a madness like an anger, or of blackness that overcomes?”

She said she was named Anne “after the good queen” of England, and learned to read and write. “My father insisted I learn to read,” Thomson, speaking as Bailey, said.

Her family “heard that ‘Mad Anne’ was captured, or sold herself. Not true. I’ve never gone anywhere that I didn’t choose. I was never an indentured servant,” she said.

“It was my father’s pension that brought me here” to America, the crowd was told. “It was an arduous journey” by ship. Trotter was “bold as brass and introduced himself. It wasn’t long we were doing more than just walking,” she related.

“He suffered. Not physical wounds. At night in our cabin in the bed we made with our own hands, he would talk of the savages that overcame him .... He bought me a fine rifle gun. He taught me how to shoot. He said, ‘Anne, this rifle gun will be your savior.’ I was a fine tracker. There wasn’t anything that bled that I couldn’t find,” Thomson said.

Trotter served in Lord Dunmore’s War against the Shawnee tribe, and was killed. Devastated, Bailey sought revenge “10 times over.” She put on her husband’s outer clothes, “and the blackness in me took over,” Thomson said.

She left her son, also named William, with a friend, and became a courier, walking Indian paths delivering letters.

“It was not just red men I fought, but men in red coats,” she recalled.

She met John Bailey in a tavern, and fell in love with him. He had served with Bailey’s husband.

When at Fort Lee, the soldiers became in desperate need of gun powder, so Bailey rode 100 miles in a legendary trip through the wilderness to Fort Savannah to get powder, and then brought it back.

“We rained lead down on those savages ... We fought, and we won,” the interpreter said.

After her husband was murdered, she lived in a cave at the age of 77 until one day when her grown-up son arrived, and convinced her to move into a cabin near his family. The blackness left her, and her grandchildren kept her company, she said.

About 65 people, most “in the modern world,” watched Thomson perform in character for about 45 minutes.

Following her, Greene Countian Steve Ricker, an award-winning historical interpreter, recounted the march to King’s Mountain in 1870.

The Battle at King’s Mountain is believed by many to be the turning point of the American Revolution. David Crockett’s father, John Crockett, was a member of the Overmountain Victory Men.

Baileyton Friends, Neighbors Celebrate Community

Temperatures soared into the 80s during Baileyton Celebration this weekend, but tall trees and booths provided welcome shade to hundreds who attended the event on the grounds of the Baileyton Elementary School.

“That’s Entertainment” was the theme for the 27th annual event, and there was plenty of that on Saturday.

The day’s events began with a spirited parade, which included the North Greene High School marching band, Air Force Junior ROTC, and several floats.

The elaborate North Greene FFA float, which included live lambs and chickens, greenhouse plants, a barn dance, and disco ball, won first place.

Second place went to Apex Bank, which featured Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Third place was won by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts float.

“It’s nice this year,” and not too hot, said Timmy Cavin, who attended the Celebration with his wife Angie and daughter, Emma West, who is 9. The three sat in chairs and enjoyed Frito pies.

“It feels pretty good, actually,” he said of the weather. “We’ve come for years.”

“Our kids were in the parade,” said Angie. They were part of the NGHS and Baileyton cheerleaders, and NGHS band, she explained.

One of the event’s organizers, Amber Eastep, said on Saturday, “There’s a lot of people here.” She said she was especially pleased that over 70 vendors had signed up for booths. “That’s the most I can remember having” in recent years, she said.

Lisa Marshall said she showed up for the parade and celebration in part to see her son, Caleb Weems, who is part of the color guard for the ROTC, and a junior firefighter. “I’ve been to the Baileyton Celebration for 22 years,” she said.

Musical entertainment included the popular Emi Sunshine, as well as Bill and Chip McLain, Luke Malone, Country Classics, the Aaron Walker Band, Nashville Songwriters Round, and Appalachian Trail.

There was an antique tractor show, Cruise-In car show, tour of “Old Baileyton,” quilt and needlework show, 5K road race, Dolly Parton Lookalike Contest, three raffles, a church service, Gospel music, and youth rally.

The celebration formally began Saturday morning with prayer, the color guard, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, and singing of the national anthem.

The free musical entertainment began on Saturday with the the McLains, a father/son duo. The son, Chip McLain, is a pastor and head of the English Department at Walters State Community College. Bill McLain said he had performed for 22 of the 27 annual celebrations in Baileyton.

Several people brought their leashed dogs to the celebration.

Marilyn Smith brought a Bassett/beagle mix dog named Charlie Brown Belt that she said belongs to Della Sue Belt, who works at 911.

In the so-called “non-competition” competition among floats, first place went to Brittontown Church whose theme was “Jesus, the Sweetest Name I Know”; second place to the Baileyton cheerleaders; and third place to the TA Travel Center’s float that honored American troops.

In the Cruise-In car show, the Best Muscle Car prize went to Franklin Weems for his 2012 Mustang. Best Truck went to Jim Cline and his 1963 Ford. Best Custom Car went to Ronnie Mallory with his 1972 Camaro; and Best Classic Car went to Eugene Duncan with his 1967 GTX.

In the Antique Tractor Show, Oldest and Best Overall prize went to Snooks Weems for his 1936 Allis Chalmers; Most Original to Terry Sensabaugh for his 1961 Ford Select-o-Speed; and Farthest Travelled to Zay Story, who drove his 1952 Oliver 77 150 miles from South Carolina.

Kaltenmark Named Emergency Committee Chairman

Eric Kaltenmark is the new chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Heather Sipe, interim director of the Greeneville/Greene County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, announced the appointment in a news release.

Kaltenmark has been with MECO for 19 years and is currently the company’s director of product development. He also has been a volunteer member of the Greeneville Emergency & Rescue Squad for the past five years, serving both as a sergeant and lieutenant, Sipe said.

Kaltenmark also served as the volunteer coordinator for the local Emergency Management Agency for about four years in the early 2000s.

“With Eric’s experience and knowledge in industry, emergency response, and volunteer service, he will be valuable to the local LEPC,” Sipe said.

Kaltenmark, Sipe and EMA staff are working together to update and revise the current LEPC listing for the city and county. The list “includes key personnel from industry, health care, emergency response, and all jurisdictional government officials,” she said.

Kaltenmark plans a November meeting date for the LEPC. Participants will be notified by email and a notice to the public will be sent to local media outlets, the release said.

“The public is welcome to attend any of these meetings,” Sipe said.

Kaltenmark has been married for 25 years to his wife, Von. They have two grown children, Bri and Rob. In his spare time, Kaltenmark also enjoys emergency services documentary photography, the release said.

Sipe said that Local Emergency Planning Committees are community-based organizations that assist in preparing for emergencies, particularly those concerning hazardous materials.

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, LEPCs “must develop an emergency response plan, review the plan at least annually, and provide information about hazardous materials in the community to citizens,” Sipe said.

Plans are developed by LEPCs with stakeholder participation. Sipe said that LEPC membership must include, at a minimum:

  • elected state and local officials,
  • police, fire, civil defense and public health professionals,
  • environment, transportation, and hospital officials,
  • facility representatives, and
  • representatives from community groups and the media.