Experience pioneer life at Homestead Heritage Day
- Written by Trilla Cook
At Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, one day out of each year is set aside to celebrate Homestead Heritage Day – a time to take a look back in history, when settlers in Texas were striving to survive. On Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors to the park will enjoy a unique experience at Redbud Hill Homestead, where they will get a glimpse of how pioneers survived with no running water, electricity or local markets. This free event brings history alive for children and adults of all ages. The era spans from the 1830s to the time of the Civil War, which happened 150 years ago. Many Southern states are remembering the Civil War this year with sesquicentennial events. Civil War drills are a regular part of this event as well. “The Civil War skirmish will be staged in front of the cabin at 2 p.m.,” said park director Darlene Conley Hostetler. “Before and after the re-enactment, visitors can chat with military groups from the North and South – the blue and the gray – to learn about weapons, camp life, starting fires and hide tanning.” Hostetler explained that the mission of the park is to promote natural history, nature education and Texas history. Volunteer coordinator Kaylen Fry invites anyone with pioneer skills to contact the park and get involved and encourages everyone to come and bring their children. “The kids love to use the hand pump at the well, wash clothes, churn and they enjoy the quilters,” Fry said. “The corn-cob-toss game is a favorite among the old-fashioned fun kids can choose in the homestead during Homestead Heritage Day at Jones Park.” Visitors to Redbud Hill Homestead will be delighted to see and experience demonstrations by scores of authentically costumed and outfitted re-enactors. They will experience many everyday life skills, including pioneer construction, spinning and weaving, open-fire cooking, lye soap making, hands-on crafts, heritage music, pioneer lore, survival skills and Native American crafts. This 1830s homestead has many authentic settings to make this experience true to life, such as a corn crib and shed, chicken house, smokehouse, root cellar, log cabin, rail fence, bread oven, pioneer garden, blacksmith shop, woodworking shop and Native American dwellings. Wagon rides are also a part of the festivities offered. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is located at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. For more information, call 281-446-8588 and/or visit www.hcp4.net/jones. Photos: A salute to the crowd is given by Civil War re-enactors of the 13th U.S. Infantry and a ragtag group of Rebels. Archery activity with Jones Park staff on Homestead Heritage Day. Jones Park staff member Scott Holloway, wife Kathleen and children James, left, Sabrina and Dustin look ready to call it a day after re-enacting the Mormons' journey to Texas using hand carts.