West Virginia Day Tour - June 20, 2009

To celebrate West Virginia’s 146th birthday, which fell on a Saturday this year, the Marshall County Historical Society approached the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce to initiate a county-wide tour event. Fourteen attractions and historic homes opened their doors to the public. It was a fantastic success.

At the Cockayne property, both the Farmhouse and Tenant House were open for tours. Over 861 persons were “clicked through” the back door of the farmhouse.

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Visitors line up to tour the farmhouse.

The day began with a morning ceremony during which local Cub Scout Pack 82 presented the United States and West Virginia flags for salute.

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Unfurling the flags; Cub Scout Pack 82 and their Troop Leaders

The crowd then gathered near the south porch for the unveiling of a proposed site plan for the Cockayne Farmstead. Steve Avdakov, Heritage Architectural Associates, was present to discuss the site plan he designed, which also shows the proposed traffic patterns around the tenant house and landscaping options for the south lawn.

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Steve Avdakov unveils and explains the site plan; Tom Tarowsky on left. - The crowd watches.

Other events on the property that day included:

... a live archaeological excavation near the midden (the area used by the Cockaynes to burn trash) on the Cockayne back yard. The excavation was presented by Jamie and Emma Vosvick and a crew of volunteers on behalf of Archaeological Consultants of the MidWest. The display of items found during previous pit testing on the property and at the June 20 excavation as well as items found during the dig itself were a big hit with the crowd. Archaeological Consultants, through the Vosvicks, has provided many volunteers services to the project over the years, including authenticating the Indian Burial Mound behind the farmhouse as prehistoric in nature as well as logging and tagging over 1500 artifacts within the farmhouse.

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....a lecture by Melissa Jefferys of Morgantown on the use of quilts to aid the Underground Railroad Movement. Ms. Jefferys relied on the book Hidden in Plain View, A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D. in giving her lecture. She used a quilt in her presentation that she had made of various patterns to explain how “enslaved men and women encoded messages within quilt patterns like Jacob’s Ladders (later renamed Underground Railroad) to help fugitives navigate their escape along the Underground Railroad.”

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Melissa Jefferys speaks from the South Porch

Cameron and John Marshall High School art students made cut-outs as an attraction for the children that visited that day. They were set up with the Cockayne Mound as a backdrop.

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And within the tenant house, WVU graduate student intern Jill Barto prepared and presented a display of historic clothing and accessories from our collection. She discussed these items with visitors and guests throughout the day.

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WVU Intern, Jill Barto

There was also a quilting exhibit made possible by Helena Hubbs, the Whiteside/WTOV calliope was present, and additional entertainment was provided by a strolling barbershop quartet, the storytelling antics of Mark Harshman and a reading of the award winning essays written by Marshall County Students on “Why It is Important that We Celebrate West Virginia Day.” Many people helped to make the June 20 event a success! We thank them all!

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