King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Talks and Demonstrations are highlights of Beautiful Sunday Afternoon, November 3rd (November 2002)

Caroline Jones of Canterbury asked what could be better on a bright, fall Sunday afternoon in King and Queen County: the leaves in full color, homemade doughnuts cooking over an open kettle, Sally Walker's hot spiced cider and Latane Trice making a speech! She was referring to the activities last Sunday afternoon, November 3rd, where Latane Trice described how to use some of the tools from his uncle Tom Trice's collection now on display at the Courthouse Tavern Museum. Carl Stafford explained tools from the collection of his grandfather, Carroll Minor of Newtown, while Jack Hutchinson of King and Queen Court House demonstrated with an entertaining talk how a forked shoving pole was used in hunting sora on the Mattaponi River.

Mr. Trice focused on several carpentry tools in Tom Trice's collection: a framing square, a slide measure, and two different wood planes. He described how a broad axe would be used to remove bark from trees and square them up for railroad ties or other larger timbers. He demonstrated how an adz would be used to cut the center from logs for bowls and other wooden utensils and showed how a farrier would use smaller tools for nailing shoes on a horse's hoof. Trice completed his talk with an entertaining story of the need to use a drawing compass to make proper circles for the seats of a "necessary house."

Carl Stafford, of Culpepper, and the grandson of the late Carroll Minor of Newtown, spoke enthusiastically of how the skill and care required in the use of hand tools helped built good character. He described how a person would progressively smooth his wood surfaces, starting with the broad axe, then using a two-handed saw, then an adz, followed by a drawing knife, and then, in the days before sandpaper, using a piece of glass to smooth the surface. He demonstrated how a blacksmith would use a long gripper to hold hot metal. His final piece was a beautiful wooden hayfork which his grandmother, Elizabeth Minor, who was in attendance, had found for Mr. Minor.

Jack Hutchinson, of King and Queen Court House, demonstrated how his shoving pole was used to push small boats through the Mattaponi marsh at high tide looking for sora, a small marsh bird a little smaller than a quail and a member of the rail family of birds. The pole is equipped with a dogwood fork bolted to the end, so the pole would not sink into the bottom mud when pushed. Mr. Hutchinson asserted that the sora was practically extinct in this area, but Mr. Trice assured him and the audience that he knew where to find them.

Bill Ruppert of Cedar Row at Cologne demonstrated his skills making leather utensils on the Museum porch both before and after the talks. He worked on leather pouches and a leather bucket.

After the talks the audience, which filled the dining room of the Museum, was treated to homemade doughnuts and apple fritters, prepared by Nancy Herman-Thompson of Shacklefords and her cooking crew. The cooking crew consisted of Sarah Henley, Katie and Paul Maloney, Ragan Hart, Michele and Samantha Creasy and Ellen White. The "all hands crew" worked diligently on a table outside the Museum to prepare the yeast bread which became the doughnuts and fritters. The yeast bread was prepared from an authentic rural recipe using mashed potatoes.. Sorghum molasses was added to the apple fritters. They were cooked in boiling lard in a large open kettle over an open fire. Sally Walker satisfied everyone's thirst with a special hot spiced cider which she prepared using fresh apple cider and her secret mix of spices.

As the crowd left the Museum area in the late afternoon, no one could deny that Caroline Jones was right, as usual.