Costumed children recall heritage

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 15, 1999

A small girl in a long dress carefully eyed a steep stairwell. &uot;I’m great at going downstairs, but going up is where I get into trouble,&uot; said Samantha Cowart, 11, of Gonzales, La.

Cowart carefully negotiated the stairwell at antebellum Rosalie in a long, Civil War era gown Saturday afternoon as part of Rosalie Day, sponsored by the Mississippi State Society of the Children of the American Revolution. The tours by children from the C.A.R. were offered from 1 to 3 p.m.

Cowart’s assignment for the afternoon was to tell visitors about the house’s upstairs hall, and the historical significance of its cabinets and pictures. Her gown was actually an old wedding dress updated with a royal blue sash.

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&uot;The skirt underneath is a little tight,&uot; she said, acknowledging that it does simulate the constrictive corsets women once wore.

Down the hall, George Henry, 14, of Brandon, traveled a long distance to dress in a Confederate uniform and pay homage to General Walter Gresham of the Union Army.

It may seem odd for a Confederate to honor a Yank, but Gresham saved many of Rosalie’s precious antique furnishings during the Civil War by storing them upstairs in an attic until the Union occupation was over. Henry said he enjoys the C.A.R. because it’s taught him a lot about his heritage.

Katie Cutrer, 12, of Osyka, was stationed in the children’s room upstairs.

&uot;I tell about the beds, tables and portraits,&uot; she said, pointing out a portrait above the mantel of the Rumble children who once lived and played there.

Trish Abraham, 16, of Isola, was downstairs in the parlor, telling tours about the mantle, carpet and magnificent piano with mother-of-pearl keys.

&uot;This piano was donated to Rosalie by a member of the D.A.R. in 1820,&uot; Abraham said.

A valuable piece of furniture in the parlor is an ategere, she said, purchased in 1857 for $1,000 and now worth $30,000.

Abraham’s 14 year-old brother, Sudie, was upstairs dressed in Confederate gray, admitting to a role as &uot;decoration&uot; for the day.

&uot;I don’t have a speaking part,&uot; he said.

Patricia Rigdon, Senior President of the Mississippi State Society of the Children of the American Revolution, said 19 children were available and dressed for the day.

&uot;We had two children that couldn’t make it,&uot; she said. &uot;But some others have attended who aren’t acting as hosts.&uot;

The primary purpose of the C.A.R., Rigdon said, is to not only teach children to appreciate their American heritage, but to prepare them for membership in the adult organizations, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution. Rosalie is owned, operated and maintained by the Mississippi State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.