Take a walk back in time at camp

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

Students are invited to step back in time to the Mississippi frontier of the 1840s, when Natchez and Washington were young communities of the state of Mississippi.

Historic Jefferson College is offering its Pioneer Camp Session 2, which will run Tuesday, June 22 to Friday, June 25. Camp time is 9 a.m. to noon. During that time, youngsters ages 10-12 will learn to do things as they were done 200 years ago.

This educational program gives today’s youth an opportunity to get hands-on experience of how pioneer children actually lived. The pioneers who settled in the Mississippi wilderness brought with them many of the skills they needed to survive in a hostile environment. The children learned how to build a house, make their own clothes and maintain a household from the adults, simply because the knowledge was necessary for daily living.

Our present day pioneers will learn to quilt and make their own lap quilt to take home. They will spend time in a primitive camp and learn to start a fire without matches and even how to throw a tomahawk! Students will have the opportunity to watch salt pork and sweet potatoes cooking over a camp fire and then taste it.

They will also learn how pioneers imitated Native American skills to survive on the frontier, such as making and using a drill. They will knead bread dough and sample the finished product.

Pioneer families worked hard and endured many hardships in order to survive on the frontier, but they also had time for fun. Since music and games were a part of their life, the camp will offer these experiences to the campers.

Another activity will include writing their own stories to tell around a campfire.

Campers should wear tennis shoes. Bottled water and light refreshments are provided.

The cost is $20 per child — payment and registration must be received in order to save a spot in the camp. Pioneer Camp is filling up, so parents are urged to register their children as soon as possible.

For more information, or to obtain a registration form, please call 601-442-2901 or e-mail kmcneil@mdah.state.ms.us.

Historic Jefferson College is located four miles north of Natchez on U.S. 61.

It is administrated by The Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Kay McNeil is a historian at Historic Jefferson College.