Mint Hill Historical Society’s Autumn Jubilee

All aboard for a hay ride
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A Day to Step Back in Time

The Mint Hill Historical Society held their Autumn Jubilee at their historic village in Mint Hill Saturday. It was an opportunity to visit yesteryear, as children went on hayrides and adults took in the story of the “New South” 1880-1930.

Basket weaving demonstration

The arts and crafts of the day were on display, as docents, authentic in dress and manner, told the story of the many buildings that would have been in the town as we would have seen it back in that day.

Corn Grinder

Becky Griffin, Executive Director of the Mint Hill Historical Society, was excited that the antique corn grinder was up and running, “and making the most wonderful popping sound.” With the availability of ground corn, there was the ability to make “Hoe Cakes”. This was a matter of putting the ground corn on a hoe–yes, the kind you use in the dirt–and holding it over the fire until it turned golden brown. This was often baked by the field hands who simply used whatever they had to make a meal.

Cooking hoe cakes

There was also an opportunity to pan for gold. Norman Long of The Gold History Academy said this area was where gold mining first began in our country. “There was a ridge of gold that ran from Salisbury to Lancaster. When the miners made money, they needed a place to put it, and that’s when banking really started growing in the Charlotte area.” Could you really get rich mining for gold? “About 3% of the miners got rich, another 50% were able to make a living at it, and 47% went broke!” Norman explained. Could there be any gold left undiscovered? “No, I’m afraid not,” he said with a sigh.

Norman Long demonstrates panning for gold

Across the way, there was a quilting bee going on with several women stitching a quilt top that was donated to the society, the age and origin unknown. Becky Griffin said, “The quilts back then were necessary in the colder months, and most were made from scraps or even feed sacks. Some were beautiful, and all were useful.” The group of women working on the quilt ranged in age from teenager to a 96 year old woman who came specifically to work on the quilt.

Quilting bee

There was a billowing fire going on at the blacksmith’s, which was considered the most important commodity of the day. Without horseshoes, the doctor couldn’t get to the sick, the merchants couldn’t get their supplies, and the residents in this area couldn’t get in to town to keep the economy going.

Blacksmith shop

Jubilee-er Barbara Crawford said, “I just love coming here. I always learn something new. It makes me appreciate how easy we have it today.”

Modern people on an old time teeter totter

The Society is proud of its newest acquisition: a log house currently being put into place. It had to be moved from the area of 51 and Providence. “Can you imagine that house being driven down Matthews Mint Hill Road?” Becky asked.  “They had to take off the roof and transport it separately.” The house most likely was the type used by sharecroppers.

New old log house

Becky noted that all the people seen working at the village are volunteers. “And we can sure use many, many, many more.”

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Kathy Shepler
I was an English professor at The University of Akron, Ohio before retiring and moving to Charlotte last year. My undergraduate degree is in journalism and my masters in education. Along with writing for The Mint Hill Times, I tutor in English and do book editing. I live in Mint Hill with my husband and am involved in a number community activities.