Posts Tagged ‘Living History’

67th Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage Schedule

April 28th, 2014 by carriagehouse


Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage

May 1-4, 2014

Jefferson Civil War Days & Pilgrimage

May 1-4, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014



Start Time

End Time


60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  7:30 pm $20
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel 903-665-2513 or  Daily $5


Friday, May 2, 2014



Start Time

End Time


Civil War Living HistoryMarion County Chamber of Commerce Diamond Don RV Park1602 State Highway 49 East


9:00 3:00 $3 per student
The Great Locomotive ChaseThe Andrews RaidHistoric Jefferson Railway Diamond Don RV Park1602 State Highway 49 East

903-665-6400 or 866-398-2038


9:30 am11:30 am 

1:30 pm


$5 per student
Craft Fair andHeirloom Plant Sale William Perry ParkNext to The Excelsior House  9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
“Stitch, Woven and Hooked”Quilts & Heritage Fiber Arts Jeffersonian Institute120 E Austin Street 9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
The 67th Annual PilgrimageTour Five Historic Churches Tickets can be purchased atThe Excelsior House Hotel or 800-490-7270


11:00 am 4:00 pm $20, children 12 and under, $3
Twilight Garden Stroll Various locations 5:30 pm 7:00 pm Free
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  7:30 pm $20
Street Dance Austin Street, in front ofThe Excelsior House Hotel or 866-319-5470


9:00 pm 11:00 pm Free
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  Daily $5
Sutler’s Emporium Dallas Street or 866-319-54670 Daily Free


Saturday, May 3, 2014



Start Time

End Time


The Great Locomotive Chaseand Naval Battle of Port Jefferson – the largest Naval Civil War re-enactment west of the Mississippi 400 E. Austin Street or 866-398-2038


12:00 pm1:00 pm2:00 pm7:00 pm $15 adults$12 children under 1210% Senior & Active Military Discount 
Craft Fair andHeirloom Plant Sale William Perry ParkNext to The Excelsior House  9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
“Stitch, Woven and Hooked”Quilts & Heritage Fiber Arts Jeffersonian Institute120 E Austin Street 9:00 am 5:00 pm Free
Pilgrimage Parade andTown Skirmish Downtown Jefferson 10:00 am Free
The 67th Annual PilgrimageTour Five Historic Churches Tickets can be purchased atThe Excelsior House Hotel or 800-490-7270


11:00 am 4:00 pm $20, children 12 and under, $3
Luncheon BuffetThe Excelsior HouseGrand Ballroom/Courtyard  The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  11:30 am 2:00 pm $14 (inclusive)
Ladies Tea”Lady Spies for the confederacy”Period Dress Encouraged  Jeffersonian Institute120 E. Austin St 1:00 pm 3:00 pm $10
Battle for JeffersonRe-enactment Sanders RanchFM 2208 or 866-319-5470


4:00 pm $10
Twilight Garden Stroll Various locations 5:30 pm 7:00 pm Free
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075 5:30 pm $20
Old South BallPeriod Dress or Black Tie Jeffersonian Institute120 E. Austin Street or 866-319-5470


8:00 pm $15 each or$25 Couple
60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial Jefferson PlayhouseCorner of Market & Henderson streets903-665-6075  8:30 pm $20
Tours of AtalantaJay Gould’s Private Rail Car Tickets available at The Excelsior House Hotel903-665-2513 or  Daily $5
Sutler’s Emporium Dallas Street or 866-319-5470  Daily


67th Annual Historic Jefferson Pilgrimage

April 11th, 2014 by carriagehouse

Pilgrimage involves a journey– leaving where we are, going towards something set apart, sacred.  It seems to connote not merely initial steps but a search toward something import, significant.  “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.  We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
The first weekend in May for 67 years, the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club has celebrated the beauty of spring in Jefferson, Texas with their annual Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage.  This year’s theme is “Jefferson’s Golden Era” and will be held May 1, 2, 3, and 4, 2014.  Jefferson is filled with events and activities for everyone.  Take a trip to the 1860s while enjoying present day amenities.
DIAMOND BESSIE MURDER TRIAL – Performances May 1 – 4
Beginning on Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 pm, the 60th Annual Diamond Bessie Murder Trial will present 5 performances in the Jefferson Playhouse (corner or Market and Henderson streets) and continuing with productions on Friday, May 2, at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 3, at 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm and Sunday, May 4, at 2:00 pm.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 903-665-6075 or writing Diamond Bessie Tickets, 313 Woodland Drive, Jefferson, Texas 75657 (advanced tickets are strongly advised).  Becky Palmer will be playing Diamond Bessie for the 30th year.
On Friday and Saturday, May 2 and May 3, from 11 am – 4 pm, tour five historic churches. The five churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic and Baptist, were established in the early days of Jefferson and played a vital role in the life of Jefferson which continues to this day.  The buildings were built during the mid 1800s and their architecture holds significant historical beauty and value.  Period dressed docents will greet you presenting the entertaining stories contained in the church histories.  While touring, you will see the many articles, pictures, furnishings and antique items each church houses.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270 or at Pilgrimage Headquarters in front of the Excelsior House beginning at 9:30 am each day of Pilgrimage.
Enjoy the Crafts Fair and Heirloom Plant Sale in Perry Park next to the Excelsior House on Friday and Saturday, May 2 & 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, May 4, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.
The “Stitch, Woven & Hooked” exhibit of quilts and heritage fiber arts will be held on Friday andSaturday, May 2 & 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm in the Jeffersonian Institute at 120 East Austin Street. Should you wish to enter one or some of your quilt, embroidery, hooked or stitched projects, contact us at 903-665-2513 or e-mail
At twilight on Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, be delighted and inspired as you stroll through four beautiful gardens.
Downtown is the place to be on Saturday, May 3, at 10:00 am.  Enjoy the Pilgrimage Parade followed by the Town Skirmish.  Watch as Confederate troops protect Jefferson from the Federal troops.  The full scale Battle for Jefferson re-enactments battle site is Cypress River Ranch on FM 2208.  The first battle is on Saturday, May 3, at 4:00 pm and the second battle is on Sunday, May 4, at 1:30 pm.  Signs will direct you to the battle site where there is plenty of parking.  This is the largest Civil War battle re-enactment in Texas.
After the Pilgrimage Parade and Town Skirmish, enjoy The Excelsior House Grand Ballroom/Courtyard Luncheon Buffet served from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm at $14.00 inclusive. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270.
Continue your Pilgrimage experience on Sunday morning, May 4, at 10:00 in front of the Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street across from Lion’s Park as you watch the Presentation of Colors.  This is the re-enactment of Miss Fannie Benners’ horseback ride presenting the flag, which was made by the women of Christ Episcopal Church, to the Jefferson Guard as they leave to fight for the Confederacy.
Jefferson offers historic hotels, antique and gift shops, bed and breakfast inns, fine restaurants, museums, historic Oakwood Cemetery, train rides, riverboat rides, horse-drawn carriages, mule-drawn wagons, Jay Gould’s private railcar, the R.D. Moses model railroad and much more.
Visit our web site or e-mail or call the Excelsior House at 903-665-2513 or 800-490-7270.

Join us this Pilgrimage.

Jefferson Civil War Days

April 10th, 2014 by carriagehouse

Civil War
The Great Locomotive Chase – The Andrews Raid & Naval Battle of Port Jefferson

The Historic Jefferson Railway captures the spirit of the Civil War during Pilgrimage & Civil War Weekend in Jefferson, May 3 and 4, 2014, by recreating the battle of the Great Locomotive Chase with soldiers, sailors and Marines from the North and South.  The living history camps along the Big Cypress Bayou come alive as the cannons fire and the battle rages to gain possession of the train.  The gripping tale of The Andrews Raid is the Civil War’s most fascinating railroad story.

The Great Locomotive Chase and Naval Battle of Port Jefferson will be held on Saturday, May 3, with trains departing from the Historic Jefferson Railway in downtown Jefferson at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 and 7:00 and Sunday, May 4 at 11:30.  Ticket price is $15 Adults; $12 Children under 12; 10% senior and active military discount since there are special accommodations for military members.  Lap children under 4, free.   A portion of each ticket will be donated to the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.  We will have ticket sales online within the next few days, or call Melissa for reservations. 903-742-2041.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday is a day of learning for school groups, sponsored by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, to draw attention to the history and romance of the Civil War way of life.  The Living History Camps will demonstrate Camp Life and Military Activities and includes a train ride aboard the Historic Jefferson Railway as the story of The Andrews Raid unfolds alongside the Big Cypress Bayou.  See a gunboat with real live cannon fire.

Price for Living History is $3 per student; train ride is $5 per student.  School groups – reserve now.  Call Melissa for reservations. 903-742-2041.

On Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, 2014 The Naval Battle of Port Jefferson joins the skirmish as a replica ironclad gunboat, the Virginia, fires from cannons on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou River.  This is the largest naval civil war re-enactment west of the Mississippi and will be represented by US Naval Landing Party, Western Gulf Squadron, as well as a contingent of SeaScouts from Baytown, Texas.
See a Civil War Naval Unit that shows a seldom seen side of the Civil War.  Naval Forces were a pivotal part of the war.  As Naval Living Historians, the Squadron shows the true side of Naval and Marine life on both sides of the war, demonstrating how they dressed, lived and fought during the war.
Famous campaigns were planned and conducted for the primary purpose of capturing or destroying railroad lines of value to the enemy. On the morning of April 12, 1862, the most famous locomotive of the Civil War, the General, was hijacked by the Union civilian spy, James J. Andrews, and his men. After a nail-biting eight hours and 87 miles, the Southerners captured the General, James Andrews and several of his men.
The Merrimack was a Union cruiser, captured by the South in Norfolk Virginia, and renamed the Virginia.  The Jefferson Battle that Never Was will feature the Virginia, fighting from the banks of the river, while the Navy landing party, Marines and soldiers fight to capture the train.
Experience a true civil war naval battle aboard the Historic Jefferson Railway, the only venue available to see this re-enactment.  Reminiscent of the landing parties that aided the regular land forces, from both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, it will be a unique experience.  Keep your seat on the train as the battle takes place on both sides of the track and from the gunboat in the river.
Take a step back in time as the Historic Jefferson Railway takes you on an excursion that circles the Piney Woods along the scenic Big Cypress Bayou.  You’ll view a Confederate Powder Magazine from the Civil War era and remains of many sites from the 1800’s still visible along the track.  The train will stop about half-way for the Naval Battle of Port Jefferson.  The antique train is a restored gas-powered Plymouth Locomotive built in 1964.  The open-canopied observation cars provide an excellent view of this exciting event along the river.

Navy Battle re-enactors can camp free at Diamond Don RV Park with lots of space, trees and plenty of amenities for re-enactors, including water, hay, split wood, restrooms and showers.  Lunch on Saturday and Sunday will also be provided to the re-enactors.  Transportation will be available from the RV Park to other events in town. Limited RV sites with water and electric are available to re-enactors in the Navy Battle at no charge. First come, first served.  Call Melissa for reservations. 903-742-2041.

See all of the Jefferson Civil War activities at The Historic Jefferson Railway train rides and battle have been arranged so that you can participate in the other major events in Jefferson, too.

Spring Twilight Cemetary Tour at Oakwood Cemetary

April 17th, 2013 by carriagehouse

Have you ever wanted to hear Diamond Bessie tell her own version of what happened to her when she was murdered?  Ever been curious as to what those last few minutes were like on the Mittie Stephens as it caught fire and sank in Caddo Lake.  This Saturday, April 20 from 5pm to 7pm, come on down to Oakwood Cemetery and watch four vignettes from some of this historic graveyard’s most famous residents.  A donation of $10 per person is being requested and the tour should take an hour.

“Across the Bayou View” of the Jefferson Confederate Powder Magazine Walk

November 14th, 2011 by carriagehouse

Confederate Powder Magazine Walk Fridays at 3:00 PM

Join Jefferson’s Tourism Director, Jeff Campbell, for an out and back walk for an “Across the Bayou View” of the Jefferson Confederate Powder Magazine. The structure is the only surviving powder magazine in Texas.

The walk is approximately 1/3 Mile in each direction.

Call 903-665-3733 for reservations/There is no charge.


No walks on, 11/25, 12/23 and 12/30


Ghost of Christmas Past Home Tours in Jefferson, Texas

November 14th, 2011 by carriagehouse

House of the Seasons

Jefferson’s Ghost of Christmas Past Home Tours December 17, 2011

Tour Some of Jefferson’s Most Historic Homes and Visit with Residents from Jefferson’s Past such as Jeannie Epperson, Confederate Captain Joseph H. Pratt and I.E. Smith.

House of the Seasons (409 S Alley) Meet Jeannie Epperson, who lived in the House of the Seasons as a child. Tours are at 11 AM & 2 PM. For Reservations 903-665-8000. Tours $7.50

Singleton’s Virginia Cross (401 N Soda) Meet Confederate Captain Joseph H. Pratt. Tours are Noon & 1 PM. For Reservations, 903-665-3938- Tours $7.00

The Charles House (209 E Clarksville) Meet Industrialist I.E. Smith. Tours are at 3 PM & 6 PM. For Reservations 903-665-1773. Tours $5.00

While in Jefferson visit the city’s most haunted home, the Grove (405 Moseley). Tours are at 2 PM Saturday and 11 AM Sunday. For Reservations 903-665-8018. Tours $6.00 On Saturday, in the downtown area look for other historic Jefferson characters such as Kate Woods, Jesse Robinson, Bill Rose and Diamond Bessie as portrayed by the Riverport Ambassadors. Also enjoy the Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk on Friday and Saturday Evening. The walk meets at the corner of W Austin & North Vale. Ticket sales at 7:30 PM and the walk starts at 8:00 PM. Tours $12.00

A Novel “House of the Seasons”

October 18th, 2011 by carriagehouse

House of the Seasons

The House of the Seasons

Written by: Richard Collins, T.J. Kuenster, and Dan Kuenster

Illustrated by: Dan Kuenster

Published by: House of the Seasons

Sale price: $10.95

The House of the Seasons is pleased to announce the publication of its first historical photographic illustrated novel, The House of the Seasons. The novel was co-authored by Richard Collins, Dan Kuenster, and T.J. Kuenster.

Richard Collins, a Texas entrepreneur, is president of the House of the Seasons and CEO of istation, an interactive education company in Dallas. Dan Kuenster is an Emmy-award winning animator and the Executive Vice President of Art and Animation at istation. T. J. Kuenster is the Musical Director of the Glen Campbell Band and is a well-known songwriter. His credits include original songs on the soundtracks for the Don Bluth animated films All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rockadoodle.

The House of the Seasons centers around Jeannie Epperson, the daughter of the home’s builder, Benjamin Epperson, a prominent lawyer, entrepreneur, railroad man, and political leader.

The novel tells the haunting story of Jeannie’s childhood and her friendship with a ghost during the time of the Civil War. Soon after Jeannie’s birth, her mother dies. Jeannie’s Aunt Agatha, an old maid of twenty-four, comes to take care of the child. An old friend, Texas Ranger Edward Hamilton, leaves the Rangers to work for Mr. Epperson and falls in love with Agatha. The Civil War brings tragedy to the family, and it changes their lives.

The story is based on historical facts and characters. It weaves together several true events from the history of the home. One of the important characters in the book is Sadie, Jeannie’s cat, her loyal friend and companion. Sadie lives at the House of the Seasons today and is beloved by all the guests who visit the home.

The House of the Seasons is a wonderful story for children of all ages from 6 to 86. The authors will be in Jefferson the last two weekends in October to sign first editions of the novel. The book is on sale at Beauty and the Book, the House of the Seasons, and several locations around Jefferson, for $10.95.


Texas & Pacific Railroad Returning to Jefferson

August 18th, 2011 by carriagehouse

Ghost Train

Photo by Sam Wilson

Please join us for a festive evening and ride the Historic Jefferson Railway train to support The Texas & Pacific Railroad returning to Jefferson. Donations accepted toward cost of bringing the R.D. Moses T&P Railroad layout to the Jefferson Historic Museum. Silent Auction. Raffle.

When: Friday, August 26, 2011
Where: Historic Jefferson Railway, 400 E. Austin; Jefferson, TX 75657. 866-398-2038
Time: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

See additional details below. Also visit YouTube: RD Moses’ HO scale Texas & Pacific Railway.

Can’t join us on the 26th? You can mail your tax deductible donation to “Jefferson Historical Society & Museum Train Account” at
Historic Jefferson Museum
223 West Austin
Jefferson, TX 75657.

If you would like to have your name on a permanent plaque in the T&P station building, the following donations will qualify:
Rail Baron – $5000
Superintendent – $2000
Yardmaster – $1000
Conductor – $500
Engineer – $250
Fireman – $100
Switchman – $50
Any donation is welcome and will be put to good use. Thank you so much for your consideration.

For additional information, contact Jefferson Historic Museum, 903-665-2775, or Jefferson Cypress Bayou Model Train Club, President Roy Richie, 903-665-9900.

Texas Monthly About the Port Of Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment

July 21st, 2011 by carriagehouse

Little Girls with Chickens

If you have a few minutes today, you should definitely take time to read the wonderful article in this month’s Texas Monthly about my town of Jefferson Texas.  The photographer and writer were here for our annual Battle Of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment that takes place the first weekend in May every year.  They did a wonderful job of portraying our annual event.

The Skirmish Will Be Followed by a Ladies’ Tea

Our Pilgrimage Weekend and Battle Of Port Jefferson Civil War Re-Enactment are splendid affairs that have people showing up in period dress, fighting skirmishes and battles on our brick lined streets, touring our amazing antebellum homes and attending our grand balls.  If you have not been here for this weekend, then you should put it on your bucket list.  It is a must do and must see.  I will even serve breakfast for you in my Civil War gown.


Pleasant Hill Quilting Group – Not What You Think It Is

June 23rd, 2011 by carriagehouse

The Ladies of the Pleasant Hill Quilting Club, Texas-intro trailer from Kimby Caplan on Vimeo.

Of all of the performances that I had the privilege to see this past weekend at the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest, the ladies of the Pleasant Hill Quilting Group were the most interesting and they were certainly the most unique.  These woman put on a very spirited and very spiritual performance each night.  If you ever get the chance to see them in action, you should take advantage of it.  Their performance is like nothing you have ever seen before.

Back in our pre-civil war times, the slaves of the South had many different ways to communicate with each other.  Due to the cruelty of their enslavement, they were unable to just talk as we all find so natural.  We have to remember though.  It is our human nature to share information.  One of the most common ways for slaves to communicate with each other was in their song and in their work.  The slaves developed codes that they would sew into their quilts that would often pass on information such as the safest way to escape or the safest way to the Underground Railroad leading them north to freedom.

For instance, a North Star sewn into a quilt would signal that a slave should go north.  This would often be used in conjunction with the old slave spirtual song “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, which contains a reference to the Big Dipper constellation.  Two of the Big Dipper’s points lead to the North Star which again corresponds to the North Star sewn into the quilt.

The Pleasant Hill Quilting Group is a group of quilters from the East Texas town of Linden that lend their talents to the art of quilt making and also to the history of quilt making.  Each quilt they sew is a replica of an old slave quilt and their performances are a wonderful mix of telling of the quilt codes sewn into these beautiful quilts as well as singing the old spiritual songs that tell the stories of how to escape to freedom.  The song leader describes what each square means and in between the squares they sing.

The Pleasant Hill Quilting Group meets each Monday afternoon at the old Pleasant Hill/ Rosenwald School to quilt and build community.  The Pleasant Hill/ Rosenwald school was built in 1925 to serve the African American community and was in continuous operation as a two room school house until 1964.  Today the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is used as a community center.  If you are interested in stopping in and seeing this historic structure, it is open for tours each Monday while the ladies are there working.  Each quilt that is sewn is sold to help defray the costs of preserving this little piece of East Texas history.

The ladies of the Pleasant Hill Quilting Group donated one of their quilts to the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest and it was auctioned off Saturday night.  It was great to sit back and watch two of the Carriage House Bed and Breakfast’s guests fight over it.  Greg from California finally won it for $750 dollars.  You should have seen the look of delight in these ladies faces at the idea of getting that type of money.

I and several of our guests had the opportunity to look hard at the quilt Sunday morning after breakfast.  Many of you know that my mother is a long time quilter and the quilts on our beds are all hand made by her.  We all admired the beautiful hand stitching which is so rare to see today.  Greg said that he was considering donating it to his local school district so that they can use it in their history classes.

The quilt tells the story of a very horrible time in U.S history and these ladies are keeping the stories alive through their performances.

Pleasant Hill Quilting GroupJubileePleasant Hill Lady

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