ROCKFORD — Rockford General Store’s Carolyn Carter said the Civil War Battle and Living History Weekend at the Historic Village of Rockford grows every year, and this year is no exception.
The ninth-annual event will take place on Saturday and Sunday and will include a reenactment of the Bond School House Shootout. The free two-day event will be ongoing with soldiers and their families camping on Saturday night.
The Village of Rockford served as the seat of government for Surry County from 1797 to 1900. A number of historical buildings can be visited in the village, including the Rockford General Store, the 1850 Dudley Glass Store, and the old Rockford Methodist Church. In 1865, Union General George Stoneman led 6,000 calvarymen from Tennessee into western North Carolina and southwestern Virginia to disrupt Confederate supply lines, and his soldiers passed through Rockford on April 1 and 2, 1865, on their way to Virginia. Rockford has a Civil War Trail sign, located at York Tavern, built in 1830, which served as a social center for visitors.
Reenactors from the 7th North Carolina Calvary, 38th NC, 21st NC, 6th NC, 63NC, and 24th Virginia will take visitors back in time to the days of the Civil War and the village will come to life as reenactors portray life in camp, drills, tactics, and battle. Camps are open for visitors to experience first-hand interaction with the reenactors who portray soldiers from that period and food will be available on the grounds on both days. Visitors are welcome to ask questions — the reenactors are “walking history lessons” who love to share their knowledge, Carter said.
On Saturday at 11 a.m., reenactors will portray the Bond School House Shootout at the Rockford Ampitheater, which is located behind the Rockford General Store. This year marks the 151st anniversary of the shootout that occurred between local militia and men who were hiding in the Bond School House on Feb. 12, 1863, near Deep Creek Friends Church in Yadkin County. Those hiding were hoping to avoid conscription into the Confederate army.
At 2 p.m., reenactors will hold the Battle of Rockford, part one. On Sunday, a “period church service” will take place at the Rockford Ampitheater at 10:30 a.m with Battle of Rockford, part two at 2 p.m., also at the Rockford Ampitheater.
The Rockford General Store will be open on Saturday and Sunday, serving chicken stew, pintos and cornbread, hot dogs, hamburgers, and more. Carter said she wanted to remind folks to bring their lawn chairs and added that there will be several vendors on site, selling items such as period clothing, books, and more.
The Bond House School Shooting began when Jesse Dobbins, his brother William, and around a dozen men, some of whom were pacifist Quakers, took shelter in the Bond School. The men were evading the conscription laws of the Confederate army, which stated men who lived in North Carolina could be drafted since the state seceded from the United States and joined the Confederacy. William Dobbins had escaped from the Yadkin County jail, where he was imprisoned after being arrested for “draft dodging.” The group planned to escape the state through the mountains and planned to head west.
“Years ago, some of the local guys who are involved in the reenactments came to us and said they wanted to put something together in Rockford. We are huge history fans here, and my sister Pam Foy, a co-owner of the store, is a huge Civil War buff…We have a Civil War trail marker here in Rockford, because Sherman’s men went through here and battle took place down in Siloam,” Carter shared.
“It’s a way to bring history back to life…It’s also a way to get people thinking about the hows and whys of the Civil War. What we were taught in school was so far from the truth, and this gets them to thinking about that. They camp here all weekend, so people can visit the camps and see what it was like for the Civil War soldiers…kids love this. When you go to school you are given a history book and you read about it, but here you get to actually see and experience it, experience a piece of living history.”
For more information, visit rockfordgeneralstore.com, call 336-374-5317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 710-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.