Tahlequah Daily Press

October 22, 2013

A trip through time

Living History events take place each month at Murrell Home

Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Visitors to Park Hill’s historic George M. Murrell Home Saturday took a trip back in time, learning about cockades and tape looming.

The Murrell Home hosted its third Saturday Living History program, which will include a number of activities taking place at the 1845 Cherokee plantation, according to Jennifer Frazee, historical interpreter.

“Our boss bought a cockade online, and we thought it would be pretty cool to learn how to make one and let others learn how,” said Frazee. “We thought it would be a good first event.”

A cockade is a knot of ribbons of distinct colors woven in a circular or oval-shape pin and worn by soldiers on their hats or lapels and women in their hats or hair.

Frazee said cockades were made and worn by people of the mid-1800s to show their support for state secession from the union during the Civil War. The colors used would represent a rank in the army or an allegiance with a political faction.

“People wore cockades to show their alliance with a cause, political belief, or a person,” Frazee said.

Amanda Pritchett, historical interpreter, said the importance of the cockade ties specifically with what the ladies of the Murrell Home would have done on a daily basis during the war.

The idea behind the monthly historical events held at the plantation home allow people to experience a small piece of history.

“It shows a piece of what life would have been about in the mid-19th century,” said Pritchett.

According to Pritchett, the Murrell Home will host a different event every month.

“They will all involve some hands-on type of activities,” she said. “These activities and demonstrations are all geared toward the family, both children and adults.”

Saturday’s event brought families together, visiting from around the area, to share in the learning and appreciation of Murrell Home history.

Nancy Isaacs came with her sister and mother.

“We come here a lot,” said Isaacs. “We love the Murrell Home.”

Isaacs said she thought making a cockade would be fun for them all to do.

“It’s kind of tedious, but I love it,” Isaacs said. “I do crafts. And if I can learn how to make something from the old days, then I love learning how to make it.”

Julie Wilson and her 9-year-old son, Kiernan, drove from Tulsa for the event.

“I’m a member of the Cherokee tribe and I wanted to let my son experience something of his heritage,” said Wilson. “He loves it here.”

Wilson enjoys Murrell Home events because it gives children crafts to do and gets them away from computers.

Besides making a cockade, visitors could try their hand, or just learn about, tape looming.

Travis Wolfe, cabin interpreter, who was behind the loom said that “tape” is anything that will have fringe, such as a belt.

“Tape looming is important,” said Wolfe. “It shows people how our ancestors had to work with their hands. Working with your hands is a lost art. Working with your hands shows value.”

Fran Sims, a member of Friends of the Murrell Home, agrees the living history events provide a service to the community.

“These events show people how life was back in the 1800s,” Sims said. “It shows how people got through life, through the day, without modern conveniences. Of course, that sense of history includes the ghosts that are reported to live in the house.”