She gives kudos to volunteers

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

There were several times during the Red Hill Patrick Henry Memorial’s 40th Independence Day celebration, where if you blinked and were out of view from cars and cell phones, you felt like you had traveled back in time.

Memorial volunteers crushed flax plants to pull strands used to make linen, blacksmiths used burning embers to press metals and weavers and spinners spun dyed wool and wove them into fabric. Kids got to run with hoops and sticks and play with 1800s-era games.

Tours of Patrick Henry’s home and law office were given by Henry’s descendent, Patrick Henry Jolly, who also portrayed Patrick Henry before the fireworks began.

Histories of the past and present blended together in unusual and interesting ways during the event. Perhaps most exciting was the way the memorial volunteers preserve their crafts for future generations.

Lynne Curley and Carol Sempowski, who led the weaving and spinning demonstrations at the memorial, said they also lead living history demonstrations for area elementary school students. Just like the participants of the Independence Day event, Curley said the students not only get to observe, but work hands-on with the table loom. The wool Sempowski uses for yarn are from sheep that she raises in Keysville.

Along the fireplace of the room they were in hung fabrics that students had woven during these interactive events.

Sempowski also brought her granddaughter, Lauren Mulcahy, who visited from Pennsylvania, and invited her to volunteer for the event.

In a time when the internet offers a wealth of historical resources, it’s also important to keep history alive through the programming that Red Hill and other historic parks offer, particularly to the area’s youth.

I commend the volunteers for their energy and hard work.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The Gazette. Her email address is