October 13-14, 2017
The Nanticoke River and the area around Handsell known as the Indiantown has had a rich and diverse history, which includes the stories of American Indians, African American men and women and English Colonists.
In celebration of Dorchester County’s rich African American heritage, the “Slave Dwelling Project Comes to Dorchester” brought attention to vernacular structures associated with this history including extant vernacular structures that served as dwelling houses, churches or other cultural and utilitarian uses in the lives of African Americans and well as provided an opportunity to “provide leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery”. This project featured Joseph McGill of the SlaveDwellingProject.org who stayed one night in the Handsell Slave Chamber in Vienna and one night at the Bayly House Slave Cabin in Cambridge and discussions were led by Coming to the Table organization.
The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance is owner and caretaker of Handsell, a National Register of Historic Places Site on Indiantown Road. NHPA planned this event as a demonstration of their commitment to two of their mission statements: (1) “Cultivate and encourage the appreciation of racial and cultural diversity by the public though programming and social interaction”; and “Engage the public by sponsoring historical and cultural living history events”.
The event began with a Friday Opening Reception at the Harriet Tubman State Park with a Introductive Presentation by Mr. McGill, followed by a “Candlelight Vigil” at the Bayly Slave Cabin with live vocal performances based on Negro Spirituals.
On Saturday, a living history event at Handsell featured two presentations and discussions (morning and afternoon) led by ComingToTheTable.org. The goal of this was to unite descendants of Slave owners and enslaved people to “Come to the Table” in unity to discuss their common history. Other planned activities for Saturday at Handsell included the “Inalienable Rights” troupe, African American living history performers representing early African American skills, crafts, military history and food historians. During the day on Saturday, The Harriet Tubman Organization escorted tours of Dorchester County African American historic sites, including the HT State Park which will include a stop at Handsell for all the festivities. The bus tour helped promote Dorchester County Tourism.
2014: 400 Years in Indiantown!
3rd Nanticoke River Jamboree “Waterway to Freedom”
The NHPA joined all of Dorchester County to commemorate the 100th year of Harriet Tubman’s death. Tubman, born in Dorchester County, led over 300 enslaved people to freedom through the fields, woodlands and marshes of the Eastern Shore as she headed north to Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Along with our usual Environmental Displays, the 2013 Jamboree commemorated the of the struggle of those who sacrificed so much to find freedom along the Underground Railroad Byways.
Every year at this all-day family-friendly event, you can paddle along a protected and pristine Eastern Shore creek, ride a bike on country roads and enjoy displays from more than a dozen nonprofits.
*** Food Tent – the usual burgers, hot dogs and drinks! Have a bite to eat while you visit the History Tent OR listen to Daniel Firehawk Abbott’s Native American presentation!
PAST JAMBOREES – 2012:
The 2012 Nanticoke River Jamboree: “Life on the River 1612-1812” was held on June 23, 2012 at Handsell. Virginia Blacksmith Jeff Dunkelburger had this to say about the 2012 Jamboree at Handsell:
“We were priviledged to demonstrate colonial blacksmithing at the Nanticoke River Jamboree, this past Saturday at Handsell to support the efforts to restore the house of Handsell and to celebrate the historic nature of the area. It was an amazing event, filled with interesting people and fascinating history. We’ve never been at a place before where the content of a festival was so solid – early American history and the war for Independance….the Underground Railroad and African American history… and Native American history all focused on one place. I was so jealous of the folks that got to attend all the various talks. There was so much to learn!” —Jeff Dunkelburger, blacksmith
You can follow Jeff’s blog at: http://www.blackforestartworks.com/2012/06/demo-at-nanticoke-river-jamboree.html
For a complete Photo Album of the 2012 Jamboree go to our Handsell Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=206090382789171
All the photographs of the Jamboree posted on Facebook and shown here are by volunteer Beth Barbush. Thank you Beth for the very professional photographs!
For a short video collage of the Jamboree on You Tube go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HS8kZwmCxs&feature=plcp
Presented last year – The Baltimore United Volunteers, War of 1812 Reenactors! With full uniform dress, rifles and equipment! Come join us for the Star-Spangled fun!