Clarke’s Heritage Day will go back to past

Posted: November 1, 2012

The Winchester Star

Millwood — Visitors to the Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood will get a bigger glimpse into the past than usual Saturday thanks to the second Clarke County Heritage Day.

The Clarke County Historical Association is hosting the event, which will highlight military and civilian life during the colonial era, director Laura Christiansen said. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the mill, 15 Tannery Lane.

Admission is free. The only charge will be for a cookout and bottles of apple cider, which will be made on site.

A full day of events will include demonstrations by Revolutionary War re-enactors, colonial craftsmen, music, wine tasting, food and the working of the mill, she said.

“It will be a relaxed event,” Christiansen said. “We want people to interact with the history and have fun with it.”

The addition of the re-enactors is new this year, said Don Wallace, mill manager. Members of the Sons of the American Revolution will set up an encampment for the day in the meadow behind the mill.

People may visit, ask questions about the life of a soldier and watch the men do drills, Wallace said.

“We have one fellow coming who is an interpreter and gives a presentation on what times were like during the revolution,” he said.

At 10 a.m., the re-enactors are conducting a dedication ceremony at Old Chapel Cemetery at the grave of Nathaniel Burwell, who founded the mill and was a colonel in the Revolutionary War.

Also on hand at the mill will be men and women in costume demonstrating period crafts such as woodworking, milling, cooking, spinning and weaving, said Carl Maples of Oakton, who will demonstrate woodworking.

Maples will show people how he uses a spring pole lathe to smooth and shape wood. This kind of lathe was used from Egyptian times to around 1800, he said. For Heritage Day, he will make legs for a plank chair.

“People are fascinated with human powered machines or simple machines like the lathe or the water-powered mill,” he said. “It is simple machine technology, but it can do a lot of work.”

Also on hand will be members of the Warren County Spinners and Weavers as well as the Blue Ridge Spinners and Weavers, who will work on period spinning wheels and use the mill’s newly acquired Pennsylvania Barn Frame loom. The loom, which is in the process of being donated to the mill, is a large hand loom used during colonial times.

“The idea is that the loom would be at the mill, which it is now, and the weavers would be able to come over to the mill when it is open and weave in the mill,” Maples said. “So, when people come by to see the mill, they can also have a presentation on colonial weaving at the same time.”

Some of the craftspeople will bring handmade items to sell at the event.

Other activities include cooking demonstrations at the mill’s hearth, complete with samples for guests, and cider pressing, Christiansen said. There will be a free wine tasting with wines from Cobbler Cellars of Delaplane.

The day will feature two presentations by “Liberty Man,” who will provide educational, hands-on learning programs aimed at children, she said.

At 1 and 2 p.m., the Apple Valley Ringers will give a concert of music from the colonial era using handbells, Wallace said.

The mill will run throughout the day, giving people an opportunity to see how cornmeal is made.

The focus of the event will be celebrating the mill and its heritage as a Revolutionary War era building, Christiansen said. The mill was built in 1782 and first operated in 1785.

The day also is a celebration of the entire history of Clarke County, she said. While this year focuses on the colonial era, future events will change time periods to reflect different eras in the county’s history.

In case of rain, events will move inside.


Clarke County Heritage Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Burwell-Morgan Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood. Admission is free. Call 540-955-2600 or visit

— Contact Laura McFarland at