Back in Time

Published 10:48 am Thursday, February 16, 2017

SEABOARD – The Kirby Music and Literary Club met on Saturday, January 14 in the Fellowship Hall at Galatia Baptist Church.

When we received invitations we had a clue that the theme would be “a look back in time.”  On the front of each invitation was a sketch drawn by the hostess of an oil lamp on an antique table. 

The hostess and others were dressed in turn-of-the-century attire. The tables were set with blue tablecloths and burlap and lace runners. Oil lambs were centerpieces on the tables.  Guests received bags of mints for favors.

Hostess Denise Helms welcomed members and guests as they arrived and offered appetizers of stuffed figs with goat cheese and walnuts, cheese straws, ham with cream cheese and olive spread, nuts and apple cider.

After a time of fellowship, Denise welcomed us and introduced her special guests, Booker Daniel and Greta Flythe. She mentioned the oil lamps on the tables. When lit, they give out light and dispel darkness. Denise shared that we would take an imaginary trip back to a simpler time.  She asked that we consider the changes that our grandparents experienced in their lifetime.

After the blessing, we were served a delicious and very generous luncheon plate. The menu included pork loin, string beans, potato salad and yeast rolls. Beverages of tea and water were served. Dessert was pig-picking cake.  Caterers were Bruce Davis and Susan Lynn Stephenson.  Greta Flythe and David Helms assisted in serving.

Denise introduced her program guest Booker Daniel. She shared that sometimes God places special people in our lives when we most need them. Booker is one of those special people. She is a social worker with Medical Facility of America and helped Denise in the care of her mother.  The two became great friends. 

Booker is a gifted storyteller and was dressed in clothes reminiscent of the 1860’s. As the program began, she stepped into character and portrayed her great-great aunt Mary Vann. She told us the story of Mary’s life during the Civil War years. 

Mary was born in Northampton County. She was raised on Munger Plantation (near Jackson but location unknown).  Her mother died very early and her father remarried when Mary was a teenager. Mary (age 15), and her brother Dick (age 13) left home to work at the Baugham Plantation located near Chapel Hill Church Road between Jackson and Rich Square. Mary worked as a seamstress and Dick worked in the cotton fields. Life was good for a while.

Then came the Civil War. Dick went to the Courthouse in Jackson and traded his horse and saddle for a $200 confederate note. He bargained with a gentleman to be a Confederate soldier in place of his son. Dick was wounded and captured in the battle of Petersburg, spent time in a prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, and endured harsh conditions. He escaped, swam across the river and walked back home to Northampton County. He married his childhood sweetheart and they had seventeen children. 

Meanwhile Mary became the head seamstress at Baugham plantation.  She had been raised on a plantation and enjoyed the finer things of life. She was a talented seamstress and was able to dress fashionably. It is reported that she was a very pretty girl. At a dance she caught the eye of the plantation owner’s son. She fell in love with him and they had a son. Because of different stations in life, they never married. After Mary’s death, her brother Dick took her son in and raised him with his seventeen children.  Mary Vann is buried in the Baugham Plantation cemetery.

Mary Booker Daniel is the great-granddaughter of Dick Vann. Her grandfather Samuel Cleveland Vann was one of seventeen children. The story of Mary and Dick Vann was recorded in the 1960’s. 

Denise Helms thanked Booker Daniel for her wonderful program. She thanked Bruce Davis and Susan Lynn Stephenson for the meal and Greta Flythe and David Helms for their help. 

President Wanda Martin thanked Denise for hosting the Kirby Club and Booker for her interesting program. 

After some discussion it was decided to make donations to the Gallery Theater to sponsor a youth for a Summer Work camp and to the Northampton County Memorial Library for the Summer Reading Program.

Phyllis Mann will host the February Kirby Club meeting on February 11th at Roberts Chapel Church. 

Those attending the meeting were Helen Bridgers, Becky Flynn, Lynn Edwards, Francine Martin, Cheryl Martin, Phyllis Mann, Sandra Woodard, Carol Piper, Suzi Brown, Jennifer Whittinton, Greta Flythe, Wanda Guest, Pam Brett, Paula Barrett, Denise Helms, Wanda Martin, Anne White, Mary Ann Crawley, Sarah Timberlake, Booker Daniel and David Helms.