LAKE JACKSON — A balmy Sunday afternoon resurrected a rich history of Texan life in 19th century America during the Lake Jackson Historical Association’s Living History Day.
Both young children and seasoned adults gathered together to churn butter, learn about blacksmithing, try their hand at era-appropriate children’s games and generally come to appreciate the amenities today’s world provides.
“Once a year we really try to have an event that brings history to life,” said Robert Rule, Lake Jackson Historical Museum’s director. “We have historians, re-enactors and members from the Ford Bent History Museum as well as Brazoria County Parks help with the event,” Rule said.
The fun history day showcases a number of historical tools and artifacts including compasses and surveying equipment, travel cases, schoolhouse appliances, dried plants that can be weaved into rope and spun cotton on a spindle.
The Abner Jackson Plantation is a preserved historical property that was run as a sugar mill in the 1840s until the early 20th century. The ruins of the old sugar mill take visitors into the past — presenting both perspective and learning opportunities, Rule said.
“We just had our 75th anniversary here in the town — and many people don’t realize this was the sugar bowl in the 1840s. This was a very hot and dangerous job to do and therefore they used slave labor to do it,” said Jodi Larson, program and education coordinator for the Lake jackson Historical Association. “This plantation was the site of the Jackson family and their slave plantation where they grew sugar — and they had two other sites as well. And so while this was a site of industry and technology, it’s also a site of very difficult history.
“So it’s hard to celebrate the history. But we can celebrate the things the people did 200 years ago.”
The Lake Jackson Historical Association uses the site annually for this special event, which has been ongoing for four years. It usually has anywhere from 10 to 20 stations, at which visitors can learn a way of life from not so long ago.
“Living History Day is a way to try new things, try a trade, learn about how things were made and to see how things don’t always appear before you or come from a store,” Larson said.
Many attended throughout the afternoon and tossed rings from sticks, roped toy cattle, signed for property and learned what it would take to travel for long periods of time without much property in the afternoon Sunday heat.
While Living History Day is only once a year, the Abner Jackson Plantation site is open to the public on the first Saturday of each month.