By Portia Williams
WHEELERSBURG —The Pioneer Village Committee recaptured the spirit of the olden times with the annual Old Fashion Days event that was held on Labor Day. From the old fashion attire of the black smith, to the display of a replica of an old clay stove, the environment was reminiscent of the the days of old.
Pioneer Village, a non-profit group organized to restore and maintain the Pioneer Village, and to provide a wealth of knowledge and first hand experiences of the pioneer days. Pioneer Village is fully-loaded with a variety of memorabilia from the pioneer days. Connie Ison, of the Pioneer Village Committee, said.
“Mr. Ray Litteral brought these cabins in here in 1972, and the cabins were built between, and his goal was that they would be used for the community, and people donated a lot antiques, and he put a lot of antiques in here until he passed away,”Ison said. “Then, they were just closed up and they had them open for years only on Labor day for people to walk through. Then two years ago, Mrs. Lacy Litteral passed away, and they had to sell the antiques, and only left the cabins.”
The two sons of Robert Litteral, who is a missionary in Papay New Guinea, and David Litteral, who is a business man.
“Robert came home last spring when they had the auction, and he called me, and asked me to come and help,” she said. “They had over 400 pictures in here, so we cleaned them up. They have been here since the 1970s, so you can imagine how dirty they were.”
She said Robert Litteral informed her that he had to return to the mission field, and at that time, Lucas Jenkins, a Pioneer Village Committee Member, approached Litteral and told he wanted to be a blacksmith.
“Robert was just thrilled, and said he wanted to get some more people on the committee, so we have other members, Cindy Mund, and Dennis DeCamp,” she said.
Dressed in his blacksmith apparel, local blacksmith and Pioneer Village Committee member Lucas Jenkins was present, and provided tours of the Pioneer Village and Old Rusty Forge. Jenkins also disclosed the step-by-step process of what building a clay stove entailed.
She said the committee will funds raised from the Old Fashion Days to go towards repairs of the cabins, so that they can expand their use.
“We want to make them available for people to come and use, and use them for parties, for weddings, reunions,” she said. “We want groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, where can stay all night, camp out all night. How many kids can say that they have stayed in a pioneer cabin?” So, we will make them available so people can come and use these for free, but that is going to be a long process, and will take a lot of work, we have to have the plumbing, and a new roof, and we have list but it all takes money. We have been very fortunate, some of the local businesses have donated, block and sand, and things like that, Portsmouth Block donated to help us.”
The Pioneer Village Committee will soon be taking orders for a book they have composed which will include a portion of the 400 pictures from Litteral.
“We have our first book now, it is called ‘Pictures of the Past,’ and it has 100 pictures in it with the cost of $20,” she said. “We figured we would have at least three books when it’s all done, you can’t put 400 pictures into one book. So, we will have it finished within the next few days, and we will be taking orders. We do have some other things, we have the books Sequetennial Wheelersburg, we have the plates and the cups. The books were left here for the auction, then I found the plates and cups from another auction.
She said they are optimistic about their plans to restore the cabins, and are hopeful the community will support their efforts to make the renovation possible.
The Old Fashion Days event also include the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland and the Boy Scouts of America .The The Girl Scouts had baked cookies readily available, and the Boy Scouts cooked up a meal of beans and cornbread.
Live entertainment was enjoyed by the crowd, by Steve Free, as well as a host of other local musical artists.
For more information regarding Pioneer Village of Wheelersburg, visit the Facebook page: Pioneer Village and Old Rusty Forge.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.
Left to right: Pioneer Village Committee members, Connie Ison, and Lucas Jenkins stand next to
clay stove made by Jenkins