ROCKFORD — The Historic Village of Rockford and the Rockford General Store have hosted the Rockford Civil War Battle and Living History Weekend for nine years, with reenactors portraying life in camp, drill, tactics and battle, including the Bond School House Shootout that occurred between local militia and men hiding in the Bond School House on Feb. 12, 1863, near Deep Creek Friends Church in Yadkin County.
Reenactors from the 7th NC Calvary, along with the 21st Infantry, 63rd NC, 12th NC, 38th NCT, 24th VA Infantry, 6th NC, and the NC 28th camped out on site all weekend, dressed in period clothing, with many bringing their families to experience the life of a Civil War soldier.
The smell of country ham was heavy in the air around the Rockford General Store, as folks inside prepared food to feed the reenactors and visitors who arrived in Rockford to enjoy the battle and Living History Weekend. Co-owner Pam Foy said the weekend is the start of the tourist season in Rockford, and added that they always bring in extra help to work for the weekend.
Freshly-prepared fried apple pies were plentiful, but were selling out fast, as Foy said they do almost every weekend. “They are our most popular food item. We make them every Friday morning, and have them until they are sold out, but we also have people who call ahead of time, before they come, and tell us to hold some for them,” Foy said.
The general store also was selling coffee, biscuits, sandwiches, burgers and just for this weekend, they had homemade chicken stew and pintos and cornbread. Many people were taking home fried apple pies and chicken stew for loved ones who didn’t get to make the trip.
Prior to the Battle of Rockford, Part 1 and Bond School House Shootout, reenactors were enjoying their camps, sitting around campfires and chatting with friends. Tammy Rhyne, from the Charlotte-area, said this was her first year participating in the Rockford Civil War Battle, but she added that she has participated in many other reenactments. This was also her son’s first time and they were there with her husband, she added, part of the 28th NC group. She was watching several children play in the camp and crocheting a yellow scarf for her niece by the campfire. She was dressed in period clothing and wearing a pin she made from her grandmother’s pin, with old-fashioned pictures of her husband and son.
Also in the camp were husband and wife Dawn and Damon Wilson, who traveled from Hamptonville with their children. They enjoyed camping in period tents on Friday night, and planned to camp on Saturday night as well. Damon said he was interested in participating in reenactments because he had family in the Civil War, including his great-grandfather. When he married Dawn, she became involved as well. Damon is a physician’s assistant and this is his first year serving as a medical officer for the camp, with his son Seth, 14, serving as his orderly sergeant and daughter Mikayla, 10, and wife Dawn as his nurses. Mikayla said her favorite part of the weekend is camping, and Seth said he loves the battles, especially because he gets to be in them this year.
Dana Quesinberry of Rockford was enjoying interacting with the reenactors and walking around the camps with her daughter Kacyn, 1, and son Cord, 3. She said Cord enjoys the soldiers, who taught him how to carry his toy gun at shoulder arms last year. She was there with her dad U.E. Martin, who was born in Rockford, and brother Doug Martin.
Although a Civil War battle did not take place in Rockford, there is a Civil War Trail sign in the village, at York Tavern, commemorating April 1 and 2, 1865, when Stoneman’s Raiders passed through Rockford on their way to Virginia. In nearby Siloam, Stoneman’s Calvary encountered armed resistance from Confederate Maj. Richard Reeves and a colonel who was recuperating in the major’s home. The two men fled after killing a Union trooper and escaped.
Rockford was once the county seat of Surry County, when it encompassed Forsyth, Stokes, Yadkin, Davie and Rowan counties. The county seat moved to Dobson in 1850. Many original buildings still stand, including Jesse Lester Tavern, built in 1790; the railroad section foreman’s house, built in 1883; the Robert Clark Store; and the Rockford General Store, built in 1890. The remains of the Grant-Burrus Hotel, built in 1796, burnt in 1974, but the remains were made into a park, across from the general store.
Jessica Johnson may be reached at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.