The “Living History” was the theme at the farmers’ market at Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in Heathsville Saturday. Re-enactors in period costumes ranging from pre-revolutionary war to the 1812 period entertained visitors as did people involved in the Holly Graded School museum and art gallery. Joe Thompson held forth in a booth devoted to African-American history in the Northern Neck, including the history of Elizabeth Lee of Northumberland County. Charles Belfield stayed in character as James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president and a native of Westmoreland County.
At the market itself 40 vendors offered goods ranging from produce to Lions Club brooms. At the produce stand, operated by Garner’s Produce, the first local tomatoes of the season were on sale.
Thompson, dressed in colonial costume, told the story of Elizabeth Lee, the half-caste daughter of an early Northumberland settler, Thomas Lee, and a slave. When the settler returned to England, Elizabeth was treated as a slave by the white man who took control of her. Then, she and a white indentured servant fell in love and brought a lawsuit to have her declared white since the law of England at the time held that the race of the father dictated the race of the child.
For full story, pick up a copy of the June 21 edition of the Northumberland Echo