By all appearances, the clock was turned back 150 years as a Civil War Ladies Tea was held Saturday afternoon, August 25, at the former Kelly’s Kitchen location on Bridge Street in Jackson.
The Wellston-based Traveling Tea Ladies conducted the event in support of the Jackson County Civil War 150 Committee, which is currently planning and coordinating local events in conjunction with the 150th anniversary years of the Civil War.
Attendees were urged to come dressed in Civil War period attire, but were not required to do so. The Traveling Tea Ladies, Rebecca Nobile and Donna Brisker, not only dressed the part, but provided a historical and cultural lesson regarding that era and how proper ladies conducted themselves.
Mrs. Nobile convincingly played the role of Lady Penelope Hyde, a member of the English gentry who was visiting America in 1863 and was helping a friend conduct a proper tea party in order to support the soldiers.
Mrs. Nobile talked about the appropriate wardrobe and how it was not unusual for a lady to change dresses as many as eight times a day based on the activity or the event. Ladies, she proclaimed, could expose their bosoms, but never their ankles and that it was “scandalous” to wear “men’s britches.”
Mrs. Brisker provided information how ladies use hand fans to provide non-verbal communication. For example, fast fanning meant a lady was independent while slow fanning indicated she was engaged. Opening and shutting a fan was an invitation for a kiss.
Following the program, the visitors were served an elegant buffet composed of cucumber sandwiches, scones, sandwiches, fruit salad, punch, and of course, hot tea.
Mrs. Nobile announced the headline happening of future anniversary events will be a re-enactment of Morgan’s Raid, which is set for the weekend of August 16-18, 2013.
Mrs. Nobile has also scheduled a Civil War Ball Workshop for Friday evening, October 19, at the Jackson Memorial Building. The event, which is free and open to both men and women, will provide instruction to the type of ballroom dancing which was common in the Civil War era.
On behalf of the Civil War 150 Committee, members Carolyn McCormick and Cathy Smalley thanked The Traveling Tea Ladies for conducting the event and for keeping the Civil War in the minds of the public.