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Old Washington Nature Group
Historic Washington is working with area homeschooling families to provide a unique experience in the park. Once each month throughout the school year, park staff and students meet to learn more about the natural aspects of cultural interpretation. Students learn during hands on activities what natural elements of flora and fauna were important to early settlers and why these mattered.
Subjects covered this year have included soil, water, fibers, wood, and herbs. Future group meetings will cover birds, as students take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count from the backyard of historic homes in the park. and gardening will be covered in the spring.  Students will be learning what was planted and how crops were cared for in the earliest days of Washington's existence. Hopefully, they will also do these activities at their own homes after learning here.
All of these activities assist the parents and students in areas of science and history, as well as assist the park in identifying plants and animals within its borders. Student received training in photography techniques for plants and animals to assist in this record. Area organizations have contributed speakers to help students learn about the topics covered and park interpretive staff have helped introduce the students to the basics of such things as weaving and cooking with herbs. Parents have been impressed with the knowledge level of those who presented to the students and some have been introduced to the park for the first time through this program. The group has pre-trip and post-trip activities posted on an online group page managed by one of the parent teachers. This helps continue the learning as parents use the lessons in unit studies.

Mail Delivery to Washington was Rough
What would it have been like to have been a letter in the mail traveling across the country from the east to family in Washington in 1850?

...In a few days I was landed at the city of Little Rock, the capital of the young and flourishing State of Arkansas. Here I was opened and closed again. But O, horrible to tell! "O, thought worse than of death!" I, who had basked in the sunny smiles of a belle of the capital - I who had traveled upon railroads and on steamboats - had known all the luxuries of travel - now doomed to take passage in -- what? a horrible thing worse than a cart - that in which, in my native land, the honest farmer would scorn to carry his produce to market - nay, even to haul the manure from his stalls to his garden - a horrible, hickory-withed, rope-tied, nondescript concern upon two wheels. My travels had been so pleasant previously that I never had enquired who was the proprietor of any conveyance, but here my sensibilities were so shocked that I inquired the names of the proprietors, and was shown a card, in which Messrs. Snapp & Hanger declared themselves "prepared to carry passengers in a comfortable and satisfactory manner, in good stages." We left Little Rock, and instead of the former speed at which I had traveled being accelerated, it came down to the gait of the dull ox or stupid ass. I was exposed to every variety of weather, except sunshine - snow, hail, sleet, rain, mud, and ice, all had to be encountered. At length, in our anything-else-but-a-stage, we came to a small creek, a little swollen by the recent rain, and notwithstanding I desired to travel on immediately, the driver declared it impassable, when I was perfectly confident it was false - he turned back, and his worthy employers retained him, after this loosing a trip, stowed away in an old post office. The next trip came, and I was started - crossed the aforementioned stream, and came to the stopping place for the night, where I remained half drowned and frozen, having been exposed to a heavy rain on that day. Early the next morning I was ready to start, but lo! no stage had come from the other end of the route - so here I had to be two days without any comforts. At the expiration of that time I started and came on, through mud and water, till nearly night, when as on the first occasion, another stream stopped us, without any reason save the obstinacy of the driver, who knew that he would never have to account for it. After two more long, dreary days I found myself traveling, and after having been on the road from Little Rock to Washington as long as from Washington city to Little Rock, I found myself here, and the first exclamation that greeted my ears was - "Hammond's got the contract again, by ____!"
...The beautiful envelope which covered me when I started was so soiled that you could scarcely have told my original color, and all done between Little Rock and Washington.
[Source: "Adventures of a Letter" Washington Telegraph, January 30, 1850.]

Caption: Portrait by William Besser (1912), courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission

Arkansas' Boy Martyr of the Confederacy
David O. Dodd, Davie to his mother, was a teenage boy found guilty of spying in Arkansas during the American Civil War. After a trial, he was sentenced to be hanged.
David wrote the following letter to his family on the day of his hanging:

Military Prison, Little Rock
January 8th, 10 oclock am 1864

My Dear Parents and Sister,
Jan. 8th, 10 oclock am 1864
My Dear Parents and Sister,
I was arrested as a spy and tried and sentenced to be hung to day at 3 oclock. The time is fast approaching. But thank God I am prepared to die. I expect to meet you all in heaven. I will soon be out of this world of sorrow and trouble. I would like to see you all before I die but God's will be done, not ours. I pray to God to give you strength to bear your troubles while in this world. I hope God will recieve you in Heaven. There I will meet you. Mother, I know it will be hard for you to give up your only son. But you must remember that is is God's will.

Good bye. God bless you all
Your son and brother
David O. Dodd.

On 3:00 PM on January 8th, David was brought to the grounds of his former school, St. John's Masonic College, just east of the L.R. Arsenal, for his hanging.
You can learn more about Davie's life and death at the Online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

A poem was written about the incident and memorized by school children. It can be heard by one who memorized it in 1936 and never forgot it by listening to the audio file http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/media-detail.aspx?mediaID=8280

Historic Washington's curator discussed the newspaper reports of Dodd's death and we had hoped to make it available in this week's newsletter, but a technology glitch has prevented it from being completed. Hopefully, we can include it next week and it will be posted as soon as available on Facebook.

Go to the Online Calendar and Check out our Weekend Workshops!

Receipt and Recipe
This was on Facebook and looked like it might be a good one to try. Anything with bacon looks good...right?

Breakfast Bacon Cups

White or Wheat Bread
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Maple Syrup
Salt & Pepper
(Note quantities not added. This will vary depending on how many you plan to make. It’s safe to estimate about 2-3 per person. )

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is pre-heating partially cook the bacon for about 3-5 minutes in a large skillet set to medium-high. You want the bacon to be a little cooked but still pliable. Mix maple syrup and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over medium low so butter melts (you can’t mess this up so don’t worry about amounts too much. I usually use ½ a stick of butter and a cup or so of syrup).

Using a cookie cutter, ravioli cutter, or whatever else you may have that can cut a 3 inch diameter circle—cut circles out of the bread slices.
Here comes the good part! Grease/non-stick spray muffin pan and line with bacon so that is circles each mold. Now, brush each side of the bread with the syrup/butter mixture and place in cup so that it rests evenly at the bottom of the mold. You may have to do a little trimming of the bread but it’s ok if it doesn’t fit perfectly either. Crack an egg into each mold, season with salt and pepper and give each cup a sprinkle of cheese (you can also add the cheese on top of bread, beneath the egg).

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© Copyright Historic Washington State Park. All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 129, Washington, AR 71862 | Phone: (870) 983-2684 | Fax: (870) 983-2736
Email: historicwashington@arkansas.com