Red, white, and blue bunting line the porch rails of the admissions building and gift shop at Brattonsville, with matching bows on the door. As always, the plantation is quiet. Void of the bustle of technology, birds and farm animals can be heard. But despite its quiet, peaceful appearance, the Bratton Plantation is preparing for one of its biggest celebrations of the year – Independence Day.
With events happening throughout the day, such as firing period rifles and dance demonstrations, as well as a reading of the Declaration of Independence, it is a day to tell the story of independence and carry on traditions, just as the Brattons would have.
“There was an actual battle that was fought here for independence. This was one of the first battles that Patriots actually won and defeated the British. And that gave people a lot of hope that they could turn around and defeat one of the largest armies in the world,” explained Eli Coburn, the Historic Farm Program Manager. He continues, “...to take on the British army and win, especially down here in backwoods South Carolina, that was huge!”
Independence Day at Brattonsville is not the average neighborhood party. Jonah Stephens, a Military Interpreter, said many people are surprised to find eggnog included in the celebration. While the drink is associated with Christmas, in the 1800s it was present at all major holidays. Visitors will be able to enjoy cooking demonstrations and a toast during the reading of the Declaration.
For Brattonsville employees, their job has crept into their lifestyle. “I just found I live with a lot less than most of society today, just because coming out here I’m able to appreciate what I have,” Stephens said. “Being out here and experiencing the peace that this place gives me is where you get that from.”
While walking around in long sleeves and petticoats is not everyone’s idea of a good time, the interpreters at Brattonsville feel humbled by the chance to go back to the roots of our nation. “The opportunity to take that break from society and living like our forefathers did - going back to nature, and living day in and day out like they would have, it’s very refreshing,” explained Augusta Couch, a historical Interpreter.
Daily visitors can not only see the museum and the grounds at Brattonsville, but also experience the lifestyle as interpreters cook, plow and plant fields, and care for livestock. The plantation is here to educate, but also to inspire. Stephens explained: “Someone came to visit us recently, and they said ‘I have never felt more American than after visiting today.’ He basically renewed his pride in his American heritage, and that’s what we want for everybody.”
Independence Day was once the main holiday in American culture, especially back in the 1800s. Visitors can take a step back in history with a traditional celebration to find their roots and unite together as Americans, remembering what their ancestors endured to reach the America we have today.
Brattonsville’s annual Independence Day Celebration will be July 4, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Regular admission prices apply.