Johnsonville, SC (PRESS RELEASE) – On the banks of the Lynches River in Johnsonville on Saturday, August 15, from 4-7 p.m., citizens and visitors are invited to “A Taste of the Revolution”. This special event will celebrate Revolutionary War-era foods and commemorate the date when General Francis Marion took command of local militia at Venter’s Landing on August 17, 1780 and embarked on his campaign to confound British troops and give us the America we now know as free from Britain’s rule.
Thanks to the efforts of the Florence County Historical Society and the Pee Dee Land Trust, in cooperation with Johnsonville’s leadership, “A Taste of the Revolution” will highlight the importance of food as part of the Marion legend. Dr. David Shields, McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, and author of Southern Provisions: the Creation and Revival of a Cuisine, will speak about two Early American dishes that guests will taste — both indigenous to the Pee Dee: Pine Bark Fish Stew and Purlieu. There will also be sweet potatoes in honor of the legend of Francis Marion and the Sweet Potato Dinner as documented in the famous painting by John Blake White.
The free activities at Venters Landing, formerly Witherspoon’s Ferry, will transport attendees back to the late 1700s as they pet Marsh Tacky horses, the breed Marion and his men rode, smell the cannon powder and fire smoke of Revolutionary War re-enactor camps, and taste the foods from that time made with local ingredients.
Dr. Shields will share his studies of historical foods and will also sell autographed copies of his book, which reminds readers of a time when “farm to table” wasn’t just a trend, it was a way of life. The tales and recipes inSouthern Provisions satisfy readers’ hunger both for the most flavorful regional dishes and their history.
Also on hand for the event will be David Grant, “the Pee Dee Cowboy,” who helped form the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association and who hosts a television show called “Horse Tales” on local channels WPDE, WWMB, the CW Network, and broader markets in the Grand Strand and North Carolina. Filming will take place during the event, so attendees may get to see themselves featured on the show.
The timing of the Johnsonville event is significant because in late July 1780, Francis Marion briefly joined Major General Horatio Gates on his march to Camden. Marion was ordered to gather intelligence on the movements of the British. Following Gates’ defeat at Camden on August 16 and the routing of Thomas Sumter’s militia at Fishing Creek on August 18, 1780, by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, no organized resistance was left in South Carolina.
It was then that Marion took command of the militia and began building the legend of the “Swamp Fox” by using guerrilla warfare against the British. He harassed supply lines and then disappeared into the swamps of around Johnsonville to his hiding place at Snow’s Island just a short ways from Witherspoon’s Ferry (now Venters Landing). His actions ultimately caused the defeat of the British and the building of the United States of America.
The public is invited to the event which is free of charge. Home cooked historical food and beverages will be provided at no cost. Participants are invited to bring a pot of their own Pine Bark Fish Stew, Perlieu, or a traditional Sweet Potato dish, with an emphasis on local ingredients and historic recipes. Pets, alcohol, or glass containers are not allowed. For more information on the event, call 843.409.1115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.