Interesting article. Although Lucy is undoubtedly comedy queen in the US, Phil will always reign as the King in the UK! 👑 https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/news/6465/gemma-arterton-in-funny-girl/ #thephilsilversarchivalmuseum #thebritishphilsilversappreciationsociety #philsilvers #thephilsilversshow #bilko #comedy #comedian #lovefargo #museums #museumcollection #Museum #museumlover #museumfromhome #museumselfie #museumlovers #museumshop #museumlife #museumsaroundtheworld #whyilovemuseums #museumstogether #museumsoftheworld #supportus #cityofculture2021 #visitcoventry #usa #uk (at The Phil Silvers Archival Museum) https://www.instagram.com/p/CRwxChbny1R/?utm_medium=tumblr
Practical Joker or Frustrating Imp: The “Gargantuan Feaster” in Dumfries & Alexandria
By: Lisa Timmerman, Executive Director
Sometimes, fascinating clues on historic Dumfries can come from easy to access published books. Lucy Lee Pleasants (1856-1925) recorded her mother, Sally Lee McCarty Pleasants (1833-1916), memories and stories in the book Old Virginia Days and Ways: Reminiscences of Mrs. Sally McCarty Pleasants. She noted that this was a “memorial to her whose remarkable and unusual gift for narrative have made it possible.” So let’s delve into her book and see what cherished tales we have for Dumfries and Alexandria
Sally Pleasants recorded an interesting tradition of eating contests for Virginia as she remarked on how an unidentified male was able to take advantage of local taverns throughout the area. This story was told to her by her father, John Mason McCarty (1795-1852).
“The same rollicking spirits which prompted people to play practical jokes found expression in homeric feasting. Eating contests were frequent and tales of prodigious gastronomic feats were told.
Lawyers who had business in the Circuit Court would ride together to the different towns to try their cases. They would plan to arrive at certain taverns for certain meals, the landlord being apprised beforehand of their coming. Dumfries was the place where they usually spent the night, breakfasting there next morning. A man who enjoyed a great local reputation as a gargantuan feaster, hearing that the lawyers were expected, rode in advance to Dumfries, ordered breakfast and continued to eat until he had consumed the entire meal that had been prepared for seven or eight guests.
When he went to pay his score, the landlord objected. "I cannot let you have such a meal as you have just eaten for the usual price; you have devoured the breakfast provided for nearly a dozen men."
"That makes no difference," replied the man; "the last time I was here I had only a cup of tea and a bit of toast, but you told me the price was the same whether I ate little or much."
So many questions to ask! What was the breakfast (sorry, author is feeling hungry right now), who was the “gargantuan feaster”, exactly what year did Circuit Court lawyers find Dumfries a traditional spot for an overnight visit and breakfast (especially important as so many negative accounts of Dumfries emerge in the 1820s), and what tavern did they frequent? The “gargantuan feaster” then made his way north,
“In Alexandria, when the schooners would come in laden with oysters, men would pay a quarter for permission to eat as many of them as they wanted. In an unlucky moment this permission was granted to our prodigious eater. After devouring so many that the shells were heaped around him almost as high as his head, the owner of the cargo was obliged to pay him a dollar to leave off.”
(Image: From the book Pleasants, Lucy Lee. Old Virginia Days and Ways. Menasha: George Banta Publishing Company (1916), across from title page)
Oyster clues! In the City of Alexandria Virginia’s fantastic resource site, we can skim through travelers’ accounts of the historic Alexandria waterfront! Travelers’ accounts are instrumental primary sources as visitors often make different observations than residents, perhaps, in our case, finding oysters and schooners exciting? Keep in mind this is just a quick peek and we could certainly spend a full blog article on this topic. We know the Courthouse in Dumfries left in 1822 for Brentsville, so let us focus our attention after that date. Bernard, Duke of Weirmar mentioned “several schooners” in his 1825-1825 book Travels Through North America. In 1826, Anne Newport Royall commented on the markets of Alexandria noting they were inferior to the western country, except for their beef and fish, “But their exquisite fish, oysters, crabs, and foreign fruits, upon the whole, bring them upon a value with us.” Keeping in mind that her father died in 1852, are the 1820s a good speculation? Warning: speculations abound here!
Lucy Lee Pleasants also remarked that her mother, “embodied, we think, the grace and charm of Virginia as it used to be – the Virginia of her youth to which she was always tenderly loyal…” Typically, when people mention the “Old South” fondly, they are generally referring to a distorted and twisted pre-Civil War society where the enslaved were “happy” and “content”. Sally Pleasants remarked on the racial tensions and later stated, “From the time I was old enough to think for myself I had grave misgravings that slavery was wrong. Mammy was the only slave my parents owned and after my mother’s death, as soon as I came of age, I set her free and paid her wages as my maid.” However, other statements in the book still reinforce that while she was aware of a “nameless anxiety” there is still racism present throughout this text.
Ultimately, this is a narrative remembered from an oral history with reminisces on past stories from other people. While this source may seem too troublesome to take at value, I think we can extract interesting information and speculate on possible dates, people, families, etc. Also, exactly how large was our “Gargantuan Feaster’s” stomach…and would he have a reality media series today?
Note: We have two excellent programs at the end of July! Our f2f Children’s Day at the Museum Sponsored by Colonial Downs Group invites you to go on a scavenger hunt and make a scent sachet, while our Weems-Botts Bibliophiles delves into Norse Mythology, reading the Eddas on a hunt for the stories behind the Marvel movies and shows. Click here for Children’s Day and here for the Weems-Botts Bibliophiles!
(Sources: Pleasants, Lucy Lee. Old Virginia Days and Ways. Menasha: George Banta Publishing Company (1916): Pages 113-114; Gunston Hall Library, The Mason Web: The Mason Descendents Database: Sally Lee McCarty, Lucy Lee Pleasants, https://gunstonhall.org/wp-content/uploads/masonweb/index.htm; Organized by Kelsey Ryan, Office of Historic Alexandria/Alexandria Archaeology, City of Alexandria, c. 2009, Traverl’s Accounts of the Historic Alexandria Waterfront: Bernard, Duke of Weimar. Travels Through North America, 1825-1826, p.178; Anne Newport Royall, Sketches of History, Life, and Manners, in the United States, By a Traveler. New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, printed for the author, 1826)
Just look at Paul Ford's expression! The Big Scandal (14 May 1957 - Written by Nat Hiken, Billy Friedberg & Tony Webster) Bilko sees money in hypnotism and practices on Rupert Ritzik. He inadvertantly hypnotises Doberman into believeing he is in love with Mrs. Hall. #thephilsilversarchivalmuseum #thebritishphilsilversappreciationsociety #philsilvers #thephilsilversshow #bilko #comedy #comedian #lovefargo #museums #museumcollection #Museum #museumlover #museumfromhome #museumselfie #museumlovers #museumshop #museumlife #museumsaroundtheworld #whyilovemuseums #museumstogether #museumsoftheworld #supportus #cityofculture2021 #visitcoventry (at The Phil Silvers Archival Museum) https://www.instagram.com/p/CRUY6_GHfwl/?utm_medium=tumblr
*‘सप्ताह का प्रादर्श-60’* (12 से 18 जुलाई, 2021 तक) *डागिसा - ढक्कन के साथ तांबे का बड़ा पात्र* वेबसाइट की लिंक - https://igrms.com/wordpress/?page_id=3963 डगीसा आंध्र प्रदेश के लोक समुदायों मैं प्रयोग किया जाने वाला तांबे का एक बड़ा पात्र है। डगीसा का वृहद आकार स्पष्ट रूप से इसके समारोहों और उत्सवों में उपयोग को दर्शाता है। तांबे की मोटी चादर से बने इस पात्र को चिकना और गोल आकार देने के लिए सावधानीपूर्वक हथौड़े के प्रहार किये जाते हैं। पात्र का आधार फैलाव लिए हुए हैं, गोलाकार मुख्य हिस्सा ऊपर की ओर क्रमशः गर्दन का रूप लेता है। मजबूती प्रदान करने के लिए किनारे को चौड़ा और मोटा रखा गया है। पात्र के मुंह को ढक्कन से ढंका गया है। तांबा धातु अत्यधिक सुचालक होती है अतः तापमान का सावधानीपूर्वक नियंत्रण आवश्यक होता है। तांबे के पात्र में भोजन पकाने के अपने स्वास्थ्य लाभ हैं। तांबे के पात्रों का उपयोग समारोहों और उत्सवों की दावतों में भोजन पकाने के लिए किया जाता है जिसमें समुदाय समग्र रूप से सम्मिलित होते हैैं। इस तरह के बड़े पात्र सामान्यतः सामुदायिक संपत्ति होते हैं और गांव के सामुदायिक आवासों में रखे जाते हैं। आरोहण क्रमांक - 97.386 ए, बी स्थानीय नाम - डागिसा , ढक्कन के साथ तांबे का बड़ा पात्र । समुदाय - लोक स्थानीयता -प्रकासम, आंध्र प्रदेश माप - ऊंचाई - 61 सेमी, बर्तन के मुंह का व्यास - 68 सेमी, गोलाई - 306 सेमी श्रेणी - ‘ए’ #dagisa #bigcoppervessel #vesselforcommunityfeast #metalwork #folk #prakasam #andhrapradesh #igrms #museumfromhome #objectoftheweek #ethnograhicobject #museumobject #museumofman #museumofmankind #museumofhumankind #experienceigrms #igrmsstories #staysafe #covid19 https://www.instagram.com/p/CRNXHs2Ci7E/?utm_medium=tumblr