Colonial Kids Camp celebrates region’s role in the Revolutionary War

6 Jul

Colonial Kids Camp celebrates region’s role in the Revolutionary War

Children dressed in colonial attire, boys with tricorn hats and girls in long skirts and bonnets, recently sang patriotic songs and showed their knowledge of the Revolutionary War at Francis Marion Park in Georgetown on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®.

It was fitting that the children and adults involved with Miss Flo’s Colonial Kids Camp gathered at the park named for one of the war’s most revered generals, also famously known as the Swamp Fox.

Children in Miss Flo’s Colonial Kids Camp sing patriotic songs at Francis Marion Park in Georgetown. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

The recently held camp was for children ages 7 to 9 and included activities reminiscent of life in the 1700s, including colonial craft projects, music, games, food preparation, indigo T-shirt dying, special guests and field trips. On Friday, June 16, students held their grand finale, entertaining the crowd and presenting displays of some of the projects they worked on all week.

Flo Phillips, a retired teacher who organized the camp, said she wants to teach children about history so they appreciate how far the United States has come in the past 250 years.

Two young ladies show what they learned about a spinning wheel in Miss Flo’s Colonial Kids Camp. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

“There wasn’t nearly enough time to teach them everything they needed to know, so we just taught the exciting parts to get them interested, to see and touch and feel things so they would understand how our country began,” Phillips said. “We talked about colonial foods, the medicines, the houses, what children did. They learned about indigo, the Gullah Geechee culture and enslaved Africans, and they went around town and saw old buildings that were here during that time. They just loved it.”

Phillips said the newly formed Georgetown County 250 Committee (GC250), the local extension of the South Carolina American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission (SC250), helped make the camp extra special for the children. Other local groups and businesses were also involved with the week of learning, including the Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Swamp Fox Tours.

Ken Baeszler, chair of the GC250 Committee, said Miss Flo’s Colonial Kids Camp was a perfect way to introduce the committee to the community.

“We have been freshly minted as the GC250 Committee, and we got involved with this camp toward the tail end,” Baeszler said. “They already had it under control and were doing a great job, so we came in to help make it more of a robust thing.”

She said many people don’t realize how important the South Carolina Colony was in the war effort, and specifically Georgetown County, now dubbed South Carolina’s Hammock Coast to highlight its importance as a tourism destination in the Palmetto State.

Individuals who were involved with the camp included historian Paige Sawyer; Chief Harold Hatcher with the Waccamaw Indian People; historian Lee Brockington, who played the role of Eliza Lucas Pinckney; Ken Lowry, who played the role of George Washington; and Tony Starlight, who was the emcee for the Friday event.

Brockington said she was glad to play the part of Pinckney during the camp.

“Eliza Lucas Pinckney is most often recognized for developing indigo as a cash crop,” Brockington said. “I always like to remind people that she was not the first to attempt to plant indigo, but she was the first to be successful at making indigo a cash crop and that brought our colony its first real wealth.”

“Georgetown County had a port that stayed open much longer than others along the coast. What is important about that is that Georgetown was a center for receiving goods and remained a center supply area, particularly for Francis Marion and his militia until late in the war.”

Sawyer, who shared information about Francis Marion with the kids in the camp, emphasized the importance of Marion, who spent part of his youth in Georgetown.

Lee Brockington, playing the role of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, and Ken Lowry, playing the role of George Washington, chat during the event. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

“We talked about how he would attack in small groups at night, or early in the morning and he would disappear,” Sawyer said. “We talked about his tactics, his guerrilla tactics and how he wouldn’t fight out in the open, but he would fight with small groups of men that really surprised the British.”

He said Marion’s men included white soldiers, black soldiers, and Native Americans and although “The Swamp Fox” required his men to be clean cut with no beards, they didn’t have uniforms – and many didn’t even have shoes.

“They had their own horses and their own weapons,” Sawyer said. “They ate off of pewter plates and when their ammunition ran low, they melted the pewter plates and used those for bullets and then ate off pieces of bark.”

He explained that Francis Marion is second only to George Washington for having the most places named after him in America.

“There are 29 cities and towns named after him, as well as 17 counties,” Sawyer said. “There are also Francis Marion University, Francis Marion National Forest, and Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, just to name a few.”

Baeszler said the GC250 Committee is planning several events that will celebrate and promote Georgetown County’s role in the American Revolutionary War by educating, engaging and inspiring local residents and visitors to the area. The committee’s long-term goals include identifying places where battles or other events took place and people who contributed to the cause.

“We want to stir the hearts and minds of the people today – hey, this isn’t just about battles, this is about life, how our ancestors lived and the stress they had to go through,” Baeszler said. “Those are the stories we want to hear.”

For more information about the GC250 Committee and how to get involved, email Julie Warren at The group plans to create a website in the next few months.

By Clayton Stairs/tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®

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