Monday, June 11, 2007

Scene 2: 1861 -- Dinner on the Grounds

Scene 2: 1861 -- Dinner on the Grounds
[Spotlight on]
[Scene: DL small desk, rocking chair, and guitar, Old J. J. Chilton (Narrator) stands beside desk and speaks directly to audience.]

Narrator
In 1861, I was 3 years old. War in our parts means understanding our fiercely independent people and their love for their rivers and for freedom. My Grandfather was Thomas Boggs Chilton. Traveling from Tennessee and Kentucky about 1818, he and William Mahan, joined by Isaac E. Kelley and Benjamin J. Carter, were the first families that settled the Current and Jack Fork rivers. They cleared and farmed the fine river-bottom land.

My Uncle Joshua, State Legislator, represented our County for several years. Since news came about three weeks late from Saint Louis, citizens gathered at his house in 1861 for ‘dinner on the grounds’ and to hear about the recent votes and goings-on in Jefferson City.

[Lights come up on stage. Old Thomas Boggs Chilton and 3-year old J.J. sitting on his grandpa’s lap in rocking chair DR. From stage right, Sen. Chilton & Sterling Price carry Table and place UCS. Aunt Betsy brings in tablecloth. From stage Left, Current River Woman and Lizzy bring dishes of food; Young McDowell Child follows. From Stage Right Loon, Alex and Soldier Quartet sit down. All other actors enter and join around. Joshua and Aunt Betsy greet families and she also busies about the dinner tables.]

J. J. Chilton – Age 3
Grandpa, tell me the story when you and Mr. Mahan first came to the river where the Delaware & Shawnee Indians camped!

Thomas Boggs Chilton – Age 75
Well, J.J., when we came here from Tennessee, we were…….

[Scene description: Actors on stage freeze, while flashback of the young Thomas Boggs Chilton and young William Mahan enter from back of auditorium, walk through audience and remain on floor below stage. By the end of the song, they fold themselves into the crowd onstage.]

Ballad: “TALE OF CURRENT RIVER” by young Thomas Boggs Chilton & young William Mahan

Traveling North by Northwest, we came upon a ledge.
Shrouded there in misty blue, just like the old man said.
We stood and wondered what lie beneath the morning fog.
What mysteries would we find? Oh, we knew it all along.

CHORUS:
Treasures hidden in the heart of God,
So hard to find by man.
Secrets of the mountains stirring deep,
Wind, Water, and Land.

Climbing down the precipice, holding on to ice and rock.
Finally made it down safely, with pine trees green and soft.
Made our way through hill and dale, by waterfalls and streams.
It all looks familiar, but things are not as they seem.
CHORUS.

Sitting by the bright flames, a proverb in our minds.
We realized in an instant, these are the best of times.
Then the rain came suddenly, underneath the granite peaks.
A rainbow brought the answer to the questions that we seek.
CHORUS, twice.



Aunt Betsy Chilton
(Aunt Betsy moves down center stage and says her prayer while the music plays in the background.)



Dear God,
Let me live with a contrite heart,
In my home in the Ozark Hills;
Where the wild flowers bloom and songbirds sing
By a thousand rippling rills;
Where I can worship Thee in my humble way,
Free from man-made creeds;
Where my thanks to God come straight from a heart
Guided by righteous deeds.

To the rest of the world, I’d like to say,
With words sincere and kind,
You live by your creed if you wish,
But leave Freedom to mine.

[At end of prayer, Senator steps down to Aunt Betsy’s left.]

Joshua Chilton

Citizens and Neighbors, County Board Members and Judges, Father Hogan, up from the Irish Wilderness, several of our Reverends, Family…Ladies and Gentlemen (actors acknowledge):

During this session of the Missouri Legislature, the temper of the times did not allow calmness in deliberation and discussion, so very necessary to consider in matters of the State. While General Sterling Price urged reason, General Lyon “declared War” on Missouri! Then, Governor Jackson seceded Missouri from the Union! Neither of them have that authority! Lincoln, of course, remanded the military order, and now Governor Jackson threatens to set up an alternate state government in Neosho with the Confederacy.
We pray that the public safety is assured; that this question of preserving the union, states rights, and slavery, can be discussed and decided without passion. In the words of Honorable Justices Davis & Field,

“Law is not power, but its keeper. Law is above power, both regulating it and deriving authority from independent sources. Civil liberty and this kind of martial law cannot endure together; the antagonism is irreconcilable; and, when in conflict, one or the other must perish. “

We, the Citizens of Missouri, voted overwhelmingly…93%, to remain neutral with regard to the secession of the southern states, and to take up personal arms only to protect our farms, homes, and businesses from aggressors, whether of Northern or Southern sympathies. The Missouri State Guard has been established for this purpose and this purpose only, led by General Sterling Price, under our beloved Bears of Missouri flag. We must hold firm in our commitment to family, friend, and neighbor in these troubling times.

Now, we are a very remote region, where the roads, mountains, and streams can soon beat a soldier and his horse and wagons to despair. May we all rise to greet each day on our own farms; to our favorite “call to arms”, …..

(Whistle the call of the Bob-White quail, “Bob-Bob-White”)!

[Scene: The Quartet stands up and remain down stage.]

Ballad: “THE REBEL IN THE WOODS” by Soldier Quartet. (Verse 2 & Chorus)

VERSES 2 & 2b:

2. We have taken up arms in defense of our farms,
And if the FEDERALS trouble us we'll surely do them harm,
For we have declared that our land shall be free
But if they stay away how quiet we will be.

CHORUS: Then home, soon home, home we will be;
Home, dearest home, in this our country,
Where the rose is in bud and the blossom's on the tree,
And the Lark is singing home, in South Missouri.

2b. We have taken up arms in defense of our farms,
And if the REBELS trouble us we'll surely do them harm,
For we have declared that our land shall be free
But if they stay away how quiet we will be.


CHORUS:
Then home, soon home, home we will be;
Home, dearest home, in this our country,
Where the rose is in bud and the blossom's on the tree,
And the Lark is singing home, in South Missouri.

CHORUS again: (All Cast ):
Then home, soon home, home we will be;
Home, dearest home, in this our country,
Where the rose is in bud and the blossom's on the tree,
And the Lark is singing home, its MY Missouri.

[Quartet resumes seat.]
[Scene Description: The joyful party continues. Square Dancers enter to below DR of stage. Dance one set. Joshua and Betsy return UCS. Men gather, some raising fists, and others calming the emotions. Women gather, worried, others happy, and young women & men ‘sparking’. Lizzie wanders down to watch square dancers. Lizzie is in “Widows Weeds”. Alex Chilton grabs her hand and moves to CS where Josh/Betsy, General Price/Ms. McDowell, Current River Woman/Thomas Boggs Chilton are dancing to the Missouri Waltz, while Square dancers waltz. ]

Alex Chilton
Come on, Lizzie, let’s dance.

Lizzie Davis
Oh, I can’t do that. It wouldn’t be proper…and in Widow’s Weeds, at that!

{Scene Description: Alex gently pulls her along, ignoring her protest, and she yields to the sway of the music. After one dance, music continues in background, they stop dancing and walk stage left; others continue to dance to the tune of the Missouri Waltz.]
Alex Chilton
[Alex pulls (guides?) Lizzie back DC.]

Are you doing all right?

Lizzie Davis
I suppose. When my husband was shot at the stockyards, I could hardly bear it. I’m staying with Uncle Joshua and Aunt Betsy for now.

[Scene Description: Young Thomas Boggs and Young William Mahan move DL to sing acapella. Others lisen intently. At the end of the song, all leave for home. Table and rocker are placed in position for Scene 5 before exiting.]

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