70th Annual Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage 2017

Homecoming. The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club, founded in 1939, held a spring festival in April 1940 and called it the “Dogwood Trail.” It was quite a success with approximately five hundred visitors. The “Dogwood Trail” was held with suc­cess in 1941 and 1942, but it was not held again until 1948, after World War II was over. The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club resumed the Dogwood Trail in 1948 with the new addition of some local homes being opened for touring. By 1950, they had begun to focus more on history than dogwoods, and they changed the name of the spring festival to the Jefferson His­torical Pilgrimage, and the festival has been held every year since then. This year the theme of the Historical Pilgrimage is “Homecoming,” and is being held on May 4, 5, 6, 7, 2017.

The Diamond Bessie Murder Trial. The earliest event of the Pilgrimage is always the first performance of “The Dia­mond Bessie Murder Trial” on Thursday evening, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. This capti­vating drama is based on the true story of a murder and a subsequent trial which occurred in Jefferson in 1877. All perfor­mances of the play are held in the historic Jefferson Playhouse at the corner of Mar­ket and Henderson Streets. Other perfor­mances are on Friday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 903-665- 0737 or writing Diamond Bessie Tickets, 305 W. Lafayette, Jefferson, Texas 75657. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly ad­vised.

Home and Garden Tours. The Pil­grimage experience continues on Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6, when four lovely historic homes will be open for tours and four beautiful gardens will also be open between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. At the homes, guides dressed in pe­riod costumes will show the homes and their furnishings while telling about the Jefferson families who built and lived in them. Four gardens are included in the home and garden ticket. The gardens are also open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tour tickets may be purchased by calling 903- 665-2513 or 903-452-3836 or at Pilgrim­age Headquarters in front of the Excel­sior House, 211 W. Austin St., beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day of the Pilgrimage. Prices for Adults are $25 with Children 12 and under for $3. Advance ticket sales are available. They are $24 for adults, or if ordering 15+ ticket there is a 20% dis­count online at jeffersonpilgrimage.com. Tickets are non-refundable.

Parade. Grand Marshal for the parade will be Maughan Anthony “Tony” Gould. He is the great-great-grandson of the rail­road tycoon, Jay Gould. Downtown Jeffer­son is the place to be on Saturday morn­ing, May 5, at 10 a.m. as the parade makes its way through town. A highlight of the parade is the Town Skirmish, in which Confederate and Union re-enactors put on a dramatic show for visitors.

Hotel Luncheon. After the parade, lunch will be served in the Courtyard and Grand Ballroom of the Excelsior House. The salad luncheon buffet is provided by and served by Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club members from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at a cost of $14. Reservations for this luncheon are encouraged; call 903-665- 2513 or 800-490-7270 or go to excelsi­orhousehotel@gmail.com. Tickets are non-refundable.

Jay Gould Railroad Car. Located on Austin Street across the street from the Excelsior Hotel is the Atalanta, the pri­vate rail car of notorious railroad baron, Jay Gould, of New York City. Visit this uniquely furnished car built in 1886 and discover how it came to Jefferson. Tour tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Excelsior House or online at jeffersonpil­grimage.com.

Craft Fair and Sale. Also located on Austin Street in William Perry Park next to the Excelsior House, the Craft Fair and Sale will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6 and on Sunday, May 7 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Heirloom Plant Sale. The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club prides itself in having one of the best plant sales in the area. The sale contains many reasonably priced plants which have been started from cut­tings of local plants by the members of the club. Take time to browse the selec­tion on the front porch of the Excelsior House. The plant sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6. On Sunday, the sale will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Heritage Quilt Exhibit. Located at 120 E. Austin St. in the Jefferson Institute, this outstanding collection of quilts, some used in the Civil War as well as other fiber arts, is free and open to the public. This exhibit includes demonstrations of weav­ing, quilting, rug hooking, embroidery and other handwork. The Heritage Quilt Exhibit will be open on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Pleasant Hill Quilters. Also located at the Jefferson Institute at 120 E. Aus­tin St., the Pleasant Hill Quilters will be presenting “The Secret Quilt Codes of the Underground Railroads” at 1 p.m. on Sat­urday, May. 6. The Pleasant Hill Quilters was organized in 2004…

(To continue reading this article, please contact us today for a print or email subscription to the Jefferson Jimplecute! — (903) 665-2462, JIMPLECUTE1848@GMAIL.COM)

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