Volunteer returns to Harmony Hall after 17 years

Staff report

January 14, 2014

WHITE OAK — Merle Woodburn Graham picked up a pine needle basket and rubbed the stitches slowly. It has been 17 years since she volunteered at Harmony Hall Plantation and she had come back for a special quilting program on Sunday afternoon with a friend from Elizabethtown.

Graham was a talented and faithful volunteer who spent many a Sunday afternoon, along with her sister Ruby Council, as they made crafts for sale, cleaned and scrubbed old buildings and guided wide-eyed visitors through the old house along with other volunteers.

On Sunday, she talked about all the volunteers who has “gone on” and the fun she had working at Harmony Hall.

The collection basket

Graham has a special interest in the basket because she knew the history behind it. She remembered that her cousin’s wife made it.

Jewel Odum had come here for a Woodburn Family Reunion and it was in conflict with the annual Harmony Hall Reunion date and Jewel wanted to go to Harmony Hall. She made the collection basket in the chapel while she was at Harmony Hall.

Jewel was from Monticello, Ga. She passed about 17 years ago and lived to be 90 years old.

Graham volunteered wearing a period costume of a puckered hat and long flowing dress like they wore during the Revolutionary War period and the time that Harmony Hall was in its hay-day.

She enjoys reminiscing about a wonderful marriage to her late husband Ennis Graham and her seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Harmony Hall Plantation is open each Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and donations are always welcome. Volunteers are needed.

Guests may visit buildings with information plaques about that building beside the door, stroll to Cape Fear River, tour the house, and taste open fire cooking. Groups can see the plantation by appointment. Scouts and youth groups are always welcome.

Call Bobby Lewis, field marshal, at 910-874-4011.

This Sunday, Judy Elkins is scheduled to demonstrate making antique dolls and corn shuck dolls.