Kings County residents will have a chance to sit beneath a heart nut tree on the blossoming grounds of Prescott House and be whisked away by local literature of love presented in the style of bygone days.
Prescott House on Starr’s Point Road, just outside of Port Williams, will be the scenic backdrop for an upcoming fundraiser for the Kings Historical Society called Love in Bloom.
Kings County Museum office manager Kate MacInnes Adams, one of the event organizers, said Prescott House and the grounds are a good fit for this year’s summer fundraiser. She hopes the event will leave people wanting more in regard to learning about Kings County’s rich history.
“We want to excite people and bring people in to explore this amazing history we have here,” MacInnes Adams said.
First World War stories
Among the love stories being brought to life through dramatic readings and a performance by actors from Kentville’s CentreStage Theatre is the story of Pt. George Price. He was the last commonwealth soldier to lose his life in the First World War. Those in attendance will hear the story of how Price’s love for his fiancée at home defied death, cradled in the petals of a handmade flower.
This is quite timely, considering the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the Never to Return exhibit at Prescott House. Running from July to September, the exhibit features war stories of Price and Lt. Joseph Prescott, brother to Mary Prescott, who also was killed in the Great War.
Other tales of love
The CentreStage actors will perform a fictional account of a reverend that relies on the local stagecoach to provide suitors for his daughters. This is inspired by the historical comedy Three to Get Married by Kay Hill, performed recently by CentreStage. The story is set near Aylesford in the 1830s.
Event organizer Beth Irvine, a CentreStage board member and Three to Get Married director, said she is most looking forward to seeing the actors perform in a different manner and venue than they usually would. It will be “a new experience for them,” she added.
The story of Ebenezer Bishop will also be shared. He risked life and limb to cross the Minas Basin on the ice cakes in winter to propose to his one true love. There will be an accounting of the wedding of the daughter of Charles Ramage Prescott, shared in the words of her cousin, who attended the nuptials in 1842. Excerpts from Longfellow’s Evangeline will also be read.
Trip back in time
Summer students from the Kings County Museum dressed in period attire will be among the performers and servers. The love stories span about a century and those attending are encouraged to dress in fancy attire from the Victorian to Edwardian periods. The person judged to have the best costume will receive an original drawing by artist Susan Cargill.
MacInnes Adams said she is most looking forward to seeing how guests will dress for the event. She said they will be presenting love stories but “we’re also creating a stage for people.”
There will be live musical performances by Ariana and Andy, who will be playing a repertoire of French fiddle tunes. Refreshments will also be served.
The fundraiser takes place on Aug. 17 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets cost $12 and are available at the Kings County Museum in Kentville or at Prescott House on the day of the event. The ticket price includes admission to the Prescott House Museum. For more information or to purchase tickets over the phone, call 678-6237.
About Price’s handmade flower
As a young man, George Price left his home in Port Williams to work in Saskatchewan. He was conscripted on Oct. 15, 1917 in Moose Jaw with the 210th Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. He joined the 28th Battalion at the battlefront on Feb. 6, 1918.
He was shot by a German sniper in the town of Ville-sur-Haine on Nov. 11, 1918 at 10:50 a.m. He died eight minutes later, the last commonwealth soldier to be killed in the First World War.
As Price lay dying, he removed a crocheted flower given to him by his fiancée in Saskatchewan that was hidden under his tunic. He gave the flower to a local girl who had witnessed him being shot and rushed to his assistance.
The woman kept the flower for more than 70 years. Her daughter returned it to Price’s nephew, George Barkhouse of Kingsport, during his visit to Belgium in 1991. The presentation was made at the inauguration of the canal footbridge in Ville-sur-Haine, the George Price Bridge.
The flower is on loan to Prescott House Museum as part of the ‘Never to Return’ First World War exhibit.