Despite a cold rain and fog, the third annual Fannie Moffitt Autumn Stomp had a handsome gathering. By noon, Cumberland Street in Altamont was hopping with crafters, antique cars, reenactments, and great food.
The theme of this year’s Fannie Moffitt Autumn Stomp was “Our Southern Heritage, with the day beginning at the home of Earl David and Brenda Campbell on Old Parker Road. The reenactment of the ambush of Capt. Stephen Tipton was performed on the very spot that the incident occurred in 1864. The story goes that when Confederate troops came into Altamont, three dressed as Union soldiers, rode into the yard and shouted, “Captain Tipton! The Rebels are coming! The Rebels are coming!” As Capt. Tipton rushed out, the confederate soldiers shot and killed him in his own yard. He left behind a wife, two year old daughter and an infant son. Capt. Tipton is buried at the Altamont Cemetery
One of the highlights of the day were skits performed in the Woodlee house by the Confederate Belles, a group of ladies who take their part as confederate wives to heart. The group of four belles sat around a table spread for tea as one wife read a letter from Susan Polk, widow of President John K. Polk. Polk warns the good wives to bury their silver and other precious belongings because Yankee invasion is imminent. Susan goes on to say the Confederates have instructed everyone to burn their houses and barns before the Yankees get there. One woman laments that she cannot burn the home her father built and she grew up in. The dilemma was emotional and real for Civil War wives whose plight is not often considered when researching the era. Later in the afternoon, the Belles taught the Virginia Reel to onlookers.
John Westerfield conducted a Civil War Flag walk as he displayed and discussed the meaning behind each one. Firing the cannon was a hit with everyone. Onlookers were also taught proper military formation.
Musical highlights were vocalists Sarah Douglas Givens and Brenda Ross. The Grundy County High School Band delighted the group with their music as well.
Altamont native and MTSU professor, Dr. Wayne Rollins, was on hand with his book, “Million Dollar Turtles,” and engaged a full auditorium with his vocal talent and group participation. He also led a group of Altamont residents in a conversation about the old days.
Of course, the big draw is always the Fannie Moffitt Hat Contest. Fannie Moffitt herself (who resurrects each second Saturday in October) led a group of hopeful hat wearers down Cumberland Street and into the Florence Scruggs Auditorium for display and judging. The categories for consideration were Most Eccentric, Most Classic, Most Original, and Ugliest Hat. The ugliest hat award went to Joyce Cawley who won a Fannie Moffitt Autumn Stomp tee shirt. Most original hat and $25 went to Julie Coffelt. Janice Nolan left $50 richer for her Most Classic hat. The $100 prize was won by Charlotte Anderson, who had the Most Eccentric hat.
Finishing out the day was the Sequatchee Honor Guard flag ceremony, complete with twenty-one gun salute and Taps, along with the haunted trail, and a street dance with music performed by Hard Times Band.
October 10, was a rainy, cold day, a busy day, and a fun day. Fellowship was sweet and a good time was had by all.