Reina P. Cunningham
Visitors to the small town of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., may have felt as though they were in another era this weekend.
The third annual Genealogy Jamboree took place Thursday through Saturday and transformed the town into a scene from a time that most have long since forgotten.
Many of those participating in the event spend their lives trying to educate those who have forgotten about the nation’s history.
The event featured numerous educational genealogy opportunities, as well as re-enactors dressed in period clothing. They gave speeches and demonstrations — all to bring history to life for those who came out for the event.
John H. Peach, of Knoxville, Tenn., was at the Pioneer Day of the Genealogy Jamboree. Peach attended the event as a Thomas Jefferson impersonator and spoke to a crowd in Festival Park on Saturday afternoon.
Peach is an accomplished author with 11 books published. His most recent, Thomas Jefferson-Roots of Religious Freedom, was the foundation for his speech entitled “Setting the Record Straight.”
Although this was Peach’s first time participating in the Jamboree, he already is making plans to return.
“This is my first time at this event,” said Peach. “It won’t be my last.”
Peach was accompanied by a friend he referred to as “Little Man Tate.”
Tate is a 15-year-old who was born blind. He has not allowed his disability to hinder his abilities.
Tate can currently play 15 different instruments and has accompanied Peach throughout the Jamboree as an opening act.
Tate played the fiddle for the crowd just prior to Peach’s speech. The crowd was stunned when they learned the young man had only been playing the fiddle for two weeks. He played for the crowd as though he had been performing on the fiddle for years.
Jefferson was not the only former president who showed up at the event. Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, also made an appearance.
Tom and Sue Wright, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., have spent the last several years portraying the former presidential couple.
“We have been doing this for about four years,” said Tom.
This was not their first time attending an event in Cumberland Gap. They recently attended the Civil War weekend, but this was the first time they participated in the Jamboree.
“We recently attended the Civil War reenactment,” explained Tom. “We’ve been here two years in a row for that.”
Organizers are already preparing for next year’s event, scheduled for June 12 - 14, 2014.
Reach Reina P. Cunningham at 606-248-1010, ext. 205, firstname.lastname@example.org.