Melvin Allbeck at colonial forge with young Steven Jefferson, 1990 Callands Festival. Photo: James "Mack" Doss
In 1775, the Pittsylvania Courthouse became a
hotbed of Revolutionary-era fervor when freeholders met there and
voted to form a "Committee of Safety" to stand by their fellow
Bostonians and boycott all English goods. In 1777, Pittsylvania
County ended the official use of the courthouse (built in 1772), as
well as the clerk's office (built in 1767). The courthouse soon
found new life as a store owned by a Scotsman, Samuel Calland. The
fame of the store, which sold, in addition to necessities, the
finest imported goods, was such that the community, originally
known as Chatham, became known as Callands.
Inspired by the bicentennial of Pittsylvania County
in 1967, the clerk's office was restored under the leadership of
the Chatham Garden Club, and the courthouse under the leadership of
the Pittsylvania Historical Society. Wishing to bring to life the
long history of Callands as embodied in these two structures, James
"Mack" Doss of the Pittsylvania Historical Society organized the
first Callands Festival in 1980. The annual festival day, always
held the first Saturday of October, witnesses area citizens
engaging in period crafts: blacksmithing, rug-hooking, spinning,
basket-weaving, making apple butter, cider, fried sweet potato and
apple pies. In addition, a "longhunters camp" is erected displaying
the authentic gear of woodsmen who spent months in the forests
trapping and hunting for fur, the "coin of the realm," which they
sold to Squire Calland. The project is documented with photographs
and accompanying descriptions, a Callands Festival brochure, and a
report entitled "Historic Callands."
Originally submitted by: Virgil Goode, Jr., Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.