Anyone who stands on top of the hill where the historic Haldeman Mansion now sits and gazes out upon the picturesque Susquehanna quickly realizes why this was picked as a village site some 300 years ago. The last documented native peoples to live here were the Conoy. However, according to archaeologists, the site has been occupied by native people for hundreds if not thousands of years. On Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Haldeman Mansion will host the 300th anniversary of Conoytown. The public is invited, not just to observe, but to participate.
Included in the day’s events will be various hands on activities, displays and demonstrations depicting life in an 18th century woodland Indian village. There will be native dancers dressed in regalia dancing to the beat of a drum and the rhythm of native singers. Dances were done as a part worship to the creator, to commemorate the past, celebrate and for fun. Visitors can have a chance to learn a step or two in the social round dances. The Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission will have the 20-foot dugout canoe on display; visitors can learn how it was made by hollowing out a tree with fire.
Conoytown was a trade village where the natives traded with European traders. They traded furs for items from Europe that they could not make themselves. Visitors can see how a trading post was operated and what a cache of furs will buy. Before going hunting, one needs to know what animals makes what tracks; visitors can try identifying the tracks of game animals. Also, they will get a chance to try throwing a tomahawk and checking aim using darts made out of corn cobs. These were important skills to have if you wanted to live in that time period.
The Indians that lived in Conoytown were farmers too. What crops did they grow in their fields? Just who were the three sisters and why can they be found in the garden? Plants that are now widely considered weeds were used as medicine and food. Visitors can take a look at the various plants that can sustain or make you well.
Also, visitors can see an arrowhead being made from a chunk of rock. There will be several artifact collectors there with their collections on display.
Storytelling is also part of the experience. Stories explained how something came to be; some taught a lesson and some were just for fun.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase, including some Native American fry bread. Native American crafts like dream catchers, pouches and jewelry will be for sale. All of this, and much more. Visitors are encouraged to bring your lawn chairs or blankets and plan to spend the day along the picturesque Susquehanna. Anyone with questions may contact Tina Mark at 717 449-2474 or 717 426-2166.
An admission of $5 a car will be charged. Walk-ins will be charged $1 a person. The Haldeman Mansion is located at 230 Locust Grove Road, Bainbridge, just off of Route 441.