Chinker in a Bag -- Unusual Gift Teaches History to Children at 2014 Bluemont Fair

Chinker in a BagA log cabin gets its strength--not only from the heavy tree trunks of the walls--but also from the daub between them, reinforced with stones called "chinkers."

During the 2014 Bluemont Fair (September 20-21), this lesson was brought home to children who visited Bluemont's first school and church. Each child received a "Chinker in a Bag."

Volunteer Iris Jones had prepared for this by sewing more than 5o small muslin bags. She dyed them with tea and ink-stamped them with the image of the little log Snickersville Academy.

Volunteer Natalie Evancheck designed a tag that announces, "Congratulations-You are the owner of a piece of Bluemont history."

Usable chinking stones are about the size and shape of your hand with fingers held straight out and touching together. Apparently the stones got their name from the "chink" sound they make when they bump together

This summer Justin LaMountain and Eric Westergard collected, reused, and laid hundreds of chinking stones, securing them neatly in place with an authentic period daub made of sand, lime, and red Virginia clay. They restored all the log wall work originally done by village neighbors during the spring of 1825, slmost two centuries ago.

The Snickersville Academy, Bluemont's first school and church now being restored by Friends of Bluemont, has stood almost 190 years. It was used as a church for about a quarter century, remained the only local school for a quarter-century more, and then became a log cabin home to many families for about a century, until the 1970s.