1826 Pastimes in Olde Concord: Church, Lafayette Ball, and the Giant Squirrel Hunt

1 Aug 2014

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Social life in early Concord and Cabarrus County usually centered around the church and the county courthouse. For many hard-working people, weekly church services were a welcome chance to put aside household chores and farming tasks for a few hours to worship and visit with neighbors. Court sessions held four times a year provided opportunities to see old friends and transact business county-wide. There were other entertainments to be found, however; politics, civic organizations and various social clubs also provided focal points for persons of like interest to gather and socialize.

One interesting entertainment was the LaFayette Ball. Although a year had passed since the visit of the Marquis de LaFayette to North Carolina (see Cabarrus Genealogy Society blog posting from May 16, 2014), the popular Frenchman and his travels through the country were still a topic of conversation. For $5.00 ($101.41 today), anyone could attend the event held at George Squires’ Inn on North Union Street in Concord, where the current Cannon Library now stands.

However, one of the most unusual event has to be the giant squirrel hunt. With a growing squirrel population causing much damage to local corn crops, Captain John Scott’s militia company organized the hunt. In August of that year, Scott’s militia company divided into two groups, with a small wager between them, to hunt down as may of the culprits as possible. The winning side totaled 4,239 squirrels, according to the Western Carolinian newspaper, and the losers totaled 3,322.

One-of-a-kind social events like these are just a few of the many topics discussed in An Historical Sketch of Olde Concord, 1796-1860, by Judge Clarence E. Horton, Jr. Other subjects include business and industry, churches and schools, law and government.

Courtesy of the Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room