Camellia Teas of the Past: Photos & Videos

For centuries, the leaves of Camellia sinensis have been used to brew a stimulating tea that has been associated with rituals of religion, comfort and hospitality around the world. In that spirit, the Clayton Historical Society hosts a Silver Camellia Tea each year to honor descendants of Clayton pioneer families. 

The Clayton Historical Society’s annual Camellia Tea began in 1977 when descendants of Clayton pioneer families, as well as many long-time residents, gathered at a residence on Morgan Territory Road to celebrate and have a happy reunion for both the descendants of the pioneer families and friends interested in the historical background of the Clayton area. The view of the most rugged side, the North Peak was a beautiful backdrop along with the driveway that was filled with blooming camellias.

From 1976 to 1979, two small Victorian homes that were built circa 1860s and formerly belonged to Joel Clayton (who founded the town in 1857) were joined and renovated to form the current Clayton Museum on Main Street in downtown Clayton. In 1979, the Clayton Historical Society held the (3rd) annual Camellia Tea for the first time at the new museum.  

For our gathering we collect ornamental camellia blossoms from local friends and neighbors to decorate the Clayton Museum. These blossoms, which symbolize beauty, longevity, fidelity and prosperity, add a festive air to the celebration of our history. 

Our 44th Annual Camellia Tea, which was to be held on Sunday, February 14, 2021, has been cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe. Our website features virtual offerings with examples of Camellia Tea celebrations from the past. We are hoping you will all join us for tea and homemade goodies next year when we hope to again be able to gather with friends and neighbors and celebrate our wonderful little town. 

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Videos

Camellia Tea 1992. Video by Martin Easton.
Camellia Tea 1994. Video by Martin Easton.
Camellia Tea 1995. Video by Martin Easton.
Camellia Tea 1996. Video by Martin Easton.
Camellia Tea 1998. Video by Martin Easton.

View the entire Video Collection on the Clayton Historical Society YouTube Channel.

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