Saturday, August 1, 2020

Living History Photo Challenge for the Month of July 2020

                                                                                                                                              LIVING HISTORIAN'S CREED
The clothing I wear that helps me 
to  "get there"  airing out on the line.
We are the people to whom the past is forever speaking.
We listen to it because we cannot help ourselves,  for the past speaks to us with many voices.
Far out of that dark nowhere which is the time before we were born,  men and women who were flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone went through fire and storm to break a path to the future.
We are part of that future they lived and died for.
They are part of the past that brought the future.
What they did--the lives they lived,  the sacrifices they made,  the stories they told and the songs they sang and,  finally,  the deaths they died--make up a part of our own experience.
It is as real as something that happened                                                                                                                                                        last week.
                                                                                                                                                  It is a basic part of our basic heritage 
                                                                                                                                                    as Americans.
                                                                                                                                                   Bruce Catton

~   ~   ~

~I feel it is part of my job in life to keep the past alive.
So that is what I will continue to do~
Your friend in time,  Ken

~   ~   ~ 

Well here we are again,  a new month and not an official reenactment in sight.  However,  there seems to be a couple of smaller private events planned.  I do hope they come to pass.  As I mentioned last month,  I seem to be the only reenactor left on Facebook who is continuing on with the daily Reenactor Photo Challenge.  I've had numerous people message me to tell me how much they enjoy seeing the pictures I post everyday,  which I do appreciate;  They tell me they like my history lesson snippets for it takes them away from the present for a short while.  Well,  I can honestly say I enjoy looking through my past photographs and being reminded of so many of the great times bringing history to life in so many real and diversified ways,  as you shall see in this latest collection.
So,  as I wrote on my Facebook page on July 1st:
To brighten up the news feed and get away from all of the harsh and getting harsher doom & gloom of our modern time,  here is my daily Reenactor Photo Challenge for the month of July:  Day 97 until our 1st official reenactment occurs.
Then I wrote a description or history lesson of or around the picture posted,  now seen beneath each photograph here----and I concluded with
Now I ask my other friends in the hobby to post pictures with a small explanation on their own page.  And if you do,  please include your picture in my comments as well.
The first picture in July was----------------
July 1
We're coming up on the 4th of July - my 2nd favorite holiday of 
the year  (only topped by Christmas) - so I have the honor of 
showing a photograph of myself with Dr. Benjamin Franklin!  We 
were inside the replicated Pennsylvania State House  (known as 
the Henry Ford Museum);  I suppose if I would want to meet 
anyone while in the Pennsylvania State House,  it would be Ben 
Franklin,  a true Patriot and,  perhaps,  the United States' 
finest citizen.
As Dr. Franklin explained,  it was here where the 2nd Continental 
Congress met,  and it was also where the Declaration of 
Independence  (of which Franklin helped to write)  and the U.S. 
Constitution were debated and adopted.  He explained how,  on 
June 7,  1776,  Richard Henry Lee,  a delegate to the Second 
Continental Congress,  presented a draft of a resolution that called 
for the Congress to declare a separation from British rule.  A 
committee of five was formed,  including Franklin,  John Adams,  
and Thomas Jefferson,  to write a Declaration of Independence,  
which was presented to Congress for review on June 28,  1776.  
On July 1,  1776,  debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as 
planned,  with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution.
Stay tuned to tomorrow's picture to see what happens next!


July 2
We're coming up on the 4th of July - my 2nd favorite holiday of 
the year  (only topped by Christmas) - so I have the honor of 
showing a photograph of myself with Thomas Jefferson,  the 
main author from the Committee of Five  (Jefferson,  Ben 
Franklin,  John Adams,  Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman)  
who wrote the Declaration of Independence!  We were at 
Colonial Williamsburg when this likeness was captured.
It is July 2nd,  and this was the day in 1776 that the Second 
Continental Congress in Philadelphia passed the resolution for 
independence from Britain with no opposing vote cast.  You may 
recall the famous letter John Adams wrote to his wife,  Abigail,  
dated July 3rd,  noting his exuberance upon the approval of this 
resolution.  In the letter Adams wrote,  "The Second Day of July 
1776,  will be the most memorable Epocha,  in the History of 
America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated,  by 
succeeding Generations,  as the great anniversary Festival.  It 
ought to be commemorated,  as the Day of Deliverance by 
solemn Act of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be 
solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews,  Games,  Sports,  
Guns,  Bells,  Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the 
Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
So why do we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day and not 
July 2nd as John Adams noted?
We do so because the Declaration of Independence itself was 
adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4,  1776,  making it  
"official,"  hence,  the date on the original printings 
in 1776: July 4.
Stay tuned to tomorrow's picture to see what happens next!

4th of July weekend is here,  and it is filled with history!
July 3
For today's picture we jump up to 1863 where you'll find Patty and 

I relaxing on a porch swing at the 1797 Cashtown Inn in 
Gettysburg  (the picture was taken in 2008) - a Civil War historical 
site. Hmmm...before or after General Lee and his army 
came through...?
It was during the Gettysburg Campaign when Robert E. Lee's 

Army of Northern Virginia had surged across southern 
Pennsylvania at will until June 28.  Late that day scouts informed 
Lee that the Union army was north of the Potomac River and 
coming his way.  Quickly Lee ordered his scattered army to 
concentrate at Cashtown,  which stood strategically on his supply 
line back to Virginia.  Within hours,  legions of lean Rebel soldiers 
descended from Cashtown Gap and shuffled past this inn 
belonging to Jacob Mickley,  who witnessed the spectacle and 
noted that it appeared as if  “the entire force under Lee...passed 
within twenty feet of my barroom.”
During the third day of fighting,  July 3,  the Confederates 
attempted to penetrate the center of Union forces on Cemetery 
Ridge.  During the attack,  famously known as Pickett’s Charge,  
only one Confederate brigade temporarily reached the top of the 
ridge—afterwards called the high watermark of the Confederacy
—led by Brigadier General Lewis Armistead who,  just before 
being shot,  yelled,  “Give them cold steel, boys!”
The charge ultimately proved disastrous for the Confederates,  
with casualties approaching 60 percent of about 12,500 men in 
less than one hour.  As a consequence,  Confederate General 
Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat and ultimately abandon his 
attempt to reach Washington City  (D.C.)  via Pennsylvania.
This battle was the turning point in the War for the Union Army.
And here my wife and I sit on the porch of Cashtown 
in tranquility...


It's the 4th of July---Independence Day! A date filled with history!
Day 100  until our 1st official reenactment occurs.
4th of July!
Holding a John Dunlap print of the Declaration of Independence,  
in this picture I am at Detroit's Fort Wayne,  explaining to visitors 
of the history of this most important broadside.  For instance,  this 
is the first time we find the words  "United States of America"  on 
any official document.
It is called the John Dunlap print because Mr.  Dunlap was the 
official printer to The Continental Congress,  and it was on the 
historical day and date of the 4th of July in 1776 when Dunlap 
was commissioned to produce the first printed versions of the 
Declaration of Independence in his Philadelphia shop.  For the 
time he printed on that July 4 afternoon and well into the 
evening,  he was supervised by the drafting committee  (including 
Thomas Jefferson,  Ben Franklin,  and John Adams).  Dunlap 
continued working feverishly throughout the night,  printing 
approximately 200 broadsides so they could be posted,  read 
aloud,  and distributed to the thirteen states and elsewhere by 
couriers on July 5th to alert the citizenry of this momentous event 
in time.  As John Adams later wrote,  "We were all in haste."  
Copies were also dispatched by members of Congress to various 
assemblies,  conventions,  and committees of safety as well as to 
the commanders of Continental Army.  In fact,  it was one of 
these Dunlap broadsides that was delivered to George 
Washington in New York that he read aloud to the troops 
on July 9,  1776.
Of the many  "Dunlap broadsides”  of the Declaration that were 
printed on July 4,  only twenty-five copies are known to exist 
today.  By setting this most important of documents in type,  John 
Dunlap placed himself in harm’s way as much as any delegate.
It is always an honor for me to teach of the Declaration of 
Independence at reenactments.  
This is what I'm missing most this year.


It may be July 5,   but it's still the holiday weekend:
July 5
Let's imagine being at the very first public reading of the 
Declaration of Independence,  which took place in Philadelphia 
on July 8,  1776.
At noon on that date - a hot day in Philadelphia - several hundred 
people crowded onto the State House courtyard to hear a public 
reading of the Declaration of Independence.  Colonel John 
Nixon,  of the Philadelphia Committee of safety,  climbed atop an 
odd makeshift stage---a circular platform used for astronomy studies...
There,  elevated above the crowd,  he began to read.
"In Congress, July 4,  1776.
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America
In General Congress Assembled.
When in the Course of Human Events..."
When he finished,  resounding cheers rose from the courtyard.  In 
the street outside that evening a parade and thirteen gun salute 
took place,  as did bonfires.  Church bells rang into the night,  and 
Philadelphians everywhere lit candles in their windows.
No,  I did not present myself as John Nixon,  but I was very 
honored and proud to have taken part in a reading of the 
Declaration of Independence at Old Fort Wayne in Indiana.  This 
will be one of my most remembered highlights during 
my time in reenacting.


July 6
Here are most of the 2019 participants of the 4th of July event at 
historic Mill Race Village in Northland.  As you may or may not 
be aware,  I formed a civilian reenacting group known as Citizens 
of the American Colonies in 2016,  and since then we have 
become fairly well-known in the local living history/reenacting 
circles.  In 2017,  a few of us - only five - just showed up on our 
own to Mill Race Village during their 4th of July 
commemoration.  Since then we have been invited back by the 
Village every year,  and each year our numbers grow.  We can be 
seen moving throughout the throngs of modern celebrants,  
teaching and talking history - colonial and Rev War history - to an 
excited and interested crowd of proud Americans.  We also have 
an annual reading of the Declaration of Independence by our own 
Dr. Benjamin Franklin - probably the highlight of the day.
This picture was taken last year - Independence Day 2019 - and,  
though not everyone in this shot are Citizens members,  you can 
probably guess we made quite a splash having all of us  
"colonials"  (including about a dozen more who didn't make the 
group picture)  milling about the small open-air museum.
I don't know if any other single event made me as sad as when I 
heard the 4th of July at Mill Race was cancelled for this 
year...perhaps maybe the only challenge to this would be the Civil 
War event at Greenfield Village over Memorial Weekend.
God willing,  we'll be back in 2021.
July 7
I am still in the Independence Day mode,  and will be for most of 
this week.  It's my opinion that the United States of America is 
the greatest country in the world,  even with its faults,  and I am 
proud to be a born and bred native!
And what better time to be an American than on the 4th of July - 
Independence Day!
As I mentioned before,  I have spent my 4th of July celebrations 
wearing period clothing at Greenfield Village for over a decade,  
and one of my favorite years was 2012.  That was the year when 
we spent much of the holiday visiting our friends,  the 
Firestones,  at their farm.  Aside from the morning and evening 
chores,  such as milking,  the 4th of July was a day to have fun 
and celebrate with picnics,  games,  such as crochet,  bell ringing,  
and even fireworks.  It was also a good day to make ice cream - 
there were no Dairy Queens or Baskin-Robbins in the 1880s.
Of course,  since we were not employees of The Henry Ford,  we 
could not partake in the treat.  However,  we still enjoyed the time 
we spent visiting our presenter friends and learning even more 
about Victorian Independence Day celebrations.
By the way,  the temperature reached 102 degrees that day.  
Yes,  we were hot in all those clothes!  
God willing,  we'll be back in 2021.




July 8
I am still in the Independence Day mode,  for I love this holiday 
almost above all others.  It's my opinion that the United States of 
America is the greatest country in the world,  even with its faults,  
and I am proud to be a born and bred native!
And what better time to be an American than on the 4th of July - 
Independence Day!
In this picture you see me walking by the home of George 
Wythe,  a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a mentor 
to Thomas Jefferson.
When the Revolutionary War began,  George Wythe was a 
prominent lawyer and clerk of the House of Burgess, and was 
selected as a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress.  Benjamin 
Rush said of Wythe,  “He seldom spoke in Congress,  but when 
he did,  his speeches were sensible,  correct and pertinent.”  
Thomas Jefferson said that  “(George Wythe was)  my second 
father,  my faithful and beloved mentor in youth and my most 
affectionate friend through life.”  Jefferson and his family lived in 
this house for a short time at the end of 1776.  George 
Washington used Wythe's home on Palace Green as his 
headquarters to prepare for the climactic battle at Yorktown in 1781.
So,  as you probably have figured,  I didn't just walk past George 
Wythe's house - I went in.  This boy from Michigan now can say 
that he's been in a house where not only one,  but two signers of 
the Declaration of Independence lived.  And one of those signers 
Thomas Jefferson  (even if he lived in this house for only a short 
while) - was the main author of this most-important document!
Plus,  the Father of our Country also stayed here.
This was a major historical highlight for me.
Yes it was...!


July 9
Since 2011 at the Port Sanilac Civil War event,  we have tried to 
gear our period fashion show to coincide with the everyday needs 
& norms of those from the 1860s we are representing.  
Called  "Clothing With a Purpose,"  this fashion show is a history 
lesson in itself,  for the living historians upon the stage speak not 
only of their clothing,  but the purpose their garments serve in 
their everyday lives.  In this picture you can see farmers and rural 
living,  a wealthy gentleman,  summer clothing of varying types 
and classes,  young ladies about to  "come out"  into society and 
are ready for courting,  among other fashions of the Civil War era.
And we have each participant speak for themselves.
It works quite well.

July 10
Colonial Days at Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne:
Imagine recreating the era of the founding of our nation.
Imagine walking in the proverbial shoes of the Founding Generation!
You can just imagine,  then,  how I felt when I purchased my first 
set of period-proper 18th century clothing,  I absolutely could not 
wait to time-travel to the 1770s!  And so here I am,  mingling 
with the great George Washington,  a man I so admire for his role 
in the beginnings of our great nation.
Oh!  The people you meet...
Though Fort Wayne was built in the 1840s,  we certainly did an 
ample job of giving it that 18th century makeover,  and this was 
done by including a few of the accessories brought along to give 
our scenario the  "color"  needed to bring the past to life.  
Reenacting is much more than just wearing clothing of the time;  
surrounding yourself with objects of the day can be just as 
important as the outfit.
To me,  this can bring the era to life for the interested fans of 
history in ways that will draw them into the world of the past,  
rather than just witnessing it.

These two-for-one pictures of 19th century Americana were taken in 2015 at the Grand Ledge Victorian Days Festival.  It is sort of a time-line event,  for the era it covers,  at least in fashion,  is from the 1860s  (us)  through the 1890s,  and fashion did change quite a bit during that period.
July 11
The boat you see here is,  unfortunately,  not an actual 
paddlewheel boat,  but,  instead,  a modern version of a steamboat 
giving patrons rides up and down the Grand River.  Even though it 
wasn’t period,  it still gave off the impression that it was,  so we 
took advantage of the photo opportunities.  So here we are,  
enjoying a beautiful spring day in the merry month of May  (for 
that's when the event took place).  Even though steamboats were 
plentiful in my home state of Michigan in the 19th century  (with 
all the lakes and rivers we have here,  how could they not be?),  we 
hear very little of them.  Mostly we think of the Mississippi River 
boats,  but,  yes,  Michigan had its fair share.
19th century Americana indeed.
(That is Dave Tennies in the picture below)
Many thanks to my friends and co-reenactors,  Dave Tennies and
Jackie Schubert,  for their part in bringing the past to life.

July 12
Next up,  here I am at the Plymouth Historical Museum to help 
with their  "A Night at the Museum,"  event,  based on the movies 
of the same name.  This is where a group of children will go into 
the meeting room and have pizza & pop while watching one of 
the  "Night at the Museum"  movies.  When the movie is over,  
the museum director will invite the kids to come upstairs and see 
what happens while holding the  "Tablet of Akmenrah."  Those 
that have seen the movie know that the tablet makes the 
mannequins come to life.  So,  when the tablet is brought 
upstairs,  the living historians  (as mannequins)  will come to life 
and interact with the kids.
So,  as this group of young ladies came up to me one of them 
said,  "I think that's George Washington!"
Another girl kept staring at me - really eyeing me up and down as 
I stood motionless - then she whispered,  "No,  that's not George 
Washington...that's Paul Revere!  I know it's Paul Revere because 
we were just studying him in school!"
How cool is that?  She knew exactly who I was without being 
told by anyone!  She also knew there were two lanterns shining in 
the Old North Church steeple,  and that Revere did not yell out  
"The British are coming!"  because,  as she said,  "we"  were all 
British citizens at the time and,  instead,  told people that the  
"Regulars were on the march."
I shoulda just let her give my presentation!
I was so proud.

July 13
Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat,
please put a penny in the old man's hat...
At Christmas at the Fort  (Fort Wayne in Detroit),  which takes 
place the first Saturday in December,  a few of us living historians 
become the Logan Family of 1863,  where we do our best to 
remain in 1st person/immersion for the entire day,  all while 
inside an actual 19th century home.  Part of our Christmas 
celebration is decorating our tabletop Christmas Tree with period 
baubles,  as you see here,  giving it that 1860s flavor.  We also 
have the traditional Noah's Ark toy below,  including Noah 
himself beckoning the pairs of animals to the ark.  During and 
after this decorating tradition we sing carols of the time - no 
songs about Santa or Rudolph yet - most of which you would 
know,  such as Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
As we are celebrating Christmas in 1863,  touring groups of  
"future"  apparitions come into our home lead by a tour guide at 
15 minute increments,  and one of us will fade from the past to 
speak to those from the future to explain our Christmas rituals 
and traditions.  And they,  in turn,  can peer into the past to see 
Christmas as it once was,  for we follow no script;  during our 
time here,  we  *become*  the Logan Family of 1863 and utilize 
our deep research to make it all come to life as naturally as if...
For many of us who participate in this,  it's just not Christmas 
without this event.
I tend to agree.

July 14
Is it real, or is it Memorex?
Well...a little of both.
This picture is all exactly as it was taken in the original 
kitchen/cooking area of the Eagle Tavern inside Greenfield 
Village,  except for the fire in the hearth.  I added that so you 
wouldn't see me staring at an empty fireplace  (lol).
This picture was taken in November 2019 and there actually was 
nip in the autumn air,  so,  though it may seem unfitting in our 
heat-filled July days,  it was perfect for November.
I grew up with a fireplace in the house - two,  in fact - that my 
father kept going from October through at least April.  My 
mother,  during the same time,  would light candles placed 
throughout,  so our house,  though modern in nature,  had a very 
old-time feel to it.
And that played a large role in my passion for the past.

July 15
Me,  my wife,  and our daughter,  taking a stroll one early fall day 
in the early 1860s at Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne.
I have been luckier than many when it comes to reenacting,  for 
often my family will join me.  They may not attend every single 
event,  but will participate here and there,  depending on where 
the reenactment is held.  My wife will take part in about three or 
four events a year.  My oldest son,  who reenacted with us for a 
good ten years,  is no longer in the hobby,  for he is now married 
with kids of his own and has his hands in many different 
activities,  including music,  gardening,  cooking,  and caring for 
his family.  My second oldest son loves to reenact and comes out 
as often as time and occupation allows to both Civil War and Rev 
War events,  as does his fiance.  My third son will join us usually 
when his mother comes out.  And our youngest,  our daughter,  
will come to two,  maybe three,  events a year.
What more could a man ask for?
I am blessed.

July 16
In today's picture I am honored to be amongst the elite of 
Revolutionary War reenactors,  Ken Roberts and Ross Grover.
Ken has been reenacting since the 1960s  and has done French & 
Indian War,  Revolutionary War,  the War of 1812,  and the Civil 
War.  At 82,  this man has more energy than people half his age - 
he seriously does! - and he still,  to this day,  gets every bit as 
excited about an event as I do.  He has also played as an extra in 
the movie Last of the Mohicans,  starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
On the right we have Ross Grover,  who was not only a long-time 
reenactor in the French & Indian War,  Rev War,  and War of 
1812,  weaving belts and making candles at nearly every event,  
but was also one of the presenter blacksmiths who worked at 
Greenfield Village many years ago. Additionally,  if you 
remember seeing the oxen Sam & Jeb inside the Cotswold 
Cottage area of the Village way back when,  they were probably 
under Ross's charge,  for he would also walk through the 
Village streets with the yoked up beasts.
I am sorry to say we lost Ross in 2019.
He is truly missed.
Again,  it is such an honor for me to be associated with such 
reenacting legends.

July 17
This weekend would have been our annual resurrection of the 
Logan family at Charlton Park inside the Sixberry House.  
Unfortunately,  like all other reenactments,  it's been cancelled 
this year,  and our participation is sorely missed.
In case you are not aware,  I am very lucky to be assigned a 
historic home to use during this event,  and over the years a few 
of us have created our reenacting family with the surname 
Logan,  which is unique in and of itself on that note alone.  Our 
day is spent immersed,  in speech,  mind,  and action,  in the 
1860s,  which can be a little,  shall we say,  daunting at times,  but 
so remarkable in its outcome.
One of the best purchases I've made in the reenacting world is a 
hand-cranked ice cream maker.  After years of watching the 
historical presenters at the 1880s Firestone Farm make ice cream 
every 4th of July - and wanting to taste some but,  of course,  not 
being allowed to - I found a maker very similar,  hand-crank and 
all,  and,  naturally,  bought it.  Lucky for me,  I was also able to 
procure a period recipe as well!  So now it's become an annual 
afternoon activity to make ice cream as they would have in the 
1860s while at the Charlton Park event.
Such an activity is worthy of a photograph,  for making ice cream 
was a special event.
*sigh*
Next year can't come soon enough...


July 18
This weekend,  aside from Charlton Park,  would have also been 
our Colonial Frankenmuth Weekend.  Yes,  I did 1860s on 
Saturday and 1770s on Sunday - three time periods  (including 
21st century)  in one weekend!
I know...you're thinking  "Colonial Frankenmuth"??
Why,  yes.  Behind the plaza/mall of shops near the covered 
bridge is a large patch of land - big enough to hold a decent-sized 
reenactment,  including soldiers,  civilians,  and sutlers.  Even 
blacksmith demonstrations.  And this reenactment draws a 
sizeable crowd to witness history.  
Unfortunately,  like nearly all of the others reenactments,  this 
event has been cancelled  (we have one coming up in October - 
fingers crossed and a prayer that it survives this lost year of 2020).
As for the picture:  my daughter-in-law just happened to come up 
to Frankenmuth on this day and brought along her three children - 
my grandkids - so naturally I had to take a picture with them!  
Grandson Ben,  on the right in the above picture,  
will sometimes wear his own tricorn hat 
we have for him when he visits our house,  as you see in the 
second picture below.
Maybe one day he,  along with sis and brother,  
can come out with us.
How cool would that be?

July 19
For a few years nearly a decade ago a few of us did a Civil War-
era candlelight/lantern tour at the Troy Historical Museum and 
Village located in...um...Troy,  Michigan,  which is a perfect place 
for such a tour,  with ten historical structures placed in a tiny 
open-air village museum setting.  Patty and I and our two 
youngest portrayed a frontier family living in a log cabin,  which 
was built originally in 1840.  Throughout the day Patty spun wool 
into yarn on her spinning wheel as I spoke to the tour groups 
about the importance of letter writing to and from the Boys in 
Blue off fighting the war.  
An interesting debate occurred recently about whether or not our 
19th century ancestors actually placed their guns on the wall over 
the fireplace.  Questions of rising heat from the hearth,  for the 
fire would be going throughout the day and night,  would not only 
dry the gun's wooden stock out,  but could be dangerous as well,  
for there was gunpowder in that barrel.
Perhaps the most agreeable explanation of this practice is 
explained here:
"The custom of displaying firearms in a place of high visibility 
goes back a long way.  By the way that's the key thing here.  The 
fireplace was often a focal point of the house or at least the main 
room in a house.  The guns above the fireplace,  or in a visible 
place on a wall,  were set there for display,  for they were worn 
and no longer of use,  and that display was the main thing about 
their placement.  Usable long guns were often placed above or 
around the front door to the outside,  or in the rear of the home.  
That location was not for display but for use in emergency or 
hunting.  If you were fortunate enough to have a separate 
bedroom,  then you might keep a gun close by there again for utility."
So now you know.

July 20
As a living historian,  very little thrills me more historically than 
visiting an 18th century home while wearing period-appropriate 
clothing with friends of the same mindset.  And if said home just 
happens to have period-dressed presenters as well - especially if 
their historical knowledge goes beyond the "Welcome to the 
home of-------" - then we have the perfect storm,  for now the 
conversations can be filled with the back & forth passing of 
information in a natural setting.  This,  fortunately,  happens 
nearly every time I visit the Daggett Farm House in my 18th 
century clothing;  I feel as if I'm a neighbor from down the road 
who is happening by,  stopping to see how their crop is fairing,  
exchanging thoughts and ideas.
We all just seem to fit.
Now,  please understand:  we zip down to the Daggett house 1st 
thing before anyone else,  so when other  (modern-dressed)  
visitors to Greenfield Village show up,  the rest of us move on our 
way,  for the presenters have a job to do and the visitors did not 
pay to see us living historians taking over,  so we are always very 
respectful and aware of the surroundings.
The image here was taken on a July day...

July 21
"Cousin"  Charlie and me in front of the post office at the 
Jackson,  Michigan Civil War event.
This man is an amazing reenactor,  one that takes his history 
seriously,  and he makes all feel welcome no matter which side of 
the Mason-Dixon they may be on.  He usually remains in a 1st 
person manner the entire reenactment and brings the level of 
battle and after-battle to a higher level than most;  I have seen 
him  "steal"  shoes off of dead soldiers,  for example.
Yep - - missing this man greatly during this barren time.

July 22
Patty and I,  along with our two youngest,  spent four and a half 
days in Colonial Williamsburg back in 2016.
Yes,  I was dressed for the part the entire time  (and the rest of my 
family about half of that time)!
Now,  I have read that candle-making was a chore that was 
practiced by most folks who lived in the 18th century.  And this is 
true because the majority of the population at that time lived on 
farms away from the cities.  But while in Williamsburg I was 
informed that most  "city"  dwellers did not make candles,  for 
they had occupations such as blacksmithing,  tinsmithing,  
storekeep,  coopering,  tailoring,  running taverns,  and other jobs 
to keep them busy earning a wage to make a living;  'twas easier 
to buy candles from the local chandlers  (candlemakers)  who 
made a living making and selling  (or bartering)  candles.
On the day this picture was taken there were off-and-on light rain 
showers,  and because of the wet weather,  the chandlers were not 
able to perform their job,  for in summer months they worked out 
of doors.  But I happen to find them spending their  "day off"  
collecting wood needed for future fires at their shop.
So,  yep---there goes Ken,  making conversation with the 
Williamsburg chandlers.  And it was during the conversation here 
that I learned about the importance of candle-making as an 
occupation in a city busy with people who had little time to make 
their own light.
By the way,  kudos to Colonial Williamsburg for using period-
correct transferring tools  (such as an 18th century-style 
wheelbarrow)  rather than a golf cart or some other modern form 
of transportation for deliveries.
Keeping it real for history.

July 23
An evening in the Eagle Tavern.
Early in the 19th century,  a stage line was operated between 
Detroit and Tecumseh on what was originally an Indian trail.  
With the coming of the early settlers from the east,  however,  it 
became the settler's route as well.  As traveling increased and 
roads were made possible for stagecoach travel,  taverns were 
built along this route.  The first stage stop that comes our way on 
our journey west from Detroit was originally known as Parks 
Tavern when it was built in Clinton,  Michigan,  around 1831.  
Parks Tavern was renamed the Eagle Tavern in 1849 and that 
name remained until the Civil War.  It was one of the first of the 
taverns built on this road,  which eventually extended to Niles,  
Michigan in 1832,  and then,  by 1833,  the road made it to 
Chicago,  when it became known as the Chicago Turnpike,  and 
finally the Chicago Road/US 12.  The journey through the 
Irish Hills is simply beautiful.
During Civil War Remembrance,  the good folks at Greenfield 
Village allow period-dress only reenactors to spend an evening 
inside this tavern,  candle lit,  a fiddle-player performing music of 
the mid-19th century,  and a variety of drinks served,  to give us 
an experience of the past like little else can.  It is one of the 
highlights of the entire weekend for us.
Unfortunately,  CWR was cancelled this year,  and the 
Eagle Tavern has yet to re-open.
Here's hoping for a grand return in 2021!

July 24
Gigi is a top-notch historical presenter at Greenfield Village---and 
she often works at the Daggett house at that!---and through our 
many talks she has shared a bit of her genealogy with me,  telling 
me of her relation - a direct descendant,  mind you - of Sergeant 
Major John Champe,  her 4th  (or is it 5th?)  great grandfather.  
Sgt. Champe was a Revolutionary War senior enlisted soldier in 
the Continental Army who became a double agent as part of an 
attempt to capture the American traitor General Benedict Arnold.
After the war,  it is said that  "on the personal recommendation of 
General Washington,  Sergeant Champe was appointed to the 
position of doorkeeper or sergeant-of-arms of the Continental 
Congress,  then meeting at Philadelphia."
Well,  wouldn't you know there was a song written about Gigi's 
ancestor called The Ballad of Sgt. Champe!  I was given a music 
book of early American Folk Songs and,  you guessed it,  the 
ballad of her ancestor - words & music - was in the collection!  
How cool would that be to have your ancestor memorialized in 
an American folk song?
So,  I naturally gave this book to Gigi.  I mean,  I can think of 
no one better to have such a collection,  right?
What are friends for?
So cool!

July 25
We who reenact the Civil War era usually center our reenactments 
around battles.  But rarely does one get to show the modern 
public just what it was like to take part in a town celebrating their 
boys volunteering,  signing up,  and even getting physicals by the 
town doctor to form a new regiment - the 21st Michigan 
Volunteer Infantry.  Especially when the event takes place 150 
years to the actual anniversary date:  September 8,  2012 - 
September 8,  1862...on the very same spot where it had happened!
The formation of a regiment in a community was an exciting 
event,  and the young men felt proud to be soldiers and the 
objects of so much public attention.  Swept up in the excitement 
of the event,  each day hundreds of visitors,  including public 
officials,  prominent town residents,  family members,  
sweethearts,  and news reporters visited the camp.
John Clark Taylor,  writer for the Ionia Gazette,  remembered:
“Every day was show day and visiting day at Camp Sigel…
Always several hundred,  and occasionally the numbers reaching 
into the thousands,  made their way into the camp to see the new 
soldiers striving to adapt themselves to the new life,  and not a 
little proud themselves in their role as armed defenders of their 
country.  These were truly,  and with good reason,  exciting days 
for everyone.”
The Michigan city of Ionia,  the village in which the 21st were 
originally mustered out of,  threw a heck of a birthday 
celebration,  close to the way they did it a century and a half 
before,  and the pride and adoration they felt for their brave lads 
about to go off and fight the rebellion was plainly shown.  For us 
reenactors,  the wonderful citizens of historic Ionia really went all 
out to give us quite a welcome by providing a free luncheon,  as 
well as an evening ball.
Besides the mustering in itself,  we also reenacted the speeches,  
and the walk to the camp.
Today's picture shows our reenactors  (yeah,  I'm on far right),  
which,  as mentioned,  occurred on Sept. 8,  2012,  portraying the 
21st Michigan Infantry and townsfolk on the same ground as the 
original camp from 150 years earlier - on Sept. 8,  1862.
That was very special for all of us to honor these people of that 
time so long ago.  Yeah...this was another great highlight for me - 
for all of us who participated.

July 26
"Writing my latest Passion for the Past blog post:  1776/1863."
If you've visited my Passion for the Past blog,  which I hope you 
have,  then you may recognize the 1st picture,  which is my  
"banner picture"  (or cover photo).  It was taken inside one of the 
buildings at historic Old Fort Wayne in Indiana a couple years back.
The 2nd one is my previous banner/cover photo for my blog,  one 
that I used from 2013 until 2018. 
At one time I did more Civil War reenacting/history than I do 
now.  Don't get me wrong,  I still love that period of the mid-19th 
century greatly and always have,  but my preference for 
America's colonial/RevWar/early Republic period has returned 
with a vengeance.  Yes,  the 18th century was  "my"  period long 
before I ever got into Civil War - since my tiny tot days - and 
that's why I call it a  "return;"  when I was a young lad in my pre-
teen and teen years,  the Bicentennial celebrations celebrating the 
signing of the Declaration of Independence were in full swing.  It 
seemed from the early 1970s through the end of the decade,  
wherever you turned there was something being written on or 
shown on TV about our colonial roots and the Revolutionary War.
America's pride was at its zenith---I was in my glory!
Don't get me wrong - - I still love 19th century American 
history...quite a bit, in fact.  But it's the earlier days - the 18th 
century - that beckon me strongest.
So,  in these two pictures,  side by side,  you see Historical Ken 
from two different periods in time sitting in period clothing 
amidst a historic setting holding a writing utensil to paper,  
preparing to write the next posting for Passion for the Past.
Isn't it interesting to note the differences from the 1770s to the 
1860s - a 90 year time span?
The second picture,  by the way, was taken in my home in our 
parlor - antique  (1850s)  desk and oil lamps  (1880s).

July 27
2016 Colonial Williamsburg - thee place to be if you love 
Revolutionary War history.
While I remained in my period clothing the entire time there,  
Patty would join me in her 18th c clothing every-so-often,  such 
as when we took a carriage ride,  as what you see in today's 
picture.  Williamsburg is a decently large town,  and our carriage 
ride was relaxing as we traveled throughout. 
Because Williamsburg's streets and roads are maintained very 
well,  with some of dirt,  blacktop,  or crushed shell,  we didn't 
necessarily have the same travel experience as our ancestors 
of 250 years ago:
"The condition of the roads at the period of the beginnings of the 
formation of our country were not of a high order.  Little money 
and labor was put toward them.  Riding in a coach has been 
described as being  "like a ship rocking or beating against a heavy 
sea;  straining all her timbers with a low moaning sound as she 
drives over the contending waves."  And the experience could be 
hazardous and fatiguing with weather always an uncertainty;  bad 
conditions could delay the best laid plans of any traveler."
Another story explains of how it took seventeen hours to travel 
the sixty six miles from Fredricksburg,  Virginia to Richmond,  
and the coach stopped at ten taverns on the way.  It rained and 
there were complaints of wet feet,  clothes becoming plastered 
with mud from the wheel,  the travel trunks taking in water,  the 
horses  "draggled and chafted by the traces,"  and the driver's 
neckcloth becoming saturated.  Yet,  the driver wrote,  "the 
journey was performed pleasantly."
Fortunately for us,  "our journey was performed pleasantly"  as 
well,  not at all as described above as we rode throughout the 
beautifully restored city of Colonial Williamsburg.
By the way,  I love how my wife looks while wearing most any 
type of clothes,  but I think she looks best in her 18th century fashions.
Yes,  I do.

July 28
Having your likeness taken for posterity in the 1860s was quite a 
big deal.  In our modern day when there are cameras in the 
pockets of nearly the entire population,  having your picture taken 
is commonplace - selfies,  etc.,  are taken throughout any given 
day for a greater majority.  However,  'twas not so in days of old,  
for a photographer of the 1860s was not always readily available 
for portraits,  unless there happened to be a big event going on,  
such as a 4th of July celebration,  a death  (yes, it was common to 
take photographs of the dead for remembrance),  or perhaps he 
had a studio in town.
Taking pictures in the 1860s was definitely not a daily 
occurrence for most.
Or even yearly.
In the Civil War reenacting world,  we have our own tin-typist - 
Robert Beech - and we see him often at our reenacting events.
So it was during a celebration in Dexter,  Michigan,  that a group 
of us family and friends had our tintype taken.  As living 
historians, our goal is to be as true to the time we are representing 
as we can be,  and few activities can bring one back to the era of 
the mid-19th century better than having your likeness taken from 
photographer whose camera is actually from the period.  This 
means our picture-taking experience is the same - the same - as 
those who had their's taken 150+ years ago.  And the quality - 
that period look we strive for - is spot on perfect.
Time-travel indeed.

July 29
In our hobby we have places we call sutlers which carry a myriad 
of different things for us to help accomplish our time-travel goal.  
Some of these sutlers will carry our wearable items such as 
shirts,  breeches,  coats,  waistcoats,  hats,  shoes,  and anything 
else for our look,  though there are many living historians who 
prefer to sew their own clothing.  There are sutlers who do strictly 
civilian while others may do strictly military.  Some might be 
more costume-y while others do a fine job indeed in the quality,  
while still others are in between.
There are sutlers who sell accessories as well,  such as a costrel,  
which is what you see me looking at here  (a costrel is a container 
for liquids with loops through which a belt or cord may be passed 
for easy carrying.  It was popular for the 18th century farmer).
Sutlers also carry lighting apparatus  (candle holders,  betty 
lamps,  etc),  dinnerware including plates,  silverware,  and 
cups/glasses,  as well as candles,  candle-making equipment,  
fabric,  period games,  cast iron cookware,  tenting supplies,  
books - some made to look period and others for research,  
guns,/muskets,  homespun wool and spinning/weaving supplies,  
even furniture.
And I've barely scratched the surface here.
Sutlers are a reenactor's lifeblood - - but remember:  buyer 
beware.  Make sure you do your research before any major 
purchase,  for not everything may be period correct.
The sutler you see me with here is Samson's Historical,  run by 
husband and wife team Casey & Abbie Samson.  This young 
couple have taken sutlering to new heights,  researching and 
working to ensure their product is of high quality and historically 
accurate.  Go on and ask them to show you proof if their product 
is period-correct.  But be ready for a history lesson!
By the way,  there are other wonderful sutlers around such as 
Townsends,  Carrot Patch Farm,  Wm.  Booth, Draper,  and so 
many others  (links seen below this post).
Historic Sutlers:


July 30
Imagine,  as living historians,  taking over an entire historic 
village to recreate everyday life of a hundred and fifty years earlier.
Seriously literally taking it over for an entire weekend.
Well,  that's what we did back in 2010.
The event I am writing about here was a sort of  'opposite day'  as 
far as Civil War reenacting goes,  for the civilians were the main 
attraction rather than the military.  It was my friend,  Sandy,  who 
put together what was  "a living history event for the serious 
historian."  It took place in July of 2010 at Crossroads Village in 
Flint,  Michigan - one of the most authentic-looking open air 
museums I have visited,  with dirt roads,  wood-plank walkways,  
lots of open areas...a very natural 19th century village.
A time-travel experience in itself.
Sandy pushed for this to be the ultimate living history experience 
for all involved.  She encouraged first person impressions and the 
Village allowed usage of the period houses and buildings to 
accent interpretations,  including a coupe of houses,  the tavern,  
which also became my post office,  the log cabin,  the 
schoolhouse,  the church,  the bank,  the train depot...pretty much 
the Village itself.
In the picture shown today I am with two friends who were there,  
Amanda and Tonya.  It's obvious which side of the Mason-Dixon 
we are on!
This was an all around wonderful experience - rated near the top 
of my  "all-time best"  list.

July 31
What better time to show a picture taken at Christmas 
than on July 31?
For a number of years Patty,  representing the Civil War 
homefront,  worked during Holiday Nights inside the Smiths 
Creek Depot  (which has a strong Thomas Edison connection)  at 
Greenfield Village.  On this particular evening,  I went to Holiday 
Nights as a guest,  and of course,  as per usual for me,  I dressed 
in my colonial-era clothing.
While there I had to visit my wife 90 years in the future - she 
1860s and me 1770s - so we made for an interesting picture.  
Sorta like a May-December marriage...only not  (lol).
Here's to hoping  (with the addition of a strong prayer)  that we 
can visit Greenfield Village during Holiday Nights again this 
year!  It certainly would at least end a crappy year on an 
upbeat and hopeful note.

Well,  another month,  another picture collection.
Though I am greatly enjoying this little monthly project,  all things considered,  I am dearly missing doing what I love to do to get these sorts of pictures:  reenact.  All of our official Civil War reenactments have been cancelled for 2020,  though there is hope that one event may be revived in the fall.  As for RevWar/Colonial,  we do have one left on the books that,  God willing,  will not be cancelled.  Also,  I have a few ideas I hope might come to pass.  If anything happens,  you will read about it here on Passion for the Past.
Now,  on to August.


Until next time,  see you in time.

To see the June Photo Challenge pictures,  click HERE
To see the May Photo Challenge collection,  click HERE
To see the springtime photo collection,  click HERE















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