And when you are a reenactor, you meet a lot of new people.
And when you reenact more than one time period, well, be ready for a whole slew of new people that will soon become your friends!
For over a decade I solely reenacted the Civil War period, and I've come to include many from that circle to be among my best friends.
More recently, I've been enjoying time in the good old colony days as well, and I remember when I went to my first 18th century event. It was at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit in summer 2014, and, as I wandered about the reenactor's camps, I knew not one person there. Exactly...no one.
Not. One. Person.
Not even my wife came with me.
((I was alone))
I just moved about, watching, eyeing, and doing what comes natural to me: walking up to and speaking with total strangers.
And making new friends.
|Just a couple of people I met within the|
last few years.
I knew practically everyone there, some of which I have become pretty good friends with.
For the era of the American Revolution, I've come into my own. And because of my presentations as Paul Revere, it's almost split down the middle by which name I am referred to: Ken or Paul Revere. The funny thing is, I answer to either without thinking twice. I also started my own reenacting group - Citizens of the American Colonies.
It goes to show you what you can do over a short period of time.
It's almost funny now to think about the time when I was under the impression that there were only a couple of RevWar era reenactments in my metro-Detroit area, and I questioned myself on whether or not it would be worth spending the time, effort, and money to get involved. But I've come to find out that there are nearly as many 18th century events in our area as there are for the Civil War: I have worn my "short clothes" at least nine times so far since spring, with more opportunities to come.
That makes Ken ecstatically happy!
(To be honest, I probably woulda purchased the clothing anyhow, on account of how much I love the era and how cool the styles were!)
The Colonial Kensington event is wonderful all around, from the location to the reenactors to the battles to the visitors, who, by the way, are quite excited to see their school history books come to life. It is definitely up there with the best of them.
I believe the pictures herein will convey that.
Most of the photos in this week's blog were taken by the magnificent photographic team of B&K Photography (Beth and Kevin). You will notice which images belong to them by the pink logo in the bottom left corner.
Okay then - - let's switch on the time-travel machine and head seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries back in time:
|Welcome to the 1770s!|
Paul Revere at your service.
Or maybe I'm Ken...
Gosh - - I'm not really sure who I am!
Either way, I'll be your host for the day.
|Whether Loyalist or Patriot, the day-to-day living must go on.|
“The British Army and Navy sang a rousing song called "Heart of Oak"; the rebels had writ one to counter it called "The Liberty Song." Both songs blustered of freedom; but both were sung to the same tune.
And we, to avoid offense, played the tune without words.”
(Love this quote of M.T. Anderson's book "The Kingdon on the Waves")
|The musical troupe known as 'Mcspillin' entertained all passersby with their wonderful versions of period songs.|
Fun, upbeat, and traditional!
They even remembered my request from last year and learned it for this year:
"Over The Hills And Far Away" - -
This group puts a lot of fun into their music, and the audience can tell they enjoy what they do. By the way, aside from playing at historical reenactments, Mcspillin also performs at the Michigan Renaissance Festival (but don't hold that against them lol).
|And I'm not "mcspillin'" a drop of cyder while I listen to them!|
|To the left we have Miss Lauren, a member of Citizens of the American Colonies. |
To the right we see a friend, Miss Karen, who is a member of the long riflemen civilian contingency.
Speaking of art - -
|Have you ever made fire "from scratch," so to speak - from nothing but flint and steal?|
Neither have I, but a friend, Tony, taught my son Robbie how to do it.
Oh, it took lots of tries...and errors...and time...but...
What would a colonial reenactment be without a skirmish showing a little on how the men on both sides battled during our nation's fight for independence?
|Uncle Sam want YOU to fight King George III|
|The Massachusetts Provincial Battalion camp|
(French & Indian War)
|The Provincial members enjoying a moment of peace before the skirmish.|
|"The British, having several fieldpieces stationed by a brickhouse, were pouring the canister and grape upon the Americans like a shower of hail..."|
|Here we find a member of the 49th Regiment of Foot and two members of Grenadiers Company fighting for the Crown.|
|When looking at this photograph of the return fire, do you notice anything?|
No? Look a little closer - -
Yeah...that's a stream of fire shooting out of the barrel of that musket, lest anyone thinks these guns are not dangerous.
|Also, please note the 'flash in the pan' I captured in this photograph. Yeah...these muskets are to be handled with care and reverence.|
|The 42 Regiment of the Royal Highlanders~Fighting for the Crown|
"They exchanged a number of shots at each other, neither side inclining to give back."
|"A number of our men went over and drove the British from the fence..."|
|""They were, by this time, reinforced in their turn, and drove us back. The two parties kept thus alternately reinforcing until we had the most of our regiment in |
|The 1st American Regiment of the Queen's Rangers - a loyalist unit - were also at this skirmish.|
|They held their own against the rebellious Americans...|
|By the way, this was an excellent battle reenactment - one of the best I've seen this year. It was very well put together and carried out.|
|Members of the 1st Pennsylvania Continental Regiment.|
The word mocked me, for I knew myself to be anything but valiant. What I had
done, I had done in a fit of insane bitterness, not with cool courage, not with
brave quick thinking, not with presence of mind - but with absence of it.”|
|The battle now over, the 1st Pennsylvania Continental Regiment move up to the front for a spectator line up.|
|My son, wearing his woolen cap his mother knitted, also does Civil War reenacting.|
|1st Pennsylvania Continental Regiment - the battle is done until next time.|
After battle activities - - -
|Come, the fighting seems to have stopped for now. We have work to do on the farm.|
I'm going to do something I don't do very often: spotlight a business. It's a wonderful little sutlery known as Samson Leather, which has been around for over thirty years and is now run by a young married couple - Casey and Abbie Samson. They really are making a great effort to sell quality items in their shop.
I've only met them this past year and and was very impressed with the purchase of my brown cocked hat Abbie had made for me. From there she and I got to know each other through phone conversations and discovered a mutual love of colonial history.
Her husband is also a fan of the period and the two of them have taken over the family business, making it their full-time job.
|Samson Leather has a shop in Indiana as well as their sutler tent they take on the road to different reenactments.|
I was impressed by the variety of items they sold...
|And should you want to make your own cocked hat, they also sell hat blanks as you see in the above picture. Or, if you prefer, they can make 'em for you, as Abbie did for me:|
|Small leather-bound journals, clay pipes, wood candle or pipe holders, quills, ink, and inkwells...|
|Beeswax candles, leather dye, twine...|
|A fair collection of candle lanterns, as well as a turn-of-the-19th century betty lamp. Then there are the wood desks, soap, deer string bags, shaving kits...and mugs made of leather, tin, and ceramic.|
|I had my eye on that costrel you see at the bottom right of the picture.|
|After the battle, my son, Rob, pulled out his fife and played some |
fine period music. He even played a tune with Mcspillin!
Here is Robbie performing with Mcspillin:
|Reunited after the battle...|
|Trading war stories...|
but unbeknownst to Robbie, trouble was a-waiting...
|He was arrested by the King's Army for treason and being in possession of a musket belonging to one of the Queen's Rangers.|
|Throwing him against the tree, they roughed him up, attempting to get him to confess to his crimes.|
|Hit and kicked, Robbie denied all charges against him.|
|They then grabbed him and lifted him to his feet. |
The plan was to string him up.
|The second that Rob saw his chance to escape, he took it!|
As he ran like the wind, the muttering of "You guys suck!" could be heard from the commander to his men.
|"Fear does things so like a witch|
'tis hard to distinguish which is which."
|Karen did a beautiful job in her period appearance.|
|There were reenactors selling off their extra items at pretty good prices.|
Here you see Lauren and I checking out some of the other items for sale.
In the title of this post you see the Benjamin Franklin quote: "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." That's how I feel while reenacting the colonial/RevWar period, for aside from visiting some place like Colonial Williamsburg, this is the closest I can get to being among that generation of great Americans that formed this wonderful nation of ours. Yeah, we are only reenactors - living historians doing our best to recreate the past - but, to many spectators, this is their way that they can connect with those long gone days of old...with the spirit of '76.
And, as a participant, I feel the same.
I had such a great time at Colonial Kensington - I always do. I repeat: there is something to be said about being among the founding generation, even if it is only reenactors. And, as I said in a previous post, the "small clothing" (knee breeches, tricorn, etc) really is the coolest clothing a man can wear.
You know, with all of the garbage going on in our country right now, it does my heart good to be in my place of solace.
With people I can call my friends.
"I don't deserve to be so happy, but I can't help it!
I just can't help it!"
Some of the caption quotes came from THIS page and THIS page.
To contact B&K Photography, visit their Facebook page HERE
To contact Mcspillin, please click HERETo contact Samson leather, click HERE
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