It seems fitting, for I have been leaning heavily toward the colonial period in our history of late...I'm not leaving the 1860s, mind you, but adding to my time-travel adventures.
The premise between the two pictures, however, is relatively the same: Historical Ken 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.
But isn't it interesting to note the differences from the 1770s to the 1860s - a 90 year time span?
|Writing my latest Passion for the Past blog post: 1776|
|Writing my latest Passion for the Past blog post: 1863|
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As reenactors, we do our best to represent the past as authentically and accurately as we can. At least that's what most of us strive for. And lucky for our modern visitors, the majority of folks I time-travel with usually give it their best shot...and do very well. And I believe you will agree after seeing the photos in this week's post that I do take my journey to the past with the best.
You see, when something looks and feels right in the reenacting world, there is little that can compare. For those of us who were at Old Fort Wayne in Indiana on this late July day, much of what occurred just seemed right, just like the stories we shared helped to make American History come to life for the many patrons.
|A division of beliefs cannot split these friends, even though one is a Queen's Ranger, and the other is a Pennsylvania Regiment of Foote soldier as they walk to Old Fort Wayne.|
|Two guards posted out the front entrance.|
However, the opening ceremony saw no colors or enemies - - - -
|The 13th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foote marched into the Fort to take part in the opening ceremony.|
|My son, Rob, who you see in the middle here, is part of the 1st Pennsylvania, but seeing no other members of his unit in attendance, was welcomed warmly by the 13th Pennsylvania.|
|I included this shot because it shows the interesting architectural style of the buildings within the walls of Old Fort Wayne.|
|Raising the flag.|
|A variety of British military representatives are in this photograph, including 49th Regiment of Foot, the Grenadier Company, and the Queen's Rangers.|
|Speaking of the Queen's Rangers, here are members of the Michigan reenacting unit that was founded in 2014.|
|Caleb is prepared for any "snakes in the garden..."|
There were plenty of Loyalists who were staying inside the fort, and I took it upon myself to visit a few of them and maybe even learn a thing or two...
|I spotted ladies spinning on their wheels nearby.|
|My wife spins regularly as well, though she was not here on this day, and so I am always interested in the homespun crafts.|
Bakery goods were kindly offered to me as I moved among those who were loyal to King George. I used to be, but as time continued on, I found myself becoming disenchanted with the ways of this tyrant and looking forward to a future of, dare I say it, independence.
I wonder if such a thing could ever occur, for I had heard talk of it...
|Jan and Sheila offer period treats to folks passing by.|
Jan also hosts the...
|...period fashion show, allowing the modern "apparitions" to witness and learn of the clothing people from the 1770s wore.|
Outside of the old fort we find a different political belief system - one that wants to do away with the parliamentary monarchy of England and move toward one not seen before...
|The camp of the 13th Pennsylvania of Foote.|
|The 13th Pennsylvania were prepared to keep the King's army at bay.|
|All of the members the 13th were very friendly and welcoming, |
and I do appreciate that.
To me, when civilians take part, it adds that much more to the whole picture.
There were various outbuildings situated outside of the fort that included many of the necessities for folks living in the 18th century, including...
|The Woodwright shop...|
|...where we find the man crafting his skills in making such necessary 18th century items as small writing desks, candle boxes, storage boxes, and other items found in homes in the 1700s.|
Next up we have...
|...the blacksmith shop.|
Knowing that my 3rd great grandfather was a blacksmith in Detroit during the 1880s has piqued my interest in this occupation. No, this is not my 3rd great grandfather - -
And, I was able to watch a wheelwright work his craft, which was a first for me at an actual reenactment.
I've only seen this at Colonial Williamsburg, so naturally I went to their page to garner more information on this much needed occupation:
|No, this is not Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, but Colonial Fort Wayne, Indiana.|
I was quite pleased to be able to speak with the wheelwright here, and he was a wealth of knowledge - very willing to speak about his occupation. I find the trades of long ago much more interesting than nearly anything modern-made today. There is such talent in the world of the past and from those who try to keep it alive...whether watching a wheelwright, blacksmith, gunsmith, spinner, or even a farmer plowing a field behind a team of horses, that's where my interests lie.
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We did some living history at the fort (you know me well - - of course we did!), and gave a showing of what it may have been like to have seen the Declaration of Independence broadside for the first time.
Let's see how it went - - -
It was not too far past noon when I stormed into the fort, holding a broadside and making myself known by loudly informing everyone inside: "Citizens of the American Colonies! (Nice plug, eh?) A courier just rode in with news from Philadelphia - - On July 4th in this year of 1776, Congress had declared independence from the tyrant King George! No longer are we his subjects but, instead, are independent people! We are now our own country: The United States of America!"
"Sir, may I crave your name?" an officer asked.
Instead of giving my name, I told then that I was "a Son of Liberty."Delighted to find he had bagged one from the infernal patriot mob, their commander "clapped a pistol to my head," and said, "he was a-going to ask me some questions, and if I did not tell the truth, he would blow my brains out."
However, before he could...
|We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.|
|That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.|
|And they pulled me off of the balcony where they wanted to hold me for questioning...|
|They also roughed up the gentleman from the 13th Pennsylvania who planned to join me in the reading.|
Fortunately for me, he got the brunt of their brutality.
Unfortunately for him, he got the brunt of their brutality.
As for me...
|...as promised, they held me for questioning, though I did not feel the brunt of their ruthlessness.|
|Rather than face the wrath of the 13th Pennsylvania, the men of the fort seized us in no easy manner and shoved me toward the fort gates.|
|A confrontation nearly ensued between the two military forces as my captors pushed me toward my freedom.|
|And the 13th Pennsylvania marched on toward their camp, rescuing a |
proud Son of Liberty.
|The pewterer got busy melting down unnecessary wares|
into bullets, for, as we found, my arrogance on presenting our own
Declaration of Independence had unforeseen consequences.
|Preparing for a skirmish...|
|Someone from the inside of the fort let the Continentals know that their was 'movement' among the men of the King's army, and they prepared themselves for any possible eventuality.|
|The British occupied the fort and made the attempt to hold the surrounding grounds with about 100 regulars, and had plans to search the shops for supplies.|
|This first establishment of the Continental Army, from 1775-1776, consisted of 10 companies of riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia who served a one-year enlistment.|
|The Continental Army was also supplemented by local militias and troops that remained under the control of individual states.|
|The Continental Army had a number of advantages over the British army. Their biggest advantage was that they were fighting for a grand cause, their independence and freedom, which was a very motivating factor.|
|Although the King's army had the British government and the Crown to fund them, the Americans had no such source of wealth to draw from in the early days of the war and were always short on money.|
|One major disadvantage or weakness of the British army was that it was fighting in a distant land. Great Britain had to ship soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic, which was very costly, in order to fight the Revolutionary War.|
|General John Stark of the Continental Army was purported to have said during the Battle of Bennington (16 August 1777), "There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!"|
|Like most Rev War reenactors, the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foote is a living history group that recreates both military and civilian life in colonial America. They include marching and military drills, as well as period cooking and sewing demonstrations. At this event at Old Fort Wayne, they welcomed my son, Rob, as one of their own. Rob is a member of Michigan's 1st Pennsylvania unit, so he fit in well with the Indiana representation of the 13th Penn.|
|The skirmish is over...the march back to camp...|
|Historical reenactments, whether large or small, are such a wonderful way to give an idea of what it was like to live in another era. It could be representing battle scenes or everyday-life scenes, as long as the researched knowledge is there.|
|And so it goes...'tis only another day on the 18th century frontier...|
|Me & my son.|
Like me, Rob also does Civil War reenacting and will
find himself in the 1770s one week and the 1860s the next.
Grown men and women reenacting the past seems kind of silly to many on the outside. But it's actually no different than an avid car collector spending his life savings to purchase a perfectly restored 1964 Ford Mustang, or the music collector remortgaging his or her house to get The Beatles 'Yesterday...and Today' butcher cover LP.
It's in our blood.
While at the Old Fort Wayne in Indiana, I did come out a few times as Paul Revere and had numerous opportunities to chat with modern visitors, making my valiant attempt at busting some of the many myths about the man. At one point I drew a goodly crowd of interested listeners, one of which surprised me with a note in my Facebook messengers page a few days after:Ken,
Thank you so much for what you do. My kids enjoyed the enactment, and the special audience with 'Paul Revere'. This will forever be etched in our minds; the courage, the passion, the resistance and grit of our early Americans. I am proud to have known them through your reenactors. Thank you for preserving this piece of history, and personalizing the American heritage. On the field, more than reenactors, you all were true American heroes!
A note not just to me, but to all of us who are preserving this piece of history.
What an honor!
This is why we do it.
Until next time, see you in time.
Some of the information captioned 'neath some of the battle pictures came from THIS siteOther information came from HERE
And here are a few other postings you might enjoy:
In the Good Old Colony Days
Paul Revere - Listen My Children...
Preventing Tyranny in Salem 1775
With Liberty & Justice For All
Printing the Declaration of Independence
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