Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Day With the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageurs

I had intended to 'publish' this posting last June (2016), soon after this event took place.
I am not exactly sure why I didn't - maybe because I was preparing for our Colonial Williamsburg trip - but I just this morning rediscovered it, sitting silently as a 'draft.'
So, since January and February can be slow months in the reenacting world in Michigan, I figured now would be a good time to look back as we prepare for the coming year...

Only one week after spending three full days in period clothing (1860s) while in the sweltering humid 90 degree heat at one reenactment (Greenfield Village's Civil War Remembrance), here I am again at another, only this day was much cooler (80-ish) and less humid.
And a lot more relaxed.
When I am able, I try to reenact with a group known as the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageurs, folks who do an excellent job at replicating Great Lakes fur traders, missionaries, and explorers that came to the Great Lakes area in the early 1600s and remained through the early part of the 19th century.
The Voyageurs befriended, learned from and intermarried with the local Indians who were already here when they arrived. In our general area of Michigan, they built earthen huts and farmed "strip farms," which were long pieces of land beginning at the narrow end near the lake and extended inland for about a half mile with a width of about 500 feet. In this way they were able to take full advantage of the natural waterways of the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers as well as Lake St. Clair itself.
The Voyageurs were also known for buying, selling and trading animal fur and pelts.
This event was a bit smaller than usual for the group, but those who participated did certainly have a great time and showed the visiting public a view of the past not seen too often outside of the Great Lakes region.
Then there's who pretty much portrays an easterner...a colonial from Boston...who doesn't necessarily fit in with the fashions or lifestyle of the Voyageurs, though I do fit roughly in the same time period.
Why do I not portray the people of my area?
Although I love seeing the reenactments and hearing the history, my personal 18th century interest lies on the east coast.
But it doesn't mean I do not care for the history of my area - - - - - - 
Upon arriving that morning, I found Ross & Jeri busy
at the griddle making wafers.

Ross was a blacksmith when he used to work at Greenfield
Village a number of years ago. It would not surprise me
if he made what you see here!

Carolyn made the cream to go on top of the wafers.

Cream - and it was delicious.

Wafers and cream - what a treat!

Carolyn, like me, is a long-time Civil War reenactor. But
the two of us began our foray into an earlier century
right around the same time. In fact, our "coming out" 
was on the same day:
Here we are, myself, Carolyn, and our friend Lynn on April 18, 2014.
For Carolyn and I, this was our first outing as colonials, though Lynn has done the period for a number of years.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Voyageurs are
the period crafts they keep alive, such as broom making.

Corn bristles ready to become a part of a broom.

And then to watch as he puts it all together to create
this all so important 'simple machine' in the same
manner as those who have gone on long before.

I enjoy seeing these ancient crafts being kept alive,
and I have such an admiration for the folks that do,
including my wife who spins wool into yarn on 
her spinning wheel:

Next up we see someone weaving a bag on a...
hmmm...I am assuming this is a hand-loom of some sort.

But I certainly enjoyed watching and listening as she 
explained the fascinating process in bag making.
Now, when you balk at a price upon purchasing a
hand-made item, think of all the knowledge and actual
time and work that goes into these replicated artifacts of history.

~A Voyageur and a Colonial~
My friend, Jerry (in the picture with me), and his wife, Micki, (in photo below) have been reenacting as Voyageurs for decades. 
And, in ways they may not have even realized, they 
helped me find my way back to the 18th century.
The Lac Ste. Claire Voyageurs are a most welcoming group of living historians, and I appreciate the fact that they will allow this "Bostonian" to take part in their reenactments and add a little bit of the more well-known American history that was occurring at the same time. It helps to give a more well-rounded education.
If you are interested, please check out my posting about a much larger Voyageur reenactment that I took part in right HERE

Until next time, see you in time...


Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Am A Patriotic American - -

(I rarely use Passion for the Past for opinion, so please bear with me this one time)

I am a proud American no matter who is President.
Note that I didn't say I necessarily liked or totally agreed with any one President's policies.
We're not supposed to.
But I do love my country.
And I will continue to love it no matter if I voted for the person sitting in the oval office or not.
You can think me a sheep or a blind follower or say I have fake patriotism or that I'm living in the past or whatever.
I really don't care.
I love my country.
I also believe in the right to a peaceful protest, even if I might disagree with the protesters. I will stand by their right to do so.
I do not, however, agree with the extreme hate and violence going on. Now, I know our founding generation didn't always protest peacefully and often used violence themselves. I don't necessarily agree with that either. But I wasn't there. I am not "blessed" with an 18th century mindset, as no one alive today can claim to have, so I will not praise nor condemn their actions.
I was not there.
But I do like to think I somewhat understand the mindset of 21st century America. And most...MOST...agree that the violence going on today will not help anyone or any cause.
Please continue to march in protest. Take buses to rallies. Please continue to write letters, vote, and exercise your 1st Amendment rights, for that is your right.
But do it peacefully. 

After all, we are supposed to be the United States.
Remember...divided we fall...
By the way...I will not be accepting any partisan commentary for this post. I wrote this in a sense of unity, and if you feel the need to spout off on who is right or who is wrong or who is to blame, don't do it here.
Thank you,
(Historical) Ken


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Citizen’s Forum of the 1860s Conference in Michigan - March 2017

North of the Mason-Dixon Line, the three or four month following Christmas - you know, the dreaded months of winter cold and gray - are great times to prepare for the upcoming reenacting season. This is the time of year for meetings, to mend old clothes or make new ones, research, plan out any scenarios, and, of course, head out to a conference to help improve our impressions.
Now, for the first time in recent memory, reenactors in the State of Michigan are going to hold their first 1860s conference, headed up by the 21st Michigan's own Kristen Mzozek!
And everybody's welcome!!
This will be taking place March 24, 25, and 26.
I asked this vivacious young lady to write something out that I can post here - - we'd love to see our friends from all over come and take part.
Plus...heh living history family and I (Larissa and Jackie) will be speaking on, what else? immersion!
Anyhow, here...let's read what Kris has to say:

My two living history daughters
You may know me as Ken’s daughter at numerous events. You may have seen me setting up my jewelry tent at Greenfield Village, or pounding away at a keyboard with my blog, The Victorian Needle. However, today I am the director of a conference, an educator promoting learning experiences for people of all ages.
The Citizen’s Forum of the 1860s will be just that: a non-profit conference for all history-lovers. I think our mission statement sums up our attitude best:

Our mission is to organize The Citizen’s Forum of the 1860s to provide educational speakers and workshops for men, women, and teen Civil War reenactors, along with vendors who offer quality reenacting goods. We will create a welcoming environment for sharing knowledge and personal growth as a living historian.

I am spoiled by such a positive learning environment here in Michigan. I’ve never felt stupid or ashamed for my mistakes, despite the fact that at my first event, I wore my dress backwards! (Ken’s wife, Patty, gently took me aside to fix the problem and all was well). This conference is our way of opening our arms to all historians, despite age or experience, to participate in a research-based discussion of history.

And we go beyond clothing, digging into the deeper why of history. Our topic list appeals to different age groups, and certainly men as well as women! These include:

-Wedding Customs


-Creating a Civilian Male Impression


-The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators

-19th Century Dolls

-Games and Other Parlor Amusements

-Warm Weather Menswear

-Civil War Collections at The Clements Library

-Recruiting Young People

-Pineapple Purses Workshop

-Apron Workshop

-Free Tour of The Clements Library

-Creating Ken, Larissa and Jackie!
~Immersed in the 1860s~
That’s right! Ken will be speaking along with Larissa Fleishman and Jackie Schubert about working from 3rd person all the way to in-depth immersive experiences. I’ve recently participated in a discussion concerning their presentation, and I sincerely believe it will benefit the reenacting community as a whole. If you’ve read this blog before, you’d also know how serious Ken is about representing the past. As a participant in these events, I can say that immersion can’t happen overnight, and their presentation will give easy tips to get started.

But there’s so much more than presentations. Friday night will boast a soiree in an 1873 Italianate style house. 
The 1873 Sawyer House - - and you get to go inside!
Imagine 19th century music by the Peace Jubilee Band floating in the air, with delicious period snacks and amusing games. Feel free to “dress to the nines” or wear modern clothing; we want everyone to feel welcome, even our most beginning of beginners! Items original to the era will be available for your perusal, in case you find yourself wandering away from the food, dancing, and polite conversation.
For those of you looking to improve your impression, the following research-based vendors will be on site the entire weekend, with reproductions to die for:

-The Dressmaker’s Shop

-Miller’s Millinery

-Sullivan Press

-James Country Mercantile

-Ensembles of the Past

-Lucy’s Hairworks

-The Victorian Needle

What a great price!!
The final piece of the puzzle remains: How much will it cost? I’m very aware of budget and savings, so we’ve set the adult registration cost at $110 for the entire weekend, and only $45 for young people (11-18 yrs). Can’t pay all at once? We have a flexible payment plan available through the website. Sitting down with the math, one can attend an entire 19th century conference with an affordable price tag:

Registration $110 (Saturday Lunch/Dinner Included)
Hotel 2x60: $130 (Breakfast Included)
Travel Exp: Depends on you!

Ask us about carpooling and room shares, as we’re always looking for ways to help others save money. Just think - - one can now participate in a national conference for under $300! And I do mean national; we currently have OH, PA, ME, MD, TN, MN, TX, KS, WV, KY, WI, VA, oh! and MI represented by attendees, and we still have months left until the conference date. Save your spot now, especially if you’re interested in workshops.

As a reenactor, business owner, and teacher, I am aware that events such as these are difficult to find. Please support our learning opportunity by sharing this post online, or signing up to attend. While this is the first year for The Citizen’s Forum of the 1860s, we have the potential to create generations of learning and personal growth.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up, go online today at:

Thanks to Ken, my reenacting Dad, for his advice, sympathetic ear, presentation, and the use of his blog/pictures. This wouldn’t be possible without my dearest Father!

Well, there you have it. A wonderful opportunity to check out a brand new conference being held, for the first time, in my wonderful home state of Michigan. And a great time to add to your reenacting skills.
Kristen is a die-hard purist when it comes to authenticity, and she has ensured that nothing but the best will be here for her guests.
But please make your move and sign up soon, for it is filling up, and I believe that the closer we get to the to the conference dates of March 24, 25, and 26, we're going to see a flood of guests signing up!
Mine eyes have see the glory of the coming of the Lord...
And, for those of you who are regular readers of Passion for the Past, won't you please stop by and say hi? I would love to meet you!

Until next time, I'll see you in time....

To go to the Citizens Forum of the 1860s website, click HERE
To go their Facebook page, click HERE


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Colonial Ken Being "In the Moment": making pictures count in 2016

 Tell me, doctor
Where are we goin' this time?
Is this the 1860s, or 1779?
So take me away, I don't mind,
but you better promise me
I'll be back in time…
Gotta get back in time!

(Slightly modified lyrics from Huey Lewis’
“Back in Time” from the film “Back to the Future”)

I was asked recently, "If you could do whatever you wanted to do for a living, what would you choose?"
The answer was a no-brainer: "I would be a historical interpreter/living historian."
Heh - - I hear you now, "Ken! You already do this!"
Yeah...I know...but I want to do it for a know, as my wage-earning job.
I really do!
Living History Colonial:
Meet Ben Franklin, Sybil 
Ludington, and Paul Revere
Living History Victorian:
Meet a farm couple of the 

Yes, every once in a while I will do presentations for pay. The three of us in the two photos above are part of a group called "Our Own Snug Fireside," in which we do specialized historical presentations, and we do get paid. If I could do this for a living, however, even once or twice a week, I would be one happy time-traveler.
But since I'm not sure if this will ever happen on a consistent basis, I still consider myself blessed that I can do what I do as much as I have; besides the aforementioned presentations, I did 26 separate reenactments - - in other words, in 2016, I was in period clothing, whether colonial or 1860s, at 26 different reenactments plus the four presentations.
And, by the way, this is not including the five days I spent in Colonial Williamsburg (yes, I was "dressed" all five days!).
Not too bad, eh?
Now, please don't take this as I'm bragging. I'm not. I'm only pointing out that even though I am not a historical presenter at a museum, I am still wearing period clothing quite often.
And I'm lovin' it!
Off to find the past...
As there are many more Civil War reenactments and 19th century locations than colonial/RevWar, I grab any chance I can to wear my 1770s clothing. To be honest, I enjoy my colonial clothing much better - - I think they are so much cooler looking.
And people really tend to respond in a such a positive and patriotic way to me.
Unfortunately, we have very few colonial structures in Michigan, especially in the metro-Detroit area, and those we do have were transplanted here from the east coast of these United States to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, plus the restored forts and outbuildings of the period up in the Mackinac/Mackinaw region of our state, but that's about it for early American history around here.
I made sure, then, to take advantage of placing myself, along with my wife (and sometimes my daughter) in scenarios depicting the 1770s while in the historical city of Colonial Williamsburg when we went there on vacation in June 2016. I would give the camera to my daughter, who is proficient in her photography skills, and tell her to shoot away as I played out my plans in depicting one from the 18th century.
In other words, there's a lot of me placing myself "in the moment."
One of the cool things I enjoyed while in Colonial Williamsburg is how nearly everyone who works there are already in the moment. Whether they are on the streets, in the stores, a tradesperson, or presenters inside historic homes, visitors always get the impression that they are amidst America's founding generation.
It's my hope that is also what you will see in the pictures in this posting.
But I also hope you will see fun; I did have a blast in each image in one way or another, and I do hope it shows.
(By the way, the quoted sentences in italics are 18th century terminology that I copied from the book Eighteenth Century English as a Second Language. The link to this book is at the bottom of this post)
Are you ready, now, for some of my favorite time-travel in the moment pictures of 2016?
Okay, then, let's begin this journey in Colonial Williamsburg...:
I can't believe it - - we're on Duke of Gloucester Street in  
Colonial Williamsburg!
Yes we are, and here is my wife and I taking a morning stroll 
along this very famous colonial passageway. This was probably 
around 8 or 8:30 in the morning and the only people there were 
workers preparing for their day. It was a perfect time to wander 
and wonder while in period clothing.

It's not many men who can get their wives (and family members) 
to share in their hobbies, and I am certainly one lucky guy that 
Patty joins me fairly often in mine. I can't tell you how many 
women I know who, upon seeing what I do in my spare time, tell 
me they would never do such a thing and dress in this manner. 
It's not for everyone, I suppose.
Am I blessed?
You betcha!

"In truth I desire no better entertainment than her company.
The carriage ride we took was so relaxing and enjoyable.
And, look----it's my (then) 15 year old daughter!
What a treat to have her join her mother and I in this
time-travel adventure.
After our carriage ride, we took a group photo, which included 
our exuberant driver. This man took us all over the Revolutionary 
City and gave us a nice overview of Williamsburg's history.
The young man in the carriage sitting next to my daughter who is 
dressed kind of different? Why, that's my son, Miles, who has not 
yet acquired colonial era clothing. 

When you go to a place like Colonial Williamsburg (or 
Greenfield Village) and have your lunch or dinner in one of the 
historic establishments as a tavern, your meal becomes something 
a little more special. My family and I dined at 
Chowning's Tavern on our first full day in town. The food, 
although very good on its own, was greatly accented by the 
surrounding atmosphere and the entertainment. 
"I've ordered a pretty good dinner, I can tell you, beef steaks and 
onions, and I don't know what's better!"
It's not everyone that can claim to have eaten in an 18th century 
tavern, but I can say, "I did!"
And it's worth every penny for the experience.

The first time my wife and I visited the Thomas Everard House, 
the volunteers who give the tours were all hanging around 
outside, not making for a good photograph. However, a day later 
we came back early in the morning and no one had arrived to 
open it up to the public yet, so we grabbed the opportunity to get 
few shots of us attempting to look like we "belonged."
It took me only a matter of literal minutes to meet and make new friends upon arriving in Colonial Williamsburg. And one of the very first was the lovely Miss Amy, who I kept up with throughout my stay there.
At one point, she and I found ourselves in a fine historical conversation. As we had our discussion, a woman happened to be passing by, so I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking a few photos of Amy and I in this manner.
Ha! Lucky me! The woman was a professional photographer and, as you shall see in the following three pictures, she went beyond what I had hoped for. 
Maybe she'll see this and know how appreciative I am.
We were engaged in a very lively conversation, which 
happened to center on Paul Revere, someone of whom Amy is 
not too fond, but a man I portray in the living history world.
We also spoke of the whys & wherefores of his/my involvement 
in the Patriot Cause, including being in The Sons of Liberty.
After a small debate, my response was:
"I shall always think myself obliged, nay honoured by
your good opinion, and you are entitled to my best 
wishes for your good health and happiness, but I have
no thoughts at all of changing my situation."
Amy is a wealth of knowledge, and she will happily discuss 
and debate the many different events and aspects 
of the American Revolution. 
The Stamp Act, by the way, is one of her very favorite 
subjects, and on this we found ourselves
mostly in agreement.

"Do you follow your opinion, and let me follow mine. Though you do me much honour, I beg you would take no further trouble about me."

This was kind of a fun shot. As I was moving along Nicholson 
Street I spotted this young lady directing visitors to the brick 
yard.  My wife happened to be with me and I gave her my camera 
and told her to "shoot away" as I spoke to her. 
"I take the liberty to request that you will have the goodness 
to honour me with but a few moments' conversation."
She happily obliged.
The background is picturesque, don't you think?

I love the way all of these historic buildings are laid out just as 
they were 250 years ago. Colonial Williamsburg is such a true gem.
"Madam, I return you my hearty thanks for the favours you have 
confessed upon me, and I beg leave also to thank you for shewing 
such regard to the merits of my friend. I am much obliged to you."

"Madam, I am a silversmith, and I'd be very proud to serve you.
As I moved about town, I ran into neighbors and friends. Well, 
not really, but this little scene sort of gives that impression, doesn't it? 
Ha! This is the way I am in my 21st century life: I take evening 
walks around the block where I live in my Michigan suburb, and 
I, many times, will stop and speak to neighbors - - some of whom 
I do not even know! But, heck! they were sitting on their why not make new friends?
Anyhow, this picture is in my top 10 favorites. I just like the feel...

"Sir, some time past you was complaisant enough to let me have a gallon of your rum."
I enjoyed visiting each souvenir shop in Williamsburg, and there 
are quite a few. Each seemed to have different items for sale, so 
none of the stores were quite the same, and the Greenhow Store, 
above, was no different.
Most souvenir shops tend to have workers who are little beyond 
sales clerks. They are there for the job. But those who worked in 
the stores at Williamsburg were not only dressed in period 
clothing, but they also (mostly) knew their history as well and 
striking up a conversation was easy and welcoming. The 
gentleman who ran the Greenhow Store and I must've spoken for 
nearly 15 minutes before I had to leave. We could have gone on 
for much longer!

My daughter just doesn't seem to have learned to mind her tongue!
Now look where it's gotten her!
Think she learned her lesson? 
(This is one of my very favorite pictures!)

It only rained for about a half day while we were in 
Williamsburg. The weather forecast originally said most of the 
week was going to be filled with showers so I suppose we got 
pretty lucky. 
Wait---what am I doing walking past the George Wythe House? I 
should, instead, go inside and tour it. After all, Mr. Wythe was 
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The presenters will sometimes allow visitors to pose for a photo 
in a sort of recreation of a scene, as I did here inside the George 
Wythe House. 
To those of you who work in a historic house, this may seem 
trivial. But for those of us who rarely get an opportunity to do 
something like this, it is a real treat, and we, as guests, certainly 
appreciate it.

There's almost an ethereal feel to this photo as I come from above 
stairs while inside the George Wythe House.

So, as I moved along Duke of Gloucester Street, I came across 
this young lady whose name is Devon. I mentioned earlier that I 
am not afraid to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone 
I come across, and I found those who work at Colonial 
Williamsburg are not just workers there to earn a paycheck, but 
actual fans of history and enjoy speaking about the subject and 
sharing their knowledge. They are also willing to learn from 
others as well.

One day, being a very warm day, two Gentlemen met on Duke of 
Gloucester Street. After the usual compliments passed, as "How do 
you do?" &c and "How does all at Home?" & c., the one 
Gentleman asked the other "If he could answer him one question?" 
The latter replied "He would if he could." Then, friend (said the 
former) pray can you tell me "Why the weather can be like the late 
act of Parliament imposing duties in America, for the purpose of 
raining a revenue?"
"Oh!" replied the latter (after a short pause), that I can easily 

answer; why, because it is Unconstitutional."
(based on a notice from the Virginia Gazette - January 1768)

Lindsey is a Historic Sites Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, 
and she & I had been friends on Facebook for six months 
before I traveled down there, and it was an honor to be able to 
meet her in person. A few days beforehand, I "warned" her that I 
was coming to CW, and she graciously gave me her schedule, 
which included interpreting at the Peyton Randolph House, 
who happened to be the 1st President of the Continental Congress. 
My gosh! She was a wonderful interpreter and gave a very 
upbeat and informative tour!
 Thank you Lindsey, for helping to make the amazing memories 
my family and I did. 
And for teaching me how to stand like a proper colonial gentleman.

Walking on Palace Green Street, I lagged behind a bit and caught 
this shot of my wife as we neared the Bruton Parish Church.

Just walking along Nicholson Street, watching 
the world of the 18th century come to life...

I enjoyed some real  RevWar era hot chocolate at Charlton's 
Coffeehouse - a replica of the very same whose rooms were 
once frequented by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. 
Yeah...this was (to use a very 20th century term) very cool!
"I shall be greatly obliged to you, Sir, if you will be so good as to 
inform me of the truth of these matters and advise me how I had 
best proceed."
Charlton's was not only a social gathering place, but, due to its 
proximity to the Capitol, was also important to Williamsburg's 
political and business activities as well. In fact, the front porch of 
Charlton's was the scene of a protest against the Stamp Act in 1765.
By the way, I cannot tell you what we were discussing here, for it 
was intelligence to be passed on to General Washington.

Horses and carriages were plentiful there, and they added greatly to the 18th century atmosphere.
The driver of this team was resting in the shade during this warm 
summer day and very kindly snapped this shot. I wish I could 
have gotten one while the two of us were up in the carriage.
Oh well...something to shoot for next visit.
(Wait---did I say "next visit"?)

A tale of a three-century love-affair.
This was our last morning in Colonial Williamsburg...
~ ~ ~
Now we're going to head from historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia to historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, where we can find almost the only colonial-era houses in the lower peninsula; one must drive to the tip of the mitt to actually locate any other 18th century structures...up in Mackinaw City and then on Mackinac Island.
So, let's see just how we can get "in the moment" inside this magnificent 80 acre open-air museum that Henry Ford put together:
This picture caught something that happened 'out of the blue:' 
few of us in my "Citizens of the American Colonies" living 
history group were at Greenfield Village celebrating the 4th of 
July. We had stopped to pose for a couple of photos at the mid-
18th century home of John Giddings. A few visitors happened up 
and began to give us some very nice compliments on our clothing 
and asked us questions not only about what we were wearing and 
why, but about the "Betsy Ross Flag" I had. What a great 
opportunity to speak a little about the founding of our great 
nation, and they were certainly very appreciative of us taking the 
time to answer their questions and help to make their 
Independence Day celebration a little more special. 

Although nowhere near as extensive as Colonial Williamsburg
in presenting 18th century history, the homes from the 1700s
in the Greenfield Village collection are well maintained, though
I must admit it would be nice to see more of their structures
from that period include period-dress presenters on a regular
basis other than just the Daggett House.
By the way, it was very kind of Mrs. Ross to show me the
flag she had made for General Washington.

At least on the Fall Harvest Weekends or during the December 
Holiday Nights events, visitors can see period-dress presenters 
bring the Giddings home to life.
In the 18th century, dances were frequently held in these classic 
structures, and what I tried to replicate here is me thanking the 
young lady for what could have been the ending of a minuet, a 
cotillion, or, even, perhaps, a country dance.
"I hope that you will do me the honour of another dance, Madam.

By the 1760s and 1770s, taverns were the rendezvous for 
those who believed in the Patriot cause and listened to the stirring
 words of American rebels, who mixed dark treason to King 
George with every bowl of punch they drank. 
The story of our War for Independence could not be dissociated 
from the old "publick houses," for they are a part of our 
national history, and those which still stand are among our 
most interesting Revolutionary relics.

The tavern I am in here is not from the Revolutionary War-era. It 
is, instead, the Eagle Tavern, built around 1831 in Clinton, 
Michigan. Aside from a few mostly minor structural deviances, 
there is little difference from this one to the ordinaries of a 
generation earlier.

Shelley Martinez, a fellow fan of Greenfield Village, took this 
picture of me in April of 2016. 
There is a certain ambience about it - maybe it's the lighting - that 
I very much feel captures the essence of the past.

~Visiting the 1750s Daggett Farmhouse ~
Here I am being greeted by Mr. Daggett himself!
Well, not really, but it certainly does give one that impression 
doesn't it?
What I would love to be able to do one day is have the chance to 
be inside a home such as Daggett or Giddings for more than just a 
few minutes and have a period-type conversation. 
In a way, I kind of did - - - -

When these photos were taken, it happened to be a cold and rainy 
day, therefore there were very few visitors inside the Village. I 
pretty much had the place to myself. Well, naturally I quickly found 
my way to the far end where the Daggett House sits and enjoyed 
spending time conversing about colonial chocolate, that ever-
popular treat of the later 1700s.
The thing about these couple of pictures is...they work! If there ever 
was an "in the moment" moment, this was it, for since the three of 
us know each other and are friends, it was a very casual 
conversation - not a posed picture.
"In the moment" indeed!
Ghosts of the past...

This next photograph is not necessarily as it seems. What I did 
was merge two different pictures into one to depict a cohesive image.
It's still "in the moment" because the only "trickery" I did was to 
mirror the image and add the house.
The Daggett House is probably my favorite building in Greenfield Village.

As the fall weather moves in, beer making becomes a priority, for 
that will help to sustain the Daggetts throughout the cold weather months.
Beer and ale was a major dietary staple in the colonies. Everyone 
partook. It was the common item which spanned generations; 
from cradle to grave everyone drank beer. Infants were fed beer 
and it was especially recommended for nursing mothers. Farmers, 
laborers, merchants, lawyers, and craftsman all drank beer. It was 
a common thread in all their lives and this beverage would even 
play an important role in the formation of government.
It was not uncommon for drinking to begin even before breakfast 

and it continued with every meal throughout the day.
Now, don't leave here thinking that our founding generation was 
in a consistent state of drunkenness; although there were those 
who drank to get drunk (just like in the 21st century), most in the 
colonial times drank beer because it was healthier than water. They usually did not drink to get inebriated.

My wife is an accomplished spinner and truly does go from 
"sheep to shawl" (so to speak) and will crochet or knit scarves, 
mittens, hats, sontags, afghans, or whatever her heart desires after 
picking through, skirting, cleaning, carding, spinning, and even 
naturally dyeing the wool.
Yes, she does it all.
Here she is inside the Daggett house standing at the great wheel 
(or walking wheel), though she didn't really spin here - that job is 
for the presenters.

I always arrive at Greenfield Village early to be first in line, then 
when they open the gates, I hustle it to the far end. It's there 
where I usually find, at least for a short while, a visitor-free 
Village. Because of this, Gigi was able to sit down with me for a 
short time.
No, I am not a Greenfield Village employee, so when the 
presenters are doing their job for visitors, I fade into the 
background. Nor will I pretend to work there or add to what the 
presenters are saying. I dress in period clothing while visiting 
Greenfield Village for two reasons: first because I feel more like 
part of the homes I am in. It's kind of hard to explain, and I 
don't expect many or most of you to understand that. I don't fully 
understand it myself.
Second: I feel a part of history in those surroundings, and
Third: because there are always wonderful photo opportunities.
Speaking of wonderful photo opportunities: night time inside the 
1750s Daggett house while in period clothing lends itself to 
understanding the solitude that only a home lit by lanterns can bring.
Yes, I would say that being inside an actual colonial home when 
the sun goes down is definitely akin to one of those 
"in the moment" moments. 

Looking the part in photographs takes an "in the moment" 
moment to come off well, and I have done my best to create - - or 
recreate, rather - - life as it was during the times of the founding generation. 
(Wonderful photo taken by Mary Marshall)
Reading "The Cabin Faced West" over and over as a youth and being a teenager during the bicentennial celebrations of 1976 helped to fan the historical flame in me that has continued to grow all these years later.
And now to seemingly place myself along side of my historical heroes and everyday people of colonial times...well, I am not worthy, but I do try to do them honor.

As you may or may not know, in 2016 I formed a new living history group, Citizens of the American Colonies. I am hoping for this to be a progressive reenacting group - one that will attract those with the same mindset as I and will also be known for bringing the era from 1765 to 1790 to life by way of accurate period clothing, accessories, 1st & 3rd person presentations, and through realistic scenarios.
Of course, continuous research of the time-period is a must - the times and environment of those who we emulate is something members should study…and study some more.
As head of this Citizens of the American Colonies reenacting organization, I have written the following rules for potential members. They are based along the lines of the rules of the Civil War unit I belong to.
Won't you come and join my group, Citizens of the American 
Colonies? It promises to be quite fun!
Here are the rules/guidelines:
1) Accurate clothing is a must. I ask that you research what you wear and the environment in which you would wear it (for instance, don’t dress in fine silks and claim to be a farmer or a blacksmith). If you are new to the hobby, some exceptions will be made as you are guided into the past.
2) Eye Glasses: please, if at all possible, refrain from wearing modern glass frames. If you are new to the hobby, modern frames are acceptable initially (especially if they are wire-framed). But I ask that you plan to purchase period replica frames for your prescriptions, which can be purchased on line at reasonable prices. Yes, there are places that will work with you on fitting prescription lenses into period frames. Our Civil War reenactors do it all the time.
There is also the option of contact lenses.
3) Unless it’s a wedding ring or a health warning bracelet or necklace, I ask that all modern jewelry be removed: watches, fit bits, nose rings, etc., or anything made of plastic are not acceptable for a colonial impression in this group.
4) While at a reenactment, please do your best to be “in the moment.” This means please do not speak of current politics, news events, movies, TV shows, music, etc. This is where research can really come in handy. Study the time period in which you are portraying and learn of your role – manners, etiquette, clothing, etc. (I’m not talking necessarily of 1st person, I just mean for us to be careful of our modern speak, especially when public is within earshot).
Not only can this be great fun, but it will enhance your presentation beyond anything you’ve experienced before. Again, in Civil War reenacting, we do this frequently and enjoy it immensely. It works extremely well. 
Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course there are: speaking about the period from a modern perspective is quite acceptable. That's a teaching moment.
My point here is when the public is in view and within ear shot, nothing can ruin their experience more than hearing (and seeing) all kinds of modernisms while at a reenactment.
And respect your fellow living historians who also may not want any modernisms to ruin their moment.
Historically accurate....
5) Hide your modern items: There is little worse in the reenacting world than seeing an impeccably dressed reenactor carrying a can of Coke, or having a 2 liter plastic bottle in plain view of the public’s eye, or a cell phone laying on a table. If you want water, go in your tent, pour it from your plastic water bottle into your period mug or glass, then head back out. Please do not pour your modern drink into your period cup while in the public’s eye.
Also, when preparing food, please prepare it inside your tent so the modern plastic bread wrappers, etc., cannot be seen.
6) Cameras and phones: This can be tricky, but we can make it work - -
Cameras - - for taking photographs: yes, we all like to take pictures, but try to utilize what I call the ‘stealth’ form of picture taking - - keep your phone or camera in your satchel or in some hidden location, pull it out to take a quick pic, then hide it again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me, “I never even seen you take a picture – when did you bring your camera out?” 
It works.
Of course, there are times for the “posed” pictures. But please keep those at a minimum, and try – please try – to only do this (or even bring your camera out) when the public is not around. In other words, be “stealth.”
Phones - - There is no reason whatsoever, unless there is an emergency, for anyone to be sitting out in the public’s eye playing with or speaking on their phone. None. There are too many spots one can go to (inside a tent is best) if one feels the need to be on their phone.
Obviously, emergencies are always an exception to the rule.

Now, there are some who may think my guidelines are a bit too strong or stringent. Yes, I am admittedly pretty tough when it comes to historical accuracy…maybe even a bit anal (I’ll admit it), but I take great pride in my presentations and I would hope members here would do the same and that we continue to always strive to be as authentic in every way we possibly can.
Okay! Time for me to return to my work. Thanks for visiting.
Until next time, see you in time...

To purchase Eighteenth Century English as a Second Language by Cathleene Hellier, click HERE and then call the number given.
To read an overview (with many more pictures!) about everyday colonial life, click HERE
To read about colonial clothing for men, please click HERE
To read more about my living history group, Citizens of the American Colonies, please click HERE
To read a much more extensive essay on my trip to Colonial Williamsburg, with a TON more pictures, please click HERE for the links