Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Colonial Kensington 2019: A Very Fine Event Indeed!

And the reenactments just keep on a-comin'!
As does the opportunity to teach. 
Enjoy this picture-book tour of Colonial Kensington 2019 - - 


'twas a whirlwind of a weekend for me, the second weekend of August.  To begin with, on that Friday I had to drive four and a half hours up to the northwest part of our mitten state of Michigan,  to a place near Sleeping Bear Dunes west of Traverse City near Lake Michigan where my friend Larissa and I did four  (count 'em---4!)  1860s historical farm presentations.  I then drove the four and a half hours back home, took a shower, went to bed, and rose early that following morning to head out to Kensington Metropark - about 45 minutes away - to set up my tent for the Colonial Kensington reenactment.
No, I'm not complaining.  It was just, as I said, a whirlwind.
But what a fine weekend it was all around.
And I will write about my farm presentations in a future blog post, because for now I want to tell you a bit about the great time that was had at Colonial Kensington.  Once again this after action report will be by way of the many pictures taken by me and a number of others  (who are credited under their photos)  as well as the comments 'neath each one.
Now, the Colonial Kensington event is one of the bigger Rev War reenactments in our area, and many differing units tend to show up, so there is quite a bit of fine American history presented.
This year  you may notice that the American Patriots section grew a bit from last year:
Welcome to America, home of the Patriots.
My tent is somewhere down there.
A Cheryl Crawford Pic
So let's take a little tour of the area, shall we?
Here is the home of Jennifer Mailley and her son, EJ.
That's him working on the fire  (as all boys love to do). 

A Cheryl Crawford Pic

Across from the Mailley's we see another couple, Mark and Pam Harris, and had some good conversations with.  They also brought two flags with them: the Grand Union and the Gadsden.  
A Cheryl Crawford Pic

My next door neighbor was Tom Bertrand, the local field doctor and surgeon.  Tom does a fine job teaching the spectators about 18th century Revolutionary War medicine.

Tom also had a great historical flag flying: the Sons of Liberty flag.
A Cheryl Crawford Pic

Here is my tent.
I, too, brought along a couple of historic flags, including the 

Culpeper Minuteman flag.  I also originally had my Grand Union flag, but when I saw our friends from across the way with theirs,' I exchanged it with the Taunton Liberty & Union flag 
You can see my Taunton flag in this picture as I visit with the doctor.  I also brought along a few other items, including a couple of lanterns, candles and candle making supplies, and a writing journal.
A Cheryl Crawford Pic
Between the few of us in the American camp we had quite a nice collection of historic flags for the visitors to see, and many asked questions about each one, so we all took turns in explaining about them.
I have been trying to only purchase sewn-cotton
flags.  I found a fine site on the internet that sells this
type at a decent price: Patriotic Flags

A Mike Gillett Pic
I love when we can get historical conversation starters!

Also in our camp we had joining us a father and son who normally portray Voyageurs.  I've noticed lately in our reenactments the mixing and mingling of a variety of showings of the differing types of colonials: Voyageurs, East Coasters, and Detroit French.
Here we find Jay on the left.
Richard, on the right, made me a few quills from turkey feathers I had given him, which I very much appreciate.
He is quite the talent.

Both of the above pictures come from Cheryl Crawford
Now if we can just get some African-Americans and Natives out to tell their story, that would be fantastic.

Here I am, an everyday farmer, hanging out with
the likes of Dr. Benjamin Franklin!

A Mike Gillett Pic
There were quite a few visitors, and it seemed like every one of them had a real interest in history...our American  history.  Depending on the day, I spoke as if I were Paul Revere, giving the public more insight to the famous ride than most had known.  Or I spoke as a husbandman  ("farmer, tiller of the soil"),  talking a bit about life on a colonial farm.
Speaking to the public about my lanthorn in which the
translucent was made of cow horn was also another
fine historical teaching moment.  

A Mike Gillett Pic
What I also enjoyed were the great questions from visitors and the opportunity for some discussions about our past without the PC politics and Facebook anger, just like we used to do years ago.  In fact, there were many who simply thanked us being there and doing what we do - for getting up and speaking with them and teaching them.  I, in turn, thanked them for what they taught me as well, for teaching does go both ways, doesn't it?  Yes, it was nice that people seemed to want to have wonderful discussions on our nation's past.
Yeah...I miss this sort of thing.
There was a consistent flow of spectators throughout
the day, giving us ample time to speak and teach, and
even learn about the time we are portraying.

A Mike Gillett Pic
There was a very excited Asian man that had immigrated to the US just over a dozen years ago, and he told me he simply loved  this country;  he even named his eldest son after George Washington!  He did this because he knew that Washington is known as the father of our country,  and this man wanted his son - the first born in the US for his family - to be the  father  of their new country in their own family.
That was so moving to me.
And then they took numerous pictures with a few of the replicated period items I had on display.  So I took my cocked hat off and put it on this young man's head and gave him my musket to hold so his dad could take a picture.
His smile went ear to ear.  So did his father's.
I wish I would have taken one as well.
So cool!
That's  what it's all about!

Okay, moving on - - - - -
Here are two men who have been in the reenacting
world for a good many years;  since the 1970s for
Richard on the left, and the 1960s for Ken.

A Barb Baldinger Pic

When I first formed Citizens of the American Colonies, my main reason was to give my Civil War reenactor friends, who were interested in doing RevWar/Colonial, a place to call home, so the members are mostly of living historians who enjoy portraying both eras.
Yes, we also have members who do strictly the RevWar/Colonial period but are also looking to find a civilian home as well.
Civil War reenactors, such as who you see here, also have a Colonial home in Citizens of the American Colonies.
A Barb Baldinger Pic

Some of the lovely ladies of Citizens of the American Colonies.

My friend Rae and me.
Technically, Rae was the first person to join my Citizens group.  It was during a Civil War reenactment in 2015 when I mentioned to she and her husband that I was planning to form a civilian colonial reenacting group.  I was quite surprised when she came right out and said she was very interested in joining, to count her in.
Yep---she was the first.
Two weeks later, Citizens of the American Colonies was formed.

At Kensington we were camped near the...
...Massachusetts Provincial Battalion, 
a French & Indian War era military unit 
who also will portray the Americans during 
Revolutionary War events.
A Richard Reaume Pic
Each morning they formed up in front of our camp and did a bit 
of drilling for us and for the early morning public that was there.

Also on the American front we had Tony Gerring's group, the 1st Pennsylvania.
Here are members of the 1st Pennsylvania with a few additional 
military men falling in with them for the battle.

My son, Rob, is a part of the 1st Penn.
A Richard Reaume Pic

Rob was posing for a painting for a
middle school history book.
(Just kidding!)

A Jennifer Mailley Pic

Rob and one of the younger members of
the 1st Penn, EJ.  EJ is a bit too young to 

be able to fire a musket in battle, but his
time won't be long. He's waiting.

A Jennifer Mailley Pic
EJ is also the young man who carried the Liberty & Union flag during our Patriot's Day commemorative reenactment last April, as well as on the 4th of July.  So he is quite the Patriot, this young man.
And who better to get advice from 
than Dr. Benjamin Franklin!
A Jennifer Mailley Pic

Some of the tents at the 1st Pennsylvania camp

The Gerring tent
A Richard Reaume Pic

Heather has taken well to reenacting.  2018 was her first year and, 
unfortunately, it rained nearly every time.  This year has been 
quite the opposite  (for the most part).
A Richard Reaume Pic

Just before the battle mother...
Wait---wrong war!

And for the British side we have:
(from L to R) is 60th Regiment of Foot  (French & Indian 

War),  47th Regiment of Foot, four members of the 49th Battalion 
and three from the Grenadiers

The 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot

Followed by the Queen's Rangers.

What is it about battles that we enjoy so much?
I don't know...for me, I just really like watching a good battle.
Yes, that's my son firing his musket.
A Jennifer Mailley Pic

Okay, so he's my son;  of course I'm going to have more 
photos of him than anyone else!

The Massachusetts Provincial Battalion

The Massachusetts Provincial Battalion moves in.

The 1st Pennsylvania

On a bright, sunny day the smoke from the guns of just these few 
men tended to hide them from sight.  One can imagine what it 
was like with hundreds of men firing at once.
The sun on the water behind also gives it a blinding background.
Almost ethereal...

The Massachusetts Provincial Battalion joined forces with the 
1st Pennsylvania as part of the American side.

A few members of the 1st Pennsylvania
A Jennifer Mailley Pic

Hearing the sound of the pipes amidst the smoke of gunfire gave 
it a bit of an eerie atmosphere...until the smoke cleared.
The Queen's Rangers 

Four different actions are occurring here:
One loading, one retreating, one firing, and one preparing to fire.
Quite an action shot!

Artillery Crew of Cannon #9, Royal 42nd Highlanders, Lead by Larry Blackett, Kerry & Alex Ellis and Christy Haradean

I am so proud of this picture!
I always make the attempt to catch the flame shooting out of the barrel, whether musket or cannon.  I've gotten musket flames a few times, but this my first cannon fire.

Preparing for the obligatory bayonet charge - the crowd loves it!

Dr. Tripp, the doctor and surgeon for the British.
Between he and Tom Bertrand, the medical practices of 
the 18th century are well covered.
A Richard Reaume Pic

When your hair is long enough to braid, 
but not as long as you would like it to be.  lol
I suppose I should just be happy I have some hair left to do  
anything  with!

It's just me and Christy!

And there were plenty of vendors and sutlers where one could purchase a large variety of colonial and 18th century oriented items:
Some as small as a single table with things for sale set atop

Or a regular  "shop"  such as Samson's Historical

And there was coffee and tea for sale

Homemade crafts

Smoke and Fire was there

And so was Calico Jack

There were wonderful displays as well...
David Schmidt portrays a colonial-era fisherman, and he constantly had visitors stopping by.

Dave told me:  "The  number one industry in North America since the year 1500 was fishing, and the Cod was shipped all over the globe to trade for commodities.  Competition was fierce but the fish fed the world."
A Cheryl Crawford Pic
This is David's lady, Cheryl.
Wait a minute - - we can't see her at all!
Meet Cheryl!

Heather is taking a break after 
spending the day tending the fire.

Now for a bit of fun - - -
When poses go a bit different than expected...

Here is one way to disguise the golf cart - 
use a toy horse on a stick!
No one was wise to Dave's little trick.
The only thing I don't like about the Kensington reenactment is it tells me the season is nearly over;  I have two big Colonial/RevWar events left, and then  *poof*  preparations for 2020 will begin.
Well, not exactly for me.  You know I will find other opportunities to put on my favorite fashion, whether it's an  "official"  event or not!
But for now I will revel in the thought that in only two weeks I shall be back in the 18th century once again.
Stay tuned for that one.

But wait!!! We're not done quite yet - - there's more:

I am so proud, humbled, and honored that my family and I have been selected to receive the Flag Certificate of Commendation from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution – Detroit Metropolitan Chapter - for not only of my displaying of historic American flags, but because of my involvement in our history by way of reenacting and presenting.
I began collecting historic flags nearly two decades ago and have been purchasing them ever since. I fly them at my house frequently, which garners great conversations from passersby, and I especially love to fly them at our historical reenactments, which also is a great teaching opportunity.
I was also proud that most of my family could be there for this: my wife Patty, most of our kids  (Robbie, Miles, and Rosalia - - except for Tommy, who had to work),  our daughter-in-law Samm, and our three grandkids, Ben, Addy, and Liam.
This really means a lot to me and to us.  I’ve raised my kids to be patriotic and to be proud of their country – past and present - and if they disagree with something, they also know how to protest and work to make changes, and, most importantly, accept it if those changes cannot be made.
I must say I appreciate other friends, such as Tom Bertrand and Bernie Dobrzykowski, who also collect historic flags.  And I have many friends, notably Beth & Kevin, who also display their patriotism and American pride, many times in fun ways.
Most of my family: 
Three of my four kids, my daughter-in-law, and my three grandkids.
Oh! And my wife, too!!
The replicated sewn cotton historic flags seen in this picture, besides my bunting hanging from the side of the porch, are:
the white Minutemen flag from Culpeper, Virginia from 1775
the Grand Union Flag from 1775  (both hanging off the front of the porch)
the yellow 1775 Gadsden flag that I am holding
the Liberty & Union flag that Robert has, also from 1775
and Miles is holding the Betsy Ross flag from 1776.
And we have a few mini-modern American flags in the front garden.
As far as donning period clothing, you folks know I do it quite often and have, in one form/era or another for over 20 years.  There is little that excites me more than living history.  Spending time in the past truly is my passion.
Thank you, Sons of the American Revolution, from my family and me.
It is such an honor.

Now we'll end it with a bit of topical humor in a sort of twisted way  (no, it is not political - it is meant to be fun):
Yes, I laughed out loud.

Until next time, see you in time.                                       

~   ~   ~