Monday, August 2, 2021

August 2, 1776 - The Signing of the Declaration of Independence

August 2,  1776 - The Signing of the Declaration of Independence.
I thought it was signed,  sealed,  and delivered on July 4 of  '76!
What's this all about?
Timothy Matlack's hand-scripted  (engrossed)  copy
of the Declaration of Independence from August 2.
Well,  it is said that the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred primarily on August 2,  1776 at the Pennsylvania State House,  (now known as Independence Hall)  in Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania. 
The final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4,  although the date of its signing has long been disputed.  Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2,  1776,  nearly a month after its adoption,  
According to historian Herbert Friedenwald,  there were 49 delegates in Philadelphia on July 4,  1776,  but only 45 would have been able to sign the document on that day.  Seven delegates were absent.  New York’s eight-person delegation didn’t vote at the time,  while it awaited instructions from home,  so it could never have signed a document on July 4.
August 2 was also the date when the assistant to the secretary of Congress,   Timothy Matlack,  produced a clean scripted copy,  and not on July 4 as is commonly believed by so many,  of which on that famous date only printed copies,  as seen at the bottom of this post,  were produced.
So,  many members of the Continental Congress started to sign the engrossed version of the Declaration on August 2,  1776,  in Philadelphia.  
John Hancock
John Hancock’s famous signature was in the middle, because of his status as President of the Congress.  The other delegates signed by state delegation,  starting in the upper right column,  and then proceeding in five columns,  arranged from the northernmost state  (New Hampshire)  to the southernmost  (Georgia).
Richard Henry Lee,  George Wythe,  Elbridge Gerry,  Oliver Wolcott,  Lewis Morris,  Thomas McKean,  and Matthew Thornton signed the document were not present on August 2,  so they signed after that date in 1776.
However,  the signers’ names weren’t released publicly until early 1777,  when Congress allowed the printing of an official copy with the names attached.  On January 18,  1777 printer Mary Katherine Goddard’s version printed in Baltimore indicated the delegates  “desired to have the same put on record,”  and there was a signature from John Hancock authenticating the printing. 

Now,  for your own knowledge sake,  I present to you a complete list of all 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence:

John Adams
Samuel Adams
Samuel Chase
Samuel Adams
Josiah Bartlett
Carter Braxton  
Charles Carroll
Samuel Chase
Abraham Clark
George Clymer  
Gerry Elbridge  
William Ellery
William Floyd
Benjamin Franklin
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
John Hancock (president of the Continental Congress)
Benjamin Harrison
John Hart
Joseph Hewes
Thomas Heyward, Jr. 
Button Gwinnett
Benjamin Franklin
William Hooper 
Stephen Hopkins
Francis Hopkinson
Samuel Huntington
Thomas Jefferson
Francis Lightfoot Lee 
Richard Henry Lee
Francis Lewis
Philip Livingston
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Thomas McKean
Arthur Middleton 
Lewis Morris
Robert Morris
John Morton
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
William Paca 
Robert Treat Paine
Stephen Hopkins
Robert Treat Paine
John Penn
George Read
Caesar Rodney 
George Ross 
Benjamin Rush
Edward Rutledge
Roger Sherman 
James Smith
Richard Stockton
Thomas Stone
George Taylor
Matthew Thornton 
George Walton
William Whipple
George Wythe
William Williams
James Wilson
John Witherspoon
Oliver Wolcott
George Wythe 

Let's jump ahead a few years and spy into the thoughts of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as they converse with each other via letters about times past:
It was on May 27,  1813,   when Jefferson wrote to Adams with somber news:
Benjamin Rush
"Another of our friends of  76 is gone,  my dear Sir,  another of the Co-signers of the independence of our country. and a better man,  than  (Benjamin) Rush,  could not have left us,  more benevolent, more learned,  of finer genius,  or more honest.  we too must go;  and that ere long.  I believe we are under half a dozen at present;   I mean the signers of the Declaration.  yourself,  Gerry,  Carroll, and myself are all I know to be living.  I am the only one South of the Patomac.  is Robert Treat Payne,  or Floyd living?  it is long since I heard of them,  and yet I do not recollect to have heard of their deaths."
From John Adams:  
"I rec'd  yesterday your favour of may 27th.  I lament with you the loss of Rush.  I know of no Character living or dead,  who has done more real good in America.  Robert Treat Paine still lives,  at 83 or 84,  alert drol and witty though deaf.  Floyd I believe,  yet remains,  Paine must be very great;  Philosopher and Christian;  to live under the Afflictions of his Family.
You & I have passed our lives in serious times..."
Serious times indeed!

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Here is something that I feel is more than a coincidence - Providence,  mayhaps? - concerning these two men:  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams,  both co-writers of the Declaration of Independence,  died on the same day,  date,  and year.  That in itself is remarkable enough.  But their shared passing occurred on July 4,  1826,  50 years to the day of the Declaration's adoption.
Their death signaled the end of the Revolutionary era,  for,  at that point,  there was only one signer left alive,  Charles Carroll,  who lived six more years,  until 1832.
The Spirit of '76

"Another of our friends of  '76 is gone..."
This right here tells you how so very special that year of our Declaration of Independence still was to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson that they continued to remember when a long-time friend had passed away,  not in his age,  but of the accomplishment and contribution he made 37 years prior.  Those 56 men who signed that most important of documents had a connection - a relation - unlike we could ever know.
"Another of our friends of  '76~" American heroes...

Until next time,  see you in time.

To read more about the Declaration of Independence through various blog posts I wrote,  please click HERE

My sources for this posting came from a variety of areas, including THIS article
Also from HERE
as well as from

~   ~   ~

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Charlton Park Civil War Muster 2021

Before July 18,  it had been three years since I'd been to Charlton Park,  and I must say that when I stepped inside the Sixberry House - our  "home"  while there - it felt like nary a day had passed.  In one sense,  that was pretty scary because it shows just how fast time goes by.  But in another sense,  it felt like...coming home.  I have been reenacting inside the Sixberry House since 2008,  only missing two years between then and now - 2019 due to illness,  and 2020 due to the covid pandemic shutting everything down - so this year was a sort of homecoming for me.  It was in 2010 that I came up with the idea of an 1860s family scenario,  where those of us who are in the house fall into immersion and 1st person,  mostly as a Maryland family during the Civil War.  It was in 2014 where I found my,  shall we say,  permanent  1860s family:  my friend,  Larissa,  reenacted as my wife,  Jackie became my sister,  and Candy  (as well as Carrie/Agnes)  as our servants.  And we've had various young ladies portray our daughters,  most prominently and consistently it has been Jillian.
So this year we carried on as if there were no break since 2018,  and Larissa,  myself,  Jackie,  Jillian,  and Candy all came together once again,  recreating the Logan family of the 1860s.
Here is how it turned out:
Home again after an extended absence,  Larissa & I,  along with our now
20-something year old daughter,  found our way back to our home. 

A little bit of an artsy photo,  I used the hall tree mirror
to add a some etherealness to Larissa climbing the stairs.

This house is set up similar to the Adams House inside Greenfield Village,
which is,  perhaps,  another reason why I feel at home here,  for the Adams
House has been one of my favorites for decades.  Unfortunately,  the house
has been closed to the public for many years with no sign of reopening soon.

The Sixberry house looked and felt quite the same,  as if we'd never left,  and we spent our time in the back parlor.  In most cases,  the front parlors of this style home were formal and would have been used for entertaining guests,  weddings,  and funerals.  The back parlors were places for the family to relax.
For us,  however,  we sort of combine the two parlors in usage and generally
use the back parlor more often while inside the Sixberry House,  
sometimes in the manner reversed from what was the 19th century norm.
The back parlor would have been more commonly used for private  "family time,"  
which we have,  and not for visits with friends.
To an extent,  we have reversed its usage while inside this house,  for Sixberry is
a historic building,  so we maintain ourselves in the back parlor and kitchen
for most of our time there out of respect for Charlton Park.

You know how,  as a living historian,  you make the attempt to make it all be there?  And then,  while everything is going perfectly past,  you get that one reenactor who rips the veil of time and,  due to either their ignorance or their non-compliance,  they ruin the entire immersive feeling,  like the 1979 penny in the movie Somewhere In Time.
Well,  beginning back in 2014 we asked any reenactors who wanted to visit with us inside the house to act as if they actually entered our real  home in the summer of 1864 and to stay in period.
Ever since then,  the wonderful living historians that surround us at our events have more than complied and knock at the door,  only to be welcomed by Candace  (or Agnes,  our other servant when she's able to participate),  and become a part of the past with us.  And, oh!  the conversations we have!  This sort of thing takes research of the period,  so we have had some of our very best living history moments and conversations with our  immersed  "neighbors."
In this photograph we have Pastor Purdue with his  "daughter" - they visited us in full immersion and thus became another of our great highlights,  which will go into the annals of our Charlton Park time travel experiences.

Mr.  and Mrs.  Carlson also paid us a visit.
This wonderful couple helped us out a few years back when our
daughter Jillian was rather,  shall we say,  in need of learning
Victorian manners.  Mrs.  Carlson,  who was the head-mistress
of the local Carlson Seminary School For Girls,  took Jillian
into her care to school her in virtue.
It worked.

Jillian still enjoys some fun time inside the front parlor which,  as you can see, 
holds our more fancy furniture items.
However,  she did eventually settle and took her place as a genteel Victorian lady.

We heard a commotion outside along the road where our house sat,  and upon peering
out the window we saw and heard a regiment of Union soldiers march past.

Looking through the parlor window,  Jillian spotted the 
men with great interest.  No matter that our sympathies
lay with the south  (just for this one event).

When Johnny  (or Billy)  comes marching home again,  hurrah...hurrah...

As we portray a solidly middle class family,  we are able to afford a servant.
Candace has portrayed our servant since 2014.
When asked if she'd prefer to be a  "regular lady"  and
not a servant,  she declined.  She enjoys her role in
her 19th century life.

Servant Candace also serves us at the Christmas at the
Fort event during the holiday season.

She works harder than the rest of us,  that is for sure.
Oftentimes she is included in our scenarios.

You know,  eating in this manner inside this period kitchen is always a highlight. 
In fact,  it's one of my very favorite things to do as a reenactor.
And we do eat a traditional 19th century summer meal.
The reason I enjoy it so much is that whenever I've visited an open-air museum such as Greenfield Village,  I've always dreamed of being able to sit with the period-dress presenters such as at Firestone Farm or the Daggett House and eat the dinner meal with them,  and be a part of the past.
Here at Sixberry House,  I do!

Jim and Candy Cary take a proper Victorian image
inside the front parlor.

After our dinner,  we took time to stroll the Village:
As a historic village,  Charlton Park does a tremendous job at replicating the past
by way of wood-plank sidewalks and dirt roads and 19th century buildings.

Every village needs a blacksmith shop!

As we moved along the road we found that we were not the only living historians who were able to acquisition a period historic structure:
I see Mrs.  St. John is open to do business as a seamstress.

And inside we have Mrs.  Mitchell,  Mrs.  St.  John,  and Mrs.  Hadley busy at work.

Why do I love reenacting at Charlton Park?
Just look at these two photos...above and below- - I see nothing but the past. 
This could easily be a scene directly out of the 1860s.

The carpenter's shop.
With wood-plank sidewalks,  the local carpenter could be kept very busy.

The stagecoach stop - The Bristol Inn - wasn't as bustling today as on a normal day.
I would love to see all of these buildings utilized by living historians for the Civil War weekend to bring the 1860s to life in a rare and unique way.

One of the very cool pluses for us who reenact the Civil War era is the fact that not only can we recreate the era itself  (as best as we can),  but recreate the historic images of the period in an authentic manner - by way of having our likenesses taken with an original tin type camera,  such as by circuit-riding photographer W. C.  Badgley.

We also have the Confederate Army's medic,  Dr.  Tripp.

Of course,  visiting with long-time friends was wonderful - friends we have not
seen in nearly two years!

Shopping at the sutlers:
Amazon Dry Goods had their set up at the event this year.
Many thanks to Samantha Hickle for not only being there at the event,  but also for doing such a wonderful job in keeping her business historically accurate. 

Our annual  "Family Photo"

And our group photo as well:
Me and Larissa at the top
Candace and Jackie in the middle
Jillian at the bottom.
Top-notch living historians.
And there you have it,  my friends!
Our historically fine and fun day at Charlton Park.
Even though we're not perfect in our immersion and 1st person experiences,  we are certainly striving to reach higher and higher levels.  Like I said,  the core group I  "work"  with are the best;  in our reenacting world we have been together in this capacity long enough that I feel will keep us heading in the right direction of becoming even more of a believable and credible family of the 1860s  (within limits,  obviously).
And we see no end in sight.
By the way,  none of the pictures herein were taken using a flash.  I wanted to capture the realism of the 1860s in all of its glorious naturalness.
So,  I hope the kind folks at Charlton Park who allow us such opportunities in bringing the past to life in such a unique way are pleased with our actions.
With all my heart I thank them for their trust in us.


One more thing before we leave for this week:
I am saddened to report that  "One is missing from our  'family'  who will never return."  
For numerous years since 2014 we have kept this special day at the Sixberry House,  as well as Christmas at the Fort,  with the inclusion of Larissa's mother Violet,  who,  during our living history excursions,  became my 1860s mother-in-law while there.  On this just past July 28 our dear friend passed from this world.  She was very ill and in hospice care.  A few days before her passing,  Larissa asked her mother what should be said to everyone who asked about her.  In Violet's own words:  “Thank everyone for their prayers,  love and concern.  Your prayers have been answered.  I’m healed and gone home.”  
Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;  and there shall be no more death,  neither sorrow,  nor crying,  neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away.
God bless the family of Violet Kyryluk.
Thank you for your friendship.
An 1860s  "Family"  photo.
That's Violet,  2nd row left in the light-colored dress.
Violet,  you will be sorely missed.

Until next time,  see you in time.

For a quick photographic overview of our history at the Sixberry House,  please click HERE
To visit Amazon Dry Goods for your 1860s needs,  please click Amazon Dry Goods

  ~   ~

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Colonial Frankenmuth 2021

I am certainly trying to get the most out of reenacting this year since we had a non-season last year.  So far I have participated in nine reenactments in 2021,  up to and including this Frankenmuth event on July 17.  By this time a year ago I did two,  and they were both unofficial events.
What a difference a year can make when there's no pandemic pandemonium about,  eh?
I think people are ready to be out and to mix and mingle once again with others.  Frankenmuth certainly proved this to be true!
I was there on Saturday only and had my stealth camera on my person,  snapping away,  and I have chosen the best of the lot for today's posting:
As a reenactor,  this is one of the most satisfying sights one can see:
tents,  campfires,  and reenactors.

And sutlers.
It's always good to have a few sutlers about.
Susan Hansen has her Carrot Patch Farm woolen yarn sutlery set up as well.

Jackie & Charlotte did some shopping at the Carrot Patch Farm and found
exactly what they were looking for.

Oftentimes reenactors will sell items they no longer need or want
right from their camp.
I purchased a wooden bucket from this kind woman.

A group shot of Jennifer,  her son TJ,  me,  and Joe 
(who is a student in the classroom where I work and recently
got involved in this hobby). 

Jennifer and her son,  TJ,  spent part of their day playing period games.
The mother and son team are coming out more often this year.

Bob Stark is as close as you will probably get to meeting Benjamin Franklin.  The man is in a constant state of  Franklin research,  always looking further and deeper in Franklin's life to enhance his presentation.
And Franklin wore many hats in his life,  from chandler to printer to writer to inventor to statesman...and one of Bob-as-Franklin top speech requests,  especially this time of year,  so close to Independence Day,  is the story behind - and his contribution to - the Declaration of Independence.
After explaining how the Declaration came about,  Dr.  Franklin reads the
document to the interested audience. 

But you will notice as he reads it,  he begins rolling it back up,  yet
still reciting the words therein.  You see,  Mr.  Stark has the entirety
of the 1320 word document committed to memory!
If that isn't impressive and dedication,  I don't know what is!

Over on the other side of the area saw the local Indian encampment.
I always enjoy it immensely when Native Americans take part and tell their story at reenactments.  
A blanket filled with items showing native life.

The American Indian encampment was placed in a sort of wooded area,  giving it a 
more authentic feel.

It is always enjoyable to hear about Native life - stories that only more recently
have been coming out.

EJ also showed a bit on everyday 18th century life as well.

My friend and co-worker,  Cindy and her husband came up to Frankenmuth when I mentioned we would be there at the reenactment.  
I am always honored when friends come to visit.

Joey is a long-time Voyageur reenactor
who also does blacksmithing.

EJ's mom.

For the visitors and the soldiers,  the two battles presented here are probably the highlight of the day.  Neither is based on a particular historical battle,  but,  rather,  more on the tactics of the war.  This gives the public a little taste - just a taste,  mind you - of what it was like to fight in 18th century America. Children especially can gain a better understanding of our nation's early war years.
When I was a kid,  reenactments were  *almost*  unheard of.  It wasn't until the later 1970s that this hobby began to get a little bit of notice in my neck of the woods.  I don't believe I actually attended my first one until sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s when I was already married with kids.  I was enthralled.
And if I,  as an adult,  can get so excited,  I can just imagine what it is like for a young 10 year old kid attending something like this - - wow!
Of course,  at the Frankenmuth event,  I had my  'stealth camera'  with me and took some photos of the excitement - the following photos are a combination of the day's two battles.  
To accent some of the photographs herein, I have included original snippets from documents  (letters and journal entries)  as well as a few historical facts.
Jennifer Monarch Mailley took this picture of  Dalton,  the guy in the center, 
 for he was in charge of the regiment.

"Our main body  (had)  time to form and take an advantageous ground."

Over the course of the war,  about 231,000 men served in the Continental Army,  though never more than 48,000 at any one time,  and never more than 13,000 at any one place. 
The sum of the Colonial militias numbered upwards of 145,000 men.

In terms of numbers:
 40,000 soldiers fought in the Battle of Long Island,  making it the largest battle.
30,000 men fought at Brandywine,  Pa., 
and 27,000 participated at Yorktown,  Va..

"The battle was in plain view from our door.  The  (men)  fell in great plenty, 
but to do them justice,  they keep a front and stood their ground nobly."

At its peak,  the British Army,  including the Queen's Rangers of which you see here,  had upwards of 22,000 men at its disposal in North America to combat the rebellion.  An additional 25,000 Loyalists,  faithful to Great Britain,  participated in the conflict
as well.

Battles were fought over a wide range of locations including Quebec in the north down to Savannah,   Georgia in the south.  Some were small clashes with little significance where others were major engagements known to any kid who has ever opened a history book.  Some of these major battles made once little known towns such as Lexington,  Concord,  Saratoga,  Princeton, and Yorktown famous.  In fact,  26 states have cities or towns named Lexington!

"It was now the fate of our army was to be decided---the firing was supported
with equal vigor---and neither party seemed inclined to give way...all was dubious..."

Throughout the course of the war,  an estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in action,  6,100 wounded,  and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. 
Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease,  including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.

"Every time they shoot it off it takes a horn of powder,
and makes a noise like father's gun, only a nation louder!"

"The particulars of the skirmish surprised me very much,  as I had no conception the
 loss of the troops could have been so great when everybody agrees that the men
behaved with proper spirit."

"The horrors and devastations of war now begin to appear with us in earnest.
As this regiment was to sustain the assault of the whole British line, 
it is not to be supposed they could make a long opposition. 
They were obliged to give way and retreated..."

"...when we mounted the summit, where the engagement was - good God,  how the
balls flew - I freely acknowledge I never had such a tremor come over me before."

One of the most awesome things occurred when the Americans decided to charge the British:  everyone in the stands watching the battle began to cheer rather loudly as the men rushed toward their enemy.

The British responded to the charge...

...killing each American.
The crowd gave out a collective  "awe!!!"  as the men fell to the ground.
I must say that I loved hearing the people cheering on the Americans.  And I loved hearing the crowd boo when the British  "killed"  two American officers by shooting them in the back.  It seems like there is so much anti-American sentiment lately that it did my heart good to witness the patriotic pride from so many.

And then,  not long after the battle,  it was time for us to leave,  for the following day would find me in another time and another place - more on that next week.
But we did one last thing in Frankenmuth:
As the afternoon headed toward evening,  Jackie,  Joe,  and I decided it was time
to leave,  for we had a bit of a drive home.  Being that we were hungry,  we decided
to stop at a local diner - an actual 1950s diner on the outskirts of town.  Besides the
great music from the pre-Beatles rock and roll era,  the food was very good.
The atmosphere was pretty cool,  too!
While inside the diner,  still wearing our period clothing,  a customer who had spent his day at the reenactment came up to us and thanked us for taking part.  He was a history teacher and very much appreciated the experience of witnessing history come to life.
This is what we as reenactors thrive on.

Until next time,  see you in time.

 ~   ~