Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Traveling Through Time: Port Sanilac and Chesterfield

If you look under the title of my Passion for the Past header,  you will note the general description of this blog:  "Thoughts and Social History for the Living Historian."
Yes,  what I write here almost always has its base in living history and reenacting.  My hope is that my posts can be used to help accent those who reenact,  at least to some degree,  common everyday life - what is considered the mostly mundane occurrences of the past,  though past politics and war find their way into my postings here and there,  such as what you will see to some extent today. 
And,  as you know,  for the most part,  2020 was void of nearly every reenactment.
But this year,  our hobby has returned...and for this week's posting it has returned in the form of two timelines back-to-back.
I hope you enjoy it:  

........

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone once again,  and it is the second year in a row that our Civil War Remembrance reenactment at Greenfield Village has not taken place due to the fear of covid-19.  Throughout my Facebook feed there are a ton of comments from reenactors and visitors alike posting how sad they've been with the event being cancelled.
However,  there was a ray of sunshine for a few of us:  the Sanilac County Historic Village and Museum had a FREE timeline event that included reenactors from the Revolutionary War through the Korean War,  including weapons demonstrations,  a talk on Civil War spies,  and meeting Benjamin Franklin & Paul Revere.
Port Sanilac,  in case you did not know,  is about 90 minutes north of Detroit on the shores of southern Lake Huron.
Paul Revere,  Ben Franklin,  and Sybil Ludington at your service.
We have stories to tell...


A few of us  "colonials"  at Port Sanilac.
Paul Revere and Sybil Ludington amongst others of the period.

When my wife,  Patty,  told me she would like to take part,  I was elated. 
She does not come out and participate in reenactments nearly as often as
she used to,  so any time she offers,  I am a happy man.
Though Patty was not necessarily a part of the timeline itself, 
she added beautifully in her knitting.
"What are you making?" was the question of the day.

The ladies always add wonderful atmosphere,  and oftentimes the
public will speak to them about their lives as colonial women.

Here am I as Paul Revere,  getting the truth out about my most famous of rides on the April night in 1775.
It always amazes me how many people learned of this event from the Longfellow poem...and believe that dramatization to be true.  I am most happy to set the record straight.

There were also Redcoats there as well,  explaining their side of the story.
It makes sense,  doesn't it?  For,  after all,  they were once America's military force as well.

One of the students in the classroom that I para in is giving our hobby a try.
So far he really seems to like it.

My son Robbie was there,  representing the Continental Army as a member of the 1st Pennsylvania with new member Joe.  They did do musket demonstrations as well as showed the public how to make a fire with flint and steel and char cloth.
And he got it going!

Firing the muskets.
This was Joe's first time out ever...and his first time firing of a musket ever.

There is a neat little period general store there at the mini-historical open-air museum,  and Patty & Larissa took advantage of shopping opportunities:


Dave Gooden and Jackie were two of the four who represented the Civil War era.
Jackie,  as you know,  also joins in as a colonial,  but she did a talk on the female spies of the Civil War:


Also part of the Civil War representation was tintype photographer Robert Beech.
Along with his wife,  they not only take tintypes but will explain the process and of its popularity in the 1860s.

From the 1860s we moved into the 20th century...to The Great War  (WWI):
Joe Coppens represented the era of my grandfather:
This is my grandfather during The War To End All Wars  (another name for WWI)

Next up we have Tommy Dilger representing WWII:
Tommy is a fine representative of the War in which my father took part:
My Dad in 1945.
He fought in Okinawa.
I suppose,  then,  it could be said that this young lady represents my mother, 
who,  like the young lady here is showing,  also had a Victory Garden during
the period of WWII.
My mom in 1944/45.


And there were also representations of the Korean War,  which I heard stated as
the Forgotten War.
I must admit that it was rarely spoken of when I was growing up.  My parents and relatives were mostly of the WWII generation,  and that's what we heard about.  I have one cousin who was in Korea,  and it's only been lately that I've been hearing a few of his stories.
I don't know...it's hard to think of a war where almost 40,000 Americans died in action and more than 100,000 were wounded as a  "forgotten war."
Let's remember these men,  too.

All the eras that were represented at this event,  from the 1770s through the 1950s, 
did weapons demonstrations.

Ben Franklin is known for flirting with the ladies.
He's still at it!
However,  the young lady's beau seems to be doubling the flirting of Dr.  Franklin!

The past flanking the future...

After the event had ended,  a few of us decided to visit the famous town of Lexington:
Okay...so it's not that  Lexington of Revolutionary fame. 
But the Village of Lexington,  Michigan was  named for the
famous Massachusetts city.

But that's not all:  the following weekend I participated in another timeline event,  only this one took place a little closer to home,  in the northern Macomb County Township of Chesterfield  (about 20 minutes north of the Detroit line).
This one also tended to center heavily on the era of the Lac Ste.  Claire Voyageurs:
Even though we are of the same era,  we are technically not Voyageurs.  We tend to represent the East Coast - mostly New England.  But we love coming out with our Voyageur friends and supporting them whenever we are able.
They happened to have a log cabin on site,  and since Jackie & I have been spending living history time at the frontier cabin in Waterloo,  we thought it appropriate to have our photo taken in front of the one here at Chesterfield.

The thing that has always impressed me with the Voyageurs is they actually reenact. 
They just don't sit around but are active in demonstrating past crafts.

Micki has been presenting as a Voyageur for decades.
Even though she recently lost her husband,  Jerry,  she still plans to carry on their tradition of reenacting this much over-looked group in our Nation's history.

A couple of pipe smokers.

The lone Civil War reenactor fires off his rifle for the visitors.

1880s

World War II
The photo Paul sent home to his honey in 1944.

The men depicting WWII actually dug fox holes.
That was pretty awesome to see.

Paul not only does WWII,  but is also a member of  the 1st Pennsylvania
Revolutionary War regiment.
Though he enjoys other eras,  he says his heart is in the Revolutionary War.

Even in the hot weather,  cooking a meal over an open-flame took place, 
including such delights as a pheasant stew.

It was the first time many of us have seen each other in a year or longer,  so it was good to sit and visit.  Of course,  with the temperature hovering around 90 degrees,  there was little else we could do.

It's not very often that the 1880s are depicted here in Michigan,  though at that period in time our state was thriving...booming.

The Blacksmith is In.

Being that my German great great grandfather was a blacksmith in Detroit in the 1880s,  I have a little extra interest in the trade.  In fact,  I was recently asked if I wanted to train as a blacksmith!  Maybe if this was 25 or 30 years ago...now,  however...nope.

I do take an interest in the jobs that my ancestors did.
There is a connection there.
Genealogy is so important.

They were,  I believe,  doing something with wire.
There are times I like to do something different for my photos.
So Joey grabbed his bow and arrows while Richard grabbed his musket.
Going to do some shootin' - - !
I believe Joey has actually done some bow hunting as well as gone out with his musket.
Being that we were not too far from Lake St.  Clair,  this was a perfect spot for such a photo.

Obviously they were not pleased that I followed them.
(No...they were not aiming directly at me,  and the bow was not drawn nor
was the musket cocked.)

Considering how the reenacting world,  along with most everything else,  has been shut down for a year and a half,  a few of us were biting at the bit to be out in the public's eye while in period clothing.
Yes,  it felt great,  though I must admit that I've not really let this pandemic prevent me from my own time-travel excursions:
To read about our springtime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our wintertime excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
To read about our autumn excursion at the cabin,  click HERE
Still having period dress meetings...and still presenting at school - click HERE
Celebrating Patriot's Day - click HERE


By the way,  I took one of those Facebook quizzes,  this one about the American Revolution,  and did not fair too badly:
"You know as much about the American Revolution as:
14 / 15 (A Founding Father)
Congratulations on your phenomenal results! Are you a time traveler just returned from the 1780s? Or maybe a reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson himself? Because your knowledge of the American Revolution is so accurate that it's almost spooky. You have scored in the very top tier, beating out almost everyone else who has taken this quiz. We'll be setting off fireworks for you this Fourth of July!"
Not bad at all.
Thank you for the Fireworks.


Before we leave for this week,  I would like to share a wonderful happening:  my friend  (and co-worker)  is becoming a U.S.  citizen!  She passed the test and now will be sworn in.  She is a proud Patriot---she is a proud American.
And we are proud to have her as  "one of us."
As a welcoming gift,  my wife and I presented her with this table/desk top 
flag stand and two historic flags:  Betsy Ross and the Bennington Spirit of  '76.
She knows her American history and loves her new country.
I love the Patriotism from our new citizens.


Until next time,  see you in time.























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1 comment:

Lady Locust said...

Oh what fun you must have had.
You resemble your mom :-)
I too am so glad that things are beginning to "open up."