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.

 ~   ~

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Celebrating Our Nation's Birth: Spending the Independence Day Weekend 2021 at the Historic Villages of Greenfield, Mill Race, and Crossroads

Every Independence Day since 2008  (sans one)  has been spent at Greenfield Village.  And every Independence Day since 2010,  even including last year during covid,  I have dressed in period clothing to celebrate this glorious American holiday;  from 2010 through 2013,  I dressed in my 1860s clothing,  and since 2014 I've worn my 1770 clothes.  Oftentimes friends will join me in these excursions,  making it all the better.  There is something to be said about reenacting the colonial past...especially on the 4th of July. 
Mind!  We are not technically reenacting  there,  nor do we work there;  we just show up on our own accord and kinda become our own historical entity.
This year was no different. 
So!  On the morning of the 4th you know where we were;  the bright sunshine was in its summer glory - the sun always seems to shine on the 4th of July - and we knew the day was going to be something special:
Standing at one Revolutionary house and eyeing another - from Plympton to Daggett.

Whenever I am at the Village and dressed in the styles of our founding generation,  I always make it a point to head first thing toward the far end where the original colonial houses sit.  And this year was no different.  As always,  we had a wonderful time speaking with the presenters who were working inside the 1750s home of Samuel and Anna Daggett,  and we also enjoyed the opportunity to take more than a few  "quick sketches"  while there.
My favorite house in the Village beckons me each and every time I visit.
(This picture was taken last year)

Yes,  even during the political turmoil of our modern day,  I am patriotic and believe in our great nation,  for I also believe in our people.  And I love what this holiday stands for,  with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it,  including the fireworks,  the red,  white,  and blue everywhere  I look,  the American flags flying in front of houses...yes,  I love it all.
And the history...obviously,  the history.
Roy is one of my favorite presenters inside Greenfield Village. 
This man knows his stuff,  and he and I always banter back & forth about who knows more:  I always say him but he disagrees. 
Ahhh...who cares,  right?  As long as the information is well-researched and shared. 
I think our knowledge compliments each other...

I just want to mention that it really was nice to have members of my reenacting group,  Citizens of the American Colonies,  join me once again for this year's patriotic excursion.  Citizens,  as you may recall,  is a living history group I formed,  and I am happy to say it continues to grow,  so you can imagine how very glad I was to have a few members come out.
And it just so happened that one of the guests there was from Tokyo and wanted to get all she could of American history.  She loves her new country and the expression on her face showed that.  She asked if she could take a group photo,  of which we happily complied.  I then asked if she would be willing to take a shot with my camera:
Members of Citizens of the American Colonies came out once again in this
Independence Day excursion to Greenfield Village.  And joining us for this
photograph we have three Greenfield Village historic presenters who happen to
work at the Daggett House.

As reenactors,  we certainly live interesting lives,  don't we?  We can experience times past in ways most folks can't even imagine.  And,  it seems,  we've helped others as well,  for as we strolled about the Village,  I was told by more than one guest that they felt we brought the 4th of July to life for them.
That,  my friend,  is what it is all about - - to strive to be as accurate as one can and to have that work noticed is as good a compliment living historians can receive.  It's almost like we've jumped into - or maybe jumped out of - our history books. 
Yeah,  well,  you have to admit,  period clothing is pretty cool to wear.
From April through most of June,  visitors were not allowed to enter the homes
due to covid.  However,  by the end of the month we could go in once again! 

I would be willing to bet quite a lot that the number one subject women reenactors speak on is fabric:  what kind,  who is having a sale,  how much should they get.
So...I do believe that is what these ladies were speaking of here as well.

Jennifer brought along her son,  TJ,  all dressed up and ready to go.  Unfortunately,  TJ  had no hat with him so I brought along an extra that my grandson often wears.  TJ was very happy and proudly wore it!
It's not often we see a child in period clothing inside the Daggett House. 
In fact,  I believe this is only the second time for me to see this.

(I have to notate that Jennifer did not  touch a thing here. 
This is a posed picture for aesthetic purposes~)

Samuel Daggett,  a house wright,  built this particular house in Coventry  (now Andover),  Connecticut around the year 1750,  right about the time he married his wife,  Anna Bushnell.   Samuel and Anna had three children:  daughters Asenath  and Talitha Ann,  and a son,  Isaiah.
Jennifer's son learned about flax from Roy.

From the Daggett House we moved on to the former home of John and Mehetable Giddings:
This house was built right around the same time as the Daggett House - the mid-18th century -  so both are older than the United States as a country!

There were no visitors around so we set up our own little scenario of the Declaration of Independence being read,  much in the same way it may have happened in towns across the newly formed states back in 1776.

Quaker Deborah Norris Logan was fourteen in the summer of 1776.  In a diary she started many years later,  she described what she saw and heard on July 4 of that year:
"It is now a matter of doubt as what hour,  or how,  the Declaration was given to the people.  Perhaps few now remain that heard it read on that day.  But of the few I am one:
being in the lot adjoining to our old mansion house in Chestnut Street,  that then extended to 5th Street,  I distinctly heard the words of that Instrument read to the people..."  

"...It took place a little after twelve at noon and they then proceeded down the street, 
to read it at the Court House.  It was a time of fearful doubt and great anxiety with the people,  many of whom were appalled at the boldness of the measure,  and the
first audience was  (not)  very numerous..."

The  tavern  (or  'ordinary,'  or  'publick house,'  as they were also known)  have played an important part in social,  political,  and even military life,  though we see them taking more of a back seat in their role in our Nation's history.
It is assumed average middling  (middle class)  people traveled more than likely by foot to get from home to village,  though to go any great distance taking a stage was almost necessary.  For us to visit the Eagle Tavern,  we traveled by foot.

Colonial taverns were run by keepers of a middling class who had a steadier income than a farmer or other laborer might have had.
The Eagle Tavern was built about 1831 in Clinton,  Michigan. 
But the architectural style is not very distant from those built at the time of
our country's founding,  so it was very suitable for the way we were dressed. 

Food at a rural colonial tavern was generally fair,  and travelers expected no more than mediocrity upon dining while on the road,  with the choices limited and the prices fluctuating.  Simply prepared over an open hearth,  the types of food for dinner was what was commonly found in the cupboard of an 18th century community.
However,  our meal here at the Eagle Tavern  was very good indeed---beyond fair.
At times the servings could be fairly well and include bread and cheese,  pigeon fricassee,  roast fowl,  pasties,  and pie,  all washed down with a tankard or mug of cider.
Our little group had soups,  salads,  cold cuts,  and I had roasted chicken breast.
At this point the temperature was a-rising high into the 90s,  and,  since it was the 4th of July,  with neighborhood fireworks soon to be a-booming,  it was decided we would find our way back to the 21st century to enjoy the evening's activities and prepare for the next day's time-travel excursions.
By the way,  we are very respectful to Greenfield  Village,  the presenters,  and to the guests who visit.  We do not  "step on toes,"  so to speak,  and we let the presenters do their job - always stepping out of the way when visitors show up wherever we may be.  We also let any guests who come up to us know we are not workers or volunteers there,  only living historians who try to get the most out of our holiday experience.  However,  many of the visitors really enjoy our being there and will take photos of  and with us,  of which we are happy to do so.

The following day,  Monday July 5th,  was considered to be the Federal  Independence Day celebration - leave it to the government to shut down the day after  the actual holiday.
So it was that some of us gathered at historic Mill Race Village in Northville,  which is a sort of mini-Greenfield Village.  We've been celebrating Independence Day there for the past few years,  aside from last year,  and,  though there was nothing  "official"  happening inside Mill Race,  I had heard that the Northville 4th of July parade was occurring and thought it could be fun to get all dressed up and visit a few of the locals who may come through the park where Mill Race lay.
It was not only citizens of the American Colonies who showed up at Mill Race, 
but members of the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageurs also took part,  so we actually
had a larger group participate.

Mill Race is a dirt pathway that runs the length of the park,  circles around at one end and leads you back to where you started.
The pathway is mostly lined with beautiful shade tress,  and most of us,  including Charlotte,  Jackie,  and Ken,  remained  'neath these trees,  for the temperatures were going to be even higher than the previous day,  reaching the mid-90s with higher humidity.

Ken also took some time out to read this new
"Declaration"  everyone was speaking of.

My main reason for coming out to Mill Race was not to be atmosphere,  necessarily,  but to speak to the locals who were strolling through the historic Village about the history of  our Independence Day celebration.  
In the few years I have been coming to Mill Race Village,  I have noticed there is a large immigration population in that area,  and these folks - many who are new citizens of the United States - tend to be the most excited about this country and are very happy to now be a part of the citizenship here.
And they love the history!
Jackie and I enjoyed very much speaking to the numerous families who came through. 
We were impressed by the knowledge of our Nation's history that came from the kids, 
many who seemed to have more knowledge than their parents or older siblings.

Similar to the Eagle Tavern at Greenfield Village,  there are a few buildings here at Mill Race Village that,  though they were built in the 19th century,  they still have that 18th century flavor to them,  including the stone blacksmith shop which looks as if it could have come straight out of eastern Pennsylvania.
Katherine and Noelle are new to colonial reenacting.  They've both been involved in Civil War for some years,  however,  so they know the rules of  authenticity and keeping modern items hidden from view.  The time spent at Greenfield and Mill Race Villages this weekend was only their second time out in 18th century clothing - I love when people are not afraid to do their own research and look great so early on in any particular era of this hobby.

I am very glad Katherine and Noelle decided to join Citizens of the American Colonies and hope to see them come out more often with us at upcoming reenactments.

As always,  we like to take a group shot.
A mix of  Citizens and Voyageurs.
Not a bad showing~
I know those of us who spoke to passerby certainly made their holiday!

The heat continued to rise and,  unfortunately,  none of the buildings were open for us to take a break,  so we decided the time was good for us to pack up and leave.  Hopefully the public that came through enjoyed our little history lesson.

But this wasn't all I did for the wonderful Independence Day weekend!
A couple of days before heading out to Greenfield and Mill Race on the 4th and 5th of  July,  my wife and I did another open-air museum visit,  though we wore our modern clothing rather than our period clothing.
It was on Friday,  July 2,  that we made a last minute decision to head north to historic Crossroads Village,  located in Flint.
Now,  we may not have visited Crossroads on the actual 4th of July,  or the Federally mandated 5th of July holiday,  but it was still on a historic day involving our independence:  it was on the 2nd of July that the 2nd Continental Congress had actually voted for independence.  Two days later,  on July 4,  this declaration,  explaining the reasons for the separation from England,  was finally adopted.  Hence,  the celebratory date of July 4 and not July 2.
But still,  it was a historic day in every sense.
Welcome to Crossroads Village - this is what greets you as you step through the ticket booth:  19th century America...and in particular,  19th century Michigan!  For all historic buildings herein are from our Great Lakes State.

The history of Crossroads goes back to the late 1960's when people living in the Genesee County area,  situated around an hour north of Detroit,  were concerned that so much of their local history was being torn down.  There was also the realization that the rural crafts,  skills,  and equipment of a century earlier was also being lost to time,  so a proposal to build a museum dedicated to farming life was proposed.
Eventually,  the concept of merging farm life with rural 19th century village life came to the forefront and,  by the summer of 1973,  the County Board of Supervisors adopted the idea of creating a rural country town,  common in the last half of the 1800's. 
I cannot find the age of this classic red caboose,  unfortunately. 
However,  as for the depot behind it:  built in the late 19th century as part of the Grand Trunk Line,  the Davison Depot  (originally from Davison,  Michigan)  has been beautifully restored and even retains its original colors.
With the Bicentennial fast approaching,  plans for this Crossroads Village evolved from the common characteristics of the rural villages that used to dot Genesee County as shown in the 1875 Atlas of Genesee County.
By the time it's grand opening dedication took place on July 4,  1976,  just over a dozen buildings had been relocated onto land adjacent to the C.S.  Mott's Children's Farm - land that had been given to the people of Genesee County by the C.F.  Mott Foundation.
It now has over 30 structures.
What makes Crossroads so unique is the authenticity in its layout:  it has dirt roads,  wood-plank sidewalks,  period train with historic train cars,  and,  well,  it just has the look and feel of stepping into the past.
The lay out and feel of Crossroads Village is very real to the 19th century,  as you can see by this picture:  dirt roads,  wood plank sidewalks,  plenty of open land and shade trees...

This cider mill,  built in the 1880’s,  was used to make cider and wine from the late 19th century through 1974 when it was donated to Crossroads.  It is still used to demonstrate cider making from 140 years ago.

The Eldridge home originally stood at the northeast corner of Stanley and Genesee Roads,  and though the exact date of construction is not known,  it is figured to have been built around 1860.
John Eldridge,  his wife Annie May,  and their three children  were living here in the 1870’s.  John was a farm hand who hired out to the more affluent farmers in the area.  His daughter Caroline,  in her aging years after her Civil War husband died,  returned to the home in 1932 where she lived until her death in 1954.

The Coldwater Chapel.
This church was built by the Cohoctal Evangelicals in 1889 in Cohoctal Township in Livingston County.  The first services here were conducted in German.  In 1968  it became the Salem United Methodist Church until the congregation disbanded in 1972.
It was moved to Crossroads Village in 1977 and reopened to the public in 1978.

Once part of a barn as a horse stall,  this 1860-built shack is now used to show the blacksmith trade of the 19th century.  And Crossroads does have a working smithy throughout the summer season.

This building was built about 1885 by the founder of the town of Dryden,  Lapeer County,  Michigan for use as a dry goods store.  It was later used as a bakery and ice cream parlor and had an upstairs apartment.  In Crossroads Village it is used as a print shop,  and visitors - especially children - can make ink prints on paper just as they did over a century ago.

The Mason Tavern.
Daniel Mason,  a native of New Hartford,  New York before immigrating to Michigan,  built this structure as a stagecoach inn and tavern around 1850.  It soon became a popular stagecoach stop along the route of the Flint and Fentonville Plank Road Company,  which was established in 1849.
From 1853 to 1871,  Mundy Township's first post office was also housed here.  The tavern and post office continued to operate until shortly after the Flint and Pere Marquette Railway came to the area in the 1860s.  In 1879,  Mason sold the property and moved to Flint,  where he died in 1880.

Built roughly in 1830 in Dearborn Township,  this cabin once belonged to John and Elizabeth Salter,  hence the name Salter Log Cabin.  The Salters, immigrants from Prussia,  were farmers,  had no children,  and practiced a plain and frugal life even by standards of their day.  This cabin was never expanded or changed except for plastering the walls and adding clapboard siding during the 40 years they lived there.
In 1929 Henry Ford had this structure placed inside his newly built Greenfield Village in time for its grand opening in 1929.  
In 1995,  Greenfield Village donated it to Crossroads Village and it is now the oldest building there.

This ice house came from a farm near Holly,  Michigan.  There is no information about this particular building such as its age,  but one doesn't see too many ice houses anywhere,  so for that reason alone this is pretty cool.
Ice Houses,  by the way,  were used to store ice cut from a nearby pond or lake during the winter freeze and would hopefully last well into summer by being well insulated with sawdust.
My 2nd great grandfather used to care for and run an ice house in the 1930s while he was in his 80s.

Built in 1854 by carpenter John Buzzell for his own family,  this was the first building moved to the land on which would become Crossroads Village.  It is a fine example of Greek revival architecture and was a typical middle class home of the period.  It was the oldest standing wooden structure in Flint at the time of its relocation in 1969.  If it had not been moved,  it most certainly would have been razed.

The Atlas Gristmill
The founding father of Atlas,  Michigan was Judge Norman Davison,  who arrived there in 1831 from Livingston County,  New York.  He cleared the land and built a house for his family as well as a sawmill in 1833 and a gristmill in 1836.  It remained in continuous use as a gristmill in its original location until 1943 and was moved to Crossroads in 1980.
Folks,  it's here I have to complain:
The Atlas gristmill has been my favorite structure inside Crossroads Village.  Well,  when we went on July 2nd,  this was what I wanted to see more than anything else there.  Unfortunately,  it no longer runs the way it did since it was built - by water.  It was  "slightly modified"  and now is run by a motor,  and with the flick of a switch,  the motor starts the process.  No water running through the sluice at all.  It does not have the same feel and sound as an authentic 19th century mill. 
I'm sorry,  but this was such a disappointment.
A major let down.

I have no other information on this saw mill,  which has been here for quite a while,  and drying shed,  which seems to be a recent addition - I don't recall seeing it before,  though I remember reading about such a building.

And,  after roaming about this 19th century village,  this is what greets you as you are about to leave.  Just a small town that seemingly pops up seemingly out of nowhere.
Just like in days gone by.

Crossroads Village is a wonderful place to visit to get lost in Michigan's 19th century past.  Oh yes,  it needs some improving - Genesee County needs to cough up some money here - but it is worth the trip.

By the way,  in their handout that all visitors receive it states:  "Americans who were born in the 1840s and 1850s had an average life expectancy of  43 years but experienced enormous change during that short amount of time."
In general,   folks in the 18th and 19th centuries lived nearly as long as we do today.  Yes,  it's true.  If one would read journals of the period,  census records,  or death records of long ago they would find a good majority of adults living to a ripe old age.  
So why is this false average lifespan information being passed around as fact?  Because,  technically,  it is true - the average life span in the mid-1800s actually was around 45 years of age. 
The average  lifespan.
It was mostly the infant and early childhood mortality rates that brought the average lifespan down so greatly.  Death was extremely common,  unfortunately,  for infants before their first birthday.  So common,  in fact,  that many parents would not even name the infant until it reached 1 or 2 years of age.  My own ancestors practiced this custom.  However,  from one year old to five years the chances of death dropped for children.  From ages five to 10 it continued to drop.  And then it continued to drop further the older the child became.  In fact,  a life expectancy graph that I came across noted that  "the greatest change in the overall life expectancy...resulted in an increasing likelihood that they would reach the age of 5."
So there you have it.

And,  for my grand finale,  I have a few photos that I took during the evening hours of July 4th from the front yard of my suburban Detroit home.  There are so many in my city who have amazing fireworks
Though I flew my modern 50-star American flag for most of the day,  when evening started to come around,  I selected two flags historical in nature to fly from my porch during the fireworks gala.  This year,  once again,  I have the Betsy Ross flag.  I also flew the newest one in my collection,  the  "Spirit of  '76"  Bennington flag.

I am very pleased at how my nothing fancy camera can capture some of the spectacular illuminations.
From Abigail Adams,  on July 21,  1776: 
"The Bells rang the privateers fired the forts and Batteries,  the cannon were discharged the platoons followed and every face appeared joyfull."
I got this idea last year,  so I repeated it again this year:  
the rockets red glare behind a flag.
From the London Chronicle,  August 1776: 
"...everywhere  (the Declaration)  was received with loud huzzas,  and the utmost demonstrations of joy."
The bombs bursting in air...and my flags were still there.
One year coming up I am going to get someone - any number of,  two,  or whatever  (just so I'm not by myself) - and get all dressed period and walk up and down my neighborhood streets,  watching everyone light off fireworks,  giving  nods of approval.
How fun would that be?!?


I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Independence Day is second only to Christmas for me,  and this year I took in the holiday almost as much as a person could.  I say  "almost as much as"  because there was one thing I didn't do for no other reason than...stupidity on my part. 
I didn't go to Greenfield Village for their festive re-invented  version of the 4th of July evening celebration like I wanted to.  I have heard nothing but great things about it.  So,  well,  it'll give me something to look forward to for next year,  right?
But I most certainly did have quite a celebration anyhow,  eh?  Three historic villages over three days.
A weekend filled with American history...I'm lovin' it!
By the way,  I like what Mike Rowe  (from "Dirty Jobs")  said about this most wonderful American holiday  (I am paraphrasing here):
We say Happy Thanksgiving - not Happy November 26  (or whatever day it falls on).
We say Merry Christmas - not Merry December 25.
So,  let's say Happy Independence Day rather than Happy 4th of July.
I know I will.
And,  as I wrote on my Facebook page:
I would like to say thank you to my neighbors for the spectacular fireworks show tonight!
"Pomp and Parade with shews,  Games,  Sports, Guns,  Bells,  Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other." - just as John Adams wanted.
Happy Independence Day!!
And Happy Birthday America!!
Leave it to Calvin & Hobbes

Until next time,  see you in time.

* Thank you to Lynn Anderson for use of a few photos

 ~   ~