~Another fine 18th century event in the books!~
I was not in a good mood when I arrived at my tent that Saturday morning.
In fact, I was ready to take it down and leave.
No, it had nothing to do with the reenactment at all; the reason for my anger doesn't matter. But I am glad I didn't follow through with my initial plans. I, instead, decided to leave it up for a bit - maybe take it down in the afternoon sometime. After all, the weather was supposed to be summer-perfect after a week of high (90+ degree) heat, high humidity, and ferocious storms. I figured I might as well try to get something out of the day.
|Finding my way into the past...|
By early-afternoon my bad disposition was dissipating. And by late afternoon it had actually turned around - I was now in a pretty decent mood.
The tent stayed up - - and I returned the following day (I no longer stay in camp overnight).
Yep---leave it to reenacting to ruin a perfectly fowl mood!
Sometimes that's all it takes: time-traveling amongst like-minded friends.
And I had many friends come out to visit: six of them, in fact - six friends who reenact the Civil War came to check out the Revolutionary War-era living history scene, for each had expressed an interest in participating in the era some time in the future. Not that they plan to leave the 1860s, but to possibly add another time-period to their hobby.
I look forward to that.
But in the meantime, a few of my other reenacting friends - those who are already participating in the 1770s period - came out to experience another time and another place, a different environment...and here are the results:
|Members of Citizens of the American Colonies.|
There were only a few of us from our group this year, but no matter---
we always have a great time together.
For the past umpteen years, Colonial Kensington took place in the same location. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, it was relocated to a new area this year. The ground itself was actually pretty bumpy and hilly, which I kind of liked because it was more authentic than the flat and lush groomed golf-course-type land we normally are upon.
But I am the minority here.
Or I'm a bit bonkers.
|Our campsite was tucked in an out-of-the-way area|
For most of the reenactments I participate in, I try to bring along a history lesson of the common man that would hopefully be of interest to the folks of today:
Even though we were set out of the way, away from everyone else, we still enjoyed visits from our reenactor friends.
|Mike Gillett and the Facklers stopped by.|
Mike is a long-time Civil War reenactor who is now also a member of the Queen's Rangers. Joey & Amanda are long-time members of the Lac Ste. Claire Voyageurs.
|Wonderful mostly Celtic music was performed by the excellent musicians known as Black Murray, a traditional, eclectic, contemporary, and entertaining group singing and playing a mixing bowl of old-time tunes from the 18th century as well as some, shall we say, more modern classics done in a sort of old-timey way.|
How's that for a description?
|Benjamin Franklin was there, speaking on his favorite|
subjects, including himself!
|And because he spoke treasonous talk against the Crown, |
he was arrested by the King's men.
|Tom Bertrand (aka Dr. Bloodsworth) came out to sell a few|
traditional kids toys.
As you can see, he is an excitable boy!
|The Queen's Rangers were at hand.|
|Here we see the Massachusetts Provincial Battalion and other Patriots marching to battle.|
Though there were not as many regimentals as we'd've like to have seen, I have a feeling this 18th century era of reenacting will be growing larger with the sestercentennial of the Revolutionary War at hand, and giving the popularity of such shows as TVs "Turn: Washington's Spies" on AMC, the play "Hamilton," HBOs "John Adams," and even, to an extent, "Outlander" on Starz, we shall, in all probability, see an increased interest.
|The battles depicted were not of one particular battle but sort of a conglomeration of|
them all to show the public basic overviews of musketry and cannon.
"Lift up your hands ye heroes and swear with proud disdain
The wretch that would ensnare you shall lay his snares in vain.
Should Europe empty all her force, we'll meet her in array,
And fight and shout and shout and fight for North America!"
"Torn from a world of tyrants beneath this western sky.
We form a new dominion, a land of liberty.
The world shall own we're masters here, then hasten on the day.
Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, huzzah for free America!"
|Here we see men representing George Washington's personal bodyguards |
- his life guards.
Officially called The Commander-in-Chief's Guard, the unit was authorized in 1776 and disbanded 1783. At its peak it had about 250 men whose function was to protect The General as well as the money, baggage and important papers of his command. It was also tasked with provisioning his HQ. The guard was with him in all of his battles and sometimes was sent into combat. It was an honor to belong to this volunteer unit and care was taken to include men from all 13 states. There was a height requirement of 5'8" to 5'10".
|The Life Guard's uniforms.|
Men were to be "sober, intelligent, and reliable," "honest, clean, neat and spruce," even "handsome, well made and of good behavior." These were clearly a squared away bunch of guys. No rookies were allowed. There was a requirement that candidates be already "drilled."
|The unit's motto, "Conquer or Die" adorns the flag. Lady Liberty passes a flag |
to a guard member.
During the Revolutionary War, women and children travelled with both the British and Revolutionary armies. Whether part of a soldier’s family or not, they served vital roles, including as laundresses and food vendors. Eighteenth-century armies were stalked by disease, and they relied on women for much of the cleaning and nursing that they used to prevent and treat illnesses. Camp followers were so important that military forces allotted them food rations and regulated their work much as with actual soldiers.
|Though not depicting camp followers, this picture sort of gives an impression of such, |
does it not?
Perhaps a laundress...
|Jennifer was out doing her cooking presentation.|
From what I hear, she cooks up a pretty mean meal!
|There were plenty of scenic areas at Kensington to take photographs, |
such as along Kent Lake.
|A good shot of Jackie, Richard, and myself.|
|A somewhat more political version of the previous picture - 18th century politics, that is - with me holding the Gadsden flag.|
I don't know if the gentleman in the following picture was a Yankee Peddler or not, but he certainly reminded me of one.The appearance of the peddler, which were the pre-cursor to the modern traveling salesman, was probably about once a month. We tend to think of the colonial household as largely self-sufficient. In many ways it was, compared to our need to acquire from elsewhere almost everything we use or consume, but even in the earliest days of the colonies there were many things which had to be bought to make life possible. In the beginning such items as books, pins, buttons, cloth, pewter, ironware, glassware, spices and such commodities came from England aboard vessels which left their consignments at coastal ports such as Boston or Plymouth. From there the goods were dispersed into local shops or sent inland for others to sell. A proportion, however, became the stock of the wandering peddlers who would carry these into the smaller communities and to the outlying farms so that the manufactured necessities and small luxuries of the Old World were made available to all.
|A circuit Yankee peddler?|
By the time of the Revolution many of the items were being made in New England itself, and the region became famous not only for its shrewd salesmen but for the many regional products they made available. Some, such as cotton yard goods, shoes, Connecticut clocks and tinware, were well received throughout the country, especially in the South and West where such small manufacturies did not exist. Others, such as the re-dried tea, adulterated flour, oakleaf cigars and wooden nutmegs, or at least rumors of such dubious things, gave the Yankee peddler a rather scandalous reputation. Certainly the peddler was by necessity a careful trader, and the fame of the Yankee trader was paramount.
|Looking a bit like a Yankee Peddler herself, Charlotte bid us a farewell |
to return to her time.
|A shadow of the past...|
One thing I've learned from a lifetime of reading a myriad of history books: history is somewhat subjective.
As author Dana Huntley wrote:
"A terrible multi-car accident occurs at a busy four-way intersection. It is witnessed by four people, one standing on each of the four street corners. When police take statements from the witnesses, they each describe as accurately as possible what they observed. When read separately, however, the four accounts of the accident may seem wildly disparate, even contradictory. Each of the witnesses can only report on the incident as seen from their angle of vision.
Certainly the narrative of America's past - or any country's past - would read rather differently told by the variety of people who were there. No less would the story take a somewhat different view written by a historian. The best intentions of objectivity do not eliminate the matter of perspective. It seems only fair to acknowledge that reality."
So other views do not make history necessarily wrong...just seen from another view.
That is the key in which many who are serious in the subject tend to forget.
Especially in our modern day.
There is a lot more to reenacting than one may think.
But speaking for myself, and, I am sure, others, I try to be as middle ground as I can when it comes to my portrayal and presentations.
Until next time, see you in time.
Thank you to photographer Bob Jacobs for allowing me to include a few of his pictures in today's post.
My peddler information came directly from THIS SITE.
Camp follower information came from THIS SITE.
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