Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Parsons' Cause Foundation Summer Schedule

The Parsons' Cause Foundation is pleased to present the calendar of activities for the Parsons’ Cause reenactments related to Virginia and Hanover historic events. All performances will be held at the Historic Hanover Courthouse at 11:00 a.m.    

The Parsons’ Cause – Prelude to Revolution

On December 1, 1763, a country lawyer from Hanover stepped from obscurity into the forefront of legal and political circles in Virginia.  His name was Patrick Henry.  The event that shaped his destiny was the trial of The Parsons’ Cause.  Henry challenged the two most potent entities of colonial Virginia—the King and the clergy.  The case proved to be one of the opening salvos of the revolution, and started Henry on the path of becoming the “Voice of the Revolution.”  Show dates:  June 22, July 27, August 24

Patrick Henry – The Voice of Liberty

Hear Henry, in the last year of his life, as he reflects on his childhood, two marriages, religious convictions, love of children, various careers, and key contributions to the formation of the United States. The talk also includes excerpts from Henry's best known speeches.  Show dates: July 13 and August 3

The Virginia Debates on the Ratification of the United States Constitution

2013 marks the 225th anniversary of the Virginia debates concerning the proposed Constitution for the United States of America.  James Madison and Edmund Pendleton argue in favor of ratification, while Patrick Henry and George Mason are opposed.  Show dates: July 20 and August 10

George Washington – My Life, the Revolution and Hanover County

The Father of our Country reflects on his life, the battles and turning points of the revolution, his connection to Hanover County, and the importance of leadership. Show dates:  June 29 and August 17

Lafayette – My Travels through Hanover County

The Marquis de Lafayette expounds on his commitment to the American Revolution, his close ties to George Washington, and his travels through Hanover County during the war.  Show date:  July 6

Cornerstone Dedicated, Logo Adopted for American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

YORKTOWN, Va., May 10, 2013 – With a newly created logo on display, a cornerstone was dedicated today for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, which will replace the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution operated by the state’s Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

University of Virginia Professor A. E. Dick Howard, Virginia Secretary of Education Laura W. Fornash, and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and York County leaders spoke before the unveiling of the 12- by 24-inch marble cornerstone for an 80,000-square-foot museum building that soon will begin to take shape.

“When we tell the story of the American Revolution, as it will be told in the new museum,” Professor Howard said in his address, “we’re also telling the story that resonates everywhere that people yearn for accountable government, the rule of the law, and the freedom of the human spirit.”

“School systems and museums have been long-standing partners in student education,” Secretary Fornash said.  “As new education models are tried and tested, and as reforms in our educational systems are implemented more broadly, the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will certainly be an example for what works in education.”

A logo for the new museum incorporating the name with patriotic imagery of a soaring eagle and stars, in red and blue on a white background, was adopted May 9 by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors along with a new logo for Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia.  The new Yorktown museum logo will be used in early awareness initiatives.  Full implementation of both logos – designed by BCF, a Virginia Beach brand communications firm specializing in the travel industry – will begin in 2016, the year the transition from Yorktown Victory Center to American Revolution at Yorktown will be complete.    

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will chronicle the Revolution from the beginnings of colonial unrest to the early national period and consider its meaning and impact.  The project encompasses reorganization of the 22-acre site; a new building to house expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms and support functions; and expansion and relocation of the existing re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-period farm.  Total cost of planning and major components is estimated at $50 million.  Building and exhibit construction and renovations to the site are funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Private donations will support elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits and educational resources.

While exhibits and parking availability will be impacted at various stages of construction, which started in 2012, the Yorktown Victory Center will continue in daily operation while the transition to American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is under way.

For more information, visit

Embattled Farmers, by Richard C. Wiggin

Embattled Farmers: Campaigns and Profiles of Revolutionary Soldiers from Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1775-1783

By Richard C. Wiggin
They were ordinary farmers, laborers, merchants, tradesmen, slaves, and former slaves, the cross-section of a typical eighteenth-century New England farming community. But when faced with the loss of their cherished liberties and long-standing tradition of self-government, they were swept up in an epic struggle against long odds. These are the forgotten men who fought the American Revolution.

 Meticulously researched, Embattled Farmers traces the footsteps of 252 individual men—all connected with the Lincoln, Massachusetts, but with family and economic ties throughout New England—who served as Patriot soldiers. Through repeated enlistments, they served at Lexington and Concord, at the Siege of Boston, and during the campaigns to Ticonderoga, Canada, New York, Saratoga, the Hudson Valley, The Jerseys, Valley Forge, and Yorktown.
Embattled Farmers is the only known work that identifies and profiles all known Revolutionary soldiers from any given community in the nation. It examines the Revolutionary War from the ground up—from individual records, rather than aggregate data.  It brings to light many stories for the first time, enriching and humanizing our overall understanding of the Revolutionary War with specific details and biographical data. 

Robert  Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World, writes “Thanks to Wiggin, the American Revolution in Massachusetts stands out as a triumph of popular mobilization and as a symbol of what citizens can accomplish in common when motivated by a willing spirit of self-sacrifice.”  Mel Bernstein, moderator of  the minute man ARRT, believes that Embattled Farmers may be  a prototype for future investigations of the Revolution as it played out in other communities throughout colonial America. 
We all recommend this new book to you, as does our Minute Man ARRT friend Mel Bernstein.  It’s available through the Lincoln Historical Society, as well as Amazon

May 22, 2013 Meeting Time Change

Due to the University of Richmond summer schedule, our next meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30. Dinner will still be available for purchase between 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EleHistory Web Pages

Bill Anderson forwarded the following links to EleHistory, both the Research Home Page and the Sites, Events, and Troop Movements.

The links will also appear on our Links page, but I wanted to draw attention to them.

The Cockpit of the American Revolution: A Field and Walking Tour of Sites in North and Central New Jersey - June 22, 2013

New Jersey has been rightfully identified as the Cockpit of the Revolution, with more battles and encampments occurring there than in any other state. Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, and Morristown are familiar names to all. Our Saturday tour in June will provide an opportunity to visit some other important sites in this much fought over state. This is not a campaign tour as such, but rather a survey of other key places and critical events that impacted upon both the state and the revolution. During the course of the day, we'll also discuss other personalities and actions in the area. Please join us to explore these lesser known, but still important, historic places in New Jersey – The Cockpit of the Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg and Museum of the American Revolution Collaborate on Reproducing George Washington's "Oval Office"

first oval office
Washington's marquee on a postcard circa 1910
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. and WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (April 1, 2013) - It was George Washington's home for much of the Revolutionary War, a large oval-shaped tent that was his bedroom and office - the first "oval office" occupied by the first commander-in-chief of American military forces. This national treasure will be displayed in the new Museum of the American Revolution when it opens in Philadelphia in 2016. This summer, it will be reproduced by Historic Trades tailors as part of a new partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and the Museum of the American Revolution. Once complete, the reproduction tent will be used by the Museum of the American Revolution for a variety of educational and museum outreach programs in advance of the opening of the Museum of the American Revolution.
Historical records suggest that the original sleeping and office tent was one of a pair of marquees made for General Washington in early 1778, at the end of the Valley Forge encampment. Washington returned to his Mount Vernon home with his tents and other military equipment in December 1783 after he resigned his commission. Following his death in 1799 and the death his wife, Martha, in 1802, Washington's military effects, including the tents were sold at private auction to Martha's grandson, George Washington Parke Custis. The tents were displayed periodically at the Custis home, Arlington House, during the ensuing decades until his death in 1857. While Union Army units occupied Arlington House during the Civil War, many of Washington's military possessions were taken into federal custody until they were returned to the Custis/Lee family in the early 20th century. Various elements of Washington's field headquarters are now held by institutions including the Museum of the American Revolution, the National Museum of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and the National Park Service.

"Unlike most military commanders, George Washington stayed in the field with his army through the entire War of Independence, spending just a few days at Mount Vernon between 1775 and 1783," said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, director of collections and interpretation for the Museum of the American Revolution. "For much of that time, he lived under canvas. With the surviving elements of Washington's field headquarters scattered among various institutions, the reconstruction project is an exciting way-- perhaps the only way-- for visitors to experience the "other home" of George Washington."

Fashioned from 160 yards of Irish linen - woven to three different widths - and 90 yards of linen from Colonial Williamsburg's Weave Room, all of the fabric for the reproduction tent is being hand-woven. The Irish linen is being produced by cottage weavers working for the firm Linenblue in Northern Ireland. Stephenson and Mark Hutter, Colonial Williamsburg's journeyman tailor, will take delivery of the linen in April during a presentation at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland. They also plan to visit the Irish Linen Center at Lisburn, and other historic sites that document 18th century linen production and have aided in recreating the fabric.

From mid-May through mid-August, Colonial Williamsburg guests will be able to follow their progress publicly in the Secretary's Office next to the Capitol in the Revolutionary City as tailors Mark Hutter and Neal Hurst along with six other seamsters as they assemble the linen canvas of the marquee and its chamber - the large outer tent and an enclosed smaller sleeping and office tent.

"It may seem surprising to have tailors make a tent, but it was actually part of the trade's work until the late Medieval Period," said Hutter. "By the 18th century, no tailor in America was making tents. When the American Revolution began, Williamsburg's many tailors became deeply involved in supplying uniforms, flags, and tents. A couple of thousand tents were made by the capital city's tailors."

Several of Colonial Williamsburg's trade shops also will be actively involved in reproducing the tent and its pieces. Carpenters and joiners will fashion wooden poles to support the structure. Blacksmiths will forge iron hardware and pole fittings. Wheelwrights will carve small wooden items and stakes to anchor the tent. The completed marquee will measure 22 feet long, 15 feet wide and ten feet high.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to use our expertise in the 18th-century trades," said Jim Horn, Colonial Williamsburg vice president of research and historical interpretation. "Our guests will be able to see and experience the construction of the marquee, and we are able to partner with another museum to tell the story of the American Revolution."

The reproduction of the tent, and associated research on General Washington's field equipment, is funded in part from a generous grant to the Museum of the American Revolution from the Acorn Foundation Fund for History in Memory of Alexander Orr Vietor.

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The Museum of the American Revolution will be the nation's premier museum dedicated to the complete story of the American Revolution. To be built in historic Philadelphia, just steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the museum will feature a distinguished collection of objects, artifacts, artwork, and manuscripts from the period of the American Revolution that will bring to life the original "greatest generation" and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a center for history and citizenship, is a not-for-profit educational institution and cultural destination. The Foundation is dedicated to promoting the importance of an informed, active citizenry. Its mission, "that the future may learn from the past," is realized through offering innovative, imaginative and interactive experiences - both on- and off-site - designed to educate guests about the importance of the American Revolution. From the RevQuest: Save the Revolution! series of technology-assisted alternate reality games, to the theatrical programming of Revolutionary City®, guests can become immersed in the drama of the American Revolution and discover the ongoing relevance of the past. Guests can also visit the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, enjoy the many gardens and green spaces, and visit up to 35 historic sites. To experience all that the Foundation offers, guests may stay in one of the five award-winning Colonial Williamsburg hotels and enjoy the renowned golf courses of the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, indulge in The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg and shop in 40 stores. Fine dining is offered in more than 20 locations from historic dining taverns to restaurants with contemporary fare. Colonial Williamsburg is open 365 days a year.

Preservation: Camp Security, PA

Exciting news at Camp Security, PA.  This is the last remaining undisturbed POW camp from the Revolution, located in York County, PA. The site, currently owned by the Conservation Fund, has had limited archaeology done in the past. A group known as the Friends of Camp Security is raising money so that Springettsbury Township can purchase the property to protect it.

For more information visit the website: