I plan to add a few more events (like a tavern night at Thornbury Farms in April) but these are still in discussion. Below are the new events for 2021 at Fort Mifflin.
April 3, 2021
Gentleman Scientist at Fort Mifflin
10:00am – 3:00pm
- Discussion of Transit of Venus and the measurement of the Astronomical Unit
- Discussion of critical role of astronomy in 18th Century and a reference to the Vernal Equinox
- Discussion of Enlightenment Science vs “exact sciences” of Aristotle
- Field trip to riverbank and exploration of the new “germ theory” (c1750)
- 18th Century computations
May 29, 2021
“Hands on” 18th Century Surveyor class
11:00 am – 2:00pm (two sessions)
- 11:00 – 12:00 Mapping the Fort (urban surveying)
- Military survey of grounds inside the fort
- Preparation of plat plan for use by military architect
- 1:00 – 2:00 Wilderness Survey (beyond fort’s walls)
- Military survey of trail and paths to mortar casemates
- Preparation of surveyor’s notes and communication to field officers with recommendation for troop movements
June 18, 2021
JEFFERSONIAN PICNIC – Did Jefferson ever believe “All men are created equal …?”
5:00pm – 8:00 pm
We all know Jefferson owned slaves. We also know that in 1803, he purchased Louisiana from Bonaparte setting the stage for future displacements, genocides, and other crimes against America’s First Nations. Were “all men” only white Protestant males in Jefferson’s mind? Did he feel that Africans and Indians deserved any rights or were they just to be treated like the cattle and fauna of the land? Was the Declaration of Independence meant to be a vision and ethos for our new nation, or was it just convenient propaganda to gain support for separation from the British Empire?
June 26, 2021
Behind the Scenes — Debate for Independence
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
I will play John Dickenson and debate and discuss voting on the Declaration of Independence. We will explore Dickenson’s disquiet with the haste of the vote and his issues with being ordered by the legislature (meeting upstairs in the Long Hall) NOT to vote for Independence. Richard Lee (author of the Resolution for Independence) from Virginia, Roger Livingston from New York, Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania, and Samuel Adams will endeavor to convince Dickenson to allow the vote to be unanimous. The ultimate compromise will be, of course, that Dickenson will not vote for Independence (legally) but arrange to be absent. In exchange for facing the wrath of the legislature, he will be asked to draft the Declaration of Independence along with Adams, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson.
Note: There will be a special discount rate for reenactors in proper military uniform (either Continental or British, we will figure it out)
July 4, 2021
Freedom Blast – Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
July 4, 2021
JEFFERSONIAN PICNIC — Was the Continental Congress amiss in offering the Olive Branch Petition?
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
We live in a new era of political apologists. Politicians are eager to express their loyalty to party and causes and sometimes this loyalty defies reason or even their own best interests but this is not a new behavior in American politics. In on July 5, 1775 the Continental Congress send an apologetic letter pleading for Parliament and the King to reconcile with the colonies. The King never responded and is rumored to have refused to even read it. Was sending this letter a necessary step in creating the resolve of Congress to declare independence 12 months later or was this a vain attempt at preserving the self-interests of the delegates? Should Congress have sent this petition or taken a stronger stance against the Crown? Could the Revolution have been avoided or had the actions in Boston put the Colonies on an ineluctable path toward separation from the British Empire?
July 24, 2021
“Hands on” 18th Brewing Class
10:00am – 4:00 pm
Perhaps you are an accomplished homebrewer and you want to appreciate the challenges faced by brewers in the 18th Century who brewed good beer without all the instrumentation and modern equipment we rely on, perhaps you are a history buff and want to know just what beer tasted like in 1770, or perhaps you just enjoy a good story and some fine beer. If any of these are you then you should join one of our immersion classes and learn to brew like our forefathers.
Rather than a demonstration where you can just watch and maybe smell the process, I strive for a full immersion experience. Step back in time and join the team as we brew the work for Spruce Beer to be drunk by the Continental Army. Beer was so critical to life in the early years of our country that the Pilgrims ended their voyage early and settled in Massachusetts rather than Virginia because the ran out of beer. Beer was so critical to the health of the army that George Washington ordered his quartermasters in 1775 to provide each man “One quart of Spruce Beer per man, pr diem” in order to keep them fit for service during the siege of Boston.
In this class you will learn:
- The general history of beer and brewing in America and how the practice rose from a basic task performed in nearly every household to a profession which fed the various Taverns and Alehouse of our new nation.
- The roles of the Colonial Tavern in the social, political, and civic life of early America.
- Why everyone; men, women, children, and slaves; drank beer all day in order to stay healthy.
- What the difference is between the parti-gyyle, the hoffbrau, and the small beer. Who drank what and why so many styles from a single batch of malt?
- Why beer was so critical to early life in America and how it fueled the debates that led to revolution.
- How the Royal Navy’s failure to protect Pennsylvania from pirates launched the industry that would create our nation’s oldest professional breweries.
- How to make beer with only your five senses and some basic field kitchen equipment including:
- Mashing the wort
- Decoctions and extractions
- Lautering, brewing, and chilling without the benefit of modern appliances.
- Assessing the progress and quality of your beer without modern instruments like thermometers, hydrometers and clocks.
- Beer Styles of the 18th Century and how to adapt historical recipes to work with modern supplies.
- How beer in the 18th Century was very different than what we call beer today.
At the end of this class, you will be given the product of your work. Take home and ferment into the Spruce Beer wort you make in this class to ferment and condition into the beer that saved many 18th Century expeditions into the far north and helped the men avoid scurvy and other ailments. Share not only your experience with your friends but beer you brewed with your hands, your nose, and your own personal experience.
August 18, 2021
JEFFERSONIAN PICNIC —
“Remember the Ladies”
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”–Letter from Abigail Adams to her husband in Philadelphia — March 31, 1776
It won’t be until 1848 that the movement for women’s rights is launched on a national level with the Seneca Falls Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and, of course, Susan B. Anthony fought hard to raise public awareness and support in Congress for women’s voting rights. Even after the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, women still were considered second class citizens under the law with many restrictions and prohibitions. What would have been the implications had Congress Assembled followed Abigail’s advice to “remember the ladies” in 1787 and granted full rights of citizenship under the Constitution to both men and women?