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News of American Revolution rides to Old Deerfield on horseback

A Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade

  • Members of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps fire a cannon at Historic Deerfield’s Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on its opening day, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Chris Ferguson of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps pours artificial black powder into cartridges made by children at Historic Deerfield’s Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on its opening day, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Children playing the roles of new recruits to Stephen Stebbin's militia company, stand at attention at Historic Deerfield's Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Children playing the roles of new recruits to Stephen Stebbin''s militia company, march down Old Main Street, carrying sticks as stand-ins for muskets at Old Deerfield at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Nicholas Cottrill, 3, stands with other children playing the roles of new recruits, carrying sticks as stand-ins for muskets in Captain Joseph Stebbin's militia at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • A horse-drawn wagon proceeds down old Main Street in Old Deerfield at Historic Deerfield's Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Members of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps march down Old Main Street in Old Deerfield at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Members of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps play a tune at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Chris Foley, of South Hadley, takes a photo of his girlfriend Barbara Ciesluk, of Deerfield, sitting with Patti Wilson, of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Cops at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Mazy Zickefoose, of the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps helps Jim Ayres, of Haydenville with making a corn husk doll with his son, on right, Nathan Ayres, 6, at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Nicholas Cottrill, 3, stands with other children playing the roles of new recruits in Captain Joseph Stebbin's militia at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. The “new recruits” carried sticks as stand-ins for muskets Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Children playing the roles of new recruits to Stephen Stebbin's militia company carry sticks as stand-ins for muskets at Historic Deerfield's Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade event on their opening day, Saturday, April 16. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



For the Gazette
Monday, April 18, 2016

DEERFIELD — Dozens of children marched to the beat of liberty’s drum on Saturday.

In the main event of the Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade at Historic Deerfield, Dave Loda stormed into town on horseback at roughly 12:45 p.m. to inform people British troops had fired upon colonial militiamen in Lexington and to rally support.

The crowd buzzed with urgency and patriotism. Youngsters willing to participate volunteered to “take up arms” in defense of their country in the highlight of a full day of activities meant to give people a taste of what life was like at the start of the fight for America’s independence.

Loda, portraying real-life patriot Isaac Bissell of Worcester, galloped down Old Main Street with news of war.

“Good people, it’s finally come. It’s finally happened. Gen. (Thomas) Gage has gone too far, landing troops at Phipps Farm in Cambridge. They march inland, an entire brigade, over 1,000 troops. They have marched inland toward Lexington and Concord,” he said, referring to the skirmish that started the Revolutionary War. “Our militia met them on the green. A shot was fired and the redcoats opened fire at our men.”

Those who volunteered were given muskets, represented by sticks, and marched to Historic Deerfield’s History Workshop field for training drills and a cannon-fire demonstration by Knowlton’s Rangers, a unit of a Connecticut-based re-enactment group called Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums.

There was also a horse-mounted weaponry demonstration.

“I would like to commend each and every one of you for defending your country and your freedoms,” Loda told the children while sitting atop his horse, Huckleberry.

The activities, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., kicked off Historic Deerfield’s season, which ends Dec. 23.

Laurie Nivison, Historic Deerfield’s director of marketing, said the event started in 2011 and tthat the one this year was proving to be another success.

“It’s going very well. We’re pleased with the people that we’re seeing. And we’ve been blessed with lovely weather, which is always a big factor in what we do,” she said around, adding that the activities are especially popular with children. “They get to experience something that they never have before.”

Nivison said roughly 30 Historic Deerfield guides and several volunteers staffed the event. Re-enactors, cloaked in era-appropriate clothing, camped out, giving the day an air of authenticity.

Inside the History Workshop, people got to see the types of toys and games children amused themselves with in the 1700s.

Guide Melinda Baker told The Recorder about games like nine pins, which resembled bowling, and graces, which entailed using wooden rods to catch a hoop. The game, Baker said, was played only by girls, to teach them to be graceful.

In the next room, guests were welcome to make an herbal tea by mixing peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm. During the revolution, some people boycotted the green and black teas imported from China and instead made their own tea blends. This was sometimes called “liberty tea.”

In the Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Cynthia Croteau explained the culinary culture of the time period. She said chocolate was quite popular and imported from South America, but it consumed as a drink only, rather than being eaten.

Croteau said it was made with boiling water and soldiers received it in their rations. However, children were never allowed to consume it due to its content of theobromine, a stimulant.

There was also a ceremony called Mourning Muskets, which paid tribute to the Deerfield residents who died in the American Revolution and in all wars after.