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Historic Deerfield’s Patriot’s Day muster inspires interest in history

  • Revolutionary War-era re-enactors from Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums in Coventry, Connecticut, fire a cannon during the Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Young attendees of the Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield cover their ears before a cannon blast Saturday, April 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Kaitlin Lindhardt, and Jess Guastamachio, of Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums, based in Coventry, Connecticut, play a song on flutes during the Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield Saturday, April 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Aylin Hobbs, 5, of Whately, helps wash dishes with Maran Lindhardt, 5, and her sister Eisa Lindhardt, 3, of Coventry, Connecticut, and daughters of Kaitlin Lindhardt, a member of Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums, during the Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield Saturday, April 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield listen to reenactors from Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums based in Coventry, Connecticut, explain the process of using a cannon Saturday, April 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Charlene Warbeck, of Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums based in Coventry, Connecticut, makes musket and rifle balls during the Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster at Historic Deerfield Saturday, April 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



For the Bulletin
Thursday, April 27, 2017

DEERFIELD — Dressed in a black bifold hat, green coat and green britches that tied at the knee, John Coburn played the fife, humming along to the tune of “The White Cockade” as two boys drummed behind him.

Coburn, the boys and five other members of Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums entertained a crowd of men, women and children with their music as part of Historic Deerfield’s annual Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster on Saturday.

Guests of Historic Deerfield were transported back in time with cannon, silversmithing, open hearth cooking, powder horn crafting and horse-mounted weaponry demonstrations, to name a few of the attractions offered.

According to Laurie Nivison, director of marketing at Historic Deerfield, the muster, now in its seventh year, commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

“What we like to do is demonstrate how things were done out here in western Massachusetts,” she said. “(The muster) immerses you in history and takes you back in time.”

Plus, Nivison said the muster, which attracted 375 people last year, is a particularly special day in Historic Deerfield, kicking off the season in which the 12 historic houses are open for touring. The season ends Dec. 22.

Coburn said the same is true for Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums.

“I always look at Historic Deerfield as being the beginning of our season,” said Coburn, of Henniker, New Hampshire. “It’s kind of special… We look forward to it and it breaks us out of our winter doldrums.”

Coburn, who has attended the Revolutionary Muster for four years, acted as the town crier on Saturday. He described the role as “gossip control central,” disseminating important news to the townspeople, rounding them up for meetings and recruiting them to join the militia.

Many young visitors agreed that joining the militia is one of their favorite parts of the Revolutionary Muster. The children, or newfound troops, receive pins certifying their commitment to enter battle and small wooden muskets before marching down the street learning how to perform drills in formation.

“What I really like about it is sometimes there’s a war,” said 6-year-old Iorek Zickefoose of Andover, Connecticut, who attended the muster with his mother, Mary-Alex Zickefoose, one of the re-enactors.

“We always have a good time here,” said Todd Hobbs of Whately, who attended the muster for his seventh year with his wife, Sarah, 4-year-old son Tristan and 5-year-old daughter Aylin. “We like our kids to see how it was back in the day and they love volunteering for the militia.”

As Todd Hobbs watched Tristan play a game that consisted of using two wooden poles the length of drum sticks to toss a wooden ring, he remembered how he used to come to Historic Deerfield with his own father and tour the historic buildings, before the muster came to be.

“Now I can pass that on to them,” he said of his children.

While slicing a loaf of bread for a lunchtime meal, Mary-Alex Zickefoose, who acted as a camp follower, noted how being involved in re-enactments has led her three children to want to learn more about history, too.

“It’s definitely spurred a lot of interest in history for them,” she said. “It’s fun to see the children getting so much out of it.”