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     RESPITE, RHYTHM AND REVOLUTION red_logo
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH

I’m not sure what sparked my initial curiosity in the culture and customs of the American colonies; but from an early age I wanted to somehow be magically transported back to what I perceived to be those heady days of insight and insurrection. I remember as a young boy mounting my red Schwinn and pedaling off to explore that mysterious place which was a hotbed of loyalist and rebel intrigues during the War of Independence.

                                                            Map courtesy of www.newjerseymilitia.org
Map of the Northeast in 1777 as seen in American Public House Review
NEW JERSEY CIRCA 1777


For the cost of an average week’s allowance, (twenty five cents) one could tour the attractive stone mansion overlooking the Hackensack River that was awarded to Major-General von Steuben by the grateful citizens of New Jersey in recognition of his generous service to the American cause. It was at this site, which had been pivotal to the survival of Washington’s army after their retreat from Fort Lee, and where both sides had established accommodations and defenses depending on the tide of battle, where my lifelong interest in the study of colonial America took root.




Heard's Brigade living historians at the Sergeantsville Inn as seen in American Public House Review
LIVING HISTORIANS AT THE TABLE IN THE SERGEANTSVILLE INN

Photo courtesy of the Bergen County Historical Society   



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Photo courtesy of www.newjerseymilitia.org

Heard's Brigade re-enacting the Battle on Monmouth, NJ as seen in American Public House Review
A  RE-ENACTMENT OF THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH BY HEARD'S BRIGADE AS SEEN IN AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW





Some years later I recall a family trip to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. This would be my first brush with those that donned period dress in order to convey the lessons of history. But for a lad who was far more interested in cannoneers and hussars, watching costumed ladies spinning wool and dipping candles was not all that appealing. But in all fairness to this dynamic New England institution, Old Sturbridge Village offers a range of activities and events that would delight and educate any child or adult. It just so happens that on the day I was there those many years ago the muskets and artillery were silent.

Upon gaining some measure of my own American independence, I began to seek out the comforts of the more traditional public house. I remember one particular fall afternoon at the Towpath Tavern in Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey. A very attractive woman in period garb was serving up libations and regaling the patrons with old English folk ballads. She had the voice and countenance of an angel. It was then that I began to appreciate the more genteel aspects of life in the colonies.  

Recently I had the privilege and pleasure of joining members of the Heard’s Brigade at a luncheon at the Sergeantsville Inn. In the confines of this historic setting one could get a sense of what life was like when those that served the cause gathered with friends and family to take respite from their duties - when the pistol was traded for the tankard and the “Brown Bess” gave way to the fiddle.
In the course of the afternoon Anne and Ridley Enslow, both talented musicians and gifted raconteurs, provided an in-depth look into the joys and hardships of colonial life through a mix of colorful narrative and the playing of selections from their release, Music of the American Colonies.

While I was unable to realize my boyhood dream of going back in time, the experience allowed me to at least bring the past forward. Through the efforts of those that fill the ranks of the Heard’s Brigade, and all those individuals that are dedicated to educating the public by way of re-enactments and living history, we can achieve a greater understanding of ourselves by knowing the lives of those that have walked the same path before us.

For none amongst us can overcome the struggles of the present, or hope to achieve the successes of the future - until we honestly embrace the past.



The Towpath Tavern at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ as seen in American Public House Review
THE TOWPATH TAVERN WAS LOCATED IN THE BASEMENT OF SMITH'S GENERAL STORE AT WATERLOO VIILAGE IN STANHOPE,  NEW JERSEY


Ken Miller of Heard's Brigade of the New Jersey Militia plays the fiddle as seen in American Public House Review
CAPTAIN KEN MILLER ENTERTAINS THE TROOPS


Anne and Ridley Enslow play early American Songs as seen in American Public House Review
CLICK HERE TO ENJOY A SAMPLE FROM ANNE AND RIDLEY ENSLOW'S RECORDING OF  EARLY
AMERICAN SONG.

COME HASTE TO THE WEDDING/ MULBERRY GARDEN/
MONEY IN BOTH POCKETS






                                  Photo courtesy of www.bergencountyhistory.org 
B. Spencer Newman's painting of Washington's Retreat from Fort Lee as seen in American Public House Review
THE STEUBEN HOUSE IS DEPICTED IN B. SPENCER NEWMAN'S PAINTING OF WASHINGTON'S RETREAT ACROSS NEW BRIDGE FROM FORT LEE
.


NEW JERSEY MILITIA

HEARD'S BRIGADE



www.newjerseymilitia.org






MUSIC OF THE AMERICAN COLONIES

ANNE AND RIDLEY ENSLOW

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