18th century, common people, first person interpretation, historic houses, interpretation, Monmouth NJ, New Jersey, Revolutionary War
Slightly turbulent and busy days chez Calash have resulted in a lack of postings, but work proceeds: Genesee and then New Jersey lie ahead, with some extra-interesting interpretation at Monmouth in late June. For a time, I despaired of figuring out what to do to occupy the time and interpret what was essentially a civil war in Monmouth County. The Craig House, while interesting, is no longer a working farm, so we couldn’t farm a not-farm. Then there’s the tedious issue of the not-home not-farming Craigs: on the day of the battle, John Craig is with the Continental Army and Ann Craig has taken off with wagons of chattel, two slaves, and her child. This began to seem a lot like interpreting the John Brown House without John Brown: they are more present by their absence.
What to do? Read more, of course, and talk and talk and talk with Drunk Tailor, who discovered the Association for Retaliation (yes, exactly what it sounds like: vigilanteism) and the Pine Robbers. Much satisfaction there, and finally I listened when he said, “Why can’t we all be refugees?”
Sometimes, you just have to give in to reality. The “London trade” flourished between New York and New Jersey, Sandy Hook providing ready access to the city and Staten Island, where so many Loyalists fled the radical Whigs of New Jersey. Male slaves ran away to join the British army, and the most fearsome and feared in New Jersey was Colonel Tye. The Retaliators promised “a man for a man” for every depredation Whigs suffered, while a similarly-chartered Loyalist association promised the same in return. Chaos reigned and people of all kinds fled the civil war and the uncivilized war. It promises to be an interesting weekend.
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