The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Living History Event

When: Saturday, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Where: Downtown (5 Central St.),   Franklin Pierce Homestead, Hillsborough Historic Center, Jones Road. Start at any site; vans will take visitors from site to site.  
Cost: Adults 18 or older $15, seniors 62 or older $12, kids 6 to 17 $5 and children under 5 free. Students from Hillsborough, Henniker, Deering, Windsor and Washington free with student ID. Tickets valid Saturday and Sunday and give guests access to everything (gold panning is $5 more). 

Prepare for battle
Reenactors bring war-torn New England to life

By Ethan Hogan

 See reenactments of battles and New England life from the era of the French and Indian War through the Civil War at the Living History Event, held near the bridges, churches and meetinghouses of historic Hillsborough. 

On Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20, in four locations throughout town, reenactors will portray artisan crafts like butter churning, cider pressing and blacksmithing, plus battle reenactments, according to Ginks Leiby, executive director of the Greater Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. 
At the Jones Road field, for example, you will be transported into a 19th-century military camp. Guests move through the woods as a battle unfolds around them. The soldiers will perform convincing deaths and thrilling battle cries, Leiby said.
“It feels authentic; there is nothing like seeing the cannon go off and the guns with black powder. It really tugs emotionally at people’s heartstrings because they know what the troops went through,” said Leiby.
Leiby helped architect the Living History Event during its first year in 2009. The original committee of organizers, comprised of Hillsborough Pride and the Historical Society, wanted to create an event that celebrated the history of the town. The event now has its own organizing committee and expects 2,000 visitors this year, according to Leiby.
“It’s been a pretty amazing experience, it’s grass roots, it came out of the community,” said Leiby.
She said the 30- to 40-minute battles that take place in woods and out in the fields are representative of armed confrontations that took place during the French and Indian War and the American Civil War. Reenactment troops from around the region representing Union troops, Confederate troops, Native Americans and French soldiers travel to take part in the weekend’s battles.
“It’s pretty interesting because you are able to move around and experience what it’s like to be on one side or the other and you have a more intimate experience,” said Leiby.
Outside of the battles, Leiby said there are interesting characters who can be found throughout the reenactment areas. Silas Moore, the ratcatcher, is a character that Leiby said is popular with guests every year. In America, during the 19th century, a ratcatcher was an important job akin to the plumber or electrician today, according to Leiby.
“He would have gone from farm to farm, business to business and his services would have been welcomed,” said Leiby.
Entertainment was also important to keeping up the morale at some of the battle camps, so the 2nd South Carolina String Band will be performing their Civil War era style music at the lunch tent.
Leiby said there will be traditional 1800s American-style food served at the lunch tent at Jones Road. The classic menu will feature pulled pork with beans and coleslaw, barbecue chicken made on the Jones Road grill and a plowman’s lunch, which consists of cheese, bread and an apple.
Jessica Morris is the site coordinator for the Old Center, an area of Hillsborough that will be showcased during the reenactment that features a small village with green lawn at its center. The Old Center is representative of a traditional colonial town, according to Morris.
“It’s very old and picturesque, what you would imagine an old New England village to look like,” she said.
The Old Center was the original Hillsborough town center before the mills were built during the Industrial Revolution, Morris said. She said the area will represent the domestic lifestyle of the period —  where and how the people lived, made their craft, went to church and socialized.
“There was such a camaraderie amongst community and people, they shared amongst each other in order to survive,” said Morris.
Morris said that the more historically significant character actors will be found in the Old Center area. 
“They are incredible because they don’t break character,” said Morris.
Ulysses S. Grant will be played by special guest Sam Grant, who is a descendant of the 18th U.S. president and commanding general during the Union Army’s victory over the Confederacy in the Civil War.
New this year are tours of the Farmsteads of New England’s Rosewald farm. Guests get to see a working farm with tours in horse and carriage available.
Leiby said the weekend will have many hands-on activities, including panning for real gold, butter-churning and flag-sewing with Betsy Ross. 

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu