The kickoff weekend of Princeton 1783: The Nation’s Capital 225th Anniversary celebration takes place throughout the fourth of July weekend with more events than you can shake a tri-cornered hat at. Historical renactments, lectures, family activities, concerts, exhibits, and more continue every month all the way through December’s “Colonial Holidays: Festival of Trees” at Morven, in which more than a dozen trees will be decorated in themese related to 1783. For a full calendar of events visit www.revolutionaryprinceton.org. Please note the print version of U.S. 1 contains an error: Please note that the print version of this story contains an error: Rockingham State Historic Site is having tours but not additional events this weekend. Visit www.revolutionaryprinceton.org to find Rockingham events associated with Princeton 1783.
Friday, July 4
At Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street: Independence Day Jubilee, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The American Historical Theatre re-enactors will present dramatizations on the front porch of Morven at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. Carriage rides, Scottish country dancing, refreshments, presentation on 18th century tea and customs,and tours of the history exhibition “Picturing Princeton 1783: The Nation’s Capital”. Free admission and parking. www.morven.org or 609-924-8144, ext. 106.
At the Thomas Clarke House, Princeton Battlefield State Park, 500 Mercer Road: Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps, 11 to 5 p.m. Beginning at 11 a.m. a series of seven Interpretative Educational Stations will open around the Clarke House on the Battlefield. Parking on Mercer Street and on the south side of the Battlefield.
Visitors will move from station to station learning interactively about different aspects of colonial military life before and after a battle.The program at each station will last about 15 minutes. Each of the interpretative presenters will be dressed in the period clothing. A Money Changer will give a presentation on money of the day and provide replicate tenders that can be used to “purchase” various small objects or documents as a part of the educational program at each station:
— Musket and cannon firing and lecture by Motts Artillery including children’s enlisting and maneuvers
— Period money exchange, hosted by professor of economics Clifford Thies
— Period toymaking hosted by toy maker Joe Remus
— Music teaching/demonstrations of the 18th century fiddle by fiddler Robert Mouland
— Denise Williams will give a cooking demonstration including roasting chicken on a string, bread, and cookiemaking.
— Historical dental medicine lecture and demonstration by Marjy Wienkop
— Writer Laura Crockett, dressed as Annis Boudinot Stockton, will give a talk on 18th century dress and fashion.
At 1:30 p.m. John Mills will read the Declaration of Independence, which was signed by five New Jersey leaders — Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, and Abraham Clark. Copies of the Declaration will be distributed on “aged” paper, along with Cadwalader’s Spymap — used by General Washington at the Battle of Princeton. The event ends at 4 p.m. www.saveprincetonbattlefield.org or 609-921-0074.
At the Nassau Inn’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room, 10 Palmer Square: A 1783 Revolutionary 18th-Century three-course dinner menu. $17.83 per person. The Tap Room will also feature a specialty rum drink, the Continental. Reservations at www.nassauinn.com or 609-688-2600.
Princeton Bike Tours: Cycle your way through history to the 1783 historic sites. 609-902-3637.
Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6
At Morven Museum & Garden: “Picturing Princeton 1783: The Nation’s Capital” exhibition tours at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 pm. Adults $5; seniors and students, $4.
At Thomas Clarke House, Princeton Battlefield State Park: Continental soldiers encampment, Saturday, 10 a.m to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 to 4 p.m.
A series of interpretative activities within the environment of an actual military encampment typical of the American Revolution allows visitors to be observers of the action. The encampment will be made up of volunteers of the 43rd Foot and Second Pennsylvania Regiment. Each of the two days will begin with revelry, posting of the guards, colours posted, safety inspection and orders read. During the day there will be practice battle maneuvers with artillery and infantry firing demonstrations.
Visitors walking among the encamped soldiers can ask them questions about anything and everything, including their dress, weapons, maneuvers, and even their feelings about the Revolutionary War and their places in it. The encampment will continue into the evening hours, so visitors can hear talk of the day’s maneuvers and see how the soldiers and camp followers entertained themselves. At dusk the camp will be lit by campfire and lanterns on posts. The day will end with taps.
There will also be a tent with a small field desk that will be used as the “headquarters” of the head of the Regiment, which will be conducted as an 18th century headquarters with guards posted at the door. Mini-demonstrations will be featured in the encampment throughout both days include wound dressing, emergency dental work, horseshoe smithing, campfire cooking, shoe repair, darning and button sewing, and fiddle and flute playing.
On Saturday, the encampment begins at 10 a.m. when visitors will be able to begin moving among the encamped soldiers and followers with opening events followed by activities and mini-demonstrations throughout the day, until 9 p.m. On Sunday, the encampment begins again at 10 a.m. At 4 p.m. soldiers will retire the colors and decamp.
Also, on Saturday, July 5, performances from 7 to 10 p.m. of the premiere of “Ghosts of Princeton Battlefield,” a play written by Laura Crockett, which tells the story of important events in Princeton six years before Congress made Princeton the capital in 1783. The “ghosts” and other personalities will tell their parts of the story beginning with how the soldiers of each army met unexpectedly early on the cold morning of January 3, 1777, and culminating in what many historians have called Washington’s greatest victory.
Groups of people will be led from “stage” to “stage” by “ghost hunters” to locations around the battlefield. The audience will meet other “ghosts,” who will tell the story of the Battle of Princeton. Soldiers who took part in the Battle of Princeton will step out of their “graves” along with such historical figures as Brigadier General Hugh Mercer and Captain William Shippin. Additional historical ghosts are Thomas and Hannah Clarke, brother and sister. The Clarkes, William and Thomas, had adjoining farms and nearby homes that became the heart of the battlefield.
Crockett, an author and playwright, formerly of Trenton, now lives in San Diego. The director is Joe Doyle, who is also managing director of Actors Net in Morrisville, PA.
Each audience group will be made up of 15 to 20 people. A special version of the play will be given at 6:30 p.m. for young children.
At the Nassau Inn’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room: 1783 Revolutionary 18th-century three-course dinner menu.
At the Historical Society of Princeton, 158 Nassau Street: Walking tour of Princeton to view the sites that the members of the 1783 Congress saw. 2 p.m. $7. Reservations are required at www.princetonhistory.org or 609-921-6748.
Princeton Bike Tours: See description in July 4 listing above.
For complete 1783 event information visit www.revolutionaryprinceton.org.