Tents lined Fort Sewall as members of Glover’s Regiment of Marblehead were joined by out-of-town historical reenactors similarly clad in 18th century garments for the regiment’s annual summer encampment on Saturday, July 15.
Fort Sewall was established in 1644 as a defense in case Marblehead were to be approached by a seafaring enemy. The elaborate colonial encampment is assembled at the fort every summer to reintroduce the town to its rich history.
Under open tents, merchants — or “sutlers” — sold goods that included 18th-century sweets, clothing, jewelry, pottery and more. Other regiment members manned stations where they participated in 18th-century activities and shared the origin of each activity with guests.
One station featured two women spinning wool and sewing bonnets. Ruth Konrad from the 6th Pennsylvania regiment spun the wool while Emily Fournier of 13th Continental stitched the bonnets. The two women explained that spinning wool and sewing bonnets were just a few of the “occupations” for women in the 18th century. Of course, during this time period, women were not allowed to have paying jobs, so their days consisted of completing such at-home tasks.
Nearby, Konrad’s husband had set up a table next to her spindle where he crafted muskets and rifles, depicting the kinds of crafts men took part in during the 18th century.
As for the “sutlers,” Glover’s Regiment member Katie Sullivan operated a butter churning station. Guests were offered a piece of bread with some of the freshly churned butter spread onto it.
Sullivan explained that there is usually a sutler named “Big Bear” who brings goods to sell at the encampment. However, Big Bear could not make it to this year’s event, so the other sutlers had to fill in. They sold Joe Frogger cookies and fresh lemonade in a glass bottle, among other traditional treats.
The annual summer encampment has allowed several families to bond in the outdoors without the use of electronic devices. Sullivan shared that her dad, Glover’s Regiment surgeon Dr. Ray Sullivan, has long participated in the reenactment at Fort Sewall. He has involved his grandchildren in the event as well, creating a special family bonding experience. Sullivan and her husband, Tim, have been involved in encampment for roughly 15 years.
“[The encampment] is a great way to keep history alive,” said Sullivan. “It is so much fun for families.”
To end the day, the Glover’s Regiment performed their annual mock battle. Instead of holding it around Doaks Lane and Fort Beach, however, the regiment landed their boat on a neighborhood swim dock off of Harbor View Lane and performed the musket battle in the woods behind Seaside Park.