One Pennsylvania Mill Was Vital to the Revolution

May 20th, 2021

Most of our pantries contain a five-pound bag of flour from the grocery store. Although you can purchase flour ground at the park’s Thompson-Neely Grist Mill, locally ground flour is fairly rare in the twenty-first century. Not so in George Washington’s day. From a family’s kitchen table to Washington’s army, let’s take a look back at how grain products – and the mills that made them – played an essential role in colonial life. The Power of Flour It’s hard to overstate the importance of flour and cornmeal in the 1770s. Both could be used in many different ways. In Read More

Leaving a Legacy – Twice Over

April 20th, 2021

Bill Farkas outside the Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center (photo by Peter Osborne)   Bill Farkas has left a legacy to Washington Crossing Historic Park…again. Upon his death last year at the age of 82, Bill left a sizeable donation in his estate to the Friends of Washington Crossing Park. The money will be used to support public education and programming at the park far into the future. This donation was Bill’s second significant gift to the park. The first came a little less than 10 years when he commissioned author Peter Osborne to write a book documenting the Read More

What Became of Trenton After Washington Took It from the Hessians?

April 19th, 2021

Photo of The Old Barracks Museum by William M. Brown   Upon defeating the Hessians in the First Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, General George Washington immediately faced a critical decision: what to do with his new captives. The Continental Army had captured not just the roughly 900 Hessian officers and soldiers who surrendered, but also their wives and children. “The Hessians, like any 18th-century army, had camp followers. They appeared to be living in the Old Barracks,” explains William “Larry” Kidder, author of Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783, which the park’s book club will begin reading Read More

A Day in the Life of Colonial Pennsylvania: Tending a Garden

March 20th, 2021

Many modern-day Pennsylvanians grow vegetable, herb and flower gardens, but few of us rely on them to stock our pantries or medicine cabinets. For families in colonial-era Pennsylvania, however, the kitchen garden was an important aspect of day-to-day life and a necessary source of food and medicine. Let’s explore how a colonial-era family used their gardens and what a typical day of garden work entailed. A Woman’s Work In the spring, summer and early fall, it would be common to find a colonial Pennsylvania woman tending her kitchen garden in the early morning. The kitchen garden – a small plot of land beside her home Read More

Where Did Washington Get the Durham Boats Used in the Crossing?

March 19th, 2021

When you consider all that General George Washington and his men endured in crossing the Delaware on Christmas night 1776, it’s easy to gloss over the logistics, including their watercraft. But it took many boats to move the soldiers from one side of the river to the other: roughly 20 Durham boats in all, and untold numbers of other kinds. The History of Durham Boats The first Durham boat is believed to have been built around 1730. At its height, “there was a fleet of a thousand Durham boats on the Delaware giving employment to several thousand men whose job Read More

During the Revolutionary War, How Well-Known Was the Crossing?

February 21st, 2021

Today, the Ten Crucial Days are recognized as a critical turning point during the Revolutionary War. But at the time, was anyone beyond the soldiers waging battle even aware of the Christmas night crossing that put everything in motion? “The crossing became well-known fairly quickly,” says Kimberly McCarty, the park’s curator. On December 27, General George Washington sent a letter to John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, in which he described his account of the crossing and the ensuing Battle of Trenton. Congress read the letter four days later. And four days after that, on January 4, 1777, Read More

Virtual Lecture on “George Washington’s Nemesis” Set for April 11

February 19th, 2021

In a free public lecture with Washington Crossing Historic Park on Sunday, April 11, Christian McBurney will discuss his new book George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court-Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the Revolutionary War. The lecture will begin at 1:30 PM and last about an hour. Registration is required.  Major General Lee, second in command in the Continental Army led by General Washington, was captured by the British in December 1776. “Washington ordered him to come to the Bucks County encampment. But Lee felt he should have been in charge. So, instead of coming straight here, he Read More

Book Review of “John Haslet’s World: An Ardent Patriot, the Delaware Blues, and the Spirit of 1776”

January 19th, 2021

Reviewed by Joe Camaratta, a historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park John Haslet’s World: An Ardent Patriot, the Delaware Blues, and the Spirit of 1776 is David Price’s third in a trilogy on the Ten Crucial Days, the period from Washington’s crossing of the Delaware to the Battle of Princeton. Price focuses on those heroes underrepresented by most historians when they tell the story of the fight for American independence. The book details John Haslet’s life as an Irish immigrant who embodied the grit and determination of the patriots fighting against Great Britain. Price unfolds the development of Haslet Read More