Even though historical reenacting often runs in the family, it seldom includes the entire family.
But that’s exactly what Alicia and Jeffrey Gibson, of Maryland, and their eight- and six-year-old daughters, Beatrix and Ellenora, have been doing for the past year.
“My daughters look forward to each and every time we go out,” Alicia said. “They even have their own reenactor friends now, and they love meeting other children and explaining things to them. There’s not a shy bone in their bodies.”
Before the Gibson family started reenacting in Revolutionary War-era events, Alicia and Jeffrey had no family connection to the world of reenacting. Though both are history buffs and always imagined that reenacting would be fun, they never seriously considered it until last year when they met a reenactor at a friend’s Independence Day party.
They first tried reenacting last September during a two-hour memorial ceremony at the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the only land battle fought in Delaware. “It was a perfect event to get our feet wet,” Alicia said. “After that, we were in. Now we’re part of the 1st Delaware Regiment.”
Since that time, they’ve participated in about eight Revolutionary War-era events and will add the Delaware River crossing reenactments at Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA) to their roster this year. Jeffrey plays the role of a private and plans to cross the river in a Durham boat during the reenactment, while Alicia and her daughters will portray camp followers.
“We’ve been to the park before, but not for the crossing reenactments,” Alicia said. “We’re excited to be a part of it this year.”
While her daughters participate in children’s activities, Alicia enjoys swapping tips and tricks with more experienced reenactors.
“I like these events because you can talk to the older women and see what’s worked for them in terms of making the clothing,” she said. “You get to compare notes and pick their brains. Everyone’s been so helpful and welcoming.”