Preserving the Harvest in the 18th Century

Long-term food storage was critical to the 18th-century household. During the colonial era, the coming of autumn did not just mean changing leaves and cooler temperatures: it was also time to preserve the harvest. Fresh produce and eggs could only be enjoyed during the growing season, so colonists would intentionally grow an overabundance of food and then preserve their harvest for consumption during the winter. Produce was continuously preserved as it came into season, and whatever was not eaten was preserved for future use. Depending on the type of food—fruits, vegetables, meat, or dairy—colonists used a variety of different techniques. Drying Read More

Flour Ground at the Thompson-Neely Grist Mill Now for Sale

If you walked down the wiped-out baking aisle of your local grocery store at the height of the pandemic, you saw firsthand how many Americans have taken up baking. For those looking to whip up some historically accurate treats, the Friends of Washington Crossing Park now sell flour ground in the park’s historic Thompson-Neely Grist Mill. Period-accurate Flour Five-pound bags of two kinds of flour – whole wheat and fine flour – are for sale in the Visitor Center gift shop for $12 a bag (shipping is not offered). All the flour was ground in the mill using waterpower, 2,000-pound Read More

General Washington’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Was George Washington a great general? It sounds like a preposterous question. After all, he won the Revolutionary War. But like anyone, the general had his strengths and weaknesses. “Washington was a great strategic leader who was very good at seeing the big picture and playing the long game,” says Adrienne Harrison, PhD, senior historian at Battlefield Leadership and a former assistant professor of American history at the U.S. Military Academy. “But tactically, he was terrible, and he never got better as the war went on.” Fortunately, says Harrison, Washington would come to realize he didn’t need to win every Read More

Summer Intern Creates Virtual Program on Camp Followers

Allison Zhu, a senior at Council Rock North High School, has spent the summer assisting with a new virtual education program for Washington Crossing Historic Park as part of an internship sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Washington Crossing-Yardley. Her new program centers on camp followers: the women and children who traveled to encampments and worked for the Continental and British armies in numerous roles, including cooking, cleaning, and providing medical care. Allison chose the topic of camp followers after reading extensively about the American Revolution on her own. She noticed that “many of these books didn’t mention or barely Read More

Park Lectures from the Comfort of Your Home

Three free lectures that were originally planned to be held at Washington Crossing Historic Park this fall will now be held virtually using Zoom. These upcoming lectures are free and open to all, but registration is required. Zoom meeting details will be provided after you register. African Americans in the Continental Army Date: Sunday, September 13 Time: 2:00 to 3:30 PM Registration is open  Bucks County historian and reenactor John U. Rees will discuss his book, They Were Good Soldiers: African-Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783. The book depicts the experiences of free and enslaved soldiers of color during America’s war for independence. Read More

Next Book Club Pick: The British Are Coming

The Washington Crossing Historic Park book club will begin discussion of a new selection at its September 21 meeting. The featured book is The British Are Coming—The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 by Rick Atkinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who lectured at the park last year. Meetings are led by the park’s curator, Kimberly McCarty, who also selects the books. “Rick Atkinson’s research for this book included combing through the archive of King George III, so it should give us unique insight into the crossing and the events that surrounded it,” she says. As a Georgian Papers fellow, Read More

How Did Bucks County Residents Feel About the Revolutionary War?

As you’d probably expect, Bucks County’s feelings about the Revolutionary War were nuanced. There were both loyalists and patriots living here, but the majority of the population could be described as “disaffected.” “On December 14, 1776, George Washington wrote a letter in which he described people in the area using that word,” says Kimberly McCarty, Washington Crossing Historic Park’s curator. McCarty is currently leading a discussion of The Disaffected—Britain’s Occupation of Philadelphia During the American Revolution by Aaron Sullivan for the park’s book club, which has been meeting virtually throughout the summer. “It intrigued me because even though the bulk of the subject matter Read More

A Central But Unknown Figure

John Haslet’s World: An Ardent Patriot, the Delaware Blues, and the Spirit of 1776, will be released November 3, 2020. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon. The book can also be ordered directly from its publisher, Knox Press. Colonel John Haslet and his Delaware Continental Regiment, known as the Delaware Blues, played a pivotal role in George Washington’s 1776 campaign that culminated in the Ten Crucial Days. “Haslet was someone who kept popping up in David Hackett Fischer’s book, Washington’s Crossing,” says David Price, a historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park. “When I was planning my first book, Read More

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