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

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?

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

Painter Dorothy Hoeschen: ‘Roaming’ the Park, Paintbrushes in Tow

Landscape has always been one of Dorothy “Dottie” Hoeschen’s favorite subjects. Maybe it was inevitable that she would turn to plein air painting, where the artist paints outdoors within reach of, and sometimes among their composition. For painters accustomed to the cozy confines of their studios, it can be a sharp contrast. Strong breezes blow canvases to the ground, bitter cold numbs the fingers, and curious passersby break fragile concentration. Not to mention the race against fleeting light. It was a contrast for Hoeschen, who resides in Riegelsville, but she quickly adapted. She loves being outside and challenging herself as Read More

A Watercolorist Reconnects with His Roots

Keith Mountford lives in Lower Makefield, not far from the scenic Delaware Canal and the river. But it took a pandemic for him to appreciate how beautiful his surroundings are. A professional watercolorist for more than two decades, Mountford is accustomed to spending much of the year on the road, travelling to weekend art shows up and down the east coast. In time, he stopped painting scenes from Bucks County because he rarely exhibited locally and the subject matter was unfamiliar to most people outside of the region. Last year, however, he was grounded at home, like everyone else. Eventually, Read More

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

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

Next Book Club Selection Examines the War’s First Sparks

At its April 2021 meeting, the park’s book club will begin discussing its next selection, Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution by Benjamin L. Carp. The meeting will be held April 19 at 5:30 PM on Zoom. Registration is required on DCNR’s website. Zoom meeting details will be provided upon registration. Participants should be prepared to discuss the Introduction through Chapter One. Then as now, the tight concentrations and diversity of people in the colonies’ largest cities offered fertile ground for political consciousness, political persuasion, and political action. Rebels Rising traces how everyday interactions in taverns, wharves, and elsewhere Read More

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

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

Celebrating Washington’s Birthday – Without Missing a Beat

On February 15, 2021, Washington Crossing Historic Park’s Facebook page and YouTube channel released a video depicting fife and drummers playing “Happy Birthday” for the general’s birthday. The video – created to be played during George Washington’s virtual birthday celebration – was a culmination of weeks of coordination and editing work by the Washington Crossing Fifes and Drums Corps. Here’s how this unique video came together. Launched in January 2019 under the directorship of fife major Stacy Roth and drum major Lance Peterson, the Corps spent months building a repertoire of 18th-century tunes and the signals and duties (musical commands) Read More

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