David Howard is a history buff. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering he’s been a volunteer for the Friends of Washington Crossing Park for several years.
What’s unusual, though, is his interest in the British perspective on the Revolutionary War.
“I’ve read six books on it, and I include it in my narration,” says David, who leads tours of the park. “Half of Parliament was against the war. And the British generals didn’t want to fight the war, so they allowed Washington to get away a number of times. They could have ended the war much earlier. But those things aren’t well-known because nobody likes to talk about the British side.”
David considers the British perspective essential to forming a clearer understanding of not just the crossing and the important battles that followed it, but the origin of our country.
“I like to engage my audiences and ask a lot of questions,” he says. “I’m surprised at times that people don’t know more about their own history.”
Case in point: on one tour, David was in the middle of telling the story of the crossing when he was asked, “Why didn’t they just take the bridge across the river?”
He was a bit shocked, but he didn’t miss a beat. “They didn’t have money for the toll,” he replied. (The current Washington Crossing Bridge was built in the early 20th century.)
But that’s an extreme example. And, to be fair, David sets a high bar. When he’s not leading tours, he’s making historical vignettes. Three are featured in the gift shop display window. At the moment, he’s working on a diorama of the Battle of the Assunpink Creek. He expects to exhibit that, too, this spring.