History remembered at CFHS

The bang and the boom returned to Chadds Ford Saturday as the Chadds Ford Historical Society commemorated the 244th anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine. The largest land battle of the War of Independence was remembered with several skirmish-sized reenactments and was as much about the society as it was about the battle and the country as a whole.

Longtime reenactor Paul Lone said having the reenactment on the actual anniversary date of the 1777 battle added to the significance for him and his fellow reenactors.

“It does give the day more meaning to us,” he said. “In all this hustle and hubbub of preparation, when we have a chance to pause and reflect on what this day means, yes, it’s a very sobering thing.”

But Lone also acknowledged the irony that it was also the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of 2001.

Rick Schuman, as an itinerant unindentured woodworker, demonstrates a pedal-driven 18th century lathe during the commemoration of the Battle of Brandywine at the Chadds Ford Historical Society.

“It just shows that throughout our history there have been trials and tribulations that the country has faced and managed to get through. And 9/11 is one of those, the most recent of those, right along with the pandemic we’re going through now. So, we’re a resilient country, we’re a big country and, in the end, the right always seems to prevail.”

While the day was one to reflect on history, it was also a day to look ahead to better times.

CFHS Board President Randell Spackman said the day was also one of a resurrection of sorts for the society.

“We’re more colonial than ever this year with tremendous demonstrators, 18th century traders, and sutlers selling colonial items,” Spackman said. “But it also means we’re back up again. We have The Great Pumpkin Carve in a few weeks. And the support from the community has been wonderful, helping us see our mission continue.”

As for the reenactment, Spackman said it was done as a true skirmish, not as a major battle, which would be historically accurate. But the smaller space at the Historical Society dictated a scaled-down version.

“The state no longer allows the [Brandywine Battlefield] park to be used, but having the event here, the valley can ring again as it did 244 years ago when the cannon echoed here.”

The next event for the Chadds Ford Historical Society is The Great Pumpkin Carve, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14 through Saturday, Oct. 16.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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