Revolution 250 Podcast

The 1774 Raid on Fort William & Mary

September 12, 2023 Sarah Vedrani Season 4 Episode 37
Revolution 250 Podcast
The 1774 Raid on Fort William & Mary
Show Notes Transcript

On December 14, 1774, John Langdon and a group New Hampshire Patriots stormed the lightly garrisoned Fort William & Mary to seize its stores of gunpowder and cannon. Sarah Vedrani tells us about the raid, about the historic events being planned in commemoration.  Now Fort Constitution on an active Coast Guard base in New Castle, (the only New Hampshire town which is entirely on islands), the Fort is still worth visiting!  She also tells us about the exciting happenings at Portsmouth's Strawbery Banke, a ten-acre historic neighborhood, and the living history at the Colonel Paul Wentworth House in Rollinsford. 

WEBVTT
 
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 answers.
 
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 Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Revolution 250 podcast.
 
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 I'm Bob Allison.
 
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 I chair the Rev 250 advisory group, and our guest today is Sarah Vedrani.
 
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 And Sarah Vedrani is an independent scholar, historian, and she's actually spent more than a decade now delving into the history of the seacoast of New Hampshire.
 
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 Sarah, I'm glad you could join us.
 
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 Thank you so much for having me.
 
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 And of course, one of the big events that happens on the coast of New Hampshire in the year leading up to the outbreak of the war is in December of 1774 at Fort William and Mary.
 
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 Can you tell us about this?
 
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 Yeah, so there's a lot of assumption out there that kind of the first large scale opposition to the British leading up to 1776 is Lexington and Concord in April of 1775.
 
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 But being from Seacoast, New Hampshire, and knowing a little bit more of that history, I'm sure the Rhode Islanders will contest this too.
 
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 But being from New Hampshire, we like to say that the first
 
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 uh armed opposition actually happened in newcastle in december of 1774. um so we have a site that's currently called fort constitution the 18th century it was known as fort william and mary
 
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 It was part of a system of fortifications that was built to protect Portsmouth Harbor.
 
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 There were two on what is now the New Hampshire side and two on what is now the main side, what was Massachusetts at the time.
 
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 And Fort Constitution is the last mostly intact structure to still exist.
 
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 In December of 1774, it was not very active.
 
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 It was a very small provincial garrison.
 
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 There was a single commanding officer and his family that lived on site.
 
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 And then a rotating group of provincial soldiers that would have manned the garrison.
 
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 What made it really significant to General Gage was the fact that it housed a significant amount of arms and ammunition.
 
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 And this also would have made it significant to the opponents of General Gage.
 
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 Absolutely.
 
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 Absolutely.
 
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 So in the very late evening hours, mid-December 1774, Paul Revere shows up in Portsmouth at Stoodley's Tavern and is looking for Samuel Cutts.
 
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 He is spreading news.
 
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 He has information that General Gage is sending a ship or possibly two up the Piscataqua to empty that armory at Fort William & Mary.
 
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 And obviously, news in taverns spreads like a wildfire.
 
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 And there are at least a dozen taverns right in that area in Portsmouth.
 
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 So the news spreads very, very quickly.
 
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 The following morning, 400 men
 
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 show up at the fort.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 It's quite a sight for the five-man garrison that is present.
 
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 Now, were the five guys there, the five soldiers there, were they from Britain or were they locals?
 
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 They were all locals.
 
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 They were provincials.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 Yeah, it's a very small force by that point.
 
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 You know, there is...
 
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 There isn't a lot of fear that it is a site that's going to be attacked, raided.
 
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 Portsmouth is considered a relatively safe city up until this point.
 
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 Earlier in the 18th century, there would have been a larger garrison.
 
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 By the 1770s, it's significantly reduced.
 
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 Part of that is that sense of safety.
 
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 The other part is a lack of funding.
 
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 Right.
 
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 So earlier in the 18th century, there's at least 10 or a 20 man garrison there at any time.
 
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 Over the decades, the 1750s and the 1760s, New Hampshire's General Assembly votes to defund that garrison several times.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 um so all that's there essentially on that night is um five men captain cochran the commanding officer his wife and their children wow and they are faced with a mob essentially how many children do they have they had three and they were all very young as far as we can tell they were all probably right around 11 or 12 or younger and where is cochran from where is cochran from
 
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 He's also a local.
 
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 So he and his wife are both local as well.
 
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 His father was commander of the garrison before him.
 
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 So there is a family history here.
 
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 Now, they somehow, I mean, I'm just trying to get...
 
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 Were they like part of the militia who then are posted here?
 
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 It's unclear.
 
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 A couple of our other committee members know a little bit more of the military history than I do.
 
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 From my understanding, his position was given to him by his father.
 
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 So he might or might not have been a commissioned officer within the British Army.
 
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 We're not entirely sure.
 
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 We do know that he had the ability to recruit, and he did so locally at what is now it's referred to as William Pitt Tavern.
 
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 In the 18th century, it would have been Stavers Tavern.
 
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 It's now part of Strawberry Bank Museum.
 
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 He posted several ads in the late 1760s and early 1770s that he was actively recruiting out of Savers Tavern.
 
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 And he wasn't terribly successful.
 
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 There's one instance that was recorded in the newspaper that he had his men march around the entire city of Portsmouth, colors flying, drums beating, trying to bring up some kind of activity.
 
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 Not a single person.
 
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 Didn't work.
 
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 Not a good recruiting drive.
 
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 Not at all.
 
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 So then Cochran and the provincial troops he have would have known these 400 people.
 
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 Oh, absolutely.
 
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 Absolutely.
 
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 They would have frequented the same taverns.
 
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 They possibly would have attended church services together.
 
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 If they had children the same age, they might have attended schooling together.
 
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 It's absolutely possible that he would have been at least familiar with a significant number of people who showed up that night.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 So then what happens when these guys show up?
 
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 And what are they demanding?
 
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 So it starts off relatively civil.
 
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 It starts off with a demand that Cochrane surrenders himself and that they are allowed to enter the fort.
 
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 And obviously that is denied.
 
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 And that's where it gets a little fuzzy and that's where it gets a little more violent.
 
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 So all of a sudden, 400 men rush through the gates.
 
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 There are several accounts from later on that the captain is either restrained or tied up.
 
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 I feel like I've read one account somewhere where he is actually tied to the flagpole.
 
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 Yes.
 
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 Part of it is definitely restraining him and keeping him away.
 
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 Yeah.
 
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 One of the provincial soldiers is injured, I believe in the leg somehow.
 
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 It's a minor injury.
 
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 And at some point, and this is my favorite part of the story, because, of course, we have to throw some women's history in here.
 
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 Cochran's wife notices that her husband is being restrained and somehow gets a musket in her hand.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 And with a bayonet attached and starts waving it at the mob in front of her.
 
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 While she is actively being restrained herself, she somehow breaks free, gets this musket and is...
 
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 know trying to fend off the crowd somebody manages to get the musket out of her hand um and then according to some of those later accounts about 10 seconds later she has a pistol in her hand that she is pushing at the crowd wow um i which i i love um sarah cochran is a fascinating story of her own um but of course this is her home
 
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 Oh, right.
 
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 Yeah.
 
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 Your home.
 
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 You know, there isn't much left to the fort today besides the outside fortifications.
 
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 And when you see the site today, it's very easy to forget that this was a workplace, that this was, you know, a place where vendors came very frequently to do their business.
 
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 Right.
 
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 And that this was a home for a family with children.
 
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 And she was going to defend that home any way she could.
 
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 Yeah, yeah.
 
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 Unfortunately, she didn't do a very good job.
 
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 Well, I mean, she had 400 men and she's kept getting restrained.
 
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 Exactly, exactly.
 
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 So obviously the garrison is overtaken very easily.
 
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 There are several tons of gunpowder that are taken from the fort as well as muskets.
 
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 They are loaded onto carts brought over to the wharves where they're loaded onto gondolos.
 
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 What's a gondola?
 
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 So a gondola is a very New England invention.
 
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 It's a very long, shallow bottom boat.
 
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 It's a very flat bottom boat.
 
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 And they were designed for some of New England's shallower rivers so that goods could be taken by water from the port towns instead of travel by land.
 
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 Travel by land was incredibly expensive for goods at that point.
 
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 But New Hampshire, especially Seacoast New Hampshire, has a lot of very shallow rivers to get into some of those inland towns.
 
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 So if you're familiar with the area going north where I am into Dover and Summersworth or going into Exeter and the Durham area,
 
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 You can take a Gundalo, load everything up like you need to, and just sail it right up the river.
 
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 And that's exactly what they did.
 
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 They distributed powder all over New Hampshire into Seabrook and Hampton.
 
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 A large quantity went into Exeter and then up into Durham and Dover and Somersworth as well.
 
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 And they did not stop.
 
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 They did not stop.
 
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 They came back a second day.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 And what do they do on the second day?
 
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 So the second day, they actually took pieces of artillery.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 As well as more muskets.
 
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 Now, are the Cochran still being restrained?
 
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 So at this point, I'm not 100% sure on where all of the players were on the second day.
 
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 Again, the military history side of things is not my forte.
 
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 But it was significantly easier for the mob to enter the fort on that second day.
 
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 As far as I know, essentially,
 
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 kind of just let in.
 
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 But there were pieces of artillery that were taken on that second day, as well as significantly more muskets.
 
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 Sarah, I know you're not a military historian, but do you want to venture a guess if Sarah Cochran were in command instead of her husband, but things have turned out differently?
 
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 Honestly, probably not.
 
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 These were very determined men.
 
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 The information that comes out, when somebody rides into your city and says, this is happening, that news spreads like wildfire.
 
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 There's very little that you can do to control it.
 
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 And
 
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 I like to think maybe that she could have done a little bit more reasoning.
 
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 I get the sense, at least from local records, that Captain Cochran himself was not the most popular of men in town by 1774.
 
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 But I think this probably would have gone the same way whoever manned it.
 
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 So that second day, the story goes that the pieces of artillery that were taken were then actually used the following year at Bunker Hill.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 As well as a significant amount of the powder that was taken.
 
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 Interesting.
 
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 So there is a nice connection to Massachusetts there.
 
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 There is.
 
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 And some later altercations.
 
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 This is a great story.
 
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 We're talking with Sarah Vedrani, who is an historian of the coast of New Hampshire.
 
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 She's done a lot of
 
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 work at Strawberry Bank and at the Paul Wentworth House and other sites.
 
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 And we're talking about what happens at Fort William and Mary in December of 1774.
 
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 Now, who are some of the, you know, we've talked about these 400 guys.
 
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 Do they have any leaders or any people who stand out?
 
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 They did.
 
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 They did.
 
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 And they were some very significant names that we will continue to hear in the next, you know, 12 months or so after this happens.
 
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 So on day two that we were just talking about of this raid, John Stark is actually commanding this group who comes in.
 
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 And obviously he is made famous during the French and Indian War, but also continues on during the revolution.
 
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 John Langdon.
 
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 Hmm.
 
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 who's another very famous local resident.
 
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 If you come to Portsmouth, you can still tour his house.
 
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 It's a beautiful property.
 
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 He is involved in- China's constitution.
 
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 Absolutely, yes.
 
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 So there are some very big players.
 
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 After this happens, Governor Wentworth, our last royal governor, issues a proclamation and it's published all over the newspapers in town, essentially saying, we will find you.
 
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 Mm-hmm.
 
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 will be arrested, all 400 of you.
 
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 Wow.
 
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 Good luck, Governor Wentworth.
 
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 It never happened.
 
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 But he knew, you know, that some of those big players in town, you know, these weren't just kind of the rabble of Portsmouth.
 
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 These were your Moffitts and your Shapleys and your Sheafs.
 
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 And, you know, all of these very significant families in Portsmouth who probably had at least one member who showed up to this thinking, you know, with that mob mentality, who's going to know?
 
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 Yeah.
 
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 That's true.
 
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 That's true.
 
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 So they get all this stuff out.
 
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 The governor can't find and arrest anyone.
 
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 So then.
 
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 What happens?
 
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 I mean, what's the new?
 
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 Nothing, really.
 
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 That's the funniest part of the story.
 
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 Nothing ever really comes of this.
 
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 The powder is distributed.
 
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 It gets distributed out to the newly formed Continental Army.
 
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 When that happens, that's how it gets down to Massachusetts.
 
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 Captain Cochran is exiled.
 
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 You mean so the Patriots exile him?
 
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 The state of New Hampshire exiles him.
 
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 A little bit later on, if you jump forward a little bit to 1778, the state of New Hampshire posts a list.
 
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 It's been developed by the General Assembly of 78 individuals who are unfriendly to Congress and the Patriot cause.
 
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 And Captain Cochran and his family are on that list.
 
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 Now, he has already been booted out.
 
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 He is in New York at this point.
 
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 Okay.
 
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 But Sarah and the children are still in Portsmouth.
 
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 And so the later half of her story is that when this list comes out of all of these exiled individuals, she successfully petitions the state of New Hampshire to leave with their household possessions.
 
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 Oh, wow.
 
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 As well as her children.
 
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 So she has essentially a wagon train with her of all of their household possessions.
 
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 And she heads out to New York with him.
 
 15:24.921 --> 15:27.744
 But that that's essentially all that happens.
 
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 The fort is for a very brief time maintained kind of as an outpost, a portsmouth itself.
 
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 um during the later years of the revolution becomes uh essentially a drop-off point for prize vessels that are captured by the continental navy um and portsmouth's maritime court is very active in 1775 and 1776. um but after that the fort essentially gets lost to time um and that's part of the reason now why there really isn't a lot of it left besides the outside fortification walls
 
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 It essentially gets forgotten.
 
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 Really?
 
 16:08.232 --> 16:11.775
 So it's not like other forts that then are redone in, say, the War of 1812?
 
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 There would have been improvements made later on, but most of those structures are gone.
 
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 The Powder Magazine still stands.
 
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 That's a brick structure.
 
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 But that's essentially it.
 
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 Is it possible to visit any of the remnants of the forts?
 
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 It is.
 
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 So it is currently both a state historic site as well as an active Coast Guard station.
 
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 So it's a little bit tricky to get there.
 
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 Thankfully, the town of Newcastle
 
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 is very good about signage.
 
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 So the town of Newcastle, if you've never been, is an island.
 
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 And so there's wonderful, tiny little narrow roads to get out there.
 
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 But there is a nice little parking and a picnic area.
 
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 And if you're familiar with the Freedom Trail, there is a line across the postcard parking lot that will get you from your visitor parking lot to the fort itself.
 
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 There are currently some new interpretive panels being developed.
 
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 as part of this project to give a little bit more information on the history of the fort.
 
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 And we're not sure if those are going to include an audio tour or not.
 
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 That's something we've been talking about.
 
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 But there is also an organization called Friends of Fort Constitution that help maintain and promote the history of the fort.
 
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 And they have a really wonderful website with endless information on the history of the fort itself as well as current restoration efforts.
 
 17:42.185 --> 17:46.566
 Do you know when it gets renamed from Fort William and Mary to Fort Constitution?
 
 17:47.427 --> 17:50.768
 I don't, but I believe it is during the Revolution.
 
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 Because obviously that William and Mary name is a whole.
 
 17:55.269 --> 18:00.451
 I want to say it happens fairly quickly after Cochran is exiled.
 
 18:01.211 --> 18:07.533
 We have a Castle William on Castle Island in Boston becomes Fort Independence actually in 1798.
 
 18:08.093 --> 18:09.834
 President Adams renamed it then.
 
 18:11.678 --> 18:12.039
 Interesting.
 
 18:12.460 --> 18:16.006
 And the same monarch, William, in both cases has his name on it.
 
 18:16.507 --> 18:19.813
 So are you making plans to commemorate this in December of 1774?
 
 18:21.328 --> 18:22.468
 We absolutely are.
 
 18:22.528 --> 18:26.409
 So we are just about a year and a few months away at this point.
 
 18:27.009 --> 18:33.991
 Our committee has been working already for about a year to develop plans with both the towns of Newcastle and the city of Portsmouth.
 
 18:35.031 --> 18:47.534
 So if you're familiar with some of the other 250th anniversary events that have already happened, we are pulling, I would say, fairly heavily from the Boston Massacre 250th commemoration that happened a few years ago.
 
 18:48.354 --> 18:52.135
 A few of us that are on our planning committee were a part of that event as well.
 
 18:53.315 --> 19:03.718
 So we have been kind of leaning on things like that to help decide, you know, how we figure out what this event is going to look like.
 
 19:03.918 --> 19:12.220
 We are incredibly lucky that a lot of the structures that were involved historically are still standing, not only the fort, but Stoodley's Tavern.
 
 19:13.260 --> 19:16.823
 as well as John Stavers Tavern, which are both now part of Strawberry Bank Museum.
 
 19:17.784 --> 19:27.573
 So we are partnering with Strawberry Bank as well as the cities of Portsmouth and Newcastle, as well as the Portsmouth Gundalo Company and a few other organizations.
 
 19:28.774 --> 19:31.637
 So we are incredibly excited of what's coming.
 
 19:32.257 --> 19:35.180
 We're working to develop some material culture guidelines.
 
 19:36.321 --> 19:40.044
 and some interpretation for the morning that's going to happen.
 
 19:40.084 --> 19:43.206
 This will be an all day event, an all weekend event.
 
 19:43.226 --> 19:47.629
 Of course, it's going to be in December in Portsmouth on the water.
 
 19:47.649 --> 19:48.210
 Yeah.
 
 19:49.453 --> 19:51.934
 Hopefully that doesn't deter folks from coming out.
 
 19:53.174 --> 20:05.357
 We are also looking to bring this to a broader audience, obviously knowing that it's winter and it's going to be cold and knowing that we have some structural limitations to work around with the site.
 
 20:06.037 --> 20:11.979
 We are looking to develop some digital programming and some virtual programming as well for this.
 
 20:12.019 --> 20:13.239
 There's a lot happening.
 
 20:13.578 --> 20:13.978
 That's great.
 
 20:14.218 --> 20:27.962
 We're talking with Sarah Vedrani, who is an independent historian, researcher, living history interpreter, getting us excited about what's going to go on in Newcastle and Portsmouth in the next year.
 
 20:28.142 --> 20:32.143
 Now, I know there's a lot of really exciting living history happening in that area.
 
 20:32.163 --> 20:36.224
 And I'm wondering, you know, what do you have programming there in nicer weather?
 
 20:36.264 --> 20:38.625
 And then maybe we could also talk a bit about Strawberry Bank.
 
 20:39.079 --> 20:45.083
 Yeah, so if you've never been to Portsmouth, Strawberry Bank is a really fabulous site.
 
 20:45.964 --> 20:54.050
 Think Colonial Williamsburg, but 400 years of history all at once as opposed to one moment in time.
 
 20:55.210 --> 21:02.916
 Strawberry Bank's a really unique site in that it is, after 400 years, still a living, breathing neighborhood.
 
 21:04.317 --> 21:07.939
 So all of the structures within what is now Strawberry Bank Museum
 
 21:08.960 --> 21:13.426
 are original to that site, with the exception of two or three buildings.
 
 21:14.928 --> 21:20.815
 And the museum really works hard to interpret all of those 400 years of history.
 
 21:21.776 --> 21:23.639
 So the earliest structure dates to 1695.
 
 21:26.704 --> 21:30.608
 And it's currently being renovated to reflect that, which is very exciting.
 
 21:31.689 --> 21:34.651
 And the most recent history that's interpreted is the 1950s.
 
 21:34.691 --> 21:35.672
 Wow.
 
 21:36.013 --> 21:40.497
 When the museum first opened to the public and the last residents of the neighborhood moved out.
 
 21:41.878 --> 21:45.361
 So we are incredibly lucky to have use of that site.
 
 21:46.542 --> 21:47.063
 Strawberry Bank.
 
 21:48.684 --> 21:55.190
 is I think one of those organizations that really tries to tell the entire story.
 
 21:55.210 --> 22:00.614
 So we've been talking a lot about Stavers Tavern and the fact that it was used for recruiting by General Cochrane.
 
 22:01.735 --> 22:03.957
 The owner of that tavern, John Stavers,
 
 22:05.702 --> 22:08.804
 was himself a known loyalist in town.
 
 22:08.884 --> 22:14.727
 He has his own sordid history that could have its own podcast episode very easily.
 
 22:14.747 --> 22:18.549
 I portrayed his oldest daughter for five or six years.
 
 22:19.889 --> 22:25.052
 And, you know, being able to tell the revolutionary story from the perspective of someone who
 
 22:26.857 --> 22:37.762
 maybe didn't care so much about the outcome or didn't care so much about a certain side of it is a really wonderful way to learn the history and to teach the history.
 
 22:39.062 --> 22:45.085
 And especially being able to talk about those taverns because we have both of those taverns on site.
 
 22:45.745 --> 22:51.327
 So Woodleys Tavern where Paul Revere first arrived, unfortunately is no longer a museum building.
 
 22:51.387 --> 22:53.208
 It's now the museum's office building.
 
 22:53.528 --> 22:53.909
 I see.
 
 22:54.490 --> 22:58.756
 But we still have Savers Tavern with William Pitt Tavern.
 
 22:59.016 --> 23:03.963
 And that really, you know, would have been a hub in the 18th century.
 
 23:04.023 --> 23:05.625
 That's how this information spread.
 
 23:05.645 --> 23:10.432
 Did you get a sense, Sarah, that the clientele of the taverns would have been different?
 
 23:11.505 --> 23:36.801
 um you know studley's and stavers in particular were in fierce competition with each other for a very long time um so they probably liked to say that their clientele was a little bit different in reality they would have been very similar um and there's a weird reason for that and the reason is that studley's tavern doesn't sit where it sat originally studley's is one of the buildings that was moved it was moved from across town okay um
 
 23:37.621 --> 23:43.790
 And they were both known for a very long time as some of the premier taverns in Portsmouth.
 
 23:44.731 --> 23:51.040
 They were known for serving very expensive imported drinks like wine, specifically port wine.
 
 23:52.582 --> 23:53.443
 They were known for.
 
 23:54.626 --> 23:56.467
 attracting certain kinds of entertainment.
 
 23:57.047 --> 24:00.809
 Stavers Tavern, for example, hosted an opera singer from London in 1776.
 
 24:01.269 --> 24:07.571
 Stoodley's, I believe, had a lion in the 1790s.
 
 24:09.012 --> 24:11.833
 So they were attracting a very similar kind of clientele.
 
 24:11.893 --> 24:17.675
 These were folks who were not, you know, the salt of the earth kind of folks.
 
 24:17.895 --> 24:19.096
 It's not the longshoremen.
 
 24:19.856 --> 24:20.476
 Exactly.
 
 24:20.596 --> 24:21.957
 It's not your dock workers.
 
 24:22.037 --> 24:24.458
 It's not your rope walk workers.
 
 24:24.518 --> 24:27.880
 These are folks who can afford some of life's luxuries.
 
 24:28.060 --> 24:33.462
 So Revere would have known which tavern to go to where he's going to find John Langdon and his other characters.
 
 24:33.742 --> 24:34.343
 Absolutely.
 
 24:35.563 --> 24:42.146
 It would have been either Stoodley's, Stavers, or Zachariah Foss's, which was further into town.
 
 24:42.186 --> 24:46.888
 But obviously, if he's coming from the south, this is probably the closest he's going to get.
 
 24:47.348 --> 24:47.749
 Interesting.
 
 24:48.109 --> 24:48.309
 Okay.
 
 24:48.969 --> 24:55.257
 So now you were talking about interpreting this from the viewpoint of someone who isn't committed to one side or the other.
 
 24:55.277 --> 24:58.501
 Now, you also do a bit with the 10th regiment of foot or you have done with
 
 24:59.150 --> 24:59.530
 I do.
 
 24:59.810 --> 25:01.271
 Talk a little bit about that experience.
 
 25:01.552 --> 25:02.312
 I do.
 
 25:02.412 --> 25:06.575
 So I have been with His Majesty's Tent since I was 16.
 
 25:07.875 --> 25:09.556
 And I started out as a soldier.
 
 25:10.997 --> 25:13.619
 I have loved history since I was in middle school.
 
 25:14.119 --> 25:16.781
 I have been in and out of local museums since I was in high school.
 
 25:18.382 --> 25:22.885
 And I never enjoyed the way history was taught in school.
 
 25:24.606 --> 25:27.950
 And my parents started taking me to historic sites and taking me to reenactments.
 
 25:28.870 --> 25:35.076
 And I was on Lexington Green one year for the Patriots Day commemoration and saw this group.
 
 25:36.300 --> 25:37.360
 and said, who is this?
 
 25:38.821 --> 25:40.122
 And that was it, I joined.
 
 25:40.742 --> 25:42.943
 And the rest they say is history.
 
 25:43.763 --> 25:47.124
 So I was a soldier in the light infantry for 10 years.
 
 25:48.485 --> 25:54.247
 And then I stepped down, I handed in my musket and now I serve as a camp follower.
 
 25:55.628 --> 25:57.648
 So traded places just a little bit.
 
 25:57.728 --> 25:59.049
 What do you mean by camp follower?
 
 25:59.949 --> 26:01.290
 So in the British Army,
 
 26:02.230 --> 26:03.892
 camp followers were essential.
 
 26:04.892 --> 26:07.695
 When you join the British Army in the 18th century, you join for life.
 
 26:08.976 --> 26:16.422
 And I always say, you know, one of the easiest ways to get someone to travel halfway across the world for work is to let them bring their family with them.
 
 26:17.003 --> 26:17.183
 Right.
 
 26:17.657 --> 26:21.379
 So the British Army accounted for a certain number of women and children per regiment.
 
 26:22.479 --> 26:29.742
 It's a rough estimate of about five to six percent of rations per regiment were handed to women and children.
 
 26:30.943 --> 26:35.565
 And it wasn't just the officers, the high ranking officers who were bringing their families with them.
 
 26:36.365 --> 26:37.886
 So these women did have to work.
 
 26:37.946 --> 26:39.807
 It was expected that they were productive in camp.
 
 26:40.887 --> 26:43.828
 In a modern sense, in the living history hobby, we cook.
 
 26:44.449 --> 26:45.189
 We do a lot of cooking.
 
 26:46.550 --> 26:48.911
 But we also talk about nurses.
 
 26:49.451 --> 26:53.514
 We talk about women who served as servants for officers.
 
 26:54.754 --> 27:06.341
 We talk about women who would have done laundry and cooking and darning and all sorts of things to be productive in camp and stay with their families.
 
 27:09.730 --> 27:17.596
 Serena Zavin has a great book about the Boston Massacre, the family history that talks about these women and families who are traveling with the soldiers.
 
 27:18.017 --> 27:18.597
 Absolutely.
 
 27:18.777 --> 27:24.922
 I got the opportunity to meet her for the Boston Massacre 250th, and it was perfect timing.
 
 27:24.982 --> 27:34.349
 I was portraying Isabella Montgomery that year, who is, of course, known for her famous screaming match with Susanna Cathcart in the street before the event.
 
 27:35.170 --> 27:36.271
 And she came up to me.
 
 27:36.291 --> 27:38.192
 We had just recreated our fight.
 
 27:39.093 --> 27:40.815
 And she came up to me and I was still in character.
 
 27:40.835 --> 27:43.877
 And she was very timid.
 
 27:43.897 --> 27:46.339
 She said, are you Isabella Montgomery?
 
 27:46.359 --> 27:49.201
 And I turned around, who's asking?
 
 27:49.282 --> 27:53.265
 And I recognized her and immediately dropped character and started fangirling.
 
 27:54.366 --> 27:55.146
 It's phenomenal.
 
 27:55.166 --> 27:57.728
 I devoured it in about two days.
 
 27:59.010 --> 28:07.637
 But it's fabulous that she's done that research because it is so overlooked how important these women were and really what their role was.
 
 28:08.777 --> 28:11.439
 So I'm hoping to bring a little bit of that to this event as well.
 
 28:11.759 --> 28:12.200
 That's good.
 
 28:12.340 --> 28:12.720
 That's good.
 
 28:13.921 --> 28:20.965
 I'm wondering if we could talk a little bit more then about planning this and what you see is how
 
 28:23.823 --> 28:28.124
 You hope all of this will come together to get a new generation excited about doing history.
 
 28:28.144 --> 28:28.944
 Yeah, absolutely.
 
 28:29.524 --> 28:34.005
 So I guess I'm very lucky that I am, I think, that new generation.
 
 28:35.826 --> 28:40.867
 I joined and then my parents joined this hobby and this crazy history world.
 
 28:41.867 --> 28:44.668
 So I was really the one in my family that kind of spearheaded this.
 
 28:46.068 --> 28:53.190
 But we are obviously doing a very traditional reenactment commemoration.
 
 28:54.189 --> 28:57.171
 So there will be a raid on the fort.
 
 28:57.491 --> 29:05.615
 There will be a march of a very significant number of men from Portsmouth to Newcastle that will then enter the fort.
 
 29:07.336 --> 29:16.141
 And there will be space to view that, just like there would be at any other reenactment that you might attend, whether it be in Boston or Lexington or Virginia.
 
 29:17.321 --> 29:22.945
 But we are also really hoping to lean heavily on some new digital technologies.
 
 29:23.045 --> 29:31.951
 We have discussed having GoPros on a couple of our mob members so you can see the march and the raid from their perspective.
 
 29:33.032 --> 29:41.057
 We have talked about some pre-event events that might be live streamed.
 
 29:42.318 --> 29:46.401
 We're going to lean heavily on social media in the coming months to really promote this.
 
 29:47.842 --> 29:58.871
 And, you know, I will say for the living history hobby and for the larger historical community, it's not just us younger folks that are really leaning into that.
 
 29:59.811 --> 30:06.677
 I think the entire community has really embraced it because we do know how much of an impact we can have.
 
 30:07.720 --> 30:17.230
 I think back to 2021 for Patriots Day when Minuteman Park was planning all of their events and everything still had to be virtual.
 
 30:17.250 --> 30:22.476
 And I remember Jim Hollister saying afterwards, you know, we reached 100,000 people this week.
 
 30:26.100 --> 30:29.803
 between comments and likes and shares and everything else.
 
 30:30.603 --> 30:33.386
 And that's really the impact that we'd like to have.
 
 30:34.367 --> 30:41.993
 Not just the folks who show up physically to see this, but for the folks who do show up physically, we are planning all day.
 
 30:43.094 --> 30:46.656
 There will be things going on in Portsmouth as well as things going on in Newcastle.
 
 30:46.916 --> 30:47.296
 Wonderful.
 
 30:48.717 --> 30:54.561
 Jonathan Lane, our producer, is also, I think, must be something of a summer soldier and sunshine patriot.
 
 30:54.581 --> 30:56.062
 He points out it's two miles alone.
 
 30:56.082 --> 30:57.583
 Very much so.
 
 30:58.563 --> 31:03.306
 But, you know, I think having an event like this, too, can spark other things.
 
 31:03.326 --> 31:11.091
 I remember when Jim organized a wonderful program around Faneuil Hall commemorating the arrival of the customs commissioners.
 
 31:11.601 --> 31:11.861
 Yes.
 
 31:12.121 --> 31:14.243
 And we had this procession with around.
 
 31:14.343 --> 31:17.045
 And people were there saying, does this happen every week?
 
 31:17.765 --> 31:17.965
 Right.
 
 31:18.466 --> 31:19.887
 You wish that it would.
 
 31:20.707 --> 31:21.268
 Exactly.
 
 31:21.288 --> 31:22.849
 Oh, yeah.
 
 31:23.109 --> 31:28.452
 I the year we did the Boston Massacre 250th, we had the rope walk brawl out in front of Faneuil Hall.
 
 31:28.773 --> 31:32.955
 And I was filming it for the guys who were participating.
 
 31:33.456 --> 31:37.859
 The number of folks who walked up to the the park rangers and said, what?
 
 31:38.719 --> 31:39.380
 Use this.
 
 31:40.601 --> 31:42.343
 And that's really what we'd like to do as well.
 
 31:42.383 --> 31:47.288
 Strawberry Bank is working with us to develop a little bit of programming beforehand.
 
 31:48.269 --> 31:53.233
 So hopefully sometime next year, visit Strawberry Bank Museum.
 
 31:53.834 --> 31:56.617
 You might come across Captain Cochran doing a little bit of recruiting.
 
 31:56.917 --> 31:57.117
 Great.
 
 31:57.357 --> 31:57.878
 Very good.
 
 31:58.158 --> 31:59.960
 To get people excited for sure.
 
 32:00.929 --> 32:04.898
 Now, Sarah, you've really whet our appetite for things happening in New Hampshire.
 
 32:04.918 --> 32:09.248
 I wonder if there are other events, 250th events that you can foresee happening in New Hampshire.
 
 32:10.480 --> 32:12.963
 You know, New Hampshire is a tough state.
 
 32:14.644 --> 32:21.852
 Once this event happens, not much else happens in New Hampshire, unfortunately.
 
 32:22.813 --> 32:25.737
 John Stark goes to Bunker Hill and he goes to Bennington.
 
 32:26.017 --> 32:27.438
 Exactly, exactly.
 
 32:27.458 --> 32:30.061
 You know, a traveler.
 
 32:31.162 --> 32:31.782
 We would.
 
 32:32.303 --> 32:38.806
 You know, there's been talk, I think, for a long time of seeing the Ranger reproduced and doing something around John Paul Jones.
 
 32:38.926 --> 32:41.487
 I've been hearing that conversation since I was in my teens.
 
 32:42.507 --> 32:44.688
 I would love to see that gain a little more ground.
 
 32:45.969 --> 32:48.890
 Portsmouth this year is celebrating its 400th anniversary.
 
 32:48.930 --> 32:51.451
 So I think that has kickstarted a lot in the city.
 
 32:52.352 --> 32:57.174
 And I do see, you know, places like Strawberry Bank and the Warner House and the Moffett Ladd House.
 
 32:57.895 --> 33:07.154
 um getting very interested too in doing some things um so i i would love to see this kind of spark something that would be that would be ideal really
 
 33:08.709 --> 33:09.090
 Well, thank you.
 
 33:09.330 --> 33:21.618
 And can you tell, you've also, I should mention that Sarah Vedrani, in addition to being really excited about doing this, does have a bachelor's in history and a master's in heritage studies from Regis University, Regis College.
 
 33:22.198 --> 33:25.400
 And you're also on the board of the Paul Wentworth House, the Colonel Paul Wentworth House.
 
 33:25.420 --> 33:27.842
 Can you tell us a bit about the Colonel Paul Wentworth?
 
 33:27.882 --> 33:29.163
 Is he related to Benning Wentworth?
 
 33:29.885 --> 33:31.526
 Yes, they were a branch of the family.
 
 33:32.366 --> 33:37.669
 The Wentworths were one of the largest families on the seacoast as well as being one of the most influential.
 
 33:38.469 --> 33:44.492
 This particular branch of the Wentworth family went out into what was at that point the frontier of New Hampshire.
 
 33:45.913 --> 33:48.214
 The house was originally built in 1701.
 
 33:49.215 --> 33:51.176
 We are an original 18th century structure.
 
 33:51.196 --> 33:55.878
 The house where it currently sits is about 150 yards back.
 
 33:58.072 --> 33:59.614
 from where it was built originally.
 
 33:59.694 --> 34:05.419
 So it stood in its original location until the 1920s when it was moved.
 
 34:05.740 --> 34:07.681
 It was sold and moved to Massachusetts.
 
 34:08.142 --> 34:08.462
 Wow.
 
 34:08.903 --> 34:09.123
 Yeah.
 
 34:09.463 --> 34:09.843
 Crazy.
 
 34:10.844 --> 34:15.409
 You know, just with like teams of oxen and logs, you know, the old fashioned way.
 
 34:15.429 --> 34:16.290
 Yeah.
 
 34:16.570 --> 34:19.793
 And then in the early 2000s, the house went up for sale again.
 
 34:20.174 --> 34:20.294
 Mm hmm.
 
 34:21.014 --> 34:22.455
 And an organization was formed.
 
 34:23.335 --> 34:24.095
 We're called ARCH.
 
 34:24.235 --> 34:27.756
 It's the Association for Rollinsford Culture and History.
 
 34:29.077 --> 34:34.018
 And this organization was founded to save this house and bring it back to Rollinsford.
 
 34:34.779 --> 34:36.639
 So that happened in 2005.
 
 34:37.800 --> 34:41.161
 We have members of our board currently who have been
 
 34:42.606 --> 34:46.829
 on this board and involved since day one.
 
 34:47.389 --> 34:49.391
 And I think that is incredible.
 
 34:50.592 --> 34:57.076
 I have been volunteering with the organization since 2007 and was asked to join the board last year.
 
 34:57.096 --> 35:00.259
 It is a wonderful house.
 
 35:00.279 --> 35:05.282
 Like I said, it's a fully original house with functioning fireplaces.
 
 35:06.543 --> 35:10.006
 So I can wake up in the morning in front of the kitchen hearth
 
 35:10.806 --> 35:11.787
 and make breakfast.
 
 35:12.227 --> 35:13.608
 Wow.
 
 35:13.748 --> 35:15.169
 It's a really phenomenal site.
 
 35:15.969 --> 35:26.036
 We have an opportunity to talk about agricultural history, to talk about industrial history as well, because we were so connected and close to Portsmouth.
 
 35:27.077 --> 35:32.620
 We have an opportunity to talk about, you know, a self-sustaining site.
 
 35:33.240 --> 35:35.982
 The house would have been a functioning farm in the 18th century.
 
 35:36.923 --> 35:39.364
 So we can talk about New Hampshire crafts.
 
 35:39.424 --> 35:40.165
 We can talk about
 
 35:40.525 --> 35:41.025
 furniture.
 
 35:42.046 --> 35:43.847
 We can talk about imports and exports.
 
 35:44.928 --> 35:46.849
 We can talk about the frontier.
 
 35:48.230 --> 35:56.635
 The Dover, Rollinsford, Summersworth area in the early 18th century was an area that was very afraid of attacks by Native Americans.
 
 35:56.795 --> 36:02.639
 There were 60 garrison houses in and around the Dover, Rollinsford area in that time.
 
 36:03.619 --> 36:05.661
 And we can talk about the evolution of a family.
 
 36:07.361 --> 36:10.563
 And it's a really fascinating site.
 
 36:11.403 --> 36:15.024
 It's our little hidden gem just up the road from the seacoast.
 
 36:15.484 --> 36:15.984
 Interesting.
 
 36:16.425 --> 36:18.445
 Where in Massachusetts was it?
 
 36:19.426 --> 36:20.406
 Dover, Massachusetts.
 
 36:20.466 --> 36:21.846
 So it went to Dover, Massachusetts.
 
 36:22.587 --> 36:23.067
 Okay, yeah.
 
 36:23.527 --> 36:23.867
 It did.
 
 36:24.087 --> 36:24.988
 Yeah.
 
 36:25.008 --> 36:28.190
 The only thing that did not go with it was the original chimney stack.
 
 36:28.770 --> 36:33.654
 Oh, well, the chimney stack was dismantled and the bricks were donated to Historic New England.
 
 36:34.694 --> 36:41.158
 So when the house was moved again back to Rollinsford, Historic New England was contacted and said, Hey,
 
 36:42.379 --> 37:02.939
 this was a while ago but do you have any of these left and the organization said we absolutely do oh yeah so there are things away yeah exactly you know tucked in a warehouse somewhere there are about five thousand uh original bricks wow in the chimney stack they were added up into the upper pieces of the chimney stack
 
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 So everything on ground level in the house is up to current fire code so that we can use those fireplaces and really make the house an immersive experience for both our visitors as well as any living historians who come to participate.
 
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 But then that upper section of the stack is original to the 18th century, which is a really fabulous detail we'd love to talk about.
 
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 So thank you so much, Sarah.
 
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 Sarah Vedrani, who is involved in many things in New Hampshire.
 
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 Thank you for joining us.
 
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 absolutely thank you so much for having me and yeah look forward to seeing what happens in portsmouth and in newcastle and at the paul wentworth house and finding out more about what's going on and getting people excited about history in new hampshire so thank you absolutely it's all about new hampshire it is yeah and thank you to jonathan lane our producer and our listeners you know sir you know we do actually have listeners all around the world and every week we like to thank them if you're in one of these places send jonathan lane an email
 
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 Jay Lane at Revolution250.org.
 
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 Also, if you have an idea for someone or some topic you'd like to have us talk about.
 
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 So this week, I want to thank our listeners in Mende, which is in southern France.
 
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 And I have some towns in Massachusetts, Revere, Newton, Quincy, Worcester, and Malden, as well as Mumbai, Steubenville, Ohio, and all places in between and beyond.
 
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 Thank you for listening.
 
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 And now we will be piped out on the road to Boston.