J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Celebrating Benjamin Thompson

On Sunday, 17 August, the Rumford Birthplace Museum in Woburn will celebrate two anniversaries:

  • the 300th of the construction of the house’s oldest rooms.
  • the 200th of the death of the man who made that house famous enough to be preserved: Benjamin Thompson, later Count Rumford.
Thompson is one of our favorite Revolutionary characters here at Boston 1775.

As part of the day’s celebrations, a member of His Majesty’s 10th Regiment reenacting unit, Lincoln Clark III, will portray Thompson describing his military actions with the King’s American Dragoons late in the Revolutionary War. (Presumably this Thompson will keep his activity as a spy in 1775 under wraps.)

Living history interpreter Dean Howarth will describe Thompson’s achievements as a scientist. (His equally impressive achievements as a social climber, civil administrator, and roué will probably wait for another year.)

There will also be presentations on items and displays in the house, including “an old artifact that was stolen, located, disappeared, found, and used for scrap.” And there will be a demonstration of eighteenth-century social dance.

Since Thompson was a Loyalist who rose high within the British government and army, the museum is particularly interested in having people who portray the king’s supporters at the anniversary. The event is scheduled to last from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.

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