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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Saturday, March 05, 2016

How to Prepare to Have Your Head Shot Off

Today’s the anniversary of the Boston Massacre, and this evening we’re reenacting the event outside the Old State House Museum, as close to the original site as it’s safe to get (since there’s a big, busy road there now).

Among the reenactors will be Timothy Abbott, author of the Walking the Berkshires and Another Pair Not Fellows blogs (shown here). He’ll portray Samuel Gray, one of the men killed at the front of the crowd.

Abbott has written a five-part series on his research into Gray—overall methodology, his family, his role in the ropewalk brawl and other fights that followed, how he made his way to King Street,
and what he was doing just before being killed.

Gray was a ropemaker, but for the famous 1770 engravings Henry Pelham depicted him wearing the short jacket and trousers of a sailor. That allows Abbott to adapt the clothing and depiction he’s prepared for the persona of an American merchant seaman of the era. Abbott has shared his process publicly, but lots of other historical reenactors put the same amount of research and work into their portrayals. We’ll get to enjoy the sights and sounds of those efforts at tonight’s event.

1 comment:

Anne B. Hill said...

Best article title ever!!