2019 HISTORICAL FIGURES
Historical figures confirmed as of June 2019. Check back for continuing updates and additions.
Catherine Van Burg: The Widow Tennent
Nancy Ceperley of Johnson Ferry House at Washington Crossing State Park will portray Catherine Van Burg Noble Tennent, wife & widow of the well-known & much beloved Reverend William Tennent, Jr., Pastor of Old Tennent Church. Her late husband's church was the Presbyterian Meeting House in Monmouth Court House (Freehold) and witnessed the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. She will speak on their experiences during the Revolutionary War & the Great Awakening.
Molly Pitcher: Heroine of the Battle of Monmouth
Stacy Flora Roth of History on the Hoofportrays Molly Pitcher (Mary Hays McCauley). “Molly” will reminisce about the days when she accompanied her husband through summer battles & winter encampments from Monmouth to Morristown. Relating her tales of firing a cannon in the heat of battle to trudging "behind the baggage," she provides a glimpse into what it was like to be a "camp follower" in the days when American Independence was a dream rather than a certainty.
George Washington: Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army
Meet the General who led the 1776 Christmas Crossing of the Delaware and led the Continental Army to victory at Trenton and Princeton. David B. Emerson of History on the Hoof portrays General George Washington. Gen. Washington will appear in special presentation and roam the fair throughout the day.
Hercules: Culinary Artist - Free at Last
Considered something of a dandy, Hercules was chef to George Washington at Mount Vernon, as well as in New York and in Philadelphia. His reputation for culinary excellence was known throughout the colonies. His inestimable talents led him to be a favorite of the Washington’s and as such he enjoyed privileges withheld from other slaves. He kept the profits from the sale of left-over food, was able to walk around freely with his gold-handled cane, and would dress extravagantly for his station. Hercules fulfilled his duties with grace and efficiency until, one day, he disappeared from the Washington’s service, never to be heard from again. Where once he was master of the kitchen, he now was master of his own destiny! Today Keith Henley of American Historical Theatre brings Hercules to life.
Cornelia Hancock: Teacher, Nurse, Social Reformer
In the midst of the Civil War, Cornelia Hancock leftNew Jersey for Gettysburg where she served as a nurse. After tending to the wounded, Cornelia wrote her sister, “…I feel assured I shall never feel horrified at anything that may happen to me hereafter.” After the war, she directed the Freedemen’s School for former slaves, founded the Children’s Aid Society of Philadelphia and helped plan Wrightsville, a model workers’ community in Philadelphia. Alyssa Caltabiano interprets Cornelia Hancock at Hancock House State Historic Site in Salem County, the ancestral home of Cornelia.
Dr. James Still: Black Doctor of the Pines
Dr. James Still was a self-taught physician in nineteenth-century Burlington County. He was a practitioner of folk remedies using the healing powers of herbs & plants to treat his patients. Have a chat with Dr. Still and learn about his life in New Jersey and the historic office where he practiced medicine in Medford.
Sister Veronica, Marine Corporal Andrew Tomlin, and Admiral David Farragut: The Civil War at Sea
Sister Veronica belonged to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, precursors of the modern naval nurses, serving from 1862 to 1865 aboard the first naval hospital ship, the Red Rover. Marine Corporal Andrew Tomlin, one of only two New Jersey marines to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, fought at the Second Battle of Ft. Fisher. At the forefront of the Union Navy in the Civil War was Admiral David Farragut. The reenactors of the USS Lehigh bring to life the contributions of these varied figures to the Union in the Civil War at sea.
Abe Lincoln in New Jersey
When Abraham Lincoln spoke at the State House in Trenton ahead of his first presidential inauguration in 1861 he recalled reading about the American Revolution as a child. Of all the battles, he said, “none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single revolutionary event.” Learn about Abraham Lincoln’s complicated relationship with New Jersey in conversation with Robert Costello as he portrays the 16th President.
Walt Whitman: America’s Good Grey Poet
Darrel Blaine Ford, who has studied Walt Whitman for over 75 years, will bring the “Good Grey Poet” to life as he portrays this iconic figure of American literature. Listen to “Walt” as he recites poetry, learn about his life and his experiences during the Civil War, and discover his home in Camden – the only home he ever owned and where he died in 1892. See why Whitman is often called America’s greatest poet.
Mabel Fenton: From Vaudeville to the Jersey Shore
Celebrated Vaudeville actress Mabel Fenton regales with how she and her husband Charles Ross created the very first “pie in the face gag” over a century ago (with a demonstration!). Reliving the days of glittering celebrities and Prohibition raids at her famous Ross Fenton Farm supper club on the banks of Deal Lake, Mabel Fenton is portrayed by Heather Mac Donald of the Township of Ocean Historical Museum.
Theodore Roosevelt: A Bull Moose in New Jersey
The Conservation President, war hero, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient returns to the Garden State! Roosevelt spins stories of his time in New Jersey - from his childhood nature walks to his Presidential campaign of 1912. Standing at the turn of the twentieth century, the Bull Moose himself, portrayed by Peyton Dixon of Historic Experience, shares his efforts to usher the state and the nation into a new era.
Alice Ramsey: From Hell Gate to Golden Gate
In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey of Hackensack, New Jersey became the first woman to drive across the United States, from Hell Gate on the Atlantic to Golden Gate on the Pacific. Settle into the passenger seat of her Maxwell 30 touring car for her adventure - no highways, no GPS! Actress and storyteller Laurie Gaulke of With Vision & Courage portrays this New Jersey woman.
Alice Paul: Suffragist
Alisa Dupuy of the Ladies of History provides first-person portrayals of important women. In 2019, the 100th anniversary of Congress’ passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women’s rights to vote, Alisa Dupuy brings New Jersey suffragist Alice Paul to life.
Amelia Earhart: First Lady of the Skies
Amelia Earhart continues to fascinate and to inspire. Thecharismatic, athletic, risk-taking tomboy could charm you with her sparkling eyes, motivate you with her passion, could convince you with her skill. Although she was born in Kansas, Ms. Earhart had solid Philadelphia connections: Amelia attended the Ogontz School, now part of Penn State University, flew a piper cub from Coatesville and spoke about aviation in Germantown. Ms. Earhart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to actually flying, she wrote aviation books, helped form the Ninety-Nines to support other female pilots, and taught classes at Purdue University’s aviation department. Earhart was active in the political arena as a member of the National Woman’s Party and as a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. A friend to Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Ms. Earhart took Eleanor flying after FDR told her he didn’t want Eleanor piloting a plane. American Historical Theatre’s Pat Jordan has also flown a plane and like Amelia she enjoys exploration and adventure.