My project documenting the Revolutionary War generation in photographs often draws puzzled looks. Many think I mean the Civil War. I do not. In fact, members of the Revolutionary War generation lived into the age of photography (after 1839). Really. They sat for shiny silver coated daguerreotypes, glass ambrotypes, iron tintypes, and paper photographs.
It’s hard to imagine that I began this pursuit way back in 2002, but it’s true. Sixteen years later I’ve rediscovered a few hundred images of those who lived in the era. Those pictures are only part of the story. They act as windows into the past. I study their clothing, the photo format, and their family history to fill in the details. Historical context is an important component too.
My dream was to make The Last Muster project more widely known.
The Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts sought out my research and images for an exhibit. The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a wall of honor for these patriots and their family.
Never did I imagine a movie. Or three. Yet this is also true.
- Eleazer Blake of Wrentham, Massachusetts, who joined the fight as a teen. He traveled to the Battle of Bunker Hill. After the war he moved to New Hampshire. The producers had a several surprises in store for me.
- Agrippa Hull, an African American from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, joined the war as a teen. A portrait of him hangs in the local library.
- Molly Ferris Akin, a young Quaker woman of Pawling, New York. She supposedly broke with convention and chose sides in the war. Did she or didn’t she? We traveled to Dartmouth, Massachusetts and Pawling to find the truth in the tale. We ended up in coastal Maine to meet her descendants.
These three movies are available for non-profit use and educational purposes for free. This is our holiday gift to you.
They are for everyone…genealogists, historians, and anyone interested in Revolutionary War history. Schools, libraries and museums, and hereditary societies are welcome to show them.
Please let me know if you’re related to these individuals or anyone in my Last Muster series. I’m working on a volume three.