Favorable weather aided the 225th anniversary observations of Fort Defiance’s construction this past weekend at the city’s fortgrounds.
Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum director Richard Rozevink, who participated in the weekend re-enactment of camp life at the fort, estimated that 400-500 attended the events, which ran from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
The weekend also featured period music by the musical group Fiddlesix and included weapons demonstrations and the firing of a “king’s howitzer” cannon. The cannon was borrowed from a private owner in Toledo, and simulated one of four that were stationed at Fort Defiance in 1794.
Authors were on hand as well to sell their books on historical topics.
”We had a lot of people show up on Saturday,” said Rozevink. “Sunday was about half. It was a constant flow. People really enjoyed themselves, and the weather held. ... People who did the re-enacting thought the community was responsive to it, and they (those attending) asked a lot of questions.”
Several re-enactors were on hand to portray life at Fort Defiance 225 years ago.
One of them was Pat Stephens of Maumee, who said he lives on the Fallen Timbers battlefield — the venue in Lucas County where on Aug. 20, 1794, General Anthony Wayne defeated a confederation of Indian tribes. Stephens is one of the main organizers for the 225th anniversary commemoration of the Fallen Timbers battle this weekend at Maumee’s Sidecut Metro Park.
“I started this unit about a year and a half ago right out of the Fallen Timbers battlefield,” said Stephens, referring to the handful of re-enactors at Fort Defiance who helped portray Wayne’s legion. “And this is the first time a re-enacting unit or anyone has ever re-enacted Anthony Wayne’s legion from around this area.”
Leading the unit last weekend was Joseph Hayden Conley, a young Eastern Michigan University student from Pennsylvania, who explained the intricacies of the king’s howitzer before it was fired. He portrayed a lieutenant in the first battalion of Wayne’s first sublegion. (There were four.)
“We just all shared interest in the local area, and it’s great to be able to come out and teach people about it,” said Conley.
While Conley and others appeared in colorful blue uniforms, a scout and spy for the legion in attendance was dressed more like a frontiersman. Tim German of Milan, Mich., portrayed one of the many scouts and spies who helped the legion make its way through the wilderness to Fort Defiance.