The guns are silent. The actors’ lines have been delivered. The grill is put away. Only the memories and the history remain. The Battle of Elk Landing: A Bicentennial Celebration is concluded. Thanks to everyone who participated in and supported our celebration at Historic Elk Landing this past weekend, marking the 200th anniversary of the day the British Navy came in an attempt to terrorize Cecil County during the War of 1812. At least 73 guests, both young and old, came to witness and enjoy our celebration in perfect weather conditions. They heard Mary Hollingsworth, Judge Thomas Jefferson Sample, and Hetty Boulden tell their stories of that time, 200 years ago, when the people of Elkton defeated the most powerful Navy in the world. Elk Landing’s story is unique to the region: Charlestown was partially burned. Frenchtown was burned. Havre de Grace was half burned. Only Elkton was spared, thanks to the quick thinking of a 20 year old slave woman and the bravery of the Cecil Militia. Think about it. The British threw 400 men on 12 river barges at Forts Defiance and Hollingsworth with their 100 or so militia members, and the home team won! Quite an achievement. That history was relived this past weekend with members of the modern day Cecil Militia returning to the very spot where, 2 centuries ago, our ancestors stood, fought, and won. Hetty Boulden returned to tell how she fooled the British into believing she was taking them to Elkton when she was really taking them into an ambush. Mary Hollingsworth explained how her son joined those militiamen and how she worried about him, but supported him in his gallant effort. And finally, Judge Sample, returning from his home in Indiana, noted how he and his father manned Fort Hollingsworth, how the British came, and how, when the war was won, the town celebrated, with near disastrous results. Vigilance, training, hard work, and loyalty were all on display then and recalled this past weekend.
We at the Historic Elk Landing Foundation hope you enjoyed the celebration and our experiment in Living History Theatre. We did. Based on your response, maybe we’ll do it again sometime. Thanks to God for the great weather. Thanks to the board members and their friends and families who worked to make the event possible. Thanks to the Cecil Militia members, the only militia members who volunteered to share in our celebration. And a very special thank you to Mike Collins, Paula Smith, Linda Parrish, and Gordy Johnson who portrayed Judge Sample, Hetty Boulden, Mary Hollingsworth, and William Hollingsworth, bringing them alive once again to share their stories with us.
You can enjoy pictures of The Battle of Elk Landing: A Bicentennial Celebration, posted on our web site at www.elklanding.org In addition, a great deal of research information about the War of 1812 and how it played out in CecilCounty is also available on the site.
Our next event is Saturday, May 25th, Memorial Day weekend, when the Cecil Militia will return for a Revolutionary War encampment. On that Saturday, Camp Followers, the women who kept the army cleaned, fed, sometimes nursed back to health, and inspired, will share their stories of daily military camp life during the Revolutionary War. We’ll share more about that event in the days and weeks ahead. Until then… thank you.