Rural Missouri - November 2012 - (Page 36)
N E I G H B O R S
The War of 1812 is over, but not for re-enactor David Clifton
Over the years, he’s portrayed a Frenchman traveling with Lewis and Clark. He’s been a frontiersman, a mountain man and even his beloved he men furiously reload their Davy Crockett for one entire summuzzleloaders, ready to ﬁre again at the enemy across the mer at Davy Crockett State Park in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. He’s been in rebattleﬁeld. The acrid scent of enactments of the Revolutionary War, gunpowder ﬁlls the air, and a smoky the French and Indian War, and now, haze blankets the meadow as the fray the War of 1812. between military regiments heats up “Many people call this ‘the forgotduring the War of 1812 — except this ten war’ because it’s not discussed battle is happening 200 years after much,” says the Intercounty Electric the fact. Cooperative Member from Vichy. “We’re authentic. We study and “The United States had a tiny miliwe know what to do to be accurate in tary then, and Britain was the world’s our portrayals,” says David Clifton, largest naval power. The battle lasted a member of the 2nd Regiment Kenabout 2-1/2 years, and there wasn’t a tucky Volunteer Militia. The group’s clear victory or defeat for either side.” members hail from all across the One notable event from the Midwest and participate in re-enactments of various battles in the United War of 1812 inspired our national anthem. Francis Scott Key woke up States and Canada. as a British captive on Sept. 14, 1814, For the past three decades, David has been gaining fame as a re-enactor. and saw the U.S. ﬂag still ﬂying over Fort McHenry. He penned a few lines His historically accurate portrayels that later became “The Star-Spangled have led to opportunities to work in Banner.” more than a dozen movies. David’s latest portrayal is a bit David, who grew up in southunique in nature. Throughout reeast Missouri, says his passion for enactment circles, he’s known as the re-enacting can be blamed on Fess circuit-riding preacher the Rev. Peter Parker, better known to many people Cartwright, “The Fightin’ Parson.” as TV’s “Davy Crockett, King of the “He was a real person who fought Wild Frontier” back in the 1950s. Like in the War of 1812,” says David, “but many young boys, David fought off he was a rough-and-tumble big guy. Indians on the frontier of his dreams. You had to be tough to survive on the Then he grew up and realized he frontier and tough he was.” could do this stuff as a grownup, too. One of the accounts David shares A retired ﬁreﬁghter, David recalls about the Rev. Cartwright involves building his ﬁrst muzzleloader the preacher tearing pages out between ﬁre calls at of his Bible or hymnal and rollthe station. By 1980, ing paper cartridges. He’d ﬁll he says the history bug them with gunpowder and had “seriously bitten,” roundballs, load his gun and his love for Davy and pronounce that he Crockett got him into the • was going to “spread the 1840s Mountain Man era. Vichy Word of God among “As a re-enactor, you the British!” gravitate to a time period In 1996, while you love — say, Revolutiondressed as a hunter for a battle at ary War or frontiersmen. Then you Mansker’s Station, Tenn., a movie join a group, study and start traveling crew ﬁlming nearby needed extras for to act out battles,” says David, 64. a scene. They saw David and offered “For me, that happens to be the War him a spot in the ﬁlm. of 1812.” “I guess I was in the right place at David says he and his wife, Fran, the right time because that bit part who also is a re-enactor, have been opened up a door for me to work with the 2nd Regiment Kentucky with that same production company Volunteer Militia for a decade, but ever since,” David says. they are also members of two other Now a paid, contracted actor, groups.
by Heather Berry firstname.lastname@example.org
David Clifton currently portrays the Rev. Peter Cartwright, a real circuit-riding preacher who fought in the War of 1812. Cartwright was known as “The Fightin’ Parson.” David has been in a dozen movies made for the History Channel, most recently wrapping up “Star Spangled Banner: Francis Scott Key.” David won’t say how much money he’s put into his historic hobby, only that “it’s not cheap.” To keep costs more reasonable, his wife sews all of his clothing, which is no easy feat since it must pass muster. “As part of our Revolutionary War group, the group is inspected every few years by the Northwest Territory Alliance to assure we’re representing the period in authentic form,” says Fran. “They look at everything, right down to thread.” A quiet man, David doesn’t brag much about where this hobby has taken him, but he’s gone down a few interesting paths. In 2000, due to his involvement with the History Channel, David heard about a movie being produced called “The Patriot,” so he ﬁlled out the application, sent some photos and landed a spot in the movie starring Mel Gibson. “I was one of 600 people chosen out of 5,000 who interviewed,” says David. In a lesser-known moment of fame, David served as the model in 2003 for three of the four men portrayed in the Corps of Discovery Monument in Jefferson City — Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and York, Clark’s slave. Sally Sprague, who headed up the effort, had seen David at an event and thought he would be the perfect model. And the rest, as they say, is history, now located just east of the state Capitol building. After more than 30 years of reenacting, David says he still has a few more big battles scheduled. “I won’t quit. It’s in my blood,” he says, smiling. “But I might slow down a little and try to portray a real retired person some day.” You may write David at 17270 Maries Rd. 521, Vichy, MO 65580 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2012
Rural Missouri - November 2012
Doing away with the ‘old scrub bull’
Cooperation among co-ops
Addicted to duck calls
Out of the Way Eats
Best of rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
Sleep like the grain
Rural Missouri - November 2012