Rural Missouri - May 2019 - 23
Above left: Tammy Duncan demonstrates life during Colonial times before the American Revolution and more with her husband, Glenn, through their Living History Company in Wentzville.
Here, she spins yarn on an antique 1864 spinning wheel she found at an auction. Above right: The South Fork Regulators, a group of Wild West reenactors, recreate 1880's style shootouts
and skits multiple times a day during the Walk Back in Time festival in Mexico. Top right: %PPI]IWEVISRXLIFEXXPI½IPHHYVMRK;;--;IIOIRHEX.IJJIVWSR&EVVEGOWRIEV7X0SYMW[LIVITIVMSH
reenactments have been held for more than 30 years.
Missouri. "There's so much history right under our feet that people aren't aware
of," Jeff says. "If I can capture kids' attention and spark an interest in that
history, maybe it won't be so boring in the classroom."
At the Walk Back in Time festival in Mexico, David Maupin portrays George
Washington. He also offers an impressive display of historical weapons,
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started out saying I was a Revolutionary War soldier and everyone said, 'No,
you're George Washington!' It's like being stuck in a role," David says. "To tell
you the truth, I'd rather be an Indian, but I'm stuck with George. I'm typecast."
On school days, more than 1,000 kids come in from surrounding areas. "We
give little talks and tours. If they don't get to see George Washington, they feel
like they've been cheated," David says with a laugh.
Glenn and Tammy Duncan, from Wentzville, and their Living History
Company cover several different time periods. "Our group has done Renaissance
fairs, medieval times, Civil War, Wild West and suffragettes too," says Tammy.
"But the Colonial is my favorite."
The couple prefers historical demonstrations, rather than battles, to
encourage people to get involved. Their interpretation includes a rope-making
machine, butter-churning demonstrations and a spinning wheel. "We try to
accurately portray daily life during that time," explains Tammy, who also works
The demonstrations vary with each individual. Those who are seamstresses
often dress in period attire and sew. Some teach Colonial games to kids and
others show off collections of historical artifacts. Tammy visits with people from
behind her antique spinning wheel. "I love knowing that some woman sat here
before me and put a lot of hours into this," she says. "That's the best part."
Reenactors come from all walks of life. They're truck drivers, lawyers,
managers, teachers, security guards, dentists and even rodeo clowns. Each of
their stories is different, but their love for history is the same. They may wear
uniforms for a weekend and look the part of a mountain man or American Red
Cross volunteer, but in real life they're just like everyone else.
Their dedication to the cause often runs in the family, too. Many spouses
share a passion for reenacting and even their children participate.
says Joe Roe, a reenactor from Kansas City. "Now he's our stunt guy. He does
The father and son are members of Elliott's Scouts and participate in
the monthly living history events at Shoal Creek, where Confederates and
bushwhackers often walk the streets. Joe has played the town doctor and is
now the marshal. "This last year I've gotten pretty dedicated with this whole
crazy thing," he laughs. "I don't usually have a big ol' mustache like this."
we run into each other in real life, we have to laugh," says Diana Crofutt from
St. Joseph. " 'So this is who you are! I didn't recognize you without your hat
and vest!' "
She and her husband, James, have developed a civilian impression at Shoal
Creek as editors of the town newspaper. Each month, they create a newspaper
containing real clippings from local historic accounts and authentic ads from
the nineteenth century. "I want people to take history home with them," says
James, who has been involved in living history for more than 30 years. "Today
we're surrounded by so much technology. We need to appreciate there was a
time when there were no cell phones or cars. It's fading from our memory fast."
For many of these people, history is simply part of their lives. "When I was a
says Hibberd Van Buren Kline III, a reenactor and author of the Civil War sea
other Missouri reenactors have played minor roles in various movies.
"My friends and I went to the upper Shenandoah Valley and for 10 days
Another honor that reenactors are involved with is funeral detail. "A World
War II veteran passed away recently and had no family. The funeral home called
on us to be pallbearers and play taps," says Mike as tears come to his eyes.
"They've done more than 50 since. There's not a lot of World War II veterans left.
"The beauty of all this is when veterans come into our camp. I've seen it so
many times," Mike adds. "They hand their canes off to their wives and step into
camp. They look at these boys and you can see it in their eyes. They're 17 all
It doesn't matter which historic reenactment you choose to attend. The events
bring history to life across Missouri throughout the year and are often held rain
or shine. When you spot a reenactor, take a minute to talk to them and join
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heart. Their greatest wish is to inspire others to carry on the traditions believed
to be long gone.
"It's a love and an honor," says Mike. "What always makes a reenactment
truly special are the people, both past and present."
Kaiser is a freelance writer from Hartville.
Rural Missouri - May 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2019
Rural Missouri - May 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - May 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - May 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - May 2019 - Contents
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