Kenneth Branson demonstrating the 1-pound cannon at Fort Toulouse. Photo by Kevin Taylor
Kenneth Branson demonstrating the 1-pound cannon at Fort Toulouse. Photo by Kevin Taylor

Reenactors bring history to life

Published 8:47am Thursday, April 25, 2013

While they have different stories and are from various towns across the country, they have one thing in common — a love for history.
Dozens of reenactors were on hand Saturday and Sunday at Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson Historic Site for the annual French and Indian War encampment.
While reenactors were trying to stave off the morning chill Sunday, Dave Swinford took advantage of the clear skies to polish up his musket with steel wool.
Swinford, like most of his fellow re-enactors, also has taken part in various time period re-enactments.
This time the Hinesville, Ga., product served as a British solider watching over camp.
“I always wanted to be a history teacher, but I wound up teaching in elementary school for 26 years,” Swinford said.
Swinford’s reenacting spans back to the 1970s when he was participating in the Fur Trade Era. He later moved on to the Civil War, the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War before the French and Indian War era.
“I was given a musket at 16, and then I started hanging out with some of the older folks while I was living in southern Ohio and was hooked from there,” Swinford added.
Sam Harrison of Lawrenceville, Ga., is a lawyer by trade, but was serving as a British officer on Sunday.
“I was a history major in college and began re-enacting in 1998 … Wow, does it seem that long ago?” he asked.
While the men were gearing up for the reenactment of a battle on the plains of the park, Donna Spradley was busy at her desk in one of the bunk houses at the fort completing her pencil drawing of Fort Toulouse.
Spradley became engrossed with the history of the park when she volunteered to do research for a friend while she was working part time at the Prattville Library.
“I love this because we show the living history of this park and how we could survive without the luxury of electricity,” she said.
Hundreds of people were able to interact with the reenactors who were at various stage points within the fort area.
Some of the re-enactors took park in games where they were timed in loading, firing, reloading and firing a musket.
They also took part in axe throwing, among various other activities before the battle on Sunday.

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