Capitalizing on new research, Kyle has probed the Valley Forge experience to new depths. With a performance based presentation, he will give you a visceral as well as an educational experience of what an enlisted soldier went through during that six month encampment. Common myths will be clarified and the challenges of Valley Forge intensified and magnified using this multi-sensory presentation style.
Sheilah Vance, Esq. (email@example.com)grew up on Rebel Hill in Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania and resides in Washington, DC. She has written and presented extensively about the Philadelphia Campaign of the Revolutionary War. She is the author of the article, Valley Forge’s Threshold: The Encampment at Gulph Mills, in the Journal of the American Revolution; the award-winning novel, Becoming Valley Forge; and the e-book, Six Days in December: General George Washington’s and the Continental Army’s Encampment on Rebel Hill and Gulph Mills, December 12 – 17, 1777. A practicing attorney and higher education administrator, Vance presented on African American Participation in the Philadelphia Campaign and the Valley Forge Encampment of 1777-1778 at the Valley Forge National Park Service and Association for the Study of African American Life and History Spring 2021 Symposium and on the relationship between the Continental Army’s March Out of Valley Forge on June 19, 1778 and Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, at the 2022 Juneteenth Program for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the Gulph Mills Encampment to be published in 2024.
William Trego’s iconic painting, The March to Valley Forge, encapsulates the state of General George Washington and the Continental Army after they encamped in the towering hills of Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania, seven miles from Valley Forge, from December 12, 1777 to December 19, 1777. Known as the Threshold to Valley Forge, the Gulph Mills Encampment is often forgotten or minimized. Yet, the Gulph Mills Encampment was a significant microcosm of the Revolutionary War. It included encounters with the British and the local community; little food, clothing, and shelter for the troops; the celebration of the new nation’s first Thanksgiving, and tough decisions by Washington, including his momentous decision to make Valley Forge the army’s winter quarters. Based largely on writings from the encampment, this presentation will cover the fascinating details about George Washington’s and the Continental Army’s last stand before and as they moved into winter quarters at Valley Forge.
The Patriotic Order Sons of America and their role in saving Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge
Scott M. Shultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a retired educator with a degree in Social Studies and Special Education. He has always had a special interest in history and patriotism, fostered by his mentor, colleague and friend, the late Lester Breininger of nationally-famed Breininger Redware Pottery and avid historian, who encouraged Scott to join the Patriotic Order Sons of America (POS of A) in 1990. Scott has served in various officer positions in his local POS of A Camp 113 Bernville, Berks County, Pa, as well as serving as former President of the Berks County POS of A organization, the PA State Camp, and the National Camp. He currently serves on the board of Washington Camp 150 of the Valley Forge Commission, the original POS of A Camp of the Valley Forge area, which continues to maintain the POS of A building “Patriot’s Hall” in Valley Forge National Park.
Donald R. Borkey (email@example.com) is a 53-year member of the Patriotic Order Sons of America (POS of A) and has held numerous officer positions from Treasurer to President in his local Washington Camp 446 Centreport, Berks County, Pa, and in the Berks County organization, the PA State Camp and the National Camp. He currently serves as the National Secretary of the POS of A, headquartered in Leesport, Pa. Donald also serves as secretary of Washington Camp 150 of the Valley Forge Commission which continues to maintain the POS of A building “Patriot’s Hall” in Valley Forge National Park.
This session will cover the very beginnings of Valley Forge Park that started with one group’s desire to preserve Washington’s Headquarters a hundred years after the Continental Army’s occupation at Valley Forge. That group, the Centennial and Memorial Association of Valley Forge, was headed by Mrs. Anna Holstein, who enlisted the help of the Patriotic Order Sons of America (POS of A). The Centennial and Memorial Association was then reorganized with POS of A members and Holstein’s original group of dedicated women. With that help, the purchase of Washington’s Headquarters was secured, additional adjoining land was purchased, and artifacts were procured. This single desire to preserve Washington’s Headqaurters evolved into the Valley Forge National Park we enjoy today.
Savannah’s Braveheart: Georgia’s Unsung Hero of the American Revolution and Beyond
Aaron Bradford (firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.libertyencounters.com/, Instagram – @libertyencounters Facebook –facebook.com/libertyencounters) discovered a passion for history when he learned that he is a direct 14th generation descendant of Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford. For the past 25 years, Aaron shared a love for history from the Era of Jamestown through the American Civil War at historic sites, educational venues, and in historical films. After earning a B.A. in History Education from the University of Delaware, Aaron served as an Educator and Historical Interpreter at Pamplin Historical Park near Petersburg, Virginia. He is the Social Media Assistant for the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Delaware. He serves as the Interpretive Supervisor with Coastal Heritage Society and offers engaging tours and educational programs as Liberty Encounters in Savannah, Georgia, and nearby historic sites.
As a 17 year old Englishman arriving in Savannah in 1772, James Jackson joined the Liberty Boys and never looked back. Until his death in 1806, he proved his devotion to American Liberty on several pivotal battlefields of the American Revolution, in the halls of the Georgia and U.S. Capitals, and on many dueling grounds as the Avenging Angel of Corruption. Learn why Major General Jackson’s lasting words were, “If you cut out my heart, you will find Georgia engraved upon it.” Learn how Major General Jackson personified the sacrifices and struggles of young Georgia to make a tremendous contribution to our Nation.
Hope Lodge, the Whitemarsh Encampment, and the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777
Jeffrey LaMonica, M.Phil. is Associate Professor of History and Global Studies Program Coordinator at Delaware County Community College in Media, PA and Site Coordinator of Historic Hope Lodge in Fort Washington, PA.
The Continental Army’s encampment at Whitemarsh was the final phase of the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign during the American War for Independence. Eleven thousand Continental troops constructed camps and fortifications along the hills around Whitemarsh. Historic Hope Lodge served as headquarters for Surgeon General John Cochran. General George Washington used his time at Whitmarsh to decide whether to retake Philadelphia from the British or go into winter quarters at Valley Forge. This choice would shape the outcome of war.
Middlebrook Encampments: Washington’s Winters Before and After Valley Forge
Paul F. Soltis, MLitt is the New Jersey State Park Service’s historian for Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Sites in Somerville. Wallace House was George Washington’s winter headquarters for the 1778-79 Middlebrook Cantonment and Old Dutch Parsonage is historic home of the founder and first president of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Mr. Soltis has studied at William & Mary, Colonial Williamsburg, and Aberdeen.
Before and after the iconic encampment at Valley Forge, George Washington and the Continental Army camped at Middlebrook in central New Jersey. This session introduces Gen. Washington’s encampments at Middlebrook in spring 1777 and winter 1778-79, exploring them in consideration of the Continental Army’s intervening winter at Valley Forge to understand the course of the Revolutionary War through this period.
In addition to an overview of these encampments, this session introduces the major sources and recent scholarship as well as surviving historic sites and active historical organizations involved in preserving and interpreting the Continental Army’s Middlebrook encampments for a new generation in prepration for the 250th anniveraries of the American Revolution.
Pilgrim to Patriot: The Forefather’s Impact on the Nation’s Founding
David M. Bradford is a 12th generation direct descendant of Plymouth Governor William Bradford and a life member of the Delaware Mayflower Society where he has served as Newsletter editor, Counsellor, Education Chair, and two-terms as Governor. David is currently an Education Committee member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and executive board member of the Plymouth Rock Foundation in Plymouth, MA. Since 2013 David has been portraying Governor William Bradford and sharing his first-hand account of Pilgrim history with schools, senior centers, and historical societies in DE, PA, and MD. In 2021 he portrayed Gov. Bradford at the American Pilgrimage 400 celebration held in Plymouth, MA.
The Pilgrims of Plymouth have long been viewed as a global, iconic symbol of America’s foundational values of faith, freedom, and virtue. Is there a valid basis for this observation? To what extent do the facts and events of Pilgrim and early Native American histories justify their significance to America’s founding?
Examine the evidence for the Pilgrim’s long-held distinction as the spiritual ancestors and forerunners of the American Republic. David will open the historical record and explore these important questions and how the founder’s vision and foundational values, deemed as essential to this new nation by the founders themselves, were embodied in the values and character of their Plymouth forefathers. The presentation includes primary source, first-person accounts from Pilgrim Governor William Bradford.
Correcting the Files for Ben Franklin’s 1754 JOIN, or DIE Artwork
Ryan W. Strause is the Volunteer Curator for the Leesport Lockhouse Foundation and works in customer service for a printing company. He served as Co-chair for Leesport’s Bicentennial and Sesquicentennial celebrations, as a Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Jaycees, Chairman of Eastern Pennsylvania Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation, Church Council Vice-Presdient, local Recreation Board member and as a Scoutmaster. He and his wife Ann hosted two students in the first Soviet/American exchange program. His hobbies in addition to history include gardening with naitive plants and genealogy. He has traced his ancestral lines to eighty-five families in Berks County, most settling there in the early 1700s.
Benjamin Franklin’s 1754 “JOIN, or DIE.” artwork was an important political cartoon used in unifying the colonies leading up to the French and Indian War and later adapted for the Revolutionary War. We will explore inaccuracies in documenting the history of the image. Through our work, files have been corrected at the Library of Congress, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, PBS, Wikipedia, Franklin Institute, Pennsylvania and Connecticut Historical Societies and numerous colleges. We are currently working on correcting the display at the Valley Forge National Park Visitor’s Center. Did you know Pennsylvania started with an R?