Jack Sherry of West Nyack has been taking part in Revolutionary War era reenactments for almost 30 years. Reenactors typically recreate famous battles in authentic detail for the time period. These volunteers do everything from camping at the sites to using authentic or authentically reproduced tools
Like many reenactors, Sherry takes these events very seriously, doing research to make the event as close to what really may have happened as possible, and wearing reproductions of clothing typically worn during the Revolutionary War era. In these reenactments Sherry takes on the persona of a Loyalist soldier – an American colonist who remained loyal to the crown of England. “At these events there are more than enough rebels. I like to shake people up and present the other viewpoint.”
Celeste has gotten in on the fun too. The couple strives for authenticity, but Sherry acknowledges that over the years practicality has become a priority. “We camp out, but we don’t regard it as camping. Some people put straw in their tent to sleep on, but we put in a sleeping bag, comforter and pillows – and don’t let anyone look inside,” he laughs. “But we’re getting older, so we ‘motel it’ a lot.”
The couple, who have been married for 30 years, enjoys having fun with these weekend-long excursions where they are immersed in the Revolutionary period.
“Sometimes at these events we’ll go out to dinner ‘in kit’ [or costume] to shake up the locals. We’ll make comments like ‘Boy, the people in here sure are dressed funny,’ and if someone asks how long the wait is, we’ll say ‘about 200 years’.” Through the reenactment group, the Sherrys began taking lessons in English country dancing, what Jack says was “the big dance back in the 18th century.”
The couple takes these events so seriously that they attend dances kitted out in 18th century civilian garb.
Finding authentic looking clothing can be tough – and expensive – but Sherry says most encampments have vendors selling fabric, buttons, shoes and accessories.
“At a colonial market fair in Fredericksburg, Maryland there were more than 100 of these peddlers. I bought 18th century shoes with buckles for $175. But, usually we just buy fabrics and buttons. My wife makes most of my costumes and all of hers.”
Jack Sherry has made an incredible transformation into historic figure Benjamin Franklin over the past few years. Read his story here