The Fairhaven Village Militia was founded in March of 2003 by a group of people from Fairhaven, MA, who had been volunteering as tour guides for the town's Office of Tourism at historical Fort Phoenix. It is now a registered 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.
Since its establishment, the group—made up of local men, women, and children—has provided fun, educational, family friendly programs and historical encampments at Fort Phoenix as well as in local schools and neighboring communities. The Fairhaven Village Militia also participates each year in parades and ceremonies on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day in addition to taking part in other special events.
Members of the group are proficient in demonstrating Revolutionary War period activities including military drilling, musket firing, camp cooking, spinning and weaving, fire starting, musket ball casting, wood working, tomahawk throwing, and 18th century medical and dentistry procedures. It's not unusual to hear the music of a tin whistle or see a period magic trick. There are always old-fashioned toys and games in camp for children to try out.
Several members of the militia are licensed by the Massachusetts Fire Marshall's Office to fire cannons. The group fires the large seacoast defense guns at Fort Phoenix at least three times a year at its encampments and on July 4th. On occasion, the cannons have been fired to welcome special ships into the harbor, notably the USCG barque Eagle and the historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan. The Fairhaven Village Militia owns its own small field artillery cannon, which is fired at special events.
On this site, you can learn more about Fairhaven Village Militia, find out about the group's upcoming events and activities, and learn how you can become a member yourself.
In the Fairhaven Village Militia, the women and children have always played important roles in our portrayal of life in the 1770s. All around our camps you'll see them working and playing just as they did historically.
Common sights are boys and girls chopping vegetables or carrying firewood. Or they might be gathered together in a circle learning their school lessons from someone older. Young people sometimes perform military drills with the soldiers, but using toy guns rather than real weapons. Their competitions throwing tomahawks combine fun with learning a skill.
And of course there are toys. Children who visit us can try their hands at many fun activities that entertained youngsters more than two hundred years ago. There are hoops to roll and toss, tin soldiers to line up, and dolls to dress. Fun outdoor games include nine pins, trap ball, battledores and shuttlecocks, and graces. Even adults are fascinated by the tricky jacobs ladder and have fun trying to catch a small wooden ball in a cup.
All members of the militia, young and old, can guide you around camp, explain what you're seeing and answer your questions or point you in the direction of someone who can.