By Susan Johnson
ROCKTON, Ill. — Macktown Living History Education Center will present a re-enactment called “Years of Napoleon: The Age of Revolution and the Rise of the Napoleonic Empires” Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15. This is a Napoleonic Coalition event that includes the New World because of the effect each had on the other. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Location is the Macktown Historic Site, 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton, Ill.
Irene Klapper, coordinator, said this is the first year this event has been held. A sister event, “Days of Napoleon,” has been held for seven years, but is more limited in scope, while this one involves a timeline.
The Rock River Times asked her, why is it significant for us here in northern Illinois? Klapper replied: “It’s not so much [related] to Illinois, but it makes people realize the significance of the Napoleonic wars that were going on in Europe and our search for revolution here. The French kept the British occupied on both fronts, so we were able to beat the British here. You don’t think of it unless somebody brings it up. The French Revolution took place a few years after the American one. The Napoleonic wars were going on when we were having our American Revolution. … The British wanted to send more people to America to fight, but France had actually sent [military] over here, in addition to the French civilians who were already here. They fought on the side of the Americans.”
Klapper explained these re-enactments are done by war hobbyists who portray periods that most interest them. Some perform in the Revolutionary War, some do the Napoleonic wars, some do the French and Indian War. Others prefer to act in World War I or II or the Civil War. They volunteer their weekends to dress up and give us a picture of what life was like in that period.
Battles will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday, June 14, and 11 a.m., Sunday, June 15. But what goes on in between battles?
“Between the battles, the military units will be drilling,” said Klapper. “The civilians will have some demonstrations.”
Visitors can talk to re-enactors and ask questions. A tavern will be set up showing what one of the small taverns was like, as well as “The Black Coffee Shop” and a blacksmith shop.
People can see “The Black Horse,” an inn of the period, which was actually someone’s home where people would stop and spend the night. At the tavern and the inn, people could hear about local news, exchange gossip and absorb local color.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids, and free for children younger than 3 years old. For more information, call Macktown at (815) 624-4200.
Posted June 11, 2014