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Bacon’s Rebellion on Jamestown Island

Jamestown Island sunset

A week ago I found myself on Jamestown Island on a Saturday night for the annual telling of the story of Bacon’s Rebellion. Of course I’ve been out to the island many times in the 18 years that I’ve lived in the Historic Triangle, but I had never been there for this event. What a cool and calm feeling watching the sun set over the church and then watching the moon rise over the fields where some experts made it feel like 1678!

Willie Balderson was the leader of the crew that night. He is one of the best actors in the Williamsburg area, in part because he can range so widely across the timeline. For years he has led groups on this annual walk through Bacon’s Rebellion — the first major uprising of American colonists against British royal authority (a century before the Declaration of Independence). He has a deft touch in making the story understandable to modern audiences but still making them feel he was a participant in that story. (It helps that the crowd’s interest mirrors what actually happened: after the rebellion the king sent investigators to Virginia to interview people to find out what went so haywire.)

It’s a dramatic story that very few Americans know about — probably the biggest adventure that is untold to modern audiences. Well, except for my own version of it in my Founding Fathers book. 😉

Jamestown Island is great example of how I can do what I do for a living. It is a favorite among locals because it has beautiful hiking and biking just a few minutes away from our community. It is amazing that we have such historic ground so nearby, where we can see the marshes at sunset, watch a bald eagle eat dinner on the James River seawall, or hear the archaeologists tell us what they’ve learned about Jamestown Fort today that they didn’t know a month ago. It’s getting harder to find those unique pieces of ground in America, but this is easy to get to and there’s no Wal-Mart around!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 2:44 pm and is filed under Author's Purpose, Historical Travel, History Teacher. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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