April, 2015, marks the Eighth anniversary of the new Gardner's Regiment. It was slightly more than eight years ago that Tom Coots, a local bank manager, got together with Wayne Snow, a local CPA, and a few others to incorporate the Company that would re-enact Gardner's Regiment - the Regiment from the metro Boston area that fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
These men, however, were not the first to re-enact Gardner's Regiment. In the Spring of 1967, 28 year old Jim O'Neil became interested in the Militia upon reading a history of Charlestown. O'Neil went directly to his friends and neighbors and a Militia re-enactment group was founded.
Time moved on and so did the members of the Militia. It was only in 2007, when approached by Kevin O'Neil, the now adult son of the origianal founder, Jim O'Neil, that Tom Coots began to consider the possibilities. Tom, being a former British/Highlander re-enactor, knew the level of work that would be involved. He knew the level of committment required of the founders. He also knew that it was time for a new direction. One by one new members arrived. This time they came not just from Charlestown but Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Haverhill, Jamaica Plain, Malden, Methuen, North Reading, Readville, Revere, Roxbury, Tewksbury, Woburn - and even an Honorary Member from Connecticut.
They practiced marching drills over and over - always conscious of the fact that they would soon be doing this in public. The muskets and clothing all seemed to come at the last minute. And, somehow, it all came together on time. The generosity of other members of the re-enacting community was truly a gift. The acceptance of others, the acknowledgement of the Militia's efforts, was the final proof that the new Gardner's Regiment had arrived - and more.
Men and women interested in 18th Century crafts and the lives of Colonial Women also came forward and began to participate in our events. The story began to be told of the citizens of Massachusetts who lived and worked in that exciting and challenging era.
Sound interesting? We hope so. Let us know of your interests - there is always room for more. Oh yes - please come and join our Facebook Page also.
All the Best,
Pvt. Andrew Brown and Lt. Mike Bonislawski proudly display the Gardner's Regiment banner on Cambridge Common.