In March 1690, a sudden attack by French and Native American raiders devastated the English settlement along the Salmon Falls River in what is now South Berwick, Maine. As the English, French and Native Americans all struggled for control of New England in the late 1600s, English colonists in the Piscataqua region lived under constant threat of attack. To demonstrate how English colonists defended their homes, historical re-enactors portraying Benjamin Church’s Company of rangers will be encamped at Rollinsford’s historic Colonel Paul Wentworth House on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18.
Considered by some to be the forerunner of today’s US Army Rangers, Benjamin Church’s Company was organized to defend English frontier settlements and used fighting tactics learned from Native Americans to carry out offensive strikes against the French and hostile Indians. In addition to displays and demonstrations of military equipment and tactics, demonstrations of early American home life and crafts will be offered from 10 am to 4 pm on both days, along with tours of the house. A donation of $5 is suggested for adults; the event is free to children and ARCH members.
To understand the conflict from the opposing side, on Saturday visitors may cross the river into South Berwick, where the company of “Les Mousquets du Roi,” French re-enactors from Montreal, along with Penobscot interpreter Ken Hamilton, will be encamped next to the Counting House Museum on Liberty Street.
The circa 1701 Wentworth House is located on Water Street in Rollinsford and is maintained by the Association for Rollinsford Culture and History (ARCH). For more information about this and other events at the Wentworth House, consult the ARCH website at paulwentworthhouse.org or on Facebook at The Colonel Paul Wentworth House.