The following taken from the Tri-Town Transcript – Bicentennial Special August, 17, 1977
In the Stone School Museum in 1970 Dr. L. Forbes Getchell and Richard ‘Red’ Schanda formulated the idea of creating the First New Market Militia Company of New Hampshire in anticipation of the Town’s 250th anniversary celebration.
A young girl, Debbie Beachesne, was asked to portray a revolutionary horse soldier bringing their forces to three. Their first parade was in Newmarket and their second was in Nottingham for their 250th.
The organization grew rapidly. By 1977 there are approximately 83 members from 12 years old upwards. In colonial days age 12 was when a person could carry a musket or a drum.
This was definitely a family outfit with women having every privilege except voting. All the outfits worn are 90 percent authentic farmer and sailor dress of long ago.
Our militia is the largest and most well-known of groups around. They recently made a movie entitled, ‘New Hampshire Family of 1775’.
Their muskets are all authentic, as are their three pound and six pound cannons, which were hand made by members of the organization.
The oak used in the construction of these cannons has a very unique history. The ‘Chestnut Oak’ used was already ten years old when George Washington was inaugurated. It stood on the old Brackett farm near the golf course. About eight or ten years ago lightning struck and killed the beautiful old tree. ‘Red’ Schanda asked permission of Herman Hauschel to cut down the tree for the purpose of building the cannon. It was agreed and the wood on the cannon has since become known as the ‘Washington Oak’.
All metal pieces have been hammered out by members of the militia going according to the book. These men were Bob Mongeon, Wayne McRae, Bob Willey, ‘Red’ Schanda, Richard Wilson and Arnold Dennett.
The following is a listing of the re-enactments dealing specifically with the Bicentennial Celebrations throughout the country (beween 1975 and 1981) in which the Company participated.
1974 - December raid on Fort William and Mary (now Fort Constitution)
1975 - Parade in Philedelphia, and April reenactment at Concord and Lexington, MA; Members participated in the filming “A New Hampshire Family, 1776”; In October reenactment of Arnolds Expedition to Quebec
1976 - Battle of Trenton, NJ; Battle of Bennington, VT
1977 - Battle of Saragota, NY
1979 - Battles of Penobscot Bay in Castine, ME; Seige of Savannah, GA.
1981- Yorktown, VA, and creation of the Soissonais Regiment
1983 Several members went to Paris, France celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
1984 - 50 members traveled to Annapolis, MD for celebration of The Return of the Treaty of Paris
In Donald Sumner’s 2002 History of the First New Market Colonial Militia he writes:
We have been at the reenactments in Bennington and Hubbardton, VT many times and at events in Connecticut and Massachusetts on numerous occasions. Several times in the past, and most recently, we have participated in events at Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga.
Each summer for the past several years we have been invited to participate in Old Home Day programs in several area communities, for which the Company receives payment. The most notable of these is Exeter’s Revolutionary War Days, held each year in July. Because of the hard work and dedication of the Company’s members, the funds we have raised at these paid events have been wisely invested in the building and equipping of a large, historically-accurate encampment; which plays a strong part in the message we attempt to deliver when we visit a community.
The company erects their authentic 18th century encampment at these events and provides weekend-long demonstrations of life in colonial times complete with militia drills, homemaking demonstrations, colonial music and mock battles. We are often joined by other units who take part in the weekend’s activities.
We have been providing “living history” programs at schools in the area for several years; setting up a seven station demonstration “team” of members who talk and demonstrate life in colonial times to the students. We have been asked to expand this program to other schools each year, but are prevented from doing that because of the time limitations of the members who participate.
The company’s activities are family events with all ages dressed in colonial attire and many of the games that are played by the youngsters are those which were common in colonial times. Many of the members sleep in tents during weekend encampments and there is a cook tent where food is prepared and the meals are cooked over an open fire pit with the cooking implements commonly used in colonial times.
For the past several years, the company has sponsored and conducted a “Rendezvous” in the Fall which is attended by dozens of reenactors from the Northeast, who come together to participate in comradeship and compete in musket, cannon, knife-throwing and colonial homemaking contests.
We have provided the nucleus for many successful events over the years by having the most participants on the fields or in the parade. We are recognized by our compatriots in the cause as the premier “Revolutionary War” outfit in the area. This is because of the able leadership we have enjoyed over the years and because of the dedication of our members, many of whom have joined with us from other units who disbanded after the Bicentennial. Today the membership numbers some 140 dues-paying adult members and many children.
There will always be the need to the First Newmarket Militia Company to help present the story of our nation’s forefathers so that future generations will be able to better understand the way of life during those times and our forefathers’ dedication to the cause of Freedom.
Also, we can help carry that torch of Liberty, which was lighted by our forefathers, so that future generations can grasp the significance of the duty of each individual American to provide for their family and to always be ready to defend the nation’s freedoms that we so abundantly enjoy.
The members who have ably served as Captains of the Company have been:
L. Forbes Getchell
Landis (Duke) Delp