Rochester Historical Society debuts new exhibit with reenactment

Oct 2, 2021

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Historical Society kicked off part two of its Treasures from the Museum Curator’s Show on Saturday, Oct. 2 with a cranberry bake sale and a historical reenactment honoring the veterans buried in its cemetery.

The reenactment was performed by the Wareham Minutemen and Militia Company who dressed in full Revolutionary War garb and spoke about the military history of the era. They capped off the presentation with a volley of musket fire saluting the veterans laid to rest there.

“We just wanted to honor the veterans who were buried here, it doesn’t matter which war they were in,” said Mack Phinney, president of the historical society and member of the Wareham Minutemen, explaining that it was the first time a ceremony had been held to honor them.

Gary Franklin, a member of the Minutemen who has been reenacting with his son, Jay since 2014, said that they’ve done a few grave marking ceremonies around the Cape, as well as war reenactments, parades, and living history events.

Phinney said that the Wareham Minutemen reenactment group is technically an extension of the original militia formed in 1739, as no record of the group officially disbanding has ever been found.

Inside the museum, the Treasures from the Museum exhibit focused on tools and military items, some loaned or donated from the community, others found around the museum.

Several of the displays featured military memorabilia and personal histories from the ancestors of current town residents, such as Herb Hartley, the great uncle of Rochester Selectman Woody Hartley.

Others displayed antique tools used by local farmers, like cranberry scoops and potato planters.

The exhibit will be on display and open to the public most Sundays in October and November from 1 to 3 p.m., guests can call Connie Eshbach at (617) 750-2818 to confirm.