MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J.
- Historian and award-winning author Larry Kidder of Ewing will open Howell Living History Farm's "Pleasant Valley in the Revolution" weekend on Friday, May 17, with an illustrated talk about the militia company that formed in the Valley at the onset of the American Revolution. The presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Fish Barn, at the farm's visitor center.

The program will focus on the militia company that was first led by Pleasant Valley resident Henry Phillips, whose family owned what is now Howell Living History Farm. The company was part of the First Hunterdon County militia regiment, and participated in a number of major events in the Revolution including the battles of Trenton, Monmouth and Springfield as well as a large number of smaller actions.

The talk will also describe how the war affected life in the Valley, including the day part of the British army marched through the Valley and how the war disrupted everyday life. The Pleasant Valley militiamen and their families were part of the New Jersey population described by George Washington as “a people harassed and exhausted” by their participation in the Revolution.

Mr. Kidder is the author of “The Pleasant Valley School Story,” numerous articles published in the newsletters of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society and Friends of Howell Farm, and an avid researcher of Pleasant Valley history. The subject of his May 17 talk is the inspiration behind his next book, which will be published later this year.

Public programs connected with the talk will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, when members of Lamb’s Artillery Company and Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Company re-enact times when the farmers of Pleasant Valley belonged to the patriot militia fighting for America’s independence from England. Henry Phillips’ story, as well as those of other Pleasant Valley residents, will be told through militia drills, musket and cannon firings, cooking demonstrations and a re-enactment of soldiers mustering at the Justice John Phillips House. From 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, visitors can visit the encampment and talk with soldiers about their equipment, the types of duties they performed, and the many ways they served the patriot cause. There will be a 2 p.m. cannon firing on both days.

In addition to the Revolutionary War program on Saturday, the Farm will offer its annual Pleasant Valley House Tour program. Tours include stops at the Henry Phillips farmhouse, Lewis Phillips house and blacksmith shop site, Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse and Justice John Phillips house. A highlight of the tour will be interpretation of the current archaeological dig at the original Phillips family house.

Howell Farm is a facility of the Mercer County Park Commission. It is located on Valley Road, just off Route 29 two miles south of Lambertville, NJ (GPS location: 70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville 08530). Gates open at 7 p.m. for Mr. Kidder’s talk; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a suggested donation of $3 for the program.

For additional information about the farm's programs, call 609-737-3299 or visit websites www.howellfarm.org or www.mercercountyparks.org.