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Ellington Historical Society to Hold Celebration Event

An archaeological dig and a performance by the Sailing Masters of 1812 will take place to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Nellie McKnight Museum.

On July 14, Ellington residents – and residents from surrounding communities – are invited by the Ellington Historical Society to two special events to help celebrate the 200th anniversary of the .

The first is an archaeological dig at the museum where participants can uncover the history of the house and yard through an archaeological excavation. Participants will learn the techniques of excavation from archaeologists, who will supervise the dig.

Small plots will be set up and opened by members of Friends of the Office of State Archaeologist (FOSA) and four participants will work each plot. FOSA members will give instructions on how to dig, and what to look for. Any large objects will be documented and photographed on site.

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All dirt removed from the sites will be sifted to search for smaller objects. Small objects will also be recorded. After the event, a report on the dig an any findings will be produced by FOSA. The report and any found objects will be placed on display at the Nellie McKnight Museum.

Session will be offered from 10 a.m. until noon or from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. and the event will be held rain or shine. It is open to children ages 10-16 and the cost is $15 or $10 for Ellington Historical Society members. Observers are welcome and reservations are required.

Between the sessions (from noon until 1 p.m.) the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps from Essex bring their sound to the museum. 

Also presented will be the United States flag that flew during the period 1810-1815, also known as the Star-Spangled Banner. The flag has fifteen stars and fifteen stripes representing the fifteen states in the Union at that time. The flag will be presented by Ellington residents Alex and Judith Cardoni and will be flown from the McKnight house, which was built in 1812.

Alex Cardoni has played snare drum with the Sailing Masters since 1980 and was a charter member of the Ellington Parish Train Band, which performed locally during the American Bicentennial Celebration.

 “We are delighted to have the Sailing Masters participate in our event, celebrating the bicentennial by presenting their music, composed in 1812, at a house that was built 200 years ago during the of the War of 1812,” Ellington Historical Society President Tim Fahy said.

The Sailing Masters last appeared in Ellington in 1986 during the Ellington Bicentennial Parade.

The Sailing Masters of 1812 were formed in 1963 as the Essex Fife and Drum Corps to commemorate the role of the Sailing Master during the War of 1812. The Sailing Master was the Third Ranking Officer of the Line, U.S. Navy, and was responsible for the integrity and operation of the sails on board ship. Essex played a role in that war in April 1814 when British Regulars rowed up the Connecticut River and burned 28 merchant ships anchored in the Essex harbor. The Corps perpetuates the music of that period as well as patriotic music from the 18th–20th centuries.

The Corps has performed regularly in Boothbay Harbor, Maine during the Annual Windjammer’s Festival, the Battle of Plattsburg Commemoration in Plattsburg, New York, and the Maritime Festival in Greenport, New York and has played in the Beat Retreat in Hamilton, Bermuda, and at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. In 1987, the Corps was one of two that represented Connecticut in the Constitution Bicentennial Parade in Philadelphia and performed on the deck of “Old Ironsides” the U.S.S. Constitution when she was taken out under sail in Boston Harbor in 1998.   

For additional information or to make dig reservations, contact Fahy at 860-875-5804.

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