Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Morristown: Home of the Continental Army in 1779-1780 and now home of Fallon Roberson-Roby Summer 2012!

Ford Mansion
Between Monday and Tuesday, I have learned that Morristown was the first to be established as a National Historical Park, signed by President Herbert Hoover in 1933, in all of the National Park Service. Jockey Hollow was the home to the Continental Army under General George Washington in 1780, where they all had to survive one the harshest winters ever within their soldier huts. The soldiers built their soldier huts and the huts for the officers. Learning that there were about 12-13 soldiers in one hut, while there were about 3-4 Officers in their huts was not a surprise; the surprise to me was that no one received any severe illness like some did in Valley Forge during that time. With all those men living together, the structure of the huts that they built were really advanced in keeping out a good amount of the coldness and allowed for better sleeping conditions. As a result of that, the soldiers’ major issue to deal with was starvation and better clothing. An important concept that I took from watching the movie Morristown: Where America Survived, was that despite the harsh circumstances that they faced, what kept some of the soldiers in Jockey Hollow was the support that they gave each other and supporting of the cause. With that idea I think about the National Park Service and how supportive everyone is, especially here in Morristown. As soon as I arrived, the staff gave me their contact information and told me if there was anything that I needed that I could call on them. This really made me feel comfortable and relieved me from any anxieties that I had prior to coming in; which I am really thankful for.

Wednesday, I was able to close the park and learn the procedures when it comes to closing. While closing I took that time to explore the Visitor Center, the Wick House and the Ford Mansion. The Ford Mansion is located at Washington’s Headquarters; it was the home to Jacob Ford, his wife and their four children. The Ford Mansion has 11 rooms and is the largest mansion in Morristown. Once George Washington came, he used the Ford Mansion to set up his office, with the permission of Mrs. Ford, where he would write letters, and many important documents which are archived within the National Archives. The Visitor Center and the Wick House are both located in the Jockey Hollow Section of Morristown. In the Visitor Center, there is a replica of the soldier huts that the men of the Continental Army stayed in. While at the Wick House, I explored the Wick Garden for a little. The Garden is maintained by Park Volunteers. 

Fallon at Fort Nonsense

Mosrristion in 1779 Fort Nonsense
                 Thursday morning as Chief Ranger Richard Aldridge and I were opening the park, we came across a Snapping Turtle in the middle of the road. I have never seen a Snapping Turtle right in front of me before, so I was really excited to get out and pick it up! Now in the photo, I am not wearing my Flathat, shame on me; because I was so eager to get out of the car I left it inside.  After moving the Turtle off the road, we proceeded to continue to Fort Nonsense, where I was able to see New York City in the distance and see the outline of the Fort.  The significance about the location of Fort Nonsense is that it sees New York, so if the British were to make their way towards Morristown, then another encampment would signal that the British are here. The signal could be seen from Fort Nonsense, so this gave George Washington enough time to assemble his men and prepare for battle. Once leaving Fort Nonsense, I took a tour of the Ford Mansion. As I mentioned earlier, the mansion has 11 rooms, it is very spacious and was the largest mansion in Morristown during that time. The mansion has Dutch doors so that animals would not run in and out of the house during the summer time. This allowed for air to get through the mansion because it would get extremely hot during those summer days. In his conference room George Washington and the officers would continue to document the days that went by, explaining what they had completed for the day. He would also invite about 30-40 people to have dinner with him each night in the room. They would toast to the Army, George Washington, then to Mrs. Ford and some of the Officers' wives. Later that day I was able to attend my first All Employees Meeting at the Ranger Station, which gave me the opportunity to talk with all the employees within the park. After the Employee Meeting, I went down to Thomas Edison National Historic Site with Chief Aldridge and Ranger Leon.  Although my time there was spent short, I learned so much and I am excited to go back for another visit and help out if they need me

Fallon moving the Snappin Turtle off the road
Snapping Turtle
George Washington Conference Room Ford Mansion

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