I like to tease Tom that he is a rock star at Fort Frederica. When he dresses in his British soldier uniform, people flock to him. We can have five people in the park, but Tom starts talking about his musket and suddenly there are 30 people standing around listening to him. I think there are more pictures of Tom taken in the soldier uniform than of Tom taken in his entire life previously.
Recently Larry Hobbs, a columnist for the Brunswick News, came out and interviewed Tom. The result was three articles on Tom in the newspaper over the course of the next week. We now have people come in to the Visitor Center and ask if the soldier that was in the paper is in the park today. Sheesh. It can be hard to live with someone who is so famous. All those years teaching and Tom gains fame by being a British soldier.
Of course, Tom is a rock star as a British soldier. He looks great wearing his uniform and he never complains about all the layers of clothing or the gear he has to cart around. People love to get their picture taken with him. Sometimes children think he is a bad guy because of the red coat, but then he patiently explains that we were all British colonists before the American revolution.
Tom has a great British soldier talk and Larry Hobbs really picked up on this when he wrote the three articles about him. Tom explains where the soldiers came from, why they were here, and how they lived while serving at Frederica. He knows the workings of the musket intimately and rarely has a misfire. Tom spend hours cleaning his musket, just as a good soldier would have done back in the day. After the Friends of Fort Frederica event last week, he had to clean all three muskets fired on Sunday night. It took him five hours on Monday.
I posted a link to the first article in the Brunswick News on Facebook, but if you didn’t see it, you can read it here. The other two articles are not available online. In those two articles Larry Hobbs basically uses Tom’s soldier talk to imagine what life would have been like for Private Soldier Tom in 1742.
Tom enjoys the attention here at Fort Frederica. He is good-natured and humble when I tease him about it. But then, he is always a rock star to me.