BETHEL – The Bethel Historical Society paid tribute to Patriots Day on April 18, which is only observed in Maine and Massachusetts.

The society featured a patriotic presentation by Jim Rose, who appeared in 18th century clothing and delivered an explanation of the events that led to the “shot heard around the world.” The outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in 1775 began six years of struggle that finally ended with the British capitulation at Yorktown in 1781.

Prior to this event, the society sponsored a revival of a tradition dating back to 1855, the antiquarian supper. This occasion, which was followed by others in 1856 and 1857, were organized by the Bethel Farmers’ Club, the first such organization in Maine, and its leading advocate, Dr. Nathaniel Tuckerman True (1812-1887), Gould Academy founder, historian and agricultural editor.

The suppers were held at member’s homes and offered some of the favorite foods of those attending. Each attendee was requested to dress in clothing of an earlier era and bring an article of olden times for a show and tell session.

At the 2005 session, many of those attending wore vintage clothing from the 18th to the 20th century.

Prior to the supper, guests were welcomed by society Director Stanley R. Howe, who turned the program over to the society Curator of Collections, Randall Bennett, who reviewed some of the highlights of the news accounts of the suppers in the 1850s.

The antiquarian supper is one of several events to highlight Bethel’s agricultural tradition in celebration of the appearance of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon” exhibit later in the year. The exhibit is currently in Saco, and will go to Lille in June and come to Bethel in August. Bethel is one of only three sites in Maine where this exhibit, coordinated by the Maine Humanities Council, will appear.

Further information about the society can be obtained by calling 824-2908 or (800) 824-2910 or e-mailing: [email protected] Additional information can also be obtained by checking its Website: The mailing address is P.O. Box 12, Bethel, ME 04217-0012.

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