WYSSAR Patriot Chest displayed at 50th anniversary Ft. Bridger Rendezvous

    (Riverton, WY) – The Patriot Chest of the Wyoming Society of the Sons of the American
    Revolution was on display in the Traders Row at the 50th annual Ft. Bridger Rendezvous. The WYSSAR Patriot Chest was originally created in 2019 by the Wind River Chapter and is dedicated to the public display of reproduction artifacts from American colonial times, emphasizing the American Revolution. This is part of a program sponsored by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Since it was created, this Patriot Chest was previously displayed at various annual rendezvous, including the 1838 Rendezvous in Riverton and the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous. However, in previous years, due to budget constraints, it was only exhibited in the primitive camping areas. This was the first year it was made available to the public in Traders’ Row. The additional fees to do this were paid for by a very healthy year of chapter fundraising through Wreaths Across America and approval by the chapter membership.

    Since 1889, the NSSAR has been a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and promoting education for future generations. As one of the largest male heritage societies in the country, SAR boasts tens of thousands of active members in over 550 chapters across the United States and internationally. The SAR Patriot Chest Program is an interactive presentation that complements Elementary and Middle School lesson plans on the Revolutionary War and the Colonial Period of American History. The program’s purpose is to bring that history alive, while providing students with a sense of the times and appreciation of the Patriot men and women who helped build the foundation of our free nation. Each state society is expected to create and maintain a Patriot Chest. The Wind River Chapter, based in Fremont County, created the one for Wyoming.

    Chapter president, Karl Falken set up camp on the 1st and displayed the Patriot Chest on the 2nd and 3rd. Heavy rains forced an early departure on the 4th, Labor Day. Atypical of the typical primitive trader, this was a hands-on historical display, and no items were for sale. Visitors were allowed to handle the items on display and ask related questions. Especially popular was the display of reproduction colonial-era children’s toys. Those
    visitors who stayed a little longer than usual and asked relevant questions were allowed to hold an original 1832 Harpers Ferry Conversion Musket! While not exactly from the Revolutionary War period, this musket is nearly 200 years old and very similar to the Brown Bess muskets used in the actual war. Holding an actual historical artifact was a thrill many visitors had never experienced before!


    An estimated 500+ visitors stopped at the table, nearly a hundred visitors took brochures about the SAR, and a smaller number signed up for information on how to apply. Many asked to purchase or taste (the food) items on display! A $100 donation from the WYSSAR for the Patriot Chest was used to purchase suitable items from other rendezvous traders for the collection. As part of his duty as a primitive camper, Karl served two shifts as a
    “Dog Solder,” a volunteer security detail that patrolled the event grounds. For this role, he wore his impression for a late war, Massachusetts, Continental Army private. This was immensely popular, with visitors and participants alike routinely asking to pose with him for a photograph and some going so far as to declare that it was “the best impression in the entire event!”

    “This was a very effective and encouraging,” Karl Falken remarked. “I hope to be back next year with an even larger display and offer both samples of colonial recipes to eat and small reproductions of colonial artifacts to sell (to defray the related fees and travel expenses). I ultimately plan to be able to display some durable original colonial artifacts like coins or some kind of hardware. Hands-on history is very popular, and we know that what we take into our hand touches our heart.”


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