Christmas was a time for visiting family and friends in the 18th century. Enslaved people were often permitted to travel as well. But it was also an opportunity for roving bands of unemployed youths and workers to menace households for food and drink.
George Washington allowed his gardener enough money to get rip-roaring drunk for four days of the Christmas holiday and additional funds for more drinking on two other occasions during the year. It was customary for employers to release their workers to enjoy days of leisure time, often spent in a state of intoxication.
Over 300 Continental artillerymen in search of liquid refreshment will take part in this first-person presentation set during the winter of 1780-81 at Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site’s Wassailing program on Saturday, December 21st from 5 to 8 pm.
The program is outside on the grounds and inside the decorated 1754 stone Ellison house.
Knox’s Headquarters is located at 289 Forge Hill Road, in Vails Gate, New York, three miles southeast of the intersection of I-87 and I-84 and is just one half-mile south of the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.
For more information call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.
Illustration: Drunken revelers toasting trees whose apples they used to make hard cider.