Cannon shenanigans and muster day traditions

Jack Noon of Sutton — author, town historian, and Muster Field Farm Museum administrator — will be this year’s speaker at the annual meeting of the Muster Field Farm Museum. The program will be held on January 16, 2011, at 2 p.m. at the Pillsbury Memorial Hall, Main Street, Sutton Mills.  Noon’s talk— “Cannon Shenanigans and New Hampshire’s Muster Day Tradition”— will follow a short business meeting. Everyone is invited, museum members and non-members. Refreshments will be served.

Located on Harvey Road, North Sutton on 250 acres, the museum includes the Matthew Harvey Homestead, historic farm buildings and a working farm.

New Hampshire’s muster day tradition ended in 1850, as did some of the related localized rivalries that involved the stealing of cannons. Muster Day was a day of drills, marching, and sham battles for local militias in NH. This spectator event was accompanied by entertainers, vendors, gamblers, and a great deal of alcohol. Throughout 19th century NH, cannon demand — for Fourth of July, election celebrations, demonstrations of civic pride, and for the sheer cussedness of making noise — often exceeded supply. Various town and regional rivalries sprang up over the possession of particular cannons and were constant headaches for local authorities. Come explore the vestiges of this tradition that survived well into the 20th century. 

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