By Jeff Sovelove
Sunday saw the annual Thanksgiving Harvest Home & Armistice Observance at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm in Morris Township, and commemorated the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in WWI, the war to end all wars.
This has personal meaning for me since my grandfather, Sam Sovelove, fought in WWI from 1917-1918.
He enlisted in the army in 1915, worked his way up through all of the enlisted ranks, and then went to OCS, being commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and sent to fight in France in 1917. He eventually would retire as a Major in the US Army Reserve.
Visitors were treated to typical farm life, including cooking, knitting, sawing, and a wagon ride through the farm.
They also got to see the farm’s 400-pound sow pig, and “Woodie” the cow, and of course, the American Percheron draft horses King and Major.
Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove
There were wonderful smells coming from the wood-fired kitchen stoves as volunteers prepared pan cornbread, braised a turkey, and cooked vegetables grown on the farm. There was apple cidering, too, as well as the chance for kids to hold a homing pigeon.
Volunteers dressed in period uniform explained how animals helped the war effort. Horses were able to go to places that motorized vehicles couldn’t, and both sides still employed cavalry units in the war.
Dogs proved useful as guards, companions, in rescue operations, and in the case of Terriers, keeping the rat population in the trenches under control.
Sheep were raised for their wool since all of the soldiers’ uniforms were made of that material. Homing pigeons proved to be vital to the war effort on both sides, delivering messages, photos, and even taking aerial photos on occasion.
The most famous homing pigeon was Cher Ami, a gift from the British to the US Army Signal Corps. Despite being shot through the leg, breast, and eye, she managed to fly 25 miles to deliver her message and save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the Battle of the Argonne, October 1918. After the war, Fort Monmouth was the center of the Army’s homing pigeons unit, until it was disbanded.
Refreshments were donated courtesy of Whole Foods Market and everyone enjoyed the cookies and apple cider.
Pledge of Allegiance at Fosterfields, video by Jeff Sovelove