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Noah Lewis, Battle Reenactor Edward “Ned” Hector

September 29, 2013

This year leading up to the battle we wanted to highlight a few different perspectives from the faithful people who get involved and make this annual event a success. They join us each year on the front line so we wanted to give you some insight into why they keep coming back. This blog features an interview with Noah Lewis who joins us each year as re-enactor Edward “Ned” hector, a hero from The Battle of Brandywine.

1. What interests you most about the Battle of Germantown?
Noah Lewis: What interested me the most about the Battle of Germantown, was knowing that Edward Hector actually fought there. Reading the account of Proctor’s four cannons fiercely bombarding the front of the Chew House, brings images to mind of Ned Hector in the thick of battle.Noah Lewis as Ned Hector, Chadds Ford Days 2001.

2. When did you first learn about the re-enactment of the Battle of Germantown?
Noah Lewis: I first learned about the battle of Germantown during my research,  I read a report given to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1827 stating that Ned Hector fought in that battle.  A national park ranger named Joseph Becton, later to become a living history mentor for me, felt my attendance of this re-enactment would be a great help in my understanding of this event, as well as aid towards my becoming an effective living historian.

3. What drew you to being a re-enactor?
Noah Lewis: Like many people, my assumptions about colonial black people were faulty. I thought all African-Americans during this period were poor, they all were slaves, and if they were in the military all they were was manual laborers. As I researched into Ned Hector and many other African-Americans living during the colonial period I found the facts to be astounding and far richer than I had imagined. I was angry that I had not been taught these facts in school until, a fellow African-American suggested that we should be on the forefront of teaching our own history. Since there are more African-Americans presenting the Civil War and not as many doing the colonial period, I thought there was a greater need for me to stay in the colonial period as a black living historian. Fortunately I had a lot of support from many historians, re-enactors, historical sites, and the public.

4. What do you enjoy about the Germantown re-enactment every year?
Noah Lewis: What I enjoy about the Germantown reenactment is it is actually done on site, in the very structure the battle took place at. I don’t know many sites that would allow that. This gives a real sense of the true realism to this event. I feel honored to add in this remembrance of those who made us a free nation.

Noah LewisAbout Noah Lewis: Mr. Lewis was born in Heidelberg, Germany and presently lives on the outskirts of Philadelphia in Upper Darby.  He has a degree in biology and worked in the field, but now presents living history at schools, historical sites, and historical events.

Mr. Lewis authored “Edward ‘Ned’ Hector – Revolutionary War Hero”, and is presently writing Ned Hector’s biography. He began presenting the hero Ned Hector in 1996 at Bywood School, where he would attend his daughter’s 4th grade class and do presentations on electricity and biology. His daughter’s teacher asked if he had any presentations for the subject of colonial America. During genealogy research of his family he had learned about a black continental soldier who fought in the Battle of Brandywine and was held in such high regard by his community that they named a street after him in the mid 1850’s. He was amazed and fascinated by Edward Hector and the heritage of other black historical figures who contributed to America’s freedom. He presented Edward “Ned” Hector to his daughters class, in period dress, and just continued presenting. Noah presented Ned in 28 schools that year and 43 the following year.

He feels blessed to have the opportunity to continue with this tribute, and to aid in helping others to appreciate the contribution that Black people made to the freedom of all Americans. He hopes that the souls of these amazing contributors to our freedom will rest peacefully by giving them the honor they were denied for so many years.

Come out and meet Mr. Noah Lewis as Edward “Ned” Hector at the Revolutionary Germantown Festival on Saturday October 5, 2013 at Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave. 10am-4pm

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