Tiadaghton Elm Ceremony reenacted in Jersey Shore

Members of the Jersey Shore community gathered at the Town Meeting stage, Friday morning, to celebrate their freedom at the 54th Tiadaghton Elm Ceremony.

The Tiadaghton Elm Ceremony is celebrated because the Fair Play Men, who were settlers that moved out of the Philadelphia area to the Jersey Shore area, decided they wanted to be free from Britain’s rule and signed their own Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, without knowledge that the Continental Congress was creating its own Declaration of Independence.

“It happened the same time that the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia,” Linda Lehman, organizer for the ceremony, said.

Under the Tiadaghton Elm the Fair Play Men signed their Declaration of Independence, declaring themselves free from Britain.

“These people were adventurous and moved up to this area, and they were not happy with what was going on, so they decided they would have their own system of government,” Lehman said.

The men then sent the declaration to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, but it is said that the men were attacked by Native Americans or the British troops near Shamokin Dam area and never made it to Philadelphia.

The ceremony to celebrate the local historic event began with the Fair Play Brass band entertaining the crowd with patriotic tunes. The 2014 Town Crier, Jason Poor, and the 2014 Queen Tiadaghton, Jenna Griffin, escorted the Jersey Shore Honor Guard to the stage.

The pledge of allegiance was recited and the “Star Spangled Banner,” was sung by Sara Eck Ulmer, who was Queen Tiadaghton in 2011.

Poor, Griffin, Ulmer and other participants in the ceremony recited the story of the Tiadaghton Elm. To conclude the story, Ulmer sang the song “Sing of Tiadaghton,” which was written for the Jersey Shore celebration of the 1976 bicentennial, written by Jersey Shore musicians Mary E. Teufel and Carsten J. Ahrens.

In past years, the Fair Play Men reenactors dressed in colonial clothing and reenacted the signing the Declaration of Independence that took place in under the elm tree in 1776, however this year the reenactors were unavailable.

The celebration then moved to the Hometown Heroes recognition and banner presentations, where the people attending took a moment to remember the men and women who served our country. The band played each branch of the military’s song and members of the crowd who served in that branch stood up to salute the flag.

The local hero banners that hung throughout Jersey Shor were then presented to the service men and women or their families.

The banners hung throughout borough for the past two years, and were cleaned and presented to the heroes or their family members. A new group of heroes will be displayed for the next two years.