Re-enactments are the acting out of a past event. They have been a long staple of portraying historical events for the purpose of education. The Native Sons of been supporters of this method of historical interpretation for many years through parades, horse drawn vehicle displays, historical festivals and events. Two of the reenactments that the Historical Preservation Foundation have contributed funding to are the Sloat Landing in Monterey and the Battle of Dominguez Rancho.
The Sloat Landing
This reenactment is an annual event presented by the Native Sons of the Golden West to commemorate the proclamation of the United States’ annexation of California after the surrender of the Mexican garrison. On July 7, 1846 landing, 250 sailors and marines landed at Monterey, raised the American flag, and claimed California for the United States. They rowed to shore under the direction of Captain William Mervine.
Although the Mexican American War continued two more years, “Sloat’s Landing” is considered a U. S. naval victory for securing California with no shots being fired, possibly determining the eventual outcome of the war. There are Native Sons plaques commemorating Sloat’s Landing located on the Monterey Recreation Trail, between Custom House plaza and Old Fisherman’s Wharf.
The Battle of Dominguez Rancho or The Battle of the Old Woman’s Gun
October 8, 1846, which was a military engagement of the Mexican–American War, 1846 to 1848. The battle took place within Manuel Dominguez’s 75,000-acre Rancho San Pedro, which today encompasses the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum.
The Battle Reenactment is an annual event that is open to the public to experience many aspects of life during the 1800s, which include:
- military encampments
- vendors, music and dance
- corn husk doll making
- tortilla making
- cattle roping
- adobe brick making
- gold panning
Living Historians representing early Californios (local civilians and rancho owners), US Marines and Sailors, the Mormon Battalion, 1st US Dragoons, and other impressions from the time period. The Native Sons were contributors to the period attire that is a necessary to add to this event.
Re-enactments are an effective way to portray historical events, the Historical Preservation Foundation encourages all to participate in these events. One such Native Sons member, Jerry Pozo, from Sonoma Parlor #111 has taken this to the extreme. While a member of Auburn Parlor #59 he portrayed numerous characters at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, including itinerant preachers Peter Y. Cool and Charles Caleb Pierce from Placerville and Coloma. Upon transferring to Sonoma Parlor #111 he jumped right in at the Vallejo Adobe in Petaluma and picked up additional characters such as John Augustus McNear – a seagoing captain; Reverend Lorenzo Dow Waugh – early plains preacher; Freeman Parker – a civic leader; Fr Buenaventura Fortuny – 2nd mission priest 1826-1833, and renown builder of the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma; and even John C. Fremont. Now that is dedication.