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By Rebecca Price Janney, Jul 12 2017 08:10PM

Easton's Heritage Day weekend is always special for me, but this last one will linger in my memory for a very long time. I'll give you reasons for both.

Back in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial, Easton put on quite a celebration. After all, this town was one of the first three in the new nation to have a public reading of the Declaration of Independence--along with Trenton and Philadelphia. The bands played, flags waved, and fireworks soared into the nighttime sky. The following year was much quieter, which prompted my mom to write a letter to the editor of the then-Easton Express to suggest we should have a similar festival every year. While I don’t know for sure her letter is the actual reason we have a Heritage Day, I believe her ardor contributed to the present commemoration. Thanks Mom! You were a true Patriot in so many ways.

Easton has observed an annual Heritage Day since the late 1970s on the Sunday closest to July 8th, the date Robert Levers read the Declaration of Independence to the villagers on the Courthouse steps. My beloved ancestor, Colonel Peter Kichline (one of two main characters in my Easton Series), led his regiment to the Great Square in a display of patriotism amidst shouts of “Hip hip huzzah!”

For the past few years, my husband has portrayed the Colonel, and myself and our son as his wife and son, in a parade from the Bachmann Publick House on Second Street to the “Circle” where our good friend, Christopher Black, skillfully plays Levers before enthusiastic crowds. Needless to say, my heart swells as I stand there hearing those words read, and I often feel tears coming on at the end when we all pledge “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

This past weekend was even more amazing for me than usual. On Saturday morning I participated in the 265th birthday of the Easton Farmers’ Market at the invitation of another dear friend, Paul Strikwerda. There I spoke about, and signed, copies of my brand new book, Easton in the Valley. The weather was gorgeous, and I so enjoyed meeting many people who came by to see me.

In the evening I had the honor of participating in a book launch sponsored by the Sigal Museum/Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society at the 1753 Bachmann Public House. Fellow authors Jeff Finegan and Richard Hope joined me there as we spoke about our books and welcomed a sell-out crowd of well-wishers and book lovers. What fun I had greeting friends from nearly every part of my life in that historic place! I even ran into my former German professor and his wife from Lafayette College! Thank you, Carey Birgel, for making the evening such a success.

Sunday morning dawned much more comfortably than any Heritage Day I’ve ever known, and I scurried with a friend and my family to the interfaith service at Riverside Park. The town criers called us into the outdoor amphitheater, and the Rev. Michael Dowd of the First U.C.C. gave a stirring sermon. From there, I mingled with Heritage Day festival-goers, then marched in the noontime parade. At the end I ran into several of my DAR friends, including Carrie Ballek and Tracy Dejonge. Having lunch at the Sigal Museum with many new and old friends was a special treat, followed by some time in the historic First U.C.C., which served as a hospital during the Revolution. Although I was too tired to stay for the parade which include the famous Clydesdale horses, I came home with a truckload of happy thoughts and touching memories. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since!

Celebrating Easton Farmers' Market's 265th and Easton in the Valley
Celebrating Easton Farmers' Market's 265th and Easton in the Valley
Book Launch at the Bachmann Publick House
Book Launch at the Bachmann Publick House
With Sarah, Tracy, Carrie (DAR friends) and the Colonel
With Sarah, Tracy, Carrie (DAR friends) and the Colonel

By Rebecca Price Janney, Jul 6 2017 06:02PM

You can imagine my excitement as this weekend approaches, and I prepare for the formal launch of my new novel, Easton in the Valley. On Saturday morning I’ll be appearing at the 265th birthday celebration of Easton’s Farmers’ Market, which is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in the country. Just think, this market started the same year Easton was founded under the supervision of the Penn brothers and their agent, William Parsons, in 1752. The market is a place in which my ancestors shopped and visited with one another from the very dawning of this winsome city. What an honor for me to represent them this Saturday when I share my new book with the public and give a brief presentation in the Great Square at 11:30!

In the evening, the Sigal Museum/Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society will host a literary tea featuring three authors, myself and my friends Jeff Finegan and Richard Hope. Jeff will be discussing his children’s books about George Washington, and Richard will share from his several volumes about Easton history. Of course I will be talking about my new novel, the second in my Easton Series with Elk Lake Publishing. Built in 1753 by Jacob Bachmann and his wife, the stone tavern is located at the corner of Northampton and Second Streets and was a place where business and politics intersected for many early Easton residents. It often served as a venue for the courts before the courthouse itself was built in 1766, and some of the most famous people who stayed there included four signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, William Ellery, William Whipple, and Easton’s own George Taylor, who once owned the tavern. The Bachmann is open to the public for tours, including Heritage Day, and there’s a museum located inside dedicated to the culture of the Lenni Lenape. Many of my friends who make up the Bachmann Public Players do engaging colonial dinner theater productions in which Easton’s history and people come to life. You can be sure the Bachmann makes a few appearances in my Easton books!

On Sunday, the ninth, Easton’s biggest festival of the year commences with Heritage Day, which was first celebrated during the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976. Easton is one of three places in which the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly, on July 8, 1776, and every year now, the city commemorates this rich legacy on the Sunday closest to July 8th with an interfaith service, town crier competition, a historic parade to the Great Square, the reading of the Declaration, music, pageants, activities for kids, tours, reenactors, lots of vendors, and fireworks at the Forks of the Delaware. I understand the famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be coming this year. Oh, and let’s not forget an appearance by Colonel Kichline, one of the two main characters in my Easton series. I’ll have the honor of marching with him to the Great Square for the Declaration of Independence.

I look forward to sharing the joy of this festive weekend with many of you! For more information go to

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