Dover Hosts 18th C Market Fair and Frenchman Insults Almost Everyone

Real Estate Agent with Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate

Sarah wood turner

Saturday brought a mass reinactment of an 18th Century Market Fair that ran from 1764 to 1785 on The Green in Dover, the capital of Delaware. Sarah (left, above),  my guide for a walking tour, noted that the green would not have been a place of grass and trees back then (a bit frivolous for  commerce). All kinds of crafts were represented, including a Woodworker, who showed how he planed a branch to round it off, then put it in a foot powered lathe to produce a turned element for a piece of furniture.

medicine man  silhouette maker

Dr. Balthasar's Traveling Medicine Show was presented in a tent on the green, with the "Doctor" presenting such amusing (?) and gross items as the jar of eyeballs he holds (above). He claimed his medicine "cures everything from a common cold to death of two weeks' standing." The Silhouette Artist (above) demonstrated his craft in front of the Old State House, letting the public take a look through his camera obscura pointed at a person in front of a screen. This is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on piece of paper. He then cuts out the person's silhouette in the middle of a piece of this white paper, which he then puts on top of a piece of black paper, creating the artwork.

lacemakerThis next gentleman, Monsieur LeFarceur de Villeverte, is billed thus--"A lace merchant forced to flee the 1789 French Revolution. This 'Arrogant Frenchman' will treat you like a citizen of the new American nation, trying to recruit you as lacemekers to help support his extravagant lifestyle." I missed the recruiting part, but did hear him insult onlookers by describing how he greets people he sees on the street. People like us (jeans, sneakers, mostly) he would not even give a nod to. Others  get a nod, a large nod, a nod and a knee bent, depending on their importance to his scheme of things. His tent was festooned with silk swags and his table was arrayed with china and silver. In his lap he showed the needles and bobbins his Irish wife uses to make lace. Since it was time for his noon repast, he excused himself. When I said "merci boucoup," he nodded and said something about finally hearing something civilized

A future posting will feature other interesting characters encountered on The Green at the 18th Century Market Fair in Dover, Delaware. You can follow events at the First State Heritage Park in Dover at


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William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Carolyn, This is wonderful and would love to have attended. Looks like a grea history lesson rolled in as well. Your Monsieur LeFarceur de Villeverte, strikes me as just a typical Frenchman though, LOL.

Nov 06, 2011 12:11 PM #1
Irene Durocher
Coldwell Banker BUYERS AGENT - Boca Raton, FL

Hi Carolyn, what a great event this was. Everyone in costume. It brings you back to the

history of our country. I hope you enjoyed the event, I enjoyed reading about it.

May 21, 2012 09:23 PM #2
Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

Irene-Yes, Delaware is a great place to bring our history to life!

May 21, 2012 10:32 PM #3
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Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA

Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
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