Perspectives: Canton resident has been an active reenactor for three decades

Though the American Revolutionary War may have lasted less than a decade in reality, it has lasted much longer for Canton resident and reenactor Bob Cairns.

Cairns, a retired high school history and government teacher, is commander of the Northwest Department of the Brigade of the American Revolution and has been participating in reenactments for more than thirty years-ever since he read about them in a newspaper article around the American Bicentennial.

“It seemed like here was everything I’m interested in all in one place,” said Cairns, 63, on discovering reenactments.

A former member of the United States Army, Cairns also had an interest in muzzle loaders, collected toy soldiers, was passionate about history and loved to teach and interact with others.

“I was also a Boy Scout, so I loved camping and the outdoor end of things,” he said.

With three decades under his belt, Cairns has amassed quite an impressive collection of attire, guns, swords, flags, tents and more.

“I could probably put on a nice show here at the house all by myself,” he joked.

Cairns will not need to put on a show by himself this weekend. He will be joined by nearly 60 other reenactors from the Brigade of the American Revolution as they stage a weekend-long encampment in Marietta’s East Muskingum Park. The event is part of a continuing celebration of Marietta’s 225th birthday.

Cairns said he is looking forward to spending the weekend interacting with both his Brigade friends and interested bystanders.

“The public is almost always interested in what you’re doing. Just being able to share our knowledge with an interested public, that’s my favorite part,” he said.

The public has been very interested in a model Cairns created and loaned to the Campus Martius Museum for their exhibit-“Touched By Conflict: Southeastern Ohio & the Civil War,” said museum historian Bill Reynolds.

Cairns built a model portraying a small segment of Pickett’s Charge-a famous assault during the Battle of Gettysburg-that features nearly 300 detailed miniatures.

“The detail is absolutely spectacular and it’s been very popular with people that come through,” said Reynolds.