Militia Membership


he most important part of the Henricus Citie Militia Development Plan has been membership development. The militia has maintained a solid core of 8-10 fully outfitted members attending events at Henricus Historical Park (some events have been attended by over 25 re-enactors). The militia includes members with years of experience often providing "first person interpretation" at Jamestown, Roanoke Island, and other historical sites (core members have an average of 18 years reenacting experience). Henricus Citie MilitiaMembers have made an effort to thoroughly research the history of Henricus and the people who lived there. Membership includes talented craftsmen who have provided everything from a 17th-century forge with bellows to a period wagon for the benefit of the Park. One of our militia members is an actual descendent of an early 17th-century settler who lived near Henricus. Our most recent recruits filled our need for a drummer, and an ensign. Many of our militia members are veterans who have served in our country's armed forces. Most importantly, militia members have worked hard, volunteering countless hours to Henricus Historical Park, and have earned a reputation for providing engaging, informative, and safe presentations to park visitors.


How to Join

In early 17th-century Virginia all men between the ages of 16 to 60 were required to serve in the militia. The Henricus Militia is looking for volunteers who love history and want to live at Henricus Historical Park. To join the Henricus Citie Militia simply contact us below highlighting your areas of interest and past experience. The Henricus Citie Militia provides costumes, weapons, and armor on loan for new members while "trying out" 17th-century reenacting to see if it's the right fit for you. Musketeers and artillery crew members must be over 16 years old.
* For more info call (804) 334-8140
* E-mail inquiries to Dennis Strawderman


H E N R I C U S ~ M I L I T I A ~ M E M B E R S
Henricus Citie Militia Membership

Lamar Banister

Lamar Banister Lamar, one of the first to hit the beach during the 2007 First Landing, has 20 years experience as a Living History Interpreter and is a period musician playing over 20 instruments. He has been a presenter for numerous VA. museums including: Pamplin Park Civil War Museum of the Soldier; Meadow Farm Museum of Henrico; Appomattox, VA. Civil War Commemoration; speaker associate for Arnett and Associates Premier Speakers Bureau; Jamestown 400th First Landing Commemoration; Jamestown/Yorktown Foundation, Valentine Museum, Maymont Foundation of Richmond; School of the Musketeer at Henricus Historic Park, etc. Some of these presentations have been featured on PBS's Virginia Currents, Channel 12 in Richmond and other televised programs. Lamar is a VA. State licensed teacher, M.A. Ed; 20 years as founding principal of accredited and Va. state recognized private school; conference organizer and keynote speaker; Chesterfield Co. Special Education LD teacher and US/VA History teacher. As well as being trained as a musketeer, competent in both carpentry and cooking skills Lamar is also able to juggle and throw flaming tomahawks.



Nathan Banister

Nathan Banister The Henricus Citie Militia includes members that are "between the age of sixteen to sixty" just as during the 17th century. We are pleased to have Nathan as one of our younger Militia members. Nathan participated in School of the Musketeer at Henricus Historic Park and is interested in learning the survival skills of the original settlers. Nathan's other interests include learning blacksmithing, carpentry, cooking, and gardening as well as the military skills of a drummer, ensign, and a sailor. Nathan has participated in the 17th Century Navigation training program provided by the Henricus Citie Militia and is interested in the global impact of exploration and the development of trade routes during the age of discovery.



Michael Bell

Michael Bell Michael Bell, Historian for the Henricus Militia, portrays Captain Thomas Harris his ancestor and a real life inhabitant of the Henricus area who came to Virginia with Sir Thomas Dale in 1611. As a professional educator and historian, teaching Advanced Placement/Honors history courses for Chesterfield County Public Schools as well as serving as a Dual Enrollment John Tyler Community College Instructor, Mike brings an extensive knowledge of the history of Henricus to our militia. Mike has an understanding of the history leading up to the settlement of Henricus and the development of our nation after the settlement to help bring the significance of the history of Henricus into context. Mike has been reenacting for 28 years in every period from the 16th century to WWII and has served over 10 years with the Henricus Citie Militia. Filming opportunities include Secrets of the Dead: Death at Jamestown, Rebels and Redcoats, The American Revolution a British Perspective, National Geographic, Nightmare in Jamestown, as well as performances of "Here Comes the Judge," a reenactment of a 17th century trial at Henricus. Mike has performed almost countless costumed first person portrayals at Jamestown, Fort Raleigh, Henricus and other historical parks and was among the chosen few who were the first to hit the beach for the Jamestown 400th First Landing Commemoration. It is safe to say that the history of early 17th century Virginia, and specifically Henricus, literally runs through his veins.



Ron Blackburn

Ron Blackburn Ron, Captain of Henricus Militia River Commerce. The membership of the Henricus Citie Militia includes some of the most talented and experienced individuals involved in 17th century reenacting and a few "Renaissance Men" like Ron Blackburn. As a Master Carpenter , with the Virginia Board of Labor and Commerce, Ron is expert in building 17th century buildings (he helped build many of the buildings at Henricus), operates his own sawmill, and as certified K-12 school teacher Ron can provide instruction on everything from art to shipbuilding. Ron was featured in the filming of Jamestown: Voyage to Virginia, The National Geographic Explorer Production of Death and Dying at Jamestown (filmed at Henricus), and in the award winning book Empires in the Forest. Ron has also been a regular in the Henricus Citie Militia's performances of "Here Comes the Judge," a reenactment of a 17th century trial at Henricus, and performances at Agecroft Hall. Ron has reenacted for 20 years and served with the Henricus Citie Militia for over 12 years. With his experience in sailmaking, ship's rigging, boat building, and sailing Ron is a natural for the position of Captain of River Commerce. Ron has built everything from a shaving horse to a 17th century wagon utilized at the Park. Ron is currently building a 17th century boat in his yard!



Hanna Brooks

Hanna Brooks Hanna, currently a Humanities Center Student at Hermitage high School, has been reenacting for an incredible thirteen years and with the Henricus Citie Militia for five years. Hanna has grown up at Henricus Historical Park and "fell in love with the park and everything that goes with it." Hanna's major interests are 17th century cooking, textiles, and gardening. Hanna portrays an indentured servant living in the area of Henricus. Since about 70% of immigrants from England between 1630-1660 were indentured servants and most indentured servants were young, 15-25, Hanna is perfect for the part. Hanna has been featured in commercial and print shots for Henricus Historical Park. Our militia is fortunate to have Hanna as part of our organization since it is very rare to find someone of her age so experienced in reenacting early 17th century history with so much knowledge of both the 17th century settlement of Henricus and the historical park of today.



Lara Brooks

Lara Brooks As previous Educational Manager at Henricus Historical Park, Lara was instrumental in the development of the park's educational curriculum. Lara was known during her tenure at the park for her vast knowledge of the history of the site and of the lives of the people who lived there. Lara has a wonderful ability to convey knowledge to park visitors. For the last 13 years Lara has cooked countless authentic 17th century meals for Henricus Historical Park interpreters and Militia members that always accommodated everyone, even vegetarians. Lara has a reputation for being a hard worker, a necessity during the 17th century and rare commodity today, and has earned the respect from Militia Members and those who worked with her. Currently Lara is a History teacher for Henrico County and pursues her interests in cooking, gardening and portraying an indentured servant while volunteering at Henricus. Lara has been featured in commercial and print shots for Henricus Historical Park, provided first person portrayals and storytelling and has been a major star of "Here Comes the Judge."



Matthias Brooks

Matthias Brooks Matthias, Ensign, Henricus Citie Militia, is currently a Humanities Center Student at Hermitage high School and has been reenacting at the Park for twelve years and with the Henricus Citie Militia for three years. During the 17th century each militia company included an Ensign responsible for carrying, flourishing, and defending the flag. Matthias has earned the honor of being selected as the Ensign of the Henricus Citie Militia and will carry our standard during the Quadra-Centennial celebration. Matthias is interested in 17th century rapier fighting, weapons demonstrations, and military drill. Matthias has been featured in commercial and print shots for Henricus Historical Park. During the coming year Matthias plans to participate in the Henricus Citie Militia River Commerce program and learn the skills of a 17th century sailor.



William Jackson

William Jackson William has reenacted for over thirty seven years and has been a member of the Henricus Citie Militia for the last four years. In an effort to broaden his horizons, William has taken a giant step back in history to reenact the skills of the 17th century gunner as part of the Henricus Militia Artillery. William is certified as a gunner for black powder artillery and will be working with the Militia Captain to become the officer in charge of the Militia Artillery. William is working on developing his impression of a 17th century militiaman with an emphasis on mastering the nuances of the English language during the period and obtaining more authentic clothing. William was part of the filming of Finnegan Begins Again, Gettysburg, and Glory. The Henricus Citie Militia is proud to have an experienced, black powder artillery certified artilleryman as a member of our militia. William served our nation in the United States Navy.



Willie Melton

Willie Melton Willie, Drummer of the Henricus Citie Militia, has volunteered at Henricus Historical Park for a number of years and served as a member of the Henricus Citie Militia for two years. Drums were the means of communicating orders on the field of battle during the 17th century. When the officer's voice could no longer be heard over the din of battle the drum could still sound out commands to be heard by all. The Drummer of the 17th-century was usually an experienced soldier (not a young boy) and were men of rank, often a sergeant or corporal. On some occasions the steady, deliberate sound of the drum from a line of advancing infantry was all that was needed to frighten an enemy to flee the field of battle. The Drummer was usually in the thick of battle and needed to remain cool at all times. Willie is a professional drummer and great addition to the Henricus Citie Militia. Willie served our nation in the United States Army.



Steven Mills

Steven Mills Steven has been a member of the Henricus Citie Militia for three years and participated in many of the 2007 Quadra-Centennial events across the state of Virginia. Steven learned blacksmithing skills at Henricus and during the coming year he will be trained in musketry, targeteer, and artillery drill. Steven will also be participating in the Henricus Militia River Commerce program learning the skills of a 17th century sailor as well as performing in Henricus Citie Militia dramatic presentations like "Here Comes the Judge," and "the Letter." Steven participated in the 17th Century Navigation training program provided by the Henricus Citie Militia. Recruiting members like Steven, who have a passion for early 17th century Virginia history, is a major goal of the Militia and we are proud to have Steven serving in our ranks.



Dennis Strawderman

Sir Thomas Dale Dennis, Cofounder, Captain and Safety Officer of the Henricus Citie Militia, was chosen to portray Sir Thomas Dale by Henricus Historical Park, Chesterfield Tourism and the Chesterfield Department of Recreation and Parks. Dennis has been a devotee of early 17th century history since he visited the Jamestown Exposition in 1957. Dennis has volunteered for fifteen years and has been Captain of the militia for the last ten years. He was featured in the filming of the Millennium Series, Secrets of the Dead, Jamestown, Jamestown: Voyage to Virginia, Terrence Malick's film The New World, The National Geographic Explorer Production of Death and Dying at Jamestown, the NOVA production of Pocahontas Revealed (filmed at Henricus) and in the award winning book Empires in the Forest. Dennis helped train musketeers for the film The New World and was Armorer for an episode of the Weapons Masters. He has also been a regular in the Henricus Citie Militia's performances of "Here Comes the Judge," and has written a new play, The Letter (the courtship of John Rolfe and Pocahontas) to be performed at the park in the coming year. He built several cannons utilized by the Militia and has loaned all the cannons currently at the park to Henricus. Dennis served our nation in the United States Marine Corps