HomeHaddonfield NewsFriends of the Indian King Tavern Museum to present ‘Skirmish’

Friends of the Indian King Tavern Museum to present ‘Skirmish’

Joe Murphy, president of the Friends of the Indian King Tavern Museum, would give town criers a run for their money when he enthusiastically talked to The Sun on May 14 about the upcoming “Skirmish” scheduled for June 1. 

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“You can’t miss it! The ‘Skirmish’ will start at 1 p.m. right out on Kings Highway. The British are very punctual. The whole thing will run about 20 minutes,” he said. 

The Indian King Tavern and the borough play a small part in the history of the American Revolution, leading up to the Battle of Monmouth. It was fought on June 28, 1778, near the present site of Freehold, between the Continental Army under the guide of George Washington and British forces helmed by Gen. Henry Clinton.   

“As I understand it, Washington requested that the militias annoy the British on the way up to Monmouth. So we know there were skirmishes in this area, and in Haddonfield, where it was the work of local militias to harass the Redcoats,” Murphy explained. 

“We do this to remind people of the history, to draw their attention to the Indian King. It’s the original building. If you go to Colonial Williamsburg, it’s very cool, but it’s all recreations. This was an original building that was here during the Revolution, so people can go into the tavern and be in physical contact with history, see what things were like, and then when they watch the ‘Skirmish,’ they can get a better sense of what that history was about.” 

Murphy said the event will be expanded as opposed to past years. Instead of just concentrating on having the “Skirmish,” there will be a broader, town-wide focus. Various activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting with the Redcoats “looting and pillaging” selected businesses in the downtown area. 

“Like any good production, it’s all worked out in advance. So we go to different places that we know are interested in this, and we work with them and it’s mostly photo opportunities where they’ll come in and look scary,” said Murphy. 

Also on the docket, Haddon Fire Company No. 1 will be opening up its museum, and Haddonfield Plays & Players is expected to provide musical selections from its play “King’s Road.” The Haddon Fortnightly will also open up its building, and there, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is expected to be a demonstration of Colonial-era dancing.

“We’re going to have a couple caricature artists down at the farmers market on Kings Court in the morning, and they’ll be drawing people in period attire, and then we have another artist, Debbie Schaefer, who’s going to be doing a painting of a street scene,” Murphy said. 

Before the actual “Skirmish” gets underway, Murphy said, town criers will engage in a contest regarding who can yell the loudest, on the front steps of Borough Hall. The one who is declared the winner will venture into the street to announce, “The British are coming!” Meanwhile, a member of the Queen’s Rangers will ride on horseback, see that the Continentals are about, and then ride back to warn the Redcoats. 

“If I were a family person, I would not bring the dogs, and I would bring earplugs for the children. It is loud, but one thing we are not going to do … we will have the West Jersey artillery there, but they will not be firing cannons. Cannons will be just for display,” Murphy said about the battle recreation itself.

For more information on events surrounding the “Skirmish,” visit: http://www.indiankingfriends.org/2019/03/the-skirmish/.

In addition, for the second consecutive year, the Historical Society will offer walking tours during “Skirmish” events, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, and limited to 20 people for each tour. 

These tours will depart from Greenfield Hall, 343 Kings Highway East, and continue to Haddon Avenue and back. Participants will also have a chance to view the inside of the Guard House/Timothy Matlack House, opposite the Indian King Tavern. 

The morning tour is expected to be led by Joe Haro, who has for many years led architectural walking tours in Philadelphia and Haddonfield. The afternoon tour is expected to be led by co-borough historian Kathy Tassini. All proceeds will benefit the Historical Society. 

Contact the Historical Society office at (856) 429-7375 or by email at info@haddonfieldhistory.org to purchase tickets.


Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.

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