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Historical Society of Moorestown celebrates town crier

Donations will go toward preserving township’s legacy

Historical Society of Moorestown: Bill Archer and his wife Eileen join the Moorestown Fourth of July parade. He has played the part of the township’s town crier for years.

The Historical Society of Moorestown has established the town crier fund in celebration of resident Bill Archer, who’s been playing the part for more than 12 years.

“He’s like an institution in town,” said Lenny Wagner, president of the historical society.

According to Wagner, before the fund was created, people made donations to the historical society in honor of Archer, who recently turned 80.

“We just started getting these contributions saying, ‘This is for Bill Archer, the town crier’s birthday,’ and so we decided we would call it the town crier fund, and set it up for a specific purpose,” Wagner noted.

The historical society will utilize the town crier fund to acquire certain items that are important to its collections.

“Most everything that we have in our building are things that people give us for historic significance, because they want to put it in the care of somebody who can show it,” Wagner explained. 

“But there are times when there are certain items that we may want to acquire that are critical to the stories that we’re trying to tell.”

According to the official website for Historic UK, town criers had many roles in the 18th century, including proclaiming the news, patrolling the streets after dark and acting as peacekeepers, among others. The key requirements of the role were the ability to read, a loud voice and an air of authority.

“It’s a quintessential Moorestown thing,” Wagner said of how the town crier fund came about. “It just started happening because people really like the guy (Archer) and he’s an institution in town.”

Wagner praised Archer for his longtime volunteerism and dedication to the historical society.

“As a volunteer and what he’s done for the historical society, far and away exceeds what he’s done as just playing the part of the town crier,” Wagner shared. “That’s just a small part of what he’s done … 

“You can always count on him to come to (town) events, to be a docent every month and to do what we need him to do as the town crier.”

To donate to the town crier fund, visit https://moorestownhistory.org/the-town-crier-fund/.

According to its website, the historical society is dedicated to preserving the history of Moorestown and providing opportunities for the community to learn about the past. 

“It’s been a busy season for us, and we feel like we have some momentum that we’d like to make sure that we keep up,” Wagner said. 

The historical society’s upcoming events include its New Jersey History Speaks Lecture Series featuring guest speaker Geoff Gamble at the Moorestown Library on March 8, and Martha Claire Catlin on April 12. 

For more information on other events, visit https://moorestownhistory.org.

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