Jim Christ

Aug 182019
 

One island controlled in the Caribbean was worth more than the whole thirteen colonies combined. The Caribbean islands were fought over for hundreds of years and this was no different during the American Revolution. Each island played an important role in smuggling, transporting goods, and storing armies and navies.

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Join us on Monday, November 25th, 2019, as we welcome Russell Brinley who will be speaking about The Caribbean During the American Revolution .  Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

This presentation explores the overall role the Caribbean played in colonial commerce, supplying the American Army and the Global Conflict between world powers. Without the important role that the Caribbean played, there would be no Revolution or United States of America. By 1778 with the entry of France, the American Revolution had become a global war. A global war centered  on the West Indies. In examining the role played from early 1781 to early 1782 of British Admiral George Rodney we will see in particular his central importance in the defeat at Yorktown, and how important and interlinked with Yorktown were his actions in the West Indies – especially at the tiny island of St Eustatius.

Russell Brindley is a Park Guide at Valley Forge National Historical Park. He moved from the Crossroads of the American Revolution (Central, New Jersey) to the King of Prussia area. He studied History and Social Studies Education at Rutgers and the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. While at Rutgers, he volunteered at Morristown National Historical Park and is passionate about History, and the ways it connects all of us. Russell participated in the Student Conservation Association Internship at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in 2015. Between working three Summer Seasonal Positions at Valley Forge National Historical Park, He has worked in four different public schools in New Jersey Teaching Social Studies. Russell is grateful for an amazing opportunity to work at the National Park Service and considers it- “America’s Best Idea.”

Aug 172019
 

What really happened after the Battle of Brandywine? Where was this little known battle fought? Why did Washington cross the river to engage Howe again in the South Valley Hill area of the Great Valley? What happened here that set up the Battle of Paoli? Find out the answers to these questions in this lecture.

Join us on Monday, January 27, 2020, as we welcome back Chris Reardon who will be speaking about the often overlooked Battle of the Clouds .  Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Our speaker, Chris Reardon, will explain what happened after the Battle of the Brandywine and how this battle in the Great Valley area was shaping up to be another Brandywine for George Washington. Skirmishing broke out in two different places around the battlefield and Potter’s Militia stationed near the Boot Tavern nearly captured Hessian Colonel Carl Von Donop. Find out what happened to Washington and his 10,000 troops situated on a strong position on South Valley Hill on September 16, 1777.

Chris Reardon is a historian and lives on what was part of the Battle of the Clouds battlefield. He was past president of the East Goshen Township Historical Commission, past treasurer of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund, and volunteers at both Newlin Grist Mill and the PA Colonial Plantation.

Aug 162019
 

The untold story of the “Black Boys,” a rebellion on the American frontier in 1765 that sparked the American Revolution.  A little-known rebellion that erupted in western Pennsylvania a decade before Lexington and Concord to expose pre-revolutionary America in all its ambiguity. This lecture broadens the horizons on the meaning of American independence, expanding the map from the Sons of Liberty in Boston to the Black Boys on the western frontier. Both groups chose to defy British authority for Jeffersonian reasons, but harbored quite different definitions of ‘pursuit of happiness’.

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Join us on Monday, February 24, 2020 as we welcome back Patrick Spero who will be talking about his book on Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West 1765-1776Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Shifting the vision away from eastern ports like Boston and Philadelphia to the ‘dark and bloody ground’ of the Pennsylvania frontier, offers a compelling and important new interpretation of the roots of the American Revolution, one that reveals that the independence of the new United States would come at a terrible cost to North America’s Indian peoples. When British general Thomas Gage received news of the Black Boys incident in 1765, he instantly smelled a larger rebellion brewing against British rule. We, too, should pay attention. In this dramatic story, we recapture the significance and gravity of this struggle for independence on the early American frontier.

Frontier Rebels, tells the story of the Black Boys, a band of rebels whose protests ignited the American Revolution. In 1765, as the Stamp Act riled eastern seaports, frontiersmen clashed with the British Empire over another issue: Indian relations. When British officials launched a risky diplomatic expedition into the American interior to open trade with the Indian warrior Pontiac, the Black Boys formed to stop it. Distrustful of Native neighbors and suspicious of imperial aims, the Black Boys led an uprising that threatened the future of Britain’s empire. Clashing with unscrupulous traders, daring diplomats, Native warriors, and imperious British officials, the Black Boys evolved into an organized political movement that resisted the Crown years before the Declaration of Independence. A fast-paced read examining an overlooked conflict, Frontier Rebels brings to life a forgotten cast of characters and sheds new light on the origins of American Independence.

Patrick Spero is the Librarian and Director of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia. As a scholar of early American history, Dr. Spero specializes in the era of the American Revolution. He has published over a dozen essays and reviews on the topic. His is the author of Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776 (Norton, 2018), of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania and The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century, an edited anthology also from Penn Press.

Prior to his appointment at the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Spero taught at Williams College where he served on the faculty of the History and Leadership Studies Department and received recognition for his integration of new technology in the classroom. Dr. Spero has also held the position of Historian at the David Library of the Revolution and served on their Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation and the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, the Council of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Cabinet of George Washington’s Presidential Library at Mount Vernon, and on the Academic Advisory Board of Benjamin Franklin’s House in London.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and has held long-term fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Doris Quinn Foundation, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the American Philosophical Society.

Aug 152019
 

Special Presentation of our 2018 ARRTOP Book Award Winner, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation.

George Washington’s place in the foundations of the Republic remains unrivaled. His life story from his beginnings as a surveyor and farmer, to colonial soldier in the Virginia Regiment, leader of the Patriot cause, commander of the Continental Army, and finally first president of the United States reflects the narrative of the nation he guided into existence. There is, rightfully, no more chronicled figure.

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Join us on Wednesday, March 18th as we welcome our 2018 ARRTOP book award winner Colin G. Calloway, as he presents his award winning book, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation. Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Yet American history has largely forgotten what Washington himself knew clearly: that the new Republic’s fate depended less on grand rhetoric of independence and self governance and more on Indian land. Colin G. Calloway’s biography of the greatest founding father reveals in full the relationship between Washington and the Native leaders he dealt with intimately across the decades: Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Guyasuta, Attakullakulla, Bloody Fellow, Joseph Brant, Cornplanter, Red Jacket, and Little Turtle, among many others. Using the prism of Washington’s life to bring focus to these figures and the tribes they represented the –Iroquois Confederacy, Lenape, Miami, Creek, Delaware– Calloway reveals how central their role truly was in Washington’s, and therefore the nation’s, foundational narrative.

Calloway gives the First Americans their due, revealing the full extent and complexity of the relationships between the man who rose to become the nation’s most powerful figure and those whose power and dominion declined in almost equal degree during his lifetime. His book invites us to look at America’s origins in a new light. The Indian World of George Washington is a brilliant portrait of both the most revered man in American history and those whose story during the tumultuous century in which the country was formed has, until now, been only partially told.

Aug 142019
 

General Lee, second in command in the Continental Army led by George Washington, was captured by the British in December 1776. While a prisoner, he prepared and submitted to his captors a military plan on how to defeat Washington’s army as quickly as possible. This extraordinary act of treason, arguably on a par with Benedict Arnold’s heinous treachery, was not discovered during his lifetime. Many historians shrug off this ignoble act, but it should not be ignored. Less well known is that throughout his sixteen months of captivity and even after his release, Lee continued communicating with the enemy, offering to help negotiate an end to the rebellion.  Revolutionary War historians and biographers of Charles Lee have treated him as either an inveterate enemy of George Washington or a great defender of American liberty. Neither approach is accurate, in order to fully understand the war’s most complicated general, objectivity is required. In his new book, Christian McBurney relies on original documents (some newly discovered) to combine two dramatic stories involving the military law of treason and court-martials, creating a balanced view of the Revolution’s most fascinating personality.

Date to be determined!!

After Lee rejoined the Continental Army, he was given command of many of its best troops with orders from Washington to attack the rear of British General Henry Clinton’s column near Monmouth, New Jersey. Lee intended to attack on June 28, 1778, but retreated in the face of Clinton’s bold move to reverse his march. Two of Lee’s subordinate generals—without orders and without informing Lee—moved more than half of his command off the field. Faced with the possible destruction of the balance, Lee ordered a general retreat while conducting a skillful delaying action.

Many historians have been quick to malign Lee’s performance at Monmouth, for which he was convicted by court-martial for not attacking and for retreating in the face of the enemy. This was a miscarriage of justice, stresses McBurney, for the evidence clearly shows that Lee was unfairly convicted and had, in fact, by retreating, performed an important service to the Patriot cause. The guilty verdict was more the result of Lee’s having insulted Washington, which made the matter a political contest between the army’s two top generals—only one of them could prevail.

Christian McBurney has written five books on the American Revolutionary War, including Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee & Richard Prescott. His published articles include one in MHQ: The Journal of Military History, on the British attempt to abduct George Washington, which was nominated by the U.S. Army Historical Foundation as best magazine article for 2017. He also publishes Rhode Island’s leading history blog (www.smallstatebighistory.com). He is an attorney in Washington, D.C.

Aug 132019
 

In the summer of 1775, a Virginia gentleman-planter was given command of a New England army laying siege to British-occupied Boston. With his appointment, the Continental Army was born. Yet the cultural differences between those serving in the army and their new commander-in-chief led to conflicts from the very beginning that threatened to end the Revolution before it could start. The key challenge for General George Washington was establishing the standards by which the soldiers would be led by their officers. What kind of man deserved to be an officer? Under what conditions would soldiers agree to serve? And how far could the army and its leaders go to discipline soldiers who violated those enlistment conditions?

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Join us on Monday, April 27, 2020 as we welcome author and historian Seanegan P. Sculley who will be talking about his book Contest for Liberty: Military Leadership in the Continental Army, 1775–1783. Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

As historian Seanegan P. Sculley reveals in Contest for Liberty: Military Leadership in the Continental Army, 1775–1783, these questions could not be determined by Washington alone. His junior officers and soldiers believed that they too had a part to play in determining how and to what degree their superior officers exercised military authority and how the army would operate during the war. A cultural negotiation concerning the use of and limits to military authority was worked out between the officers and soldiers of the Continental Army; although an unknown concept at the time, it is what we call leadership today. How this army was led and how the interactions between officers and soldiers from the various states of the new nation changed their understandings of the proper exercise of military authority was finally codified in General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben’s The Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, first published in 1779. The result was a form of military leadership that recognized the autonomy of the individual soldiers, a changing concept of honor, and a new American tradition of military service.

LTC Seanegan Sculley enlisted in the US Army in January 1995 as an airborne infantryman and served in Vicenza, IT until attending Officer Candidate School in the summer of 1999. He was commissioned as an Armor officer and became a tank platoon leader in 1-12 Cavalry at Fort Hood, TX before completing his BA in History at Texas State University in December 2002. LTC Sculley then deployed to Camp Garry Owen at Munsan, Republic of Korea from 2003-2005 and then earned his MA in History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2007. From 2007-2012, he served as both an instructor and assistant professor of History at the United States Military Academy during which time he deployed to Mosul, Iraq from 2009-2010. Following his assignment to West Point, LTC Sculley attended the Command and General Staff College in 2012-2013 and then served as the Battalion Executive Officer for 4-10 Infantry Regiment and the Brigade Operations Officer for the 71st Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, SC. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in May 2015 and he currently serves as an Academy Professor and the Division Chief for the American Division in the Department of History at West Point.

Aug 122019
 

We have heard many accounts of what went on inside the Valley Forge encampment, but very little of the impact on the local community. What did the people do with Washington’s army staying the winter and spring right in their own back yard? How far out were picket posts from the main encampment area? What actions happened to locals who lived in the area?  What were some of the actions that happened in the area but are not that well known?

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Join us on Monday, May 18, 2020 as we welcome back author and historian Thomas McGuire who will be talking about Outside the Encampment: Impact of the Valley Forge Encampment on the Local Area.  Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

ABOUT THOMAS J. MCGUIRE

Thomas J. McGuire teaches history at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA. His work on the Battle of Paoli is considered the most complete documentation of the Revolutionary War battle, and was instrumental in preserving the battlefield as a historic site. In that book, as well as his other works, McGuire uses a wealth of primary material to record history from the American Revolutionary War, with a particular focus on Southeast Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

Aug 112019
 

As the newly appointed commander of the Southern Continental Army in December 1780, Nathanael Greene quickly realized victory would not only require defeating the British Army, but also subduing the region’s brutal civil war. “The division among the people is much greater than I imagined, and the Whigs and the Tories persecute each other, with little less than savage fury,” wrote Greene.

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Join us on Monday, June 29, 2020 as we welcome author Andrew Waters who will be talking about his book The Quaker and the Gamecock. Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Part of Greene’s challenge involved managing South Carolina’s determined but unreliable Patriot militia, led by Thomas Sumter, the famed “Gamecock.” Though Sumter would go on to a long political career, it was as a defiant partisan that he first earned the respect of his fellow backcountry settlers, a command that would compete with Greene for status and stature in the Revolutionary War’s “Southern Campaign.”

Despite these challenges, Greene was undaunted. Born to a devout Quaker family, and influenced by the faith’s tenets, Greene instinctively understood the war’s Southern theater involved complex political, personal, and socioeconomic challenges, not just military ones. Though never a master of the battlefield, Greene’s mindful leadership style established his historic legacy.

The Quaker and the Gameccock tells the story of these two wildly divergent leaders against the backdrop of the American Revolution’s last gasp, the effort to extricate a British occupation force from the wild and lawless South Carolina frontier. For Greene, the campaign meant a last chance to prove his capabilities as a general, not just a talented administrator. For Sumter, it was a quest of personal revenge that showcased his innate understanding of the backcountry character. Both men needed the other to defeat the British, yet their forceful personalities, divergent leadership styles, and opposing objectives would clash again and again, a fascinating story of our nation’s bloody birth that still influences our political culture.

About Andrew Waters

Andrew Waters is an author, editor, and conservationist residing in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He is the author of The Quaker and the Gamecock: Nathanael Greene, Thomas Sumter, and the Revolutionary War for the Soul of the South. His original writing on the American Revolution frequently appears in the Journal of the American Revolution (https://allthingsliberty.com/). He is also the editor of Battle of Cowpens: Primary & Contemporary Accounts, a readers edition of first-person analysis and contemporary histories of the Battle of Cowpens.

He is also the editor of three slave narrative collections: Prayin’ To Be Set Free (Mississippi), I Was Born in Slavery (Texas), and On Jordan’s Stormy Banks (Georgia). His fiction and articles have appeared in Emrys Journal, Pembroke Magazine, the Winston-Salem Journal, Spartanburg Herald Journal, and more.

“As a native Southerner I am fascinated by the topics that still inform our Southern culture, like the American Revolution and slavery,” says Waters. “I love bringing these historical figures to life for today’s audiences in an accessible way.”

Aug 162018
 

The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation’s most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary. A brilliant physician and writer, Rush was known as the “American Hippocrates” for pioneering national healthcare and revolutionizing treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet medicine is only part of his legacy. Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment—a vocal opponent of slavery, capital punishment, and prejudice by race, religion or gender—and close friends with its most prominent leaders.

Join us on Monday, September 24th was we welcome Stephen Fried to our round table to discuss his new book Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding FatherOur meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

He was the protégé of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington’s surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his career and his place in the narrative of America’s founding. Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images, the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts, and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of and finally installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men.

Aug 152018
 

Did you know that Israel Putnam commanded a force of 500 men who were shipwrecked off the coast of Cuba?  Did you know that in 1758 he barely escaped being burned alive by Mohawk Indians?  Israel Putnam was born in Salem Village, Mass., on Jan. 7, 1718. He had very little education and remained nearly illiterate all his life. In 1738 he married Hannah Pope and the following year moved to Connecticut, where he bought land and farmed successfully, soon becoming a man of substance. When the French and Indian War broke out in 1756, Putnam was commissioned a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia and served throughout the conflict, rising steadily in rank until he reached a colonelcy by the time it ended in 1763. He fought in numerous engagements, earned a reputation for bravery and resourcefulness, and gained valuable military experience.

Join us on Monday, October 29th was we welcome Robert Ernest Hubbard to our round table to discuss his new book Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books. You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

With the coming of peace, Putnam returned to farming and also operated a tavern. He took part in the developing conflict between England and the Colonies, helping organize the Sons of Liberty in 1765. He participated in the political life of Connecticut as a representative to the General Assembly in 1766 and 1767. In 1774 he headed the local Committee of Correspondence and accepted appointment as lieutenant colonel of a regiment of Connecticut militia. When the fighting began in the spring of 1775, Putnam entered active service and in June was appointed by the Continental Congress one of the four major generals under George Washington’s command.  It was he who reportedly gave the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In his book “Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution”, author Robert Ernest Hubbard details Putnam’s close relationships with Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and John and Abigail Adams, this first full-length biography of Putnam in more than a century re-examines the life of a revolutionary whose seniority in the Continental Army was second only to that of George Washington.

Robert Ernest Hubbard is a retired professor from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and an adjunct faculty member in the college’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. For over 20 years, he has been webmaster of major websites on American Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam and entertainer Phil Silvers. He lives in Wallingford, Connecticut.