The Dorchester Skipjack Committee (DSC), owner and operator of the Nathan of Dorchester, is pleased to announce that the Nathan has appointed an official Town Crier, David Rose. Before online news, long before radio and TV broadcasting and before most people could read public proclamations, there were Town Criers. In England, official Town Criers date back to the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 and were used to spread the word that a new king from France was now in charge. This history is still observed by official Town Criers who open all their cries with the French term for “to attend and listen, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez.”
Today, the role of Town Criers is to be a booster and representative of the community or organizations that appointed the Town Crier. An appointed Town Crier can join the American Guild of Town Criers, one of many Guilds around the world, which are organized to help preserve this ancient oral tradition. David Rose, a member of the American Guild of Town Criers, has been appointed the official Town Crier for the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester. Nathan was constructed 26 years ago by volunteers who wanted to preserve the important role skipjacks played in the history of the Chesapeake Bay.
David began his “career” making public announcements back in Easton, Pennsylvania. In 2004 he was selected to read the Declaration of Independence for the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration, called “Heritage Day.” Heritage Day is a big festival, which celebrates that Easton was one of the first places where the Declaration of Independence was read publicly. The person selected to read the Declaration portrays Robert Levers, the actual person who read it back in 1776. Following this performance, David was asked to perform in his colonial period clothing at other events. He eventually became known as Easton’s Official Town Crier until his move to Cambridge in 2020.
As Easton’s (PA) Town Crier, he participated in many events, including the openings of Christmas shopping season, the opening of Easton’s Farmers’ Market, the oldest open-air market of the former colonies. In addition to “crying” for various events, David has had the opportunity to perform in and host Town Crier competitions. Some of the places he has traveled to and participated in Town Crier competitions are Kingston and Bracebridge, Canada, Holland, Michigan, St. George’s, Bermuda and Newton, New Jersey. Through these competitions David met town criers from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, England, Belgium and Germany. To see examples of some of town crier competitions, they can be found on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAuQ4Iar31k. Maryland only has one other official Town Crier, which is for the city of Annapolis, the state’s capitol.
David and his wife, Kim, moved to Cambridge last year, after retirement, to live near their son and family, who reside in Easton, Maryland. When they moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, they wanted to get involved in their new community. The pandemic put the brakes on a number of activities for much of last summer; however, the Dorchester Skipjack Committee decided to go ahead with the annual Skipjack Race last September. It was at this race where they met DSC’s President, Dr. Patricia Johnson. They learned about Nathan of Dorchester and skipjacks and the important role skipjacks played in the rich maritime history of the Chesapeake Bay and the region. It was at this event David and Kim decided they wanted to volunteer for the Dorchester Skipjack Committee and the Nathan.
When the sailing season begins for the Nathan, planned to start in July, David will be at Long Wharf, where the Nathan is berthed, making “boarding calls” and other announcements for Nathan. In addition to making public announcements for the Nathan, David has generously offered his town crying talent to the City of Cambridge for city events, as well as for Main Street events and activities.
Give David a hearty welcome when you see him in his period clothing either standing at Long Wharf or strolling throughout downtown making event announcements. DSC is thrilled that he and Kim chose Cambridge for their new home and the Nathan as his appointment to begin his Town Crier “career” in Cambridge.