Ted, a reenactor for over 35 years, passed away at his home in Cadillac, Michigan Sunday August 14. He was only 61. Ted was known by many. He had a gruff exterior, but for those who could see beyond that, was a kind and good friend. Ted was a good colonial reenactor primarily doing French and Indian War. His specialty was his knowledge of Native Americans and the British and American Indian Departments. I first met Ted on opposite sides of the battlefield, but really got to know him as members of Jaeger’s Battalion of Roger’s Rangers. Ted was the Lieutenant and stuck up for me once, which I will never forget. I became Sergeant in the group and we had many good times. Ted held several titles in the Battalion.
When I started my own unit, The Massachusetts Provincial Regiment, he was one of three friends who fell out with the unit to give us early numbers. Ted continued off and on for many years as my commissioned Indian agent for the colony. He also took part in the Mohawk Valley Militia, and head of the Western Indian Dept. of reenactors, as well as the Indian Department of the Irregulars. He had his own Sutler company, Calico Jack’s Trading Co., and helped his wife with her magazine, “The Female Spectator, Revived.” The last time I served with Ted was at GE 6, Surrender of Ft. Pontchartrain, where Ted was the British Indian Agent and my advisor on Native involvement in the British (Rogers’) takeover of Fort Detroit.
Ted was born February 18, 1950 in Saginaw and married Christine, his wife February 10, 1988. I’ll not forget that one of the first events that I organized Ted and Christine had their Reenactment wedding and reception in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Ted earned a Graphic Arts Degree from Ferris State University, an Associates Degree from Delta College and B.S. in American History from Saginaw Valley State University as well as his M.A. in American History from Central Michigan University. Ted was an educator, teaching history at Northwest Michigan College in Cadillac and then professor of history at Baker College in Cadillac. He won the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award from NMC in 2004. Ted wrote multiple articles and his thesis was published as a book, “Soft Gold,” by Heritage Books, Inc.
My fondest memory of Ted was one night around the campfire, about 25 years ago. Here sat Ted, looking like an old buffalo, squatting on his haunches, and surrounding him were a sizable gaggle of 3-10 year olds (normally you’d have never caught Ted in this situation). Ted had them spellbound and in terror. He was telling them the story of Duncan Campbell and the Battle of Ticonderoga. You should have seen the eyes on these kids! Never was there a better story told that I ever have witnessed and I am sure all of those kids who are now grown men and women remember the story that was told to them that night in the glowing light of that campfire.
Surviving besides his wife Christine, are his mother, Clara Reese, children: Jason (Lauren) Reese, Stacie (Joseph) DeSander, and Elizabeth Reese; Megan (St. Sgt. David) Rios; and six grandchildren: Nicole, Brandon, Marissa, Dalton, Alexis, and David. Theodore was predeceased by his father, Paul Reese.
As all Ranger Reenactors and fans of the Movie Northwest Passage will understand,
“SEE YOU AT SUNDOWN TED.”
By: Brenton C. Kemmer