Seattle native Jeffrey Meriwether has long been an unabashed history buff. The pursuit of his Ph.D. took him to Exeter, England, where he honed a particular affinity for British military history. A U.S. Navy Reservist when he began his career at Roger Williams in 2001, Meriwether’s zeal for all things historic has only grown since he arrived in New England. In 2003, Meriwether took full advantage of the region’s colonial roots by signing on as a Revolutionary War re-enactor with His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot, one of several British regiments stationed in the Boston area during the Revolution.
BEING A RE-ENACTOR: “It’s funny… My wife actually found the regiment online. The rest is history!” A colorful character himself, Meriwether found himself at home with his fellow re-enactors. His wife told him, “You found your people!” Each year on Patriots’ Day, Meriwether’s regiment takes the battlefield on Lexington Green to re-enact that battle in the early morning hours, just as it was fought in 1775.
LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE BRITISH MILITIA: “I took an undergraduate class in South African history that focused on the colonial days of that country, which primarily revolved around the British army. That sparked my interest. My Ph.D. focused on the British Army and its role in national defense and specifically the South African War from 1899 to 1902. I was hooked.”
THE NAVY: “I had been in the Navy ROTC in college but didn’t follow the program to the end. But teaching military history, I thought I should actually know what I was talking about. In 2000, I joined the Navy Reserve and finished what I started in the ROTC.”
TEACHING AT RWU: Meriwether says that students’ academic qualifications are improving progressively. But occasionally, he gets frustrated with students’ lack of attention to the wider world. “I want to engage them and impress upon them my passion for the subject. I feel like sometimes students can’t comprehend the magnitude of what they’re studying. But I’ve had some phenomenal students, and I can tell you that they recharge the teaching batteries. I am one of the lucky ones – I’m fortunate enough to get paid to talk about the stuff I like to talk about.”