Jeff Jore moved to Nocatee about six years ago and during that time he also got involved as a reenactor with a living history group. Since then, it has become a passion of his and he enjoys the ability to educate the public about events in U.S. history.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background?
I was raised in an Army family and upon graduation from high school in 1969, I enlisted in the Navy.
Following my time in the Navy, I served in the Minnesota and Puerto Rico Army National Guard, attended Officer Candidate School, and was recalled to active duty during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1980.
During almost 33 years of active commissioned service, I served in a variety of field artillery units, as an assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy and later as an Army/defense attaché in Guatemala, Suriname, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico.
After retirement from the Army, I served for six years with the Defense Intelligence Agency. I am currently employed as an adjunct professor of history at Flagler College in St. Augustine teaching Latin American and U.S. history and as a substitute teacher here in St. Johns County.
How did you get involved as a reenactor and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been doing this for six years. Shortly after moving to Nocatee, I visited the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine and after meeting with the living history reenactors portraying Spanish Army soldiers from 1740 shooting cannons, muskets and otherwise engaging with the public, I was hooked and became a volunteer there.
Finding a good living history group is critical and I have since expanded my horizons and am now a member of the Historic Florida Militia, which is composed of a variety of men, women and children reenactors who bring the history (16th through the 18th centuries) of our slice of the U.S. to life throughout the year.
What do you enjoy most about it?
More than almost anything else related to this hobby, I enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow reenactors and especially engaging with people - both locals and from around the world - and bringing the history of the U.S. and Northeast Florida to life.
Being approachable, attired in period correct clothing/appearance and carrying a soldier’s tools of the trade (musket, sword and other accouterments) makes it easy to engage with people and bring our collective history to life.
What are some of the challenges when reenacting moments in history?
Reenacting, perhaps better referred to as living history, is a serious, but fun, type of activity. Most people take their roles seriously and pride themselves on representing history as accurately as possible from the way people dressed and ate, to their manner of speech, cultural beliefs and social interactions.
For me, the biggest challenge is doing the research and getting it as right as I possibly can so that I can faithfully bring whichever character, from whatever era to life…in a way that others will find interesting and engaging.
Is there a time period/periods that you tend to reenact more than others?
My favorite time period is the 17th century, which was a critical time for St. Augustine with the raid of the English pirate Robert Searle and the construction of the Castillo de San Marcos.
After representing U.S. Army Colonel Robert Butler at the recent bicentennial commemoration of Florida becoming a U.S. territory on July 10, I’ve become rather fond of this time period.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?
North Florida is rich in history, the climate is very nice and perhaps most important, a lot of very nice people live here.
What do you like to do in your free time when you are not reenacting?
Being with family, researching and teaching.