There's a new town crier in the borough of Haddonfield, and he's a 10-year-old kid.
That's right. A fifth-grader from Central School will be shaking the bell and informing the fine citizens of Haddonfield about the news of the day. At least, he'll be part of a team that does.
Joey Rihl wowed judges at the historic Indian King Tavern recently during tryouts for a new town crier. He sat among older, more seasoned criers during tryouts and forced judges to rethink how they wanted to shape this volunteer position to highlight a borough historic treasure.
"We wanted to have one town crier, but we had so many good applicants we now have five," said Bill Brown, who led the selection committee. "Joey was just so knowledgeable about town history and the Indian King Tavern, we had to select him."
The Huffington Post on Feb. 13 chose Joey Rihl as its Greatest Person of the Week. Congratulations to Joey—check out the Greatest Person of the Day page.
Joey credits his interest in history on a first-grade play.
"I played Abraham Lincoln in a first-grade play and it all branched out from there," he said. "I used to be able to recite most of the Gettysburg Address."
Two years ago, he visited the 260-year-old Indian King Tavern on Kings Highway East and, in an instant, he knew what he wanted to do when he grows up.
"I found it neat," he said. "I thought, 'One day when I grow up, I want to work there.' I didn’t know growing up meant two years."
The Indian King Tavern Museum is at the center of Haddonfield's historic district, and is landmark in United States history. With Trenton and Princeton already under siege from the British, New Jersey's General Assembly met at Indian King in 1777, read the Declaration of Independence into the minutes and officially declared New Jersey an independent state. The assembly also adopted New Jersey's seal at Indian King.
Indian King Tavern was New Jersey's first historical site, declared as such in 1903.
Rihl will share the duties of town crier with four others, all decades older than him. When he's not acting as the crier, he'll be a docent of the museum, informing and guiding guests around the historic property.
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