Tea Party winners: Janet Grunst's Amazon Gift card winner is: Anne Payne, her book winner is: Sydney Anderson, Elaine Marie Cooper's winner is Karen Hadley, Carrie Fancett Pagels' Tea Cup Courtship Collection goes to: Marilyn Ridgeway , Vicki McCollum's winners are:, Gabrielle Meyer's winners are:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Documenting the Hochstetler Massacre

My current writing project is The Return, Book 2 of the Northkill Amish Series, which I’m coauthoring with Bob Hostetler, and which releases April 1. This series is closely based on the inspiring true story of Bob’s and my Hochstetler ancestors, well-known among the Amish and Mennonites.

Mural depicting the attack on the Hochstetler farm
(Pennsylvania Dutch Campsite, Shartlesville, PA)
We’re fortunate that so much research has been done on the Hochstetler massacre, which took place on the Pennsylvania boarder on September 20, 1757, during the French and Indian War. We relied heavily on oral accounts passed down by Jakob’s descendents and published in the massive genealogical books of the Hochstetler family, Descendents of Jacob Hochstetler (DJH) and Descendents of Barbara Hochstetler Stutzman (DBH), and information from the Jakob Hochstetler Family Association Newsletter. We’re also greatly indebted to family researchers who located fascinating accounts in newspapers and other records of the day preserved in the Pennsylvania State Archives and in private collections. One of the most fascinating is Jacob’s interrogation by the British after he escaped from the Seneca village where he was held captive for seven months. Beth Hostetler Mark published this account in her compilation Our Flesh and Blood: A Documentary History of the Jacob Hochstetler Family During the French and Indian War Period, 1757–1765. 

Jacob had been behind French lines and in 3 French forts during his captivity, and therefore was brought from Fort Augusta, which he reached on his escape, to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to be interrogated by Colonel Henry Bouquet, second in command to British General John Forbes. This account survives in the Pennsylvania Archives and in Bouquet’s published papers, Vol I covering Dec 11, 1755, to May 31, 1758.

The captives' route
Bouquet’s Papers include the letter of Colonel James Burd, the commander at Fort Augusta to Pennsylvania governor William Denny on May 30, 1758, in which he describes Jacob’s arrival at the fort. “About five minutes before I march’d from Augusta, I observed a white man floating down the west branch on a piece of bark. I sent and took him up, he proved to be a Dutchman that was taken prisoner last Fall nigh to Reading and had made his escape from an Indian town above Vanango. I brought him with me to this place and Col Bouquet took his deposition and sent it to the General to which I beg leave to refer your Honour” (Papers of Henry Bouquet, Vol I, p. 396).

Bouquet’s first reference to Jacob is in a letter to General Forbes dated Carlisle May 29, 1758: “I had a German peasant brought here who was taken prisoner last year, and taken to Venango, etc. I am enclosing his deposition. The man is very stupid, and speaks only rude German. I did not think it necessary to send him to you. He is almost dead of hunger, having lived on grass for several days” (Papers of Henry Bouquet, Vol I, p. 388). Bouquet disliked the nonresistant Amish Swiss Germans who refused to bear arms, and his letters often express disgust at having to protect people who will not protect themselves.

According to Mark, although Jacob’s name was recorded in the deposition as John Hochtattler, “the details included in the ‘Examination’ so closely resemble the family story—both as recorded in newspapers and transmitted by oral tradition (DJH)—that family researchers, including the editor, believe that “John Hochttatler” was actually Jacob Hochstetler.” I haven’t found any record of another Indian captive with a name similar to Hochstetler or one who was from Berks County, Bern Township, and I also concur that the subject of this interrogation must be our ancestor.

This resource has been invaluable to us as we’ve striven to turn the bare historical records into a gripping story. Jacob and his 2 younger sons were taken on a 17-day journey from their home near present-day Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, to the French stronghold of Fort Presque Isle on the shore of Lake Erie—a journey of roughly 300 miles. Clearly, in spite of Bouquet’s unflattering assessment, Jacob must have been a strong, intelligent, and resourceful man to have endured what he did, find a way to escape, keep track of time and miles, give the answers he did during the interrogation despite being “half dead”, return home without any help from the British, and then pursue efforts to locate until finally his sons were returned to him. He was certainly a man of unwavering faith.

Jacob's Examination, p. 1
Following is the “Examination,” which reflects the French transcriber’s spelling, e.g., words like jou” for “you.” The information within brackets was inserted for the sake of clarity. The dates given by the transcriber are incorrect according to facts that have since come to light.

Examination of John Hochstattler

Intelligence given by John Hochstattler a Swiss by nation which settled in Bergs County, Berner Township, near Kauffman’s Creek was taken by the enemy Indians the 12th of October 1757 [actually September 20] and escap’d from them arriving at Shamokin 5th [actually the 24th] May 1758 [Shamokin was formerly an Indian village at the junction of the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River, at the present site of Sunbury, Northumberland County, PA. Fort Augusta was erected there by the colony in 1756].

Q. By What, and how Many Indians was you taken?
A. By the Delaware and Shawanese 15 in the whole.
Q. Which way did you pas’d before jou came into the Enemys Country?
A. We March’d 3 Days before we arrived at the Est branch of Susquahanna 20 miles from Shamokin where it was fordable, from there whe keept intirely West all along the west Branch, till after 17 Days Journey we arrived on the Ohio. [The Allegheny River. Indians and many Whites considered the it to be the upper course of the Ohio and its headwaters.]
Q. In what place on the Ohio do jou arrivd?
A. Where the French Cr empties in to Ohio there upon the Corner is a small Fort [Fort Mechault built by the French in 1756] Established lately, of Logs, Framed together, there are 25 Men Garrisoned in it, without Artillery, there we passed the Ohio for to come by it, the place is call Wenango [Venango, a former Indian village and important trading post at the mouth of French Creek, the present site of Franklin, Venango Co., PA.]
Q. How do jou proceeded further?
Jacob's Examination, last page
A. Up the French Creek 3 Days traveling on Battoes at the end of it we came to a fort [Fort LeBoeuf built by the French in 1753 at present day Waterford, Erie Co. Pa.] built in the same Maner as the other, and Garrisoned, with 25 Men, from there the French Creek a Road to Presque Isle [Fort Presque Isle built by the French in 1753 at present-day Erie, Pennsylvania] wich is a Days Journey from it Distant.
Q. What became of jou after that?
A. After 3 Days travel Est south Est, I was brought to Buxotons Cr [Buxotons is another spelling of Buckaloons, one of the names given to Brokenstraw Creek and to the village at its mouth near present Irvine, Pa.] where it emptys in the Ohio whe came to an Indian Castle which lys upon the Corner of it, there I was keept Prisoner all the that time.
Q. Do jou ever hear anything of Fort Du Quesne / .
A. Ten Days before I Escaped five Dutch Prisoners was brought up by the Indians from there wich told me there was 300 Man Garrisond in Fort du Quesne, the Provision Scarce, so that the Indians was oblichd to bring away thier Womans and famelys which they generally left there, for to be nourish’d in thier absence / .
Q. Are there any Works about, besyts the Fort jous heard of / .
A. The same People told me that there was a Dutchman Prisoner for 3 years in the Fort, a Baker by Trade, which shewd them a Hill, at the opposite of the Fort over the Monungahela, telling them If the English was there that the could certainly take the Fort with 200 Man because the French had nothing upon it / .
Q. Do jou never heard what Cañons the French had there / .
A. Yes I heard several but all Dismounted / .
Q. Do jou never Learnd if the Indians Receivd Order for Marching against us?
A. 5 Days before I did escape an old Indian was telling to me shewing against all parts of the world, that Indians was coming there and then he shewed about Est south Est, telling that the would attack the English there, wich I did imagine that It was Intended for Shamokin / .
Q. Do you Ever Learn from how the French got Intelligence of / .
A. 6 Weeks before my Departing there came 2 Delaware Indians telling that the came from Shamoking that the Comandat took thier arms from them not trusting, and that the English was Drawing together about Conostoge [Conestoga about seven miles south of Lancaster near present Millersville] or Lancaster, paying up a great Deal of Cattle, that the Designd to attack the great Fort, du Quesne and the was waiting till the grass was groan / .
Q. How do you Escapd from there, how long and in what Mañer do jou was coming, and where did jou arrive / .
A. I got the liberty for hunting, one morning Wery soon took my gun finding Bark Canoe on the River wherein I crossd it, traveling Est for 6 Days from there I arrvd at the source of the west Branch, there I march for 4 Days further till I was sure of it, there I took several Bloks tying them together till I got a flott, there I flotted myself Down the River for 5 Days where I did arrive at Shamokin, Living all time upon grass I passd in the Whole for 15 Days.
(The Papers of Henry Bouquet,1972, Vol I, pp. 391-393)

For more information about this historical event and the series, go to the Northkill website.

Has your family preserved genealogical records and historical accounts? If so, please share a brief story about one of your ancestors.
J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 INDYFAB Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, releases in Spring 2017. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fingerless Gloves

Lady and the Veil by Alexander Roslin 1768
Fingerless gloves have become a fad with the invention of the smartphone, right? Not quite. Not even close. tweet this

Fingerless gloves - often called mitts - were popular in Colonial America. Generally made of kid leather or silk, lace was sometimes used in the hotter climates or seasons. The gloves would cover the hand and wrist, perhaps even the forearm.

While certainly a fashion statement among the upper classes, who adorned them with embroidery and pearls, these mitts were also functional. Colonial houses were notoriously drafty and difficult to heat. Mitts allowed for warmth while keeping the fingers free to move. Some were true gloves with the finger tips missing, while other were more like today's mittens but stopped short of the fingers.

Late 18th Century Matron
Men wore fingerless gloves for hunting and for doing work that involved using their fingers for precision, such as bookkeeping or typesetting.

Women wore them for sewing and other needlework, for tending to the children, and for cooking. Upper-class ladies would wear the more mitten form, thus allowing their rings to show.

Gloves have been in fashion - even at least one type of fingerless glove - since ancient Rome. They have vacillated between function and fashion and still do. Our Colonial ancestors valued them for both reasons.

Next time you see someone tapping on their smartphone while wearing a pair of fingerless gloves, smile and remember that their ancestors had it right first.


Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour - Colonial story coming in January 2018

Monday, January 9, 2017

This Month In Colonial History: January

This year, I thought it would be fun to do a feature highlighting various events important to, and parallel with, the American colonial era, and a few from the Federal era. Assisting me in this endeavor is a site titled The History Place™.

For purposes of NOT plagiarizing, I'll attempt to summarize each event ... enjoy!!

Grand Union Flag of America, 1776
January 1, 1776 - the unveiling of America's first national flag, the Grand Union, by George Washington.

January 1, 1735 - Paul Revere born in Boston, Massachusetts. Does anyone not know about his ride on the night of April 18, 1775?

January 1, 1752 - Betsy Ross born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January 3, 1777 - During the Revolutionary War, the British are defeated at Princeton and driven back toward New Brunswick. American winter quarters established at Morristown, New Jersey. During the long, harsh winter, the American army shrinks to about a thousand men as enlistments expired and deserters fled

January 4, 1790 - The first State of the Union address, delivered by President Washington.

January 7, 1714 - A patent was issued for the first typewriter designed by British inventor Henry Mill "for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another, as in writing." Thank you, Mr. Mill, from writers everywhere!

January 7, 1782 - The Bank of North America, our first commercial bank, opens in Philadelphia.

January 10, 1776 - The publication of Common Sense, a fifty page pamphlet by Thomas Paine, which served as a great influence to many, including the authors of the Declaration of Independence.

January 11, 1755 - Alexander Hamilton born in the British West Indies.

January 12, 1588 - John Winthrop born in Suffolk, England. Joined a group of Puritans emigrating to America in 1630 and "became the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, establishing a colony on the peninsula of Shawmut, which became Boston."

January 12, 1737 - John Hancock born in Braintree, Massachusetts.

January 14, 1741 - Benedict Arnold born in Norwich, Connecticut.

January 17, 1773 - "The ship Resolution, sailing under Captain James Cook, became the first vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle."

January 17, 1706 - Benjamin Franklin born in Boston, Massachusetts.

January 21, 1793 - "In the aftermath of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI of France was guillotined on the charge of conspiring with foreign countries for the invasion of France. During the Revolution, the King had attempted to flee to Austria for assistance. Ten months later, his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, was also guillotined."

January 26, 1788 - The establishment of Sydney Harbor in Australia to accommodate 11 ships with 778 convicts, "setting up a penal colony to relieve overcrowded prisons in England."

January 27, 1756 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born in Salzburg, Austria. "From the age of five, through his untimely death at age 35, this musical genius created over 600 compositions including 16 operas, 41 symphonies, 27 piano and five violin concerti, 25 string quartets, 19 masses, and many other works." One could say he wrote the soundtrack to the colonial era ....

January 29, 1737 - Thomas Paine born in Thetford, England. "His pamphlet, published in 1776, provided inspiration to undecided Americans that a new nation, independent from Britain, might eventually become '...an asylum for mankind!' He served in the Continental Army and observed the hardships of American troops fighting the world's most powerful army. He then published The Crisis series pamphlets which began by stating, 'These are the times that try men's souls.' He refused to accept the profits from his writings and wound up destitute after the Revolution."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tina Rice Reviews A Heart Set Free by Janet S. Grunst

A Heart Set Free by Janet S. Grunst

A Heart Set Free 
by Janet S. Grunst

Reviewed by Tina St. Clair Rice

A Captivating Story

1770....Heather Douglas stands on the dock in Virginia of Colonial America, having left her native Scotland and the scandal surrounding her far behind. But there is more than her indentured state that holds her heart enslaved, will she ever be free?

Widowed Matthew Stewart needs someone to help him raise his two young children, could God be leading him to an indentured servant as the answer?  Taking a leap of faith, he purchases Heather's indenture, marries her and takes her and his children home to his farm miles away in the Virginia countryside.  Thus begins a new journey for Heather, one that will be far different than any she has ever faced—not only a new countryside home and all it entails but one of self-discovery and of a growing, maturing faith.

The horrific conditions of those aboard ship crossing to Colonial America is described in vivid detail, giving the reader a glimpse of what Heather and the other passengers experienced...shudder.   It is obvious Janet Grunst has done extensive research in the historical elements in this story, bringing to life an emotionally charged, heartwarming story with realistic characters who face many challenges, heartaches, joys, grief, second-chances, forgiveness, bitterness, love and enduring faith. A Heart Set Free is a captivating story.

Tina St. Clair Rice is Colonial Quills' Reader/Reviewer and an Avid Christian fiction reader. She lives in Maryland and loves spending time with her family.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rendezvous in the Sault! Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Colonial Event

Are you planning your summer ahead, like I am? If you're heading up to Northern Michigan or Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula, you might want to plan to attend Rendezvous in the Soo. This colonial event happens in late July. In 2016 my family and I were blessed to be able to attend! The photo above is one of the encampments of reenactors. Below is another vignette!

Soldiers were everywhere, especially the French, because this entire region was settled by the French in the 1600s. Not only were there forts, but the fur trade was prominent in the area. The French Colonial Heritage Society directs and supervises the event.

There is a reason they keep the tomahawks behind a rope!

While you are at the Rendezvous in the Soo, be sure to participate in the Tomahawk Throw event! That's my son, above, and he did a fantastic job with throwing the tomahawk! But be sure to stand behind the rope, and follow all the rules. The primary Native American tribes in the area were Odawa, Ojibway, and Chippewa.

There were so many wonderful reenactors at the event. This kind lady was weaving rope from cornstalks! She explained that in colonial times people had to use what they had on hand to weave ropes. She even gave me a sample, which I still have! I found it interesting that some of what she had learned was through being a Boy Scout Leader!

This year, Rendezvous in the Sault will take place July 29th and 30th in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. What historic events do you hope to attend this summer?

Bio: Carrie Fancett Pagels is the author of over a dozen historical romance books and is the administrator of the Colonial Quills Blog. In her upcoming release, My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring, part of her heroine's backstory is that her colonial ancestor was a little French girl from Mackinac Island, whose "parents" lived in mid-1700s Sault Ste. Marie!