April Tea Party Winners

Six Year Blog Anniversary WINNERS: Carla Gade - Pattern for Romance audiobooks go to Andrea Stephens and Megs Minutes and winner of Love's Compas is Terressa Thornton, PEGG THOMAS's signed copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection is Debra Smith, Janet Grunst's debut book goes to Kathleen Maher, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winner's choice goes to: Connie Saunders, Denise Weimer's print winner of, Angela Couch's winner's choice goes to Susan Johnson, Debra E. Marvin reader's choice of any of her novellas or a paperback of Saguaro Sunset novella -- Teri DiVincenzo and Lynne Feurstein, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's "For Love or Country" go to: Lucy Reynolds, Bree Herron and Mary Ellen Goodwin, Shannon McNear's winners are Becky Dempsey for Pioneer Christmas and Michelle Hayes for Most Eligible Bachelor, Roseanna White's winner for Love Finds You in Annapolis is Becky Smith.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Georgia's Two Federal Roads

by Denise Weimer

Portion of Federal Road in AL

Old road beds have always fascinated me. Sometimes modern roads pave over them. Sometimes the merest trace of a narrow lane under arching trees seems to wander off to nowhere. Don’t you want to follow?
Traveling around my home state as a young person, I noticed numerous historical markers mentioning “The Old Federal Road.” Turns out, there were actually two such roads in Georgia. Around the time the century turned from eighteenth to nineteenth, the U.S. government used treaties with Creek and Cherokee Indians to widen existing trails to Tennessee and Alabama. One followed the Lower Creek Trading Path, and the other followed the Cherokee Trading Path.

Lower Creek Path:
High Shoals, Georgia

Prior to 1806, travelers fed down the Upper Road from the Carolinas to 1797 Ft. Wilkinson, situated on the Indian Boundary where the Creeks were supplied under the 1790 Treaty of New York, near current day Milledgeville. They continued through Athens, Watkinsville and High Shoals (near my current home!) on a postal trail used to carry mail from Washington City. This path continued to Fort Stoddert north of Mobile, Alabama, and on to New Orleans.
Lower Creek Trading Path Old Federal Road Map
On April 12, 1806, at the request of President Jefferson, Congress appropriated $6400 to clear the brush to a width of four feet, remove fallen trees, and construct five-foot log causeways over bogs and creeks. The government hoped this 1,152 mile route would prove more efficient than using the Natchez Trace (being 320 miles less and gaining ten days), but the many water ways dissecting the Georgia route eventually meant mail carriers found the Natchez route more efficient.
Creek Indians provided houses of entertainment along the southern Old Federal Road where stagecoaches stopped and relay riders changed. These cropped up every sixteen miles or so – considered an average day of foot traffic.
In 1811, the government rerouted and widened the road to eight to sixteen feet in preparation for war with Great Britain. The route headed southwest from Ft. Wilkinson, entering the lands of the Lower Creeks at present day Macon and crossing the Chattahoochee River nine miles south of Columbus.
The 1813 Creek Indian War led to the removal of the local Indians westward.
My next post will discuss the Old Federal Road on The Cherokee Trading Path. I’d like to research other early American routes. Does one of those pass near your home?

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Most Popular Man in Colonial America

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There were many men of great achievement in Colonial America in the years before the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and the Adams brothers were becoming known for their criticism of taxes. The Wesley brothers preached throughout America and had a great following. Even George Washington had made a name for himself during the French and Indian War. But the most popular man in 1700s America was George Whitefield, the fiery Great Awakening revivalist that changed the colonies forever.

Well known actor of the time, David Garrick said, "I would give a hundred guineas, if I could say 'Oh' like Mr. Whitefield." Newspapers called him the "marvel of the age".  When he preached for the first time in Philadelphia, even the largest churches couldn't hold the crowds of 8,000 people every night. Every city he preached in would bring out crowds larger than the population of the city. He was also one of the first to allow slaves to attend his meetings. It is estimated in his lifetime he preached 18,000 sermons to over ten million people.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the crowd who attended the services in Philadelphia and was greatly impressed. Franklin was a deist and believed God didn't personally interfere in the lives of men. Even though he never converted, he became a lifelong friend of Whitefield's and even handled the publicity for the evangelistic crusades. After one of Whitefield's messages, Franklin wrote, "wonderful... change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street."

Even though he was popular, Whitefield did face opposition. Some complained about him allowing slaves at his meetings. Some Calvinists were angry with his close relationship with the Wesley Brothers, strong Armenians. Others felt his emotionalism and appeal for everyone to have a personal relationship with Christ was over the top. When he first started preaching in England, the leaders of the Anglican Church wouldn't even assign him a pulpit. That's when he began preaching in open fields and parks. Through it all, the great response to the Gospel every time Whitefield preached drown out any backlash. Of the opposition, he said, “the more I am opposed, the more joy I feel.”

He was in no way an ordinary Anglican preacher. His messages were powerful. He was said to portray Bible characters in a realistic way. Jonathan Edwards's wife, Sarah, remarked, "He makes less of the doctrines than our American preachers generally do and aims more at affecting the heart. He is a born orator." During the revival service. Once while preaching about eternity, he stopped and said, "Hark! Methinks I hear [the saints] chanting their everlasting hallelujahs, and spending an eternal day in echoing forth triumphant songs of joy. And do you not long, my brethren, to join this heavenly choir?"

The spiritual revival Whitefield ignited, the Great Awakening, became one of the most formative events in American history and forged the spiritual character and unity or the soon to be nation. His last sermon, in 1770 shortly before his death, was given at Boston Commons before 23,000 people, the largest gathering in American history to that point.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

George Washington Land Surveyor

In my novel Love's Compass the characters embark on a survey of the southeastern boundary of Colorado Territory prior to its statehood. Although my story is fictitious, I include an event that really happened. This was the survey in U. S. Land Grant Office Survey led by surveyor and astronomer, Chandler Robbins, who became a character in my novel. He had to place a marker at the four corners where the states of Colorado, Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. Surveying and marking the perimeters of a territory was an essential step before statehood could be established. And thus it was in the colonies in the 18th century. Tracts of land had to be surveyed before it could be granted to proprietors. Once this important task was completed a patent could be issued and private property could be established. Some of this large areas became our original colonies and later our states.

Many years ago when I visited the Natural Bridge in Virginia, I recall seeing George Washington's initials carved into the rock. This is when I first learned that he had been a surveyor. He had learned the skills of surveying and measuring land as a student and practiced surveying the property of his boyhood home, Ferry Farm. The instrument he and other surveyors of the 18th century used was the "circumferentor," which was a brass encased surveying compass with perpendicular sights attached. This was mounted on a Jacob's staff (a tripod) with one or more survey chains. Washington also relied on the 8th edition of the a surveyor's manual entitled, The Art of Surveying and Measuring Land Made Easie by John Love. Mr. Love was especially concerned about those who were taking up grants of land in America without surveying knowledge.

At age 16, a neighbor, George William Fairfax, invited Washington to join him on a surveying party measuring tracts of land in the western frontier of Virginia. The following year, Washington received his first professional commission as a surveyor, at the recommendation of Fairfax, which launched a career that spanned some fifty years. He was appointed the Surveyor General of Virginia, and served as first official county surveyor in the colonies. Even when George Washington did not survey professionally, he still put his surveying skills to work. Using his earnings, he bought land and began to build his fortune. By the age of twenty-one, he had purchased 1,558 acres of land. In all, he held 69,605 acres in 37different areas, 24 city lots, and one city square in his possession. He laid out the boundaries of his own agricultural fields of his continually expanding estate, Mount Vernon. He continued survey his land until about five weeks before his death in 1799. All in all, Washington surveyed 199 tracts of land in his lifetime.

From The Granger Collection, New York
Its also important to note that George Washington's experience as a surveyor, mapmaker, and the back country skills that he acquired benefited him in the military. In the French and Indian War he  served as a lieutenant colonel. He was responsible for laying out construction roads and setting up a chain of forts spanning 400 miles. He was involved in the awarding of land claims to veterans, of which land needed to be first surveyed. During the War of Independence, Washington instituted the office of Geographer to the Army for the purpose of surveying and mapping the nation for aid in military operations and future surveys.

Examples of George Washington Surveys.

Best-selling inspirational romance author Carla Gade writes adventures of the heart with historical roots. With ten books in print, she is always imaging more stories and enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. A native New Englander, Carla writes from her home amidst the rustic landscapes of Maine. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online at https://www.facebook.com/CarlaOlsonGade/.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

This Month in Colonial History: June

King George III of England, 1762

Time for the June edition of familiar and not-so-familiar colonial events!

1 – The term “Don't give up the ship!” is coined by Captain James Lawrence, U.S. Chesapeake. (1813)

2 – Birth of the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), whose violence and cruelty led to the term sadism, defined as gratification in inflicting pain. (1740)

2 – First U.S. tour of PT Barnum’s circus. (1835)

4 – King George III (1738-1820) is born. Yes, this was THAT King George.

5 – Birth of Scots economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790), whose An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (published 1776) deeply influenced modern economic theory.

5 – First sustained hot-air balloon flight, Annonay, France. (1783)

6 – Birth of Nathan Hale (1755-1776), American patriot and spy. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

7 – The United Colonies changes its name to The United States. (1775)

10 – Dutch colonists settle on Manhattan Island (1610)

Pine Tree Shilling, designed by John Hull
10 – The first mint is opened in America, in defiance of English colonial law, by silversmith John Hull. (1652)

10 – Benjamin Franklin flies a kite in a lightning storm and discovers electricity.  (1752)

13 – Birth of American Army General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was born in Petersburg, Virginia. Nicknamed "Old Fuss and Feathers" because of his formality, he served in three wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War.

14 – The U.S. Army is formed. (1775)

14 – Introduction by John Adams of a resolution before Congress mandating a United States flag, stating, "...that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation." (1777)

15 – George Washington is appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army. (1775)

17 – King John signs the Magna Carta. (1215)

Rubens self portrait, 1623
18 – The U.S. Senate votes in favor of a declaration of war against Great Britain, which is officially proclaimed by President Madison the following day. (1812)

18 – Crushing defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, ending 23 years of warfare between France and the rest of Europe. (1815)

28 – Birth of Flemish painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Not only considered the master artist of his day, but also skilled in science and politics and spoke seven languages.

28 – Birth of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).

My gratitude as always to The History Place and Holiday Insights.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Art of Glass Blowing at the Jamestown Colony

When most people think of glass blowing, crystal images of carved items and cute animals may come to mind, or the glass blowing demonstrations at Disney's Magic Kingdom. Few realize that the first glass blowing business in America began as early at 1608 in the Jamestown Colony.

Replica glass blowing furnace (1608)
While the first glass blowing attempt did not last, there is written evidence that it did survive as late as 1610, and therefore, may have been successful in the first couple of years. In 1948, the glass furnaces were rediscovered and excavated near the Jamestown settlement.

The site now serves as a glass blowing museum where visitors can view the remains of the furnaces from the early 1600's and observe the living reenactment of how it would have been in 1608. The current furnaces are built and used exactly in period-style fashion. One significant difference is that back then the furnaces were heated by wood and the replicas are heated by natural gas. Today's artisans wear colonial clothing and serve as apprentices for a number of years, learning and perfecting the trade. You can visit and watch them in action and ask as many (or more) questions as I did.

Heated substance being molded into candleholders

We visited right before Christmas and wanted some red colored candlesticks for the holiday decor that we could take home with us. The artisans explained that their owners only allow them to reproduce the exact colors that would have been available back then. If you love to see history in action, it's hard to find a place more authentic than this.

Reenactor molding glass
For each piece that they make, it is placed in the store where it is made and sold to visitors who come through to visit and observe them in action. While some of the pieces are similar, there are no two pieces exactly alike. You will find candleholders, wine bottles, glasses, vases, paperweights, pitchers and other period pieces you can purchase and take home as a souvenir. One thing you will need to remember and warn everyone in your household is that these items are not made for modern-day use. They cannot be placed in the dishwasher or microwave, nor can you pour hot liquids in them. These items may break and shatter in pieces.

If you cannot go and experience this authentic place in person, you can visit their online store and order their unique items through their website.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book, followed by Highland Sanctuary. Jennifer has six published novels and several novellas. Her work has been reviewed in USA Today, Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal. 

She provides keynotes speeches and workshops on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, & digital marketing.