Winter Tea Party winners: Angela's book,THE SCARLET COAT, will go to: Print copy- Andrea Stephens; e-book copy - Catherine Wight!

LUCY REYNOLDS has a table topper quilt on the way, and winners of the Valentine Ebook Collection are: Deanna Stevens, Caryl Kane, Anne Payne and Winnie Thomas. With thanks to all who joined in!

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Puritan Marriage in New England

The Puritans of New England opposed anything the Anglican Church revered, save Christ alone. It's no surprise, therefore, that they viewed marriage differently as well. 

In England, marriages were generally arranged by the parents, but in the colonies, young people were encouraged to choose their own courtships, carried out under the watchful eyes of their parents. The Puritan marriage contract was to be agreed to by both the young people and their parents. Parents could not, however, arbitrarily withhold such consent. If they did, the young people could apply to a magistrate to agree in the parents' place.

The practice of a "bundling board" for courting couples was commonly used. The suitor would spend the night with the young lady in her bed, a wooden board between them, to allow them time and privacy to talk and get to know each other, with her parents close by. It wasn't fool-proof and occasionally a hasty followed . . . to prevent an illegitimate birth.

In 17th Century Massachusetts, the average age of the groom was 26, the bride 23. It's unclear why they were older in Massachusetts than in the other colonies. At whatever age, marriage was the desired path for most people. Records show that 94% of women and 98% of men married.

In another break from England, the Puritans didn't see marriage as a religious institution, but a civic contract. Marriages were not "performed" by church clergy, they were "agreed" upon in front of a magistrate. As such, they were also open to divorce. The Puritans allowed divorce under certain conditions, like abandonment, adultery, failure to provide, and physical abuse. 

A typical wedding took place in the bride's home with her family and a few friends. The ceremony was very short, a single question asked of both bride and groom, to which they both answered yes. No rings were exchanged, no holy vows, this was a contract between two agreeable parties. After the ceremony, the family provided a modest meal for the guests and they sang a psalm. No dancing - of course!

Puritans in the 17th Century viewed marriage as a close and compassionate relationship designed to meet the physical and financial needs of both partners, a mutually beneficial union of harmony.




PeggThomas.com

Embattled Hearts will release in April 2017 as part of The Pony Express Romance Collection from Barbour - Colonial story coming in January 2018





Monday, February 20, 2017

Big Hair of the 1770s – Maintenance and Style



by Denise Weimer

 As a researcher of mainly 1800s fashion – whose Colonial writing so far has focused on the frontier – I confess to harboring a curiosity of ignorance on the subject of 1700s high court fashions. Chiefly, the opulent ladies’ hairdos. Anyone else willing to admit the same? Let’s explore this quirky topic together, and for those experts among us, please feel free to add interesting tid-bits in the comments section. This post will focus on maintenance and basic style, while my April post will delve more into decoration.
My initial survey on big hair of the 1770s uncovered some pertinent basic information. As expected, fashion tended to flow from France to England. Simpler 1750s fashions like tête de mouton (“sheep’s head”) with tight curls in rows on top gave way to more egg-shaped creations in the 1760s. By the next decade, a much taller, pyramid shape prevailed. The opulence of style served to balance the wide paniers of the skirts. While men of the 1700s often wore full wigs, women employed partial wigs or false hair heaped on padding or toques constructed of fabric or cork. These forms might be shaped like a heart or spear.  

Maintenance of the tresses included irregular washing with just water or soap. The drying effects of the soap sometimes required pomade for shine. Mostly, pomatum (animal fat plus fragrances – one recipe called for mutton fat, pig lard, essence of lemon and clove oil) was worked in, then power was added. A wealthy person might use finely ground starch of beef or sheep bones plus orris root for scent (The Toilet of Flora, 1772), while a poor person might make do with corn or wheat flour. Professional powder application included the use of a bellows and face mask and smock.
While stories of careless hussies sleeping in their ‘dos using large pins and night caps for days on end gave rise to rumors of mice and vermin invaders, a conscientious lady probably did her hair daily. With a good ladies’ maid or coiffeur, this process should have taken no more time than a modern application of blow dryer or curling iron.
Some online sources consulted: Démodé: Historical Costume Projects & Research Sources, Specializing in the 18th Century, “Women’s Hairstyles & Cosmetics of the 18th Century: France & England, 1750-1790. Two Nerdy History Girls Blog, “The Truth about the Big Hair of the 1770s,” August 18, 2015. On Pins and Needles Blog, “Le Pouf: Fashion and Social Satire in the 1770s-1780s,” by Landis Lee, February 1, 2012.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Women's Hats and Accesories in Colonial Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

In Colonial America, well-dressed women had a variety of accessories.


Head-coverings: One of the main accessories was the hat. No decent woman would be seen in public unless her hair was up and she had some kind of head covering. Later in American history, women's hats become elaborate, but colonial hats were simple. Colonial women wore three types of head coverings.





Caps: Caps were practical colonial head wear worn by women and children. Caps kept hair clean so it didn't have to be washed as often, and it covered the hair so women didn't have to worry about styling their hair. The cap was made of linen, cotton, or lace and had lace or ruffles sewn on the edge for decoration. If a woman went out in public, she would wear a hat on top of her cap.


Mob Caps: Mob caps became popular in the 1730s and were worn in some form into the next century. A mob cap had a puffed crown placed high on the back of the head, a deep flat border surrounding the face, and side pieces carried down like short lappets, which could be left loose, pinned, or tied under the chin. The flat border usually was frilled or had lace.

 Hats: Every colonial woman had a hat to protect her head out in the sun. It was also considered improper not to wear a hat in public even if she had a cap on her head. The fancier hats were very shallow, and had a flat crown and a wide brim. Most hats were usually made out of chips and straw and would sometimes be covered with cloth.

Riding Hats: Women's riding hats were often made out of felt and would be made similar to a man's riding hat.

Mitts: Mitts were elbow length fingerless gloves worn summer and winter. Winter mitts were made out of wool or heavier fabric. Summer mitts were usually made out of cotton. They were usually embroidered for decoration.


Muffs: Muffs were used to keep the hands warm during the winter and were made out of fur, cloth, or feathers, and were usually padded.

Shoes: Shoes were made of silk fabrics, worsteds, or leathers. Sometimes they would have a small heel. They would fasten by buckles, clasps, or ties.


Sleeve Ruffles: Sleeve ruffles, either plain or lace, were attached to the end of a woman's sleeves. This protected the ruffles for when the woman went out in public so they wouldn't be damaged in daily housework and chores. Some ruffles had lace on the edge.

Pockets: Colonial pockets were two pouches strung on a waistband, and tied around the waist, and worn inside the petticoat. They were not sewn into the dress. Skirts and petticoats were sewn with side slits to access the pockets. Although some women carried handbags, most would keep their valuables in in pockets.



Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and was a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her novellas Resurrection of Hope and A Christmas Promise are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Cap - Most of the time women wore a simple cap made of linen or cotton. The cap was easy to manage and kept the woman's hair from getting dirty. Caps were sometimes very simple, but could also be dressed up with lace. Women wearing colonial era hats Three styles of hats (the cap is shown in the middle) Photo by Ducksters Hat - Women almost always wore hats when they were outside in order to protect their skin from the sun. Hats could be made of straw, silk, or felt and may be decorated with various items such as ribbons, flowers, and feathers. Mob cap - A mob cap was a larger version of the cap that covered the hair and had frilly edges that surrounded the face. It was sometimes called a "bonnet."

Read more at: http://www.ducksters.com/history/colonial_america/womens_clothing.php
This text is Copyright © Ducksters. Do not use without permission.
Cap - Most of the time women wore a simple cap made of linen or cotton. The cap was easy to manage and kept the woman's hair from getting dirty. Caps were sometimes very simple, but could also be dressed up with lace. Women wearing colonial era hats Three styles of hats (the cap is shown in the middle) Photo by Ducksters Hat - Women almost always wore hats when they were outside in order to protect their skin from the sun. Hats could be made of straw, silk, or felt and may be decorated with various items such as ribbons, flowers, and feathers. Mob cap - A mob cap was a larger version of the cap that covered the hair and had frilly edges that surrounded the face. It was sometimes called a "bonnet."

Read more at: http://www.ducksters.com/history/colonial_america/womens_clothing.php
This text is Copyright © Ducksters. Do not use without permission.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This Month In Colonial History: February

Tadeusz Kosciuszko
Second month of my overview of colonial history! Enjoy!

February 4, 1746 - Thaddeus Kosciusko was born in Poland. Engineer who not only built the first fortifications at West Point but managed the siege of Ninety Six, South Carolina, during the summer of 1780. After the American Revolution, he returned to his homeland and fought against a Russian invasion.

February 6, 1788 – The U.S. Constitution was ratified by a sixth state ... Massachusetts!

Aaron Burr
February 6, 1756Aaron Burr
was born in Newark, New Jersey. Most famous for the death of Alexander Hamilton in 1804, but have you heard of the Burr Conspiracy? Or that he's the great-grandson of Jonathan Edwards? Neither had I!

February 13, 1635 – The first public (taxpayer supported) school in America, Boston Latin School.

February 22, 1732 - George Washington born. Commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and first U.S. President.

George Washington, age 40
A few additions! “This month in Revolutionary War history,” with a catch-up for January ...

January-February 1779 – After taking Savannah, Georgia, the British prepare to move on Charles Towne.

January 17, 1781 – The Battle of Cowpens: definitive defeat of British and loyalist forces under Tarleton by Continental regulars and militia under Daniel Morgan in upstate South Carolina. The most important win of the Southern Campaign after King’s Mountain.

February 1-14, 1781 - Race for the Dan: literal race between the Continental army (under Greene) and British army (under Cornwallis) to get through North Carolina into Virginia, which would give either army a strategical advantage.

January-February 1782 – The Siege of Charleston in reverse: after more than a year of thoroughly wearing out the British army, Greene’s forces press in on Charles Towne to effect a complete pull-out (not accomplished until Dec 1782).

With thanks to The History Place for their excellent lists, and Patrick O'Kelley's Nothing but Blood and Slaughter, Vols. 1-4.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Scarlet Coat - Book Review




Book review by Trixi Oberembt


From Amazon:

Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe. When the British invade the Mohawk Valley and her father and brother don't return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them. She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help?

My review:

Set among the American Revolution, this story of hope, love & danger will have you captured from the very beginning! When siblings Rachel & Joseph Garnet opt to save a severely wounded British officer with no memory and no chance of surviving the night, they have no idea of the far-reaching consequences they bring upon their heads! Christian value for life & hospitality trumps sworn enemies and could have disastrous results!

I was swept away in another time & era where I could literally smell the gunpowder, hear the cries of dying men, smell the blood and sweat shed by the fallen on the field. And when the British officer—Andrew—was brought into their home, my heart pounded every time the threat of discovery came in the form of visiting neighbors. Emotions ran high in this intense story! As I began to see Andrew & Rachel fight their feelings for one another, my heart ached knowing there was no possible way for them to be together. I loved seeing how God played a huge part and how Andrew’s memories of scripture helped comfort him.  That in turn, played a part in Rachel’s heart softening again towards the things of God. 

I absolutely fell in love with this story, getting to know the characters I called friends, the rich historical details, every heart-pounding scene, and even a touch of humor the author included in this! Such as this line on page 146 where Andrew states; “After being idle for so long, my muscles seem to have mistaken themselves for fishes”—I literally laughed out loud! I wished I could have learned my history lessons at the feet of this author through fiction instead of my High School teacher; it would have been much more fun! I highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys early American history, forbidden romance, a touch of humor & a story that will sweep you away in another time and place!

    Barnes & Noble           Indigo/Chapters         Amazon