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:

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Scarlet Coat -- Sneak Peek!

 Angela here and I am very excited about the soon release of my novel, The Scarlet Coat! This is the first book of my Hearts at War series which will be releasing over the next year. Usually I would only share the blurb here, but because it's the season of giving...I hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1

The last rays of sun faded into twilight, and the wind whispered through the trees, as if warning Rachel to turn back. She encouraged her pa’s stallion forward, though her pulse threatened to strangle her. Somewhere, not far away, a wolf wailed into the night. The mournful song resonated within her, bespeaking tragedy. She searched the deepening shadows of the forest. What if all the British hadn’t retreated? What if there were still Indians and Tories out there, waiting behind those trees?
     Something unseen rustled the leaves, and a twig snapped. Lord, what am I doing? How would she even find them out here in the dark? Maybe she should go home or to the Reids’ for another night.
     Her course of action seemed so clear when General Herkimer, and what remained of his regiment and the local militia, limped their way alongside the Mohawk River from Oriskany. The general lay on a stretcher, his leg below the knee wrapped in a crimson cloth, his face pale and expressionless—like so many of the men with him. Eight hundred had marched north the day before yesterday and barely half returned.
     Her pa and brother were not among them.
     Stay with the Reids. That was all Pa had asked of her. Benjamin Reid’s bad leg compelled him to remain behind and watch over their farms. Though the safest place for her, Rachel could no longer wait there trying to carry on a casual conversation with any of the Reid girls or hide behind her mother’s Bible. She couldn’t abide the confines of their snug cabin a minute longer without knowing her own family’s fate. Since losing Mama to illness two years ago, Pa and Joseph were all she had. She couldn’t lose them, too. But she’d ridden for hours now. Where was she?
    A little farther along the trail, the wind shifted slightly, carrying on it the odor of burnt powder and blood. Battle. Rachel’s hand came to her stomach in an attempt to calm the sickness churning within.
The horse whinnied, shifting as he tossed his head.
     “Whoa. Easy, Hunter.” She slid to the ground and surveyed her surroundings. Both sides of the road were heavily treed and thick with underbrush. Even still, she could make out the dark forms of fallen men. She stumbled over her feet but kept moving. “Joseph! Pa!” You can’t be dead.
     Dragging the horse, Rachel ran. Each step constricted her throat until she could hardly breathe. Bodies littered the road—Indian, Tory, and American alike. She maneuvered around them, searching faces in the faint glow of the remaining light. She should have brought a lantern.
     The road sloped downward into a deep ravine. Her feet faltered. Hundreds of men—a patchwork of blue and homespun. All motionless. All dead. If only she could close her eyes or turn away, but every muscle held her in place.
     The rasp of a voice jolted her from the trance. She yelped and spun toward the intruder.
     “Rachel?” The murmur of her name accompanied the form of a man emerging from the trees. “What are you doing here?”
     “Joseph.” Relief at seeing her brother alive stole the strength from her legs. They trembled as she moved to him and brushed her fingers across his cheek, stained with dirt and powder. His sandy brown hair was tousled and appeared just as black. Rachel wrapped him in her arms and clung tight. “Why didn’t you come back with the others? I was so worried...afraid something happened to you and...”
She glanced to his face and the strange expression that marked it. More accurately, a complete lack of expression. “Where is Pa? What happened, Joseph? Tell me.”
     “Tell you? You can see it, can’t you? Everywhere you look.”
     Of course she saw it. All of it. But… “Where is Pa?”
     Joseph looked back, and Rachel followed his gaze into the blackness of the timbered ridge of the ravine. She pushed away and moved stiffly in that direction. Pa.
     “No.” Joseph’s cold hand seized hers. “There is nothing left in there. He’s dead.”
     “Let me go.” She wrenched away, breaking free before he was able to grab her arm and pull her back. Her vision hazed. “Let me go. I need him.”
     “It’s too late, Rachel. He’s dead. I was with him. I watched the life bleed out of him...nothing I could do to stop it. Don’t go up there.” His voice pleaded and his eyes glistened. Joseph wiped a sleeve across his nose and motioned to Hunter. “Please let me take you home, and I’ll return for Pa’s body.”
     Rachel stared into the trees, aching to pull away once again. She took in a jagged breath, managed a nod, and then surrendered to his firm hands. He assisted her into the saddle. Joseph retained the reins to lead the horse, but they didn’t make it more than a few steps before an unusual cry wafted in the breeze.
     Shivers spiked up and down Rachel’s spine. “What was that?”
     “It was no animal.”
     The mewling of human suffering perforated the night. A yapping howl followed—a wolf answering the plea.
     “You stay here.” Joseph forced the thin leather reins into her hands, shooting her a warning glance before he hurried off the path and into the thick foliage.
     Ignoring his order, Rachel dropped to the ground, twisted the reins around a branch and ran after him. She wouldn’t be left alone again. Not in this place. Not in the gathering dark. As she caught up to him, she gripped his sleeve.
     Their gazes met.
     Joseph’s mouth opened; then, he nodded his head. Turning away, he allowed her to trail him.
     Her fingers remained tangled in the fabric of his shirt.
    They followed the moaning to a tiny meadow strewn with more bodies.
     Rachel gaped at the shiny black patches of blood evident on almost every corpse and covered her nose and mouth against the stench saturating the air.
     As they drew near, the moans ceased.
     Joseph called out, but there was no reply. “He must be here somewhere.” Frustration edged his voice.
     “Maybe he’s too weak. We’ve got to find him if he’s still alive.”
     Joseph moved out, stepping over the fallen, checking each for any sign of life.
     Rachel stood back, frozen. Motionless. Numb. The man’s whimpers, though now silent, resounded in her mind. What if he were still alive? What if he woke again to this dark and death, only to become as the corpses surrounding him, with no one to lend him life…to help him?
     Rachel forced her feet into action as she picked her way around a dead Indian. Though she tried to keep her eyes averted, they rebelliously wandered to the large hole in the middle of his chest. Her hand flew to her mouth as she lurched away. Stumbling backward, her feet tripped over a red uniformed body. She landed hard on the ground beside him. Bile rose in her throat and she twisted, retching into the nearest bush.
     “What happened?” Joseph rushed to her.
     She sat upright and wiped her mouth with the back of her sleeve. Her whole body shook.
     Joseph grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. “You shouldn’t have seen this. Let’s get you home. Whoever it was must already be gone.” He led her away, stepping over a fallen soldier’s body.
     Rachel shrieked as the hem of her dress snagged on something.
     “Do not leave…me.” An almost voiceless plea met her ears. “Please.”
     She pivoted on her heel to where the soldier lay in his blood, his eyes wide, one hand extended. Rachel shivered.
     Joseph also reacted, bringing his pistol to the enemy’s position.
     The man coughed, and closed his eyes in pain. His brilliant scarlet coat and white breeches were smudged with grit and mud, his right hip a bloodied mass of flesh, probably ripped through by a musket ball.
     “Rachel, go to the road.” The pistol trembled in Joseph’s grip.
     “You’re going to kill him?” She glanced to the soldier.
     His eyes remained closed. His mouth moved slightly as though speaking to someone. Perhaps he was praying.
     Pushing past the nausea, Rachel swung back to her brother, reaching for him. “You can’t do this.”
     Joseph jerked away. “This is exactly what both he and I have done since morning. How many of our neighbors do you think he’s personally sent from this life?”
     Silence hung between them.
     Joseph lowered his head and weariness returned to his voice. “I’m so tired of this, but there’s no other choice. Go back to the road and wait for me. I’ll be along in a minute.”
     She couldn’t do it. Rachel moved, but not in the direction required by her brother. Instead, she knelt beside the wounded soldier and laid a cautious hand against his cool forehead.
     His eyes fluttered open and peered up with evident fear. Confusion ridged his brow. Did he know he could expect no mercy and therefore could not understand her actions? His eyes rolled back, and his head slid from the large stone on which it had been resting. His body became limp with no sign of life other than the shallow, irregular breaths which moved his chest.
     “Joseph, I know he’s our enemy, and I do hate him…” Rachel shook her head as she tried to swallow back the bitter taste still coating her tongue. “But we can’t kill him, and we can’t leave him to die out here like some dog we don’t like. Can we? I…I don’t know anymore.”
     “What are you suggesting?”
     Rachel watched the soldier, her frown deepening. “Without the uniform he would appear the same as any of us.” Her gaze rose to Joseph’s face and the tension etched in his usually kind features. “Mama taught us to love our enemies—do good to those who hate you. That’s what’s written in the Bible. I see the uniform, but…”
    “All that Bible talk is right and good, but it’s only a book. What if this was the soldier that killed Pa…or Jarrett? There isn’t hardly a family in this valley who hasn’t lost someone today. They slaughtered us, Rachel.” His voice faltered. “If anyone found out we had protected or saved a British soldier—an officer, no less—we could be shot. This is war.”
     Rachel stood, not able to look at the dying man as she stepped away. Jarrett Adler...dead? He’d only been twenty, less than a year older than her. An attractive young man with his wheat blond hair and teasing blue eyes. More than once she’d considered the possibility of a future with him, and now he was dead, too. Same as Pa.
     “I’ll wait by the road,” Rachel whispered, too drained, heartbroken, and scared to argue further. She would never fully understand war and the insanity required for one man to kill another in such a way. She didn’t want to try to understand it. Rachel hurried, almost running to put as much distance as possible between herself and the nightmare. Still, the haunted eyes of that soldier, that man, wouldn’t leave her. Perhaps they never would.
     Hunter waited on the road, nibbling on what grass lined the trails.
     Grasping the reins, Rachel hugged the animal’s neck, pressed her cheek into the soft coat and braced for what seemed inevitable—the shot of a pistol. “Let him die, Lord. Take him before Joseph has to. Please, let him be dead already.” Her heart thundered. Not from fear, but with the realization that she couldn’t let Joseph kill that man. She had to stop him. Pushing away, Rachel darted back into the forest, her skirts hitched high. She stumbled over her feet as the stillness of the night shattered, the sharp crack echoing. No.
     The man had begged for his life.
     And she’d left him to die.
     Rachel backed away several steps before turning. When she reached the road, she laid her hand against Hunter’s jaw. “I…” I feel his death is my doing. Was she so weak? Hundreds of men lay dead, and she wasn’t sure if she could live with the death of her enemy?
     Fatigue dragged Joseph’s footsteps as he approached. “Rachel?”
     She slipped under Hunter’s neck, and then looked over his withers.
     Joseph’s face appeared eerie in the rising moonlight.
     “Don’t say anything,” she begged.
     “Rachel, I need you to help me get him on the horse.”
     Her mind could not comprehend the meaning. She moved around Hunter, her gaze drawn to the form lying at Joseph’s feet. The red coat was gone, but the bloodied hip, the gash on the head, and the man’s face…
     “But… you said…and the shot?”
     Joseph glanced away. “Wolves. I wanted to frighten them.” It was said dryly. Perhaps he could find no true excuse. Wolves would be too shy to come anywhere near here tonight.
     “You mean…?”
     “I guess. I really don’t know.” A hand passed over his eyes. “We can take him home and let him die in peace.”
     A simple enough plan, but...
     “What will we do if he recovers?” This man was a British officer—their enemy. She couldn’t forget that.
     “I don’t reckon he will. There’s not much life in him. Besides, we aren’t here to save him, only give him a chance to die on his own.”


     Exquisite agony pulsated through his whole body with each beat of his heart. The scent of horse filled his nostrils as he attempted a breath. His lungs refused to expand, as though the full weight of the animal resided on top of them and across his stomach. They ached from the pressure. The swaying of the ground only compounded the intense pressure threatening to burst his head apart. Why did the ground sway? Was he back on a ship? That did not explain the horse sitting on him, or why he hung upside down. Nothing made sense. He opened his eyes to the blackness…and fur? The sleek coat of a horse. Hence the smell. But the animal did not lie on him as assumed. Instead, it seemed he was slung face down over the back of a horse. No wonder his stomach pinched so. He had to get off.
     At first his arms refused his beckoning. Numb from dangling above his head, they might as well have been severed from him entirely. Slowly, however, he wielded enough control to bring them to the saddle over which he was draped. Planting them against the firm leather, he pushed, writhing his body up with the same motion. As he slid from the saddle, a feminine scream pierced the air, a hammer to the spike already driven through his temples.
     His feet touched the ground, but little good that did him. Like his arms, they refused to heed his will. He should have considered that before he disembarked. The frantic voice of a woman and the lingering aroma of horse sweat faded. Agony ripped through his right thigh, and he hit the ground.
     “Let me help you get him back up on Hunter.” The woman’s words filtered through the haze residing in his mind as it resurfaced to consciousness.
     “What, so he can throw himself off again?” The deeper voice rasped with anger.
     Who were these people? What did they want with him?
     “After bringing him this far, we can’t leave him. Only a couple more miles, and we’ll be home.”
     Home…would not that be agreeable? At least, it conjured a pleasant sensation within him. No images, though. A dim light glowed high above as he forced his eyelids open, blinking against the grit. As much as his eyes begged to remain closed, he refused to allow them such luxury. Not with the face of an angel hovering so near, shadowed but still somewhat visible in the moonlight. Young. Large eyes. A halo of gold. Who was she?
     Someone yanked on his arm, heaving him upward. Lord, not back on the horse. Anything but that.        “No.” He tried to pull away, and his body again sagged to the earth.
     “He’s awake.” Her voice.
     The man’s was edged. “How is that possible when he shouldn’t even be alive?”
     Did they speak of him, implying he should be dead? Perhaps that explained the pain—the struggle to remain cognizant to anything around him. Dead. How far off was he from slipping away completely? What held him here? He stared at the young woman as she knelt beside him.
     “We’re trying to help you.”
     He attempted to wet his lips, but his tongue was just as dry. Blood and gunpowder tainted his senses. “What happened?”
     “You were—”
     The man pulled her aside. “There’s no time for this. We either get him back on that horse, or leave him here.”
    As they dragged his body from the ground, all thoughts and awareness fled, returning in waves of oblivion and torture. Finally, he awoke on a solid surface, a floor, the only movement the flickering of a candle set upon a table across a small room. Closer, a chair held the form of a woman, her head tipped back. Asleep. He let his eyes close, allowing exhaustion and pain to take him. No use fighting it any longer. God willing, he would awaken. But if not…he only wished he could remember what he had sacrificed his life for.

For more, order at:       Barnes & Noble           Indigo/Chapters         Amazon

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tea Party for November-December New Releases

Today is the release of Janet Grunst’s debut novel, 

A Heart Set Free

While some of the story takes place near Edinburgh, Scotland and Alexandria, Virginia, most of it is set on a farm around twenty-five miles northwest of the colonial port city. The farm is situated not far from the Potomac River and has this pond nearby. 
In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.
Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife? 
When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.
It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . . 
                and love will finally set her heart free

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. . Before pursuing a long-held dream of writing fiction she was employed in the banking industry for ten years and as a freelance writer for two regional publications. After taking a break to raise her children, she worked for an international ministry, Community Bible Study, most recently as the Executive Assistant for the Executive Director. She continues to serve as a leader in her local Community Bible Study class and in her church. 

She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. Her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, and entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.

Visit her online: http://JanetGrunst.com                                                                                         Facebook Janet Grunst, Author                                                                                                         https://twitter.com/janetgrunst                                                                                                              Represented By Linda S. Glaz
Hartline Literary Agency

One copy of A Heart Set Free  will be given away to one of our guests. 

A Heart Set Free  can be purchased at: Amazon.com (click here)


Roseanna M. White is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novel! Set in the year 290 AD, Giver of Wonders isn't a typical Christmas story. No snow. No Christmas trees. No decorations. Instead, the characters take readers back to the days of the young man who eventually became known as St. Nicholas, into his world of Patara, Lycia. A world not of magic and elves, but of miracles, holy callings, and sacrificial love.
A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?
Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed...and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.
Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires...and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.
Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus's father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.
As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord's greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others...and a centuries-long tradition will be born.

From December 2-20, you can enter to win a Stocking Full of Wonder!
What's inside? Well that's a secret.
But I can tell you that it includes a copy of Giver of Wonders,
some treats to keep, and even some to give away.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new bestselling British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com. 


In December, Gabrielle Meyer will celebrate the release of two new books. A Family Arrangement releases from Love Inspired Historical December 6th and Seven Brides for Seven Texans Romance Collection released December 1st.

About A Family Arrangement

Abram Cooper has ten months to turn rough Minnesota country into a vibrant town, or his sister-in-law will take his three sons back to Iowa with his blessing. Until then, Charlotte Lee has agreed to keep house and help raise his children as part of their bargain. But can the single father fulfill Charlotte's requirements in time to make sure that she and his boys don't leave—and take his heart with them? 

Charlotte is convinced that the wilderness is no place to raise her nephews. But as she watches the community slowly develop, she sees that Abram just might be able to make it blossom. With three little matchmakers bringing her and Abram together, Little Falls could become not just a flourishing town, but the perfect home for their patchwork family.

About Seven Brides for Seven Texans

Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?

About Gabrielle's story in the collection, First Comes Love

As the youngest Hart, Hays has never been first at anything--so he's determined to be the first to marry. He sets his sights on the new teacher, Miss Emma Longley, but he soon discovers Emma wants nothing to do with marriage, ranching, or Texas and plans to leave Hartville in two short months. Will Hays's charm be enough to convince her to stay?

There are lots of ways to win a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texans. Be sure to visit this Goodreads Giveaway and enter for your chance to win!

About the Author
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places and events. You can find Gabrielle on her website www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, family and faith.
Last month I erroneously put up the O' Little Christmas Town collection instead of the Tea Cup Courtships collection (Forget Me Not Press)! Sorry about that! Correcting that this month with a giveaway of the collection. My novella, "Tea Shop Folly," is one of the books in this collection. I'll be drawing a winner from the comments here and at our Facebook party!

Find Carrie Fancett Pagels on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, goodreads, and here on Colonial Quills!

Vicki McCollum's DEBUT in Christian fiction!!!

Love Letter from Vietnam
When Chrissy Robinson learns she’s pregnant, after her boyfriend, John, ships off to Vietnam (without proposing to her), she quickly writes to tell him. But weeks go by, and still there’s no response from him. After she learns he’s been listed as MIA, she struggles with how she’ll get through nursing school, pregnant, and working long hours as a waitress. Can she raise her baby, all alone? Then John’s parents insist she allow them to raise her baby. Will John come home? And even if he does, will he marry her?
A story of love, forgiveness, and redemption, just in time for Christmas.

About me: Vicki Talley McCollum grew up in Atlanta, reading True Romance magazines her sister and aunts left around the house. She discovered Christian romances, fell in love with them, and later, started editing them as a freelance editor. She’s written several novellas, but this is her first one to publish. She’s very excited about it.
Vicki lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, Jeff, her daughter, Lindsey (who’s a nurse and engaged to a fine young man), and two cats, Ninja and Penny. Her oldest son, Scott, lives and works in Colorado, and her youngest, Tim, is a senior in college. Feel free to write Vicki at vickimccollum@gmail.com  
and follow her on twitter at twitter.com@mccollum_vicki
Here’s the purchase link for Love Letter from Vietnam, which released November 2! Here’s the Kindle Link on Amazon! (Click here) Only 99 cents!
And this book is now available in paperback, too, PTL!  ONLY $5.75! (click here)

I am giving away two (2) E-book copies and two (2) paperback copies of Love Letter from Vietnam – the E-book copies on the blog and more giveaways at the Facebook party, too!

                                      *     *     *     *     *     *

Elaine Marie Cooper here! And not so fashionably late! I am celebrating my release of the third and final book in my Deer Run Saga, Legacy of Deer Run. It releases on Thursday, December 8. Here is the synopsis:


The year is 1800.

A young man makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of a young woman whose station in life keeps her out of his reach.

The lady fights her own battle against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, she is drawn to the young armory worker who is distant yet disarming.

Love is not the only entanglement. The nation’s enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?

Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story—Book 3 of the Deer Run Saga. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.

Author Bio:

Award winning author Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of the Deer Run SagaRoad to Deer Run, Promise of Deer Run and her newest release, Legacy of Deer Run. Her other books include Saratoga Letters, Fields of the Fatherless, and Bethany’s Calendar, a memoir about her daughter’s battle with brain cancer. She has been captivated by the history of the American Revolution since she was young. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her historical novels.

You can read more at her website/ blog, www.elainemariecooper.com
twitter: @elainemcooper


We have a Facebook Party tonight, December 2nd, from 6-8:30 PM Eastern time! You're invited!  (Click here)

Now, come on in -- have a seat, let us pour you some fragrant Christmas tea, and we'll bring you around a plate of delicious treats!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pennsylvania, 1756: Quaker Strivings for Peace amidst the French and Indian War

Israel Pemberton Jr, caricatured as "King Wampum," in a political cartoon
 mocking the Quaker government of Pennsylvania. By H. Dawkins, 1764.
Bc 612 D32a, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
The novel I’m currently finishing takes place in 1756, and delves into Pennsylvania’s greatly deteriorating relationship with the province’s Indian tribes, as well as the effort that Philadelphia Quakers put forth to bring about peace.

The French and Indian War (1754–1763), known as the Seven Years’ War in Europe, isn’t nearly as renowned as the Revolutionary War, but it was a pivotal point in American history. The French controlled Canada and had their sights set on what is now the U.S. Midwest. They hoped to thwart English expansion to the west, especially in Pennsylvania, and tried to prevent the English from buying land that belonged to the provinces tribes—primarily the Lenape (called the Delaware by European settlers), the Susquehannock, and the Shawanese.

The Lenape were already devastated by the loss of their lands in eastern Pennsylvania, particularly the infamous Walking Purchase in 1737. The tribe’s continued gross mistreatment by Pennsylvania’s government and settlers then impelled them to ally with the French and turn the frontier to the north and west of Philadelphia into “a theatre of bloodshed.”

While the non-Quaker population called for the raising of a militia for self-defense, the pacifistic Friends (Quakers) in the Pennsylvania Assembly refused. This political struggle finally ended in May 1756 when six prominent Friends resigned from the Assembly, allowing Pennsylvania to fully embrace military defenses.

To address the violence on the frontier in their own way, Friends in Philadelphia formed the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures, under the leadership of Israel Pemberton Jr., a former assemblyman. This group worked tirelessly to forge peace with the Lenape through treating them with respect and love, working to compensate them for their losses, and acting as a liaison between the tribe and the government. The Friendly Association continued to meet with the Lenape and the Six Nations (who controlled the Lenape) throughout the French and Indian War period, providing needed provisions and assisting with multiple peace treaties, some of which were more successful than others.

In 1758, Pennsylvania passed an act that created provincial stores to provide supplies to the Indians at reasonable prices. In addition, profit from the stores’ sales would go toward the cost of schoolmasters for the Indians and other tribal expenses. The Friendly Association offered its support, hoping that the stores would benefit the tribes, but various problems developed over the next few years. After the outbreak of Pontiac’s War (1763), the stores closed.

Quaker support of the Friendly Association dwindled in the early 1760s, and, after Pontiac’s War, so did Quaker influence in Indian affairs. The British Ministry now forbid those who had no official capacity to engage with the Indians, and while Israel Pemberton and other Friendly Association leaders were still quite concerned for the Lenape’s welfare, many Friends became discouraged by the group’s inadequate results and stopped contributing funds. Eventually the group was no longer able to carry out its mission and stopped meeting.

Over the years since, the Friendly Association has garnered both praise and criticism from historians, depending on their viewpoint. Many have concluded that whatever the outcome, the group no doubt had the tribes’ interests in mind and truly hoped to bring about peace during a very turbulent time. Amid a horrible war, they gave many Indians some renewed confidence in the English (who quite honestly didn’t deserve it), and their influence with the Lenape people helped pave the way for peace treaties with other tribes. 

Still, the Friendly Association couldn’t fix what the Pennsylvania government had destroyed and had no intention of mending. In spite of the group’s inability to accomplish all it hoped to, there is no doubt that the Friendly Association had its successes as well. The group did what it could to alleviate suffering, and one can only wonder how many other lives would have been claimed during the war—both Indian and white—had it not been for their dedication.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Spinning on a Great Wheel

Great Wheel beside a modern treadle wheel
A couple of months ago I shared the story of finding and restoring a Great Wheel. Similar Great Wheels existed from medieval times. The American Colonists revived them when England started its shenanigans with the Wool Act of 1699, and it became patriotic to produce and wear only their own cloth right up through the Revolution and beyond.

The Great Wheel I bought had no lacquer, shellac, or vanish on it. It had been stained and most likely oiled to preserve the wood. According to my research, that dates it pre-1850s. He's an old one, but he spins the same today as he did more than 165 years ago. 

Most people mistakenly think the wheel does the spinning, but it doesn't. The actual spinning of fibers into thread or yarn happens in the spinner's hands. The wheel does only two things; it creates the twist, and it stores the spun fibers. 

As the drive band runs around the large wheel, it also turns the small spindle. Yarn, attached to the spindle, is twisted. That twist runs up the length of yarn and begins to twist with the unspun fibers in the spinner's hands. The spinner controls how much fiber is gathered into the twist before drawing it out into a continuous thread. 

Sound complicated? It's not. It just takes practice. In this age of digital everything, spinning is so basic and simple, it's almost hard to grasp. 
Dark llama fibers being spun on the Great Wheel

Once the spinner has drawn out a comfortable arm's length of thread, it is wound onto the quill or bobbin (depending on the style of the spinning wheel) and stored there while the spinner continues to draw out more thread. The process is repeated over and over again in a soothing pattern of back and forth.

On the Great Wheel, the spinner turns the large wheel with one hand, while holding the unspun fibers in the other. With a treadle wheel, the spinner has both hands free to work the fibers while their foot - or feet for a double-treadle wheel - turns the wheel.

Once the spinner has filled two quills or bobbins, those threads will be twisted together in the opposite direction to make a 2-ply yarn. Most fibers are spun clockwise and plied counter-clockwise. The 2-ply yarn is then washed, dyed if color is desired, hung to dry, and then it's ready to be woven or knitted into useful items for the spinner's household.


Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thanksgiving Prayer

In 2012, I posted this prayer from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. So while the words are some you may have seen before, I wanted to revisit them and dwell on them in this tumultuous year.