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!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review of Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase

Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase

Love Inspired Historical

August 2011

Review by Rachel Wilder

I'm going to start off by saying I'm not your typical book reviewer. If you're looking for a rehash of the back cover copy or a synopsis, you're in the wrong place.

My mom bought the book last week without even knowing that I wanted to read it or was supposed to review it. I hadn't told her yet. Fashion nerd that I am the first thing I noticed was the hero's trousers. An actual proper button flap on them!

This is CJ's debut novel, and it is a rich historical romantic suspense. Yes, suspense.

Kit DeChambelle has spent ten years as a spy and his deceit and choices haunt him. Innocent blood stains his hands and his heart. I was very surprised and pleased to see him dealing with his guilt in a way that many people did back then. He turns to drink. Whiskey and brandy. As weird as this sounds, this is one of my favorite things about the book. Kit's humanity is palpable.

Mattie Fraser is in London seeking revenge on the British naval captain who impressed her brother. She is armed and dangerous and more than willing to pull the trigger. Again, her humanness stands out. I don't read a lot of LIH's because so many of them tend to gloss over the seedier parts of life. Not this time. Mattie's had a rough life and she struggles to leave it behind.

Neither character starts out as a Christian. By the end, both have come to Christ, of course. This is a Christian novel after all. Their journeys to faith are well done, believable, and don't come across as preachy. This is something that's very important to me.

The street orphan, Nicky, is a wonderful addition to the cast of characters. I immediately fell in love with him. Again, CJ deftly handled the reality of the time without getting bogged down in the gory details.

This debut is a thrilling read that I heartily recommend. I look forward to more from CJ!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

A quarter of a pound of grated stale bread.

A quart of milk, boiled with two or three sticks of cinnamon, slightly broken.

Eight eggs.

A quarter of a pound of sugar.

A little grated lemon-peel.

Boil the milk with the cinnamon, strain it, and set it away till quite cold.

Grate as much crumb of stale bread as will weigh a quarter of a pound. beat the eggs, and when the milk is cold, stir them into it in turn with the bread and sugar. Add the lemon-peel, and if you choose, a table spoonful of rose-water.

Bake it in a buttered dish, and grate nutmeg over it when done. Do not send it to table hot. Baked puddings should never be eaten till they have become cold, or at least cool.

Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats
by a Lady of Philadelphia
Third edition, Boston, 1830

Submitted by Gina Welborn

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hometown Tourist

I had the privilege of attending St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. St. John's charter spun off of King William's School's, giving us the right to say we've existed since 1696, though in fact the preparatory school didn't become the college until 1790. But walking those old brick pathways for four years, making frequent trips across the street into Historical Annapolis, I acquired a severe case of enamoring with the city and its history.

After graduating from St. John's in 2004, my husband and I moved to the Annapolis suburb of Arnold and stuck around for another nearly-two-years. So after just about 6 in this beautiful old town, I thought I knew it pretty well. I was excited to pitch a story set there. And when the editor asked for a full, I realized quickly that there were a lot of things I'd never taken the time to notice about this place I called home for so long, and which the internet just couldn't tell me.

Luckily, I still have friends in the area who were quite happy to play tourist with me. =)

Last December, my friend Kimberly and I happily parked in the garage across from our alma mater and made our way to West Street and a building we'd always avoided like the plague--the Visitor's Center. There we took photos of the 3-D Historical map (color-coded by the era in which the buildings were constructed), gathered brochures, and debated taking an official tour. Deciding against that, we set out on foot. Our first aim: Church Circle.

Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk like the tourists we used to grumble about, we brandished our cameras and took photos from every conceivable angle. Of buildings. Of plaques. Of street signs. We noted the old spellings of things that were given on signs, the years for each street and community. I jotted down descriptions of courtyards and even made a sketch of the apparently-haphazard stonework in the foundation of some of the buildings (pebbles in the mortar . . . who'd have thought of it?)
But the best moment for both me and Kimberly was when we walked up to the old entrance of the State House. My camera battery was, by now, dead--special thanks to the cold air that sucked it dry. But that didn't stop us. We stood on the black and white marble squares of the portico, looked through the stately white columns, and plotted.

You see, my heroine had to flee from this very spot, run from the hero as if the hounds of Hades were on her heels. And she had to somehow end up at City Dock. How, I wondered, would she have done it?

I'd looked at maps, but maps never reminded me of how the hill sloped down, how the hill pulled one's feet toward Cornhill Street. However, when we fled down the steps and put ourselves in Lark's shoes, it was easy to determine what path she would have taken, where it would have put her out, and how she would have ended up dangerously close to the docks.
Once down there, Kimberly and I took a happy turn through a few shops and museums, studied another awesome 3-D rendering of the town circa 1790 (perfect!), and then treated ourselves to lunch.

Six years I lived in or around Annapolis. But only in those three hours did I really see the place as Lark and Emerson would have. I've never been so glad to live relatively close to a setting!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rumblings in the Valley....Pt. 2

The Story of the Campaign of 1777 and the Battle of Oriskany

Johnson, Butler and Brant came back to the valley to play prominent roles in the Campaign of 1777 when the British planned an invasion of New York. If they managed this, they could separate the New England colonies from those of the Middle Atlantic and South, effectively ending a short-lived “revolution”. To do this, the main force under General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne would come down the Hudson via Lake Champlain from Canada, with a second force under General William Howe to move north from New York City. A third under Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger would drive east from Oswego by way of the Mohawk Valley.

The three armies planned to unite in Albany, thereby controlling the state’s strategic waterways and the adjoining land areas. Since the waterways were important trade routes, the growing success of the Patriot middle class farmers and merchants could be brought under control and in service to the Crown once more.

The plan, though sounding good on paper, never worked. Howe failed to receive orders to move north, and instead sailed for Philadelphia. Burgoyne advanced as far south as Saratoga (Schuylerville) where his army was eventually routed, and he was captured.

However, in the Mohawk Valley phase of the campaign, Sir John Johnson (Sir William’s son) was second in command to St. Leger, Colonel John Butler headed the Loyalist militia, and Joseph Brant lead the Iroquois tribes, save for the Oneidas, who’d sided with the Patriots. They also found the entrance into the valley unexpectedly blocked—by Ft. Stanwix, built by the British during the French and Indian War. With the foresight of General Philip Schuyler of Albany, the Patriots repaired this strategic outpost after the French threat had ended. Colonel Peter Gansevoort, also of Albany, then commanded the garrison.

News of the invading army spread like a brush fire throughout the Valley and alarmed the frontier settlements. General Nicholas Herkimer summoned all males between the ages of 16 and 60 to assemble at Ft. Dayton (what was to become the community of Herkimer) to raise the siege of Ft. Stanwix. As the most prominent Patriot in the Valley, Herkimer directed the Tryon County Militia.

Herkimer and his militiamen, (about 800) marched to relieve Ft. Stanwix, never suspecting their fate. It struck on the morning of August 6, 1777 at a marshy ravine south of the Mohawk and just west of Oriskany, N.Y. (between present-day Utica and Rome, N.Y.)

Molly Brant, Mohawk wife of Sir William Johnson had sent a message to her brother Chief Joseph Brant, who led St. Leger’s Indian contingent, with the exact date that Herkimer and his men would set out to relieve Ft. Stanwix. It might be interesting to discover just how this information got into Molly’s hands.

The fierce battle raged throughout the day in a pastoral setting called Bloody Creek (Oriskany Creek), as ill-prepared, mostly German farmers faced Indians, Loyalist militia, British and Hessian soldiers. In the beginning of the encounter, Herkimer was shot in the leg, but seated on a log and with sword drawn, continued to direct and encourage his men who faced over a thousand of the enemy. In proportion to the numbers engaged, no other battle of the Revolution exceeded the casualties at Oriskany.

But Herkimer and his men held the line.

Eleven days later, General Herkimer died of gangrene after his leg was amputated. Fond of Scripture, the General listened as his devoted wife Maria remained at his side to read the Psalms daily before he passed away.

British plans to march though the valley had failed. The Patriots from the Mohawk Valley were free to join the forces opposing Burgoyne. The Battle of Oriskany was a turning point in the Campaign of 1777 and the War for Independence. ~ Pat Iacuzzi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with MaryLu Tyndall - New release "Surrender the Dawn"

MaryLu Tyndall is the author of Surrender the Dawn

Published by: Barbour (August 1st, 2011)

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

MaryLu Tyndall is also the author of 10 books. She is a member of Colonial American Christian Writers and has a three book series set during colonial times.  Her latest series has been set during and after the War of 1812, which many historians refer to as the second war for independence. 

MaryLu, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
I’ve always been drawn to this time period. I suppose because it was such a volatile time, a time of adventure, exploration, new worlds, and new beginnings. A time when people left the comforts of home abroad for opportunity and freedom and then had to fight not only the elements but natives and marauders in order to carve out homes for themselves in the wilderness. This was also the Age of Sail when tall ships ruled the seas. To me, it is it such a romantic, adventurous time period! What’s not to love?

What inspired your latest book?
Two things: The War of 1812, which, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating, patriotic, and miraculous wars our nation has ever fought.  America had virtually no navy and a ragtag army, yet we defeated the most powerful empire on earth at the time—the British. Those same British arrogantly boasted how easy it would be to take back the American colonies. How shocked they were when, with the help of Almighty God, we sent them packing!

Also, I like to interject a strong spiritual theme into each of my books. This series revolves around the theme of destiny—how to find your God-given purpose on this earth. Each book represents one thing that can prevent you from finding that purpose: Insecurity, fear, and unbelief. I show through the story and characters how to rid yourself of these encumbrances and then seek God for your destiny. Each of the heroines in the books play a grand part in the war and hence in the deliverance of America from the British invaders. And of course they all fall in love with dashing heroes!

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
Can I have more than one? LOL. I guess Charleston, South Carolina would be my favorite. There is such a rich history there, beautiful historic homes, cobblestone streets, tall ships—you can almost feel the history in the air. I also love Annapolis and Baltimore for similar reasons. As you can see, I love port towns. They were the center of activity, commerce and culture. Plus they were often attacked by marauders, enemies and pirates. Which makes them very exciting places! My favorite thing to do is to explore historic buildings where the echoes of those who came before us still ring through the brick walls, or gaze out over the bay and envision the tall ships rocking at anchor in the water. Ah, to be transported back to that time!

If you care to say, you can tell readers where you live and what colonial places you have in your state or your home state if different.  Unfortunately I live in California. No colonial places here at all. L  And I grew up in South Florida which was largely Spanish for years. 

Surrender the Dawn is a story set during the War of 1812 in Baltimore. It is about a young lady desperate to care for her mother and sisters in a war that has robbed her of her father and brothers. Since no honorable privateer will allow her to invest her money, she is forced to align with the town rogue and his broken-down ship.

Tortured by guilt over his parents’ death, Luke Heaton longs to redeem his reputation and win the affection of the beautiful Cassandra. At first he is quite successful as a privateer but things take a terrible twist when the British blackmail him into selling them supplies off the coast.

Though everything seems against them, the couple fall in love, but Cassandra is suspicious of Luke’s traitorous activities. Setting out to catch him in the act, she is tossed head-first into a massive British invasion of Baltimore and one of the most decisive battles of the war where lives, liberty and the future of a nation are at stake.

Giveaway:  Leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Surrender the Dawn. Surrender the Dawn is also available for purchase through CBD and Amazon

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Hasty Pudding

Hasty Pudding (Indian Pudding)

A popular dessert among the colonists, similar to an Indian dish called supawn, Indian Pudding is an adaption of a traditional English Hasty Pudding where they substituted flour with cornmeal and added molasses and spices.

    Original recipe text:    Put two quarts of water into a clean dinner pot or saucepan, cover it and let it become boiling hot over the fire; then add a tablespoonful of salt, take off the light scum from the top, have secured to use some sweet fresh yellow or white corn meal.  Take a handful of the meal with the left hand, and a pudding stick in the right, then with the stick stir the water around and by degrees let fall the meal; when one handful is exhausted, refill it; continue to stir and add meal until it is as thick as you can stir easily, or until the stick: will stand in it; stir it awhile longer; let the fire be gentle; when it is sufficiently cooked, which will be in half on hour, it will bubble or puff. up; turn it into a deep basin. This is good eaten cold or hot, with milk or with butter and syrup or sugar, or with meat and gravy, the same as potatoes or rice. Hasty Pudding was often served for Sunday night suppers with stripped salt codfish on the side.
    Fried Hasty Pudding is made the same way and then chilled in bread tins until of slicing consistency, dipped by slice in flour and fried in lard or butter until well browned on both sides. Serve hot topped with butter and syrup, honey, or fresh fruit jam.

Hasty Pudding
Indian Pudding
From Joel Barlow's The Hasty Pudding (1796)

Assist me first with pious toil to trace
Thro' wrecks of time thy lineage and thy race;
Declare what lovely squaw, in days of yore,
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore)
First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have liv'd indeed, but liv'd without a name.
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,
First learn'd with stones to crack the well-dry'd maize,
Thro' the rough sieve to shake the golden show'r,
In boiling water stir the yellow flour.
The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stir'd with haste,
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste,
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim:
The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.

Submitted by Carla Olson Gade

Friday, August 12, 2011

Horses -- Sex, Age, and Physical Attributes

By Susan F. Craft
Author, An Equestrian Writer’s Guide

For writers interested in or doing research about horses for their novels, the following are excerpts from the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation’s An Equestrian Writer’s Guide. This is copyrighted material and should not be reproduced without the permission of the Long Riders’ Guild. (Visit the website at for more information.)


Mare – female horse
Gelding – castrated male horse
Stallion – male horse; also called an “entire”; in the US he may be called a “stud horse”; but never called a stud by the English, which is what they call a farm or stable that keeps horses. Stallions have more natural aggression especially around other horses; usually ridden by experts.
Foal – baby horse from birth to January 1 of the next year (horses mature between ages five and seven)
Filly – girl baby horse
Colt – boy baby horse
Yearling – in the year after the birth year (too young to ride; most saddle horses aren't  worked hard until at least four years old; breaking and training may start earlier)
Pony – small, usually less than 14.2 hands high. Smart and sturdy, they are often   used by ladies in pony carts or carriages, or for packing goods.


Horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers (the ridge between the shoulder bones) in hands. One hand is four inches.

The average horse is 15 to 16 hands. Very tall horses may be 17 hands, and only unusual horses reach 18 hands.

Ponies are usually less than 14 hands, two inches

Two areas of the body—the main body and the points, which are the ear tips, mane, tail, and the fetlock or the lower part of the legs—are considered when determining the color of a horse. (This gets a little complicated because color designations differ between UK and the US.)

Appaloosa – white hair and dark patches that may be leopard, flecked, snowflake or in a blanket. These originated in northwestern US and were formerly much used by Native Americans.
Bay – red-brown body, black points—may be dark bay, mahogany bay, red bay  (cherry bay), blood bay, light bay, sandy bay—but every bay horse always has  black points
Black – black body, black points—may be smoky black, jet black, coal black, raven  black (true black is rare)
Brown – brown body, brown points; may be a seal bay (dark brown with black legs, tail, and mane) or a standard brown
Chestnut/Sorrel – reddish body, self-colored (non-black) points. When in UK refer to Thoroughbreds or Arabians as chestnuts—a liver chestnut, dark red chestnut, dark chestnut, etc.  In the West, “sorrel” designates light reds; medium or dark reds may be called “chestnut.” Some Western horsemen use “sorrel” for all red horses no matter the shade. Light sorrel draft horses with white manes and tails are known as “blond.”
Dun – yellowish body, black points; may have primitive marks, which include a  black dorsal stripe and/or zebra stripes on the legs; a red dun is a name often used for a reddish yellow horse with red points and primitive marks; a grullo is slate-blue with black points;  and a claybank is a pale dun color without  black points. Duns are called buckskins in the US, and even piebald or skewbald.
Gray – may be born black or bay, but each year shows more white—iron grey, steel grey, dappled grey, etc. A “rose grey” is born chestnut or bay.
Paint/Pinto – white patches patterned as either Overo (white patches have ragged edges and  rarely extend over the top-line) or Tobiano (white patches have sharp edges  and cross the top-line and usually with white legs)
Palomino golden coat, white mane and tail; palomino with a cream-colored coat rather than gold, is called an Isabella—a term often used in Europe for all palominos
Piebald – dark-skinned, born dark and turning whiter each year; large irregular solid  patches of black and white
Roan – can be blue or strawberry; mixed colored and white hairs, staying the same  every year after one year old. A blue roan has black and white hairs; red roans  and strawberry roans have red and white hairs. A thoroughbred born chestnut  may be called a “red roan” even when truly gray—getting progressively  whiter each year
Skewbald – large irregular solid patches of any other color and white
White – pure white with pink skin; in western US white and off-white horses with blue  eyes are called cremello or if it has slightly red or blue points, it’s called a perlino (true white is rare)

Note: Susan Craft is a new contributor to Colonial Quills.  Welcome, Susan!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Archaic Words of the 17th Century

The English language has changed over the past three hundred years, some words falling out of usage while the spelling and the meaning of others have changed. However, if you’ve read sermons or religious articles written into the late 1800’s and early 1900’s you’ll find that many of the same words were used.

I’ve collected a few of my favorite of these words below, including a definition and a sentence.

Bewrayeth – to recite or proclaim. The word evolved into betray.

Proverbs 27:15-16 “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself. “

Horseleach – the spelling of this word changed to horseleech. It means bloodsucker and, while vampires were not called vampires in 17th Century New England, the word has been used in reference to a vampire-like creature in some superstitions. Symbolically, it referred to anyone who sucked the life out of another.

Proverbs 30:15 “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give….”

Buckler – a shield, or symbolically any means of defense, and more specifically used in reference to someone who acts as a protector.

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Discomfit – to utterly defeat by commotion or vexation. While we might use the word disconcert in place of discomfit, it doesn’t quite bring to mind the same level of fear and confusion.

Psalm 18:14 “Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.”

Calamity. I must confess that I was astonied (stunned) to learn that this was an archaic word. I love this word! In case you don’t know the definition, it means great trouble. We might say catastrophe today.

Psalm 18:18 “They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.”

Privily – secretly, with the connotation of lurking or hiding.

Proverbs 1:11 “If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:”

Usury – interest, like what you pay when you take a loan from a bank. In other words, moneylending.

Leviticus 25:36-37 “Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.”

Conversation – how you behave in society. I love this word, because while we think of our conversations today as being what we say, what we do speaks volumes about who we are. So, in essence, our actions are our conversation.

I Peter 3:2 “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

Personally, I find the language of the 17th Century very colorful and rich with images that conjure up great thoughts. After all, we find Shakespeare and other great writers of the era still quoted in our modern language.

Here are a few to consider:
“If you prick us, do we not bleed?” (The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Sc. I)

“All that glisters is not gold.” (The Merchant of Venice, Act II)

"As he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him" (Julius Caesar, Act III, Sc. II)

"I will govern according to the common weal, but not according to the common will." James I, 1621

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." Oliver Cromwell, 1650. Letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland.

Do you have any favorite archaic words or quotes you’d like to share?

Here is a link to some famous sayings from this era:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fiction Sampler: The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

The Colonel's Lady
Laura Frantz
Revell, August 2011

Author Laura Frantz brings us her new novel, The Colonel's Lady. Laura credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's ancestors followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. She has also authored the highly acclaimed The Frontiersman's Daughter and Courting Morrow Little.

"Laura Frantz portrays the wild beauty of frontier life, along with its dangers and hardships, in vivid detail."--Ann H. Gabhart

In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own--some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?

Kentucke Territory, November 1779

This is madness.

Roxanna Rowan leaned against the slick cave entrance and felt an icy trickle drop down the back of her neck as she bent her head. Her right hand, shaky as an aspen leaf, caressed the cold steel of the pistol in her pocket. Being a soldier’s daughter, she knew how to use it. Trouble was she didn’t want to. The only thing she’d ever killed was a copperhead in her flower garden back in Virginia, twined traitorously among scarlet poppies and deep blue phlox.

An Indian was an altogether different matter.

The cave ceiling continued to weep, echoing damply and endlessly and accenting her predicament. Her eyes raked the rosy icicles hanging from the sides and ceiling of the cavern. Stalactites. Formed by the drip of calcareous water, or so Papa had told her in a letter. She’d never thought to see such wonders, but here she was, on the run from redskins and Redcoats in the howling wilderness. And in her keep were four fallen women and a mute child.

They were huddled together further down the cavern tunnel, the women’s hardened faces stiff with rouge and fright. Nancy. Olympia. Dovie. Mariah. And little Abby. All five were looking at her like they wanted her to do something dangerous. Extending

one booted foot, she nudged the keelboat captain. In the twilight she saw that the arrow protruding from his back was fletched with turkey feathers. He’d lived long enough to lead them to the mouth of the cave—a very gracious gesture—before dropping dead. Thank You, Lord, for that. But what on earth would You have me do now? A stray tear leaked from the corner of her left eye as she pondered their predicament.

The Indians had come out of nowhere that afternoon—in lightning-quick canoes—and the women had been forced to abandon the flatboat and flee in a pirogue to the safer southern shore, all within a few miles of their long-awaited destination. Fort Endeavor was just downriver, and if they eluded the Indians, they might reach it on foot come morning. Surely a Shawnee war party would rather be raiding a vessel loaded with rum and gunpowder than chasing after five worthless women and a speechless child.

“Miz Roxanna!” The voice cast a dangerous echo.

Roxanna turned, hesitant to take her eyes off the entrance lest the enemy suddenly appear. Her companions had crept further down the tunnel, huddled in a shivering knot. And then Olympia shook her fist, her whisper more a shout.

“I’d rather be took by Indians than spend the night in this blasted place!”

There was a murmur of assent, like the hiss of a snake, and Roxanna plucked her pistol from her pocket. “Ladies,” she said, stung by the irony of the address. “I’d much rather freeze in this cave than roast on some Indian spit. Now, are you with me or against me?”

The only answer was the incessant plink, plink, plink of water. Turning her back to them, she fixed her eye on the ferns just be- yond the cave entrance, studying the fading scarlet and cinnamon and saffron woods. With the wind whipping and rearranging the leaves, perhaps their trail would be covered if the Indians decided to pursue them. They’d also walked in a creek to hide their passing. But would it work? Roxanna heaved a shaky sigh.

I’m glad Mama’s in the grave and Papa doesn’t know a whit about my present predicament.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yankee Noodle Dandy!

C.J. Chase’s Recipe for Homemade Noodles

I’m not certain this is colonial, but it’s been passed down in my family for generations, at least going back to the mid-1800’s. It’s easy and uses ingredients I have on hand, and it’s a good way to get rid of a leftover roast or Thanksgiving turkey.

Homemade Noodles:
2 eggs
2 c flour
2 T water

Beat eggs and water. Add salt and as much flour as possible until batter is stiff. Roll out the dough to about 1/8” thick and put it on a cookie rack to dry. (Note: my grandmother let hers dry all day. I find that putting it in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes or so works just as well.) Slice noodles into the desired width and add to boiling beef, chicken, turkey or ham broth. Makes a great homemade chicken noodle soup!

*I vary the amount of salt based on the type of meat. I add little or no salt if the noodles will be going in a ham-based broth.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade: 18th Century Reenactors--Through a Portal in Time

On September 24 and 25 I’m going to be at the Prairie Days at Shawnee Prairie Preserve near Greenville, Ohio. Held annually the last full weekend of September, this event focuses on the prairie way of life in and around 1780–1810 and will feature, crafts, games, and reenactors demonstrating the trades of the time period. This annual free family event attracts around 4,000 people to Shawnee Prairie Preserve each year. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come out and join us.

Although I’ve attended a number of reenactment events and visited many historical sites such as Williamsburg over the years, this will be my first foray into the reenactor’s world as more than just a spectator. I decided to go dressed in period-appropriate costume, so I’m in the process of assembling my ensemble—which is a lot of fun in and of itself! I was invited by a young woman who e-mailed a few years ago to tell me how much she enjoyed the American Patriot Series, and we’ve kept in touch. Her parents are reenactors, and her father works at Shawnee Prairie. So this spring she asked if I’d like to participate in the festival. It sounded like a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the reenactor’s world, especially as I was also asked to help judge the pie baking contest. Yum!

All this has reminded me that for students and writers of historical fiction and nonfiction, events like this are wonderful research resources, as are historical sites such as Williamsburg that feature docents in period costume interpreting the lives of actual people of the day. But they’re equally enjoyable and profitable for anyone who is interested in the lives of people from earlier times. Actually walking through restored or recreated sites, handling period objects and seeing demonstrations of how they were used, tasting period dishes, smelling the campfires and the earthy scents of native flora and fauna, and even experiencing the discomforts our ancestors had to deal with gives you a perspective that you can’t get otherwise. It’s truly like stepping through a portal in time.

I guarantee that you don’t live far from fascinating historical sites and parks, many you may never have heard of, that lift history out of the dusty pages of books and bring them to vivid life. Every year all across this country there are events set during a wide range of periods, including American colonial, trappers and traders, French and Indian War, American Revolution, early 1800s, Civil War, and even Medieval and Renaissance. Finding reenactment events/historical sites in your area or around the country is as easy as doing an online search.

One of the best sites for ReWar reenactors is, which lists numerous links to American Revolutionary War reenactor organizations that provide schedules of their events. has information and links for reenactor organizations from all eras. One interesting site I found is We Make History, an organization that offers both public and private historic balls, reenactments, living history, historical education, support of historic sites and more, according to their website. You’ll find a schedule of their public events on their site. It sounds as if they’re not only educational, but also a ton of fun.

The photos in this post are pictures I took at one such site in my area, Rock Castle, Tennessee, a couple of years ago during the Daniel Smith Frontier Days. If you’ve never attended a reenactment, I hope these will tempt you to step out of modern life and into history for a few hours or days!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An 18th Century Ladies Fashion Primer

This is my first post to Colonial Quills and I'm so happy to be here. I'll be sharing about fashion, textiles, and colonial Louisiana.

Unlike the 19th and 20th centuries, fashion in the 18th century didn’t change very much for several decades. One can identify a dress from the 18th century with only a couple of tools in her arsenal.

The first is silhouette. When most people think of dresses in the 1700’s, their mind immediately conjures up the riotous cartoons from Louis XVI’s France. Cartoons of wild, towering wigs decorated with birds or fruit or even boats. The cartoonists weren’t just lampooning Marie Antoinette’s wigs. They were going after the pannier too, which reached ridiculous proportions in the 1750’s and was brought back by Marie.

I found this picture from the University of Michigan. I have no idea if the photograph is in their collection or if the pannier and stays is in their collection. It’s a good example of a pannier and stay of the time. I don’t know the date, but I’m guessing it’s from sometime in the 1750’s to the 1770’s.

There are stories of Catherine the Great, Empress of All The Russias, once having worn a pannier that was eight feet across from one end to the other. The blue dress here is a British court dress from the 1750’s in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

At the beginning of the century, the silhouette wasn’t all that different from the 15th and 16th centuries. Full skirts, three-quarter length sleeves with lace at the cuffs, ribbons, embroidery and sometimes garish prints. That silhouette flowed into the mantua, a cone shape silhouette so popular that for decades, tailors and seamstresses were often called mantua makers.

From the conical shape of the mantua, came the pannier. Introduced probably in the late 1740’s for court dress, it quickly became popular, reaching its zenith of size in the 1760’s with the above referenced dress worn by Catherine.

Only in France did the pannier continue to be popular. In the 1760’s a style of dress commonly called the saque dress came into style. While still having that definitive big hips silhouette, it was much smaller and featured what I think is one of the most flattering things in all of historical costume: a pleated back that fell from the neckline to the floor in one graceful piece of fabric. See what I mean? I love it. These two dresses are also at the Met in NYC.

From here we enter the 1770’s and the styles seen at Colonial Willamsburg and on the American Girl doll Felicity. The pannier is still present, but it’s continuing to shrink in width. By 1785, panniers had almost completely disappeared and the silhouette returned to a more normal shape. But if you look closely at the skirt, it’s not hard to imagine where the bustle of the 1870’s and 1880’s came from. There truly is nothing new in fashion. If you look back far enough, with the exception of the mini-skirt, it’s been done before.

In 1790, the pannier is dead, never to be resurrected. The silhouette is columnar in form, with a skirt that’s losing fullness by the year and a waistline that’s moving up. In 1800, the Regency/Empire style is in full force.

The second tool is fabric choice, though it’s not as reliable as silhouette. Western block printing was perfected in the mid 1700’s and this led to an explosion of elaborate, striped floral fabrics. For some reason they also loved bows and ruffles. Lots of them. At the same time. On fabric with very busy patterns. Particularly in France. It’s really quite easy to see why French fashion of that century was a favorite subject for cartoonists.

Next time we’ll take a look at men’s fashion. As boring as that is, it must be done.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Interview with debut author C.J. Chase

Cj Chase
CJ Chase

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

C.J. Chase is the author of Redeeming the Rogue

Published by: Love Inspired Historicals

Date: August, 2011

This is C.J.’s debut novel! Congrats, C.J., who lives here in Virginia and belongs to Colonial American Christian Writers and to our local Tidewater Christian Fiction Writers group.  Welcome to the Colonial Quills blog, C.J.!

C.J., what got you interested in this time period?

Well, this book is actually a little past the colonial period—and it’s set in England. But the plot revolves around the Treaty of Ghent, the treaty which ended the War of 1812. I love America and American history, and in fact, I have a novel set in Virginia’s early colonial period in my stash of as-yet unsold manuscripts.  Maybe someday …

I was a kid in the Midwest during the Bicentennial celebrations. (Yes, I know, I’m dating myself now.) It was all nice and fun, but it seemed rather abstract—until we traveled east on vacation that year. My father took me to an old, old cemetery on my uncle’s farm and showed me the gravesite of a Revolutionary War ancestor. Suddenly, the Bicentennial became personal.

What inspired your book?
The popularity of the Regency period among American readers has always seemed a little strange to me because we were at war with the British during that time. I decided to write what I call the “anti-Regency”—a book set in Regency England, but written from an American’s perspective. My heroine is from Washington, DC, and was there when the British burned the city. She travels to London to inquire after the fate of her brother, a sailor who was impressed into the British Navy. To say she’s not particularly fond of all things British would be to understate the matter. But her questions draw her into a web of lies, conspiracy and danger, and she must decide if she can trust the British official who might be working with her … or against her.

An e-book version is available on both Amazon’s and Mills and Boon’s UK sites, so it will be interesting to see if I sell any books in Britain—and what the readers’ reactions are!

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
Jamestown, the place that started the whole thing. Those early colonists were thousands of miles away from everything familiar—and they were totally on their own. They had no army, no police force, no one to call if things went wrong. And things often went wrong in those first few years. How could they not? They had no idea what to expect or how to prepare. Every time I visit Jamestown, I’m amazed at the courage of those people.

Here is a link to CJ's trailer.

C.J., do you have a favorite colonial recipe you enjoy?  Would you care to share it with CQ readers?  Readers, you can find C.J.’s recipe for homemade noodles this coming Sunday on CQ.

Where do you live and what colonial places you have in your state?
I live in Southeastern Virginia, so finding colonial sites is almost as easy as stepping out my back door.

Giveaway:  CQ is giving away a copy of Redeeming the Rogue. Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win! It is available for purchase at Amazon and CBD in paperback and Kindle versions.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Colonial Innkeeper's Pie

Colonial Innkeeper's Pie

1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter

Melt chocolate in water. Add sugar and bring to a boil. Stir constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and set aside.

1 cup flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Add shortening, milk and vanilla extract. Beat 2 minutes. Add egg and beat. Pour batter into pie shell. Stir chocolate sauce and pour carefully over batter. Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Historical Societies - Window to the Past

Historical Society of Windham, ME
c. 1833 school house

When I needed to know some details about the 18th century shipyards for my Colonial Courtships novella, Carving a Future, I contacted the town historical society in which the story is set. They were so helpful during our correspondence and provided the information free of charge. I was able to learn the names and owners of the shipyards, where they were located, and dates of operation. There were many more queries I had and they were eager to oblige. When I told them I was an author looking for this information, they seemed quite pleased that I had chosen their town for my story.

Glastonbury, CT Historical Society Building
Welles Shipman Ward House, c. 1755
From their website I was able to obtain much more information, and in fact, I started there to see what information was already available. Like most historical society websites they had information on places, people, industry, events, and much more. They provided a fascinating timeline which I was able to draw from to authentic my story by including some of the interesting historical facts. This is where I found out that during the 1700's the town was spelled differently. Thus the anthology is set in Glassenbury, Connecticut rather than Glastenbury.

Other information that I have accessed online, and have by visiting local historical societies during my research are their publications. You may have seen some of these books on town histories that have been published in recent years. Sometimes special books will be printed for centennial celebrations. My favorites are town history books that were written hundreds of years ago, available at Google Books or Internet Archive. I have found many items that have prompted scenes and even stories. Census and marriage records are also a great way to get authentic character names that were used in the locale. These, too, are kept and sometimes published online by historical societies.

Historical societies are categorized by town, county, region, and state. Most towns have a society, many have have buildings where information is archived, many have small museums, and often they a web presence.  State government websites usually provide a list and town websites will often have a link.

A word of caution. Each society has their own guidelines for queries. Some are free, sometimes they charge. Societies are usually operated by volunteers, some with much knowlege and some are there just holding down the fort. So be as specific as possible and ask to speak with the historian who has research knowledge in that category.

Also, keep an eye on historical society events calendars. I've attending several events through the years that have been educational and given me much inspiration for writing.

Remember, the mission of historical societies is to preserve and record the past ~ an excellent resource to access when authenticating your novel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Ye Olden Days: If Colonial Tavern Walls Could Talk

I'm researching colonial taverns for my next novel, and one thing I've discovered is that there is no limit to what might have occurred in a tavern. They ranged from reputable establishments for local officials' meetings and a night's lodging and food for weary travelers, to houses of offensive prostitution, drinking, gaming and gambling.

In the 17th century, laws were established to curb lewd behavior and licenses were required. Strict enforcement was in effect, but varied from town to town. Most of these tavern laws reflected those being passed simultaneously in England. Ordinances were passed to limit the amount of time local patrons could be in a tavern in an attempt to limit drinking.

For example, in New England, Massachussets, an ordinance passed prohibiting citizens from visiting a tavern longer than an hour, not past 9 pm or sunset, and they could not drink more than one-half pint at one sitting. The exception to these laws were travelers who were obviously exempt.

Written descriptions and various paintings leave us with a glimpse of how some of these first colonial taverns looked. Most were of large, but plain rooms lit by candle sticks and a wall sconce. Activity centered around one long wooden table, men sitting on wooden stools, and bread trenchers for plates.

An archaeological excavation of a Cape Cod tavern operating 1690-1740 revealed that the first floor of the building consisted of two public rooms on each side of the chimney. Other items escavated on the site, consisted of wine bottles and glasses, English coins, ceramics imported from England, salt-glazed stoneware, and locally made redware. Other site excavations have produced and an assortment of pottery shards, drinking equipment, kitchen and eating utensils.

George Plimn of Philadelphia owned a small tavern/inn. When he died in 1773, he left a small estate of 54 pounds. His public rooms consisted of a walnut desk and table with six chairs, a nest of drawers, fireplace equipment, a pair of fire buckets, four framed pictures, trade tools, pewter measures, four case bottles, a keg, and three glasses, a pair of scales and measures, a pistol, and a brass lock for the desk. The majority of his investments were in 60 gallons of rum stored in the cellar. His back rooms were simply furnished with a bed and table for guests. 

As towns grew in population and taverns multiplied in number, these laws relaxed and so did the enforcement of them by the mid to late18th century. Urban taverns were often rental spaces with the tavern keeper living there and operating business, while rural taverns were most likely operated in the owner's home. Unlike rural places, tavern keeping provided an individual a middle occupation and a steadier income than agriculture and many other labors.

Tavern keepers varied in how well they did, and it depended upon one's business management skills and how he invested his funds, as well as the nature of his clientele. For instance, one tavern keeper in Philadelphia owned two horses and cows, 60 ounces of silver objects, a traveling chair and three slaves in 1791, while another tavern keeper in the same city had only one cow, and no silver or slaves.

Small taverns were called grog shops, slop shops, and tippling houses, and were clustered along the docks of colonial port cities. They catered to transient seamen, and day laborers, and served beverages under the counter to servants, apprentices, and were houses of ill-repute for prostitution. Unlike in earlier colonial days, these taverns frequently operated without a license and many of their keepers were former sailors. These taverns were also the place for drunken brawls and physical violence.

Taverns in the middle part of the cities and in better areas of town were centered around economic life, daily business transactions, mercantile exchange, used as the site of auctions for goods, property and slaves. In fact, until local government had their own headquarters, they often held business meetings in taverns.

In Charleston, one of the largest rooms in John Gordon's tavern was leased on a yearly basis by the South Carolina Colony Court. Gorden repaired and enlarged the chamber for their use and in 1752 appealed for higher rent.

The first image above is of a colonial tavern still standing in Charleston, SC. It's now called the Pink House and has been restored as an art gallery. Not only was it once known as a tavern, but many say that prostitution took place here as well.  The second image is a close up to give you a better view.

"Early American Taverns: For the Entertainment of Friends and Strangers" by Kym S. Rice for Fraunces Tavern Museum.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fiction Sampler: Daughter of Liberty by J. M. Hotchstetler

Daughter of Liberty, American Patriot Series #1

Zondervan, 2004

Author and historian J. M. Hochstetler has penned the American Patriot Series which includes Daughter of Liberty, Native Son, and Wind of the Spirit. She is also the author of the award-winning Christmas story One Holy Night.

"Hochstetler has created a magnificent, well-crafted story that will endure with the classics because she did not fall into the weak folly of so many modern writers that of forcing todays values and ideas into a time in which they did not exist." ~ Author Louise M. Gouge

A beautiful rebel spy and a jaded British officer fight a war of wits and words destined to end in passionate surrender.

It is Eastertide, April 1775, and in the blockaded port of Boston the conflict between the British Regulars and the Sons of Liberty rapidly escalates toward a fateful confrontation. Caught in the deepening rift that divides Whig and Tory, Elizabeth Howard is torn between her love for her prominent parents, who have strong ties to the British establishment, and her secret adherence to the cause of liberty. By night she plays a dangerous game as the infamous courier Oriole, hunted by the British for smuggling intelligence and munitions to the patriot leaders. And by day she treads increasingly perilous ground as she flirts ever more boldly with British officers close to her parents to gain access to information the rebels so desperately need.

Elizabeth’s assignment is to pin down the exact time the Redcoats will march to capture the patriots’ hoarded munitions. But she hasn’t counted on the arrival of Jonathan Carleton, an officer in the Seventeenth Light Dragoons. To her dismay, the attraction between them is immediate, powerful—and fought on both sides in a war of wits and words. When Carleton wins the assignment to ferret out Oriole, Elizabeth can no longer deny that he is her most dangerous foe—and the possessor of her heart.

As the first blood is spilled at Lexington and Concord, Carleton fights his own private battle of faith. Meanwhile, the headstrong Elizabeth must learn to follow God’s leading as her dangerous role thrusts her ever closer to the carnage of Bunker Hill.

Daughter of Liberty Excerpt
April, 1775
Chapter One

     The crack of the pistol’s report came from directly behind the courier. Sizzling past so close to his ear he could feel the heat of it, the musket ball whined off into the windy night.
     Instinctively he crouched, bringing his head close to his mount’s straining neck. “Go! Go!”
     The mare responded with a burst of speed, stretching the distance between her and the pursuing British patrol. Flying strands of mane whipped tears to the courier’s eyes as he fumbled beneath his cloak for the handle of the pistol shoved into the waistband of his breeches. His hand shaking, he tore the weapon free and cocked it with his thumb.
     “Hold! Pull up and surrender, you blasted rebel!”
The shouted command reached him faintly above rushing wind and pounding hoofbeats. Mouth dry, stomach knotted with fear and exhilaration, he searched the shadowy landscape for an escape route.
In the darkness off to his right, beyond a high stone wall, wooded hills loomed up. Inside the line of trees the woodland dropped to a winding creek, then rose again into the hills, the courier knew. Reining his mare hard right, his breath coming in sharp pants, he glanced over his shoulder at the same moment the wind shredded the clouds high overhead.
     For an instant splintered shafts of moonlight rippled across hill and hollow, gleaming on icy remnants of a late snow that still clung in sheltered areas. Touching the irregular stone walls that wound through the rolling farmland, the light glimmered across the blood-red uniforms of the soldiers stampeding after him through the murky Massachusetts countryside.
The quick glimpse revealed three soldiers in the patrol. The one who had fired had dropped back, and the officer now held the lead. He hung stubbornly close, trying to aim his pistol while he swung wide in the attempt to cut off his quarry.
     The dim bulk of the stone wall raced toward the courier. A tangled growth of brambles topped the wall on the far side, reaching thorny fingers well above the stones. With reckless determination, he urged his mount on, raising in the stirrups at the exact instant the mare gathered her haunches under her and took flight.
     She skimmed over the seemingly impossible height as effortlessly as a gull and lit softly on the other side. Hardly breaking stride, she fled toward the line of trees. A crashing sound reached the courier, and he hazarded another anxious glance back.
     The officer had angled his mount off to a partial break in the wall some yards down. One of the two soldiers was riding hard toward the wall’s far end.
     The other had tried the wall at the same point as the courier but had miscalculated the jump. Before his mare swept around a bend that for the moment cut him off from the patrol’s sight, the courier caught a brief glimpse of dislodged stone slabs spilled across the ground and the thrashing legs of the fallen horse.
     He urged his mount between the trees. A dozen strides into the woods he pulled up hard and guided his mare into a narrow space behind a head-high outcropping of rock screened by slender saplings and dense undergrowth. Shoulders hunched, head bent so the wide brim of his hat shaded his face, he sat motionless, calculating that his black cloak and the midnight black of his mare would render them all but invisible in the shadows.
     The mare stood silent, head down, lathered sides heaving. Gripping the reins with one hand so tightly the leather cut into his palms, the courier aimed his pistol with the other, holding it steady with difficulty. His heart beat so hard that for a moment he was overwhelmed by the irrational fear that his pursuer must hear it.
     He could make out the sharp crackle of fallen branches and rustle of dry leaves underfoot as the officer fought his way through the dense growth, cursing in frustration. The muted creak of leather and jingle of metal drew steadily closer.
     As he watched fearfully, the dim shape of a horseman materialized between the ghostly trunks of the trees. The thud of hoofbeats slowed, then for long, heart-stopping moments paused within eight feet of the courier’s hiding place.
He became aware of the stinging tickle of perspiration that wound past the corner of his eye onto his cheek. Holding his breath, he aimed his pistol at the rider’s breast at point-blank range, his hand grown suddenly steady, finger tightening over the trigger.
The mare’s ears pricked, but she made no sound. When the tension reached the point at which the courier feared his nerves would snap, the sound of other hoofbeats approached from the left.
     “Captain! Scott’s horse fell on him,” a hoarse voice called out. “He’s in a bad way.”
     Muttering an oath, the rider reined his horse around to face the oncoming rider. “I’ll be right there.”
     The courier could hear the second rider move off, but still the officer did not spur his mount forward. Instead, he brought him in a circle until he again faced the courier’s hiding place.
     “I know you’re there somewhere, you rebel devil!” he rasped. “Come on, you cursed Oriole, show yourself! I know it’s you!”
     Motionless, eyes fixed on the officer’s indistinct form, the courier willed him to ride on. The pulse of his blood sounded like thunder in his ears.
     The officer waited for several moments more, head tilted as though he listened for a betraying sound. Finally he taunted, “One day you’ll make a misstep, and then we’ll have you. And you’ll hang at last.”
Giving a harsh laugh, he moved past the courier’s hiding place, fighting through the low-hanging branches. Within seconds he vanished into the night as completely as though the earth had swallowed him up.
     Trembling uncontrollably, the courier lowered his weapon. For some minutes longer he waited, every sense strained to the breaking point. But no sound reached him except for the moan of the wind through the bare limbs of the trees and the creak of interlaced branches high overhead.
     Taking a shaky breath, he took the pistol off cock and shoved it back into the waistband of his breeches. “Thanks be to God!” he muttered. “That was entirely too close.”
     The mare tossed her head, and he patted her lathered neck. When he was certain the patrol had to be well out of sight and sound, he spurred her out of their hiding place, urged her down the slope and across the shallow creek. Silent as a specter, they moved up the flank of the hill on the other side and slipped over the summit.
     Thus unnoticed, the courier known to General Thomas Gage and the British garrison in Boston only by the name “Oriole” for the whistled notes of his characteristic signal melted into the impenetrable cloak of the forest beyond.

Historical Study Guide