Tea Party Winners: Debra E. Marvin's winner is: Kathleen, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's winner of her MacGregor Legacy series is Chris Granville and second winner is Britney Adams for the plaque and For Love or Country novel:, Angela K. Couch's winner is: , Carrie Fancett Pagels's winner per random.org is Beverly Duell-Moore for a copy of BCB and second winner for colonial goodies is: Carrie Moore Gould, Denise Weimer's winner: Janet Marie Dowell, Shannon McNear's winner is: Adriann Harris, Pegg Thomas's winner is: Susan C

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fiction Sampler: Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. Whte

Roseanna M. White, one of Colonial Quills regular contributors, is the author of A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia. She is a member of ACFW, a historical group called HisWriters, HEWN Marketing, and the senior reviewer for the Christian Review of Books. Her forthcoming colonial period novel Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland (Summerside Press) releases on November 29, 2011.

In 1784 peace has been declared, but war still rages in the heart of Lark Benton.

Never did Lark think she’d want to escape Emerson Fielding, the man she’s loved all her life, but then he betrays her with her cousin. She flees to Annapolis, Maryland, the country’s capital, and throws herself into a new circle of friends who force her to examine all she believes.

Emerson follows, determined to reclaim his bride. Surprised when she refuses to return with him, he realizes that in this new country he has come to call his own, duty is no longer enough. He must learn to open his heart and soul to something greater... before he loses all he should have been fighting to hold.

Chapter One

Endover Plantation, outside Williamsburg, Virginia
25 November 1783

Perhaps if Lark recited the pirate’s code it would steal his attention. She could try standing on her head. Or if those options failed—as surely they would—she could throw herself to the floor before him.

Except Emerson Fielding was as likely to mistake her for a rug as to realize he ought to help her up. Lark indulged in a long sigh and cast her gaze out the window. The plantation lay dormant and brown. Most days saw Papa and Wiley in Williamsburg, swapping stories at R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse. Emerson usually met them there, which was why this was the first she’d seen him in a month. Heaven knew he wanted only to see them, never her.

She wished her heart hadn’t fluttered when he entered the room. Wished the disappointment hadn’t followed so quickly when he barely glanced her way. Wished she had the courage to command his attention…and he the sense to give it without her command.

Life would be so much easier if she weren’t in love with Emerson Fielding. But what young lady wouldn’t be captivated by those dark eyes, the strong features, the height that left him towering above other men?

Today his hair was unpowdered and gleamed sable. He was in undress, his coat the common one he wore every day, unlike what he was sure to don for her birthday dinner that evening. His smile lit up his eyes, his laugh lit up the room.

Neither one did he direct toward her.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Have you noticed that with the arrival of fall, with its cooler days and evenings, our menus also change? In our home, we shift from cold soups, pasta salads, and vegetables, to warmer fare like soups and stews.

Soups and stews have been around probably as long as folks have been preparing meals. One pot containing an entire meal, be it pottages, porridges, stews, or soups was a typical repast throughout the colonies. It was nutritious and met the needs of the affluent as well as the poor, the healthy or the sick. Ingredients were as varied as the culture, nationality, and availability permitted.

One such dish that dates back to at least the Colonial era is a favorite that has become known as Brunswick Stew. There seems to be a question about the true birthplace of Brunswick stew; some place its origin as Brunswick County, Virginia and others swear it all started in Brunswick, Georgia

While both may have a claim, there are so many variations to the stew, it’s fair to say this mixture of meat and vegetables could come from almost any area. I’ll share the recipe that I have from Virginia which my family has enjoyed for many years. Of course they may prefer this recipe because I have substituted ham and chicken for squirrel and rabbit. This makes a large quantity so I freeze some to use at a later time. Sweet corn bread is the perfect accompaniment. Many recipes for cornbread, Johnnycakes, spoon bread, and hasty pudding may have originated with Native Americans and adapted by the colonists. Like Brunswick Stew, there are many recipes for each of these dishes.

Stewpot at Brunswick/St. Simon Visitor Center, Georgia
Brunswick Stew
Cut up 3lb. chicken and place in large soup kettle with 3 quarts water or broth
1 large onion diced
1/2 lb. lean ham cut into small pieces
-simmer 2 hours
Add: 3 pints of tomatoes
1 pint lima beans
1 pint corn
4 large potatoes diced
1Tbsp. salt
1/4 teasp. pepper
small pod red pepper or 1 can pimento

Cover and simmer gently 1 more hour. Can add 3 oz butter
Serve hot.

Sweet Corn Bread or Muffins
3/4 cup of sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ cup salad oil 
1 cup milk
1½ cup regular flour 
3 tsp. baking powder
1½ cup yellow cornmeal
1/8 teasp salt

Blend sugar & salad oil. Mix in eggs. Mix flour with baking powder, salt. Add cornmeal . Blend dry ingredients with creamed mixture alternately with milk. Pour in greased, floured 9 in square pan. Bake 400° for 30 minutes. Bake large muffins 15 minutes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Post: The Acadians by Maryjane Green

Courtyard of Old St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Philadelphia

FROM THE ARCHIVES of Old St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia


“Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his childhood; green Acadian meadows…… with Sylvan rivers among them”

Over 200 years ago a great part of the land known as Nova Scotia was originally called Arcadia after a garden spot of ancient Greece. It soon became mispronounced as Acadia. In the first days of the 1600’s the French arrived, followed by the Jesuits in 1607 to take charge of a new mission. In 1713 England gained political control with the proviso that the inhabitants be allowed to practice their Catholic religion. The French Acadians were pressured to take an oath of allegiance to the British Monarch which they had been told they were absolved from. The oath would have made them Protestants and have them renounce their religion, the Mass and Transubstansation, key articles of the Catholic faith. They refused to take the oath. As the tension between the French and English escalated the despised Acadians were considered as suspicious enemies and the “Grand Deranangement” was begun.

“And with the ebb of that tide the ships sailed out of the harbour, leaving behind them the dead on the shore, and the village in ruins.”

In 1755 the Acadian fishermen and farmers were expelled from Nova Scotia. They lost everything, all their possessions, properties, and lands. The families were broken up, some never to be reunited. During July 1755 the deported were herded onto “old hulks” which were hired at the cheapest price. On July 10, three of the ships, “The Hannah,” “Three  Friends” and “Swan”, were bound for Philadelphia and eventually a sanctuary called St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

“Finding among the children of Pennsylvania a home and a country”

 November 20, 1755 two ships appeared on the horizon of the Delaware River. The next day a third arrived. After 70 days, the 454 Acadians, arrived in the city of “brotherly love”. They couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. Governor Morris wouldn’t allow them to disembark due to all the preceding anti-French propaganda. He didn’t know what to do with them or where to put these “suspicious spies”. They were detained on the ships until Anthony Benezet obtained permission to board. He was shocked at the filth and disease of the people and pleaded for their release. The Pastor of St.  Joseph’s, Father Harding, and the members of the Society of Friends, led by Anthony Benezet, secured public aid for them. The money was used for their maintenance and to build “huts”  between 5th & 6th on the north side of Pine Street. The “enemies” were finally allowed, (after three months), to leave the ships. The curious citizens of Philadelphia lined the streets to watch the parade of Acadians, clad in rags and blankets, marching toward their new lives. They found it hard to believe that these wretched people were their “mortal enemies”. 50 Acadians died immediately of smallpox, starvation, and other conditions. They were buried in paupers’ graves in the South East corner of Washington Square. St Joseph’s was to be taxed to capacity with their new congregation and the responsibilities of the French Catholics. Father Farmer was recalled from Lancaster to look after their spiritual needs. The Acadians had not seen a priest or attended Mass in eight months. In their first Memorial to the Assembly they said “Blessed be God that it is our lot to be sent to Pennsylvania where our wants have been relieved and we have in every respect been treated with Christian benevolence.”

Between 1755 and 1763 14,000 Acadians were deported from Acadia, 8000 survived. In time some went back to Nova Scotia, others to France and Louisiana (hence Cajun).

“Under the humble walls of the little Catholic churchyard, in the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed”.

“Evangeline”, Longfellow
“Acadia” A Lost Chapter”, Philip H. Smith
“Acadians, Catholicity in Philadelphia”, JLJ Kirlin
Robert Parsons SJ, “Pennsylvania Missions” unpublished manuscript

Post Script
This past summer the archives received a request from Quebec to search for an Acadian ancestor in our baptism and marriage records. The ancestor, Pierre Vincent, was found in Father Farmers’ 18th century marriage records.

Guest post by Maryjane Green, Historian for Old St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rosanna Farrow, a South Carolina Revolutionary War Heroine

Rosanna Farrow was proud of the fact that she had five sons old enough to fight for liberty. The eldest, not yet 21, was put in command of a cavalry company and led the youngest, a mere lad.

Thus the mother, whose life had been passed in scenes of peace and prosperity, with no greater anxiety than to follow the fortunes of her young husband, was left with her daughters alone and unprotected and surrounded with Tory neighbors.

They were brought into many cruel straits in order that the family might have food. Often they were obliged to hide it in hollow trees and among the rocky coves of the Enoree, and were even forced sometimes to shelter themselves among the woods and swamps when their own home seemed in danger. They slept with pistols or weapons of some kind under their pillows, for they never knew at what secret watch of the night they might be summoned to their doors by the enemy.

One night, a messenger came to tell her that three of her sons had been captured and were in a jail in Ninety-Six, the British post. The commander, Colonel Cruger, who was prepared to hang the boys, offered to trade them one rebel for two British soldiers.

After instructing her daughters to stay indoors and to keep the doors and windows closed, she grabbed a rifle and ran to the stable where she caught and saddled a colt, the only horse left on the place, it had never been ridden, sprung into the saddle, and bound herself to it with a girth. As she rode away, she shouted cheerfully to her daughters, "It is not the most comfortable way of riding."

She made her way towards Fair Forest camp in the present region of Spartanburg. This region was inhabited by only a few hunters and some scattered families and Indians. Her path was a lonely wilderness, broken only by hills and streams.

Arriving at Colonel Williams' camp, he granted her six British prisoners and a guard. Not stopping for rest, she rode on and on, miles and miles through barren wilderness and gloomy forest. Before daybreak of the second night of her wild ride, she caught sight of the English standard waving above the scarlet uniforms of the British, and with her apron as a flag of truce, she dashed up to the camp commander, Colonel Cruger, and informed him of her mission.

Colonel Cruger replied, "Well, you are just in time, for I had given orders for those rebellious youngsters of yours to be hanged at sunrise, but I guess you can take the rebels."

"My sons!" she cried, then turning with eyes flashing with indignation, she retorted, "I have given you two for one, Colonel Cruger, but understand that I consider it the best trade I ever made, for rest assured, hereafter the 'Farrow boys' will whip you four to one."

As she dashed off followed by her sons, a soldier remarked, "That's a pretty good speech for so dainty a lady, but she is as warm for the cause as the men."

So long as she lived, Mrs. Farrow was admired and loved, and it is said that even years after, the eyes of the British soldiers flashed with pleasuare when they talked of this South Carolina daughter.

One of her boys, Samuel, lived to represent Pinckney District in
Congress, and a portrait of him now hangs in Washington showing the sabre scar on his face made at the Battle of Musgrove's Hill.

Samuel Farrow lies buried in the family burying ground near Enoree Station in Spartanburg County. Where the noble mother lies is not known, but history will always cherish the memory of one whose warm heart and love of country prompted her to so daring a deed of heroism.

(From - An Essay, by Miss Ruth Petty, Converse College, Class of 1897)

Footnotes: Samuel Farrow served in the US Congress and the SC House and was Lt. Governor of SC from 1810-1812. Subsequent research indicates that Mrs. Farrow's burial place was found along with other family members in a pasture near the Enoree River in South Carolina.

Article by Susan F. Craft

Monday, October 24, 2011


Giveaway of Highland Sanctuary Tuesday!

Giveaway Tomorrow (Tues.)!!!
We are celebrating Monday and Tuesday with giveaways by our authors, e.g., books and colonial-themed goodies.  
This is also a party for our authors Susan Craft (The Chamomile) and Jennifer Hudson Taylor (Highland Sanctuary) who have books out in October and November.

Susan had a winner for a copy of The Chamomile and a packet of chamomile seeds and a mobcap!  Congrats Jen!

This is the dress that Susan is making right now:

Colonial Quills Writing Team meeting at ACFW Conference September, 2011

We have almost two dozen members now, but our founding members were:
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Founder
Lori Benton
C.J. Chase
Giveaway today and tomorrow!
Laura Frantz
Carla Olson Gade
This collection will release in May 2012.
Rita Gerlach

Joan Hochstetler

Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Debra Marvin

Lynn Squire

Roseanna White

 Now on board:
Barbara Blythe

Susan Craft - See image above
Wanda Dyson

Pamela Griffin and Gina Welborn
CACW members Pamela, Gina, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor
all have novellas in this  February 2012 collection.

Janet Grunst
Pat Iacuzzi
Mary Johnson
Kelly Marie Long
Upcoming Release

Rachel Wilder

Giveaway of Surrender the Dawn Tuesday

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart
(Contributed by Susan Craft)

Take six large lemons, rub them well in salt, put them into salt and water and let them rest 2 days, change them daily in fresh water, 14 days, then cut slices and mince as fine as you can and boil them 2 or 3 hours till tender, then take 6 pippins (apples) pare, quarter and core them, boil in 1 pint fair water till the pippins break, then put the half of the pippins, with all the liquor to the lemon, and add one pound sugar, boil all together one quarter of an hour, put into gallipot (small earthen pot) and squeeze thereto a fresh orange, one spoon of which, with a spoon of the pulp of the pippin, laid into a thin royal paste, laid into small shallow pans or saucers, brushed with melted butter, and some superfine sugar sifted thereon, with a gently baking, will be very good.

N.B. pastry pans, or saucers, must be buttered lightly before the paste is laid on.  If glass or China be used, have only a top crust you can garnish with cut paste, like a lemon pudding or serve on a paste. 

This recipe is taken from First American Cookbook – A Facsimile of American Cookery, 1796 by Amelia Simmons.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Research – Onsite at Colonial Williamsburg

Blacksmithing Research - On-site Interview with Kenneth Schwarz

By Carrie Fancett Pagels

I was recently privileged to interview Master Craftsman, Ken Schwarz, at CW. I was referred to him by the Carriage Maker Shop blacksmiths. At this location both wheelwrights and blacksmiths work on site.

One question I had for Mr. Schwarz was – Within a blacksmith shop are the workers specialized?

Answer:  There are skills craftsmen with specialties but almost every activity has an unskilled part that anyone can perform.  Also, within a small shop in a more rural area the blacksmiths would need to know many different skills and less specialized work would be done.
Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmith at Work

When I was observing, I noticed hat the metal rods being used had to be removed from the coal fire of the forge frequently and examined.  I asked why that was.

Mr. Schwarz responded: The color of the metal indicates how hot it is and different metalwork projects require varying temperatures and thus different coloration of the metal. 
                Red = When it first softens, then Orange, then Yellow, finally White when it gets close to (melting) the temperature for welding metal.

I watched as the smiths made an elaborate curlicued potrack.  I had just researched that for my character and found that there were many tools that made the job easier.

However, Mr. Schwarz  told me (and I observed!): You can hammer the curlicues into the metal. 

He added:  At a smaller shop during that time there would be no sense in purchasing an extra tool for such work.  Hammering removes the extra metal – it just falls off.  It also polishes the metal well.  The hammer is essentially squeezing the metal into shape. 
There is a rhythm to the work of blacksmithing.  The worker pulls the bellows from overhead to fan the flame, inserts the metal to a certain heat, then repeats as necessary.  Mr. told me that a rhythm is needed to do the work more quickly and uniform. Making nails in quantity for instance, each nail is almost exactly the same. The blacksmith hardly has to think about it.  With a hinge, if they make them routinely it can be done faster but it still may require up to two to three hours for a large pair of hinges.

He shared that blacksmiths used to be known to sing together as they worked to reflect that pace.  In England there was a lawsuit brought about because of “industrial noise” but it was really about the loud singing!

They were mixing a white powder into the molten metal  that day.  It was Borax.
I asked why?
Answer:  Borax acts as a Flux.  It controls oxidation from forming scale on the surface (iron oxide.)  Borax eliminates the iron oxide and thus helps with welding.

I commented - The men at work were not wearing gloves.  Why not?
Answer:  Gloves do NOT offer protection over tongs.  No glove would have stood up to the heat generated plus gloves would interfere with using the tongs. 

Mr. Schwarz also commented that a blacksmith must have skill in building and maintaining the fire, keeping it at the proper temperature.  I want to thank Mr. Schwarz for all his help!

Here is a great link for an interview CW did with Kenneth Schwarz (and much better than mine since I had some pretty specific research questions!  http://www.history.org/media/podcasts_transcripts/CWPP_KSchwarz.cfm

I live in Yorktown and am fortunate to be able to go out to CW frequently for my writing research. Is there someplace nearby you, maybe almost in your own back yard, that you go to for inspiration or for historical research?  If so, share!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Ye Olden Days: Hold Your Nose, Put on Your Patience, and Have a Seat in the Colonial Kitchen

This summer I had the joy of visiting Old Bedford Village, a colonial site relatively near my home. They have an entire village set up there, and different reenactors there throughout the week. My favorite was the lady in the Biddle House, who demonstrated spinning and how one would work in a colonial kitchen.

We watched her spin some wool onto a walking wheel (also called a great wheel and a wool wheel). This baby's so big that you have to walk back and forth about six feet as you're spinning--hence the name. The wool ends up on a spool, then you detach it from the big wheel and start spinning it onto the weasel, which puts it into skeins. It takes 150 rotations to equal one skein--and because the ingenius creators of this device knew well no one was going to sit there counting to 150 all day, the weasel pops after 150 revolutions. Sound familiar? Altogether now: "Here we go round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel . . ." =)

She then enlightened us on dying fabric in a colonial home. The dyes themselves I was well aware of--for instance, to achieve a rich brownish-yellow, you use the black walnut. For a lovely pale blue, indigo is a dream. What I didn't realize was that the dye doesn't just set in the fabric on its own. You have to add something high in ammonia. And what would Colonials have on hand for that?

Yep. The chamber pot. Apparently the urine of young boys was the best for this--they would collect the, er, sample from the chamber pot, cover it, and set the lovely brew in the corner of the fireplace until it was "ripe"--read, very strong-smelling. Then the dye and wool would join it.

After horrifying some of the moderns in my tour group with this, the reenactor moved over into her kitchen to show us how one crafted a meal in the day.

The Biddle House had a unique feature for a house of the time--a huge fire place taking up almost the entire wall of this house, divided into two sections that meet in a very wide V. The right side is a traditional fireplace, complete with a crane to swing a pot back and forth over the flame. But the left side has a stove top supported on the stone--a very thick piece of iron perfectly fitted to this side of the fireplace. On it you could put your pots, or cook food directly on the surface. Managing the fire underneath for the desired temperature, of course.
They had small, moveable ovens to show us too (bottom corner of the picture of the stove). A larger one for cooking meat, which you put onto a spit so you could rotate it within the metal box. The box was then set up against the fire. Not only would the heat cook the meat facing it, it circulated through the box to cook it all around. The lady showed us a smaller version of the same with a shelf inside it--on here they would bake biscuits and cookies. Three at a time, which means that a traditional recipe for about 2.5 dozen cookies took four hours to make.

And here I am, trying my best to avoid meals that take longer than 30 minutes to make!

by Roseanna White

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with Susan Craft

Susan Craft is the author of The Chamomile, a historic, romantic suspense, a SIBA “Okra Pick”
Published by: Ingalls Publishing Group
Date: November 2011

Susan Craft is also the author of three books: A Perfect Tempest, The Chamomile, as well as Laurel, the sequel to the Chamomile, which will be published November 2012 books.  Her website is http://www.susanfcraft.com

Susan, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
My fascination with the colonial time period, and especially the Revolutionary War, began as a child watching the Disney series about Johnny Tremaine and the Liberty Tree.  I remember responding to an advertisement for the theme song, “The Sons of Liberty,” which I played over and over on my small record player. Just about everything about the time period appeals to me.  A soft glow reflected in a pewter mug, a crisp white mobcap, delicate lace dripping from the elbow of a sleeve, a neatly tied cravat, fiery and impassioned voices arguing over the war, the smell of freshly brewed tea – all of these things stir my imagination.

What inspired your latest colonial work?
I stumbled upon the story about a Charlestown, SC woman who explains to a British officer noted for his cruelty that the chamomile is called the rebel flower “because it always flourished most when trampled upon.”  I thought that could apply to a character as well as to the flower.  Also, when attending a Francis Marion Symposium in Manning, South Carolina, I saw a presentation about the heroism of South Carolina backcountry women during the Revolutionary War. I want people to know more about the type of women living during that time -- women who should be, but are not, included in our history books

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
I would have to say Williamsburg where one can be immersed in all things colonial and be assured of the effort to make things authentic.  I also enjoy Charleston, SC, including the annual visit of the tall ships and being able to step back in time aboard those vessels.

Susan, do you have a favorite colonial recipe you enjoy?  Would you care to share it with CQ readers? 
Lemon Tart
Readers, you can find Susan’s recipe for (Lemon Tart) this coming Saturday on CQ.

Where you do you live and what colonial places do you have in your state?
Susan lives in Columbia, SC.  Not many people realize that of the 118 major battles fought during the Revolutionary War, 67 were fought in South Carolina, and 22 were either led by or participated in by Francis Marion. Susan has been on a bus tour of those battlegrounds.  South Carolinians love to preserve their history, so there are many places to visit: the annual reenactment of the Battle of Camden, fought a five miles from her home; Battle of Kings Mountain in York County; the Andrew Jackson State Park and the Museum of the Waxhaws on the border of North and South Carolina; the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum; and the SC State Museum; and, of course, the historical Charleston, SC. 

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of Susan's new book!

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Unsung Hero of Liberty, Dr. John Clarke

Dr. John Clarke

John Clarke (1609-1676), Pioneer in American Medicine, Democratic Ideals, and Champion of Religious Liberty, by Louis Franklin Asher, reprint 2004.

Publisher: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., Paris, Arkansas

History comes to life when we look through the eyes of the people who lived it. More often than not, those eyes belong to people who were in leadership or held their heads up as victors in some way. But what of the people who fought on the unpopular side? Who were the underdogs or the defeated or chose a path contrary to the norm?

Unless you grew up in Rhode Island, chances are you have never heard of or know little about Dr. John Clarke, both a pastor and a doctor who played a significant role in developing the notion of freedom of religion.

Dr. John Clarke lived in a time of religious upheaval. The Puritans sought to purify the church of the workings of Catholicism, King Charles I was behead because of his religious position, Oliver Cromwell took leadership of England with passionate opposition to Catholicism, and in Massachusetts the Puritans ruled with an iron fist, determined to make this new land more holy than England.

An environment that no doubt influenced Dr. Clarke’s thoughts on government, religion, and liberty.

This book gives an extensive look at this colonial patriot, considering his social, political, and religious role in the development of our beloved American republic. Louis Franklin Asher said, “John Clarke of Rhode Island was the initiator of democratic ideals in New England, he was an explorer in New England medicine, and he played a seminal role in establishing religious freedom in the Rhode Island colony by initiating it and legally upholding its practice.” (p. xi).

From this work, I glean a picture of a kind man who loved the Lord enough to risk everything to please Him, and a man dedicated to serving his people.

Dr. Clarke gave medical attention to Anne Hutchinson, a woman who would later be expelled from Massachusetts for her religious beliefs. He was not, however, an Antinomian, the movement Anne Hutchinson started. He was clearly Baptist and openly opposed to the Puritans.

“As a Baptist, Clarke boldly exposed the intolerant, but widely acclaimed, Puritan church/state structure and publicly denounced their covenantal baptism as unfounded by the Scriptures. He unflinchingly charged the New England clergy as unbaptized and unordained usurpers of the true Christian ministry and maintained that their churches were improperly constituted and governed.” (p. 22).

United Baptist Church, Newport, Rhode Island. Est. 1638, Dr. John Clarke's church

Dr. Clarke did not stay long in Boston before moving with a group to Portsmouth, Rhode Island then to the location now known as Newport. In this place, we see him employ his passion for freedom for the good of the community.

Events and people stirred his concern over the future of this new colony, and provoked him into playing a significant role in creating the first colonial democracy. “As a servant of the people, Dr. Clarke would steer the colony toward a government of unprecedented civil and religious liberty—convinced that any other move would be in the direction of a self-centered autocratic theocracy.” (p.35).

When Charles II ascended the English throne, Dr. Clarke pleaded via petition for the king’s sympathy and support for the colony’s pursuit of freedom. This led to a charter for the colony defending the liberty of conscience:

“…in their humble address, they have freely declared that it is much on their lively hearts (if they may be permitted) to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full liberty in religious concernments…That our royal will and pleasure is, that no person within the said Colony, at any time hereafter, shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any difference in opinion in matters of religion…freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments,…” (p. 79).

I was first introduced to Dr. Clarke when I read of the arrest and trial of Obadiah Holmes. Dr. Clarke was also arrested, and he defended himself at the trial, embarrassing the court with his ability and knowledge. Such a man, it seemed to me, was worth studying.

For me, this character of history stirred a passion to not only study early American history, but also to understand how persecuted Christians endured the trials they faced.

Today many perspectives are given on what freedom of religion should be. Many of these perspectives are given without fully understanding the players who worked to give us that freedom. Dr. Clarke is an unsung hero of this freedom.

“From the beginning of Clarke’s settlement in Aquidneck, he advocated a political and religious philosophy, a government by and for the people; further he stood up for a distinctive civil and religious freedom.” (p. 91).

Dear readers, have you heard of Dr. Clarke? How do you think this little-known man shaped the course of history?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Ye Olden Days: Smoked Hams

Smoke house, Wheatlands Plantation
By Lori Benton

Salted smoke-cured ham. Ham biscuits. Country ham gravy. Those are tastes from my childhood I miss. My maternal forbears raised hogs and smoked their hams since, I suppose, the first of them left England and came to the Virginia/North Carolina border area in the early 1600s. My grandfather moved his family north to Maryland in the 1950s, built the house where we were raised, and never went back to farm life, aside from turning every available plot of ground around our house (and a few he hacked from the nearby woods) into a productive garden. But every so often he and my grandmother would travel south to visit family in southern Virginia and come home with a country ham, which would hang in our shed, all crusty brown and promising. How wonderful those rare dinners when all the cousins gathered and that ham was featured as the main course.

As a child I had no idea why that ham from Virginia tasted different--and so much better to my way of thinking--than the sweet hams we bought at the local grocery. Researching my first eighteenth century-set novel, Kindred, was like exploring bits of my childhood I'd taken for granted, those faint echoes of eighteenth century lifeways that had lingered into the 1970s, the era of my childhood. My characters live on a small tobacco farm in the piedmont, as did my ancestors, and grew corn and raised hogs as well as tobacco to feed their family. All my forebears older than my parents passed on before I began my novel research, but my mother has childhood memories of plucking alarmingly ugly worms off the tobacco leaves and making her own "stick" of leaves to hang in the curing barn. She and I both will never forget those smoked hams.

Tyson McCarter Place. Smoke house at left, corn crib right.
Hog butchering was typically done after the first cold snap to help preserve the meat, often not until November or even December. The hams and other cuts of meat were first rubbed with a salt mixture (sometimes mixed with molasses and pepper or other spices) and allowed to cure for a few weeks. Then the meat was hung inside the smokehouse on hooks or suspended by rope from the rafters. Fires were built directly on the ground if it was a dirt floor, and had to be carefully maintained for the entire smoking process. Woods like hickory or apple flavored the meat, and the end result  produced a crust that kept away insect pests. Some families built their smokehouses with plenty of ventilation, while others built them tight, to trap the smoke.

One of the best set of books I can recommend for writers researching aspects rural or mountain life like hog butchering are the Foxfire series. With titles like Ghost stories, spring wild plant foods, spinning and weaving, midwifing, burial customs, corn shuckin's, wagon making and more affairs of plain living, and Animal care, banjos and dulcimers, hide tanning, summer and fall wild plant foods, butter churns, ginseng, and still more affairs of plain living, how could anyone interested in mountain life, or eastern rural life in past centuries, not feel like they've found a gold mine in these books?

~smoke house photos by Brian Stansbury, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 10, 2011

Interview with Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is a member of Colonial American Christian Writers and a contributor on Colonial Quills.  She has just released her newest book - Highland Sanctuary.
Published by: Abingdon Press
Date: Oct 2011

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is also the author of Highland Blessings (Abingdon Press, 2010).  Her website is http://www.jenniferhudsontaylor.com

Jennifer, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina where one of the great battles of the Revolutionary War occurred between the British and the colonials. (http://www.nps.gov/guco/index.htm) As a result, my hometown is actually named after the colonial General in that battle, Nathanael Greene who fought Lord Cornwallis. For as long as I can remember, my dad took us out to the Guilford Battleground Park for their annual re-enactments. Imagine my excitement when as an adult I began researching my family history and discovered we had ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, as well as Quaker ancestors who lived right there where they were fighting on their land and they cared for both the British and the colonials and buried them together. Yes, there will be another story from my family history coming—I can feel it!
When my dad talked about the history of our country, his voice was so animated it became contagious for me. He spoke about it in a way that brought patriotism to my heart and a spirit of pride for my country and how much our ancestors must of sacrificed for us to have what we have today. I’m very grateful to my dad for that.

You have some upcoming releases set during colonial times, besides this new release set in the 15th century. Can you tell us about them?
I have some colonial works coming out -  a novella entitled “Highland Crossings” in the spring and another 3-book series I’m working on which won’t release until 2013.

Note: Jennifer is also an author in this 19th century Spring 2012 release:

The Quakers of New Garden (Romancing America)

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
Yes, so many! In my home state of North Carolina, I love to visit Old Salem, (www.oldsalem.org) the Moravian colonial village that is a living re-enactment year round. My favorite time of the year to visit is in the fall when all the leaves are changing and they have lots of activities going on. I enjoy their colonial shops, museums, their tavern, their book store, and especially their bakery, which still bakes things in their old-fashioned colonial oven. You can watch them do this and buy what they make. Everything tastes so good, their breads, cookies, cakes. Their tavern has excellent food as well.

What other colonial places are there in your state?
I live in North Carolina so as one of the original 13 colonies, our state abounds in colonial history. In addition to Old Salem and Guilford Battleground Park, we have New Bern with the Tryon Palace in New Bern, the first capital of our state and where the governor lived. (http://www.newbern.com/tryon/)  We have several surviving plantations. If you’re interested in some of these plantations, I’ve written about them here: http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com/p/historical-research-tidbits.html

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Jennifer’s new release Highland Sanctuary, which I am reading and really enjoying!  You can choose Kindle or paperback.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Martha Washington's Colonial Chocolate

Martha Washington's Colonial Chocolate

George Washington’s Favorite Hot Chocolate.

4 Tablespoons Cocoa
Small amount Of Cold Water
2 Cups Water
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Cups Milk
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Small amount Of Cold Milk
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Mix Cocoa And Cold Water To A Smooth Paste In A Saucepan. Stir In The 2 Cups Water, Sugar And Milk. Bring To A Boil And Blend In Cornstarch Which Has Been Dissolved In The Cold Milk. Boil 3 Minutes Longer.
Remove From Heat And Set In A Warm Place. Beat Egg And Hot Water Until Light And Foamy. Pour Half Of Egg Mixture Into A Pitcher. Blend In Vanilla Extract. Add To Chocolate Slowly. Pour Remaining Egg Mixture Over Top. Serve.
 Submitted by Carla Olson Gade

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Newspaper Clips - Duty, Honor, and Liberty

Baron von Steuben

Writing historical fiction takes a love for history. As an author, I find the lives of people from the past fascinating. Perhaps because they lived so differently than today.

I found the wording from this clip from 101 years ago in my local newspaper interesting.

101 years ago - A congregational meeting was held at the Evangelical Lutheran church last night. The resignation of the pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles F. Steck, to

take effect January 31, 1910, was read and accepted. “Our beloved pastor, Rev. Charles F. Steck, D. D., having received a call to labor in another portion of the Master’s vineyard, and having announced his desire to accept that call and tendered his resignation as pastor of this congregation, to take effect on the last on January, 1910.”

I am always curious as to the history of such people. When I read these clips, I often wonder about their lives. So, I did a bit of research on Rev. Steck and this is what I found. Apparently he went on to labor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Epithany in Washington, DC and was the minister that gave in invocation to the unveiling of the statue in memorial of Baron von Steuben who served Washington during the Revolution.

There is a congressional book about the unveiling that is interesting. Here is what is printed within its yellowed pages.


German societies take part in big parade — Chorus of 1,000 voices is heard in patriotic songs — Miss Helen Taft draws cord — Addresses by the President, the German Ambassador, and Representative Bartholdt, of Missouri.

Delegations from New York in weather perhaps as bleak as that which enfolded the cheerless camp of the great commander in chief at Valley Forge, when barefoot Colonials tracked their course in blood over the pitiless snow, the United States of America, 133 years later, this afternoon, at the Capital of the Nation, unveiled the statue of Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand, Baron von Steuben, the adjutant general of the armies of Frederick the Great, the friend of Washington, and the great inspector of the Colonial Army that wrested its independence from the British Crown.

Surrounding the tribute of bronze were thousands of Von Steuben's countrymen, proud of heart and exultant at the honor conferred upon their great representative, who, in his time, conferred honor upon their adopted country and gave to it all the force of his military wisdom and skill in its fight for liberty. Not the barefoot and disorganized stragglers of the patriotic Army of long ago, but officers and troops of an Army and Navy second to none in Christendom, were gathered with them, while on all sides Americans to the manner born joined with all in the tribute to the memory of the great man who yet lives in the proudest annals of their native land. After a ringing chorus by nearly a thousand voices of the Northeastern Singers' Association and the invocation by Rev. Dr. Charles F. Steck

By: Rita Gerlach
Homepage: http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com/
Blog: InSpire: http://inspire-writer.blogspot.com/
The Daughters of the Potomac Series coming to bookstores in 2012.