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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

John Adams, The Danger to Our Liberties

We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.
 John Adams, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

When training a horse in a round pen, my initial goal is for the horse to, by its own freewill, follow me. The horse's flight instinct sends it around the pen, looking for a way out. I stand in the middle, with whip in hand, quietly waiting for the horse to stop running and turn to look at me. If it stops running but turns its hindquarters to me, it feels the bite of the whip, which sends it around the pen again.

Once the horse stops and looks at me, I will not move. I will talk softly to it, and as soon as its attention is off me, I send it around the pen again. After several rounds, the horse learns that the most comfortable place is to stand looking at me.

Then I begin my approach. If the horse bolts, it feels the kiss of the whip until it stops and looks at me. Eventually the horse learns that the safest place is next to me. Yes, it has the freedom to run away. There are no ropes about its neck forcing him to do my bidding. But by its own freewill it follows me like a dog and soon allows me to touch it everywhere.

I learned this training technique when I was fourteen. My little mare, Ginger, and I became such fast friends that I would dance with her in a ten acre pasture, her attention fully on me while I ran this way and that. She'd follow my every move. Through my teen years she was my closest and dearest friend, and we'd play for hours in the field.

My sister had a mare, Smokey, who never learned to stay close. At the first chance, she'd take flight. As a result, her freedom was limited. She'd be driven into the smallest pen and held there until we were finished with her. She had a wrong perception of freedom.

We humans can be very much like Smokey. We race around the pen either trying to avoid God or thinking that an escape from the whip of the slave master (sin) would be to work harder at finding that hole in the fences of ritual or human traditions that would bring us peace. But God stands in the center, calling for our attention, waiting for us to come to Him by our own freewill.

Our works cannot save us from the whip of sin nor can they manipulate God into doing our bidding. God stands in the middle of our pen desiring to extend to us His abundant grace, to give us the joy of being His friend and faithful follower.

John Adams spoke of our freedoms as citizens of America, but spiritually the freedom from sin Christ gave us is in danger when we lose sight of why we follow certain traditions or why we make certain applications of our faith. Not that we would lose our salvation, but that we would lose the fellowship we could have with God if we relied on our works to earn the blessings of God. By faith in God's grace we receive salvation, and by faith in His grace we live in His good pleasure to perform what works please Him.

Smokey was a rather contrary horse. Even the other horses didn't like her. She received fewer favors from us because of her nature. Yes, she'd follow rituals at feed time, when moved from pasture to pasture, and in her general care, but almost every aspect of working with her was more difficult than with Ginger, even though the two mares received the same training.

When I look at my own life, I can see times when I've gone through the motion of serving the Lord, but in truth I was serving myself. I'd look for those escape routes to do as I pleased (under the guise of serving God, of course) and would feel the sting of the whip. I'd run about looking as though I was working for the Lord, expending great energies for God, thinking that these efforts would bend God's will to my favor. Yet, all along God stood in the center waiting for me to come, lower my head, and allow Him to pour upon me His abundant grace and the joy of following His plan, not my own.

I have learned that the place of greatest freedom, of perfect peace, of tremendous joy, is when I willingly follow God's leading, dancing with Him in the pastures of life even as Ginger would with me.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 
I John 1:7

Friday, September 28, 2012

Colonial Fort Michilimackinac by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Fort Michilimackinac
Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan, was where I conducted on site research this past summer. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, where Lake Huron meets it in the straits of Mackinac, this National Historic Landmark features reenactments from British 1770’s occupation and the American Revolution.  Surrounded by a stockade wall, this treasure has continued to expand with more exhibits each time I have visited. (I am originally from upper Michigan.) 

Location: Mackinaw City sits at the middle of the top of the “mitten” of lower Michigan. Northeast is Mackinac Island, round island and east is Bois Blanc Island. 

Bark teepee outside Fort Michilimackinac
Outside the fort, native peoples would have had their encampments, particularly during the summer seasons when trading was done. The men trapped and hunted and the women skinned the animals.  Note the otter skins hanging to the right of the teepee and left of the birch trees.  By the way, beautiful silver birch trees grow up north and birch wood was often used to make canoes.  
French Métis  re-enactor and Carrie Fancett Pagels 
On my visit to Fort Michilimackinac, I was able to speak with Susan, a former librarian and wonderful fellow history fanatic, who portrayed a French Métis woman of French-Chippewa heritage.  She had beaded most of her clothing herself and had also created her own Ojibway jewelry.  

Below is a picture of the amazing beadwork on her moccasins.

She showed me (I’m a fellow beader) how the porcupine quills were used in necklaces, forming kind of a hollow tube, through which string can be run. I had not realized porcupine quills were hollow.  To be used, the ends have to be cut. 

The fort was reconstructed to preserve the area’s history and depicts life in the early years of Mackinac City under European influence.  

The French courier du bois and voyageurs  met in this area for fur trading with the native Americans, several tribes being predominant in the area, e.g., Ojibway and Hurons. Traders would travel all the way from Montreal to the straits of Mackinac each summer.

Commander DePeyster's house.
Inside the fort are many buildings to be investigated, such as the British commander's house, portrayed at the left. The fort was under the occupation of the French for a long time and there is a building set up to serve as the priest’s quarters.  This was one of my favorite buildings because it held copies of baptismal records, and from those records I got kernels to start some new stories growing. 

All of this area was under the control of the French until after the French-Indian War. The British then took control of Fort Detroit and Fort Michilimackinac.   The British operated very differently than the French as far as interacting with the Indian tribes. Their callous disregard for following native customs resulted in problems, including Pontiac’s Rebellion, which I will be posting about this winter. British soldiers had reason to be wary of their new post!
In letters written home, the British soldiers complained greatly of the cold and deprivation.  But they played games, told stories, wrote letters, and participated in religious services like soldiers do today. However, unlike the French, who often blended into the communities, intermarrying with the Ojibway women, the English were more or less occupiers rather than integrators. 

One of the treats those early settlers had, that we still enjoy today, was of viewing the gorgeous sunsets.  The skies around the straits are bluer than anywhere I have been. So do yourself a favor--if you are in Michigan, head up to this National Treasure and enjoy all that Fort Michilimackinac has to offer! And expect some more posts from me in the coming year about Colonial Michilimackinac and nearby Mackinac Island, where American troops captured the British fort during the American Revolution.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Though I'm not quite the die-hard my mother and sister are, I do enjoy a fine shopping trip. And do you know what I enjoy more than just a fine shopping trip? I fine shopping trip in which I find bargains!

While researching for my two Colonial or early Federal books, I had fun exploring the shopping world of the late 18th century. Learning about fashion babies and fustion, pin money and Chalmers shillings. But one of my most fun discoveries was vendues.

Have you ever heard of these? I hadn't, until reading Washington's Spies by Alexander Rose. One of the historical figures he talks about (and who also appears in my Ring of Secrets) apprenticed in a store called Templeton & Stewart in the City of New York. T&S had two divisions--an upscale one in the fashionable district of the city, and then a vendue across from the city's red light district, Holy Ground. 

I would have scratched my head upon reading that, had Mr. Rose not gone on to explain what this "vendue" thing was. Apparently it's much like a discount store today. When there was either overstock or damaged goods in a regular store, they would send it to a vendue, where the goods were either auctioned off or marked down.

Apparently there was some grumbling when Templeton & Stewart opened a vendue, from owners of other retailers. But they were soon happy to see that it didn't detract from their clientele--that two different sets of people shopped in these two different kinds of stores.
It's no surprise, I suppose, that as long as people have been exchanging hard-earned coin for goods, they've been trying to get the best deals. But it's always fun to learn that discount stores (not unlike my favorite shopping location in my home town) have a long and rich history. And though I didn't find a time to really explain what these stores are in Ring of Secrets, I did slip a mention of them into the final chapters. =)


Roseanna M. White grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, the beauty of which inspired her to begin writing as soon as she learned to pair subjects with verbs. She spent her middle and high school days penning novels in class, and her love of books took her to a school renowned for them. After graduating from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, she and her husband moved back to the Maryland side of the same mountains they equate with home.
Roseanna is the author of two biblical novels, A Stray Drop of Blood and Jewel of Persia, both from WhiteFire Publishing (www.WhiteFire-Publishing.com), Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland from Summerside Press, and the upcoming Culper Ring Series from Harvest House, beginning in March 2013 with Ring of Secrets.
She is the senior reviewer at the Christian Review of Books, which she and her husband founded, the senior editor at WhiteFire Publishing, and a member of ACFW, Christian Authors Network, HisWriters, and Colonial American Christian Writers. She is a regular blogger at Go Teen Writers, Colonial Quills, and her personal blog.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest Review by Diana L. Flowers of Rita Gerlach's "Beside Two Rivers"

Beside Two Rivers 
by Rita Gerlach
Book 2 in the Daughters of the Potomac Series 
Abingdon Press 2012
5 stars  *****

Riveting Historical Fiction!
In “Beside Two Rivers,” Rita has penned a gripping, beautiful, emotionally charged literary saga--that takes us from the waters of the Potomac River in Maryland, to the lush, green, sheep-filled hills of England.

Darcy Morgan lives with her kind aunt and uncle, and remembers little of her mysterious childhood, and the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her parents. Filled with an adventurous spirit, Darcy loves her life along the beautiful Potomac River, filled with forests, bubbling creeks, and a vast array of wildflowers and raspberry bushes. Always giving vent to her exploring nature, she wanders too far out in the river and is swept away to certain death, until she is rescued by a handsome stranger, Ethan Brennan.

Ethan has come to Maryland from England to purchase a stallion, accompanied by his lady friend, Miss Roth, who clearly makes it known to Darcy that she and Ethan have an understanding. Ethan is quite taken with the lovely Darcy, however, and is shrouded in secrets concerning her that he cannot reveal. As he returns to his home in England, he takes Darcy's broken heart with him for she has quickly fallen in love with him.

Soon Darcy is summoned to her grandmother's home in England--Havendale, a place that is permeated with secrets. Who is the mysterious vagabond with the familiar eyes that Darcy keeps seeing around her grandmother's property?...and who is the beautiful lady living at Ethan's home?...who remains isolated within its walls. What evil and treachery wind its way around Darcy and Ethan, and will it prevent them from ever being together?

In this exciting, heart-pounding sequel to Before The Scarlet Dawn, Rita Gerlach has once again written a literary masterpiece, and is now among the top ten of my favorite authors! As always, Rita surrounds the reader with such beautiful imagery one is immediately drawn into another place and time, not wanting to come back until that last satisfying page is read.

Filled with the message of God's love and forgiveness, romantic tension, and heart palpitating excitement, this is one not to miss. Because it is a sequel, I would recommend (though not necessary), reading the first book as well, to get a better feel for all the characters in the book. And as with all of Rita's books, make sure to keep the tissues nearby...you're going to need them!

Fabulous, Rita Gerlach!

Thank you, Net Galley, and Abingdon Press, for providing a copy for review.  

Guest Bio: Diana L. Flowers is Senior Reviewer on Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help.  An avid reader, Diana's reviews have been quoted on numerous Christian fiction blogs.  Diana helps manage her husband's business and is a mother and grandmother. 

Rita's website: http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com

Before the Scarlet Dawn, book 1  

Beside Two Rivers, book 2

Beyond the Valley, book 3 (pre-order, release Feb. 2013)

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The Inspiration of Christian Music
Janet Grunst

Music is a gift from God that can inspire, heal, encourage, and comfort. Hymns, and their lyrics, often reveal a story about the author, or at the very least something that has impacted them significantly. The music is often created from some deep place within their soul, restless to be released in worship of the God who generously gives solace, sustenance, and salvation. The writing of the hymn can be a cathartic balm to whatever trial the author has, or is enduring. Some religious music can unveil pure adoration in recognition of the magnificence and mercy of God and some Christian music has done more to spread the gospel than sermons by great Theologians.

Horatio Spafford expressed the comfort God brought him when he penned “It Is Well With My Soul” after the loss of four daughters in a tragic accident at sea. John Newton, a slave trader, authored “Amazing Grace” after his conversion, and later ordination, as a testament to his redemption by God’s amazing grace.  

Do you ever have a tune, often with its lyrics, that repeatedly plays in your head? Lately, an old hymn penned by Robert Robinson has been running through my mind. Here’s the hymn, with its two versions, followed by some information about its origin.

Come, Thou Fount 
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what do I inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Scripture Reference ~ I Samuel 7:12 

“Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called it the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

Author ~ Robert Robinson  1735-1790
Robert Robertson
After his father’s death, when he was only eight, Robert Robinson’s behavior became so challenging that his mother sent him to London to apprentice as a barber. While there he pursued a life of drinking and gambling; until, at the age of seventeen, he attended a meeting where George Whitfield was speaking. The evangelist’s words haunted him until he was twenty when he gave his life to Christ in 1755. Soon after his conversion he was called to the ministry. It was 1758 when he was preparing for a sermon that he wrote "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". He was only twenty-three when he based this hymn on 1 Samuel 7:12, acknowledging God's faithfulness. Later, lapses in his faith, behavior, and dabbling in Unitarianism seem almost prophetic in the stanzas: "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;" There is a story that he heard a woman humming his hymn, and when she asked what he thought of it, he emotionally responded that he wished he had the feelings he had when he penned the hymn.


Composer ~  John Wyeth  1770-1858

John Wyeth
John Wyeth, from Massachusetts became a printer and newspaperman in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Within a year, George Washington appointed him postmaster, a post he kept for five years.

Little is known about his musical background except that he possibly had music lessons as a child. His interest in psalmody may have originated only as an amateur, but he had an appreciation and an interest in collecting sacred music, and the business sense, and printing experience to envision a need for developing a hymnal. In 1813, he published "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Songs.

Tune ~ “Nettleton”

The tune, “Nettleton”, was named for Asahel Nettleton an American Reformed theologian and pastor, from Connecticut, who was influenced by the Second Great Awakening. Nettleton’s primary focus was on ministering to heathens as he traveled as a missionary throughout the states.

This hymn, like so many others, has endured the test of time, ministering to people’s hurts and inspiring their hopes for generations.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth About Colonial Bordellos & Brothels

For my upcoming series entitled, The MacGregor Quest, I needed to research colonial bordellos and brothels for the first book in the series. You may be wondering how that topic would work for an historical Christian fiction novel, but think along the lines of Redeeming love by Francine Rivers and Revealed by Tamera Alexander. While both of these novels were set much later in the 1800's, The Forbidden Conquest will be set in 1760, a century earlier. (Note: This title could change.) As a result, I struggled finding detailed sources for this time period.

Most of what I've gleaned is this, American prostitution was rare and practiced casually rather than through organized set-ups. Taverns as well as the theater were often hubs of prostitution. Once in a while, tavern owners were prosecuted for operating disorderly houses and the penalty was a small fine or a few lashes. In the early 1700s, Cotton Mather, a Boston minister, tried to form a group to oppose brothels, but due to public indifference the attempt was abandoned.

By the mid-1700s, the American colonies began to grow along with maritime trade, bringing increasing numbers of trading ships loaded with sailors and seamen. Once they received their pay and a few free hours, their first priority was to explore the port cities and have some fun in an effort to relieve their stress. Of all the colonial cities with brothels such as the port cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Newport, the city of Charleston had more of a reputation for being wicked. It contains a long history of streets lined with bordellos and brothels, the most famous was Chalmer St. In contrast, Charleston was also known as the Holy City for it's religious tolerance of varying faiths and a growing number of churches.

Colonial brothels didn't openly promote their business, as this would have drawn the attention of puritans and religions organizations who would have tried to shut them down. Therefore, this practice doesn't leave much research behind for us to follow today. Many patrons learned about taverns from fellow shipmates and by word of mouth. Men were almost never prosecuted for soliciting prostitutes, and these women were rarely brought before a judge. Police officers often protected brothels in exchange for money, food, or other payments, which would sometimes result citizen riots and the burning down of brothels. 

Prostitution was more typical in the larger seaport cities such as Charleston, Philadelphia and New York than small towns and villages like Williamsburg. For prostitution to flourish, a community needed a decent amount of people and would have possessed more women than men. When there are more men than women, the women tended to marry.

A few examples of Colonial prostitution include:
In 1707 Colonial Williamsburg, a local blacksmith was charged with keeping a whore in his house and absenting himself from the church. He was convicted and fined 5 shillings for missing church, but nothing about the woman was recorded.

In 1710, Susanna Allen opened a tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, and soon she started appearing court for various offenses. In July 1713, she was charged with keeping a married man in constant company and keeping a disorderly house. The disorderly house charge was dismissed, but she was fined 500 pounds of tobacco to the parish of Bruton for the use of the parish. The married man wasn't charged with anything. The court renewed Susanna Allen’s tavern license each year until her death in 1720.

In November of 1741 in York County, VA, Rachel Rodewell and Joan Clarke were presented by the county grand jury for keeping disorderly houses. Rodewell’s house stood on the main Street near the Capitol, but her case was dismissed since it was in Williamsburg. Joan Clarke was found guilty and required to give bond in the sum of £10 and her securities for £5 each for her good behavior for a year and day.

In 1753 Boston, Hannah Dilley pled guilty to permitting men to resort to her husband's house, and carnally to lie with whores. She was sentenced to stand on a 5-foot stool outside the courthouse and hold a sign describing her offense. Even Benjamin Franklin admitted to hiring his share of strumpets, but nothing more is known of his activities or where he hired them.

As General of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, groups of women followed the army and were referred to as camp followers. They assisted the troops with wound care, cooking, laundry, and prostitution. Sexual diseases became so common among the soldiers that the army began deducting pay as punishment.

The Pink House
For one of the settings in my book I chose to use The Pink House, built in 1690 Charleston, SC. It was a colonial tavern, but is now used as an art gallery. It is located on Chalmer Street, where many of the taverns of bordellos and brothels existed. It is rumored that prostitution occurred at The Pink House and it fit perfectly in my story.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lynn Squire: Random Thoughts on Horses, by Nathaniel Griffin

'Tis a joy to see you again, my good friends. I see ye are watching our foals. They are a fine bunch. My uncle would say, "'Tis a fine field of foal colts ye have there." Aye, ye are right. They are not all colts. Some are fillies, a filly being a young female horse. But ye see, just as you or me may refer to a person as 'he' so me uncle, and many like him, refer to no particular foal as a 'colt', or 'foal colt'.

Did ye know that historically a 'colt' only referred to a young ass or camel? 'Tis true, I'm told.

Now ye see that chestnut, or red colored, one kicking up his heels? My uncle swears that all chestnuts have fire in their bellies. And the bay--brown body, black mane and tail--he claims those are lazy. Well, 'tis only a guide, not the rule, but I must admit I've experienced enough to say there might be something to it.

Did ye pass by my barn on the way here? Did ye happen to see my son's bidet? If ye don't know, a bidet is a pony. That one my uncle bought from a miner as a gift for his nephew.

'Tis interesting the sayings that use horses. Just the other day I heard someone speak of a man being hanged from the gallows. The good man said, "The fool was destined to ride a horse that was foaled of an acorn."

Of course my uncle never tires of telling me, "No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth." And my neighbor, he says, "He ne'er consider'd it, as loth to look a Gift-horse in the mouth."

Two acquaintances of mine in London  have taken to nailing horseshoes above the door of their houses to prevent witches from entering their homes. Methinks I'll but me trust in God to protect me.

That small gray in the pen next to the garden is a jennet. Aye, 'tis what my grandfather would call a small Spanish horse. One of his dobbin, or farm horse, was bred to a Spanish horse and foaled a colt as small as that gray, yet as strong as an ox. 

My brother-in-law, Davis Owen, had the privilege of going to a manege, or riding school. That was before the English Civil War. His father, a royalist, lost everything, including his life. But 'twas my sister's good fortune. Davis came to Rhode Island to escape Oliver Cromwell. Now I benefit from his excellent training. Before he came, I was frequently unhorsed (thrown from my horse).

Now would ye look at that sun. It's lowered itself to the horizon. I best get my courser, the large horse behind me barn, unhitched and fed. He'll need a good curry, or rub down, as well.

May God richly bless you in your travels, my friends, and may your trotters give you a good ride home.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Carla Olson Gade

Carla Olson Gade

Carla Olson Gade is the author of Carving a Future, featured in Colonial Courtships, Published by: Barbour Books, October 1, 2012. Carla is also the author of The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter.  Her website is http://carlagade.com

Carla, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
This ties into another question you ask about colonial places in my home state. I am originally from Massachusetts where I was surrounded by its rich colonial heritage. My 350 year old home town of Wrentham was bought from King Philip for a sum that included a Holland shirt. Some of my favorite spots are Boston, Plymouth Plantation, and Olde Sturbridge Village. I have many first settlers in my family tree from Essex County, Massachusetts and plan to take a genealogy and book research trip there soon.  I now live in Maine (part of Massachusetts in colonial days) and have done some research in York County where more first inhabitant ancestors settled, also a place I plan to write about. There are a several colonial era forts in Maine and many sites to visit throughout the state.
What inspired this colonial work?
The old New England town of Glassenbury (as it was called then) along the Connecticut River, which is the largest and longest river in New England. In the 18th century it was famed for its shipbuilding and trade. When I planned the setting, I knew it would be the perfect spot for the The Red Griffin Inn, the home to the four Ingersoll brothers. My hero, Nathaniel, is a journeyman ship’s figurehead carver—a fascinating trade that I wanted to write about.

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
I adore Colonial Williamsburg! It truly brings 18th century history to life and I enjoyed every moment I spent there last year. (By the way, I had the best tour guide ever…Mistress Carrie!) My research for Colonial Courtships extended to another favorite place, Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport, and a visit to the charming town of Glastonbury, Connecticut, which provides the setting for the book.  This town hosts more 18th century houses than almost any other town in America and is truly a site to behold. I saw many homes of true historical persons that I included in my story, and that was quite a treat!

Carla, do you have a favorite colonial recipe you enjoy? 
At the end of each story in Colonial Courtships you’ll find a colonial recipe. That’s four recipes in this book. Carving a Future features Muster Day Gingerbread, a treat that was served within the story.  It is a personal favorite of mine!

Giveaway:  Carla has provided a book to give away. 

Colonial Courtships is available at CBD for pre-order. Also available on Amazon and through other book sellers

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Be courteous to all but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation."
GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter, Jan. 15, 1783 

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel." Proverbs 27:9
While I write this I am sitting in a hospital waiting room while a dear friend undergoes surgery.  Before they pushed her rolling bed down the hall we spent three and a half hours enjoying each others company. We are notorious for doing silly things like take several turns around a parkade on the same level because we're talking so much we missed the ramp to the next level. When we discovered our mistake we had to pull off to the side to gain control of our 'bursting at the seams' laughter.

My friend and I have laughed and cried together. We've mourned the loss of loved ones and been there for each other when no one else would stand beside us. Only a few people come into your life that you can call, as Anne of Green Gables say, "a bosom friend".

At times in my life, however, I only had the Lord. No truer friend could there be than Him. Wherever you go, He is there. No matter what happens to you, He is ready to stand with you. He's never too busy. Yes, your sin can hinder your relationship with Him, but He is always quick to forgive and forget when you ask Him. What a wonderful friend He is.

While I've been blessed by the true friends my Lord has given me, I have experienced the abundant grace of the Lord. Because of that grace and the love He has shown me, I'm learning day by day how to be a better friend. Through His grace, I can show grace to each person I meet and to those few intimate friends He's given me. To Him be all glory and honor and praise.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." 
John 15:13-14

Friday, September 14, 2012

The incredible life of James Forten – Black man and privateer!

You may not realize that not every black man was a slave before the Civil War. In fact some were very successful businessmen. James Forten was born in 1766 near Dock Yard in Philadelphia. His parents taught him to read and write and raised him as an Anglican. When his father died, James went to work at only 9 years old cleaning local shops to support the family, but soon world events were to change James’ life dramatically.

Outraged over unfair British taxation, the colonies convened the Continental Congress and declared their independence in James’ home town. Soon after when the British occupied Philadelphia his “young heart was fired with the enthusiasm. . .of the patriots and the revolutionaries.”  Though he was too young to go to war at the time, in 1781, James pleaded with his mother to allow him to join the crew of the American privateer, Royal Louis, captained by Stephen Decatur.  She finally relented, but being not yet fifteen, James would only earn half a share of any prizes taken. Of the 200 crewmen, only 18 were black.

The Royal Louis was a very successful privateer, capturing many prizes. However early in October 1781, they were captured and boarded by the HMS Amphion. Because of his black complexion, James feared he’d be sent to the West Indies and doomed to a life of slavery, but God spared him that fate when the Captain of the Amphion took  a liking to James and kept him aboard as a companion to his young son.  Captain Bazely even offered James a chance to go to England with his son and get a good education, but the young boy replied, “I have been taken prisoner for the liberties of my country, and never will prove a traitor to her interest.”  

Perhaps he should have taken the man up on his offer for soon James was delivered to the HMS Jersey a fourth-rate ship of the line that had been transformed into a floating prison. These prison hulks were death camps, crowded, filthy and disease ridden. Another prisoner described the stench as “far more foul and loathsome than anything which I had ever met with on board that ship, and produced a sensation of nausea far beyond my powers of description”

Below decks there was no heat or light, no privacy or fresh air, very little food and water, and no warm clothing. Some 11,000 men died during their imprisonment on the Jersey.

Finally after the British surrendered at Yorktown, and 7 months after coming on board the Jersey, James Forten was released. He “reached home in a wretchedly bad condition, having among other evidences of great hardship endured, his hair nearly entirely worn from his head”

After he recovered, he served on board a merchant ship, spent a year in London when he turned 18, and then upon his return to Philadelphia, became an apprentice to Robert Bridges’ sail loft.  Hard working and proficient, he became the foreman by age 20. Robert Bridges took the lad under his wing and taught him everything he knew. James was such a valuable worker, that Bridges purchased a 2-story brick house for James and his family. Six years later, Bridges retired, and James took over the business. By 1805, he had 25 apprentices, most of them white, in addition to his full-time employees.  He soon married and had nine children

By the 1820s James was one of the most influential black men in the country. He was six feet tall and witty. Liberty for all people was very important to him, and he fought against slavery and for equal rights most of his life.  When he died in 1841, his estate was valued at $67,106. 

A friend of James spoke of him:

Mr. Forten was a gentleman by nature, easy in manner, and affable in intercourse; popular as a man of trade or gentleman of the pave, and well received by gentlemen of lighter shade. He was very genteel in appearance, good figure, prominent features, and upon the while rather handsome than otherwise

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, MA

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

My ears perked up when my husband beckoned me into the family room: “Hon, come watch the Kirk Cameron movie, ‘Monumental.’ He’s talking about the Pilgrims.”

What? I had heard about the movie but knew nothing about it except its title. Quickly drawn into watching this documentary about the beginnings of our country, I was especially surprised when Mr. Cameron visited a huge edifice. It was a monument to honor these enterprising heroes who traveled thousands of miles to obtain the freedom to worship God without having to bow to the king of England.

 I was stunned.

Even though I have visited Plymouth to see the landmarks like the Plimouth Plantation and the replica of the Mayflower, I knew nothing about this 81-foot tall monument set on the summit of a hill. And it turns out that I am not alone. Most visitors to Plymouth are surprised to find out about this amazing architectural creation. It used to be readily visible, yet tree growth over the years has all but obscured its presence. It now stands in the middle of a housing development. According to visitors that have actually seen it, viewing this granite monument is a breath-taking experience.

The National Monument to the Forefathers is the largest, freestanding granite monument in the world. But if its size is not impressive enough, the design itself is awe-inspiring and speaks to the faith-filled beginnings of this nation of America. In fact, the central figure of this statue is the 36-foot-tall woman named “Faith.” Her feet stand on Plymouth Rock and her finger points upward toward heaven.

Surrounding Faith are four figures: Education (with Wisdom on one side and Youth led by Experience on the other), Law (attended by Justice and Mercy), Morality (between a Prophet and an Evangelist holding the Ten Commandments in one hand and the scroll of Revelation in the other), and Liberty (with Peace flourishing and Tyranny overthrown). Just the description takes your breath away!

There are bas relief images surrounding the base of the monument depicting the Pilgrims’ history. They include images of the travelers leaving Delft Harbor in the Netherlands, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the landing at Plymouth Rock, and the treaty with Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampanoags.

 This incredible memorial was birthed through the efforts of the Pilgrim Society in 1820—just 44 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Its purpose was to be a tribute to the “memory of the virtues, the enterprise, and the unparalleled sufferings of their ancestors.”

 The National Monument to the Forefathers was designed by artist and architect Hammatt Billings from Milton, MA. The creative Mr. Billings designed other monuments as well, some beautiful Victorian mansions, and even the illustration for the cover of the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

 The cornerstone for the Plymouth monument was laid in 1859. The $150,000 needed to fund the endeavor were provided by the Federal Government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of Connecticut, and 11,000 individuals. One of those individuals was then President Abraham Lincoln. There is an archived copy of the receipt for his donation of ten dollars.

The construction for the project was put on hold soon after the laying of the cornerstone, due to the onset of the Civil War. Unfortunately, Billings, who died in 1874, never saw the final memorial since it was not completed until 1889.

 According to Paula Fisher, Director of Marketing and Group Services at the Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau, there are believed to be about three million Mayflower descendants in America today (including Paula and myself). But whether descended by blood or by belief in the desire to worship freely, we can all celebrate the memory of the Pilgrims and the stance they took for religious liberty. The National Monument to the Forefathers is a stunning symbol of that declaration.

The next time I visit Plymouth, it will be at the top of my “must-see” list.

The 400th Anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims is right around the corner in 2020! It should be quite a celebration.

(Photos courtesy of Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Laura Frantz and Joan Hochstetler - Tea Party - and giveaway!

This week on Colonial Quills we're celebrating the release of Love's Reckoning and Crucible of War with authors Laura Frantz and Joan Hochstetler!

Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell

On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. Liege endeavors to keep him in Lancaster by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master's beautiful daughters. Which one will claim Silas's heart--In this sweeping family saga, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

Crucible of War by J.M. Hochstetler
Crucible of War
J.M. Hochstetler
Publisher: Sheaf House

When she returns to New York, Elizabeth Howard is drawn ever deeper into the intrigues that swirl around British General William Howe. Brigadier General Jonathan Carleton is transferred to Gates's army in the upper Hudson Valley where his old nemesis, British General Burgoyne closes in on Saratoga. With decisive battles looming on both fronts, Elizabeth and Carleton face a crucible of war that tests their mettle, faith, and the very limits of their love.

Please join us in celebration of these two releases at the Golden Plough Tavern in York, Pennsylvania. And if you like, come in one of the characters from either book, or someone from the American Revolutionary period.

Golden Plough Tavern Placard

Enjoy the delectable treats offered at the cozy Golden Plough Tavern; twice as delicious when served on these beautiful dishes!

GIVEAWAYS:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.   Winners' choice of choice of format* for a copy of  Love's Reckoning and Crucible of War. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format not as a paperback. Drawing for books will be Tuesday evening 9-11-12.  

An 11"x17" print of "Rose and Lantern" by Pat Iacuzzi will also be given away. 

"Rose and Lantern"
Copyright: Patricia Iacuzzi 2012

And a lovely colonial pocket, filled with soaps from Colonial Williamsburg, will be given away. These latter two gifts will be drawn late Saturday 9-14-12 (winners within the United States, only, for these two gifts.)

WELCOME to our Colonial Quills Tea Party for these two lovely ladies, who helped get the Colonial American Christian Writers started, two years ago!  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Under God we are determined that, wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever, we shall be called upon to make our exit, we will die freemen."  
Josiah Quincy (1774)

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." II Timothy 4:7-8

This week in my personal devotions I have been reading through The Revelation of St. John the Divine (aka Revelation). How sweet my read last Sunday morning:
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 4:10-11

How sweet to feel the Holy Spirit as I read those words. To, in my spirit, feel the pleasure of worshiping the Lord, and the precious hope of one day bowing before the Lord I love and worshiping with the angels, and to lift my voice with them and say:

"...Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:13b

A very dear friend of our family is dying of cancer. She has only days left to live. Each day we pray and wonder if today may be the day God calls her home. We will miss her terribly. Yet, we know for her to go home to be with her Lord, to be free from the pain of cancer and the strains and worries of this life, is the greatest blessing she could ever receive.

None of us know when we will die. In my twenties I had a doctor tell me I could die at any time, if I was not careful. I've lived more than twenties years since then. I will go when God calls me home. No sooner. No later.

I'm thankful for the life I've had here on earth. What a trip! God has given me experiences few people have ever had. He's let me travel and meet people many have never met. He's shown me places few people ever see. He's been there beside me, revealing Himself to me, helping me to learn more about this glorious and wonderful grace and love He bestowed on me. Each sorrow, each trial, each failure, each tribulation brought Him and His grace in clearer focus.

When I make that final leg of the trip from this life into the next, I'll go rejoicing. I can't wait to see my Saviour's face and to cry in a loud voice:

"...Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Revelation 5:12b
 To God be all glory, and honor, and praise!

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Revelation 21:4 

Friday, September 7, 2012



Statue of Pocahontas
at Jamestowne
The story of Pocahontas that most of us learned as children is very different than the story I heard a few years ago when we relocated to within eight miles of Jamestowne/Jamestown, VA. I found out from a friend that her husband is the Mattaponi Indian tribe historian, one of the two remaining tribes of the Powhatan nation.  Several years ago, Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and his coauthor Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star” published the sacred oral history of The True Story of Pocahontas. Her story was hidden for four hundred years by her people for fear of potential retribution. Their treatise explains the motives behind the myths as well as a reasoned explanation of their version of her story.

Dr. Custalow explains that the Algonquian tribes of the Virginia Coastal Plain did not have a written language so the oral history was passed down through quiakros (Powhatan priests) within each of the tribes in a “strict and disciplined manner to maintain accuracy”. These Mattaponi elders were venerated and protected leaders to ensure their story would be truthfully told.

The English version of her story primarily comes from the writings of Captain John Smith. However, there are significant differences in the Powhatan and John Smith/English versions of the Pocahontas story: Here are a few:

Her birth and family:

Smith/English Version - Pocahontas was born to one of many alliance wives.

Powhatan Version – Pocahontas, whose original name was Matoaka, was born to Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca, the paramount chief of the Powhatan chiefdom, and Pocahontas of the Mataponi, who died in childbirth. Pocahontas’ mother was his first wife, the wife of choice and the one he loved. Other wives were alliance marriages, temporary unions meant to unite the 30 plus tribes under one paramount leader and to increase the Powhatan nation. Matoaka was later called Pocahontas to honor her deceased mother. As the last child of her mother she became particularly favored by her father.

Relationship with John Smith and English:

Smith Version –Pocahontas wandered freely through the Jamestowne/Jamestown settlement and risked her own life by to save his when he was in the midst of a four day ceremony making him werowance, a “secular chief” of the English tribe.

Powhatan –Pocahontas was ten years old and did not live near Jamestowne. As the chief’s beloved child, she would not have wandered freely but always been under protective supervision. She was often with her father when he was in the midst of the English so she would be familiar to Smith. The Powhatans accepted the English as another tribe, even making Smith werowance. During these ceremonies, in which quiakros would have been involved, children were not present. In addition to not being present, there was no need to save Smith’s life as his life was not in danger.

Pocahontas kidnapping:

English Version– Pocahontas was kidnapped and held for ransom by Captain Samuel Argall when they learned that she was staying with a northern tribe. She was to be kept as a bargaining tool, to get what food they wanted from the Indian nation and to ensure their well being. The English at Jamestown were trying multiple methods to make their venture profitable to continue to validate their presence and ensure that financing of Jamestowne continued from the Virginia Company and the crown.

Powhatan Version–Pocahontas had come of age, and for her protection and to keep her away from the “English” tribe that had grown greedy in their demands and usurpation of land, she was married to a warrior, Kocoum, brother of the chief of the Patowomac (northernmost tribe). While in his village she and her husband had a son. In order to protect his village from the English threats, the Patowomac chief collaborated with Argall and allowed him to kidnap Pocahontas. Argall gave the chief a copper pot to make it appear that the girl was given up for material goods. Sometime after she was kidnapped, Argall’s men returned to the village and killed her husband. Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca paid the ransom for her release, but she was not returned. He was reluctant to mount a rescue attempt for fear of endangering Pocahontas.

Pocahontas conversion and marriage:

English Version – Pocahontas was transferred to a location near present day Richmond where she was instructed in the English language and ways, and taught about Christianity. She was told that her father would not meet her captor’s demands. When Pocahontas grew depressed, a request was sent to her father to send one of her sisters. During Pocahontas captivity she became acquainted with John Rolfe, an English colonist who had learned how to cultivate tobacco from the Powhatans. A pious widower, Rolfe wanted to marry Pocahontas, but required her conversion to Christianity. She was baptized, took the name Rebecca and was married to Rolfe.

Powhatan Version – Her father sent Mattachanna, the sister who raised her, and her husband, Uttamattamakin a priest of the highest order and an advisor to Pocahontas’ father. Nothing is known of what happened during Pocahontas captivity until her sister and brother-in-law arrived.  When they were reunited, Pocahontas informed Mattachanna that she had been raped and was pregnant. Mattaponi history suggests reasons why they believe someone other than John Rolfe was the father. Pocahontas’ feelings were unknown, but as Powhatan royalty, she probably saw the alliance as helpful to her people and that would have been very important to her. Pocahontas gave birth to Thomas Rolfe sometime later.

Pocahontas travel to England and death:

Pocahontas & Thomas Rolfe
The Sedgewood Portrait
English Version – John Rolfe, Pocahontas and Thomas Rolfe, and some Powhatans (including her sister and brother-in-law) traveled to England to demonstrate the potential profitability of tobacco, thus assuring continued support for the Virginia colony. Pocahontas was presented to the crown and society, thereby assuring England that relations with Native Americans were positive. In March of 1617, shortly after departing England, Pocahontas suddenly became ill and died. Rolfe requested the Captain make port at the closest church, St. George’s Church at Gravesend, where she was buried. The English attributed her death to pneumonia or tuberculosis.

Powhatan Version – Samuel Argall, her captor, was the Captain of the ship the Rolfe family traveled to and from England. Not yet on the open seas, Pocahontas and Rolfe dined in the Captain’s quarters. After returning to her room, she immediately began vomiting, and told her sister “that the English must have put something in her food”. Mattachanna tried caring for her but Pocahontas went into convulsions. Rolfe was summoned and she died within minutes. After her funeral, young Thomas Rolfe was given to relatives of John Rolfe in England to raise. The ship, passengers and crew continued their voyage to Virginia. Pocahontas was in good health when they left England. It is believed that she had gotten information of schemes to dethrone her father and take the Powhatan land, and that she would share that knowledge with her people. Mattaponi sacred oral history believes she was poisoned, but they do not know by whom, or how many people were involved. Chief Powhatan grew despondent and had to be relieved of his responsibilities. He died within a year. Some descendants of the Indian son Pocahontas bore are still alive today. Her son, Thomas Rolfe, was raised in England and returned to Virginia as an adult after John Rolfe was deceased. His descendants number among many prominent Virginia families.