"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 14, 2017

This Month in Colonial History: August

May I present the August edition of interesting and notable happenings during the colonial and early Federal eras ...

1:  Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), composer of “The Star Spangled Banner,” is born.

1:  The first U.S. Census is completed. There are four million people in the U.S. in 1790.

1:  Slavery is abolished in Jamaica, where it had been introduced by the Spanish in 1509. (1838)

2:  Most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress sign the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia. (1776)
1490 map by Bartolomeo and Christopher Columbus
3:  “Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it was an outlying Japanese island.” (1492)

4:  Dom Perignon invents champagne. (1693)

5:  First British colony in North America claimed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in the St. John’s harbor area of Newfoundland.

5:  Birth of John Eliot (1604-1690), "Apostle to the Indians." The first Bible printed in America was his translation of the Bible into a native language.

6-10:  The Constitutional Convention’s Great Debate. Outcomes included the establishment of a four-year term of office for the President, granting Congress the right to regulate foreign trade and interstate commerce, and the appointment of a committee to prepare a final draft of the Constitution. (1787)

7:  President Washington creates the Order of the Purple Heart. (1782)

7:  Through an Act of Congress, the Federal Government takes over the creation and maintenance of the nations' lighthouses. (1789)

8:  The Daughters of the American Revolution organization is created. (1890)

10:  The village of Chicago is incorporated. (1833)

12:  Metacom, leader of the Pokanokets, a tribe within the Wampanoag Indian Federation, is assassinated, resulting in the end of a two-year uprising known now as “King Philip's War.” (1676)

16:  The Battle of Bennington in Vermont ... local militiamen and Massachusetts troops wipe out a detachment of 800 German-Hessians sent by British General Burgoyne to seize horses. (1777)

16:  The Battle of Camden in South Carolina ... major defeat for Continentals under General Gates by troops of British General Charles Cornwallis, resulting in 900 Americans killed and 1,000 captured. (1780)

17:  Birth of American frontiersman Davy Crockett (1786-1836) in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Died at the Alamo.

18:  Birth of Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) near Charlottesville, Virginia.

24:  St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris and throughout France. Thousands of Protestant Huguenots died at the hands of Catholics. (1572)

24-25:  The Battle of Bladensburg, in defense of Washington, D.C. The Capitol, White House, and many other buildings, public and private, are burned by the British in retaliation for the American burning of York (Toronto). Participants in the defense of D.C. include a 100-man detachment from the Marines. (1814)

28:  Birth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, author of the dramatic poem Faust, completed in 1831.

28:  Birth of the first American-born Roman Catholic saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821; born as Elizabeth Ann Bayley) in New York. Founder of the first American Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, and the an elementary school in Baltimore, marking the beginning of the parochial school system in the U.S in 1809.

29:  Birth of John Locke (1632-1704) in Wrington, England. Son of Puritans, this physician, philosopher, and essayist would deeply influence the Whig cause of England and all of Western thought.

29:  Sinking of the British battleship Royal George, resulting in the drowning of 900 men. (1792)

29:  Birth of physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

30:  Birth of author Mary Shelley (1797-1851) in London.

31:  Beginning of Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts, by ex-Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays leading an armed mob, to prevent the Northampton Court from holding a session to try and imprison debtors, mostly poor ex-soldier farmers. (1786)

As always, my thanks to The History Place, Holiday Insights, and Marine Corps University. And Wikipedia. :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Museum of the American Revolution

I recently visited the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia which had its grand opening in April of this year. It really was a wonderful museum which depicted the War of Independence from its onset to its glorious victory. It was thrilling to see the familiar, as it began with an exhibits in Boston and Lexington and Concord. After all, I grew up in Massachusetts and had heard all about this all my life. But to see artifacts and such, I felt honored to be there. All in all, there was a broad overview of the Revolution, yet so many details were highlighted. I enjoyed the fact that representations of all peoples, nations, and genders, involved were exhibited. What impressed me was that throughout the museum what they did was not only tell the story of the American Revolution, but stories of the people involved. It was truly fascinating!

Here are a few photos so you can have a peek inside, of course there is so much more to see. Perhaps you can visit sometime. It is definitely worth the trip! (Be sure to click on the images to open up to a larger size to read the text on some of them.)

In the entrance of the Museum of the American Revolution are displayed these costumes which were worn in the TV drama, Turn. Although, I do wish they'd get mannequins with wigs and hats and boots. :)

The exhibits were all on the upper level, with the gift shop, etc. on the lower. A beautiful art gallery was in the upper rotunda. There were two theaters upstairs. These presentations included the Battle of Brandywine and one with an actual view of George Washington's war tent (sorry, no photo).

Pulling down King George III's Statue
The above depicts bringing down the statue of King George III. On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read in publicly in front of George Washington in New York City. A crowd went to Bowling Green in Manhattan where the angry mob pulled down the King's statue no longer willing to serve the crown.

Liberty Tree exhibit. Photo credit Blue Cadet.
  This stunning exhibit has a beautiful, life size Liberty Tree in the center. All around are stories and artifacts that help explain why Independence became such an important issue for the people and what measures they took in peaceful resistance to England before the war began.

Continental soldier
Joseph Plumb Martin left his grandsire's farm in Connecticut wanted to prove that he was as "warm a patriot as the best of them" and joined the thousands of teenagers in Washington's Army.

British soldier

Snowball fight at Harvard Yard
  This scene depicts George Washington breaking up a snowball fight at Harvard Yard among Continental soldiers during the Siege of Boston in 1775. The fight started when the young soldiers from Marblehead, Massachusetts saw the white, ruffled and fringed shirts of a unit of Virginians pass by and ridiculed them. Gen. Washington, needless to say, showed up at that moment and put an immediate stop to the hurling of insults and snowballs!

Francis Merrifield Bible
I was impressed by this Bible in the New England Soldiers exhibit. It belonged to Ipswich soldier, Francis Merrifield, who immediately after surviving the Battle of Bunker Hill inscribed the following:  "Cambridge June 17, 1775. I desire to bless God for his Kind apirince [appearance] in delivering me and sparing my life in the late battle fought on Bunker's Hill. I desire to devote this spared life to His glory and honour. In witness, my hand, Francis Merrifield."

Brothers Charles Wilson Peale and James Peale were both portrait artists. James served as an officer and served in the Maryland Continentals. His unit has suffered severe casualties at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights. When James reunited with his brother on the banks of the Delaware, Charles barely recognized him.

American prisoners kept at the State House in Philadelphia, PA.
During the early months of British occupation, a detachment of British grenadiers lived in the lower level of the State House (Independence Hall). Nearly 70 captured and wounded American officers were held on the floor above. Civilians who visited the prisoners were deeply affected by their suffering. Many Quaker women would bring food, drink, and medicine to the prisoners. Despite this, Quakers were often accused of harboring Loyalist sympathies since they were pacifists.

Hessian soldier

British Dragoons
Native Americans allies or foes?
 Some Native Americans allied with the British while others fought alongside the Americans.

We desire you will hear and receive what we have now told you, and that you will open a good ear and listen to what we are now going to say. This is a family quarrel between us and Old England. You Indians are not concerned in it. We don't wish you to take up the hatchet against the king's troops. We desire you to remain at home, and not join on either side, but keep the hatchet buried deep." —The Second Continental Congress, Speech to the Six Nations, July 13, 1775

Generations of Revolution
 This wall of Generations of Revolution in Photographs includes those who have made a difference in the cause of liberty in our nation's history. The large picture on the right with the man in the bicorne hat is of George Fishley. His photograph was taken along with thirteen other last men of the American Revolution, also featured here. This exhibit closes with mirrors at adult and child height to peer into and see a reflection of another generation of those who can influence revolution for liberty!

I hope you enjoy this little tour of the Museum of the American Revolution. Have you had a chance to visit it yet? What other historical museums have you visited that left a lasting impression on you?

New Englander Carla Gade writes from her Victorian home in central Maine. With ten books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Tory's Daughter - Hearts at War book 3!

Hello, all! I was glancing over past posts and one year ago to the week was my cover reveal for book 2 of my Hearts at War series. I am very excited to now introduce you to book 3 which will release this winter!

Burying his wife is the hardest thing Joseph Garnet has ever done. Then he is called to leave his young son and baby daughter to fight Iroquois raiders. When Joseph tackles one of the marauders trying to steal his horse, the last thing he expects is to end up tussling with a female. The girl is wounded, leaving Joseph little choice but to haul her home to heal—an act that seems all too familiar.

Though Joseph doesn’t appear to remember her, Hannah Cunningham could never forget him. He rode with the mob that forced her two brothers into the Continental Army and drove her family from their home—all because of her father’s loyalties to The Crown. After five years with her mother’s tribe, starvation and the rebels have left her nothing but the driving need to find her brothers.

Compelled by a secret he’s held for too long, Joseph agrees to help Hannah find what remains of her family. Though she begins to steal into his aching heart, he knows the truth will forever stand between them. Some things cannot be forgiven.

The Tory's Daughter is set in 1781 and takes us back to the Mohawk Valley where our story started with The Scarlet Coat. If you haven't began this series, I hope you pop over to your favorite book distributor and take a look. :) 

Barnes & Noble           Indigo/Chapters         Amazon 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Colonial Kitchen Gardens by Cynthia Howerter

Colonial kitchen gardens, sometimes also called house gardens, were found on nearly everyone's property in the American colonies during the eighteenth century. People who lived in rural areas as well as those who lived in small villages had them. Even the magnificent Royal Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia had one. Why? Nearly everyone was responsible for growing and providing their own food because there were no grocery stores. Farmers markets were only available in the largest cities. These gardens were a critical source of food, providing the family with an assortment of produce and herbs growing right outside the kitchen. A cutting garden with annuals and perennials was sometimes included within the kitchen garden.

Colonial kitchen garden

Eighteenth century kitchens were usually located in a detached building behind the house. Because the colonies were mostly rural and agrarian, residences generally had enough land adjacent to the kitchen for a garden that provided the household with fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

Below is an example of a kitchen garden divided into plots for vegetables, herbs, and cutting flowers. Walkways made from stone, crushed shell, wood planks, or brick were sometimes placed in the garden, making it easier to avoid stepping on plants and to keep one's feet from getting dirty when walking through. In the photo below, a brick walkway has been installed and a bench has been placed in the flower section. I can envision a gardener resting on it or myself sitting there reading a book. Can you?

Vegetables and cutting garden 

The kinds of vegetables grown depended on the climate, soil, and the type of plants that thrived in those conditions. Most kitchen gardens produced a variety of produce.

Chard and beans are planted in this section of the kitchen garden

These gardens were usually enclosed with a fence to prohibit stray farm animals and wildlife from eating the produce before it could be harvested. Depending on the area and the availability of supplies, a fence might be as simple as twigs woven around branches driven into the ground or as decorative as a painted picket fence. Sometimes dense shrubs, such as boxwood or holly, encircled the garden and served as a fence.

A picket fence encloses this garden

Vegetables grown might include asparagus, cabbage, carrots, chives, collard greens, figs, onions, peas, peppers, pole beans, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, squash, string beans, turnips, and others.

Green peppers, squash, and pole beans alongside a gravel walkway

Fruit trees were either included within the kitchen garden, in a flower garden (as shown below), or in a nearby orchard. Depending on the climate and available space, one might find apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, and quince trees. These fruits were eaten fresh and preserved for dining over the winter months.

Fruit trees planted in a flower garden

Herbs were an important inclusion in these gardens. Not only did herbs add flavor to foods, they were also used for healing purposes. In the eighteenth century, medications were made from herbs and plants. Most housewives knew which herbs and plants treated various common physical ailments and needed to keep a ready supply in case of illness. Rosemary, for example, not only added flavor to soups and meat but could also be used to treat headaches and other physical ailments. Some pleasantly fragrant herbs, like lavender, were used as scents for the body and as room fresheners. The herb garden pictured below is behind the village apothecary shop. You can see several perennial herbs growing. More were planted once the danger of frost was past.

The apothecary's herb garden

Gardeners have always known that one of the secrets to an abundant harvest is rich soil. Compost from kitchen and farm waste was added to the ground, as can be seen by the dark earth in the photo below. Alongside the picket fence, we can also see the last of the daffodils in the spring cutting garden. Annual flowers that bloom from spring through fall will soon be planted there. Some of the cut flowers will provide fresh arrangements for display inside the house while others will be dried and used in arrangements that will be admired throughout the winter months.

A cutting garden graces the interior perimeter

Some gardeners kept bees in or near the kitchen garden for pollination purposes as well as the benefits of having honey and beeswax for candle making. Below is a photo of an eighteenth century bee keep. Gardeners would have placed several of these in their garden.

Gardeners would use multiple bee keeps in their garden

All photographs ©2017 Cynthia Howerter

Award-winning author Cynthia Howerter loves living amidst Virginia's rich history. She frequently visits historic sites, accompanied by her wonderful husband and trusty camera. She enjoys sharing her photographs in her articles, believing that topics are more interesting when one can see them.

Are you going through difficult times or know someone who is? Do you need encouragement to get through a tough situation? There's nothing like true stories from people who have been in your shoes and succeeded, especially when things looked hopeless. You can purchase a copy of the award-winning non-fiction anthology book that Cynthia co-authored, God's Provision in Tough Times, from Amazon by clicking  here > God's Provision in Tough Times   Available in paperback and Kindle.

Monday, July 31, 2017

That Day I Visited the French and Indian War.

With our upcoming Barbour novella collection, (and yes I'm writing on deadline...right now!) it was a perfect opportunity for me to finally visit Fort Niagara during their encampment dedicated to the French and Indian War.
Okay, this I did this for my granddaughter who is fascinated with wolves. This is a wolf pelt (head to tail) which I am wearing. So, of course I needed a musket to fend off those of you who would deign to mock me (for being entirely out of fashion as I protect The Castle)

Fort Niagara has been a fort since early in the 1700s when the French built in along the Great Lakes waterway. The French and Indian war saw it transferred to the British. By the revolutionary war, Fort Niagara (on the east side of the Niagara River) became an American point of defense with the British Fort George across the river!

Here's a map of the area:
The Niagara  River flows from Lake Erie in Lake Ontario  and is the border between present day Canada and the U.S, (See Buffalo, Tonawanda and Youngstown). At the northern end, Fort Niagara guards the mouth of the river.
During the Fourth of July holiday, I made the two hour trip to get an idea of what a full encampment would look like, and also to grab some photo opportunities. There's nothing like visiting the setting of a story and my upcoming novella, A HEART SO TENDER, part of Barbour Publishing's BACKCOUNTRY BRIDES is set in 1764 Fort Niagara during the Great Gathering of Nations by Indian Agent Sir William Johnson. I can definitely get lost in research but I'll spare you and just share some photos instead!  You'll hear more about this important decade in "American" history over the next year.
From inside the southern blockhouse, I could look inside the fort where sutlers and the French Army camped. The large building in the distance, closest to the lake, is 'the Castle', the most important and largest of the buildings.

This gentleman uses gourds and grasses to make decorative baskets. I love the authenticity of the vendors and their devotion to history.

It was a low-humidity, lovely day by the lakeshore. The  castle to the right and an artificer's barracks to the left. Artificers were the builders and tradesmen who 'fixed' things for the soldiers
A weaver discusses his choice of wool with this impressively attired gentleman who magnificently showed of the clothing and attire of his ancestors! He also was good at 'pulling my leg' when I asked if I could take their photo. The woven belts were important parts of  the clothing of Frenchman and First People alike.

A young French soldier awaits the British attack.
While Fort Niagara hosts a number of events throughout the year, this was my best opportunity to visit an encampment focusing on the events prior to the setting of my novella.  I hope to capture the flavor of the day and your attention!
While I knew that Author Michelle Griep had visited Fort Niagara the day before, I didn't know at the time that she was also there on the same day, researching for an upcoming novel.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the event, or Fort Niagara. I'm excited to bring it to you, fictionally, in the fall of 2018, along with the stories from my fellow Colonial Quills authors.

For more: visit DebraEMarvin on FacebookAmazon,Twitter, webpage and pinterest.
This week I have a new book release - The Case of the Clobbered Cad, an amateur sleuth mystery set in 1956 Edinburgh for fans of "The Girl Detective."  The ebook is up for pre-order and the paperback will be available later this week. Learn more here!