September Tea Party winners: Angela Couch's winner is Beverly Duell-Moore, Shannon McNear's winner is Teri DiVincenzo, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winner is Janet Grunst's winner is Kailey Bechtel, Naomi Musch Rita Gerlach's winner is .Congratulations, all! Please private message your e-mail or mailing address to the authors.

Friday, December 4, 2020

How the Beaver Wars Aided European Conquest of North America (PLUS a Free Novel Download)

Last month, I began a series about the historic fur trade on the American continent, introducing it as the trade that shaped the colonies. To our modern way of thinking, it may seem strange that trapping was such a powerful force on the developing continent, but for many decades, the rush for fur drove the North American economy and pushed nations that had colonized along the ocean shore ever deeper into the interior.

The fur trade began among the indigenous people of America themselves. Native American tribes had been trading among themselves for untold numbers of generations, and often the currency was furs. Meanwhile, the Europeans source for fur was often Russia or Scandinavia. After Europeans began expanding their interests here on this continent, it wasn't long before war broke out between Indian nations seeking to establish alliances that would help them monopolize their own powers of trade. These wars that went on intermittently throughout the 17th century, but principally from 1650-1655, became known as the Beaver Wars.

The Beaver Wars are a study in themselves. It was a period of time when the powerful Iroquois confederation sought to expand territory and control the fur trade. They established a pact among themselves that they called "the Great Peace"; however, against their enemies, the Iroquois--led by the powerful Mohawk--carried on their own form of genocide. They either brutally killed their enemies or else took them captive, absorbing them into their tribes. The Iroquois were supplied with firearms by their allies, the Dutch (and later on, the English). 


Meanwhile, the Iroquois' Algonquin enemies--remnants from tribes like the Neutrals, Tobacco (Tionontati) Erie, Susquehannock, and others who were allied with the French--had no guns, only missionaries who lived among them, attempting to convert them to Catholicism. To flee massacre, they were pushed further inland, seeking refuge along the shores of the western Great Lakes. Even there, however, the Iroquois nations sought their destruction. The Mohawks, in particular, were known for the ferocity of their raids. (The Dutch used the Mohawks as weapons of terror against the French and Hurons, while at the same time keeping a wary, untrusting eye on these so-called allies.) There is more that can be said about the Mohawks. They were the last tribe to negotiate peace, as they held out the longest in trying to hold the reins of the fur trade with the Dutch. But the Mohawk's power grab ultimately led to fractures in the Iroquois confederacy. (This after further wars and manipulations.)

While the Mohawks achieved a monopoly on trade with the Dutch, they were unable to gain control of any of the trade with the French in Montreal. The French had turned their attentions further west toward the Ojibwa nations. These included the Chippewas, Missisaugas, Ottawas, and Potawatomis. These people, along with the Miami, gave the French access to lands still rich with furs, so much so that the French government was highly motivated to support them in their confrontations against the campaigns of the Iroquois. 

With French support of the Ojibwe and Miami, the Iroquois went on to suffer heavy defeats in present-day Michigan and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, English warships sailed up the Hudson to claim New Netherland in 1664. The Dutch surrendered New Netherland along with Fort Amsterdam and the town of New Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan. With their political collapse on the continent, the Mohawks lost their special powers of alliance. This further weakened the Iroquois league, though it didn't break it completely. Nevertheless, as a consequence, both England and French conquest in North America was strengthened.

At the end of the Beaver Wars, the internal struggles between Indigenous nations to secure the power of trade only weakened them and served the ends of the Europeans rather than they themselves. 


Have you been attending this 3-day party, happening now? If not, come join me and a host of authors (40 in total!) for a Christmas Extravaganza, December 3rd, 4th, 5th.

AND Saturday through Monday, December 5th-7th, you can download my historical novel The Green Veil FREE!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, and pray God's peace and blessings upon you in 2021!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Father Marquette Burial Site St. Ignace Michigan

Where Father Marquette's Remains Rest 

by Carrie Fancett Pagels

This past summer, while researching some novels, I had the privilege of staying in St. Ignace, Michigan, which is not far from where I grew up. Situated in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, St. Ignace sits partially on Lake Michigan and also Lake Huron, with a beautiful bay in downtown. Michiganders know it as the place they first arrive (unless they've made a stop on Mackinac Island) in the Upper Peninsula. The Mackinac Bridge spans the gorgeous water here between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas.

Situated in downtown St. Ignace, is the Museum of Ojibawa Culture. This is a great place to visit when you are in the U.P.  I am ashamed to admit that I did not know that this famed priest's remains are at this location, with a lovely monument to the Jesuit priest.  

The St. Ignace Mission, established by Father Marquette in 1671, ministered to the Native Americans in the area. This is a beautiful area on the shores of Lake Huron and Father Marquette requested that when he died, he wished for his remains to be returned to area. I can't say I blame him. When Father Marquette died, at a relatively young age only 37 years old, he was quite a ways from St. Ignace. His body was buried but later disinterred and brought back to the place he requested to be buried. 

If you get a chance, on your next visit to Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula, stop by the Museum of Ojibwa Culture and also visit Father Marquette's burial site, adjacent to the left of the structure in a beautiful little park.

Question: Do you visit burial sites other than for immediate family? What has been the most touching site you've ever visited?

Monday, November 16, 2020

America's Oldest Unsolved Mystery: Solved?

"The Lost Colony," Sheppard & Linton
 A few months ago I wrote about America's earliest colonial history (including a post about French Huguenot efforts and the conflict with Spain), and I referenced Janet Grunst's post on the Lost Colony. For much of this year I've been awash in research on this particular slice of history, in preparation for my upcoming novel, Elinor, first of a new series titled Daughters of the Lost Colony. What an amazing journey it's been so far!

Shortly after my visit to the Outer Banks, I discovered Scott Dawson, an author native to Hatteras Island, where many believe the Lost Colony settlers removed to after leaving Roanoke Island. Frustrated with Lost Colony myth, much at odds with local history, Dawson embarked upon a quest to prove what so many already suspected: that after John White, governor of the first official English colony on American shores, unhappily returned to England to plead their case to Raleigh and the court of Queen Elizabeth I, the settlers took shelter with their own known allies of the time, the Croatoan tribe. These were the family and people of Manteo, the Native American who accompanied the previous two expeditions between England and the New World, and who later accepted baptism into the Christian faith and the title of "Lord of Roanoke." (See more at the Wiki article on the Roanoke Colony.)

Eventually aided by an archaeological team out of England's University of Bristol, Dawson chose a site and started digging. (He stated in a recent online talk I attended that his grandmother told him where to dig.) In his recent book, The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island, he describes the years-long process, and the layers of artifacts encountered, as well as artifacts and clues from other sources. The main thing he wanted to prove, he says both in the article "The Lost Colony Wasn't Really Lost" from the Outer Banks Voice and the recent talk, is that when John White returned in 1590 and saw the word "CROATOAN" carved head-high on a tree, there was no big mystery on where the colony had gone, at least not in the immediate sense. White had given them very clear instructions on how to leave word, and he knew this referred to both the people and the place of their residence--what is now known as Hatteras Island. There was no trace of any mark that would have indicated distress or trouble. The colonists had known before White's reluctant departure for England that Roanoke Island would not support them, and their best chance for survival lay with the only people who might be sympathetic to them, people who knew well how to fish, hunt, and make a good living from the Outer Banks.

If this seems disappointing and anticlimactic, well, it really isn't. There is still plenty of scope for adventure and mystery. Many historians, Dawson included, discuss the likelihood of division among the settlers, and the possibility of some moving to the mainland. Until very recently (the Dare Stones notwithstanding--more about those later!), there was no solid evidence as to where they might have gone. Just a couple of weeks ago, however, I found the article "Lost Colony Moved Inland," from Coastal Review Online. I am eager to see more on this effort!

In the meantime, take a gander at Scott Dawson's group, the Croatoan Archaeological Society. Fascinating stuff for us early American history geeks!

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Heir of a Scottish Earldom and General in the Continental Army

 Who would have thought that an American Patriot, A Lord of the British Empire, served as a General in the Continental Army?

When Henry the first Earl of Stirling died his son, James Alexander was the rightful heir, but he fled Scotland in 1716 after taking part in the Jacobite Rising and settled in New York. James never claimed the title, but upon his death, his son William Alexander became heir to the Earldom of Stirling. Sometime after 1756, William sought and claimed the title by a Scottish Court. But the House of Lords overruled the claim and granted Alexander the title of Lord.

William Alexander, Lord Stirling was a colonel in the New Jersey colonial militia when the American Revolutionary War began. A wealthy man, he supported the Patriot cause by outfitting his unit at his

own expense. He distinguished himself early and by March of 1776, he was appointed a brigadier general in the Continental Army. That same August, while commanding the 1st Maryland Regiment he fought and lost the Battle of Long Island. He was taken prisoner, but his heroic actions allowed General George Washington's troops to escape.

He was eventually released in a prisoner exchange and promoted to major general. General Washington held Lord Stirling in high regard and while detained on personal business for two months placed Lord Stirling in command of the entire Continental Army. Stirling learned of a conspiracy of discontented Continental officers seeking to remove Washington as Commander-in-Chief and replace him with General Horatio Gates. He exposed the treachery to General Washington.

This Scottish American major general, one of the highest-ranking generals under Washington, also fought in the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.

In 1781, when Washington and the French took their joined armies south for the Battle of Yorktown Stirling commanded part of the Northern Army left behind to guard New York. He was a heavy drinker, suffered poor health, and died in January 1783 only months before the end of the war. William Alexander Lord Stirling was buried at Trinity Church in New York City.    

What’s the story about titled Americans?

The original thirteenth amendment that was almost ratified in 1812 addressed that very issue. Here’s the text of the proposed Titles of Nobility Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”

Had it passed the current Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery would have become the Fourteenth Amendment. You can learn more about this missing amendment:,a%20pension%2C%20without%20congressional%20approval.

Friday, November 6, 2020

In Search of Riches - the Trade that Shaped the Colonies (and New Fiction!)

It began with gold, silver, and...fur!

From the early days of Europe's exploration and conquest in the New World, there was expectation of awaiting riches for those willing to search out and plunder them. Precious metals like gold and silver discovered in the Aztec and Incan empires fed that notion, so when Jacque Cartier headed up the St. Lawrence River between 1534 and 1542, he anticipated finding similar treasure. Of course he hoped to uncover a water route to Asia too, where there was wealth to be had in silk and spices, but in the end, he discovered none of those things. 

Jacques Cartier

He did, however, find another valuable item. He found furs being trades among the native tribes in vast quantities. Back in Europe, certain fur-bearing animals like the beaver had gone nearly extinct, yet the demand for fur coats, collars, and hats was on the rise. 

Beaver Fur Top Hat

Often when we think of the Colonial period of American history, we think only life within the bounds of those first thirteen colonies and the obvious birth pains that brought about Colonial independence. But without the fur trade that was pressing exploration further into the continent, many of those birth pains might not have existed for many more generations.

Early on, the British were content to control the land east of the Appalatians, and France remained to the north, while Spain was more concerned with the Gulf Coast. But as the desire grew back in Europe for more fur, those countries began to expand their horizons beyond their small settlements and to push against one another. This is just the beginning of the fur trade story that led to the final settling of North America.

The era of the fur trade is one that resonates deeply with me, and it's part of the reason I wrote Mist O'er the Voyageur, my 2019 Selah Award finalist and 2-time Book-of-the-Year nominee. Now I have cause to celebrate that I've signed a contract for the sequel that will be published in a little over a year. Song for the Hunter will continue the story begun in Mist O'er the Voyageur, and it will further explore the people and practice of the fur trade in the Lake Superior region in 1807.

In the months ahead, as I work on edits and rewrites for my publisher, I'll also share more history of the fur trade that helped shape Colonial America and beyond, and I'll cover some aspects that I didn't during the writing and production of Mist O'er the Voyageur.

Stay tuned...

And while I have you here, please share my further joy as I celebrate my post-WWII farm girl romance THE LOVE COWARD that releases TODAY.

I wish you a full heart and many reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving season.