8 Year Anniversary party winners: Joan Hochstetler's book winner is -- Caryl Kane, Naomi Musch's ebook goes to Crissy Yoder Shamion, Roseanna White's winner is -- Connie Saunders, Pegg Thomas's "A Bouquet of Brides" goes to Deanna Stevens, Debra E. Marvin's winner is -- Becky Dempsey, Carrie Fancett Pagels' giveaway of Colonial Michilimackinac: Michigan State Parks goes to Wilani Wahl, Carla Olson Gade's winner is Leila Reynolds, Shannon McNear -- Kaitlin Covel

Monday, June 10, 2019

Colonial Currency

Cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, and now, cell phones. What do all these have in common?

All, of course, are various methods we have in modern times of buying and selling. But how did people accomplish such a thing back in colonial days?

The monetary system at the time was based on the British pound. The problem was, however, a shortage of actual British money, either paper bills or coins. And like everything else, the Crown grappled for control of the currency standard within the colonies, where various things from wampum, to deerskins, to tobacco were in use as methods of trade. The printing of "notes," the slips of paper that we know as paper money, had also been in use for a long time, but these needed to be backed by something of actual value, whether gold, silver, or--as became popular in Colonial and Federal America--the land itself. There was also the problem of a colonial pound not being valued as highly as a British pound, and of one state not recognizing the value of notes issued by another state. And, of course, counterfeiting was huge, which Benjamin Franklin tried to combat by developing a printing process that involved using actual leaves. (You can see many examples of these at the Wiki link below, on early American currency.) By the end of the American Revolution, it was no wonder the term "not worth a continental" was so commonplace.

The American economy was a bit of a mess in the years after the war, with no standardized method of value and trade. Enter Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, who recommended that the country form its first national bank and standardize currency. This led to the passage of the Coinage Act in 1792, which said that American currency be in dollars and units, a decimal system which was easier to keep track of than pounds, shillings, and pence.

The continental dollar was originally based on the Spanish milled dollar, worth about 8 units of Spanish currency, or reales. This standard continued after the Coinage Act, and quarters, dimes, nickels, and cents would eventually follow. For the rest of the 18th century, however, and doubtless several years after 1800, pounds and shillings would still be in use as terms of value. I've found many references in primary sources of both terms, and it was also still very common for folk to trade in skins and tobacco, especially in frontier states such as Kentucky and Tennessee.

For more reading on this complex and fascinating topic, I recommend the following articles:

Friday, June 7, 2019

"I spy Pilot Mountain!" said the early colonial explorers.

North Carolinians are well aware of this eye-catching historical landmark and state park. I remember reading about it at some point as a kid. Yet, being firmly born and rooted in the Midwest, I'm not as familiar with Pilot Mountain as the folks out east are. 

Recently, though, my husband and I took a 3500 mile round trip to the that part of the country, and I got my first glimpse of this famous place on the map. I tried to imagine how important it must have been to explorers, fur traders, settlers, Indians making their way back and forth across the country.

Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson's father) were the first to map Pilot Mountain in 1751, which, to give it a time frame, would put young America near the beginning of the third French and Indian War. In the meantime, thousands of Scots-Iris, Welsh, and German immigrants made their way through the Carolinas at this time via the route known as the Great Wagon Road. 

Can you imagine their relief at seeing Pilot Mountain guiding their way? 

It is said that upon seeing the landmark, one Moravian settler said, "We saw the Pilot Mountain and rejoiced to think that we would soon see the boundary of Carolina, and set foot in our own dear land."

I often think about the fur traders and explorers who wrestled their way through the wilderness. I wonder at the men who fought in the civil war, in country that was as difficult to transverse at times as any battlefield. I let my imagination wander to the women who settled so far away from neighbors, family, and friends. Getting a glimpse at places like Pilot Mountain makes my imagination swirl!

Nowadays, the highway that passes by Pilot Mountain is a far cry from that old wagon road. It's a Blue Star Memorial highway, commemorating the men and women of the armed forces who have and continue to defend the United States of America.

At the pull-off to view the mountain, where the Blue Star sign is located, there are these rocks. Passersby write their names on the rocks or perhaps the names of service people they love. We didn't have a marker, so we didn't do that. Nevertheless, I thought it a neat tradition, a momento of the never-ending wave of travelers passing by, guided by the same road and mountain that travelers have been using for centuries.

Traveling Blessings on Your Summer~

P.S. ~ On a totally different note: I want to thank everyone again who joined the Colonial Quills High Tea Party a couple weeks ago. Since then, I've had TWO book cover biggies happen. First, the book I talked about at the party got a face lift. LPC Smitten (my publisher) gave Mist O'er the Voyageur a face lift by brightening up the cover. Secondly, I have a cover reveal for my new novel releasing in August! I'm super excited about The Brightest Hope because the cover features my youngest daughter. She also did the photography, so she was both behind and in front of the lens. Isn't she gorgeous as Holley Allen? You can find out more about the book in this month's newsletter here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Eight Year Blog Anniversary!

Message from Administrator Carrie Fancett Pagels: Eight years and so many posts later (OVER one million three hundred page views!!!), we're still sharing our love of colonial America with our readers! Welcome to our celebration! With wonderful new contributors and ongoing fantastic colonial-era authors we are really blessed. Come sit down and enjoy a lovely high tea with us! Leave us a comment and you may find one of our many contributors pouring you a cup of tea or offering you a lovely tray of fine sandwiches, savories, and sweets . . . or one of our author giveaways!


J.M. Hochstetler

Hello, everyone! It’s hard to believe that Colonial Quills is eight years old already. And what a wonderful journey it’s been, full of friends and fellowship and learning new things about the colonial period! It’s a real privilege to be a part of this fun and congenial group, and I’m so grateful for our talented leader, Carrie Fancett Pagels, who started this crazy ball rolling, to all the members who contribute to the blog, and to all our faithful readers!  May there be many more years ahead of us.

For the party I’m giving away a copy of my upcoming June release, Refiner’s Fire, Book 6 of my American Patriot Series—or any of the previous books in the series, if preferred.



What a joy it's been to be part of the Colonial Quills blog! I've been working primarily in the Edwardian and WWI eras for the last few years so haven't been popping up on here much, but I still consider CQ one of my blog homes. =)

For the party, I'd be happy to offer a reader a signed copy of my June 4 release, The Number of Love.


Welcome, gentle readers! What a huge blessing Colonial Quills has been to me for the past six years. From my first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, which had the amazing honor to final for a RITA® award, to The Highwayman (originally The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection and now re-released both as a single title and in a smaller collection, To Catch A Bachelor) and The Counterfeit Tory in Backcountry Brides, I've had the joy of writing colonial fiction. My first full-length in print, The Cumberland Bride, #5 of Daughters of the Mayflower, is set in 1794 Tennessee and Kentucky, technically the early Federal Era but a natural extension of my colonial research as it traces some of the early beginnings of Westward Expansion. My next release, The Rebel Bride, is a Civil War story (coming December 2019, #10 of the Daughters of the Mayflower series) but the release after that will be a return to early Federal Tennessee and Kentucky (The Blue Cloak, #5 of the True Colors series). I'm currently hard at work on The Blue Cloak, with an August 1 deadline, but in appreciation to our CQ following, I'm offering one reader's choice of my stories in print! 


Janet Grunst
Thanks for joining us, Colonial Quill Readers, for our eight-year anniversary. I was honored in the fall of 2011 when Carrie asked me to join this group of fellow Colonial era writers. I’ve learned so much from the other contributor’s blog posts and been touched by the encouragement and contribution of our faithful readers.
A Heart Set Free is set prior to the Revolutionary War and A Heart For Freedom picks up the characters in the early years of the Revolution. I’m hoping the final part of the series will be available before too long. This fall, I’m privileged to be a part of a Highlander collection of novellas releasing. Fellow Quiller, Naomi Much will also have a story in it.

For our Colonial Quills celebration, I will be giving away a signed copy of A Heart Set Free to one USA commenting on the blog. Enjoy the party, everyone.


Hi Everyone! I'm excited to be part of this blog and this anniversary party. I don't have any new Colonial stories out - yet - but I have some exciting news! My novella In Sheep's Clothing, part of A Bouquet of Brides, is a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope, & Love Awards. And it's set in Colonial Connecticut. I'm so exciterated!!! I'm giving away a paperback copy for the party. 

Comment HERE on the BLOG to be entered. But visit the Facebook page too, because there will be other fun things going on there. 

Debra E. Marvin
Hello Friends!
Here we are again, thrilled to celebrate with you all. So many stories and wonderful tales of history have passed across this blog's page and we believe there's a lot to come. On the blog, I'll be giving away a book cozy (book sleeve) I made, so please comment if you'd like to be entered in the random drawing. Don't you love this tall ships fabric I found?

2019 will see at least three new stories from me, and I have one with a Colonial setting waiting for a contract! Your friendship and support have been a priceless gift through this writing journey!  Thank you again Carrie and all the CQ authors and friends!

Hey there, CQ readers! I'm probably the newbiest member on the CQ team. I've been here about a year, though I've been a follower for quite a long time. I write in a few different time periods, with the colonial period and early 20th century being my two favorite. (Check out my WWI/1920s books if you enjoy that segment of history.) My last release, Mist O'er the Voyageur, is an historical romance set in the Great Lakes wilderness of the voyageurs and fur traders. It was recently a Selah Awards finalist and one of only a handful of books to receive a judge's perfect score! Mist was also nominated for a NE Minnesota Book Award. In November, watch for another American wilderness romance novella called A Tender Siege releasing in a collection called The Highlanders, in which my Scottish hero is caught up in the French and Indian Wars during the time of Pontiac's Conspiracy.

For our CQ party, I'll be giving away TWO ebook copies of Mist O'er the Voyageur. Comment on the blog to be added to the drawing, and don't forget to join us on the Facebook page on the 29th!



I'm excited to announce that I have my first colonial release out since our The Backcountry Brides Collection released in 2018, with numerous authors from the Colonial Quills blog! I have a novella, Mercy in a Red Cloak, releasing in early June in e-book form and later in the summer in paperback! Set in the mid-1700's in Pennsylvania and in the Straits of Mackinac, my colonial scout story features Shadrach Clark who also appeared in my novella "Shenandoah Hearts" in the Backcountry Brides Collection! Shad is a sweetie and I pray readers will love reading his story!

One of my giveaways is this copy of Colonial Michilimackinac: Michigan State Parks, by David A. Armour. It's a great book and I've used it as a great research resource over the years. My own copy is well-highlighted!

Colonial Michilimackinac: Michigan State Parks, by David A. Armour

I'm so thrilled about the Colonial Quills blog 8th Anniversary! Every year we have had a wonderful tea party to celebrate and give you updates on our writing journeys. So much has happened for us all and with the support and encouragement of all of our followers and readers. We appreciate you all so very much and offer you a great Huzzah!! 

When we first started, my debut novel, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter had just released. Although that was a 19th century western setting, my heart was really in the Colonies. I soon enjoyed a visit with our fonder, Carrie, to explore Colonial Williamsburg. With that and some additional research, my first Colonial era, Carving a Future in Colonial Courtships, novella was published and hence republished in The American Dream Romance Collection. Since first becoming published I am now the author of 11 books, including another Colonial, Pattern for Romance.

For nostalgia's sake, I'm offering Colonial Courtships to one of our commenters! By the way, my characters from Carving a Future are included in Colonial Quill's original A Forted Frontier Holiday anthology, along with other CQ author's, available for free reading here on the blog!


Facebook Party tonight, Wednesday May 29th, from 4:30 to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Another giveaway at our Facebook party is a copy of The Backcountry Brides Collection. This collection includes all colonial-era Christian Fiction novellas from CQ contributors!

All contributors of The Backcountry Brides Collection are
members of Colonial American Christian Writers!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Lenni Lenape and Their Wars

Like so many Native American tribes, the Lenni Lenape were severely and negatively impacted by the arrival of the Europeans, but in the beginning, not in the way many people expect.
Related imageLiving along the waterways of the east coast, the Lenni Lenape's villages were in a prime location for trading with the Dutch settlers who arrived in the early 1600s. Trade with the Dutch was highly valued by other tribes like the Susquehannock to the west and the Mohawk and Mahican to the north, tribes who had been at war with the Lenni Lenape for generations. Tribes who wanted free access to the new Europeans trade.
From 1630 to 1635, the Susquehannock forced the Lenni Lenape to the east of the Delaware River into southern New Jersey and Delaware, which gave the Susquehannock full control of the trade route with the Dutch settlers. During that same period, there was a smallpox outbreak, a disease the Europeans introduced to the new shores. Between these two events, the 5-year war and smallpox, half the population of the Lenni Lenape were wiped out. They became a conquered people, subjected to the Susquehannocks and forced to fight in their wars.
In the 1660s, the Iroquois attacked the Susquehannock and their Lenni Lenape subordinates as yet another smallpox outbreak ravaged the east coast. By 1675, the Iroquois had beaten the Susquehannock and taken control of the Lenni Lenape.
By the time William Penn arrived in 1682, he "inherited the remnants of the wasted Lenni Lenape tribe."

But hang on … they make a comeback! More posts on this people group in the coming months.

In this series:

The Lenni Lenape People

Pegg Thomas writes "History with a Touch of Humor."

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

18th Century Hygiene, Part 1: Waste Management—And a Giveaway!

When you write historical fiction, as I do, you end up researching strange things. Such as hygiene and the contemporary sanitation systems. Today we take for granted that toilets, hot and cold running water for daily bathing, and sewer systems to carry off the waste are available everywhere. But it isn’t so long ago that those conveniences weren’t available. My focus of study has been the 18th century for quite a while, so for the next few posts I’m going to delve into various aspects of hygiene and sanitation. Today we’re starting with the all-important topic of waste management.

Many cities in Europe had latrines and sewer pipes from the time of the Roman Empire. However, by the 18th century, systems to take care of human waste weren’t widely available except in the largest cities and even there they were limited. Lacking flush toilets, people availed themselves of the good old chamber pot, which would be emptied either by the individual or a servant whenever it filled up, which in the meantime naturally occasioned interesting odors. Or not so much.

From the book Toilets of the World
by Morna E. Gregory & Sian James
Those who lived in proximity to water sources such as rivers, streams, and lakes dumped their waste into them, where it could drift downstream for someone else to deal with. But in cities and towns where waterways and cesspools weren’t close at hand, people simply emptied their chamber pots along with other wastewater from a window into the street, warning those below by hollering something like “gardy loo!”, a corruption of the French “Gardez l’eau” or “Watch out for the water!” This is where we get the tradition of gentlemen walking on the outside of a sidewalk to prevent ladies from being splashed by noxious substances as carriages passed. Human waste joined the animal dung already in the streets, so the stench of urine and feces, not to mention their physical presence, was common. And pungent. And whenever you went for a walk you had to be careful to watch your steps. I suppose you just got used to it, but …. eeewwww!!! I grew up on a farm, and we dealt with more of it than I care to remember!

Not only were chamber pots ubiquitous, but there was also a vessel called a bourdaloue. This was a type of chamber pot that conformed to the female form, a necessary when wearing hoops and layers of petticoats. With the help of a chambermaid women could use them while standing by lifting the petticoats out of the way. I actually found an image of a lady making use of one, but, alas, it is a bit too explicit to include here. This device was convenient to carry along when away from home or traveling. Actually, there’ve been times when I wished I had one on hand!

Bourdaloues originated in the 1700s and according to legend were named after the Jesuit priest Père Louis Bourdaloue. He preached at the court of Louis XIV, and it’s said that his sermons were so long that the ladies demanded small chamber pots convenient to use when at Mass. Other accounts maintain that Bourdoloue suffered from a disease called hypospadia and needed the vessel himself. Whatever the reason, they sure are pretty for such a mundane and intimate use. Hmm … they’d make a lovely pot for plants, don’t you think?

I’ve just received the first copies of Refiner’s Fire, Book 6 of my American Patriot Series—wooo hoooo!!!—so I’m offering a free copy! To enter the drawing, please answer the question below about my series in a comment on this post by the end of today. Of course, if the winner hasn’t read one or more of the previous books, they can choose any of the books of the series.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite character in the series and why?

If you’re entering the drawing, please include your email addy so I can contact you to get your mailing address if you win.
J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers, a lifelong student of history, and an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Book 6, Refiner’s Fire, releases in June 2019. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 Indie Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, received the 2017 Interviews and Reviews Silver Award for Historical Fiction and was named one of Shelf Unbound’s 2018 Notable Indie Books. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and a finalist in the Carol Award.