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, August 12, 2019

Wonders of the Colonial Frontier: the Landscape of South Carolina

Early explorers of America found a wonderland whose description almost defies belief for those of us used to the tamed, populated landscapes of the eastern seaboard. A particular gem of reference exists in A History of the Upper Country of South Carolina by John Henry Logan, published in 1859. He writes,

The Great West here is, believe it or not, a reference to upstate South Carolina. Logan goes on to say,
It is well known that in the primitive history of the country, there were numerous prairies in the corresponding parts of Virginia and North Carolina.
He describes meadows full of peavines as tall as the back of a horse, and canebrakes (a variety of bamboo) extending for miles along the waterways. Cane, in fact, was used as a gauge for the richest soil for farming. If the cane only grew to the height of a man, it was passed over, but where it grew 20 to 30 feet, that was considered prime farmland. (Thus where the Long Cane District around Ninety Six, South Carolina, and others, got its name.) And anyone familiar with the hardwood and pine of the Carolinas--did you know those were more recent growth?

Logan says,
The partizan (sic) soldiers of the Revolution, in Upper Carolina, frequently spoke of this striking feature of the country. It sometimes favored their enterprises, but as often proved the cause of premature detection and defeat.
Even Cornwallis, while wintering around Winnsboro, South Carolina, in 1780-81 commented on the beauty of the landscape around him.

 The wildlife populating this country was just as wondrous--but that's another subject for another post!

Monday, August 5, 2019

18th Century Hygiene, Part 2: Bathing

Today I’m continuing my series on the realities of 18th century hygiene by taking a look at bathing practices in the 1700s. We Americans have to be among the cleanest people on the planet. Most of us take bathing on a daily basis for granted, or certainly several times a week. But throughout history that has rarely been the standard and isn’t in many other countries even today.
18th-century Copper Bathtub

People living back in the 18th century wanted to feel and look clean as much as we do, but their standards of cleanliness weren’t the same as ours. Taking a bath by immersing one’s body in a tub full of warm water wasn’t a daily or even weekly practice for great majority of people. For one thing, clean, water was hard to come by. Today all we have to do is to turn on a faucet, but in the 18th century finding and drawing enough clean water, and then heating it in order to take a full bath required a ton of labor. Without sewage systems, running water, and indoor plumbing, somebody had to carry all that water from the source, heat it, and carry it to the tub. And afterward they’d have to carry it all away. You were either going have to do it yourself or be able to afford servants to manage the task. Heating large amounts of water over a fire was also no picnic, not to mention the need for plenty of firewood, which first had to be chopped … well, you get the idea. Not going to happen too often!

Attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck
Another force working against daily bathing was that during much of the 18th century immersion in warm water was considered to be unhealthy. Many doctors believed that it allowed diseases to enter your body through the pores in your skin. Which, considering the dearth of adequate sewage systems might well have been true! Views on this did differ in various countries, however. Public bath houses remained popular in Germany, and people in the Nordic countries and Russia favored saunas, but these were not widely available in France and England.

River Scene with Bathers by Claude Joseph Vernet
In any case, people did wash their bodies. It was not uncommon for people to bathe outside in lakes and rivers. But most of the time taking a sponge bath using a basin of water, soap, and a sponge or towel, as has probably been done since early in human history, did the job just fine. In fact, this method can get you cleaner than sitting in a bathtub unless you also have a way to rinse off afterward. Louis XV solved the problem by soaking in one tub and rinsing in another, which no doubt required numerous servants to heat and carry sufficient water, which, of course, is no problem if you’re king. His mistress, Madame de Pompadour, was also very fond of bathing, as was Louis XVI’s queen, Marie Antoinette, who, being Austrian, naturally expected a bath every morning. Bidets were also very popular in France for washing the more intimate areas, or a basin on a chair could easily be substituted if one was not available.

18th-century Bidet
Over time some medical experts began to tout the health benefits of immersion in cool water, and by the end of the century bathing regularly became the norm at least among the upper classes. In England Sir John Floyer, a physician in Lichfield, discovered that local peasants used certain springs in the area to treat ailments. After doing some research, he published a book in 1702 that aroused interest in therapeutic bathing in cold water. It ran through six editions within a few years and was translated into German. Dr. J. S. Hahn of Silesia used this text as the basis for his book, published in 1738, On the Healing Virtues of Cold Water, Inwardly and Outwardly Applied, as Proved by Experience. They obviously loved long titles back then! In 1797 Dr. James Currie of Liverpool followed up with a book on the use of hot and cold water for treating fever and other illnesses that considered the subject from a scientific viewpoint. Thus by the dawn of the 1800s, hot baths were rapidly coming into their own along with sewage systems and indoor plumbing.

I know many people love to lounge luxuriously in a hot bath, but that doesn’t work for me. I prefer taking showers, which allows me to get toasty warm without overheating, while also solving the problem of rinsing. Which do you prefer—a bath or a shower? Please share your preferred bathing experience with us. And we’d also love to hear about any special bath soaps or other bath products you especially love that add to the pleasure of getting clean!
J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is a professional editor, a publisher, and the author of award-winning historical fiction whose books have been endorsed by bestselling authors such as Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jocelyn Green, Michelle Moran, and MaryLu Tyndal. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. She is also the author of One Holy Night, which won the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and co-authored the award-winning Northkill Amish Series with Bob Hostetler.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Beginnings of Frontier Warfare

I've always been intrigued by wilderness warfare. I'd been taught/told that the American colonists defeated the British during the American Revolution largely because they used Native American styles of guerrilla warfare that the British weren't prepared to counter. This does have the ring of myth to it, however. The British had plenty of previous experience in tactical, guerrilla, "hit and run" fighting during battles with Scottish Highlanders, Austrian pandours in Europe, Jamaican maroons, and--yes, their own encounters with Native Americans during previous years. In fact, it was actually during the French and Indian wars that guerrilla warfare first took hold in the European mindset.

The British thought such methods to be uncivilized, savage, and frontier, of course. Irregular, as it were. Later, the main reason the British were able to defeat the French was not so much so that they had a superior fighting force, but because they had learned to use a combination of both conventional and unconventional methods of engaging the enemy in the wilderness.

British commander Edward Braddock and his troops preparing to march on the French-held Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) during the French and Indian War.  MPI/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For a long time, the British were hesitant to use such tactics as decoy and ambush, because they deemed such fighting dishonorable. It was also considered dishonorable not to wear a uniform identifying them as soldiers, dishonorable not to "stand and fight", and dishonorable not to adhere to the "Laws of War". However, horrific battles and attacks occurred to change their mind. Who can forget the massacre of Fort William Henry? (A scene so brilliantly portrayed in one of my favorite movies ever, the 1992 version of Last of the Mohicans.) As new military leadership arose, the British realized that they would have to change their tactics and their views if they were to have a chance at succeeding in the wilderness. The British proceeded to build up branches of its military with men who were specialized woodsmen. These men not only practiced unique ways of fighting, but they even donned their own green uniforms--or skipped the uniforms altogether to blend into the countryside better.

Robert Rogers was the most influential man in bringing about the use of the new styles of fighting. As a man with skill and experience, he led increasing numbers of soldiers known as Robert's Rangers into wilderness forays against the enemy. While some British still considered his guerrilla style of fighting to be uncouth (along with Rogers himself), Rogers brought his ranger's fighting skills to a new level. No one could deny his victories. He even penned a manual called Rogers’ Rules of Ranging that was full of common sense skills still relevant to the United States Army Rangers today.

Have you ever read about Roger's Rangers or the battles of the early American frontier? It's fascinating history.

There's a Party Goin' On!

Even as this post is being published, there'a a book launch party happening all day today on Facebook (Friday, Aug. 2). I'd love it if you'd stop in and help me release the 3rd and final book in my Echoes of the Heart series, The Brightest Hope. It's time to celebrate this novel of grace and new beginnings!

Today, right now, I'm launching a brand new book! When you've finished reading this, I hope you'll pop on over to the party on Facebook and join me.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lenni Lenape and William Penn

Image result for lenni lenape images with William Penn
William Penn, the Quaker who settled what is now Pennsylvania, was one of the few Europeans with a desire to deal fairly with the Native American tribes. At least initially. It was 336 years ago last month - according to tradition - that he signed a treaty with the Lenni Lenape tribe.

The treaty was said to have been signed under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, a Lenni Lenape town located near present-day Kensington, PA. It is believed that Shackamaxon was both a major settlement and a ceremonial area.

Because Quakers were prohibited from making oaths by their religious beliefs, this was the only treaty not ratified in that way. The French philosopher Voltaire claimed it was also the only treaty to never be infringed upon. History can debate his accuracy on that claim, as there is no written record of what was agreed upon.

William's Penn's grandson donated a wampum belt depicting two men joining hands that reportedly was given to William Penn at the treaty. It can be seen at the Philadelphia History Museum.

In this series:
The Lenni Lenape People
Lenni Lenape and Their Wars

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review by Tina Rice of "Mercy in a Red Cloak"

Review by Tina Rice of Mercy in a Red Cloak 
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mercy Clarke is the daughter of a circuit-rider preacher in 1700’s Pennsylvania frontier. She is a woman of faith, hard-working, strong courageous woman and honorable. She often sacrifices much of her own interests for her father, Jonathan, and is often left alone as he performs his circuit-rider duties. I admire her strength and courage as she is often alone on the frontier; I don’t know if I would have handled it as well.

Shadrach Clark is a handsome, highly skilled colonial scout and a little confused and disappointed when he first meets Mercy and her father. Part of the confusion is that they each have the same last name but spelled a bit differently. The disappointment comes when Shadrach learns that they are not his family he has spent years searching for. I admire his courage and strength as a scout at such a young age and his dedication to finding his family.

I enjoyed watching as their friendship slowly turns to courtship and possibly more. But their sweet courtship is filled with danger and often times of separation. When Mercy’s father and Shadrach both are missing this courageous woman embarks on a long journey to Mackinac Island on the Michigan frontier. On her long arduous journey she faces many challenges, hardships, sacrifices, some unexpected surprises and dangerous situations, but nothing will stop her from searching for her loved ones. Will she find them in time before the increasingly unsettled climate escalates and she finds herself in a far more dangerous situation than she previously experienced?

Mercy in a Red Cloak is an action-packed story filled with dangerous times of a harsh frontier life, sorrows and joys, love, historical facts woven within the story-line and faith. I appreciate the spiritual elements woven throughout the story-line and the characters lives. The reader is taken on a journey from Germantown, Pennsylvania to Mackinaw Island, Michigan and to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of 1700’s frontier. The author portrays these historical locations and events with vivid detail that captures the elements of the time and this reader. A wonderful, heartwarming story. 

Giveaway: A kindle or paperback copy of Mercy in a Red Cloak will be given away to one commenter.

Tina St.Clair Rice is Colonial Quills reader/reviewer. Tina is a wife, mother, and grandmother and a former nurse. She lives on the east coast with her family and is an active supporter of Christian fiction writers.