7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Ye Olden Days: The Underground Railroad

By Lori Benton

Harriet Tubman. John Brown. Frederick Douglas. Sojourner Truth. These are names readily associated with the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by nineteenth century slaves in the southern United States, and those who aided them, to escape to the northern states or Canada, and freedom.

While researching the first novel I wrote set in the late 18th century, a story dealing largely with issues of slavery, I began to wonder just when the Underground Railroad had its genesis. Who was that man or woman who first harbored an escaped slave from a neighboring plantation, or gave him food, or warned him of a house nearby where the dogs (or the people) were mean, or told him of a safer path to take? Who was the first farmer or tradesman to step out of their safety and comfort to actually accompany or "conduct" a slave northward in her flight? The Underground Railroad didn't spring into being one day in the early 19th century, fully realized and operational. There had to be a person, sometime, somewhere who, lacking support from neighbor or like-minded friend, decided to help an escaping slave along his daunting road to freedom.

Since a huge element of the success of such endeavors is secrecy, there can be no knowing exactly who they were. No doubt many an early abolitionist carried his or her secrets to the grave.

Levi Coffin 1798-1877
When author Laura Frantz posted on her blog sometime back about her historical heroes, I pondered the question for myself and realized pretty quickly that these unknown 18th century folk who laid the first tracks for the future Underground Railroad were some of mine.

One who stands in place for them all, for me, is a man named Levi Coffin. He was a Quaker, a North Carolinian with Nantucket roots. He and his cousin, Vestal Coffin, became "the founders of the earliest known scheme to transport fugitives across hundreds of miles of unfriendly territory to safety in the free states."*  The year was 1819.

That's the earliest known scheme. But what about the woman, years prior, who opened her farmhouse door to a tentative knocking one evening after sunset, looked into the frightened eyes of a runaway and felt compelled to give her supper, or a place to sleep in the cow shed, or directions to a friend's home just across the county line to the north? My storyteller's mind wouldn't let go of the likelihood that someone else, somewhere, years before the Coffins, had gotten the idea in their head that it was a good thing, the right thing, to help escaping slaves to freedom, in defiance of law and social pressure. Then I found what might have been the impetus for the taking of such risky action.

The year 1789 saw the publishing of the first influential slave narrative, by Olaudah Equiano--as portrayed by Youssou N'Dour in the film Amazing Grace (at left is N'Dour as Equiano in a scene on the streets of London at what may well be the very first book signing... ever). Equiano, having become a Methodist due to the influence of the evangelical teachings of George Whitefield, bought his freedom from his master after many years of slavery. His unflinching portrayal of the horrors of slavery as practiced in the southern United States drew many on both sides of the Atlantic into the cause of abolition.

In the spring of 2004, armed with a copy of Equiano's narrative and a lot of burning questions, I set out on my own long journey back into the late 18th century, when the then 14 United States were still wobbling on foal's legs. Four years later I'd given myself a crash course in the era, and written a historical novel. Working titled Kindred, the story is set in 1793, a few years after Equiano's narrative was published, and some twenty-five years before Levi and Vestal Coffin founded their slave-freeing scheme. Between my knowledge of Equiano's narrative and my surmises on the grassroots beginnings of the Underground Railroad were born one of Kindred's secondary characters, Thomas Ross, a free black man in Boston who has never known slavery, who is shaken by the things he's read in Equiano's book, shaken out of complacency and onto a path that will forever change his and many others destiny.

For more information about Levi Coffin and the early years of the Underground Railroad, visit my fellow Colonial Quills contributor, author Carla Gade's geneaology blog. Small world that it is, turns out Levi Coffin is mentioned in Carla's family tree. Also check out the wonderful book by Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan.

*Bound for Canaan, The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America, by Fergus M. Bordewich.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Surrender the Dawn by MaryLuTyndall, Guest Review by Diana Flowers

Surrender the Dawn 

by MaryLu Tyndall 

5 stars~ *****
Patriots and Privateers!

MaryLu Tyndall takes the reader away on a fantastic historical journey to Baltimore, Maryland, amidst the War of 1812. Cassandra Channing has lost her father, and both brothers to the war and must find a way to take care of her mother and the rest of her siblings. Her attempts at investing her money for a privateer is met with ridicule for the simple fact that she is a female, and therefore considered "bad luck" as a business partner. Out of desperation she offers a partnership to Luke Heaton, who having won a rotten, rusty ship in a card game, is in serious need of funding to make it seaworthy.

Cassandra knows Luke's reputation as a womanizer, gambler, and a drunk, but also knows he is a good privateer. Luke, having lost both of his missionary parents in a fire, feels bitter and worthless, and certainly has no use for God...but something about the beautiful, auburn-haired Cassandra stirs him as no woman ever has, and he finds himself wanting to become a better person because of her.

Cassandra is unwillingly drawn to the handsome, charming Luke, but knows she must guard her heart against this womanizing rogue. Cassandra also feels that God has forsaken her and hears not her prayers, for didn't He allow her father to die and her brothers to go missing? As Cassandra finally finds herself trusting and falling in love with Luke, what terrible discovery does she make about him - that rips them apart; perhaps forever.

As Cassandra, foolishly places her life in danger with the British, will she learn to trust God and His sovereignty? Will Luke? And what historical figure does Cassandra meet on the ship, and what song does he pen, when overcome with emotion he sees the American flag still flying over the fort after one of the most terrible battles in our country's history?

In my opinion, this is MaryLu's finest book to date! I found myself tearing up at the end; so proud was I of this great country in which we live, and of the men and women who fought and gave their lives that we might enjoy the freedoms we now oftimes take for granted. The storyline was very realistic...ML Tyndall's research was impeccable, the romance was exciting, and the conclusion was spectacular!

Your best yet, MaryLu!

Reviewed by Guest Diana Flowers, a contributor on the Overcoming Through Time blog.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weathering the storm

Some of our Quillers are out to sea with no electricity, etc. due to the hurricane on the east coast.   Please pray for safety and well being for those affected by the storm.

Feel free to warm up with a cup of tea and leave a comment.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Colonial Recipes: White Pot

 White Pot
Boil a Quart of Cream with large Mace, let it stand till it is almost cold; then beat the Yolks of eight Eggs, and put them into the Cream with Salt and Sugar to your Taste. Lay thin slices of white Bread in the bottom of a Dish, and lay on them slic'd Dates, Raisins of the Sun, or what Sweet-meats you please, with bits of Marrow, or of fresh Butter, and lay on another Layer of Bread, Fruit, &c. till the Dish is full, grating Nutmeg between every Layer; then put in your Cream, and lay Slices of Bread and Bits of Butter on the top of all, and bake it.

From: John Nott, The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary. (London: 1723)

Modern Recipe for White Pot

Submitted by Carla Olson Gade

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Historical Museums

Wouldn't it be great if we could interview historical figures in person to answer all our questions when doing research for our historical novels? Unfortunately, during my recent visit to Virginia where I had the pleasure of meeting our Colonial Quills and CACW's leader, Carrie, the closest we came to this was kissing a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Yorktown Victory Center.  What we did enjoy though, were visiting the many historical museums and enjoying the living history in the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown where we got to talk to several historical interpreters. I'm not a stranger to historical museums and have visited so many from Maine to Mississippi that I've lost count, but never have I enjoyed such for three successive days. Carrie was a wonderful tour guide and helped me make the most of my short time there, highly recommended tip #1. I hope you'll enjoy some of the highlights of my adventure as I share with you how I maximized my research while visiting historical and living history museums along the way.

(Click to enlarge)
The first stop on the well planned trip ironically was a spontaneous detour to an art museum. At a brief stop at a welcome center in NY we were delighted to learn about a special rare exhibit in Utica, NY - Wedded Perfection: Two centuries of wedding gowns. What a beautiful lesson in taking time to smell the roses, er, view the gowns. Is there a difference? The display was lovely and I was especially drawn to this beautiful 1740  Robe à l'Anglaise. The gowns were a feast for the eyes and I did get to touch a small display of laces and fabrics. It would have been perfect if I could only have touched the gowns, or dare I say try one on?

Carla's Mom, Carla, Carrie
But museums are not only about viewing historical collections, though that is most certainly fun. My plan was to gain a better feel for the colonial period by engaging as many senses as I could.  So when I got to Colonial Williamsburg I was excited about riding in an authentic horse drawn coach with Carrie and my traveling companion Mom. Carrie quickly prompted me to think about the way the ride felt and sounded as it rumbled along at the slow gait, enabling me to experience that which my characters might in a given scene. We also had lunch at a colonial tavern (a setting for my novella). My delicious fare included corn and shrimp chowder made from an original 18th century receipt. Oh, and lest I forget, I also had a chance to write my pen name with a quill pen at the Post Office (though I was informed that a proper lady would not use both her maiden and last name as I did).  Naturally, I went home from my trip with a feather quill pen from CW and an ink bottle from Jamestown. I am a "Quiller", after all.

To get the most of your museum visits be alert to the many sights, sounds, tastes, textures you find (even static museums have interactive features). Listen to the sound of the printing press or the loom, feel the heat of a cooking hearth, smell of gunpowder smoke, admire the craftsmanship, experience the the atmosphere and accommodations of work and home, pay attention to the spoken language and manners, taste authentic food, enjoy the music,
the muse . . .

At the Yorktown Victory Center, Carrie shared with me how going there inspires her, another great advantage of visiting historical museums. And at Jamestown I was able to contrast the migration and settlement of the 1607 pilgrims to the 1620 pilgrims at Plymouth. Growing up in Massachusetts I was educated well on the religious reasons for pilgrimage, and now learned more about the motivation of business of the Jamestown colonists. We had a great time talking with the interpreters there - they practically had to throw us out!

Some of the highlights other than being immersed in the colonial period for a few days were to research some of the trades involved in my novels such as milliner, tailor, silversmith, ship carver, etc. The "Fashions and Accessories from Head to Toe" exhibit at CW was wonderful and included videos to watch of colonial dress. I was especially interested in quilted petticoats and also enjoyed the quilt exhibit. Earlier, I was able to speak to Mark Hutter, an interpreter who portrays a tailor at the Margaret Hunter Shop. He was gracious enough to give me a business card with a contact for further research on my topic. This proved to be extremely helpful, for a few days later I learned that my novel featuring a quilter and a tailor, A Design for Love, was accepted for publication!

Another research topic was ship figurehead carvings for my novella Carving a Future (Colonial Courtships). An exhibit at CW provided some wonderful carvings with an informative display. Then, on my way home we made another impromptu stop at Mystic Seaport: A Museum of America and the Sea in Connecticut which features an exhibit of gorgeous carvings and also a ship carver's shop. I had the opportunity to interview two gentlemen there who provided me with a great deal of information on my topic. Although Mystic Seaport depicts mostly early 19th century life on a coastal town, the historical interpreters were very knowledgeable of the trade in the 18th century as well.

Talking to curators and historical interpreters is an amazing resource to assist with research for our historical fiction. Listen carefully to the things they say. Even in the exhibits that don't seem as important to your research - you never know what you might learn that will spark some ideas. I actually picked up a few unexpected tidbits that I plan to use, one from the wigmaker. (Below are some of the interpreters that we had the privilege of speaking with.)




Tips to maximize your visit to a historical museum:

Plan ahead and review exhibits that you want to see. Be aware of calendar of events and special programs. Obtain a museum map for navigation and prioritizing.
Plan your questions ahead of time. Bring paper/pen or a recorder.
Be courteous of other visitors and arrange interviews if extensive research is required.
Get contact information (business cards) of curators and interpreters. 
Experience and collect information that engages all the senses to help bring your novels to life.
Photos: Ask permission to take photos as a courtesy and to post online if you plan to do so. Take plenty, including the signs with text on your topic to save research (bring extra batteries, memory cards, film).
It doesn't stop on location. Visit museums on the web (websites and even facebook) for more information including educational opportunities and contacts.

I hope you'll join me at Writing to Distraction in days ahead where I'll share more about my road trip and historical adventures. But for now, I'd like to hear about yours. What are some of the fascinating finds that you've discovered at historical museums that have contributed to your research? Do you have any tips to share?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Doctor, the Lawyer, and the National Anthem

By C. J. Chase

With no territory gained or lost, America's War of 1812 would be all but forgotten but for one major consequence — “The Star Spangled Banner.” Enter the unlikely catalyst for America’s future national anthem.

Dr. William Beanes was born January 24, 1749 on a large estate in Prince Georges County, Maryland. He learned medicine by apprenticing with a local doctor and used those skills in the General Hospital at Philadelphia during the American Revolution. By the summer of 1814, the 65-year-old physician owned a gristmill, extensive property, and the largest house in Upper Marlboro, the Prince Georges county seat, where he served as an elected official.

On August 16, 1814, 22 British vessels invaded the Chesapeake Bay, the large body of water between the U.S. mainland and the eastern portions of Virginia and Maryland. Fear that the British would attack Maryland’s capital Annapolis prompted state government officials to move records inland from the city to Beane’s Upper Marlboro home, about eight miles east of Washington, DC. But the British bypassed Annapolis, instead targeting the nation's capital.

With the British army marching through his town, Beanes invited Major General Robert Ross to use his home. What better way to protect the state archives (and Beanes’ home) from a British bonfire than to have the general staying on the premises!

After routing the American forces at Bladensburg on the afternoon of August 24, the combined British army and naval forces entered Washington, DC, unopposed. Captain Thomas Tingey, the American in charge of the Washington Navy Yard, torched the supplies stored there lest they fall into enemy hands. The British soon copied his example, burning public buildings including the Capitol, the President’s House, and the Treasury building. A summer breeze carried the flames to nearby residences, sending homes up in flames. From forty miles away, Baltimore residents watched the fires light the night sky.
Capitol after the fire

Unable to hold the city and fearing an American counteract, Ross ordered his army to fall back to the Chesapeake Bay, once again passing through Upper Marlboro. But not all of them returned. Over 100 men vanished, many of them deserters who decided to remain in America rather than sail back to Britain. With some of these deserters now pillaging local farms, residents decided to act. Former Maryland governor Robert Bowie, Dr. Beanes, and several other men set about capturing the stragglers. They had imprisoned six of them in the county jail when one escaped and returned to General Ross.

An angry Ross sent a detachment to Upper Marlboro where the soldiers arrested Beanes, Bowie, and two others. A swap followed, with the British getting their deserters back in exchange for three of the Maryland men — all of them except Dr. Beanes. No one knows why Ross refused to release Beanes. Historians speculate Beanes may have offered Ross some sort of pledge during their earlier meeting. Whatever the reason, Ross had the old man detained in the brig of the HMS Tonnant.

Beanes' influential friends began to pressure the American government into negotiating for his release. But American General John Mason feared that exchanging the old doctor for captured British soldiers would encourage the British to take civilian hostages. With official channels moving too slowly for Beanes’ friends, his neighbor Richard West decided to try a new tactic. He asked the assistance of his wife’s brother-in-law — a Washington lawyer named Francis Scott Key.

Key and John Skinner, the American prisoner of war exchange agent, received President James Madison’s permission to negotiate for Beane’s release. General Mason organized their transportation and also compassionately arranged for them to deliver letters from wounded British prisoners. Sailing on the Royal Oak under a flag of truce, Key and Skinner reached the British fleet on September 7 and joined Ross on the Tonnant where they presented him with the letters from his soldiers and their petition for Beanes’ release.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-w_fjkc518Yk/TiUBzxymEoI/AAAAAAAAAIw/XdcodgJFTWM/s200/watching+mchenry.jpgDespite the Ross’s lingering anger with Beanes, he agreed to free the old doctor, in large measure to express his appreciation for the letters. However, the Tonnant was already enroute to the planned British assault on Baltimore. With the three Americans now aware of the impending attack, the British were understandably reluctant to release them until after the battle. And thus, on the night of September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key, along with Skinner and Beanes, watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the midst of the British fleet.

Major George Armistead, commanding officer of Fort McHenry, had commissioned an extra-large flag – 30 feet by 42 feet – to fly above the garrison. From eight miles away, the three Americans waited for news. Would the British take Baltimore like they had taken Washington? On the morning of September 14, Skinner, Key, and Beanes saw that star-spangled banner by the dawn’s early light. Inspired that the flag was still waving, Key wrote the poem that became the American national anthem.

News of the American victory reached Europe during the peace negotiations in the autumn of 1814 and ended Britain's hope of gaining territorial concessions. Three months after the failed assault on Baltimore, the two countries finalized the Treaty of Ghent, which returned their relationship to status quo ante bellum.

After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. Redeeming the Rogue is an August, 2011 release. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at cjchasebooks.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review of Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase

Redeeming the Rogue by C.J. Chase

Love Inspired Historical

August 2011

Review by Rachel Wilder

I'm going to start off by saying I'm not your typical book reviewer. If you're looking for a rehash of the back cover copy or a synopsis, you're in the wrong place.

My mom bought the book last week without even knowing that I wanted to read it or was supposed to review it. I hadn't told her yet. Fashion nerd that I am the first thing I noticed was the hero's trousers. An actual proper button flap on them!

This is CJ's debut novel, and it is a rich historical romantic suspense. Yes, suspense.

Kit DeChambelle has spent ten years as a spy and his deceit and choices haunt him. Innocent blood stains his hands and his heart. I was very surprised and pleased to see him dealing with his guilt in a way that many people did back then. He turns to drink. Whiskey and brandy. As weird as this sounds, this is one of my favorite things about the book. Kit's humanity is palpable.

Mattie Fraser is in London seeking revenge on the British naval captain who impressed her brother. She is armed and dangerous and more than willing to pull the trigger. Again, her humanness stands out. I don't read a lot of LIH's because so many of them tend to gloss over the seedier parts of life. Not this time. Mattie's had a rough life and she struggles to leave it behind.

Neither character starts out as a Christian. By the end, both have come to Christ, of course. This is a Christian novel after all. Their journeys to faith are well done, believable, and don't come across as preachy. This is something that's very important to me.

The street orphan, Nicky, is a wonderful addition to the cast of characters. I immediately fell in love with him. Again, CJ deftly handled the reality of the time without getting bogged down in the gory details.

This debut is a thrilling read that I heartily recommend. I look forward to more from CJ!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

A quarter of a pound of grated stale bread.

A quart of milk, boiled with two or three sticks of cinnamon, slightly broken.

Eight eggs.

A quarter of a pound of sugar.

A little grated lemon-peel.

Boil the milk with the cinnamon, strain it, and set it away till quite cold.

Grate as much crumb of stale bread as will weigh a quarter of a pound. beat the eggs, and when the milk is cold, stir them into it in turn with the bread and sugar. Add the lemon-peel, and if you choose, a table spoonful of rose-water.

Bake it in a buttered dish, and grate nutmeg over it when done. Do not send it to table hot. Baked puddings should never be eaten till they have become cold, or at least cool.

Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats
by a Lady of Philadelphia
Third edition, Boston, 1830

Submitted by Gina Welborn

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hometown Tourist

I had the privilege of attending St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. St. John's charter spun off of King William's School's, giving us the right to say we've existed since 1696, though in fact the preparatory school didn't become the college until 1790. But walking those old brick pathways for four years, making frequent trips across the street into Historical Annapolis, I acquired a severe case of enamoring with the city and its history.

After graduating from St. John's in 2004, my husband and I moved to the Annapolis suburb of Arnold and stuck around for another nearly-two-years. So after just about 6 in this beautiful old town, I thought I knew it pretty well. I was excited to pitch a story set there. And when the editor asked for a full, I realized quickly that there were a lot of things I'd never taken the time to notice about this place I called home for so long, and which the internet just couldn't tell me.

Luckily, I still have friends in the area who were quite happy to play tourist with me. =)

Last December, my friend Kimberly and I happily parked in the garage across from our alma mater and made our way to West Street and a building we'd always avoided like the plague--the Visitor's Center. There we took photos of the 3-D Historical map (color-coded by the era in which the buildings were constructed), gathered brochures, and debated taking an official tour. Deciding against that, we set out on foot. Our first aim: Church Circle.

Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk like the tourists we used to grumble about, we brandished our cameras and took photos from every conceivable angle. Of buildings. Of plaques. Of street signs. We noted the old spellings of things that were given on signs, the years for each street and community. I jotted down descriptions of courtyards and even made a sketch of the apparently-haphazard stonework in the foundation of some of the buildings (pebbles in the mortar . . . who'd have thought of it?)
But the best moment for both me and Kimberly was when we walked up to the old entrance of the State House. My camera battery was, by now, dead--special thanks to the cold air that sucked it dry. But that didn't stop us. We stood on the black and white marble squares of the portico, looked through the stately white columns, and plotted.

You see, my heroine had to flee from this very spot, run from the hero as if the hounds of Hades were on her heels. And she had to somehow end up at City Dock. How, I wondered, would she have done it?

I'd looked at maps, but maps never reminded me of how the hill sloped down, how the hill pulled one's feet toward Cornhill Street. However, when we fled down the steps and put ourselves in Lark's shoes, it was easy to determine what path she would have taken, where it would have put her out, and how she would have ended up dangerously close to the docks.
Once down there, Kimberly and I took a happy turn through a few shops and museums, studied another awesome 3-D rendering of the town circa 1790 (perfect!), and then treated ourselves to lunch.

Six years I lived in or around Annapolis. But only in those three hours did I really see the place as Lark and Emerson would have. I've never been so glad to live relatively close to a setting!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rumblings in the Valley....Pt. 2

The Story of the Campaign of 1777 and the Battle of Oriskany

Johnson, Butler and Brant came back to the valley to play prominent roles in the Campaign of 1777 when the British planned an invasion of New York. If they managed this, they could separate the New England colonies from those of the Middle Atlantic and South, effectively ending a short-lived “revolution”. To do this, the main force under General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne would come down the Hudson via Lake Champlain from Canada, with a second force under General William Howe to move north from New York City. A third under Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger would drive east from Oswego by way of the Mohawk Valley.

The three armies planned to unite in Albany, thereby controlling the state’s strategic waterways and the adjoining land areas. Since the waterways were important trade routes, the growing success of the Patriot middle class farmers and merchants could be brought under control and in service to the Crown once more.

The plan, though sounding good on paper, never worked. Howe failed to receive orders to move north, and instead sailed for Philadelphia. Burgoyne advanced as far south as Saratoga (Schuylerville) where his army was eventually routed, and he was captured.

However, in the Mohawk Valley phase of the campaign, Sir John Johnson (Sir William’s son) was second in command to St. Leger, Colonel John Butler headed the Loyalist militia, and Joseph Brant lead the Iroquois tribes, save for the Oneidas, who’d sided with the Patriots. They also found the entrance into the valley unexpectedly blocked—by Ft. Stanwix, built by the British during the French and Indian War. With the foresight of General Philip Schuyler of Albany, the Patriots repaired this strategic outpost after the French threat had ended. Colonel Peter Gansevoort, also of Albany, then commanded the garrison.

News of the invading army spread like a brush fire throughout the Valley and alarmed the frontier settlements. General Nicholas Herkimer summoned all males between the ages of 16 and 60 to assemble at Ft. Dayton (what was to become the community of Herkimer) to raise the siege of Ft. Stanwix. As the most prominent Patriot in the Valley, Herkimer directed the Tryon County Militia.

Herkimer and his militiamen, (about 800) marched to relieve Ft. Stanwix, never suspecting their fate. It struck on the morning of August 6, 1777 at a marshy ravine south of the Mohawk and just west of Oriskany, N.Y. (between present-day Utica and Rome, N.Y.)

Molly Brant, Mohawk wife of Sir William Johnson had sent a message to her brother Chief Joseph Brant, who led St. Leger’s Indian contingent, with the exact date that Herkimer and his men would set out to relieve Ft. Stanwix. It might be interesting to discover just how this information got into Molly’s hands.

The fierce battle raged throughout the day in a pastoral setting called Bloody Creek (Oriskany Creek), as ill-prepared, mostly German farmers faced Indians, Loyalist militia, British and Hessian soldiers. In the beginning of the encounter, Herkimer was shot in the leg, but seated on a log and with sword drawn, continued to direct and encourage his men who faced over a thousand of the enemy. In proportion to the numbers engaged, no other battle of the Revolution exceeded the casualties at Oriskany.

But Herkimer and his men held the line.

Eleven days later, General Herkimer died of gangrene after his leg was amputated. Fond of Scripture, the General listened as his devoted wife Maria remained at his side to read the Psalms daily before he passed away.

British plans to march though the valley had failed. The Patriots from the Mohawk Valley were free to join the forces opposing Burgoyne. The Battle of Oriskany was a turning point in the Campaign of 1777 and the War for Independence. ~ Pat Iacuzzi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with MaryLu Tyndall - New release "Surrender the Dawn"

MaryLu Tyndall is the author of Surrender the Dawn

Published by: Barbour (August 1st, 2011)

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

MaryLu Tyndall is also the author of 10 books. She is a member of Colonial American Christian Writers and has a three book series set during colonial times.  Her latest series has been set during and after the War of 1812, which many historians refer to as the second war for independence. 

MaryLu, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
I’ve always been drawn to this time period. I suppose because it was such a volatile time, a time of adventure, exploration, new worlds, and new beginnings. A time when people left the comforts of home abroad for opportunity and freedom and then had to fight not only the elements but natives and marauders in order to carve out homes for themselves in the wilderness. This was also the Age of Sail when tall ships ruled the seas. To me, it is it such a romantic, adventurous time period! What’s not to love?

What inspired your latest book?
Two things: The War of 1812, which, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating, patriotic, and miraculous wars our nation has ever fought.  America had virtually no navy and a ragtag army, yet we defeated the most powerful empire on earth at the time—the British. Those same British arrogantly boasted how easy it would be to take back the American colonies. How shocked they were when, with the help of Almighty God, we sent them packing!

Also, I like to interject a strong spiritual theme into each of my books. This series revolves around the theme of destiny—how to find your God-given purpose on this earth. Each book represents one thing that can prevent you from finding that purpose: Insecurity, fear, and unbelief. I show through the story and characters how to rid yourself of these encumbrances and then seek God for your destiny. Each of the heroines in the books play a grand part in the war and hence in the deliverance of America from the British invaders. And of course they all fall in love with dashing heroes!

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
Can I have more than one? LOL. I guess Charleston, South Carolina would be my favorite. There is such a rich history there, beautiful historic homes, cobblestone streets, tall ships—you can almost feel the history in the air. I also love Annapolis and Baltimore for similar reasons. As you can see, I love port towns. They were the center of activity, commerce and culture. Plus they were often attacked by marauders, enemies and pirates. Which makes them very exciting places! My favorite thing to do is to explore historic buildings where the echoes of those who came before us still ring through the brick walls, or gaze out over the bay and envision the tall ships rocking at anchor in the water. Ah, to be transported back to that time!

If you care to say, you can tell readers where you live and what colonial places you have in your state or your home state if different.  Unfortunately I live in California. No colonial places here at all. L  And I grew up in South Florida which was largely Spanish for years. 

Surrender the Dawn is a story set during the War of 1812 in Baltimore. It is about a young lady desperate to care for her mother and sisters in a war that has robbed her of her father and brothers. Since no honorable privateer will allow her to invest her money, she is forced to align with the town rogue and his broken-down ship.

Tortured by guilt over his parents’ death, Luke Heaton longs to redeem his reputation and win the affection of the beautiful Cassandra. At first he is quite successful as a privateer but things take a terrible twist when the British blackmail him into selling them supplies off the coast.

Though everything seems against them, the couple fall in love, but Cassandra is suspicious of Luke’s traitorous activities. Setting out to catch him in the act, she is tossed head-first into a massive British invasion of Baltimore and one of the most decisive battles of the war where lives, liberty and the future of a nation are at stake.

Giveaway:  Leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Surrender the Dawn. Surrender the Dawn is also available for purchase through CBD and Amazon

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Colonial Recipes: Hasty Pudding

Hasty Pudding (Indian Pudding)

A popular dessert among the colonists, similar to an Indian dish called supawn, Indian Pudding is an adaption of a traditional English Hasty Pudding where they substituted flour with cornmeal and added molasses and spices.

    Original recipe text:    Put two quarts of water into a clean dinner pot or saucepan, cover it and let it become boiling hot over the fire; then add a tablespoonful of salt, take off the light scum from the top, have secured to use some sweet fresh yellow or white corn meal.  Take a handful of the meal with the left hand, and a pudding stick in the right, then with the stick stir the water around and by degrees let fall the meal; when one handful is exhausted, refill it; continue to stir and add meal until it is as thick as you can stir easily, or until the stick: will stand in it; stir it awhile longer; let the fire be gentle; when it is sufficiently cooked, which will be in half on hour, it will bubble or puff. up; turn it into a deep basin. This is good eaten cold or hot, with milk or with butter and syrup or sugar, or with meat and gravy, the same as potatoes or rice. Hasty Pudding was often served for Sunday night suppers with stripped salt codfish on the side.
    Fried Hasty Pudding is made the same way and then chilled in bread tins until of slicing consistency, dipped by slice in flour and fried in lard or butter until well browned on both sides. Serve hot topped with butter and syrup, honey, or fresh fruit jam.

Hasty Pudding
Indian Pudding
From Joel Barlow's The Hasty Pudding (1796)

Assist me first with pious toil to trace
Thro' wrecks of time thy lineage and thy race;
Declare what lovely squaw, in days of yore,
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore)
First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have liv'd indeed, but liv'd without a name.
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,
First learn'd with stones to crack the well-dry'd maize,
Thro' the rough sieve to shake the golden show'r,
In boiling water stir the yellow flour.
The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stir'd with haste,
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste,
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim:
The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.

Submitted by Carla Olson Gade

Friday, August 12, 2011

Horses -- Sex, Age, and Physical Attributes

By Susan F. Craft
Author, An Equestrian Writer’s Guide

For writers interested in or doing research about horses for their novels, the following are excerpts from the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation’s An Equestrian Writer’s Guide. This is copyrighted material and should not be reproduced without the permission of the Long Riders’ Guild. (Visit the website at www.lrgaf.org for more information.)


Mare – female horse
Gelding – castrated male horse
Stallion – male horse; also called an “entire”; in the US he may be called a “stud horse”; but never called a stud by the English, which is what they call a farm or stable that keeps horses. Stallions have more natural aggression especially around other horses; usually ridden by experts.
Foal – baby horse from birth to January 1 of the next year (horses mature between ages five and seven)
Filly – girl baby horse
Colt – boy baby horse
Yearling – in the year after the birth year (too young to ride; most saddle horses aren't  worked hard until at least four years old; breaking and training may start earlier)
Pony – small, usually less than 14.2 hands high. Smart and sturdy, they are often   used by ladies in pony carts or carriages, or for packing goods.


Horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers (the ridge between the shoulder bones) in hands. One hand is four inches.

The average horse is 15 to 16 hands. Very tall horses may be 17 hands, and only unusual horses reach 18 hands.

Ponies are usually less than 14 hands, two inches

Two areas of the body—the main body and the points, which are the ear tips, mane, tail, and the fetlock or the lower part of the legs—are considered when determining the color of a horse. (This gets a little complicated because color designations differ between UK and the US.)

Appaloosa – white hair and dark patches that may be leopard, flecked, snowflake or in a blanket. These originated in northwestern US and were formerly much used by Native Americans.
Bay – red-brown body, black points—may be dark bay, mahogany bay, red bay  (cherry bay), blood bay, light bay, sandy bay—but every bay horse always has  black points
Black – black body, black points—may be smoky black, jet black, coal black, raven  black (true black is rare)
Brown – brown body, brown points; may be a seal bay (dark brown with black legs, tail, and mane) or a standard brown
Chestnut/Sorrel – reddish body, self-colored (non-black) points. When in UK refer to Thoroughbreds or Arabians as chestnuts—a liver chestnut, dark red chestnut, dark chestnut, etc.  In the West, “sorrel” designates light reds; medium or dark reds may be called “chestnut.” Some Western horsemen use “sorrel” for all red horses no matter the shade. Light sorrel draft horses with white manes and tails are known as “blond.”
Dun – yellowish body, black points; may have primitive marks, which include a  black dorsal stripe and/or zebra stripes on the legs; a red dun is a name often used for a reddish yellow horse with red points and primitive marks; a grullo is slate-blue with black points;  and a claybank is a pale dun color without  black points. Duns are called buckskins in the US, and even piebald or skewbald.
Gray – may be born black or bay, but each year shows more white—iron grey, steel grey, dappled grey, etc. A “rose grey” is born chestnut or bay.
Paint/Pinto – white patches patterned as either Overo (white patches have ragged edges and  rarely extend over the top-line) or Tobiano (white patches have sharp edges  and cross the top-line and usually with white legs)
Palomino golden coat, white mane and tail; palomino with a cream-colored coat rather than gold, is called an Isabella—a term often used in Europe for all palominos
Piebald – dark-skinned, born dark and turning whiter each year; large irregular solid  patches of black and white
Roan – can be blue or strawberry; mixed colored and white hairs, staying the same  every year after one year old. A blue roan has black and white hairs; red roans  and strawberry roans have red and white hairs. A thoroughbred born chestnut  may be called a “red roan” even when truly gray—getting progressively  whiter each year
Skewbald – large irregular solid patches of any other color and white
White – pure white with pink skin; in western US white and off-white horses with blue  eyes are called cremello or if it has slightly red or blue points, it’s called a perlino (true white is rare)

Note: Susan Craft is a new contributor to Colonial Quills.  Welcome, Susan!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Archaic Words of the 17th Century

The English language has changed over the past three hundred years, some words falling out of usage while the spelling and the meaning of others have changed. However, if you’ve read sermons or religious articles written into the late 1800’s and early 1900’s you’ll find that many of the same words were used.

I’ve collected a few of my favorite of these words below, including a definition and a sentence.

Bewrayeth – to recite or proclaim. The word evolved into betray.

Proverbs 27:15-16 “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself. “

Horseleach – the spelling of this word changed to horseleech. It means bloodsucker and, while vampires were not called vampires in 17th Century New England, the word has been used in reference to a vampire-like creature in some superstitions. Symbolically, it referred to anyone who sucked the life out of another.

Proverbs 30:15 “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give….”

Buckler – a shield, or symbolically any means of defense, and more specifically used in reference to someone who acts as a protector.

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Discomfit – to utterly defeat by commotion or vexation. While we might use the word disconcert in place of discomfit, it doesn’t quite bring to mind the same level of fear and confusion.

Psalm 18:14 “Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.”

Calamity. I must confess that I was astonied (stunned) to learn that this was an archaic word. I love this word! In case you don’t know the definition, it means great trouble. We might say catastrophe today.

Psalm 18:18 “They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.”

Privily – secretly, with the connotation of lurking or hiding.

Proverbs 1:11 “If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:”

Usury – interest, like what you pay when you take a loan from a bank. In other words, moneylending.

Leviticus 25:36-37 “Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.”

Conversation – how you behave in society. I love this word, because while we think of our conversations today as being what we say, what we do speaks volumes about who we are. So, in essence, our actions are our conversation.

I Peter 3:2 “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

Personally, I find the language of the 17th Century very colorful and rich with images that conjure up great thoughts. After all, we find Shakespeare and other great writers of the era still quoted in our modern language.

Here are a few to consider:
“If you prick us, do we not bleed?” (The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Sc. I)

“All that glisters is not gold.” (The Merchant of Venice, Act II)

"As he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him" (Julius Caesar, Act III, Sc. II)

"I will govern according to the common weal, but not according to the common will." James I, 1621

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." Oliver Cromwell, 1650. Letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland.

Do you have any favorite archaic words or quotes you’d like to share?

Here is a link to some famous sayings from this era: http://www.famous-proverbs.com/17th_Century_Proverbs.htm

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fiction Sampler: The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

The Colonel's Lady
Laura Frantz
Revell, August 2011

Author Laura Frantz brings us her new novel, The Colonel's Lady. Laura credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's ancestors followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. She has also authored the highly acclaimed The Frontiersman's Daughter and Courting Morrow Little.

"Laura Frantz portrays the wild beauty of frontier life, along with its dangers and hardships, in vivid detail."--Ann H. Gabhart

In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own--some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?

Kentucke Territory, November 1779

This is madness.

Roxanna Rowan leaned against the slick cave entrance and felt an icy trickle drop down the back of her neck as she bent her head. Her right hand, shaky as an aspen leaf, caressed the cold steel of the pistol in her pocket. Being a soldier’s daughter, she knew how to use it. Trouble was she didn’t want to. The only thing she’d ever killed was a copperhead in her flower garden back in Virginia, twined traitorously among scarlet poppies and deep blue phlox.

An Indian was an altogether different matter.

The cave ceiling continued to weep, echoing damply and endlessly and accenting her predicament. Her eyes raked the rosy icicles hanging from the sides and ceiling of the cavern. Stalactites. Formed by the drip of calcareous water, or so Papa had told her in a letter. She’d never thought to see such wonders, but here she was, on the run from redskins and Redcoats in the howling wilderness. And in her keep were four fallen women and a mute child.

They were huddled together further down the cavern tunnel, the women’s hardened faces stiff with rouge and fright. Nancy. Olympia. Dovie. Mariah. And little Abby. All five were looking at her like they wanted her to do something dangerous. Extending

one booted foot, she nudged the keelboat captain. In the twilight she saw that the arrow protruding from his back was fletched with turkey feathers. He’d lived long enough to lead them to the mouth of the cave—a very gracious gesture—before dropping dead. Thank You, Lord, for that. But what on earth would You have me do now? A stray tear leaked from the corner of her left eye as she pondered their predicament.

The Indians had come out of nowhere that afternoon—in lightning-quick canoes—and the women had been forced to abandon the flatboat and flee in a pirogue to the safer southern shore, all within a few miles of their long-awaited destination. Fort Endeavor was just downriver, and if they eluded the Indians, they might reach it on foot come morning. Surely a Shawnee war party would rather be raiding a vessel loaded with rum and gunpowder than chasing after five worthless women and a speechless child.

“Miz Roxanna!” The voice cast a dangerous echo.

Roxanna turned, hesitant to take her eyes off the entrance lest the enemy suddenly appear. Her companions had crept further down the tunnel, huddled in a shivering knot. And then Olympia shook her fist, her whisper more a shout.

“I’d rather be took by Indians than spend the night in this blasted place!”

There was a murmur of assent, like the hiss of a snake, and Roxanna plucked her pistol from her pocket. “Ladies,” she said, stung by the irony of the address. “I’d much rather freeze in this cave than roast on some Indian spit. Now, are you with me or against me?”

The only answer was the incessant plink, plink, plink of water. Turning her back to them, she fixed her eye on the ferns just be- yond the cave entrance, studying the fading scarlet and cinnamon and saffron woods. With the wind whipping and rearranging the leaves, perhaps their trail would be covered if the Indians decided to pursue them. They’d also walked in a creek to hide their passing. But would it work? Roxanna heaved a shaky sigh.

I’m glad Mama’s in the grave and Papa doesn’t know a whit about my present predicament.