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Tea Party Winners: Vicki Talley McCollum's Never Say Goodbye, A National Park Romance novella goes to: Caryl Kane, Deanne Patterson, Deana Dick, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners Beverly Duell-Moore and Cindy Pratt, Roseanna White's winners - Betti Mace, Gabrielle Meyer's winners -, Deb Marvin's paperback winner - Rachel Dodson

Friday, January 11, 2013

Editorial Notes for A Forted Frontier Holiday: Voices From the Past

Shenandoah National  Park


 Would you believe that this story was inspired about seven years ago by genealogical research that I did not want to pursue any further?  I was wanting to find out more about my mother’s side of the family, who were notoriously tight-lipped about such things. Why, I wasn’t sure.  Still don’t know.  But in any event, I got back in Mom’s genealogy far enough to find two people by the last name of Rousch marrying.  I did a double and triple take. Oh no--cousins who married. I prayed about whether I should pursue the genealogy any further or if my mother might be happy to leave it at that.  I do remember her laughing about it.  She was flat-out shocked that they were German, from what was then the Palatinate. After prayer, I forged ahead.  And found out the most interesting thing about one of their parents—George was reported to have been born inside Holman fort.  Here is one link to that report.   Of course we used some creative license here for the storyline because George was born in 1761. And I needed a baby girl in our story!

And although my genealogical research shows Jonas, the other father, born in New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, another online resource refers to his pension application showing him born at Fort Holman in 1763, possibly during Pontiac’s Rebellion. Both George and Jonas were born to Johan Adam Rousch, who had nine of his ten sons serve in the American Revolution, as did these two sons.

So all those years ago, I began thinking about what it must have been like to have been a mother, like Susannah Rousch, giving birth inside a fort.  And from the more recent research I’ve done, it appears that the families may have remained in a forted or stockade community for over two years, with George and Jonas both reportedly born there in two separate years—or perhaps they had to periodically return to the fort.  

A view to the New Market, Virginia area
So I spent some time in the rare book stacks at the University of Virginia reading about Johan Adam Rousch and his family.  There are several volumes available there.  And I also chose to read some accounts of people from the Shenandoah Valley who'd lived during that time period.  Those were some of the most touching stories I have ever read and the voices of the people echoed through the ages to me.  Mothers who'd lost their children or their husbands. Fathers whose entire families were taken from them in Indian attacks. Their unadorned, honest, and searing voices took me to a place near where Fort Holman likely was.  A gorgeous environment fraught with danger where people from all kinds of backgrounds sought to begin a new life. Can you imagine standing atop the mountain and looking down, like show in the picture above--and imagining that you would begin a new life, one away from the dirty cities of Europe for example?

We hope you have enjoyed the anthology thus far and pray you'll be captivated by the conclusion this coming Monday.  We have a famous visitor, who according to my research, was the real life surveyor of the Rousch's property. And this young man went on to have an illustrious future.  According to what I've found, he may or may not have been in the vicinity of our fort, but he would have been close enough that he could have been.  Can you guess who he is?  

20 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of a beautiful area. Your research is inspiring, Carrie. Thank you for sharing and opening up a fascinating time in history.

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    1. This reminds me to put your paras in Mondays post,Kathy!!

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  2. Thank you for your inspiration to create this series, Carrie. I've said it before, I love doing research much more than I do writing. My father's cousin researched our ancestors, but after his death, his son won't share it with anyone. Makes me wonder if there's something terrible he doesn't want anyone else to know.

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    1. So glad you contributed, Susan! It has been a lot of fun.

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  3. This was very interesting, Carrie! I'm glad you followed through with your geneology and told your story. Your love of history is obvious and shows in your writing.

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    1. Yes, I am a history geek and it shows. Of course with my poor memory I must write historical romance and not straight historical, lol! I have to be able to bend the truth quite a bit, lol!

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  4. Do I cry now or later? :'( Not wanting it to end. Thought was to be this whole month. Well, I have really looked forward to reading it each week. Good job ladies! Love you, MAXIE

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    1. We've done our two months, now, Maxie, and THANKS so much!!!

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  5. George Washington is my guess. That chap really got around!
    I shared earlier about the significance of New Market. This is where the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the only College student body in the US went to war. The New Market Battlefield is a far more level area and can be seen from Route Route 81.

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    1. He sure did get around Virginia, especially! I enjoyed visiting New Market two summers ago, near where my ancestor Johan Rousch was buried. A lovely town with some still-standing colonial homes--one of which I salivated over and my hubby had to pull me away from, lol! We did not go by the battlefield. Nor to VMI.

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  6. I'd like to guess Thomas Jefferson will visit, but I think the story was 1740, right? And he wasn't born yet. George Washington would have been old enough to visit but not old enough to survery for a while. William Pitt? Can't wait to find out.

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    1. We are now in the year 1754, Dina. Thanks so much for coming by to comment! Hmm, I like your names chosen!!!

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  7. Carrie, what a lovely story regarding your family research! It gives us a whole new perspective on those who paved the way for our existence when we delve into their lives, accomplishments, and especially, their heartaches. Thank you so much for bringing the "team" together to create this anthology. It has been an awesome journey of fellowship in writing. Blessings!

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    1. I know genealogical research drove some of your fiction writing, too, Elaine! It has been so much fun working together!

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    2. It certainly did, Carrie. I actually found a researcher in England (via the internet) who discovered my ancestor's records of military service at the KEW in London. She had three muster rolls with his name on them, verifying his regiment and date of departure from England to fight against the colonists. (I have copies of them here in my home) No wonder my writer's mind became stirred! And yes, it has been fun working together on the anthology! Blessings!

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  8. I, too, hate to see your anthology end! It's one of those stories that would be fun to follow along and see how each character lived out his/her life. Your research sounds fascinating. I love the Shenandoah Valley, the mountains, and New Market--neat little town. Thanks so much for your weekly diversion and escape from the busyness of the holidays.

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    1. I really want to get up there again, Kay, so we'll see if my handsome chauffeur takes me (AKA my husband!) or if I will drive it myself. Actually, the last time when we evacuated for the hurricane my daughter drove me and her brother up there.

      SO glad you enjoyed the anthology, Kay!!!

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  9. How I'd love to see that area of the country! Have loved the story thus far, and really hate to see it end.

    My mother was the genealogist in our family. She used to say if you begin to climb the family tree, you'll find an equal number of horse thieves and princes. Generally the horse thieves are more interesting, figuratively speaking.

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    1. LOL Judith about the horse thieves! Didn't find any of those but we do have family members who served time for making "home brew" in the mountains of Kentucky! Businessmen, haha!

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  10. I'm guessing Thomas Jefferson.....whoever it is, I am sure he will be quite interesting. I have so loved this anthology and I will miss it when it ends. Thank you Carrie and all of the other ladies who participated. I am going to have to copy and save the entire story to read again or share.
    Have a wonderful weekend and God bless!

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