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, December 11, 2017

This Month in Colonial History: December

This is my last month bringing you the theme of “this month in colonial (and Federal) history.” Next month I have the joy and privilege of starting posts relevant to my upcoming release, The Counterfeit Tory in CQ’s long-awaited all-colonial novella collection, The Backcountry Bride (May 2018, Barbour Publishing). So, this month I’m going to do something a little different and add in events specific to the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution, particularly in South Carolina—some of which are featured in my novella, and one of which figures into my first full-length release coming in October.

Washington's Portrait, by Stuart
1 – Spanish garrisons driven out of Portugal in a nationalist revolution that will lead to Portugal’s independence. (1640)

1-19 – Continuation of “the Bloody Scout,” a six-week reign of terror by loyalist officer William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham and his men across the South Carolina backcountry, in retribution for the treatment of family and friends by the patriots. (1780) (This event forms the backdrop of my story The Counterfeit Tory.)

2 - Napoleon Bonaparte crowned Emperor of France. (Because that was an improvement on the French Revolution?) (1804)

3 - Birth of Gilbert Charles Stuart (1755-1828) near Narragansett, Rhode Island. Best known for portraits of George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson.

4 - The Observer, now the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, first published in Britain. (1791)

5 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies in poverty at age 35 in Vienna, Austria. (1791)

5 – Birth of Martin van Buren (1782-1862), the 8th U.S. President and first born a U.S. citizen, in Kinderhook, New York.

7 – Birth of Marie Tussaud (1761-1850) in Bern, Switzerland. Later famous for Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

8 – Birth of Eli Whitney (1765-1825) in Westboro, Massachusetts. Assisted in his invention of the cotton gin by Caty Greene, widow of General Nathanael Greene.

9 – Birth of John Milton (1608-1674) in London.

10 – Birth of Thomas Gallaudet (1787-1851) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Co-founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817.

12 – Birth of John Jay (1745-1829) in New York City. Diplomat and the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. With Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, he co-wrote the Federalist Papers.

13 - The Council of Trent, summoned by Pope Paul III, met to discuss doctrinal matters, including the rise of Protestantism. (1545)

13 - Francis Drake departed Plymouth, England, on his voyage around the world. (1577)

13 - New Zealand discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company. (1642)

13 – Birth of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) in Dusseldorf. “Best known for his statement made a hundred years before the advent of book-burning Nazis in Germany – ‘Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too.’”

14 – The evacuation of the British from Charleston, South Carolina, after occupying the city for more than a year and a half. (1782)

14 - George Washington dies at Mount Vernon. (1799)

15 - The Bill of Rights takes effect following ratification by Virginia. (1791)

16 - Following the defeat of King Charles I in the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary forces, is declared Lord Protector of England. (1653)

16 - The Boston Tea Party! Colonial activists disguised as Mohawk Indians board British ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dump 342 containers of expensive tea into the water. (1773)

16 – Birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) in Bonn, Germany.

16 – Birth of Jane Austen (1775-1817) in Hampshire, England.

17 – Excommunication of King Henry VIII after he declares himself supreme head of the Church in England. (1538)

17 - The Continental Army, led by General George Washington, settles in for the winter at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. (1777)

Poor Richard's Almanac
19 - Benjamin Franklin first published Poor Richard's Almanac containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, eventually selling nearly 10,000 copies per year. (1732)

19 – Birth of William Perry (1790-1855) in Bath, England. Famous for his Arctic expeditions and three attempts to find a Northwest Passage.

20 - The Virginia Company expedition to America began as three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, departed London under the command of Captain Christopher Newport. (1606)

20 - Czar Peter the Great changes the Russian New Year from September 1 to January 1 as part of his reorganization of the Russian calendar. (1699)

20 – Attack on “Bloody Bill” Cunningham by General Andrew Pickens on the Edisto River, effectively ending “the Bloody Scout.” (1780)

22 – “Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, Maryland, George Washington, victorious Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appeared before Congress and voluntarily resigned his commission.” (1783)

24 - Franz Joseph Gruber composed “Silent Night.” (1818)

24 – Birth of Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) on a plantation in Byberry, Pennsylvania. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, doctor, and humanitarian, whose writings on mental illness earned him the title “Father of Psychiatry.”

24 – Birth of Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809-1868) in Madison County, Kentucky.

25 - George Washington takes 2,400 of his men across the Delaware River for a surprise raid on 1,500 Hessians (German mercenaries) at Trenton, New Jersey. The Hessians surrendered after an hour, with nearly 1,000 taken prisoner by Washington, who suffered only six wounded. The victory provided a much-needed boost to American morale. (1776) (This incident figures into the backstory of my heroine’s father in The Cumberland Bride, releasing October 2018 from Barbour.)

25 – Birth of Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England.
Overlay of the Louisiana Purchase

27 – Birth of Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) in Wurttemberg, Germany. Considered the father of modern astronomy.

29 – Birth of Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the 17th U.S. President, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Abraham Lincoln's vice president and President upon Lincoln's assassination in 1865.

30 - The Stars and Stripes flag raised over New Orleans as a sign of formal possession of the territory of Louisiana by the United States. (1803)

My thanks to The History Place, Holiday Insights, and the invaluable printed resource of Nothing But Blood and Slaughter: The Revolutionary War in the Carolinas by Patrick O'Kelley.


  1. I never think about the Boston Tea Party as being in December. How did I miss that?

    1. I never noticed it either!! That's been part of the adventure of doing this series! :-D

  2. Great post Shannon.
    Merry Christmas!
    Blessings, Tina

    1. Thank you, Tina, and a belated Merry Christmas to you, too! (And a very blessed New Year!!)


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