YES to Independence!

     In just a few days, the people of Scotland will be voting on Independence. My Scot heart swells with pride at the thought.
Independence.
      Scotland has not been their own country for over four hundred years. And yet, the brushfires of freedom in the hearts of the Scots have never been fully quenched.
      I wonder what Will Munroe would say. His Great-Grandfather William was born just after the Union of the Crowns and was brought to America in 1657 as an indentured servant. He worked hard, bought his freedom and started a dynasty of sorts in Lexington, Massachusetts.
      Would the Munroe family have left America if their homeland had been free? Obviously we can only speculate. This Clan, though, lost more men on April 19th than any other family in New England. Over 25% of the Colonists killed that day had ties to Clan Munroe.
      Clan Munroe was invested in Liberty.
      That is not to say that all the Scots in America were on the side of Independence. I’m sad to say – many fought with the British Army for King George.
      So, the question that will be asked and answered on September 18th is the same question that was asked here on our shores. It was answered so poignantly by Captain Levi Pearson –

In 1843, 91-year-old Capt. Levi Preston was asked by a young historian why he had fought in the American Revolution. “What we meant in going for those Redcoats was this: we always had been free, and we meant to be always free. They didn’t mean we should.”

     Will Scotland be free?
      I’d be voting YES.

 

Diguised as Indians?

Boston Tea PartyPreviously, I expounded (wow, that’s a fancy word) on the reasons for dumping the tea in the harbor.) 

Boston, 1773.  The Sons of Liberty dress as Indians to board merchant boats to dump English Tea in the harbor.  

Why were they dressed as Indians?

We’re told that they dressed as Indians as a disguise.  But, like so much we’re told in school and even in the history books we read as adults, it’s not true.

Everyone knew who was on those ships. They knew who the organizers were.  They knew them from the taverns where they got the crowd fired up before the march to the wharf. 

George Hewes, one of the “Indians” gave this report:

“It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin’s wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.”

The Americans dressed like Indians not to disguise themselves, but to make a point.  It was a two-fold statement.  First, it was a complete identification as Americans, no longer British.  Second, the Indians were thought the most free men on earth.  In many of the political cartoons of the day, the Americans were represented as an Indian maiden. 

The Patriots were thumbing their nose at the British.  “Free men are throwing your tea in the bay.  Free men are protecting our economy.  Free men are not paying your taxes.” 

Cover reveal of sorts

Here’s are two versions of the  cover of the first book from Battle Road Books.  This book is the enhanced timeline booklet.

Revive 1775 the Booklet  Cover 3 copy

 

Revive 1775 the Booklet  Cover 2 copy

Scene One – Go!

http://philsayer.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/old-typewriter.jpgAfter having been stuck in the research rabbit-hole for a very long time, I have written scene one of the book.  My writer’s group kicked me in the fanny last night and I knew it was time.

Do I have all the research I need?  Well, I don’t have all I need to finish, but I have all I need to start.  And so it started, over dinner, on Tuesday, April 18th, 1775.

No talk of rebellion at the table though.  Mother wouldn’t have it.  So it was a fairly quiet meal, the family lost in their own thoughts.   They knew they were on the precipice.  But, they couldn’t know what would come in a few short hours.

In a few hours, word would arrive that there were Redcoat patrols out.  In a few more, Revere and Dawes would ride in and the alarm bell would be sounded.

Few would sleep that night.  For some, that bell would ring for the last time.

And so it begins.

Colonial Valentines…

http://www.bistro39sandiego.com/wp-content/uploads//2014/01/Valentines-Day-background_main.jpgIt’s Valentine’s Day and so I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the falling-in-love traditions of the Puritans of 1775 Lexington and Concord.  (Here’s the link to the earlier article on Puritan Weddings.)

In some cultures, even in the 18th Century, arranged marriages were the norm.  Parents selected the spouse for their child and the bride and groom had little input in the matter.  Sometimes it was about position.  Sometimes it was about land.  Sometimes it was about who would pay the most to wed the bride.  Very romantic.

But the Puritans believed in marrying for love.  They had elaborate courting rituals that resemble some that the Amish still practice today.  (Note:  the Puritans are not the Amish and the Amish are not Puritans)

Once the “kids” had reached the courting point in the relationship, it was up to the parents to supervise while still making sure that the kids had enough privacy to get to know each other and to have an opportunity to find out if love was in the mix.   The practice of bundling was quite common.   This was the practice of the two people spending the night in bed together with a board between them.  Ideally, this practice would allow them to build one type of intimacy but would preclude physical intimacy.

The Puritans did not believe in sex outside of marriage.  But one detail I found interesting is that the “engagement” or “coming out” ceremony was the line in the sand.  It was not unusual at all for the bride to be pregnant when the actual marriage contract was signed.   But pregnancy outside of the engagement was looked upon badly.

The normal age for marriage surprised me as well.  Most of the “kids” got married in the early to mid-twenties.  The groom would want to have established some way of supporting his soon coming family.  The vast majority of young people did marry.  It was unusual for someone to remain single.

So, marrying for love.  I like that.

Early American Sniper

Most of the Colonial Militia Men and Minute Men carried muskets.  But there were rifle companies in the Revolutionary War that carried what became known as the Kentucky Rifle.  Here’s a quick little video that I found interesting.

Amos Wright – Concord

3C Amos WrightAmos Wright, though not the owner of the tavern, was the proprietor of the Concord tavern.  From 2 a.m. on, when the alert was sounded by Samuel Prescott, the tavern was buys.  First, it was the gathering place for the Militia and Minutemen from Concord.  Later, Redcoat Colonel Smith and his men reconvened after exchanging shots with the Militia at the North Bridge.

At this point, Smith’s forces are in disarray and disbelief.  When the Militia got serious about the fight, after Captain Isaac Davis was killed, they were careful to aim for officers.

It is said that, when the short flurry of fighting ended at the bridge, almost half of the Redcoat officers were dead.  Unlike the American soldiers, who have always been able to act independently of orders if need be, the Redcoat soldiers were rather lost without someone telling them what to do next.

Enter Amos Wright and Wright Tavern. 

Smith and Pitcairn are in foul moods and their men are confused, hungry and shocked at the way the day has gone.  So Smith takes them to the tavern to feed them and tend their injuries as best he can.  Legends tell the story of drink being brought to an angry Pitcairn without a spoon to stir. He used his bloodied finger to stir and exclaimed in no uncertain terms his desire to spill Colonial blood.  The rest of the day bears out this apparent desire on Pitcairn’s part.

It must have been with trembling hands that Amos and his family served these Redcoats.  They were not just enemy soldiers.  They were soldiers who were now out for blood.  While those at Wright Tavern would not fare too badly, the same cannot be said of those at Munroe Tavern later in Lexington.

 

Who is Wentworth Cheswell?

http://www.aaregistry.org/aareg_files/event_images/wentworthcheswellbus.gifMost Americans, I’d wager, have never heard of Wentwoth Cheswell. I believe he’s worth knowing.

Wentworth Cheswell is said to be the first African-American to be elected to office in America.  He was one quarter Black and three quarters White.  He was elected as town constable of Newmarket, New Hampshire, in 1768 and served in some government position thereafter until his death – well, to be precise, every year but one.

Wentworth’s grandfather is thought to be the first African-American to own land in New Hampshire after gaining his freedom. The date on the deed is 1717. Wentworth’s grandmother was a free white woman. Her son, Hopestill was born free because she was free.  (The law said that children took on the status of their mother.)   Hopestill was a builder and carpenter and married Katherine Keniston, who also was white.  Hopestill was prosperous enough to by 100 acres of land to farm, several other pieces of property and to give Wentworth a good education from the Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts.  This was an impressive thing for anyone at the time.

After completing his education, Wentworth went back to New Hampshire and was a school master himself.  He went on to hold office as town selectman, auditor, assessor and others.  He served in the Continental Army.  He married Mary Davis and they had thirteen children.

But how does Wentworth Cheswell fit in to our story of April 19th, 1775?  Well, Wentworth was elected to the Committee of Safety  which was part of the line of communication between his community and the Provincial Committee of Exeter, New Hampshire.  On the night of April 18th, when Paul Revere and William Dawes were riding to Lexington, Wentworth Cheswell was also tasked with riding.  He took the message north.  Up to one third of the Militia fighters who took on the retreating Redcoat Army were men alerted by Wentworth Cheswell.  Now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

Keep calm???

keep-calm-and-revive-1775

The Players – The Cards

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Folks have asked where to get the playing cards.  Here’s the link.