Ever since I did a research deep-dive on my mysterious ancestor George Roderic McClellan (1848-1912), I have been curious to learn more about his time spent in Denver, Colorado in the 1870s. I had discovered that he was a co-owner … Continue reading How To Determine The Age of An Antique Steamer Trunk
When my father-in-law Chris last visited us, we shared a fun discovery about one of his ancestors: an incredible 1897 interview in Gardeners’ Chronicle with his great-grandfather William George Turner, who was the head gardener at The Rookery on Streatham … Continue reading William George Turner (1833-1904), Head Gardener of The Rookery, Streatham Common
A few years ago, I made a fun research discovery: this remarkable interview, transcribed below, with William George Turner, my husband’s great-great-grandfather, who was the head gardener at The Rookery on Streatham Common in England. [Read more about William George … Continue reading 1897 Interview with William George Turner, Head Gardener at The Rookery, Streatham Common
On 13 January 1769, seven young men, several of them recent Harvard graduates, the sons of the Plymouth’s wealthiest merchants, politicians, lawyers, physicians, and slaveowners, “having maturely weighed and seriously considered the many disadvantages and inconveniences that arise from intermixing … Continue reading 1773 Tensions in Plymouth’s Old Colony Club
26 year old Edward Winslow Jr. was furious about Plymouth’s Patriots supporting Boston’s Committee of Correspondence in the aftermath of Dartmouth’s landing with a cargo of tea in Boston Harbor. He quickly wrote a point-by-point response in protest, and tried … Continue reading 13 December 1773: Edward Winslow’s Plymouth Protest
The Boston Tea Party occured on the evening of December 16, 1773. But the actions of the Boston patriots that evening were not a guarantee in the lead up to that event. The American ship Dartmouth arrived in Boston Harbor … Continue reading 7 December 1773: Plymouth Patriots Lend Support Prior to the Boston Tea Party
In early 1850, tensions between the North and South regarding the issue of slavery had brought many politicians and American citizens to seriously consider dividing the Union. Kentucky Senator Henry Clay presented a series of bills known as the Compromise of 1850 which offered compromises between the free North and slave-owning south regarding newly acquired territory from the Mexican-American War. South Carolinian senator John C. Calhoun, on his deathbed, dictated his final Senate speech, read aloud in the Senate on 4 March 1850, in which he blasted the North and emphasized that compromise was unlikely. Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, a … Continue reading “Colossal Coward!”: Plymouth Protests the Compromise of 1850: Part One
In Massachusetts, the nor’easter season typically ends in March. But occasionally a rare late nor’easter occurs in April, bringing heavy rain, hurricane-force winds, and rough seas. On Wednesday, April 17, 1867, an “unparalleled April gale” occurred along the Atlantic ocean off Massachusetts. Four Manomet men died while attempting to rescue the crew of the schooner Charles H. Moller, which became stuck “outside the breakers” south of Manomet Point near Stage Point and Manomet Bluffs, and had been partially wrecked by the storm. Caught unawares by the storm, the Charles H. Moller came ashore mid-afternoon near Manomet Point, but due to … Continue reading “Nobly Braving the Wild, Maddened Sea in Obedience to a Sacred Sympathy for the Helpless Stranger”: 1867 Shipwreck by Manomet, Plymouth, Mass.
On a cold December day in 1854, Baptist minister Josephus W. Horton performed the wedding of 19 year old Mary E. M. Pierce and 38 year old widow John Atwood Thomas. The couple’s nineteen-year age difference was not unusual for the era. What was unusual was the legality of their marriage itself. Only a decade previously, their marriage would have been illegal in Massachusetts. But in 1843, the state repealed a law from 1705 which banned interracial marriage. John A. Thomas was white. Mary E. M. Pierce was multiracial: black, white, and Native American. After a century of Massachusetts’ anti-miscegenation law, … Continue reading The Thomas Family: A 19th Century Multiracial Family of Middleborough and Carver, Mass.
On 13 November 1882, the Daily Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine) reported a terrible accident: “An eight year old daughter [Bessey Martha Eason] of Daniel Eason, colored, who resides on Prospect Street, in this city, was so horribly burned by her clothing being set on fire Saturday morning that she died yesterday. It seems that Mrs. [Sarah Jane] Eason had left her three children abed about half past 6 in the morning to go to Mrs. Russel’s, where she had been engaged to work. Mr. [Daniel] Eason, who went away earlier in the morning, was returning to the house in order … Continue reading 1882 Tragedy in Daniel Eason’s House – Augusta, Maine
Sisters Vilana, Rosanna, and Salome Quacum were born at the turn of the 19th century on the south shore of Massachusetts, the daughters of a multiracial family with African, Mattakeeset (Massachuset) Indian, and Herring Pond (Wampanoag) Indian heritage. Although they had lived as free New England women, they each married husbands in the 1820s who were fugitive slaves. After spending several years in their hometown of Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts and Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, each of the married sisters made the decision to leave their extended family behind and become founding members of the Wilberforce Colony in Ontario, on … Continue reading Origins of the Quacum Sisters: Founding Mothers of Wilberforce Colony, Ontario
PART ONE: A PROBLEMATIC THOREAU ON VACATION Today marks the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birthday. This talented, problematic writer was a study in contradictions. He was an elegant writer on the subject of the natural world, but prone to didactic lecturing on the subject of humanity. He was an avid student of history, especially Indian history, but he failed to reconcile his fictional and romantic image of Indians of the past with the realities of the contemporary Indians whom he met in Massachusetts and Maine during his lifetime. Below is a story about a favorite day of Thoreau’s … Continue reading Thoreau’s Perfect Day in Lakeville, Mass.: Beautiful Assawompset Pond and a “Vexing” Encounter with Assawompset Indians: Part One