Search Selected Revolutionary War Websites:

I have a new home! Check it out here:

Come see what's new:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've Moved!!

Hello Internets!!

I am just putting up a quick post to tell you that I have found a more permanent home!! Come check me out here:

It's still under construction, so don't mind the dust! I will leave this site up and running for anyone that has linked to it and because the search engines seem to love it, but I will no longer be updating this site, so be sure to update your blog readers with my new site.

To update your blog readers, all you need to do is put directly in the new subscription box of whichever feed reader you use, and when I post, you will get updates! It's that easy! For those that get my blog by email, I will be adding that to the new website soon, so keep an eye out for it!

Thanks everyone! Can't wait to see you at the new place!

post signature

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upcoming Event - Liberty Pole Capping

We have an event comping up on April 11, 2009. It is the Liberty Pole Capping and will be held in Bedford, MA. Step off will be at 10:30 if anyone wants to come out and watch!

Here are the details:

The parade will step off from the Town common at 10:30 AM and will proceed past the Fitch Tavern where the Bedford unit and dignitaries will acknowledge each unit. The parade will then continue on to Captain Jonathon Wilson Park where the Pole Capping ceremonies will commence.

The traditional pole capping ceremony will commence with a few speeches, then a flaming red sock will be placed on top of a pole just as the Sons of Liberty did in the Revolutionary days as a symbol of freedom from oppression and bondage. The parade will then resume and be led by our guests to a reviewing stand in front of the Bedford Library, from which the guests and officials will accept salutes from the units passing in review. The parade ends at the Bedford High School with a traditional collation for all marchers, dignitaries and their families.

Here is some information from Wikipedia about what a Liberty Pole is:

A Liberty pole is a tall wooden pole, often used as a type of flagstaff, planted in the ground, which may be surmounted by an ensign or a liberty cap (see Phrygian cap).

A liberty pole was often erected in town squares in the years before and during the American Revolution (i.e., Concord, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; Caughnawaga, New York; Savannah, Georgia). Some colonists erected liberty poles on their own private land (such as in Woburn, Massachusetts - the pole raising there is reenacted annually). An often violent struggle over Liberty Poles erected by the Sons of Liberty in New York City raged for 10 years. The poles were periodically destroyed by the royal authorities (see the Battle of Golden Hill), only to be replaced by the Sons with new ones. The conflict lasted from the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766 until the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress came to power in 1775.[1] The liberty pole in New York City was crowned with a gilt vane bearing the single word, "Liberty".

In some locales - notably in Boston - a Liberty Tree rather than a pole served the same political purpose.

When an ensign was raised (usually red) on a Liberty Pole, it would be a calling for the Sons of Liberty or townspeople to meet and vent or express their views regarding British rule. The pole was known to be a symbol of dissent against Great Britain. The symbol is also apparent in many seals and coats of arms as a sign of liberty, freedom, and independence.

Hope to see you there!
post signature

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Runaway Ads

Here are a few more excerpts on clothing from some 18th Century runaway ads!

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, February 4, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
had on, when he went away, a Kendal Cotton Jacket and Breeches died with Maple Bark, and has flat Metal Buttons on it, Cuffs to his Jacket Sleeves, a Collar of gray Cloth, and a Felt Hat, with a Tinsey worked Button

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, January 5, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
had on and took with him, an old blue Surtout Coat which has been turned, faced, and trimmed with the same Colour; a green Cloth Jacket with yellow Metal Buttons, a Pair of red Plush Breetches; fine mixed blue Country Stockings, a mixed blue Cloth Coat and Jacket lined, and trimmed with black; a stripped [sic] VIRGINIA Cloth Jacket, one Shirt of brown Sheeting with several others of fine Linen, Nankeen Breeches; and many other Cloaths that cannot be particularised. The other is an Englishman named CHARLES BOOTH, and by Trade a Joiner, about 20 or 21 Years of Age, 5 Feet 8 or 10 Inches high, slender made and of a fair Complexion, has white short curled Hair; had on and took with him, a violet or purple Coloured Coat and Vest, a Pair of new Buckskin Breetches, a Pair of old ditto much worn and very dirty, an old blue Coat lined with white Shalloon, a new green Cotton Vest lin'd with Oznabrigs and Plaid Sleeves, a Pair of dark ribb'd Stockings, and several others of different Colours, a brown sheeting Shirt, one fine Irish Linen ditto much patched and several others; also a Silver Watch

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, December 2, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
he had on a fine white Broadcloth Coat, which has been turned, a lapelled green Sagathy Waistcoat laced behind, with Breeches of the same, an old Beaver Hat, Thread Stockings, and Country shoes

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, February 24, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
had on, or took with him, a suit of blue clothes with a red velvet cape … had on a red waistcoat and trousers … a watch in his pocket, a baker by trade, and will endeavour to pass for a freeman; had on a pepper and salt coloured cloth coat, and leather breeches

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, June 6, 1777
Direct Link to Full Ad
when he went off, a blue Coat and Waistcoat, white Breeches, a grey great Coat, and a black Velvet Cap

Also check out my other post on this here.

post signature

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More 18th Century Jewelry Examples

My previous post on 18th Century Jewelry has been very popular, so I thought I would follow it up with a post filled with pictorial examples of what was worn at this time. All of these were pulled from Wikimedia Commons. In the pictures I was able to find below, I noticed that there are two types of neckwear. A simple ribbon or pearls.

I was able to find three examples of women wearing pearls. In my last post about jewelry I stated that Mrs. Adams’ pearls actually were not real, so it's likely that these pictured below were not either.

The woman below has a rather large neckpiece that goes from her neck down to the top of her dress. The necklace also has a cameo type thing, and two matching pearl bracelets with similar cameos. Also interesting to note in this painting is this woman's earrings. They seem to also be made of pearls and are rather large.

The woman below has a more simple set of pearls on. You can see that her necklace is tied in the back with a ribbon. Similar to the painting above, she also has a matching set of pearl bracelets. It's important to note as well that the pearls here and above are rather large and round. These are not delicate pearl necklaces.

Here is one last example of pearls. This is a drawing, so it's a little harder to see them, but you can tell she has one strand around her neck. They do not seem to be as perfectly round as the two depicted above either.

These pictures below show a more simple neck ornament of ribbon. The pictures I have here show a simple black, thin ribbon, between 1/8 inch and 1/2 inch. I have also seen a few pictures where the ribbon was thicker, maybe almost an inch and a half to two inches, and it was also black.

The woman below is wearing a thin black ribbon in the style we would call a 'drop' necklace. The ribbon goes around her neck and then drops down to the top of her dress in a 'Y" shape. It's hard to tell how she achieved this, but by zooming in you can see that most likely she just doubled up the piece of ribbon and looped it through itself in the front and tucked the end in the top of the dress.

Below is a fun portrait that has a lot of neat things going on, but as far as her neckwear is concerned, it looks like she is wearing a black silk ribbon that is a half inch thick. It is tied in the back and it also has a drop with a good size cross on the end of it. It looks to me like she made a small loop of ribbon, slid the cross on it, and then tied that to the front of the loop of ribbon going around her neck. Pretty simple to do.

This little girl below has a similar necklace to the one shown in the first painting. This shows that this kind of neckwear wasn't only for adults. It's hard to tell if this ties in the back or not, but the double ribbon in the front tells me that most likely it's not and it put together in the same way as the first painting.

This painting below is a little later than the others, but I really like it because it's not a 'portrait' so to speak. It depicts someone of the 'everyday' wearing a ribbon necklace. Unlike the others though, she has the ribbon tied in a knot in the front, close up it looks like maybe a thin silk that is a forest green (maybe black) color. Again this looks like it is a half-inch thick.

I hope these examples give you a better idea of the type of necklaces an 18th century woman would have worn. As you can see it wasn't anything too complicated and relatively simple to duplicate.

post signature

Friday, February 27, 2009

Runaway Ads and Clothing

So I was having so much fun looking through the runaway ads, I thought I would share some snippets here with you to try and paint a picture of the clothing choices these people were making. I think this is important when we are deciding what we want to wear.

In order to see the full ads, please click on the direct link, they are very interesting and really give a taste of the 18th century.

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, January 12, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
had on when she went away a brown linen jacket and petticoat, plaid stockings, common shoes, a calico jacket and petticoat, 1 or 2 white linen shifts, and several other clothes, which I do not remember

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, July 21, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
She had on, and took with her, a calico waistcoat and petticoat, one blue plains ditto, and sundry other apparel. She went off with a free negro fellow, who pretends being a doctor, commonly wears a laced hat

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, March 25, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
had on a Check Petticoat, one brown Linen Ditto, and a blue Stuff Jump Jacket

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, June 15, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
She had on, and took with her, a homespun striped jacket, a red quilted petticoat, a black silk hat, a pair of leather shoes, with wooden heals [sic], a chintz gown, and a black cloak

From the Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, July 27, 1775
Direct Link to Full Ad
She is dressed with a blue and white Swanskin petticoat, oznabrig shirt, and striped homespun jacket

post signature

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Patrick Henry's Resolves

Patrick Henry was born May 29, 1736 in Hanover County, Virginia. He is known for creating a few radical resolves to counter the Stamp Act that was put in place in the colonies. Here is a brief history on Patrick Henry from

"Radical," is a title that few men can wear with ease. The name Patrick Henry, during the revolution and for some time after, was synonymous with that word in the minds of colonists and Empire alike. Henry's reputation as a passionate and fiery orator exceeded even that of Samuel Adams. His Stamp Act Resolutions were, arguably, the first shot fired in the Revolutionary War.

Patrick Henry's personality was a curious antidote to the stern honor of Washington, the refined logic of Jefferson, and the well-tempered industry of Franklin. Young Henry was an idler and by many accounts a derelict; though everyone knew he was bright, he simply would not lift a finger except to his own pleasure. By the age of 10, his family knew that he would not be a farmer, and tried instead to train him toward academe. He would not apply himself to studies either. At age 21 his father set him up in a business that he bankrupted shortly thereafter. Finally the general public disgust in Hanover and pressure from his young family (he had married at the age of eighteen) caused him to study for six weeks and take the bar exam, which he passed, and begin work as a lawyer.

In 1764 he moved to Louisa county, Virginia, where, as a lawyer, he argued in defense of broad voting rights (suffrage) before the House of Burgesses. The following year he was elected to the House and soon became its leading radical member. It was that year that he proposed the Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions. Few members of the Burgesses, as aristocratic a group of legislators as existed in the colonies, would argue openly for defiance of Gr. Britain. Henry argued with remarkable eloquence and fervor in favor of the five acts, which by most accounts amounted to a treason against the mother country. In 1774 he represented Virginia in the First Continental Congress where he continued in the role of firebrand. At the outbreak of the revolution, he returned to his native state and lead militia in defense of Virginia's gunpowder store, when the royal Governor spirited it aboard a British ship. Henry forced the Governor Lord Dunmore to pay for the powder at fair price.

In 1776, Henry was elected Governor of Virginia. He was re-elected for three terms and then succeeded by Thomas Jefferson. He was again elected to the office in 1784. Patrick Henry was a strong critic of the constitution proposed in 1787. He was in favor of the strongest possible government for the individual states, and a weak federal government. He was also very critical of the fact that the convention was conducted in secret.

President Washington appointed him Secretary of State in 1795, but Henry declined the office. In 1799, President Adams appointed him envoy to France, but failing health required him to decline this office too. He died on June 6, 1799 at age of 63.

And here is some more information on him from Wikipedia:

These are the resolves that Patrick Henry put forth. I got these from as well. The first four were passed by the House of Burgesses on May 30, 1765 and were never repealed.

Resolved, that the first adventurers and settlers of His Majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia brought with them and transmitted to their posterity, and all other His Majesty's subjects since inhabiting in this His Majesty's said colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

Resolved, that by two royal charters, granted by King James I, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all liberties, privileges, and immunities of denizens and natural subjects to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and born within the Realm of England.

Resolved, that the taxation of the people by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, or the easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected by every tax laid on the people, is the only security against a burdensome taxation, and the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, without which the ancient constitution cannot exist.

Resolved, that His Majesty's liege people of this his most ancient and loyal colony have without interruption enjoyed the inestimable right of being governed by such laws, respecting their internal policy and taxation, as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of their sovereign, or his substitute; and that the same has never been forfeited or yielded up, but has been constantly recognized by the kings and people of Great Britain.

This fifth resolve was also passed by the House of Burgesses on May 30, 1765, however it was rescinded the day after it was accepted. They wanted to get rid of all 5, but only were able to get this one removed:

Resolved, therefor that the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and exclusive Right and Power to lay Taxes and Impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony and that every Attempt to vest such Power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid has a manifest Tendency to destroy British as well as American Freedom.

Two more resolves were printed in a Rhode Island paper in June of 1765, but they were never actually proposed by Henry to the House of Burgess. This is most likely due to the trouble he had with his fifth resolve. These next two resolves blatantly treasoness.

Resolved, That His Majesty's liege people, the inhabitants of this Colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law or ordinance whatever, designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them, other than the laws or ordinances of the General Assembly aforesaid.

Resolved, That any person who shall, by speaking or writing, assert or maintain that any person or persons other than the General Assembly of this Colony, have any right or power to impose or lay any taxation on the people here, shall be deemed an enemy to His Majesty's Colony.

Some thoughts on these last resolves from

How these items made their way north is not known. There is no record anywhere of them, except in the newspapers where they were printed. It is plausible that Henry, George Johnson, or another colleague sent them on before the battle on the floor. Perhaps it was wise that Henry departed when he did, despite the loss of the fifth resolution. He would have expected the House to be dissolved as a result of his resolutions. Had news reached the governor about the seven resolutions, he might have been arrested for treason as well. The seven resolutions, reprinted everywhere, were a wildly effective propaganda tool. The idea that the stuffy old House of Burgesses had produced such a challenge to Great Britain's authority did much to incite similar resolutions in other legislatures. Establishing a Committee of Intercolonial Correspondence.

And here are a few more sites with information on these resolves:

These resolves were given as a reaction to the Stamp Act and most likely were the true beginning of the colonies expressed unhappiness for the mother country. Though it would still be a few years before the Declaration of Independence, this was a start.

Back to the Timeline

post signature

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Runaway Ads

A lot of the information that we know about the lower class in the 18th Century comes from ads placed for runaways. Since most of the paintings that exist were done of people that had some kind of money, it can sometimes be hard to derive the clothing of an everyday person from those.

The Virginia Center for Digital History has put together a searchable database for ads placed from 1736 to 1777. This database can be of great help when trying to place certain clothing items. It states that you can "search the ads by gender, age, skill, and intent, among other things." Of course since these are out of Virginia, not all of them would apply to New England, but it still a very useful resource for placing everyday items in the 18th Century.

To view the website go here:

Happy searching!!

post signature

Friday, February 20, 2009

18th Century Food

Someone shared a fun website on one of the 18th Century groups I am in, and I thought it would be a good one to share here. There is some pretty neat information there.

The website is called Food Timeline.

The description from the website is:

Ever wonder what foods the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why?

Welcome to the Food Timeline! Food history presents a fascinating buffet of popular lore and contradictory facts. Some people will tell you it's impossible to express this topic in exact timeline format. They are correct. Most foods we eat are not invented; they evolve.

They have some of their own information on Colonial Wedding Cakes. And also some link outs to good sites with recipes like one on Firecakes.

I found this site to be very interesting not only for our period, but also just for the history of food in general. I may pull some more specific things from here in the future, but be sure to check them out!

post signature

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fort Ticonderoga - Sunday 2008

Poor, poor Fort Ticonderoga. It’s actually one of my favorite places to visit for events, but for some reason it never gets it’s fair place on my blog! Perhaps it’s because it’s the last event of the year, and I am just blogged out by then? Well regardless of the reason, please check out my pictures from the second day of the event in 2008 by viewing my gallery here.

And also please enjoy these videos from the event:

Coming soon – Pictures from 2009!!
post signature

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tar and Feathering during the Revolution

Wikipedia has a great write-up about tar and feathering. I am going to summarize some of the information found there, along with hopefully adding in some additional resources. I just want to remind everyone that, Wikipedia is written by anyone and everyone (you could go change that page right now if you wanted to), so take what I am about to say for what it is and for where it comes from. If you are using this post as a resource for a paper of some kind, please remember to research for yourself in more reliable places. But, personally, for what I do here, Wikipedia is fine for me!

First off what is tar and feathering? Wikipedia states this:

Both tar, which was used in and around 1774, and feathers from edible fowl sources (such as chickens and turkeys) were plentiful. In a typical tar-and-feathers attack, the subject of a crowd's anger would be stripped to the waist. Hot tar was either poured or painted onto the person while he or she was immobilized. Then the victim either had feathers thrown on him or was rolled around on a pile of feathers so that they stuck to the tar. Often the victim was then paraded around town on a cart or a rail. The aim was to hurt and humiliate a person enough to leave town and not cause any more mischief.

After the tar had cooled, it and the feathers would have to be peeled or rubbed off with lard, usually taking a good deal of skin with them. These would leave ugly scars and infection could set in. Depending on how "complete" the job was done, there was also a risk of heat stroke as the tar would act as a strong insulator and prevent the skin from breathing.

And Wikipedia also has the following for when it may have been used in the late 1800s:

In October 1769, a mob in Boston attacked a Customs service sailor the same way, and a few similar attacks followed through 1774 (the tarring and feathering of customs worker John Malcolm received particular attention in 1774). Such acts associated the punishment with the Patriot side of the American Revolution. In March 1775, a British regiment inflicted the same treatment on a Massachusetts man they suspected of trying to buy their muskets. There is no case of a person dying from being tarred and feathered in this period.

The PBS website had this to say about Tar and Feathering:

Threatening or attacking the Crown-appointed office-holders became a popular tactic against the act throughout the colonies. Though no stamp commissioner was actually tarred and feathered, this Medieval brutality was a popular form of 18th century mob violence in Great Britain, particularly against tax collectors.

Tarring and feathering dated back to the days of the Crusades and King Richard the Lionhearted. It began to appear in New England seaports in the 1760s and was most often used by patriot mobs against loyalists. Tar was readily available in shipyards and feathers came from any handy pillow. Though the cruelty invariably stopped short of murder, the tar needed to be burning hot for application.

It seems that tar and feathering did happen in the colonies, but not to a great extent. It was actually pretty hard to find conclusive information on this subject, so please feel free to share your information with me in the comments as well!

Back to the Timeline

post signature