If you love colonial American history and you haven't started watching Townsends' channel on YouTube yet, you are missing out. Something about the end of one year and the start of a new one seems like a great time for countdowns... or Top 10 lists, so I figured I'd make one about one of my favorite guilty pleasure research tools — Jas. Townsend & Son, known more recently as simply Townsends … [Read more...] about Townsends’ Treasures: 10 of my favorite episodes
Colonial American Culture
While there are revisionist historians who awkwardly perform intellectual somersaults and contortions to construct fictional narratives about our nation's history, insisting that its foundations are wholly secular, the plain fact is that the United States of America was—without question, debate, or doubt—established as a "nation under God." A clear sense of Biblical ethics infused every aspect … [Read more...] about George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789
While working on the Adam Fletcher Adventure Series cookbook, I'm doing a good bit of research in cookbooks that were actually in use in the mid-to-late 18th century. Below is a transcription of the cover page for one of the most famous "receipt" (recipe) books of the era, Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. If you'd like to see the entire book for free as a PDF, click … [Read more...] about 18th Century Kitchen: A look inside Hannah Glasse’s 1765 cookbook
On Adam Fletcher's first day as an apprentice (in The Smuggler's Gambit), he is placed under the instruction of Boaz Brooks, senior cooper and second-in-charge at the shipping company. Adam learns that Boaz was also forced into an apprenticeship when he was younger. As they share their personal histories, one of the topics that arises is the 1747 Spanish invasion of Beaufort. In book 2, Captured … [Read more...] about The Spanish Invasion of Beaufort: How slaves turned settlers became pawns in Spain’s hand
I hope you will share this post far and wide, as I'd like to get the word out about a very special project. I'm putting together a cookbook inspired by the Adam Fletcher Adventure Series and would love to get some recipes submitted from families with roots in eastern North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia — especially those from around the coastal regions. While I have many old recipes … [Read more...] about Please Share: Old-fashioned Southern Recipes Wanted (from N.C., S.C., and Va.)
While doing book research, I came upon an interesting article that was reprinted in several different publications in the 18th century. It was only credited as being written by M. Duhamel from the Memoires de Trevoux. I had no idea who M. Duhamel was, but after searching on Google, I learned his full name was Henri-Louise Duhamel du Monceaux (or Duhamel de Monceau), and he was a French … [Read more...] about From “The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure” (1759): How to keep your ship and crew healthy
Before I ever started working on The Smuggler's Gambit, I had done a lot of studying about not only smuggling in the colonial era, but what prompted otherwise law-abiding men to do it. It happened in all sorts of ways and by men you might otherwise not expect. In May 1764, the month following the passage of the Sugar Act, Samuel Adams said this: “For if our Trade may be taxed why not our … [Read more...] about Smuggling in Colonial America: What drove good men to do it?
Many elements of The Smuggler's Gambit were inspired by real incidents that I uncovered while doing genealogical research—from the idea of forced apprenticeships, to the truth about Blackbeard, and many other bits and pieces of information. In the book, there is a reference to one of the female characters being an heiress, but being bound to some key restrictions that had been placed upon her … [Read more...] about Creative Ways of Protecting Women’s Property and Interests in 18th Century America
The Smuggler's Gambit is set in 1765 in what was at the time known as Port Beaufort (modern day Beaufort, NC). Although Port Beaufort was positioned right on the coast of North Carolina, it wasn't a place that saw heavy shipping traffic. This is because Beaufort had no means of connecting to points further inland. In other words, there were no rivers that ran directly from Port Beaufort into … [Read more...] about What kinds of things were imported to Port Beaufort, North Carolina in 1765?