August 28, 2014

A Glossary of 1800s Fabrics



When Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden God had compassion on them, and offered them garments made of fig leaves. Ouch! The underside of the leaves were like rough sandpaper. Later they made garments from something more sturdy: animal skins.

Fast-forward to the early 1700s. One of my ancestors, Patrick Googins, tradition says, came from Ireland at an early age, about 1720 A woolen weaver by trade he entered the service of William Pepperrell, at Kittery, Maine.

Fast-forward again to the late 18th century and early 19th century. By this time the assortment of garment fabrics had proliferated.

The Diary of Martha Ballard, 1785-1812* mentions many of the fabrics used in Maine during this time period. A glossary at the end of a modern-day reproduction of Martha Ballard’s diary lists many—if not all—the different fabrics Mrs. Ballard mentioned in the 27 years of her written history. How many of these fabrics have names that are foreign to you? I was surprised to find 15 fabric names I never heard of, even through my many years of sewing.

The terms below, most frequently used by Mrs. Ballard, was compiled through a variety of printed sources.


March 11, 2014

A Review of Acadian History Up To 1763



Hugs for Claudette and Ellen


NOTE: I reviewed Acadia history to determine what effect, if any, it had on the real characters in my novel Intertwined Love. One family (my ancestors) relocated to Downeast Maine before 1769. Often the sources were confusing or conflicting. If you note any errors in this article please let me know in the comment box at the end.

Europeans found piles of shells on the North American coast, evidence of Native American life

Europeans found piles of shells on the North American coast, evidence of Native American life

Long before the first European settlement in North America the northeast coast was inhabited by Native Americans:

  •  day Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Gaspé peninsula of Québec, and eastern New Brunswick
  • the Maliseet inhabited the watershed of the St. John River
  • the Passamaquoddy  inhabited the area around the St. Croix River

This land was well known in European seaports: France, Spain, the Basque country, Portugal, and West Country England.


In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano,  a Florentine explorer serving the King Francis I of France, designated the entire Atlantic coast north of Virginia as Arcadia.

The name Arcadia may have been inspired by classical Greek poetry or it may have come from a Micmac word, rendered in French as “cadie,” meaning a favorable piece of land.

Mt. Desert Island across Frenchman Bay from Lamoine Beach, Maine

Mt. Desert Island across Frenchman Bay from Lamoine Beach, Maine

In 1534 King Francis I of France sent Jacques Cartier—with two ships and sixty-one men—to seek a northwest passage linking the Atlantic, above the continent of America, with the Pacific. Cartier.

After discovering the inlet of the St Lawrence river, raising a cross with the royal arms on the Gaspé peninsula, and naming the region New France, Cartier returned to France and claimed New France for his king.  An attempt to found a colony came to nothing.

To finance colonization, the 1588 French King granted North American fur trade monopolies. Pierre du Gua de Mons (a.k.a. Sieur de Monts) received a trade monopoly between the 40th and 60th parallels  (Maryland to Alaska), with the understanding that he establish a colony there.

Samuel de Champlain sailed from France, on April 7, 1604, with more than 100 colonists in a fur-trading expedition led by Francois Grave Du Pont, who received a fur trade monopoly in New France from” King Henry IV.  In New France, Champlain selected an island in the St. Croix River, which he named Ile Sainte-Croix (holy cross). There he established the first successful European settlement in the New World. He too claimed this settlement—plus Maine and south to the Hudson River—region for the King of France. Champlain became memorialized as the “Father of New France” and “Father of Acadia.

These French settlers, among the first Old World settlers to identify themselves as North Americans, called themselves “Acadiens” or “Cadiens.”

After nearly half of the colonists died (and others suffered dangerous illnesses) during the first winter, the colony moved to Port-Royal on the Bay of Fundy (in present-day Nova Scotia). There the settlers cleared and cultivated land.

Pierre du Gua’s monopoly, not having sufficient income to justify continuing to supply the colony, was revoked in 1607. The colony was abandoned—the last Acadians left Port Royal in August 1607. Pierre Du Gua (1558-1628), financially ruined, sold his proprietary rights to the Jesuits.

That same year English settlers established Popham Colony at the mouth of (more…)

July 25, 2013

WP Daily Prompt July 19, 2013: Fly on the Wall—Madame De Leval Meets Gen. Henry Jackson

Filed under: 1790'S BACKGROUND,WordPress prompt or post — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am



Hugs for Mary and Dave




The wordPress daily prompt for July 19, 2013, was If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?


Ok, so this is the second post I’m writing on this wordPress prompt. A rare event. But there are so many places where I would like to be a “fly on the wall…”

I would like to be a fly on the wall to observe my novel’s character Madame Rosalie de Leval. In 1791 she arrived in the United States to escape the French Revolution, and within two to three months she had a contract with land speculators Gen. Henry Knox and William Duer. Her goal was to purchase 220,000 acres of land in Downeast Maine to develop a French colony where her countrymen could wait out the Revolution before returning to their homeland. The colony was meant to preserve the French culture.

Thus, my “fly on the wall” observations would cover the following events (thereby filling in the knowledge I need to write my novel):

  • Her preparations to travel from France to the United States
  • Her arrival in the United States
  • Her initial meeting with Gen. Henry Knox, his agent Gen. Henry Jackson, and William Duer
  • Her acquaintance with Franco Van Berckel, whom she weds
  • Her wedding to Van Berckel
A view of the Downeast Maine land Madame intended to purchase

A view of the Downeast Maine land Madame intended to purchase


June 18, 2013

WP Daily Prompt 1/16/2013: Bookworm—The Coquette

Filed under: 1790'S BACKGROUND — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am

WP DAILY PROMPT 6/16/2013:
THE COQUETTE: The History of Eliza Wharton
by Hannah Webster Foster


The Coquette is a short novel, a tragic romance I found on the computer. This eBook has no copyright restrictions.


I always enjoy it when the wordPress daily prompts coincide with my own plans, as did the June 16, 2013, prompt, Bookworm, did: Tell us about the last book you read.

On June 16th I had just finished reading The Coquette: The History of Eliza Wharton, written in 1797 by a minister’s wife.

I chose to read it for several reasons:

  • the date it was written coincides with the time frame of my own historical romance novel
  • although I married a physicist, I became married to a minister when he changed careers
  • much of the romance here following is truth, veritable truth
  • this book precedence in interest as well of all American novels, at least throughout New England, and was found, in every cottage within its borders, beside the family Bible, and though pitifully, yet almost as carefully treasured

For this post I opt to review the views of marriage in the late 1700s as presented in The Coquette.


Eliza Wharton a woman with strangely fluctuating moods, as the truly gifted ever are, and of a wild, incomprehensible nature, little understood by those who should have known her best…
This creative woman, who wrote poetry, found herself making a choice between two men, one virtuous, the other a (more…)

February 7, 2013

Laurel Hill in Fayette County, Pennsylvania


 January 2013 found me resting from the demands of 2012, pushing to catch up on that year’s leftover tasks. I felt guilty for not returning to work on my novel during the month, but I did accomplish much other work.
The last day in January I was finally motivated to review the novel chapter relating the trek of a large number of French émigrés from Alexandria, Virginia to Gallipolis, Ohio, to be the first settlers of this western frontier town.
These émigrés had purchased land from an American land grant company in Paris, Compagnie du Scioto. It was an outgrowth of the Scioto Associates, a group of Revolutionary War officers and others who had signed an option with the Ohio Company (1787) to purchase a large tract of wilderness land in Ohio, a part of the Northwest Territory. Obligated to sell a percentage of the land in Europe they sent an agent, Joel Barlow, to France, to sell that portion of the land there.

I chose to return to the novel to review this material for two reasons
I want to send it out for a review of the historical material,
I want to prepare a power point presentation to use for a special Beanery Writers Group meeting.
There were several places in the chapter where research was necessary to clarify the material. One was CROSSING LAUREL HILL: INFORMATION NEEDED.

A view of the rolling hills in the Laurel Ridge

A view of the rolling hills in the Laurel Ridge

Although I’d lived in Connellsville in Fayette County between 1995 and 2003, I’d yet to decipher the geography aspects of this part of the Frenchmen’s trek that took place somewhere north of Uniontown.
I typed Laurel Hill into the Internet search engine. The first result I opened revealed why I’d had so much difficulty sorting out the material in the past. It stated that Laurel Hill, also known as Laurel Ridge or Laurel Mountain, is a 70-mile (110 km) long mountain in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains.*

Westmoreland Photography Society members photograph Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob in PA

Westmoreland Photography Society members photograph Laurel Ridge from Kentuck Knob in PA

Wait a minute…isn’t the 70-mile (110 km) long mountain in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains the Laurel Ridge? Why do they refer to it as Laurel Hill?
Furthermore, I live in the western foothill of Laurel Mountain. I never considered it to be Laurel Hill. After all, the Laurel Hill the émigrés descended led to an area north of Beesontown (that era’s name for Uniontown) where the Braddock Road part of the Nemacolin Indian Trail separated off the trail to head northwest to the future Pittsburgh (the trail itself continued west to Redstone, that era’s name for Brownsville).

The article continues: Laurel Hill is flanked on its north end by the Conemaugh Gorge and on its south end by the Youghiogheny Gorge… The towns of Johnstown and Latrobe are located on its northern end, while Confluence and (more…)

January 8, 2013

Writing Challenge: Map It Out—Travel With Me Through My Novel-in-Progress

Travel With Me As I Map the Sites in My Novel-in-Progress

The January 7, 2013, WordPress weekly writing challenge, Map It Out, stated: No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn…For this week’s challenge, incorporate our Google Maps embed feature by plotting out some of the favorite places that you’ve been, or the places you want to go.

Since I have been remiss on working on my novel (life happened) and I have plans to return to it in mid-February, I decided to have you Travel With Me Through My Novel-in-Progress.

I’ve already been mapping out the local area of Hancock and Washington counties in Maine, including East Lamoine, Maine, which was a part of the town of Trenton in the 1790s, the era of the novel. But there are many more settings in the novel.

The novel deals with Revolutionary War hero General Henry Knox’s land speculations (with his partner William Duer) in both the Gallipolis (Scioto) region in Ohio and then in Downeast Maine (east of the Union River out of Ellsworth).

This challenge allows me to map out the key geographical areas of my novel (including but not limited to):

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: A group of Revolutionary War military men gathered at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern and determined that land in the xxx, in Ohio, could be used as a way to pay military men for their war service. A group of unidentified men known as the Scioto Associates succeeded in acquiring a sub-grant under the 1987 Ohio Land Grant.

PARIS, FRANCE: The Scioto Associates sent a representative to Paris to meet a commitment to sell part of their newly acquired land in Europe. Joel Barlow was their representative in Paris. Luckily for Barlow the French Revolution created a desire for Frenchmen to leave France and the land sold like hotcakes.

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA: The French who purchased land in Ohio left Le Havre, France and sailed into Alexandria. Many left Alexandria to travel over multiple mountain ranges to (more…)

November 8, 2012

Stock & Money Market Speculation Today and in the 1790s



Question: What do Bernie Madoff and William Duer have in common?

Answer: Both were once respected investors forced into insolvency resulting in stock market (money) deterioration and the collapse of dozens of their investors.

Question: What does Timothy Geithner have in common with Alexander Hamilton?

Answer: Geithner is the current Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Hamilton was the first Treasury secretary.


Before continuing I must make a disclaimer: I’m not an economist nor do understand the fine points—or even the non-fine points—of the issue under discussion. I’m writing this post to increase my understanding of William Duer’s role in the first Wall Street crash. This issue is core to the writing of my historic romance novel, in which I must present the issues in a basic manor that can be understood by my future readers. If any of you can add clarification to these issues, feel free to comment in the comment box at the end of this post


History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it is often said to rhyme.

Or does it echo?


Duer and Madoff reflect the root problems of two sudden and dramatic declines in the value of bank stocks: excessive greed.

While Madoff’s name has been sufficiently newsworthy that most Americans recognize his name, Duer is relatively unknown to many of today’s citizens.

I came in contact with him because of his land speculation in Ohio and Maine. The Ohio speculation was done under the guise of the Scioto Associates, a group of military and political personages hoping to make money off the post-Revolution land in Ohio. Duer managed to help a “secret” group purchase a huge tract of land along the Ohio River. Ultimately, Duer, along with Gen. Henry Knox, were responsible for the original French settlement at Gallipolis by a group of French émigrés.

When the Scioto land speculation went foul (another story) Duer and Knox managed to purchase two million acres of land in Downeast Maine. In the midst of all this Duer was involved in manufacturing and banking speculations. All the speculations went far beyond his means and resources.

The multiple speculations he was involved with brought his downfall and, had it not been for Alexander Hamilton’s intervention, it could have destroyed the new country that had yet to reach its toddler age.


William Duer was a prominent patriot who served as a member of the Continental Congress, a New York judge, and a signer to the Articles of Confederation. After the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton appointed Duer as assistant secretary of the treasury.

In December 1790 Hamilton proposed the establishment of the Bank of the United States, a federally chartered but essentially private corporation. The charter was passed by Congress in February 1791, and on February 25th was signed into law by President George Washington.

In July of 1791 the bank’s stock subscriptions (scrips) went on sale. They sold out within hours, so quickly that many would-be investors could only try to bid them away from those persons who were fortunate enough to have obtained them. The demand was so high for scrips that a frenzied borrowing and buying  occurred. Soon the scrips’ selling price doubled, then went even higher, and people borrowed money to purchase them.

In October 1791, the stock holders of the Bank of the United States held an organizational meeting, which Duer attended. He was elected to a committee to prepare the bank’s by-laws.


When Duer learned that federal law prohibited Treasury officials from speculating in federal securities he quit the position as assistant secretary  of the treasury—he did this because he sensed an opportunity to

(to continue reading click on )

July 12, 2012

British Guiana/Guyana Woven into My Life





is now located at

Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

QUESTION: What do the following things have in common?

College paper

Jim Jones

Madame Rosalie de Leval

Tikwis Begbie

C. J.

Pittsburgh woman

USA Today, June 22, 2012, pp 4D

Silver Green Turtle Soup Ladle

ANSWER: They are all part of a continuous Chinese red thread that is woven through the tapestry of my life. You know—that red thread of Asian myth that has been reinterpreted to mean that relationships between people are meant to be, and if thwarted, the proverbial thread would not, could not, be broken. The persons would eventually come together.

Each event and/or person is connected to me by an invisible thread that I never could have foreseen when I began my journey of writing a historic romance novel and a paper for a historical magazine competition (which someone else won).

I posted the full article on Intertwined Love, my novel site, Intertwined Love (link is at the end of this post). For CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS I selected two of the stories.

Go into the wild in undiscovered Guyana

On June 22, 2012, the red thread appeared again, this time in the newspaper USA Today, a freebie with the hotel room we rented enroute home from an Ohio visit with our son, Nolan. While relaxing over my breakfast coffee a headline caught my attention: Go into the wild in undiscovered Guyana

I read that tourism is relatively new to Guyana. Its only north-south road between Georgetown and the Brazilian border, 320 miles unpaved, is a fourteen hour bus ride. Wildlife provides the entertainment for visitors. To read the rest of the story, click on link 1 in the source list following additional reading.


Just yesterday, July 11, 2012, British Guiana again became a focus of my attention. My researcher friend Fran called to tell me that she’d mailed me a link to an auction site that listed a very interesting item: (more…)

June 26, 2012

The Great Auk and Dodo Birds



(The great auk was) Rich in protein, chock-full of nutritious fats and oils, and great for baiting fishhooks, this flightless seabird was, well, great…3

A snippet of a news magazine article I discovered stated that the Wabanaki Indians left shell heaps along the shores of Maine’s Downeast region, which the Europeans discovered this area in the 1600s.2


The main character in the first part of my article, Madame Rosalie de Leval, had negotiated with land speculators Gen. Henry Knox and William Duer to purchase acreage in Downeast Maine, on the mainland across from Mount Desert Island. Madame planned on developing a French colony there for her countrymen, refugees from the French Revolution.

Gen. Henry Jackson, Gen. Knox’s agent, accompanied Madame on a voyage from Boston to Frenchman Bay, where she expected to examine the land included in her tentative land sales contract. The sloop anchored at Naskeag Point, from which Mount Desert Island was in view, to pick up a new pilot.

It was likely that the new pilot told her and Gen. Jackson about the nature of the country at Naskeag Point.

“The soil is strong and productive. Signs show that this area was once inhabited by an unknown people. That this is true is shown by antiquities, such as such as arrowheads, stone hatchets and chisels, and pieces of rude pottery found here. Residents have also discovered the bones of moose, deer, bear, and a variety of birds amid the shell heaps that cover acres of land in this area. Among the bones of birds that have been unearthed are those of the extinct (more…)

June 12, 2012

Dangers of Rivers Through the Years



When Betty Louise Metcalf of Connellsville (Pennsylvania) died on August 2, 2011, at the age of 90, she was remembered in her obituary as taking every opportunity to fish in “her” Youghiogheny River (in Pennsylvania).

I, too, enjoyed the Youghiegneny River. For eight years I lived within walking distance of its shores, and enjoyed cooling off in its waters during the hot summer:

But the river has its dangers. Grim reminders that danger lurks int he region’s watercourses are illustrated in the following Pennsylvania stories:

Emergency crews searched for a person reported missing on Saturday afternoon after a boat capsized on the Youghiogheny River Lake near Confluence, a Fayette County emergency dispatcher said…Two other passengers suffered injuries…the boat overturned about 2:30 pm near the Yough Dam…The body of a kayaker was pulled from the Youghiogheny River a week after swift water swept him away at Ohiopyle State Park.3


The start of a holiday weekend turned tragic on Friday when a Mount Pleasant teen drown in the Youghiogheny River, near Yough Park. Connellsville police Chief Jim Capitos said Scott Jeffries Jr., 17, of 606 Alexis Court had been fishing with family and friends at an area referred to as “flat rock”, across the river from the popular park…the water current had carried Jeffries’ body about 100 yards downstream.4

     This is the same river that challenged travelers headed west in the 1700s. At the time there were no bridges to aid their crossing.

In the fall of 1790 there was no Yough Dam. The Ohiopyle drowning site is near the Great Crossings, the spot where Braddock Trail travelers crossed the Youghiogheny River.


     While many newcomers to the United States seemed content to settle down upon the coast, whence they could look out upon the expanse of ocean which separated them from the ideas and theories they had left forever when they spread their sails to the heaven-invoked breezes which were to waft them to a strange but prolific world2 others preferred relocating west as land became scarce and the population became dense.

One specific group of French emigrants was brought to the United States by the Scioto Associates. They came to escape the French Revolution and to fulfill their dream of finding a Garden of Eden in this country. They expected that their promised land, which they purchased in France, was located on the seacoast, but it was located in Gallipolis, Ohio, along the Ohio River.

The French emigrants were unaware that Ohio was (more…)

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