March 31, 2009

Madame Rosalie de la Val: A Character Sketch



A Character Sketch

Since March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 was International (Working) Women’s Day, I developed a character sketch on Madame Rosalie Bacler, a French émigré who came to the United States during the French Revolution, and who was a “working” woman, a “noble” who planned a French refugee colony in the Massachusetts Territory of Maine. Whenever I “introduce” this historical female to people, they become fascinated. Madame is the main character in the historical romance novel that I am attempting to write.

     Madame Rosalie Bacler de la Val, a French émigré who came to the United States to escape the atrocities of the French revolution, was an independent land speculator/settler in what is known today as Hancock County, Maine. In the 1790s, this region it was the Maine Territory of the State of Massachusetts, part of the Penobscot Land Tract purchased from the State of Massachusetts by land speculators Henry Knox and William Duer.
     Only about ten percent of the post-American Revolution land speculators worked independently, outside a company. None, as far as I have encountered, were women—much less (more…)

May 8, 2008


After the American Revolution (and probably before the war, too) the new world, from Virginia to Maine, was replete with wild animals. Tales of one, the beaver, are recorded in journals of French men exploring the country either after the American Revolution or while waiting out the French Revolution, between the 1780s and the 1790s. Surprisingly, this creature is credited with playing a role in American history.

The journal of Clermont-Crevecoeur, a French military officer assisting with the American Revolution, relates, about beavers in Virginia, that they were among the animals he located “but since they live in colonies and are very shy when hunted or when the virgin land where they live is cleared, they are rarely seen except in wild and uninhabited country.”

Park Holland, a surveyor of Maine lands, concurs. While he was explored Maine near an outlet of a large lake (possibly the Aroostook River headwaters), he wrote “We crossed a large beaver stream, and halted to examine the works of theses curious little animals. They had a large quantity of timber cut for completing a dam upon which they were evidently at work before (more…)

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