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From Maryland to Illinois; Deciphering a Workman family story

My goal this year is to focus more on my own family history here so this is a start! This article is about my more recent ancestors but I feel it’s a good place to start our journey back through part of my family history. I have written about one of the people in this family before but at the time, I really didn’t have a great deal of information on her life. The previous article about Mary Jane “Polly” Owen was more about my personal thoughts on her life and her Owen family background. In a way, this post is an update to her story.

You can read that earlier story about her in this post:

https://timeslipsblog.com/2015/08/10/family-history-because-our-lives-are-stories-waiting-to-be-told/

Mary Polly Owen

Isaac Workman and Mary Jane “Polly” Owen are buried in Yolton Cemetery, Avena Illinois. A search of burials at Yolton Cemetery lists many other family names related to this research project. No burial information has been located for Amos Workman or his second wife Jane Conner/Matheny Workman. This research has verified that Mary Owen Workman lived until about 1895 and died while living with one of her children.

yolton-cemetery-location

Location of Yolton Cemetery on map

yolton-cemetery

Yolton Cemetery Photo credit to Gary Feezel on Find a Grave site

Today we are going to learn more about Mary Jane “Polly” Workman and the extended Workman family as they made the move to Illinois in 1838. This article details my recent research on  Amos Workman and his extended family group. The research is an attempt to  verify information contained in Fayette County Historical County Biographic sketch of Workman family in Fayette county, Illinois. For purposes of this specific research, I have used a land grant map that shows Isaac Workman’s original land purchases in 1838/39. The land grant map was found in a book, Family Maps of Fayette County, Illinois by Gregory A. Boyd J.D. Information on that book can be found here:

family-maps-of-fayette-county-illinois

 https://www.amazon.com/Family-Maps-Bond-County-Illinois/dp/1420311824/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1485800863&sr=1-9

This is the area that the biography pertains to when it mentions the family group’s arrival in Illinois so I have kept the land grant research to this one area for this project. I have also used a number of family histories and information from various family members and trees on Ancestry as well as my best friend, “Google”!  

fayette-county-workman-biography

A number of years ago when I first started researching my Workman family ancestry, I received a biography from the Fayette County, Illinois Historical Society. For many years, this was all I had to go on as far as information for my ancestor, Amos Workman. Amos was my “Brick Wall” in genealogy terms. In many aspects, he still is my brick wall as there is still little information to be found on his history or the family history of his two wives. Because trying to tear down that brick wall was so frustrating, I set the Workman research aside for a number of years. Last year, I decided to make one more attempt at the Workman Wall. I purchased a dna test through Ancestry in the hopes that it would help break through that wall. In my mind, it was kind of my one last attempt. My thought was that if I didn’t get dna results to confirm any relationships, I would be finished with that branch and would resign myself to the fact that he was the end line for that branch. Thanks to Ancestry, that one last attempt was successful on most parts. The dna testing provided enough dna links and connections to place my ancestor Amos within the larger Workman family.  Amos and his descendants have often been overlooked and left out of the many Workman histories that people refer to. The most they generally say about Amos  is a short reference such as Amos was a son of William Workman and Phoebe Critchfield, he married a Rebecca. My dna test confirmed a connection to William and Phoebe and thus my connection back to the Workman and Critchfield families. What it did not do, however, was provide me with much more information than I already knew about Amos, his wives and his son Isaac who is my direct ancestor linking me back to Amos. I was still left with a brick wall, but now it at least had a crack in it so I was and am still optismistic about eventually tearing down that wall completely and discovering the mystery of Amos Workman. While the dna test can unlock some of the mysteries and provide some verification of family lines, it can not answer all of the questions or mysteries. The only way to truly answer those questions is through research, vast amounts of research! I have spent much of the past year doing that research on Amos and the entire Workman family. What I quickly realized was that in order to piece together Amos’ life, I had to look at the overall Workman history because there would be clues to Amos within all of those other family histories. This article provides an excellent explanation on why you need to look at the entire extended family group rather than just your individual direct line ancestry.

http://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-help-and-how-to/making-common-direct-line-mistake-family-tree/

 

I learned early on that in order to find answers, you have to look beyond just your direct family ancestry. This research of the entire family led me to an interest in extended family groups and their migration from the early colonies westward.  Amos Workman and his family were a part of that migration pattern. Their earliest beginnings were in New Amsterdam Colony, they then moved as a group to New Jersey and from there they went on To Maryland. Maryland is where Amos’ story began within that large extended family group. Even though we know very little about him, we can trace his migration with the families from Maryland to parts of Virginia, on to Ohio and Pennsylvania and eventually on to Illinois where the family finally settled in about 1838. As we learn more about the other family members and groups, a better picture of the mystery “brick wall” person such as Amos will begin to emerge. I will discuss more about Amos in a separate article, for now I just want to share the information that pertains mainly to the extended family group’s move from Ohio to Illinois. 

 

My research of the early Workman families in Maryland inspired me to go back and take another look at the Fayette County biography where they mentioned the connections back to Maryland.  The research of  early Workmans in Maryland did not show direct family connections to those families mentioned in the biography so I began to wonder what the connection might be? I also wondered if the information in the biography could be verified somehow? While working with another distant family member who grew up in Maryland and was a descendant of Workman branches who remained in Maryland, she verified the connection to Logues and McKenzies not as connected family groups but as living near each other in Alleghany county Maryland. She stated that the Logues, McKenzies, Arnolds and Logsdons were Catholics and would have been living in the Arnold Settlement while the Workman, Wykcoff and other families lived on lands that were adjacent to the Arnold settlement. With this information, I began a more thorough research of the Fayette County biography to see what other infomation or clues it might provide. I started researching more of the descendants of Amos in the hopes that some of them might have answers or at least be asking the same questions as I was.

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page 1 of letter written by Daisy Maude Workman Lichtenwalter Locke. Credit and much appreciation to ancestry member mindweaver for sharing!

letter-from-daisy-workman-lichtenwalter-page-2

Page 2 of letter written by Daisy Maude Workman Lichtenwalter Locke. Credit and much appreciation to Ancestry member for sharing!

In retrospect, Yes, I probably should have went this route from the beginning because some of them did have important information that would shed light on the lives of Amos and Isaac. One family member was able to provide a letter written by one of her ancestors that describes the move from Ohio to Illinois and verifies much of the information contained in the biography regarding Isaac’s horse running away and how he came to purchase the land. Much thanks and credit to ancestry member mindweaver for sharing a letter written by Daisy Maude Workman Lichtenwalter Locke, descendant of Isaac Workman and Mary Jane Owen through son Martin VanBuren Workman. This letter provides a great deal of information and insight on Isaac’s wife Mary Jane Owen as well as information on the trip and the initial land purchase. As a result, it verifies much of the information in the biography and adds an important layer to the overall history of the Workman family. The letter adds to the history of another Workman branch, one that was seemingly unconnected to Amos and Isaac but for information provided in this letter. Daisy’s letter refers to the fact that Isaac Workman had interaction with John Doyle Lee in purchasing land from John Doyle Lee before John became connected to a distant relative of Isaac’s, John Workman. For more information on John Doyle Lee and John Workman family, please see separate article. This link is to the story I posted on Ancestry, but I will soon be posting that story here as well. I will provide that link when it gets posted here.

http://mv.ancestry.com/viewer/082c8a54-1d3b-4fbe-8e3c-82786b42ca42/63696121/210059100415?_phsrc=tTL32673&usePUBJs=true

Letter of importance: Workman connections to John Doyle Lee

https://timeslipsblog.com/2017/01/31/a-letter-of-importance/

After receiving the copy of Daisy’s letter, I became even more interested in information that the biography might provide indirectly. One of the other pieces of information in the biography was the contributors to the story. I looked into those contributors to see how they may have been connected to the families in the biography and this is what I found.

contributors to Fayette County historical society biography:

Arthur Buchanan- most likely a family member of Mary Ann McConkey daughter of George Washington McConkey, granddaughter of Mary Jane Owen. Mary Ann McConkey married an Albert Buchanan. Other Buchanan connections go back to John Jacob Dively and Margaret Earnest. I was unable to confirm which Arthur Buchanan was involved in contributing to the biography because there was more than one Arthur Buchanan who could have provided the informatin but which ever Arthur it was, he most likely would have had family information going back to the earliest years in Illinois and been connected to the Owen families as well as Dively and Earnest families who are connected to Workman family.

Mrs. Katie Owen Whitefort: daughter of John Wilson Owen and Tolitha June Jackson. Granddaughter of George Hartzell Owen and Lucinda Ralston Owen. Great granddaughter of James Owen and Nancy Brashears. James was a brother of Mary Jane Owen who married Isaac Workman. Katie’s Grandmother Lucinda Ralston was daughter of Mary Ann Kyser and Joseph Ralston. Mary Ann Kyser’s Mother was Margaret Workman, sister of Amos Workman. This would make Katie Owen Whitefort a descendant of both Owens families and earlier Workman families. According to source information, she was a school teacher, did not marry until later in life and had no children. Because of her unique link to the families, she may have had a great deal of family history information regarding both families and those early years. Katie had two brothers, and as far as I can tell there was only one descendant of that family branch.

Mrs. Joe Rhodes: Theda Mildred Ellison Rhodes-husband William Joseph Rhodes. Theda Ellison 1899-1990, daughter of Ina Della Workman and Edward Franklin Ellison. Ina Della Workman was daughter of Isaac Wesley Workman, granddaughter of Amos Workman jr, great granddaughter of Isaac Workman and Mary Jane Owen. Her husband William Joseph Rhodes’ family would have had ties back that went back to McKenzie families that were listed in the biography as families in Maryland.

Mrs. Raymond McElheney- Mrs. Raymond McElheney is Phyllis E Springman, daughter of Frank Springman and Maude Workman. Maude Workman was daughter of Isham Douglas Workman and Rosabelle Hedges. Isham was son of Ireal Owen Workman and Lucillia Jennings. Isreal was son of Amos Workman and Jane Connor Matheny.

Once I connected the contributors to their family connections, I decided to address another piece of information from the biography. The biography stated that there was a group of 16 families traveling together from Ohio on their way to Texas in 1838. Daisy’s letter did not mention the number of people in the group but did dispute the mention of Texas. Her letter mentioned that they were on their way to Missouri.

The contributors were unsure of how many of the families stayed in Illinois and how many continued on to Texas. So far I have found no evidence to corroborate the mention of them being on their way to Texas, and I have yet to find any of the extended family group that might have went on to Texas. Daisy Workman Lichtenwalter’s letter states that the group was on their way to Missouri, and a number of the family members did eventually move on to Missouri. Daisy also mentions in her letter that none of the party traveled any further so that would suggest that all 16 families settled in Illinois initially. A search of the early land grants in Fayette county along with a search of families who settled in the nearby area should give us a good indication or approximation of which families were part of this wagon train in 1838. In order to come up with a possible list of families, I used family connections along with a land grant map showing Isaac Workman’s original land grants of 1838/1839.

fayette-county-family-maps-patent-map-twnshp7-range2e-showing-workman-land-purchases

Fayette county Illinois family group land map. Credit to Family Maps of Fayette County, Illinois by Gregory A Boyd

fayette-county-land-map003

map of area that Amos and Isaac settled in showing locations of nearby townships, cemeteries as well as streams and creeks. Credit to Family Maps Fayette County, Illinois by Gregory A Boyd

I limited my focus to that one area because that is the area mentioned in the biography where the group camped while Isaac searched for the missing horse, then decided to stay. The land map shows the connected families that settled in that area. I looked at the families in that area, their possible  family connections and dates of land grants shown on the map. I also looked at individual families and their migration from Ohio to Illinois to verify that their move would coincide closely with the time frame of this trip around 1838. For many of the families, I had to use births of their children to see approximately when they would have made the move to Illinois. I also took into consideration that some of the birth places and or dates may have been incorrect or approximated by individual tree members as many of them had no actual documents to base the date or place on. The list is an approximation or general idea of who the families in that group of 16 families might have been. In most cases, they share a family link or connection which I have provided. In a few cases, such as the Earnest families, there is not a known family connection prior to Illinois but rather a link that connects them back to Ohio or Pennsylvania. At some point in the future there may be a proven family connection going further back but I have not found it yet.

I have attempted to break the families down into individual family groups that reflect how they may have been traveling to account for the number of families in the group. I have also used the land grant map to place them in the area after the trip when ever possible.

1. Amos Workman with wife Jane and at least 7 children- Isaac, Amos’ oldest son would be a separate family. There is no additional information on Joseph born about 1818, so it is possible that he did not make the move. Amos is shown as owning land on the land grant map. His purchase date was 1839

2. Isaac Workman with wife Mary Jane Owen and all 10 of their children. His 1838/39 land purchases  are shown on the land grant map.

3. James Owen and wife Nancy Brashears-brother to Mary Jane Owen, his daughter Mary Owen is listed as being born in Fayette county in 1838. There are a number of land purchase shown for James Owen with earliest one in this area being 1841. He may have purchased land in another section earlier than that.

4. Nathan Clinton Owen brother of Mary Jane and James. Nathan is listed as marrying second wife Mary Ann Griffith 1839 in Fayette county. There is a William Griffith with a land grant in the area- his land purchase is shown as 1839 so possibly he was a relative of Mary Ann’s and was a part of the original party but we can not be certain. Nathan is not shown as purchasing land in this specific area at that time but he may have been living with James during that time as he was a widower with small children prior to his marriage to Mary Ann Griffith. His first wife was Catherine Brashears, sister to Nancy Brashears who was married to his brother James. She died in 1835 so he would have made this trip on his own with three very young children.

One added note for Owen family members: George Washington McConkey, Mary Jane Owen’s half brother moved to Fayette county, but it looks like he may have made the move a few year later around 1843. He may have waited until other family members were settled well to make the move himself.
Earnest family-Samuel Ernest is shown as having a land grant in the same area, purchased 1839. The Earnest family is connected in two ways. The first is that Harriet Earnest, a relative of Samuel’s later married Isaac Workman’s son William. The second way is less obvious and requires looking further back into the families for it to make sense why the Earnest families may have been connected earlier than their meeting in Fayette county. This connection will also bring with it another family that may have been part of the original group. One of the other early families shown on the map and shown to have a continued connection to Workman and Owen families was John Jacob Dively. John Jacob Dively was married to a Margaret Earnest. Margaret Earnest was born abt 1795 in Somerset county, Pennsylvania in the same area that the other Earnest families in Fayette county list as being at. I have no definitive or absolute proof to connect her to them, but I believe she was most likely a sister to William Earnest and possibly David Earnest. They were probably all related and all made the move together. John Jacob Dively’s original property was in the same area as Samuel Earnest who was most likely another brother of Margaret. These families may have had connections to Owen families back to Pennsylvania. In order to better understand these connections and for them to begin making more sense, you need to look at the family histories and you need to look at them in a broader context than just one family’s direct line ancestry. The Earnest and Dively families go back to Pennsylvania where Mary Jane Owen and her brothers were from before moving to Ohio. Mary Jane Owen’s family history would provide some clues to these connections. Her Father’s family were Welsh Quakers and her Mother was most probably probably Pennsylvania “Dutch” which was translated from Deitsch or German. The Earnests and Divelys were most likely part of the Pennsylvania Deitsch groups. An Earnest family history mentions this association and in a Workman biography, Charles Workman also mentions the Pennsylvania and “Dutch” connection. 

5&6 The Earnest families would have made up at least two family groups depending on how they chose to travel. We know of William, David and Samuel but it’s not clear of the exact family connection. William and David were most likely brothers and from all indications, David may not have remained in Illinois. Samuel was either a brother to them or was possibly a son of David. There are no land patents for either William or David but there are for Samuel. At the time of the move, Samuel was unmarried so was most likely traveling with either William or David. Margaret would have been in a separate family group traveling with husband John Jacob Dively.

7. Dively family would have been John Jacob with wife Margaret and 6 children. They would have all traveled together as one household or family as none of their children were married at the time of this move. It should also be noted here that there is a census record for 1830 showing Jacob Dively and family in Knox county Ohio. From looking at Dively family history, it looks like John Jacob was the only one of his family to make the move on to Illinois. Prior to being in Ohio, they were in Somerset county, Pennsylvania where they were married at.

Most of the above mentioned families, except for the Earnest family, would have had a direct family connection to each other so it makes sense they would have traveled together as a group. They would have made up at least 7 or 8 of the families. The rest of the group was most likely made up those families listed in the biography. I have researched those families and traced them back to the early connections they would have had with Amos Workman’s family. The Logues and Mckenzies both go back to Maryland and follow the same migration pattern as Amos and son Isaac. Both of these large extended families were in the same areas of Ohio as Amos Workman families prior to the move to Illinois. I have not yet found intermarriages between Workmans and Logues or McKenzies prior to Illinois but I have not done an in depth search of all of those families either so there could be family connections that I have not yet run across. The Logsdon connection to Workman families is not very prevalent so I do not think those families would have been in this wagon train. There is another family not mentioned in the biography that does have strong connections back to Maryland and could eventually provide clues to Amos’ second wife who is listed as Jane Conner/Connor and or Matheny in various sources and records. This would be the Sapp family.

The Sapp family goes back to Maryland, and besides having a connection to Matheny families, they have a connection to the Critchfield and Workman families. Amos Workman’s Mother was Phoebe Critchfield and his aunt was Hester Critchfield. If you follow the Sapp family line all the way back to Maryland, you will find a George Sapp born 1743 died 1810 in Knox county Ohio. He married Christina Texter in 1765. Their daughter Catherine “Peggy” Sapp married a Joseph Critchfield who was a relative of Phoebe and Hester Critchfield. The Sapp family had a close connection to Critchfields in that another daughter, Margaret married William Critchfield a brother of Joseph Critchield.  An added connection to the Workmans at that time-their son Daniel Sapp married a Mary Robeson. Mary Robeson had a brother Solomon who married a Rebecca Workman, while her sister Elizabeth married David Workman who was a son of Stephen Workman and Hester Critchfield. Their son Joseph M. Sapp married an Elizabeth Starner. All of the children of Joseph and Elizabeth eventually made the move to Illinois. One son, William Sapp’s history gives an explanation that would coincide somewhat with our biography. It lists a time period of 1839 and says, “With several hundred relatives and friends including his brothers and sisters by forming a wagon train they left Knox County Ohio and moved to Illinois. William and Catherine had one small daughter and were pregnant with their second child.”  William’s information states 1839, but there were land agreements dated 1838 so that would suggest that the families arrived in 1838. They probably arrived and began settling in 1838 with initial land purchases by family groups.

fayette-county-migration-project

painting credit to Fayette county migration project

I believe that the 16 families mentioned in the biography were part of a much larger group as William Sapp’s information suggests. The 16 families referenced in the biography could be referring to those who camped with Isaac Workman and settled in the area where he ended up purchasing land. The Logue, McKenzies and Logsdons may have been part of the larger group that William Sapp referred to. A look at the land map will show that two Sapp brothers settled near Isaac and Amos Workman. Their land grants had purchase dates of 1839, the same as Amos Workman’s. This does not mean they were not on the land before that, it simply means that was the year the actual legal purchase agreement was made. They may have been renting the land previously, or the land in question was open and unclaimed when they settled there but they did not finalize purchase agreements until 1839. These two Sapp brothers and the location of their lands near Amos and Isaac provide a clue to the mysterious Matheny connection. As I mentioned previously, Amos Workman’s second wife was Jane Conner/Connor or Matheny. Some records and sources list Conner while others mention Matheny so she could have been a Jane Conner married to a Matheny prior to marriage Amos, or she could have been a Jane Matheny married to a Conner? Either way, she seems to have had some connection to Connor and Matheny families. Daniel Sapp, one of the sons of Joseph Sapp and Elizabeth Starner married a Sarah Margaret Matheny (no other information known about her other than birth date of 1808). Charles Sapp, another son of Joseph and Elizabeth, married a Mary Elizabeth Matheny born 1812 in Knox county, Father’s name possibly Benjamin. Given the fact that Amos’ wife Jane is often linked to Matheny families, I believe that these two Sapp families may have had some family connection to Amos through the earlier Critchfield connections and to Jane through some connection to Matheny families. For this reason, I believe that Charles and Daniel Sapp families may have been in this group of families.

8. Charles Sapp with wife Mary Elizabeth and 4 children

9. Daniel Sapp with wife Sarah and 5 children

This would account for at least 9 or 10 of the supposed 16 familes in the wagon train that all had some link to each other through either Workman, Owen or Earnest family connections. The remaining group members may well have been Logues, Mckenzies or others who made trip with this group and camped with them but did not settle in the same close location as these above listed families did.

The National Road and it’s connection to the family migration from Maryland to Illinois.

national_road_map

 

The last item I want to address here is not mentioned in the family biography but Daisy Lichtenwalter does mention it in her letter. Daisy mentions the Old National Trail or Road in her letter so I just want to touch on the National Road as it pertains to family migration from Maryland on to Illinois. The construction of the National Road and it’s route directly corresponds to the extended family’s migration out of Maryland. You can look at the family histories and see that their moves across the colonies, territories and states closely followed the years of construction of the Old National Road.

In 1802, President Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, proposed a plan that sparked interest, known as the “Origin of the National Road”. The plan allocated money from land sales, allowing a percentage to be used for the making of the first federally funded highway. The road began in Maryland near Frostburg in Alleghany county, where our extended Workman families were  in the mid 1700s. During the later 1700s many of them were migrating back and forth between Monongalia county in Virginia, Alleghany county Maryland and Belmont county Ohio. The construction of the National Road made their migration between the areas easier. As the road progressed, so did their journey westward. The road would eventually connect Alleghany county and areas of Monongalia county to Belmont county Ohio where the earliest record for Amos Workman is documented other than his birth in Frostburg, Maryland. In the late 1700s around 1790s, he supposedly had land in Monongalia county and when he sold the land, he listed his home of record as Belmont county. Belmont county was on the border of Ohio and West Virginia. By about 1815-1820, most of the families had followed the road as it was making it’s way through Ohio. The majority of families were settled together in Knox county and adjacent areas, and remained there throughout the 1820s until the mid 1830s. The road building was an extremely slow process and it took almost ten years for the road to make it’s way through areas of Ohio.

national-road-in-ohio-and-indiana-showing-the-counties

The National Road was also known as the Cumberland Road and this shows the early route in Ohio through Indiana and on to Illinois.

knox-county-related-to-other-counties-in-ohio

Knox county Ohio in relation to other counties and to Columbus. The National Road was designed to run through capitols of each state so this shows that living in Knox county, the families would have been close to the National Road. It also shows location of Fairfield where Isaac Workman married Mary Jane Owen.

http://fayette.illinoisgenweb.org/nationalroad/nationalroad.html

The first section of the National Road was approved in 1806 by an act of congress and signed by President Thomas Jefferson, officially establishing a national highway from Cumberland, Maryland to the Mississippi. There was one catch, the road would run through the capitals of each state along the route. According to congressional requirements the road was to be sixty-six feet wide and be surfaced with stone and covered with gravel, along with bridges that were to be made of stone. Mandates were placed by legislators for the protection of citizens that prohibited a tree stump on the National Road to exceed 15 inches in height. Surveyors were sent to calculate and measure westward trails. The road would eventually pass through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois.

Even though, contracts were not granted until 1811, road construction did not begin until 1815 in Cumberland, Maryland and reached Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1818, being delayed because of the war of 1812. From Wheeling, Ohio was only a bridge length away. Many families preferred to migrate by Ohio River boats than by slow wagon journey westward through the wilderness of deep ruts and low lying stumps. The terrain varied from state to state as well as the quality of bridges and roads.

Original specifications for the road were used before the utilization of Macadamization. This rather expensive and sophisticated engineering technique used layers of stone to build the road. To make the road, the ground would have to be dug 12-18 inches deep and stones approximately 7 inches in diameter were used for the base. Then smaller stones that passed through a three-inch ring and graded down. Macadamization was the ideal surface for the time, but due to the expense it was not available everywhere. Plank roads, literally building of a floor of timber as a roadway, was used and look upon as a perfect answer to providing smooth, dust-free roads in muddy rural areas. Over time, deteriation was common among these timber highways and plank roads were not used everywhere.

By 1820, money was appropriated to survey the remainder of the states: Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Road building was a huge task. And a variety of skills were needed. Surveyors laid out paths; engineers oversaw construction. Masons cut and worked the stone, and carpenters framed bridges. Numerous laborers pulled and tugged, cut and hauled and leveled to clear the path. By 1822, President James Monroe vetoed a proposed legislation to turn the National Road into a federal toll road. Ownership of the road was handed to the states through which the road passed. The states built tollhouses along the road to collect tolls to help fund repairs needed for the road.

Those traveling west of the Alleghenies on the National Road considered Ohio the Frontier and Indiana and Illinois the West. In the early 1800s, thousands of movers and tons of merchandise moved across the National Road, despite its haphazard quality. They came from the Shenandoah Valley and down from rocky New England, pausing to rest briefly at Cumberland, then driving on toward Uniontown and Wheeling. Arriving Eastern goods could either be sent upriver from Wheeling to Pittsburgh or downstream to ports in Ohio, Indiana and on to Louisiana. Agricultural produce and materials from the South and West came upriver to be unloaded at Wheeling, then to be carried eastward to cities as far away as Baltimore.
A horde of emigrants hurried westward during the golden decades prior to the Civil War. Author P. D. Jordan described it this way, “Their covered wagons had been forming an endless procession ever since the Cumberland Road was opened. After they settled Pennsylvania, they filled Ohio. When Ohio land no longer was available, they clumped on into Indiana to erect their homes and plant their fields on the banks of the Wabash. They clung to the National Road like a mosquito to a denizen of the swampy American Bottoms. It was the people’s highway, and the people crowded it from rim to edge until their carts, wagons, stages and carriages challenged one another for the right of way. (Philip D. Jordan, The National Road, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1948.)

It took almost another 10 years for the road to reach it’s end at Vandalia Illinois. In 1828, a surveyor named Joseph Shriver surveyed the eighty-nine mile route from Indiana to Vandalia, IL. Many hardships endured during his survey in July of that year. He recorded a few of these in his survey notes:

“Saturday, July 19th, 1828
Run 10-3/4 miles today- 8 or 9 miles of it Prairie-the dividing ground between the Little Walbash and Kaskaskia.
Encamped on the waters of the Kaskaskia. Lost an ox from the team today, -his death occasioned by the heat and the want of water in xing the prairie.

Sunday, July 20th, 1828
Run 7 miles today over ground not very good for a road. About one half Prairie land, the remainder broken. Encamped on a small spring branch, waters of the stream which puts into the Kaskaskia River opposite Vandalia.

Monday July 21 st, 1828
Run within a mile or less of Vandalia when a heavy rain come on and being in an extensive bottom could not proceed
further—encamped. Provisions scarce: breakfast on meat and coffee: –dined on honey and meat and supped on roasted flitch and coffee. Notwithstanding it being so near to Vandalia there is yet not the least sign of anything like a settlement, much less the seat of a Government of a State. Strange case to be within hearing distance of a city and starving.”

It was not long after Shriver’s Surveys, Congress appropriated $40,000 in 1830 to open the Illinois section of the road. Later, additional money was granted each year for the much needed work of clearing land, grading and the bridge building work. New towns began to spring up over night along the route. Many businesses began to set up shop along the road to accommodate the needs of the workers of the National Road. Huge Conestoga Wagons came in droves, traveling the dusty road westward.

In 1838 the road had finally reached its end to Vandalia, Illinois, the current state capital at that time. During the summer of 1839 the National Road was open for travel in Illinois. Although the road was surveyed to Jefferson City, Missouri, construction was halted at Vandalia, Illinois. Due to lack of funding by the government and squabbling over the route for which the road would take. Missouri wanted the road to travel through St. Louis, MO and Illinois wanting it to travel through Alton, Illinois, a town located along the Mississippi River. After a total of 600 miles and approximately $7,000,000 the road to the wilderness was completed.

Our ancestors remained in Ohio until the road to Illinois was completed and then followed the newly completed road as far as they could. Daisy Workman Lichtenwalter’s letter states that their intent was to head toward Missouri where the road was originally suppose to continue on to. When they reached the end of the road in Illinois they most likely learned that there would be no continuation of the road on toward Missouri. While their reasoning for not continuing on was initially attributed to the horse running off and that they decided they liked what they saw in Illinois, the fact that there would be no future road on to Missouri probably affected their decision to stay in Illinois.

Additional Resources for National Road:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Road

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/back0103.cfm

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ah-nationalroad.html

 

 

Family history because our lives are stories waiting to be told!

I am taking a break from the stories of Vikings and other medieval histories to do some work on my own family history. As Lagertha once mentioned in the Vikings series, our lives are stories waiting to be told.

Lagertha Our lives are stories: Fan art by Jul Sanchez at facebook group, Vikings the Aftermath

Lagertha Our lives are stories: Fan art by Jul Sanchez at facebook group, Vikings the Aftermath

In Bernard Cornwell’s stories of the Saxons, he mentioned in his author’s notes that the history interested him because of his family ancestors and their connection to Bebbanburg Castle.

bebbanberg castle

Bernard cornwell historical notes for Last kingdom

History becomes more interesting and important to us when we can make a connection to it in some way that relates to our current situation or our personal family stories.  I think that there is so much more interest in these historical tales because many of us are searching in some ways for the parts of our past that we have come disconnected from. We may be looking toward the more global future but we still want some way to hold on to our past, our heritage, our culture.  As we move further and further away from the extended family units and dynamics that once held us together, supported us, encouraged us and took care of each other, we still want that connection in our lives. As we move on to a much larger world view, we become disconnected with that smaller community, family history… we become disconnected from those people whose stories created the story that we each live out right now.  It is all of those stories of people in our past that make up who we are, what we do and why we do it.  Every step they took, every choice they made, every secret they shared or held close to their heart led to us in the here and now. Every one of those ancestors has a story that is important to who you have become. No, they may not all  be grand, epic adventures. Perhaps their stories were what you assume to be dull, boring and mundane of little or no consequence in how you have come to be who you are. But, look at it in this perspective… had any one of them made a different choice in what you consider their unimportant life, you may not be here living your current life!  It’s like the concept of time travel, or the idea of being able to go back in your history and change something… if any one thing changed at a particular time in your family history, you would be a different person than you are right now. Ohhh, I know, some of you are probably thinking that might be a good thing but in reality, take a close look at all of your life, all of your memories and the lessons you have learned. Which of those things would you give up, would you willingly give them all up to be a completely different person than you are now?  Life is about learning, about understanding, accepting and about using all of those experiences toward a better future either for yourself or for your next generations. 

I think part of the interest, fascination and fandom for such stories as the Vikings saga, The Last Kingdom, and yes- Outlander as well, is the fact that they are not just about one specific event or person. They are epic sagas that tell a family story, a family journey. These stories give us a vision, a connection to that past that we all may be a part of. They inspire us to look deeper into our own family histories, stories and roots. They tell us stories that may be forgotten about our own pasts. For that reason, they are important! Throughout history, those small societies and communities relied on each other to tell the stories of their lives, to share their experiences, their lessons and their wisdom and pass it down to the next generation. In those early groups without a detailed written language, some of the most important and revered members of the community were the story tellers, the Skalds, the Bards, and the elders.  These people held the memories and the lessons of life and survival, of fame and of glory, of honor and tradition. They told the history, the stories that held a group together, gave a group unity and reason to go on fighting for another day.

I think that in some ways, we all still crave that sense or feeling of community of family. We search for that part that we feel is missing. Much like searching for that one true love soul mate, we search for some feeling of identity, some feeling of reason for being or purpose in life. As the world begins to blend together in some common unity, I think we each in some way still search for and want that unique individual identity within us. That unique individual identity can be found in our family history, because while our family history connects us to that larger common world, it also is one that keeps us connected to the smaller familial group that is our own.

 

My Own Journey

ward_and_florence_workman_wedding

Ward and Florence Workman wedding photo

For me, my family history is just as important as the more general and common history that everyone has some knowledge of.  I grew up surrounded by family history and mystery. I know, you are thinking, “Well didn’t we all grow up surrounded by family history?”  Let me explain it a bit more and you might understand better. My Mother was the oldest child in her family yet did not marry or have children until late in life.  My Father was one of the youngest children in his family and his older sisters had started their families long before he decided to settle down and have children. As a result of this pairing, most of my childhood was spent as the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family that consisted by then of much older relatives.  I spent a lot of my early childhood years trying to behave and be quiet among all of them… I was that quiet little one sitting amongst their adult conversations pretending not to listen. I found that if I remained quiet enough, they would forget I was there and go on with all of their stories, gossips and rumors about  relatives. In addition to this, I also found myself attending an awful lot of funerals for many of those relatives! Most of the time, I was the only child there and was viewed with some awe and at times great curiosity… as though they had long forgotten that small children existed! They would oooh and ahhh over me for a bit and then go back to their stories of unknown relatives.  At the time, I was curious but not all that overly interested in all those stories.  They remained in the back of my mind  though, those little snippets and bits… and years later when I began researching my family history, they would return.

A box of treasure-Rescued memories and untold stories

ernst pfieffer henrietta borchart pfeiffer family photo william pfeiffer jr.

One of my other entertainments during those childhood years was a big box of old family photos. I would spend countless hours looking at those pictures wanting to know more about these strangers that had come to reside with us. The box was a collection of various photos and lives mixed together from both sides of my family, jumbled together in a last resting place. My parents inherited the photos when the grandparents passed away… really, I should clarify here that my parents actually rescued many of these photos and souls because of their sense or feeling of respect, their profound feelings for family and their interest in history. When my Dad’s Mother died, his Father was about to toss it all in the trash. My Father stepped in, said no and hauled as much as he could save home to keep some memories of the past alive for us.  Unfortunately, my Dad had no idea who some of those people in the photos were! It would take many years before those people shared their names and their lives with us. On my Mother’s side, the photos were rescued when her Mother passed away and many of them suffered the same fate as my Dad’s relatives- of being unknown strangers tossed together in a box waiting for someone to search for their identities. While  my parents couldn’t identify the people in the photos, they still held my interest. I would ponder over them, wonder and then imagine who they were, what their stories were.  That box of old photos became my greatest treasure, those people became my friends and my inspiration for the future.  That box held the past and the future for me. Even after I grew up and left home, each time I returned, I would spend time with that box, those people and always wonder about them.  As an adult, I would spend time going through the pictures once again with my parents, trying to trigger their memories of who those people were. I tried to write the names down over the years but often it seemed that what was clear as day to my parents one time would change at another viewing. When other relatives came to visit, I would haul out the box and ask them for their memories.

Slowly over many years, we were able to put names to many of my Mother’s relatives but my Father’s relative remained much a mystery to me and some still are a mystery even after all of these years.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t interested or didn’t care, he just didn’t know them. My Mother was the oldest one in her family and for as long as she was alive, she was much like a family record keeper… and secret keeper as well. They were a close knit little group of siblings and families and she tried to keep track of all of them. My Father’s family on the other hand, was more distant both in miles and feelings. His parents had died long before, his sisters were living distant far away lives and although he would visit his remaining relatives in Minnesota, it was not such a close connection as my Mother’s family had. I think my Mom knew as much or more about his family than he did! He seemed more connected to my Mom’s family for the most part than his own. 

When my Mom was getting sick, she decided that she needed to share as much of the family history from both sides . We began the process of sorting through that box one last time together as she tried to recall as much of the past as she could remember. Our last year together was spent looking at those pictures, those faces attempting to put names and stories to them. Along with those picture memories came other shared memories and secrets from her as well. She told me her life, the one before she was Mom or Auntie. She made me drive her down long forgotten country roads to old homesteads, farms and schools… there were times when I would get frustrated, worry that she was confused about places and I admit there were often times I prayed that my car would not get stuck on some of the treacherous overgrown logging roads she insisted I follow! But, I went along with it because I would see after a while what she was seeing so vividly in her mind… the past, the way it was when she was growing up. She took me to visit relatives I never knew I had, but they all knew her, remembered her and their reunions still bring tears to my eyes when I remember it. I sat there quiet much as I had in my childhood and listened to their stories, their memories all come back as though it had just been yesterday. And, as I sat there listening, the stories I’d heard bits and pieces of as a child all came back again, and began to make sense. Sometimes on those visits we would bring some of those pictures… and someone would casually say “Ohh I remember them!” 

For more of my Mother’s family history and secrets, you can read this previous post about why love is not enough.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/lagertha-and-ragnar-why-love-is-not-enough/

The treasure box of photos took on even more meaning and value as the people came to life. Their seemingly mundane boring lives became a tapestry woven with complex and often painful stories of trying to survive, of building a life despite great difficulties that the images in the pictures seldom share with us. I was fortunate enough to have that last year with my Mom, and will be forever grateful that she chose so wisely to share all of those long held secrets with me. I am honored too that she chose to trust me with the keeping of that box of memories, that she chose to pass on to me the role of record keeper, story teller, memory sharer… I am at a point now in my life where I am realizing that I have been remiss in some of my duty, my purpose and I need to take it much more seriously.  I have spent a number of years researching our family history off and on going in spurts…. it is a never ending process, this search and this story gathering. There are times when it becomes overwhelming and so frustrating that one needs to step away from the past and breathe fresh air. Then there are times when it feels like someone from that past is calling softly- or loudly in some case, to be heard. It is like someone has sat patiently waiting in line for their story to be told, then finally jumps up waving their arms and saying, “I’m so tired of waiting, we all are tired of waiting… We want our stories told, we do not want to be forgotten!”

Calls from the past

Every so often, I get that call, that message and am reminded that I need to do something.  It’s one of those feelings that I can only explain in terms of having an ongoing niggling thought that you are forgetting something important. You could label it as intuition, premonition- it’s an inner thought that I should be doing something more, that I am side tracking myself from some purpose… unless you have also experienced the same sort of feeling, it’s difficult to describe or put into words.

I have spent the past year here sharing stories, sharing history with you, hopefully inspiring you in your own exploration of history, either in general terms or in more specific terms such as your own family history.  Recently, in the past few months, I’ve shared some of the earliest Saxon and British  history and legends with you that include ancient tales of King Arthur and the ancient Britons. As I delved into that early history, for some reason I became more and more fascinated with the area of Wales. Truthfully, I have never really had any great interest in that area before. It’s not a an area that I’ve ever really had some intense calling or feeling of connection to… until now.  Alright, I think to self, we have just read far too much about the ancient origins of this country and it’s peaked our overall interest. I let it go at that for a bit and try to get back to our normal history here but then I find myself wondering about my family history, which I have put off working on for quite a long time. I conveniently blame the most recent episodes of  TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are… one of my other favorite shows because of course, it deals with family and history! Anyway, the most recent episode with JK Rowling grabbed my attention and got me thinking of my own unknown history in Germany. I debated with self over trudging back over to Ancestry.com and forking over cash to chase leaves which continue to pile up and ultimately lead me nowhere. I’ve been that route before and still hold a great deal of angst/frustration about much of Ancestry.com but I do on occasion give in and hand over money in hopes of having some of my questions resolved.  Anyway, that is a completely different topic for some other time. Suffice to say, I gave into internal nagging from unknown voice or branch of my family badgering me to continue the quest. I returned to the quest assuming that I would go with specific intent of searching that elusive and mysterious German branch of my Mother’s family that simply refuses to share any more history with us. It turned out that they are still not ready to talk and if that was my sole purpose or intent, then once again, my money was wasted.  Not being one to feel as though I’ve totally wasted my money, I decided that since I’ve already paid my monthly subscription, I should at least make some attempt at visiting other branches of the family even though most of them are fairly well documented already.

I went back to some of those previously searched branches thinking just to update them with what ever few leaves might still be floating around them. For some reason, I was drawn to one ancestor whom I had never paid too close attention to before. I do apologize for that now, Mary… This particular ancestor has been sitting right there in that branch of our tree from the earliest beginnings of my research. She and her family have been there since my aunt gave me a hand written copy of our Workman family tree before I was really interested in any of it. I was always so focused on other branches that I just took her for granted, copied what vital information there was and never bothered to look beyond the surface.  I guess Mary Polly Owen was tired of waiting so patiently and for whatever reason, decided it was her turn to be heard!

Mary Polly Owen wants to be heard

Now that I look back on this, I have to wonder whether Mary Polly Owen has been calling for a while? Let me tell you a little about Mary Polly Owen and about some basics of my Workman family history  and then you might understand why I wonder this.  When I was growing up, my Dad would occasionally share what little bits he knew about the Workman family history or genealogy… and it was just that- minor little bits passed down over the years in fragments. He cared about family and about history, but realistically not so much about the two of them together.  He would share stories about his youth and some scattered random memories of his parents but other than that, he wasn’t a family history type of guy! One time when we looked at all of those old photos, there was a comment shared about some people in his family being Quakers but he wasn’t sure who or even when as in how far back.  The conversation quickly changed as we moved on to another photo and we all promptly forgot about the Quakers.  Years later when I was researching his family, I did remember that comment but didn’t give much credence or thought to it because I was finding no Quakers in the family. Nor was I finding the Irish or Scottish that he  insisted were part of his family.  He always kept insisting that his family was Irish, Scottish and English. Well, after many years of searching, I never found Irish or Scottish. What I originally found was English, then some more English and then finally some Dutch… the Dutch came because at one point in their early history the family went to Holland, changed their name from Workman to Wertman or Wiertman then moved on to America with the Dutch colonists.  During my initial research, I found a couple of family stories written down and a few distant relatives who recalled similar versions of those stories, that shed some light on this transition. One of the stories was that they claimed to be Dutch for a long time to avoid some religious persecution or some other type of retribution in England. A comment some recalled hearing often was to remember they were really English! At some point, once they were established in the states family members changed the name back to Workman and happily went on from there. Nowhere in any of this history was Mary Polly Owen’s background ever mentioned. Owens is a fairly common name and I always assumed she was English along with the rest of the various ancestors.

Mary Polly Owen has apparently decided that she has remained quiet about her own heritage long enough.  I browsed through all of those ancestors and began that ever tedious process of clearing the few remaining leaves for my direct ancestor,  Isaac Workman and his wife, Mary Jane (Polly) Owen. Just to be clear, in my personal records for her, she was always written as Mary Polly Owen, and in my own defense- most of  my previous searches had not turned up all that much additional information on her other than some basics such as vital statistics and general listings of family members. This time however, I discovered there was a lot  more detailed information on Mary and her lineage. There were a lot of those little leaves, and there are still a lot of them left to go!  So, what did Mary Polly want me to know, what was so important that she chose now to step up and insist that her story, her past be shared?

It seems that perhaps Mary Polly Owen just wanted to let me know that there is more to my interest in Wales than just having read too much history lately? Why is that, you might ask? Well, because for  one thing, Mary Polly Owen was half  Welsh as well as most likely being the Quaker that the family descendants would eventually recall. Mary Polly Owen was the daughter of one Nathan Clinton Owen whose ancestry and lineage is stretching far back into Welsh history and some very well documented firm Quaker roots. When I look at her family and their history, I can not see her easily giving up that history, lineage or belief system when she married into my ancestor Isaac’s English Protestant family. 

On the surface, Mary Polly’s (She will always be Mary Polly to me) life would seem to just be one of those mundane ordinary lives with no real details to flesh it out or make more of a story worth reading or sharing.  All we really have about her are the basic vital statistics of one family living in the early 1800s. Her story is probably similar to any number of other women during that time. There no unique or epic details to her life, no all of those details passed into obscurity along with her. She is long gone, long forgotten… she is not even one of those faces in the treasure box of photos left to me. The only thing that remains of her life are lists of names, dates and places- and some of those are probably not accurate. Take for instance the tombstone bearing her name. Obviously, at some point in time, someone has taken great care to provide this newer grave stone for Mary and Isaac but I have to wonder if her death year is actually accurate?  I do know that she was still alive in 1870. The federal census lists her as living in Sefton Illinois in 1870 and being 70 years old at that time. If she lived to be 100 back then, what a remarkable achievement for her considering how difficult times were and the fact that she was a widow for such a long time. After Isaac’s death in 1845, there is no account of her ever re-marrying so I would assume that she continued on her own, with help from her many children.

Mary Polly Owen

This is the original gravestone marker for Isaac Workman. I do not know what happened to this one or why it was replaced with the much newer one that includes Mary Polly on it but I am appreciative to which ever descendant provided the new one!

Isaac Workman gravestone

The basics of Mary’s life are that she was born on May 28th 1800 to Nathan Clinton Owen and wife Leah Margaret Hartzell in Ohio, probably somewhere in Fairfield County.  She was the second child in a family of 10 or 11 children. Her Father, Nathan died in 1811 when she would have been just 11 years old. At the time of his death, it would seem that he left his wife Leah with 10 young children to care for. Nathan’s cause of death is unknown, but he did leave a last will and testament.  It was that will that touched me, gave me some insight and thought as to the family that young Mary Polly was raised in. He spoke of  his great love and concern for his wife and children, and their future. There was one other mention in his will that provided some added clue as to this family’s Quaker beliefs. In his will, he made provision for land to be set aside for a school house, a public cemetery and public meeting house for all to use whether they be Friends, Manists, Baptist, Lutherans or Presbyterians.

In the name of God, Amen. I Nathan Owen of the county of Fairfield and state of Ohio, yeoman being very sick and weak in

body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God; calling into mind the mortality of my body and knowing that

it is appointed for all men once to die; do make and ordain this my last will and testament – that is to say principally,

and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of almighty God that gave it, and my body I commend to the

earth, to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors, nothing doubting but at the general

resurrection, I shall receive the same – again by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith

it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:

First, that all my last debts be paid, my dearly beloved Leah to have the privilege profits and income of all my real and

personal estate for the term of ten years after my decease; together with the privilege of buying and selling any personal

property for the schooling and maintenance of the children and at the expiration of ten years after my decease it is my

will that all my real and personal estate shall be sold, except what shall be excepted hereafter. I give and bequeath unto

my beloved wife Leah such a part of my real estate as contained within the following boundaries at the expiration of ten

years after my decease, viz; Beginning at William Young’s corner on Clear Creek and running South to Robert Young’s

corner, thence east with said Robert Young’s land till the N. E. corner of the same, thence North to Clear Creek, thence

up said creek to the place of beginning, be the same, more or less, with all the profits arrising from the same during her

natural life; I likewise give and bequeath to my beloved wife Leah at the expiration of ten years after my decease, the

following property viz, one horse and saddle not under the value of sixty five dollars, two cows, two beds and beding

together with the kitchen furniture, all the remainder of my real and personal estate to be praised and sold, giving any

of the heirs jointly or singly the privilege of holding the same at the appraisment by paying the other heirs their proper

shares; and after the decease of my beloved wife Leah, all the real and personal estate devised to her, by this my last

will and testament, the same to be praised and sold for the benefit of the heirs, giving them the privilege of holding the

same at the appraisement, as above, reserving out of my whole tract of land, one acre on the north east corner of the same

for the benefit of a school, where a school house may be built and a grave yard for the benefit of the public – in

general, such religious denominations as is hereafter mentioned to have the privilege of building a house for public

worship on said reserve (vis) Old sort of Quakers, otherwise called Friends. Old sort of Manists, Babtists, Lutherans and

Presbyterians, and no person or persons whatsoever to dwell or reside thereon. The said reserve to be appropriated to no

other use than the purposes herein mentioned. I give and bequeath to my oldest son David by my first wife, eight dollars

it being my will that my son James, my son William, my daughter Mary, my son Joseph, my son Charles, my son Nathan, my son

Jesse, my son Reuben and the one unborn to have an equal share without distinction of all the monies interest profits and

income. It is likewise my will that no sale shall be made of any part of my real estate before the expiration of ten years

after my decease any of the heirs that should be of age before that time shall wait till such sale shall take place and

money raised, and then to receive interest for the same from the time they become of age till the time they receive

payment and the others to receive their shares as the respectively become of age. I likewise constitute make and ordain

Martin Sanders Esq. Executor and my beloved wife Leah executrix of this my last will and testament likewise leaving the

reserve above mentioned in their care and charge giving them power to transfer their charge of it to my heirs and then

their heirs and so on successively hoping that all things herein mentioned and contained be faithfully and truly performed

ratifying and confirming this (with they interlining and erasement as above) and no other to be my last will and

testament. In Witness whereof I have herewith set my hand and seal this nineteenth day of January in the year of our Lord

One Thousand eight hundred and eleven. Signed, sealed, published and declared in the presence of us and we in his presence

have hereunto set our hand this day and date herein written. Nathan Owen

Nathan’s wife Leah married again in December of 1812 and had one more child. It is unknown whether he was a Quaker, but my initial thought is that he probably was or that he would have been mindful and accepting of what ever faith Leah was.

 

The family remained in Fairfield county where Mary Polly married Isaac Workman in 1818 when she was 18 years old. Mary and Isaac resided in Knox county Ohio until 1838 when they joined other members of Isaac’s family in what was originally a plan to settle in Texas. They did not get any further than Illinois! The recorded story is that sixteen families started out in a wagon train on their way to settle in Texas. They camped over night at Howard’s Point near St. Elmo. While there a horse belonging to Isaac Workman broke it’s tether and escaped. Horses were very valuable and the whole next day was spent searching for the lost horse. They found it just about where the old liberty Cemetary was later located. In looking for the horse, they had explored that part of the county and liked what they saw. How many in the wagon train besides the Workman families remained in the county is not known. Mary and Isaac settled in Fayette county, Illinois with their 10 children. In August of 1845, Isaac passed away. He and Mary Polly were married for 27 years and as I’ve mentioned previously, there is no record of her ever marrying again.  I know this seems like very little to base any thoughts about her life on or for that matter, much reason to be so interested in this one woman’s seemingly unremarkable life. Perhaps that is part of the reason I am so interested in her?  For many of  her descendants like my family, she  became just another name on a piece of paper.  She disappeared into the fabric, the tapestry of our history and left little trace of herself, her heritage, her history and her culture other than that vague recollection on someone in our past possibly being a Quaker. Her Welsh heritage completely disappeared in our history!

As I read more about Mary’s Father Nathan and his family, I began to see more of  Mary Polly Owen as well.  Mary Polly Owen was born into a strong Welsh Quaker family and heritage that is well worth remembering. It was not quite so apparent  when reading Nathan’s short history but became much clearer when going back a generation to Nathan’s Father, David Owen. I found this short biography mentioning David Owen and the family’s heritage which they took great pride in.

SAMUEL BACHMAN AND HIS WIFE RACHEL OWEN By Cornelia Ellen Bachman Phlegar -1970 Page 9 & 10

“…The Owen family were of Welsh origin. They were among the first immigrants to the state and some of them became prominent in Colonial days. Griffith was a member

of the Colonial Council from 1685 to 1707. John was Sheriff of Chester County in 1730. Owen was Sheriff of Philadelphia County in 1728 and Coroner in 1730. After this

he went to Saucon. His wife was Margaret. They had at least three childen: Thomas, David and Margaret. David, with his wife, Sarah, had eleven children, among them

Rachel, the wife of Samuel Bachman.

David Owen operated a sawmill and hat factory on the site of the Mast’s Mill at Standard about the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1748, he applied for and was

granted a license to open a tavern. He opened this tavern in 1748 on the farm later owned by Frank B. Heller. On February 10, 1749, warrants were issued to David Owen,

in pursuance of which there was patented to him on December 13, 1769, one tract (No. 5) of 64 1/2 acres designated as “Perplexity” and another (No. 19) of 49 acres.

David Owen served as a private of the 5th class in the 5th Company, 1st Battalion, Northampton County Militia in June 1777. A question has been raised as to whether

Samuel Bachman of Saucon was the Samuel Bachman who married Rachel Owen, also of Saucon, and settled in Philadelphia or whether one Christopher Samuel Bachman who

arrived at Philadelphia in 1750 aboard the ship Edinburgh from Rotterdam might not be this man. … It is my opinion, based on the records, that the Samuel Bachman of

Saucon courted and won his neighbor, Rachel Owen, and travelled to Philadelphia where they were married and lived until they made their trip to the southern territory

and that Christopher Samuel Bachmann is in no way connected with this couple.

Page 22 The following record was taken from photostatic copy of a page from an old family Bible, said copy having been loaned to Nell Phlegar by Miss Reveley Owen, of

Bristol, Virginia, she being a direct descendant of David Owen.

“David Owen was born in the year of our Lord 1713, the 13 Day of March — And dyed the 15 Day of June in the year of Our Lord 1790 being about Seventy Seven years of

age — Sarah Owen his wife was born in the year of Our Lord 1724 and Died the 13 Day of Aprill 1792 being about 68 years of Age — They were blessed with eleven

children six sons and five daughters the names as follows: Thomas Jessee David Jonathan Nathan Joseph Rachel Mary Sarah Abigail Lydia –“

 

Nathan Owen eventually settled in Ohio while much of his family remained in Pennsylvania or moved on to Tennessee but I believe that his pride in his heritage and his religious beliefs probably remained strong. I have not done much added research into the area he settled in Ohio, but my personal thought is that he most likely settled with some family members or church members. I think he and his wife would have made attempts to pass that heritage and faith on to their children. So growing up, Mary Polly would probably have been well versed and aware of her own heritage, and she would have also been well grounded in her own faith even if she chose to eventually marry one who was not a Quaker. My thought is that when she married into Isaac’s large family, she and her heritage got swallowed up and began to disappear over the years. This would have been easy to occur, especially when she made the move with Isaac and his family from her home in Ohio to Illinois. If she moved with his family and left most of hers and any Quaker Friends in Ohio, she would have blended more into the larger group of predominantly English descendants. Her own culture and history would have been easily overshadowed and forgotten as time went by.

 

workman family 1885

From left to right – John Scott, Matilda Workman Scott, William Workman and Harriet Earnst Workman (Matilda’s Parents), Barbara and Arthur Clark (Sister), Harriet Workman Smith, Aunt Michele Shear holding Hattie in her arms and little Walter Smith standing holding on to post, Charlie Workman with wife Etta Workman, and the Minister and wife (who married Charlie and Etta).

Charles Workman

Charles Workman

Another interesting thought about Mary Polly and what trace she may have left us as to her history is a comment made by my Great Grandfather, Charles Workman. He made comments about  family history in Pennsylvania and recalled some reference to Pennsylvania Dutch.  Not all of his memory or recollections were accurate as I later discovered, but I take into consideration that by the time he shared his memories he was quite elderly and he may easily have mixed up some of the information. The main point is that his hazy and vague recollections do have some merit and some possible grains of truth.  He remembered family being in Pennsylvania, as well as the stories about his Father’s side having Dutch ancestry. What interests me now is the possibility that perhaps he was recalling something of Mary Polly’s past as well with his thoughts of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Dutch?

Mary Polly’s Father, Nathan Owen was a descendant of  a well traced, documented and regarded Welsh Quaker family that began life in America when early ancestor Griffith Owen left Wales to settle in Pennsylvania.

Griffith Owen was born in Marionethshire, Wales and died January 1717/1718 in Philadelphia. PA.  His will was probated Spetember 29, 1717.  He married Sarah Barns, daughter of William Barns.  She died October 22, 1702.  He married again to sarah Songhurst in 1704.  she died June 4, 1733.  All children are from his 1st. wife.

             Dr. Griffith Owen, son of Robert Owen and Jane Vaughn Owen was a Leader among the Quakers.  He had a liberal education and practiced Medicine in England, becoming a Surgeon of high repute.  When William Penn received his charter, Dr. Owen Persuaded him to set aside 40,000 acres in Chester Co., to be known as the Welsh tract.  This was to be reserved for those of the Welsh race, the Welsh Language, manners and laws should prevail there.  He reached Philadelphia in September 1684 and soon acquired a large practice in his profession.  He is accredited with performing the first surgical operation in Pennsylvania.  He served for many years in public life, holding position as a member of assembly almost continuously, a member of the Governor’s Council, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, a Coroner, Justice of the Peace and a Judge of the Common Pleas.  He was a minister among the Friends.  In the performance of these Duties, he made several trips to England and Wales.  “There was no more respected or influencential Friend in all the Province.”  He settle first in Merion, but afterwards removed to Philadelphia.

If we look at Mary Polly’s Mother, Leah Hartzell, we can find the possible connections or reference to Pennsylvania Dutch. Leah’s originated in Germany, which is where the term Pennsylvania Dutch originally referred to.  Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch)   are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. This early wave of settlers, which would eventually coalesce to form the Pennsylvania Dutch, began in the late 17th century and concluded in the late 18th century. The majority of these immigrants originated in what is today southwestern Germany, i.e., Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg; other prominent groups were Alsatians, Swiss, and Huguenots (French Protestants). Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch. In this context, the word “Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or their descendants, but to Deutsch (German).

The first major emigration of Germans to America resulted in the founding of the Borough of Germantown in northwest Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1683.  Mass emigration of Palatines began out of Germany in the early 18th century from areas along the Rhine River.  The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained numerous religious affiliations, with the greatest number being Lutheran or Reformed, but many Anabaptists as well. The Anabaptist religions promoted a simple lifestyle and their adherents were known as Plain people or Plain Dutch. This was in contrast to the Fancy Dutch, who tended to assimilate more easily into the American mainstream.

If you  go back and  read Nathan Owen’s will,  he makes references to the other religious affiliations that may have made up his settlement in Ohio and formed some close relationships. For him to leave land specifically designated for public use by all of these groups suggests there was a close relationship and connection between them all.  Given Leah’s family lineage, it’s highly possible or probable that Leah Hartzell was a part of this Pennsylvania Deitsch group. The Quakers would have blended somewhat smoothly with these others given the fact that they were sometimes regarded as  Plain and Simple people as well. 

Through Leafs and Time

After all of this research and discussion, what am I left as and ending for this look at Mary Polly Owen? I still don’t know her very well, I may never know her as well as I would like to. But, I do know her better than I did before I started so just for that fact alone, the trip through leafs and time at Ancestry.com has been well worth the money spent for such a journey. My visit with Mary Polly Owen has introduced me to a part of my family history that I never knew about and for that I am much appreciative. She has left me with even more interest in her Owen heritage and legacy that goes so much further back to Wales and to England. Perhaps that was her intent.  Her spirit stepped forward from the pages and  looked over my shoulder. I could almost feel her point and whisper, “Look, there’s my name, there I am…click on that leaf!”  Maybe she just wanted that recognition as we all do that she was here in my life, my history, and that her story is just as important as some of those other more memorable and interesting ones. Perhaps she wanted to remind me that her story, her life was and is part of a much bigger and longer one. Her life may seem rather mundane, ordinary…. plain and simple, but she connects me to a much richer picture of the past.  We all need those simple rather plain threads in order to weave the stories together and create that brilliant tapestry of life that is made up of so many different paths in history.  Mary Polly has reminded me of a purpose in my life. She has inspired me to spend more time focusing on my family’s history, sharing it and passing it down to future generations to learn from.

As I work on this project, I will share the journey here with all of you because all of it is a part of history.  All of  our stories matter, whether big or small, epic or ordinary, it is all a journey through time.  Every one of us has a story worth telling and sharing hidden within our past. My last thought for today is to challenge and encourage you to explore your own history and see where it takes you. You may be surprised at where the journey leads you to, much as I was by finding a path that takes me to Welsh Quakers in Dolgelly, Merionethshire, Wales! There is far more to tell about the Owen Family history and I will share some of it in future posts!

WalesMerionethTrad

Merionethshire Wales

This 19th century hall sits on the land that was originally owned by ancestor Robert Owen before his family emigrated in the 1600s. It is Dolserau Hall in Dolgelly Wales and is now an Inn.

Dolserau Hall in Wales

Dolserau Hall in Wales

Owen Welsh tartan

Owen Welsh tartan

Now, go off on your own journey through time and history. Hopefully you will find unexpected treasures, reunite with unknown faces from the past and be inspired by someone’s long forgotten story.

 

 

 

Reflections, wishes and suggestions for the new year!

I just want to take a quick bit of time today to catch up and catch my breath from the busiest weeks of the Holiday season! I hope everyone is enjoying what ever winter holiday you observe or celebrate. My wish is that it is filled with joy, with love, with faith and blessings for the new year! May the coming year be filled with light and goodness for all of you!

After celebrating Yul with all of you here, Christmas with my family, and working, I am going to take a few days to relax and recover from all of it! As I do this, I am reminded of how holidays used to be as compared to what they are now? At one time, really not so many years ago… well, okay a lot of years ago if you are one of the young ones for whom time is still flashing by so quickly that you don’t realize it’s leaving you.  I’m showing my age here, so please be patient and understanding!  When I was growing up all of those years ago, certain days were considered and observed as National Holidays for almost everyone. Businesses were closed, entertainment venues, restaurants- all but essential services were closed so that people could take those few days to celebrate and enjoy the occasion with their families. Little of that remains anymore. Now these Holidays have become much like any other day, with people attempting to carve out some precious time to make it feel like a holiday and capture some thread of what was once so special about the event.  Families were much closer back then, in distance as well as heart. It was easier to come together, share the special time, reconnect with loved ones and build memories that would carry on to the future generations.

Now days, many of us struggle with trying to keep those traditions, those memories and yet adjust them to fit into a world that so quickly changing and evolving around us. With such change always comes compromise. We must give up some beliefs, traditions and sense of our past in order to adapt to a new world, new beginning. What we do not need to give though, are the memories, the stories and the lessons that we learned from the past! We are not the only society that has undergone great change so quickly and profoundly that it wiped out some traces of previous cultures and beliefs. As we look at history, we can find many examples of societies and civilizations that either survived, adapted or faded away as their worlds changed around them. The expression of “If we do not learn from history, we are destined to repeat it” holds as much truth and value today as it did when George Santayana first commented on it.

George_Santayana

Santayana is known for famous sayings, such as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”,  or “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Santayana, like many philosophers since the late nineteenth century, was a naturalist (that is, he denied the existence of supernatural beings, like gods and ghosts), but he found profound meaning in literary writings and in religious ideas and texts (which he regarded as fundamentally akin to literature). Santayana was a broad ranging cultural critic whose observations spanned many disciplines. He said that he stood in philosophy “exactly where [he stood] in daily life.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Santayana

 

It is my personal belief that we assume too often that history is not important, that it has no bearing or affect on what we are experiencing in such a new and different time. We assume that our current life struggles and issues are so vastly different from those of the past, that we are so much more intelligent, more evolved, and somehow better than those long dead ancient beings. Of what use or importance could any of their experiences be to us? In reality, they struggled with the same universal life issues that we do today. Some of them survived and flourished, some of them did not. It was all about choices that they made with their hearts, their consciences, and their desire to create a better world for the future. We all make those exact same choices each and every day.

My hope and wish for this coming year is simply that by coming here, reading through my thoughts and my impressions of the past, some of you might find that history speaks as much to you in some way as it does to me? I am reminded of what I have learned through years of teaching and helping others… If you make a difference in one person’s life, then you have succeeded in a purpose of your life. You may not be able to change the world, but if you change one person’s life, then you have made a start on that greater change.

 

Okay, enough my reflections and philosophy… As you take your own time to wind down from Holiday stress and prepare for the coming year, I just want to leave you with a few suggestions for reading and viewing!

 

Movies and Television Viewing Suggestions

For the many Outlander fans here, I have a viewing suggestion that may or may not interest you, but might help some of you get through the later books that involve so much detailed history of the American Revolution? The AHC- American Heroes Channel- has a three part mini series on the American Revolution. I have not watched it yet, but have it recorded and plan to watch it all later this evening!

http://www.ahctv.com/tv-shows/the-american-revolution

American revolution2 american-revolution-ahc-2

 

If you prefer some much earlier history, along with some blood letting and a look at the earliest beginnings of Britain, I have two suggestions for you.  I am not normally a fan of blood and heavy handed action movies that don’t necessarily portray history all that realistically but I did watch these two movies and stayed interested all the way through them!

First is The Eagle (2011 film)

The_Eagle_Poster

The Eagle is a 2011 historical adventure film set in Roman Britain directed by Kevin Macdonald, and starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland. Adapted by Jeremy Brock from Rosemary Sutcliff‘s historical adventure novel The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), the film tells the story of a young Roman officer searching to recover the lost Roman eagle standard of his father’s legion in the northern part of Great Britain. The story is based on the Ninth Spanish Legion‘s supposed disappearance in Britain.

The film, an AngloAmerican co-production, was released in the U.S. and Canada on 11 February 2011, and was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 25 March 2011.

In the year AD 140, twenty years after the Ninth Legion disappeared in the north of Britain, Marcus Flavius Aquila, a young Roman centurion, arrives in Britain to serve at his first post as a garrison commander. Marcus’s father disappeared with the eagle standard of the ill-fated legion, and Marcus hopes to redeem his family’s honour by bravely serving in Britain. Shortly afterwards, only Marcus’s alertness and decisiveness save the garrison from being overrun by Celtic tribesmen. He is decorated for his bravery but honourably discharged due to a severe leg injury.

Living at his uncle’s estate near Calleva (modern Silchester) in southern Britain, Marcus has to cope with his military career having been cut short and his father’s name still being held in disrepute. Hearing rumours that the eagle standard has been seen in the north of Britain, Aquila decides to recover it. Despite the warnings of his uncle and his fellow Romans, who believe that no Roman can survive north of Hadrian’s Wall, he travels north into the territory of the Picts, accompanied only by his slave, Esca. The son of a deceased chieftain of the Brigantes, Esca detests Rome and what it stands for, but considers himself bound to Marcus, who saved his life during an amphitheatre show.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eagle_(2011_film)

I enjoyed the movie for it’s look at the pre-history, and the history of the Roman involvement in Britain. It deals with the real mystery of the Ninth Legion, and you can find more information on that here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legio_IX_Hispana

the-eagle-movie the-eagle-movie2 the-eagle-movie-tatum-3

One other excellent film dealing with early Britain and legends is, King Arthur.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur_(film)

Movie_poster_king_arthur

This is not your typical King Arthur legend type of film! This movie presents the legend in a much more realistic portrayal. As many of my long time followers know, I have a deep fascination and interest in all things King Arthur related so this movie was perfect in every way for me! for more information on the history and legends about King Arthur, you can search through my archives on the subject!

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/from-the-creator-ancient-history-connects-the-norse-with-romans-and-king-arthur/

King Arthur is a 2004 film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Franzoni. It stars Clive Owen as the title character, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot, and Keira Knightley as Guinevere.

The film is unusual in reinterpreting Arthur as a Roman officer rather than a medieval knight. Despite these departures from the source material, the Welsh Mabinogion, the producers of the film attempted to market it as a more historically accurate version of the Arthurian legends, supposedly inspired by new archaeological findings. The film was shot in England, Ireland, and Wales.

Arthur, also known as Artorius Castus (Clive Owen), is portrayed as a Roman cavalry officer, the son of a Roman father and a Celtic mother, who commands a unit of Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry in Britain at the close of the Roman occupation in 467 A.D. He and his men guard Hadrian’s Wall against the Woads, a group of native Britons who are rebels against Roman rule, led by the mysterious Merlin (Stephen Dillane).

As the film begins, Arthur and his remaining knights Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Bors (Ray Winstone), Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen), Gawain (Joel Edgerton), Galahad (Hugh Dancy) and Dagonet (Ray Stevenson) expect to be discharged from their service to the Empire after faithfully fulfilling a fifteen-year commitment.

However, on the night they are to receive their freedom, Bishop Germanus (Ivano Marescotti) sends them on a final and possibly suicidal mission to rescue an important Roman family. Marius Honorius (Ken Stott) faces impending capture by the invading Saxons, led by their chief Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) and his son Cynric (Til Schweiger). According to Germanus, Marius’ son, Alecto, is the Pope‘s favorite godson and may be “destined to be Pope one day”.

At the remote estate, Arthur discovers Marius has immured pagans: a Woad named Guinevere (Keira Knightley), and a small boy, Lucan. Arthur frees them and decides to take everyone, along with Marius’ family, back to Hadrian’s Wall.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur_(film)

Saxons

king-arthur-sagaci-sassoni saxons

Arthur and his Knights

King-Arthur-2004-king-arthur-875459_1000_674

A truly original and unique version of Guinivere!

king arthur movie2 king arthur movie

 

Of course, there are a number of television series that will entertain you and possibly, hopefully provide you some historical lessons as well. If you have Starz, or any number of online services, you might want to catch up on Outlander- if you have seen it already, or not enough times in the case of many fans out there! We’ve already discussed all of it in great depth through out the blog.  Just start searching through the archives for it and that could keep you busy until the show starts again in April!

http://www.starz.com/originals/outlander

OUT-101_20131011_EM-0630.jpg Outlanderday

 

Another show that we’ve made extensive reference to here is Vikings on the History Channel!

http://www.history.com/shows/Vikings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings_(TV_series)

ragnar viking long boat Lindisfarne-ep2

The Vikings will return for season three on February 19! We will be exploring more of their history and the show in upcoming posts!

Vikings is an Emmy Award nominated  historical drama television series written and created by Michael Hirst for the television channel History. It premiered on 3 March 2013 in the United States and Canada.  Filmed in Ireland, it is an official Ireland/Canada co-production.

Vikings is inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known mythological Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France. It portrays Ragnar as a former farmer who rises to fame by successful raids into England with the support of his family and fellow warriors: his brother Rollo, his son Bjorn, and his wives—the shieldmaiden Lagertha and the princess Aslaug.

On 5 April 2013, History renewed Vikings for a ten-episode second season, which premiered on 27 February 2014.  On 25 March 2014, History renewed Vikings for a ten-episode third season, which is scheduled to air on February 19, 2015.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings_(TV_series)

 

Book suggestions!

If the viewing suggestions are not enough, and you prefer reading about history, I do have a few suggestions for that as well.  Contrary to recent posts and public opinion, I do read a great deal besides Outlander! In fact, I spend much of my free time reading… I have a long commute to and from work each day, which provides me with plenty of time to indulge in one of my favorite pass times- reading. While I do occasionally venture into the time travel realm for reading enjoyment… I know, I know, it would seem and appear that time travel would be my main priority/focus, but actually it is not. Most of my reading focus is on early medieval history from the early Viking Ages through William the Conqueror and on through to about the 1500s.

I have been quite lax and remiss about updating my book reviews page since Outlander appeared but, please rest assured that I have indeed kept up with my other reading! I am providing a quick guide here for those of you who are interested in reading material aside from Outlander! You can also always check out my reviews and books on my Goodreads page.  I have better luck keeping those reviews updated than the ones here!  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22404301-judywork

For now, I will just update you with a few that I’ve read lately and may have referenced in earlier posts!

 

 Veil of Time  by Claire R. McDougall.  This was a one of the time travel exceptions I’ve made and it well worth the read as it is so much more than just time travel or a romance novel!

Veil of Time

A compelling tale of two Scotlands-one modern, one ancient-and the woman who parts the veil between them.

The medication that treats Maggie’s seizures leaves her in a haze, but it can’t dull her grief at losing her daughter to the same condition. With her marriage dissolved and her son away at school, Maggie retreats to a cottage below the ruins of Dunadd, once the royal seat of Scotland. But is it fantasy or reality when she awakens in a bustling village within the massive walls of eighth-century Dunadd? In a time and place so strange yet somehow familiar, Maggie is drawn to the striking, somber Fergus, brother of the king and father of Illa, who bears a keen resemblance to Maggie’s late daughter. With each dreamlike journey to the past, Maggie grows closer to Fergus and embraces the possibility of staying in this Dunadd. But with present-day demands calling her back, can Maggie leave behind the Scottish prince who dubs her mo chridhe, my heart?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18144050-veil-of-time

Now, while the area of Dunnad and Kilmartin are filled with ancient Stone circles and Standing Stones, Maggie did not make use of them for her trip through time. They were an integral part or mechanism for her travel though as she had not experienced the time travel previously to her visit to Dunadd as an adult.  Also, the Druidess priestess and others she met in the past seemed to feel that the Stones were responsible for her travel as well as for any number of other events. Maggie was suffering from a number of traumatic events in life and decided to spend some time by herself in an isolated cottage at the base of the Dunnad hill fort.  She is working on her doctoral thesis- on the history of Witchcraft in Scotland and trying to finish it before facing a life altering and possible mind altering major operation to cure her of her epileptic seizures. It seems that the combination of the seizures and what ever mystical properties might be at this area are initially the trigger to send her back through time to the year 735 when Dunnad was at the height of it’s importance in history.

The book gives a very good description and visualization of  Mid-winter solstice celebrations as they might have taken place during that time! It also references the Druidic influences and Pict representation in that area and time.

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/?s=veil+of+time

 

 

Circle of Ceridwen Series by Octavia Randolph

If you are interested in early Saxon and Viking history in Britain, I highly recommend this series!

For a more detailed and in depth look at these early Saxons, their struggle to hold on to their old ways and their eventual demise under the Christian influence, I would highly suggest you read this series of books by Octavia Randolph. I suggest here mainly because she deals with the early Saxon beliefs and how closely they were connected to the Norse/Vikings beliefs of the time. She also has excellent descriptions of some of their traditions and celebrations! It is a series of four books that tell a young woman’s journey through the Viking conquests of early England and then her life in the northern lands of  Danemark, and Gotland.

circle of ceridwen1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23123223-the-circle-of-ceridwen

In Circle of Ceridwen, Octavia Randolph discusses in great detail, the Saxon belief in Woden and  it’s close connection to the Viking belief in Odin.

Young women with courage. Swords with names. Vikings with tattoos. Danger. Passion. Survival. Warfare. Sheep. And Other Good Things…

The year 871, when England was Angle-Land. Of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, five have fallen to the invading Vikings. Across this war-torn landscape travels fifteen year old Ceridwen, now thrust into the lives of the conquerors. But living with the enemy affords Ceridwen unusual freedoms – and unlooked-for conflicts. Amongst them she explores again her own heathen past, and learns to judge each man on his own merits. Her divided loyalties spur her to summon all her courage – a courage which will be sorely tested as she defies both Saxon and Dane and undertakes an extraordinary adventure to save a man she has never met.

The first book of The Circle of Ceridwen Trilogy, the historical adventure saga enjoyed by thousands of readers in over 125 nations.

 

There are four books in the series… and I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will eventually be more. The series covers the life and journey of Ceridwen from her early years as a somewhat naïve teen through her years living with the Viking conquerors of  Britain, to her journey to the Viking homelands of Gotland. It is an excellent well documented and detailed look at the changes in lives and cultures during that time period, with a focus on how one young woman deals with all of those sudden changes in her life.  I would definitely recommend you read all of them and check out Octavia Randolph!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1365292.Octavia_Randolph

Ceridwen of Kilton the claiming Hall of Tyr

After reading the last one, Hall of Tyr, there was also a nice bonus of a medieval cookery booklet included. She includes early medieval Britain fare as well as medieval Scandinavian dishes!

For a sample of her cookery details, you should read this article!

http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2014/08/venison-pie-and-honey-cakes.html

3harts

 

For slightly later medieval history, try The Handfasted wife  and the Swan daughter by Carol McGrath.

the handfasted wife by Carol McGrath The Swan daughter by Carol McGrath

These two books are about history during the time of William the Conqueror. They are well written historical biography types more than romances.

The first one, Handfasted wife tells the story  of the Norman Conquest from the perspective of Edith (Elditha) Swanneck, Harold’s common-law wife. She is set aside for a political marriage when Harold becomes king in 1066. Determined to protect her children’s destinies and control her economic future, she is taken to William’s camp when her estate is sacked on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. She later identifies Harold’s body on the battlefield and her youngest son becomes a Norman hostage. Elditha avoids an arranged marriage with a Breton knight by which her son might or might not be given into his care. She makes her own choice and sets out through strife-torn England to seek help from her sons in Dublin. However, events again overtake her. Harold’s mother, Gytha, holds up in her city of Exeter with other aristocratic women, including Elditha’s eldest daughter. The girl is at risk, drawing Elditha back to Exeter and resistance. Initially supported by Exeter’s burghers the women withstand William’s siege. However, after three horrific weeks they negotiate exile and the removal of their treasure. Elditha takes sanctuary in a convent where eventually she is reunited with her hostage son. This is an adventure story of love, loss, survival and reconciliation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Godwinson

1024px-Bayeux_Tapestry_scene23_Harold_sacramentum_fecit_Willelmo_duci

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_the_Fair

Edith_discovering_the_body_of_Harold

 

The second book is about Edith and Harold’s daughter, Gunnhild.  The Swan Daughter is a true 11th C tale of elopement and a love triangle by best-selling author of The Handfasted Wife, Carol McGrath. A marriage made in Heaven or Hell.  It is 1075 and Dowager Queen Edith has died. Gunnhild longs to leave Wilton Abbey but is her suitor Breton knight Count Alan of Richmond interested in her inheritance as the daughter of King Harold and Edith Swan-Neck or does he love her for herself? And is her own love for Count Alain an enduring love or has she made a mistake? 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Rufus

Alan_Rufus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunhild_of_Wessex

 

For a better and even more detailed perspective the events of this time period, I would suggest and encourage you to read  two other books about this era by Helen Hollick!

I have already previously mentioned her work, The Forever Queen (The Saxon Series #1)  on my book reviews page but am going repeat here for easier reference. This book is a great depiction and detail of  Emma of Normandy, whom little is known about but who is so important in history. It is the first of two books on Emma and her offspring, with the second book being, I am the Chosen King.

What kind of woman becomes the wife of two kings, and the mother of two more?

Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom-and her crown-are to be salvaged. Smarter than history remembers, and stronger than the foreign invaders who threaten England’s shores, Emma risks everything on a gamble that could either fulfill her ambitions and dreams or destroy her completely.

Emma, the Queen of Saxon England, comes to life through the exquisite writing of Helen Hollick, who shows in this epic tale how one of the most compelling and vivid heroines in English history stood tall through a turbulent fifty-year reign of proud determination, tragic despair, and triumph over treachery.

The Forever Queen (The Saxon Series, #1)The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick
My rating:
5 of 5 stars

Fantastic! I was quite impressed with all of this book. I appreciate that it was not so much a gushy over done, made up romance novel but more of a historical docu-drama of her life. Helen Hollick took the limited details surrounding this somewhat forgotten queen that we hear so little about and wove those details into an excellent story!

I wrote the above short review a while ago but wanted to add to it because I am still so impressed with the storytelling of Helen Hollick. I have not read the second book of the series yet, but will get to it soon! After spending an immense amount of time reading quite serious histories, I needed to take a break and read some less intense ones!

This was most definitely one of the more serious and intense ones! It is not a feel good, happily ever after love story by any means. If you are looking for that, you will be quite disappointed. What you will find is a story about the grim and gritty realities of a woman’s life in those early medieval times. Just because a woman was of noble blood and ended up with a crown- more than one, it did not mean her life was any easier. In fact, in so many ways it was even more difficult.

Emma was married first to Æthelred who failed as both a King and a husband, but Emma did do her duty in providing him with not one, but two legitimate heirs. That should have given her some security in those times but unfortunately luck was not with her… or maybe it was? The kingdom is overtaken by Cnut who claims her along with the kingdom. She finally finds love with him only to have him die leaving the kingdom in another battle of who should rule.

The story of her life was well documented in this book with more than enough factual information woven into the story to give what I felt it was an excellent representation of the constant hurdles she endured throughout her life that colored and shaped how she viewed her role and her destiny as well as that of her sons.

 

I am the Chosen King

In this beautifully crafted tale, Harold Godwinesson, the last Saxon King of England, is a respected, quick-witted man both vulnerable and strong, honorable and loving-and yet, in the end, only human. After the political turmoil and battles leading up to 1066, we all know William the Conquerer takes England. But Helen Hollick will have readers at the edge of their seats, hoping that just this once, for Harold, the story will have a different ending.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9223563-i-am-the-chosen-king

I am in the process of reading I am the Chosen King right now and am just as impressed with it as I was with the first book! What is interesting for me now is the comparison between this work and the information I previously read in Carol McGrath’s books about the same people. Where as Carol’s books deal more with Edith’s and her daughter’s lives and their possible perspectives of the time and events, this work goes into more depth concerning all of the key figures of the time. By reading all of them, I think you could gain a better insight and picture of  what was happening and how those involved might have come to the choices they made.

 

 

Now for one last thought of interest.  You might be wondering just how all of this extensive and in depth history ties into  my interest in the Vikings Saga on the history channel and it’s related actual history? Well, I will leave you with a few clues…

Vikings is inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known mythological Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France. It portrays Ragnar as a former farmer who rises to fame by successful raids into England with the support of his family and fellow warriors: his brother Rollo, his son Bjorn, and his wives—the shieldmaiden Lagertha and the princess Aslaug.

As the above paragraph states, the show and it’s various main characters are based on what is known about actual history. Ragnar Lothbrok is based on

Ragnar Lodbrok or Lothbrok (Old Norse: Ragnarr Loðbrók, “Ragnar Hairy Breeches“) was a legendary Norse ruler and hero from the Viking Age described in Old Norse poetry and several sagas. In this tradition, Ragnar was the scourge of France and England and the father of many renowned sons, including Ivar the Boneless, Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Ubba. While these men are historical figures, it is uncertain whether Ragnar himself existed or really fathered them. Many of the tales about him appear to originate with the deeds of several historical Viking heroes and rulers.

According to legend, Ragnar was thrice married: to the shieldmaiden Lagertha, to the noblewoman Þóra Borgarhjǫrtr, and to Aslaug. Said to have been a relative of the Danish king Gudfred and son of the Swedish king Sigurd Hring, he became king himself and distinguished himself by many raids and conquests until he was eventually seized by his foe, King Ælla of Northumbria, and killed by being thrown into a pit of snakes. His sons bloodily avenged him by invading England with the Great Heathen Army.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnar_Lodbrok

vikings_ragnar_3-P

In reality, Ragnar ultimately comes to a bad end and probably was not such a likeable fellow as he is portrayed in the show.

His brother, Rollo is inspired and based on another historical Viking.

A character based on the historical Rollo, played by Clive Standen, is Ragnar Lodbrok‘s brother in the 2013 television series Vikings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollo

vikings_gallery7_2-P rollo

 

In actual history, Rollo comes out far better than Ragnar ever could have hoped for!

600px-Cronological_tree_william_I_svg

If you look at his family tree, you will see how he ties in to medieval history. He was the ancestor of William the Conqueror- and if you look into William’s activities, you might see that his Viking heritage of conquering came out quite boldly in his genes!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror

 

Rollo is the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror. Through William, he is an ancestor of the present-day British royal family, as well as an ancestor of all current European monarchs and a great many pretenders to abolished European thrones. A genetic investigation into the remains of Rollo’s grandson Richard I and great-grandson Richard II has been announced, with the intention of discerning the origins of the famous Viking warrior.

The “Clameur de Haro” in the Channel Islands is, supposedly, an appeal to Rollo.

Rollo’s grave at the cathedral of Rouen

1024px-Grave_of_Rollo_of_Normandy

So, as my last thought and conclusion for the day…. Which brother would you prefer to take your chances with? Personally, I am going with team Rollo!

Rollo-vikings-tv-series-34189423-500-300 vikings_episode6_gallery_1-P

Follow our Viking journey in coming new year!

Ragnar and Rollo legacy

Time Traveler’s guide to Christmas: Oh Christmas Tree….

Music to accompany your holiday journey: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/musical-inspiration-christmas-music/

Additional Christmas posts:

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/time-travelers-christmas-happy-yule-fest/

viking yule2

Before we continue our journey back to the Saxons and Vikings, let’s take a break and try to answer the question of when and where you should or should not go if you are hoping to find a celebration that includes some version of a Christmas tree?

Glowing-Christmas-Tree

Of course in order to know that, you should know some history of this tradition?

Most historians and scholars agree on one of the origin stories of the Christmas Tree that we are familiar with. That story is of Martin Luther.

While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originated during the Renaissance of early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin. Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther who is said to have first added lighted candles to an evergreen tree.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ’s birth.

http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html

This is the story that most people are familiar with as the origin of our beloved Christmas Tree.  It’s  history does go back a bit further than that. Martin Luther gets the most credit for introducing the tradition of the Christmas tree as we know it but there is, as usual, a deeper history that has gotten overlooked. What we need to consider is that Martin Luther should get the credit for the in door tree with lights on it, but not for the entire idea of the tree and it’s significance!

the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, in particular through the story of Donar’s Oak and the popularized story of Saint Boniface and the conversion of the German pagans, in which Saint Boniface cuts down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaces it with an evergreen tree, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime.”

Alternatively, it is identified with the “tree of paradise” of medieval mystery plays that were given on 24 December, the commemoration and name day of Adam and Eve in various countries. In such plays, a tree decorated with apples (to represent the forbidden fruit) and wafers (to represent the Eucharist and redemption) was used as a setting for the play. Like the Christmas crib, the Paradise tree was later placed in homes. The apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree

Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

In looking at the history of the Christmas Tree and Saint Boniface, what is interesting to note is that it and Saint Boniface lead us back to Germanic/Norse  and early Saxon origins!

Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface and the donar tree

Saint Boniface and the donar tree

Saint Boniface (Latin: Bonifatius) (c. 675? – 5 June 754), born Winfrid, Wynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom of Wessex in Anglo-Saxon England, was a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to the German parts of the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He established the first organized Christianity in many parts of Germany. He is the patron saint of Germany, the first archbishop of Mainz and the “Apostle of the Germans”. He was killed in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others. His remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Facts about Boniface’s life and death as well as his work became widely known, since there is a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, and legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence.

Norman F. Cantor notes the three roles Boniface played that made him “one of the truly outstanding creators of the first Europe, as the apostle of Germany, the reformer of the Frankish church, and the chief fomentor of the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian family.”  Through his efforts to reorganize and regulate the church of the Franks, he helped shape Western Christianity, and many of the dioceses he proposed remain today. After his martyrdom, he was quickly hailed as a saint in Fulda and other areas in Germany and in England. His cult is still notably strong today. Boniface is celebrated (and criticized)  as a missionary; he is regarded as a unifier of Europe, and he is seen (mainly by Catholics) as a German national figure.

The Norse Pagan History of the Christmas Tree:
To fully appreciate the history of the Christmas tree, one must understand the mystical importance coniferous evergreens held for the pagan Norsemen who inhabited the frigid and often enchanting forests of Northern Germany. This era of pre-Christian Germanic history can be characterized as a time as savage as it was beautiful, mystical as it was mysterious, and as warm hearted as it was cold and bitter in a frozen landscape. Pre-Christian Pagans inhabited a land that they believed they shared with numerous Gods, nature-spirits, and demons. A common example was the Norse worship of the Oak tree; its strong and long burning wood was a sign of the strength of the spirits that inhabited the Oak, and it was often used as a symbol of the Norse god chieftain, Odin.

  • When the seasons turned, however, and winter brought with it numerous evils and malicious spirits stalking the shadows of wintery forests, the Pagan peoples would turn to the aid and magic of any nature spirits that would help them. Plants and trees such as mistletoe, holly and evergreen, unlike the forementioned Oak tree, were believed to have some special power against the darker magics of winter because they were the only plants that stayed green throughout the year. During the winter, to shore their homes from malevolent winter spirits, Pagan Germanic peoples would hang wreaths and bushels of evergreens over their doors and windows, believing their spirit was enough to ward off winter evils. In many cases evergreen decor were brought indoors where their scent could freshen the dark, medieval homes of otherwise stagnant straw and thresh. The needles and cones would even be burned as a form of incense; its smoke and fragrance filling the home with the protective spirit-magic of the evergreen.
  • During the Winter Solstice, when winter was at its darkest and the days were the shortest of the year by the Germanic Lunar Calendar, Celtic and pagan civilizations throughout Northern Europe would celebrate and sacrifice to the Norse god, Jul (Though pronounced and contemporarily recognized as “Yule.”), and celebrate their Yule Tide festival. This is the tradition from which we have our Yule log, today. The Germanic practice, however, involved cutting down a massive hardwood log that was large enough to burn for twelve days of feasting and sacrifice, and served as a fertility symbol to both help with the coming of spring and prophesize its bounty. During the Winter Solstice, when winter had its strongest influence on the frozen landscape, Norse pagans would, by tradition, bring entire evergreen trees into their homes. These massive evergreens were called Yule trees, and it was believed that the spirits of the trees would inhabit their home and bless its inhabitants. This practice was as much Winter Solstice tradition as it was mystical protection from night-faring spirits during the darkest times of the year.
  • The Germanic Legend of Saint Boniface of Credition:
    During the 8th Century, missionaries from the Holy Roman Catholic Church began to make their way North to what is now Germany and the Netherlands. One such missionary, who would become the saintly Bishop of Germany, was Boniface of Credition. Boniface, a stalwart and moral gentile, was quickly set aback by the pagan rituals of polytheism, nature worship, and human sacrifice. While many Germanic peoples readily accepted the Catholic faith, there were still some hardened tribes that even proved violently hostile in their resistance to Catholic missionaries such as Boniface. It would be in a single legendary act that Saint Boniface of Credition seemed to symbolically set the tone for the Holy Roman Catholic Church: instead of usurping the pagan faith completely with Catholicism, Boniface chose to shift their focus and also adopted the more desirable pagan beliefs and customs himself.
  • It is said that when Saint Boniface came across a human sacrifice at the foot of the Oak of Thor in Geismar, Boniface cut down the oak in a symbolic act of removing the older barbaric Celtic traditions. Pointing to an evergreen that was growing at the roots of the fallen oak, Saint Boniface said, “This humble tree’s wood is used to build your homes: let Christ be at the centre of your households. Its leaves remain evergreen in the darkest days: let Christ be your constant light. Its boughs reach out to embrace and its top points to heaven: let Christ be your comfort and guide.” In much the same way that the Holy Roman Catholic Church assimilated many other pagan customs and traditions to help with the converting of the Northern Germanic peoples, Saint Boniface accommodated the pre-existing Celtic beliefs in the mysticism of evergreens and incorporated it to help with a smoother transition for pagan peoples over to Catholicism.
  • In many ways, this legend of Saint Boniface of Credition would have helped with the incorporation of the Yule trees and Yule Tide evergreens of the Germanic Winter Solstice into the Roman’s “Christ’s Mass” celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus. The converted Germans who were celebrating Christ’s Mass would have celebrated in much the same way as they did the Winter Solstice, save for many of their central traditions being more gentile. The evergreen trees that they brought indoors were now symbols of the holy trinity; the stars at the top serving as a symbol of heaven and God. Apples were hung from the branches that would later become Christmas decorations, symbolizing the fruit of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This tradition would continue until the Victorian Era where not a single German household was complete at Christmas without a small, table-top “Tannenbaum” or Yule tree.
  • http://delongfarms.com/tree_1.html

 

One very interesting thought on all of this history, especially the portion surrounding Martin Luther’s introduction of the lighted indoor tree…Martin Luther is often referred to in terms of being most instrumental in the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation eventually gave rise to the Puritan movement, which banned the celebration of Christmas all together!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

Lucas_Cranach_d_Ä__-_Martin_Luther,_1528_(Veste_Coburg)

The early Protestant Reformation accepted the Christmas Tree as a counterpart to the Catholic Christmas cribs. This transition from the guild hall to the bourgeois family homes in the Protestant parts of Germany ultimately gave rise to the modern tradition as it developed in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In order to find something close to what you are used to as a “Christmas” Tree before the 1800s, you will most likely need to travel to areas of Germany where it was a popular tradition long before making it’s way to other parts of the world such as the British Isles or early America.  As I mentioned, the early Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas.

The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio.

But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.

If you travel to Estonia or Latvia in northern Germany during the renaissance era, 1450-1600, you will find the beginnings of your Christmas Tree tradition.

Customs of erecting decorated trees in wintertime can be traced to Christmas celebrations in Renaissance-era guilds in Northern Germany and Livonia. The first evidence of decorated trees associated with Christmas Day are trees in guildhalls decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children. In Livonia (present-day Latvia and Estonia), in 1441, 1442, 1510 and 1514, the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their guild houses in Riga and Reval (now Tallinn). On the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.[19] A Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 reports that a small tree decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers” was erected in the guild-house for the benefit of the guild members’ children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day.[3] In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow in his Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt (1584) wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”.

Xmas tree2 christmas tree history

http://prsync.com/arbor-care-inc/the-visual-history-of-christmas-trees-507143/

 

If you wish to see a Christmas Tree in the British Isles, you will have plan your time travel trip for no earlier than about 1800, and then you would most likely see one if you by some means or chance find a way to be invited to spend the holiday with the Royal family at the time!

windsorcastle christmas tree

Although the tradition of decorating the home with evergreens was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III‘s German-born wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800.[23] The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family.[24] Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with it and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote:

“After dinner… we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room… There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees.”

early christmas tree

After Victoria’s marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became even more widespread  as wealthier middle-class families followed the fashion. In 1842 a newspaper advert for Christmas trees makes clear their smart cachet, German origins and association with children and gift-giving.  An illustrated book, The Christmas Tree, describing their use and origins in detail, was on sale in December 1844.  In 1847, Prince Albert wrote: “I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother] and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than ours used to be”.  A boost to the trend was given in 1848  when The Illustrated London News,  in a report picked up by other papers,  described the trees in Windsor Castle in detail and showed the main tree, surrounded by the royal family, on its cover. In fewer than ten years their use in better-off homes was widespread. By 1856 a northern provincial newspaper contained an advert alluding casually to them,  as well as reporting the accidental death of a woman whose dress caught fire as she lit the tapers on a Christmas tree.  They had not yet spread down the social scale though, as a report from Berlin in 1858 contrasts the situation there where “Every family has its own” with that of Britain, where Christmas trees were still the preserve of the wealthy or the “romantic”.

Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums ‘who had never seen a Christmas tree’ would enjoy one that year. Anti-German sentiment after World War I briefly reduced their popularity but the effect was short-lived  and by the mid-1920s the use of Christmas trees had spread to all classes. In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to the ‘rapid growth of a new industry’ as the growing of Christmas trees within Britain became commercially viable due to the size of demand.

Xmas+tree3 330px-Johansen_Viggo_-_Radosne_Boże_Narodzenie

 

As I mentioned earlier in this discussion, if you plan to spend your time travel holiday in early America, (I must note here, Crag na dun time travel currently has no travel packages available to this area, so how you plan to get there is entirely up to you!) you would be wise not to travel prior to about 1780 if you are looking for a celebration that might include some kind of tree… or any other sort of  actual celebration of the holiday. The holiday was not widespread before this time and as I mentioned too, was banned in many areas.

Should you find a way to travel to this area and want the tree experience, your best bet would be parts of Pennsylvania or Ohio. You might actually have better luck if you travel further north to the Provence of Quebec!

The tradition was introduced to Canada in the winter of 1781 by Brunswick soldiers stationed in the Province of Quebec to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits.

Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country’s first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House, while the “First Christmas Tree in America” is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821, leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas tree in America.  Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree.  August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is the first to popularise the practice of decorating a tree with candy canes. In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments and candy canes. German immigrant Charles Minnegerode accepted a position as a professor of humanities at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1842, where he taught Latin and Greek. Entering into the social life of the Virginia Tidewater, Minnigerode introduced the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas at the home of law professor St. George Tucker, thereby becoming another of many influences that prompted Americans to adopt the practice at about that time.

Christmas-tree

I hope this information is helpful to those of you looking for the Christmas Tree as part of your time travel holiday!

Previous holiday posts:

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/time-travelers-guide-to-christmas-pre-christian-roots/

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/time-travelers-guide-to-christmas-part-one/

 

Veterans Day

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I just want to share this post made by Diana Gabaldon on her face book page. It is an excerpt from Written in my own heart’s blood that deals with Jamie going to war again and Claire’s feelings on it.

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/written_in_my_own_hearts_blood/

He’d come up to the loft and pulled the ladder up behind him, to prevent the children coming up. I was dressing quickly—or trying to—as he told me about Dan Morgan, about Washington and the other Continental generals. About the coming battle.

“Sassenach, I _had_ to,” he said again, softly. “I’m that sorry.”

“I know,” I said. “I know you did.” My lips were stiff. “I—you—I’m sorry, too.”

I was trying to fasten the dozen tiny buttons that closed the bodice of my gown, but my hands shook so badly that I couldn’t even grasp them. I stopped trying and dug my hairbrush out of the bag he’d brought me from the Chestnut Street house.

He made a small sound in his throat and took it out of my hand. He threw it onto our makeshift couch and put his arms around me, holding me tight with my face buried in his chest. The cloth of his new uniform smelled of fresh indigo, walnut hulls, and fuller’s earth; it felt strange and stiff against my face. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“Talk to me, _a nighean_,” he whispered into my tangled hair. “I’m afraid, and I dinna want to feel so verra much alone just now. Speak to me.”

“Why has it always got to be _you_?” I blurted into his chest.

That made him laugh, a little shakily, and I realized that all the trembling wasn’t coming from me.

“It’s no just me,” he said, and stroked my hair. “There are a thousand other men readying themselves today—more—who dinna want to do it, either.”

“I know,” I said again. My breathing was a little steadier. “I know.” I turned my face to the side in order to breathe, and all of a sudden began to cry, quite without warning.

“I’m sorry,” I gasped. “I don’t mean—I don’t want t-to make it h-harder for you. I—I—oh, Jamie, when I knew you were alive—I wanted so much to go home. To go home with you.”

His arms tightened hard round me. He didn’t speak, and I knew it was because he couldn’t.

“So did I,” he whispered at last. “And we will, _a nighean_. I promise ye.”

The sounds from below floated up around us: the sounds of children running back and forth between the shop and the kitchen, Marsali singing to herself in Gaelic as she made fresh ink for the press. The door opened, and cool, rainy air blew in with Fergus and Germain, adding their voices to the cheerful confusion.

We stood wrapped in each other’s arms, taking comfort from our family below, yearning for the others we might never see again, at once at home and homeless, balanced on a knife edge of danger and uncertainty. But together.

“You’re not going off to war without me,” I said firmly, straightening up and sniffing. “Don’t even _think_ about it.”

 

Wars and battles have existed from the beginning of time and women have been there for all of it. 

Whether they were on the battle field or left behind to survive on their own while fearing the outcome and picking up the pieces afterwards, they have always been a part of it.

vikings_episode8_gallery_3-P

 

There have always been those women who refused to be left behind.

104,_Lagertha_et_al

 

They have been caught in the middle, been innocent victims, used as pawns, made their own sacrifices and fought their own courageous battles through out time…

Claire captured Jenny at lallybroch

 

They have witnessed the carnage, the bloodshed, the loss of lives and held their loved ones in grief over the tragedies of war.

12_lady_lallybroch_00001

 

 

They have shed their tears, worried about those they sent off, those who never returned…

Jamie and Claire after a rough day Claire and Culloden

Through all of it, they have remained strong in their hearts and their own convictions...

 

 

claire and frank4female pilots during WWII

 

So many women like Claire have made the choice not to be one who is left behind, but to take their stand and fight beside the men.

Nurse Military%20Women%20alt veteransDayWomen miltary woman women-veteran

As a veteran myself, I can relate well to Claire’s thoughts and feelings. My personal belief on it is: If it is a matter worthy enough for men to fight and die for, then it is a matter worthy enough for women make the same such sacrifices for. I appreciate your thanks and your appreciation for what ever my contributions may have been but even if you did not choose to be grateful, I would still know in my heart that I did the right thing. I took a stand for what I believed in and will carry that with me forever.

To all of the Veterans, to the other women who have fought all of the battles both at home and in the trenches of combat, I salute you. I give you my thanks and my appreciation and I say, “You have fought a good fight, You have made a difference, You are not forgotten and You will always be remembered!

women_veterans slideshow_1493580_203151_HBO_Veterans_DCCO111 thCAPBG2W9

 

 

I am a woman
I served in the Military
I am a veteran
I am proud of it

veterans day2

 

 

 

Outlander: Sassenach, Ode to Claire

Every once in a while you hear something that moves you so much that you feel a need to share it with others. Many of us Outlander fans feel this way about the Outlander experience? We are so moved and inspired by the timeless and unending story that herself, Diana Gabaldon has created. It touches us in many ways and it makes us want to share the experience and the legend with the world around us. What I find so interesting about all of it too, is that it gives many of us the courage, and the confidence to step out of that fantasy world and explore our own world more in a variety of ways from learning more about history, other cultures and countries, to experiencing life in ways we might never have thought of before. Her fantasy story of Claire, the Sassenach, traveling through the Stones and time to experience and embrace a new life is one that many of us can relate to on so many different levels. I look at those Stones as a metaphor for facing our own fears, taking a leap of faith at times, closing our eyes and going through to a whole new world.

There are so many fans out there who have used the books as their inspiration to create in order to share the legendary experience that Outlander has become. From blogs filled with writing and artwork, to crafters of beautiful and meaningful representations of the rich history presented throughout the books, to fun and whimsical creations. Recently I was so touched by a piece of music that I felt I had to help the artist share it with others! Like many of us, this talented artist was just trying to share her thoughts with us, and I don’t think she had any idea of what a really wonderful thing she had accomplished in just a short time.  She posted her video clip on our facebook group and many of there were so touched by it that we wanted her to share it somewhere so it could be shared by more people.

She has finally posted it on youtube for us! Here is the video, Ode to Claire by Belinda Apps!

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What I found so truly amazing about this video is the fact that Belinda wrote the song, sang it, and put together the video montage in just a few short hours! Belinda is not a professional singer, has had no formal voice training or writing courses. As she puts it, she is a novice at all of it, including the Outlander experience and obsession. Where some have been true fans and fanatics for as long as Diana has been writing them- over twenty years, Belinda admits to being somewhat of a new comer to it. “I’ve been obsessed with Outlander for almost two years now, so I am a novice really. When you think about how long some people have been on the Outlander Train I’m still in the back carriage, I haven’t made it to First Class yet!”

Another thing I found so moving about this video and Belinda’s voice is the fact that her voice and the song so quickly immersed me in a feeling of the eastern U.S. mountain folk music which includes the area where Claire and Jamie eventually settled on Fraser’s Ridge. I could easily imagine this song being written back then by one who knew them and their legendary love story, such as Roger…imagine it being sung by those so close to them and being passed down through generations as most folk songs are. Belinda has captured that all so uniquely and so well without ever having been near that place or being that familiar with Early American Folk music. Belinda has never been to the U.S.  “I’m from Australia and, no I’ve never been to Eastern Us or anywhere else overseas! 🙂  I didn’t do it intentionally but I don’t mind that I sound like I come from the US mountains at all, some of the best music in the world came/comes from places like that!”

 

When I asked Belinda about other hobbies, she shared, “I love art too and paint and draw whenever I can. And I’ve now added amateur writer to the list!  I’ve been working on my very first attempt to write a book for a few months now and I think its going ok. Only time will tell I guess!”

Here is another sample of her writing!

 

Outlander Rap, Lol!
There was a hot scot and his name was Jamie,
Claire was his Sassenach, his leading lady.
She fell through the stones and became his wife,
And now they live together in his crazy life.

Brown curly hair and eyes like whisky,
(If you don’t like my rap, please don’t diss me!)
Claire was a beauty, Jamie couldna resist,
 Fell head over heels with the verra first kiss!

Sexy blue eyes and hair of red,
Now Jamie is the hottie sleepin’ in Claire’s bed!
Now I know what your thinkin, lucky lady, lucky gent?
But they were whisky bound and ‘Jackie’ hell bent!

Yes Black Jack Randall tried to make their life hell,
But their love for each other was like a magic spell.
No matter what he did, no matter what he tried,
He couldn’t break the spell they were wrapped inside!

Then the sad day came when they had to part,
Twas  for her  own safety,  Jamie broke  Claire’s  heart.
Yes he sent her back through to save her life,
Back to the future – and to be Frank’s wife.

Now Claire’s hubby Frank, back in 1945,
Had no idea that his wife was still alive!
When she came back it was quite a shock,
To find the baby bump hidden under her frock!

At Culloden Jamie died, or so Claire thought,
But he lived after all coz he bravely fought.
20 years passed by and then Claire came back,
She was older and wiser- still had a good rack!

In the meantime Jamie’s life had changed a lot,
Claire didn’t care- he was still a smoking hot Scot!
So they went to America, yeah that’s what they did,
Then they claimed a piece of land and they called it Frasers Ridge!

Then along came Bree and Roger Mac,
They came through the stones and then they went back!
Now Rogers gone and Bree’s still there,
And Jemmy’s been taken, and she don’t know where!

And Jamie’s nephew Ian, well he met himself a Quaker,
She dressed real plain but she’s still a heartbreaker,
With his Indian tatt’s and a dog named Rollo,
I Guess Ian’s had enough of ridin’ solo!

There’s Lord John Grey, he’s a little bit queer,
Got the hots for Jamie and tried to keep him near,
But Jamie’s into Claire, won’t be buggered again,
Coz he’s been there before, you see, Black Jack was also into men!

Right about now you’re thinking ‘what the hell!?’
What’s gunna happen next? With Diana you can never tell!
Well it all a mystery and we’ll wait impatiently,
To see what happens when we get to MOBY!

By
Belinda Apps

 
I hope you enjoy Belinda’s creativity and talent as much as I do! Thank you so much Belinda for allowing me to share this with everyone! I think you were a Bard and a story teller in some past life and Diana has brought it back to your memory and your heart!

Outlanderday Cooking: Comfort food!

Previous Outlander post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/outlander-musings-and-preview-of-episode-6/

 

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Tonight’s episode, The Garrison Commander, brings us the evil that lurks within men’s souls and the darkness of Black Jack Randall’s heart and mind. In order to get through this episode, you will most likely need much strong spirits and some soothing comfort food to ease your own heart and soul!

 

The British feast on fine dining fare while others would have no appetite while wondering what their personal fates might be?

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Because I am anxiously awaiting this episode with much trepidation and some fear, I am going with some food that I am sure will comfort me.  I have not planned some awesome or elegant feast for this evening but rather have decided on a simple dish of comfort food that gives me a fond memory of home and childhood. I grew up in Minnesota, which some consider the original home of the Hotdish and potluck… Green bean casserole and Tater Tot Hot dish!  Well, fortunately for us, the Scots and the Sassenachs did have a form of this comfort food.  Sheperd’s Pie or Cottage Pie was it.  Of course, during early years, while the Sassenachs may have had potatoes, many of the Highlanders might not have had them. They might have used the usual replacement fare of mashed turnips instead, or put a pastry crust atop of it?  For our purposes, we do have access to potatoes so we will use them!  The difference between Sheperd’s Pie and Cottage Pie is the meat used for the dish. Sheperd’s pie uses minced lamb while Cottage Pie uses beef for the filling. 

 

 

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I am trying to keep note of what they may or may not have had available during this early time period when researching recipes. I have found a number of recipes for the Sheperd’s or Cottage Pie and need to note here that these recipes all use a few items that probably would not have been used during the 1740’s. They most likely would have had some form of this dish but one ingredient listed in the recipes would not have been used by the majority of common folk.

History of the tomato in Britain

Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s.  One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon.   Gerard’s Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources,  is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew the tomato was eaten in Spain and Italy.  Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous (in fact, the plant and raw fruit do have low levels of tomatine, but are not generally dangerous). Gerard’s views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies.   By the mid-18th century, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain, and before the end of that century, the Encyclopædia Britannica stated the tomato was “in daily use” in soups, broths, and as a garnish. They were not part of the average person’s diet, however, and though by 1820 they were described as “to be seen in great abundance in all our vegetable markets” and to be “used by all our best cooks”, reference was made to their cultivation in gardens still “for the singularity of their appearance”, while their use in cooking was associated with Italian or Jewish cuisine.

 

With that little fact of the tomato noted, I will still use the bit of tomato paste called for in the recipes. If you wanted to omit the tomato, you could leave it out and go with more of a meat gravy option instead?  I am providing you with two versions of the recipe that I’ve found. The first, of course, is the one from Outlanderkitchen.com! Sheperd’s Pie from Echo in the Bone: http://outlanderkitchen.com/2012/04/16/shepherds-pie-from-an-echo-in-the-bone/. 

 

The other recipe is from Traditional  Scottish Recipes: http://www.rampantscotland.com/recipes/blrecipe_shepherd.htm

Shepherd’s Pie

In a land where sheep were a main food supply, it is not surprising that mutton and lamb form the basis of many Scottish dishes. Here is the traditional “Shepherd’s Pie” – the variant based on beef is usually called “Cottage Pie”.


Ingredients:
Minced lamb – 450g (1 lb)
Potatoes – 700g (1½ lb)
Large onion
Mushrooms – 50g (2 oz)
Bay leaf
2 Carrots
Plain flour – 25g (1 oz)
Tomato puree – 1 tbsp
Butter – 25g (1 oz)
Milk – 4 tbsp
Lamb or beef stock – 300ml (½ pint)
Cheese – 50g (2 oz)

Method:
Dry fry the lamb with the chopped onion, bay leaf, sliced mushrooms and diced carrots for 8-10 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a minute. Slowly blend in the stock and tomato puree. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove the bayleaf and place in a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof serving dish.

At the same time, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk and mix well. Spread on top of the mince mixture and sprinkle over with the grated cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C/400F (Gas Mark 6). Serve hot with green vegetables.

 

I am going to use the ground beef as lamb is far too expensive for my limited budget!  As I already mentioned, I will use the tomato paste, and I am going to use the parmesan cheese  potato topping that Theresa suggests, courtesy of Chef Gordon Ramsay… I will just cross my fingers and be glad that he won’t be inspecting my version and evicting me from his kitchen! No, they would not have used parmesan cheese either, but it sounds delicious and I do love Parmesan cheese so we will splurge on this luxury! One slight change to the recipe is that I will add some peas to the filling because that is the way we are used to having our Cottage Pie! Hmmmm is Gordon already cringing at my hotdish?!  Acchhh Gordon, just be happy that I’ve not chosen to top it with Tater Tots!

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Ahhhh Now, our main meal is set, an all in one easy to accomplish hearty dish that will make us feel warm and full of love in contrast to the cold hatred of Black Jack Randall! One other thing that is a true comfort food for many is the traditional Apple pie. Theresa at Outlanderkitchen.com has an excellent recipe for it here, Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Pie:  http://outlanderkitchen.com/2012/08/29/governor-tryons-humble-crumble-apple-pie/

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I am in agreement with Theresa on preferring  crumble topping rather than the two crust pie. I am going to make a slight variation on her recipe though as I am not really fond of the nuts in the topping. So, I will leave those out and replace them with some toasted oatmeal sprinkles instead.  I am going to top it with some fresh whipped cream instead of Ice Cream.

 

Since our dinner for tonight is fairly simple and does not require a great deal of advance preparation, I had time this morning to make a trip to my favorite place to shop.  Normally, grocery stores and grocery shopping are pretty low on my list of enjoyable activities… but one exception is a visit to my favorite market, Berkeley Bowl! 

http://www.berkeleybowl.com/

Berkeley Bowl Market Berkeley Bowl

 

This is one market place that I truly find enjoyable, even if I have little cash or don’t really need much!  I love just wandering through there and seeing the glorious wide variety of food stuffs that they offer, at fairly reasonable prices too. It’s one of those places that you can find just about anything you might need from any culture or region of the world… the only down side is of course, you always seem to find something that you realize you must have or try once seeing it there! It has a homey, comfortable feel to it and the staff is always helpful and friendly.  The majority of their fresh produce, meats and dairy products are all local so it makes you feel good about your purchases too.  They offer everything from fresh organic produce, an on site Butcher- though the ground lamb was still a bit too expensive for me to consider it this time, a great dairy section where I can find such things as the fresh cream… or even simpler, a jar of Clotted Cream. For those who are not quite so adventurous in their cooking skills or their time limits, they have a fantastic Deli with wide selections of pre-packaged meals and foods. What I love the most about them is the fact that their selections of food items are wide enough to enable one to do all of their shopping there even on a limited budget. This is in contrast to say, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s where it ends up extremely expensive for a family on any sort tight budget do all of their shopping at that store.

 

I always find a few extra splurges to try on my trips there and today was no exception to that! Today’s splurges were:

Organic butter with sea salt in a nice ceramic crock for future uses! McClelland’s Dairy is a local dairy here.

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Some fresh made scones from a local Bakery, SconeHenge. Yes, I could have baked my own… but sometimes it’s just a treat to get the pre-made ones and these are soooo good! Along with these, I also picked up an Artisan flat load of herb bread which tastes wonderful with the fresh butter and a little spread of herbed goat cheese which I also picked up today!

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The scones taste delightful with these two additions!  The clotted cream is a British import but the fruit spread is from a local grower!

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The last splurge for the day was my daughter’s idea.  She and my son enjoyed the Cider I bought a while ago so much that she decided to try another one!

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Now, it’s time to go enjoy the afternoon and get ready for the evening’s viewing. We’re all prepared now for what ever depravity and darkness Black Jack Randall throws at us tonight. We will survive and console ourselves with the comfort food!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the kitchen today and the shopping excursion!