"Moving through the territories of time,
but never in a straight line.
To and fro, slowly and fast
made my way into the past."
It seems I must make it abundantly clear that I am not an employee of Greenfield Village. Yes, I visit there, quite often in 18th century clothing, which always greatly enhances my visits. Dressing period in a historic setting can certainly engulf one's senses, especially upon stepping into a 250 year old home that is staffed with its own period-dress presenters.But, I must state once again: I am not an employee of Greenfield Village, nor do I pertain to be.
With that being said:
|Colonial Black Friday|
(picture taken at Colonial Williamsburg and used with their blessings)
Well...let's be honest, I spend many-a-day at the Village from April through December, and I enjoy it immensely each visit, but Black Friday, being what it is, makes it an even more special visit for me.
Now, for those who live in what used to be the original 13 colonies, I envy you. You seem to have history everywhere you turn. Even more specific, you have Rev War/Colonial history surrounding you.
Here in southeastern Michigan, there's not much of that, unfortunately. Oh, yes, Detroit was founded in 1701 and had its role in the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War, but virtually all remnants of that time are lost to the ages.
We do have Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island at the tip of the lower peninsula of our state, both of which also had roles in those wars as well. But it's about a four to five hour drive to get there from metro-Detroit.
Maybe next summer...
So, for my Black Friday visit, I am blessed to have a little bit of the colonies right near my own back yard:
By the way, sometimes I may "doctor up" a few of my photos (by way of the Paint Shop Pro computer photo program) to help give a more authentic accent to my text, such as what I did to the picture below. For you see, I wanted to give a visual of 18th century colonial America during a time when men would devote there thanksgiving harvest day morning to hunting or participating in turkey shoots:
(for more on our early Thanksgiving celebrations, click HERE)
The Daggett House was built by Samuel Daggett around 1750 in Connecticut right around the time of his marriage to Anna Bushnell. The two raised three children in this house: daughters Asenath and Tabitha, and a son, Isaiah.
|The two women who were working here on this day could almost be sisters Asenath and Tabitha Daggett in the chores they did.|
|Are we inside or outside?|
I do like window reflection photos, such as the one
here. Look closely to see the windmill, out of doors,
and a spinning wheel inside the great hall.
|This could be Samuel Daggett chopping wood for the upcoming winter months. That's one chore that was never-ending, for you can never have enough wood.|
|Most Colonial homes would have needed at least 40 cords of wood for heating and cooking over the course of a year. A cord of wood is 128 cubic feet or roughly a stack of wood 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long.|
|Of course, there was a decent-sized woodpile inside the house.|
And how much wood is in your kitchen?
(I know a few of you will have some!)
Mr. Daggett also paid for someone named Jacob Fox to take his son Isaiah's place in military duty so that the young 17-year-old could stay home and tend the farm. Coventry sent 116 men to Lexington at the start of the war. The community also sent clothing and supplies to aid the war effort.
(This information came from the Benson Ford Research Center, located on the grounds of The Henry Ford)
|Shall we take leave of our situation here and make our way to other home visitations?|
The grandson of the builder of this home, Thomas Plympton, was born in 1723, and was prominent in town affairs, as well as a soldier during the American Revolutionary War. It was this Thomas that received the news of the beginning of that War for Independence in the town of Sudbury:
"An express came from Concord to Thomas Plympton Esq., who was then a member of the Provincial Congress in that the British were on their way to Concord - between 4 and 5 o'clock in the morning. The sexton was immediately called on the bell ringing and the discharge of Musket which was to give the alarm. By sunrise the greatest part of the inhabitants were notified. The morning was remarkably fine and the inhabitants of Sudbury never can make such an important appearance probably again."
How cool is that?
(Information from the Benson Ford Research Center)
|Entering a house that has a connection to the Revolutionary War.|
John Giddings, the builder of this home in Exeter, New Hampshire, and one of the most active and trusted supporters of the patriotic cause in the Legislature, commanded a company of those who marched from Exeter to Portsmouth to support, if necessary, the party of General Sullivan and Laughdon in the raid upon Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth Harbor in December 1774. In 1775, he was nominated for the important appointment of delegate to the Continental Congress, but modestly withdrew his name.
|The home once belonging to John Giddings|
The idea that I can visit homes in which the owners played a role, no matter how small, in the American Revolution just gives me chills.
|I like to think that Mr. Giddings, and even|
his wife Mehetable, enjoy having living
historians visit their home in period style.
In this next home, built and owned by Noah Webster, of the Webster Dictionary fame, I found that it was set for a New Year's celebration.
|A portrait of Noah Webster hangs over|
the fireplace inside the parlor.
|The quill'd note is an invitation to a shadow portrait|
gathering, to take place on December 19th, though no
year is written.
Shadow portraits were a very popular way of capturing
one's "portrait" in a cheap and fun way.
To learn more about shadow portraits, please click HERE
|Can you imagine the conversations that occurred around the table as the guests dined on this splendid repast of a feast?|
Just to be able to sit in and listen to the stories told of years past...
That was me yelling at Richard to stay right where he was when I snapped this picture, for it seemed to create a silhouette of its own.
|Leaving the Noah Webster House: |
yet another home whose owner and builder played a role in founding our new nation (though this house was built around 1822).
The high hopes Noah Webster had for the newly-formed United States cannot be over-stated.
|And yet, even though we were visiting homes with connections to the Revolutionary War, we still paid our respects to the "other side" by checking out the Cotswold Cottage, built in England around 1620.|
This is the kind of ancient door opener I would love to have. It's from the above mentioned Cotswold Cottage.
|The Cotswold Door Opener|
From the Cotswold Forge
Continuing on my travels throughout the Village, I, again, met with one who is not only a wonderful historic presenter, but someone I consider a friend as well, no matter what time period we are in.
I traveled about the Village for the rest of the day, stopping at many of the houses and taking pictures of the autumn celebrations occurring.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I spent the entire opening hours inside Greenfield Village, from 9:30 to 5:00, just enjoying every last bit of time I could before they closed up for the winter, aside from their Holiday Nights Christmas event, which only take place on certain evenings in December - and it is well worth the extra admission price, by the way.
Still, it's hard to say goodbye until mid-April...
So, in between time spent at Daggett and my return to that house before closing, I visited other parts of the Village:
|City sidewalks dressed in holiday style...|
|The Smiths Creek Depot, originally from Port Huron, Michigan, where Thomas Edison once worked as a young boy.|
What would a visit to Greenfield Village be without a visit to Firestone Farm - the boyhood home of the tire magnet Harvey Firestone?
|And let's not miss out on the rousing checkers game!|
Next we see an 18th century loom situated inside the weaving shop.
|It was interesting to watch the presenter show how the |
loom worked. The ingenuity our colonial ancestors had
never ceases to amaze me.
|"In rural areas, producing cloth was often a family affair. Everyone old enough to contribute had a task...|
|...growing flax or tending sheep, combing to straighten the linen or wool fibers, spinning fibers into thread or yarn, and weaving the thread and yarn into cloth."|
Not to be for me at this time.
I would like to close out today's blog by showing some end-of-the-day pictures as I ventured back to the Daggett House. You see, with Greenfield Village closing at 5:00 pm, I wanted to attempt to snap a few shots while the shadows of late afternoon grew. No, it was not yet dark, but definitely nearing sunset time:
|Roy continued chopping wood throughout the day, and by nightfall he was building his rick of wood pile.|
A rick is actually a description of the way a cord of wood is stacked.
|The day begins to close, and the last remnants|
of items used for presenting were emptied.
|The natural light of the waning day shows in this photograph, taken about five minutes to five.|
Oh! How I wish I could have stayed later...
|One more picture to take before leaving my favorite house...|
when the sun goes down and the clouds all frown, night has begun for the sunset...
|I scurried through what I like to call my time-travel bridge - otherwise known as the Ackley Covered Bridge - to return to the 21st century.|
(Another Gary Thomas pic that I didn't know he took!)
|The streetlights were aglow...|
it was time to go.
And, though I am not an employee, I still enjoy visiting in period clothing. It adds something to my visits that cannot be explained.
This is what I am all about - I promote what I love strictly on that basis alone. And I know for certain that my postings have lead many first-time visitors who may have never even heard of Greenfield Village to travel here, often times from out of state.
That's a plus for all involved, now, isn't it?
And now that we are into the Christmas season - my favorite season of the year - you can expect some old-time holiday spirits to raise a glass and show the ghosts of Christmas past as rarely seen in our day and age.
Until next time, see you in time.
And here are more links to Greenfield Village structures that I've written about:
The Daggett House
The Giddings House
The Plympton House
The Noah Webster House
The Ackley Covered Bridge
The Eagle Tavern
The Firestone Farm
The Richart Carriage Shop
Doc Howard's Office - Tales of a 19th century circuit-riding doctor
Information about firewood came from HERE
~ ~ ~