Friday, November 22, 2019

An Autumn Day Spent at Mill Race Village 2019

I am not an  "events only"  kind of living historian.  Quite the opposite,  to be sure.  I enjoy dressing in my period clothing and venturing out to various historic locations as often as I can ...just because.  Even though it may not be an actual event,  I can still spend my time being immersed in another time and place,  whether I go alone or with others.  And if I have a few friends of the same ilk join me,  well,  all the better,  for now we have  *almost*  become,  shall we say,  a community of sorts in the excursion.
And that is exactly what we became on Sunday November 17.  I am a member of the Northville Historical Society,  of which historic Mill Race Village is its core,  and am sometimes able to occupy a building here and there.  So I asked if I could have a few of us who enjoy doing such things utilize the Cady Inn for an afternoon.  I planned this little gathering a few weeks earlier as a sort of opportunity for my living history friends and I to enjoy a day in the past during what many call the off season for reenactments.  It wasn't meant to be anything extraordinary - - just spending time in period clothing at a suitable location.  And if visitors happened by,  all the better,  for now we can also teach!
So,  no,  'twasn't anything along the lines of a reenactment at all,  but instead a chance to enjoy the past with friends  (and,  in my case,  family as well).
So,  let's take a peek at how our day turned out.  Frankly,  I thought it went wonderfully well:

Food for the Hungry, 
Drink for the Thirsty, 
and a 
Strolling along the long and winding road to the colonial past.
Mill Race Village is filled with Victorian structures,  though a 
couple of them can easily pass as a bit older than 
Queen Victoria's time.  And we can help by wearing our 18th 
century outfits.
Walking was the choice mode of travel for those who only lived 
short distance away from a town or village.

Travelling to the Tavern
(aka The Cady Inn)
In those days of old,  the only landmarks other than the natural ones were taverns,  and travelers measured their journeys in the miles from one publick house to another.   Early almanacs contain a few old stage routes with the various tavern stops.  In the New England Almanack or Lady's and Gentlemen's Diary for the year 1765,  the  "Road to Hartford,  through Killingly,  Pomfret,  &c.,  From Providence Court House,  on the South Road,  over the Great Bridge,"  wound snake-like over hill and dale,  through thick woods and meadow land to Jonathan Olney's tavern in Johnston,  two miles,  then to Joseph Fenner's tavern,  one mile farther.
As for the Cady Inn,  it was built about 1835,  and is one of the oldest structures in Northville,  Michigan.  It was moved to its current location inside Historic Mill Race Village in 1987.  This saltbox/breakback-style building was not only a tavern,  but it’s believed to have been a stop on the underground railroad as well.
For our time here,  however,  the Cady Inn suits us perfectly as a  
"publick house"  of the 18th century along the lines of 
historic Buckman's Tavern,  from Lexington,  Massachusetts.
Even though it was built in the 1830s,  the Cady Inn,  like so many taverns from the 19th century,  has the layout and feel of one from the 1700s.  It can easily pass as a 250 year old building,  especially when a few of us dress the part.
This is the entranceway to the larger tavern room that we occupied.
Note our cloaks,  wraps,  and hats along the wall. 
A person did not have to be traveling a great distance,  according to our modern definition of what a great distance may be,  to be in need of a tavern.  A trip ten miles beyond Boston required spending the night.  And the arrival of the stagecoach at one of these taverns was the event of many towns,  making for a lively time in the evening of the arrival.  Eager villagers,  hoping for information from distant towns,  would drop in one by one,  mingle with the day's arrivals around the fire in the great room,  and listen with attentive ears to the news that they related.  Around the fire the assembled company would discuss all manner of topics,  though politics seemed to be the main subject,  as it tends to be in our modern times.
 "To avoid conversation is to Act against the Intention of nature.  
To live then as men we must confer with men.  Conversations must 
be one of the greatest pleasures of life."
And we also conferred with women,  
since we were not in immersion here!
No,  we did not make the attempt at 1st person.  To do such a thing correctly would certainly take a whole lotta practice and,  unless you have studied the verbiage of the time and know it well,  it certainly would not sound correct at all.  Oh,  we can throw in a few syllables here and there to give a sort of hint of the period,  but to do so for any long length of time would take more effort from more people than one or two to actually come off correctly.  That's not to say it will never happen;  it's just not happening at this time.
But I plan to make somewhat of an attempt sometime in the not too distant future past.
Various activities took place during this
Sunday afternoon,  including sewing
projects,  as you see my son and his
future bride doing here.
Hand-sewing,  of course.

Our own Tom Bertrand portrays Dr.  Bloodsworth,  considered to be one of the finest 18th century physicians in the Continental Army,  second only to Dr.  Warren.  Well,  he is by all of us on the rebel side of the War.
He is also a collector of historic flags - Vexillologist is what we can call him,  I believe.
The good doctor was willing to help any of 
ill health where a strong drink could not.
Taverns were the pulse of 18th century urban life,  and their importance to the local community cannot be overstated.  The main difference from today's taverns to those  "back then"  is that colonial taverns were also usually a stage coach stop for travelers;  a patron could spend the night and eat breakfast,  dinner,  and supper,  should the need arise.
The rooms here are well suited for me.
Taverns were also the main source of information for the locals.
These  "publick houses"  (or  'ordinaries,'  as they were also known)  have played an important part in social,  political,  and even military life,  though we see them taking more of a back seat in their role in our Nation's history.
Jackie & Charlotte brought along a craft to do.  
Idle hands are the devil's workshop,  you know.

Mrs.  Carlson served tea and chocolate. I am not a tea
drinker,  I must say,  but the chocolate was delicious.

The mistress of the tavern,  in anticipation
 of hungry patrons,  busily prepared 
food and drink.

The commaradary we all had was uplifting.  It felt good to be 
together with friends,  for,  aside from the country dance a few 
weeks back,  it's been since early October at Vermillion Creek 
that we last did anything historical together.

I also brought along my checkerboard.
Checkers was played throughout Britain well into the seventeenth century by members of nearly every class.  As the century progressed,  more and more people decided to emigrate to the new colonies which were being founded in America.  Many of these people took Checkers with them,  continuing to play the game in their new homes far away from Britain.  Meanwhile,  back in the mother country,  as the seventeenth century came to a close,  the game once known as Checkers, f or the checkerboard pattern on the game board,  was becoming known as Draughts,  because the game pieces were dragged or moved over the board.  By the turn of the eighteenth century,  the name Draughts was in common use across all of Britain.  However,  in the American colonies,  those who played the game still called it by its original name,  Checkers.  Thus originated the divergence of the two names between what would become two separate countries.
By the way,  the first known game of checkers was played in the city-state of Ur in 3000 B.C.
Yes,  it is one of the oldest games still played today.
The good doctor and I had a close game going until... the end something happened that neither of us expected:  he 
clobbered me with a six-man jump!  I congratulated him and gave 
him the ceremonious 18th century high-five.
Yes,  I lost,  but what a way to go! 
The game board you see here I am quite fond of,  for a friend of mine,  who was also a former co-worker,  made the board out of an old teacher's desk made of oak wood.  Since the desk came out of one of the schools that I attended as a youth,  I like to think it may have originally belonged to a former teacher of mine.  You never know...but it's well made and it is of  heirloom quality.

But we did not spend all of our time indoors.  I mean,  why make or purchase period winter wear if you only bring it to places...or only wear it in the car ride to your desired location?
This day had highs in the lower 30s with snow still on the ground from a rare mid-November storm that dumped 7 to 8 inches throughout metro-Detroit only a few days before.
Standing at the front door of the inn is my
son Robbie and his now fiance,  Heather.
He asked her to marry him a couple of
weeks ago and we are happy to say she
said  "yes!"

Having snow on the ground really helped with the wint'ry feel.  I'm sure we were quite a sight for the passersby who enjoy taking walks along the village road.
I am very proud that the members of Citizens of the American 
Colonies and the 1st Pennsylvania are not afraid to venture out in 
winter weather at a non-event,  for it can add greatly to our 
experiences,  does it not?

As we walked about the Village,  we came across a photographer 
who took a wonderful photograph of those of us who remained to 
enjoy the later afternoon after a few of the others left.
Photo very kindly taken by Christine Agius

And then it was time to take our leave.
Most everyone left at this point,  finding their way

to their 21st century vehicles to bring them 
back to the future.

But not all were ready to depart just yet.
A few of us wanted to continue to take advantage of the great outdoors on such a day and did a few poses.
Tony and Tom

Walking along the edge of the banks of a stream,  hoping to find 
the elusive turkey for our Thanksgiving meal.

If we stayed another hour,  it would have been dark and I believe 
the effect would have been very cool and atmospheric.

I spotted a white-tailed deer:  to help feed us for the winter.
The group shot:
This is who all showed up for the gathering at Mill Race Village.
I certainly appreciate everyone taking the time and making the 

effort to come out and become part of this small non-event.

Before I take my leave,  I would like to post  (and boast)  about another happening that took place in November:
My friend and business partner Larissa & I did another of our historic presentations showing and telling of colonial farm life.  This time it was for a wonderful group of musicians who play all kinds of stringed instruments,  from the hammered dulcimer to the guitar to the fiddle and banjo and even the piano.
The Paint Creek Folklore Society of Rochester,  Michigan 
has been around since the 1970s,  and they continue to 
keep the wonderful old folk tunes and traditional 
instruments alive in this day and age of hi-tech.
One of their members saw a presentation of ours from last spring and asked if we would speak to this group.
Why,  of course we would!
And we did!
What we spoke on actually fit quite well with their own musical history.
Looking very colonial,  I should say!
Yes,  those are a few of the farming tools we show during our presentations.
We were not sure of what to expect initially,  but all turned out very well indeed.  They had many wonderful questions for us afterward - we could have stayed quite a bit longer had we the time.
It is very interesting to note the variety of places and clubs Larissa and I have presented at.  Besides Paint Creek Folklore Society,  we've done various reenactments,  agricultural fairs,  historical societies,  libraries,  school from elementary through high school,  inside houses,  for an Abraham Lincoln society,  old barns,  and,  of course,  the great outdoors.
Larissa,  by the way,  shops at the same
wallpaper fabric store for her dress!

Whether presenting life as it once was to the public or just getting together with like-minded friends,  this passion for the past and love of living history is more than just a hobby for me.  It's a way of life.  And,  to be honest,  most of who I hang out with feel the same.  We are a unique group,  that is for certain.
While many reenactors feel they should only go to  "official"  events,  a few of us are on record as saying that wherever friends may gather while in period clothing,  that itself is an event.  As Tony,  the head of  Michigan's 1st Pennsylvania,  has stated before,  we'd like to try to do at least one event a month during the colder part of the year when reenactments are very rare.  I feel the same.
Over the past three years I have built up a wonderful relationship with the fine folk who run historic Mill Race Village in Northville (Michigan).  The members of my Citizens of the American Colonies living history group have participated in three Independence Day celebrations there,  along with us hosting a reenactment in April 2019 for our first ever Patriot's Day commemoration,  consisting of  the Battles of Lexington & Concord.
Next year,  2020,  should be no different.
And I thank them sincerely for allowing me and a few friends to enjoy spending an afternoon in the past.

With that,  until next time,  see you in time.

To read more about colonial-era taverns,  click HERE
A colonial Autumn harvest, click HERE
Night time in colonial times, click HERE

~   ~   ~

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Candle Dipping 2019...but with a Historical Flavor

A few Octobers ago,  I asked my daughter if maybe she and a few of her friends might be interested in helping me dip candles to be used at an upcoming historic reenactment.  She replied enthusiastically in the positive,  and she and her friends had a fun time,  dipping candles...and then dipping leaves,  dipping hands,  and even dipping a rose.
The best part is that we did it in my backyard over the fire pit.
The following year I decided to do it again,  though this time with my own friends...friends who had never done this ancient craft before.  And there was my daughter,  ever the presenter,  teaching adults how to dip candles!
Oh! What fun!
And so the fall tradition continues on;  this year was the 4th year for my candle-dipping day.  Each time I've had at least one person join me that had never done it before,  and this year was no different.
Also,  last year we did not use all of the beeswax so I had plenty left over,  plus another pound I purchased and another Jackie brought over.
There were also the remnants of previously burned candles - the 
little stubs - and the dried drippings that I saved as well.
Before I began having these candle dipping gatherings,  we used to do this craft at Greenfield Village,  but unfortunately they stopped,  which I believe was a mistake,  for I saw continuous long lines of guests waiting their turn to dip on those special dates.  So,  I decided to do it on my own.  To be honest,  it's a bit more fun because not only do I get a goodly supply of candles  (each helper gets to take one with them),  but I can do it with friends in the comfort of my own yard!
The beeswax is melting.
Let's begin,  then,  with a bit of social history and thoughts on this art of candle dipping:
Most 18th and 19th century homes were as self-sufficient as they could be and those who lived in them did their best to produce as many things needful to life as they could,  and this did include candles.  As part of their domestic work,  women usually were the ones who carried the entire candle making process from start to finish,  though many times the children,  and even the men  (as opportunity arose),  would help out as well.

An interesting side note is how reenactors react during power outages;  our candles and oil lamps are generally more easily accessible than flashlights.  In fact,  many times I've used candle light to search for my flashlight or flashlight batteries.
Needless to say,  going to the bathroom becomes infinitely more interesting,  and can be a chore;  we are so used to high brightness that it's almost eerie without.
To head to the basement to get more paper towel?  Bring a candle with you.  Want to change into your night clothes?  Have that oil lamp setting near your dresser.  Need to get a drink of water from the kitchen?  Make sure to bring your light.
The funny thing is,  during these blackouts I still habitually reach for the light switch whenever I enter a darkened room.
You,  too?
Jenny is dipping her batch while Jackie and my wife await their turn.
But I found it to be amazing how many candles one can go through during an outage;  we do try to conserve,  as did the folks in days of old,  by only using one or two candles in whatever room we are in,  with the second light usually for  "traveling"  around the house.
One definite lesson I learned about candle comparisons:  the 12" long tapered candles I used to buy at the store burn nearly three times as fast as the 6"  to 7"  beeswax candles I dip myself.  One beeswax candle almost half that size can burn for five hours or more,  while the longer modern store-bought one lasts maybe two or three hours at most.
Some of our longer dipped candles
(photo taken by Jenny Weingartz)
This was confirmed by Tom Redd,  a Materials Analyst for the Foundation in Colonial Williamsburg:  “Let us imagine we have four candles,  and each one is about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and they are all about 10 inches long.  They are in a room where the air is still.  A candle well-made of the best tallow  ( (beef fat))  might burn two hours.  A bayberry candle might last eight,  while a beeswax candle may burn for 10 hours.  The finest candle,  imported from New England,  would have been made of spermaceti wax.  Spermaceti is taken from the head of the sperm whale.  The spermaceti candle might last 12 hours or more,  and burn with a brighter light.”
My wife made us a homemade pizza!
(photo taken by Jenny Weingartz)
Artificial light in the 18th century was truly a luxury.  People were used to working by daylight while indoors,  so lighting a candle when the sun was up was rare.  It was customary for folks to move from room to room to get the most out of the day's light.  Generally,  candles were lit only during the nighttime hours,  and sparingly so,  due to the lengthy candle-making process.  According to one of the chandlers I spoke to at Colonial Williamsburg,  a typical middle class home in the 1750's could go through nearly 500 to 700 candles a year.  And that may even be a conservative amount for some.
The season for dipping candles was usually in early-to-mid November.  It must be remembered that candlemaking was not the fun hobby then as it is in our modern times;  it was a backbreaking,  smelly,  greasy task.  The making of the winter's stock of candles was the special autumnal household duty,  and a hard one,  too,  for the large kettles were tiresome and heavy to handle,  and the work was well under way at a very early hour,  with the temperatures being just cold enough for quick hardening.
Wicks were made from cotton,  hemp,  or,  less often,  from milkweed.  If they lived near a general store,  or maybe if a peddler happened by,  thick string could be bought to use as wicks.
In all  (including those not yet removed from the tin mold tubes)  
we made 44 candles.  I believe that's the most we've done yet!
During candle-making time, an early hour found the work well under way for our ancestors.  A good fire was started in the kitchen fireplace under two vast kettles,  which were hung on trammels from the crane,  and half filled with boiling water and melted beeswax or tallow.
At the far end of the kitchen or in an adjoining and cooler room,  sometimes in the lean-to,  two long poles were laid from chair to chair or stool to stool.  Across these poles were laid candle rods,  which were about a foot and a half long,  and to each rod was attached about six to eight carefully straightened candle-wicks.  With the fat/tallow or wax in the pot melted,  the wicking from the rods would be dipped into the pot and then returned to its place across the two poles.  This process would occur repeatedly as each rod was dipped into the tub of tallow or wax,  and with each dip the candles became larger and larger until the desired length and width was had.
Here you have the candle makers of 2019:  (from left)  me,  my 
wife Patty,  Jenny,  and Jackie.  This was Jackie's first time and Jenny's third.
Maybe one year I will make this a period dress event!
How cool would that be?
It's here that we can quote Susan Blunt,  who remembered her 18th century mother during the fall candle dipping season:
"Mother used to dip candles in the fall,  enough to last all winter.  When a beef was killed in the fall,   she would use all the tallow for candles.  On the evening before,  we would help her prepare the wicks.  The boys would cut a lot of rods and she would cut the wicks the length of a candle and then string them on the rods.
"In the morning she would commence her day's work.   She would dip each one in the hot tallow and straighten out the wicks so the candles would be straight when they were finished.  By raising the candles  (out of the kettle)  at just the right speed and working on a day with a moderate temperature,  the fine quality of the candles would be assured.  The candles would be cooled overnight and the bottom ends cut off neatly.  The finished  candles were packed away in a mouse-proof container for safe storage."

And the diary of Martha Ballard tells us:
November 5, 1787
"Clear & pleast. I Came from mr Fosters. we made 25 Dozn of Candles."
Twenty five dozen - that's 300 candles in one day!

Next we have a wonderful example of candle-making from the Laura Ingalls Wilder book,  "Farmer Boy."  Wilder writes of Almanzo's mother making candles,  also from tallow.  One day I hope to make tallow candles - maybe next year - but the basic motions are the same as with using beeswax:
Even though this is a colonial
picture,  the mold is similar
to the Wilder description from
the 1860s.
"The end of butchering time was candle making.  Mother scrubbed the big lard kettles and filled them with bits of beef fat.  Beef fat doesn't make lard;  it melts into tallow.  While it was melting,  Almanzo helped string the candle molds.  A candle mold was two rows of tin tubes,  fastened together and standing straight up on six feet.  There were twelve tubes in a mold.   They were open at the top,  but tapered to a point at the bottom,  and in each point there was a tiny hole.  Mother cut a length of candle-wicking for each tube.  She doubled the wicking across a small stick,  and twisted it into a cord.  She licked her thumb and finger and rolled the end of the cord into a sharp point.  When she had six cords on the stick,  she dropped them into six tubes,  and the sticks lay on top of the tubes.  The points of the cords came through the tiny holes in the points of the tubes,  and Almanzo pulled each one tight,  and held it tight by sticking a raw potato on the tube's sharp point.
When every tube had its wick,  held straight and tight down its middle,  Mother carefully poured the hot tallow.  She filled every tube to the top.  Then Almanzo set the molds outdoors to cool.  When the tallow was hard,  he brought the mold in.  He pulled off the potatoes.  Mother dipped the whole mold into the boiling water,  and lifted the sticks.  Six candles came up on each stick.  Then Almanzo cut them off the stick.  He trimmed the ends of wicking off the flat ends,  and he left just enough wicking to light,  on each pointed end.
All one day Almanzo helped mother make candles.  That night they had made enough candles to last til butchering time next year."
And that is exactly how I removed the beeswax candles from the tin mold tubes I have.
The candles and the molds they came out of.
The molds aren't like the one in the previous picture,  
but they work the same. 
The very next day after my candle dipping gathering,  we also had another surprise:
we got snow!
A lot of snow.
7 1/2 inches,  which I believe is some kind of record for a single snowfall this early in November for us.
Just the day before,  this firepit was a-cookin'!

My cozy 1944 bungalow in the snow.
Our ancestors did live in darker times,  as we in the modern day find out when a power outage strikes;  we are so used to having bright electric lights,  day or night,  that sometimes even sunlight coming through a window isn't bright enough for some - they'll still turn on their electric light.
There are also those who feel - have proven,  to some extent - that the harshness of the modern electric light plays greatly upon our moods and emotions:
~excessive artificial lighting can cause us to feel nervous and on edge
~uncovered globes and lamps without shades can cause us to feel irritated
And common sense can tell us of the relaxation received upon entering a candle lit room.  When friends visit our home on a fall or winter evening,  the candle/oil lamp light we use for lighting brings a smile to their faces...every time.
Even the kids.
And natural lighting through windows has calming effects on our emotions as well.
A scene our colonial ancestors may had been familiar with.

To finish off this day of candle making:  our grandkids came by to make cookies!  They had such fun with their Nonna  (my wife),  and she,  too,  enjoyed herself as well.  
These are our two eldest grandchildren.  We have a younger 
grandson,  but he was off,  busy playing with toys and having a 
ball on his own.
The finished product
What a wonderfully crazy day!
Making candles over an open fire with friends on a perfect crisp fall day is a great tradition,  then Patty baking pizza,  bread,  and pea soup...and cookies with our grandkids!  The house smelled awesome!
A very fine way to spend a fall Sunday indeed!

And as I wrote on my Facebook page the next day evening:
"So---yesterday we dipped candles.  I also used my candle molds.  Today I removed the candles from the tin tubes - 17 out of the 18 molded candles turned out!
In all we made 44 candles,  with only one not turning out  (it will be re-melted next year).
Not bad!

It's been a fine day indeed.
Until next time,  see you in time.

To read about night time in the old days,  including lighting apparatus,  please click HERE

The information for today's post came from the above link - - check it out and scroll all the way down to see my sources.

~   ~   ~

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Golden Lion Country Dance: An 18th Century Party

The rains came.  And the water poured from the sky seemingly in bucketfuls.  But we---we were toasty,  dry,  and warm dancing to reels inside a 150 year old schoolhouse.  No,  'twas not a building from the 18th century as we would have preferred,  for those are hard to come by in lower Michigan.
So the old 1872 schoolhouse in Eastpointe,  though not necessarily historically accurate,  would have to do,  at least for now,  especially for the price.
But the look and feel is a lot closer than one would think  (click HERE),  and better than using a high school gymnasium or a wedding hall,  right?
And then fill this old building with 18th century living 
historians,  well,  it certainly does pass quite nicely.
The American Colonial Dance is synonymous with 18th century English Country Dance.  A dance or ball was an opportunity to socialize,  show off the fashions of the day,  and one of the few opportunities for young people to meet an array of matrimonial prospects.
Dance Masters advertisements were seen regularly in 18th and early 19th century in American news papers,  where they offered services to teach classes in the hall,  or to give private lessons at the clients residence.  Many times they also offered lessons in fencing to young gentlemen.
Country Dance,  intended for general participation,  is the granddaddy of our present day Square Dance whose movements are in many cases quite similar,  however the country dance is a bit slower allowing time for a bit of conversation,  one liners,  or even flirting.
By the way,  George and Martha Washington loved  to dance the simple but elegant and happy dances of the 18th century.
And so do we,  as you shall soon see:
Refreshments - care for some cider?
It was early in the year when Tony Gerring came up with the idea of holding an 18th century dance.  It's been a long while - decades,  I hear - since the metro-Detroit area of  Michigan has held such a festivity,  so when Tony decided to give it a go,  he put his own money and his best foot forward and,  well,  it showed,  for all of us who attended the Golden Lion Country Dance had a wonderful time.
To begin with,  guests were treated to a few treats along with apple cider.
Enclosed glass lanterns were on hand to add to the ambience.

And even a couple of carved turnips
that my son Miles carved were on hand,
helping us to remember just how close
we were to All Hallow's Eve
(turnips were carved before pumpkins
back in the day)
Besides the ritual bonfires  (meant to ward off evil spirits)  that were lit on All Hallow's Eve,  mumming and guising  (Trick-or-treating)  were also rituals performed during Samhain/Hallowe'en.
The traditional illumination for guisers or pranksters abroad on the night was provided by turnips  (or mangel wurzels),  hollowed out to act as lanterns,  lit with coal or a candle,  and often carved with grotesque faces.
Turnip lanterns usually represented supernatural beings and were used to chase evil spirits.  Guisers used them to scare people,  while in some cases they were set on windowsills to guard homes against evil.
Irish immigrants brought the jack-o’-lantern custom to North America.  Here,  turnips were slowly replaced by pumpkins to make the iconic Hallowe'en decorations,  and eventually became the plant of choice.

On the left,  meet the host of the country dance,
Mr.  Tony Gerring.  With him is long-time
reenactor and friend,  Ken Roberts.

And next we have the wonderful Dance Band who performed:
Matt McCoy – flute, pennywhistle, recorder
Susie Lorand – fiddle
Rick Avery - keyboard
and caller Jim McKinney

My wife and I
Patty doesn't reenact nearly as much as she used to,  though every-so-often I can coax her to put on her period clothing and come out with me,  as she did for this dance.  And did we dance!  Even with my sciatica,  we were on the floor for probably seven out of the ten dances.  I did pay for it the following day...

My son and his lady
This was Heather's first time at a period dance,  and she certainly could not help but join in the fun,  especially during the Virginia Reel!  She did great!

Three lovely ladies helped each other to look
perfect before the dancing began.

Emma and her gentleman caller 
looked quite elegant.
I'd not met either of these two young people before this night,  though Emma has been a member of my Citizen's of the American Colonies Facebook page for sometime now.  It was nice to meet her in person.

Conversations abounded,  even in mixed
company,  though 'tis not always proper
for a lady to join with the men.

Let the dancing begin!
Now,  I am going to list the songs and dances that were played in the order they were performed,  thanks to the kind folks in the band for giving me the list,  but the photos may not necessarily go with the dance listed.
"Lady George Murray’s Reel"
(Soldier’s Joy)
The band performed the ancient music flawlessly,  and I recognized many of the old tunes,  for as a collector of music of all flavors,  I have a rather large collection of period tunes mixed among my classic rock,  oldies,  swing,  hillbilly,  and other musical styles.
But this night we heard the music that was favorable to those from the later 18th century.
For the second dance we had  THREE COUPLE CIRCLE:  
"The Gelding Of The Devil"   
(A Hundred Pipers)

The third dance and tune was  LONGWAYS,  DUPLE MINOR PROPER:  
(The Ton)

For our 4th dance,  which was a reel,  we had:  LONGWAYS PROPER FOR FOUR COUPLES  
"The Major"
(Flowers of Edinburgh)

“Rural Felicity”
(Haste To The Wedding)
The country  (or,  in some countries, contra)  dances involved interaction with your partner and/or with other dancers,  usually with a progression so that you dance with everyone in your set.  It is common in our modern times to have a  "caller"  who teaches the dance and then calls the figures as you dance.  The most common formations are  "longways" -  couples in long lines,  and squares,  consisting of four couples. 

Number six was  LONGWAYS PROPER 
“The Beaux of Albany”
(Lannigan’s Ball)
Susie Lorand – fiddle
Matt McCoy – flute, pennywhistle, recorder
The music most commonly associated with country dancing has always been folk/country,  and in modern society would be known better as traditional/historical music.
My wife and Heather enjoyed watching
the others dance as well as the
fine music being performed.

7th tune and dance was  LONGWAYS PROPER FOR FOUR COUPLES  
“The Pleasure of Providence”
(The Rose Tree)
And then we heard and danced to
“Rickett’s Hornpipe”

“Miss Arnold’s Delight”
Until the end of the evening came 'round:
The 10th and final dance was my very favorite of all:  LONGWAYS PROPER FOR SIX COUPLES   
“The Virginia Reel”
(Fisher’s Hornpipe/Mason’s Apron)
Click the link to hear  "Fisher's Hornpipe"

And once the dancing was done,  the band played a final number:  "The Ashgrove"
What a fine collection of period music and 18th century dancing.
This is,  perhaps,  my favorite of all the pictures taken this night,  
for it just seems to allow the viewer to peer into the past;  a 
perception of time and space weaved together,  "allowing time for 
a bit of conversation,  one liners,  or even flirting." 

~Another group photo of all who came,  though this was taken 
without flash for a more natural feel.
Many thanks to all who joined in the revelry,  for because of 
you,  it was a grand success.  
My wife and I have been to many,  many Civil War balls and dances,  but never an 18th century Colonial Country Dance.  The differences?  Well,  the music,  for one.  The tunes were a mite older than what we were used to hearing,  but every bit as good.  The dances,  aside from the Virginia Reel,  were also new to us.  But,  I must say,  we had so much fun - as much as we have at any other dance,  for the basic idea of a community festivity such as this was just as strong in either era.
Yeah,  we certainly enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Thank you Tony for putting it all together.  I look forward to the next one.

Until next time,  see you in time.

Information on the history of the Country Dance came directly from HERE

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