~A pictorial journal of our final travels to Greenfield Village during the regular season for 2019.
Did I say "pictorial"? Why, there are over 70 photographs here! I hope you enjoy them.
Plus, per usual, there are a few history lessons thrown in as well~
Did I say "pictorial"? Why, there are over 70 photographs here! I hope you enjoy them.
Plus, per usual, there are a few history lessons thrown in as well~
The past awaits for those who seek it~
(Photo taken by Heather Thornton)
You already know that I frequent the Village often throughout the year, and as wonderful as it is each and every time, my visits during Autumn always seem to be the best. In fact, if you recall, I went to Greenfield in early October during their Fall Flavors / Harvest Weekends and, as usual, it pulled me into the traditional past.
Well, in November I continued to journey there - once at the beginning of the month, and again toward the end. To be surrounded by all the history and historic activity is a time-travel experience for me, especially while in my 18th century clothing, and I like to think of my half hour drive down the I-94 freeway to the Oakwood Blvd exit that will take me to this wonderful open-air museum as my transport back a couple of centuries or so.
This perception is exactly what came to mind while watching season four episode three of Outlander (a time-travel television series) where I saw one of the coolest scenes of a 'travel-through-time' sense since they did something similar in the Titanic movie.
|From Outlander: The first picture shows the year 1970 with a |
late '60s Ford Mustang traveling on a road through a mountain
pass in North Carolina (though I do not believe they had that
kind of "deer crossing" sign in 1970).
|The second shows a bit of time overlap, with two time period |
blending a bit...
|...and the third photo shows the same pathway, |
though as it was in 1768.
So, as I was traveling down I-94, the freeway seemingly began to change from the concrete pavement to the more bumpy old dirt roads of long ago - it was either that or the many potholes Michigan is so well known for! - and I was finding the threads of present and past, warp and weft, weaving together until, before I knew it, I was immersed in a time of 250 years ago.
Of course, I had my camera with me to document my travels.
Now that I've set the scene with my wild imagination, let's enter the colonial area of Greenfield Village. We'll begin with the early November visit then move to later in the month...
The trees are still beautifully painted the reds, golds, browns, and even a bit of some greens that Autumn is known for. This is, perhaps, my favorite moment of the season.
|Intermingled within the colors of fall we see a home from another |
era. It is the house that was built by New Hampshire shipping
merchant John Giddings. He lived here with his wife, Mehetable,
and their children until his passing in 1785.
(To read more details on the Giddings family and the history of
this house, please click HERE)
However, there are four buildings from the time of our founders that were transplanted here from the east coast. And the home of John Giddings, built around 1750, is one of them.
|On this November day I was the only one of the paid visitors who |
dressed in a period fashion. To dress as such enhances my time
there and allows me to feel history in a way that wearing modern
garments do not allow.
|One of the keys to help with an immersion experience is to allow |
yourself to almost become in a hypnotic state - -
a sort of mind-travel.
|It's this way I can hope to be greeted by one of the servants or, |
perchance, by Mr. or Mistress Giddings themselves as I knock
upon the ancient door.
|And, if you are on the mark:|
"Why, good day to you, Mistress Giddings. How is your
husband, fine fellow?"
She asked if I would come in, that Mr. Giddings should not be
too long before returning.
|Ah...two of the four daughters of John & Mehetable were at |
the table: Mary and Dorothy.
|I see Mary embroidered her initials onto a napkin.|
|...but Mistress Giddings directed me to where he might be found.|
|And so I took my leave.|
As I walked out the door, I spotted another friend moving along the walk:
|Good day, Rebecca.|
May I walk with you for a bit?
|We continued our talk inside.|
We all have our specialties and expertise and enjoy sharing with
each other, and the ladies' knowledge of dyeing wool was very
interesting to hear about.
So it was out to the side of the house I went to watch the wool dyeing process.
I always make sure to visit the Village during these special days, for not only do I continuously learn, but these visits have become a part of my fall traditions - as much as apple picking and candle dipping.
|Listening, discussing, and learning...|
|All spun yarn dyed using nature: the left four are black walnut, |
then daylilies with coreopsis overdye, and then coreopsis.
I moved to the back of the house where the kitchen garden was still giving up its yield of spices, medicinal, and even some vegetables. Besides the varieties of squash, beans, lettuce and other vegetables harvested to help sustain the family, the Daggetts would have also had plants for medical purposes as well, including wormwood, which was a purgative for stomach issues or worms, tansy was used to stop bleeding and bruising, feverfew for headaches and "female complaints," and chamomile, which was used, same as it is today, to make a calming tea.
A real, um, farmacy!
|Amidst the various herbs and spices of an 18th century kitchen |
garden, we have the backdrop of a Michigan autumn.
|My wife was with me this day.|
Though she was not fully dressed in period clothing, she did
warm herself in a cloak that kind of gives the appearance that she did.
HERE to learn more about the Daggetts and the house they lived in)
|So back inside Daggett's great hall, the ladies of the house are |
enjoying their noon-time dinner meal.
|Pasties in the dish on the left and red cabbage on the right:|
"Say the word “Pasty” (pronounced “past-ee”), and you’ll likely receive a passionate Pavlovian response from hungry folks from several regions of the U.S. (i.e., Michigan’s U.P., or parts of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana, and California).
Pasties have been a popular dish on English tables for centuries. The Oxford English Dictionary claims the earliest use of the word in English literature was in 1300. The OED’s definition of a pasty matches most modern expectations of the dish: a meat filling, enclosed in a crust of pastry, and baked without a dish. I have traced similar definitions at least as far back as 1764. Earlier definitions seem to be a bit more generic or obscure, describing a pasty as “a great pie” or “a pie made with flesh or fruit.”
While most 18th century recipes were for venison pasties, other types of meats were used (e.g., beef, pork, mutton, and poultry). Many period recipes also suggest marinating and aging meat for several days, as well as beating it to a pulp with a rolling pin. This was done to further tenderize the meat. Beef was likely much tougher then than it is today.
So which style of pasty is most historically accurate? They all are. It seems the common denominator between all pasties is simply two things: a crust and a meat filling….oops, then again, there were fruit pasties. Ok, it seems there is ONE common denominator: crust.
Hannah Glasse, an English cookery writer of the 18th century who wrote "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" originally in 1747, used veil in her fricandillas recipe, which coincides with the other information I found here.
Hannah's book, by the way, became the best-selling recipe book of the 18th century. It was reprinted within its first year of publication, appeared in 20 editions in the 18th century, and continued to be published until well into the 19th century.
|Cooking a pumpkin (or sometimes spelled "pomkin") pie.|
|That pie looked and smelled delicious!|
"Take the pumpkin and reel the rind off, then stew it till it is quite soft, and put thereto one pint of pumpkin, one pint of milk, one glass of malaga wine, one glass of rose-water, if you like it, seven eggs, half a pound of fresh butter, one small nutmeg, and sugar and salt to your taste."
That's it. Easy as, um, pie.
Well, maybe my wife doesn't make it quite like this 18th century recipe, though she does "stew" and chop up a real pumpkin for the filling, which has a much stronger (and better) taste, in my opinion.
In a letter dated January, 1746, Glasse wrote, "My book goes on very well and everybody is pleased with it, it is now in the press." The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy was printed the following year and sold at "Mrs. Ashburn's, a China Shop, the corner of Fleet-Ditch," according to the title page. The book was available bound for 5 shillings, or plainly stitched for 3 shillings. As was the practice for publishers at the time, Glasse provided the names of subscribers—those who had pre-paid for a copy—who were listed inside the work. The first edition listed 202 subscribers; that number increased for the second and third editions. On the title page Glasse writes that the book "far exceeds any Thing of the Kind ever yet published." In the introduction she states: "I believe I have attempted a Branch of Cookery which Nobody has yet thought worth their while to write upon," which, she explains, is to write a book aimed at the domestic staff of a household. As such, she apologizes to readers, "If I have not wrote in the high, polite Stile, I hope I shall be forgiven; for my Intention is to instruct the lower Sort, and therefore must treat them in their own Way."
(This information about Hannah Glasse comes from Wikipedia, who cites in own sources in the article - click HERE)
Wait---that's not true; one can never spend enough time at this wonderful home from the time of our founding fathers! But I needed to give the presenters a break from me...(I really do stay out of their way, especially when visitors approach).
|Gary Thomas, one of the many wonderful photographers who |
frequents Greenfield Village more often than I, caught me on my
journey to the other parts of the open-air museum.
|The fall colors on this early November day were as beautiful as |
the season can get. Add a horse and carriage and, well, it seems
to complete the picture!
|The Weaving Shop: filled with looms and spinning wheels.|
One loom from the 17th century, one from the 18th century, one
from the 19th, and even one from the 20th.
|A little photo-trickery was done to make this one picture. I used |
over a half-dozen other photographs to make this one image!
Things Ken does when he's bored...well, at least I let you know
with the pictures I mess with.
So! It was in later November (the 23rd) that I returned to Greenfield Village, only this time a few of my living history friends came along to enjoy the excursion. This will be the last daytime visit for me until next April, for the Village closes during the day once November ends, though I will be there for Holiday Nights - the wonderful Christmas extravaganza that occurs throughout December.
Once again, the far end of the Village, where the colonial houses sit, was our first destination, and it seems that each of us put the Daggett House at or near the top of our list of favorites.
|We posed for a group shot.|
|Gigi was preparing to spin wool on the great (or walking) wheel.|
|Gigi and I had our obligatory 'quick sketch' that we|
tend to do annually while both wearing period clothing.
According to Legends of Loudoun (from "An Account of the History and Homes of a Border County of Virginia's Northern Neck" by Harrison Williams (1938) :
"...after the war, it is said on the personal recommendation of General Washington, Sergeant Champe was appointed to the position of doorkeeper or sergeant-of-arms of the Continental Congress, then meeting at Philadelphia, but obliged, on account of rioting, to remove to Trenton. His name appears on the rolls of 25th August 1783 as holding that position. Soon afterwards, he returned to Loudoun County, married and acquired a small holding near what is now Dover, between the later towns of Aldie and Middleburg, close to the present Little River Turnpike."
Well, wouldn't you know there was a song written about Sgt. Champe called The Ballad of Sgt. Champe! And in a book given to me of early American Folk Songs was the music and words to this ballad - - how cool would that be to have your ancestor memorialized in an American folk ballad?
|So, I presented this book to Gigi, who was nothing|
less than ecstatic to receive it!
I even got a hug!
What are friends for?
If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know I visit Daggett frequently - as often as I can. In fact, I cannot step foot inside the Village without making the trek to peek inside, even if only for a quick moment, so there are plenty of photos I have taken there and I wrote an entire blog post about it HERE. So for today's post, I tried to get a few natural action shots to add to the historical flavor.Not too long ago I was able to procure a very cool - and very authentic - journal, similar to one that a colonial farmer might have used to write out his activities, barters, and sales. It is completely hand-made: the cover and wrap-around is made of naturally tanned full grain leather, the paper is also made by hand, and the binding is hand-stitched.
I did, however, have a little posed fun at Daggett.
|Now, please understand that|
I did not write in this journal
inside the historic Daggett
House - this is a posed
picture, but it looks the
real deal, eh?
|I created a little scenario|
to use as a photo
opportunity. Of course,
all items were put away
before any visitors
came into the house.
So, I brought the book along as well as a few small accessories (empty ink well and qill) to create a small scenario inside an original 18th century house.
And, no,, there were no visitors around when these photos were taken.
|Making sure my notes are correct...|
|"Okay, there's not much left. We can harvest all the rest that's |
here in a short while if we each take a different bed."
|Pert-near everything was picked. |
There were just a few late vegetables left, such as cabbages.
Again, we could have spent all day with the Daggetts, but we knew it was time to move on.
|It's difficult to leave one's favorite house,|
but we did. There were more adventures out there.
|Deciding where to go next...so many wonderful historic houses to |
I knew I wanted to visit the Plympton House again. You see, 'twas in the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, that Abel Prescott, the brother of Samuel Prescott, who was one of the warning riders that rode with none other than Paul Revere himself, pounded upon this very door to warn Thomas Plympton that the British Regulars were on the march and were heading to Concord! Plympton was a member of the Provincial Congress at that time and lived in this house in Sudbury, Massachusetts,
And now this original house with strong ties to the American Revolution sits inside Greenfield Village, brought over to this location in Dearborn, Michigan by Henry Ford in 1929 and had it beautifully restored.
Yeah...that's me in the picture below on the right as Thomas Plympton while young master EJ portrayed Abel Prescott.
|"Sir, they were marching from over in that direction. |
You must call the alarm for your militia to form up!"
|It did not take me long to don my cloak|
for the coolness of the wee morning
and head out to form up the men.
Heather has mentioned that the Cotswold Cottage, built in England in 1620 - the same year the Pilgrims left for America - is her favorite structure inside Greenfield Village. So naturally we had to go visit.
|That's Heather with my son. These two|
are engaged and hope for a 2021 wedding.
|Susan was standing as you see her here...and I saw a painting.|
|After leaving Cotswold, which you see in the background, we |
continued on to our next location, which was...
|...the McGuffey Cabin, originally built about 1780.|
William Holmes McGuffey was born in this cabin in 1800, which was originally in Pennsylvania.
|I see a young Mr. McGuffey chopping logs for his mother.|
This is another photoshop of mine - there were no axes around,
nor did EJ sneak one in. But he did pose for me so I could 'add' one.
From the McGuffey Cabin we made it to the Eagle Tavern.
Taverns hadn't changed much from the 18th to the 19th century, and even though the Eagle Tavern was built around 1832, it can still easily pass as one from the Revolutionary era.
|A-waiting on the porch of the Eagle Tavern while horses|
are seen attached to the carriages to take travelers to
their next destination.
|A group shot of all of us at our tavern table.|
Traditional and seasonal fare of the day is what one will find on
the tavern menu.
|And another group picture was taken, though this time in the original kitchen of the tavern. The hearth in this picture and in the one below was where the meals for the guests were cooked back in the day.|
|I enjoy playing with the photos to help make|
them come alive. I am actually sitting in front
of a hearth that is clean - no fire, no wood,
no ash...no nothing.
But with a little bit of presto-chango,
it looks like I am sitting in front of a
Though New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating thanksgivings to thank God for blessings, it wasn't until later in the 1700s that individual colonies would periodically designate a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop.
And when the harvest was in, a fine celebratory meal was to be had.
|In the Firestone barn.|
|Lynn & Susan taking a breather|
just outside the Firestone Farm barn.
But I was not quite ready to go just yet; this would be my last daytime visit to Greenfield Village until next April, and I wanted to make the most of it. I was happy that Jennifer and her son, EJ, decided to remain with me.
The three of us then journeyed to the printing shop where our next posed picture was of the printer overseeing his apprentice learning the trade:
|Here I am overseeing EJ as he works on his printing skills.|
|The Greenfield Village printer presenter was right there with us, not to fear. I just had this shot angled to not include him in it.|
As the hour was near to closing, I knew I wanted to visit the Daggett house one last time.
I cannot explain the hold this old place has on me; perhaps because it was built and lived in by an 18th century farmer and his family? I mean, I can easily imagine all of the activity that went on inside this home throughout the seasons of the year (click HERE to read about everyday life on a colonial farm, based solely around the Daggett house). Maybe it is because I have intently researched Samuel Daggett himself, his family, studied the history of his dwelling (click HERE to read a bit on my findings on the Daggetts), and portray an 18th century farmer myself.
Probably to some extent.
But it's more than that.
|Something just continuously draws me to the mid-18th century |
Daggett Home...perhaps the times itself is what has grabbed me.
Put it all in a mixing bowl, and there the answer will be found.
I remember years ago when they would bring a loom into the great hall of the Daggett house and show the wonderful textile craft of weaving. But it had been a long time since that occured.
Well, imagine my excitement when, upon entering the Daggett's abode on this day, I could not help but notice an 18th century (replicated) loom back in the great hall! This excited me greatly, for one of my 6th great grandfathers was a weaver in the 1760s and 1770s in merry old England, so this was icing on the proverbial cake for me.
A loom is a hand-operated device used to weave cloth and contains harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc., in order to make the cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads (warp is the long threads that run from the front to the back of the loom, and weft is thread drawn through and inserted over-and-under the warp, side to side).
The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same.
Back to the kitchen garden we went - -
|One last captured image before we made our way out of the |
Village, for the closing hour was upon us.
|I noticed the street lights near the Eagle |
Tavern were lit. One final picture...
This was one of my best and favorite Village visits in a very long time! It felt right, you know?
Unfortunately, the Village closes for daytime hours at the end of November and will now only be open for the Christmas Holiday Nights event, which is pretty amazing in itself, so I will be back at least one more time before it closes for good at the end of December...and reopen in mid-April.
But these little opportunities to sort of create our own sort of events keeps the hobby alive. I hate calling what we do a hobby, but that's pretty much what it is, though there are those who take it quite a bit farther than what I do, and I so admire them! I've said it before: I am every bit as comfortable in my 18th century clothing as my modern clothing - - even more, to some extent. If it wasn't so expensive - and if I could get away with it - I would wear them more in my daily life.
Ah...maybe when I retire. Where some call old women with cats "crazy cat lady," I would be known simply as that "crazy old guy"!
Hey, I'll take it!
Until next time, see you in time.
Most of the pictures in today's posting were taken with my camera. However, there are a few others who also took some great shots and have graciously allowed me to include them here as well:
Jennifer Monarch Mailley
Printing information came from THIS page and THIS page.
To read more about colonial farming, please click HERE
To read more on the Daggetts and their house, please click HERETo read more about the Giddings House, click HERE
To read on the Plympton House, please click HERE
To read more on 18th century printing and, more specifically, the printing of the Declaration of Independence, please click HERE
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