Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Revolutionary Greenfield Village...Plus

~ Also in this posting is a wonderful piece of 18th century Michigan history - - - 
following the Greenfield Village story ~

Those of us who frequent historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn,  Michigan know we have quite a gem in our figurative backyard.  I mean,  there are nearly 90 historic structures showing three hundred years of  (mostly)  American history,  including the Wright Brothers Cycle Shop,  the Noah Webster House,  the Firestone Farm,  The Logan County Courthouse  (where Abraham Lincoln once practiced law),  the Laboratory of Thomas Edison,  and dozens more.
And from April through December,  I can pretty much visit as often as I'd like.
So I do!
But what many visitors don't realize is that inside these hallowed walls of history there are three specific homesteads which are situated near each other,  and the long past inhabitants of  each of these historic 18th century houses played a role to some varying degree in the Revolutionary War:  the Plympton House,  the Daggett Farmhouse,  and the Giddings Home,  all of which have been transported from their original New England location and rebuilt & restored here inside Greenfield Village.
~Three houses of the American Revolution~
Plympton                              Daggett                               Giddings
I have to admit,  it does give me a very special feeling knowing that I am in a home that was built before the time of Paul Revere's famous midnight ride,  before the Boston Tea Party,  before the Boston Massacre,  before the Intolerable,  Townsend,  and Stamp Acts,  and even before the French & Indian War...and also to think that these houses of  Plympton,  Daggett,  and Giddings were around during the time of George Washington,  John Adams,  Benjamin Franklin,  James Madison,  Thomas Jefferson,  and even at the time of the Declaration of Independence!  And I have little doubt that discussions involving the above topics of the day had taken place inside these walls by those original owners.
Collecting and organizing my
research for today's post.
Unfortunately,  the Revolutionary War connection to these homes is not a part of the current presentation curriculum.
However,  I happened to discover this deeper information on my own while I was doing research in the The Henry Ford Benson Ford Research Center,  which is where historians on all levels can find virtually anything and everything about each building and its furnishings in Greenfield Village as well as a myriad of other historical information.  So,  twas a number of years ago that I thought I'd see if there were any stories on the aforementioned houses beyond what the presenters tell us;  what I really wanted to know was - - were there any Revolutionary tales to be told?
I was not let down.
And that is one of the purposes behind this  posting:  to help the reader to look beyond the walls and furniture inside these and other historic homes and sort of  try and see & feel the figurative ghosts whose spirits have remained...but are mostly seemingly unnoticed and forgotten.
The other reason is to add to the ever-growing story of America's fight for independence.
With what I found at the research center and what I have culminated from various books in my collection,  I can present as complete a Revolutionary picture of these homes as possible with the information available and bring out the patriotism ingrained within these walls.
To me,  this is a special part of American History,  for,  once again,  it shows average people rather than concentrate on only the well-known patriot heroes we read about often.  These are the unsung Americans who,  in their own way,  also helped to make America.

Let us begin,  then,  with the Plympton house which,  of the three here,  has the strongest and most fascinating connection to the Revolutionary War.
Thomas Plympton,  the grandson of the probable builder of this house  (early 18th century),  was prominent in the affairs of his town of Sudbury,  Massachusetts,  and was a member of the Provincial Congress.  It was he who received the news of the Red Coats marching on Concord early on the morning of April 19,  1775.
You see,  Samuel Prescott was one of three riders to head to Concord on that fateful night of April 18,  1775,  the other two being Paul Revere and William Dawes.  In fact,  of the three riders,  Prescott was the only one to make it to Concord,  for Redcoat scouts prevented Revere & Dawes from completing their desired course.  As the scouts captured Revere and chased Dawes,  Prescott circled about and headed quickly to Concord,  carrying Revere's warning to his townsmen.  He entered Concord at approximately 1:30 AM and alarmed Colonel Barrett and the Concord militia.  Afterwards,  he rode on to Acton and then possibly to Stow.  But while in Concord he triggered his brother,  Abel Prescott,  who then rode to Sudbury.  (This information comes from the book  "Paul Revere's Ride"  by David Hackett Fisher)~
According to The Battle of April 19,  1775,  In Lexington,  Concord,  Lincoln,  Arlington,  Cambridge,  Somerville and Charlestown,  Massachusetts  by Frank Warren Coburn  (published in 1912):
Sudbury,  eighteen miles westerly from Boston,  received its first news by a messenger from Concord,  eight miles away,  who reported to Thomas Plympton,  a member of the Provincial Congress.  
Captain Nixon was aroused by a messenger,  who shouted:
"Up,  up!  the red-coats are up as far as Concord."
Captain Nixon started off at once on horseback.
That is me,  on the morning of April 19,  heading toward 
the red Plympton home there on the right. 
Yes,  it really was the morning of April 19th,  
but only in 2019 and not 1775.
I modified the background and the walkway from the original photograph,  removing any 
modernisms,  but the buildings as you see here are as they sit inside Greenfield Village.  On the left 
you see the Daggett Farm House,  the center is the Cape Cod Farris Windmill,  and on the right is 
the Plympton House - all from America's colonial period.
David Hackett Fischer also wrote that:
(Abel Prescott)  went to the home of Thomas Plympton,  the leading Whig in Sudbury,  and the town's alarm bell began to ring about 3:30 or 4:00 o'clock in the morning.  Warning guns were fired to summon militia companies on the west side of the Sudbury River and also in East Sudbury,  now Wayland.  Within thirty-five minutes the entire town of Sudbury had been awakened.
Yes,  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."
Thomas Plympton himself also went to Concord on that April day,  and,  though he was not physically wounded,  he did have a bullet hole in his coat,  according to The History of Sudbury,  Massachusetts by Alfred Hudson:  "Lieut.  Elisha Wheeler,  whose horse was shot under him,  and Thomas Plympton,  Esq.,  who had a bullet put through the fold of his coat,  were both volunteers on horseback.
After the fight,  the soldiers showed no undue haste to return,  but some of them lingered from three days to a month to repel attack or serve their country in whatever way it might require;  and,  when at length they returned to their homes,  it was only,  in the case of some of them,  to bid the loved ones goodbye,  and then go away again to engage the foe."
Thomas Plympton had a son,  Ebenezer.  Like his own father,  Ebenezer Plympton was also involved in the Revolutionary War.  In fact,  he is listed on the muster roll as a private in Captain Aaron Haynes' Company of Militia  (North Militia 1775)  which was part of an Alarm Company that marched to Cambridge by Concord during the Lexington Alarm on the nineteenth of April,  1775.  He was also part of Captain Asahel Wheeler's company in 1777.
According to author Alfred Hudson,  Sudbury,  during the start of the Revolutionary War,  had a population of about 2100 people.  Of these 2100,  around 500 went off to fight at Concord - because of the warning rider,  Abel Prescott,  who came to the home of  Thomas Plympton.
In other words,  this little red Plympton House sitting inside Greenfield Village has strong direct connections to not only the Revolutionary War itself,  but to the very beginnings of it:  the battle that took place in Concord,  as well as a bit more distantly to Paul Revere.
It truly is a special part of American history!
I moved up to the door - the door - that Abel Prescott himself 
pounded upon,  to awaken the sleeping Thomas Plympton 
and have him sound the alarm for the town of Sudbury that the 
Regulars were on the march to Concord.
Now,  throughout the past few years it has been on April 19 that I have my own commemoration of  the Battles of Lexington & Concord,  referred to as Patriot's Day,  and so I make the annual trek to historic Greenfield Village to take a Revolutionary War home tour...right here in Dearborn, Michigan.  Yes,  in my period clothing.  (Please remember,  however,  I am not,  nor have I ever been,  an employee of Greenfield Village.  I am just a guy who enjoys immersing myself in the past,  and there is no better way than the wearing of period clothing while being in and around homes of the 18th century era.)~
As the door opened,  there they were - the Plymptons,  
dining on their breakfast meal.
Well...not really.  Actually, most of the interior is plexi-glassed 
off so it is not possible at this time to be able to sit at the table as 
you see here.  Just a little photo-trickery from yours truly.

But me being here is not photo-trickery~
Living in southeastern Michigan,  we do not have any 
natural  connections to something directly involved in 
the Battle of Lexington & Concord but this house,  
though transported from Massachusetts 
to Greenfield Village
For me personally,  it is an honor each and every time 
pass through its door.  
To read a more indepth history of the Plympton House and its owners,  please click HERE~

The next stop on my Revolutionary tour of  Greenfield Village is the home of Samuel and Anna Daggett.  It was built by Samuel Daggett in Coventry  (now Andover),  Connecticut around the year 1750,  right about the time he married his wife,  Anna Bushnell.  Samuel and Anna had three children:  daughters Asenath  (b.  1754)  and Talitha  (possibly also known as Tabitha,  but Talitha is on most records),  born 1757,  and a son,  Isaiah,  who was the youngest,  born 1759.
Samuel Daggett was a housewright by trade and built this particular home on a spot known as Shoddy Hill Road,  atop 80 acres of land,  half of which had been deeded to him by his father.  Samuel also framed nearly every other house in the surrounding area,  as his account book at the Connecticut Historical Society attests.
I can imagine this would be the type of house I would have lived in had I been from this era.  In fact,  if I were to suddenly win a goodly amount of money in the lottery,  I would probably build myself a replica.
This break-back home,  more commonly referred to as a salt-box 
house in our modern day,  is a must visit for me each and every time.
Yes,  without question,  it is my favorite.
An interesting fact about Samuel Daggett is that he played a small role during the Revolutionary War in the Colony of Connecticut.   Mr.  Daggett was apparently stationed in the State House in New London.  In 1774,  during a town meeting in his town of Coventry,  citizens agreed to a non- importation agreement,  which was a formal collective decision made by the local merchants and traders not to import or export items to Britain.
I agree with you,  Samuel,  that you may need your son,  Isaiah,  
here at your home to help you and your family.  
When his son,  Isaiah,  was called up to serve,  Daggett paid for someone named Jacob Fox to take his place in military duty.  This was so the 17-year-old could remain home and help tend the farm as well as work with his father,  not an unheard of practice at the time for someone like Samuel who knew how to earn a substantial amount of money,  as you shall read about shortly.
The Militia:  reenacting Concord 
here in Michigan
In general,  only single males were drafted for short terms,  and they could avoid service through the traditional mechanisms of paying a fine or finding a substitute.
Although no one seems to know the precise number of actual draftees serving in the Revolutionary forces,  several studies have determined the relative number of hired substitutes.  Within the active militias of Lancaster and Northampton Counties in Quaker Pennsylvania,  38 and 54 percent respectively of those serving were substitutes,  while 20 to 40 percent of the New Jersey Line in the Continental Army were draft substitutes.  Some authorities have concluded from these high percentages that the draft laws were designed primarily to raise substitutes,  and that in practice,  very few conscriptees were forced to serve.
Samuel Daggett had his hand in many money-making opportunities,  such as being a housewright,  a woodwright,  a dentist,  a general repairman,  a coffin maker,  a weaver and seller of cloth,  sold flaxseed,  plowed for neighbors,  built roads,  dug stones...and was also a farmer.  It is no wonder that he could afford to pay for a substitute for his son.
It's also no wonder why he did it.
The town of Coventry sent 116 men to Lexington at the start of the war.  The community also sent clothing and supplies to aid the war effort.
Okay,  so it may not seem like much as far as the Revolutionary War goes,  but the story told of Samuel Daggett being able to buy his son out of going to fight shows us another part of history rarely heard.

Next up we have the Giddings House from Exeter,  New Hampshire.
I wonder if I will find Mr.  Giddings at his house?
The 1750 home of John and Mehetable Giddings was referred to as the  "mansion house."  One can see just by the exterior alone that it represents a more well-to-do residence of 18th century colonial America,  suitable for a man of means such as our Mr. Giddings.  This beautiful structure was situated on property that also included a warehouse and mercantile shop,  both of which Giddings operated,  and over-looked a wharf on the Squamscott River.
This is important because he owned ships and participated in the West Indies trade.  According to his account book,  Giddings brought in fine fabrics that were not just listed as  "woolen clothe"  but by their respective names such as  "bayze,"  "callicose,"  "kersey,"  and even  "ozenbriggs."  Other items listed included molasses,  sundries,  salt,  beef,  corn,  buttons,  pig iron,  chocolate...and rum.  Lots of rum.
Giddings was not there,  but one of his daughters was,  and told 
me she would let her father know I had stopped for a visit.
Exeter,  New Hampshire was the center of political colonial activity for many years.  It was the seat of government and included numerous state offices.  John Giddings,  being a man of prominence,  was an elected statesman for several years,  and a representative just before and during the early years of the American Revolution.  The New Hampshire Provincial Convention met in Exeter in 1775 to consider rebellion against the King. 
Here are two of the Giddings' servants.
You see where this is going...
John Giddings,  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.
In the book  "Rolls and Documents Relating to Soldiers of the Revolutionary War,"  I found a Captain John Giddings under the  "Exeter Account."   The documentation at the Benson Ford Research Center confirmed that this was the one and the same John Giddings who built and lived in the house now situated inside Greenfield Village.

Rolls and Documents Relating to Soldiers of the Revolutionary War
There were other members of the Giddings Family,  including future family member Joseph Pearson  (who married a Giddings daughter and became eventual owner of the home),  that served in the Revolutionary War as well.   Again,  it may not seem like much,  but multiple people who lived within these walls were part of the War in which George Washington was Commander in Chief!  That alone makes it special.
I certainly enjoyed my Giddings visit on this day.
And that completes my tour of the Revolutionary Greenfield Village.
No,  there are no stories of  Valley Forge or Yorktown to add to Lexington & Concord here,  but it does show a little of the average household that was affected by the War.  And that was how the majority of the colonists were affected,  which is also what the Village was meant to show in the first place:  average Americans who,  in many ways,  became extraordinary in their own way.

Discovering the expanded history of these homes was a mind blower for me,  for being in the midst of this history is a dream I've had for decades upon decades.
You see,  when it comes to history,  living history,  and historic homes,  I think a little bit different than most normal  human beings.  I allow my mind to delve deeper into the surrounding atmosphere:
Just imagine...those who once lived in these 18th century houses were living breathing human beings and not just characters in a book.  They had feelings the same as we do:  they felt happiness,  sadness,  anger,  pain,  concern,  and contentment.  They celebrated the coming of spring and of harvest time.  They enjoyed church picnics and weddings,  and certainly mourned when loved ones,  whether friends or family,  died.  They spoke of their crops,  the weather,  told stories,  and read their Bible.  Just imagine the discussions and probably even debates they had of the news of the day - how interesting it would be to hear conversations and opinions about the Bloody Massacre of Boston,  the various battles and occurrences of the Revolutionary War,  their thoughts on the Declaration of Independence,  the celebrations upon hearing the surrender after the Battle of Yorktown,  the forming of the new Nation with its own Constitution,  and hearing of  George Washington becoming our first President...as it was happening!
Just imagine...I mean,  if the walls of these houses had ears,  they most certainly would have heard at least some of these great events.
And if the walls could talk,  imagine the tales they could tell.
I can only imagine…
Paul Revere tells why he never made it to Concord on the wee hours of April 19,  1775:
"When we  (Billy Dawes,  Mr.  Prescott,  and myself)  had got about half way from Lexington to Concord,  the other two stopped at a house to awake the men,  I kept along.  When I had got about 200 yards ahead of them,  I saw two officers as before.  I called to my company to come up,  saying here was two of them.  In an instant I saw four of them,  who rode up to me with their pistols in their bands,  said  ''G---d d---n you,  stop.  If you go an inch further,  you are a dead man.''  Immediately Mr.  Prescot came up.  We attempted to get through them,  but they kept before us,  and swore if we did not turn in to that pasture,  they would blow our brains out,  (they had placed themselves opposite to a pair of bars,  and had taken the bars down).  They forced us in.
When we had got in,  Mr.  Prescot said  ''Put on!''  He took to the left,  I took the right towards a wood at the bottom of the pasture,  intending,  when I gained that,  to jump my horse and run afoot.  Just as I reached it,  out started six officers,  seized my bridle,  put their pistols to my breast,  ordered me to dismount,  which I did.  One of them,  who appeared to have the command there,  and much of a gentleman,  asked me where I came from;  I told him.  He asked what time I left.  I told him,  he seemed surprised,  said ' 'Sir, may I crave your name?''  I answered  ''My name is Revere."  ''What'' said he,  ''Paul Revere''?  I answered  ''Yes.''  The others abused much;  but he told me not to be afraid,  no one should hurt me.  I told him they would miss their aim.  He said they should not,  they were only waiting for some deserters they expected down the road.  I told him I knew better,  I knew what they were after;  that I had alarmed the country all the way up,  that their boats were caught aground,  and I should have 500 men there soon."
~Can the walls talk?  I believe they do...but some folks are just not listening...~
Yes,  the words written here are actually Paul Revere's own.

As an extra added bonus,  I should like to present a fourth  (and final)  American colonial-era home that also sits inside Greenfield Village.  Though to my knowledge no one involved in the building of or living inside this 1780 Pennsylvania log cabin had taken part in the Revolutionary War,  it still has American spirit  within its walls:
The 1780 log cabin was the birthplace of William Holmes 
McGuffey,  who would,  beginning in 1836,  publish the most 
popular school text books of the 19th century,  
The McGuffey Eclectic Reader.
However,  on this day,  it was still 1780,  and I stopped in for a visit.
Eh,  I'll grab some wood for their fire before entering.
This McGuffey Cabin was built on the Appalachian frontier of Western Pennsylvania,  within a closely-knit Scottish-Irish family and community.
The men and women who built and lived in cabins out on the frontier lived in primitive conditions until land could be cleared and a small,  one-room cabin built.  The climate could be very harsh,  and settlers also dealt with annoying insects and dangerous animals.  Having left friends and family behind in the East,  many women faced homesickness and isolation.  In the early years of settlement,  women experienced many other challenges as well.  Commonly,  there were no close neighbors or nearby towns to provide much social interaction.  Men were usually away from the home for long hours,  working in the fields or hunting and leaving their wives with no adult companionship.  There were numerous accounts of loneliness and depression.
Loneliness out on the frontier...
While the men were farming the fields or hunting for game,  women made enormous contributions to frontier life.  They made much of what the family needed to survive,  resulting in a self-sufficient farm.  In addition to taking care of the home and raising children,  frontier women provided medical care,  raised livestock,  and grew vegetable gardens to supplement the family's diet.  They made butter,  candles,  and soap,  preserved food for the winter months,  and made their family's clothing,  often of cloth that they wove themselves.  This work kept women extremely busy.  In addition,  some women also helped with farm work and also performed other men's duties when necessary.
We can be proud of the women & men,  such as the McGuffey’s,  who survived out on the frontier.
I do wish the Village would utilize the McGuffey Cabin more 
often than the couple of times a year they do.  
There are stories that need to be told.
The following is not an actual quote from George Washington but,  rather,  a quote from a storybook that he was written into.  In  "The Cabin Faced West,"   by Jean Fritz,  the Hamilton family moved from the populated eastern Pennsylvania to the more sparse western Pennsylvania.  Washington was inspecting land he owned in Washington County,  and,  by pure happenstance,  he came across the Hamilton family,  who had moved out to the frontier not too long before.  Though what you are about to read is not a real quote,  I have read that Washington believed in the frontier and the expansion of the United States.  So for story's sake,  let's imagine:
"The future is travelling west with people like you.  Here is the rising world.  If I were a young man preparing to begin the world,  I know of no country where I should rather live.  Some day you will live to see this whole country a rolling farmland,  bright with houses and barns and churches..."
It is a fitting enough statement as if it really came from Washington himself.
Though it represents 1800,  it remains close enough in appearance 
to a decade or two earlier.  And why would it not?  
'Twas was built in 1780.
According to sources at the Benson Ford Research Center,  there is a strong probability that this cabin was built by William Holmes McGuffey's maternal grandparents,  William and Jane Holmes,  in 1780 in West Finley Township,  Washington County,  Pennsylvania.
The same county as in the story quoted here!
The Holmes family first settled in West Finley in February  1780 and were one of the first - if not the first -settlers in the area.

So there we go----all of the American 18th century buildings that are inside Greenfield Village have been covered here  (Cotswold Cottage,  from 1620,  was built in England,  so was not included).  
Now,  for a special treat,  we do have one 18th century building that is not located inside our historic Village that was actually built near Detroit  (though does not have a Revolutionary War connection)  and is still situated in Monroe,  Michigan.  I am talking about the Navarre-Anderson Trading Post, which was built in 1789!  The Trading Post complex was established to represent a French pioneer homestead along the old River Raisin,  with the main building,  built in 1789,  being the oldest  wooden  structure still standing in the state,  according to the historical marker.  It is the most complete example of French-Canadian piece-sur-piece construction in the Old Northwest.  It has been restored to about 1797.  It was moved from its original Monroe site in 1894.  
There I am,  about to enter one of the oldest structures built in 
Michigan,  The Navarre-Anderson Trading Post in Monroe,  from 1789.  
Only four actual 18th century structures still stand in Michigan,  
and little did I realize that there was one only an hour from my 
house!  The other three are all on Mackinac Island.
François Marie Navarre was born in Detroit in 1759,  the son of Robert Navarre,  the royal governor's representative in the settlement.  François established himself in the Indian fur trade and became known by the sobriquet  "Heutrau,"  a name of apparent Indian origin whose meaning is unknown. 
Heutrau and his brother,  Robert Jr.,  became the first white landholders on the River Raisin in 1783 when they negotiated a private treaty with the Potawatomi Indians for a tract of land.  Private treaties with the Indians were unlawful under the British,  who occupied Michigan at that time, and later under the Americans,  who took over in 1796.  While the U.S.  government would not recognize these treaties,  they did allow generous grants of land to any Michigan resident who could provide proof that his land had been occupied by 1796.  When the testimony was taken in 1808,  Joseph Jobin,  the captain of the River Raisin militia,  swore that Heutrau had erected his house in 1789. 
Monroe,  Michigan was originally known as Frenchtown and was situated on the north bank of the River Raisin just a couple hundred yards northeast of the present Winchester Street Bridge,  and the Natives and the newcomers,  who built log cabins and the long narrow strip farms,  got along well,  with many inter-marrying.  It was only the third permanent European-based community in Michigan.  Frenchtown was renamed Monroe in 1824,  for the current President at the time. 
At a recent reenactment we set up a trading scenario 
inside this historic structure.
John Anderson purchased this house from Heutrau in 1802.  He owned it until 1804,  only to possess it again between 1816 and 1835.  During the American Revolution,  Anderson and his mother had been taken captive in New York by pro-British Indians and carried to Montreal.  In the 1790s he came to the Detroit area and was hired by John Askin to set up a trading post on the Maumee River.  When Anderson arrived at the River Raisin in 1802,  he went into business for himself.  He was among the first English-speaking settlers in the community.

We also did a pretty accurate portrayal of a sort of home-tavern scenario,  which did occur frequently on travel routes.
Food at a rural colonial tavern was generally fair,  and travelers expected no more than mediocrity upon dining while on the road,  with the choices limited and the prices fluctuating.  However,  there were times,  especially during the harvest,  when food choices were greater and more readily available.  So,  at times,  the servings could be fairly well and include bread and cheese,  pigeon fricassee,  roast fowl,  pasties,  stews,  and pie,  all washed down with a tankard or mug of cider.
Colonial taverns were generally run by keepers of a middling 
class who had a steadier income than a farmer or other laborer 
might have had,  and food,  drink,  and overnight accommodations were offered for a price. 
After living in the building for only two years,  Anderson built a larger residence next door and sold off the house and a strip of land.  He resided in this new house until August 1812 when war with Great Britain forced him to flee the River Raisin.  As the War of 1812 worsened,  the staunchly pro-American Anderson took his place as the colonel commanding the Second Regiment,  Michigan Territorial Militia.
After the stunning surrender of Michigan by Territorial Governor William Hull,  the colonel became the victim of vengeful Indians who pillaged his home.  The British refused to guarantee his safety so he fled.  His wife,  Elizabeth Knaggs Anderson,  remained at the house and assumed charge of her husband's business.  A tenacious woman,  Elizabeth put the house and business back together and even stood off hostile Indians when they broke into her house during the massacre of American soldiers that followed the Battle of the River Raisin in January 1813.  The battle left the entire community in shambles and Elizabeth soon abandoned the family home.  The new house,  adjacent to the original building,  was burned before the Americans liberated the settlement in September 1813.
When the Andersons finally returned to the River Raisin to live in 1816,  they bought back their old house and lived there until a new residence could be built on the ashes of the burnt one.  They kept the old home for many years and rented it out.
John Anderson died in Monroe in 1840;  Elizabeth died in 1854.
It was an honor to be at such a locally historic structure.
It may not have been a part of the Rev War  (though the War of 

1812 surrounded it),  it still gave me goosebumps to be 
in and around it.


I simply cannot think of a better way for a metro-Detroiter to spend a day commemorating special dates in our nation's history than to be immersed in and around structures whose inhabitants played a role in the building of our Nation.  As I have said many times before,  here in Michigan there is little left of our Revolutionary and 18th century past  (unless you travel up to Mackinac Island),  so to have some of  New England history in our midst is such an honor.  And then to find a local structure close to the same period in time just brings it all home!
There is so much more to history than what the textbooks tell us.  Digging deeper to find the untold stories is what helps the past come to life for me.  And then I can share those stories here on Passion for the Past,  at a reenactment,  or even during conversation...

Until next time,   see you in time.

~ Please click the links below for more of my blog posts about the era of the Revolutionary War:
Modern historians like to relegate Paul Revere as more fable than fact,  no thanks to Longfellow's poem.  But this man deserves his place in our history,  and rightfully so,  for his ride was as important as nearly any other occurrence of his time.
I have searched multiple sources to find the true story of Paul Revere's Midnight Ride,  and put it all here.
I think you just might be surprised at what Revere actually did.

William Dawes' Story
Supposedly,  this man was relegated to the footnotes of history due to his name being Dawes.   But he,  too,  has a story to tell of his ride as a partner messenger with Paul Revere.

Other riders who rode out on the night of April 18,  1775...and there were plenty more.  This was the 18th century version of the telephone...or messenger...or e-mail.

Diaries,  journals,  letters,  newspapers/broadsides,  remembrances...this is what I used to garner these very personal stories from those who were there - actual witnesses,  men & women,  of the Battle of Lexington & Concord.
Their tales will draw you into their world.

The Extraordinary Story of Sybil Ludington
Some say her story is not true,  though history tends to side with our young female patriot.  Check out what I wrote in this posting and then decide for yourself if her own daring ride is true or just a fable.

Sarah and Rachel: The Wives of Paul Revere
Paul Revere was married twice and,  between his two wives,  he fathered 16 children.
What I attempted to do in this post was to find virtually everything available about these two Mrs.  Revere's.  I think I succeeded - -

With Liberty and Justice For All: The Fight for Independence at the Henry Ford Museum
An amazing collection of original Revolutionary War artifacts on display for all the world to see,  telling the story of America's fight for Independence.  An original Stamp Act notification.  A letter written by Benedict Arnold.  George Washington's camp bed,  a coffee pot made by Paul Revere,  a writing desk that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson...yeah...this is some great stuff here!

Unsung Patriots: The Printing of the Declaration of Independence
There is so much more to this most important American document,  from the idea to composing to printing - who is going to print this? - to delivery...oh yeah,  there is a lot more history to our Declaration than I ever realized!

Declaring Independence:  The Spirits of  '76
Something very special happened almost 250 years ago,  but is that story being promoted?
Come on a time-travel visit to colonial America during that hot summer of 1776 and learn,  first hand,  of the accounts on how we were making a new and independent nation.

Colonial Michigan:  Mackinac,  Detroit,  and Monroe
One rarely thinks of Michigan when they think of colonial North America.  And yet,  here we are - a territory-become-state with cities that played roles in the French & Indian War and the American Revolution.  In fact,  many people did not know that Daniel Boone was in Detroit.  Did you?

Travel and Taverns
The long air-conditioned  (or heated)  car ride.  Motels without a pool!  Can we stop at McDonalds? I'm hungry!
Ahhhh....modern travelers never had it so good.
I've always had a fascination of travel back in the day,  and I decided to find out as much as I could about them.
I wasn't disappointed - - - I dug through my books,  went to a historic research library,  'surfed the net'  (does anyone say that anymore?),  and asked docents who work at historic taverns questions,  looking for the tiniest bits of information to help me to understand what it was like to travel and stay at a tavern in the colonial times.
This post is the culmination of all of that research.
Our country's founding relied greatly on the tavern.

Cooking on the Hearth
No stoves or fast food restaurants.  Everything made from scratch.
What was it like for our colonial ancestors to prepare,  cook,  and eat their meals,  and what kinds of food were available to them?  How did they keep their foodstuffs from spoiling and rotting?
If you have questions such as this,  I believe you will enjoy this post.

In the Good Old Colony Days
A concise pictorial to everyday life in America's colonies.  And I do mean  "pictorial,"  for there are over 80 photos included,  covering nearly every aspect of colonial life.
I try to touch on most major topics of the period with links to read more detailed accounts.
This just may be my very favorite of all my postings.  If it isn't,  it's in the top 2!

Living By Candle Light: The Light at its Brightest
Could you survive living in the era before electric lights or even before the 19th century style oil lamps?
Do you know how many candles you would need for a year?
Do you know what it was like to make candles right from scratch,  or what it was like to visit your local chandler?
That's what this posting is about!

Revolutionary War History - Preventing Tyranny at Salem in 1775 
How Salem townsfolk pulled together and beat the British - a true pre-RevWar story that'll make you raise your fists and shout for America!

The Boston Massacre
The causes and tribulations that occurred on that March evening back in 1770.  Some say this was the spark the lead the colonists to unite against the British.
You be the judge.

Buried Treasure:  Stories of the Founding Generation
Interesting true tales of  everyday folk of the later 18th century,  including an interview with a soldier who was actually at Concord on April 19,  1775,  the powder horn of James Pike,  the true death-defying,  battle-scarred story of Samuel Whittemore,  runaway slaves & servants,  smallpox inoculations,  and Nabby Adams experience having breast cancer.
Quite a history lesson here!

It's the Little Things
Another post that touches on a variety of subjects,  such as Shadow Portraits, Bourdaloues, Revolutionary Mothers, and a few other interesting historical odds & ends.

A Year on a Colonial Farm
See what it was really like,  month to month,   for farm folks like Samuel Daggett and others as you spend all four seasons on an 18th century farm.

Some information for today's posting came from HERE
Birth information about the Daggett family came from HERE
Much of the information also came from the Benson Ford Research Center
The information on the Navarre-Anderson House came from THIS site

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