Sunday, April 11, 2021

"Remember the Raisin!" Visiting the River Raisin Battlefield in Michigan

I've traveled to Pennsylvania to see the battlefields of Gettysburg.  And I've traveled to Maryland to see the Antietam battlefields. 
But little did I know that here in Michigan we also have battlefields.
We sure do!
Right here in Michigan!
And it seems I'm not the only one who has been unaware of this bit of Michigan history.
You see,  the battles happened during the War of 1812.
1812!  You know,  the Second American War of Independence.
Hmmm...okay...yep...no wonder why it is also referred to as  "The Forgotten War."
To be honest with you,  the War of 1812 was barely mentioned when I was in school.  Even today,  it is pretty much glossed-over in most public schools.
But it certainly was  a war,  and part of it was actually fought right here on Michigan soil,  just about an hour from my house,  in fact. 
And until fairly recently,  I didn't know it.
And until very  recently,  I never visited it.
But this past March  (2021),  members of my family and I,  with camera in hand,  made the hour trek to the city of Monroe,  known then as Frenchtown  (26 miles south of Detroit),  to take a tour of this local history. 
It was pretty darn awesome.
So I would like to share some of our local history that played a role on a national stage.  
Pretty much everything you are about to read in this posting came directly from a River Raisin/1812 Driving Tour booklet I purchased as well as from the placards along the battlefields.
Of course,  this is the abridged version:

The seeds of this war were sown in many places.  Since war between Britain and France had broken out in 1793,  both countries tried to restrict international trade.  The United States was put in an awkward position,  unable to trade with either world power without incurring the wrath of the other.  In response,  Congress passed a series of non-importation acts and embargos,  each time trying to force the European powers to feel the sting of losing access to American markets.  Europe was largely unmoved,  and the United States fell into an economic depression.
During this time,  the British were also doing several other things that Americans considered to be insulting.  They rejected America's claim to neutrality in the global war,  effectively dismissing the former colony's national legitimacy.  They stopped American ships at sea and  "impressed"  American sailors—forcibly recruiting them into the Royal Navy on the spot.  They also armed Native American tribes that preyed on frontier settlers. 
When James Madison was elected to the presidency in 1808,  he instructed Congress to prepare for war with Britain.  On June 18,  1812,  buoyed by the arrival of  "war hawk"  representatives,  the United States formally declared war for the first time in the nation's history.  Many citizens in the Northeast opposed the idea,  but many others were enthusiastic about the nation's  "Second War of Independence"  from British oppression.
After the Michigan Territory was surrendered to the British during the onset of the War,  Native Nations and their British allies occupied a collection of French homes.  Tensions were high between the Natives and the French habitants,  who for years had been friends.  However,  the French habitants primarily sided with the United States and the Native Nations sided with the British.  The French here unfortunately suffered the consequences of abandoning their longtime friends and pleaded with the U.S.  Army for help.
Here is a depiction of the Farmstead of Jean  (John)  Baptiste Couture
Friends and family arrived at the farmstead of Jean Baptiste Couture and his wife Catherine on the cold New Year's Eve of 1812.  Guests brought baskets of food and jugs of spirits to celebrate Saints Feast Day,  ushering in the beginning of 1813.  As the children played outside,  the fiddlers turned the focus away from the topic of war to dancing and fellowship.  Card players shared stories of the past year's adventures,  but soon the conversation returned to the latest news regarding the Native and British occupation along the River Raisin.
Approximate location of where the Couture house once stood in conjunction
with the battlefield directly behind it.
In response to the French inhabitants pleas,  General James Winchester ordered Colonel William Lewis to liberate Frenchtown with 550 soldiers from the 1st and 5th Kentucky Volunteer Regiment camped at the north end of the Maumee Bay near present-day Toledo,  Ohio.  
So hopes for a peaceful new year were shattered on January 18,  1813,  when the combined U.S.  forces attacked the Native Confederation and British along the River Raisin.  
The River Raisin - only yards from the houses
The Kentuckians were joined by as many as 100 habitants,  many of them whom served in the Michigan Militia the previous summer,  and the entire force came together just south of the frozen River Raisin around three o'clock in the afternoon.  After successfully liberating the French habitants,  Kentucky regiment officers established their headquarters in the Couture home,  and Mr.  Couture resumed his responsibility as Captain of the 2nd Michigan.
Upon word that his forces had successfully liberated Frenchtown,  four additional companies were assembled and proceeded to the River Raisin on January 20,  1813.  In the meantime,  British Colonel Proctor assembled his forces at Fort Malden and proceeded to Brownstowne  (known then as Big Rock) to join around 800 native warriors,  including those from the Wyandot,  Shawnee,  Potawatomie,  Odawa,  Ojibwa,  Miami,  Creek,  Kickapoo,  and other Native Nation's tribes.
Together,  the Native Confederation and their British allies moved south to the River Raisin settlement.
Arriving before dawn on January 22 and unnoticed by the Americans,  they gathered into the battle positions about 300 yards to the north of Frenchtown.  Positioned in an arc along the wooded stretch of Mason Run,  three large British forces were organized and ready,  with the Regulars and artillery in the center.  The Natives were positioned about 200 yards to the right of the British,  along with Canadian militia.  
In the dim pre-dawn light,  just as reveille was sounding,  an American sentry spotted the Red-Coats and fired a shot into the forward line that killed the lead grenadier,  sending the just-awakened U.S.  forces into their battle positions.  Almost immediately,  the British opened up with their artillery and the infantry pushed forward from their center position.  They fired a powerful volley at what,  in the still dark distance,  had seemed to be a line of soldiers on the opposite end of the field of battle.  Assuming they had the advantage,  the British then made a fierce charge toward Frenchtown,  but their target they thought were U.S.  soldiers was actually the puncheon fence behind which the protected Kentuckians could fire at will.  With the British artillery overshooting their mark,  and the fence providing ample protection,  the Kentuckians were unscathed and unrelenting.  
In this photo we are at the British line looking toward the Americans. 
The River Raisin is just beyond the tree line.
This would have been snow-covered during the time of battle.
After twenty minutes the British were forced to retreat,  leaving a number of fallen comrades behind who were shot by Kentucky marksmen as they tried to crawl away.  
However,  matters were quite different on the American's right flank to the east.  The Canadian militia quickly adjusted the aim of their artillery,  and soon wreaked havoc on the exposed position of the U.S.  17th infantry.
The 17th Infantry were encamped in this area when the British and the Natives launched their surprise attack at dawn on the 22nd.  
As cannon fire tore through the encampment and shattered breastworks,  the exposed 17th also had to contend with militiamen and Wyandot fighters that had taken possession of some nearby buildings from which they could fire at will into their encampment.  The U.S.  struggled to hold their ground,  but eventually faltered when mounted warriors came around their right flank.  An attempt was made to send a few companies of Kentucky militiamen to the aid of the 17th infantry,  but the effort ultimately proved to be disastrous.  General Winchester ordered the infantrymen to fall back to the north bank of the river where they could meet up with the Kentuckians.  Together,  they made a brief stand,  but were soon overwhelmed by the pursuing Canadians,  Wyandot,  and Shawnee fighters.  After a frantic retreat to the south side of the river,  the American position disintegrated entirely.  All were swept up in the ensuing chaos,  fleeing pell mell toward the south.  Many were run down and killed.  Though some were able to escape,  most did not.  Of the approximately 400 U.S.  forces,  about 220 were killed and another 147 were captured.  Only 33 were able to escape.  
In this vicinity and parallel to the driveway here,  a line of scattered human remains were detected in 2000,  which may mark the main skirmish line of the 17th.  The bodies of those killed lay exposed to the elements for some time after the battle.

As this occurred,  the British and the Kentuckians were still fighting.  The Kentuckian's positions was too strong so the British regrouped and made more frontal attacks.  The final attack proved to be costly and brought total British casualties to 182,  a number far greater than the Kentuckians.
When General Winchester,  who had been captured,  was told that his men would be burned out of their position and attacked by a much larger force of native warriors,  he agreed to send a message encouraging the Kentuckians to surrender.  When they received the message,  they balked.  Feeling themselves on the verge of victory,  they believed the battle could be won.  As Private Elias Darnell later recalled,  "Some pleaded with the officers not to surrender,  saying they would rather die on the field!"  Major George Madison of the Kentucky 1st Regiment was committed to holding out long enough to influence the terms of surrender.  After some back and forth with the British,  Madison formerly surrendered.  In short,  Madison had two choices:  to surrender to the British,  or,  as he put it,  "be massacred in cold blood."
Though the battle was costly for the British Regulars and the Canadian militia,  whose combined losses accounted for nearly a third of their forces at Frenchtown,  the losses for the U.S.  forces was a disaster.  Of the 934 who heard the morning's reveille,  all but the 33 who managed to escape to the Maumee were either dead,  wounded,  or prisoners of war.  
Farmstead of Jean  (John)  Baptiste Jerome - right next door to the Coutures'.
This was where much of the fighting took place.
Left without sufficient ammunition,  more than 300 Americans were killed Jan. 22,  1813 during the Battle of Frenchtown.
A placard which now stands in the area of where the Jean  (John)  Baptiste Jerome home stood.
It was on January 22  that Captain Couture,  who,  just three weeks earlier enjoyed the New Year's celebration at his home,  was killed during the second Battle of the River Raisin while reinforcing the right wing of the U.S.  Army.  His son Medard hid his father's body near their home to prevent mutilation.  Catherine and their young children found refuge across the river at the home of Colonel Francois Navarre and were deeply shocked when a Native warrior entered the home on the morning of January 23 wearing the bloodied coat of their beloved husband and father,  confirming their worst fears.
Approximate location between Couture house and Jerome house.
The bloody fighting that went on here... 
After a sleepless night,  during the early morning hours of January 23,  "...the able-bodied prisoners began readying their wounded comrades for the trip to  (British)  Fort Amherstburg.  By this time,  however,  the Canadians and Indian guards already knew that no such journey would take place;  a pre-dawn council of Natives had determined to complete the victory by the U.S.  surrender to the British.  The Canadian guards departed Frenchtown upon hearing of the Native decision,  since they had no real authority over their Indian allies' actions.  The news of the Natives intentions was conveyed to U.S.  Captain Nathaniel Hart,  who was one of the wounded,  and was told,  "They intend to kill you."  When asked if intervention for the prevention might occur,  the interpreter stated that doing so would effectively make him an ally to the U.S.  and thus  "they will as soon kill  (me)  as you."  
The event that became known as the  "River Raisin Massacre"  was not a sudden burst of collective violence.  It began with a deliberate taking of valuables and able-bodies captives,  then soon turned into the killing of the most severely wounded survivors of the previous day's battles.  According to witness accounts from habitants and prisoners,  in the first hour or so after daybreak the number of Native Warriors that had some in to Frenchtown was fairly small---with the few who spoke English engaging with some of the men who were taking care of the wounded.  As Dr.  Bower described,  "They did not molest any person or thing upon their first approach,  but kept sauntering about until there were a large number collected,  at which time they commenced plundering the houses of the inhabitants and the massacre of the wounded prisoners."  Even then,  the killing followed a method that,  however brutal,  might be described in a way that the wounded who could not travel were the primary victims,  and they were killed with a suddenness that betrayed little or no emotion.  The same could be said of the looting,  the taking of able-bodied prisoners,  and the burning of buildings and structures---behaviors that were described as a kind of  "orderly conduct."  A sense of deliberate order did not diminish,  and perhaps intensified,  the sense of horror that many survivors would later describe;  the most vivid recollections related to the systematic nature of the killings and resulting treatment of the remains.  Men were killed with just one or two blows,  their bodies quickly stripped of clothing and often scalped,  and the bloody corpse left where it had fallen.  Elias Darnell recalled that in places the ground was  "strewed with the mangled bodies,  and all of them were left like those slain in battle,  on the 22nd,  for birds and beasts to tear in pieces and devour."
Farmstead of  George McDougal- right next door to the Jeromes'
While Captain Couture's son Medard tended U.S.  wounded in the nearby Jerome house,  a Native warrior captured him.  Ottawa Chief Waugon recognized Medard,  threw a blanket over him and declared,  "His father lies dead in the yard,  he is now my son."  Chief Waugon saved Medard's life,  but the Couture family buildings were looted and burned.
All of the structures and buildings that had survived the previous days' battles were destroyed,  leaving the core area of Frenchtown in ruins. 
Painting courtesy of the American Battlefield Trust
 
Approximate location of the McDougal house with the battlefield

Partially built farmstead of  Hubert Lacroix - right next door to the McDougals

Approximate location of the Lacroix house

The homes in the previous photos would have been along this field.
The resulting massacre of American prisoners at the hands of Native Americans on January 23,  1813 inspired Kentucky soldiers to enlist,  heeding the new rally cry  "Remember the River Raisin!" 
This picture was taken directly across the filed from where the previous photos were taken - this was where the British were lined up.
Over the next several days,  most of the surviving prisoners were either turned over to the British at Amherstburg or ransomed in the streets of Detroit.  Several were taken to their captors' villages,  some being as near as River Rouge and others as far as the Straits of Mackinac.  These men could expect two fates:  kind treatment and adoption by the kin of one of their own who had died previously at the hands of a U.S.  soldier,  thus filling a place of the deceased,  or killed as atonement.  In either case the decision about their fate was generally left to the nearest female kin of the deceased.

Artist Tim Kurtz'  peaceful rendering of the homes as they looked before being destroyed.
The Battle ended in what was described as a  "national calamity"  by then General  (and later President of the United States)  William Henry Harrison.  Frenchtown was a desolate settlement for eight months following the battle.  American dead were left unburied due to Indian threats;  and more homes were burned and plundered.  The River Raisin was liberated on September 27,  1813,  when Colonel Richard M. Johnson's Kentucky cavalry,  guided by men from the Raisin,  rode into the settlement.  The Americans continued their march north,  liberating Detroit and destroying the British-Canadian-Indian coalition in the west at the battle of the Thames,  or as Canadians call it,  the battle of Moraviantown  (near present-day Chatham,  Ontario),  on October 5,  1813.  The battle cry,  "Remember the Raisin!"  with graphics depicting the horrors that occurred in January was so powerful that revenge was sought,  and inspired a massive U.S.  victory at the Battle of the Thames,  which sealed the War of 1812 in the western theater for the U.S.,  claiming the life of the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh,  and resulted in the end the American Indian Confederation.  The Aftermath of the Battles resulted in the implementation of Indian removal from the Northwest Territory at the conclusion of the War of 1812,  an aftermath that continues to influence the United States today.
The Battle of Frenchtown,  also called the Battle of the River Raisin,  was one of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812.

It is unfortunate that we learn so little about the French & Indian War and the War of 1812 when they were actually so important in our Nation's history.
Here is your chance to rectify one of those situations:
We support Greenfield Village & the Henry Ford MuseumCrossroads Village,  The Detroit Historical Museum,  Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne...and we should support River Raisin Battlefield through visitation and donations.  I only wish I had known of this history before.  You can bet the kids in my classroom will know about it.

If you enjoyed this,  please consider visiting the River Raisin Battlefield.  Also,  please consider donating to help support the River Raisin National Battlefield Park.  They are working to bring the battlefields back to the way they looked during the time of the great battle.
The River Raisin National Battlefield Park Education Center lobby will be open effective May 8.  There will be a large art installation celebrating Michigan wildlife and fauna.  
Open House,  with Lacroix Company,  will be May 15.

Also,  HERE is the link to the American Battlefield Trust - preserving battlefields across America.

In March 2021,  my three oldest sons,  one of my daughter-in-laws,  and my three grandkids all ventured to the River Raisin Battlefield and were given a wonderful tour.  This was the first time for each of us to come here and we were all pretty excited to see Michigan history in such a way that can't be seen anywhere else.
My family and I at the River Raisin Battlefield in March 2021.
This was pretty cool.
I thank the powers-that-be for all they did to make this such a wonderfully historical trip.


Sources:  
Some of the information came from HERE
Click HERE for more sourced information
Of course,  our tour guides,  Marty & Rusty,  were pretty darned awesome!

And after your battlefield tour,  please make sure you visit the Navarre-Anderson Trading Post just about five miles up the road.  Built in 1789,  it is the oldest native-to-Michigan structure in the lower peninsula:
Visit the 18th century! 
No cost!

And just for my own curiosity's sake,  I learned that since 1775,  the United States has been involved in about a dozen wars:  
Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Mexican-American War
Civil War
Spanish-American War
The Great War  (World War I)
World War II
Korean War
Viet Nam War
The Gulf War
War In Afghanistan
Iraq War

Until next time,  see you in time.












































~   ~   ~



Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Past: A Short History of the Paschal Celebration

Easter,  the most holy day in the Christian calendar,  tends to be a bit quieter compared to another popular Christian holiday - Christmas.  Yes,  I know about the Easter Bunny and Easter baskets filled with candy and eggs,  but even those traditions are more on the subtle side.  I also know stores are trying to make it a big-spending deal like Christmas,  but I don't believe Easter will ever become as commercialized.
Which is fine. 
And there is a history to this celebration of this springtime holiday,  and I plan to explore some of that here.
Pascha,  or Easter,  morning.
If you see Facebook memes floating around here and there,  you might find one spreading the rumor that states Easter is based on a pagan holiday.  It is claimed that the word  “Easter”  is derived from the name of a pagan fertility goddess,  “Eostre.”  However,  there is no solid consensus on this.  The Venerable Bede,  an English Benedictine monk of the 7th century,  was the first to claim that Easter was derived from Eostre.  Ronald Hutton,  professor of medieval history at Oxford,  argues that this interpretation is not to be trusted.  "It falls into a category of interpretations which Bede admitted to be his own,  rather than generally agreed or proven fact,"  he says.  
Other medieval scholars have also thrown doubt on Bede's claims,  noting that in most other European languages,  the festival has names derived from the Greek word  "Pascha,"  from  "Pesach,"  the Greek and Hebrew word for Passover.  Easter is commonly thought throughout the world as the Christian Passover festival.  
The Church itself,  since ancient times,  has actually referred to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as  “Pascha,”  and still does in the Catholic Church I attend.  I never knew what Pascha meant until I looked for it on my own.  I have found that there is plenty of information dug up by the historical researchers that show neither the commemoration of Christ's death and resurrection nor its name are derived from paganism.
In many cultures,  by the way—including our own—the image of a bunny,  rather than that of the risen Christ,  predominates,  bearing no relationship whatsoever to the essence of Pascha;  such secular symbols,  however,  surely do not define the Church’s Paschal celebration,  nor do they indicate that they are  “Church approved,”  so to speak.  Further,  their presence is hardly a serious basis for accusing the Church of celebrating a  “Christianized”  version of a fertility rite.
The fireplace mantle at Edison Cottage Greenfield Village depicting decorations for a 1915 Easter celebration.
However,  many of the traditions and symbols we now associate with Easter,  such as eggs and rabbits,  do have their origins in pre-Christian pagan rituals.  The Encyclopedia of Religion says:  "The egg symbolizes new life breaking through the apparent death  (hardness)  of the eggshell."  And as for the rabbit,  it was  "known as an extraordinarily fertile creature,  and hence it symbolized the coming of spring."
The other side of the fireplace mantle at the Edison Cottage from 1915.

And the middle of the Edison mantle showing 1915 Easter decorations.
Easter bunnies are first mentioned in the 1682 book De Ovis Paschalibus  (About Easter Eggs)  by Georg Franck von Franckenau,  which told of the German tradition of a hare bringing Easter eggs for the children.
The following Easter Bunny information came from THIS site
Easter is known spiritually for it’s religious meanings  (Christianity)  and known commercially for the Easter Bunny arriving with his/her baskets of brightly colored eggs and candy for the children. 
Osterhase
What you may not know,  is the Easter Bunny was introduced to America by the German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 18th century.  The arrival of the Osterhase  (Easter Bunny in German)  was considered one of  “childhood’s greatest pleasures,”  similar to the arrival of  (Santa Claus)  on Christmas Eve.  According to the tradition,  children would build brightly colored nests,  often out of caps and bonnets,  in secluded areas of their homes.  The  “Oster Hase”  would,  if the children had been good,   lay brightly colored eggs in the nest.  As the tradition spread,  the nest has become the manufactured,  modern Easter basket,  and the placing of the nest in a secluded area has become the tradition of hiding baskets.
Another Easter tradition during the 18th century was the baking of Hot Cross Buns.  Since before medieval times,  marking baked goods  (like breads,  buns,  and cakes)  with the sign of a cross was a common thing for a homemaker or a baker to do.  The cross was said to ward off evil spirits which could affect the bread and make it go moldy.
Traditional Hot Cross Buns
The cross was etched on the top of the bun.  The round bun represented the full moon,  and the cross divides the bun into the four lunar quarters.  Traditional buns have the cross cut into the dough or pricked out with a pin.  Although the first name for these buns were Good Friday Buns or Cross Buns,  the earliest written instance of the name  ‘Hot Cross Buns’  comes from the year 1733.
Bread and religion have been intricately linked for thousands of years,  well before Christianity,  going back even to the stone age.  However,  in the 1700s,  ‘buns’  were specifically looked at by scholars,  who thought they could be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman customs.
The 1778 book  “A View Of Northumberland”  written by William Hutchinson and Thomas Randal,  explains,  “I intimated in the preceding pages,  an intention of remarking the Sweet Bread used in religious rites.  Small loaves of bread,  peculiar in their form,  being long and sharp at both ends,  are called Buns.  This name takes place where old religious ceremonies have been solemnized,  derived from the consecrated sweet bread,  which was offered on high festivals … the offerings which people in ancient times used to  “present to the Gods,”  were generally purchased at the entrance of the temple;  especially every species of consecrated bread,  which was denominated accordingly.  One species of sacred bread which used to be offered to the Gods,  was of great antiquity,  and called Boun .… The custom of Hot Cross Buns in London,  on the morning of Good Friday,  seems to have relation to these ancient practices.  We only retain the name and form of the Boun;  the sacred uses are no more.”
The sign of the cross marked into breads was acceptable on Good Friday to the English Puritans,  because it commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.   
The Christian traditional preparation for Easter Sunday consists of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  So Good Friday,  and the food consumed on this day  (Good Friday Buns / Hot Cross Buns)  are also traditionally a part of  Lent fasting.  Dr.  Johnson kept this Good Friday breakfast tradition by eating cross buns.  From  “The Life Of Samuel Johnson,”  by James Boswell,  published 1791: “On the 9th of April  (1773),  being Good Friday,  I breakfasted with him on tea and cross-buns … On April 18 (1783),  (being Good-Friday)  I found him at breakfast,  in his usual manner upon that day,  drinking tea without milk,  and eating a cross bun to prevent faintness.”
Hot Cross Buns vendor--1799
By the 1700s,  in many English towns,  these Cross Buns were sold on the streets all day long by street sellers crying,  “One-a-penny,  two-a-penny,  hot-cross buns.”  Some did not find the cries very sacred.   From  “The Country Magazine”  published in 1788,  “Observations On The London Cries – Hot Cross-Buns” — although they occur but once a-year,  are cried to a tune which has nothing of that majesty which would accompany sacred music —There is a slur upon hot which destroys the effect;  and,  indeed,  gives the whole a very irreverent sound.”
Just in case  ‘Hot Cross Buns”  are something you would like to add to your Easter tradition,  here is a :
Recipe from “The Art Of Cookery”  By Hannah Glasse,  Published 1740:
“To make Buns.  TAKE two pounds of fine flour,  a pint of good ale-yeast,  put a little sack  (white wine)  in the yeast,  and three eggs beaten,  knead all these together with a little warm milk,  a little nutmeg,  and a little salt;  and lay it before the fire till it rises very light,  then knead in a pound of fresh butter,  a pound of rough carraway comfits,  and bake them in a quick oven,  in what shape you please,  on floured paper.”

Now,  why does the date of Easter change every year?
It's because the date on which Easter occurs is related to the full Moon.  The changing seasons and the moons have been observed and kept time for all people from time immemorial.  So then Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the full Moon that occurs on or just after the spring equinox.  For instance,  in 2021,  the spring equinox happened on Saturday,  March 20.  The first full Moon to occur after that date rose on Sunday,  March 28  (Palm Sunday).  Therefore,  Easter is observed on the following Sunday,  which is Sunday,  April 4.  In Christian calendars,  the first full Moon of spring is called the  “Paschal Full Moon,"  so,  to put it another way:  Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.
Why do we call it “Good Friday”?
"Good"  comes from the Old English/14th century meaning  “pious”  or  “holy,”  in reference to persons or God  (“goodbye,”  for instance,  is a contraction of  “God be with you”  as a favorable blessing or gesture upon parting).
Thus,  the Middle English meaning of  "holy"  is preserved in our modern times in  “Good Friday.”
Isn’t etymology wonderful?
Because Easter/Pascha celebrations have mostly been in a more subtle vein,  and is still celebrated very much as it has been for centuries - with modern touches added as times changed - there is little else I have been able to find on the holiday itself.  However,  it is interesting to note those changing celebrations through time,  which you will see in a few of the following photographs.
You see,  I took the pictures below at Greenfield Village on a beautiful spring day in 2019.  In fact,  they were taken on Easter Sunday.  It's not often that Greenfield Village is open on Easter,  due to the timing of the holiday as explained earlier,  and since my family celebrates Easter on the Saturday before,  therefore allowing all family members to get together for the day rather than spend it between multiple households,  I,  for the first time ever,  was able to visit the Village on Easter Sunday itself!
And do you know what?  It was wonderful.  I mean,  it just  'felt'  like Easter...and it felt like spring...with the sun out,  warm temperatures,  the festive mood of all the visitors  (and there were many!),  and the presenters all seemed to be really enjoying themselves as well.
As I strolled along the sidewalk...
Welcome to the dawn of the 20th century!
What marvels and wonders await us!
We’ve already been seeing the horseless carriage becoming more and more 
popular – I wonder if their popularity will ever overtake the horse & carriage…
or might it just be a fad?
And what about all this talk about the aeroplane?
I daresay,  you’ll never catch me up in one of those!
The flag that flies over our local courthouse has only 45 stars on it.  I wonder if their number will increase in the coming century…?
That’s what this photograph makes me think when I see it.

The Martha-Mary Chapel
~Happy Easter---Pascha~
Looking across the Village green,  we see the non-denominational chapel that was based on a Universalist church in Bradford,  Massachusetts.  The bricks and the doors came from the building in which Henry Ford and Clara Bryant were married in 1888 - the Bryant family home in old Greenfield Township  (from which the Village name was taken).  The name  "Martha-Mary"  came from the first names of his mother and mother-in-law.
By the way,   the bell,  according to the 1930s guide book I have,  was cast by the son of Paul Revere! 

From this angle we see the back of Doc Howard’s Office,  originally built in 1838,  the Logan County Courthouse from 1840,  and the George Washington Carver Memorial cabin,  built in 1942 by Henry Ford to honor his friend,  agricultural scientist George Washington Carver.  
Oh,  and I spy a horse and carriage on the road in the distance.

There were plenty of Model T's about,  though I see no Easter Bonnets being worn.
In the background there,  on the right,  is the  "nerve center of Menlo Park."
The original brick building,  erected the same year as the machine shop - 1878 - was one of the unfortunate structures to disappear nearly completely,  sans one lone shutter,  from the compound in New Jersey.  When reconstructing this building,  just like the other reconstructed Menlo Park buildings,  Mr.  Ford relied heavily on old photographs,   newspaper etches,  and memories of those who were there 
in the 1870's and 1880's,   including Thomas Edison himself.
To keep this as authentic as he could,  Ford arranged to have bricks supplied by the same firm that furnished the originals,  and, after the structure had been completed,  placed a single slat from the original  'lone shutter'  in each of the rebuilt shutters to shade the windows.

The horse-drawn carriages took tours around the Village as well.
I still haven't seen any Easter Bonnets.
Where's Judy Garland when you need her?
That's the Sarah Jordan Boarding House where many of Edison's workers stayed.  Built in 1870,  this building originally stood near the laboratory where Thomas Edison and his men toiled.
I wonder if he gave them Easter Sunday off?

The Ackley Covered Bridge
"At one time covered bridges were as much a part of any journey as are today's traffic signals."  So says noted Americana historian Eric Sloane.  One such bridge spanned Enlow's Fork of Wheeling Creek,   Pennsylvania.  It was built in 1832 by Daniel and Joshua Ackley,  from whose land the great oak timbers came.  There was much help from the men of the community in its construction.
The wooden covering on such bridges were inexpensive and easy to replace,  but they had an important job - to protect the floor boards.  A number of local folk at the time felt the bridge should have been constructed of hickory in honor of the then president,  Andrew Jackson,  known by his nickname,  'Old Hickory.'

A beautiful spring day in 1915...
When the grandfather of Thomas Edison led his family into Upper Canada in 1811,  he settled in Vienna,  Ontario,  near the shore of Lake Erie.  In 1816,  their log cabin was replaced by this homestead,  the first and for many years the only frame structure in that region.  In this home,  the father of the great inventor,  Samuel,  grew to manhood,  and married Nancy Elliot,  the village school teacher,  in the Sunday parlor in 1828.
It was in the 1830s the couple moved to the United States.
Young Tom had returned to his ancestral home over many summers and fondly recalled the large,  simple,  farm-type kitchen.

Meanwhile,  on the inside of the Edison Cottage:
It is 1915 here at the Edison Cottage,  and the celebration of Easter reflects that.
Sharon,  here,  and Patience  (top)  have,  unfortunately,  retired from Greenfield Village.  I appreciate them both and their willingness to share their knowledge beyond the normal presentation.  I wish I could have recorded each and every presentation I heard from them!

Hmmm...methinks we may try to decorate our home
in this manner.  I rather like it.

As we continue on our journey to Easter/Pascha past...
On the right we see the Susquehanna Plantation from Maryland.
Originally thought to have been built around 1650,  it was later found that it is actually from the 1830s.
   As the owners of this house also owned slaves,  I felt it apropos to include a bit about the lives of slaves and holidays:
"Economics,  not a slave owner's  "good nature,"  determined the celebration of holidays.  If slaves were behind schedule in gathering,  planting,  or storing crops,  only the most liberal and munificent slaveholders granted more than a few hours or a day of holiday celebration.  When not given time off,  slaves might receive some paternalistic token,  including gifts of clothing,  special food items, household items, or cash."
Information from Charles Ball - former slave.

Upon entering the home built around 1750 by Samuel Daggett,  oftentimes we hear he and his family - wife Anna,  son Isiah,  and daughters Asenath and Talitha - were Congregationalists in their religious beliefs.  However,  what is a Congregationalist in comparison to a Presbyterian,  Methodist,  or even Catholic? 
And,  knowing they did not celebrate Christmas,  did they celebrate Easter?
Congregationalism in the United States consisted of Protestant churches that had a congregational form of church government and trace their origins mainly to Puritan settlers of colonial New England.  Their churches have had an important impact on the religious,  political,  and cultural history of the United States,  for their practices concerning church governance influenced the early development of democratic institutions in New England.  Congregationalists were also known for their interest in an educated clergy.  For that reason they founded Harvard College.  Later,  colleges such as Dartmouth,  Olivet,  and Oberlin were organized by their efforts.
The home of the Daggett family in the last half of the 18th century.
The American Congregational community was a part of the Great Awakening,  a widespread religious revival movement that began in 1734 under the influence of Jonathan Edwards.  The Awakening,  however,  revealed the differences emerging between two wings of Congregationalism.  On one side were those who maintained the Calvinist tradition with a greater emphasis on the affective elements in religion.  On the other was a rapidly growing Unitarianism,  which paralleled a similar movement in England.  With the exception of the churches in Connecticut  (where the Daggetts lived)  where Congregationalism had taken root and remained the established church from the 18th century into the 19th century.
Enjoying an Easter/Pascha meal on Easter/Pascha Sunday in the 1760s?
Hmmm...
I have found nothing either way if the Daggetts celebrated Easter,  though from what I can gather,  most Congregationalists did not.  They viewed it much in the same manner as they viewed Christmas,  thus the Holiday being another Papist Holiday,  of which they despised,  and the date not being biblically based.
The Daggetts came from strong Puritan stock,  and Puritans,  from whence Congregationalists came,  valued order over other social virtues,  reasoning that men required rules to guide them and bind them to their good behavior.  Authority dominated people's lives,  beginning with the highest authority of God,  then the authority of religious leaders,  and finally the authority of the male head of the household.  
Sunday dinner...
In the 1760s,  though changes were on the horizon,  many of these attitudes would have still described rural New England families.  They still perceived themselves as deeply religious people.  They observed the hand of God in everyday occurrences.  They believed in order,  hard work,  and maintaining high moral standards. 

The Giddings,  from the same period in time as the Daggetts,  were also Congregationalists~
Puritans thought it un-Christian to use the names of heathenish deities.  For a while,  they managed to abandon the word  ‘Monday’  and all the rest of the days of the week,  as well as the names of the months.  So Sunday,  derived from the Teutonic name for its sun deity,  Sonntag,  became simply the first.  Monday was the second,  Tuesday the third,  and so forth.
For a time,  the Puritans also called the months by numbers,  with March being the first and February the twelfth  (before the  "Gregorian"  or  "New Style"  Calendar was adopted in 1752).  Because the year began in March,  records referring to the  "first month"  pertain to March;  to the second month pertain to April,  etc.,  so that  "the 19th of the 12th month"  would be February 19.  In fact,  in Latin,  September means seventh month,  October means eighth month,  November means ninth month,  and December means tenth month. 
You see,  it was during the Middle Ages when it began to became apparent that the Julian leap year formula had overcompensated for the actual length of a solar year,  having added an extra day every 128 years.  However,  no adjustments were made to compensate.  By 1582,  seasonal equinoxes were falling 10 days  "too early,"  and some church holidays,  such as Easter,  did not always fall in the proper seasons.  In that year,  Pope Gregory XIII authorized,  and most Roman Catholic countries adopted,  the  "Gregorian"  or  "New Style"  Calendar.  As part of the change,  ten days were dropped from the month of October,  and the formula for determining leap years was revised so that only years divisible by 400  (e.g.,  1600,  2000)  at the end of a century would be leap years.  January 1 was established as the first day of the new year.  Protestant countries,  including England and its colonies,  not recognizing the authority of the Pope,  continued to use the Julian Calendar.  It wasn't until 1750 that an act of Parliament in England changed calendars dates to align with the Gregorian Calendar rather than remain with the Julian calendar.  The beginning of the legal new year was then moved from March 25 to January 1.
Whew!  There's a lot to comprehend,  isn't there?  Read it again and it will make sense.

Meanwhile,  over at the Sounds of America Gallery...formerly known as the Stephen Foster Memorial...
This structure, built in Lawrenceville  (now part of Pittsburgh),  Pennsylvania in 1830,  was purchased by Henry Ford in 1934,  and placed inside Greenfield Village a year later.  There is an interesting,  albeit confusing,  story to this house and its supposed connection to one of the most prolific songwriters in American history
When Henry Ford bought this house,  he was told prolific 19th century composer Stephen Foster had lived here.  However,  the mayor of Pittsburgh declared that Ford had bought the wrong house.  His statement was seconded by Foster's biographer,  John Tasker Howard,  who,  while conceding the land on which the house stood was owned by Foster's father,  pointed out that there was  "little documentary evidence"  to support the claim that the homestead was ever occupied by Stephen Foster himself.  
Here is a list of a number of Stephen Foster's biggest  'hits'  (as far as sheet music in the mid-19th century can be considered):
Camptown Races
Old Folks at Home  (aka Way Down Upon the Suwanee River)
My Old Kentucky Home
Hard Times Come Again No More
Beautiful Dreamer
O Susannah
Bring My Brother Back To Me
If You've Only Got A Moustache
Gentle Annie
Merry Merry Month of May
I Dream of Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair
Nothing But A Plain Old Soldier
Nelly Bly
We Are Coming Father Abraham
Old Dog Tray
The Glendy Burke
Katy Bell
Massa's In De Cold Ground
Laura Lee
Willie Has Gone To The War
Some Folks Do
Ring De Banjo
Better Times Are Comin'
To judge for himself,  Ford made two well-publicized trips to Pittsburgh,  expressed his faith in the house,  and ordered it removed to Dearborn.  On July 4,  1935,  the house - in the presence of 70 of Foster's descendants - was formally added to the Greenfield Village collection.  One of Foster's granddaughters lit  "a perpetual monument of fire"  in a stove inside the house and a sign,  "The Birthplace of Stephen Foster,"  was hung above the front door
After Ford's death the trustees of Greenfield Village wanted to clear up the controversy of whether Foster was actually born in this house or not due to the insistence of other Foster relatives,  so a professional historian was hired to do the determination.  The historian's conclusion was that Foster's actual birthplace was torn down in 1865 and that Ford's agents either ignored or did not understand the available evidence at the time.  The house,  as of 1953,  was then known as the Stephen Foster Memorial.
But,  the controversy didn't end,  and through the 1960's other historians offered their  'professional'  opinions.  After continued research they decided Mr.  Ford and his agents were,  in fact,  correct and the Village,  in 1971,  renamed it,  once again,  the Stephen Foster Birthplace.
In the 1990's,  after another bout of research,  the historians one more time agreed that this was not the birthplace of Stephen Foster,  doubting,  in fact,  that he ever lived in this house.  But,  it was on the property belonging to his father.
So,  rather than just have it as a restored  'mistake,'  the Village,  in 2003,  decided to incorporate the music and the musical instruments of the era of Stephen Foster into a house-sized showcase.
And,  as you can see by the small list of Foster's compositions beneath the above photograph,  his songs truly were the soundtrack of not only his generation but of future generations to come.
Even if this is not his birth home,  Stephen Foster deserves any memorial that he receives,  for he was the Lennon & McCartney of his day,  and I believe his songs will live on for generations to come.
And rightfully so,  for not only are they wonderful songs but they wonderfully depict the time in which he lived.

Moving through a few centuries on an Easter Sunday could be quite exhausting,  but I found my way back to the turn-of-the-20th century,  nearing the point where I would soon be in my own time.  However,  people continued coming through the Village gates to enjoy the beautiful April weather and festive Holiday atmosphere.

As I made my way out,  this little vignette showing a snippet of life around 1930 caught my eye.   
Make sure you have Easter flowers to bring home to your wife.

And now here is a little Easter/Pascha at my own house:
This was our lonely  "covid-19"  table last year  (2020).
This year it was surrounded by my family.
As it should be.
Easter is a pleasant holiday that isn't marred by an over-abundance of gifts and food.  Just an Easter basket with a few eggs and candy treats,  perhaps a small in-expensive gift,  a nice meal,  and family.
Though much of the history and symbols of Easter aren't necessarily biblically based,  that doesn't mean they don't remind us of why we celebrate the holiday.
I hope your Easter/Pascha is a bless'd one.

~   ~   ~
History Extra!
Since we are on a religious-laden topic,  let's visit a true historic church before we go~
~   ~   ~


Back in the old days, churches were always to be the tallest structure in any town or village, and the point to where anyone from any part of town may see it was very important. It also would house the bell to be rung for service or for important news, therefore it could be heard farther into the countryside the higher it was. So rather than build an extremely tall building, they built a tall steeple to place the cross atop and put the bell inside instead.
And, yes, we could see (and hear) the Bruton church steeple from across Williamsburg.
Dating from 1715, the Bruton Parish Church is the third in a series of Anglican houses of worship that began in 1660.
It certainly is the oldest church I have ever been in!
The Reverend James Blair,  president of the College of William and Mary and Virginia's highest-ranking clergyman,  approved construction on March 1,  1711.  The same day,  Governor Alexander Spotswood provided an architectural drawing of a cruciform design.

Yes,  that is my lovely wife there:
During our visit to Colonial Williamsburg in 2016.


Work began in 1712 with an October 15,  1714 deadline.  The December 2,  1715 entry in the vestry book says,  "at length new Church is finished, or nearly so." 
 In 1761,  merchant James Tarpley presented the church with a bell.  Bids for a steeple or belfry to house the bell were let on January 1,  1769.  The vestry awarded a £410 contract for a brick tower surmounted by a wooden octagon and for miscellaneous repairs to Benjamin Powell that September 14.  The addition can be seen from outside the church,  as the steeple bricks have a darker color than the salmon-hued bricks of the rest of the church. Tarpley's bell is still in use.
And here is another view.

In 1724,  when the city was just 25 years old,  a professor from the College of William and Mary sketched a Williamsburg vista in a book... 

"From the Church,"  he said,  "runs a Street northward called Palace Street;  at the other end of which stands the Palace or Governor's House,  a magnificent Structure built at the publick Expense,   finished and beautified with Gates,  Fine Gardens,  Offices,  Walks,  a fine Canal,  Orchards,  &c."

The oldest church I have seen in person.

And now,  the inside!
Governor Spotswood was provided with a canopied chair on a platform inside the rail opposite the raised pulpit with its overhanging sounding board.  Parishioners sat in boxed pews,  their walls providing privacy and protection from drafts.

In the early years the sexes sat apart.  A vestry book entry for January 9,  1716,  says:
"Ordered that the Men sitt on the North side of the church,  and the women on the left."

BAPTISMAL FONT
This font,  used regularly for baptisms,  
occupies a central place in the governor’s pew at Bruton,  
reminder of the central focus on baptism in the church.   
It came to Bruton circa 1758 from the church at Jamestown
via its successor,  the Church on the Main, located about 
two miles west of Jamestown on the mainland

My wife and I and our daughter inside Bruton Parish Church. 
In 1781,  the church served as a storehouse or even a hospital,  or perhaps both,  
during the Battle of Yorktown.
This is a very impressive structure,  one that should not be missed 
when visiting this city.

Here are a couple of colonial-era tombstones
inside the church yard


Maybe one day I can experience an Easter service here.
Wouldn't that be something? 
I do hope you enjoyed today's posting.  Yes,  it was a bit different from what I normally post,  but I found the information quite interesting and,  as a living historian,  very useful as well.  I also had a few of my own questions answered.

Until next time,  see you in time.

Some Easter information came from HERE
Other info came from HERE
Puritan and Congregationalist information came from THIS book as well as from the Collections of the Henry Ford.
And the information about Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg came from HERE



 



























~   ~   ~