Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Links to the American Revolution from Passion for the Past Postings to Help Celebrate America's 250th

I've done a similar post a few years ago.
It's time for an update.


We are at the beginning of the Semiquincentennial  (the 250th anniversary)  of the colonists fighting and gaining independence and creating the United States of America.  It just seems like yesterday we were celebrating the 200th  (Bicentennial),  and here we are,  fifty years later...
Over the past decade I've been writing almost exclusively here on Passion for the Past about the numerous events that occurred during the birth of our nation,  as well as our reenactments of the period.  So with the anniversary already being commemorated,  I thought I would bring all the links concerning the American Revolution together in once concise post.  And I have them roughly in timeline order,  though there are the  "extra's"  at the end of the list.  There are pictures and small descriptions with each to hopefully entice you to check out my posts.  
So let us take a journey to the Revolutionary past and read about a number of  the various historic events that played a part in US becoming an independent nation  (the title of each post is the link).
~From John F.  Kennedy's Inaugural Address,  January 20,  1961~

This is a good post to begin with for it gives the reader an idea and vision of the lives of  those who fought in or were a part of the Revolutionary War and its era - 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.
In this posting I try to touch on most major topics of the period with links to read more detailed accounts if one desires.
This is a good overview to the lives and times of  "the Common Folk in the Period That Produced the Declaration of Independence."
Patty and I living the colonial life: 
doing the garden,  digging the weeds...
Who could ask for more?
"If ever two were one,  then surely we.
If ever woman were lov’d by husband,  then thee..."
Anne Bradstreet,  Colonial American Poet  (with a slight change)

There was not just one thing that lead up to the Declaration.  It was much more complicated. 
It was initially known as The Bloody Massacre,  but in the early part of the 19th century it became known as the Boston Massacre,  I try to give a good overview of not only the massacre itself,  but also what lead up to it and a bit of the trial afterward.
For a blog post,  this is a fairly in-depth  (though not encyclopedic)  look at what happened on the 5th of March in 1770;  an overview from a variety of sources of the occurrences.  So many are so unaware of what actually happened - it is my hope that maybe this posting could help to teach those who are somewhat unaware or even unfamiliar of the story of the Boston Massacre and events leading up to it,  beginning with the Stamp Act.
Taken from the excellent docudrama  "Legends & Lies:  The Patriots"

December 16,  1773 was an evening not to be forgot!
This post not only gives a history lesson on the Boston Tea Party,  but also talks about the 250th commemoration that took place in December 2023.  Plus a bit about the tea that was dumped.
A neat little collection of the tea that was spilled in Boston Harbor.

"Often referred to as  "the home of free speech"  and the  "Cradle of Liberty,"  Faneuil Hall hosted America's first Town Meeting.  The Hall's vital role in revolutionary politics had not been part of its original plans,  but it became home to an intricate collection of events that shaped the nation's history."
Then there's the interview with Samuel Downing and his amazing story. 
Here is Faneuil Hall as it looked in 1775.

This has got to be one of my very favorite actual historical stories to come out of the Revolutionary War...well, actually,  pre-Rev War,  for it happened only a few months before the battle of Lexington and Concord.
It's the simple telling of how the townsfolk of  Salem,  Massachusetts pulled together and beat the British without a single shot.
It is one of those stories that show true patriotism at its best - it'll make you stand and cheer!  
It would truly make for a great movie.
"Go home,"  she screamed at the Regulars, 
"and tell your master he sent you on a
fool's errand..."
No,  the gun is not pointed at the young lady.  It is the angle of which the photo was taken which makes it look that way.  We know better than to point a weapon directly at anyone.

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 act of defiance 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.
"Paul Revere Nearing his Charlestown Landing on April 18,  1775"

Billy Dawes rode with Paul Revere on that fate-filled night of April 18,  1775,  and they were eventually joined with Samuel Prescott.  Here is the Midnight Ride as told from a slightly different perspective.
"On the Road to Concord,  Revere and Dawes are Overtaken by Dr.  Samuel Prescott"

It was not only Paul Revere and William Dawes who made a ride on that fateful April night in 1775.  Meet the internet - the World Wide Web - of the 18th century.  It's here where you will find how thousands of militiamen from all around the general Massachusetts area gathered together to fight King George's army and win what is widely considered the first  "official"  battle of the American Revolution due to the brevity of the many midnight riders.  
Have you ever heard of the famous ride of Wentworth Cheswell?
Well,  I suppose you'll have to click the link and read all about him 
and his own Revolutionary ride!

This is the best part of research for me.  By combing through and utilizing the diaries,  journals,  letters,  newspapers/broadsides,  and remembrances from those who were there and actually saw the Battle of Lexington & Concord as it happened - actual witnesses of  the horrific occurrences of this date which will also live in infamy - and then putting these tales into a concise format to help tell the story from a unique perspective,  it is easy to be drawn into the tumultuous world of the men & women who were there and saw one of the most famous battles known to mankind.   Nearly every word in this post came from the quill of those who were there - - - - history comes to life!!  
I love what research can do!
The Michigan version of the Lexington Militia.

Many people who visit Greenfield Village do not know that inside these hallowed walls of history there are a few of the ancient houses that have direct ties to America's Revolutionary War...three specific homesteads which are situated near each other:  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,  and the long past inhabitants of  each of these historic 18th century houses played a role to some varying degree in the Revolutionary War.  
Each of these houses were originally built in New England and now sit inside Dearborn,  Michigan's historic Greenfield Village.  And each has a Revolutionary story to tell. 

The Henry Ford Museum has amassed a very large collection of Revolutionary War-era objects over the years.  And it is an amazing assemblage 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!
These artifacts had been displayed prominently during the Bicentennial in 1976.  The Henry Ford has since put many of those objects in their  "With Liberty and Justice For All"  exhibit.  I did a posting based solely around the 18th century items...and here  'tis.
It's been oft said that this is what started it all:  The Stamp Act.
And you can see it up close in this  "With Liberty and Justice For All"  exhibit.
The real deal.

What does the Declaration of Independence and our celebration of this great document every 4th of July mean to you?  Is it a chance to party?  A time for burgers  'n'  dogs barbecues?  Spending the day at the beach?  Fireworks?
Well,  hopefully each of these suggestions will play a part in your celebration.
So...how did the original 1st independence day generation celebrate?
Here's how....
We do our best to replicate the spirit and time of 1776 every 4th of July.

It wasn't only the famous Founding Fathers like Franklin,  Jefferson,  and Adams that took their lives into their own hands during this time by writing and signing this most famous of documents;  'twas the printers who printed such seditious articles that also found themselves in as much danger for spreading the rebellious words.
For this post I thought I would write about the Declaration from a slightly different angle;  I want to give a little kudos to the men who originally printed out the broadsides to be sent out right off the presses for public reading back in that summer of 1776,  for they put their lives on the line as treasonists nearly as much as the signers did.
From the idea of declaring independence to composing to printing and then delivering this most important American document...oh yeah,  there is a lot more history to our Declaration than I ever realized!
"My good man -"
"Yes,  Dr.  Franklin?"
I believe you miss-spelled  'necessary'  and  'dissolve' - you put a couple of  'f'' letters where  's'  should be."
"No,  sir.  That's called a long  's' - I thought you were aware of that?"
"Heh heh---I am---I was just making certain you were."
"Yes,  sir.  I read about it on Mr.  Giorlando's Passion for the Past blog post."
"What's a blog post?"  

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.
Benjamin Franklin and John Adams - two spirits of  '76 who helped develop
the Declaration of Independence.

I haven't loved a television show as much as I do AMC's Turn:  Washington's Spies since I can't remember when,  and the series,  though not as historically accurate as I'd like,  got me interested in a part of the Revolutionary War that I previously knew little about.
Revolutionary spies.
Another reason why I love this show so much is that,  even though it is not as historically accurate as I'd like,  it certainly got many who had little interest in the Revolutionary War loving our great American history---and all due to this TV show!
So I did some of my own research about RevWar spies,  and what I did here is write short but accurate biographies of  Washington's original spies from Long Island.  Also,  inserted throughout are pictures from the 4th  (and final)  season of the show,  for good measure.
I can't even imagine the tragic
 thoughts that ran through Nathan Hale’s mind at this moment.

Yes,   you heard right!  Actual photos of the men who fought in the Revolutionary War.  Of course,  the pictures were taken when the men were of an old age many years after the war had ended,  but still...looking into the eyes of those who were there - of those who actually saw  (and heard)  George Washington,  heard about the Declaration of Independence when it was current news,  and saw the British surrender at Yorktown - is quite a thrill.
Jonathan Smith,  in this photograph,  fought in the
Battle of Long Island on August 29,  1776,  and lived long
enough to have his images taken on a tintype.

This next couple of links for today's post is connected to America's Revolutionary War past:
Paul Revere was married twice,  with wife number one dying just before the Revolution,  and wife number two carrying on where his first wife left off.   
What I attempted to do in this post was to seek out virtually everything available about these two Mrs. Revere's.  I think I somewhat succeeded - -
Perhaps this could be Paul Revere and his first wife,  Sarah...

It's the Little Things
A post I wrote that touches on a variety of subjects,  such as Shadow Portraits,  Bourdaloues,  Revolutionary Mothers,  and a few other interesting historical odds & ends.  Mostly life histories that did not make the history books.
The home of John and Abigail Adams

Just like any generation,  there are stories to tell,  especially during the time of War.  Especially the Revolutionary War.  And if it were not for the many diaries,  letters,  and journals,  and even broadsides that our founding generation wrote and kept,  too many of these stories would be lost to time.  It's sad to think for every story from the past we have,  probably a thousand are no longer,  so we have to treasure those bits that are available to us.  This is one of the reasons why I collect the journals and diaries  (in published book form),  because I can see the writer in my mind,  and their time becomes my time.
There's plenty here in this post to get you thinking about the past in a different manner.
Times gone by is more than clothing.
A-waiting to tell a few more stories about life during the American Revolution.

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 how it actually was.
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,  and it made me realize just how much our country's founding relied upon the tavern.
There were newspapers,  bulletins,  and broadsides brought in and 
available for the more solitary to receive news and information.

The period of our Founding Fathers and their generation really was a fascinating time.  To me,  the folks that lived through this era - not just politicians or men in the military,  but regular people...men & women...at their home or place of occupation,  such as coopers and farmers - are genuine heroes,  for they all played a part in the founding of our nation,  and they put their lives on the line just by choosing to be a Patriot or even a Loyalist.  They were actually willing to give  "there last full measure of devotion"  (yes,  I know this is an Abraham Lincoln quote from the 1860s,  but it fits here as well)  for their beliefs and their want to accomplish something that has been  "...commemorated,  as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Act of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews,  Games,  Sports,  Guns, Bells,  Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."   (quote by John Adams) 


I enjoy reading,  teaching,  presenting,  as well as immersing myself in those times as a living historian.  And I cannot even begin to tell you what it does to my historical and Patriotic soul...I do believe the Spirit of '76 is still alive in us here in the 21st century.  I really do,  even though it may not always seem like it.  

Until next time,  see you in time.

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of America!
Click HERE

I hope the word gets out - - back during the Bicentennial,  it seemed as if everyone got involved in the celebration.  Click HERE and HERE

A few of us reenactors and living historians here in southeastern Michigan have our own Lexington & Concord event the last Saturday in April every year.
Click HERE to see how it went in 2023.

The State of Michigan is also celebrating!
Click HERE


1 comment:

Lady Locust said...

What a great compilation. It does make it easier to go back through all on a single topic or thread of thought. Not sure when I began reading here, but I got to go back and see some posts I hadn't read before. :-)