Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deborah Sampson: Woman Warrior of the American Revoultion

Despite the fact that women were not allowed to join the military until the 1940s, hundreds of women still fought as soldiers in the American Revolution. These women often disguised themselves as men and used aliases to avoid detection. Like the secret female soldiers in the Civil War, they were often young, poor, unmarried women looking to serve their country and earn money for their families...Click here to read more:

The Boston Massacre Victims

After five people were shot dead by British soldiers during the Boston Massacre in 1770, many patriot leaders used the tragedy to stir up hostility against the British government. Samuel Adams tugged at the heart strings of the public by holding a public funeral for the five victims and portraying them as martyrs of a brutal regime before burying them in Granary Burying Ground and erecting a marker “as a momento to posterity of that horrid massacre,” according to the book “Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary.”...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Was Samuel Adams an Embezzler?

Although known as a brave patriot of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams was also a tax collector and bankrupt businessman who had been accused of embezzling public funds shortly before the revolution began.

Portrait of Samuel Adams by Copley
Adams, a wealthy nobleman and cousin of John Adams, had a flair for politics that won him the position of tax collector for the city of Boston in 1756. Although he was a bad business man who had squandered the earnings from his father's business just a few years before, Adams was appointed to the job on account of his honesty and willingness to serve the city of Boston...Click here to read more:

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Stamp Act

The Stamp Act was a law passed by Parliament in March of 1765 taxing all paper used to print materials in the colonies. The act required that all printed materials be printed on paper embossed with an official revenue stamp. These materials included magazines, newsletters, legal documents and newspapers.

Newspaper announcement of the Stamp act
The tax was intended to raise money for troops stationed along the Canadian border after the British victory in the French and Indian War. The government decided to keep troops in the area after the war to prevent having an idle standing army at home. Parliament felt that since colonists would benefit the most from the protective presence of the soldiers, they should pay for the cost.... Click here to read more:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Adams

Portrait of John Adams by Stuart
John Adams is one of the most notable patriots of the American Revolution. A Harvard-educated lawyer, farmer and U.S. ambassador, he later became the second President of the United States after serving as George Washington's Vice President.

Born on October 30 in 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts, Adams was the son of Deacon John Adams and Susanna Boylston of Braintree. The Adams family was an old English family descending from Mayflower pilgrim John Alden. John Adams was also the cousin of Samuel Adams...Click here to read more:

Monday, December 5, 2011

When Christmas Was Banned in Boston

When the Puritans came to the New World in 1620, they brought with them their strict ways, their religious views and their distaste for Christmas. Although Christmas was widely celebrated in Europe as a Christian holiday marking the birth of Jesus Christ, Puritans saw it as a false holiday with stronger ties to Paganism than Christianity. Known for being pious and reserved, Puritans also took a dislike to the drinking and dancing associated with the holiday.

After the Puritans left the old world, they decided to leave these holiday traditions behind. Instead of feasting and giving gifts, Puritans commemorated Christmas by praying, reflecting on sin and working instead of resting...Click here to read more:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paul Revere

Portrait of Revere by Copley, circa 1768
Paul Revere was a silversmith and patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting local militia of the approaching British forces shortly before the battle of Lexington and Concord.

Born in the North End of Boston in December of 1734, Revere's father was Apollos Rivoire, a French Huguenot immigrant who later changed his name to Paul Revere to fit in with the other English immigrants in the city. Revere's mother was Deborah Hichborn, a daughter of a local artisan family....Click here to read more:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Battle of Bunker Hill

"The Battle of Bunker hill" by Howard Pyle, circa 1897
The Battle of Bunker Hill, which took place on June 17, 1775 in Charlestown, was one of the most significant battles during the Siege of Boston. The battle started after colonists heard British forces were planning to send troops to occupy the hills surrounding Boston. To prevent this, Colonel William Prescott and his men marched to nearby Breed's Hill, although they originally intended to go to Bunker Hill, on the night of June 16 and hastily built a large earthen fortification...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Timeline of the American Revolution

The French and Indian War
October 1763:
The Proclamation of 1763
March 1765:
The Quartering Act of 1765
March 1766:
The Stamp Act repealed
The Declaratory Act
June 1767:
The Townshend Revenue Act
October 1768:
British troops arrive in Boston to enforce customs laws
March 1770:
June 1772:
The Gaspee Affair... Click here to read more:

The Boston Massacre

Depiction of the Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre was a riot that began when a group of 50 citizens gathered outside of the State house on the night of March 5, 1770 to protest the large presence of British soldiers in the city. The soldiers had been sent to Boston to protect customs commissioners as they enforced the recent, and highly unpopular, Townshend acts, which placed an import tax on goods such as tea, glass, paper and other products from England.... Click here to read more:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

John Proctor: First Male Accused Witch

John Proctor was a successful farmer and the first male to be named a witch during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

When the hysteria first began in Salem village, Proctor believed the young girls accusing many of the villagers of witchcraft were frauds and liars. He spoke openly against the accusations and scoffed at the idea of witchcraft. When his own young servant, Mary Warren, began having fits and behaving strangely, Proctor beat the girl in an attempt to get her to behave...Click here to read more:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sarah Good: Accused Witch

Sarah Good was one of the first women to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. A homeless, and pregnant, beggar who would often wander door to door asking for handouts while her husband worked as a day laborer, Good was a prime target for the accusation of witchcraft in the small Puritan-run town where nonconformity was frowned upon...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Curse of Giles Corey

Giles Corey was a successful farmer from Salem village when he was suddenly accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. The 80-year-old farmer was never convicted because he died a slow, agonizing death while being tortured by Sheriff Corwin. During the torture, Giles shouted ”Damn you! I curse you and Salem” at the sheriff before dying...Click here to read more:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bridget Bishop: Witch or Easy Target?

Bridget Bishop, one of the first victims of the Salem Witch Trials, had been accused of witchcraft by more people than any other victim. Since Bishop had a bad reputation around town, wore a flashy red bodice instead of modest puritan clothing, ran a tavern and quarreled often with her previous husband and neighbors, it came as no surprise to the townspeople of Salem when she was accused of being a witch...Click here to read more:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Historic Lyceum Restaurant, Former Site of Bridget Bishop's Apple Orchard, Recently Renovated

The historic Lyceum restaurant, built on top of the former site of Bridget Bishop's apple orchard, has recently been renovated and renamed 43 Church (after it's location at 43 Church street). The building is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials, and the restaurant has been featured on many paranormal shows such as Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters...Click here to read more:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Participants of the Boston Tea Party

Although considered heroic and brave by many, the names of participants in the Boston Tea Party remained a secret for years in order to protect them from persecution by the British government. Destroying the tea was an act of treason punishable by death. Some of the men were also from distinguished families who did not want to be associated with such illegal activity. Theses rebellious colonists were mostly members of the Sons of Liberty, but some were random citizens who had joined the group en route to the harbor. To protect their identities, tea party participants disguised themselves as Native Americans complete with ragged clothes, makeup and mohawks and refrained from acknowledging each other during the act....Click here to read more:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Boston Tea Party

On the night of December 16 in 1773, a group of Boston citizens protested the British government's recent tea tax by dumping millions of dollars worth of British tea into Boston Harbor...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Henry Burbeck Military Archive Sold for $95,000

An online auction house recently sold the military archive of my ancestor Henry Burbeck (of my grandmother Beatrice Burbeck's family) for the price of $95,000. The archive spans the years 1763 to 1839 and consist of hand-drawn maps, military documents, letters, notebooks and military reports...Click here to read more:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a writer from Salem, Mass best known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. Born on July 4, 1808 in Salem, Hawthorne was a direct descendant of Judge John Hathorne from the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne was intrigued by his connection to his ancestor, although it is speculated that he may have eventually added the “W” to his last name to distance himself from his great-grandfather. Hawthorne published two stories under the name “Hathorne” in 1830 but started spelling his name with a W after this date, for reasons unknown...Click here to read more:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Louisa May Alcott

Although one of the most famous Concord authors, Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. The Alcott family believed very strongly in abolitionism and women's rights as well as transcendentalism; a literary and philosophical movement during the 1800s that declared knowledge and spirituality could be attained through one's own intuition rather than traditional teaching methods...Click here to read more:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Traveling the Underground Railroad in Massachusetts

The underground railroad was a series of safe houses that stretch from the south all the way to Canada. These safe houses provided shelter and protection for runaway slaves trying to find freedom in the north. Although slavery was illegal in northern states, the Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1793 and 1850 make it legal for slave hunters to travel to free states and capture runaway slaves. Some slaves took their chances and settled in free states, but many others passed through these states as they headed for Canada where slavery was illegal and slave hunters could not enter...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Thanksgiving

Many myths surround the first Thanksgiving. Very little is actually known about the event because only two accounts of the feast were ever written. The first account is William Bradford's journal titled “Of Plymouth Plantation” and the other is a publication written by Edward Winslow titled “Mourt's Relation.”...Click here to read more:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Mayflower Compact

When the pilgrims left Plymouth, England in 1620 they had been granted permission from King Charles I to land in northern Virginia and build a colony. During the long 66 day journey on the Mayflower to the New World, the ship drifted off course and eventually landed in what would become modern day Cape here to read more:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem witch trials was a dark time in American history. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during the hysteria in 1692. Ever since those dark days ended the trials have became synonymous with mass hysteria and scapegoating...Click here to read more:

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Mayflower

The Mayflower is one of the most important ships in American history. This cargo ship brought some of the first settlers to America and carried them to the safety of the Plymouth plantation. This journey made the Mayflower an icon of European colonization...Click here to read more:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Boston Lost Its Hills

Anyone who has visited modern day Boston might be a little confused to hear it was once a small hilly peninsula less than 800 acres wide. The city is now a wide, flat landmass consisting of 89 square miles. It took close to 100 years but settlers managed to forever transform the landscape using nothing but primitive tools...Click here to read more:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Brief History of Early Boston

The peninsula of land jutting into the Atlantic ocean known as modern day Boston was once inhabited by Algonquin Indians from the Penacook, Wampanoag and Massachusetts tribes. These tribes had lived in the area since 2400 BC and named the peninsula Shawmut and the nearby river the Quinnebequi...Click here to read more:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The History and Career of the USS Constitution

Commissioned and named by George Washington in 1794 and launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is the oldest warship in the world still afloat. A British ship, the HMS Victory, is older, being built in 1778, but has been dry docked in Portsmouth, England since 1922...Click here to read more:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maudslay Park in Newburyport, Mass

Maudslay state park is a large sprawling property in the small seaport town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. The 450-acre park was once home to a wealthy investment banker Frederick Strong Moseley and his family. The Moseleys were an old English family that first came to America in the early 1600s. The family first purchased the land in the 1860's and continued to buy surrounding property until they had created a large estate that they named Maudsleigh after their ancestral home in England...Click here to read more:

Boston Massacre Site Gets a Makeover

The Boston Massacre marker is moving..again. The current marker, which is made up of 13 rings of cobblestones with a center stone marked with a star, has been on a traffic island in front of the state house for decades. This is not actually the original location of the marker when the city decided to commemorate the massacre in 1887, nor is it the actual site of the massacre...Click here to read more: