Thursday, February 28, 2019

18C Early National Timeline 1790-1800

The Government House of Manhattan, NY; was erected 1790, at the foot of Broad-Way, facing the Bowling Green. It was originally designed for the residence of Genl. Washington (then president of the United States) but, the Capitol being removed, he never occupied it. It then became the Governors' House, and was the residence of Governors George Clinton and John Jay. The building was subsequently used for the Custom-House, from 1799 until 1815, when it was taken down.

1790
A Census Act is passed by Congress. The first census indicates a total population of nearly 4 million persons in the U.S. and western territories. African Americans make up 19 percent of the population, with 90 percent living in the South. For white Americans, the average age is under 16. Most white families are large, with an average of eight children born. The white population will double every 22 years.

The largest American city is Philadelphia, with 42,000 persons, followed by New York (33,000) Boston (18,000) Charleston (16,000) and Baltimore (13,000). The majority of Americans are involved in agricultural pursuits, with little industrial activity occurring at this time.

Petition to Congress by Mary Katherine Goddard, January 29, 1790, to retain her position as the 1st postmistress in America. Her appeals to Congress & to George Washington failed. See entry on Mary Katherine Goddard in this blog.

 
George Washington replies to Moses Seixas's letter on behalf of the Newport Hebrew Congregation using the off-quoted phrase that the USA government "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance"

First American cotton mill.

Mother Bernardina Matthews establishes a Carmelite convent near Port Tobacco, Maryland, the first community of Roman Catholic nuns established in one of the original 13 states. (The Ursuline convent established in New Orleans in 1727 was still in French territory.)

Judith Sargent Murray writes "On the Equality of the Sexes"

A second great revival movement sweeps northeast America, inspired by the earlier example of Jonathan Edwards

George Washington and the Congress chose the Potomac as the navigable river on which the new US capital city will be sited.

Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. His funeral four days later draws over 20,000 mourners.

Sarah Wentworth Morton (1759-1846) writes Ouabi; or, The Virtues of Nature. An Indian tale by Philenia, a lady of Boston. Boston: I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1790. The Boston writer known as the American Sappho treats a love triangle between an Illinois chief, his wife, and a European aristocrat. The narrative poem is notable for its researched representation of Indian life. It would be set to music by Hans Graham in 1793 and would inspire Louis James Bacon's play The American Indian (1795).

Mercy Otis Warren writes Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous, Boston: I. Thomas. and E.T. Andrews, [1790]. This is the first work printed under her own name. Warren produces verse tragedies & other poems extolling republican virtues & confirming women as moral authorities.

1791
The first ten amendments to the Constitution protecting individual rights are ratified. They are called the Bill of Rights.

First Bank of the United States is founded in Philadelphia under Alexander Hamilton and is granted a 20-year charter. Its charter is not renewed in 1811.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Mentoria; or, The Young Lady's Friend, a collection of letters, stories, and an essay wtih topics ranging from charity & the pitfalls of social ambition to obedience & moral conduct.

Anne Bailey rode to present-day Lewisburg to obtain ammunition for settlers at Fort Lee at present-day Charleston, which was being attacked by Native Americans. (More recent studies suggest this incident may never have occurred.)
Source: Conley and Doherty, West Virginia History, 148-149.


An Indian raid on an American military camp beside the Maumee river leaves more than 600 US soldiers dead.
Haitian Revolution. an 1802 engraving of Toussaint L’Ouverture.

Slave insurrection in the French colony of St. Domingue begins the bloody process of founding the nation of Haiti, the first independent black country in the Americas. Refugees flee to America, many coming to Philadelphia, the largest & most cosmopolitan city in America with the largest northern free black community. Philadelphia has many supporters for Toussaint L'Overture.

Mary Kinnan was captured & her husband & daughter were killed by Shawnee Indians along the Tygart Valley River in Randolph County. Kinnan lived with her captors for 3 years. Source: Conley and Doherty, West Virginia History, 142.

1792
The cornerstone of the White House in at Washington City in The District of Columbia is laid.

Bunker Gay, A Genuine and Correct Account of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Deliverance of Mrs. Jemima Howe (captivity narrative).

The first political parties, Hamilton's Federalists and Jefferson's Republicans, emerge in the USA.

1793
The US Congress passes Fugitive Slave Laws, enabling southern slave owners to reclaim escaped slaves in northern states.

Hannah Slater receives the first U.S. patent granted to a woman, for a type of cotton thread. Her invention helps her husband build a successful textile business.

Eli Whitney (1765–1825) produces the cotton gin, which speeds the process of separating the cotton fibers from the seeds.

George Washington lays the cornerstone for the Congress building on Capitol Hill.

Suzanne Vaillande appears in The Bird Catcher, in New York, the first ballet presented in the U.S. She was also probably the first woman to work as a choreographer & set designer in the United States.

An epidemic of yellow fever kills 4,044 at Philadelphia. Believed by many to have been brought to the city by refugees from Santo Domingo The fever strikes nearly all of the 24,000 inhabitants who do not flee, and it kills 1 in every 6. Physican Benjamin Rush, 47, works round the clock to bleed more than 100 patients per day; he recruits free blacks who have not fled the city, training them to bleed & purge patients. The epidemic does not abate until autumn, when cold weather kills the mosquitoes.

Massachusetts repeals its Puritanical anti-theater laws after a fight led by Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton & her husband, Perez.

Anonymous: The Hapless Orphan; or, Innocent Victim of Revenge. Boston: Printed at the Appollo Press by Belknap and Hall, 1793. By an American Lady. This sentimental didactic novel concerns a self-centered Philadelphia girl whose attachment to another's fiancé leads to the hero's suicide & a vendetta by her rival.

Ann Eliza Bleecker (Schuyler) (1752-1783) is published in The Posthumous Works of Ann Eliza Bleecker. New York: T. and J. Swords, 1793. This collection of letters, poems, and prose published by Bleecker's daughter (the writer Margaretta Faugères (1771-1801), details life on the front lines of the American Revolution and the death of Bleecker's daughter Abella. As a poet, fiction writer, & correspondent, Bleecker provides firsthand accounts of women's life during the Revolution.

1794
Whiskey Rebellion breaks out in western Pennsylvania among farmers who oppose the collection of the tax on liquor & stills. George Washington uses military force to assert government authority on rebels in Pennsylvania refusing to pay a federal tax on whiskey.

Congress enacts the federal Slave Trade Act of 1794 prohibiting American vessels to transport slaves to any foreign country from outfitting in American ports.

Jay's Treaty provides for withdrawal of British forces from the Northwest Territory by 1 June 1796 in exchange for payments of war debts to British citizens. It is ratified on 24 June 1795.

Columbianum, first American art society, founded by Charles Willson Peale, Philadelphia

Anne Kemble Hatton (c. 1757-c. 1796) writes Tammany; or, The Indian Chief. The earliest drama about American Indians; the title character rescues his beloved from Spanish kidnappers.

The first independent black churches in America (St. Thomas African Episcopal Church and Bethel Church) established in Philadelphia by Absalom Jones & Richard Allen, respectively, as an act of self-determination & a protest against segregation.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Slaves in Algiers; or, A Struggle for Freedom. Philadelphia: Printed for the author by Wrigley and Berriman, 1794. The first play by a woman successfully produced in America & Rowson's only drama surviving in complete form utilizes the Barbary pirates' raids on American ships to demonstrate tyranny. The author would also perform in this play & in her subsequent dramas, including The Female Patriot (1795), The Volunteers (1795), & Americans in England (1797).

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Mrs. Charlotte, a Tale of Truth. [Philadelphia]: Mathew Carey, 1794. One of the first American bestsellers, this novel tells the story of an English girl seduced by a British officer, Montraville. Charlotte follows Montraville to New York, where he abandons her & she dies in childbirth. The supposedly true story exemplifies Rowson's argument for the importance of the education of young women. It had been published first in England in 1791. A sequel, Charlotte's Daughter, would be published in 1828. Also published by Rowson was, The Inquisitor; or, Invisible Rambler. 3 vols. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1794.

Founding of the American Convention for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, a joining several state & regional antislavery societies into a national organization to promote abolition. Conference held in Philadelphia.

1795
Anne Parrish founds the House of Industry in Philadelphia, which provides employment to poor women. It is the first American charitable organization operated by women for women.

Two extra stars are added to the American flag for Vermont & Kentucky, two new states that have joined since the original union of thirteen.

Margaretta V. Bleecker Faugères (1771-1801) writes Belisarius: A Tragedy. Faugères's blank-verse tragedy is her major literary achievement, echoing Shakespeare's King Lear.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes The Volunteers, a "musical entertainment" concerning the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. The score, with Rowson's lyrics set to music by Alexander Reinagle (1756-1809), is all that now survives of the play.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Trials of the Human Heart, 4 vols. Philadelphia: Printed for the author by Wrigley & Berriman and sold by M. Carey [and others], 1795. This novel describes 16 years of suffering by Meriel Howard. Rowson's first novel written in America wins an impressive list of subscribers, including Martha Washington, members of prominent Philadelphia families, and members of the New Theatre Company.

1796
George Washington's Farewell Address is published in Philadelphia's Daily American Advertiser. He warns against the divisiveness of a party system & permanent foreign alliances, and cautions against an overpowerful military establishment. He then retires to Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Amelia Simmons produces the first truly American cookbook American Cookery: The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Puff-Pastes, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes From the Imperial Plumb to plain Cake, Adapted to this Country, and All Grades of Life. See this blog for more on Amelia Simmons.

The election brings in a Federalist president (John Adams) and a Republican vice-president (Thomas Jefferson)

1 June. Tennessee is admitted to the Union as a slave-holding state.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Americans in England, one of the first American works exploring the "international theme," Rowson's social comedy would be revised by the author as The Columbian Daughter in 1800.

1797
John Adams (1735–1826) becomes the second president of the United States.

A cast-iron plow is invented, but farmers fear it will poison the soil and refuse to use it.

18 October. Amid tensions between the US & France, French foreign minister Tallyrand's agents suggest a "loan," essentially a bribe, to bring the French to the bargaining table. Charles C. Pinckney, the American minister to France, refuses, saying, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."
The USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") is launched as part of the new US navy.

Ann Eliza Bleecker’s work is published posthumously, The History of Maria Kittle. It is a captivity narrative set during the French & Indian War, is a fictionalized elaboration of the author's own experiences. It is thought to be the first American fictional account focusing on Native Americans, where horrific descriptions of an Indian attack & an earthquake are contrasted with tranquil rural scenes.

Hannah Webster Foster (1759-1840) writes The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton, an epistolary novel based on the alleged seduction of Foster's distant cousin, Elizabeth Whitman, by Pierpont Edwards, and her death in childbirth. Wildly popular, the novel would appear in numerous editions, with early editions attributed to "A Lady of Massachusetts."

Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) cooperates with Herman Mann in writing The Female Review; or, Life of Deborah Sampson, Dedham [Mass.}: Nathaniel and Benjamin Heaton, 1797. This is an account of Deborah Sampson, afterwards Mrs. Benjamin Gannett, who served as a soldier in the revolutionary war under the name of Robert Shirtliff. an embellished autobiography detailing Sampson's experiences in the American Revolution, in which she had dressed as a man & served in the Massachusetts militia & Continental army. Although she had lost her wartime diary, she told her tale to Herman Mann, who wrote & published it.

In the first black initiated petition to Congress, Philadelphia free blacks protest North Carolina laws re-enslaving blacks freed during the Revolution.

Sarah Wentworth Morton writes Beacon Hill: A Local Poem, Historic and Descriptive, Boston: Manning & Loring, 1797. This was poetical record of the American Revolution.

1798
Controversial Alien and Sedition Acts are passed by the US Congress as emergency measures in response to the perceived threat of war with France. The Alien and Sedition Acts give the president the power to imprison or deport foreigners believed to be dangerous to the United States and make it a crime to attack the government with "false, scandalous, or malicious" statements or writings. Thomas Jefferson later pardons all those convicted under the Sedition Act, many of whom were Democrat-Republicans.

Congress abolishes debtors' prisons.

Susanna Haswell Rowson writes Reuben and Rachel; or, Tales of Old Times, Boston: Manning and Loring, for D. West, 1798. This romantic novel surveys the history of Western civilization & attempts to interest young women toward history.

Hannah Webster Foster writes The Boarding School; or, Lessons of a Preceptress to Her Pupils, Boston: I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1798. This is a collection of moral & domestic lectures, including her advocacy of female education & criticism of sexual double standards.

Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) writes The Gleaner, Boston: I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1798. This is a collection of essays on history, guidelines for women's conduct, discussion of education and politics, & poems. Originally published under the guise of male authorship to maintain an impartial readership, the essays attempt to prove the capability of women writers.

1799
George Washington, aged sixty-seven, dies after a brief illness at his home in Virginia.

American born Helena Wells (c. 1760-c. 1809) writes The Stepmother. The story of an independent woman who manages her own finances & property after the death of her husband; it includes detailed descriptions of the conduct of a sensible woman. The daughter of a Loyalist bookseller & publisher, Wells was a novelist & educator who operated, with her sister, a boarding school for girls in London & worked as a governess.

Hannah Adams (1755-1831) writes A Summary History of New England, Dedham [Mass.]: Printed for the author, by H. Mann and J.H. Adams. This is an account of events from the sailing of the Mayflower to the establishment of the Constitution, based on primary sources from state archives & newspapers. Adams conducted much of her research in bookshops, because she could not afford to purchase books.


1800
The census estimated the population of the United States at 3,929,214.

The United States reports a birth rate of 7.04 children per woman, one of the highest in the world.

The congress founds a new national library in Washington named The Library of Congress.

US president John Adams moves into the newly completed White House, named for its light grey limestone.

Republican Thomas Jefferson and Federalist Aaron Burr tie votes in the Electoral College in the presidential election. The US House of Representatives votes for Jefferson as president.

According to George Washington's vision, Washington City in the District of Columbia becomes the capital of the United States, a new city located at the junction of the Potomac & Anacostia rivers. Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754–1825) designs a plan modeled on Versailles with grand public parks & spacious avenues radiating out from on a domed Capitol.

Off the coast of Cuba, the U.S. naval vessel Ganges captures two American vessels, carrying 134 enslaved Africans, for violating the 1794 Slave Trade Act & brings them to Philadelphia for adjudication in federal court by Judge Richard Peters. Peters turns the custody of the Africans over to the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which attempts to assimilate the Africans into Pennsylvania using the indenture system with many local Quakers serving as sponsors.

American born Helena Wells writes Constantia Neville; or, The West Indian, a novel about education promoting Christianity in arguments with deists & Unitarians and includes an attack on English author and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Absalom Jones & other Philadelphia blacks petition Congress against the slave trade & against the fugitive slave act of 1793.

Sarah Sayward Barrell Keating Wood (1759-1855) writes Julia and the Illuminated Baron, a gothic story of an intrepid young woman who resists an atheistic baron during the French Revolution.

See Burt, Daniel S , editor. The Chronology of American Literature: America's Literary Achievements from the Colonial Era to Modern Times. Houghton Mifflin Internet. History Matters. American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University).

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women

1750-1760 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Mrs. John Edwards (Abigail Fowle) MFA

Between 1750-1760, Joseph Badger portrayed two women reading in or near their gardens. Mrs. John Edwards (Abigail Fowle) at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. And another portrait of Mrs. Nathaniel Brown (Anna Porter Brown) at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Timeline of America's British Rulers


The British Royal House during British American Colonization

Elizabeth I (the Great) 1558-1603  Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, last of the Tudors

James I  1603-1625  James VI of Scotland, House of Stuart

Charles I 1625-1649 Deposed. Executed 1649—English Civil War

The Protectorate 1649-1660 Oliver Cromwell is Lord Protector; Son Richard Cromwell succeeds in 1658

Charles II 1660-1685 The Restoration; Cromwell removed

James II 1685-1688 Deposed in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688

William and Mary 1689-1694 Joint rule. Battle of the Boyne—1690

William III 1694-1702 William is of the House of Orange (Netherlands) Succeeds on Mary's death.

Anne 1702-1714  Last of the Stuarts. No surviving children.

George I 1714-1727  House of Hanover

George II 1727-1760 Seven Years' War begins 1756

George III 1760-1820 American Revolution 1775-1783

Monday, February 25, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women

1750 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Mrs. William Foye Elizabeth Campbell MFA

Mrs. William Foye (1695-1782) was Elizabeth, daughter of John & Elizabeth Campbell who was born in Boston 6 February, 1695. She married in Boston, 5 April, 1716, William Foye (1681-1759) of Boston & Milton, Massachusetts, who, from 1736 to 1753, was treasurer of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. She died early in 1782. Her portrait shows her as a rather severe looking matron, seated & turned slightly toward her left, with her right hand, palm upward, resting on her lap, & her left arm hanging at her side, with the hand concealed by her skirt. She wears a dark greenish-brown gown with a low neck trimmed with white muslin ruffles & elbow sleeves with cuffs & white ruffles. Her dark brown eyes gaze at the spectator & her dark brown hair is parted. A single curl appears over her left shoulder. In the background, is shown a landscape of dark green trees with blue sky & large white clouds. At her left is a table covered with a dark red cloth upon which lies a small leather-covered book.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mary Jemison, Indian Captive 1750s

Mary Jemison captured by Native Americans from the 1856 printing of The Life of Mary Jemison, Deh-He-Wa-Mis

Mary Jemison (Deh-he-wä-mis) (1743–1833) was probably about 15 years old, when she was captured & adopted by Seneca Indians during the French and Indian War. Jemison was 80 years old, when she told her story to James Seaver who wrote the narrative of the young English woman who chose to remain within the Indian culture which had adopted her.

The night was spent in gloomy forebodings. What the result of our captivity would be, it was out of our power to determine, or even imagine. At times, we could almost realize the approach of our masters to butcher and scalp us; again, we could nearly see the pile of wood kindled on which we were to be roasted; and then we would imagine ourselves at liberty, alone and defenseless in the forest, surrounded by wild beasts that were ready to devour us. The anxiety of our minds drove sleep from our eyelids; and it was with a dreadful hope and painful impatience that we waited for the morning to determine our fate.

The morning at length arrived, and our masters came early and let us out of the house, and gave the young man and boy to the French, who immediately took them away. Their fate I never learned, as I have not seen nor heard of them since.

I was now left alone in the fort, deprived of my former companions, and of every thing that was near or dear to me but life. But it was not long before I was in some measure relieved by the appearance of two pleasant looking squaws, of the Seneca tribe, who came and examined me attentively for a short time, and then went out. After a few minutes' absence, they returned in company with my former masters, who gave me to the squaws to dispose of as they pleased.

The Indians by whom I was taken were a party of Shawnees,* if I remember right, that lived, when at home, a long distance down the Ohio.

My former Indian masters and the two squaws were soon ready to leave the fort, and accordingly embarked -- the Indians in a large canoe, and the two squaws and myself in a small one-and went down the Ohio. When we set off, an Indian in the forward canoe took the scalps of my former friends, strung them on a pole that he placed upon his shoulder, and in that manner carried them, standing in the stern of the canoe directly before us, as we sailed down the river, to the town where the two squaws resided.

On the way we passed a Shawnee town, where I saw a number of heads, arms, legs, and other fragments of the bodies of some white people who had just been burned. The parts that remained were hanging on a pole, which was supported at each end by a crotch stuck in the ground, and were roasted or burnt black as a coal. The fire was yet burning; and the whole appearance afforded a spectacle so shocking that even to this day the blood almost curdles in my veins when I think of them.

At night we arrived at a small Seneca Indian town, at the mouth of a small river that was called by the Indians, in the Seneca language, She-nan-jee, about eighty miles by water from the fort, where the two squaws to whom I belonged resided. There we landed, and the Indians went on; which was the last I ever saw of them.

Having made fast to the shore, the squaws left me in the canoe while they went to their wigwam or house in the town, and returned with a suit of Indian clothing, all new, and very clean and nice. My clothes, though whole and good when I was taken, were now torn in pieces, so that I was almost naked. They first undressed me, and threw my rags into the river; then washed me clean and dressed me in the new suit they had just brought, in complete Indian style; and then led me home and seated me in the center of their wigwam.

I had been in that situation but a few minutes before all the squaws in the town came in to see me. I was soon surrounded by them, and they immediately set up a most dismal howling, crying bitterly, and wringing their hands in all the agonies of grief for a deceased relative.

Their tears flowed freely, and they exhibited all the signs of real mourning. At the commencement of this scene, one of their number began, in a voice somewhat between speaking and singing, to recite some words to the following purport, and continued the recitation till the ceremony was ended; the company at the same time varying the appearance of their countenances, gestures, and tone of voice, so as to correspond with the sentiments expressed by their leader.

"Oh, our brother! alas! he is dead-he has gone; he will never return! Friendless he died on the field of the slain, where his bones are yet lying unburied! Oh! who will not mourn his sad fate? No tears dropped around him: oh, no! No tears of his sisters were there! He fell in his prime, when his arm was most needed to keep us from danger! Alas! he has gone, and left us in sorrow, his loss to bewail! Oh, where is his spirit? His spirit went naked, and hungry it wanders, and thirsty and wounded, it groans to return! Oh, helpless and wretched, our brother has gone! No blanket nor food to nourish and warm him; nor candles to light him, nor weapons of war! Oh, none of those comforts had he! But well we remember his deeds! The deer he could take on the chase! The panther shrunk back at the sight of his strength! His enemies fell at his feet! He was brave and courageous in war! As the fawn, he was harmless; his friendship was ardent; his temper was gentle; his pity was great! Oh! our friend, our companion, is dead! Our brother, our brother! alas, he is gone! But why do we grieve for his loss? In the strength of a warrior, undaunted he left us, to fight by the side of the chiefs! His warwhoop was shrill! His rifle well aimed laid his enemies low: his tomahawk drank of their blood: and his knife flayed their scalps while yet covered with gore! And why do we mourn? Though he fell on the field of the slain, with glory he fell; and his spirit went up to the land of his fathers in war! They why do we mourn? With transports of joy, they received him, and fed him, and clothed him, and welcomed him there! Oh, friends, he is happy; then dry up your tears! His spirit has seen our distress, and sent us a helper whom with pleasure we greet. Deh-hew5-mis has come: then let us receive her with joy!-she is handsome and pleasant! Oh! she is our sister, and gladly we welcome her here. In the place of our brother she stands in our tribe. With care we will guard her from trouble; and may she be happy till her spirit shall leave us."

In the course of that ceremony, from mourning they became serene,-joy sparkled in their countenances, and they seemed to rejoice over me as over a long-lost child. I was made welcome among them as a sister to the two squaws before mentioned, and was called Deh-hew5-mis; which, being interpreted, signifies a pretty girl, a handsome girl, or a pleasant, good thing. That is the name by which I have ever since been called by the Indians.

I afterward learned that the ceremony I at that time passed through was that of adoption. The two squaws had lost a brother in Washington's war, sometime in the year before, and in consequence of his death went up to Fort Du Quesne on the day on which I arrived there, in order to receive a prisoner, or an enemy's scalp, to supply their loss. It is a custom of the Indians, when one of their number is slain or taken prisoner in battle, to give to the nearest relative of the dead or absent a prisoner, if they have chanced to take one; and if not, to give him the scalp of an enemy. On the return of the Indians from the conquest, which is always announced by peculiar shoutings, demonstrations of joy, and the exhibition of some trophy of victory, the mourners come forward and make their claims. If they receive a prisoner, it is at their option either to satiate their vengeance by taking his life in the most cruel manner they can conceive of, or to receive and adopt him into the family, in the place of him whom they have lost. All the prisoners that are taken in battle and carried to the encampment or town by the Indians are given to the bereaved families, till their number is good. And unless the mourners have but just received the news of their bereavement, and are under the operation of a paroxysm of grief, anger, or revenge; or, unless the prisoner is very old, sickly, or homely, they generally save them, and treat them kindly. But if their mental wound is fresh, their loss so great that they deem it irreparable, or if their prisoner or prisoners do not meet their approbation, no torture, let it be ever so cruel, seems sufficient to make them satisfaction. It is family and not national sacrifices among the Indians, that has given them an indelible stamp as barbarians, and identified their character with the idea which is generally formed of unfeeling ferocity and the most barbarous cruelty.

It was my happy lot to be accepted for adoption. At the time of the ceremony I was received by the two squaws to supply the place of their brother in the family; and I was ever considered and treated by them as a real sister, the same as though I had been born of their mother.

During the ceremony of my adoption, I sat motionless, nearly terrified to death at the appearance and actions of the company, expecting every moment to feel their vengeance, and suffer death on the spot. I was, however, happily disappointed; when at the close of the ceremony the company retired, and my sisters commenced employing every means for my consolation and comfort.

Being now settled and provided with a home, I was employed in nursing the children, and doing light work about the house. Occasionally, I was sent out with the Indian hunters, when they went but a short distance, to help them carry their game. My situation was easy; I had no particular hardships to endure. But still, the recollection of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my home, and my own captivity, destroyed my happiness, and made me constantly solitary, lonesome, and gloomy.

My sisters would not allow me to speak English in their hearing; but remembering the charge that my dear mother gave me at the time I left her, whenever I chanced to be alone I made a business of repeating my prayer, catechism, or something I had learned, in order that I might not forget my own language. By practicing in that way, I retained it till I came to Genesee flats, where I soon became acquainted with English people, with whom I have been almost daily in the habit of conversing.

My sisters were very diligent in teaching me their language; and to their great satisfaction, I soon learned so that I could understand it readily, and speak it fluently. I was very fortunate in falling into their hands; for they were kind, good-natured women; peaceable and mild in their dispositions; temperate and decent in their habits, and very tender and gentle toward me. I have great reason to respect them, though they have been dead a great number of years...

After the conclusion of the French war, our tribe had nothing to do till the commencement of the American Revolution. For twelve or fifteen years, the use of the implements of war was not known, nor the warwhoop heard, save on days of festivity, when the achievements of former times were commemorated in a kind of mimic warfare, in which the chiefs, and warriors displayed their prowess, and illustrated their former adroitness, by laying the ambuscade, surprising their enemies, and performing many accurate maneuvers with the tomahawk and scalping knife; thereby preserving, and banding to their children, the theory of Indian warfare. During that period they also pertinaciously observed the religious rites of their progenitors, by attending with the most scrupulous exactness, and a great degree of enthusiasm, to the sacrifices, at particular times, to appease the anger of the Evil Deity; or to excite the commiseration of the Great Good Spirit, whom they adored with reverence, as the author, governor, supporter, and disposer of every good thing of which they participated.

They also practiced in various athletic games, such as running, wrestling, leaping, and playing ball, with a view that their bodies might be more supple -- or, rather, that they might not become enervated, and that they might be enabled to make a proper selection of chiefs for the councils of the nation, and leaders for war.

While the Indians were thus engaged in their round of traditionary performances, with the addition of hunting, their women attended to agriculture, their families, and a few domestic concerns of small consequence and attended with but little labor.

No people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace, before the introduction of spiritous liquors among them. Their lives were a continual round of pleasures. Their wants were few, and easily satisfied, and their cares were only for to-day -- the bounds of their calculation for future comfort not extending to the incalculable uncertainties of to-morrow. If peace ever dwelt with men, it was in former times, in the recess from war, among what are now termed barbarians. The moral character of the Indians was (if I may be allowed the expression) uncontaminated. Their fidelity was perfect, and became proverbial. They were strictly honest; they despised deception and falsehood; and chastity was held in high 'veneration, and a violation of it was considered sacrilege. They were temperate in their desires, moderate in their passions, and candid and honorable in the expression of their sentiments, on every subject of importance.

Thus, at peace among themselves and with the neighboring whites -though there were none at that time very near- our Indians lived quietly and peaceably at home, till a little before the breaking out of the Revolutionary War...

Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, my Indian brother, Kau-jises-tau-ge-au, (which being interpreted signifies Black Coals,) offered me my liberty, and told me that if it was my choice I might go to my friends.

My son Thomas was anxious that I should go; and offered to go with me, and assist me on the journey, by taking care of the younger children, and providing food as we traveled through the wilderness. But the chiefs of our tribe, suspecting, from his appearance, actions, and a few warlike exploits, that Thomas would be a great warrior, or a good counselor, refused to let him leave them on any account whatever.

To go myself, and leave him, was more than I felt able to do; for he had been kind to me, and was one on whom I placed great dependence. The chiefs refusing to let him go was one reason for my resolving to stay; but another, more powerful if possible, was, that I had got a large family of Indian children that I must take with me; and that, if I should be so fortunate as to find my relatives, they would despise them, if not myself, and treat us as enemies, or, at least, with a degree of cold indifference, which I thought I could not endure.

Accordingly, after I had duly considered the matter, I told my brother that it was my choice to stay and spend the remainder of my days with my Indian friends, and live with my family as I hitherto had done. He appeared well pleased with my resolution, and informed me that, as that was my choice, I should have a piece of land that I could call my own, where I could live unmolested, and have something at my decease to leave for the benefit of my children.

Source: James E. Seaver, The Life of Mary Jemison: The White Woman of the Genesee. 1824. New York.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women with a book

1750 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Mrs. Nathaniel Brown (Anna Porter Brown) San Fran Fine Arts

Often, women were taught to read so that they could learn the Bible, but few were taught to write, as it was thought there was no reason for a woman to know how to write. A colonial woman was expected to be subservient to her father until she married, at which point she became subservient to her husband. Ministers often told their congregations that women were inferior to men and more inclined to sin and err.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sexual Politics-Mohawk-Style 1754

Hendrick Theyanoguin  Chief of the Mohawk Indians, published in London in 1755 

The British American colonial government convened a conference in Albany, New York, in the summer of 1754. French troops had occupied the Ohio valley; while the Indians in New York had declared the Covenant chain alliance broken.

Hendrick, a Mohawk leader among the Iroquois Confederation, wanted to renew the alliance between the Iroquois & the colonists. But in his speech at the meeting, he called the British weak. Soon the Seven Year's War would involve the French, the British colonists, & the Native Americans in a war that would also be called The French & Indian War.

Mohawk Hendrick:
Then Hendrick, brother to the said Abraham, and a Sachem of the same castle, rose up and spake in behalf of the Six Nations as follows:
"Brethren, This is the ancient place of treaty where the fire of friendship always used to burn, and it is now three years since we have been called to any public treaty here; ‘tis true, there are commissioners here, but they have never invited us to smoke with them (by which they mean, the commissioners had never invited them to any conference), but the Indians of Canada came frequently and smoked with them, which is for the sake of their beaver, but we hate them (meaning the French Indians)

We have not as yet confirmed the peace with them: ’tis your fault, brethren, we are not strengthened by conquest, for we should have gone and taken Crown Point, but you hindered us: We had concluded to go and take it; but we were told it was too late, and that the ice would not bear us. Instead of this you burnt your own fort at Saraghtogee and run away from it; which was shame and a scandal to you. Look about your country, and see you have no fortifications about you, no not even to this city. 'Tis but one step from Canada hither, and the French may easily come and turn you out of doors.

"Brethren, You desired us to speak from the bottom of our hearts, and we shall do it. Look about you, and see all these houses full of beaver, and money is all gone to Canada; likewise your powder, lead, and guns, which the French make use of at the Ohio.


“Brethren, You were desirous we should open our minds and our hearts to you; look at the French, they are men; they are fortifying every where; but we are ashamed to say it; you are like women, bare and open, without any fortifications.”


Source: Jeptha Root Simms, History of Schoharie County, and the Border Wars of New York. Albany: Munsell & Tanner, 1845.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

18C American Women with a Book

1750 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Faith Savage Waldo Mrs Cornelius Worcester Mus Art

Thomas Jefferson, who knew that reading was important, drafted a Virginia Assembly bill in the 1770s, titled “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge,” that began:  Those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people of large.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Infanticide - The Execution of Boston's Rebekah Chablit 1733

Rebekah Chamblit (ca.1706-1733) lived in Boston, Massachusetts. She was tried and executed in 1733 for infanticide. Her "declaration," reportedly "read at the place of execution," September 26th, 1733, may not have been in fact written by Chamblit herself; scholars suggest the text represents a forced or fictional confession in an extremely patriarchal society.

Chamblit was 27 years old and unmarried. According to society norms, she should have remained celibate. Her declaration was a broadside prepared by ministers to be as widely distributed as possible. It was the middle of the Great Awakening, when women were gaining some religious recognition & power, as traditional Puritan ministers were losing some of their power. Reportedly the ministers posed questions to Chamblit, as she walked to the gallows & stood on a ladder waiting to be hung. She answered as long as she could, saying what they wanted to hear. Then she "grew disordered and faint, and not capable of attending further to continu'd discourse."

Infanticide was certainly not a new phenomenon. From 1728 to 1800, the Pennsylvania Gazette published approximately one hundred accounts of infanticide. The Gazette did not identify women accused of infanticide as single or unmarried, but usually it identified their deceased infants as “bastards.” In fact, 60% of accounts describe the deceased infant as a “bastard.” For centuries, unwed mothers in Europe had occasionally killed their offspring, because they were unable to face the ignominy of raising an illegitimate child. As legal & cultural responses to crime changed by the 18C, unwed and impoverished mothers might abandon the baby on some local doorstep hoping that the newborn would receive a more healthy upbringing with a different family.  Infanticide narratives written in New England colonies & states are particularly revealing. In most infanticide narratives, the murder of the child is not mentioned. The woman is charged with having led an "unclean" life which warrants her execution.

Though there is documentation that women from different socio-economic statuses committed infanticide, women convicted of infanticide were commonly young, unmarried, lower class women who had labor-intensive jobs. These women often did not have the patriarchal protection of their father because they were servants and lived outside of their family home. If a servant woman became pregnant, not only did she work a labor intensive job that did not allow for her to properly care for an infant, but she often also faced additional years of servitude as punishment for having a child outside of wedlock.

Female deviations from the norm, even after the witch hunts had subsided, sometimes were met with extreme consequences, especially when the traditional power of the dominant males was being threatened. The details contained in Chamblit's purported declaration seem calculated to fit within the Massachusetts Bastard Neonaticde Act exactly as written, thereby completely justifying her hanging.

The declaration, dying warning and advice of Rebekah Chamblit. A young woman aged near twenty-seven years, executed at Boston September 27th. 1733. According to the sentence pass'd upon her at the Superior Court holden there for the county of Suffolk, in August last, being then found guilty of felony, in concealing the birth of her spurious male infant, of which she was delivered when alone the eighth day of May last, and was afterwards found dead, as will more fully appear by the following declaration, which was carefully taken from her own mouth. Boston: Printed and sold by S. Kneeland and T. Green, in Queen-Street, 1733. 

 "On Saturday The Fifth day of May last, being then something more than Eight Months gone with Child, as I was about my Household Business reaching some Sand from out of a large Cask, I received considerable Hurt, which put me into great Pain, and so I continued till the Tuesday following; in all which time I am not sensible I felt any Life or Motion in the Child within me; when on the Said Tuesday the Eighth of may, I was Deliver'd when alone of a Male infant; in whom I did not perceive Life; but still uncertain of Life in it, I threw it into the Vault about two or three Minutes after it was born; uncertain I as, whether it was a living or dead child; Tho' I confess it was probable there was Life in it, and some Circumstances seem to confirm it. I therefore own the Justice of GOD and Man in my Condemnation, and take Shame to my self, as I have none but my self to Blame; and am Sorry for any rash Expressions I have at any time uttered since my Condemnation; and I am verily persuaded there is no Place in the World, where there is a More strict regard to Justice than in this Province."

See:
Cornelia Hughes Dayton, Women before the Bar: Gender, Law, and Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995);
Katie M. Hemphill, “Driven to the Commission of This Crime.,” Journal of the Early Republic 32, no. 3 (Fall 2012);
N. E. H Hull, Female Felons: Women and Serious Crime in Colonial Massachusetts (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987);
Laura T. Keenan, “Reconstructing Rachel: A Case of Infanticide in the Eighteenth-Century MidAtlantic and the Vagaries of Historical Research, Pennsylvania Magazine of History & Biography 130, no. 4 (October 2006);
Paul A. Gilje, “Infant Abandonment in Early Nineteenth-Century New York City: Three Cases,” Signs 8, no. 3 (April 1, 1983);
Peter Charles Hoffer and N. E. H Hull, Murdering Mothers:  Infanticide in England and New England, 1558-1803 (New York: New York University Press, 1981);
Sharon Ann Burnston, “Babies in the Well: An Underground Insight into Deviant Behavior in Eighteenth Century Philadelphia,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 106, no. 2 (April 1, 1982).
S. Rowe, “Infanticide, Its Judicial Resolution, and Criminal Code Revision in Early Pennsylvania,”
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 135, no. 2 (June 1, 1991);
Melissa Sigona, "Mothers Who Kill: Infanticide in the Pennsylvania Gazette,1728-1800" UC Irvine - Undergraduate History Conference  2015;
Merril D. Smith “Unnatural Mothers,"  in Over the Threshold: Intimate Violence in Early America, (New York: Routledge, 1999)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

1750 Portrait of an American Woman & Theocracy

1750 John Wollaston 1733-1767 Experience Johnson (1720-1788) Mrs. Samuel Gouverneur (1720-1798) at Winterthur

Experience Johnson of New Jersey, married New York merchant Samuel Gouverneur, son of Isaac, in 1748.  Her grandfather the Rev Joseph Johnson of the Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark had been one of the founders of Newark, New Jersey. The original settlers in Newark, from Branford & Milford Connecticut, came to Newark, because they opposed the absorption of their communities by the Colony of Connecticut. Newark was founded in 1667 with its laws based on the Scripture & with full citizenship granted to only church members.  The church was Newark's 1st public building. For the first 40 years all affairs of the town were held in the church. This organization was said to be the last attempt in colonial America to establish a theocracy.

Her husband's father Isaac was descended from a French Huguenot family & was born in Amsterdam.  He immigrated to colonial America where he was an active merchant trading in the West Indies. Samuel & Experience's children were Isaac, born 1749, died 1800. Margaret, married Lewis Ogden. Nicholas, born 1753, died 1802. Mary, wife of Rev. Uzal Ogden. Anthony, born 1757, died 1795. Catherine, wife of Charles Ogden. Gertrude, wife of Peter Kemble. Rebecca, wife of Captain Thomas Bibby. Sarah, married Major Samuel Reading. Samuel, born 1771, died 1847. And Joseph.

The term theocracy often was applied to the governments established in 17C Massachusetts Bay & New Haven colonies. These colonies were not theocracies in the traditional sense, because clergy did not establish or run their political systems. In both colonies, there was a clear separation of church & state. In Massachusetts, for instance, clergy were forbidden to hold public office, & both colonies maintained separate systems of political & religious leadership. But it was also true that these political & religious systems were mutually reinforcing, & that early leaders hoped that every institution of their societies—the family, the church, & the magistracy—would function in concert to maintain a pious society based on Calvinist theology & Christian religious practice.

Colonial leaders deliberately intended to create a society in which the fundamental law would be the revealed Word of God, & God would be regarded as the supreme legislator. Thus, John Winthrop announced before the settlement, "For the worke wee haue in hand, it is by a mutuall consent …to seeke out a place of Cohabitation & Consorteshipp under a due forme of Government both ciuill & ecclesiastical;" the "due forme" was that enacted in the Bible. John Cotton later argued that the New England colonies, having a clear field before them, were duty bound to erect a "Theocracy … as the best forme of government in the commonwealth, as well as in the Church." Consequently, the political theory assumed that the colonies were based on the Bible & that all specific laws would show biblical warrant.

The governments of these two colonies were founded on the theory that God had ordained all society as a check on depraved human impulses &, therefore, that all politics should ideally fulfill God's will. Hence, Winthrop explained in 1645, that after people entered a body politic, they gained the freedom to do only that "which is good, just & honest"—in other words, that which God demands. The purpose of the state was to enforce God's will, & to ensure that every member of society would observe God's laws.

See:
Foster, Stephen. The Long Argument: English Puritanism & the Shaping of New England Culture, 1570–1700. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
Gildrie, Richard P. The Profane, the Civil, & the Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679–1749. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.
Miller, Perry. The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century. New York: Macmillan, 1939.
Noll, Mark A. A History of Christianity in the United States & Canada. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1992.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Biography - Revolutionary Soldier Deborah Sampson 1760-1827

Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) became a hero of the American Revolution when she disguised herself as a man and joined the Patriot forces. She was the only woman to earn a full military pension from the new nation for participation in the Revolutionary army.

Deborah Sampson (1760-1827), supposed Revolutionary soldier & early woman lecturer, was born in Plympton, near Plymouth, Mass., the oldest, apparently, of 3 daughters & 3 sons of Jonathan Sampson, a farmer, & Deborah (Bradford) Sampson.  She came of old Pilgrim stock, her mother being descended from Gov. William Bradford & her father from Miles Standish & John Alden.  

Jonathan Sampson’s disappointment in his share of his father’s estate was so corrosive that he fell into intemperate habits, went to sea, & finally abandoned his family, perhaps losing his life in a shipwreck. Mrs. Sampson, finding it difficult to support her young family, was obliged to disperse her children into different households.

Deborah lived for 3 years with a Miss Fuller & afterward, at about 10, was bound out as a servant in the homed of Jeremiah Thomas of Middleborough, where she remained until she was 18.  Here she developed into a strong, capable young woman, skilled in the domestic arts.  Part-time attendance at the Middleborough public school, supplemented by instruction from the Thomas children, enabled her to obtain some education, & when her term of service in the Thomas family expired in 1779, she taught for 6 months in the same local school.  In November 1780 she became a member of the First Baptist Church of Middleborough.   Two years later (Sept. 3, 1782) this body excommunicated her on the strong suspicion of “dressing in men’s clothes, & enlisting as a soldier in the Army,” after having “for some time before behaved verry loose & unchristian like.”  By then she had disappeared from Middleborough.
Deborah Sampson Delivers a Letter to Commanders

The venturesome young woman had, it seems, walked to Boston & from there to Bellingham, Mass., where on May 20, 1782, she enlisted in the Continental forces under the name of Robert Shurtleff (Shirtliff).  A member of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment, Capt. George Webb’s company, she was mustered into service at Worcester on May 23.  Her height, which was above the average, her strong features, her stamina, & her remarkable adaptability enabled her to conceal her identify & perform her military duties.  She participated in several engagements & was wounded in one near Tarrytown, N.Y.  Not until she was hospitalized with a fever in Philadelphia was her sex finally discovered.  She was discharged by Gen. Henry Knox at West Point on Oct. 25, 1783.

On her return to Massachusetts in November, she went to live with an uncle at Sharon.  Here she resumed female attire, met Benjamin Gannett, a farmer, & was married to him on Apr. 7, 1785.  Three children were born to them: Earl Bradford, Mary, & Patience.  Reports of Deborah Sampson’s adventure began to attract attention, & in 1797 Herman Mann, to whom she had told her story, published a romanticized biography under the title The Female Review.  Mann next prepared a lecture for her which told her story in extravagant phraseology extended beyond the bounds of truth.  Beginning with an appearance at the Federal Street Theatre in Boston, on Mar. 22, 1802, she toured various New England & New York towns until Sept. 9, giving her  “Address” as advertised in the local press.  Besides b ringing her some remuneration & considerable personal satisfaction, the trip enabled her to visit one of her former commanding officers, Gen. John Paterson, who probably assisted her in obtaining a pension from the United States government. 

Her first pension came from Massachusetts, which in 1792 awarded her the sum of 34 pounds bearing interest from Oct. 3, 1783.  In 1804 Paul Revere wrote to a member of Congress in behalf of Deborah Gannett, who was then in poor health & financial difficulties.  On Mar, 11, 1805, she was placed on the pension list of the United States at the rate of four dollars per month, beginning Jan. 1, 1803; the amount was afterward increased.  After her death her husband petitioned the federal government for a pension, representing himself to be in indigent circumstances, with two daughters dependent on his charity; he declared that for many years he had paid heavy medical bills for his wife, whose sickness & suffering were occasioned by her military service.  The belated response of Congress was an “Act for the relief of the heirs of Deborah Gannett, a solider of the Revolution, deceased,” approved July 7, 1838, which provided for a payment of $466.66, the equivalent of a full pension of eighty dollars per annum, from Mar. 4, 1831, to the decease of Benjamin Gannett in January 1837.  This sum was paid to the three heirs, Earl. B Gannett, Mary Gilbert, & Patience Gay.  Deborah herself had died in Sharon in 1827 at the age of sixty-six.  

See: 
Bellesiles, Michael. "Sampson, Deborah." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. Ed. Harold E. Selesky. Vol. 2. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006. 1026. U.S. History in Context. 
Berkin, Carol. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005).
Keiter, Jane. “Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier: The Westchester Connection.” The Best of the Westchester Historian. Winter 2000 (Vol. 76, No. 1). 
Leonard, Patrick. “Deborah Samson: Official Heroine of the State of Massachusetts.” Canton Historical Society. 
Eds. Edward James, Janet James, Paul Boyer. Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women

1750 Millicent Conway Gordon (c 1721-1748) by John Hesselius (1728-1778). Signed and dated “J. Hesselius Pinx/1750” at lower right. VA Hist Soc

Millicent Gordon (born Conway) was born in 1727, at Lancaster County, Virginia, to Colonel Edwin Conway III & Ann Susanna Conway (born Ball). Colonel was born on October 3 1681, in Christ Church, Lancaster, VA. Ann was born on October 3 1686, in Millenbeck, Lancaster, Virginia. Millicent married James Gordon IV in 1742. James was born in 1714, in Sheepbridge, Newry, Down Co., Ireland. He was a merchant, tobacco exporter, planter, & Justice of the Peace. They had 4 children. Millicent passed away on month day 1748, at age 27. James died in 1768.

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture tells us that the Gordon portraits depict the family of an Ulster merchant & planter of Scottish origin who emigrated to Lancaster County in 1738. Through trade with merchants in the British Isles & the West Indies, voracious land purchasing, & active public service, James Gordon quickly rose to prominence, which he celebrated in 1751 by commissioning a sizeable group of large, expensive portraits of himself, his successive wives, his 3 children, & his brother who had emigrated with him. Posed in contemporary clothing before grandiose, artificial settings of an outdated 17C portrait tradition, the sitters seem provincial.  The commission for the Gordon portraits seems to have resulted simply from the sudden availability in Virginia in 1751 & 1752 of a competent artist, either John Hesselius or Robert Feke. Both appeared in the colony at this time; Hesselius emulated the style of the much more accomplished Feke. Hesselius’s practice of the John Wollaston [English-born American Rococo Era Painter, c1710-1775] style in Virginia & Maryland continued until the mid-to-late 1760s, when his work began to shift toward likenesses that were increasingly penetrating & realistic. 

For family history, see: Hayden, Horace Edwin. Virginia genealogies : a genealogy of the Glassell family of Scotland and Virginia: also of the families of Ball, Brown, Bryan, Conway, Daniel, Ewell, Holladay, Lewis, Littlepage, Moncure, Peyton, Robinson, Scott, Taylor, Wallace, and others, of Virginia and Maryland. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: E.B. Yordy, printer, 1891), p. 248

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Biography - Politics was her Passion - Deborah Norris Logan (1761-1839)

Detail of 1903 photograph of an 1830 painting of Quaker historian Deborah Norris Logan.

Deborah Norris Logan (1761-1839), collector of historical records, was peculiarly fitted by inheritance & experience to be a chronicler of provincial & early national history.  Related by blood or marriage to most of the leading figures in early Pennsylvania, she lived through the formative years of the new American nation in close association with many of its founders.  She was the second child & only daughter among the Norris & his second wife, Mary Parker.  Her father’s Philadelphia house, where she was born, was 2 doors away fro the State House; on July 9, 1776, when she was 14, she stood on the garden fence to hear the Declaration of Independence first publicly claimed.

She commenced her education under Anthony Benezet at the Friends Girls’ School in Philadelphia & continued it by an extensive self-imposed course of reading, especially in history.  On Sept. 6, 1781, she was married to George Logan, a young Quaker physician just returned from his medical education at Edinburgh & London.  

Two years later, her husband giving up his practice for the life of a gentleman farmer, they moved to Stenton, the Logan family mansion north of Philadelphia.  There the vivacious & beautiful Debby exchanged the life of a Philadelphia belle for the quite domesticity of a Quaker matron, managing the farm household & rearing her 3 sons, Albanus Charles, Gustavus George, & Algernon Sidney, while her husband gradually moved from a rustic life of agricultural experimentation into an active career as a Republican politician & ideologue, self-appointed peacemaker during the quasi-war with France in 1798, & finally United States Senator.  Dr. Logan’s political enthusiasms (which she never fully shared) exposed her to public opprobrium; his mission to Paris not only made her fear for his safety & reputation but brought her ostracism from the Federalist families among whom she had grown up.  Nevertheless, she upheld him faithfully, at the same time seeking for herself a serenity of mind into which she could  retire “as into a safe retreat from the conflicting passions of the world.”

Though she regarded current politics as a dangerous “distraction,” past politics became her passion.  In the attic at Stenton she discovered heaps of old letters, tattered & worm-eaten, which she recognized as the correspondence of Pennsylvania’s 2 great early leaders, William Penn & James Logan, the latter her husband’s grandfather.  Conceiving it her duty & privilege to reveal “some of the remote rills & fountains” from which “majestic river” of her state’s wealth & greatness flowed, she regularly arose before daybreak, starting in 1814, to copy the voluminous correspondence.  Her transcripts, a source collection of the utmost importance for early Pennsylvania history, she presented to the American Philosophical Society; they were ultimately published in the Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (vols. IX-X, 1870-72).  

After her husband’s death in 1821 she wrote a memoir of him, published many years later by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as Memoirs of Dr. George Logan of Stanton  (1899).  A charming literary monument of wifely devotion, it is also a valuable historical source, for it contains letters & intimate glimpses of Washington , Jefferson, Citizen Genet, John Randolph of Roanoke, & other political figures whom she & her husband had entertained at Stenton.
   
From 1815 to her death she kept a full diary in which, along with comments on her reading & her daily life, she set down the reminiscences of Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress; unfortunately, perhaps, she later inked out some of his less edifying anecdotes of the Fathers.  Some of Thomson’s stories, together with her own memories & the manuscripts she had rescued from decay, she shared with the antiquarian John F. Watson, who made use of the in his Annals of Philadelphia (1830).  She also composed poetry, some of which was published by her friend Robert Walsh, editor of the National Gazette; she had a fondness for the sonnet form, though it seemed to her like “putting the muse into corsets.”  A portrait in later life shows her as a grave, clear-eyed Quaker matron in plain bonnet & cap.  She died at Stenton & was buried there in the family burying ground.  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of which she was the first woman member (elected to honorary membership, 1827), spread on its minutes a tribute to her as “an enlightened & able illustrator” of Pennsylvania history.  With such writers & collectors as Mercy Otis Warren, Jeremy Belknap, & Ebenezer Hazard, Deborah Logan stood in the 1st generation of Americans who looked backward with self-conscious national pride into the colonial &  Revolutionary past & gathered the materials for the nation’s history. 

See: Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Eds. Edward James, Janet James, Paul Boyer. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Women

1749-1752 John Wollaston. 1733-1767 Anna French Mrs. Joseph Reade  Met

In 1720, Anna French (1701–1778) married Joseph Reade (1694-1771) a merchant, vestryman, & politician from New York. Anna was the daughter of Phillip French, who served as the Mayor of New York City from 1702 to 1703, & Annetje (née Philipse) French, the daughter of Frederick Philipse, 1st Lord of Philipsburg Manor, a Dutch merchant & one of the richest men in colonial New York. Anna was the sister of Philip French III, who married Susanna Brokholst, daughter of Anthony Brockholst, acting Governor of Colonial New York under Sir Edmund Andros. Together, they were the parents of 7 children, including:
Laurence Reade (c. 1721–1773), a merchant in partnership with Richard Yates. Laurence fathered 3 children he had with "a mulatto woman on the Island of Jamaica."
Joseph Reade.
John Reade.
Anne Reade (1726–1772), who married Gerrit Van Horne (1726–1765)
Sarah Reade (1728–1802), who married James de Peyster (1726–1799), a grandson of New York mayor Abraham de Peyster.
Mary Reade, who married Francis Stephens.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day - 18C American Couple

1795 Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) Angelica Peale and her husband Alexander Robinson.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tells us that in 1795, the artist Charles Willson Peale traveled from Philadelphia with his wife Betsey and his nine-year-old daughter Sophonisba to visit his elder daughter Angelica at her home in Baltimore. ..the purpose of the trip was to execute a double portrait of Angelica and her husband, Alexander Robinson, as they awaited the birth of their first child. Seemingly a happy occasion, the visit was spoiled by what Peale called Alexander’s “bad grace” during the sitting. Robinson, a wealthy immigrant from Ireland, is described as haughty, proud, and disdainful of the Peales’ profession; he reportedly dismissed Peale as a “showman.” [1]

Presumably, Angelica asked her father to make the trip...because she feared she might not survive childbirth. Happily, she did survive and gave birth to Alexander, Jr., while her father was still there to welcome his new grandson. Life for Angelica would not always be so fortunate, however; although she lived well into her seventies, she outlived six of her eight children. A later painting, Mother Caressing her Convalescent Daughter, 1818, reveals the toll that age and grief had taken.

In Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Robinson, however, she radiates youth and health. Her long hair, adorned by luminescent pearls, tumbles down her back. Her skin glows, her cheeks just slightly pink. She is dressed in a pale silvery gown, with a soft lace collar draped elegantly around her neck. Her belly swells slightly, hinting at her pregnancy. Alexander, in contrast, is dressed in a stiff and sober black jacket over a high-necked white shirt and cravat. His florid complexion is in stark contrast to his wife’s alabaster skin. His stiff, wooden bearing is perhaps a reflection of Peale’s irritation at his son-in-law’s arrogant manner.

Peale produced this painting during a period of cultural shift in attitudes towards marriage. In general, society was moving from a more patriarchal marriage model, in which a wife deferred to the authority of her husband, to a companionate marriage model of equal partners. His acquaintance, Pennsylvania native Benjamin Franklin, demonstrated this change in his essay Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, in which he emphasized the nature of “matrimony as a voluntary and mutual contract.” This shift had several effects on painting in general. First, the pendant portrait, in which a wife and husband are painted in two separate works, allowing the artist to demonstrate clearly through attributes and settings their separate and appropriate spheres, was becoming less and less common. Replacing it was the double portrait, in which a wife and husband were united in one space. Their physical closeness represented their emotional intimacy. [2]

Several elements of Peale’s double portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Robinson reflect this shift. First, they are seated close together, on the same plane, with their heads at the same level. Peale shows Alexander’s head inclined slightly toward his wife, a gesture that demonstrates his solicitous concern for her wellbeing. He also highlights their tenderly clasped hands by positioning them in front of Alexander’s black coat.

Within the unified space, however, Peale subtly divides the composition into feminine and masculine spheres, a device both he and other portraitists used for double portraits. The artist calls attention to Angelica’s affinity with nature, seen as a more feminine environment. Her blue-green cloak links her to the landscape and darkening sky in the distance, while her soft curls blend into the fuzzy trees behind her. Alexander, in contrast, is placed before a pillar and billowing drapery, artistic conventions that both ennoble him and connect him to culture, which was considered the domain of men.

The painting thus reflects many of the recent shifts in portraiture—a change from pendant to double, with a new emphasis on emotional closeness while still maintaining a suggestion of separate spheres. In one regard, however, this is a singularly distinct painting: Angelica looks directly at the viewer. In double portraits of married couples in the eighteenth century, it is almost always the man who meets the viewer’s gaze, indicating masculine assertiveness and directness. In Peale’s own work, the preponderance of the double portraits show either the husband meeting our gaze or both husband and wife gazing off into the distance. Here, however, Alexander gazes in his wife’s direction, while Angelica steadily regards the viewer. Peale’s feelings toward the young couple are apparent: his admiration for his talented and lovely daughter and his annoyance with his pompous son-in-law.

Peale produced two versions of the portrait; the one belonging to Reynolda House is the second, and a comparison of the two reveals that the artist made numerous improvements over the first version. In addition to certain refinements of dress and background, the second version of the painting boasts faces that are more delicately and skillfully painted. [3]

Charles Willson Peale was a complicated figure—at once a product of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on rationality and self-improvement, and a deeply flawed individual, who himself acknowledged his “colorick [choleric] disposition” and could allow his personal feelings about his sitters to color his depictions of them. [4] In the double portrait of his daughter Angelica and her husband Alexander Robinson, we see evidence both of the artist’s own feelings and of the rapidly shifting culture in which the work was produced.

Notes:
[1] Charles Coleman Sellers, Charles Willson Peale (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969), 273; Peale, quoted in Charles C. Eldredge, Barbara Babcock Millhouse, and Robert G. Workman, American Originals: Selections from Reynolda House, Museum of American Art (New York: Abbeville Press, 1990), 28, and David C. Ward, Charles Willson Peale: Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 129.
[2] Benjamin Franklin, quoted in Kate Redford, The Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2006), 75. For examples of two pendant portraits painted by Peale, see the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Mifflin, 1777–80, in Lillian B. Miller, ed., The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870 (Exhibition catalogue. New York: Abbeville Press in association with the Trust for Museum Exhibitions and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 126.
[3] For an image of the first version, see Sellers, Charles Willson Peale, 273.
[4] Ward, Charles Willson Peale, xii.

See:
Bolton, T. "Charles Wilson Peale, an Account of His Life" The Art Quarterly. Supplement to II (1939): 435.
Lassiter, Barbara B. Reynolda House American Paintings.Winston-Salem, NC: Reynolda House, Inc., 1971: 12, illus. 13.
Millhouse, Barbara B. and Robert Workman. American Originals. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1990: 28-9.
Schiller, Joyce K. Reading Portraits Through Buttons And Bows. Winston-Salem, NC: Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2001: 12-3.
Sellers, C.C. Charles Wilson Peale, Later Life: 1790-1827.(1947): II, illus. opp. 73.
Sellers, C.C. Portraits And Miniatures By Charles Wilson Peale. (1952): 333, illus. 183.

Bibliography:
Bellion, Wendy. “‘Extend the Sphere’: Charles Willson Peale’s Panorama of Annapolis.” Art Bulletin 84, no. 3 (September. 2004): 529–549.
Bellion, Wendy. “Illusion and Allusion: Charles Willson Peale’s Staircase Group at the Columbianum Exhibition.” American Art 17, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 18¬–39.
Briggs, Berta N. Charles Willson Peale: Artist and Patriot. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1952.
Eldredge, Charles C., Barbara Babcock Millhouse, and Robert G. Workman. American Originals: Selections from Reynolda House, Museum of American Art. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.
Friedrich, Otto. “The Peales: America’s First Family of Art.” National Geographic 178, no. 6 (December 1990): 98–121.
Honan, William H. “Suspicions of Hatred in Family of Artists Stir Academic Debate.” New York Times, July 5, 1993: C15–16.
Lovell, Margaretta M. “Reading Eighteenth-Century American Family Portraits: Social Images and Self-Images.” Winterthur Portfolio 22, no. 4 (Winter 1987): 243–264.
Miller, Lillian B. “Charles Willson Peale as History Painter: The Exhumation of the Mastodon”. The American Art Journal (Winter 1981): 47–68.
Miller, Lillian B. “The Peale Family: A Lively Mixture of Art and Science.” Smithsonian Magazine. (1979): 66–77.
Miller, Lillian B., ed. The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Abbeville Press in association with the Trust for Museum Exhibitions and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1996.
Miller, Lillian B., et al., eds. The Selected papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family 5 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983–2000.
Miller, Lillian B., and David C. Ward, eds. New Perspectives on Charles Willson Peale. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991.
Retford, Kate. The Art of Domestic Life: Family Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2006.
Richardson, Edward P., Lillian B. Miller, and Brooke Hindle. Charles Willson Peale and His World. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1982.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Charles Willson Peale. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Mr. Peale’s Museum: Charles Willson Peale and the First Popular Museum of Natural Science and Art. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1980.
Sellers, Charles Coleman. Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale. New York: Scribner’s, 1952.
Steinberg, David. “Educating for Distinction? Art, Hierarchy, and Charles Willson Peale’s Staircase Group.” In Johnston, Patricia, ed., Seeing High and Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.
Ward, David C. “An Artist’s Self-Fashioning: The Forging of Charles Willson Peale.” Word and Image 15 (July–August 1999).
Ward, David C. “Celebration of Self: The Portraiture of Charles Willson Peale and Rembrandt Peale, 1823-27.” American Art 7 (Winter 1993): 9–27.
Ward, David C. Charles Willson Peale: Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.