Category «Historical Background»

Cordwainers & Cobblers in Colonial America by Harry Schenawolf

Shoemakers and Repair            “The cobbler aproned and the parson gowned, The friar hooded, and the monarch crowned. Or cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk; Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow. The rest is all but leather or prunella.”                                                 Pope, Essay on Man The word shoe is derived form the …

Red Coat vs. Patriot: A Comparison by Harry Schenawolf

If you were to ask someone on the street what was the ordinary British soldier was like during King George’s time, he might  say something like: Dregs, scoundrels, scum from the streets of London, debtors, drunks, common criminals or sweepings from the slums of Liverpool, men who were subjected to the lash for the simplest …

Old Slips of New York City

Harold Goldstein recalls, as a small boy, being taken on a walking tour of New York City’s waterfront.  He describes something that astonished and delighted him: “a number of small harbors, inlets from the East River, rectangular in shape and about the size of a city block, in which rusty freighters and even a few …

Militias in Colonial America

How does a nation defend a spacious new land to which it just laid claim?  Consider a land that begins with a trickle of settlers, only to surge into a steady stream of immigrants, each year’s population surpassing the next by leaps and bounds; a territory teaming with merchants, farmers, and artisans, quickly fanning out …

Royal Colonies

Royal Colonies were established in North America by England, France, Netherlands and Sweden.  Spain launched earlier settlements and claimed lands south of the present Canadian border clear to the Pacific Ocean, but only established outposts and missionaries, particularly in Florida, which they maintained until 1763 when British took control.  Interestingly, different nations claimed many of …

The Stone House at Gowanus Creek

 Maryland Battalion at the Battle of Long Island Tuesday, August 27, 1776. Since dawn, four hundred young men from Maryland exchanged volley for volley with some of England’s finest troops. Colonists from influential families, the former Baltimore Independent Cadets were experiencing their baptism of fire. In company with soldiers from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, they …

Minuteman Myth & Citizen Soldier of the American Revolution

            “…any dependence on Militia is assuredly resting on a broken staff”                                                                                     George Washington[1] Ask most Americans what comes to mind when the word, “minuteman” is mentioned. They will no doubt answer something to the affect that they were eighteenth century citizen patriot militias who, within a minute’s notice, grabbed their muskets and fought …

Music in Colonial & Revolutionary America

The vast majority of music performed and heard in the colonies of America was melodies carried down from generation to generation over the centuries; ballads and bawdy drinking songs that told stories of love, adventures, battles, political strife, and humorous tales.   Hymns both secular and sacred were always popular and many new ones were composed …

Diseases and Epidemics During Revolutionary America 1763 – 1783

The Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia compiled the most extensive report about diseases and success rates of doctors during the Revolutionary War Period. Aside from mental disorders which affected nearly one fifth of all patients, half of the hospital’s cases concerned seven disorders: scurvy – 15%, fevers – 9%, venereal disease – 9%, dropsy – 6%, …

Life in the Rebel Camp

In 1775, military decorum and assigned duties within the ‘rebel’ units gradually improved from a collection of militia farmers and yeomen to the beginnings of a coordinated and effective fighting force.  Officers of the Continental Army, former merchants, planters, lawyers, farmers, and legislatures realized the need for organized camp life.  If a regiment learned to …