Thursday, March 9, 2017

Women's History Month: Lydia Maria Child

Women's History MonthLydia Maria Child 

Part II

Lydia Maria (Francis) Child 1802-1880

In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist from Boston, started publishing a newspaper called The Liberator. Maria read it and became a reformer. She joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society. She wrote anti-slavery papers after that. In 1833 she published

An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans. It made her very unpopular. She had to shut down her children's paper.

That did not stop her writing about slavery. Her next job was editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, a New York paper from 1841-1843. She was upset by the Compromise of 1850 and offered her support to John Brown for his raid at Harper's Ferry. (He didn't want it).

During the Civil War she collected supplies for "contraband" (runaway slaves attached to the Union Army). She wrote a reading book for newly freed slaves called Freedmen's Book. The book had biographies of black leaders, stories of fugitive slaves and practical advice. Maria published it mostly with her own money. The book was sold cheaply so freedmen could afford it. All profits were went into future editions. Maria edited Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent (Harriet Jacobs) and helped get it published.

After the Civil War Lydia supported women's suffrage but she thought black men should have the right to vote first. She founded the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. She also continued to support Native Americans. She thought they had the right to keep their own language and religion.

Maria's husband died in 1874. She finally had money of her own and donated it to support her personal causes. Maria continued to write and support charities until she died in 1880. She was very, very famous in her day and had many famous friends and fans like Edgar Allen Poe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and the Alcotts. In your day she is mostly remembered for "Over the River and Through the Woods."

Women's History Month: Lydia Maria Child

Women's History Month

Lydia Maria Child 

Part I

Lydia Maria (Francis) Child 1802-1880
"An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves."

March is Women's History Month. My project is to do an oral report on an important woman in American History. I always choose a Rhode Island woman. This year I chose a woman from Maine and Massachusetts instead.

Lydia Francis was born on February 11, 1802 in Medford, Massachusetts. Lydia was the youngest child in a large family. Her parents were not very nice. They raised her in the severe Puritan way. Young Lydia was different from her family. She was imaginative, bright, headstrong and curious. She studied with her older brother. He went to Harvard when she was 9.

Lydia's mother died when Lydia was young. Then Lydia's favorite sister got married. Lydia's father sent her way up north to Maine. Lydia lived with her married sister. She had to help out with household chores. She wrote to her brother. He helped her learn new things.

In 1819 Lydia took a teaching job in Gardiner, Maine. She changed religions to a nicer one. She was baptized in 1821. After that she used her baptism name Maria (muh-rye-uh) as her first name. Maria's brother was a Unitarian minister. This church helped Maria learn to think about people who were different from her. She became a writer. Her books talked about being nice to Indians and freeing the slaves.

In 1824 Maria published her first book. Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times is the first historical novel published in the United States. It was very scandalous. In the story a white lady married an Indian man and has a son. Then her Indian husband told her she would be better off with her own people. She went back to the white people and married a minister. The book was shocking but popular. It was published anonymously but soon everyone knew who wrote it.

 Lydia became part of the Transcendentalist circle and lifelong friends with Margaret Fuller.

Then she published a magazine for children called The Juvenile Miscellany.


In 1828 Maria married David Child. He was a lawyer and journalist. They agreed on personal beliefs. He did not earn much money so they moved around a lot. Because they were poor, Maria wrote a book called The Frugal Housewife (later the American Frugal Housewife). It was a household manual telling people how to live cheaply. This was the first cookbook that did not assume the reader had servants. Children were supposed to do the work instead. (It was very hard to be a kid back then). You can still buy this book in your time.

 It is too hard to cook from it. Cooking was done over an open fire in a fireplace. The cookbook also assumes you have a farm and you know how to cook weird things like calves' feet. It doesn't have much in the way of directions or any cooking temperatures. Women on the frontier (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, western New York and western Virginia) liked this book a lot.

This recipe for lobster salad doesn't tell you to cook the lobster or the eggs. It tells you to use chicken instead for chicken salad.

At this time Maria wrote for women and children. Her next manual was for mothers: The Mother's Book. Then she wrote a book for girls The Little Girl's Own Book. In this book she tells middle class mothers how to raise their daughters to be healthy but still feminine. Girls should play active games like skipping rope and game of graces; children should eat simple food, keep clean, stand up straight and lots more maxims for health and gracefulness.

 It also had quizzes and games.

Can you figure this one out? My guardian didn't get it. I told her to think of the line as the word "under" so "I understand you."

In 1844 she wrote the now-famous song (then a poem) "Over the River and Through the Woods.
It was originally called "The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day" in Flowers for Children.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Springtime on the Farm in the Federal Period

Springtime on the Farm in the Federal Period

Good day! I am back on the farm in the days of the early republic to show you what springtime chores I have to do. There are some new animal friends to play with and some to avoid! Some of you may know my cousin Caroline Abbott and recognize my family's farm from her book. If you don't know Caroline, then you know me as Susanna, a modern girl who travels through time once again visiting Coggeshall Farm in Bristol, Rhode Island. 

It's a lovely spring day. There's lots to do on the farm.

Follow me to feed the chickens....
Here chick, chick, chick.... Come and get your food.

We have all manner of fowl, including Rhode Island Red hens.

and turkeys! Try to catch this fellow and stick him in your cooking pot! I would like to use his tail feathers to make a feather duster. I will catch him by Thanksgiving! Just you wait Mr. Turkey!

Time to feed the game fowl.

Now I must help in the garden for spring planting season is upon us.
I need a quick break in the shade, by these purple flowers.

The men have been hard at work in the woodshed making things we need and repairing roofs and fences.

This is my new calf. Isn't she sweet? 

Time to herd the sheep inside their pen at the end of the day. If you do not have a sheep dog, you must go after the sheep and clap at them. Be sure to keep your distance. Sheep are very shy. They will run back home if you give them enough space. 
Here they are, safe and sound for the night.

Soon we'll shear the sheep and use their wool to make clothing and blankets for winter. I have just finished carding last year's wool with ym carding combs. This roll of wool is called a rolag or sliver and can now be spun into thread. More on that another day!

More pictures of the farm without my adorable self but the cute animals almost make up for it.

Thanks to my new friends, Miss Emily and Miss Eleanor for teaching me farm chores. 
Until next time,

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Winter on the Farm/ A Visit to the Sugar Camp

Winter on the Farm/ A Visit to the Sugar Camp

It's almost spring here in New England in the 1790s (that's the Federalist era in America) and that means lots of work to do on the farm. I'm here at Coggeshall Farm in Bristol, Rhode Island. It's a tenant farm, which means my father does not own the land but works it for an absent owner. My father pays rent, usually in the form of onions, to the landlord. 

There's plenty of work to do indoors. I follow my mother and learn how to do household chores.

I hang our clothes, make the bed and prop up my special friend Mehitabel on the bed.

I learn to spin the wool from our sheep into thread and weave the thread on the loom to make warm clothing, like my shawl. It is a very slow process. First I clean the wool, then card the wool with the carding combs before I can begin to spin it into thread. Then I weave it into cloth and knit it into stockings and mittens. The wool will make fine winter clothing for next year.

After a long winter cooped up indoors, it's nice to be able to get outside again, even if it means more hard work. I go out to check on the animals. 

I must feed the chickens. They are more interested in their food than in me.

We have some new lambs. Aren't they sweet? I wish I could keep one for a pet. 

Here are the ram and the ewe keeping an eye on their babies. They are Gulf Coast Native sheep, descended from sheep brought by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. 

We have a donkey to protect the flock. If any wolves or coyotes come, the donkey will kick at them. 

I take a walk to the woods to visit my big brother in the sugar camp. He was feeling restive cooped up in the house all winter so Mother sent my father and brother out to the woods to tap the maple trees for making maple syrup. My brother drilled a hole in the tree with a tool called an auger. Then he put a wooden spout in it to divert the syrup from the maple tree to the log. The days are warming up and the nights are cool so the sap flows forth from our Norway maple trees quickly. 
Then my brother boils the sap over the fire until we have sweet syrup we can use or sell. Though 'tis easier and cheaper to import cane sugar from the West Indies, maple syrup makes a nice treat

. My brother lives here in the camp. He watches over the boiling sap. Later, after the sap starts running, the trees will eventually die and my father will have more farm land. (In YOUR time or any other time after the mid-18th century, the tree keeps on growing! I'm visiting an 18th century farm and if my father or brother makes a hole with an auger the tree will live but my father wants more farm land so he may make a gash in the tree, which is the old-fashioned way to do it.)

The sap is boiled down until it becomes thick and sweet. The air is filled with the smell of wood smoke and sweet syrup.

Back inside, I help my mother in the kitchen. I read a recipe for Johnny Cakes, a type of fried pancake made from Indian corn meal.

 "Scald 1 pint of milk and put to 3 pints of indian meal, and half pint of flower--bake before the fire. Or scald with milk two thirds of the indian meal, or wet two thirds with boiling water, add salt, molasses and shortening, work up with cold water pretty stiff, and bake as above." Mother chooses to add molasses and salt to her Johnny Cakes

 The secret to the best Johnny Cakes is to fry them in butter.

Mother makes the best Johnny Cakes.

I take some spices to grind in the mortar and pestle. We have cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

I take a quick rest 

Our kitchen cat comes in to see if she can find a tit bit of something good to eat. Methinks she would rather have a mouse than a Johnny Cake!

Time to study my lessons with the New England Primer.

I recite while my mother cooks: "Good children must,  
Fear God all day, Love Christ always,
Parents obey, In secret pray,
No false thing say, Mind little play,
By no sin stray, Make no delay,
In doing good."

After lessons, it's time for supper and then bed. Night comes early to the farm in winter but the days are growing light again and soon we will have more work to do. Good-Bye for now!

Take a tour of the rest of the farm or join me next time on another time travel adventure.

I'll have more adventures to share with you soon.