Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Boston, Massachusetts

The Freedom Trail

Good day followers! On Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting Boston, Massachusetts. I traveled along the Freedom Trail visiting sites of Revolutionary War history. Alas the clouds kept spitting rain and the crowds prevented me from getting as many pictures as usual, but here's a little taste of what I saw.

We started our tour on the Boston Common, America's oldest public park, founded in 1634. It has a Rhode Island connection (we found a bunch of those in Boston) - the land was originally owned by William Blackstone (or Blaxton as they said it back then). He was a bit of a recluse so when the Puritans moved to Boston, he sold his land and went to... not exactly Rhode Island but what's NOW Rhode Island! First to my neighborhood (Rehoboth) and then to what's now Cumberland. Another Rhode Island connection at the Boston Common is the famous painter Gilbert Stuart, who painted the portrait of George Washington on the $1 bill, is buried on the Boston Common. Apparently his family forgot where they buried him so he couldn't be moved back here to his birthplace. I will go find out and try to change history!

Moving along on the tour, we stopped for a time at the Granary Burying ground to look at the old grave stones. It was established in 1660 and many famous people are buried here like Paul Revere, John hancock, Sam Adams, victims of the Boston Massacre and Benjamin Franklin's parents. (Another Rhode Island connection - Benjamin's brother James and his wife Ann lived in Rhode Island. Ann was the first female newspaper editor in America!)

The Granary was once part of the Boston Common and the grass was kept neat by grazing livestock. In the 19th century, the stones were moved into neat rows to make way for the lawnmower. I don't think I like that idea. How do I know where my ancestors are actually buried? 

Puritans didn't believe in graven images but used tombstones as an artistic expression of their attitudes towards death. Many of the gravestones feature skulls with wings that represented the soul flying to heaven.

uritan churches did not believe in religious icons or imagery, so the people of Boston used tombstones as an outlet for artistic expression of their beliefs about the afterlife. One of the most popular motifs was the "Soul Effigy," a skull or "death’s head" with a wing on each side that was a representation of the soul flying to heaven after death. Elaborate scroll work, poetic epitaphs, and depictions of the Grim Reaper and Father Time also adorn many headstones. - See more at: http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/freedom-trail/granary-burying-ground.shtml#sthash.lnxH4uJB.dpuf

Here I am in front of the grave of the great patriot Sam Adams. He did not invent beer but he was a politician and a lawyer and a leader of the rebellion against Britain. In my travels I have encountered him as a hot headed revolutionary, something like a terrorist leader, at least from the Loyalist point-of-view. He became a member of the Continental Congress and a governor  

Here I am with another Franklin monument - this one to Benjamin Franklin at the Boston Latin School, the first public school in America (founded 1635). It was only for boys - boo! Benjamin Franklin did go here but he dropped out! Sam Adams and John Hancock, signers of the Declaration of Independence went here, as did Charles Bullfinch, designer of the Massachusetts State House. 

 Moving on, we stop at the site of the Boston Massacre. On the 5th of March 1770, British troops were trying to occupy Boston and prevent rebellion but ended up starting one instead when a soldier hit a Bostonian with his musket for insulting an officer. An angry mob of Bostonians confronted the soldiers and they fought. In the confusion, some soldiers fired and 5 men were killed or wounded. The Bostonians, influenced by an engraving by Paul Revere, saw this as a bloody massacre but John Adams, who defended the soldiers in court, argued they fired in self-defense. 

This ring of stones is the first commemorative site of the Boston Massacre where the men fell. 

This ring is the new monument, showing where the soldiers stood.

This sign inside the Old State House Museum shows the spot of the Boston Massacre then and now.

We traveled on and I stopped for a photo with this gentleman in front of the Green Dragon, named after a famous colonial tavern where the revolutionary leaders met in the back room. 

Our final stop is in front of Paul Revere's house.Paul Revere was of French-Protestant origins, an engraver, printer and silversmith who is most famous for his "midnight ride" as told by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow.  

Longfellow got some facts wrong, but Paul Revere did ride out to warn the countryside the British were coming. He got captured but other men escaped and helped warn the farmers the British were coming. That led to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. (See my previous post about the Concord Museum).

This is the oldest house in Boston, built in 1680 on the site of the childhood home of my guardian's cousin, Cotton Mather, a famous Puritan minister. The house was originally a large and fashionable place built for  a wealthy merchant. Paul Revere moved here in 1770 when the house was no longer fashionable. It was large enough to hold his family (first wife Sara, their five children and his mother; later his second wife Rachel and their children! A total of 8 children lived here at one time.) 

I want to visit his daughters, but we must return home soon. I have other photos of me on the Freedom Trail in my Visitors album!

I finished the day weary from so much walking and traveling through time. Felicity's cook prepared me some special cornbread and buttermilk as a late night snack before bed. (from Pippaloo on Etsy).

I hope you liked my tour. Come back next week when I will be visiting early 19th century Providence!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Concord, Massachusetts

Concord Massachusetts

On Saturday I went to Concord, Massachusetts. It's one of my favorite places to visit because Louisa May Alcott lived there. She's my favorite author and I've had the pleasure of meeting her twice. Since I last visited Orchard House not too long ago, we skipped visiting there this time. It looked very crowded. We went down the street to Ralph Waldo Emerson's home. 
Me at Ralph Waldo Emerson's home
H e was a great thinker and writer in the 19th century. He was also one of the founders of the Transcendental Club which formed the basis on the Transcendental movement, of which the Alcotts were a part of. You can read more about that later.

It was TOO hot and too expensive to go inside this time so we made our away across the street to the Concord Museum. (It's modern and air conditioned).

Me in front of the Concord Museum
They even have a replica of Henry David Thoreau's cabin and garden. He was another big thinker and writer of the 19th century. He's best known for going to live in the woods and writing about it.
At Thoreau's house

In Thoreau's garden

The collections share the history of Concord from Indian times to the Revolutionary War, the reform movement of the 19th century and more! They had a fun scavenger hunt for me to do and other children's activities.
Museum scavenger hunt

Our final stop of the day was Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where all the famous Concord authors are buried. I put a pencil on Louisa's grave and wandered around a bit to see the other famous authors. One of my other favorite authors, Margaret Sidney aka Harriet Lothrop is also buried there! Next time I will bring another pencil just for her. I love the Five Little Peppers series.
Laying a pencil on Louisa's grave

You can read more about my trip and see more photos in my photo album
You can read the captions on the regular share album  or view the slideshow:



Hi, I'm Susanna! Welcome to my blog. I'm a modern girl who has adventures in time. I like to visit different historical people and places. Sometimes I let my (human) guardian come along too. I've traveled all over southern New England so far and even as far away as eastern Pennsylvania! Keep checking my blog to see where I will pop up. 

17th century kitchen garden - Roger Williams National Memorial, Providence, RI

A little bit more about me (the long version):
I was born in Baldwinsville, New York inside a factory that made dolls for the German company Götz (Little Sisters). I then lived in an orphanage in Connecticut. It was dark and boring there and I slept much of the time. I think I was known as Tess back then, for some reason because that is not my name. There was a girl named Lily who lived there too. Finally, I was chosen and came to live with my guardian. My real name is Susanna Mary Allin, named after my ancestor Susanna who lived in the 1640s in my very own neighborhood. I have lots of friends from different time periods and sometimes I have visitors who come to stay and I take them time traveling too. 

Me with my puppy Little Bear in present day

To answer your question, no I am not like the Travelocity gnome. I'm a valued family member and my guardian wouldn't let me fall off cliffs or whatever. I'm more like Flat Stanley only I can't mail myself anywhere until I can afford to pay for it. That's what my guardian says anyway. I'm working on her. I do have a flat counterpart and you may see her somewhere on this blog at some point, too.