1734–1755: Forts Built on Lakes George and Champlain

Lake George New York. Hand-colored lithograph published by Currier & Ives, 1856. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 09259.
Lake George New York. Hand-colored lithograph published by Currier & Ives, 1856. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 09259.
Lake Champlain, around 1882. William Bruns. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 5472.
Lake Champlain, around 1882. William Bruns. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 5472.

Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin…finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves…here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony.
—Thomas Jefferson, May 1791.

Hudson River, Lake George, and Lake Champlain created 
a waterway connecting New York City, in Britain’s New York Province, to Montreal, in French-Canadian territory. The French and English built garrisons or forts along that inland water route.

Lake George in northeastern New York is 32 miles north-south, almost four miles wide, and up to 200 feet deep. The short La Chute River drops 230 feet from the north of Lake George, as it drains into the southern end of 107-mile-long Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain, 14 miles at its widest point, lies mainly in Vermont and New York and reaches to St. Johns (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Quebec, Canada.

In 1734 the French built Fort St. Frédéric on Lake Champlain, some 105 miles south of St. Jean (John).

In 1755 the French built the star Fort Carillon ten miles south of Fort St. Frédéric, where La Chute enters Lake Champlain near northern Lake George. The fort will be the British Ticonderoga.

In 1755 the British built Fort William Henry (40 miles southwest of Fort Carillon) and Fort George (southeast of Fort William Henry) at the southern end of Lake George. The same year the British also built Fort Edward, 15 miles south and a bit east of Fort George, near where the Hudson River veers west.

The French destroyed Fort St. Frédéric in the summer of 1759, before the British army arrived.

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1940s, Who Are We?

Photo possibly taken in Barryville.
Photo possibly taken in Barryville.

Taking a short break from the 1700s. Here is a photo I think was taken in the Town of Highland, I assume at either the Eldred or Barryville Methodist Church. I love the round glasses.

My grandmother Myrtie Briggs is second from the left, on the front row. The lady to her right looks familiar, but I don’t know who she is.

Does anyone know the other people?

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Calendar Change September 1752

Calendar illustration for the September, 1607. People picking fruit, goats grazing, goatherds or travelers resting, and farmers plowing fields, with distant view of a village. Engraver: Ægidius Sadeler. Artist: Pieter Stevens. Location unknown. Library of Congress: 2017650429.
Calendar illustration for September, 1607. People picking fruit, goats grazing, goatherds or travelers resting, and farmers plowing fields, with distant view of a village. Engraver: Ægidius Sadeler. Artist: Pieter Stevens. Location unknown. Library of Congress: 2017650429.

Calendar Complications 1582

The Julian Calendar, which the English continued to use from 1582–1752, started the new year on March 25. So December was the tenth month.

Parliament declared that the day after September 2, 1752 was to be September 14, 1752. The change to the 
Gregorian Calendar, happened in several steps:

• December 31, 1750 was followed by January 1, 1750.
• March 24, 1750 was followed by March 25, 1751.
• December 31, 1751 was followed by January 1, 1752
• September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, 1752.

By September 14, 1752 the English (including the 
Colonies) had switched to the Gregorian Calendar and were 
using the same dates as the rest of Europe. The year 1752 was 72 days shorter.

Is it all clear now?

Any document dated January 1st through March 24th, 
before 1752, is one year off.

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1720 Fireplace

Interior room fireplace: Stanley-Whitman House, 1720 to 1772. Historic American Buildings Survey, compiled after 1933. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: ct0329; HABS CT-356-4.
Interior room fireplace: Stanley-Whitman House, 1720 to 1772. Historic American Buildings Survey, compiled after 1933. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: ct0329; HABS CT-356-4.

The Stanley-Whitman House on 37 High Street (east of Main Street) in Farmington, Connecticut, is an example of early New England architecture and homes the early Colonists had known in England.

A center chimney flanked by parlor and hall with two chambers above provided both living and storage space. The Colonists built houses from wood, the plentiful resource in the area, and used post and beam construction for the frame. The second floor extends beyond the first on the front façade, creating an overhang.—stanleywhitman.org/history.

Note: See: stanleywhitman.org/cemeteries-village-green for a map of old Farmington which includes Mr. Sinner’s home.

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The Atlantic Slave Trade Triangle

The Mill Yard. Grinding sugar cane in a windmill, on the Island of Antigua. Artist: William Clark, published by Thomas Clay, London, 1823. British Library: 1786.c.9, plate V. Public Domain.
The Mill Yard. Grinding sugar cane in a windmill, on the Island of Antigua. Artist: William Clark, published by Thomas Clay, London, 1823. British Library: 1786.c.9, plate V. Public Domain.

English, Irish, and Scottish indentured servants did the majority of work on Barbados Plantations, until the 1640s.

Unable to compete with tobacco from Virginia, Barbados Plantations switched to raising sugar cane which was in demand for tea, coffee, and cocoa.

Processing sugar cane required intense labor and many workers. After the harvested cane was crushed, the juice was cooked down in dangerous boiling houses. The result was a coarse brown sugar called muscovado, and molasses.

The increasing request for sugar and molasses accelerated a demand for more Slaves and free labor.

Around 1650 Connecticut merchants, including those from Wethersfield and Hartford, invested in ships to trade Connecticut goods with Barbados for sugar and molasses.

In Connecticut molasses was made into rum, shipped to 
Africa, and sold to buy more Africans, who were sent on ships across the Atlantic, to be enslaved on sugar cane plantations. This was one of several horrific Atlantic Slave Trade triangles. New 
England ships continued to exchange farm and other products for West Indies sugar and molasses.—from connecticuthistory.org.

France, Netherlands, and Spain also used Slaves to harvest sugar on the West Indies Islands they owned. Around 1660 the British Parliament began passing Navigation Acts (which were rarely enforced) to regulate colonial trade. All trade to and from the Colonies was to be on British ships.

In the 1700s Great Britain tried to tighten its economic hold on their colonies by imposing taxes—one of the offenses that led to the American Revolution.

(In 1700 Barbados had 15,000 free Whites and 50,000 African Slaves.
—wikipedia.org.)

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1640 Whole Booke of Psalmes

The Whole Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English Meeter, by Thomas Sternehold, John Hopkins and others, London, 1640, included some printed music.
The Whole Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English Meeter, Thomas Sternehold, John Hopkins, and others, London, 1640.

The Booke of Psalmes
The Puritan immigrants brought over several versions of the Psalms, including the 1562 edition of the Sternhold and Hopkins Psalter.

In 1640 the Bay Psalm Book (The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre), a new translation from 
Hebrew to English, was printed at Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the first book to be printed in what became the United States, but it did not have musical notes.

Connecticut congregations favored Sternehold and Hopkins, The Whole Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English Meeter, printed in London, in 1640.

Several pieces of Old English Church Music were included. The melody was shown in square-headed notes, with no bar lines.

The Psalms were usually bound up with the family Bible which was too heavy and costly for use in the churches. So antiphonal reading became common practice.

“Old 100th” in The Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English Meeter, by Thomas Sternehold, John Hopkins and others, London, 1640. Words: William Kethe, 1561.
“Old 100th,” The Whole Booke of Psalmes, Sternehold, Hopkins, and others, London, 1640. Words: William Kethe, 1561.

1667 Farmington Meeting
One Sabbath morning in 1667 the Farmington Meeting, likely attended by Joseph Hickok, started with a fifteen-minute prayer. Then Rev. Samuel Hooker read and 
explained a chapter of the Bible and announced the morning Psalm to be sung from the Psalter.

A deacon chose the beginning note (Psalm 100 or Old 100th used as an 
example) and sang out: “All people that on earth do dwell.” The congregation repeated the phrase.

“Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice,” recited the deacon, and the congregation echoed. The Psalm continued with the deacon and the congregation alternating until the end of the Psalm.
Continue reading

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Calendar Complications

Martius, 1607. Engraver: Ægidius Sadeler. Artist: Pieter Stevens. Location unknown. Library of Congress: 2017650425.
Martius, 1607. Engraver: Ægidius Sadeler. Artist: Pieter Stevens. Location unknown. Library of Congress: 2017650425.

In October 1582 the Roman Catholic world adopted the Gregorian Calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. But the English (and their future colonies) kept the Julian Calendar until 1752. March 24 was the last day of the year in the Julian Calendar. The new year started on March 25.

As an example: the ship Planter sailed for New England on March 22, 1634, four days before the Peter Bonaventure which left for “ye Barbadoes & Christophers” on March 26, 1635.

The switch to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 was done in steps and completed by September 14 of that year.

The above print is a 1607 calendar illustration for the month of March. It shows a bird’s-eye view of a palace on the right and a lagoon in the middle distance. There is a bustle of activity preparing for Spring planting and building a small wooden structure, and men carrying large baskets on their backs.

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Flax

Old flax wheel from Plymouth, traced back 200 years, wood engraving by F.S. Church, Harper's Weekly, 1876 July 15, p. 585. Loc 2004682097
Flax wheel, 200 years old when published in “Harper’s Weekly,” 1876. Engraver: F.S. Church. Library of Congress: 2004682097.

Hemp and flax were two major crops in early New England. The age old lengthy, labor-intensive procedure of processing the flaxen or blond-colored fibers of flax plants into linen thread, was still used in the 1770s by David Hickok, a descendant of William and Elizabeth Hitchcock.

Rippling, Retting, Dressing
• Flax is harvested about a hundred days after it is planted. The three- to four-foot tall plant is pulled up from the roots to get the longest fibers. The stalks are drawn through the teeth of a rippling comb or threshed with a flax flail to remove the seeds.

• The stems are retted (or rotted) in water or in a field (using 
the dew) to release the soft fibers. When dry, the three-step 
process: breaking, scutching, and heckling, separates the fiber from the straw-like stalks.

• A wooden brake breaks the woody core into short sections, loosening the flax fibers. A wooden scutching knife or paddle is used to scrape the remaining fibers from the outer stalk.

• The separated fibers are drawn a number of times through different size heckles or heckling combs. The rows of different size iron tines on the “combs” remove the remaining pulp and the shorter coarser strands of fiber, called tow.

• The fibers are sorted according to fineness. The longer fibers (up to three feet) can be spun into linen thread, used to bind books, make shoes, or for twine. The tow can be used for rougher linen yarns or rope.

Linen Thread
To make linen thread, the longer, fine flax fibers were wrapped around the distaff—a long vertical pole attached to a spinning wheel. The spinner then spun “a long, even thread from the mass of fiber” and wound it onto bobbins or spools.

“When the bobbins were full,” the spinner wound “the thread off on a reel into knots and skeins…” It was a good day’s work to spin two skeins of twenty knots each, every knot having forty threads.”—Buel, The Tale of the Spinning Wheel, 35–37.

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Farmington Stories

Autumn scene on a farm, near Farmington, Connecticut. James McDougal Hart, Boston: L. Prang & Co., Farmington, 1870; Chromolithograph; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g05804.
Autumn scene on a farm, near Farmington, Connecticut. James McDougal Hart, Boston: L. Prang & Co., Farmington, 1870; Chromolithograph; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g05804.

Samuel and Joseph Hicox/Hickok, the two sons of William and Elizabeth Hitchcock, grew up in Farmington. Each of the brothers was married with children when they left Farmington for the new plantation Mattatuck (later called Waterbury), Connecticut, sometime around 1680.

Flaunting Luxurious Habits
The fine material woven by Farmington’s skilled weavers gave townsfolk the opportunity of being on the best dressed list. Farmington folks were not concerned that their fine silk clothing was considered luxurious or gaudy by some Puritans. But Massachusetts Puritans saw things differently.

In 1667 a man from Farmington moved to Massachusetts “carrying thither the luxurious habits of his native village.” The man and “divers persons” were taken to Court for not only “wearing of silk” but wearing it “in a flaunting manner” and “for long hair and other extravagances.”

The Court said this was “contrary to honest and sober order and demeanor, not becoming a wilderness state.” His clothing was not appropriate for the “profession of Christianity and religion.” The Court fined him two shillings and six pence.—Julius Gay, “Farmington Papers,” pp. 160–1.

Mr. Sinner
In the early years anyone who was discovered working, 
traveling, hunting, or frequenting an inn on the Sabbath could be prosecuted and fined. Farmington seems to have been especially conscientious about what even those traveling through could do on the Sabbath.

One Mr. North, known as Sinner North, “did not take kindly to Puritan ways and never went to church.” The children called him Mr. Sinner, which he did not mind, because they were respectful. Mr. North lived in Farmington sometime after Joseph and Samuel Hickok had left for Mattatuck or Waterbury as it came to be called.—from Julius Gay, “Farmington Papers,” p. 109.

Farmington Towns
Farmington was later enlarged and eight new towns taken out, including Burlington and New Britain, where the family of Asa Hickok lived, in the early 1800s, before they moved to Lumberland.

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1650 Grist Mill

The 1650 Grist Mill waterwheel on Mill Brook, in New London, Connecticut. Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Library of Congress: 024588.
The 1650 Grist Mill waterwheel on Mill Brook, in New London, Connecticut. Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Library of Congress: 024588.

Gristmills and sawmills were necessary for establishing 
towns.

In 1650 New London, Connecticut (fifty miles southeast of 
Farmington), John Elderkin built a gristmill for Gov. John 
Winthrop Jr.

Farmington’s John Bronson is thought to have built a sawmill and later sold it to Deacon Stephen Hart, 
before 1650. At some point Farmington also had a gristmill.”
—from Julius Gay, Farmington Papers, p. 271; and David N. Camp, History of New Britain, with Sketches of Farmington and Berlin, Connecticut, 1640–1889, p. 20.

“The main New London waterwheel was rebuilt in 1892; and rebuilt from the hub out in 1930. The original oak frame, with the exception of a few rafters and plate in the upper part of the roof (as of 1930) had not been replaced.”—Library of Congress, from Frances Manwaring Caulkins, History of New London, 1612–1680.

Gears in the Old Town Grist Mill.  Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Library of Congress: 304777.
Gears in the Old Town Grist Mill. Historic American Buildings Survey, after 1933. Library of Congress: 304777.
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