Hickok Hotel, February 1785

“At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.” The Sleigh Race. Currier & Ives, ca. 1859. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Library of Congress: 05012.
“At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.” The Sleigh Race. Currier & Ives, ca. 1859. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. Library of Congress: 05012.

Hannah, in her 1784–1786 Journal calls their home, the Hickok Hotel.

Hickok Hotel, February 1785
Maria is often here. She was with me when we returned from Sam and Grace Prindle’s wedding Thursday evening. There were some lodgers from Stratford here.

Maria and I went to bed at nine. I, not having slept any, rose at about midnight and made some flip* for Maria and I, after which I went to bed.

But I soon rose with Maria. We sat up all night roasting oysters till five this morning. I slept away the forenoon and rose between one and two, Friday afternoon. Mrs. Curtis was here till just before night. Mrs. Gibbs was here also and stayed here all night with her son.

It is cold in this chamber and I have two or three beds to make, so will write no more at present.

We’ve had many lodgers this month of February. I sleep in different rooms depending on how many are sleeping at our Hickok Hotel. When Grace was here we slept in the barroom. When Sallia was visiting, I slept in the kitchen, as I have at other times.

Sam and Grace Prindle are staying here now. Aunt Sarah came home with Momma and stayed here one night.

Mr. Willard and Kevin who lodged here were impertinent. Col. Sherman and Upson lodged here. That latter and I had some discourse. He is a droll man. I went to bed at twelve.

At the end of February, towards the even we had sleigh folks here. We made supper for some.

*Flip: Mixture of beer or rum, with sugar or molasses, eggs, and cream.

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I Am Not Now Happy, April 1784

Eight illustrations depicting a New England farmhouse replica on exhibit at the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Wood engraving: F.S. Church; Illustration: Harper’s Weekly, July 15, 1876, p. 585; Library of Congress: 3c02852.
Eight illustrations depicting a New England farmhouse replica on exhibit at the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Wood engraving: F.S. Church; Illustration: Harper’s Weekly, July 15, 1876, p. 585; Library of Congress: 3c02852.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Johnson Hickok, was not the usual teenager. A voracious reader, Hannah
(b. 1767) was usually a no-nonsense
person with strong opinions we learn in her 1784–1786 Journal/Diary.

Hannah mentioned her uncle Asa Hickok several times, including borrowing his geography book. Uncle Asa and Aunt Esther’s daughter Hannah Hickok was born in 1789.

April 1784: Indisposed, Discontented, and Ill
Very much indisposed and discontented I was on the first
Saturday in April.

Sunday though indisposed and discontented, I puzzled myself
whether it was best to drink tea,
and concluded it was not.

Monday I was in a better humor. I went to Uncle Hickok’s. Bella came here. Mama went to Southbury. I washed floors. Mama returned about six. I felt too lonesome to stay below. I am not now happy.

I have read Samuel Richardson’s, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, for several days—perhaps too much. The only advantage I have in reading Richardson’s style is it gives me patience to write, which otherwise I should not have.

The History of Sir Charles Grandison in a Series of Letters, London, 1753–54
Author Samuel Richardson created his leading male character Charles Grandison to be a morally better hero than Tom Jones in Henry Fielding’s, The History of Tom Jones.

Sir Charles Grandison rescued Harriet Byron when she was kidnapped by Sir Pollexfen after he was rejected by her. Pollexfen wanted to duel with Grandison. Mr. G. refused, saying that dueling was harmful to society. Pollexfen then apologized to Harriet and asked her to marry him.

But Harriet was in love with Grandison. However, long ago Grandison had promised to marry Clementina, who lived in Italy. Clementina had demanded Grandison, an Anglican Protestant, become a Catholic. Grandison would not, so there was no marriage.

Clementina’s parents asked Grandison to return and marry Clementina. Clementina said she would never marry a “heretic.” So Grandison returned to England and married Harriet.

English author Jane Austen (1775–1817), a strong admirer of Richardson, is said to have patterned Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, after Grandison. Hannah Hickok didn’t seem to have the same appreciation for Richardson.

Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 67, 68.

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Chocolate

Baker’s chocolate advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar, Thanksgiving number, 1895. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 42194; 3b24042.
Baker’s chocolate advertisement in Harper’s Bazaar, Thanksgiving number, 1895. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: 42194; 3b24042.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Hickok, loved chocolate. Hannah was a teenager when she wrote her 1784–1786 Journal. She often mentioned eating chocolate for breakfast, which was not unusual at that time.

Central and South America were the original home to cacao trees, the source of chocolate.

Each cacao pod (the fruit) contains some forty cacao or cocoa beans, which are dried, roasted, and processed into the wonderful goodness called
chocolate.

Spain set up the first cacao plantations in the New World. As with sugar and other plantations, Slaves did the slow, demanding work of processing the beans.

By the 1650s English chocolate houses sold the expensive drink, mainly bought by the wealthy. In 1670 Dorothy Jones and Jane Barnard served coffee and chocolate at their public house in Boston. By 1680 Jamaica exported cocoa to Boston.

In 1705 cocoa and chocolate were advertised in a Boston newspaper. Cocoa beans weren’t taxed the same as tea. The beans were shipped directly to the South, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston from Central and South America, and the West Indies.

In 1739 Benjamin Franklin sold local “very good chocolate” along with Bibles, other books, pencils, ink, and writing paper from his Philadelphia print shop.

Since chocolate came in solid blocks and didn’t spoil, it made a good ration for the troops in the French and Indian War.

The British troops munched on chocolate while they built His Majesty’s Fort at Crown Point.

In 1765 Hannon’s Best Chocolate was produced in Dorchester, Massachusetts, from West Indies’ cocoa beans. Continue reading

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Hannah’s Study, 1783

“They went sleighing, but I would not go.”—Hannah Hickok, December 1783. Chromolithograph by F.M. Lamb. Published by L. Prang & Co., c1894. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g06417.
“They went sleighing, but I would not go.”—Hannah Hickok, December 1783. Chromolithograph by F.M. Lamb. Published by L. Prang & Co., c1894. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: cph 3g06417.

Hannah Hickok, daughter of David and Abigail Johnson Hickok, was eight years old when her uncle Asa Hickok first enlisted in 1775. Scattered throughout Hannah’s 1840s Journals, are her memories from 1783. Hannah’s Father David had a few entries in 1783, also.

“The Revolutionary War did not end till I was near sixteen (August 1783). During those years of war we thought every old nail and every old piece of iron was of consequence, as indeed we did every other thing, for there was none to be bought.”*

Cider, Reading, Trading
In October Hannah’s father David cut and carted wood, gathered corn, took apples to be made into cider, and mended his fence, as usual.

In November David paid his town rate. He took out Hopkin’s Enquiry and Bellamy’s Vindication from the South Britain library and borrowed a French Bible in Newtown. Items David traded (bought) that month included: 16 coat buttons, 1-1/2 yards ribbon, a pound of tea, 1-1/2 yards of green gingham, and a gallon of brandy. (November 25 was the last day for the British to leave.)

End of 1783, Hannah’s Study
On a “very cold and blustering” December day, with “middle leg deep and much drifted” snow, David brought his sheep home from the Ichabod Lot.

Then David completed a study for Hannah. He put in a twelve-pane glass window on the south side, hung the shutter, and put a lock upon the door. And said he had done “nothing about the house.”

Hannah was elated with Thanksgiving** in December. Her cousins Bellaria Hinman and Sally Johnson came to see her and stayed all night.

At the end of December Aunt Amy had a quilting at Hannah’s house. Hannah loved her study and preferred to be by herself: “Bella and Susanna Tuttle came and stayed all night. They went sleighing, but I would not go.”

Hannah Hickok Smith Looks Back at Life in 1783
I am writing in my study as I was 63 years ago; not the same, but about the same dimensions…The sun is going down. I have been about the house looking at things which in my youth would have amazed me. How times are changed.—December 20, 1846.

Sixty-four years ago (1783) I wrote in the evening, “Not having any inclination to spend any time with ‘company’ I have thought fit to betake myself to my study.” And I have thought very much so ever since, I would rather be in my study than anywhere.—December 5, 1847.
Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 63–65.

* Hannah Hickok Smith, December 24, 1847.
** Thanksgiving was in December in the year 1783.

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No Honours of War for Cornwallis

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. The larger oil on canvas by John Trumbull hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The smaller painting (completed around 1828) shown here: University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection 1832.4; 79. Public Domain; www.aoc.gov.
The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. The larger oil on canvas by John Trumbull hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The smaller painting (completed around 1828) shown here: University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection 1832.4; 79. Public Domain; www.aoc.gov.

Above painting: The defeated British army marches between the Americans on the right, led by General George Washington, and the French on the left, led by General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau. At the center, on horseback, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, Washington’s second-in-command, accepts the official surrender from General Lord Cornwallis’s deputy, General Charles O’Hara.

Honours of War
Honours of War was a symbolic recognition of a valiant defense, which gave the surrendering Army permission to march out with drums beating, bayonets fixed, and flags flying. Or their band could play a tune of its own choice.

On October 19, 1781 British General Charles E. Cornwallis formally surrendered. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent General Charles O’Hara to offer his sword to General George Washington.

General Washington would not permit the British Troops the Honours of War or accept the sword from General O’Hara.

Instead, General Washington sent Major-General Benjamin Lincoln to accept the sword. This helped to undo the indignity the British had caused Benjamin Lincoln when they rejected his request for a surrender with Honours of War after the Siege of Charleston, in 1780.

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John Trumbull, Artist

Declaration of Independence drafting committee: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin presenting their work to the Continental Congress, July 2, 1776. John Trumbull, artist. Oil on canvas, 1819. Yale University Art Gallery: Trumbull Collection: 1832.3.
Declaration of Independence drafting committee: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin presenting their work to the Continental Congress, July 2, 1776. John Trumbull, artist. Oil on canvas, 1819. Yale University Art Gallery: Trumbull Collection: 1832.3.
Gen. George Washington at Trenton. The January 2, 1777 battle at Assunpink Creek, NJ, in the background. John Trumbull, oil on canvas, 1792. Gift of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut. Yale University Art Gallery. 1806.1.
Gen. George Washington at Trenton. The January 2, 1777 battle at Assunpink Creek, NJ, in the background. John Trumbull, oil on canvas, 1792. Gift of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut. Yale University Art Gallery. 1806.1.

John Trumbull, an artist, was the second personal assistant (aide-de-camp) to Washington during the Revolutionary War. After the war was over, Mr. Trumbull painted a series on American history.

In 1817 the U.S. Congress commissioned Mr. Trumbull to paint the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams recommended that all the delegates be included—whether they were present or not and whether they signed or not.

Though Thomas Jefferson was the main author, Trumbull’s painting shows John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin (who had worked on the draft) presenting the document to John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, on June 28, 1776.

John Trumbull worked on the Declaration painting for more than thirty years. Only forty-two of the fifty-six Declaration signers are represented, as Mr. Trumbull did not have likenesses for everyone.

In at least two cases, Trumbull painted sons who resembled their fathers. The 12-by-18-foot painting has hung in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, since 1826.
—artgallery.yale.edu; wikipedia.org; Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 60, 61.

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1777: Mary Katherine Goddard and the Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence printed in Baltimore, Maryland, by Mary Katharine Goddard, January 18, 1777. United States and Continental Congress Broadside Collection: Library of Congress: 90898037.
Declaration of Independence printed in Baltimore, Maryland, by Mary Katharine Goddard, January 18, 1777. United States and Continental Congress Broadside Collection: Library of Congress: 90898037.

…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress officially declared its freedom from Great Britain. On July 4 the Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and sent it to John Dunlap to be printed.

Thomas Jefferson, the main author, had input from John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin. On August 2 many members began to sign the Declaration.

The Declaration of Independence stated that the King was a tyrant, “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” It was not only the right of the colonies, but “their duty, to throw off such Government.”

Under Indictment, the Declaration listed a “long train of abuses” and “repeated injuries” of the King of Great Britain, which included: imposing taxes without their consent; often depriving them of the benefit of Trial by Jury; taking “away their Charters; abolishing their most valuable Laws; and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.”

At every stage the colonies had humbly petitioned to correct the situation but the other side had “been deaf to the voice of justice…We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Mary Katherine Goddard
Mary Katherine Goddard, at the request of the Continental Congress, printed the second authentic copy of the Declaration of Independence on January 18, 1777. Though Mary Katherine’s was the second printing, it was the first printing to include (all but one of) the typeset names of the signers. Mary took a risk in printing the document, as the British would consider it treason.

Mary, Baltimore’s first Postmaster (appointed by Benjamin Franklin), also published (initially with her brother) Baltimore’s first weekly newspaper, the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser. Mary continued to print the Maryland paper throughout the War, sometimes paying post-riders with her own money.

There is much more to Mary’s story. An amazing woman, Mary (and her mother) deserve their own book.—constitutioncenter.org, “On This Day,” Scott Bomboy, August 2, 2019; guides.loc.gov; prologue.blogs.archives.gov, Samantha Payne, “Changing the Boundaries,” January 29, 2015.

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1781: John Leavenworth Furnishes Food for French Troops

Count de Rochambeau, French general of the land forces in America reviewing the French troops, British Cartoon, 1780. LOC: 2004673388.
Count de Rochambeau, French general of the land forces in America reviewing the French troops, British Cartoon, 1780. LOC: 2004673388.
The disembarkation of French troops, under the command of Comte de Rochambeau, at Newport, Rhode Island, one of twelve scenes depicting the history of the American Revolution. Artist and Engraver: Daniel Chodowiecki. LOC: 2004670207.
The disembarkation of French troops, under the command of Comte de Rochambeau, at Newport, Rhode Island, one of twelve scenes depicting the history of the American Revolution. Artist and Engraver: Daniel Chodowiecki. LOC: 2004670207.

1781 French Troupes in Southbury *
In June 1781, after several planning sessions with George Washington, General Count de Rochambeau and his French Troops (divided into four divisions) left Rhode Island to join forces with Washington in what is now Greenburgh, New York.

On each of four days, one of the divisions left Rhode Island. General Rochambeau on his “fine steed” was in the first division. Their route through Connecticut included, Hartford, Farmington, Southington, Waterbury, and Breakneck (a section in today’s Middlebury).

After a night at Breakneck, the French Troops began their thirteen-mile march through southern Woodbury (Southbury) to cross the Great River and set up camp in Newtown, Connecticut.

What a sight for fourteen-year-old Hannah Hickok (daughter of David and Abigail), her relatives, and neighbors. Starting on June 28, 1781, and for each of the following three days, one of four divisions arrived from Breakneck on the trek through Southbury.

Officers, in two-corner hats and white coats trimmed in green, were followed by enlisted men (in wigs) with muskets marching two by two carrying sixty-pound packs.

Each Division featured at least one thousand soldiers, followed by their Artillery, two “twelve-pounders” and one or two mortars. Teams of four horses pulled ten Regimental wagons.

John Leavenworth, the Southbury miller, furnished the French troops with wheat, corn, butter, and pork at no charge.** (John’s Mill went up for sale in 1783.)

Most of the supply wagons crossed Carleton’s Bridge. But the Artillery Units had to use teams of oxen to drag the heavy siege cannons two miles north and cross the river at the ford.

From July 6 to August 18, 1781, Rochambeau and his French forces set up camp on the Odell Farm in Greenburgh, New York. Then they headed to Virginia and the final battle of the Revolutionary War.
Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 60–61.

* Raymond E. Sullivan, Breakneck, pp. 88–9.
** Southbury miller: Elias Warner Leavenworth, A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States, p. 326.

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A Very Hot Battle, October 1776

His excy. George Washington Esqr. captain general of all the American forces. Engraver: John Normans, 1781. LOC: 2004666689.
His excy. George Washington Esqr. captain general of all the American forces. Engraver: John Normans, 1781. LOC: 2004666689.

On October 27, 1776, David Hickok wrote that at South Britain’s Sunday Meeting, “every able-bodied man in the Train Band” was ordered “to march to Stamford forthwith.”

Monday a battle took place in White Plains, New York, some fifty miles southwest of South Britain. David could hear the cannons:

“The cannon played briefly all day. Mr. Reynolds just come from the army and says they had a very hot battle at the White Plains yesterday.”—David Hickok, October 28, 1776.

“About a hundred and fifty were killed and wounded in the short space of an hour.

“Quite a number of Woodbury soldiers were killed and several others severely wounded.”—Rev. Mr. Wildman, Southbury; Cothren, Ancient Woodbury 1, pp. 199, 205.

“Daniel Downs, Amasa Garrit are killed and John Chilson had his arm shot off in the Battle of the White Plains. A soldier belonging to Boston Government lodged at my house this night, to whom I sold my old watch.”—David Hickok, November 4, 1776.

“Wednesday I did nothing of any value but sleep and write a letter for John Johnson for I watched last night with John Garrit who is sick of the long fever at brother Justus’s.

“News that Fort Washington (November 16) is taken. The night before last three soldiers which came from the camps lodged at my house; they belonged to the (Massachusetts) Bay government.”—David Hickok, November 20, 1776.

With the defeat at White Plains and the disaster at Forts Washington and Lee, General Washington was forced to retreat to New Jersey.—Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 56–57.

Cannons at Artillery Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, 2019. LOC: 2019689455.
Cannons at Artillery Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, 2019. LOC: 2019689455.
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January 1776: The Long Haul

Knox entering camp with the artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga, winter 1775-76. Hand-colored wood engraving: William H. Van Ingen, ca. 1855. Library of Congress: 3g09060.
Knox entering camp with the artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga, winter 1775-76. Hand-colored wood engraving: William H. Van Ingen, ca. 1855. Library of Congress: 3g09060.

Asa Hickok, 1775: “In the fall of the year the men at Ticonderoga were attacked with fever and dysentery and many of them died. My brother Reuben was very sick. (He died two years later.)

“I was taken sick with a fever late in the fall. It rendered me unable to go north with the troops to Fort Saint-Jean (John) south of Montreal in Canada, where we had been ordered to march.

“Around December 1, at the start of winter, I was discharged from further service with a view to get to my brother’s who resided near the head of South Bay.”

As Asa Hickok headed home to South Britain, Connecticut, Henry Knox arrived in Ticonderoga.

Henry arranged for 80 yoke of oxen to haul 42 sleds with much of the captured British equipment, including 60 tons of cannons, mortars, and howitzers, to Massachusetts.*

On January 27, 1776 after too much snow, not enough snow, adding oxen, and hiring new workers, the cannons and arms arrived at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Washington used the captured artillery to end the eleven months the British had held Boston hostage.

On March 17, 1776, the British evacuated (left) Boston.—Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 44, 45.

* wikipedia.org.

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