Day 19 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

What Choice Do I have?

choice signWe always have two choices, and only two choices. Either we accept things as they are or we can make the choice to change them.

Statistically, the happiest most adjusted  individuals are the ones who believe that they have a strong measure of control in their lives.They see themselves as victors.

The opposite is true for the people who believe in luck, fate, voodoo, and chance. These people are likely to give into their fears and doubts. They suffer from more physical and emotional problems. They see themselves as victims rather than victors.

One good way to overcome fear is to recognize that each one of us are created by a “power greater than yourself”, but we also must recognize that we are also  self-molded. It seems rather paradoxical, for sure, however, we must recognize that both are in effect for fear to lose it’s grip on us. We are given spiritual leadership, love, and natural laws that help us recognize the effects of every decision that we make, but we ultimately make our own decisions.

We have to replace our fear with knowledge and back that knowledge up by acting upon it. Failures should not be looked upon as the end result, but they should be looked upon as stepping stones.

We need to recognize that fear can be seen as False Evidence Appearing Real. A University of Michigan study from a number of years ago concluded that 60 percent of our fears are unwarranted. 20 percent come from past activities and there is nothing that we can do about them. 10 Percent are so minor that they really don’t matter. Of the remaining 10 percent, Only 4-5 percent are justifiable. The remainder of the fears that we have, we can do something about. We can minimize their effects if we simply stop worrying and start doing something about them.

In his book Seeds of Greatness, Denis Waitley suggests that we set aside one day every 7 weeks and mark it with a big F which will be our fear-in-disguise day. Eventually, it will become what we will call our follow-through day. On that day we will write down everything we can think of that we have anxiety or fear concerning. They can be current or future events, they can be problems in the world; they can be problems with family members. Include anything that might possibly be related to your business. Next we will write down any ideas that we might have toward reducing or eliminating that fear. choose things that you can actively do. Next, either telephone or arrange to have coffee with someone that we respect who can cast new light on your anxiety. (Be certain to look to someone who has a positive mental attitude. That you choose someone who will not wallow in it with you,)


About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 19 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Be a Fly on the Wall with Another Sneak Peek into Soldiers Don’t Cry

On March 28, 1774, Britain passed Coercive Act against Massachusetts, but the Americans in Boston didn’t feel its effects until June 1 of the same year when the act was activated. Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall of Boston patriots when they discovered that Parliament intended to make Bostonians pay for their insubordination at the Boston Tea Party? In Chapter 4 of Soldiers Don’t Cry, Elizabeth Thorton (our heroine) and Peter Mayford (her brother-in-law and Boston merchant) have just learned that the Coercive Act has gone into effect and the Port of Boston  has closed.

The crystal on the mantel and chandelier tinkled. Elizabeth heard her brother-in-law, Peter Mayford, cursing with each stomp.
“You’re home early, Peter,” Elizabeth said quietly. She did not need to turn around to see who it was. She finished her task and faced him, anyway.
“They closed the port! They brought another warship into Boston Harbor today and they closed the port!”
Elizabeth put her hands on her hips and scolded. “There’s no reason to be cursing through the house.”
“I have every reason to be cursing! I cannot believe you are taking this so calmly. My business involves working at the port! Have you forgotten that I am a shipping merchant? Those fancy silk fabrics I bought you were not only brought in on my ship, they were paid for by those ships being able to come and go from this port!”
“Yes, Peter,” she patronized. “I’m totally aware of those facts. We also knew King George was planning to close the port, and we are ready for it. The king calls this act the Coercive Act.”
“Intolerable Act if you ask me!” Peter Mayford huffed.
“You’re not the first person I’ve heard call them ‘intolerable.’ Every Patriot I’ve met in this city calls those acts ‘intolerable,’” Elizabeth added. “Peter, I don’t know why you’re so upset. When you heard the rumors that Parliament was closing the port, you moved your ships up to Salem. At least you can be thankful you had warning.”
“Thankful, I should be thankful for what? Have you not heard what I am saying? My main business is here in Boston, not Salem. A shipping merchant cannot do business from almost a hundred miles away. Do you know how inconvenient it will be for me to have to travel overland to Salem in order to conduct my shipping business?”
Elizabeth folded her hands in front of her. “You did expect some repercussions from the little tea party you and your ‘Indian’ friends had last winter, didn’t you?”
“I can understand the repercussions, certainly, but not closing the port. The port provides the livelihood of most of the people in this town. What is the king trying to do? Is he trying to drive New England to rebellion? He is treating us like children who he has a right to discipline. In Annapolis they burned a ship full of tea and all we did was. . .”
“Share the British tea with the seagulls,” Elizabeth giggled. Then she became serious. “Honestly, Peter, you make it sound like it’s the end of the world. I wish you would keep your voice down. Rachel might hear you, if she hasn’t heard you bellowing already.”
“Rachel is home? I thought she would be at the market. Where is she?”
“She is upstairs working with the loom. She’s trying to finish the broadcloth she’s working on for Jonathan’s new britches.”
Jonathan was Peter and Rachel’s twelve-year-old eldest son.
“Outgrowing his clothes again, huh?”
“Yes, Peter, your son is growing up.”
A shadow came over Peter’s face. “He’s a lot like my friend Matthew was when we were children. Matthew was always ripping his pants on something. I wonder what Matthew would have said about the most recent turn of events?”
Elizabeth empathized with Peter’s loss of his friend. “If he were alive today, I can guarantee he would have been right beside you dumping the tea into the harbor. What was the ship’s name? It was the Beaver, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, the ship was called the Beaver, and you’re right, Matthew would have been right beside me. I’m sure he would have.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Yes, he was the radical sort, wasn’t he? He was the one who first introduced you to Sam Adams, wasn’t he?”
“No, John Adams introduced me to Sam Adams. Matthew introduced me to Paul Revere.”
Elizabeth watched Peter’s troubled face. He was probably reliving the afternoon on March 5, 1770, when King George’s soldiers opened fire and murdered Peter’s friend Matthew Wilds. The events of March 5, 1770, changed Peter Mayford’s life forever. The day started like any other day. Peter was working at his office near Hancock’s Wharf when one of his clerks told him about the commotion at the square. Eyewitnesses told him about the insults exchanged between a barber’s boy and the soldiers in the square in front of the statehouse. A crowd gathered to join the argument. The crowd threw snowballs and sticks at the detachment. The maddened soldiers retaliated by shoving their bayonets toward the crowd.
Peter decided to investigate. From a half block away, Peter distinctly heard the command to fire. He ran down the street as fast as he could toward where the shots were fired, but the oncoming crowd running away from the gunfire jostled him. When he finally reached his friend, Peter found Matthew lying in a pool of his own blood, dead from a gunshot wound to his chest. As he held his friend to his body and Matthew’s blood flowed from the fatal wound, Peter vowed he would do everything in his power to avenge his friend’s death.
Peter had been one of the many people who testified against Captain Preston, the commander of the British detachment, and six of his men at the trial when they were tried for the murder of five men who died on the fifth day of March. The Patriots memorialized the day and designated the “Boston Massacre.”
Oddly enough, widely known Patriots John Adams and Josiah Quincy were the defense attorneys for the soldiers. John Adams was able to get Captain Preston and most of his men acquitted, and this put a rift between Peter and John Adams—a rift Elizabeth doubted would ever be repaired.
For years, John Adams had been a family friend, ever since he acquitted Elizabeth’s mother of murder. Drusilla’s trial had been the first case Adams defended. It was four years before Elizabeth was born, but Elizabeth heard the trial recounted many times. Her father, Kanter Thorton, and her sister, Rachel, had helped John Adams clear Drusilla’s name and bring the true murderers—Mark and Phyllis, John Codman’s black slaves—to trial.
In 1770, however, Adams agreed to defend the soldiers at the Boston Massacre trial, and Peter was outraged. He could not believe a family friend would become such a turncoat by defending the enemy.
In his closing argument of the famous trial, Adams stated the soldiers had been provoked and the commanding officer had not been the one to issue the command, and though he did not believe their actions were totally justified, it was not an act of premeditated murder.
Elizabeth personally was not sure that Peter’s reaction was justified, because she knew that John Adams was as furious as the majority of the people in the courtroom with the verdict. The judge let five go free. The punishment given to the other two was a searing brand to the palms of their hands. The death of his friend and five others along with the broken friendship were merely scars on the palms of two men from the squad of men responsible.
For a while, all seemed quiet. Despite the cooled tempers, Peter’s anger remained kindled with help from Sam Adams’ numerous articles in the Boston Gazette. Then on November 3, 1772, Peter, who was one of the members of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, helped draft the second document that declared the infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists. His coastal ships helped distribute letters from Boston to the other seacoast cities in North America. These letters of correspondence instructed the other colonists on how they could collectively respond to the infringements and violations foisted on them by the Crown.
Then the announcement came from Parliament. They passed the Tea Act on May 10, 1773. Peter arranged for the captain of one of his ships to make secret, illegal deals with the Dutch to bring in a shipload of Dutch tea disguised in salt barrels, thereby avoiding the tax. He then devised a network of prominent Patriot businessmen who would buy the tea and distribute it among the colonists of Massachusetts.
During the autumn of 1773, the Boston Committee of Correspondence asked the Boston, merchants whom the crown supported to resign from their posts. Even though these consigned merchants in New York and Charlestown, Massachusetts, resigned, the tenacious merchants in Boston refused to resign. On November 28, three ships, filled with the notorious taxed tea, docked in Boston Harbor.
The Boston Committee of Correspondence met with the committees of neighboring towns at the Old South Meetinghouse. The members unanimously voted to send the tea back to England. They further resolved that if these resolutions were put into effect, the citizens should be willing to risk their lives and their property to resist the tyranny. The Committees of Correspondence sent copies of the resolutions to the other colonies and to England.
The Boston Committees of Correspondence’s decisions led to the already infamous event known as the Boston Tea Party. Peter laughed when Elizabeth told about the popularized version of what happened the night of December 16. Peter denied that they had planned to dress as Mohawks. The idea of dressing as Mohawks was a spur of the moment decision. The participants dabbed paint on their faces and put old blankets over their clothing to disguise their identities. He agreed it was a brilliant plan, but premeditated, it was not. They had never actually intended for the sailors to think they were real Mohawks. They disguised themselves to keep authorities from discovering each participant’s exact identity.
No one doubted that Parliament and King George would seek reprisal. In preparation for the inevitable, during a January emergency meeting, the Patriots agreed to establish ammunition depot barns in Charlestown and Concord to prepare for any military retaliation. Peter agreed to utilize his “tea” ship to bring in lead from the motherland and more “salt” from Holland (this time in the form of gunpowder). Peter’s cargo arrived May 13, the same day General Thomas Gage, the military governor of Massachusetts, arrived in Boston Harbor. The rumor that Parliament was closing the Boston Port arrived with his ship.
General Gage and his beautiful wife, Margaret, moved into the Governor’s Mansion. On the same day that the military governor arrived in Boston and was unloading his army’s cannon, Peter’s men unloaded Peter’s ship filled with small kegs of gunpowder along with lead bars that were hidden in barrels of salt. They worked day and night in order to get the ship unloaded before the June 1 deadline. On the night of May 29, the ship was empty, and the following morning the ship sailed from Boston Harbor. Peter’s ship was the last ship to clear the port before the port closed.
By June 1, Peter assigned well-trusted men to remove the gunpowder from the casks of salt in his warehouse. The ammunition was then smuggled to various Patriot blacksmiths and silversmiths of the city. There they were made into musket balls and then smuggled to Charlestown inside the clothing and saddlebags of citizens of Boston. Gunpowder was smuggled in the same manner. All this activity was right under the noses of the British Regular Army, which was already beginning to occupy the city. If General Gage noticed the unusual number of Charlestown citizens who bought “salt,” had silver to repair, or had emergency horseshoe repairs, he did nothing to stop the Patriots’ activities.
The chain of events beginning with Peter taking revenge for a friend’s death had become what the British government would now consider outright treason. If the government ever discovered Peter’s activities, the authorities would try him for smuggling as well as conspiracy to overthrow the British government in the American colonies.
A second shipment of ammunition was due in after June 1, but with the threat of the port closing, Peter sent another ship out to warn the ship to anchor not in Boston Harbor but in the port of Salem.
Peter diverted a fleet of wagons that normally took freight inland, sending them down the North American coast from the port of Salem to Boston. He wanted the wagons to take the ammunition and other provisions that the ship delivered in Salem down to Boston.
Even though the Boston port was closed and it would slow neither of his operations, Peter’s regular business as an import merchant nor his smuggling operation would stop.
A loud pounding on the front door brought Peter back to the present.
Elizabeth looked from the door to her brother-in-law. “Do you want me to answer the door?”
“No, I’ll answer it. I don’t have anything better to do,” he murmured. “General Gage has me reduced to a butler’s status.”
Peter marched to the front door and opened it wide. There at the door stood a private dressed in the red uniform with gold buttons worn by members of the Regular Army. In his hands, he held a scroll. He cleared his throat and read the following:
“Hear ye, hear ye, by order of Parliament, beginning tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, you are instructed to quarter two officers of the British Regular Army. It will be your responsibility to prepare adequate and proper rooming as well as proper food for said officers in a manner as to which they are accustomed.”
“And what, young man, does the Crown consider the proper food as to which they are accustomed?” Peter asked.
“Officers have been assigned homes based on their rank, sir. The food they would be accustomed to, sir, would be the same food served to the family at the dinner table.”
“And what officers have been assigned here?”
“Two captains, sir,” the young boy replied.
“I’m not as wealthy as I thought,” Peter said dryly. “I thought we’d at least be worthy of lieutenant-colonels.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Mayford. Do you have any more questions?”
Peter shook his head. “No, thank you. You may go.”
Peter closed the door none too gently. He turned to face Elizabeth, who had followed him in from the kitchen.
Peter put up his hands as a sign of distress. “Now I’ve heard everything! Can they invade us more than this? First they close my port, and then they move into my home.”
Elizabeth laughed at Peter’s animation. “Peter, I don’t think the king did this to upset you personally.”
“Well, you couldn’t prove it by me.”
“It could be worse,” Elizabeth replied. “One of them could marry into the family.”
Peter was not amused by Elizabeth’s attempt to humor him. “Don’t be absurd. I would never allow you or one of my daughters to marry a Redcoat. Besides, what Redcoat officer in his right mind would marry a Patriot?”

To read Soldiers Don’t Cry or for more information about the book, follow this link.

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????????????????????????If you haven’t yet received your copy of Vegetable Gardening in the Shade, do so now by clicking on this link and receive a subscription to my newsletter Cygnet’s News as well. In this newsletter, you will be able to keep up with events that I will be attending, updates on my books, and articles that bring the conflict of the American Revolution to life as well as timely gardening tips from what to plant, how to plant it using organic methods, how to keep it growing and how to use it after harvest.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Who was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick was the Christian missionary Bishop sent to Ireland around 450 AD. He was known as the “Apostle of Ireland” and became the patron saint of Ireland along with Saints Brigit and Columba.leprechaun

At about 16 years old, he was taken from his home in England and taken as a slave to Ireland where he lived for six years. He then escaped and returned to his family. He became a cleric and returned to Ireland. Later in life, he became a Catholic bishop. Little is known about the specifics of his work. By 600 AD he was already considered the Patron Saint of Ireland. March 17 is observed in memorial of his death on that date. This day is celebrated in both Ireland and other countries as a religious and cultural holiday. In Ireland, it is both a Holy day and a day of festivals which celebrated the arrival of Saint Patrick and Christianity to Ireland. It has been an official Christian feast day since the early 1600s and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially in Ireland), and the Lutheran Church. The holiday celebrates everything Irish and involves parades, festivals, and wearing green clothing and shamrocks. In addition, Christians attend church services. To allow for propagating the holiday’s traditional alcohol consumption and eating, Lenten restrictions are lifted for the day.

Here in the United States, St Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since the late 1700s. It celebrates the Irish and the Irish American culture. Celebrations include the wearing, eating, and drinking the color green, as well as religious observances, and parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.

This Day As it Relates to the American Revolution

siege of BostonAnother great event occurred on this date that I am certain  many Bostonians would be grateful that it occurred. On this date in 1776, British forces evacuated Boston and went to Nova Scotia. The British Army, first under command of Thomas Gage and then William Howe. William Howe realizing that he could no longer hold the city, evacuated with his forces as well as Loyalist citizens. Among them were Lucy Flucker Knox’s parents. Lucy had married Bostonian Henry Knox, the General who was in charge of the Continental Army’s artillery. Today in Boston and surrounding Suffolk County, citizens celebrate Evacuation Day which commemorates this event. Schools, local government offices along with some state government offices are closed on this day. It is a coincidence that Saint Patrick’s Day and this holiday falls on the same day.

The Evening I Met Laura McHugh

cygnetSupporting Another Author

Wednesday evening I went to the Library Station here in Springfield, Missouri to support Laura McHugh’s success with her debut book: The Weight of Blood. Laura and The Weight of Blood have had rave reviews in literary circles here in the United States.

The Weight of Blood debuted on March 11 of this year and already has 3000 reviews on Goodreads, and 28 reviews on Amazon. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly says about her book:

In this clever, multilayered debut, McHugh deftly explores the past of an Ozark Mountain family (think doublewides, pickups, and possum stew) with plenty to hide and the ruthlessness to keep their secrets hidden. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Dane, from Henbane, Mo., is grieving for her murdered friend, Cheri, and her mother, Lila, who vanished soon after Lucy was born. Determined to solve both mysteries, Lucy never realizes just how close the answers might lie. Her father, Carl, and her uncle, Crete, are not forthcoming about what they know, which only makes her more curious.

I made certain that I was the last person to talk with Laura and get her to sign my book.

When I went up to the table she said, “Donna, you made it!”

We had never met, but we became friends on Facebook, so I was shocked she even recognized me from my Facebook avatar, and I told her as much. I then told her that I was so jealous of her success, and we both laughed. Yeah, I’ll admit I’m jealous, but truthfully I am very happy for her.

Laura and I have an unusual connection in that in addition to both being authors here in Missouri, (although she certainly has much more notoriety than I), she is also my step-daughter’s aunt. (She is my husband’s ex-wife’s youngest sister.) She signed my book and then I gave her signed copies of both of my published books When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues Laura is not only an accomplished writer, she was a gracious host. I look forward to seeing her again next year at my step-daughter Chelsea’s wedding. I also look forward to the publication of her next book which she is currently drafting. She has given me hope as I continue putting words to print. For a copy of The Weight of Blood head to

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”- Hal Lindsey

This Day in History As It relates to the American Revolution

On this day in history, 1742,  America’s first official town meeting was held in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. Located near the waterfront and today is the Government Center, it  has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1742. This was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis and others speaking out for American independence from Great Britain. This building is now part of the Boston National Historical Park and is part of the Freedom Trail. It is often referred to as the “Cradle of Liberty”.

Jeanne Baptiste Pointe de Sable-The Black Chief

DuSable bust dedicated in Chicago This bronze sculpture is located the north side of the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue.

DuSable bust dedicated in Chicago This bronze sculpture is located the north side of the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue.

When you were in school, how many African Americans do you remember from the history books? I can remember a very few. Off the top of my head, I can think of Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, George Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

That’s about all I can remember. What would you say if I told you that Chicago was founded by a very enterprising African American? On this date, March 12, 1773, Jeanne Baptiste Pointe de Sable found  a settlement upon ground upon which Chicago now stands. He built a farm at the mouth of the Chicago River in around 1780. He emigrated south to Missouri in 1800.

The tribune tower is now located on what was DuSable's property.

The tribune tower is now located where DuSable had his trading post.

He was born in Santa Domingo (Haiti) around 1745. The son of a French sailor and a African slave mother,  legend has it that Jean Baptiste’s mother was killed by Spanish raiders. To escape, Jean Baptiste swam out to his father’s ship. Afterwards his father took him to France to further his education.

Jean Baptiste arrived in New Orleans in 1764. He and a friend became traders and journeyed up the Mississippi to what is now Michigan. He was adopted by the Potawatomie tribe and took one as his bride. They called him the “Black Chief.”

In 1773, DuSable moved to an area which the Indians called  Eschecagou, but the white men mispronounced as “Chicago.” He built a trading post at the mouth of the river, near where the Tribune Tower now stands. During the American Revolution the British forced him off his claims. While he was separated from his holdings, he operated another trading post in Michigan.

DuSable reclaimed his Chicago property from the American government at the end of the war. His holdings grew to include his 22×40-foot home, he built two barns, a mill, bakery, dairy, workshop, henhouse, and smokehouse. He sold flour, bread, and pork. As an adopted  Potawatomie,  he had a good relationship with the Native Americans. He hired many of them in his enterprises.

In 1800, for some mysterious reason, DuSable  sold his property. He then had a farm near Peoria until his wife died ten years later. He then moved in with his daughter in St. Charles, Missouri and died on August 28, 1818. He was buried in a local catholic cemetery in an unmarked grave.

He had sold his property to  John Kinzie who for years was considered the area’s original settler. DuSable was forgotten, but in 1912 a plaque was placed on a building near the site where his cabin had been. Later a high school was named for him on Wabash Avenue.

DuSable High School

Finally in 2006, the Chicago City Council officially recognized DuSable as Chicago’s founder. In 2009, an outdoor statuary bust memorial of him was dedicated and is located on Michigan Avenue, just north of the river–right near his old front door.  The rightful first settler of Chicago finally has the recognition he deserves.

March 7: The Soldiers Cried, “Fie Fie!”

Here is a  scene from chapter 14 of my novel Soldier’s Don’t Cry of the oration on the 5th anniversary of the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1775. The heroine and patriot spy Elizabeth Thorton is in the balcony when this event unfolds. Elizabeth’s love interest British Army officer, Captain Phillip Randolph, is sitting in the front row with the other British Army officers.

Paul Revere's rendition of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. Five years later at the oration described in this story, Paul Revere was in the audience. A little over a month later, shots would be fired on Lexington Green.

Paul Revere’s rendition of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. Five years later at the oration described in this story, Paul Revere was in the audience. A little over a month later, shots would be fired on Lexington Green.

     As the time for the ceremony to start grew closer, the balcony filled until every seat in the place was full and people stood in the aisles. The main floor below continued to fill with spectators, and people began to sit on the floor in the aisles between the pews.

     Elizabeth did not see Dr. Warren, who was the keynote speaker for the event, anywhere on the main floor, and she wondered how he would manage to get through the crowd up to the pulpit.

     Elizabeth heard a thud outside the church at the front of the building. Then she saw the shape of a person outside the window behind the pulpit. It was Dr. Warren. She watched as Dr. Warren lifted the window and slid through it onto the stage. Apparently, the noise she had heard outside the church was a ladder that Dr. Warren had climbed so that he could come in through the window.

     Dr. Warren stood tall. He straightened his clothing and went to stand behind the pulpit. A hush came over the boisterous crowd as its gaze fell upon the doctor. Before he even uttered a word, his appearance spoke volumes to a crowd of Americans steeped in the virtues of ancient Rome. Dr. Warren wore a toga, the principal garment of a freeborn Roman male citizen. It consisted of a single piece of material of irregular form—long, broad and flowing. It had no sleeves or armholes and covered his entire body except for his right arm. He wore the toga without any fastening device, so he had to keep his left arm crooked to support the massive drapery.

     Elizabeth contrasted the toga to the stiff, tightly tailored coat, waistcoat and breeches of the British soldiers. The toga had no artifice, no false front, no deviant concealment; the only thing that separated the wearer’s body from his audience was his bent left arm. By wearing the garment, Dr. Warren thumbed a subtle nose of contempt at all that superficial finery with which corrupt Britain disguised its designs on American liberty and dignity. Warren was letting them know that he knew why they were at the ceremony, and he chose the garment specifically to antagonize them.

     A few of the officers who sat on the steps, Gerald among them, hissed as Dr. Warren straightened his toga and confidently looked at his notes, which someone had placed on the pulpit. He cleared his throat. He began by acknowledging the officers who sat stiffly in front of him in their heavy red wool coats. Dr. Warren then acknowledged his fellow patriots. Elizabeth was pleased to see that he would not be intimidated.

     As Warren spoke, Elizabeth saw that an officer sitting in the front row, who she knew to be Captain Chapman, was holding several pistol bullets in his open palm so that Dr. Warren could see them. True to the role of a great Roman hero, Dr. Warren calmly dropped a white handkerchief upon the officer’s hand and continued his oration. Cato had not done a better job when he took on the great and powerful Caesar. Virtue, in his lexicon, would always prevail over base power. Like the celebrated Roman politician, Dr. Warren was immune to the violent threats. Elizabeth was relieved when she did not hear him in any instance refer to the massacre as bloody.

     Warren began his speech with a historical account of America’s early settlement, in order to “determine with what degree of justice the late Parliament of Great Britain has assumed the power of giving away that property which the Americans have earned by their labor.” He gave the Whig interpretation of colonial history, portraying a Manichean worldview in which “the tools of power in every age” confronted the benign power of liberty, embodied in his case by the Puritan ancestors. Those Puritans, “determined to find a place in which they might enjoy their freedom,” exercised liberty in America through a charter obtained significantly from the British monarch rather than Parliament. They “cultivated and defended” the continent “at an infinite expense of toil and blood” and thus contributed vastly to the British Empire’s greatness. Their serene prosperity, however, awakened “the madness of an avaricious minister” and brought about “the attempt of the British Parliament to raise revenue from America.” These misfortunes “brought upon the stage discord, envy, hatred and revenge, with civil war close in their rear.”

     The speech, however, did not consist merely of a historical account of New England’s settlement. Warren provided a philosophical and ideological argument in defense of the colonists’ position. “Personal freedom is the natural right of every man,” he said, as was the right to hold “what he has honestly acquired by his own labor” and to “pursue that course which is the most conducive” to happiness. Hence, “no man, or body of men, can without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any other man.” Warren continued with a celebration of the ancient Romans, who through self-effacing attitudes, “eminently conduced to the greatness of that state.”

     Dr. Warren stepped back from the pulpit. A thunderous applause followed. As the applause began to die down, Dr. Warren took his a seat and Samuel Adams rose from his deacon’s seat and took his place at the pulpit.

     “That was wonderful, Dr. Warren, simply wonderful,” he began. “I know that following an oration like the one Dr. Warren just gave would be difficult for anyone; however, I would like to know who would like to volunteer to speak at next year’s commemorative oration.”

     Everyone sat looking at one another, and no hands went up.

     “Come, come now, people; surely someone would like to give the oration at next year’s anniversary of that bloody massacre.”

     As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Samuel Adams realized what he had said. His face turned pale.

     The soldiers who sat at the front of the sanctuary began to call out “Fie! Fie!”

     Elizabeth saw Gerald put his hand on the hilt of his glittering sword, lifting it from its sheath. She knew that someone had to do something quickly, or else the leaders of the Patriots would be arrested or worse.

     “Fire,” she said aloud but under her breath.

     “There’s a fire! There’s a fire!” Jonathan called out.

     Members of the audience on the balcony joined Jonathan. Not realizing where the outcry originated, they began to panic and yell “Fire!” The audience on the main floor followed suit, and there was a mad, panicked rush toward the doors and stairs. Because not everyone could fit through the opened doors at exactly the same moment, in their rush to exit the building the crowd clogged the doors. The audience in the galleries, knowing that people on the main floor would reach the exit first, crowded out the windows and swarmed down gutters like rats in the street.

     Peter and the rest of the Mayford family remained quietly in their seats and watched the chaos around them. Men were yelling, women were screaming, and babies were crying. The soldiers who had been yelling “Fie!”, but now were thinking that a fire had started on the balcony, abandoned their attempt to arrest the Patriot leaders and forced their way toward the doors to reach what they believed was safety. The selectmen eased themselves out the window and down the ladder that Dr. Warren had so conveniently provided.

     Outside, as if on cue, the comedic melodrama unfolded further when Colonel Nesbit marched his troops past the Old South Church with his drummers and fifers playing loudly. Women screaming, children crying, men yelling, drummers drumming, fifers fifing, total mayhem broke out. No one was arresting anyone. The Patriot leaders escaped without harm.

     Within a few minutes, the crowd inside the church thinned and the Mayford family rose and followed the last of the crowd out of the building through the main door. As Elizabeth followed Rachel down the balcony stairs, she thought that despite the chaotic ending, the affair went off with remarkable behavior on both sides.

     As they came through the doors out into the sunshine, Phillip met them at the door. He immediately approached Elizabeth, looking worried. Elizabeth felt a twinge of guilt because she knew she was the one who had started the panic.

     “Thank God, you’re safe,” Phillip said to Elizabeth as they walked away from the building. A crowd stood looking at the old church and looking at one another, vocalizing their wonder about where the fire was.

     “I have something to say to you, young man,” said a short, fat, elderly woman with a cane who was bustling across the road to where Gerald and several other officers were standing. She did not blink an eye as she started shaking her cane at Gerald. Elizabeth did not know why the woman selected Gerald out of all the soldiers standing around, but the woman impressed her with her tenacity.

     “I would like to put a ring in your nose! This is the army’s fault, you know. You had no business interrupting our solemn occasion!”

     A younger woman came across the street and linked arms with the older woman. “Come along, Mother, we don’t need to make trouble where trouble does not need to be.”

     “I am not trying to make trouble. If anyone has tried to make trouble, it was the king’s army,” the old woman countered. The young woman led the old woman away from the church.

For Website SDC

Not Totally Fiction

Even though it is fictionalized, this is an adaptation of the actual incident on that fifth anniversary of the Boston Massacre. If you enjoyed this peek into Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues. It is available in Paperback or Kindle formats at did Elizabeth and Phillip become involved? Even more importantly, how  do they (or do they?) resolve their differences? Are they simply star-crossed lovers doomed to life apart?

As mentioned in previous posts, I am currently working on the second draft of A Coward’s Solace the third book in The Locket Saga.

In addition to the fiction, I am also working on my first nonfiction book Simply Vegetable Gardening. For a sneak peek at the type of material in that book check out my hubs on hubpages. This week I added two gardening hubs. (Links below)

Turnips, Parsnips and Rutabagas in the Garden

Grow your own Chinese Cabbage for Stir-Frying

A Blip in History

On this day in history, March 3 in 1791, the United States created its first federal tax. My upcoming novel relates to the backlash that started because of that decision to tax whiskey sales. I call this novel In the Shadow of the Mill Pond and as yet, it is still sitting in my computer archives waiting for me to take it from first draft to finished book. It is a mystery based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when it was little more than a hub on the Ohio River. The story occurs during the event known as “the whiskey rebellion”.

Whiskey RebellionI have done some research on the subject and in the process, I have come to understand why the whiskey rebellion occurred. These western farmers were many of the same Americans had recently fought a war which they believed was against taxation and here the government started taxing them. No wonder these former revolutionary war soldiers were angry enough to come to arms. Tensions rose as the realization that anger like that could easily spread across the countryside infuriating patriot after patriot until full blown civil war broke out ending the infant nation. George Washington was wise to send troops to quell the uprising when he did. By his quick actions, what could have been the first civil war in the United States ended up becoming simply a blip in history.

Sending troops to western Pennsylvania ended the Whiskey rebellion, and the whiskey tax continues to this day. The only time the tax was not in effect was during prohibition when selling whiskey was illegal. The reason we have income tax today was because plans had been in the works to prohibit whiskey sales. The dilemma that created was the fact that the federal government needed some form of revenue because whiskey tax was the only tax the government required prior to prohibition. Of course, when prohibition ended, the whiskey tax resumed. Resuming the whiskey tax did not end income tax, however. Now our government has the legal privilege to tax us with both.

With Editing, Cliches Become Blips In History

avoiding veryAlthough In the Shadow of the Mill Pond is currently in mothballs, that does not mean that I am not currently working on fiction. Currently I am working on editing my third novel in The Locket Saga called A Coward’s Solace. Editing takes as much work, if not more work than writing the book in the first place.

Just as the rules changed after the Revolutionary War from no taxation by the national government to taxation of the federal government, so rules change when a writer goes from utilizing the creative work of the muse to the diligent work of the internal editor. Certain words or phrases known as “cliches” need to be replaced by more descriptive, words that “show rather than tell” the story. One word that writers often have to get rid of is the word “very” above is  simple chart showing different words that a writer can use as a substitute for “very”.  This, of course, is one word of many cliches that each writer uses as a go to word or phrase. I have been learning mine and have done to prohibit using those words in the final draft. It is all part of my growth as a writer. Soon, any struggle I have with these cliches will become blips in my own writing history.

Black American History Month

On This Date In American History as it Relates to the American Revolution

It seems only fitting that on this the last day of February, we acknowledge and give homage to Black American History Month. In addition, this seemed the appropriate date to honor Black Americans because on February 28, 1778,  Rhode Island General Assembly authorized the enlistment of slaves.

Black American Revolution

Black American Revolution

From even before the first shots on Lexington Green, African Americans had a role in America’s fight for independence. Among the dead at the Boston Massacre was an African American by the name of Crispus Attucks. On April 19, 1775, African Americans were among the Minutemen who defended the stores of ammunition that the colonists accumulated in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts. In the early months of the war, concern among whites over the arming of free African Americans and slaves increased. Recognizing the need for manpower against superior British forces, General George Washington authorized the enlistment of free African Americans on December 30, 1775. In turn, Congress relented and allowed the re-enlistment of those free men who had served their country at the beginning of the war.

For slaves seeking freedom in return for military service, life in the army was a step up in society. For free African Americans, service was looked upon as a way to increase their community standing and earn cash and land bounties. Desertion rates among African Americans were lower than among other ethnic groups. By 1777, whites and African Americans served side-by-side in the Continental Army. But not all African Americans fought on the side for independence; some fought for the British.

While numerous soldiers captured by the British Army suffered and died in the holds of prison ships, many white soldiers were exchanged for captured British soldiers. However, African American soldiers were rarely exchanged for British prisoners of war, and many of the African Americans were sold into slavery in the West Indies.

According to Thomas Fleming in Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge, the Valley Forge encampment included many African Americans. The First Rhode Island Regiment, in General James Varnum’s Brigade, consisted largely of African American and Native American soldiers. According to pension records and other source documents, at least five hundred African Americans were at Valley Forge. They include Shadrack Battles, a 32-year-old “free man of color” who enlisted in the Tenth Virginia Regiment in December 1779, and Windsor Fry, another free black man who served with the First Rhode Island Regiment. Salem Poor of Massachusetts, who purchased his freedom, came to Valley Forge after distinguished service at Bunker Hill and Saratoga. African Americans at Valley Forge included slaves serving as substitutes for their masters; one of these was Samual Surphen in the New Jersey Brigade. A belated hats off to the African Americans who fought for America’s Independence from Great Britain.

The End of Another Week, The End of the Month

Can you believe that another week has come and gone? Can you believe that it is the end of the month as well? It has certainly been a busy one for me. In addition to writing this blog, I have written a hub on hubpages every day this week since Monday. Below are the links to the hubs I have written.

Monday I wrote

The Sustainability of an Apple Tree

apples in treeTuesday I wrote

              A Continuous Supply of Radishes


Wednesday I wrote:

Growing Beets in the Garden

beetsThursday I wrote:

Plant Swiss Chard, A Hardy Summer Green


Friday I Wrote:

Growing Broccoli, A Garden Favorite


Do you know about the First Revolutionary War Commander and Chief of the Continental Navy?

I spent 6 years Active Duty Navy and 10 years in the reserves, and I don’t remember ever hearing about this man.

On February 26, 1802, Esek Hopkins, an American Revolutionary War Admiral and commander and chief of the Continental Navy died. He had been born in Rhode Island on April 26, 1718. He began his sea career captaining merchant ships. During the French and Indian War, he became a successful privateer. A privateer was an entrepreneur of the high seas who claimed the enemy’s merchant goods. In other words, he was a pirate.

Esek Hopkins

Esek Hopkins

In 1775, at the beginning of the American Revolution, Rhode Island appointed Hopkins as commander of its military forces. Later that year he was promoted to Commander in Chief of the  Continental Navy. In mid-February of the following year under orders from the Continental congress, Commodore Hopkins disembarked from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attack British maritime forces in the Chesapeake Bay and  along coast off Rhode Island.

Hopkins knew that would have been a suicide mission, so instead undertook the Navy’s first amphibious offensive. On 3 March, his squadron landed party ashore on New Providence Island, in the Bahamas and seized the local defensive works and captured equipment and supplies which would be used by the continental military. On 4 April 1776. On the way back home, Hopkins encountered and captured two small British warships. Two days later they  engaged HMS Glasgow but without consequence. They returned to New London, Connecticut on April eighth.

Hopkins was censured by congress, but he continued to be in charge of the American Navy for another year, but was dismissed from service early in 1778. However, with his men and with Rhode Islanders he stayed popular. He served in that State’s legislature through most of the next decade and was active in Rhode Island politics until he died February  26, 1802. RIP Admiral Hopkins.

When did Ohio Actually become a US State?



I have been having difficulty coming up with events that relate to the American Revolution this time of the year, but in my research I found this interesting controversy related to Ohio. On February 19, 1803, Congress accepted Ohio’s constitution, but statehood not ratified till 1953. How did that happen?

Unlike Vermont and Tennessee, whose State government already in existence was simply recognized by Congress via what we now refer to as Acts of Admission and unlike Kentucky, which was authorized to form a State government which would thereafter take effect on a date specified by what we now refer to as that State’s Enabling Act. Ohio was voted on by Congress to be allowed into the US as a state in the last session of April 1802, but then  State of Ohio was drafted and adopted by convention on 29 November 1802, said Constitution calling for elections in January for a Governor and a legislature styled the General Assembly to convene at the then-Territorial capital of Chillicothe (the territorial/state capital at the time) on  March 1, 1803).

In the meantime, Congress passed- on 19 February 1803- what was officially titled ‘An Act to provide for the due execution of the laws of the United States within the State of Ohio’ which, among other things, expressly observed that “the people… did… form for themselves a constitution and State government in pursuance of whereby the said State has become one of the United States of America”.

clown girl

Louisiana, the next state admitted to the union, was required to submit its State Constitution to Congressional for scrutiny before being allowed entry into the United States. The State of Louisiana had a much different background than the states that had joined the union thus far. Its primary religion was Catholic and rather than English roots, it had French and Spanish roots. Also, it was the only State at the time divided into parishes rather than counties. Therefore, Congress felt that it was important to make certain that Louisiana’s constitution was compatible with the rest of the country.

Ohio had, however, been immediately accepted as the 17th State of the Union without any debate. As Ohio prepared to celebrate its Sesquecentennial in the early 1950s, the way that  Ohio was admitted into the union became an issue. When the events organizers went to look for the official document stating that Ohio had been admitted to the union, there was none.

Republican Congressman George Bender was concerned enough to introduce a bill on the floor of the House on January 19, 1953 that would retroactively admit Ohio to the Union as of March 1, 1803 which was the date the Ohio General Assembly first convened, thus formally instituting State government in the State. This proposal allayed any fears regarding  Ohio’s legitimate statehood status and also officially declare a specific date as the date Ohio became a State.  The House passed it  on May 19  and the Senate followed suit on August 1,   President Eisenhower signed it into law on August 7, 1953. This date fell on the anniversary of the Northwest Territory Act of 1789  (which Ohio was a part along with Indiana and Illinois).

Some individuals even today question the legitimacy of Ohio’s ratification of amendments to the constitution because this official ratification did not occur until 1953. However, if one goes back to the timing and wording of the original documentation in congress, this act of congress was unnecessary. In addition, because President Eisenhower signed this law into effect making it retroactive to 1803, the question of Ohio’s original date of statehood therefore becomes a doubly moot point.

Last week I promised you an announcement this week. Today I would like to announce that I will soon be publishing my first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening. Declare your independence from high food costs by beginning your own vegetable garden in your own back yard this year. More information about this book during the next several weeks.