Chadds Ford Historical Society

Revisiting History


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Mythbuster Friday: “The First Thanksgiving was in 1621 in Plymouth”

Myth: The First Thanksgiving in America was celebrated in Plymouth in 1621. It was a day of thanksgiving, celebrated by a feast between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims. It is because of this we have the national holiday of Thanksgiving.

Truth: We all know the story behind the first Thanksgiving, right? The pilgrims were starving because they did not know how to plant crops or build shelter when they arrived. Thanksgiving-BrownscombeThe Indians, led by Squanto, saved the pilgrims by teaching them how to survive and how to successfully grow crops. By the fall of 1621, the pilgrims held a harvest feast, invited the Wampanoag Indians, and declared it a day of Thanksgiving.

This is a nice story, and one that has inspired the national holiday Thanksgiving, but it is not very accurate. For the pilgrims, a day of thanksgiving equaled a day of solemn prayer, not a feast with “non-believers.” The feast most likely did take place in 1621, but the first official day of thanksgiving declared by the pilgrims wasn’t until 1623.

Thanksgiving itself was only made a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln many years later in the mid 19th century. Although there are some disputes about the accuracy of the reports of the 1621 feast, most people agree that the feast did happen and that it was the first Thanksgiving in America.

However, the first actual “Thanksgiving” feast was held in 1565. And it wasn’t the English pilgrims; instead it was the Spanish Catholic missionaries in St. Augustine, Florida. They celebrated a day of thanksgiving on September 8, 1565, the day they came ashore. Their head priest, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, offered a Catholic Mass, followed by a feast celebration shared between the Spanish settlers and the Timucua Indians. For Catholics, Mass is the celebration of the Eucharist, a word that literally means “thanksgiving.” Years later, another group of Spanish settlers in Texas declared their own day of Thanksgiving on April 30, 1598. Therefore, the Spanish preceded the English pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts in declaring the first official Thanksgiving feast in America by over twenty years.

A_picture_of_the_first_mass_said_in_St._Augustine,_Florida,_from_Robert_N._Dennis_collection_of_stereoscopic_views

The Thanksgiving we all know in Plymouth is what we think of when we celebrate this holiday. But this feast barely resembled our well-established traditions, if at all. These traditions have been born over the years and did not originate from either the Pilgrims or the Spanish. For example, if we did get our traditions from the Spanish, we’d all be eating bean soup instead of turkey. Regardless of its origins, the “giving of thanks” has remained an integral symbol of the founding of this country, which is why we commemorate Thanksgiving Day as a national federal holiday each year.

References:

http://taylormarshall.com

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2007-11-20-first-thanksgiving_n.htm

http://thepracticingcatholic.com/2011/11/22/less-turkey-more-thanksgiving/

http://www.ushistory.org/us/3b.asp

http://staugustine.com/history/nations-oldest-city

https://historymyths.wordpress.com/?s=thanksgiving

Photo Credit:

“The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe

“A picture of the first mass said in St. Augustine, Florida,” unknown artist

Post by Anne Ciskanik

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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: WoodWhims

This is our interview with Jack O’Brien.  He will be attending Chadds Ford Days this September 12th-13th and he will be bringing his craft, whimsical wooden folk art.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?

I am from Baltimore originally, and I worked in Annapolis for a good number of years. I now live near Centerville, where we fixed up old farmhouse. The house was built around 1790-1820 and there were a lot of repairs to make, like a flooded basement. It is on 10 acres, with a nice pond, and it is currently surrounded by cornfields, which gives us a nice amount of privacy.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?

I’ve attended Chadds Ford Days for 18 years. It started back in the 80s and then I decided to take a break, which turned out to be for 10 years. But I have attended for the past 2 years and I’ll be there this fall. It really is a nice show, with a nice mood. It’s very pleasant.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?

I make wooden folk art, which has been described as original and whimsical. They are all done by hand, so no two are alike. I do some similar styles but all are unique. My pieces can be identified at many museums and some are at the Chadds Ford Historical Society gift shop. My wooden folk art has also made it to 12 different countries and many states. I have a core of collectors, and do some commissioned pieces.

Do you use any local goods in your craft?

I use wood from both antique stores and from local wood.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

I always like when my art makes people happy and when my customers smile at pieces. People say they can tell I have a good sense of humor from my pieces, and they tell me that my work has a lot of character. Very often I hear that I look like I enjoy what I do, and I do enjoy it greatly.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business?

The impact I feel I have on the community is to make people smile.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days?

I will have the usual selection, but there will be some variations there also. I am looking forward to being at Chadds Ford Days this fall.

Photo credit: Deny Howeth


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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: By Hand

Check out our interview with Susan Tripp, who will be joining us this September 12th-13th for our 50th Annual Chadds Ford Days.  She is one of our talented crafters whose work you can see for yourself this fall.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?

I grew up in the Adirondack Region of upstate New York, and most of my family still lives in that area.  I came to Philadelphia as a VISTA Volunteer in the early 1970s and never left and have raised my own family here.  In my non-crafting life, I do accounting work for a non-profit.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?

I have been doing craft shows for about twelve years and have spent a lot of that time looking for shows where I can do well and enjoy myself at the same time.  About seven years ago, a crafter at another show recommended Chadds Ford and I tried it that same year.  I have been at Chadds Ford every year since then since it meets my two main criteria – it is a productive show for crafters and it is an enjoyable show.  The people who run the show are efficient and they and the visitors are pleasant, fun to talk to and easy going at the same time.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?

While I have done a lot of different types of crafts over the years, the one that I enjoy the most and the one that I show is my knitting.  I learned to knit from my mother more than 50 years ago and have always liked the ability my knitting has to produce a sense of calm and a sense of accomplishment at the same time.

Do you use any local goods in your craft?

I generally don’t use local goods in my craft since the supply of local yarn is limited and tends to be expensive if your ultimate goal is to sell your product to another.  Some of the local yarn that I have seen is absolutely beautiful and if I was knitting for personal use, I would definitely buy and use it for me and my family.  I buy from a number of vendors that sell yarn made from natural fibers, made around the world, from Asia to South America.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

I guess that I would want people to walk away from my booth feeling a sense of nostalgia, mixed with a feel for today.  Lots of people talk to me about their grandmothers and about the memories they have of her sitting and knitting or teaching them to knit.  I like the sense of connection with other generations that knitting brings to people and hope that seeing what I do, brings back those feelings and revitalizes those connections.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business? 

I hope that my business inspires people to learn to knit or to re-learn the craft.  I often communicate with people by e mail after shows about patterns, where to buy yarn and patterns and what they can do to start their own small business.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days?

This year, I have a number of new patterns in some very beautiful years from around the world.  In particular, I have a lot of items made from a Japanese yarn whose colorways are the most beautiful the yarn world has to offer.  Pieces made from silk blends, alpaca, merino wool and other natural fibers in vibrant colors should offer a lot of choice.


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Mythbuster Friday: “One if by Land, Two if by Sea”

MythPaul Revere rode his horse throughout Medford, Lexington, and Concord to warn the colonists crying “The British are coming!”   The patriots used the signal “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” by hanging lanterns in the Old North Church and this is how Revere knew how the British troops were planning to attack Concord.  He rode alone all throughout the night and made it all the way to Concord with his message.Paul_Reveres_Ride_BAH-p114

Truth:  We are all familiar with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s beloved poem, Paul Revere’s Ride.

He said to his friend, “If the British march

By land or sea from the town to-night,

Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch

Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–

One if by land, and two if by sea;

And I on the opposite shore will be,

Ready to ride and spread the alarm

Through every Middlesex village and farm,

For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Though this is an excellent poem that was created to instill patriotism in people on the verge of civil war, it unfortunately contains many errors that live on today.

Firstly, Revere was the one who arranged for the lantern signal.  The signal was by him, not for him.  It was to warn the people of Charlestown across the river, who the patriots were unsure of reaching in time.  Two lanterns were hung in the Old North Church, but this was two days before the famous ride.  The poem also states that there were dead bodies in the graveyard all around the church, but in reality there were no corpses there until after the Battle of Lexington.

J_S_Copley_-_Paul_RevereEveryone assumes that Revere was alone in his mission, that he was the only one who spread the alarm.  However, Williams Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott were two other patriots who joined him that night.

Another myth is that Paul Revere cried out “the British are coming!”  Everyone in the 18th century still considered themselves British; this was before the American Revolution began, so this makes sense.  It would not make sense for Revere to shout that “the British” were coming, so he most likely used the term “the Regulars” to describe the British troops.  However, it is also unlikely that he yelled at all.  We do know that Revere did make it to Lexington and successfully warned Samuel Adams and John Hancock, giving them enough time to escape the clutches of the British army.

The “midnight ride of Paul Revere” did not take place on one night.  It took a few days’ time from the night the lanterns were hung to the Battle of Lexington.  Also, contrary to Longfellow’s retelling, Revere only made it to Lexington, not Concord also.  After he warned Adams and Hancock, he and his companions were captured by the British patrol.  Prescott and Dawes escaped, but Revere was interrogated before he was released.  He returned to Lexington and witnessed a small part of the battle.

Though much of what is commonly believed about the famous ride of Paul Revere is false, we should remember that he and his companions did play an important role in the first stirrings of the American Revolution.  In fact, the Revolution began the very next day at Lexington with the “shot heard round the world.”

Read a letter from Paul Revere accounting his ride here.

References:

http://poetry.eserver.org/paul-revere.html

https://www.paulreverehouse.org/ride/real.html

http://www.paul-revere-heritage.com/

Photo credits:

“Paul Revere’s ride” by Office of War Information – National Archives’ Pictures of the Revolutionary War — Beginnings in New England, 1775-76

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere in Montgomery’s The Beginner’s American History, 1904

John Singleton Copley, “Portrait of Paul Revere” 1768

Post by Anne Ciskanik


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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Shaker Boxes

Today’s Chadds Ford Days Spotlight features woodwooker Allen Androkites and his intricately designed Shaker Box creations.  You can find him at the festival this September 12th-13th, along with many other unique crafters.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.? 

I grew up in Plymouth Township and, in junior high, I had a wonderful woodworking teacher that helped to inspire me – Gene Cestrone. My parents also played a major roll. I attended Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and then off to Millersville University to be a woodworking teacher. Currently, I teach woodworking at Pennridge High School in Perkasie, PA and have enjoyed it tremendously.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended? 

I have participated in Chadds Ford Days for over 25 years. I learned how to make Shaker Boxes from Dick Soule – Orleans Carpenters. For a few years, he came down from Cape Cod to do Chadds Ford Days. Once he stopped, the Historical Society asked me to replace Orleans Carpenters.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it? 

I produce Shaker Boxes with a twist on my own interpretation. I use the same techniques that the Shakers did and then I have used my artistic ability to design and develop new pieces. The design aspect is my motivation.

Blue Box Elder Burl Shaker Box 001_revised    Maple Burl Shaker Box 013_revised

Do you use any local goods in your craft?

Some of the wood that I use is cherry that grew in Pennsylvania. The finest cherry in the world grows in Pennsylvania. In addition, I use walnut and curly maple lumber from PA.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

There are four things I would like people to remember, the quality of the product, the original design, the fine finish on the products, and the historical importance of the Shaker Boxes.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business?  

I hope to impact the community by offering a unique product with a historical twist at a fair price.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days? 

Quality Shaker Boxes with original designs and unique wood selection, wood turned items such as spinning tops, toaster tongs, bottle stops. Also, in my booth, I will be cutting boards and clip boards.

Trash Can 3_revised     Nest 1_revised


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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Cornucopia Jewelry

IMG_0024We’re continuing our Chadds Ford Days spotlights on this year’s amazing crafters.  Here is our interview with Carlene Bleacher, who designs and creates stunning natural jewelry out of minerals and gemstones.  We are excited to see what she will present at Chadds Ford Days this September 12th-13th.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.? 

Although I live in Lancaster County now, my family originates from Pittsburgh PA.  My Uncle is a miner who moved to Arizona and has been an invaluable source to me, not only in supply but in inspiration.

I remember when growing up, he and his beautiful wife would return to Pittsburgh wearing these fabulous stones from the southwest that was unheard of in the east at that time.  I was always in awe of nature’s majesty, but this added another facet.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?

For many years, my husband and I have been frequent visitors to Chadds Ford.  We love the winery, the restaurants and the area shops.  When I discovered this event several years ago, I was so excited to be a part of a long standing tradition in such a historic setting.  Everyone here is a pleasure to be with.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?

I make jewelry using natural minerals and gemstones.  Most are set in Sterling Silver and 14k gf.  Also leather bracelets have become somewhat of a specialty.  I began my journey as a self-taught artist, again mainly because of my southwest family’s influence.  After a few years I developed a hunger for more advanced options.  I take metal smithing classes on an ongoing basis to enhance my skills.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

I’ve won numerous awards for my designs.  I’m most proud of the originality and my focus to quality and customer service.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business?  

The best compliment I can receive is when someone tells me that one of my pieces makes them feel good about themselves, or the way they look.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days?  

Every year is a new experience.  Although my style remains constant, you can look forward to new designs, colors and arrangement.

Photos Courtesy of Carlene Bleacher

IMG_0458 IMG_0553 IMG_0025

IMG_0615Cornucopia Award PicIMG_0021


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Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: Possum Hollow Gourds

Meet another one of our talented crafters joining us for Chadds Ford Days on September 12th-13th.  This interview is with Mary Ellen Sweeny about her business, Possum Hollow Gourds.

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?

My name is Mary Ellen Sweeny.  I attended Calvert Maryland and now am a retired nurse.   I have always loved doing crafts.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?

Another vendor told us about this event.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?

I took a class on making a gourd snowman, and then starting making Gourd birdhouses and bird feeders myself.  I then made bowls and vases, and later purses. We eventually added walking sticks to our line.

Do you use any local goods in your craft? 

Yes, we buy the gourds we use for our crafts from a gourd farmer in Pennsylvania.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

Most people will say our products are very creative and colorful.  The true test is if the customers come back the next year and we have had that result quite often.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business?  

I strive to serve my customers and hope that they become returning customers.  I also give classes and just have fun with it.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days?

You can look forward to seeing lots of Halloween themed products, such as jacks, ghosts, Frankensteins, and scare crows. We will also bring painted bird houses and feeders, as well as plain gourds with leather dye.  And there will also be one-of-a-kind gourd purses that are lined.

Be sure to check the link below to learn more: http://www.possumhollowgourds.com/

Gourd 3

Gourds 2