The Baldwin b]rar
I I 1 111
GRANDMA'S STORIES AND
THE OLD WELSH OR JENKINS
COAT OF ARMS.
Stories and Anecdotes
"YE OLDEN TIMES."
Incidents of the War of Independence, Etc.
S. MN. X.
Of the Visitation Academy, Baltimore, Md.
ANGEL GUARDIAN PRESS,
ANGEL GUARDIAN PRESS.
THERE is a charm in a well-told story that
few other things in life seem to possess; for
children especially, it is the most engaging
pastime. They will readily leave an inter-
esting game and listen for hours to tales of
adventure, historical anecdotes, or incidents
of real life. Unfortunately, all well-told
stories are not equally productive of benefit.
Some, while they recreate and interest the
child, convey to the mind nothing to improve
it, or that cultivates the intellect.
Children's minds are as impressible as wax,
with this difference; the image may be effaced
from the wax, but from the memory, seldom
or never; careful, then, should we be in our
selection of stories for the little ones, re-
membering the adage of old: "Early impres-
sions are lasting."
As the tree is easily bent when a sapling,
so can the tender minds of children be
inclined to good or evil by the nursery
teachings. Too much care cannot be
taken to impress them with a love of what
will render them virtuous and happy in
after life. Stories that convey the moral of
truthfulness, uprightness and strict adherence
to duty, can never fail to produce a lasting
effect. Fiction is good but truth is more
desirable. The contents of this little volume
are founded on fact, and given in the simple
language we caught up from the venerated
grandma of years long since gone by; we
fondly trust they may prove useful and
recreative to the little lovers of tales and
THE STAMP ACT AND TAXATION OF THE
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND
ITS CELEBRATION 33
GENERAL LAFAYETTE AND HIS BALL IN
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF COLONIAL
DAYS -- 61
REMINISCENCES OF OURWAR WITH ENGLAND,
BUSHWOOD, THE HOME OF THE ANGLO-
AMERICAN PLOWDENS 105
BLENHEIM OF COLONIAL DAYS 125
Grandma's Stories and Anecdotes
"YE OLDEN TIMES."
THE STAMP ACT AND TAXATION OF
T HERE was no greater'pleasure or treat
for us than to gather around our dear
old grandma in the long winter-evenings
and listen to the stories of what she called
"Ye Good Olden Times." She had many
of the quaint sayings of old England that
rendered her anecdotes and histories the
Grandma was a remarkable personage;
at the advanced age of eighty and more,
her faculties were unimpaired and it was
14 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
only the bent form that indicated decline
of years and made us realize that the
shades of night were fast gathering around
the life that had been but sunshine and
happiness to others for nearly a century.
Her memory, to the last, was a store of
useful knowledge and general information;
often have we wished for it in latter years
and days of study. She was well versed
in the history of nations, and had learned
from tradition every important incident
connected with our own loved country,
from the commencement of Maryland's
great part in the historical drama, or from
its settlement by the Calverts in 1634.
Her experience and personal acquaintance
with the leading characters of Virginia,
Maryland, etc., would have sufficed for
volumes: unfortunately, we knew not the
treasure we possessed until it was hope-
Grandma had long been promising us a
GRANDMA'S ST IES. 15
series of historical facts and a medot.:tes of
theyold Colonial pei :.L She one- day re-
marked that as Yuie-tid:l ws, apro-hing
she would make those stories one of her
Christmas-gifts to'-us; it is nieet.le t>: say,
we counted the days iid h: li.ii.s ad c:.iduld \
hardly iait with patience Tie eo:iting of
those joydos evenings whei, al AIlld be
together, fiee from books ar.d essays..
On the second evening of thqL glorious
festival, "we were summoned toi the dear
old lady's tting room wher.-*we found
her prepared to' ve u.a :harming wel-
come. A neat little table in front of her
large arm-chair, was laden with knicknacks
of all kinds, each bearing the name of the
one for whom it was intended. It was a
jolly moment, one never to be forgotten.
Well, after the presentation ceremony
was over, and many loving words to our
grandma, Charlie, the oldest amongst us,
became spokesman for the evening and
16 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
ventured to remind our hostess of the
promised stories. He began with: "Now,
grandma, let us have a toast to the good
olden times of yore, and to your youthful
She laughed in replying: "Yes, Charlie,
those were good old times; there are none
like them now and never will be."
"Grandma," said Charlie, "don't you
think every generation says the same ?
I bet when we are old we shall tell the
youngsters about our grand old times,
won't we, grandma ?" I can just hear my-
self now telling the little boys and girls
about to-night and all the other pleasant
evenings you have given us."
"Well, yes," replied grandma, "that is
true, but our times were different from any
that will ever occur in the future of this
country. We were in the midst of war, and
the rumors of war, and had a great deal to
contend with, anxieties of every kind.
"All, rich and poor, had the same trials
and difficulties, and all were united,
having one heart and one soul, determined
on resisting the oppression of our mother
country, England. We had to work and
turn our hands to everything and any-
thing; still, we were happy, except when!
thinking of the dear ones that had fallen on
the field of battle, and of those who might.
share the same sad fate."
Grandma lost two brothers, both under-
Washington, and she never spoke of them
without a sigh or a tear, and no doubt she-
often wept bitterly in her silent hours
and moments. She told us of many that.
were never heard of after they enlisted.
She was born in 1755, consequently, was
ten years old when the famous Stamp Act.
was passed by the British Parliament in
1765, and could relate many incidents.
and interesting anecdotes of that perilous-
age. She told us the Act created great
18 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
consternation throughout the entire coun-
try, and especially among the business
portion of the population, as all the legal or
business paper was stamped and could not
be used without it. In those days a great
many grants, deeds, transfers, etc., had to
be signed by the Lord Proprietary or
Lieutenant Governor, and the cost
amounted to quite a sum, which few could
afford. But the young people did not
bother about the Stamp Act, "for, as
you may imagine," said grandma, laughing,
"our love-letters were not written on the
stamped paper. But when, in the following
year the Act was repealed and the
duty put upon tea, glass, etc., then you
ought to have heard the ladies talk; old and
young were roused to the highest talking
pitch. They held meetings of indignation
and drew up resolutions of protest, etc.,
which, however were never sent to King
George or any of his representatives.
"One elderly lady declared she would
die without her tea, and that if it was
beyond her ability to get it, she 'would
give up the ghost; that tea was her only
beverage, and she would become as dry as
a haystack if deprived of her little tea-pot.
To her dining-room maid she said: 'Minty
chile, take good care of the tea; it's going
to be taxed, and I do not know if we will
ever see any more after the present supply
is gone. Dear, dear, what will I do?'
1"'What,' said the darkey, 'tacks on tea!
Why don't dey say nails at once, and be
done with it? Tacks on de tea! who eber
heard of it. Laws, missus! is de Britishers
gwine to be as mean as dat, make us drink
tacks tea? We is cum to-a fine pass, in-
deed we is, to be drinking dat stuff. Surely
Massa George Washingtun ain't gwine to
stan' dat !'
"The mistress attempted explanation of
the tax, but the darkey knew almost as
20 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
much as the mistress," said grandma, and
she laughed heartily.
"In those days, tea seemed to be the
general remedy for all pains and aches; if
one had a cold, it was, 'take a cup of hot
tea, chile, that will cure you.'
"Yes, tea was considered the staple of
life and many were the groans and laments
at the prospect of its becoming too expen-
sive for use."
Grandma was full of humorous wit and
delighted in the telling amusing anecdotes.
"One day," said she, "old Mrs. Wrigger,
who sometimes spun for us, came to see
about her work, and as soon as she got in
she began her tale of woe.
"'Laws sake!' she said to my mother,
'isn't it awful times, Mrs. N-? I hear
Parliament has taken all the stamps off the
paper and put them on the tea and glass;
dear me! what will we come to next? I
believe it will be the death of poor mother;
she just lives on tea. She and me sets by
the tea-pot at breakfast, dinner and supper,
and what she don't take I do, so there's
not a drop left betwixt us. I used to be
inclined to like the Britishers,but can't bide
them now; when people touches tea, they
touches me, and I'm done with'em forever
and aye. Poor mother sets shaking her
foot; she looks at the pot and then at me;
but she don't say anything, only says she
to me the other day, says she, "Caddy,
won't we miss the old tea-pot!" Says I to
her, "Oh, mother don't be worrying about
the tea; I'll manage to keep the pot
"My mother kindly told Mrs. Wrigger
to tell her mother she would see to her tea-
pot when the worse would come to the
'There, now,' responded Mrs. Wrigger,
'I knowed you would, and told mother so.
Well, I'm going home much more light-
22 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
hearted than when I cum in, good-bye,'
and off she went.
"Old Mrs. Dempsey made a great to-do
about glass; she was not so fond of tea.
Her husband coming in one afternoon, she
accosted him with: 'John Dempsey, is it
true we are to have a heavy duty on glass?'
It seems so,' replied the old man.
"' Then,' said she, 'I'll give up, for when
a pane breaks, where will we get another?'
'Cover it up with sheepskin, Sallie,
that's plenty good enough these times.'
S'Cover the window with sheepskin,
John Dempsey? Why, surely, man, you
are dreaming. Whoever heard of sheep-
skin windows? I tell you, sir, they'll
never come into my house. Sheepskin
windows! Great heavens! I'd sooner have
no windows at all.
"'You forget, John Dempsey, that our Sal
and Betsy are both going to turn out in
company next winter, and how will it look
for people to be riding up the lane and
seeing our sheepskin windows ? You may
laugh as much as you please, man, but I'll
never let sheepskin windows in my house.
I'd sooner daub up the walls entirely and
have tallow candles in day time. I
know what I would like to do; I would
take every pane of glass in this house, go
over to England and pitch the whole kit
and bile in old George's face; and as to
the tea, I'd make it boiling hot by the
gallon and pour it down his throat until I'd
see him burst every inch of him; then he'd
know what it is to be putting his old
fingers in our pie, as the saying goes.'
'Well, well,' said old Dempsey, 'I never
heard a woman talk and go on like you,
Sal; s'pose you hold on till you feel the
weight of the taxes.'
'Hold on, and for what? Just to see
the Redcoat walk in and carry off all we
possess, just because we own a little tea
24 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
and some glass ? When they sez glass they
mean everything that looks like glass, and
nary a tumbler will be left to drink out
of when company comes. I know them
fellers by heart, John Dempsey, and you
Grandma stopped to take a pinch of
.snuff and a sip of water, then related
"Well, old Mrs. Lyons, the weaveress,
entered one afternoon, and she began with:
'Mrs. N-,' said she to mother, 'don't you
think it a mean thing in the Parliament to
be putting the big stamp from the papers,
to the tea and glass ? They might as well
have left it on the papers, don't you think
so? I know it puts' me in a fix, for just
one month ago I went and bought six glass
tumblers, the first we ever had; we always
drank out of tin cups and gourds, and I
tell you, Mrs. N-, our gourds are nice
enough to give the king himself, but our
GRANDMA S STORIES.
Jane gets airs sometimes and she allowed
we ought to have a few tumblers for com-
pany, and I gratified her, but I am deter-
mined to sell three of them. I'm sure
three is a plenty for any family like ours,
and since Jim Jinks went to war she never
has more than one youngster to come at a
time. I s'pose you don't want to buy any
more tumblers, do you, Mrs. N- ?' Mother
answered her kindly but negatively, adding:
'Haven't you paid for them, Mrs. Lyons?'
*Laws yes I took over to the store three
dozens of chickens, a dozen ducks and two
pecks of dried apples, and exchanged them
for the tumblers; it's true, they throwed in
a wee bit of sugar and a pint of molasses
in the bargain !' "
"You had many a laugh in those days,
grandma," said my brother Edward, "and
I think the women had a great deal of
spunk, hadn't they?"
"Yes, indeed, child, they had spunk and
26 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
pluck to the backbone, and I believe if the
women had been called to the field of
battle, they would have conquered the-
enemy sooner than the men. But they
were generous; mothers sent off their sons,
and sisters urged their brothers to be
valiant and courageous, and I tell you,
children, we had anxious days though
many a little sparkling of fun. Every now
and then sad news would reach us and our
spirits flagged for a while; then again we'd-
hear of some great victory on our side, and
there would be fine cheering; that's the
way in war, you know.
"Once a poor man wretchedly clad,.
came to our house and said he was
from Washington's Army in New York;
that he had been sent out on the scout,
taken captive by the Indians and kept for
several weeks, almost starving; he made
his escape one dark night and pushed
southward. He gave good tidings of our
northern army, but we not trust him
much, fearing he w-.i .t --v. F: thl-i .ii
mother gave him .a i ,t's i i:.i: 'r. (l
meals. Next mornii l,4 il with wi_: t%
he called 'Camp Fe.-v D.l l, ,.idl in
a few hours. We k:-[ 1i :'.. 1i.i d
death profoundly pd:L .: i.:! '..' th.-
neighbors knew .ao, tlhinf l .. t t,:r
nearly a year. "
"In those days, when we were told not
to tell a thing we daref not speak of it."
"I bet," said Harr,-. .it 'i.:ill have been
told these times as thir- urto ii.a r girls
"Thank you, master Harry," said I, -f...r
"When was the first battle fouT
grandma ?" queried Harry.
"Well, you know, child, the Redcoats
entered Boston, September 27, 1768. Gen-
eral Gage was sent over with two regiments
to make us submit to the English taxation,
28 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
and he carried a high head from all ac-
"He ought to have had some of the
plucky ladies to deal with, Mrs. Dempsey
for instance," said our Charlie.
"And," continued grandma, "you know-
all the duties except those on tea, glass,
etc., were removed in 1767. In 1770,
only the tax on tea remained and the
British were determined to get that out
of the Americans, and the Americans just
as determined not to pay a cent of it.
"Our men disguised themselves as Indians
and in the very face of the British, emptied
a whole cargo of tea in Boston Harbor.
Wasn't it plucky in them? And in An-
napolis they burnt the Peggy Stewart and
all the tea on board of her, but spared the
crew and let them get home the best they
"In and about Boston annoying little
skirmishes frequently occurred, in most of
which our men were whipped; that, how-
ever, did not discourage them; on the con-
trary they rallied with more energy and
every man and boy that could muster a
gun of any kind, hurried northward.
"The battle of Bunker Hill was fought
June 17, 1775, and though we lost,
Gen. Howe, then in command of the
British, was glad to run into Boston and
hide his -army. After that battle, Gen.
Washington was appointed Commander-
in-chief and we all said: 'Now we'll whip
the Redcoats,' and sure enough we did.
"Prescott headed our troops at Bunker
Hill; he was a good general but not like
'"How did you all get the news so quickly,
grandma ?" asked Edward.
"Why, child, we had smart messenger-
boys and men who rode from town to
town conveying the result of each battle
or fight. As they passed through the
30 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
villages, even at night, they shouted out
whatever it was they had to report; if favo-
rable, there was great rejoicing, but if
disastrous, our faces were long enough for
days or until we heard something to cheer
us. Little boys were paid for carrying the
news to private houses, and if you
had been there, Charlie, you would have
made a few pennies. Every one was eager
to hear and know everything concerning
"I knew one poor little drummer-boy
who was shot in two by a cannon-ball at
Bunker Hill. He went from our neigh-
borhood; his poor mother never got over
his sad death, but was resigned to God's
holy will, knowing he died in a glorious
cause. She knew he would have fared
badly if a prisoner in the hands of the
English. Oh, indeed, my dear children,
we had a mortal horror of the English
soldiers, they were so cruel and so deter-
mined on our submitting to their tyrann-
"Sometimes in the winter our men would
be allowed a furlough or leave of absence
for a definite time, and we would hear an-
ecdotes and stories worth listening to, some
.sad, others joyful, most of them amusing.
Of the last you must hear one that will in-
terest you. During the battle of German-
town, October 4, 1777, when the fight was
hottest, Major Burnet, one of the officers
of Gen. Greene, was shorn of his handsome
*cue, by a musket-ball. Gen. Greene per-
ceiving it, said: 'Don't be in a hurry, get
down and save your cue.' The major
followed the advice and regained his hair.
A few minutes after, a shot came whizzing
by and carried off one of the powdered
curls of the general. Burnet could not
resist the temptation to retort on his su-
perior officer and said: 'Don't be in a hurry,
dismount and save your curl.' As the
32 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
enemy were in close pursuit, the general
preferred to lose his curl rather than him-
self and fine horse.
"0, my dear children," continued grand-
ma, "our struggle for liberty was a hard
one, but, thanks to Almighty God, we have
been repaid for our sacrifices. You, my
dear ones, can never know how much you
are indebted to your ancestors for what
you now enjoy. and I trust you may be
able to say to future generations, what I
have so often said to you: 'There are no
times like our good old times.' I think
it is time now for our night prayers, so a
happy good night with pleasant dreams.
"Tomorrow evening I will tell you
something of the Declaration of Indepen-
dence, and the joy it brought to all hearts."
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND
1/"M f OTHER," said my brother Ed-
V ward, at the dinner table, "can't.
you let us have supper a little earlier this
evening? Grandma has promised to tell us
about the Declaration of Independence,
and I know it is going to be jolly."
"Advance supper!" replied mother. "I
fear you children are worrying your
grandma; you must not forget she is old,
and should not be fatigued unnecessarily."
Turning to the waiter, she said: "Ad-
vance ten minutes, John. I guess that
will give time enough, won't it, children?"
"Yes, and thank you, mother," replied
one and all.
34 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
Brother Charlie said in his dry way:
"I reckon if you had seen grandma last
night, mother, you would not call her old;
it did my heart good to see her so young.
I believe she could have danced the horn-
Papa joined in saying, "Yes, and she is
yet worth ten young ones."
Nettie, our little sister, went to pay
grandma an afternoon visit and told her
we were going to have early supper.
"Early supper," said the old lady,
"what's that for? Is anything expected?"
"Why, grandma," said the prattler, "the
boys told mother you were going to
tell us a jolly story about the 'Declamation
of Innopenance,' and they wanted more
"Good gracious," replied grandma, "do
they expect me to talk all night, the little
"And," continued Nettie, "mamma said
we must not worry you, grandma, because
you are so old, and Charlie told her you
were young enough last night to dance the
hornpipe. What's that, grandma?"
"The good-for-nothing fellow," replied
grandma. "Tell him, Nett, I will crack his
head for him. I, young enough to dance
the hornpipe!" and the old lady's laugh
might have been heard outside her room.
The hours sped on and soon brought
supper; when all were fairly in, Nettie ac-
costed Charlie with:
"Ah, master Charlie, you are going to
catch it; grandma says she will quack your
head for saying she was young enough to
dance the hornpipe."
"Did you tell grandma that, you little
vixen?" said Charlie. "I declare, mother,
Nettie is getting to be a real tattler and she
ought to be hauled over; she told grand-
ma the other, day that I said her nose and
chin would soon meet."
36 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
"Nettie," said her mother, "you really
must not repeat to grandma or anyone
else, the little things you hear; after a.
while everyone will be afraid of you.
Now, you needn't go to grandma and say
I said this, do you understand?"
Nettie was as pleasant as though she
had received no rebuke or chiding, and
that is the way all little girls should be
when corrected, and never look angry or
pout when found fault with.
Well, supper was over and we sat wait-
ing for a summons from grandma; after a
while down came her maid to say: "Ole
missus is ready for the chillun."
How we scampered up the stairs.
There was dear grandma, seated in her
large arm-chair, closely wrapped in her
little shawl. She kissed us all and after
taking a good pinch of snuff said: "What
did I promise to tell you to-night? "
GRANDMA'S STORIES. 37
"The Declaration of Independence," we
"Tell me first," said grandma, "when
was Independence declared?"
"The fourth of July, seventeen hun-
dred and seventy-six," answered Charlie.
"Yes," said the old lady, "that was the
happiest day America ever saw, decidedly
the happiest, and there were great rejoic-
ings, I assure you, children.
"We knew our statesmen were in ses-
sion, debating the point of freedom, etc.
Congress was held in the State House at
Philadelphia, for you know we had no
fixed capital at that time and it was only
in 1800, that the city of Washington be-
came the seat of Government. General
Washington laid off and planned the
city in 1790, and it was then decided
to begin the building of the Capitol.
Washington took his ideas from a wheel.
He intended the Capitol to represent the
38 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
hub, and the radiating avenues the spokes
of the wheel. And here I must tell you
an anecdote lest I forget it. When it
was decided to remove the Capital, a
countryman met another and hailed him
with: 'Arrah, and did you hear the news?'
'No,' replied his friend, 'and what's up,
tell me, Jim.'
'Well,' said the other, 'they are going
to fetch the Capitol from Philadelphy
clean down to Washington, and I tell you,
man, there's going to be game in it.'
"'Pshaw, Jim,' shouted Jerry, 'you don't
tell me that; how will they ever do such a
thing. Why, man, it will take years for
such a job as that, and there'll be no team
left at all, at all, after such a pull and
haul. 'Twill kill every horse and mule in
the country to drag such a big house so
S'Ha, ha, ha,' shouted Jim, 'they ain't
going to fetch the house, but only the
goods and chattels; they can't move the
"'But, you know, Jim, 'capitol' means
house, and 'capital' city, so a fellow told
me the other day, and you say they are go,
ing to fetch the Capitol, and sure that
means the house.'
'I believe you are about right, Jerry,'
said Jim, 'and I lay bet on seeing that big
house hauled down by horse power.
George Washington was a great man.'
"At that time, children, Washington
was but a small, insignificant village, with
only a few houses and shanties. George-
town was a much handsomer place, and
Bladensburg a very pretty little town; at
one time they thought of making it the
Capital city. But excuse my digression,
and now to the Declaration of Independ-
"For days we were in the greatest
anxiety, fearing some of our men would
40 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
favor subjection to the English yoke a little
while longer. Every Colony had what
we now call reporters, standing around
the old -State House in Philadelphia, to
give notice of the decision. Besides, all
through the country, there were telegraph
stations, not wires as we have at present,
but very high poles, and it was agreed that
if the decision was in favor, a red flag
would be hoisted; if not, a black one.
"'There was very little work done those
days; every one seemed apprehensive of a
great calamity, and we prayed as hard as
we could, for it would have been worse
than death to hear we were still to be
under British rule. Well, on the morning
of the fifth of July we heard the firing of
guns in every direction, and we hoped all
was right, still no news had come to us.
The excitement all through the country
was simply terrible. At last we saw
father coming home, as fast as his horse
could carry him. We all ran out and
surrounded him; he was so overcome that
he could only say, 'Free, free!' We cried
with joy and could do nothing but go
from one to the other saying, 'Glory be to
our men; glory be to Congress,' though our
first act was to kneel down and give
thanks to Almighty God for so watching
over his poor American children."
Grandma was quite overcome and we
sat in silence till Nett broke the spell by
saying: "Grandma, did you fire any
guns ?" We were relieved by the laugh
she gave us.
"Why, yes, child, we all had learned
how to shoot, and I fired many a gun.
"But," continued grandma, "there were
some few that did not unite in the rejoic-
ings. I mean the Tories, they looked
black enough, I can tell you."
"Who were the Tories, grandma?" en-
42 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
"The Tories, my dear," she replied, "were
those who desired to remain under the
English Government, and those who were
for free America were Whigs. There was
an old Squire Lee, not far from us, who was
a noted Tory; he was a sort of cousin to
the famous Light Horse Harry Lee, but
unlike him in loving America. He was
very-wealthy, having brought all his for-
tune from England and would have gone
back if he had lived, so it was said. Well,
he had an only daughter, Eliza Lee, who
despised American ways. She died of
pleurisy some years after the close of the
war. When she was taken ill her physician
assured her she could be relieved and saved
only by bleeding. She said, 'No, indeed,
I will never allow one drop of my royal
blood to be spilled on American soil.' She
died, of course."
"Yes," said Harry, and spilled the
whole of her royal blood and herself in the
bargain ; what an old spook she must have
The next thing," continued grand-
ma, was to consider and make plans for
the due celebration of the fourth of July
in the future years. It was decided to
make it a legal holiday to perpetuity. The
first anniversary, we thought, should be
kept with as much pomp as circumstances
would permit; meetings were held from
time to time to devise means, ways, etc.,
for the celebration of 1777. The conclu-
sion was to have a barbecued dinner in
every district of the country, and a ball
at night. Well, such preparations you
cannot imagine. Some weeks beforehand,
a committee of gentlemen in our dis-
trict met for the purpose of selecting
a delightful grove for our entertainment.
They found in my father's wood a very
suitable spot and at once had it ploughed,
rolled and beaten till the ground, for about
4- GRANDMA'S STORIES.
a quarter of a mile, was as hard as marble;
the dancing grounds, especially, were
lovely, and no marbled floor of Italy could
have been smoother and more fit for
dancing. Every family agreed to send
supplies for- the table, and you know
barbecue means that all the animals,
poultry, etc., are to be cooked whole, and,
my children, it was a curious sight to see
the long tables set off with lambs, pigs,
chickens, ducks, etc., all looking so life-
like that you might have expected to hear
the pigs squeak or the ducks say quack,
quack, etc. The desserts were very hand-
some and delicious; we met about ten a.m.
and danced till half-past twelve, then had
dinner which lasted till about two, and after
a short recess we danced again till five,
when we had supper. The children had
their table to themselves in a far off corner,
and the little rogues enjoyed it. The
branches of the trees were so closely inter-
GRANDMA'S STORIES. 45
laced, that not a ray of the sun could get
in at any hour of the day. The children
were sent home about six. We began the
ball about eight, danced till twelve, then
stopped to take cake and lemonade,
resumed the dance and kept it up till
"Now, I must tell you about our dresses.
All the ladies agreed to appear in home-
spun apparel. I made two fine linen
dresses for the occasion, and three pairs of
sheepskin slippers. One pair I trimmed
with blue satin ribbon, another with pink,
and the third with white. I danced out
the blue trimmed ones before dinner, the
pink ones in the afternoon, and the white
One of my dresses was striped with
blue and pink, the other pure white."
"My! grandma, were you not tired to
death after all that? "' asked Edward.
No, indeed, child, I could have gone
46 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
over the whole again without stopping and
without being fatigued. We allowed the
domestics to enjoy the remnants of the
dinner and supper, so they had their turn
the next day and enjoyed it, too. We
depended on them for the safe return of
the dishes, etc., and not one was broken
"The frolicking in our district was con-
tinued for several weeks. We had sailing
parties on the Potomac, fishing parties,
dances at night, etc., until I believe some
were tired. We began to feel that our
country was safe and free, though we knew
our poor men were still fighting for liberty,
and, many a hard battle had they after the
Declaration of Independence.
In 1778, France acknowledged our
freedom from England. General Lafayette,
you know, came to our relief in April
1777, and he brought over quite a number
of well-disciplined Frenchmen, though few
are mentioned in history. They were
everything to our army. Cornwallis, you
know, surrendered to General Washington
at Yorktown, Va., October 19, 1781, so we
had along, trying struggle. However, the
old ladies that were so terribly worried
about the tea and glass, were comparatively
at ease. Good Mrs. Dempsey expressed
her willingness to depart for a better world.
She was never obligedto patch her windows
with sheepskin, and I heard her daughters
married to her satisfaction and did well.
Mrs. Lyons used her six glass tumblers
when Jimmy Jinks returned from the war,
and they made quite a display on the
waiter my mother sent 'our Jane,' for a
"After the surrender many of the Red-
coats, especially the Hessians, dodged
around our place and skulked through the
country; they met with very little en-
couragement to remain, for we were wish-
48 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
ing to see them get out as fast as the ocean
could drift them over to their own lands.
Our own poor men came back to us des-
titute of everything but their skin, and
many had lost a good portion of that
precious article. They soon recuperated
and enjoyed for the rest of their lives the
peace and liberty so dearly purchased.
Many families had to lament the loss of
loved ones, but knowing the glorious cause
for which they laid down their lives, none
"Some other time I may be able to relate
a few pleasant events that occurred after the
Declaration of Independence, but cannot
now, as I see poor little Nett is dozing.
To-morrow evening you shall hear all
about my meeting with General Lafayette
and the grand ball he gave in Bladensburg.
Good night, my darlings. "
GENERAL LAFAYETTE AND HIS BALL IN
"W ELL, children," said grandma, "I
promised to tell you about General
Lafayette; he was truly a great man. You
know he arrived in this country in 1777,
and history says he brought over eleven offi-
cers; from what we saw, there must have
been many well-bred gentlemen among
his subordinates. I never beheld finer
looking men. You know, also, that La-
fayette fitted out the vessel and crew at
his own expense, so he must have been a
wealthy man and one of influence; he was
a marquis in France, and, of course, that
means something there. Congress, almost
immediately, appointed him to the rank of
50 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
major-general in our army, and a portion
of our troops were assigned him. The
first battle he engaged in, was that of
Brandywine, and our men were routed.
Toward winter, Washington moved far-
ther down the country and took up his
winter-quarters at Valley Forge; Lafayette
and his portion of the army quartered
around Blandensburg; the officers lodged
at the hotel kept by Colonel Bradford; in
those days, only first class men such as Col-
onel Bradford, a man of wealth and position
kept first-class hotels. General Lafayette
made himself very agreeable, and as Colonel
Bradford had three handsome and accom-
plished daughters, Lafayette frequently
slipped into their private parlor, and it
was there I first met him. He was a
grand looking man, tall and graceful, a
fine dancer and good musician; his broken
English often amused us. He told many
interesting anecdotes and incidents of
his country, and we could plainly see
he was in favor of Republicanism. He ex-
pressed a great desire to become acquainted
with our American ladies, and said he had
heard much of their beauty, elegance of
manners, etc. At length he proposed to
Colonel Bradford, or asked as a favor that
he would be allowed to give a French ball
in his hotel; of course, the colonel agreed,
and you may imagine the joy and excite-
ment of the ladies, old and young, when it
was made known, and such preparations
for a ball I suppose had never been made
in old times or new.
"In those days few ladies had more than
two silk gowns, but they were very hand-
some. It was the custom for every lady to
be married in white satin and to have, for
what they called 'the second day's dress,'
a handsome brocaded silk: we do not see
such silks nowadays. I assure you, chil-
dren, a dress would almost stand alone, so
52 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
thick and heavy was the material. The
young or unmarried ladies seldom wore
silk; taffeta and pongee, both a fine texture
or fabric of silk and thread, or silk and
worsted, were their fashionable dress-
goods, with cambric and muslin of the fin-
est texture, and sometimes very fine linen
lawn, though that was considered expen-
"What did you wear, grandma?" asked
"Why, child, I wore a blue taffeta trim-
med with white satin, and it was considered
a handsome dress. Mrs. Washington wore
a brown satin, with pearl necklace and
ornaments. She was escorted to the ball
by her cousin, Major Fairfax, but would
not dance; she said her partner was absent,
and there was no enjoyment for her while
she knew him to be exposed to the dangers
of war. She joined in the promenade and
left soon after the supper.
Everything was on the grandest scale;
the hall lighted with reflectors and colored
lamps inside and outside the house, gave a
fairy-like appearance to everything; the
scene was enchanting, Lafayette and all
the officers wore red velvet coats lined
with white satin; the tails of their coats
were square and stood out as if stiffened;
their waistcoats extended to the hips and
showed to perfection the beautiful ruffled
shirt bosoms, set off with a diamond or
pearl pin. All wore short breeches of a
fawn color, either cloth or some other
material that we knew not the name of;
their long white silk stockings were fast-
ened with gold buckles, and their slippers
were of a soft, black kid, fastened also with
gilt buckles; in those days the gentlemen's
slippers were called pumps. It was the
style for both ladies and gentlemen to
wear the hair powdered; the gentlemen
had long cues tied with ribbon. General
54 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
Lafayette wore a bow of white satin on his
cue. Many gentlemen kept wigs on hand
so as to be always ready for an entertain-
ment. They brushed back their hair that
not a strand could be seen by which the
color would be known, therefore, some
with very black hair wore white wigs and
all appeared alike, old and young. The
ladies wore long trains to their dresses
and when they danced the train or trail, as
some called it, was thrown over the left
arm. The dance of the times was the
minuet and at one of the figures the train
was dropped for a series of courtesies; it
was a part of the ceremony for the partner
to lift the train at the proper time, and I
believe the gentlemen made it one of their
practices to do it gracefully.
"I have always been so sorry, children,"
said grandma, "that knee-breeches went
out of fashion for the gentlemen, and can
truly say I have never since seen a gentle-
man in what Icalled a real, full dress. I have
never liked long trousers and the short
vest. General Lafayette asked, by way of
a compliment, I suppose, to lead off the
ball with Miss Nancy Bradford,* and she
was a suitable partner for him, being hand-
some and graceful. The supper table was
elaborately set and you must believe me
when I say we drank out of solid gold
wine-cups, all belonging to the French
troops or, I suppose, to the general. The
last dance was after supper, and we
wound up with a slow and graceful promen-
ade, a little different from the entrance
one. You may be sure we had enough to talk
about for months and even to this day.
"As General Lafayette had been anxious
to see the dlite of American ladies, they in
turn expressed a desire to see the French
officers in full uniform; therefore, Colonel
*Miss Nancy afterward married Major Boarman
of Charles County, Maryland.
.56 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
Bradford gave an entertainment to which
he invited both French and American
"The same ceremony was gone through
as for the French ball, and it was worth
seeing. All the officers wore full dress,
.even the chapeau de bras and sword. One
of the old ladies asked the meaning of
chapeau de bras, and her daughter told
her it meant gilt spurs and copper heels.
After the opening promenade, a valet
approached each officer to remove his
chapeau de bras and sword, as it was con-
sidered contrary to etiquette to wear them
"Mrs. Washington made her appearance
when the entertainment was about half
over; her escort was Baron de Kalb, one of
Lafayette's companions; he had lately
come from Valley Forge and gave good
tidings of General Washington, though the
suffering there had been excessive and
not a few had died from the want of
clothing and protection from the severity
of the season."
"Toward the latter part of February,
Mrs. Washington called on the ladies of
Virginia and Maryland to assist in collect-
ing clothes and other necessary articles for
the poor soldiers in different portions of
the northern Colonies. You know, chil-
dren," continued grandma, "that we had
not states then; we formed what they called
the United Colonies. Well, we responded
to Mrs. Washington's appeal, and soon we
had wagon loads that were sent under
guards to the appointed places.
"The latter part of that year of 1778,
we heard of Lafayette's departure for
France, his object being to collect money
and whatever he could for dear America.
He did not return till 1780, when he re-
joined Washington and took part in the
fight for American freedom.
58 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
"In 1781, Washington, Lafayette and
others pushed forward to the southern
Colonies. Cornwallis was marauding
Virginia and its surroundings and Wash-
ington had serious apprehensions. Corn-
wallis had destroyed about $15,000,000
worth of property and had taken his
position at Yorktown. A French fleet
under the command of Count de Grasse
arrived off the coast of Virginia and re-
mained in the Chesapeake waters awaiting
orders from Washington, who directed him
to attack the British at Yorktown.
"On the twenty-eighth of September, the
combined forces began the bombardment,
and Cornwallis, seeing no hope of escape,
surrendered to Washington; the capitula-
tion took place October 19th, 1781, a day
of real gladness for all Americans, though
I told you this before.
"Cornwallis feigned sickness and de-
puted General O'Hara to meet Washing-
ton who showed magnanimity beyond
description. The surrender virtually
closed the long war with England. The
Treaty of Peace was signed at Paris,
September 3, 1783, and the British left
the country November 25th, following.
"Washington bade farewell to his sol-
diers soon after and retired to his resi-
dence in Virginia, a beautiful place called
Mount Vernon. Lafayette and his French
companions returned to France, and took
a conspicuous part in the awful revolution
of 1798. He returned for a social visit to
this country in the year 1824, and was
received with all the honors due to his
Our country began, after the Declara-
tion of Independence, to recover its losses,
and in a few years was on a solid footing,
coping with other great nations. I must,
another time, tell you something of the
ways, customs, and hardships of our
60 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
colonial days, and maybe you will say
you are not sorry for being in the after
times, so much easier and in some respects
better, though I must adhere to my first
saying: 'No times can be like our good
old times.' Now, let us have good night,
and may God Almighty bless you, my dear
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF COLONIAL
ELL, now, children, where shall
I begin?" said our dear, old
"Anywhere, grandma, that suits you."
"Then, I will tell you first how we pre-
pared our clothing, and begin with the
cotton. We planted the seed in the spring
and soon we saw the beautiful green bushes
growing as tall, some of them, as Master
Charlie or Edward. In the fall, the burrs
opened with the frost, and early in the
morning we would go out with large
baskets to gather the cotton. When dry
we picked it, that is, we removed the cot-
62 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
ton from the burrs, which was a pleasant
pastime in the long winter nights. You
know the seed of cotton contains an oil,
and when it becomes heated, the cotton is
easily taken off; sometimes we threw the
burrs or seed in the fire when the wood
was burning low. You know we had noth-
ing but wood fires in those days; the
fireplaces were very wide, and andirons
supported the wood. Those in the parlors
were made of highly polished brass; the
beautiful fenders, shovel and tongs, were
also of brass, highly ornamented, and, my
dear children, I know of nothing prettier
than a bright wood fire reflecting its
glowing flames upon everything around: it
was cozy and enchanting.
After the cotton-picking, we generally
had apples and nuts or, perhaps, a taffy-
stew. When several young people gathered
together, they sometimes wound up with a
dance: altogether, we had pleasant even-
ings in those good old times. I must tell
you here a little event that may amuse
you," said grandma, with a little twitch of
mischief in her eye.
"One evening, soon after the marriage
of your father and mother, a few young
people came for tea; two of the young
ladies came to my room to prepare their
toilette ; one of them* had false curls in
her reticule, and taking them out, she laid
them on the warm hearth to soften the
pomatum, which you know makes the curls
fall more gracefully. Well, I saw them
on the hearth and took them for cotton
burrs ; reaching for a little broom, I swept
them into the fire. When she was ready
for her curls she could not find them
and declared she had put them on the
hearth. I heard her and it immediately
*Miss Juliann Bevan, who later became a Sister
of Charity at Emmitsburg and died there many
64 GRANDMA'S STORIES
occurred to ne that I had swept them in t he
fire and I told her so. I shall never forget
her consternation; she had to appear
without her beautifiers that evening."
And grandma seemed to enjoy the joke.
"Was she angry, grandma?" asked I.
",Don't know, child; she was polite
enough to make the best of it, and I fancied
she was just as pretty without her curls,
though no beauty by any means.
"After the cotton was picked, we had to
card and spin it, then wind it into balls
and send it to the weavers. All of us had
very pretty cotton dresses with little stripes
of blue, or pink, etc. That is sufficient
about the cotton, isn't it?" asked grandma.
"Well, now, about the linen; that was
made from the flax we grew on the place.
It was carded into tow, then spun out on a
small wheel, into fine fibres or threads.
All the underclothing, sheets, pillow-cases,
table-linen, etc., were made from 'the
flax, and it was very interesting work. In
fact, everything about farming and
domestic employment was charming to
those that liked it, and most of the ladies
enjoyed it immensely. We all knew how
to knit stockings, socks, gloves, etc., and
sometimes we knit the underwear for the
more advanced in years who needed
warmer clothing. I knit my father a full
set of everything he required in that line.
"The older gentlemen liked their coats.
etc., of white flannel, and a very pretty
sort was woven for that purpose. We
made our carpets of rags sewed together
and wound into large balls, and some-
times we dyed them very bright colors.
The red was dyed with sumach berries set
with copperas, the black with walnut hulls,
and the yellow with peach leaves or
saffron; the saffron plant was largely cul-
tivated, and we used it for its lovely
flowers, when arranging the large pots that
66 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
stood in the fire-places during the summer.
The farmers raised all their own grain,
and every family had a handmill with
which they ground their flour, meal, etc., for
common use. We sent much of the wheat
to the water-mills and had it ground into
fine flour, which we kept for pies, cakes, etc.
Rye flour also made very sweet bread for
daily use, though corn-meal was the staple
for breadstuffs. I must tell you the origin
of our nice 'hoe-cakes' and delicious 'john-
ny-cake.' Lord Calvert, to gain the
friendship of the Indians, presented them
with many little trinkets; in gratitude
they showed the white man how to use the
corn-meal. On little griddles they baked
what they called 'hoe-cake,' and on
long, narrow boards that stood before the
fire, they baked the 'johnny-cake' which
you all are so fond of, so you see we are
indebted to the poor Indians for something.
I believe they were disposed to be very
kind to the English people."
Tell us, grandma, said Charlie, "how
the water-mills were worked."
Well, child, there was a large and
deep pond or dam of water just ahead of
the mill; immensely heavy and thick gates,
called 'flood-gates,' were kept down to pre-
vent the water escaping from the dam until
it rose high enough to work the wheels.
When the miller raised those gates, the rush
of water was terrifying and the noise
deafening, so that every miller was a very
loud and high-toned talker. Whenever
you hear a person speaking very loudly or
in a boisterous manner, you may ask, as we
used to do: 'Is he a miller?' "
What kind of bonnets did you wear,
those days, grandma?" enquired Nettie.
"Beautiful bonnets and hats, my dear,
.made of platted straw, which we dried our-
selves when the wheat and rye were
68 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
gathered in; we also pegged a sort of
material that was very pretty for bonnets.
What you call crocheting now, we called
pegging; you know the crochet needle has
a little hook which we named the peg.
Once my brother Sam was going hunting
and told me over night he had no gloves
to wear and it was very cold. I began to
peg a pair about eight o'clock and finished
one that night; next morning I was up
by times and before breakfast I had the
other done; now, wasn't that smart in
We felt the want of coffee and tea
more than anything else, as we were out
of the city limits and often had not the
time to send for such things; we generally
laid in our groceries in the fall and spring.
We supplied the want of coffee by roast-
ing rye or gumbo, and you would be
surprised what nice coffee they made. Our
salt was procured from persons living near
the bay or salt-water rivers. It was manu-
factured by evaporation. The farmers
raised a great deal of tobacco, which they
sold to the neighboring merchants, or ex-
changed for useful commodities, such as
dry-goods, shoes, etc., though very nearly
every family had its own shoemaker and
weaver. We lived rather economically,
those times, while having an abundance of
everything needed for comfort and domes-
"There were very few really indigent
and all were kind in assisting one another.
Certainly we enjoyed great happiness: there
was no jealousy about style and fashion
that I hear of now-a-days. But there was
one serious trouble, my children. We were
obliged by English law to contribute to
the Protestant minister, the tithes of all we
made, and I can tell you, it took the heart
out of me to see the wagon-loads of grain,
70 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
tobacco, etc., going to one so hard on the
"He was the wealthiest man in the United
Colonies; had one child only, said to be a
very lovely girl. Professors or teachers
were brought from England to cultivate
her talents, and she was pronounced ac-
complished beyond everything ever known
before in America.
"It was very usual in those days to hear
it said: 'such a one has gone home to
England, for this, that and the other.'
"Well, the old minister made very little
by his riches. His daughter married a
very clever, fast-living gentleman, who, in
a few years made way with the fortune,
and not a penny is now to be found in the
hands of the new generations, nothing that
once formed a portion of the plantations,
bank stock, etc., so cherishedby the domino.
Some of the grandchildren still survive, but
they are very destitute of this world's goods:
truly, a mark of God's retributive justice, "
and grandma shook her head sorrowfully.
"Grandma," queried my brother Edward,
"why is it that the English people seem
always to have had such an ill feeling to-
wards the Catholics?"
"That is easily accounted for, my dear,"
replied grandma. "Don't you know that
Pope Paul III. refused to annul the mar-
riage of Catherine of Aragon with King
Henry VIII. because our holy Church
forbids divorce? Well, the mighty sover-
eign became very angry with the pope and
declared himself head of the Church in
England, and from that epoch, 1534,
Catholicity has been held in abomination by
the English nation. The Catholic spirit,
however, lingers around the throne and
among the people, notwithstanding the hat-
red to everything in the Church of Rome."
"Grandma," asked Charlie, "how did
you all travel in those good, olden times?"
72 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
"What a question, Charlie," responded
grandma. "We had very few carriages,
it is true, but we managed to get along
pretty well. Many of the richest loved
to ride on horseback; we had fine horses
and our ladies rode gracefully; I wish
you could have seen them on the fox-chase.
The first carriage or coach brought to the
Colonies was owned by the Squire Lee of
whom I spoke last night. Some had a
very neat little vehicle called 'Carry-all'
and a ride in it was always desirable. It
"The would-be lords of creation, or aris-
tocrats, drove the stylish 'gig and tandem;'
that meant the gig with two, three, and
often four fine horses harnessed in single
file to the gig, driven by a coachman in
livery, while the proud old lord looked on
with contempt at the pedestrians and gal-
lant riders met on the way.
It was really a very handsome sight to
behold several of those brilliant equipages
on the road at one time.
"The phaeton was also in great vogue
among the grandees. It was usually drawn
by two horses, though some of the old
English potentates revelled in the show of
four fine animals, capering to the caprice
of the haughty owner.
"Those English nobility were very osten-
tatious, self-conceited people and as much
disliked in the new country as they had been
in the old. We often wished them back
under their old kings and tyrannical
"Of course, we ceased to contribute to
the support of the English Church, after
Independence was declared and our men
began to make laws to suit the Republic.
"In some years the Catholics could look
up, though for a long time a secret perse-
cution went on that could not be controlled
or taken hold of. Catholics were regarded
74 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
as a set of ignorant people, who knew
nothing but a few prayers and supersti-
tious practices; unfortunately for them, the
larger portion of our population, at that
period, were dissenters from Rome, backed
in their belief and bigotry by the powers
of Great Britain and their own immense
wealth, consequently their influence was
"For a long time we were not allowed to
have Catholic Churches. The divine ser-
vice was given us at rare intervals and us-
ually in private residences. By degrees
our numbers increased, and we were able
to construct throughout the district,
little chapels here and there, or within
twenty miles of each other.
"One priest attended to several churches
and by that means we heard holy Mass at
least three or four times a year.
"In every congregation there were Catho-
lic homes called the Stations. The pastor
would announce on Sunday the Station he
would be at on a certain day of the week,
and, my dear children, you would have
wondered at the numbers of old and infirm
that would arrive by the wagon-load, at the
appointed place. It was my privilege for
years to attend to the service, etc., at
my father's. Long before any of us were
up in the morning, the front yard would be
crowded with men, women, babies and
children of all ages and sizes. It was an
amusing, though edfying spectacle for us to
behold; sometimes we might well have
selected from the motley crowd, old Father
Noah, his wife, his three sons and three
daughters-in-law; so many looked as if just
out of the ark. When the season was fair,
we erected a temporary altar in the yard
and many times have I seen our good old
pastor go to the wagons that contained the
helpless and aged, and give them the Bread
of Life, with tears streaming from his eyes
76 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
at beholding such profound veneration,
piety and devotion in that lowly and
humble portion of Christ's vineyard.
"The hatred of our dissenting brethren
to the Catholic clergy in those times was
beyond anything I can now describe ; one
instance will give you an idea. The gentle-
men of those days were great huntsmen,
and, in the hunting season, the farmers us-
ually lowered the fencing for the conven-
ience of hunters. Our holy pastor* found
out those short cuts and made use of them,
as they saved him many miles' ride in his
sick calls. On one occasion he was riding
through the field of an inveterate Protes-
tant, not knowing the fencing had been
raised. The farmer saw him and knewhim
to be the priest; calling to his domestics,
he ordered the dogs to be loosened and set
*Fr. David, afterwards Bishop Coadjutor to the
Bishop of Bardstown, Ky., consecrated, August 15,
upon the track of the man of God. Iis
dogs were considered the most vicious in
the neighborhood and the terror of every-
one; they were always chained during the
day for fear of serious trouble. The
animals started off in hot pursuit of the
priest, and just as they reached him they
stopped, turned back and crouched at the
feet of their master, trembling in every
limb. The darkeys who were in the field
expected to see the holy man torn to
pieces ; two of them were Catholics. They
all declared that when the dogs were in
the act of springing upon the priest,
a white figure, the size of a well grown boy,
stood by the side of the horse, and
the dogs instantly turned and scam-
pered as fast as they could run. The
humble servant of God turned back also
and on coming up with the farmer, raised
his hat and said most apologetically: 'I
beg your pardon, Mr. N-, for trespassing
78 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
on your grounds. I did not know you had
raised your fencing.' The farmer, for a
wonder, raised his hat to the priest and
replied: 'You are at liberty, sir, to pass
through my fields whenever it suits you';
then turning to one of his servants, added,
,You be always ready to lower the fencing
for this gentleman, and to raise it after he
has passed.' That hater of Catholic clergy-
men was never afterward known to say an
unkind word of them. You see, children,"
continued grandma, "how the Lord watches
over His anointed. We cannot have too
much reverence for our pastors, and in my
day we never met a priest without asking
his blessing, but I believe that holy custom,
like many others, is dying out among our
Catholic people. I hope you will en-
deavor to keep up such old-time practices
and prove yourselves worthy of your saint-
ly ancestors. I will sometime tell you a few
pretty traits of the dear and holy Father
David. He came to the lower Maryland
Missions in 1792, or early in '93. No
priest ever did more good than he, and
his name will ever be a household word
among the people of our section of the
"Grandma," said Nett, "did you have
any schools in your old times ? I wish we
"Why, my darling, do you want to be a
"No," replied the child, "but I do hate
schools and books and as to these old
academies, I wish I could send them out
of the country, indeed, I do."
"You needn't laugh, Mr. Charlie for I
know you hate school."
"Who told you that?" said Charlie.
"Why, I heard you say the other day
that skating did you a great deal more
good than the old college."
"I don't mind school and books so
80 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
much," continued Nettie, "but I do not
want to be so long away from my canary,
and my kitten, and my pug dog."
All laughed at poor Nett's heavy sigh.
"Well," said grandma, "I will tell you
something about our schools. In the first
place,education in the Colonial days could
not be much attended to; facilities were
meagre. We managed to learn from our
fathers and mothers what they had
learned from their parents. Occasionally
there would come over among the emi-
grants or refugees from the Emerald Isle,
gentlemen of learning who would be glad
to get the position of 'tutor' in private
families, or assume the more onerous duties
of 'country school-master.' They taught
well, though it seems to have been the
idea of the times that the mastering of the
'Rule, of Three' in Pike's Arithmetic and
'Equations' in Bonnycastle's Algebra con-
stituted education sufficient for practical
life. The children learned to write, not
on the beautifully ruled copy books of our
modern day, but on a coarse, rough paper,
the very sight of which would make our
delicate children nervous and their tender-
hearted mammas more so.
"Slates and pencils were scarce; the
children took them by turns or borrowed
from each other. They used small lap-
boards,painted white,and their crayons were
not the artistic charcoal ones of modern
make, but a bit of fire coal, which some of
the boys were very skilful in pointing;
every clever lad took a pride in keeping his
favorite girl supplied with a nice coal
pencil, so you see there was real gallantry
in the 'Colonial country school.' We
learned Latin, which was considered a
very essential branch of education; spelling
was very much attended to, and I .think
we were better spellers than some high
scholars of the nineteenth century. My
dear children, always try to spell correct-
"Ned wishes to know when steel pens
were introduced; well, we read that
metallic pens were in use among the ancient
Romans, and that one or more were found
among the ruins of Pompeii and Hercul-
aneum. Such as I see you have now
were introduced only a few years since. *
"But, withal," continued grandma, "our
men and women were educated and
highly cultivated; I meet very few now-a-
days to compare favorably with them."
"Did children have parties in your day,
grandma?" asked Nettie.
"Why, yes, my dear, they had very nice
ones, but not at night as you all have
*The first steel pens used in England were in-
vented by a Mr. Wise, in 1803, and a Mr. Pere-
grine Williamson, of Baltimore, took out the
first patent for manufacturing them in America,
in 1810.-Chamber's Encyclopaedia.
these times. The little visitors were ex-
pected to arrive about three p.m. and to
leave about six, so that they might be
snug in bed by eight."
"Good gracious!" we all exclaimed, "in
bed at eight! Why, grandma, that was
barbarous. The poor, little children !"
"Indeed," replied grandma, "you would
all be healthier and better every way if
made to go to bed earlier than you do;
I do not believe in children sitting up so.
late, or dancing and frolicking at night
like the old people; we were not allowed
to do it and we were very happy, I assure
you. But it is time for me to stop talk-
ing; I see Nett is sleepy, so good-night,
my darlings and a pleasant rest to you. "
~e i After
l i t-a I
.,- 2,' 1
j, a ,[ 1 11fII
~.*v ju l nkpI Ii~ 1, S.1 i, Ila
That -~l l~t th~e thii
-A ll ..
.tI. ~ A f
y: ed W,
F~f~J~fr' ~ St~Ib
86 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
and remained till nearly two o'clock chat-
ting, She usually dined and supped with
us, but adhered to her old-time early
breakfast, saying that she could not wait
for us lazy boots. "
-' Well," said grandma as we entered,
"do you want a story?"
Yes, indeed, we exclaimed, and Nett
added, Tell us, grandma, what you
promised about the last war with England."
The old lady took out her watch and
seeing it was only fifteen minutes of five
said she would have sufficient time to give
us plenty of talk before the supper bell
"Can any of you tell me," she said, "what
caused the war?" No one answered.
"Well" she continued, the English
people never got over our shaking off their
yoke, and the acknowledgment of our
independence by European nations was
a thorn that rancoredin their hearts. They
lost no chance of showing it, and as they
were always fighting with some nation or
other, they needed soldiers and everything
else, so they had the assurance to attack
and search our vessels on the high seas,
pretending we had some of their men in
our service, and sometimes they carried off
not a few and pressed them into theirarmy,
or imprisoned them. They also entered
our waters and carried away the vessels.
All that our government would not put up
with. They remonstrated in vain; the
English became bolder until at last Mr.
Madison, our fourth president, declared
war against them, June 19th, 1812.
In 1813, we had to fight their troops from
Canada, while numberless skirmishes took
place on the seas, all of which you must
read aboutin your histories. I will only tell
you what occurred in our own section of
the country, viz: Maryland.
",Early in 1814, Admiral Cockburn
88 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
sailed along the coast of the southern
states and later entered the Chesapeake,
doing all he could to intimidate and annoy
"On August 17th, he was joined by a
large force of infantry under the celebrated
General Ross, who had come over under
the command of Admiral Cockrane. His-
tory says, General Ross landed at Benedict
on the Patuxent River, August 20th,
with a force of 5,000 men, and that Bene-
dict is distant from Washington twenty-
seven miles. That is a mistake, Benedict
cannot be less than forty miles from Wash-
ington and Ross did not land so strong a
force at Benedict; only a small party
landed there, the others proceeded up the
Patuxent, some of whom landed at Notting-
ham, a small town below Marlborough; all
the others landed in the vicinity of Marlbo-
rough, which is about twenty-seven miles
from Washington. The forces concen-
treated at Marlborough. But I must tell
you about those that landed at Benedict.
They marched to a small village called
Bryantown, five miles from our residence,
and about twelve or fifteen miles northwest
of Benedict. They halted in the village a
day and night. Their conduct there was
not very gentlemanly. On the heights,
there lived an old lady named McPherson.
As she had known some of the ravages of
the Revolution, there was not much good
feeling in her heart for the Redcoat.
When she heard they were ascending the hill
leading to her residence, she went out to
meet them, (as she said) in her short gown
and petticoat, such as old ladies wore in
those days. She accosted the general
very civilly and enquired what business he
had with her. 'We are only reconnoitring,
madam,' replied he. 'Have you any sons ?'
"'Yes, I have one,' answered Mrs. Me.,
'and he is at the cannon's mouth, ready to
90 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
put a ball through you or some of your
comrades. You have no business on our
land; we have never interfered with you
and you should have stayed at home, sir.'
The general smiled and enquired if she
could give them something to eat.
"'Yes,' said the old lady, 'I will give you,
in God's name, all I have in my cupboard.'
Then calling to Jim, the colored man, she
directed him to put out all he could find,
after which she invited the soldiers into
"'Whose rifle is that over your door?'
queried the general.
"'It was my husband's, sir, and he used
it well on your people years ago; it was on
his shoulder when he saw your Cornwallis
give up to Washington at Yorktown.'
"'I would like to have it,' said the gen-
"'You'll take my life first, sir,' said Mrs.
McPherson. 'I'll defend it to my last breath
and whoever dares to touch it will feel the
weight of my arm.' She advanced to the
fireplace, took up a strong poker and sta-
tioned herself beside the door on which
hung the rifle.
"'You are very plucky,' said the general.
"'Yes,' she replied, 'and all my people
are of the same stamp, and I can tell you,
sir, that many of you who have come in to
fight us will never go out: your old car-
casses will be left on plucky soil. Just
then Uncle Jim entered with the eatables,
which he placed on a table.
"'Good day, uncle,' said the general.
"'Sarvint, sar,' answered Jim.
"'Will you come with us, uncle?' asked
'No, sar, I'se very well satisfied wid my
old missus, and won't leave her; she's good
'How long have you been here, uncle?'
said one of the other officers.
92 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
"'Eber since I'se bin born, sar; de old
missus of all riz me, sar.'
S'You had better come with us, and
may be we'll take you whether or no,' said
"'Ah, sar,' answered Jim, 'dat trick was
played too often by your daddies and grand-
daddies in Gineral Washington's war.
They took my father and made him tote an
old sick Hissian into Virginnie, and dad said
he was the heaviest old varmint he eber
fetched on his back. But dad was a smart
nigger, sar, and he done watch for the
coming' of de night, and den he cut sticks
and flew from the Britishers, ha, ha, ha.'
"'So you won't come, then?'
S'Ah, sar, I know you all too well of old
and you ain't a gwine to catch dis nigger
"No doubt they found old Jim too smart
for their use.
"Mrs. McPherson had a pet monkey
named Jacko. When he saw the Redcoats
he ran to the tip-top of a large old oak
in the front yard and no persuasion or coax-
ing could get him down. One of the offi-
cers said: 'I'll bring him down.' Crack
went his rifle and poor Jacko fell dead on
the ground. We may imagine the anger
of the old lady. She flew to her dear
monkey, took it in her arms and turning
to the officer said: 'You scoundrel of a
vandal; that shows what you are; what
harm did this poor creature do to any of you,
you vile rascals. Begone off my plantation.
I'm not afraid of any of your kind, and
God grant that you, sir, who killed my poor
monkey may soon fall as dead as he is
now. Go off, every one of you.' They
must have been ashamed of the brutality of
one of their number, and with a 'good day,
madam,' they hurried off.
"Whilst this was going on, Captain Gor-
don ascended the Potomac. History says
94 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
he was very much molested on the banks
of that river. It might be truer to say he
molested the people on those shores, In
the lower part of Charles County, in Mary-
land, there is a tract of land called Cobb
Neck; it lies between the Potomac and
Wicomico, and as the name is somewhat
historic, I will give you its origin.
"In our early days we had no mint or
coins; after the Declaration of Independence
we would not use the English money.
Traffic was mostly in vogue, that is, one
man would trade cotton for corn, another
give his corn for groceries, etc., etc. They
had, however, bars or rolls of silver of var-
ious sizes, the largest being the dollar roll.
"In moulding those bars, little divisions
were made so that each piece could easily be
chopped off as needed. Every piece of the
1irgest bar was the value of a dollar, and
they were called Cobb-dollars from the man
who suggested the silver bars, etc. With
such dollars that tract of land was purchased
by the early settlers, hence the name
"There lived in Cobb Neck an old gentle-
man by the name of Hammersley; he was
a descendant of the English and celebrated
for his exquisite politeness. It was said
he never passed the smallest child without
raising his hat and saying: 'good morning,'
or 'good afternoon.'
"Once he noticed an opossum crossing his
path. He stopped his horse and said to
the animal: 'Pass by, Mr. Possum.' After
that he was surnamed 'Possum Pass by,'
'-His grounds ran to the water's edge of
the Potomac, and his residence was but a
short distance from the landing. Captain
Gordon cast anchor directly opposite Mr.
Hammersley's plantation. The old gentle-
man, seeing several barges filled with Red-
coats coming toward his place, proceeded
to the landing to give them welcome. He
96 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
was most courteous and invited them to his
dwelling, set out wine, etc., and expressed
regret that his madam was not at home to
assist him in offering them hospitality.
They conversed for a length of time and
no allusion was made to the purport of
their visit-plunder. On leaving they
politely thanked Mr. Hammersley for his
courtesy and assured him that nothing on
his place should be disturbed. In almost
every other house in the same section,
everything was lugged off that the men
could lay hold of. The feather beds, pil-
lows, etc., were taken to the windows and
doors, opened with bayonets and every
feather scattered to the winds. The poul-
try was shot down, the fruit and vegetables.
carried away, and every outrage that could
be perpetrated marked their passage
through the neighborhood. Fortunately,.,
the women, children, servants, horses, etc.,
had been sent into the interior of the coun-
try, and the silver and other valuables
secreted in some place of safety.
"Some miles above Mr. Hammersley's, the
militia made a desperate stand and a smart
skirmish ensued. The British were wor-
sted, then continued their sail to Alexan-
dria, where they loaded their ships with
every species of merchandise. On descend-
ing the Potomac, they fired several times
into Cobb Neck, and, only a few years
since, large cannon balls-were lying around
in the yards of some of the residences.
They were of immense weight, and chil-
dren could roll but not lift them.
"The American forces were concen-
trated near Washington, and their aim was
to keep between the enemy and the Capital.
The British wound themselves betwixt the
city and the road leading to Baltimore by
Bladensburg. They knew reinforcements
could join the Americans from that direct-
ion. They drew up their lines on a plain
98 GRANDMA'S STORIES.
near Bladensburg,' and the Americans
under General Winder, advanced to give
battle about noon, August 24. Your
father," said grandma, "canl tell you more
of the fight than I, as lie was a surgeon in
the marine corps under Commodore
"Father had just graduated as physician
a few months previous, and when the call
was made for troops in Georgetown, where
lie was at that time, he enlisted and
received the appointment of surgeon. He
said there was no reason why our men
should nothave been victorious, and thought
they would have been but for the cowardice
of their general, Winder, who, when the
fight was thickest, galloped off at full
speed. Then, of course, the ranks broke
and the soldiers began to scamper in all
directions. Commodore Barney and his
marines fought to the last, and fired back-
ward, when retreating from the enemy,
who did not make any endeavor to pursue
the fugitives. Father used to say hi.s giun
was the last fired by the Americans.
"Soanxious were the victorious Redcoats
to enter the city, that they took no notice
of their wounded and dead on the battle-
field. Ross entered W'ashington about
eight in the evening. He and his
vandals spent the entire night in burning
and destroying everything they could lay
their hands on. Grandma said the flames
of the burning offices and buildings were
distinctly seen at her residence, fully
forty-five miles below Washington.
"After the battle, father was appointed
to visit the grounds and examine the dead
and wounded. The loss of the Americans
was about eighty ; that of the enemy about
two hundred and forty-nine. Among the
dead was a handsome young English
officer. In his pocket was found a Catholic
prayer book, bound in red and gold, and
within its leaves, a letter to his wife in
England. He told her his commission
would expire in three weeks and le would
turn homeward, hoping to be with her
and his dear little ones in a few months, or
just as soon as he could be taken across the
ocean. There were marks of tears on his
letter, and poor father could never speak
of that circumstance without expressing
sympathetic regret. Our men buried the
enemy's dead with their own. Ross left
Washington on the evening of August 25,
and reached his gunboats in the Patuxent
River on the 27th.
"His next appearance was before Balti-
more, September 12th. On his march
toward the attack, it is said he remarked
he would sup in Baltimore or in the lower
"He did not sup in Baltimore, as he was
killed by -a discharge of cannon about
3 p. m. Some say Ross was fired at-from