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On the way down to the 150th Anniversary Re-enactment of The Battle of Gettysburg, I stopped in Tarrytown, NY to do a little investigation on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” What I found was quite interesting. Only a couple years ago I had looked up Sleepy Hollow and could not find it on a map anywhere, but on the way down to Gettysburg it suddenly appeared on a highway sign. Apparently the “Village of Sleepy Hollow” is now trying to focus on their history and Sleepy Hollow has shown up on maps and GPS devices.

For a little context, I will start by explaining the pictures above. The first picture is that announcing the entrance to Sleepy Hollow, also known today as Tarrytown, NY. The second picture is a monument of Ichabod being chased by the Headless Horseman. More importantly, the next pictures include that of the Headless Horseman’s bridge, said to have been built where the original wooden bridge would have sat, over the same spot of the river that the Headless Horseman would have chased Ichabod over in the legend. The bridge today is dedicated to Washington Irving, author of the legend. The last four pictures depict the Old Dutch Church, its graveyard, and the caretaker with the key to the church. The last picture shows me with the graves of Katrina Van Tassel and her husband.

However, how true is the legend? The only characters from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” who were real were actually Ichabod and the Headless Horseman. The Headless Horseman was a Hessian mercenary who lost his head in a battle via cannon ball. He was buried at the Old Dutch Church, (the oldest church in New York State) 50 paces North of the church, in an unmarked grave. Researchers have tried to exhume him but have yet to find any trace of him. It is only through the church accounts that we know he was once there. However, despite literally being a Headless Horseman, he never came back from the dead to chase after heads.

Ichabod was a soldier in the War of 1812, and when Irving wrote of him as an awkward school teacher, Ichabod actually approached Irving, and told him he had some nerve to make him such a character. Ichabod is now buried in Staten Island today.

The rest of the names used in Irving’s legend actually come from Irving walking through the Old Dutch Church’s cemetery (known as Sleepy Hollow Cemetery today) and picking up names off tombstones. The oldest graves are closest to the church, some bearing Dutch engraving. Hence, though Katrina Van Tassel in Irving’s sense was not real, it is still possible to stand by her grave today.

Danvers, Ma is home to the original Salem Village, where the Salem Witch Hysteria started with 11 year old Abigail Williams and 9 year old Elizabeth Parris. Both were in the care of Reverend Samuel Paris at the time, when they began to act afflicted by unnatural forces. Here is a memorial to those who died during this tragic hysteria. The meeting house of Salem Village originally sat right across from this memorial today. This meeting house is where Samuel Parris would have preached, and where the initial accused were brought for interrogation.

Dogs of the Titanic! There were 12 confirmed dogs on the Titanic, and though only 30 percent of the human passengers survived, 3 dogs would survive the tragedy as well. These 3 survivors were small toy dogs that could have been carried into the lifeboats like accessories, and may have even been so small they went unnoticed! Dogs were owned and brought on board by the first class passengers, but were not allowed in the cabins with their families. Instead, they would have been kept in the ship’s kennel and taken care of by crew members. The dogs ranged from all shapes and sizes: from Great Danes to French Bulldogs, Pekinese and Pomeranians.

Most passengers regarded their dogs as material items, even having insurance on them in case of loss or damage. One woman, however, visited her dog every day in the kennel, and when the ship went down, she tried to get him into a life boat. Since it was a Great Dane, they told her the dog was too big. She chose to go down with the ship…and the dog.

Above we see pictures of some of the dogs associated with the Titanic. The first a picture of three dogs tied to the railing. This picture, as well as one other of the crew walking the dogs on the deck, are the only two surviving pictures of the interior of the Titanic. They were taken by a photographer who disembarked the Titanic at one of her stops in Queenstown, Ireland, before she embarked on the rest of her fateful journey.

The next picture is of the Captain E.J. Smith with a Large Russian Wolfhound, which had been brought on board by Benjamin Guggenheim as a gift to the captain’s daughter. Captain Smith would have this picture taken aboard the Titanic, named the dog Ben after Mr. Guggenheim, and then would have the dog taken to his daughter the next morning, before the ship went underway.

The last two pictures are of French Bulldogs. The one on the left is a picture of the one French Bulldog passenger on the ship: Gamin de Pycombe. Gamin was brought on board by a 27 year old banker at the time and sadly did not survive. Gamin was the first pied champion in both the Uk and the US. At the time of the sinking, he was heard whimpering in his master’s cabin, and a woman went in to calm him. There are some reports later that people had seen a Frenchie swimming in the ocean. Someone had let Gamin out of his master’s cabin.

The last picture on the right is of the French Bulldog National Specialty, held in New York on April 20, 1912. One of the judges, a Mr. Goldenberg had been on the Titanic at the time of the sinking, only 5 days before, and had boarded the Titanic in Cherbourg with the intention of making the dog show in New York. He was on the list of the dead, but showed up to the show very much alive! For more information see: http://frenchbulldogclub.org/about/our-clubs-history/frenchies-and-the-titanic http://news.yahoo.com/dogs-titanic-untold-story-163100569.html http://thebark.com/content/dogs-titanic

Last Saturday, May 11th, the Old State House celebrated its 300th birthday. Built in 1713, the bricks on the outside are the only remaining original pieces left on the building today. When the Old State House was first built, it was known as the Town House, and it was situated directly in the center of colonial Boston. As the Town House, it had a merchants’ exchange on the ground floor, and on the second floor was the governor’s office, representatives’ Hall (where the Massachusetts Assembly met), and the superior court which was founded as a response to the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. In 1776, when the Declaration of Independence arrived in Boston, it was read from the balcony to the people below. Soon afterwards the Town House quickly became the State House, and all symbols of the royal crown were cleansed from the building. Before the turn of the century, however, the state government would outgrow the building, and plans were made to move to a new and bigger building. When the state government moved out, the town of Boston transformed the building into a place that could seat the city government, and it became City Hall. After 10 years, City Hall would also outgrow the building, and the building would then be rented out for commercial use. It was a commercial center for about 40 years. At its most crowded time it held up to 50 different shops. Someone entering the Old State House could purchase anything from clothes, shoes, hats, wine, legal advice, coach tickets, postal services, etc. The tenants within the Old State House would advertise their shops through signs attached to the outside of the building. It was virtually a 19th century version of a shopping mall!


After 40 years the building was falling into disrepair and was becoming unrecognizable. By 1880, the city of Boston feared that it would not be worth the amount it would cost to restore it, and felt it was blocking traffic, so wanted to tear the building down. A group of Bostonians who wanted to preserve the building came together and petitioned the city, asking Boston to let them take on the building and open it as a museum. Their request was granted and the group became known as the Bostonian Society. They still run the Old State House as a museum today. The building has been a museum for 133 years, and has been a museum longer than it has been anything else. It is a very important historical site, encompassing the various decades of history as shown by its evolution and multiple renovations over the past 300 years. The Old State House itself has survived multiple fires in addition to the prospect of being torn down in 1880, and is truly a strong and amazing building. Happy birthday Old State House!

During the Boston Massacre, Captain Preston had stood out in front of his men ordering them not to fire, but one of his men accidentally did, and the others thought, through the noise and confusion, that they had missed an order, and began firing as well. One of the first men to die was Crispus Attucks. He was a runaway slave from Framingham and had been in Boston as a sailor on business.


In Paul Revere’s propaganda piece for the American Revolution on the left, you see no Crispus Attucks, and Preston is behind his men maliciously giving an order to fire. However, in the lithograph on the right, a Northern Propaganda piece from around 1850 (only 80 years after the revolution), Crispus Attucks shows prominently, placing himself in front of the musket, and Preston is shown in front of his men on the ground, and it is as if he had fallen where he was standing, in shock, when his men began to fire. Suddenly, 80 years later, Americans were willing to admit Preston was not the falsely propagandized ruthless captain, ordering his men to fire on “loyal subjects”, and that he was just as shocked as those watching. The imagery of Crispus Attucks being prominently in front of the musket was meant to convey that the African Americans had died in the fight for independence as well, and therefore, deserved just as much right to it as white males. Crispus Attucks was,however, not just African American, he was half Native American as well. Interesting the differences one can find in propaganda for two of the most important wars in American History: Revolutionary War propaganda pieces, and pre Civil War propaganda pieces for Anti-Slavery.

Here is a copy of Paul Revere’s “The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street”. This print is famous today as America’s first propaganda piece!  Though, did Paul Revere really paint this? And how accurate are the events in the picture?

This picture was not entirely thanks to Paul Revere.  His name is at the bottom of the engraving/print and therefore he got all the credit.  In fact, the man who actually, originally drew this picture was a man named Henry Pelham.  Revere later copied his print and added some details of his own, such as more smoke, then gained credit for the print when his name was printed on the bottom.  But, regardless of whether Revere was the original artist or not, there are key differences to note between what really happened the night of the Boston Massacre versus what the picture shows.  

On the night of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770, a group of teenage boys came across a British guard in front of the Town House. One of the Boys recognized the soldier as a customer at the wig shop for which he was an apprentice.  He began insulting the soldier, saying he was no gentleman, for he had not paid his bill, and never intended to.  He continued to keep up his insults and eventually the soldier knocked him in the head with the butt of his musket.  The boys then ran to a tavern down the street claiming this “mean” soldier had unjustly injured the poor boy.

The seamen and rope workers who would have been in the tavern after a long day of work at the time, began to pour out of the tavern and surround the soldier, throwing swears and insults at him.  As the crowd grew from the neighboring taverns and neighborhoods, one of the British Officers, Captain Preston, staying near by with his troops, the 29th regiment of foot, saw the events unfolding and gathered 7 grenadiers amongst his men.  To be a Grenadier one had to at least be 6 feet tall so these were big intimidating looking men.  Together, with their captain, these 7 men pushed through the crowd and made a defensive line around the British soldier who was being abused by the crowd.  At this point the night began growing later and someone was ringing a church bell.  This bell was normally rung when there was a fire or trouble afoot, so many people poured into the streets to see what was going on. Some of them even emerging from their homes with buckets of water in a confusion. Now the crowd had clubs and weapons, and the crowd began throwing things, such as snowballs, at the soldiers, daring them to fire. Captain Preston, however, stood in front of his men ordering them not to fire, for he knew they could not fire on the riotous crowd unless a magistrate had come to read the Riot Act to the crowd.  This act stated that after it was read, the crowd had 1 hour to disperse before the soldiers could fire upon them.  But there was no magistrate in sight and the crowd was growing both angrier and in number against these 9 men.  Eventually one of the soldiers stumbled and fell, firing his musket by accident as he did so. Since the crowd was still screaming, and it was hard to hear anything through the confusion, the rest of the soldiers thought they had missed an order to fire and began firing as well.  However, their captain was right in front of them which was not a good position for the captain to be in if he had given the order.  With some quick thinking he soon jumped behind his men, screaming at them and asking, who told them to fire?  Three men died on the spot, 6 more were injured, and 2 would be so critically injured, they would die in the following days to come.  This brought the total number of casualties to 11, though only 5 died. 

Paul Revere’s print shows us a different story.  It shows us a well to do, wealthy crowd, not seamen and rope workers, peacefully passing by, as the soldiers fire in an orderly fashion at the crowd.  Meanwhile, Captain Preston, instead of being in front of his men ordering them not to fire, is shown behind his men, sword raised, maliciously ordering them TO fire.  But what is the dog for? Some believe that the dog is there to symbolize the colonists as loyal subjects to the crown so as to emphasize the brutality of the soldiers who would fire upon their own loyal subjects.  Others believe it maybe a symbol that this was an incident that, as the saying goes, “Went to the dogs.” But no matter what story this print depicts, it is the story that most colonists saw, being printed not only in the colony of Massachusetts, but other colonies such as Pennsylvania and New York as well. This print became so inscribed in the colonists’ minds that even those who witnessed the events, would in their old age, change their account from Captain Preston being in front of his men ordering them not to fire, to being behind them ordering them TO fire.

Here is a copy of Paul Revere’s “The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street”. This print is famous today as America’s first propaganda piece! Though, did Paul Revere really paint this? And how accurate are the events in the picture?

This picture was not entirely thanks to Paul Revere. His name is at the bottom of the engraving/print and therefore he got all the credit. In fact, the man who actually, originally drew this picture was a man named Henry Pelham. Revere later copied his print and added some details of his own, such as more smoke, then gained credit for the print when his name was printed on the bottom. But, regardless of whether Revere was the original artist or not, there are key differences to note between what really happened the night of the Boston Massacre versus what the picture shows.

On the night of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770, a group of teenage boys came across a British guard in front of the Town House. One of the Boys recognized the soldier as a customer at the wig shop for which he was an apprentice. He began insulting the soldier, saying he was no gentleman, for he had not paid his bill, and never intended to. He continued to keep up his insults and eventually the soldier knocked him in the head with the butt of his musket. The boys then ran to a tavern down the street claiming this “mean” soldier had unjustly injured the poor boy.

The seamen and rope workers who would have been in the tavern after a long day of work at the time, began to pour out of the tavern and surround the soldier, throwing swears and insults at him. As the crowd grew from the neighboring taverns and neighborhoods, one of the British Officers, Captain Preston, staying near by with his troops, the 29th regiment of foot, saw the events unfolding and gathered 7 grenadiers amongst his men. To be a Grenadier one had to at least be 6 feet tall so these were big intimidating looking men. Together, with their captain, these 7 men pushed through the crowd and made a defensive line around the British soldier who was being abused by the crowd. At this point the night began growing later and someone was ringing a church bell. This bell was normally rung when there was a fire or trouble afoot, so many people poured into the streets to see what was going on. Some of them even emerging from their homes with buckets of water in a confusion. Now the crowd had clubs and weapons, and the crowd began throwing things, such as snowballs, at the soldiers, daring them to fire. Captain Preston, however, stood in front of his men ordering them not to fire, for he knew they could not fire on the riotous crowd unless a magistrate had come to read the Riot Act to the crowd. This act stated that after it was read, the crowd had 1 hour to disperse before the soldiers could fire upon them. But there was no magistrate in sight and the crowd was growing both angrier and in number against these 9 men. Eventually one of the soldiers stumbled and fell, firing his musket by accident as he did so. Since the crowd was still screaming, and it was hard to hear anything through the confusion, the rest of the soldiers thought they had missed an order to fire and began firing as well. However, their captain was right in front of them which was not a good position for the captain to be in if he had given the order. With some quick thinking he soon jumped behind his men, screaming at them and asking, who told them to fire? Three men died on the spot, 6 more were injured, and 2 would be so critically injured, they would die in the following days to come. This brought the total number of casualties to 11, though only 5 died.

Paul Revere’s print shows us a different story. It shows us a well to do, wealthy crowd, not seamen and rope workers, peacefully passing by, as the soldiers fire in an orderly fashion at the crowd. Meanwhile, Captain Preston, instead of being in front of his men ordering them not to fire, is shown behind his men, sword raised, maliciously ordering them TO fire. But what is the dog for? Some believe that the dog is there to symbolize the colonists as loyal subjects to the crown so as to emphasize the brutality of the soldiers who would fire upon their own loyal subjects. Others believe it maybe a symbol that this was an incident that, as the saying goes, “Went to the dogs.” But no matter what story this print depicts, it is the story that most colonists saw, being printed not only in the colony of Massachusetts, but other colonies such as Pennsylvania and New York as well. This print became so inscribed in the colonists’ minds that even those who witnessed the events, would in their old age, change their account from Captain Preston being in front of his men ordering them not to fire, to being behind them ordering them TO fire.

An interesting thought came to me for a great idea on how to bring the 21st century and 18th century together through fashion. I was getting ready for a regimental ball and found that the 18th century (Revolutionary War Era) red jacket and mint green jacket pieces in my re-enactment kit would actually make pretty nice looking modern day jackets as well! Want to make a modern clothing line based on 18th century clothing anyone? We would be happy to consult anyone on historic clothing pieces from any time period. If you are just looking for more information on historic clothing in general or looking to make a line of clothing based on historic styles, let us know!

On my visit to the Old South Meeting House I found little quotations of Colonists who had participated in the Boston Tea Party. It seems many of our brave patriots had quite the sense of humor in the idea of “Making Tea for the fishes”! Perhaps a sense of joy and release of a burden now that they had participated in an event to help alleviate/vent their anger, while simultaneously getting their point across to Great Britain. They were finally going into action and joining a unified cause.

The top two pictures are of the Pulpit where Samuel Adams delivered a speech which would result in the launching of the Tea Party. The next picture is of a model of Boston Harbor where the Tea Party took place and the last two pictures are examples of quotes by the Patriot Colonists who participated in the Tea Party.

This is the interior of the Old South Meeting House in Boston, Ma. It is said that this is the place where people gathered before the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Here they heard Samuel Adams make a speech in which he said “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country!” People then began to pour out of the Meeting House to prepare for the Boston Tea Party, leading some to believe that this phrase was a predetermined signal set by Samuel Adams. But was it? In fact some historians doubt that Samuel Adams meant this phrase to be a signal for the start of the Boston Tea Party at all. There are even some historians who claim that some sources have shown Samuel Adams left wondering why people were leaving after he said this phrase, calling to them, asking them to come back, as he may not have even been finished with his speech! Whether intentional or not, this phrase served as the signal and turning point which triggered the Boston Tea Party.