Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Clipper Ships, The Flying Cloud

In 1853 the "Flying Cloud" sailed 14,000 miles from NY to San Francisco in 89 days and 8 hours. The ship was built by Donald McKay and launched in 1851.

You can see a picture and some information about the Flying Cloud at Wikispaces

Another ship Donald McKay built was "The Great Republic." Below is an article from a Naval Journal published in 1854.

This largest ship in the world, this wonderful piece of naval architecture, which has just made its appearance in our harbor, was designed, built, and is owned by Donald McKay, Esq., of Boston. The discovery of California gold, and the rush of emigrants to that land, and the consequent urgent demands for supplies, have called to existence fleets of clipper ships, eight of which, had been built by Mr. McKay, before he designed the Great Republic.

They were the Flying Cloud, Flying Fish, Sovereign of the Seas, Bald Eagle, Empress of the Sea, Staghound, Westward Ho, and Staffordshire. The Flying Cloud he built on his own account. She was 1,700 tons register; made the quickest passage from New York to San •Francisco on record, in 98 days, ran in 24 consecutive hours, 374 geographical miles. Not satisfied with this triumph, he determined to build a larger clipper that would outsail the Flying Cloud. He next designed the Sovereign of the Seas, a ship of 2,400 tons, " then the largest, longest and sharpest merchant ship in the world." She was so large, and the plan of her seemed so dubious and Utopian, that no merchant would invest in her. " Mr. McKay embarked all he was worth in her," turned merchant and freighted her himself She did out-sail the Flying Cloud.— Although her passage to San Francisco was longer, " she sailed in 24 consecutive hours, 430 geographical miles, 56 miles more than the greatest run of the Flying Cloud, and in ten consecutive days she ran 3,144 miles." " In eleven months her gross earnings amounted to $200,000," when he sold her on his own terms.

In these enterprises, " experience had shown, that the passage to California had been lengthened by ths tremendous westerly gales in the vicinity ofs Cape Horn, and that to combat them successfully, vessels of a still larger size and power were necessary.

He accordingly designed the Great Republic, a ship of 4,000 tons register, and full 6,000 tons storage capacity" ; has built her and will sail her on his own account.
" She is 325 feet long 53 feet wideand her whole depth is 39 feet." Shehas four decks, is 8 feet between decks, except between her spar and upper decks which is 7 feet. She has four masts, the aft one is called the spanker mast. From her keel to the main truck is 250 feet. Few of the thousands who have visited her have left with 'any adequate idea of her enormous size.

A house 25 feet front, 50 feet deepand four stories high is as large a tenement as often meets the eye, in this city; a block of 13 such houses is a longer hloc than is often met with, and yet the hull of this monster ship occupies more space than a whole block of such dwellings. A 300 ton ship used to be considered a large craft; yet this ship -will carry as much freight, and consequently displace as much water as a fleet of twenty such vessels.

Our forests could not furnish trees of sufficient size and length, to make her fore, or main, or mizen masts.— " They are built of hard pine, doweled and bolted together, and hooped over all with iron." Her foremast is 44 inches in diameter and 130 feet long, mainmast 44 inches, and 131 feet, mizen, 40 inches and 122 feet. Her main yard is 28 inches in diameter and 120 feet long, is spliced in the middle, being formed of two of the longest pine trees. There has been used in her construction,
Of hard pine 1,5QO,000 feet.
Of white oak, 2,056 tons.
Of iron, 336 1-2 tons.
Of copper, exclusive of sheathing, 56 tons.
Canvas in a suit of sails, 15,653 yirds.
Days' work on her hull 50,000. Her crew is to consist of 100 men and 40 boys.
Notwithstanding her great size, she is one of the most beautiful models afloat. Her Figure-head is the head and beak of the Eagle. Her stern is ornamented with a spread eagle measuring Thirty-six feet from tip to tip of its wings.

Under her spar deck, in the stern and richly ornamented, is the spacious ladies' cabin with three large state rooms on either side, forward of this, the main cabin and eight state rooms; still forward, stewards' rooms, officers' rooms, hospital, and rooms for the boys; a good arrangement to keep the boys from the forecastle and under the eye of the officers. She has also, we are happy to see, a fine spacious and airy forecastle, the men are to be lodged in hammocks, like a ship of war. She has three houses on the spar deck, in one of which is a steam engine of 15 horse power, to do the hard work of the ship, such as pumping, working the flre engine, hoisting topsails, taking in and discharging cargo. With it also is connected a distilery, not of ardent spirit* but of sea water into good fresh water ; no doubt she will be a temperance ship. The engine can be shipped into a huge long boat constructed as a propeller, to be used in calm latitudes for towing the ship. An admirable Yankee contrivance, truly, to help Jack out of the doldrums.— We suppose too it can be used as a lighter to load and unload in ports where there are no wharves.

In one of the houses is a library for the men containing over one thousand volumes of profitable books, and connected with it a teacher tor the boys.

In the construction and arrangement of this noble ship there is evidently an eye to the comfort and improvement of the men, which we are most happy to note and commend.— She is to be commanded by Capt. L. McKay, a brother, we believe, of thebuilder. We bespeak for her a good crew who shall look well to the interests and honor of the Great Republic.

Currency Act of 1870

After the Civil War during the Reconstruction period there was need to unify the currency. Below is an excerpt from The Political History of the United States of America during the Reconstruction Period ©1871 that details the Currency Act of 1870 and those who voted for or against it. Also, if you aren't looking for detailed information Wikipedia has a short paragraph describing the Act.

AN ACT to provide for the redemption of the three per centum temporary loan certificates, and for an increase of national bank notes.
Beit enacted, dec, That $54,000,000, iu notes for circulation may be issued to national banking associations in addition to the $300,000,000 authorized by the 22d section of the "Act to provide a national currency secured by a pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof," approved June 3, 1864; and the amount of notes so provided shall be furnished to banking associations organized or to be organized in those States and Territories having less than their proportion under the apportionment contemplated by the provisions of the " Act to amend an act to provide a national currency secured by a pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof," approved March 3, 1865, and the bonds deposited with the Treasurer of the United States to secure the additional circulating notes herein authorized shall be of any description of bonds of the United States bearing interest in coin; but a new apportionment of the increased circulation herein provided for shall be made as soon as practicable, based upon the census of 1870: Provided, That if applications for the circulation herein authorized shall not be made within one year after the passage of this act, by banking associations organized or to be organized in States having less than their proportion, it shall be lawful for the Comptroller of the Currency to issue such circulation to banking associations applying for the same in other States or Territories having less than their proportion, giving the preference to such as have the greatest deficiency: And Provided further. That no banking association hereafter organized shall have a circulation in excess of $500,000.

Sec. 2. That at the end of each month after the passage of this act it shall be the duty of the Comptroller of the Currency to report to the Secretary of the Treasury the amount of circulating notes issued, under the provisions of the preceding section, to national banking associations during the previous month; whereupon the Secretary ol the Treasury shall redeem and cancel an amount of the three per centum temporary loan certificates issued under the acts of March 2, 1867, and July 25, 1868, not less than the amount of circulating notes so reported, and may, if necessary, in order to procure the presentation of such temporary loan certificates for redemption, give notice to the holders thereof, by publication or otherwise, that certain of said certificates (which shall be designated by number, date, and amount) shall cease to bear interest from and after a day to be designated in such notice, and that the certificates so designated shall no longer be available as any portion of the lawful money reserve in possession of any national banking association, and after the day designated in such notice no interest shall be paid on such certificates, and they shall not thereafter be counted as a part of the reserve of any banking association,

Sec. 3. That upon the deposit of any United States bonds, bearing interest payable in gold, with the Treasurer of the United States, in the manner prescribed in the 19th and 20th sections of the national currency act, it shall bo lawful for the Comptroller of the Currency to issue to the association making the same circulating notes of different denominations not less than $5, not exceeding in amount eighty per cent, of the par value of the bonds deposited, which notes shall bear upon their face the promise of the association to which they are issued to pay them upon presentation at the office of the association, in gold coin of the United States, and shall be redeemable upon such presentation in such coin: Provided, That no banking association organized under this section shall have a circulation in excess of $1,000,000.

Sec. 4. That every national banking association formed under the provisions of the preceding section of this act shall at all times keep on hand not less than twenty-five per cent, of its outstanding circulation in gold or silver coin of the United States, and shall receive at par in the payment of debts the gold notes of every other such banking association which at the time of such payments shall be redeeming its circulating notes in gold or silver coin of the United States.

Seo. 5. That every association organized for the purpose of issuing gold notes as provided in this act shall be subject to all the requirements and provisions of the national currency act, except the first clause of section 22, which limits the circulation of national banking associations to $300,000,000; the first clause of section 32, which, taken in connection with the preceding section, would require national banking associations organized in the city of San Francisco to redeem their circulating notes at par in the city of New York; and the last clause of section 32, which requires every national banking association to receive in payment of debts the notes of every other national banking association at par: Provided, That in applying the provisions and requirements of said act to the banking associations herein provided for the terms "lawful money "and "lawfulmoney of theUnitedStates," shall be held and construed to mean gold or silver coin of the United States.

Sec. 6. That to secure a more equitable distribution of the national banking currency, there may be issued circulating notes to banking associations organized in States and Territories having less than their proportion, as herein set forth; ana the amount of circulation in this section authorized shall, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, as it may be required for this purpose, be withdrawn, as herein provided, from banking associations organized in States having a circulation exceeding that provided for by the act entitled " An act to amend an act entitled ' An act to provide for a national banking currency secured by pledge of United States bonds, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof,' " approved March 3,1865, but the amount so withdrawn shall not exceed $25,000,000. The Comptroller of the Currency shall, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, make a statement showing the amount of circulation in each State and Territory, and the amount to he retired by each banking association in accordance with this section, and shall, when such redistribution of circulation is lequired, mako a requisition for such amount upon such banks, commencing with the bank" having a circulation exceeding $1,000,000 in States having an excess of circulation, and withdrawing their circulation in excess of $1,000,000, and then proceeding pro rata with other banks having a circulation exceeding $300,000 in States having the largest excess of circulation, and reducing the circulation of such banks in States having the greatest proportion in excess, leaving undisturbed the banks in States having a smaller proportion, until those in greater excess have been reduced to the same grade, and continuing thus to make the reduction provided for by this act until the full amount of $25,000,000 herein provided for shall be withdrawn; and the circulation so withdrawn shall be distributed among the States and Territories having less than their proportion, Boas to equalize the same; and it snail be the duty of the Comptroller of the Currency, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, forthwith to make a requisition for the amount thereof upon the banks above indicated as herein prescribed; and upon failure of such associations, or any of them, to return the amount so required within one year, it shall be the duty of the Comptroller of the Currency to sell at public auction, having given twenty days' notice thereof in one ' daily newspaper printed in Washington and one in New York city, an amount of bonds deposited by said association, as security for said circulation, equal to the circulation to be withdrawn from said association and not returned in compliance with such requisition; and the Comptroller of the Currency shall with the proceeds redeem so many of the notes of said banking association as they come into the treasury as will equal the amount required and not so returned, and shall pay the balance, if any, to such banking association: Provided, That no circulation shall be withdrawn under the provisions of this section until after the $54,000,000 granted in the first section shall have been taken up.

Sec 7. That after the expiration of six months from the passage of this act any banking association located in any State having more than its proportion of circulation may be removed to any State having less than its proportion of circulation, under such rules and regulations as the Comptroller of the Currency, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, may require: Provided, That the amount of the issue ot said banks shall not be deducted from tbe amount of new issue provided for in this act. Approved July 13, 1870.

Final Vote.
In Senate, July 6, 1870. The bill, as printed above, being the report of the co.nmittee of conference last appointed, was 1 to withont a division.
Ik House, July 7, 1870.

Teas—Messrs. Allison, Ambler, Armstrong, Asper, Atwood, Ayer, Bailey, Banks, Benjamin, Bennett, Benton, Blair, Boles, Booker, Boyd, Back, Buckley, Burehard, Burdett, Roderick R. Butler, Cake, Cessna, Churchill, William T Clark,Sidney Clarke, Amasa Cobb, Coburn, Conger, Cook, Covode, Cowles, Dnrrall, Dickey, Donley, Duval, Dyer, Ferriss, Ferrv, Finkelnburg, Fisher, Garfield, Gllflllan. Harris, Hawley, Hays. Hill, Thomas L. Jones. Judd, Kelley, Knapp, Lash, Logan, Loughridge. McCarthy. McCrnry, McGrew, Mc Ken tic, Mercur, Eliakim H. Moore, Jesse H. Moore, William Moore, Morphis. Daniel J. Morrell, Myers, Negloy, O'Neill, Packard, Packer, Palmer, Peck, Poland, Porter, Prosser, Roots, Sawyer, Scofield, Lionel A. Sheldon, Porter Sheldon. John A. Smith, William J. Smith, Worthington C.Smith, William Smyth, Stevens, Stokes, Stonghton, Strickland, Taffe, Tanner, Taylor, Tillman, Tiimble, Upson, Van Horn, Cadwalader C. Washburn, William B. Washburn, Wheeler, Whitmore, Wilkinson, Willard, John T. Wilson—100.

Nats—Messrs. Adams, Archer, Amell, AxteU. Barnum, Beatty, Biggs, Bingham, Bird, George M. Brooks, Jama Brooks. Bumnton, Burr. Benjamin F. Butler, Calkin, Cleveland, Oinner. Cox, Crebs, Davis, Dickinsim, Dixon, Pox, Ela, Oelt, Haldeman, Ilamill, Hawkins. Hay, Hoar, Hooper, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Jolinsan, Julian. Kellogg, Krrr, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Mayluim. McCormick, McXecly, Morgan, Mungen. XMack, Orth, Paino, roller, RamtaU, Runs, Rice, Sanford, Sargent. Schumaker, Shanks, Stocum, Joseph S. Smith, Starkweather, Stevenson, Stiles, Stone, Strong, Svrann, Sweeney, Townsend, > Twichell, Tyner, Tan Auken, Van Trump, Van Wyck, Voorhces, Ward, Welker, Williams, Winchester, Woodvmrd —77.

Finishing Schools

This topic came up on a writers email loop about finishing schools in the 19th century. I started searching in google books and discovered the term "finishing school" was used quite differently during that century. Basically, "finishing school" referred to a higher education and was often used in terms of finishing schools for boys and sometimes girls. So, I searched a little deeper and came across this excerpt from Graham's Magazine, Volume 41 by Frederick Bremer ©1852 Referencing School of Design for Women.

My thoughts involuntarily sped back across the sea to the country, to the people who preeminently among all the nations of the earth govern themselves, and to one of the Schools of Design for Women, which have lately begun to spring up there, with that fresh, vigorous growth, which all great, public, useful undertakings have in the soil of the New World. I saw the school which had been commenced fn the first instance in the shade of private life, by Mrs. Sarah Peter, an English lady, with a warm feeling of fellow-citizenship; which had been taken up by the government, and incorporated with the Franklin Institution, at Philadelphia, with an annual endowment of three thousand dollars. I saw once more the large, light halls there; saw the kind, cheerful mistress happy in her vocation, happy in the progress of her pupils, and in the flourishing condition of the school.

I saw the young girls' beaming countenances, saw how a happy consciousness had arisen within them, as if they would say, "We also have now obtained work in God's beautiful vineyard!"

I saw them drawing vine-shoots and palms, as decoration for walls and floors; saw genins here unfold its youthful wings in joyful amazement at its own powers; and patient industry gladly take her place in the service of her more ardent sister; saw in the practical direction which the spirit of the New World gives to all work, an infinite future and sphere of operation openad for women in the employment of that talent which Mother Nature has given to them for the beautifying of life—the sense of the beautiful, a feeling for the tasteful and the ornamental—a talent which has hitherto been employed merely in a circumscribed manner.

"See!" said a warm-hearted, right-minded man, Dr. E., who accompanied me through the scholars' room, " this work by Elizabeth B.! fifteen dollars have been paid for it. And this second design for a carpet, by Miss ___, this has been ordered and
twelve dollars are paid for it. This little pattern for calico-printing—see how pretty it is!—has been bought for two dollars—this for three. And these wood-cuts, are they not well done? The young girls who do these are full of orders for similar ones, and can command their own price. This lithograph is another work of Miss ____; and these lithographed groupes of flowers, ordered for a little book, are by
Miss ____, and twelve dollars are paid for each. But I must introduce you to this young girl, Miss ____. She used formerly to maintain herself by her needle; she did needlework even for my family; but it was discovered that she possessed so remarkable a talent for drawing, that after only seven months' instruction, she is secure of provision for the whole of her life, by means of art."

Dr. E. and the head mistress together, selected spcciraensofthe young girls' various works. "Take," said they, "this, and this, and this, and this, home with you to your fatherland."

This was in North America; in the country which preeminently opens a free field for the development of women. In Europe a few individual voices are raised for this object. In America it is the universal coice which says—

"He who points out a new field for the employment of female industry, ought to be regarded as one of the public benefactors. And every means by which such a field becomes accessible to woman recommends itself to society as an important agent in the civilization of the future."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Storing Oranges

I ran across this tidbit while reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's Palmetto Leaves ©1873

She was visiting Col Hart's orange grove and discovered that they packed the oranges picked four months prior(she was visiting in May) in Spanish Moss. She said they were as delicious and fresh as ones just picked.

The Homestead Strike

I came across this information while searching for Homestead information and found it to be a twist in what one would normally think of in terms of Homesteads. Homestead, Pa is a mill town that in 1892 strike that changed and hurt a lot of people including Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. You can read a summary of the strike here from PBS American Experience but you can also read a more detailed account Homestead: A complete history of the struggle of July, 1892 by Arthur Gordon Burgoyne ©1893.

Jelly Making in 1837 Part 2

Set on the fire in a sugar-pan a pint of smooth clarified sugar; when it boils, put in a quart of picked red currants, in which let them boil for half an hour; be careful to skim them well, and at times add a little cold water to raise the scum; when boiled enough run the liquor through a sieve into a basin, in which you have squeezed three lemons, then put in some isinglass, and set youi jelly in a mould in ice as usual.

Or, For this purpose the ripest red currants should be taken, as the white are not so good for jelly; crush them, and press out all the juice into a glazed pan; cover it very closely, and set it in a cold place for six days; then with great care remove the thick skin which then covers the juice, and pour it into another vessel, throwing away what remains at the bottom; when the juice is perfectly clear, weigh it, and for each pound take half a pound of crushed sugar, put them on the fire together, and much scum will soon rise; this must all be taken off; let it remain on the fire for about an hour; then try it as follows: put a small quantity on a very cold plate, and if, when it cools, it becomes thick, and of proper consistence, take the pan from the fire; if that is not the case, let it remain until that is the case. Pour out the jelly whilst hot; it must be quite cold before you cover it with paper.

Strip off the currants, put them in a jar, set the jar in a kettle of hot water, let it boil an hour: then throw the currants and juice into a fine lawn sieve, press out the juice, and to every pint of juice put a pound of double-refined sugar; put them in a preserving pan, set it over a charcoal fire, and keep stirring till it is a jelly, which you will know by taking a little out to cool; be careful to take off the the scum as it rises, and when it is jellied and very clear, pour it into glasses; when cold, cut round pieces of paper that will just cover the jelly, dipped in brandy; put white paper over the glasses, twisting round the top.

Make it the same way as the red currant jelly, only with this difference, that you may use very coarse sugar.

Take what quantity you please of red, rough, ripe, gooseberries; take half their quantity of lump sugar; break them well, and boil them together for half an hour, or more, if necessary. Put it into pots, and cover with paper.

Take out the stones, then mash the grapes with your hands, (they must be ripe) then squeeze them through a cloth to extract all the juice from them, and boil and finish the same as currant jelly. Use half a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit.

Take two thirds of raspberries, and one third red currant; pick them, press the juice through a sieve into a pan, cover, and place in a cellar, or any other cool place for three days; at the end of that time raise the thick skin formed at the top, and pour the juice into another vessel; weigh it, and put it, with half the quantity of sugar, into a preserving pan, set it on the fire; a great deal of scum will rise at first, which must all be taken off; leave it on the fire for an hour; then pour a few drops on a cold plate, if it cools of the proper consistence for jellies, take it from the fire, and whilst hot pour it into pots. Let the jelly be quite cold before the pots are covered.

Take six lemons, pare them very thin, squeeze out the juice, and put in the peel without the seeds; let it stand all night, then put in half a pound of loaf sugar, mixing it well with the juice; add one pint of boiling water, and one pint of sweet but good wine; mix all well together; then add one pint of boiling milk, boil it altogether once, then strain it through a jelly bag; it will sometimes run clear the second or third time, and sometimes requires to run through oftener.

Calf's Foot Jelly.
The day before you want the jelly, boil 2 feet in 2 1/2 quarts of water, till they are broken and the water half wasted, strain and put it by in a cool place. The next day remove all fat as well as sediment, put the jelly into a sauce pan with sugar, raisin wine, lemon juice, and peel to your taste. Let it simmer, and when the flavour is rich, add the whites of five eggs well beaten, and, also, their shells; let it boil gently for twenty minutes, but do not stir it; then pour in a tea-cupful of warm water, let it boil five minutes longer; take the saucepan off the fire; cover close, and let it stand by the side for half an hour. After this it ought to be so clear as to require only once running through the jelly bag, which must be first dipped in hot water.

Jelly Making in 1837 Part 1

Below are some recipes from Francis Harriet Green's book "The housekeeper's book:" ©1837 pg. 152


Take apples, codlings or nonsuch, pare and cut them in slices, put them into a deep stewpan, with as much water as will cover them, boil them gently till they will mash, and then strain them through a jelly-bag; to every pint of liquor add one pound of loaf sugar; boil it till it comes to the top for ten minutes, then pour it into a mould with or without sliced lemon peel. A quart only should be done at a time; the apples should be full grown but not too ripe. This jelly will keep, and make a pretty dish at any time.

Strip the currants, put them in jars or pans, and bake them; strain off the juice through a sieve; having loaf sugar pounded and dried, in the proportion of one pound to one pint of juice, set the juice over the fire, and when boiling, throw in the sugar gradually, stirring the whole time; this must be done quickly, for by the time all the sugar is stirred in, the juice will be ready to jelly, and if left too long over the fire, the jelly will become candied. Pour into small-sized jars. By this method, the jelly will be perfectly clear without skimming, which saves waste and trouble.

Half a pound of Carolina rice; three pints and a half of water. Put it on cold; boil it one hour. Beat it through a sieve; when cold it will be a firm jelly, which, when warmed up in milk is a nutritious and very agreeable food. Add one pint of milk to the pulp which remains in the sieve, boil it for a short time, stirring constantly to prevent buming; then strain as before, and if eaten at once it resembles thick milk; if allowed to get cold it becomes jelly as the former.

Take two ounces of genuine arrow-root, and beat it up with a little cold milk to about the thickness of cream; then boil a pint and a half of milk and pour upon it, stirring it all the time; flavour and sweeten it to your taste; boil it ten minutes, stirring it all the time; pour it into the mould and leave it till next day.

Four eggs; one dessert spoonful of arrow-root; one pint of milk; sweetened and flavoured to your taste.

Mix two table spoonfuls of arrow-root with a little milk; then pour it into a pint of boiling milk, stirring it; and when cold add four eggs, some sugar, brandy or ratifia; boil it in a basin, and put a buttered paper over the top.

Two ounces of isinglass to a quart of water, boil till it is dissolved; strain it into a basin upon a slice of lemon-peel pared very thin, six cloves, and three or four lumps of sugar; let this stand by the fire for an hour; take out the lemon and cloves, and add four table-spoonfuls of brandy.

One pound of apples pared and cored; one pound of lump sugar put to a gill of water, so as to clarify the sugar; add some lemon peel; it must then boil until it is stiff; put it into a mould, when cold turn it out. If there is any difficulty in getting it out, the mould may be just put in warm water. This is a cheap and pretty looking jelly.

Mix a pint of thick cream with the juice of a large lemon, and a glass of white wine; put the peel of the lemon in whole, with a sufficient quantity of loaf sugar; beat them well together with a whisk; put a clear muslin over the mould, and pour the cream in; let it drain till the following day, then turn it out carefully. There are earthenware moulds on purpose with small holes to let out the whey.

To one ounce of picked isinglass, put a pint of water, boil it till the isinglass is melted, with a bit of cinnamon; put to it three quarters of a pint of cream, two ounces of sweet almonds, six bitter ones blanched and beaten, a bit of lemon-peel, sweeten it, stir it over the fire, let it boil, strain and let it cool, squeeze in the juice of a lemon, and put into moulds; garnish to your fancy.

Put a pint of cleared calf's-footjelly into a stew-pan; mix with it the yolks of six eggs, set it over a fire, and whisk, till it begins to boil; then set the pan in cold water, and stir the mixture till nearly cold, to prevent it from curdling, and when it begins to thicken fill the moulds.

Pick all the the black spots from two boiled feet, slice them into a stew-pan, with a quarter of a pint of Mountain wine, and rather more water; let them stew gently; add the yolks of three eggs beaten and strained, with a quarter of a pint of cream and a little flour, a little lemon peel and. juice, sweeten with fine sugar, strain it into a dish. When nearly cold, stick on the top some jar raisins, scalded to plump, almonds blanched into slips, citron, lemon, and orange peel sliced. It may be put in a basin; when cold turn it out.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Palmetto Leaves by Harriet Beecher Stowe

We all know of Harriet Beacher Stowe from her work of Uncle Tom's Cabin but in 1873 she released another book Palmetto Leaves writing about life in North Florida. It's a great work, I haven't read all of the entries but enough to know she has a real flare for the people and the times she's writing about. I loved having this resource when I was working on my St. Augustine Series. Winning the Captain's Heart, The Innkeeper's Wife and The Shepherd's Betrothed.

Here's a link to Google Books to download or read online. Enjoy!

Sewing Machines

The first progress of sewing machines was done for factory work, there were several starts and failures in Europe and America. You can read an overview of the history at

For the purpose of a practical sewing machine for the 19th century housewife we start with Hunt & Elias Howe in 1834.
1846 Elias Howe was issued the first American patent
Then comes Isaac Singer who built the first successful machine. It was this sewing machine that started showing up in homes across America.

Yes, there was a patent war between Singer and Howe and Howe one, making him a wealthy man. Of course, Singer continued his production and paid royalties to Howe.

For purposes of writing historical fiction note these facts.
1846 Howe introduces the first home use sewing machine.
1851 Singer introduced a sewing machine for home use. His was scaled down for home use.
1854 Singer received patent for home sewing machine. This machine had a rigid arm and held the fabric down.
1889 First practical electric sewing machine
By the end of the century Singer claimed 80% of the world market.

Another source for a time line is from Idea Finder.

Value of Bar Iron

This comes from Houghtalings Handbook ©1887

Value of a Bar of Iron for Various Purposes.
A bar of iron worth five dollars, worked into horse-shoes, is worth ten dollars and fifty cents; made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty-five dollars; made into penknife-blades it is worth three thousand two hundred and eighty-five dollars; made into balance-springs of watches, it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Christmas Watermelon

On a writer's email loop someone mentioned burying watermelon to preserve them. This had me hunting for sources regarding the preserving of watermelon in the 19th century. Unfortunately, I haven't found much but here is an article in Publications, Volume 24 by Georgia Dept. of Agriculture.©1898


Under a previous head forcing for early melons was discussed. He who is successful therein is sure of a good price for his product, but it will not compare with the fancy figures which the "Christmas Watermelon" commands. One would think their appearance at this season decidedly out of place—that they would be in about as much demand as overcoats on the fourth of July; but, strange to say, the public buys them—with avidity, too, and at enormous prices. So it seems that late watermelons ought to be an achievement much more worth striving for than early ones, while the cost and labor of their attainment are considerably less.

Mr. David F. Verner, of Gwinnett county, Georgia, is noted for the fine melons which he markets at Christmas, and his process is simplicity itself. That it will prove equally easy to all who try it is by no means to be expected, and there will doubtless be many failures and disappointments if others attempt to imitate his methods. But the fact remains that he does raise (and save) late watermelons, and on the 23d of last December sold them in quantities and at good figures on the streets of Buford.

Mr. Verner is sufficiently unselfish to be willing to share the knowledge of his process with the public, and his methods are consequently given in his own words, as follows:

"The variety of watermelon used by me for late keeping is the Georgia Rattlesnake. The plan which I pursue is as follows: I prepare the ground thoroughly during May— not in the usual way by diggiog holes, but by opening deep furrows with a two-horse plow. I use stable manure in the drill, but not too much ; cover with two furrows and leave till planting time. Rows 12-ft. apart—8-ft. in drill. I leave only one vine to the hill. Plant between 18th and 30th of June; cultivate with sweep run very shallow. Don't let the plow touch vines. Melons matured before vine begins to die around root are the only ones easily preserved.

For preservation place in dry cellar on cotton seed. I still have eight fine melons on hand (January 4th) in perfect condition that I intended laving till spring, but in neglecting cellar in which they were stored in order that meat in same cellar should get cold, they have frozen. I aim to raise melons this summer that I can save till melons come again."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chocolate Recipes

AS I mentioned earlier I would have another post on Chocolate from an earlier source. This one comes from The Italian Confectioner ©1829 Chocolate came to America as a beverage in 1755, however the confection that most of us think of when referring to chocolate many sources say happened in 1830. However this Italian recipe book points to a year earlier. It is also said that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert introduced the American people to the confection in 1851 at The Exposition in London.

Chocolate. lOlbs. of Cocoa, l0lbs. Sugar,
Take lOlbs. of cocoa, prepared as in the preceding number, have a cast-iron mortar, and warm it by filling it with live charcoal; when very hot, wipe it out well, that there may be no dust; pound your cocoa nuts with the iron pestle till you have reduced them to an oily paste, which you will ascertain by the pestle sinking into it by its own weight; add to the paste seven pounds and a half of fine powdered sugar, and continue to pound it till perfectly mixed ; then take out the paste, put it into a pan, and place it on one side in your stove (see plate I. fig. 13), having a charcoal fire on the other side to heat the stone, which must be very flat and smooth, eighteen inches wide and thirty long. Take about a pound of the paste, and grind it with an iron roller, till, upon tasting it, it will melt in your mouth like butter, without leaving any sediment. Put this into another pan, and continue to roll the remainder; the stone should be so heated as scarcely to bear your hand on it. When the several parcels are thus prepared, make the whole into one mass on the stone, lessen the degree of heat, mix it well, and divide it into quantities of two ounces; put them into moulds of tin (see plate I. fig. 14), place the moulds on a board, and on shaking the board your chocolate must become flat in the moulds, and shine; let it cool, and take it out of the moulds. To make the vanilla chocolate, you must pulverise two ounces of vanilla with one part of sugar, and add it to the gross quantity of paste when finished.

No. 103. Chocolate Drops, with Nonpareils.
Take a quantity of chocolate, warm a small cast-iron or metal mortar, and pound your chocolate in it till it becomes malleable; divide it into small balls, and place them on square pieces of paper, about three quarters of an inch from one another ; shake the paper to flatten them, and pass over them some white nonpareils, entirely to cover their surface; when cold take them off the papers.

No. 104. Chocolate Drops in Moulds.
To make these you must have two sorts of moulds ; one sort of thin copper, tinned inside, about the eighth of an inch deep, representing some object, coat of arms, or device ; the other flat, a simple sheet of metal the size of the first mould, having likewise some device upon it, and also tinned; the hollow mould to receive a small ball of prepared chocolate, and the flat one to cover it, which, being flattened between the two pieces, takes the form and impression on both sides; when the drop is cold it comes out easily: it must be well impressed and shining.

No. 105. Vanilla Chocolate Drops.
18 pods of Vanilla, 8 1/2 drachms of Cinnamon, 8 Cloves, 2 grains of Ambergris, and 3 pounds of Sugar in powder.
Pound the above articles in a metal mortar with half a pound of sugar ; sift the whole through a silk sieve, and mix it with the remainder of the sugar; put four pounds of chocolate in an iron or metal mortar, first warmed, and pound it till it is melted, and your pestle sinks into it by its own weight; then add your other ingredients, and pound and mix the whole; the drops are to be dropped on paper, as in No. 103, except that they are to be small, as the drop No. 71, and without nonpareils.

No. 106. Cocoa Nuts in Sugar.
Take cocoa kernels, roasted as in No. 101. Then moisten with orange-flower water, or clear water,into which essence of cinnamon has been dropped, a sufficient quantity of powdered sugar to form a paste for drops. (See No. 71.)— Wrap the nuts in the paste, as pistachios (see No. 99), with or without nonpareils; they are also put in papers, cut at both ends.


This is one of the earliest records I've found so far, regarding chocolate for common household use. Chocolate came into it's own during the 19th century. The excerpt below comes from an 1845 publication titled "A CYCLOPAEDIA of PRACTICAL RECEIPTS, AND COLLATERAL INFORMATION. ©1845 Monday's post will be an even older publication regarding chocolate.

CHOCOLATE. Syn. Chocolada. Chocolat (Fr.) The roasted cacao nut made into a paste by triturating it in a heated mortar, with sugar and aromatics, and cast in tin moulds, in which it concretes into cakes on cooUng. The term is derived from two Indian words, choco, sound, and atte, water; because of the noise madeinitspreparation. (Dr.Alston.)

Qual. Chocolate is nutritive and wholesome, if taken in moderation, but is sometimes apt to disagree with weak stomachs, especially those that are easily affected by oily substances or vegetable food. The quantity of aromatics mixed with the richer varieties improve the flavour, but render them more stimulant and prone to produce nervous symptoms and complaints of the head.

Prep. The nuts are first roasted (on the small scale this may be done in a frying-pan), and after being cleared from the husks, reduced to coarse powder; they are then beaten in an iron mortar, the bottom of which is heated, until they are reduced to a paste, which is effected by the action of the heat on the oil or butter they contain. This paste or semifluid mass is then poured out into moulds, and left until cold, when it forms cake chocolate, or chocolate paste; or it may be reduced to coarse powder, by grinding, when it is known under the name of chocolate powder.
Remarks. Chocolate,prepared as above, without the addition of aromatics, is known in the trade as plain chocolate. The Spaniards flavour it with vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon, and frequently scent it with musk and ambergris. In general they add too large a quantity of tl* last four articles. The Parisians, on thl contrary, use but little flavouring, and that principally vanilla. They employ the best caracca nuts, and add a considerable quautity of refined sugar.

The mass of the common chocolate sold in England is prepared from the cake left after the expression of the oil, and this is frequently mixed with the roasted seeds of ground peas and maize or potato flour, to which a sufficient quantity of inferior brown sugar, or treacle and mutton suet is added to make it adhere together. In this way is made the article commonly marked in the shops at Sd. 9rf. and lOrf. the pound. I know a person who lately bought a large quantity at 5rf., whereas good nuts in their unprepared state cost at wholesale more than double the money.

To excel in the manufacture of chocolate requires some little experience. The roasting of the nuts must be done with gTeat care, and the process stopped as soon as the aroma is well developed. They should then be turned out, cooled, and fanned from the husks. On the large scale chocolate is made in mills, worked by steam power, and the machinery employed in the grinding, admirably fulfils its duty.
The South American beans are esteemed the best for making chocolate. Like wine, it improves by age if kept in a dry but not too warm a place.

CHOCOLATE CREAM. Prep. Chocolate scraped fine 1 oz.; thick cream 1 quart; sugar (best) 6 oz.; heat it nearly to boiling, then remove it from the fire and mill it well. When cold add the whites of 8 or 10 eggs; whisk rapidly, and take up the froth on a sieve; serve the cream in glasses, and pile up the froth on the top of them.

CHOCOLATE DROPS. Reduce 1 oz. of chocolate to fine powder by scraping, and add it to 1 lb. of finely powdered sugar ; moisten the paste with clear water, and heat it over the fire until it runs smooth, and will not spread too much when dropped out; then drop it regularly on a smooth plate. Avoid heating it a second time. (See Confectionary Drops.)

CHOCOLATE FOR ICING. Syn. Sorbet Ad Chocolat. Prep. Rub 2 oz. of chocolate to a paste with 2 tablespoonfuls of hot milk, then add cream for icing 1 quart. Ice as wanted for use. (See Icing And Ice Creams.)

CHOCOLATE FOR THE TABLE. Prep. Put the milk and water on to boil; then scrape the chocolate fine, from one to two squares to a pint to suit the stomach: when the milk and water boils, take it off the fire, throw in the chocolate, mill it well, and serve it up with the froth, which process will not take five minutes. The sugar may either be put in with the scraped chocolate or added afterwards.
It should never be made before it is wanted; because heating again injures the flavour, destroys the froth, and separates the body of the chocolate; the oil of the nut being observed, after a few minutes' boiling, or even standing long by the fire, to rise to the top, which is the only cause why chocolate can offend the most delicate stomach.

CHOCOLATE, FRENCH. Prep. Finest cacao nuts 3 lbs.; best refined sugar 1 lb.; beans of vanilla 2 in number; grind together as before described.

CHOCOLATE MILK. Prep. Dissolve 1 oz. of chocolate in 1 pint of new milk.

CHOCOLATE POWDER. Cake chocolate scraped or ground. Usually sold in tin canisters.

CHOCOLATE, SPANISH. Prep. I. Caracca nuts 11 lbs.; sugar (white) 3 lbs.; vanilla I oz.; cinnamon (cassia) } oz.; cloves 1 dr.; as above.
II. Caracca nuts 10 lbs.; sweet almonds 1 lb.; sugar 3 lbs.; vanilla 3 oz.; as above.
III. Caracca nuts 8 lbs.; island cacao 2 lbs.; white sugar 10 lbs.; aromatics as above.
IV. Island cacao 7 lbs.; farina to absorb the oil; inferior.

CHOCOLATE, VANILLA. St/n. ChoColat A La Vanilla. Caracca nuts 7 lbs.; Mexican vanilla 1 oz.; cinnamon J oz.; cloves 3 in number; as before.
II. Best chocolate paste 21 lbs.; vanilla 4 oz.; cinnamon 2 oz.; cloves .J drachm; musk 10 grs.; as before.

American Cowboy

Here's a fun look at the American Cowboy from a London publication. The excerpt below comes from "The Statist: a journal of practical finance and trade, Vol. 21 ©1888

Feb. 4, 1888

The British duchesses who have been worshipping at the shrine of Buffalo Bill, to the great amusement of their Republican sisters in America, will be grieved to hear that the cowboy, of whom their pet is a glorified representative, is fast becoming a departed glory. He is passing away into the land of shades and traditions ; the place which he made so hot and so lively during his brief but eventful reign will soon know him no more. Civilisation, that fell destroyer of all that is true and beautiful and simple in nature, has overtaken him, and ordered him to move on. Like Jo, he had no convenient place left to move on to, not even a Tom All Alone's, and he is being gradually pushed over the edge of the poetic prairie into oblivion; in the ruder language of the political economists he is being " improved off the face of the earth." Even on the Mexican frontier, which used to be his happiest hunting ground, he has got notice to quit; his part is played out, and new actors are taking possession of the stage.

The cowboy was an essentially ephemeral being. He was the product of a transition state of things in the Far West, and with it he necessarily takes his departure. In the order of development he came on between the buffalo hunter and the farmer, filling up the period which was too early for the one and too late for the other. Fifteen or twenty years back, when the buffalo had been driven west of the Rio Grande, herds of some wild cattle took his place. They were for the most part a legacy from the old Spanish settlers of Texas and New Mexico. With very little care they increased and multiplied and replenished the boundless prairie. But as yet they were of little value ; there was an unlimited supply, but no demand, the nearest markets of any importance being hundreds of miles away. Moreover, the idea of eating prairie cattle had not yet occurred to Eastern beef consumers. Two events changed all that. First, the railways began to push Westward into the ranche country, and to offer practicable transport to Eastern markets. Next, Chicago started its now enormous industry of beef packing—that is, of boiling meat in tins. It created a demand for ranche cattle, and threefourths of the tinned meat shipped from Chicago is now prairie fed. Farm-fed steers are generally distributed to Eastern and Southern markets as dressed or fresh beef.

The cowboy came in with tinned meat, which made ranching a commercial success. It gave value to the mobs of cattle which ranged the prairie, feeding on free grass and with no mark of ownership but the brand on their shoulders. They became worthy of care and attention, and to that end the cowboy appeared on the scene. Adventurous spirits, attracted by the wild, free life, with a fascinating dash of danger, took to the prairie. The Mexican "greaser?," who had previously done all the trading that was needed, found themselves swamped by ex-miners, prodigal younger sons, University men who had broken loose, and desperadoes who had left a bad record behind them in the East. Many men took to it from sheer love of adventure, but more of them drifted into it as a last resource. It was a business quickly learned and requiring very little capital to start in. The outfit consisted of a picturesque sombrero, a woollen shirt, buckskin trousers, and jack-boots—a free and easy combination of the Mexican costume with the Colorado miner's.

But the cowboy's proudest distinction was not his sombrero or his lasso ; it was his revolver. On the prairie he had, of course, to go armed for the Indians, who were still on the war path. The last of them have now been cleared away, and even the once formidable Apaches in Southern Arizona have ceased to be a terror to the settler. On the capture of their chief, Huronymo, about a year ago, the tribe was broken up, and most of them removed to Florida, where they are safely secluded somewhere in the Everglades. But in the cowboy's early days the Mexican frontier right along from Western Texas to Southern California swarmed with scalpers, and any white man who might meet them unexpectedly had to be pretty handy with his firearms. Most of the cowboys were. Pistol shooting came next to poker in their calendar of human accomplishments. They practised it both drunk and sober, but especially drunk. Out on the prairie little harm came of it, except to themselves ; but when they descended on a town accidents were apt, indeed they were pretty sure, to happen.

After a round up, or when he had cattle to ship East, the cowboy always had a blow-out of his own peculiar kind. It generally began with whisky, and ended with promiscuous pistol shooting. Blood was shed, of course ; but as the Missouri man who had " busted " for half a million said of his liabilities, that was a mere detail. There is, ve know, a prejudice against pistol practice in towns as Iwing dangerous; but the cowboy had completely emancipated himself from that weak notion. His pistol was his plaything as well as his protector; it spoke for him when he had no longer a tongue of his own ; it gave vent to his humour, and when a happy thought entered his drunken head he fired it off with his revolver. Endless are the stories of his mad freaks which linger on the frontier. It was a favourite joke with him to make a man stand up against the wall, and fire a bullet on each side of his head, finishing off with a third through the crown of his hat. Sometimes the human target would submit to the operation voluntarily for the sake of the whisky with which the cowboy would be sure to fill him ad libitum during the rest of the drinking bout; more frequently the victim stood up under compulsion, trembling and shaking in his shoes all the while.

There were many sorts and conditions of cowboys, as of other men. Some were vain, and in their cups wished to show off their shooting; some were brutal fellows, who liked to see harmless, unarmed people run from them in terror; others were humorous dare-devils, who would do anything for the mere fun of it. They had a strong sense of the grotesque, and would quite unexpectedly order a man to do something he had no special aptitude for—to sing or dance, or make a stump speech, or even to pray. One night a drunken cowboy marched into the telegraph office in a Western Texas depot, and ordered the clerk to kneel down at once and say his prayers. " But I don't know my prayers," said the trembling clerk. "Oh, don't you just," replied the cowboy, pointing his six-shooter at him; " this will teach you, I guess.' Without further argument, down dropped the telegraph man on his knees, and surprised everybody around by the spiritual unction he worked up. It was an even chance whether the cowboy, when he was done, put a bullet into him or took him to the bar and stood drinks all round. The incident ended happily with drinks, but this telegraph clerk was never allowed to forget his cowboy's prayer.

The success of Buffalo Bill's Show is generally attributed in the West to the passion of cowboys for the circus. They would ride scores of miles to attend one, not so much for the purpose of seeing as of taking part in it. Their greatest delight was to join in the public procession, and to do the lion's share of the whooping and shouting. They would also ride into the ring, and show off some horsemanship of their own. The other spectators thought themselves lucky if a pistol or two did not go off in the excitement. Once a ranchman had driven down sixty car load of cattle to a Texas railway station, and his cowboys were busy loading them when they heard that a circus was coming along. They knocked off work, went out to meet the circus, and rode back with it. After the public procession they assisted at the performance, and honoured the clown's best jokes with pistol salvoes. During the night the cattle stampeded, and only fifteen car loads out of the sixty could be started. A new roundabout had to be made to recover the rest.

The cowboy had his own notion of politics. He judged a candidate a good deal by first impressions, and personal appearance went a long way with him. He had a strong antipathy to snobbishness either in dress or manners. Woe betide the stump orator who ventured before a cowboy audience with a silk hat on his head. Ten to one it would have a shot hole through the top of it before he had been three minutc3 on the platfonn. One venturesome wearer of a bell-topper was warned beforehand of this weakness of his cowboy auditors, but he said he would get on with them all right. Sure enough, he had hardly seated himself when the expected shot was fired. He quielty took off his hat, looked at the hole in it, smiled gratefully at the sportsman, and put it on again. His coolness captivated the boys, and his speech delighted them. After the meeting they insisted on conducting him in triumph to the nearest hat store, and buying the best sombrero for him there was in it. The cowboy had his good points, but like many other an exuberant genius he made the world rather hot for him. It has cooled down very much of late on the Texas frontier; a cowboy nowadays causes no more commotion in a saloon than Buffalo Bill would produce in a Belgravian drawing room were he to return next year to the scene of his late triumphs. He has had his day and ceased to be heroic in the slightest degree.

Broom Factories & Broom Makers

Brooms have been around for eons, the question I've been trying to answer is when did the first broom factories start in America.

In 1841 in Sussex I find the listing of 65 broom-makers
A list of immigration to Missouri in 1867 listed several boom-makers
I found a disabled soldiers Broom-factory in 1875
1881 I found an expense report that line item a broom factory in a Missouri Penitentiary in 1880
And I found a grocery store owner in 1888 took payment of a broom making machine in exchange for food, then proceeded to have a very successful broom factory in the late 19th century into the 20th century. In fact, the business is still in operations today.

So, as of this moment, I do not know when the first broom factory developed in America. If you have a source with additional information, I'd love to hear it.

Below is a list of Broom & Brush Factory jobs, from the "Classified index of occupations by the United States," © 1921

Binder, broom or brush factory.
Borer, broom or brush factory.
Box maker, broom or brush factory.
Broom or brush maker, broom or brush
Broom or brush maker (not in factory).
Broom or brush maker (n. s.).
Buffer, broom or brush factory.
Buncher, broom or brush factory.
Comber, broom or brush factory.
Cutter, broom or brush factory.
Drawer, broom or brush factory.