Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just Wait a Few Minutes.....

Wasn't it Mark Twain that once said that if you didn't like the weather, just wait a few minutes? That is just what it has been like here in new England the past week or so. One day it is 60-plus and the next day if it dipping into the 30's with snow falling a few inches. I almost started my herb garden but decided to “wait a few minutes' and it is a good thing I did. But when the time is right, herb gardens are a great way to learn about gardening.

Up here in the Northeast, it is almost time for many to plant their herb gardens, or at the very least start the seedlings inside to be replanted when the threat of frost is over. Categorizing aromatic plants as herbs or spices is difficult-some sources saying that culinary herbs are actually one group of spices. Most often though, the plant's place of origin is the determining factor in its classification, those grown in tropical regions are commonly known as spices, whereas those in temperate zones are identified as herbs.

According to botanical records, herbs were first used as medicines. Ancient myths credit Shin Nung, the founder of Chinese medicine, with the first writings exalting the curative properties of herbs. Increased experimentation and use of herbs in healing the sick resulted after threatening decrees were issued prescribing drastic punishment for physicians who performed unsuccessful surgery. Hippocrates also supported the medicinal theory of herbs and prescribed herbal remedies for curing carious illnesses.

During Roman times, botanists were sent out to discover herbs for treating the sick Likewise, botanical expeditions accompanied the early explorers to the new World in the hope of discovering herbs and their respective health-healing properties. As explorers sailed in search of new conquests, they took some of the more popular herbs with them Those plants that survived the perilous journey were considered even more valuable when the explorers reached their destination.

Although the church recognized many herbs for their medicinal properties, they frowned on the herbal remedies promoted by the advocates of witchcraft. During the middle Ages. witches prepared nostrums which they claimed possessed supernatural powers. many of the concoctions, however, produced physiological effects, some of which were healing, others deadly.

Herbs were used by people in biblical times as a medium of exchange. In fact, these small, aromatic plants ere treasured a great deal more than jewels. Elaborate herb gardens, tended by monks, were common throughout northern Europe, Rome, and Greece. Used in religious ceremonies as an altar decoration, these sacred plants represented goodness and virtue and were traditionally included in occasions such as wedding ceremonies.

Herbs also were used during biblical times in the preparation of food. Referred to as the 'wit' of cooking, they were added to improve the flavor of food. References to the use of herbs in cooking are found in both the Old and new Testament. For example, the paschal lamb was served with bitter herbs, while herb teas were frequently prepared as a cure for sleeplessness, nervousness and indigestion.

Of course, as we all know, dried herbs are found in abundance in your local supermarket. Also found in a great quantity, is the ever expanding selection of fresh herbs, either in large bunches or smaller, one ounce portions, in the cold section. The volatile essences of herbs are released when they are heated, so storing dried herbs in a cool dry place, away from the stove and other warm areas is optimal and NOT in the spice rack commonly found above your range.

As for using fresh versus dried, simply remember that it takes three times as much chopped fresh herbs as it would chopped, dried herbs.

When growing your own herbs, be it in a garden or inside, here is a couple of tips.

if you want aromatic herbs, try mint, marjoram, lovage, rosemary and basil. Although they are not as popular for the home gardener to grow, they are great not only for cooking and flavoring, but make the whole house smell great when they are dried in bunches and tucked away in dresser drawers or hung about the mantel, fireplace or throughout your home.

If you want color more than anything, ornamental herbs are the way to go. They have brightly colored flowers and foliage. Valerian has deep red blossoms, borage and chicory are soft blue. Multicolored blossoms can be found on thyme, mint, chives and lavender.

As with all types of flowers, herbs can also be annuals, biennials and perennials.

Annuals bloom for one season and die. These include, but not limited to, anise, basil, chervil, summer savory, dill and coriander.

Biennials live for two years, not blooming until the second season. Caraway is just such a biennial.

Perennials, blooming every year, include chives, winter savory, tarragon, fennel, chives, lovage and marjoram.

I always tell people if you want to begin your gardening career, start with herbs. You can choose any size garden, indoor or outdoor. herbs don't need much, if any, fertilizer because the more fertilizer used(although the blossoms may be much prettier) the less flavor will be present. Special attention does need to be given to drainage however. My favorite method of growing herbs is to dig down(if planting outside)about a food. I place a couple of inches of crushed rock, pebbles or very small rocks down and then return the dirt on top to plant.

Another good rule of thumb. The smaller the herb seed, the shallower it needs to be planted.

When your herbs are mature and ready, simply pick the leaves or seeds off to use. The best time to pick your days herbs/ After the dew has dried off the plant but before the noon day sun.

As for protecting you perennials and biennials, it is as simple as going to your back yard(or a neighbors) and picking some evergreen boughs or picking up some large leaves(such as oak) to lay down about 6-inches or so to protect the shallow roots. make sure you don't remove this protection until you are sure the threat of frost is over with, even if you may see a blossom or two peaking out.

There are several, time-honored ways of drying your own herbs for winter use. When I dry herbs, I patiently wait until just before they flower. This is when they are at their most flavorful. make sure you wait until the dew has dissipated. Cut annuals at ground level and perennials about a quarter of the way down. Once you have gathered your herbs to dry(and after rinsing and drying) they need to be dried completely before strong of they will easily mold.

Air drying is my favorite way to prepare herbs for storage. I bunch them together with an elastic and hang them somewhere dark(like a closet) to dry. This way, the essential oils naturally flow to the leaves and it only takes about 2 weeks to thoroughly dry. When drying seeds, follow the same premise but once you have bunched them together, place in a paper bag so that the seeds will fall into it while drying.

Many people prefer to dry using their oven. Simply put a shallow layer of leaves or seeds on a baking sheet and bake on the lowest setting. usually ovens tend to have a 180-200-degree F setting, which is fine. It will take about 2 hours to completely dry this way.

Salting is another great way to dry herbs. Use non iodized table salt to "bury" your herbs for about 2 weeks. When done, shake off excess salt and store. Before using, however, make sure you rinse them off in cold water.

However you decide to dry and store, check in on them on occasion. If you see any moisture inside your storage containers at all, that means they are too wet. Just remove the cover to air dry for a day or two before reclosing and storing.

Here are a few of my favorite herbs to dry and store.

Anise is a delicate annual that can reach a height of over two feet. it has white flowers with the leaves tasting and smelling a bit like licorice. Anise leaves are great in salads and of course we all know that certain desserts and cookies benefit by a pinch of anise.


Catnip is not only a cat treat but this perennial is used often for tea. it can grow over four feet high and has beautiful heart-shaped leaves with purple blossoms.


Chervil is one of my favorites. At a moderate two feet in height when fully mature, it is a soothing green color with dainty little white blossoms. This is one of those transplant nightmares so starting and keeping them in the house or outside is a wise decision. Soups, egg recipes, cheese dishes and sauces are just some of the benefits of using chervil.


Chives......what a gorgeous onion-like herb that only grows less than a foot but is so beautiful to look at. This perennial has light purple flowers and are the easiest herb to grow. I border my garden with chives for a perfect accent color.


Fennel is one of those plants that quickly grows to four feet or more. The best time to cut a fennel to eat is when the flower stalks are within days of blooming. This is the time for optimal taste and tenderness. They have a flavor reminiscent of anise and the seeds are perfect in all vegetable and cheese dishes, as well as being a great compliment to pork recipes.


Parsley is one of those hardy biennials that is easy to grow but has(in my opinion) little flavor. I grow it purely for natural beauty it provides and for decorative garnish for my recipes.


Rosemary, on the other hand, is such a popular seasoning for meats that everyone should grow it. It is actually an evergreen shrub and grows perfectly in climates such as New England. You can also pinch off the tips of this herb in order to direct it to wherever you want it to flourish. I bring my rosemary in for the winter because it makes a nice looking accent "plant'.


Thyme is one of the most beautiful herbs to grown. Rarely measuring more than a foot in height, the lilac-colored flowers grown in small clusters with its leaves being very fragrant.


I would be glad to hear from you regarding what you grown and where you grow it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Ghost of Nelly Butler

I am going to give you a synopsis of this remarkable true ghost story at the beginning of this post and for those who wish to follow it even closer(verbatim transcripts along with accurate, first-hand, meticulous accounts), simply continue reading In Depth Maine Haunting below.

One of America's first documented, authentic ghost stories is the Nelly (Hooper) Butler haunting. She was born in 1774 to David and Joanna Hooper, one of seven children. The Immortality Proved by the Testimony of Sense, a pamphlet printed in 1826, has an account from the Reverend Abraham Cummings, an eye witness to the haunting in Sullivan, Maine, although there were hundreds of witnesses. some of the transcripts are shown below in In Depth Haunting.

Nelly died within a year of marriage as she was giving birth to her first child, who also died. Although the deaths were considered natural, there was wide speculation as the the true cause of death, even fingers pointing to foul play on behalf of her husband, George Butler. Even after a trial in which he was found not guilty, suspicion still lingered. George wanted to marry a certain Lydia Blaisdell, born on March 2, 1772 at New Hampshire and the daughter of Captain Abner Blaisdell. But because of these suspicions, both George's father(Moses) and Lydia's father ferociously opposed this marriage so it was put on hold indefinitely. But oddly enough, one person actually condoned this union!

It is said that George promised never to remarry if anything were ever to happen to Nelly. He was unable to keep that promise and shortly after Nelly's death, Lydia's father and others reported strange noises coming from their basement, starting on August 9, 1799. Other witnesses purported seeing a white figure floating over their crop field during this time. It is also said that Nelly appeared "around town", in other properties and fields.                                                    courtesy of
Thinking these disturbances peculiar, yet not troublesome, on January 2 of the following year, a female voice from cellar was heard stating that it was Nelly and that she desired her father(David), her former husband(George) and Lydia's father(Capt. Abner) to gather to confirm that she was indeed speaking to them from beyond.

The three requested people met, as I am sure many others, and confirmed that Nelly had transcended the spirit realm to communicate with them. No physical sign of Nelly was observed until may of 1800, then her ghost materialized wearing a shining white garment in front of about 20 people at the home. How that many people were gathered(and why) to witness this is unclear.

According to eyewitnesses, "At first the apparition was a mere mass of light, then it grew into a personal form, about as tall as myself...the glow of the apparition had a constant, tremulous motion. At last, the personal form became shapeless, expanded every way and then vanished in a moment." Other witnesses said that the ghost had "a shining halo around her head" and her voice was "shrill but milk and pleasant."

On another occasion, Nelly showed herself in front of 200 eye-witnesses to foretell the deaths of Capt. Blaisdell's wife and father, as well as the date of her earthly husband George and Lydia.

The Rev. Abraham Cummings, mentioned at the beginning, was so upset that so many of his flock were constantly visiting the Blaisdell home and taking the ghosts words as gospel, he decided to, once and for all, debunk this widespread "hoax" himself. He took a trip to the home to listen and see for himself what the commotion was and prove to everyone that Nelly was anywhere but in Sullivan, Maine. In the book Unbidden Guests: A Book of Real Ghosts(1945), William Oliver Stevens goes on to describe this meeting of preacher and spirit:

"White rocks floated up from the ground, joined together and took the shape of a rose-tinged orb, which suddenly flashed and manifested into the form of a child-sized woman. When the Reverend spoke to it, the figure expanded to normal size with rays of light shining from her head all about and reaching to the ground."
It was upon the belief in the adage "seeing is believing" that the Rev. Cummings published his book, excerpts which can be viewed in my continuing post In Depth Maine Haunting below.

George and Lydia did marry after all but sadly, Lydia died soon after(May 13, 1802) while giving birth to her first child, as did Nelly. Even after Lydia died, Nelly hung around for a bit longer, requesting the re-internment of her baby's remains in a different area. It is said by almost one hundred people attending this solemn re-internment, that Nelly appeared before all and sang hymns, quoted scripture and prayed.

There were many who believed that Lydia, herself, was playing parlor tricks on everyone so that her and her betrothed could marry peacefully. However, these 'nay-sayers' soon had their voices squelched when "Nelly" appeared many more times after Lydia's death.

George remarried a Mary(or Polly as some records indicate) Goggins on September 12, 1805 and together, they had seven children, with all surviving.

This phenomena seems to have slowly died out as the years continued on, with no more accounts of Nelly after a couple of years after Lydia' death. But the legacy lives on in many stories and will always be remembered as the most recognized haunting in all of America, certainly the most documented.


In Depth Maine Haunting

It is reported that Nelly was often seen walking alongside the future Mrs. Lydia Butler oftentimes, even during broad daylight. Nelly is recorded as visiting neighbors and various residences throughout Sullivan, walking from room to room in spectral fluidity. When anyone became alarmed, she would graciously assert that she would not intrude upon their presence, but meet with them whenever they wished to see or converse with her in the cellars of their dwellings.

In the cellar of Capt. Abner Blaisdell's home, "she conversed for several hours on different occasions with the crowds who flocked thither to witness the manifestations. Sometimes she appeared to a number of persons at a time, occasionally in the likeness of her former self, but still oftener in a fleecy mass of white shadowy light."

Finally, after the intimate families involved, they were becoming the 'subject of the most cruel calumnies, bitter persecutions, and finally...a trial, during the course of which upwards of forty affidavits were given by some of the most respectable persons in the community, confirmatory of the statements above alleged, and descriptive of the various modes in which the "spectre" had manifested herself.'

As the Rev. Abraham Cummings has given several very interesting and minute details of the modes in which the ghostly visitant's presence was regarded, besides having published in full the affidavits of the whole forty witnesses examined on the trial, here are quotations from this pamphlet, for the better understanding of the marvelous circumstances.

The times, places, and modes of her appearing were various. Sometimes she appeared to one alone, sometimes to two or three, then to five, six, ten, or twelve, again to twenty, and once to more than forty witnesses. She appeared in several apartments of Mr. Blaisdell's house, and several times in the cellar. She also appeared at other houses, and in the open fields. There, white as the light, she moved like a cloud above the ground in personal form and magnitude, and in the presence of more than forty people. She tarried with them till after daylight, and vanished; not because she was afraid of the sun, for she had then several times appeared when the sun was shining. Once in particular, when she appeared in the room where the family were, about eleven o'clock in the day, they all left the house; but convinced of the impropriety of their conduct, they returned. At another time, when several neighbours were at the house, and were conversing on these remarkable events, a young lady in the company declared that, though she had heard the discourse of the spectre, she would never believe that there had been a spectre among us, unless she could see her.

In a few minutes after, the spectre appeared to several persons, and said she must come into the room where the company was. One of those who saw her, pleaded that she would not.

The spectre then asked, ' Is there a person here who desires to see me ? '

The young lady was then called, who, with several others, saw the spectre. ' Here I am,' said she, ' satisfy yourselves.'

 The lady owned that she was satisfied. It was now about two o'clock in the day. In short, the ghost appeared or conversed almost as frequently in the day as in the night. In all the appearances of the spectre she was as white as the light, and this white- ness was as clear and visible in a dark cellar and dark night, as when she appeared in the open field and in the open day. At a certain time, August 9th, she informed a number of people that she meant to appear before them (for she frequently conversed without appearing at all), that they must stand in order, and behave in a solemn manner :' For the Lord,' said she, ' is a God of order.'

Accordingly she appeared and vanished before them several times. At first they saw a small body of light, which continually increased till it formed the shape and magnitude of a person. This personal shape approached so near to Mr. Butler, that he put his hand upon it, and it passed down through the apparition as through a body of light, in the view of thirteen persons, who all saw the apparition, which rose into personal form, face and features, in a moment; returned to a shapeless mass, resumed her personality, and vanished again directly. They saw that which was not afraid to be handled by them, for she passed slowly by them, near enough for that purpose. As to the witnesses, not one of them has ever been accused or even suspected of being concerned in an artifice. Some of them are aged, others young. They had, and still have, professions, employments, and interests widely different, and belong to different families

She mentioned several incidents of her past life, known only to her husband, as he declared, and asked him if he remembered them. He said yes. She asked him if he had told them. He answered no; and of such a nature were those incidents as to render it utterly improbable that he ever should have mentioned them before. This was at the time when he attempted to handle the apparition. Once, when she conversed with about fourteen persons, Mr. Blaisdell, having heard that his father was sick, asked the spectre whether she knew anything, or not, concerning him.

'Your father,' she replied, 'is in heaven, praising God with the angels.'

He afterwards found that his father, two hundred miles distant, died three days before this answer of the ghost, and his friends at York, where his father lived, utterly deny that they sent the news in the course of these days.

At the time when fifty people heard her discourse, while more than forty saw her, to some of them \ who no more believed these extraordinary events than mankind now do in general \ she mentioned several occurrences of her past life, known to them and her, in order to satisfy them that she was the very person she professed to be. Almost all this company had been acquainted with her in her life-time, and a considerable number of them very intimately. She desired that any of them would ask what questions they pleased, for the removal of any doubts respecting her. Accordingly certain persons did propose several questions respecting a number of events in her past life. To all these inquiries, she gave completely satisfactory answers. She foretold what the opinion and conduct of mankind would be with regard to her, and the ill-treatment which Mr. Blaisdell's family would receive on her account. She not only declared the necessity, but foretold the certainty of the marriage at an hour when both the parties and both the families opposed it.

Within thirty hours after Mrs. Butler's marriage, the spectre predicted that she would become the parent of but one child, and then die. Ten mouths after this her child was born, and she died the next day. The safe return of one bound to the West Indies was also foretold and accomplished. These predictions are all fulfilled, and were previously and sufficiently known in this vicinity for evidence that they were such. She uttered several other predictions now accomplished.

Some time in July, 1806, in the evening, I was informed by two persons that they had just seen the spectre in the field. About ten minutes after, I went out, not to see a miracle, for I believed that they had been mistaken. Looking towards an eminence twelve rods distant from the house, I saw there, as I supposed, one of the white rocks. This confirmed my opinion of their spectre, and I paid no more attention to it. Three minutes after, I accidentally looked in the same direction, and the white rock was in the air; its form a complete globe, white, with a tincture of red, like the damask rose, and its diameter about two feet. Fully satisfied that this was nothing ordinary, I went toward it for more accurate examination. While my eye was constantly upon it, I went on four or five steps, when it came to me from the distance of eleven rods, as quick as lightning, and instantly assumed a personal form with a female dress, but did not appear taller than a girl seven years old.

While I looked upon her, I said in my mind,  'You are not tall enough for the woman who has so frequently appeared among us.'

 Immediately she grew up as large and as tall as I considered that woman to be. Now she appeared glorious. On her head was the representation of the sun diffusing the luminous rectilinear rays everywhere to the ground. Through the rays I saw the personal form, and the woman's dress. Then I recollected the objection of the Encyclopedia, that ghosts always appear to one alone. Now, said my mind, I see you as plainly as ever I saw a person on earth; but were I to converse with you an hour, what proof could I produce that I ever conversed with you at all? This, with my fear, was the reason why I did not speak to her. But my fear was connected with ineffable pleasure. Life, simplicity, purity, glory, all harmonizing in this celestial form, had the most delightful effect on my mind. And there appeared such a dullness afterwards upon all corporeal objects as I never perceived before. I went into the house and gave the in- formation, not doubting that she had come to spend some time with us, as she had before. We went out to see her again ; but to my great disappointment, she had vanished. Then I saw one of the great errors of my life. That I had not spoken to her, has been the matter of my regret from that hour to this.

Some time in March, 1806, she talked a few minutes without appearing, at eight o'clock in the morning, and promised to come again that day; at two o'clock she performed her promise, and talked with four people two hours.

It was then she uttered these words : 'Though my body is consumed, and all turned to dust, my soul is as much alive as before I left the body.'

This conversation was indeed in the cellar, but the place was enlightened with her radiance.

May 21st. At ten o'clock, she appeared to two persons, and sent a message to another.

May 25th.  Ten o'clock. Appeared and conversed with two witnesses, while a third person heard the conversation; and revealed that by which the same was proved to others.

May 26th.  She appeared at eight o'clock in the morning, and talked with four persons an hour and a half. In half an hour after, she appeared and talked with the same four persons, while two others heard a voice, without knowing what was said.

May 27th. Talked with two persons, and promised to be present at a meeting of about twenty people, which was to be held the next day in the evening. Accordingly she appeared at this meeting to persons who were ignorant of the promise. The assembly was immediately interrupted by the declaration that 'the spirit is come.' The next evening after, she conversed with a couple of persons, and told them by her inimitable voice to whom she had appeared. . . . Her conversation was always with grace, seasoned with salt, very affecting and delightful.

August 13th.  At ten o'clock, she talked with three persons invisibly. At two o'clock the same day, she appeared and talked to three people in the hearing of five other persons.
Of forty depositions and affidavits given by as many different persons in reference to this remarkable affair, we insert the following as specimens. The first is from one who appears to have been constitutionally sceptical, and whose very circumstantial testimony is on that account all the more valuable.


 I was at the house of Mr. Blaisdell by the persuasion of others; for as to myself, I made very light of the matter, supposing that the whole was the contrivance of certain persons. We heard rappings, and these sounds were spoken to, but no answer obtained. After much altercation (which is needless to rehearse), we all came out of the cellar, and all went off, except a few persons, of whom I was one. Some of Mr. Blaisdell's family uttered severe expressions against those who went off and did not believe. ' What do you want they should believe,' said I ; ' for my part, I see nothing to believe.'

Immediately Mrs. Butler came in from the entry, very much afirighted. ' If any one desires to be convinced,' said she, ' let him look there in the entry.'

I looked there and saw nothing. Soon after this, while Mrs. Butler was sitting on the foot of a bed, we heard a sound right against her on the outside of the house. Mr. Butler told her to speak to it. At first she refused. They told her she must.

Then she said to it, ' If I am guilty, stay away ; if I am clear, in the name of the Lord, clear me.'

The spirit then rapped very hard, so as to shake the house. Some of the company said she must go into the cellar. ' So I must,' said she ; ' if I do not, she will come into the room ; and if she does, I shall die. Who will go with me ?'

D A said she would go. They went, and soon after we all went down. Then I plainly heard the voice say to Mrs. Butler, ' Go up, that the people may not think it is you who speak.'

I saw her go up into the room, and heard at the same time the voice in the cellar. Mr. Blaisdell asked the spirit whence she came.

She answered, ' I am from heaven. I am with God and Christ, angels and seraphim, praising God. Glory, glory, glory ! '

 Mr. Blaisdell asked why she did not manifest herself in the forepart of that night to all the people. She answered, " I was not permitted to come where there was so much sin.' The spirit then said to Mr. Blaisdell, ' Ask the people if they are convinced.' ''

He did so; and I among the rest answered that I was. Then the spirit said, ' I must appear ; ' and by her direction we placed ourselves in order. Then I saw a white appearance, at first not more than a foot in height, but it appeared larger and larger, and more plainly; and when it came nearer to me, I was struck with fear, and left the cellar; but others told me that afterwards they saw the spirit plainly.

August 13th, 14th.  I again went to Mr. Blaisdell's with forty-seven persons. The spirit now told us again that she was from heaven, and that she was once Nelly Hooper. After much conversation, the spirit said that some of the people were faint, and could not hear all that was to be said, and that we must go up and refresh ourselves.

 'You must go with me to two places this night,' said she, ' and you must be ready at one o'clock.' ' What o'clock is it now? ' said Mr. Blaisdell. She said, ' Twelve, twelve, twelve ! '

We went up immediately and looked on the watch, and it was exactly twelve. In a short time, hearing the usual sign, we returned. Among many other words which I do not remember, Mr. Downing asked the spirit if she knew him; she answered, ' Yes,' and called him by name. He asked her if she was ever at his house. She answered that she had been once there with her mother.

At length she told us that we must go up, and she would walk with us behind, with Mrs. Butler. ' But you must walk in order, two and two,' said she, ' singing a psalm ; for God is a God of order.'

Some person asked when she would be ready. She said, ' I will let you know.' Some person again asked what o'clock it was. She answered one. We went up and again looked on the watch, and it was one. We attended prayer, and immediately after she knocked. A psalm was chosen, which the greatest number of us could best remember, and it was sung as we walked. I was now far forward, and did not see the spirit. When we came to Captain Millar's the spirit rapped there, and Captain Millar, with Captain Paul Blaisdell, and some others, went into the cellar, and I heard them talk, but could not understand what was said to them. Then word came to us that we must stand out in the field before the househ that she would appear before us, and walk with Mrs. Butler, that the people might be convinced that Mrs. Butler had told the truth in relating that she had walked with her before. Then we all stood before the house. Mrs. Butler put on a black cloak, and when she had walked a little distance from us, as before directed by the spirit, I heard her groan bitterly, and soon after I saw the appearance of a woman in white walking with her. Suddenly Mrs. Butler sung a part of that hymn called ' New Jerusalem.' Then she came to us, and we all went back in order to Mr. Blaisdell's. I then looked back and saw a person in white, walking with Mrs. Butler. After we returned to the house, Mrs. Butler appeared very weary and exhausted. I asked her at what time the spirit came to her.

She told me it was after she had walked a little distance from the people. ' When you heard me groan,' said she, ' then I saw it coming towards me ; I am always more afraid when I only see it than I am after it has spoken to me ; and she then told me not to be scared, that she was not come to hurt me, and that if I would sing a hymn it would expel my fears.'

The following is the testimony of Captain James Millar, whose house was the scene of the remarkable visitation above mentioned :

August 7th. Mr. Blaisdell came to my house, and desired me to go to his own, where I might hear and see for myself. He also went to Capt. Samuel Simson's with the same request. Capt. Simson and his wife, S B , and N G , who were there, came with him to my house, and we all went to Mr. Blaisdell's. When we had been there some minutes, Capt. Simson, by desire, prayed. His prayer was immediately followed by a knocking, and we all went into the cellar. Mr. Blaisdell asked what was wanted, and who it was.

It answered, ' I was once Nelly Hooper.' I asked, ' How was man made ?' ' Out of the dust,' said the voice; ' dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. You have the Bible, and that is God's truth, and do you abide by it. Love God, and keep His commandments.' After some conversation with Mrs. Simson and others, she said, ' I must go,' and we heard no more.

It was now broad daylight, the outer cellar door being open, and utterly impossible that any living person should be there but those whom we could see and know. The voice was about six feet from me.

August 9th. I went to that house with many people, among whom I observed much disorderly behaviour. The spirit spoke but little, and I returned with a resolution to go no more to that house on such an errand.

August 14th. Just before daylight, I heard singing as I lay in bed, approaching to my house. Presently, by my leave, my house was filled with people, and I heard knockings on the floor. By the desire of certain persons, I went into the cellar with Capt. Paul Blaisdell. After some discourse of the voice with him, which I understood not, I heard sounds of knocking near me.

I asked, ' What do you want of me ?' It answered, 'I have come to let you know that I can speak in this cellar as well as in the other. Are you convinced ?'
I answered, ' I am.' ' Now,' said the voice, ' the company must be solemn, and stand in order before your door ; I am going to appear. Now, do you remember that I was once Nelly Hooper ?'

We went up, and complied with her direction, and I saw a personal shape coming towards us, white as the light. By the spectre's order, as I was informed, Mrs. Butler went towards her, ' Lydia,' said the spectre, ' you are scared, you must sing.' Then she sung a hymn.

The spirit came almost to us, then turned, and Mrs. Butler with her, and went several rods towards Capt. Simson's, and appeared to take her by the hand, to urge her on further, and disappeared in our sight. Mrs. Butler returned, and informed the company, as I was told, that if they would walk to Mr. Blaisdell's solemnly, as to a funeral, the spirit would walk with Mrs. Butler, behind them. The company did so. But I, being far forward, saw nothing.

"James Millar." testimony of Mrs. Mart Jordan.

On the 4th of August, 1800, about two hours before daylight, while I slept at Mr. Blaisdell's house, I was awaked by the sound of knocking. I got up, and with about twenty others went into the cellar. There I heard a voice speaking to us, as I never heard before nor since. It was shrill, but very mild and pleasant. Mr. Blaisdell, addressing the voice, said that several persons (of whom I was one) had come from a distance to obtain satisfaction, and desired that she would tell us who she was, and the design of her coming.  She answered that she was once Nelly Hooper, and after she was married became Nelly Butler. After much conversation of a religious nature, she appeared to us. At first the apparition was a mere mass of light; then it grew into a personal form, about as tall as myself. We stood in two ranks, about four feet apart. Between these ranks she slowly passed and repassed, so that any of us could have handled her. When she passed by me, she was so near that if she liad been a substance I should certainly have felt it. The apparition had a constant tremulous motion. At last the personal form became shapeless, expanded every way, and vanished in a moment. Nothing more being now seen or heard, we were moving to go up, when the voice desired us to tarry longer. We did so, and the spirit talked with us another hour, even till broad daylight. She mentioned to us the ill-treatment which Mr. Blaisdell's family had suffered by reproach and false accusation, and told us they Would on her account be yet more despised and ridiculed. Her discourse concluded by a solemn exhortation. After speaking much more that I cannot remember, she sang praises, and left us. Her notes were very pleasant. Her words were no higher than common, yet they were exceedingly impressive.
Mary Jordan. testimony of Mrs. Wentworth (sister of the apparition).

On the 2nd of January, 1800, Hannah Blaisdell came to Mr. Butler's house, and informed me that the extraordinary voice which they had heard, had declared itself to be that of my sister, and that I must go to her father's house. I replied to her face that I did not believe it. The next day I received the same message from three other persons of other families, to whom I returned the same answer. Nevertheless, I was at last persuaded, and accompanied Capt. Butler and my husband to Mr. Blaisdell's house. Capt. Butler and I examined the cellar with a candle. Capt. Simson and some others went with us. I held Lydia (Mrs. Butler) by the arm, when we heard a loud knocking, and the sound of a voice which brought fresh to my mind my sister's voice. This voice spoke several sentences, which were such as my sister used to utter, and from this time I cleared Lydia of the voice, and accused the devil.

August 8th. Was there again with about thirty others, and heard much conversation. The voice was still hoarse and thick, like that of my sister on her deathbed, but more hollow. Sometimes it was clear and pleasant.

August 14th. I heard the same voice in the same place, and did then believe it was my sister. She talked much with Capt. Simson, and exhorted the people. I heard a private conversation which I had with my sister in her life-time, and which I had never repeated to any one. We were alone together; but may it not have been overheard by some evil spirit who now personates my sister? I know of no reason for her coming.
Sally Wentworth

August 13th, 1800. After much conversation with the spectre, she told us that she must talk and appear at the house of Capt. Millar, because he had reported that she could not be anywhere but at Mr. Blaisdell's house. ' And Lydia must walk with me,' she said, ' that you may all see that she is one person, and I another.'

 We walked in order, two and two, to the house, and I saw the spirit appear and dis- appear several times. Whilst we were at Capt. Millar's house, we stood in the field, whilst Mrs. Butler, in great fear, walked with the spirit, before our eyes, a few rods towards Mr. Simson's. Then Mrs. Butler came to us and said we must return to her father's house, two and two, singing a hymn, and she and the spectre would walk with us. We did so. Mr. Paul Simson and I walked behind, if possible to see the apparition. When we had walked about fifteen rods, I saw a white appearance to the left hand. As we passed it, it fell into rank, and walked with Mrs. Butler. Mr. Downing and I turned and looked upon them, and heard them talk. We kept walking on, then stopping to look at them, all the way. We heard them speaking all the time, but in a low voice. The spirit appeared in a personal form, with arms locked, as white as snow, and about as tall as Mrs. Butler. Soon after daybreak I saw it plainly vanish.

James Springer-- Most of the affidavits are to the same effect as the above. Many of them state that the spirit often appeared, bearing a very small child in her arms. That the particles of luminous matter that seemed to compose her were tremulous, in constant motion, presented no resistance to the touch, and were always white and shining.

All the witnesses saw her with more or less distinctness, and all heard her voice, and bore testimony to its remarkable shrillness, and inimitable peculiarity.

At first, the terror of the persons who beheld her was excited by the idea of beholding a ghost, yet after a little discourse with her, their fears were entirely dissipated, and succeeded by a singular pleasure, so delightful was the mode of her address and conversation The spirit was always extremely disposed to piety; sang hymns, uttered prayers, exhorted, quoted Scripture, and joined with her wonderfully sweet but indescribable voice in the singing of hymns with others. This same voice, though inimitable, most nearly resembled her own as she was remembered when she lay dying. This apparition impressed all witnesses with feelings of pleasure and reverence, except in rare instances, one of which occurred at that assembly held in the cellar on the night of

August 9th, when, as I have said, there were gathered some of the best of people, who conducted themselves with order and reverence ; but others there were, who uttered such profanity and derision as rendered them unworthy to obtain conviction; and thereby, as the spirit afterwards declared, she could not manifest herself amongst them, so that save some knockings and a few sentences spoken, no tokens of her presence could be given. The spectre gave a number of extraordinary messages, of which the marriage was but one, and that a subordinate one to other ends of far superior magnitude and importance. These superior ends you will know hereafter, but they cannot, they must not be written.

No doubt can exist that if the parties interested in these strange phenomena could have considered and investigated them with the same practised coolness that characterizes the visitors of our modern spirit circles, most valuable and important views of spirit life, its laws and conditions, might have been gathered from such unusual opportunities for the enquiry; but amidst the fear, ignorance, and superstition which have for centuries obscured man's views of spiritual existence, it was next to impossible that even one risen from the dead should be able to bring conclusive evidence of her presence, or inform the prejudiced and bigoted concerning the true conditions of spirit life.

Still, the details of this remarkable case are too circumstantial and well attested to leave room for doubt concerning its main facts, and they unquestionably form one of the most singular and authentic evidences of direct spirit communion that the annals of history can furnish in America, prior to the great outpouring from which the modern movement of Spiritualism dates in 1848."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Too Late???

I just remembered 2 days ago that St. Patricks Day was a mere few days away and I am in a rush now to offer some tweaked Irish dishes for everyone to enjoy. On my website,, I have a great assortment of Irish recipes, but every year I add more and more. That is until this year. I usually start many weeks previous to the celebrations, but with my new time constraint, I am giving you some of my favorite recipes I have had tucked away for just such emergencies. So let's begin here on my blog.

As you will see below, I use stout for an authentic taste of Tipperary. Dry stout is Ireland's claim to beer fame. It is a unique tasting brew, almost black in color, very rich in flavor and has a 'roasty', almost chocolaty flavor. Irish stout is drier than most English brews, with Guiness leading the pack the world over. Murphy's and Beamish, however, are just as popular in the Emerald Isle. Lager is made with pride(such as Harp)and equally enjoyed by the Irish as well and can be used in these recipes easily.

An often overlooked Irish import is cheese. Once you have tasted Irish cheese, readily found in most supermarkets, you will wonder why you still buy other aged Cheddar cheeses. Although our American made Cheddar is a delight in many ways, I have never been able to find the 'bite' that a true Cheddar should have......until I fell in love with Irish cheese



New Irish Mac and Cheese

Irish ham is brined and smoked in such a way that you would be hard pressed to find a comparable tasting ham. I adore Irish ham and it is readily available in most supermarkets no matter where you live, just ask the deli clerk. This Mac and Cheese has great Irish crunch from the roasted, seasoned kale, superior Emerald smoothness with the cheese and it is super simple to make.

1/2 bunch kale

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1-1/2 cups cubed, smoked ham, Irish if possible

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cubed

1/2 cup Guiness, Murphy's or Beamish stout

2 cups macaroni

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces Irish Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Rinse and dry kale leaves, cutting out the tough, center stalks. Tear them into bite-sized pieces and toss them with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Place them on a pan and bake for about 8-9 minutes, or until crispy, browned but not burnt. Keep an eye on them, some may crisp up faster than others so open oven to remove the crisp ones while continuing to cook remainder. Remove from oven while preparing remainder of recipe. Leave oven on.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add the cubed ham and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook ham, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add stout and continue cooking and stirring until liquid has almost entirely evaporated, about another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside but do not rinse. In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter over low heat; when melted, whisk in the flour until smooth. Raise heat to medium and add milk and pepper, whisking well. Continue cooking and frequently whisking until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cheese, whisking until melted; remove from heat. Add the macaroni, ham, remainder Parmesan cheese, stirring to combine. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve with the crispy kale thrown on top of each serving.

Serves 3

Gloriously Easy and Hearty Irish Stew

A hearty recipe that truly harbors the flavor of the Emerald Isle. I could have tweaked this recipe here and altered it there, but why mess with a dish that simply is great the way it is? As many of you know, lamb is my favorite protein so I wasn't about to play with this great, Irish dish.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 onion, peeled and diced small

1 rib celery, sliced thin

2 1/2 cups beef both or stock

1(12-ounce bottle) Guiness stout

1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup cold water



Heat oil in a large 5-quart pot over medium high heat for a minute. Add half the lamb to lightly brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining lamb. Remove that lamb to a plate and add the carrots, onions and celery. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes, or until celery is softened. Add lamb back into pot with broth and all stout. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until meat is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove lid to add potatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes, covered. The potatoes should be just soft when pricked. Stir in the cornstarch slurry,well,and continue cooking until stew has thickened,about another minute or two.

Makes enough for 1 Yankee or Irishman..... 3 servings for everyone else.


Yanked Colcannon Potatoes

Rather than using a quarter of a cabbage while watching the rest of the head shrivel and dry in the fridge, why not buy a bag of shredded green and purple cabbage and carrots and slightly cook them for a great side dish to your Irish table? I personally love the crunch of crisp-tender veggies in my Colocannon, pairing well with just right cooked corned beef. Normally cheese doesn't belong with Colcannon, but I truly believe once you tasted true Irish cheese, you will love it as well.

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and halved

1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil

2 cups bagged coleslaw mix

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup milk or half-and-half

Cover potatoes with at least three inches of water and cook over medium-high heat until done.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the garlic and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the coleslaw mix, stirring well and cook for 3 minutes, tossing frequently, or until slightly tender but with plenty of crunch. Cook longer if you don't desire the vegetables to be crunchy in the mashed potatoes. Reduce heat to low and add milk, salt and pepper to taste. Bring milk to scalding but do not boil and then turn off heat.

Drain potatoes and mash by hand or use a mixer. Fold in the milk/coleslaw mixture until well blended.

Enough for 4-6



Crispy New England-Style Colcannon Cakes

Adding sharp Vermont Cheddar in a recipe from or Yankee counterparts recipe is the perfect compliment to each other. There is something about melted cheese coming from a crispy exterior of a soft, mashed potato pancake. This recipe is geared for leftover potatoes but why not make Colcannon Potatoes ahead of time and grill up these tasty patties for your Irish table?

2 cups leftover Colcannon potatoes

1/2 cup leftover corned beef, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

2 cups cornmeal

1/4 cup shredded Vermont extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl, loosen up(or remash) the potatoes with a masher or fork. Fold in the corned beef and form into four 1/2-cup measure balls. Make an indent in each to fill with a tablespoon(or more if you prefer) cheese. Close the gap and flatten out to an inch in thickness. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, nonstick pans are best. Place the cornmeal in a shallow plate. Remove potatoes from fridge and dredge both sides of each potato patty with cornmeal, pressing firmly. when oil is hot, add the Colcannon Cakes and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until well browned. Remove and serve.


Simple Shillelagh Pots

These "custards" are as smooth as the meadows of County Mallow with just the right amount of Irish flavor. This is one of those desserts that I feel needs no adornment, such as whipped topping, but if you desire, whip some up, blending some more Irish liqueur into the whipped cream for a more festive, green accent.

8 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1/3 cup Irish cream liqueur

Ground nutmeg or cinnamon

4 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until it is just simmering, stirring frequently. Immediately remove from heat. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and sugar in a bowl until as smooth as possible. Whisk a half cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture and then whisk all of the tempered yolk mixture into the pot of milk. Whisk well along with the liqueur.

Evenly pour mixture into six 4-ounce ramekins or bake-safe serving cups. Sprinkle each with nutmeg and place in a large baking dish with sides at least 2 inches high. Pour hot water so that it comes up about halfway up the sides of cups. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the centers are just set. Remove from oven and water bath to cool completely in refrigerator at least 3 hours or until completely set.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A True Yanked Recipe

I don't know why no-one has ever attempted to make Cannoli's without cannoli forms before. Who makes cannoli's so often at home that you find yourself needing a form, let alone trying to find one in the nearest store? Although I adore these sweet Italian favorites, I don't make them as often as I should. Now here is a unique way of making these sweetened, crunchy, hand-held treats without bothering with the forms. Nothing has changed in the taste of my cannoli's compared to professionally made you find at restaurants and bakeries(Well, maybe for the better).

There are, however, two things that stand out here. First, anyone can do mine with no extra utensils than what you have at home. Secondly, my recipe is crispier and can withstand the dampness of the cheesy filling without getting soggy. So by all means, make these ahead and haul them out when you want. I am proud to be able to YANK recipes for the home cook and even prouder when professional chefs get just a little tweaked when it comes to playing with a classic. But why not tweak something in order for everyone to enjoy it? These taste BETTER than prepared cannoli shells, and as mentioned, they stay crisp(which will have even children devoouring them for the first time). So 'BAM' is out, 'YANKED' is in!


Crunchy Yanked Cannoli Shells

These are so perfectly balanced between sweet and crispy, I would never buy cannoli's unless I had no other choice. I think you will agree that this Yanked recipe will be your favorite Italian finger food as well. You may also opt to spend a little more money on the filling by substituting mascarpone cheese for the ricotta. Certainly this is fine, but allow the mascarpone to come to room temperature before mixing.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla

5 tablespoons flour

1 recipe Cannoli Filling, recipe below

1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray(or grease) 2 baking sheets liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Add butter to a microwavable bowl and heat, on high, for 1 minute, or until just melted but not scalding hot, making sure you cover the bowl. Let come to room temperature and beat in egg whites and vanilla. Whisk the powdered sugar into butter mixture until completely smooth. Add the flour and continue mixing until smooth.

Drop about a 2 tablespoon amount of batter onto cookie sheet. With the back of a spoon, spread batter to form a 6-inch circle, making sure the batter is evenly spread. Do the same with another mound of batter, at least an inch from the first. Bake for 4-5 minutes in the upper third of the oven, or until slightly browned around the edges. Remove and loosen with a spatula. Let sit for about 30 seconds, or until starting to stiffen.

Working quickly, roll the cannoli so the one side overlaps the opposite side. Set aside, resting seam-side down. The shells will hold their shape easily, and harden quickly. Repeat with other shell. Continue with remainder of batter.

While cooling, make cannoli filling. Dip each end of the shells into melted chocolate. Put cannoli filling into a plastic baggie and snip off a corner. Fill each shell and dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

Makes about 6-8 cannoli shells.


Creamy Cannoli Filling

A delightful balance of sweet and salty. Many chefs add cinnamon and even bits of chocolate in their filling. I adore the subtle taste on the outside of the shell, as directed above, but by all means be creative. Have fun and have at it!

8 ounces ricotta cheese

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier, optional

Empty ricotta cheese into a fine-meshed strainer and let drain for 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and beat in powdered sugar until well blended. Mix in extract and Grand Marnier, if using.


Fills 6-8 cannoli shells.

To make Mini Cannoli Cups, follow the above shell recipe but scoop out a teaspoon of batter onto prepared baking pan. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until they start browning around the edges. Remove, loosen with a spatula and form into "bowls" by pinching 4 corners to form a square on top. Fill with cannoli fillling when cool and drizzle melted chocolate over the top.

For Cannoli Scoops, follow the Mini Cannoli Cups recipe but form a teaspoon of the batter into oval shapes on prepared pan. When cooked, pinch together one end of the baked oval, forming a handle. The "spoon" part will form itself, which is perfect for dipping into a bowl of Cannoli Filling.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Continuing with Early New England Settlers, 1600-1700

                                                      Pine Tree Shilling, 17th century


Robert was at Fairfield, Conn. in 1669



Nathaniel was at Salem, Mass. in 1670

Samuel was living at Charlestown, Mass. in 1658, then Salem, Mass..

Thomas, brother of Nathaniel, was at Salem, Mass. pre-1679


Beal, Beale and Beals

Abraham was at Charlestown, Mass. in 1657

Arthur, son of Colonial William(below) was at York, Maine in 1655

Benjamin was at Dorchester, Mass. in 1674, then to Boston in 1676.

John was a shoemaker in Hingham, Mass. in 1638.

Joseph was at Portsmouth, N.H. in 1631

Samuel was living in Salem, Mass. pre-1682

Thomas was at Cambridge, Mass. in 1634.

Colonial William was at York, Maine in 1653.



Gamaliel was at Dorchester, Mass. in 1649 but was in New England as a minor in 1635. Was also living in Lancaster, Mass.



John came to New England in 1635, settling in Salem, Mass. in 1640 then at Scituate, Mass. in 1643.

Simon was at Springfield, Mass. in 1655

William, brother of John, came to New England in 1625, settling at Saybrook, Conn..



William was at Boston in 1636, having been here since 1632.


Bean, Beane and Beanes

John settled at Exeter, N.H. in 1660.

Lewis was at York, Maine in 1668.

Michael was at Kittery, Maine in 1653.

Philip was at Salem, Mass. in 1637.



Aaron was at Pemaquid, Maine in 1674

John was at Milford, Conn. in 1642. He was accompanied by two brothers, James and Jeremy, when arriving but no more info on either brother can be found.

Thomas was at Plymouth, Mass. in 1629, then to Portsmouth, N.H. in 1644.

Thomas was at Boston in 1675.

William was at Dover, N.H. in 1675, when he was killed by Indians


Beardsley and Beadsley

Thomas was at Milford, Conn. in 1647.

William came to N.E. in 1635, settling at Hartford, Conn. in 1638, then to Stratford, Conn. the following year.


Bearse, Bearce and Beirce

Austin settled at Barnstable, Mass. in 1638.



Edward was at Salem, Mass. in 1637.

John was at Boston, Mass. in 1687, then to Hartford, Conn. in 1711.



Alexander was at Boston in 1634.

Henry was at Portsmouth, N.H. in 1635.



John was at Salem, Mass. in 1649.

Stephen came to N.E. in 1634 at age 11 years under the supervision of Richard Pepper and moved to Roxbury, Mass. He then went to Hartford, Conn. by 1640.


Beckford and Bickford

John, came to Durham, N.H. in 1645.

Samuel was at Salisbury, Mass. in 1678 then to Nantucket, Mass.



Richard, living at New Haven, Conn. in 1639 before removing to Wethersfield, Conn. in 1660.



Matthew was at Saybrook, Conn. in 1635. Went to Branford, Conn. in 1638, then to Hartford, Conn. in 1645. Moved to both Lyme and New London, Conn.lin later years.

Stephen was at Norwalk, Conn. in 1654.


Bedle, Bedel and Beedle

Robert was at Wethersfield, Conn pre-1648, when he was at New London, Conn.


Bedurtha and Bordurtha

Rice (or Beice or Brice) was at Springfield, Mass. in 1646.


Beebe and Beeby

James was at Hadley, Mass. in 1668.

James was at Stratford, Conn. in 1679, then to Norwalk and Danbury, Conn. after.

John, son of John and grandson of Alexander was at New London, Conn. in 1650 with five sons and two daughters.


Beecher and Beacher

Hannah, widow of John, was at Boston in 1637

Isaac, son of Hannah, was with his mother in Boston then to New Haven, Conn. later.

Thomas was at Charlestown, Mass. in 1632 after having come to N.E. in 1630.



Thomas was at Newport, R.I. in 1639.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

'Yanked' Chicken and Waffles

It isn't very often I post recipes on my blog anymore, preferring to add all recipes to my site,, as often as possible. But this is an exception. This recipe is one of my all-time favorites and I had to add it here. It is probably the most satisfying Yanked recipe I have shared with you so far.

Boy, everywhere you look, Chicken and Waffles are being transformed, reworked, revamped, deconstructed and just taken apart and put back together in every way imaginable. BUT, I am proud to say no-one has yet Yanked this Southern favorite quite the way I am about to show you.

I have taken the liberty of really REALLY turning this dish into a classic Yankee dish. I took the bold taste of chicken sausage, wrapped it in spicy cornmeal batter and cooked it so that it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Blueberry waffles were just a natural vehicle. I chose 6-inch sized waffles here but by all means use larger waffles instead. And as for how to eat them. I grabbed each crispy waffle, folded it around the cooked chicken sausage like a taco and the next thing I knew, it disappeared.

By the way, if chicken sausage isn't your style, use 1 chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces and cooked the same way.

2 links cooked chicken sausage

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, optional

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

4 small or large,prepared blueberry waffles *


Preheat deep fryer to 350-degrees F or heat 1 quart of vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot to temperature over medium heat. Cut each sausage into four equal-sized slices; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together next 8 ingredients well.

Place all sausage slices in cornmeal batter, gently stirring to coat each slice well. When oil is hot and using a fork, lift out each slice one at a time, letting just a little excess batter drip off. Gently transfer to hot oil to cook. When doing this, slowly allow the sausage to enter oil so that it has a brief second or two to start cooking before it plunges to the bottom of the pot. With a metal or wooden spoon, gently nudge the sausage from the bottom if it is stuck,. this rarely happens however. Repeat only with 2-3 more pieces at a time so that oil stays up to temperature, making sure you give yourself a minute or two between batches.

Cook until well browned all over, "rolling" with your utensil if needed while cooking to evenly brown. Transfer to a rack or paper towel-lined platter to drain.

Meanwhile cook you waffles according to package instructions. Serve each waffle with equal amounts of battered chicken sausage and enjoy as is or with some warm maple syrup drizzled over the top.


* If you want to take the time to make your own waffles and you have a waffle iron, the easiest(and I find the best) way to make homemade waffles is to use a basic pancake recipe and throw in whatever amount of blueberries you desire. They turn out perfect every time.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

300 Year Old Riddle Solved?

A 1775 cartoon of Boston Yankees

After 300-plus years of defying scholarly debate and research, The answer to a life-long obsession by me and many others has finally come to a close. Without going further than I have to with details and other ideas about the origination of why New Englanders are called Yankees, I will forward the most popular assumptions first and conclude with the actual answer to this debate. This question has actually lured learned scholars from around the world, as it did me for many years.

You read it right folks, around the world. You wouldn't think that this question of why New Englanders are saddled with, often-times, the negative connotation of a Yankee would be so popular, so universally, but it has sparked many debates and fallacies, not to mention ludicrous assumptions, and yet not to be determined. Well consider it determined!

I would like to start with the route that I have taken for the past 20-plus years, without an adequate answer, and end with one particular paragraph that blew the whole dilemma wide open, resulting with the answer. It took tenacity and an eye for details that brought me to my conclusion, with the help of many MANY unsubstantiated references that I was able to discount.

There have been many schools of thought regarding the word Yankee, but one(with what I thought was)textbook explanation with a twist that has led every single historian, linguist and researcher down the wrong path. Which could have been avoided with a little digging and a little common sense. Let me explain why.

Almost all encyclopedic references, in all research, for the word Yankee has been summarily denoted as beginning with the Dutch. From Jan Kaas(literally meaning John Cheese) to Janke(a diminutive of Jan, or John).There is even an explanation with a combination of these, stating that Jan Kaese means John Cheese(which of course is incorrect) and is seen in a poem by 16th century poet Roger Ascham. A snippet of this particular poem from 1570 reads;

Of thou be thrall to none of thises,
Away good Peek goos, hens John Cheese.

Although the words John Cheese is shown in this portion of a poem someone posted online, there are some problems here. It only shows that the name John Cheese was used in the 16th century without actually helping our cause, but this also has a twist. And this twist is the largest reason I am completely discounting this as irrelevant. It hinges on the fact that Roger Ascham became fatally ill in 1568 and died in 1569. PLUS, after having searched his works, I find the above lines nowhere in his works. I consulted The Whole Works of Roger Ascham and only found an item or two that came close. These were letters Roger wrote to a John Cheke(pages 236 and 328).
Some say that Jankaase(pronounced as Yankees because the 'J' in Dutch is pronounced as an English 'Y') was not only a slang term for the Dutch but as a slang term for anyone resembling(in practice)the Dutch, much like other slangs for differing nationalities like Dago, the French Frog, German Kraut, and so on.

Another avenue almost all researchers have followed(yup, me too) was the supposed fact that the name Yankee was a derogatory nickname given to the Dutch by the Germans, Flemish and anyone else who came in contact with Dutch pirates, of which there were many sailing the oceans during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is also referenced that the English colonists here in America referred to Dutch settlers by the moniker Yankee because of either ethnic association or because of their trading practices throughout this country in the early days. Over time, it warped into a word of tribute to the cunning New Englander, much the same way 'cunning' was the immoral thread that the Dutch sewed the relationship with the Indians when buying land, protection and friendship.

It is known that the Dutch were extremely greedy when they dealt with the Indians in the Connecticut Valley, up into New York and into French Canada. Remember what the Dutch paid the Indians for New York don't you?

Take, for example, an observation by Jasper Danckaerts, dated October 18, 1679 and found on page 262. He saw how the Dutch inhabitants of Long Island dealt with the Indians unfairly:
"I must here remark in passing, that the people in this city, who are mostly traders in small articles, whenever they see an Indian enter the house, who they know has any money, they immediately set about getting hold of him, giving him rum to drink, ... They do not rest until they have cajoled him out of all his money, or most of it... And these miserable Christians are so much the more eager in this respect, because no money circulates among themselves, and they pay each other in wares, in which they are constantly cheating and defrauding each other."
Jasper Danckaerts

Use of Yankee to refer to someone from New England is seen in 1765, from the poem Oppression, A Poem by an American.

"The source supreme, and center of all hate.

"If I forget him, then forget me Heaven !"

Or like a W (ILKES) , may I from right be driven.

From meanness first this PORTSMOUTH Yankey (d) rose,

And still to meanness, all his conduct flows ;

This alien upstart, by obtaining friends,

From T (o) WN (SEN) D S clerk, a M (A) LD (o) N member ends,

Would Heaven that day was dated in record,

Which shin d propitious, on one so abhorr d;

That day, which saw how threats and gold could bribe..."

It is mentioned, and probably obvious, that in "Portsmouth Yankey", the authoress was not only referring to herself, but to either Portsmouth, England or Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Also cited in hundreds of research papers is the fact that the second time the word Yankee was referred to was in The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series,
an archive of British government documents, dated 1683. The sources say it is contained as such;

"They sailed from Banaco; chief commanders, Vanhorn, Laurens, and Yankey Duch."

Two problems arise here as well. If this sentence were to be found, it would have referred to a sailor/pirate by the name of Captain John Yankey, a well-known pirate of the Atlantic Ocean. The biggest issue I have, though, is the fact that nowhere in these papers is the above sentence found, absolutely nowhere!


Then there are two references of the term Yankee being used by General James Wolfe in 1758 and the great (then Captain)Horatio Nelson to Captain William Locker in 1784. He is said to have used it as such;

1758 letter-My posts are now so fortified that I can afford you two companies of Yankees, and the more because they are better for ranging and scouting than either work or vigilance. determined not to suffer the Yankies to come where the ship i
1784: Adams letter. "We hve curtains, it is true, and we only in part undress, about as much as the Yankee bundlers."(This is a great sentence. To learn more abut bundling in Puritan days, refer to my article on Bundling.)        
To give you a sense of the personal "mingling" of the Dutch and English colonists that may have given credence to past guess-work on trying to solve this Yankee dilemma, here is a very brief understanding of where the Dutch were in colonial New England and beyond.

The Dutch, as some of you are aware, established a settlement at present-day Manhattan in 1624. But before that, in 1621, the Dutch republic of Holland granted land encompassing the Delaware River on the south, the Connecticut River on the north, including Delaware, New Jersey and much of Connecticut. In the 1630s, they went up the Connecticut River to lands claimed by the English. In present day Albany, the Dutch "parleyed" with the Iroquois in order to keep the peace and to acquire more land, which didn't last long. Corruption and immoral trading practices were making the Indians distrustful, so they held back trading. The Dutch decided they wanted any and all land they could get, so they carried brutal campaigns against the "River Indians", at the same time creating tension between these Indians and the European settlers as well.

By 1640, the Indians wanted revenge. They sacked the Staten Island settlement of the English, mistaken them for Dutch. (Of course there were Dutch in the area and most likely 'encamped' with the English). After the killing of a "Hollander" by the Sagamore's son(a warrior), the Dutch now wanted revenge. The fighting dragged on and on, and all because of the ruthlessness, lies, deception and dishonesty of some of the Dutch traders, including the West India Company, who outfitted these settlers.

To make a long story shorter, the English declared war against the Dutch, resulting in New York, New Jersey and other land being reverted back to New England control.

To put it simply, the term Yankee is said to have been used by everyone to refer to anyone they didn't like. Every researcher's opinion, up to this point, has declared that Germans called the Dutch Yankees, the Swedes called the English Yankees, and on and on and on.

Take this into consideration with the above name calling. The province of New Netherland was estimated to contain only one-half Dutch, with Germans, Swedes and the Finnish making up the rest of the population of between 3,000 and 3,500 by 1665. There was also about 2,000 English inhabitants(from New England) around New Netherland, with at least half of the villages around New Amsterdam being of English stock.

By about 1650, both the Dutch and English were at each others throats because they each deemed each other competitors in the trade industry. This resulted in the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the first being from 1652-1654. Land around this area teetered back and forth between these two feuding factions during these wars, with the land being brought under the control of the British by 1674.


It is also said that the term Yankee was used by the British nationals and naval personnel, not the British colonists. These English sailors called the English settlers Yankees because many of the sailors of the colonies had Dutch names and were seen to be cavorting with them. People tend to forget that those sailing on behalf of the British government were vastly separate from those of the crown who escaped England to settle here. Therefore, there was derision between these two groups, ending in those who were in the British Navy to poke fun of and trying to humiliate the colonists by comparing them to the dastardly Dutch pirates and traders. Remember that the largest port in New England was at New York. I will tell you, however, that this explanation would have been my No. 2 choice.

The biggest question about this whole Dutch explanation remains unexplained however. How did a slang term for the Dutch come to mean New Englanders? It is thought that we didn't care for this word in the 17th and early 18th centuries but came to embrace it during and after the Revolutionary War.

                                                      A "cunning" Yankee Peddler

It is said by researchers that us Yankees were so cunning that we took the word Yankee and called ourselves such just to teach others a lesson.......You have got to be joking!!!! Not only is this foolish but entirely wrong! I don't believe that these New Englander's were referred to as Yankees by anyone intentionally by any nationality. It was a mistake, although I am proud of the moniker of being frugal, cunning and thrifty, regardless of where it came from. My explanation?

I would like to preface my following explanation with the following. It was, and still is among some linguists, a long held belief of another origin of the word Yankee. It has been told and retold that the Native Americans of Massachusetts were the progenitor of Yankee. Trying to pronounce English, or the French equivalent 'Anglais', it came out sounding like "Yengee", converting to Yankee over time. Although not too far-fetched, there are just as many researchers, scholars and especially linguists that have disregarded this. I think all these scholars jumped the gun however, and not thought 'outside the box'. Let me explain.


Consider The Riddle Solved!
The poem The Yankey in London was written by Royall Tyler(born 1757 and died 1826) in 1809 when he was over 50 years. Royall lived in Boston and died, with his wife, in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was a Federalist, served as Windham County State's Attorney, Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and as Chief Justice. He was Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Vermont, Windham County's Registrar of Probate and above all(and very relevant to this story) the aide to General John Sullivan in the American Revolution. Can you think of anyone else with such credentials in order to complete a research? Certainly not me!

                                                                 Royall Tyler


Royall was with Gen. Sullivan when Sullivan was commander in Quebec, although failing in the invasion of Canada. The original settlement of the Iroquois was in upstate new York, expanding to most of the Northeast region and eastern Canada. By 1675, the Iroquois claimed west from the north shore of Chesapeake Bay to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, north along the Illinois River the the end of Lake Michigan, east across Michigan and finally through Northern New England. Because there were not enough of this tribe to physically inhabit all this land, they did, however, settle predominantly in upstate New York.

Courtesy of

The Sullivan Expedition, the trail of which is shown above, was a massive campaign against the Iroquois in New York and led by General Sullivan, destroyed many Indian settlements.

It was in this region of the Sullivan Expedition that one band of the 'Praying Indians' lived. So called because they were converted to Catholicism (and prayed often) in the Ontario and Quebec region. The correct name for this band was the Caughnawaga(or Kahnawake) Indians. One of the Caughnawaga villages was an offshoot of the Mohawk nation near Fonda, New York. This, today, is the only completely excavated Iroquois village in the America. There are also "Praying Indian" settlements throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.

                                         Praying Indians. Courtesy of the Natuck Historical Society

They were converted by the Reverent John Eliot(of New England) around 1650. The conversion turned their demeanor from warrior-like to farmers, builders and peace loving people. They also intermarried with both whites, blacks, Dutch, German or whoever desired them. By the beginning of the Revolution, they were(in all intents and purposes) "Americanized".

Now you may be asking why, because of Sullivan's Expedition, did these Americanized Indians join on our side in the Revolutionary War when they were just pummeled by an American general? Simply put, because the Iroquois was known for aiding the British against our colonies. It didn't matter, it you were any part of the Iroquois nation, regardless if you were peace loving or joined only by name, you were an enemy of America. Some of these Praying Indians even served with Washington, with an estimated 5,000 aiding America's cause.


The reason I give you all this information? Because Royall Tyler in his poem entitled Yankey In London, pages 75-76, writes;

"I learned afterwards that this bookseller was considered, the respectable part of the trade, as the mere Curll of his day--ever prepared to falter, and ever ready to defraud. A friend, to whom I related this anecdote, said,"sir, did you not know he was from Yorkshire?" It seems they consider the Yorkshiremen as very subtle, if not dishonest. I was rather chargrined at this opprobium, because, you know, Governor Endicott, with most of our English ancestors, came from that respectable county.

The term Yankey is but a corruption of Yorkshire, being simply the Indian pronunciation. The natives of this country hearing the white men, during their early habitancy, frequently speaking of Yorkshire, styled them yankeys. To be satisfied of this, I once requested a Cognawagha Indian to pronounce Yorkshire: he immediately replied--"oh, Ya-ankah, you--you be "Ya-ankah." So that you perceive, if the Yorkshire bookseller had attempted again to flatter me into a bad bargain......"

I wanted to show (you who may think that Royall would not have had contact with the Iroquois or Praying Indians)that he had many opportunities to interact with these Indians. Though this would not have changed my judgement of him in giving a true origination of Yankee regardless(see below).

So it is not an Indian word for "English" or the French equivalent "anglais" that the Indians were trying to pronounce(as written above), but of the word "Yorkshire", with whom all Native Americans had the accompaniment of during the early colonization of America and Canada. It is extremely likely this is the basis for the word Yankee. Bear in mind, as well, that when these same Indians referred to us as such, their intentions were not demeaning, they were simply trying to pronounce an English word with NO intentions other than as an address. Any detrimental acknowledgement of the word Yankee came from other sources, of which I have ideas, but will wait to express them after some research. It is very easy to see how all European settlers were considered Yankees by the Native Americans with this explanation, and much easier than trying to understand how 'Jankaas' referred to New Englanders.

Now I know many of you, even amateur etymologists, may be sounding out 'Yorkshire' both on your own and as it is written by Royall, and concluding I am out of my mind. Let me give you a fresh perception however. This is the earliest reference to the word Yankee, with a direct origin, anywhere written. Although many people in the 18th and 19th centuries may have wondered about the origin, nobody ever wondered about this in written form during this time. There is not one document anywhere in the world that predates 1809 stating or questioning the origin of  the word Yankee. Certainly it is referred to in texts and manuscripts, but that is where it ends. It is only into the mid-19th century that questions arise as to its origination. And by then, the origin had been forgotten as with many other beginnings. We are blessed to have this one attribution by Royall.

I do believe in Royall entirely, but.....
The only argument there ever will be with regards to this is the English word the Indian may have been trying to pronounce. If it wasn't Yorkshire, then the word English would be the "runner-up". I highly doubt that Mr. Tyler is mistaken however. Either way, the word Yankee derived from the Native Americans trying to pronounce Yorkshire, or at the very least, English.

I put my entire faith and belief in Royall, who grew up in Boston and was over 50 years of age in 1809(and who knew of the word "Yankey" even as a child)over someone who is conjecturing as to the origin over 100 years later based on assumption alone.

When Royall mentions "during their early inhabitancy", he is speaking of the men from Yorkshire, and the date would have been the first half of the 17th century with the great influx of English settlers. And as we have seen, and you can look up anywhere, Yorkshire immigrants were a huge percentage of the early settlers on our shores and in Canada.

I am in complete faith of this because Royall's father(himself born in Boston), or the very earliest his grandfather(also a Bostonian), would have been around when the word Yankee was first uttered on these shores by the white man. He most likely would have had first-hand knowledge about the word Yankee. If it had anything to do with the Dutch, being a Patriot and New Englander, Royall would have had absolutely no problem saying such. What I don't understand is why this manuscript has been ignored for so long. It has not been referenced in one single explanation of the word Yankee. I believe it wasn't known to the right researchers.

To me, The Yankee Chef, this case is closed, the beginnings have been found and unless anyone can further evidence the origination with first-hand documentation predating 1759, and in that first persons hand, that comes out and states that the word Yankee is from whatever other source............
Well, in the words a great lady, the wife of the greatest showman on earth(not P.T. Barnum).........
I humbly "turn out the light".