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Andrew Stevens Indian?

Andrew and Elizabeth's marriage record
Questions: Shannon asked, “Was Andrew Stevens really an Indian?”

This has been debated by Deerfield scholars for centuries and my views will take a few posts to explain. Two of the early works on Deerfield: C. Alice Baker, TRUE STORIES OF NEW ENGLAND CAPTIVES CARRIED TO CANADA…, 1897, and George Sheldon, A HISTORY OF DEERFIELD MASSACHUSETTS…, 1896, refer to Andrew Stephens (both spellings, Stevens and Stephens, are found) as “The Indian” but they also state this is probably the only case found in the history of Puritan New England. My old professor once told me, if someone describes something that only happened once, the safe bet is that it did not happen at all.
Since both references were penned almost two centuries after the fact, we are forced to ponder: what was the primary source? An astute reader and Deerfield scholar fortunate enough to live in western Massachusetts, has gone to the archives of Deerfield and found a facsimile of Andrew and Elizabeth’s marriage record: a simple listing of names and dates, but next to Andrew’s name is a barely perceptible mark which when scrutinized seems to say INDIAN. I am attaching it. The mark is circled but doesn't show well here (take my word for it). Anyway, it is written with a different instrument and a different style, indicating it was not written at the time of the original document.
So where does this lead us? Was it written ten minutes later, or two-hundred years later??? More to come as the plot thickens—stay tuned. Read More 
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Puritan Dame Schools

More Questions—Julie asked: Did Puritan towns have schools like Dame Beaman’s?
Yes, Schools such as Dame Beaman’s taught boys and girls until the age of ten. Towns with 50 or more homes were required to have schools. After this the boys could continue in a school with a headmaster. Dame Beaman was a real person and her legend lives on in the literature of Deerfield. She and her husband were taken captive and eventually returned to New England. Initially she taught from her home on the North end of town but later, as reflected in the story, a new school building was built with quarters for her school as well as separate quarters for the older boys’ school. It would have been common for some older girls to assist her. Read More 
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Deerfield Taverns

More Questions:
Diane asked: I finished the Fearful Passage North. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, wasn't ready for it to end. Could actually pick it up again and re-read. Question for you: Did the Puritan towns really have taverns?

Yes, taverns were generally in town close to the town square or commons. In fall 1674 Moses Crafts was given license to keep an ordinary, term for tavern at Deerfield. Beer wine and liquor were served and were generally safer than water. Brothels also existed, but generally outside of the town. Prostitution and drunkenness were looked unfavorably upon. Crafts appears to be gone by 1704 and Potter and his playful sister are two of the few fictitious characters in Fearful Passage North. Read More 
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Book Fair

I will be at the St. Clair County Book Fair this Sat, Apr. 25 from 10:00AM to 4:00 PM: 210 McMorran Blvd, Port Huron, MI 810-987-7323
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Questions: Shakespeare

Stacy asked: Was Lizzie's mother really related to Shakespeare?

Yes, Sarah Webb-Price’s father, Sir Alexander Webb, came to New England to avoid the political unrest in the kingdom about 1630. He was quite wealthy and sold his holdings before departing with four sons and one grandson who would become Sarah’s father. Sir Alexander’s mother was Margaret Arden whose sister, Mary, was mother of William Shakespeare. William and Alexander likely both attended the King Edward VI School in Stratford upon Avon. Even though books of plays were not common in this era, it is certainly possible Sir Alexander had one—or more. Sir Alexander settled in Connecticut and died soon after, leaving his riches to his sons. Sarah’s grandfather, Richard, lived in Connecticut and died when Sarah was a girl, so it is likely that she had some memory of him and his wealth.
Her father, John Webb, inherited little and worked at various trades, ending as an innkeeper in Massachusetts. The possible possession of a book was too good to leave out of the story, and given Lizzie’s attraction to an unusual suitor (Andrew) and the tragic death, made Romeo and Juliet a natural. The book also allowed developing her relationship with Dame Beaman and Andrew. I reread the play more than once while writing the story, and with the opening scene of the chorus, “the fearful passage of their death-mark’d love…” a title was born. Read More 
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Questions: Deerfield Raid date

Carrie asks in the Guest Book, "I saw somewhere the date of the Deerfield raid as February 29, 1703/04. What does that mean?"

Well, Carrie, as in much western history, it involves Popes and Emperors and today is an excellent day to address this issue as it had to do with determining the date of Easter each year. The early western calendar, called Julian for the Emperor of Rome, was a lunar calendar. Here the New Year began March 25 and this was adhered to by England and a few other western nations until 1751.
Attempting to address where Easter would fall, many others including France adopted a solar calendar designed about 1582 during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII, hence Gregorian. Here the New Year began on January 01. As it took five centuries to reach a consensus, at the time of the Deerfield raid the English considered the year 1703, and the French 1704, hence February 29, 1703/04. Confused enough?

Oh, by the way, Easter comes each year on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. But everyone knows that. Read More 
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