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The Medallion

The Medallion
Final question: Is the Medallion real?
This is the most common question I am asked. The Medallion provides a thread or fil conducteur, as the French would say, to all eight books of the Allards series as well as Fearful Passage North. I began blogging about the Allards series a few years ago. At the end of Book Five: The CITY IN THE WILDERNESS, I was sidetracked to my newer works, but now it is time to return to the Allards with Book Six: THE MEDALLION. So in short, stay tuned.
By the way, you can read the blogs on the earlier Allards series on my website: Go to Blog and scroll way down the left column past the photos to “tags” and find books 1-5 listed. Thanks for stopping by. Read More 
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Winter in Montreal

Winter in the city
Are winters really that bad in Montreal?
An interesting question on a 90 degree day in Port Huron.
Quebec winters are often worse but Montreal, as well as Vermont, can be bad. Lows of 5 degrees Fahrenheit are common as well as daily snowfalls as great as 45 cm. The average annual snow fall is 82.5 inches with the greatest recorded year 150 inches (almost 12 feet!)
The all-time low recorded temperature was -36 degrees Fahrenheit (Brrr). Read More 
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Fictional Characters

The Raid
More questions: If this is a true story, were all the characters real people?

It is a true story and almost everyone in the book is based on an actual person using their real name. Fictitious characters and those based on people whose names are unknown include Potter, the tavern owner, his sister Lenore, Moses Gunn, Willard Otis, Sister Marie-Angelique, Sister Marie-Clare, LeDuc and LeMieux.
There was a tavern in Deerfield and I only have the name of the first owner, Potter is my invention. His wayward sister, Lenore, is a fabrication who helped me develop the character of Robert Price. (I have had lots of questions about Robert and will deal them in a future blog). There was a shop/trading post as well as a Moses Gunn, but I don’t think he was in Deerfield at this time. The names of the two nuns are my invention although it is likely such people existed. Sister Marguerite Roi is real and did work with the Indian missions. Her mother and family, including her outrageous brother, Pierre, are real. I have used Pierre in two of the Allard books and portrayed him as a larger-than-life stereotypical voyager. He was possibly among the first men in Detroit before Cadillac, and did have an Indian wife. I have taken some liberties in developing his wonderful personality. He is ancestor to a number of Canadians and Americans and I hope they enjoy him as much as I do. Two historically unnamed Frenchmen accompanied Jacques de Noyon to Deerfield and were taken hostage to Montréal. I have given them the names LeDuc and LeMieux as well as their wonderful characters. Read More 
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Frontier Literacy

A reader asks: Were people, especially women, really literate this far into the frontier?

Not everyone was literate, but more than one might suppose. The Puritans required schools for towns with more than 40 families, and schools like Dame Beaman’s abounded. They taught boys and girls up to ten years of age in basic skills, reading (mostly the Bible) and some writing. At the age of ten, girls could continue to study at home or help with the elementary school as Lizzie and her friends did. Not all children attended but many did and some excelled. A wonderful example is the captive, Mary French, who returned to New England with her father while her sisters, Freedom and Martha, remained to become members of French-Canadian society. She is said to have written a poem to convince her siblings to abandon Catholic Canada and return to Puritan New England. It is a remarkable document for a young girl of 17. Read More 
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Captive Children

More questions about Indians and captive children: Did the captive children really want to stay with the Indians and not return home?

Actually the answer was frequently, yes. Many of the children stayed with the Indians in spite of family efforts, sometimes relentless, to redeem them. Most of these were with the Iroquois. The Algonquin were much more willing to return the children and women, usually for money. Young Samuel Price would be an example, but the Iroquois were not usually so inclined. In addition, the children with the Iroquois did not seem to want to leave—I suspect the truth is somewhere in between the will of the children and the will of the Natives. Perhaps the children preferred the Indian society to that of the Puritans. Mary Field, Mercy Carter, Abigail French and Hannah Hurst were among those who stayed and married Indian men. Some returned to visit Deerfield as adults but then returned to their villages. Reverend John Williams’ Daughter, Eunice, was sought after by the tireless efforts of her family and particularly her influential father, but she repeatedly refused to leave her adopted home and village. This is well chronicled in the excellent academic work, THE UNREDEEMED CAPTIVE, by John Demos, 1994.
In addition, several women and children chose to remain with the French. In addition to Elizabeth Price were Thankful Stebbins, Freedom French and Martha French who married the young stonemason, Jacques Roi. Their Grandson became the first Archbishop of Québec. Read More 
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Makya and Elizabeth

More Questions: Did Makya only want a wife? This seems odd.

Of the three cultures involved, the French wanted land for the fur trade and the English wanted land for the large number of people coming to the new world. But the wants of the Indians were more complex and multifaceted. And yes, Makya’s sole reason for joining the raid was a wife.

Both the Algonquin and Iroquois had interest in land particularly maintaining the land they had not yet lost to the Europeans. The Iroquois had a greater interest as their culture was agrarian and they traditionally remained on their land as contrasted with Algonquins who had a more mobile hunting and gathering society. Both groups sought captives to replace those lost to European wars and disease. Generally men were taken to be slaves or occasionally killed for revenge. Women and children were wanted to replace those vital lost and loved members of the tribes. Makya had lost his wife and child and was merely looking to replace them. Fortunately for Elizabeth, his gentle and charitable nature caused him to change his plan. More about children next week. Read More 
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Does Deerfield still exist?

Deerfield Inn today
More Fearful Passage questions: Does Deerfield still exist?

Not only does it exist, but the site of the original village is restored as Historic Deerfield and is well worth visiting for a day or more. Although it represents the village as it was some years after 1704 and the Fearful Passage North, it does have abundant material concerning the raid. One can stroll down the town road past the homes to the north meadow where Lizzie took her cows and met Andrew in the woods that still provide cover to the Deerfield River. Tours are available and there is a museum, library and book store. You can stay at the classic Deerfield Inn which I highly recommend. Their website, is very helpful. Read More 
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De Noyon or de Noyon

Carrie asked, “Why is Jacques de Noyon sometimes spelled with a small d and sometimes with a capital D?”

French last (family) names sometimes begin with an article or preposition. For instance, in LeDuc, “le” is the article “the”. In De Noyon, “De” is the preposition “from”. This can be spelled as one word, (Denoyon), or two, (De Noyon) as Jacques spells it. If it is spelled as two words, the “de” is lowercase IF it is preceded by a first name (Jacques de Noyon) or uppercase if the last name only is used (De Noyon). There are other exceptions, but this is confusing enough.
At any rate, De Noyon means “from Noyon” a town north and east of Paris, and LeDuc means “the Duke” and LeMieux, “the best.”
I will return to the question of Andrew the Indian next time. Read More 
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De Noyon and "THE INDIAN"

Andrew Stevens and Jacques de Noyon:
The unusual appearance of De Noyon along with two other Frenchmen and an Indian in 1702 is well accepted by historians. Andrew being the Indian was too good to be a coincidence. The time, place and circumstances fit perfectly with the plot of FEARFUL PASSAGE NORTH. The two Frenchmen are not named in the history books but did stay with De Noyon and were taken with De Noyon, his new wife Abigail and Lizzie on the raid. I took the liberty of naming them LeDuc and LeMieux. The Indian is not named but many scholars think it was Andrew. Interestingly, there is no mention of the Indian on the march to Montréal, so this fits with Andrew’s death in the raid.  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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