A to Z – Whitehall Palace or How Many Bathrooms Does One Need?

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

W is for Whitehall Palace or How Many Bathrooms Does One Need?

 

 

 

2006_tud_whitehall_1In the 11th and 12th centuries, the center of the action in London was Westminster Palace. Since 1049, the king had lived there, and subsequently, government held their operations there. As you can imagine, the surrounding neighborhood became too expensive for any normal person to afford. So, in 1240, the Archbishop of York bought a more affordable piece of land a little further away and called it York Place. He built a pretty nice house on the 23-acre property. So much so, that King Edward I stayed there while Westminster was being rebuilt to accommodate his large entourage. It must have been a large and splendid house. The photo is a depiction of the property from the show Tutors.

Years later in the late 1400s, Cardinal Wolsey owned the property (confiscated and passed down through a couple wars), and he expanded and expanded and expanded it. For some reason, this guy wanted bigger and bigger. In 1530, Wolsey got on the wrong side of the king, and King Henry VIII removed Wolsey from power and confiscated his house. It is suspected that Henry’s girlfriend Anne Boleyn wanted the house for herself and had something to do with Wolsey’s downfall. Neither here nor there, Henry married Anne Boleyn in 1533, and the two lovebirds moved into the house. Due to the building stones being white, they renamed it Whitehall.

anne and henry monogramHenry expanded the house even larger than York and Wolsey had done, adding a bowling green, indoor tennis courts, and a full tiltyard for jousting. After dumping beheading Anne, Henry married Jane Seymour in the house in 1536. Masons spent the next few years removing Anne’s monogram from all the woodwork and stonework as embroiderers replaced it in the needlework. A decade and much drama later, Henry died within the walls of the great estate in January of 1547. By then, the palace had grown to 1500 rooms, overtaking the size of the Vatican.

Following Henry’s death, the palace passed from his children Mary to Elizabeth, to their cousin James, who in 1622 constructed the Banqueting House, and finally to Charles I who was beheaded on the lawn of the Banqueting House by Parliament during the English civil war, and to his son Charles II, who also died in the house, but of a stroke.

This brings us to 1691. On April 10, a fire broke out and destroyed much of the living quarters and damaged much of the rest. In 1698, a second fire took what remained. Sadly, it is said that Michelangelo’s Cupid, a mural of Henry VIII, and a marble sculpture of Charles I was also lost in the fire.

The only thing left today is the Banqueting House.

A to Z – Valentine’s Day or Slap Me with a Goat Hide

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

V is for Valentine’s Day or Slap Me with a Goat Hide

 

 

 

 

heartAs with most holidays, Valentine’s Day is nested in pagan roots. February 15 was the pagan festival of Lupercalia. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci (an order of Roman priests) would gather at a sacred cave and sacrifice a goat which represented fertility. They would then cut the goat’s hide into strips and dip the strips in blood. (Romantic so far, no?) They would then march through the town, gently slapping women with the goat hide. Instead of beating the priests to death with rocks, women actually welcomed the slap of the hide, believing it would make them more fertile in the coming year.

Fortunately for us girls, in the 5th century Pope Gelasius replaced the pagan goat-hide-slapping celebration with a Christian holiday – St. Valentine’s Day. It was still a celebration of love and fertility, but without all that goat nonsense. I’m sure the goats were happy about it, too.

Today, 150 million Valentine’s cards are exchanged every year, and not one goat hide in the bunch!

goat

 

 

 

A to Z – United Daughters of the Confederacy

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

U is for United Daughters of the Confederacy

 

 

 

 

udc2The UDC, without the name, began before the civil war as quilting circles and hospital associations that aided the soldiers throughout the war. After the war, they continued their work in cemeteries, veteran’s homes, and other such organizations.

Today’s UDC was officially founded in Nashville, TN in 1894 by Caroline Goodlett and Lucian Raines and grew out of the original sewing circles.

The organization finally incorporated in 1919, and its bylaws state its objectives are historical, benevolent, educational, memorial and patriotic. Its goals are as follows:

  1. To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States.
  2. To protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.
  3. To collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of the War Between the States.
  4. To record the part taken by Southern women in patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle and in untiring efforts after the War during the reconstruction of the South.
  5. To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivors and toward those dependent upon them.
  6. To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing proper education.
  7. To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization.

 

culpepper Joel B CulpepperI joined the UDC in Meridian, MS under the service of my great, great grandfather, Joel Bluett Culpepper (photo). He is only one of eight (that I’m aware of) of my grandfathers who served. The others were 2nd great William Henry Blanks III, 3rd great Rice Benjamin Carpenter, 3rd great Rev. Joseph M Culpepper, 3rd great William Thomas Fisher, 3rd great William Lafayette Brown Jr, 3rd great George Washington Spencer, 3rd great James C Howington. I am very proud of the Confederate blood that runs through my veins and always will be.

 

A to Z – Tattoos

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

T is for Tattoos.

 

 

 

 

tattooTattooing is widely practiced today, and some folks say it’s desecrating God’s work, but this blog is not an argument about their merit or lack of. It is about the history of tattoos. When and where did they start…and why?

The oldest discovered tattoo is found on the body of Otzi the Iceman and is dated between 3370 and 3310 BC.  Otzi’s frozen mummy was discovered in the Alps in 1991 and it is said that he died about age 45. He had 61 tattoos created from fireplace soot or ash. His tattoos may have been related to pain-relief treatments such as those used in acupuncture, for the radiological examination looked as if he suffered from knee and ankle problems as well as problems with his lower back.

India – tattoos were used as cultural symbols among tribes.

Egypt – tattoos were found on women and indicated their status. They were used for healing, religion, and as a form of punishment.

China – tattoos date back to 2100 BC and are possibly related to the art of acupuncture.

Japan – tattoos were used for spiritual and decorative purposes and date back to 10,000 BC.

Siberia – Mummies from 500 BC are tattooed.

Europe – Tattoos date back 40,000 years.

Greece and Rome – Tattooing was common among religious groups for a while but eventually was only used in Greece on slaves.

Persia – Tattooing is mentioned as far back as 550 BC.

The first documented professional tattoo artist in America was Martin Hildebrandt who arrived in Boston in 1846. He tattooed men on both sides of the Civil War 1861-1865. In the early 1800s, tattoos were painful (still are) and expensive (still are) and were a mark of wealth.

tattooNo matter what people say about tattoos, I find them fascinating. I have two tattoos (below) and hope to get a third someday. Mine are in commemoration of my ancestors, the first being the Culpepper family crest on my back honoring my mother’s family, and the second being the Choctaw Indian crest on my leg honoring my great, great grandmother and my Indian ancestors whose way of life was destroyed when the Culpepper part of the family moved to America. I also have Irish ancestors and hope someday to get a claddagh to honor them.

culpepper tat

howington tat

A to Z – Royalty. What’s in a Name?

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

R is for Royalty. What’s in a Name?

 

 

 

What's My Name- (1)Royals have no surnames. That’s right. Queen Elizabeth is Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth. Period. Her family’s name is Windsor, but she doesn’t use it. She doesn’t have to.

She’s married to Prince Philip. Period. He doesn’t use the Mountbatten part of his name.

Their son Prince Charles was born His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George. His father’s name of Mountbatten is not included. Not even the formal Mountbatten-Windsor is used.

Isn’t that strange?

It gets weirder.

If a Royal does need a last name for anything, he or she uses the title of their parents. Prince Charles’s father is Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, so Prince Charles used Charles Edinburgh. Prince Charles is the Prince of Wales, so  his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, use the last name of Wales when at work with the Royal Air Force.

Prince William’s son, George, can use Prince William’s title of Duke of Cambridge and be known in the real world as George Cambridge. Later, if Prince Charles becomes king and the title of Prince of Wales passes to Prince William, George can change his every-day name to George Wales. I guess that’s better than Mountbatten.

And, a very happy birthday to the Queen – 90 years old today – April 21st.

birthday

A to Z – Quilting

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

Q is for Quilting

 

 

 

 

Photographs for the book "Teach Yourself Visually: Quilting" by Sonja Hakala. (Photo by Geoff Hansen)

(Photo by Geoff Hansen)

Most people think of quilting as making a bed cover, but it’s so much more. Quilting is a sandwich – a top layer of cloth, a layer of padding, and a bottom layer of cloth. It can be as thick and as intricate as one wishes.

Quilting dates back to ancient Egypt. As far back as the 12th century, quilting was used to make garments worn under armor. One of the earliest surviving quilts was made in Sicily around 1360. Pieces of it are in museums in London and Florence.

Quilting in America began in the 18th century. Women spun, weaved, and sewed clothing for their families. Quilts for beds were also made out of necessity. Until 1840, looms were not large enough to produce a piece of cloth that would cover a bed, so strips of cloth needed to be sewed together. Using the same cloth was known as ‘whole cloth’ quilts. Contrary to what many of us would think, quilts were not made of left-over scraps of cloth and old pieces of clothing. They were instead examples of the fine needlework of the quilter.

Once looms were large enough to produce large pieces of fabric and became common enough and cheap enough for the average person to afford, women didn’t have to spin and weave anymore. Readily made fabrics changed the look of quilts. They began to contain different fabrics and the ‘block’ quilt was born.

During the 1850s, Singer mass produced a sewing machine and made it affordable with payments. By 1870, most homes owned one. This was a huge time-saving tool that made clothing one’s family easier and afforded women more time to quilt.

The art of quilting was once an important part of a woman’s life, but over time, it has become mainly a hobby. The amount of time and materials that go into a quilt make it very expensive to produce, so most quilts are passed down through families.

vin du jour pinwheel quiltI love quilting, though I admit, I’m not very good at it. My grandmother was a professional seamstress, but I didn’t inherit that ‘fine needlework’ gene. Regardless, I enjoy it, and I’m currently working on the quilt pictured here. It is a Vin Du Jour pinwheel quilt, if you’d like to know. I got all the pieces cut out and you can come back in a couple million years and see the finished product. There are about 600 pieces in this darned quilt. If anyone out there has a smidgen of time to help me, that would be great!quilt pieces

 

A to Z – Phantom Time Hypothesis

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history. Or maybe about the future?

P is for Phantom Time Hypothesis

 

 

 

crooked clockFor people like me who live in genealogy, world history, and ancestry, time is everything. Recorded dates and world events bring my research into focus. What if I’m wrong? What if the recorded dates are not the real dates?

gregory13In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar. He designed the passage of time from the previously used Julian calendar. The Julian calendar was calculated by the moon’s cycles, and it is said that it ran ten minutes too slow every year. Pope Gregory’s mathematicians and astrologers figured that since the time the Julian calendar began in 45 BC, the world had lost roughly ten days. He decided the Julian calendar would end Oct 4, 1582 and the Gregorian calendar would begin Oct 15, 1582. That should fix everything.

The discrepancy began when scholars refigured the Julian calendar and came to the conclusion that the calendar didn’t started as Pope Gregory had said in 45 BC. It was started with the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Pope Gregory’s calculations were either mistaken or intentional. No one knows. But according to these scholars, the Gregorian calendar should have actually been 1282.

If this is accurate, we are living in 1716.

This isn’t a problem with our current time. We are simply using a measurement of intervals, and if we all agree to it, then it’s fine.

The problem comes when you look at events that take place prior to 1582. What if something is known to have happened in 700 AD? Was it really 400 AD? The Phantom Time Hypothesis states 644 AD to 911 AD never actually existed. Archaeological evidence of that time is scarce. Our only knowledge of that time is from historians. All scholars of the time were controlled by the Holy Roman Church. Church records are filled with discrepancies and many documents from that time are known to be forged. Why would anyone forge them? Was it the church? If the Gregorian calendar is wrong, what does that say for the people who lived and events that occurred between 644 and 911 AD. What about the Carolingian Dynasty and King Charlemagne? Did they exist before what we know from history books, or were they products of fiction like King Arthur?

romanesque-architecture-pisa-cathedralThe one thing I find interesting is that Romanesque architecture was big in Europe in the tenth century, like this photo of Piza Cathedral in Italy. Why would that be so when the Romans were long gone by the fifth century? Unless, of course, they weren’t. Dumb calendar.

A to Z – Okatibbee Creek

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

O is for Okatibbee Creek. I’ve written about Okatibbee Creek (pronounced oh-kuh-TIB-be) many times as it is the title of a book in my bibliography, but Okatibbee Creek was and is a real place with real people and real history. Here’s one of the stories.

 

 

Rodgers, Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter Jolly

She was just a name in my family tree. Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter Jolly. My third great grandmother. 1828-1898. I visited her grave at Bethel Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 2012, and my husband asked, “Now, who is this again?” We sat at the foot of her grave and I told him her story.

She lost her husband, Rice Carpenter, in the Civil War in 1862. How sad to lose the one you love, but hey, it’s war, people die. After he died, she remarried in 1864.

The 1870 census said she married William Jolly and was living with his children, her children, and three children they had together. It was a house-full! But at least their three children were proof they must have liked each other, right? That’s good. So, who was this William Jolly? I looked at his 1860 census. In 1860, he was living with his wife Harriet, their four children, and a woman named Nancy Carpenter who was 69 years of age.

Carpenter? Nancy Carpenter? The only Nancy Carpenter I know is Rice’s mother. Why was Mary Ann’s mother-in-law living with her future husband in 1860?? Were they neighbors? Was Nancy the cleaning lady? I clicked on Nancy Carpenter and saw her relationship to the “head of house” was listed as “mother-in-law.” She was William’s mother-in-law? What??

So, I went back and looked at Rice’s family, and sure enough, his sister Harriet was married to William. Rice died in the war 31 Dec 1862 and Harriet died a month later of typhoid on 30 Jan 1863. Their spouses, Mary Ann and William, brother-in-law/sister-in-law, married in 1864. Well of course they did. They had known each other for many years, hadn’t they?

The more I looked at the Rodgers and Carpenter families, the more I was amazed by the sheer number of family members they lost to war and typhoid. At the time of my research, I remember counting SEVENTEEN, but I’m sure there were many more I missed. I couldn’t wrap my head around that kind of heartache and quickly became impressed with Mary Ann’s strength. Not only was she raising her children alone before she married William, but her brother and sister-in-law died (within days of each other, also of typhoid) and she was raising their five kids. She owned a general store that was probably losing money and customers by the day. The Confederate dollar was shrinking with inflation. There were no men to harvest the farms. Food was short. Hope was shrinking. In October, her father died of typhoid, then her husband in December, in February her infant son died, followed by her mother a month later. How would you react if you lost two or three family members this year? You would probably need Prozac. How would you respond if you lost a dozen? I wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed. Seventeen in one year? I can’t even fathom that.

51-lUHhsD7L._UY250_This is our heritage. These are the strong women we come from. We are the living proof of their strength. We are the survivors. I dug deep down in my heart and soul to tell her story, a story she would be proud of. I wanted her to know that she didn’t endure all of that heartache in vain. I am here. I am her legacy. Her story has been written down to help us realize our own strength. We are the products of our ancestors fortitude and integrity. We are the children our grandmothers fought so hard for, and I want Mary Ann to be as proud of me as I am of her.

*********************************

Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day. Okatibbee Creek  was the bronze medal winner in literary fiction in the 2013 eLit Book Awards. It was also named as honorable mention in historical fiction at the 2013 Midwest Book Festival.

Lori’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A to Z – Nobel, Alfred B.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

N is for Nobel, Alfred B.

 

Most people recognize the name Alfred Nobel as the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, but who was this guy and why did he create the prize?

 

nobelAlfred Nobel was born in 1833 and was a brilliant and notable chemist and engineer. In 1867, he invented dynamite which was used not only to help with construction, but mainly to create weapons. He instantly became a multi-millionaire.

In 1888, his brother, Ludvig, died while in France. Alfred picked up the daily paper which contained the obituary. However, the obituary wasn’t about Ludvig Nobel. It contained Alfred’s own name. Alfred was alive and well, reading his own obituary. The title of the obituary read, “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” The title shook Alfred to the core. It went on to say that Alfred became rich by murdering people. Did he want to be remembered as the man who facilitated death?

To counter the negative image, he wrote a will stating that upon his death, his money was to be used to set up a trust to honor people who excelled in areas such as science, chemistry, literature, and most importantly, peace.

Although the prize was created only to save his reputation, his name became synonymous with peace.

Did I mention he was brilliant?

A to Z – Mount Vernon

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

M is for Mount Vernon.

 

 

 

map_small-3Mount Vernon was the home of our first president, George Washington. It sits in Fairfax County, Virginia on the banks of the Potomac River.

The first to own the property was George’s great-grandfather, John Washington, and John’s friend Nicholas Spencer in 1674. The land was successfully acquired due to Nicholas working for Thomas Colepepper (my cousin). Colepepper was the English lord who controlled that part of Virginia for the Crown and no one bought property without his permission.

When John Washington died in 1677, his son Lawrence inherited his father’s part of the land. In 1690, Lawrence agreed to divide the 5,000 acres with the heirs of Nicholas Spencer, who had died the year before.

When Lawrence died in 1698, he left the property to his daughter Mildred. She leased the property to her brother Augustine (George’s dad) and he later bought it from her. He built a house on the site between 1726 and 1735 and called it Little Hunting Creek. The original foundation of that home is still visible in the present house’s cellar.

In 1739, Augustine’s eldest son Lawrence (George’s brother), who was twenty one years of age now, began buying up neighboring tracts of land from the Spencer family, enlarging the farm. When their father died, Lawrence inherited the property and changed the name to Mount Vernon. Lawrence died in 1752 and left some of the estate to his widow and the rest to his brother, George. Once the widow remarried and eventually died in 1761, George became the sole owner of the property.

large_mount-vernon-bowling-greenIn 1758, George began renovations on the house, raising it to two and a half stories. In the 1770s, just before the Revolution, he added even more, the final expansion rendering a twenty-one-room home with an area of 11,028 square feet! A majority of the work was completed by slaves. You can tell he wanted the home to be symmetrical, but if you look at the center door, you will see how far off it is. That probably drove George nuts every time he pulled up in front of the house.

Following George’s death in 1799, the home was passed down through several generations, but the estate progressively declined.

In 1858, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association saw the historical importance of the home and saved it from ruin. They paid the residents over $5 million in today’s money to purchase the home and they restored it. It is still owned and maintained by them and is opened every day of the year for the viewing public. The remains of George and Martha Washington are still on the property in a crypt behind the house.

georgewashingtonburialtomb