A Unique Folk Art with a whisper to the past~

They truly ARE the voices in my head.







Monday, April 23, 2007

There Is Much to Learn~

For many of you, the movie, Last of the Mohicans was a love story set during the French Indian War. The scenery and music were memorable~ as was the insight to just how hard life and death was for our ancestors as they headed to the Revolutionary War. For me, it is history in my backyard. James Fenimore Cooper wrote several "Leather Stocking Tales" and "Last of the Mohicans" is just one... but alas, it is fiction set in history.. but good fiction neverless!

In this story, James pays homage to his own sister, Hannah and a woman named Jane McRae. These two characters are Alice and Cora, respectively. Jane McRae was a Loyalist who later became a Revolutionary War heroine. She was living in Fort Edward with her brother. On a visit to her friend, Sara MacNeil, both were captured by Indians, and Jane was murdered. Col. Munro had two sons in real life. He did not die in the historic August 10th Massacre as depicted in the story and the movie, but rather dies suddenly, perhaps from a heart attack about 3 months later and is buried in Albany NY.

Disheartened or intrigued??? I personally became intrigued! All of this has given me hours of research and learning about my backyard. This is some of our finest American Folklore! It has given me chance and purpose to explore. Last summer, I did make a visit to "Cooper's Cave". It's not far from here and located in Glens Falls NY. There was a plaque there stating that James Fenimore Cooper visited the same area, and it was suggested to him that the cave would make for a good story. How great to know that I walked the same footsteps as he... and now I know his inspiration!

The past couple years, I have visited Cooperstown, NY. Founded by James and also home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this is a great place to visit and spend some time. My personal love is for the Farmers Museum. It is here that I met fellow doll maker Cheryl and her daughter Emily. They make all sorts of dolls, and are inspired by this time period also. Emily is pure fascination with her handsewing abilities in dress making and her love of pirates as shown in her dolls. I hope to visit you both again this fall!!! The rest of the museum features the knowledge of trades and crafts people during the mid 1800's. One can watch and ask questions all along this area. We learned how wall paper was made, apothicaries , printing, hearthcooking and even how flax was readied to weave. They also have a Seneca Log home that captured my interest and my heart. You can peek at it by following the link, Harvest of History in the Eye Candy section of my blog.

In all of this, there is so much that I couldn't write everything. I am cautious to say what is real and what is not, there are so many versions and it can be difficult to sort the truth. This is because many things were not documented, but passed on by word of mouth. I hope I have inspired you to continue looking. Perhaps the story is fictional, but the history remains. There is alot to learn about the real people and events. They will take you on a marvelous journey if you let them. There is a summer of history ahead in the Glens Falls and Lake George, NY area. If you have never gone to a Revolutionary or Civil War Re-Enactment, it can be a powerful learning event for everyone. The encampments hold many knowledgeable men and woman who LOVE to share everything from the way people dressed and what they ate, to buttons that could be melted down to make a bullet if needed (the insignias on the buttons also hold a lesson to be learned!).

My daughters will tell you that summer outings were always outings that were learning events. It wasn't until they were learning American history that they were eager to share that they had seen a real Long House and talked with real Native Americans about how they lived. A trip to Plymouth and Cooperstown made more of an impact on them than any amusement park. This year we hope a trip to Sturbridge, MA and their Living Museum. It is my hope that it will continue to keep a spark within them and these things will be passed on to their children. Make history matter!

1 comment:

Christine said...

dear Stacey,

oh! I'm intrigued!

This is what my dreams are made of, learning all I can about Early American history. You're so very fortunate to live where it all began...I am very intrigued with The Last of the Mohicans. I've nearly worn my vhs tape out watching it over and over. I'm going to have visit our library & borrow Mr. Cooper's "Leather Stocking Tales" to read...
however, I'll probably continue to fantasize about Daniel Day-Lewis running through the forest in his buckskins....
anyway, I'm so very pleased to have found your Good Wife blog, I'm a loyal fan of Netty and reading your thoughts & feelings about your first time meeting her and seeing her home...how it felt to walk through that wonderful old door into another even more wonderful world...I,too, felt like I had come home when I came to visit.

Thank you again for such a wonderful find today...I found you through my daughter, Katie's blog-Home Keeping Hearts-
I admit that most times I feel a bit lost in this fast paced world and long to have lived in another century. Finding your blog has been a wonderful treat for me.

yours kindly,
Christine

ps.I'm very surprised, pleased and very honored to see that I'm on your list of eye candy.
Thank you!