FC 063 Mysteries and Legends New England with Diana Ross McCain

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Diana Ross McCain, author of the book Mysteries and Legends New England: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained.

Bio

Mysteries and Legends New England with Diana Ross McCain on Fieldstone CommonDiana Ross McCain has written about Connecticut’s past for more than 25 years and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. A frequent contributor to Early American Life and Connecticut magazines, and The Hartford Courant, McCain wrote the award-winning publication To All on Equal Terms, the story of Connecticut’s official state heroine, Prudence Crandall. She is the head of the Research Center at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Book Summary

Have you ever heard of the Leather Man who wandered a 365 mile route through Connecticut and Eastern New York? Is there any truth to the tale of Captain Kidd’s treasure being buried in New England? What was the terrifying fear of 19th century Americans? Mysteries and Legends New England contains thirteen mind-boggling tales from Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. From vampires to an angel, a ghost rapper to a phantom ship, Mysteries and Legends of New England pulls back the curtain on some of the region’s most fascinating and compelling stories.

Book InfoMysteries and Legends New England with Diana Ross McCain on Fieldstone Common

Title: Mysteries and Legends New England: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained

Publisher: Globe Pequot Press (2009)

Trade paperback; 181 pages with bibliography, index and some BxW photos and illustrations.

Mysteries and Legends New England: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview we explore in-depth the story of the mysterious Leather Man who walked a 34 day route through 365 miles of Connecticut and Eastern New York and how he became a familiar face and a legend during his lifetime. We also look into the curious but very real fear that 19th century Americans had of being buried alive despite the fact that there were very few documented cases of it actually occurring. Are you familiar with the story of Captiain Kidd? He was more than just a pirate legend! He was a gentleman with a wife and daughter living in New York City until things went very, very wrong. And let’s not forget the discussion on concealed garments and shoes. The tradition, brought over from England, was that these items would be tucked into the walls of houses during construction to ward off evil spirits or to bring good luck.

At the end of the interview Diana tells us about the Connecticut Historical Society and the amazing historical and genealogical resources available there. She also mentions some of her other books which are listed here:

Prize Winners

Two copies of Mysteries and Legends New England were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the Globe Pequot Press.

The winners are:

  • Kim Myers of Oregon
  • Connie Pine of Texas

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the Globe Pequot Press for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 063)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 63 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

FC 062 Vampires: Food for the Dead with Michael Bell

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Michael Bell, author of the book Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires.

Bio

Michael E. Bell was awarded a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University at Bloomington, where his dissertation topic was African-American voodoo practices. He also has an M.A. Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires with Michael Bell on Fieldstone Commonin Folklore and Mythology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. For more than twenty-five years, Bell was the Consulting Folklorist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission in Providence, Rhode Island. He has also taught folklore, English, and anthropology at several colleges and universities. Dr. Bell has served as a scholar or consultant on numerous projects, particularly those concerned with folklore, folk art, oral history, and humanities programs for young adults. These projects have taken a variety of forms, including primary research and fieldwork, exhibits, publications, school curricula, workshops and lectures, festivals, performances, and media productions. In addition to many state and local grants, project funding sources have included the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Bell has completed a variety of publications and media productions on topics ranging from local legends and the magical black cat bone to the occupational folklife of the shell fishing industry of Narragansett Bay. He lives in Pawtuxet Village, near Providence, Rhode Island.

You can learn more about Michael at his website www.foodforthedeadcom.com. Also, check out his schedule of upcoming appearances.

Book Summary

For nineteenth-century New Englanders, “vampires” lurked behind tuberculosis. To try to rid their houses and communities from the scourge of the wasting disease, families sometimes relied on folk practices, including exhuming and consuming the bodies of the deceased. Author and folklorist Michael E. Bell spent twenty years pursuing stories of the vampire in New England. While writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Henry David Thoreau, and Amy Lowell drew on portions of these stories in their writings, Bell brings the actual practices to light for the first time. He shows that the belief in vampires was widespread, and, for some families, lasted well into the twentieth century. With humor, insight, and sympathy, he uncovers story upon story of dying men, women, and children who believed they were food for the dead.

Book InfoFood for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires with Michael Bell on Fieldstone Common

Title: Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (2011)

Trade paperback; 337 pages with appendices, end notes, works cited and some BxW photos.

Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Michael Bell and I explore the folk stories and folk beliefs behind the tragic epidemic of tuberculosis that lead some New Englanders to believe that they were being sickened and fed upon by the dead. New England vampirism differed greatly with traditional mass media images of Eastern European vampires.  In New England the practice arose from the fear and sense of helplessness in combating the spread of tuberculosis.  Yet it had the very real consequence of exhuming loved ones who had died from the disease and the ritual treatment of their bodies to put an end to further deaths of family members. Is vampirism in New England for real? Listen to the interview and decide for yourself!

Prize Winners

Two copies of Food for the Dead were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the Wesleyan University Press.

The winners are:

  • Kathy Hyde of California
  • Rice Jackson of Texas

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the Wesleyan University Press for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 062)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 62 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

FC 061 Hanging Ruth Blay with Carolyn Marvin

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Carolyn Marvin, author of the book Hanging Ruth Blay: An Eighteenth-Century New Hampshire Tragedy.

Bio

Carolyn Marvin currently works as a research librarian at the Portsmouth Athenaeum in Hanging Ruth Blay with Carolyn Marvin on Fieldstone CommonPortsmouth, New Hampshire. Previously, she worked in both public and school libraries. Ms. Marvin lives in a tiny ivy-covered brick house in Portsmouth with her granddaughter, three cats, Dante the Westie, and lots of fish.

Book Summary

On a cold December morning in 1768, thirty-one-year-old Ruth Blay approached the gallows erected for her execution. Standing on the high ground in the northwest corner of what is now Portsmouth’s old South Cemetery, she would have had a clear view across the pasture to the harbor and open sea. The eighteenth-century hanging of a schoolteacher for concealing the birth of a child out of wedlock has appeared in local legend over the last few centuries, but the full account of Ruth’s story has never been told. Drawing on over two years of investigative research, author Carolyn Marvin brings to light the dramatic details of Ruth’s life and the cruel injustice of colonial Portsmouth’s moral code. As Marvin uncovers the real flesh-and-blood woman who suffered the ultimate punishment, her readers come to understand Ruth as an individual and a woman of her time.

Hanging Ruth Blay with Carolyn Marvin on Fieldstone CommonBook Info

Title: Hanging Ruth Blay: An Eighteenth-Century New Hampshire Tragedy

Publisher: The History Press (2010)

Trade paperback; 125 pages with end notes, bibliography and some BxW photos and illustrations.

Hanging Ruth Blay: An Eighteenth-Century New Hampshire Tragedy is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview we explore the difficult situation of out of wedlock births and the legal and moral ramifications they had in society. Ruth Blay was ultimately hanged for concealing the birth of a bastard child though she was not convicted of infanticide. There are very fine lines drawn between what an 18th century woman is expected to do at the time of birth and what can land her in trouble with the courts. While we may never know why she behaved the way she did, we do have Ruth’s poignant confession where she is defiant and defending her innocence to the last.

Prize Winners

Two copies of Hanging Ruth Blay were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the the History Press.

The winners are:

  • Clare Gunning of New York
  • Annemare Taylor of Massachusetts

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the History Press for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 061)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 61 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

Researching Legends: Post Script with Jeremy D’Entremont

Post Script with Jeremy D'Entremont on Fieldstone Common

Jeremy D’Entremont

Recently, I interviewed maritime expert Jeremy D’Entremont about his book Ocean-Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend. (Listen to the interview here.) The book details the items most likely based in fact about Mary’s ocean birth, the pirates and the ghosts surrounding the story and reveals the embellishments based purely in fiction.

With this Post Script interview we dig a little deeper into the importance of researching legends and Jeremy provides advice for those getting started in this kind of research.

Post Script: Researching Legends with Jeremy D’Entremont

MPL: Why did you think it was important to document which aspects of Ocean-Born Mary were true and which were fiction?

JD: I love legends and myths, but I think it’s important to try to separate them from factual history when we can. When we’re unsure of the dividing line between truth and fiction, I think we need to clearly say so. Also, it can be fascinating to trace the development of a legend over time, observing how embellishment is repeated to the point that it becomes “truth.”

MPL: Can you take us through the process of how you narrowed down which pirate was the most likely fit for the Ocean-Born Mary story?

JD: I had no preconceived notions about this. I simply went by contemporary newspaper accounts that showed a Scottish ship being attacked by pirates in July 1720, and determined that the captain, called “Thomas Roberts” in the accounts at the time, was, in fact, Captain Bartholomew Roberts. The only other strong possibility, as far as I can determine, would be Montigny LaPalisse, a French pirate who was possibly in command of a ship sailing with Roberts. I haven’t found any evidence that places any other pirate captain off the northeast coast around that time.

MPL: If someone were going to research a legend to determine the truth of it, what advice would you give to help get them started?

JD: The important thing is to assemble all the evidence first, without any preconceptions. I think it’s very similar a crime investigator would work by gathering evidence without any preconceived notions about how it all fits together. Scour every possible source and see where it leads you. These days you can do much research online, but you also need to get out to historical societies, libraries, and other repositories of old newspapers, genealogical publications, etc. It’s amazing what you can do on your computer from home these days, but you still need to get out in the field.

MPL: Ocean-Born Mary is based on a legend that combines both fact and fiction. Ocean-born Mary with Jeremy D'Entremont on Fieldstone CommonIn your research on historic lighthouses have you found similar legends? If so, do they tend to fall more into the realm of fact or fiction?

JD: Yes, I have run into some similar legends involving lighthouses. Sometimes it’s virtually impossible to prove or disprove some of the stories that have been passed down, but that’s where critical thinking becomes important. An example is the famous ghost story of Seguin Island Lighthouse in Maine. The story as it’s usually told involves a keeper’s wife who played the same tune over and over on the piano until it drove her husband insane, and he supposedly took up an axe and killed his wife and himself. It seems to me that if this was a true story, someone would have produced a newspaper account or other proof of it by now, but nobody has. But can I say that it absolutely isn’t true?; No, I can’t. It may have some basis in fact.

MPL: Have you ever discovered a legend, perhaps related to a lighthouse, where the true story was more interesting than the fiction?

JD: Hmmm… I’m not sure about that. But I will say that some of the true stories of rescues of shipwreck victims near lighthouses are as dramatic as any fiction. An example is a famous rescue carried out in January 1885 by Marcus Hanna, keeper of the Two Lights Station at Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He waded out waist-deep into freezing water during a blizzard to get a rope to two desperate, shipwrecked sailors, and he was able to get them safely ashore. Some of these true stories are so amazing that you would probably disbelieve them if they occurred in a novel or movie.

Direct link to blog post: http://www.FieldstoneCommon.com/researching-legends-jeremy-dentremont

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Special Event: Family Legends Webinar on Fieldstone Common Extended

Fieldstone Common Extended is a new way for you to learn from the Fieldstone Common episodes. We explore how to apply what we read to our own research.

Free special webinar on Monday, 14 October 2013 at 12 noon EST.

This will be a 30 minute webinar followed by a Q&A session.

Fieldstone Common ExtendedFieldstone Common Extended is our first gathering to discuss how we can apply what we learn in history or genealogy books to our own research. In this first webinar we will draw on what we learned in Ocean-Born Mary by Jeremy D’Entremont.

We’ll talk about how to start researching our own family or local legends as well introducing Ulster Scots research.

PLEASE NOTE: You DO NOT have to read the book before participating in this webinar. However, you might enjoy listening to the podcast beforehand but it’s not required.

Come learn and come share!

Register Now

 

 

 

or register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1953885292825729537

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FC 060 Ocean-Born Mary with Jeremy D’Entremont

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Jeremy D’Entremont, author of the book Ocean-Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend.

Bio

Jeremy D’Entremont, author of Ocean-Born Mary, has been writing about and Ocean-Born Mary with Jeremy D'Entremont on Fieldstone Commonphotographing the lighthouses of New England since the mid-1980s. He’s the author of more than ten books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and other maritime subjects. He’s the historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation, founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and the webmaster of New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide which can be found at www.newenglandlighthouses.net. He is also the owner and tour operator for New England Lighthouse Tours. Jeremy lives in Portsmouth, NH.

Book Summary

Ocean-born Mary with Jeremy D'Entremont on Fieldstone CommonMeet Mary: ocean-born and named by an infamous pirate. Her birth saved a group of Scottish immigrants aboard a ship bound for New England in 1720. Halfway through the grueling voyage, pirates intercepted and captured the vessel. Upon hearing a baby’s cry, the pirate captain promised to spare the lives of all on board if the mother named her newborn Mary, possibly after his beloved mother. The ship arrived safely in Massachusetts, and Mary lived most of her long life in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Discover the house in Henniker, New Hampshire, that Mary is said to haunt and where a pirate purportedly stashed his treasure. Historian Jeremy D’Entremont separates the facts from the fantastic legends shrouding one of New England’s most enduring folk tales.

Book Info

Title: Ocean-Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend

Publisher: The History Press (2011)

Trade paperback; 126 pages with an appendix, bibliography and some BxW photos and illustrations.

Ocean-Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview we dive into the original tale of Ocean-born Mary and follow the development of the tale in published forms through the years starting in the 1800s. In the 20th century a gentleman named Gussie Roy lived in Robert Wallace’s home which he called the Ocean-born Mary house. Gussie was responsible for many of the embellishments to the story. We also explore some ghost stories as well as the likelihood of which real life pirate was the inspiration for the tale.

Heather Rojo, President of the Londonderry, New Hampshire Historical Society, has written a blog post (with photos) about Ocean-Born Mary to coincide with the release of this interview. Stop by her blog and see some artifacts from Ocean-Born Mary herself!

Prize Winners

Two copies of Ocean-Born Mary were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the the History Press.

The winners are:

  • Peg Cronk of California
  • Linda Denton of Kentucky

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the History Press for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 060)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 60 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the link above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

This Thursday: Ocean-Born Mary with Jeremy D’Entremont

Jeremy D’Entremont visits Fieldstone Common this Thursday, 10 October 2013, to discuss his book Ocean-Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend.

Ocean-Born Mary with Jeremy D'Entremont on Fieldstone Common

Leave a Voice Mail Question

Have a question for the author, Jeremy D’Entremont? Leave a voice from the website and it will be played during the interview and answered by the author.

Win a Copy of the Ocean-Born Mary!

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FC 059 Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is D. Brenton Simons, author of the book Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775.

Bio

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons on Fieldstone Common

D. Brenton Simons

D. Brenton Simons, is the President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts.

Currently piloting a groundbreaking $50 million capital campaign, Brenton Simons has led the Society to major growth in its national services and scope and to its pivotal role in the popular expansion of the genealogical field in America.

A staff member since 1993 and President and CEO since 2005, he has developed several of the organization’s most popular services, including its website, member magazine, and special publications imprint. In addition, he is the author of several books, including Boston Beheld: Antique Town and Country Views and Witches, Rakes, and Rogues, winner of the 2006 Award of Merit from the Association for State and Local History.

Most recently he produced, with Atlantic Media, a short film on the society, “A Farseeing Vision,” recipient of the 2011 Silver Telly Award. His genealogical articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The American Genealogist, The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine and elsewhere. A graduate of Boston University, he is a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the American Antiquarian Society, the Club of Odd Volumes, the Society of the Cincinnati, and is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Book Summary

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues with D. Brenton Simons on Fieldstone CommonBostonians of the colonial period may have been Puritans, but they were anything but pure. Witches, Rakes, and Rogues demonstrates that from the city’s founding until the Revolution, Boston’s narrow, twisting streets were crawling with witches, murderers, con men, swindlers, and blackguards.

By digging deep into the city’s records, Simons reveals a veritable rogues’ gallery, and even uncovering the truth – in “Murder by Arsenic: The Ill-fated Greenleaf Children” – about Boston’s first documented serial murder. Other true tales include “The Turbulent Passions of Ann Hibbins,” “The Diabolical Possession of Martha Robinson,” “The Extortion Plot Against Two Gentlemen of Substance,” and stories of bigamists, thieves, miscreants and black sheep.

Book Info

Title: Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630-1775

Publisher: The New England Historic Genealogical Society (2006)

Hardcover; 260 pages with end notes, bibliography, index and some BxW photos and illustrations.

Witches, Rakes, and Rogues is available for purchase from Amazon.com, The New England Historic Genealogical Society and other booksellers.

The Interview

Toward the beginning of the interview Brenton Simons read a passage describing the attempted murder of Cotton Mather by a granade thrown through a window.

Later on he read a first hand description by Samuel Breck of people being punished at the whipping post and the pillory and the horrible things the public threw at the criminal.

In the middle of the interview Brenton made reference to a book. It was Legal Executions in New England: A Comprehensive Reference, 1623-1960 by Daniel Allen Hearn.

Prize Winners

Two copies of Witches, Rakes, and Rogues were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The winners are:

  • Col. John Heavey Jr. of Kansas
  • Celia Lewis of British Columbia, Canada

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the New England Historic Genealogical Society for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 059)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 59 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the link above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.