July 18, 2010

An Independence Day Tea!

"Revolutionary Tea"
The Bee Balm at Corgyncombe Cottage gardens started to flower around the 4th of July.

The little basket's base is only 4 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches and is just right for two stacks of Eagle Cookies.
The receipt is the "Christmas Cookies" receipt from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".

"A Guide to the Wild Flowers", written by Alice Lounsberry and illustrated by Mrs. Ellis Rowan.
The well worn book was originally owned by Mrs. T. B. Shepherd.

There are many handwritten notes by previous owners on the pages of the book noting the date and location that they found the particular wild flower.
Although the book was written at a later date, the earliest date in the handwritten notations is an 1848 sighting.

Oswego-Tea, also called Bee Balm: "Found in Grandmother's garden, near her bee house when a child - West Martinsburg"

In Revolutionary times some folks would use Oswego Tea as an alternative to the imported tea taxed by the British.

Diane's 5th great grandfather Eliakim May's 1st cousin Colonel John May participated in the Boston Tea Party. John was colonel of the first, or Boston, reg't militia. 'Tis little wonder that Eliakim responded to the Lexington Alarm and marched for the relief of Boston. Eliakim's father Nehemiah, Col. John's father Eleazer, and Louisa May Alcott's great great grandfather Ebenezer were all brothers. They were sons of John and Prudence (Bridge) May.

Colonel John May married his 1st cousin's daughter Abigail (May) May. (Abigail's father was also 1st cousin to Eliakim May.) Abigail (May) May was an aunt to Abigail (May) Alcott..... Marmee in "Little Women".

Colonel John May and Abigail (May) May had a son which they named George Washington May.

Hummingbirds love Bee Balm.

Oswego Tea, also called Bee Balm, illustrated in "A Guide to the Wild Flowers".

A grand fireworks display, that Diane thinks resembles Bee Balm.

An engraving of the painting "Spirit of 76" by T. H. Matteson, found in "The American Gift Book".

In doing some family research The Corgyncombe Courant found some information about the painter T. H. Matteson and we think that he was a cousin of Diane and Sarah. T. H.'s mother was likely a 2nd cousin to Diane's 4th great grandfather Samuel Moulton. It appears that our common ancestors were from Brimfield, MA. T. H. could also be a cousin of Diane and Sarah through the Matteson family.

T. H. Matteson was famous for his patriotic scenes and he loved the Pilgrims.
Like Tasha Tudor he was truly an American painter and he preferred to wear clothing of a different time.
Even though he lived much lated than the Pilgrims, T. H. Matteson is said to have worn a steeple crowned hat like the Pilgrims.

Here is a link to: Information about T. H. Matteson and his painting

Diane has always loved the Pilgrim hats and someday hopes to make one!
Here is link to: A hat said to have belonged to Diane's 10th great grandmother Constance Hopkins

A poem from
"The American Gift Book":

Revolutionary Tea
by Seba Smith

There was an old lady lived over the sea,
And she was an Island Queen;
Her daughter lived off in a new countrie,
With an ocean of water between.

The old lady's pockets were full of gold,
But never contented was she;
So she called to her daughter to pay her a tax
Of "thrippence" a pound on her tea.

"Now, mother, dear mother," the daughter replied,
"I shan't do the thing that you ax;
I'm willing to pay a fair price for the tea,
But never the thrippeny tax.

"You shall," quoth the mother, and reddened with rage,
"For you're my own daughter, ye see;
And sure 'tis quite proper the daughter should pay
Her mother a tax on her tea."

And so the old lady her servants called up,
And pack'd off a budget of tea,
And, eager for thrippence a pound, she put in
Enough for a large familie.

She ordered her servants to bring home the tax,
Declaring her child should obey,
Or, old as she was, and almost woman-grown,
She'd half whip her life away.

The tea was conveyed to the daughter's door,
All down by the ocean side,
And the bouncing girl poured out every pound
In the dark and boiling tide.

And then she called out to the Island Queen,
"Oh, mother, dear mother," quoth she,
"Your tea you may have, when 'tis steeped enough,
But never a tax from me -
No, never a tax from me."


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