The Second of July’s Importance

This year, July 4th, which falls on a Monday, and will be celebrated as America’s Independence Day around the country. Americans remember that date, in 1776, as the day that John Hancock, as president of the Second Continental Congress, put quill to ink and then parchment, to affix his signature in a bold stroke at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly, only one other person signed their name to the document that day, secretary to the Second Continental Congress, Charles Thompson.

However, the important date to remember, is today, July 2. On this date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress will adopt Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee’s resolution to declare independence from Great Britain. This document, crafted by another Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, was originally brought up for debate in June. By June 28th, Jefferson, chosen by a sub-committee to write the declaration, had presented it to Congress assembled in Philadelphia for review.

Artist Charles E. A. Dumaresq’s rendition of the Second Continental Congress signing the Declaration of Independence

Continue reading “The Second of July’s Importance”

Remembering John and Abigail (part two)


Abigail StatuePart two of two

“Remember the ladies,” Abigail Adams wrote in a letter to her husband during his service in the Continental Congress. And those words are how we now most often remember her: “Remember the ladies.”

And John did. He pined for her. His long public career—in the Continental Congress, as a minister in Europe, as vice president, as president—kept them apart for long stretches. They spent ten of their fifty-four years of marriage separated by war, by sea, by duty.

So they wrote—some 1200 letters in all. “My dearest friend,” he addressed her, and he meant it.

The lively correspondence between John and Abigail illuminates not only a great American love story but also a great political partnership. Among the company of great Founders, Abigail was the one forced to stay at home—by social convention and family duty—but she refused to be forgotten. Continue reading “Remembering John and Abigail (part two)”

Remembering John and Abigail (part one)


AdamsStatueFacePart one of two

When Abigail Adams died in late October, 1818, her husband, John, brokenhearted, said, “I wish I could lie down beside her and die, too.”

Today, the two are entombed side by side, along with their son John Quincy and his wife, Louisa Catherine, in a well-lit, whitewashed crypt beneath the United First Parish Church in Quincy, Mass. I’ve come here to pay my respects to the former presidents and first ladies, but mostly I’m here to say thanks to John, and to remember him because he worried he’d be forgotten. Continue reading “Remembering John and Abigail (part one)”

ERW Weekender – Yorktown



Rev War Wednesday and Emerging Revolutionary War is pleased to welcome guest historian Kate Gruber. 

Let me guess– you are a Rev War Nerd who is the best friend of/dating/married to a Civil War Nut.

I recognize the symptoms. You have often thought that the third person in your relationship might just be Shelby Foote.  Hardtack is just not something you can get voluntarily excited about. The idea of blue and grey is not nearly as appealing as red and blue. You have been dragged to Gettysburg when you really wanted to check out Valley Forge.

Friends, you are not alone. I myself am a Nerd married to a Nut, and I am here to tell you that your problems might just be solved by spending some quality time in historic Yorktown, Virginia. Continue reading “ERW Weekender – Yorktown”

Committees of Correspondence = 18th Century Social Media?


Information. Communication. Solidarity. Linkage. Friendship. Point-of-view. Identity. Current Events.

These words describe reasons in the 20th century why people joined and continue to join social media platforms, especially Facebook.

Approximately 240 years before Facebook was launched in February 2004, the first major attempt at achieving all the proponents above was the job function of the various Committees of Correspondence established in the thirteen American Colonies. Continue reading “Committees of Correspondence = 18th Century Social Media?”