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A Breath of Snow And Ashes Drums Of Autumn Edenton Revolutionary War Period

A Trip Back In Time To Colonial Edenton – Part 2

October 25, 2018
Post by Contributing Author, Susan Jackson

Chowan County Courthouse (Photo By Kip Shaw)

My previous article that focused on the beginnings of formal government in the Colonial town of Edenton, North Carolina, was an easy post to get together.  But Edenton is so rich in history, that honing in on one subject to write about next was kind of difficult for me. I wanted a piece that had some correlation with Claire Fraser–she is our heroine, after all!  I was looking through photos of Edenton, and I kept seeing the lovely Penelope Barker House at the Edenton waterfront, because it’s always a popular choice for photographers and visitors. Then it hit me: Penelope Barker was one of the strong–and probably feisty–women of the Revolutionary period in Edenton, just like Claire!  She may not have been a time-traveling healer who settled in the wilds of the North Carolina highlands, but she had a toughness that only a woman who had experienced hardship can have, and plenty of influence, because she was a woman of genteel birth.

We’ve all learned about the Boston Tea Party, and how Bostonians were sick and tired of taxation without representation, and how they dumped tea (not ice-cold, sweet tea, but the leaves that make tea!), into the Boston Harbor in protest to King George’s demands. Well, Penelope Paggett Barker, who, before the age of seventeen was an orphan, ran the family plantation while raising her dead sister’s children, was widowed twice before age 20 with boys of her own, and the richest woman in the state of North Carolina, (she married up, y’all), decided that she would organize a little tea rebellion of the Southern kind.

Penelope’s third husband, Thomas Barker, sailed to England in 1761 as an agent of the Crown for North Carolina, and because of her personal history, was confident that Penelope would be able to handle all of their affairs while he was away.  Thomas was stranded in London, thanks to the blockade of American ships, and was away for seventeen years! During his time abroad, the Revolution was in high gear, and soon, Patriot leaders were encouraging the Colonists to rebel against the ridiculous taxes when Parliament passed the “intolerable acts” after the Boston rebellion. Leaders encouraged the women of the Colonies to boycott cloth and tea from Britain, both of which were mainstays of life in the 18th century.

So, Penelope Barker took action.

In the Autumn of 1774, Mrs. Barker hopped into her carriage and hit the streets of Edenton, and convinced the women of the town that they should fully support the rebellion of the King’s taxes.  Someone drafted a resolution, which read, in part,

“We the ladyes of Edenton do hereby solemnly engage not to conform to ye pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea or that we, the aforesaid Ladyes, will not promote ye wear of any manufacture from England, until such time that all Acts which tend to enslave this our Native Country shall be repealed.”

About fifty women signed the resolution, and held their tea party at the home of Elizabeth King on October 25, 1774, enjoying tea made of mulberry leaves and other local herbs.

The first political women’s protest  in the country took place in little ol’ Edenton, North Carolina.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

Penelope reportedly sent a copy of the resolution to London, and it was published in newspapers  and magazines by early 1775. While the resolution was celebrated in the Colony, the British were shocked, and a popular cartoon was soon making the rounds that caricatured the women as promiscuous and not taking care of their children! (See a photo of the actual cartoon below.)  The leaders were appalled that women would dare protest so publicly, and one man, Loyalist Arthur Iredell, wrote to his brother, James in Edenton, and asked him if there was a Woman’s Congress in Edenton as well, and sarcastically said that those loyal to the British Crown had plenty to worry about with women fighting for the Patriots.  What a jerk.

Women of the Colonies were resourceful and found plenty of local substitutes for products they were not using from England. The local teas that Colonists continued to brew during this period of rebellion caught on, and there was even one blend that was dubbed “Liberty Tea,” reportedly made up of red rose petals, linden blossoms, elder, red clover, violets and goldenrod, according to the Women History Blog.

To commemorate these courageous women, there is a 250-pound bronze teapot statue atop a Revolutionary War Cannon near where Elizabeth King’s home once stood.  It was placed there in 1905 by farmer Frank Wood, who lived at Hayes Plantation where Penelope is buried. Wood commissioned foundry man Frank Baldwin of Watertown, Connecticut to create the memorial using a silver teapot once owned by a former North Carolina governor Samuel Johnston as a model.

I know the Edenton Tea Party time has passed by the time of the setting of ABOSAA, but  maybe, just maybe, Diana Gabaldon decides in BEES, (book nine, currently being written), that Claire needs to meet the remarkable Penelope Barker. These two remarkable women could get a lot accomplished if they were to put their heads together!  

So, while you’re enjoying a glass of ice cold tea–with sugar, if you’re Southern–think about the women who stood up for themselves and their hopes for independence, who foraged for leaves and flowers that they had to pick, dry, and store just to have a nice cup of tea.  Raise your glass to Penelope Barker, strong, courageous leader of Edenton, North Carolina.

The Penelope Barker House, which serves as the Welcome Center for Edenton and Chowan County, is located at the waterfront end of Broad Street in Edenton.  It’s a beautiful three-story house that used to sit a few blocks north when Penelope and her family lived in it. If you’re visiting Edenton, stop in at the Barker House, where you’ll learn about the Historic Walking Tour, and other historic facts and places about the town.  For hours and directions, visit http://ehcnc.org/places-of-interest/the-barker-house/ .  For even more information, check out these links: Visit Edenton and Historic Edenton. 

Have you ever visited Edenton or heard of Penelope Barker, the Edenton Tea Party and their place in Revolutionary War history?  What about Penelope reminds you of Claire?

Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan.  Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music.  She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and, among other articles, has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up? 
Drums Of Autumn Edenton

A Trip Back In Time To Colonial Edenton ~ Part One

July 17, 2018
Post by Contributing Author, Susan Jackson

Chowan County Courthouse (Photo By Kip Shaw)

Edenton, North Carolina. This town conjures up many images in my mind, including ones of original colonial architecture, old cemeteries, Christmas candlelight tours, the Annual Pilgrimage of Historic Sites and one of the South’s prettiest towns. Situated in the northeastern part of the state on the Albemarle Sound and Chowan River and located in Chowan County (the former and the latter are named for the Chowan Indians), Edenton is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, with 342 contributing buildings, 4 contributing sites, and 3 contributing structures.

Outlander readers are first introduced to Edenton in Drums of Autumn. Jamie & Claire have arrived in Wilmington and have been invited to attend a dinner party with Governor Tryon at the home of a Mr. Lillington. A young man, a “dandy” as Claire notes and his somewhat snarky sister are in attendance at the dinner. The man’s name is Phillip Wylie, a wealthy landowner from Edenton. Edenton’s history, however, goes back much further than the 18th century in which Claire finds herself so let’s do a little time traveling.

Settlers in the northern areas of the New World began to feel crowded, and started venturing south. It wasn’t easy to travel south past coastal Virginia because of the Dismal Swamp. (Yes, that would be the same Dismal Swamp where Young Ian and William find themselves in An Echo In The Bone). Not to be deterred, however, these determined early settlers were able to find a way to get to the area which is now Edenton by way of the Chowan & Roanoke Rivers and the Albemarle Sound plus the many tributaries and creeks which surround it. This was a wild territory but offered abundant food sources and fertile land for farming.

The earliest knowledge of settlers near the Chowan River is in the 1650’s. These people had to be pretty scrappy to live in this area – keeping peace with the native people, battling the abundant “muskeetoes,” withstanding hurricanes, and having to work themselves into the ground just to live. Visiting ministers noted that women dressed like “ladies,” but would man a boat barefooted, or carry a gun into the woods and bring home supper! (This was no Little House on the Prairie, y’all!) It was so sparsely populated, that people lived by their own rules, and some historians believe it was comparable to the Wild West of television. Someone, somewhere needed to take control of these unruly folks, keep the peace, and make some money off this rich and “goodly” land.

Enter King Charles II, great uncle to the Bonnie Prince. (Mark me, you can always count on a Stuart.)

King Charles II

In 1653, he issued a land grant to eight men, who he called the Lords Proprietors, for this newly formed tract of land named “Carolina” in honor of King Charles I. These men were:

1. John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton
2. Sir William Berkley (Poor guy came up shy in the title department)
3. Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet
4. John Colleton, 1st Baronet
5. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
6. William Berkeley, 1st Earl of Craven
7. Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
8. George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle

The Eight Lord Proprietors

Handsome devils, they, these Lords Proprietors were appointed not only to try to govern the lawless people there, but to make money from the sale of land that settlers from the north so badly wanted to live on. With titles such as Lord, Sir, Duke & Earl, it is easy to assume these men were already well off, but can one ever have enough money? And so, the Albemarle region, which included the area which is now Edenton, was created and the settlers came.

It took some time and money to get the people and land a little more organized. In 1712, present-day Edenton was named “ye towne on Queen Anne’s Creek,” and leaders put forth a motion to build a courthouse. The governing body would normally meet in plantation homes, but this was getting difficult, and they needed a home base. The stick frame courthouse was built, however, the Towne had little other proof they were “civilized”, except for half acre lots in the town around the courthouse. When Governor Charles Eden died in 1722, leaders decided to officially incorporate the town, and they called it Edenton, in honor of the deceased governor. The growing town became the capital for the North Carolina province from its incorporation to 1743.

The original courthouse was soon replaced by two more buildings. Apparently, the town board wasn’t happy with the location, or perhaps, the architecture – whoever knows? – and in 1767 (this would be the same year Jamie, Claire & clan came to North Carolina), replaced it with the simple but beautiful brick and mortar Georgian-style building we can see today.

Historic Chowan County Courthouse

Now is a perfect time to visit Edenton, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the South’s Prettiest Towns in 2008. They have a walking tour, as well as a trolley to hop on and tour the town. If you want to see original Colonial architecture and some of the most beautiful historic homes in the United States, Edenton is the place to go and spend a day, a weekend or even longer!

Would you be willing to step back in time to the beginnings of Edenton? Also, if you’ve visited Edenton, tell us about it in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Wait! Maybe you’ve never visited Historic Edenton but would you like to? Check out these links for more information on where to stay plus what to see and do:  Visit Edenton and Historic Edenton.

Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan.  Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music.  She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up? 
Drums Of Autumn Edenton Outlander North Carolina Scottish Immigration Season 4

Backward, Forward and A Giveaway!

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year to you and yours! I pray that you all will have a happy, blessed 2018! For me, every new year comes with hopes for a year a little better than the last, but mostly, for good health and happiness for my family and my friends (that includes you!) and myself. It’s also a time to reflect on the happenings of the last year. The good and the bad, the sad and the happy moments, the things we might would change if we could and the things we wouldn’t change for the world. One of the things I wouldn’t change for the world is starting this blog and the companion Facebook group.  I have met so many wonderful friends who share my love and obsession for Outlander! (It’s nice to know there are other Outlander crazies out there who get it. Wink, wink.)  Of course, there have been some challenges as they come with every new venture but the challenges have paled in comparison to the blessings of you all allowing me a few moments of your lives to read the stuff I write – some of it being downright silly! Yet, you have stuck with me and I so appreciate that. The blog went live on August 5 with my first post and the Facebook group was created two days later. We now have 669 wonderful members in the group…and growing almost daily! I am completely overwhelmed and humbled! It has been an honor to make your acquaintance!

Just as no man is an island, certainly no woman is either and none of this could have happened without the encouragement and support of some very special people. First, my husband. He got dragged into my Outlander obsession and although he doesn’t completely understand it, he does completely support what I’m trying to do.  He even re-watches episodes with me and asks some pretty good questions from a strictly show watcher standpoint – he doesn’t read the books. He’s my Jamie and I so appreciate his love and support. Also, I have received a lot of encouragement and helpful advice from my good friend and group administrator, Susan Holmes Jackson.  Susan has even written a couple of blog posts for me and has been by my side in the group since the beginning.  What a blessing she has been!  Susan also makes Outlander jewelry as well as other beautiful items (I know because I have some of her pieces). You can find her jewelry on Facebook here.  Another big thank you goes to another administrator, Traci Wood Thompson, who has also contributed a blog post and has another one completed and waiting in the wings to be published very soon. More on that in just a bit. I also want to thank my other two administrators who have helped me keep things running smoothly in the group, Blair Beard and Nancy Roach (a/k/a The White Sow). You can find The White Sow on Facebook here or on Twitter @WhiteSow1.  All in all, Outlander North Carolina is an ongoing team effort and I am so thankful for my team! Lastly, but certainly not least, I couldn’t have done this without all of you who are reading this post right now, those of you who have subscribed to my blog, commented on and shared my silly posts, and joined and contributed to the Facebook group! You are what makes the wheel go round and I appreciate each and every one of you.

So, now that 2018 is here, what can you expect and look forward to from Outlander North Carolina in this New Year? Well, here are few things you can keep an eye out for:

  • Season 4! Need I say more! If you are a book reader, you know Claire & Jamie make their way to North Carolina! Because of that, it’s going to be an exciting year for us here at Outlander North Carolina! There will be much to discuss as filming progresses, the premiere draws nearer and as the new season begins. I can’t wait to have The Frasers as neighbors! I’ve been waiting for them for a long, long time!
  • Group Gatherings! Yay!!! We are hoping to have some gatherings throughout the state. If you don’t live in North Carolina but plan to visit, we’d love to meet you and plan a meet up around your visit. If you already live here or even if you don’t, we hope to plan gatherings in some key Outlander North Carolina locations – Wilmington, Edenton, New Bern, Hillsborough, Old Salem, Boone/Blowing Rock (a/k/a The Ridge) and perhaps, Fayetteville (a/k/a Cross Creek).
  • A new series by Traci Thompson which will delve into the topic of Scottish Immigration to North Carolina which should be very informative for all of us history buffs and Outlander lovers.
  • A new series by Susan Jackson on the Outlander North Carolina location of Edenton. You’ll recall Edenton from Drums of Autumn and subsequent books.  This should be a very interesting look inside the colonial Edenton of Jamie & Claire’s time.
  • More Guest Posts! You may even hear from The White Sow herself!
  • An Outlander North Carolina Travel Guide. We’ll be working on a travel guide so you can visit all the Outlander locations plus some in North Carolina. This will be offered as a free printable to group members and those who subscribe to the blog!
  • An Outlander North Carolina T-Shirt Design Contest. We’ve got to have an awesome T-shirt and we’re going to need your help to design it!
  • A Listing of Outlander Events and Appearances for 2018. Conferences, charity fundraisers, and gatherings – anywhere Outlander is celebrated or appearances are made by the cast and show runners, we will try out best to list them all.
  • A Scotland Travel Forum. I want to go to Scotland SO much and I know many others who want to also. Since some of you have already been, we’d love to tap into that knowledge bank and have a place where questions can be asked and answered plus where important Scotland travel information can be shared.
  • More Giveaways! Yes, stay on the lookout for more of these throughout the year. We’ve had a lot of fun with them so far. In fact, keep reading below for a chance to win in our newest giveaway!
  • Any number of things that just randomly pop into our brains!

Whew! I’m tired already just thinking about all of this but very excited too! Of course, there will be a roll out so don’t expect everything all at once. Patience, Grasshoppers! These things do take time.  Also, in order not to miss anything, you’ll want to make sure you are a member of the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group (not to be confused with NC Outlander Fans which only accepts members who live or have lived in NC.)  Hop on over now to make sure you’re a member of the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group since announcements will more than likely be shared there first. Here’s the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/outlandernorthcarolina/ If you’re not a member, we’d love to have you join in the craziness!

A Happy New Year Giveaway

As I mentioned above, we’re having a giveaway right now to celebrate the New Year and all the good things we hope happen here at Outlander North Carolina in 2018! Facebook group member, Jennifer Pittman (no relation), who has her very own jewelry design business, has graciously contributed this gorgeous bracelet which will be given away to one lucky person.

For more of Jennifer’s designs, you can find her on Facebook at JenuineDesignsbyJP https://www.facebook.com/JenuineDesignsbyJP/

Now, to enter for a chance to win, you must leave a comment to this post. One winner will be randomly selected from everyone who comments. What should you comment about? Well, tell me what you’d like to see on Outlander North Carolina. Do you have an idea that I haven’t mentioned? Would you like to write a guest post?  Would you like to contribute towards a giveaway? Would you like to help organize some events and gatherings for the group? What are you most looking forward to in 2018?  How can we make Outlander North Carolina better? Want to simply say hello? See, there’s plenty to say so just say it! Je Suis Prest! Are you? Get to it then and good luck!!! And as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy New Year Giveaway Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY AND A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.  In order to enter for a chance to win the Sassenach bracelet by Jenuine Designs by JP, you MUST comment on this post. One comment and one entry per person. More than one comment by the same person will be automatically disregarded as an entry. This giveaway begins on Monday, January 1, 2018, at 12:15 PM EST and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, January 4, 2018.  The winner will be announced on the blog and on the Facebook group.  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter and must be a resident of the United States. (Apologies to our international readers. Giveaway laws vary widely in different countries and giveaways are totally prohibited in some.) Selection of the winner will be made by random drawing from qualifying entries within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway. Prize will be mailed directly to the winner by Jenuine Designs by JP. Questions regarding the giveaway can be directed to outlandernorthcarolina@gmail.com.

Drums Of Autumn Edenton Fraser's Ridge

Jamie’s Book “The Natural History of North Carolina”

December 28, 2017

Christmas is over! All the scurrying and preparations are over and I can now re-focus on all things Outlander! Yay! I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful holiday! I certainly did! I ate too much and now need my stretchy pants! The first of the year will bring many new things for the blog plus a diet for me.  Fun on the former; not so much fun on the latter!  However, I refuse to think about diet until the first of the year so, for now, let’s jump back to the subject of this post.

I get daily emails from “This Day in North Carolina History”. This morning’s email included an article about explorer John Lawson who on December 28, 1700, began his journey to the backcountry of North Carolina.  He started out from Charleston, South Carolina with five Englishmen and several Indian guides and crossed over into what is now North Carolina (near the present-day Charlotte area) in late January, 1701.  As he traveled through the Carolina backcountry, he journaled and recorded his observations in what became his book, “A New Voyage to Carolina“, which was published in 1709.  It is also known by the titles of “The History of Carolina” and “Lawson’s History of Carolina“.

The email made me think about the book Jamie had with him and referred to in Drums of Autumn but I couldn’t remember the specifics. Since inquiring minds have to know, I pulled out my trusty Kindle and searched “History of Carolina”, remembering vaguely that Jamie had told Claire the name of the book he was reading. Sure enough, the search garnered three results but it wasn’t at all what I expected – which sent me on another research expedition. Here are my findings.

The book mentioned in Drums of Autumn by Jamie is “The Natural History of North Carolina” and the author named in the book is Bricknell.

He held a book in his hand, thumb between the pages to hold his place, and now bent his head to consult the volume.

“I believe it is an alligator. They dine upon carrion, it says here, and willna eat fresh meat. When they take a man or a sheep, they pull the victim beneath the water to drown it, but then drag it to their den below ground and leave it there until it has rotted enough to suit their fancy. Of course,” he added, with a bleak glance at the bank, “they’re sometimes fortunate enough to find a meal prepared.”

The figure on the stake seemed to tremble briefly, as something bumped it from below, and Ian made a small choking noise beside me.

“Where did you get that book?” I asked, not taking my eyes off the stake. The top of the wooden pole was vibrating, as though something under the waves was worrying at it. Then the pole was still, and the V-shaped wake could be seen again, traveling back toward the riverbank. I turned away before it could emerge.

Jamie handed me the book, his eyes still fixed on the black mudflat and its cloud of screeching birds.

“The Governor gave it to me. He said he thought it might be of interest on our journey.”

I glanced down at the book. Bound in plain buckram, the title was stamped on the spine in gold leaf—The Natural History of North Carolina.

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 8, Diana Gabaldon)


At the moment, he possessed one book—The Natural History of North Carolina, published 1733, brought along as guide and reference.

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 19, Diana Gabaldon)


“Mmphm.” Jamie reached out a hand and patted absently around on the table, searching for the bread plate. His attention was wholly focused on the book he was reading, Bricknell’s Natural History of North Carolina. “Here it is,” he said. “I knew I’d seen a bit about rattlesnakes.” Locating the bread by feel, he took a piece and used it to scoop a healthy portion of egg into his mouth. Having engulfed this, he read aloud, holding the book in one hand while groping over the tabletop with the other.

“ ‘The Indians frequently pull out the snakes’ Teeth, so that they never afterwards can do any Mischief by biting; this may be easily done, by tying a bit of red Wollen Cloth to the upper end of a long hollow Cane, and so provoking the Rattle-Snake to bite, and suddenly pulling it away from him, by which means the Teeth stick fast in the Cloath, which are plainly to be seen by those present.’ ”

(Drums of Autumn, Chapter 25, Diana Gabaldon)

Well, that’s quite odd I said to myself.  Maybe there were two explorers who wrote two similar books. We all know Diana does her research! So, I googled Bricknell’s “The Natural History of North Carolina” and found a book by that title by one John Brickell, M.D. who was a native of Ireland. He explored and lived in North Carolina beginning in 1724 through at least 1731 and practiced medicine in Edenton, North Carolina (another Outlander location) from about 1730 to 1731. His book was published in Dublin in 1737 after his return to Ireland.

So, you say, what’s the big deal with John Brickell? Well, it is widely acknowledged by most history buffs that close to 85 percent of his book “The Natural History of North Carolina” was plagiarized from John Lawson’s “A New Voyage to Carolina”.  In fact, whole sections of Lawson’s book were lifted out and copied word for word by Brickell.  So, if Diana’s Bricknell is history’s own real-life Brickell, the words Jamie was reading and the information he was gleaning were actually from John Lawson who started his exploration of the North Carolina backcountry exactly 317 years ago today!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick lesson from Today in Outlander North Carolina history. What do you think? Could the real life Brickell be the inspiration for Diana’s Bricknell? I vote yes!

For more information on John Lawson and John Brickell, click on the links below and, as always, thank you for reading Outlander North Carolina!