Tag Archives: Sam Houston

The Wisdom of John Adams and The American Revolution


John Adams was an amazing HBO production.  Extremely well done and historically right on. This is a fitting time of year to watch, or re-watch, it.

I’m an enormous  fan of John Adams, a brilliant man, and his brave wife Abigail. A remarkable woman whose wit and resourcefulness I much admire. What John and Abigail Adams and their children endured for the cause of freedom is unbelievable. And to think how taken for granted it is today.

I rented the John Adam series from Netflix, but it’s on sale at Amazon, so I just bought the DVD.  If you’re a fan of early American history,  this is for you.  But it ought to be viewed by every American to gain an appreciation of the sacrifices made by our founding fathers and mothers.  Sadly, many people don’t have a clue who has gone before them or what they accomplished, which is one reason I wrote Enemy of the King.  That and I’m passionate about the time period. Now, more than ever, Americans need to revisit their roots and remember what this country was meant to be. We need the wisdom of John Adams.

A link to the John Adams page at HBO.  Learn about the series and the history behind it.  For those of you who don’t know, Tom Hanks produced the series, and much of it was filmed in Virginia. In my own way, I feel like I’m still fighting for the Revolution, trying to keep the vital memories of it alive.

The theme song is glorious!

*For those of you interested in buying John AdamsAmazon has the DVD set.

Enemyoftheking_WebsiteMy historical romance novel set during the American Revolution, Enemy of the King, is at Amazon in print and Kindle. Also available from other online booksellers.

In writing Enemy of the King I spread beyond my Virginia home base and journeyed into North and South Carolina to research the Southern front of the Revolution. Enemy of the King is my version of The Patriot with ghostly flavors of Daphne Dumaurier’s Rebecca. Pleasant Grove, the home featured in my story, was drawn from Drayton Hall, the oldest preserved plantation in America open to the public, located outside the city of Charleston, SC. Part of the inspiration behind ‘Enemy’ came from research into my early American and British ancestors who fought on both sides of that sweeping conflict. One direct forebear five generations removed from me, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, fought in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC and kept a diary still used by historians.

Do You Remember The French and Indian War?


through-the-fire-cover-final

Anyone?  I do, almost as if I lived back then.  My early American ancestors did.

When I wrote historical romance novel Through the Fire I felt as though I’d been through the flames. My hero and heroine certainly had. This adventure romance with a strong The Last of the Mohicans flavor and a mystical weave was born in the fertile ground of my imagination, fed by years of research and a powerful draw to my colonial roots.

My fascination with stirring tales of the colonial frontier and Eastern Woodland Indians is an early and abiding one. My English/Scot-Irish ancestors were among the first settlers of the Shenandoah Valley and had family members killed and captured by the Indians. Some individuals returned and left intriguing accounts of their captivity, while others disappeared without a trace. On the Houston/Rowland side of the family, I have ties to Governor Sam Houston, President James Madison and Malcolm 1st of Scotland (that last one’s a stretch).

Family annals list early names like Beale, Jordan, Madison, and Hite (a German connection I discovered). A brief account of my grandmother (six times removed) Elizabeth Hite, says her sister Eleanor was taken captive and sister Susan killed, though not by which tribe. Their brother Jacob was killed by the Cherokee.

Another ancestor, Mary Moore, is the subject of a book entitled The Captives of Abb’s Valley. A Moffett forebear captured as a child became a boyhood companion of the revered Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. When young Moffett grew up, he married into the tribe and had a son, but that’s the subject of a different novel. A Pennsylvanian ancestor on the Churchman side of the family was invited by the Shawnee/Delaware to help negotiate a treaty with the English because he was Quaker and they were more sympathetic to the plight of the Indians.

Many accounts are left unrecorded, though. Historian Joseph Waddell says we know only a fraction of the drama that occurred during the Indian Wars. I invite you back to a time long forgotten by most.

*A blog visitor recently asked who lost the French and Indian war–the French and the Indians who sided with them.  Mother England won that round.

Excerpt

Shoka held out the cup. “Drink this.”

Did he mean to help her? Rebecca had heard hideous stories of warriors’ brutality, but also occasionally of their mercy. She tried to sit, moaning at the effect this movement had on her aching body. She sank back down.

He slid a corded arm beneath her shoulders and gently raised her head. Encouraged by his unexpected aid, she sipped, grimacing at the bitterness. The vile taste permeated her mouth. Weren’t deadly herbs acrid?

Dear Lord. Had he tricked her into downing a fatal brew? She eyed him accusingly. “’Tis poison.”

He arched one black brow. “No. It’s good medicine. Will make your pain less.”

Unconvinced, she clamped her mouth together.

“I will drink. See?” he said, and took a swallow.

She parted her lips just wide enough to argue. “It may take more than a mouthful to kill.”

He regarded her through narrowing eyes. “You dare much.”

Though she knew he felt her tremble, she met his piercing gaze. If he were testing her, she wouldn’t waver.

His sharp expression softened. “Yet you have courage.”

****

Ms. Trissel has captured the time period wonderfully. As Rebecca and Kate travel in the wilderness, though beautiful, many dangers lurk for the unsuspecting sisters. Away from the gentility they grew up around, the people they meet as they travel to their uncle in the wilderness are rougher and more focused on survival regardless of which side they belong. I love historical novels because they take me to times and places that I cannot visit and Through the Fire is no different. As I read, I’m transported back to the mid-1700’s on the American frontier as Britain and France maneuver to control the American continent. I can see how each side feels they are right and the other side the aggressor. I watch how the natives take sides based on promises made but not kept. I felt I was there through Ms. Trissel’s descriptions and settings…

Rebecca and Shoka are so believable as lovers. Shoka is calm but can be roused by Rebecca’s stubbornness. They are well matched as they challenge each other, teach each other, and learn from each other. This is not a boring relationship by any means! I enjoyed the secondary characters from the French Captain Renault to Shoka’s cousin Meshewa. The Shawnee fight on the French side of the war. It’s refreshing not to have the novel from the English point of view but to see the conflict from the eyes of the eventual losers of this war and to see the villains as those who we’ve been brought up to see as the “good guys”.

This is an excellent story where there is so much happening with Rebecca in the center of it all. I’m glad I read it and look forward to reading more of Beth Trissel.” Reviewer: Sheila from Two Lips

****

“I had previously admired Ms. Trissel’s use of descriptive language in one of her other works, and that is one of the reason’s I chose to read Through the Fire. I was very pleased to discover that this story contained the same strong imagery. “Shafts of late-day sunlight streamed through breaks in the thickly clustered trees to touch the nodding heads of columbine and rosy mountain laurel. The woods were like a garden long ago abandoned.” As I read this passage, I felt as though I were riding through the woods alongside Rebecca. “Wounded men writhed in the crushed grass, their piteous cries in her ears, while the dead lay where they’d fallen. Crimson stains pooled beneath them.” This brief passage describes one of the many action-packed battle scenes that really pulled me into the story so that I could see and hear the fighting around me.

Through the Fire is full of interesting characters, beautifully described scenery, and vivid action sequences. It is a must read for any fan of historical romance.” ~Poinsettia Reviewer with Long and Short Reviews

***Through the Fire  is available in kindle at Amazon and other online booksellers.

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Do You Remember The Patriots?


When you celebrate Memorial Day, do you remember the original Patriots, The Founding Fathers and Mothers, you know, those guys?  I do.

Maybe it’s because I live in historic rich Virginia and my ancestors were among those early Americans, maybe because I’ve invested years of study in The American Revolution and the  events leading up to it.  I get it.  I know what it was all about.  And it was a big deal, a huge deal with a shot heard round the world.  I’m also acutely aware of how far our country has strayed from those hard-won ideals and the need to get back to them before we are unrecognizable as the United States Of America.  More bailouts won’t get us there.  Nor yet more big government.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient. ~ Louis Brandeis

This country was founded on a fight to the death for the principal of FREEDOM.  Getting to be a rare concept.  But it was.  Those original Patriots didn’t slog through blood soaked fields choked in clouds of musket powder and barraged by cannon fire in the worst weather Mother Nature can hurl at you because they didn’t care about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  But because they’d rather have these vital qualities in their life than live without them.  They wouldn’t give up, they wouldn’t quit.  Somehow, somewhere when the war dragged on and the days seemed blackest they hung on and found a way.  So can we.

Last year, my Revolutionary War novel Enemy of the King was published by The Wild Rose Press.  Yes, it’s a romance, but my intensive research took years and that story is as accurate an insight into the time period as any serious fiction novel.  If you haven’t read Enemy of the King, do not demean my efforts because it falls under the category of romance.   Surprise, surprise.  They fell in love back then too.  In fact, it was partly the love of a woman that lead Benjamin Arnold to his infamous downfall.  I’ll bet you’ve heard of him.

My colonial American ancestor kept a record of his experience in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse that’s used by historians today.  That alone gives me the right to pen a novel set during the Revolution.  And there are others on all sides of the family who fought in that war.   The journalist was Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam.  His account and others from Virginia and Carolina Scots-Irishmen who fought in the Southern face of the war inspired my initial plunge into the high drama of the American Revolution, one of the most  fascinating periods of history.   And vitally relevant to the state of our nation today.  I challenge you to read up on the men and women who sacrificed so much in shaping the country we are blessed to live in.  Cherish the ideals they fought for and remember.  Never take them for granted.  They are all too easily taken away, and not readily given.  The struggle for independence is ongoing.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. ~ Abraham Lincoln

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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In Enemy of the King I focused on the Southern face of the war in the Carolinas and featured the little known but all-important battle of King’s Mountain. That pivotal battle in the fall of 1780 turned the tide of the Revolution during a very dark year.   I’ve walked that battle field twice atop the wooded knob called King’s Mountain.   Awesome, at least for one with my imagination.  I could almost hear the musket fire and battle cries lingering in the smoky air.  Being a natural born romantic, I wrote a historical romance set during one of the most all-consuming periods ever.    Even with an excellent literary agent representing me, New York publishing Houses declined, said readers aren’t interested in colonial America, that the Revolution wasn’t sexy or exciting enough.  But I’m kind of like my tenacious ancestors and refused to give up.  Years later, the Wild Rose Press was quite happy to publish it.
****
OK readers, prove New York wrong. Join in the adventure.   Maybe I’ll even get around to writing that sequel I have on the backburner.
If you would like the opportunity to win a FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (E-Book) of ENEMY OF THE KING, leave me a comment to that effect.    And God bless you and all who sail with you. 🙂

And now, for your listening pleasure, the opening score from The Patriot. Poignant, perfect for this time period, and a deeply stirring soundtrack.  I love it, but especially the theme song.



Ties to My Past and A Colonial Recipe for Syllabub


George ElliotOne illustrious tie to the past for me is my grandfather, seven greats back, Sir George Augustus Elliott. A British general and Governor of Gibraltar during the American Revolution, he was given the title Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, in honor of his bravery in its defense during the attack by the Spanish and French. While Sir George was giving his all for king and country, his grandson was fighting under George Washington as a commissary officer. There must have been quite a rift in that family.

Then there are the Scotch-Irish of whom I am one of the many descendants that people this land. The politically correct term is Scots-Irish, but we have always referred to ourselves as ‘Scotch.’ A colorful description of these highly vilified folks is given in an excellent Revolutionary War history, The Road to Guilford Courthouse.

‘They were belligerent, loyal, bigoted, valiant, crude and tough. The men drank hard, fought hard, and moved often. Their young women shocked sensibilities with public displays of bosoms and legs rarely seen in eighteenth century America.’ An Anglican missionary in South Carolina back country described them as ‘Ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the scum of the earth, Refuse of Mankind, and white savages.’

That’s my blood y’all, and the Scotch-Irish made all the difference in how the revolution played out. I hasten to add that my mother insists we descend from the pious noble Scots, but I suspect these others are also somewhere in my heritage.

My absorption with Colonial America encompasses  the high drama of the Revolution. Research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, that is used by historians today.

This rich heritage led to further research and a deeper appreciation for those who’ve gone before us.  Some of my books are straight historicals while others include light paranormal elements (more or less) but my fascination with the past is a constant.  Historical Romance novel Enemy of the King grew out of my preoccupation with early American and the Revolution.

Being a Virginian from the Shenandoah Valley, I’m immersed in history. Nor are we far removed from historic Williamsburg, one of my most favorite places to visit.   I’ve touched on various aspects of Williamsburg in other posts and will from time to time.

A popular food that would have been served in the homes of early America is Syllabub. To quote from Colonial food in Colonial Williamsburg: “This dessert/drink tastes like fermented lemon chess pie. It has a thick portion which rises to the top of the glass. This section is eaten with a spoon, then the diner drinks the remaining wine mixture.”

For more on colonial cookery visit:http://www.foodhistory.com/foodnotes/road/cwf1/

Recipe for Syllabub from the Charleston Receipts book.  This one is reprinted from The Carolina Housewife by a lady of Charleston, Miss Sara Rutledge, daughter of Edward Rutledge the signer of the Declaration of the Independence.

To 1 quart of cream add 1/2 pint of sweet wine and 1/2 pint of Madeira, the juice of 2 lemons, a little finely powdered spice and sugar to taste. The peel of the lemon must be steeped in the wine until the flavor is extracted. Whisk all these ingredients together, and as the froth rises, take it off with a spoon, lay it upon a fine sieve. What drains from it put in your pan and whisk again.  Pour the froth into glasses.  Serves 12.  Chill.

*Nutmeg was very popular in colonial American so may be the spice referred to in the recipe.

For more on my work please visit: http://www.bethtrissel.com/

The 4th of July and Historical Romance Enemy of the King


Happy 4th of July, a very special day.

Betsy Ross US Flag

(Betsy Ross flag)

My research into the Southern face of the American Revolution was partly inspired by my great, great, great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, used by historians today. ENEMY OF THE KING grew out of my passionate interest in colonial American and the high drama of the Revolution.  The Battle of King’s Mountain, a mega conflict that altered the course of the war in favor of the Patriots, plays a prominent role in this fast-paced historical romance novel.

Enemyoftheking_WebsiteSouth Carolina, spies and intrigue, a vindictive ghost, the battle of King’s Mountain, Patriots and Tories, pounding adventure, pulsing romance…ENEMY OF THE KING.

My version of The Patriot.

For more on my work please visit: http://www.bethtrissel.com/

Colonial Native American Romance Novel THROUGH THE FIRE


When I wrote historical romance novel Through the Fire I felt as though I’d been through the flames. My hero and heroine certainly had. This adventure romance with a The Last of the Mohicans flavor and a mystical weave was born in the fertile ground of my imagination, fed by years of research and a powerful draw to my colonial American roots.

My fascination with stirring tales of the colonial frontier and Eastern Woodland Indians is an early and abiding one. My English/Scot-Irish ancestors were among the first settlers of the Shenandoah Valley and had family members killed and captured by the Indians. Some individuals returned and left intriguing accounts of their captivity, while others disappeared without a trace. On the Houston/Rowland side of the family, I have ties to Governor Sam Houston, President James Madison and Malcolm 1st of Scotland (that last one’s a stretch).

Family annals list early names like Beale, Jordan, Madison, and Hite (a German connection I discovered). A brief account of my grandmother (nine generations removed) Elizabeth Hite, says her sister Eleanor was taken captive and sister Susan killed, though not by which tribe. Their brother Jacob was killed by the Cherokee in South Carolina.

Another ancestor, Mary Moore, is the subject of a book entitled The Captives of Abb’s Valley. A Moffett forebear captured as a child became a boyhood companion of the revered Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. When young Moffett grew up, he married into the tribe and had a son, but that’s the subject of a different novel. An ancestor on the Churchman side of the family was invited by the Shawnee/Delaware to help negotiate a treaty with the English because he was Quaker and more sympathetic to the tribes.

Many accounts are unrecorded, though. Historian Joseph Waddell says we know only a fraction of the drama that occurred during the Indian Wars. I invite you to journey back to a time long forgotten by most.

****

Hear the primal howl of a wolf, the spill of a mountain stream. Are those distant war whoops? Welcome to the colonial frontier where the men fire muskets and wield tomahawks and the women are wildcats when threatened. The year is 1758, the height of the French and Indian War. Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.

Rebecca Elliot is an English lady. In her attempt to escape a painful past, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them.

Shoka is a half-Shawnee, half-French warrior, swift and sure like the hawk, and silent as the moon. He makes Rebecca his prisoner, but the last thing he wants is to lose his head and already shredded heart to another impossibly beautiful woman…this one with blindingly blue eyes and a blistering temper. With dark forces gathering against them, will Rebecca and Shoka fight together or be destroyed?

Through the Fire is available in print and digital download at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.