“Experience a Blacksmith and a Cooper, a Fiddle Player and Storyteller, a Spinner, a Schoolmarm in the One-room Schoolhouse, a Colonial Bakery with goods for sale, hands-on Weaving and Candle Dipping, Colonial Soldiers and more. Courtesy of the Historical Society. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children”
While there, I picked up an application for the New Rochelle Historical Society. It is just $25 a year to join! I also learned some interesting facts. I was rather intrigued to ask the gentlemen dressed as soldiers why they participated.
The first gentleman traced his lineage back to the Protestants fleeing England for religious persecution, and one of his ancestors was Thomas Welles, the third Governor of Connecticut. Thomas Welles was the only man in Connecticut’s history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. His family name is Bulkely, and is also a direct descendant from Peter Bulkely , was an influential early Puritan minister who left England for greater religious freedom in the American colony of Massachusetts. He was a founder of Concord, “ and was named by descendant Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem about Concord.” However, the real reason Mr. Bulkely is so personally involved in the Colonial fairs is that he loves history, and has been doing it for over 40 years!
I then asked another gentlemen why he is involved. He, too, has been taking part in the festivities for the past 40 years. He can trace his family lineage back to the Huguenots, with the family name of Tourneur. The family arrived from France and settled as farmers in Harlem in 1659. He also had ancestors coming from Scotland. I was spellbound listening to their vignettes of history.
The third gentleman was coveting an array of weaponry and sundry other items from Colonial times. He was a school teacher (retired), and has always loved history. He mentioned that he takes great delight in recounting history as it happened and not what we have learned.. He asked me if I knew the derivation of “A flash in the pan.” While a flash in the pan now means a disappointment or brief success, it actually came from the days of ” flintlock firearms, where the main charge was intended to be fired by a small charge of gunpowder in the priming pan. If the resultant fire did not pass through the touch-hole and ignite the main charge, the momentary coruscation produced noise and smoke, but no substantial effect, and was termed a “flash in the pan”. Sometimes called “fluff in the pan“, the term refers to any ineffectual, short, spasmodic effort which dies in the attempt, such as an explosion of priming in the lockpan of a gun, while the gun itself does not go off. ” (courtesy of Wiktionary). He then asked me if I knew what a ‘marked man’ meant. He stated that it came from branding a thief on his palm, and so whenever he had to appear in a court of law thereafter , and asked to raise his hand in testimony, his hand would be marked and label him as a person not to be trusted.
So much history. But that is New Rochelle. We have history, historic homes, historic neighborhoods, and it is a wonderful city in which to live. Come and visit, you will love it!
New Rochelle is GREAT!