TSLoD Goes On The Road!!

Hello, Cemterians!
Enjoying TSLoD podcast but find yourself wanting more? Well, you’re in luck - TSLoD is now offering live talks/presentations, perfect for the library/historical society/cemetery freak crowd. Pick from the three talk listed below, with subjects stemming from my research for both TSLoD podcast series and from my years of work as an archaeologist in the Middle Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont.

To paraphrase a quote that the internet claims was said by Abraham Lincoln:  “It’s the kind of thing for people who like this kind of thing.”

Rates:

I charge a $200 flat rate for my live presentations, plus mileage, per the current national reimbursement rate. Once a date, time and location are agreed upon for the talk, I will calculate the mileage and inform the organizer what my final fee will be ($200 + mileage to and from my home/event). Payment is requested at the time of the presentation in the form of a check, made out to "Gail Golec".

This fee includes: my prep and drive time, plus I bring my own projector and laptop to run the slideshow that accompanies the talk. I will need either a projector screen or a white wall to project the images, as well as access to three-pronged electrical outlets. I also bring one powerstrip and an extension cord but having a few extra on hand is never a bad thing.


 Grear family monument, Nye Cemetery,    Acworth, NH.

Grear family monument, Nye Cemetery,    Acworth, NH.

EPIDEMIC

This talk is based on TSLoD podcast of the same name (Epidemic: Episode 1). The year was 1812 and a virulent infectious disease swept through the town of Acworth, NH. The story begins and ends in the town cemetery, where most of the victims were interred, including members of the Grear and McCollum families, who figure prominently in the history of this devastating event. We learn how this sickness not only reshaped the lives of those individuals left behind but also the town and the entire New England region as a whole.


 1761 Blanchard and Langdon map of New England

1761 Blanchard and Langdon map of New England

CULTURES ON THE FRONTIER

The Contact Period of the Middle Connecticut River Valley (late 1600s-mid 1700s), was tumultuous, formative and is often an overlooked era of New England history. With the English and French motherlands pulling the strings across the Atlantic, the frontier territory of Central New England became the battleground for control of the New World. Culminating in the French and Indian War (1754-1763),  English settlers from Southern New England were pit against Native Americans and the French to the north; people who, during peacetime, were considered neighbors and associates. It’s during this time period that an independent, national identity begins to form, which segues into the rather unbalanced historical narrative of the “patriotic, brave English settler” versus the “untrustworthy, savage Indian”; notions that would go on to influence the treatment of Native Americans in the American West and into our modern age. 


 Gravestone of Moses and Susannah Willard, Charlestown Village Cemetery, Charlestown NH

Gravestone of Moses and Susannah Willard, Charlestown Village Cemetery, Charlestown NH

CAPTIVE

As in most towns in New England, the cemetery in downtown Charlestown, NH has a specific section where one is likely to find the gravestones of the town's early English settlers. To be sure, gravestones always have a story to tell but these stones in Charlestown all tell the same story, or at least variations on a theme: captivity.  In the 1740s and 1750s, Charlestown, then known as Fort No. 4, was the northernmost British outpost on the Connecticut River. The settlement was therefore subject to raids by Native Americans and their French allies during wartime, resulting in the residents often being taken captive and held for ransom. In the cemetery, we can see that one extended family, the Johnson/Hastings/Farnsworth/Willard clan, suffered this fate worse than most. In 1754, Susannah Johnson, along with her husband,  three young children, sister and two neighbors, were taken captive and marched to Canada.  Her story is shocking and remarkable for many reasons and is the perfect backdrop to highlight what frontier life was really like and to dissect the nuanced relationships between the indigenous Native Americans and European settlers at the time of Contact.  (Based on an upcoming TSLoD episode!!)