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Sunday, 24 September 2017

USA 2017 - Laura visits Fort Stanwix and travels to Boston

After sadly leaving Dorisanne, her husband and wonderful collection of Sasha dolls, Laura and her family drove north east through the beautiful open countryside to Rome, near Utica in New York State.  They found a motel just across the road from the historic reconstructed Fort Stanwix and the next morning were up bright and early for breakfast in the diner next door before crossing the road to the Fort museum and the fort itself.

The museum had a lot of interesting exhibits about the history of the fort however there wasn't much time to take it all in because of a long car journey ahead, so Laura soon ventured outside again to visit the reconstructed fort.  The original had been besieged by the British during the American War of Independence in 1777, successfully defended by the colonists but destroyed by fire in 1781.  It had been built by the British to guard the portage called the Oneida Carrying Place during the French and Indian War in 1758.  The reconstruction is on the same site, with the same construction methods and materials, it is a wooden palisade fort and is a national monument.

This sign told about the family life at the fort much of which surrounded the fort except when it was under siege.

Approaching the fort, which was hidden behind the tall plants

The simple but impressive sign for Fort Stanwix National Monument

Approaching the bridge to the fort

The sign showing four pointed star shape of the fort

Many of the families of soldiers lived in tents around the outside of the fort

The rollers for the drawbridge just inside the entrance

Sign about the artisan quarters where the specialists (carpenters and blacksmiths) lived and worked as they made useful things to support life at the fort (less skilled maintenance work was carried out by soldiers)

The artisan quarters in one of the corners of the fort were very dim and dark, lit by lanterns

On top of the artisans quarters were cannons and the flagpole

The flagpole was very tall, Laura felt quite small beside it

Laura with the flagpole

Laura could see one of the colonial soldiers crossing the bridge as he walked out of the fort - he was there to welcome the modern day visitors to Fort Stanwix

During the 1970s various excavations were carried out at the fort site

This was the remains of an original brick fireplace in Fort Stanwix, Laura could guess it was where the soldiers cooked their meals

This was laid out as the orderly room, the fort headquarters

This room was furnished as the Commandant's quarters which had originally been in another building (not reconstructed). Laura thought that Colonel Peter Gansevoort lived in much nicer conditions than the ordinary soldiers

Outside in the bright sunshine Laura met the colonial soldier.  He was very friendly and explained a bit about what life was like at the fort.

This was officers' quarters, another rather nice room in the fort

This was lodging for visiting officers

Families of officers usually lived outside the fort as camp followers, however General Moody had his wife and daughter living in the fort from 1780-1781

Laura liked the child's toys carefully stored on the shelf in the Family quarters

In the family quarters were these buckets and a shoulder yoke for carrying the water from the well

Looking at the family quarters with the personal touches such as the wooden clogs and the baby cradle

The cradle was placed near the fireplace, where it would have been warm.  The stool was made from a single log of wood and would have been used to sit at the fire when cooking food.

Quill pens and ink at the writing desk

Looking at the Junior Officers' quarters

Laura liked the shelves above the fireplace, where all sorts of useful items to be stored easily within reach when needed

Weapons and tools in the Junior Officers' quarters

The Junior officers would have gathered around this table every day

One of the most interesting rooms was that of the Suttler (civilian trader) - the shop/trading post in the fort was where the soldiers to barter for the goods he supplied.

The Suttler's room was where furs and other essentials of every day life were traded in the fort.  Furs were valuable currency.

Laura was fascinated by the items on the shelves behind the counter in the trading post

Laura thought the apples looked tasty - many of the other items the Suttler traded were less familiar to her.

The fort was constructed from large trees cut to shape with saws and axes with all the pieces jointed together carefully

The soldiers lived in humble conditions

Soldiers slept together on raised bunks on straw with sacks stuffed with straw for pillows

Laura discovered that soldiers who were waiting for trial and punishment for some crime were kept away from their fellow soldiers in a guard house - their confinement was not the punishment, which was usually public, humiliating and painful

The papers for a Court Martial in the guard room

In the guard room was this fascinating model of the fort

Laura liked another model of the fort showing its construction

Laura had enjoyed her visit to Fort Stanwix National Monument and wished she could have spent longer in the museum where the friendly curator had been so helpful.  This national monument and its museum was entirely free to enter and was so interesting.
And so the long car journey continued, this time travelling East.  The countryside gradually changed as the road roughly followed the route of the Erie Canal, Laura realised later that she had more or less travelled the length of the canal on this trip, as she crossed the Hudson River where the canal begins.

The countryside became more wooded as Laura and her family travelled further East.  Soon they said goodbye to New York State and entered Massachusetts, one of the New England states. The weather was changing too as the clouds rolled in and some drops of rain landed on the windscreen.  It was still warm though cooler than at the fort.

Welcome to Massachusetts
Despite the heavy rain as Laura arrived at her friends house in Wayland, Massachusetts, she decided that her new surroundings were very beautiful.  There were wild turkeys wandering around the tree lined garden, three gorgeous cats (including a majestic Maine Coon) and a rather delicious dinner including corn on the cob with butter!

Dinner in New England
Laura was looking forward to her next, long awaited outing involving literary and US history.


Kendal said...

Gosh SO much to take in here!
Now wondering as to where you all got the energy from for all this visiting and I'm quite exhausted just sitting here absorbing so many interesting details.
Thanks for another great historic post.

twizel said...

Hi Dollmum just to let you know that I have reposted Dorisanne's profile. here is the link

Dee said...

Looks like Laura and the family are having a wonderful trip seeing as much as possible
while in the US, which is the best way to go.

But I bet you still have barely touched the surface of such an enormous country,it's such a shame it costs so much to fly there and is such a long flight but it looks like you are getting as much fascinating history as you can.

I look forward to the next installment