Hello, my friends!
Greg found a deal last Thursday night that was just too good to pass up – $200 for a WEEK at a condo in Williamsburg, VA!?!?! I LOVE going on trips. So, we got ready in very short order and left last Sunday for the 6.5 hour trip to Virginia.
Colonial Williamsburg is an amazing place. It is a whole town that has been preserved to look the way it did in 1775-1781. It was the seat of government when Virginia was a royal colony of England. The governor was appointed by the king and the governor’s palace is still there. It is where the founding fathers of the United States of America were part of the House of Burgesses and helped to govern Virginia under the king’s authority.
The artisans and craftsmen’s shops are open and there are costumed “interpreters” there who work just like the tradesmen of that day did with the exact same tools and materials and they talk all about what they do and how things were done in the 18th century and they dress like they would have in the 18th century and even speak 18th century English. Some interpreters play historical characters like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, etc… They always stay in character. It’s quite a jolt to see how vastly differently people thought, spoke, behaved, lived and communicated 240 years ago.
All throughout the day, different events happen in the streets of town. The redcoats come marching through the main street. Someone comes with news of gunpowder being stolen by the governor. The townspeople plan to storm the governor’s palace in retaliation. A runaway slave comes down the street with a major from the Continental Army holding his arm and a hood over his head as if he is about to be hanged. There was a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse steps and there are always interpreters dressed as townspeople who speak up in response to what is happening. It feels like you went back in time to the 1770s.
Our children loved it! Eventually, when they saw a crowd gathering and saw that someone was going to make an announcement, they would both run way ahead of us because they didn’t want to miss a word.
I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures from the past week for all of my friends here who love pics (I have a few more paragraphs below the pictures):
The condo Greg found for us…
SUPER, DUPER nice place to stay. Greg is THE MAN!
Below – Colonial Williamsburg
Our family eating at Shield’s Tavern in the wine cellar by candlelight (there was no electricity in the 1770s, after all!), the blacksmith’s shop, and the fife and drum that played before the reading of the Declaration of Independence
Tulips are my favorite!
(For those interested in knowing why our daughter is wearing jeans, please check out the comments)
A recreation of the Jamestown Settlement from 1609 was close to Williamsburg. We had an amazing history lesson about just how difficult life was for this first English settlement in the New World and learned about the severe drought and famine and the “starving time” that killed many of the first settlers. And yet, God’s hand was on them even then and they trusted God in the face of trials we cannot begin to imagine.
We learned that everyone was required to go to church every Sunday in Jamestown. If they missed 3 Sundays at all, ever, they would be executed. Yikes! There were no women at the settlement until 1621. And we learned how the Powatan Indians lived and about the real Pocahantas as well as life on board the sail boats that brought settlers here.
We visited nearby Yorktown, VA, where the last great battle during the Revolutionary War happened in 1781 and we saw the conditions the Continental Army lived in and what their camps would have been like, heard muskets and cannons being fired and saw a farmhouse from that era. That small tent our son is standing in (with no furniture) slept SIX grown men. The medicine used at that time was awful! They didn’t know about bacteria and viruses yet and didn’t sterilize their equipment. Infection and dysentery (and poor medical treatment) killed many more soldiers than battle did.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE TRIP:
As I get older, I appreciate history so much more.
Now that I have studied feminism back through the 1700s and have been studying Marxism and humanism lately it was very interesting to learn about the ideals of the Enlightenment in the 1700s and to see how many of those ideas fed into ideas in the 1800s and 1900s. It was amazing to see how the invention of the printing press in 1450, the Enlightenment, the Reformation and the Great Awakenings in American history as well as specific decisions of the King of England at the time created the fuel for the American Revolution. I also became much more aware that when these colonists signed the Declaration of Independence from England, they were committing treason against the King and could easily lose their lives for this decision. I don’t think we fully appreciate the significance of what they did as we look back on it.
There was NO reason that the colonists should have won the war against England at that time. In fact, the Continental Army was in such dire straits in Valley Forge, PA, one winter, the soldiers were eating soap and bark off of trees and wrapping their bloody feet in rags because they had no shoes. If France had not helped them (and God had not had a hand in it), they would have lost the war and continued on as royal colonies of England.
Then the American Revolution and the debt France incurred from helping America as well as severe drought and poverty among the masses in France helped to fuel the French Revolution in 1789 that swept through almost all of Europe, ending the feudal system and royal monarchies and ushering in an age where people began to realize that “equality, liberty and justice for all” could be possible. The citizenry began to be able to vote in many countries (the men, not the women). And from these ideas and the Great Reformation in the church – our modern thought developed as Westerners and as Christians.
It is amazing to me to see the interconnectedness of history and the sovereignty of God overarching all of it for His ultimate glory and for His purposes to be accomplished. It was fascinating to step back in time to the 18th century and to be able to immerse myself in the thoughts, ideas, emotions, mindsets and motives of the colonists in Virginia at that time. Things have changed so much since then!
Thank you for allowing me to share our journey this past week. I am excited to be back and to get into some more valuable conversations next week about how God desires us to be fully yielded and submitted to Him that He might use US in THIS time in history to accomplish His purposes, achieve His glory, bring about our ultimate good and reach many for the kingdom of Christ!
Much love to each of you!