Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Category: Fogotten History

The Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage & a Giveaway by Penelope Marzec

As you all know, I love learning about history. I’ve been known to drag my children and husband to museums and battlefields so I can soak in as many little historical details as possible. I especially enjoy learning about historical events through the settings and events I read in historical fiction and romance, even when those events are unpleasant.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new friend, fellow Pelican Book Group author Penelope Marzec. Penny’s book, Patriot’s Courage, is the third book in her Patriot Historical Romance series.

In her guest post, she shares one of those events that at least our generation, Penny’s and mine, wasn’t taught in school. I’m a firm believer that history should not be white-washed nor should it be reinterpreted to satisfy ever changing political narratives, but unfortunately sometimes in our past, we’ve looked the other way when history didn’t shed a favorable light on the “good guys.”

Before we get to Penny’s post on one such historical event, we’re going to learn a little more about Patriot’s Courage.

Oh, and be sure to read her excerpt and enter the drawing to win an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. The details are in the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post.


Patriot’s Courage

Ryan McGowan vows to kill every Indian in Ohio territory in retaliation for his brother’s death. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, he breaks his ribs and finds a white woman sobbing over a dead warrior. When the captain assigns him to teach the woman English, he resents the task, but the woman melts his vengeance away. He begins to understand the way to peace is forgiveness. Then he learns the woman carries the child of her Indian husband in her womb.

Màxkchulëns, a white woman adopted by the Lenape at the age of four, is confined at the fort and longs to return to her people. Though Ryan leads her to recall part of the faith her biological parents held dear, she struggles to understand it and the power of grace.

Can she rely on that grace in desperate times? And will faith protect her unborn child as well?

Patriot’s Courage is available for purchase on:

Amazon     Pelican Book Group     B&N     Kobo     Google Play Books     Apple Books


A Peek into the Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage

Guest Post by Penelope Marzec

In delving into the research for PATRIOT’S COURAGE, I learned a great deal more about the culture of the Native Americans, none of which was ever mentioned in history books when I was a child in elementary school. The history of the indigenous people in North America is not a happy one. Still, love can win even under the most difficult circumstances.

For my story, I focused on the Lenape, since the heroine of my story was raised by that tribe, but some things applied to other tribes as well. In general, the Native Americans believed that if someone was wronged, retribution should be given, which on the surface appears to be a good way to handle matters. It is not unlike what we do today when someone wrecks our car. Their insurance policy should pay for the damages—including the deductible.

The problem with a policy of retribution is that it can easily turn into revenge. The lands of the Native Americans were gradually swallowed up by the whites. When they fought back, the whites—despite their Christian upbringing–dealt vengeance against the Native Americans. This became a vicious cycle with no hope.

Some particular cruelties stand out and explain the spiraling hatred of the Indians towards the whites. One historical incident, which I mention in my book, is the sad story of the Gnadenhutten Massacre. Moravian missionaries, who were pacifists, converted Delaware Indians to Christianity. But during the Revolutionary War, one hundred and sixty militiamen attacked the Indians. The militiamen believed the Indians had killed and kidnapped several white Pennsylvanians, but the Christian Indians were not involved in that raid. Still the militiamen did not search for the actual perpetrators of the raid in Pennsylvania. Instead, they held a mock trial, convicted the Indians of murder, and sentenced them to death. The Indians were put into two buildings where they spent all night praying and singing hymns. In the morning, the militiamen killed them and burned the buildings. Ninety-six Indians were murdered—men, women, and children. Half of those killed were children.

The result of the massacre was mounting distrust between the whites and the Indians. The news spread to all the tribes and the tragedy ended any hope of bringing whites and Native Americans together in Christian community.

George Washington warned soldiers in the Continental army not to get caught by the Indians after they killed William Crawford, an American soldier and surveyor who worked as a western land agent for George Washington. Mr. Crawford was burned at the stake by American Indians in retaliation for the Gnadenhutten massacre.

Two decades later, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh said to William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Even one hundred years later, Theodore Roosevelt called the massacre “a stain on frontier character that the lapse of time cannot wash away”.

In PATRIOT’S COURAGE, the hero realizes he has little hope of convincing the heroine to embrace Christianity. Yet, he tries.

Revenge did not heal the atrocities that occurred during those times. The propensity of humankind to wreak vengeance caused nothing but more hatred. I pray that in the future, love will always win.


Excerpt from Patriot’s Courage

Màxkchulëns, also known as Red Bird, stopped grinding corn and listened. Her proud husband, Running Beaver, felt confident the white men would be defeated as they had been three years ago. But now an eerie silence hovered in the air as the distant drums ceased pounding. The repeated sounds of gunfire ended. The birds resumed their songs. The river gurgled along the banks. “

It is too soon.” Her aunt frowned.

Fear wound through Red Bird. Last night’s strange dream seemed to be a warning, frightening her so badly she mentioned it to no one.

The other women quit working and gathered together on the outskirts of their village. They waited, for the calm did not bode well. Red Bird took out a smooth, round white stone from her medicine bag and rubbed it. Running Beaver gave it to her when they were both children. He was a strong, brave warrior who did not fear death. Yet, Red Bird trembled. She loved Running Beaver. When she first came to the village, he coaxed her out of her fright. His gentle, kind manner and patience eased her misery.

Sudden shouts alerted her and the other women as the young boys returned with news of the rout and the failure of their British allies to open their fort and give aid in the fight. The boys claimed many warriors lay dead on the field of battle.

Màxkchulëns, haunted by her alarming dream, started toward the battlefield. Other women followed.

Her aunt tried to drag her back. “There may still be white soldiers there. It is dangerous!”

Red Bird refused to listen. She shoved her aunt’s arm away and walked onward until she came upon the appalling site of the brief battle. Dead and dying men with ghastly wounds littered the area. Blood coated the earth. The sound of wailing women rent the air with grief. The sharp smell of gunpowder mingled with a putrid stench in the heavy, humid air. The odor turned her stomach.

Red Bird drew a cloth over her nose. Her heart thundered as she stared into the faces of dead men, hoping to find the one that mattered most to her.

The yellow hide soldiers went about the task of picking up their wounded and dying. She stayed as far away from them as she could, but the task proved difficult for huge fallen trees covered the area and men lay in between the many trunks.

After some time, she found Running Beaver. She reeled at the sight of the grievous wound in his back. His face lay in the dirt while his body pressed against a huge, felled tree. She knelt beside him and reached for his still, cold hand. Last night in her dream, he walked along the white road of stars on his journey to the village of the Great Creator, Kishelemukong.

She could not tell her husband of her fears, for he would have scoffed at her. No brave warrior would refuse to fight in a battle simply because his woman asked him to do so.

She glanced around, uneasy. In her nightmare, another warrior, Dancing Squirrel, pulled her from Running Beaver. She’d woken from her dream shaking and in a cold sweat. She never trusted Dancing Squirrel. Once, he wanted her to be his woman, but she refused him as was her right. Since that time, he sneered at her in a threatening manner whenever he saw her.

Now that Running Beaver was dead, would Dancing Squirrel ask to have her as his woman once more? Tears gathered in her eyes, but she tried to hold them back as she caressed her husband’s shoulder and sang the death song to him. Sorrow welled up and choked her words. Her shattered hopes raked her soul until it was raw.

A soldier approached. He laughed at her. She scooted back against the bark of the fallen tree. The tall man stood over her. His hulking, muscular build rivaled that of any of the strongest warriors. He muttered something, reached down, grabbed her arm, hauled her upright, and squeezed her bosom.

Red Bird screamed and struggled to get away, but his strength overwhelmed her. He pulled at her braided hair and gave a raucous laugh.

She tugged the braid out of his hand.

Another solider, carrying his bright, woolen jacket on his arm hobbled toward them. With his face creased in pain, he leaned on a sturdy branch. He spoke to Màxkchulëns’s abuser in a low tone layered with harsh severity. The abuser stopped fondling her but continued to hold her arm so tightly she thought he would break it. She screamed until her voice grew hoarse. The man leaning on the branch spat out sharp words, winced, and turned ashen. Other men hurried to drag her abuser away.

The man with the sturdy branch offered his jacket to her. She did not want it, but she assumed wearing it would mark her in some way as protected. She accepted the woolen coat.

As she donned the garment, another wave of fear and grief consumed her. She collapsed over her husband’s body and wept, well aware she remained at the mercy of the horrible soldiers. She didn’t care. Running Beaver no longer breathed and would no longer smile. He must leave her behind as he went on his long journey to Kishelemukong’s village. Mired in her misery, she wished for death to come soon. Perhaps one of the soldiers who killed Running Beaver would kill her as well.

After a while, she lay exhausted and spent from her weeping. The flow of tears ended, leaving her hollow. The rumble of a heavy wagon sounded nearby. She glanced to the side and watched as the yellow hides lifted their wounded into the back of the vehicle. The man who gave her his jacket spoke to several other soldiers. He plainly suffered from the effort of speaking but the other men scurried about in obvious obedience. She wondered if he was a chief.

Two soldiers lifted her off her feet. Red Bird did not struggle or scream this time. If they were to kill her, she would die as courageous a death as any warrior. The men placed her in the wagon beside the man who must be their chief. He drew her hand in his. She did not pull hers away. He spoke to her in a whisper, but she did not understand his language. Perhaps he was telling her how she was to die.

The other women of her tribe stood with their heads bowed as the wagon lumbered by them. None of them came to her aid, and she did not expect them to put themselves in danger. A brief swell of panic nearly consumed her, but she fought against it. She would be strong, she would be courageous, and she would soon join her husband on the white road of stars.


About Penelope

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore, heard stories about Captain Kidd, and dug for his buried treasure. Her adventure resulted in a bad case of poison ivy. Deciding books were better than buried treasure, she discovered romance novels and was soon hooked on happy endings. She became an early childhood educator and found her own hero in an electrical engineer who grew up in Brooklyn, played the accordion, and was immune to poison ivy. Now retired, Penelope either writes her stories or paints seascapes in oils. Sometimes she sings while her husband plays the accordion.

Penelope writes in several subgenres of romance. You can find her online at www.penelopemarzec.com read her blog at http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com, become a fan at www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks, or follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/marzecpenelope/


Giveaway**

**This giveaway is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Rory Lemond!!

Penny has graciously offered to giveaway an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. To enter the drawing, share with us a little known historical event or detail you’ve learned about in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, October 7th, 2020**

Forgotten History: America’s Swedish Colony

As Americans, we grew up hearing about the British, Spanish and French colonial influence on our nation. If you were a history nerd like me, you’d even remember that Holland got into the action in New York.

But did you know that Sweden also had colonial ambitions in the New World as well?

Painting of the Kalmar Nyckel, a Dutch-built armed merchant ship famed for carrying Swedish settlers to North America in 1638 to establish the colony of New Sweden. (Credit: Jacob Hägg/Wikimedia Commons/PD-US)

Undoubtedly inspired by the growing wealth of other colonial powers, Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders formed the New Sweden Company in 1637 to trade for furs and tobacco in North America. In March 1638, the first settlers arrived in the Delaware Bay and began to build a fort at the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. Fort Christina, named in honor of Sweden’s twelve-year-old queen, was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley.

“New Sweden” once spanned parts of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In fact, it may well be one of the oddest events of the Age of Discovery. “New Sweden was the last of the European colonial empires to be founded in North America,” says historian Hildor Arnold Barton, “as well as the smallest, least populous, and shortest-lived.”

Thomas Campanius Holm, frontpiece to Swedes and Indians in New Sweden, 1702.

Over a period of seventeen years, twelve more Swedish expeditions left Europe for New Sweden bringing with them approximately 600 Swedes and Finns to populate the fledgling colony. The colonists established farms and were considered to be fair and honest traders with the local Lenape Indians.

Unfortunately, the New Sweden colony never became as prosperous as its Dutch and English competitors to the north and south. The colony’s population was often less than 200, and interest in immigrating was almost nonexistent back in Sweden. Settlers were so hard to come by that the Swedish crown eventually resorted to forcing petty criminals and military deserters to populate the colony, but New Sweden was still largely neglected and eventually conquered by the Dutch in 1655.

Log Cabin at Fort Christina in Wilmington, the site of first European settlement in Delaware. (Credit: Visions of America, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo)

Although New Sweden has faded into the pages of forgotten history, its short-lived presence on American soil left behind two important testaments to its existence–Lutheran Christianity and the most iconic of American buildings–the log cabin. While Swedish immigration slowed to a mere trickle during the 18th century, it experienced a resurgence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when nearly 1.3 million Swedish immigrants arrived on American Shores. This time, Swedish settlers bypassed the Delaware Valley and headed west where today large numbers of Swedish-Americans call Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, California and Washington, home.

I’ll have to put a trip to Fort Christina on my list of places to visit. If you’ve visited this site or already new about the Swedish colony’s presence, please leave a comment below.

Historical Epic, The Promise

Last weekend, my husband, oldest son and I saw the new historical epic, The Promise. Based on the trailer, I warned my men ahead of time that it was a historical romance but since it was set on the eve of World War I, I assured them there would be enough action to make the film bearable. The film centers around Mikael (an Armenian medical Student), Ana (an Armenian woman raised in France who has returned to her homeland), and Chris (an American journalist working for the Associated Press). Although the central figures in the film are engaged in a love triangle, The Promise is less a story about a tragic romance during the last days of the Ottoman Empire than the fate of the these characters and a group of orphans as the Turkish government begins a systematic holocaust of its Armenian population.

As a student of history (I have a B.A. Social Studies education as well as an M.Ed. in History education), I’m wondering how I  managed four years of undergrad and two years of grad school without ever hearing of this atrocity. We left the theatre wondering how we could not have known about this tragedy. Now that my curiosity had been peaked, I decided to find out how accurate the history depicted in the film was.

Here is what I learned.

On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government began a systematic effort to eliminate the Armenian population, the largest Christian minority within Turkey at the time, from within its borders. Many Armenians had become voices for social and political reform within the country, pressing the government for equality with their fellow Muslim citizens. Following a series of devastating losses in the Balkan Wars, a distorted nationalism spread over Turkey, infesting the government and its citizens with the misguided sentiment that the Great Ottoman Empire could only be revived if Turkey was purified of its Christian population.

Picture of a Turkish village circa 1915 as troops belonging to the Ottoman Empire round up its Armenian citizens. Photo courtesy of The Telegraph, April 22, 2017.

Turkey’s Armenian citizens had their property confiscated, intellectuals were rounded up and imprisoned if they were lucky or executed if they were not, and others, including entire villages, were force marched to concentration camps in the Syrian dessert. According to  the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, there were 2.1 million Armenians living in Turkey in 1914 and 387,800 by 1922.

According to Peter Balakian, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Ozone Journal, his book of poems recounting his experience excavating the bones of Armenian victims in the Syrian desert with TV journalists in 2009, “It’s a watershed event in the history of modernity,” because it’s the first time that the nation-state uses technology, its advanced military communications, legislation and the nationalist ideology for the purpose of eradicating a targeted ethnic group in a certain period of time.”

Photo released by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute dated 1915 purportedly shows soldiers standing over skulls of victims from the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in the Mush valley, on the Caucasus front during the First World War. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Photos of this atrocity are hard to view so I have chosen to limit what I post here because I would rather you at least read about this event then turn away because of graphic images. Click here to see photographs smuggled out of Turkey  at great risk to reporters John Elder and Armin Wegner depicting the Armenian genocide. According to this article in the U.K. Daily Mail, these images have been used to build the international human rights case against the Turkish government.

History has shown that Adolf Hitler saw the tragic events in Turkey for what they were. In an official Nazi government document used during the Nuremberg Trials, Hitler argues for the annihilation of the Polish people. He writes “Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Today, in Germany, it is a crime to deny or minimize the holocaust in public and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Although 18 countries (including Germany, Greece and France) recognize the events in Turkey as genocide, to this day the Turkish government stands by its story that the deaths were not intentionally perpetrated against its Armenian citizens but instead, were lives tragically lost during war as the government attempted to relocate them for their own safety. The U.S. House of Representative Committee on Foreign Affairs has yet to recognize the atrocities committed against the Armenian people as genocide. President Barack Obama did refer to the horrific events in a speech for Armenian Remembrance Day (April 24) as “the first mass atrocity of the 20th century,” but failed to keep his campaign promise to call the killings “genocide.”

Perhaps at this point you’re wondering why it matters anymore. After all, it was more than a hundred years ago, the perpetrators are long since dead and well let’s face it, bad stuff happens every day in this world. True. However I would strongly urge you to consider the words of Spanish-American philosopher and poet, George Santayana, who wrote, “Those who cannot learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Or put another way, Balakian argues that the truth about the Armenian genocide matters because “Unresolved history is too big a burden to carry.”

I hope you will consider seeing, The Promise. It is a story well told and definitely worth learning about.

Your turn: Have you heard of the Armenian genocide before reading this post? Do you think unresolved history is a burden?

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