Monday, August 27, 2012

Alexander Hamilton's Family Tree

Nowadays, what most people know about Alexander Hamilton is that his portrait appears on the ten dollar bill.  Some may have learned that he was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr.  Others might even be aware that Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Here's some more detailed information from Wikipedia:
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views, and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
 Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War. At the start of the war, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, the American commander-in-chief.
Born out of wedlock and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton was effectively orphaned at about the age of 11. Recognized for his abilities and talent, he was sponsored by people from his community to go to the North American mainland for his education. He attended King's College (now Columbia University), in New York City. After the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress from New York. He resigned to practice law and founded the Bank of New York.

A 20th century artistic rendering of the July 11, 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton by J. Mund
What most of us don't know, is that Alexander Hamilton was of African Ancestry!  According to Julie Carter over at RootsWeb:

The first mothers of Nevis were African slave women who lived on the
island with the mulatto offspring of their white slave masters.
Rachel Fawcett Lavain, a woman said to be of "mixed blood" and the
daugther of a Nevisian doctor, was the mother the First Secretary of
the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton's father, James
Hamilton, Sr., the 4th son of a Scottish Duke (History Writer NOTE: I
believe this is incorrect, and Alexander Hamilton's actual grandfather
has been identified as an untitled Scot. End NOTE.) did not marry his
mother. Their relationship lasted 15 years. John Fawcett, Rachel's
grandfather, was listed in an early census as having 4 black females.
The surest proof that Alexander Hamilton was of African ancestry was
that Alexander's older brother, James, by the same mother and father,
was of dark complexion with dark hair. James Hamilton, Jr. migrated
to the United States and was treated like a Negro once being refused a
seat on a Broadway coach because of his color.

Alexander Hamilton also migrated to the United States to be educated.
He got involved in the American revolution and later appointed the
chief military aide to George Washington then Secretary of the
Treasury. Alexander's father was invited to come to the United States
but not his mother because "her presence would have ruined his
prospects. Her features were too pronounced. She was too typically
Negro. Her dark skin would create as much trouble as a colored
delegate at a white convention." (History Writer NOTE: Rachel
Fawcett died when Alexander Hamilton was 13, before Hamilton ever
moved to what became the United States, so I am not sure where the
author got this quote. End NOTE.)

Alexander Hamilton's papers of ancestry were burned after his death in
order to hide his alleged African strain. When harassed about his
birth Hamilton stated, "My blood is as good as those who plume
themselves on their ancestry." The real truth regarding Hamilton's
ancestry can be found in the earliest and least known portrait of him
drawn from life by Peale which reflects Hamilton's skin color, nose
and wooly hair. The portraits that we know today have been
caucasianized revealing Hamilton with a more European nose, thinner
lips, light complexion and straight hair. Both pictures are found the
New York Public Library Collection. Information on the life of
Alexander Hamilton can be found in Charlestown, Nevis at the Museum of Nevis History.
Just a little fascinating food for thought! Had you ever heard about Alexander Hamilton's family tree?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Celebrate August with California Tamale Pie

California Tamale Pie
August is the only month without a holiday or other celebration of sorts.  So if you have a birthday in August (like me), appreciate that your special day isn't overshadowed by something else!

Okay, in August, what can you think of to celebrate with an easy, tasty tamale pie?  How about the Michigan Powerball winner?  I'm sure that person is getting his/her financial ducks in a row before coming forward to claim all $337,000,000!!  Happy winnings to you, Powerball winner, whoever you are!  And with that amount of money, you'll never have to cook for yourself again--please pass this recipe on to your new cook.

Now for a bit of shameless self promotion--I'm celebrating the release of my new novel, Escape, tomorrow!  Read last week's post to find out more. 

And now, on to food! This California Tamale Pie is for the crock pot.   It's simple and delicious, which in itself  is worth celebrating, and it tastes like a million!

This recipe is from Mabel Hoffman's Crockery Cookery. If there are four or more in your home, I strongly recommend doubling the recipe.  The first time I made it, I sampled some before dinner, but ended up eating nearly half--it's that good! Enjoy!

California Tamale Pie

3/4 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup milk
1 egg slightly beaten
1 lb lean ground beef
1 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1 t seasoned salt
1 (14 oz.) can chunky salsa
1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 cup cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, milk and egg.  Stir in meat, chili powder, cumin, salt, salsa, corn and olives.  Pour mixture into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours.  Sprinkle cheese over top; cover and cook another 5 minutes.  Makes 6-8 servings.

I'd never heard of tamale pie until I found this recipe.  Have you ever had it?  Also, do you celebrate anything in August? Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Release Date of Escape, August 21

I finally have a release date for my new novel, Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy!  Look for it next Tuesday, August 21!

The Unchained Trilogy is an explosive three book series of love, deceit, emotional destruction and in the end, forgiveness. 

In Escape (Book One) Daniel and Lori love each other, yet to live as one in 1856, they must escape from the unyielding society that imprisons them.

Lori was born a slave in North Carolina, yet by chance was raised alongside Daniel in a wealthy abolitionist household. The sudden death of Daniel’s mother catapults Lori back into bondage.

Relegated to chattel on a rice plantation, Lori lives in constant fear under the tormenting scrutiny of Daniel’s wretched Aunt Lucinda.

After Daniel fails to convince his relatives to free Lori, he is compelled to devise a daring escape. Although a life threatening endeavor for both of them, Lori’s freedom is priceless to Daniel, and he’s willing to pay such a price for her love.

Escape will be available through Amazon (Kindle version 2.99 and paperback 12.99) and Barnes and Noble (Nook version 2.99).

A brief excerpt follows:

Chapter 1
Wilmington, North Carolina

I can do this...I can do this...Lori repeated the words to herself as if willing them to be true.  Under a brightly shining moon, she stood on the back porch of Rebecca Taylor’s home and slipped the strap of a filled canteen around her neck.  Lori tucked it to one side, then reached for the worn leather satchel at her feet and did the same. The cornbread and salt pork wrapped inside would last for about three days.
Miss Rebecca was dead now, leaving Lori with no alternative but to run.
You’d be a fool to try!  Don’t even think about setting off on your own, you’ll never make it!  Lori forced Daniel’s protests from her mind, instead hearing the cicadas and crickets chirp around her.  Daniel couldn’t stop her because she refused to be dragged off to Dancing Oaks!
This was her one chance at freedom.  Don’t can’t...Again, Daniel’s words played through her head—and this time, also her heart.  For a moment, Lori hesitated.  Her feelings for Daniel were silly.  He was Miss Rebecca’s son, yet why had he been so adamant about her not trying to escape?  He’d tried to convince his uncle to free her—but that hadn’t worked, so now Lori was taking matters into her own hands.

If you like historical fiction, please consider adding Escape to your reading list! By the way, what are you reading now? I just started Nancy Taylor Rosenberg's Buried Evidence and Jane Smiley's Private Life.  Thanks for visiting! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Writers Aid

If you’re  a new writer just starting out, be sure to visit my new “Help For Writers” page.  About two years ago, I decided to try my hand at getting a novel traditionally published.  Now, after multiple rejections, but with no regrets, I’ve moved on to self–publishing!

  My kids said I'd never write my novel--ha! I'll show them! I just needed a little help.

However, along my journey down both paths, I’ve found lots of links worth sharing! Venturing into writing is an overwhelming endeavor, but there really is a great deal of free information available to help!

Maybe you’re wondering, how do I find an agent, or how do I write a query letter and synopsis?  Perhaps you’re trying to improve your writing style and asking, what are some of the best books on craft? If you’re thinking of self-publishing, you’ll want to be aware of the common mistakes made by self-published authors and how you can avoid them.

Click the link, or on the “Help For Writers” page above and see what you think.  Hope you find it useful!

Are you a new writer?  If you’re a seasoned author, please share some sites/sources you’ve found beneficial in your writing career!  Thanks for visiting!