Historical Tidbits


                   Did you know?



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A Few Real-Life Citizens of Williamsburg in 1765:


*Catherine Blaikley- The town midwife for 30 years, having delivered over 3,000 children.


*William Holt-Shopkeeper, as well as serving in the offices of Mayor, Quartermaster of the Militia, Peace Commissioner and Justice among other things. Also, the father of triplets as announced in the Virginia Gazette.


*John and James Carter-John was a merchant and shopkeep that shared a building with his brother James, a surgeon and apothecary that operated the Unicorn’s Horn.


*Peyton Randolph-Attorney (among many other things) that occupied one of the currently most haunted places in Colonial Williamsburg.



Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas:


*Major Benjamin Tallmadge, the leader of the Culper Spy Ring was a Yale graduate and served as the superintendent of Wethersfield High School before joining the war effort. In his memoirs, he spoke of a lady who brought information back and forth from Philadelphia, using the ruse of gathering eggs to travel between lines. He also wrote of an incident where they were spotted together at the Rising Sun Tavern exchanging information and further went on to explain how he pulled her onto the back of his horse where she courageously rode as they were being fired upon until they reached a nearby town, where she slipped into the crowd and disappeared before he returned to camp. He was appointed the head of Washington’s spy ring while in Winter Quarters at Valley Forge(winter 1777-1778).

*John André was a captain(not appointed AG-Major until 1779) while stationed in Philadelphia where he was sent after being held as a prisoner of war for a time. It was there he met Peggy Shippen, the future wife of Benedict Arnold. He was a well-known 'ladies man' and very well-liked by everyone he met. At that time, he served under General Howe and was the one that planned his going away party that lasted several days, the Mischianza, before Howe returned to England and General Clinton took his place. In the spring of 1779, he was appointed the chief of intelligence by Clinton.


Odds and Ends:


*The Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg was a place well-known for its food, entertainment, and rum punch. Many sales and other forms of business were conducted on its steps.


*Dinner was actual the mid-day meal, served over several courses and taking a great amount of time. Breakfast and supper mainly consisted of leftovers, although supper parties that lasted well into the night did occur on special occasions.


*Sir John Harrington introduced the first 'modern' toilet in 1596 that he built for his God-mother, Queen Elizabeth I but the first patent for a flushing toilet was actually given to Alexander Cummings in 1775.

Water closets first appeared in the 1700s. These early toilets usually had a tank above to hold water with a pipe running down to the toilet. When the handle was pulled, it opened a trap door sending water to wash the waste downward to the ground underneath.