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Tottenville History Blog

September 2018


For September this post will be shorter than usual as I devote most of my writing time to the final revision of the last draft of 17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive: 

Meet the People. 

Experience the Events.

I plan to publish  on Amazon Kindle before the month ends.


The Conference House, however, has two events in September I wanted to share with you.


On Saturday, September 8th from 11am – 4pm will be “1776” (Rain date 9/9) to commemorate the Peace Conference I wrote about last month.


In addition, on Saturday, September 22nd from 2pm-6pm will be the Harvest Festival.

http://theconferencehouse.org/events/


From the very first day of my research of the history of Tottenville, interaction with others has contributed the most depth to the historical facts. Meeting the people who know Tottenville has given me the best insights into the community and online interactions have added even more.





August  2018


Did you know?


On August 5, 1674 British Royal Navy Captain Christopher Billopp received land granted to him that included what is now Tottenville. The 932 acres grew to 1600 acres when the land grant increased in 1687.


“The Conference House (formerly known as the Billopp House) is a two-story, rubble stone masonry building constructed circa 1680 by Captain Christopher Billopp. Originally a rectangle in plan, with two rooms and a center hall on each level, the house was extended in the 18th century with the addition of a one-and-a-half story kitchen wing. The wing was constructed of rubble stone and clapboard. The steep gable roof is distinguished by brick gable ends and parapets.” http://theconferencehouse.org/about/history/


The Conference House is a designated New York City Landmark.


In my soon to be released book 17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive: Meet the People. Experience the Events. I write an entire chapter on Christopher Billopp, as well as sharing what information I discovered about his wife.


August 2018

Did you know?


On August 5, 1674 British Royal Navy Captain Christopher Billopp received land granted to him that included what is now Tottenville. 


The 932 acres grew to 1600 acres when the land grant increased in 1687.


“The Conference House (formerly known as the Billopp House) is a two-story, rubble stone masonry building constructed circa 1680 by Captain Christopher Billopp. Originally a rectangle in plan, with two rooms and a center hall on each level, the house was extended in the 18th century with the addition of a one-and-a-half story kitchen wing. The wing was constructed of rubble stone and clapboard. The steep gable roof is distinguished by brick gable ends and parapets.” http://theconferencehouse.org/about/history/


The Conference House is a designated New York City Landmark.


In my soon to be released book 

17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive: Meet the People. Experience the Events. 

I write an entire chapter on Christopher Billopp, as well as sharing what information I discovered about his wife.

Does the date September 11, 1776 mean anything to you? ​

If Tottenville interests you, it should. That is the date of the failed Peace Conference at the Conference House to try to stop the Revolutionary War. 


Representatives of the Continental Congress (John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Benjamin Franklin) met with a representative of the King (Lord Richard Howe) at the home of Colonel Christopher Billopp to try to prevent war. 


To clarify between the two Christophers, Colonel Christopher Billopp was the grandson of British Royal Navy Captain Christopher Billopp.


“Colonel Christopher Billopp (1737-1827) was born in the manor house and inherited the Manor of Bentley. He was the “Tory Colonel” of the American Revolution.” http://theconferencehouse.org/about/history/


A rowboat carrying John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge, and a British hostage left Perth Amboy, New Jersey with the colonists disembarking from the rowboat onto what is now the Conference House Beach. Admiral Lord Richard Howe met them, and together they climbed to the top of the hill to the Conference House to attempt a compromise to the Revolutionary War.


As they tried to negotiate peace, they were destined to fail.


Imagine how frustrating it must have been for the four men who sincerely tried to end the war.


Before the war, Lord Howe and Benjamin Franklin were friends in London.

Franklin regularly played chess with Howe’s widowed sister. Inside Howe’s home they tried to find a way to arrive at a peaceful solution. Representing the Continental Congress, Franklin introduced Adams and Rutledge to Howe as they sat cordially around the table. The conference lasted three hours as they tried to reach a compromise.


Howe stressed the advantage to the colonists to be part of the British Empire. The delegates reiterated the colonies voted for independence after past indignities, trying to convince Howe of the ways that an independent nation would be a benefit to England.


The Continental Congress representatives only had the authority to work for peace through independence from England. The Declaration of Independence had already stated the colonists’ grievances with the “history of repeated injuries and usurpations” of King George III as discussed in last month’s blog post. It was the job of John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Benjamin Franklin to try to get freedom for the colonies without continuing the war.


Lord Richard Howe, the King’s representative, had strict instructions from King George III that would never allow the colonies their freedom. His job basically was to get the colonists to back down from this breaking away from the crown to end the war.


As they tried to negotiate peace, they were destined to fail. With both sides unable to compromise with these conditions set firmly in place, there was no common ground with which to reach a settlement. Continuing to fight the Revolutionary War was the only possible response left to resolve the issue.

Meet Lord Richard Howe

This article in the Journal of the American Revolution gives an informative background of Lord Richard Howe.

RICHARD HOWE: ADMIRAL OF THE BRITISH FLEET IN NORTH AMERICA AND PEACE COMMISSIONER by Bob Ruppert

https://allthingsliberty.com/2018/03/richard-howe-admiral-of-the-british-fleet-in-north-america-and-peace-commissioner/

The Conference House holds an annual reenactment of this Peace Conference. 


Chris the Hobby Guy graciously allowed me to  share his video at last year’s event with you.

Looking forward to this​ year’s celebration,

--Angie


July 2018

Happy Independence Day! 

I have always seen the 4th of July as so much more than a red, white, & blue summer celebration. Barbeques….picnics…..fireworks displays….summer fun on a hot July day & night. 


It is great to be free to enjoy this time thanks to Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The meaning of the day held significance to me ever since I was a little girl.


My mother was born in Italy; my father was born in the United States. As I was growing up my mother instilled in me how important it was to be an American, despite its human flaws.


My Dad fought in World War II. At home my Mom was spit on for being Italian. Italy sent a notice to join Mussolini’s army to her older brother, which he promptly discarded. Their younger brother was in the US Army with my Dad.

 

Our freedoms are not free. Our country is not perfect, but that’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to work to improve it.




The Declaration of Independence 

Because of an act of violence reported in the news at the Capital Gazette, I found out something I never knew about the Declaration of Independence that I want to share with you. 


“The Maryland Gazette traces its origins back to 1727 in Annapolis … In July 1776 the Gazette was one of the first newspapers to publish the Declaration of Independence, although it appeared on page 2; then, as now, local news took precedence.” Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun, June 28, 2018 http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-capital-history-20180628-story.html


I found the complete text of the Declaration of Independence, not the shortened version that was in our school textbooks, complete with list of the King’s offenses that prompted the document.  Have you ever read every word of it?


Imagine what it was like to read it with Congress before signing. They were taking a risk. They were going against the King. They were declaring independence from tyranny.


Read the full text of the Declaration of Independence.

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/




Meet King George III

“England’s longest-ruling monarch before Queen Victoria, King George III (1738-1820) ascended the British throne in 1760.”

http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/george-iii


Do you know what King George did that propelled us onto the course of the Revolutionary War?


Quoted from the Declaration of Independence:


“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. 


— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.


The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”



See the flag this 4th of July remembering its meaning

Do you know what it symbolizes?

  • Stars are a symbol of the heavens and the goals to which humankind aspires; stripes are symbolic of rays of light from the sun. 
  • Thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies that declared independence from England; fifty stars symbolize the current 50 United States. 

  • White signifies purity and innocence, red signifies valor and bravery; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.” https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/national-us/state-flag/american-flag


Each American is responsible for keeping our freedoms. Yes, that means you and me. Imagine if one day the America we grew up in no longer allows the freedoms we take for granted. 


If we leave it to others, we should not be shocked if one day these freedoms disappear.       --Angie


In memory of: 

  • Gerald Fischman
  • Rob Hiaasen 
  • John McNamara
  • Rebecca Smith
  • Wendi Winters


Tottenville History Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Latest Blog Entry

June 16, 2018

Great News to Share with You


Many of you have been waiting for my book on Tottenville to finally become a reality. I know I sure have!


The book 20th Century Tottenville is taking longer than anticipated as I go the traditional publishing route creating a book proposal to submit to literary agents and university presses that have indicated interest in the project. 


Who knew that compiling information and writing a non-fiction book proposal would be more difficult for me to do that writing a book?


BUT…


Thanks to a course I’ve been taking this summer I am in the process of learning how to write & self-publish an eBook from all the crates full of prior to 1900 information accumulated over the years that will not be in 20th Century Tottenville


So while I have no idea when 20th Century Tottenville will finally make it to publication, I’m determined that the beginning of Tottenville History will be published as an eBook by the end of the summer! 


My working title for this first eBook is:


17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive: 

Meet the people. Experience the Events.


I’ll keep you posted.


Thanks for all your support & patience,

Angie