POETRY: Five Kernels of Corn

Long a part of New England holiday tradition…

Another traditional Thanksgiving poem by Hezekiah Butterworth can be found here:  Thanksgiving in Boston

“The first few winters in the New World were treacherous for the new colonists. The settlers of the Plymouth colony died in droves from both sickness and starvation. In this verse the necessity of rationing the meager food resources is set alongside the abundant moral reserves of the people. Long a part of New England holiday tradition–before the turkey is carved each member of the family is served a mere five kernels of corn, after which this inspiring poem is recited–the remembrance of Plymouth has become a symbol of the incredible blessing of this land.”

~ “The Patriot’s Handbook”, George Grant, Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville, 1996

Five Kernels of Corn

by Hezekiah Butterworth

T’was the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o’er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
And dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

“Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn! ”
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
“Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and the arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn! ”

O Bradford of Austerfield haste on thy way.
The west winds are blowing o’er Province-town Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners’ Hill!
“Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone.
And ye still have left you Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

“The raven’s gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking, and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle: rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice! ”
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the ” Five Kernels of Corn. ”
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!


Herbal Household Remedies: Feast and Fast

Feasts can only be significant if not every meal is a banquet.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  There is so much to be thankful for!  Enjoy your feast, enjoy your family time, enjoy the festiveness and all that happens in your family traditionally on this day.

It is good to celebrate the feasts in our lives, the special, significant meals that we share with those we love.  Thanksgiving is one of them, and so is Christmas dinner.  In between the two, there lies Advent, a time to prepare for Christmas.  Today, I would like to encourage you to follow an old tradition and fast during Advent in some way.

Feasts can only be significant if not every meal is a banquet.  Feasting as well as fasting are part and parcel of many (all?) religious traditions, and it should come as no surprise that it is good for us to not always eat as much as we can hold, and to not always abstain from most things.  It is also good to break routine every once in a while and prove to ourselves that we CAN do without coffee for four weeks, or without tea, or without chocolate, or without dessert, or without meat, or without fast food.

Simplify your dietary habits so that feasts like today stand out as significant.  Alternate feast and fast.  Enjoy the times of plenty, and the times of restraint.  It will strengthen your mind as well as your body.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Cultural Wednesday: Brownscombe’s First Thanksgiving

Is your pumpkin pie ready yet?

This is a classic by Jennie A. Brownscombe, painted in 1914.  She repainted in eleven years later and changed some things that had been criticized as “unhistorical”, but we prefer the first one, historically accurate or not.

Pilgrims and First Thanksgiving
“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914)


Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor…


Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Classical Sunday: Thanksgiving Week!

Getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, one of our favorite holidays.

Vivaldi, Händel, Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky:  That should do it for a fitting Thanksgiving atmosphere.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving week, one and all!

Thanksgiving Day: Classical Music for Thanksgiving Dinner

Vivaldi — Concerto No. 1, I. E Major, Op. 8, RV 269: I. Allegro « Primavera »
Vivaldi — Concerto No. 2, I. G Minor, Op. 8, RV 315: I. Allegro Non Molto « Estate » ( 03:42 )
Vivaldi — Concerto No. 3, I. F Major, Op. 8, RV 293: I. Allegro « Autunno » ( 08:45 )
Vivaldi — Concerto Alla Rustica 1° mov ( 14:08 )
Vivaldi — Concerto Alla Rustica 2° mov ( 15:42 )
Vivaldi — Concerto Alla Rustica 3° mov ( 16:44 )
Händel — Messiah, HWV 56, Scene 3: “For unto us a Child Is Born” ( 18:21 )
Händel — Messiah, HWV 56, Scene 7: “Hallelujah” ( 22:25 )
Beethoven — Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 (Pastorale) ( 26:13 )
Händel — Suite No. 2 in D Major, HWV 349 “Water Music”: II. Alla Hornpipe ( 35:21 )
Bach — Badinerie ( 40:11 )
Tchaikovsky — The Nutcracker, Suite, Op. 71a: III. Valzer dei Fiori ( 42:53 )

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (18 August 1863 – 18 March 1930), the American painter who painted the painting the video and our post feature, was best known for his series of 78 scenes from American history entitled The Pageant of a Nation, the largest series of American historical paintings by a single artist.  He also happened to be the nephew of Thomas Moran, who, as we have just discovered, lies buried in the same cemetery on Long Island as a number of our relatives.

Cultured Wednes… err, Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Be thankful: You are still here!

Just a few paintings for you to enjoy this day.


thanksgiving Rockwell.jpeg



happy thanksgiving.jpeg

Be thankful: You are still here!


Classical Sunday: Dvořák’s “From the New World”

Just the thing for Thanksgiving Week.

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

Conductor: Sergiu Celibidache

Orchestra: Münchner Philharmoniker, 1991

1. Adagio – Allegro molto 00:54
2. Largo, 12:56
3. Scherzo/Molto Vivace 29:55
4. Allegro con fuoco 39:22

I am not such a connoisseur of conductors, but Sergiu Celibidache, much like Christian Thielemann, really makes a difference, it seems.  What a wonderful piece, wonderfully performed.

Happy Thanksgiving (week), everyone!

Remembering Our Ancestors: Lion Gardiner, 1st Lord of the Manor

Here’s a noteworthy fellow…

Lion Gardiner was a man of sterling qualities, and acquired the esteem of all with whom he came in contact.  In the autumn of 1886 a recumbent effigy was erected to his memory, and his grave was opened.  In it his skeleton was found to be intact.  It was that of a man over six feet in height, with a broad forehead and strong jaws.  (from: Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889; Vol II: Crane – Grimshaw, p. 595)

Doesn’t that sound like an ancestor to be proud of?  Lion Gardiner (1599–1663) was our 10th great-grandfather: His grand-daughter Mary, daughter of his daughter Mary and Jeremiah Conkling Sr., married Thomas Mulford, and their line produced our great-grandma Mattie Mulford, wife of Steward Leslie Denney.  The Conklings and Mulfords are formidable first-settler families of Long Island, New York in their own right, but for today, we will concentrate of Lion Gardiner.

Lion Gardiner is honored with a 1930 statue created by sculptor William Ordway Partridge.  A dedication on the front (south) face of the monument’s pedestal reads, “In memory of Lion Gardiner, builder and commander of Saybrook Fort, 1635 – 1639.” – Fort Saybrook Monument Park

And what better time to remember our ancestors who were settlers on this continent rather than an immigrants, with Thanksgiving coming up and our thoughts going back to the brave souls that came here in those early days?

The Gardiner Recumbent Effigy, i.e. “reclining figure”, at South End Cemetery in East Hampton, Suffolk County, L. I., New York.

But let’s begin at the beginning.  Much of what you can read below is based on an article titled America’s Aristocrats: Gardiner’s Island, written by Trey Garrison and
published in November 2007, and I added more information, dates and details from numerous other sources all over the internet, among them Find-A-Grave, Ancestry, Wiki-Tree, Rootsweb and a number of books about North American families and early migration, all readily available online.

Lion Gardiner was born on 3 December 1599 in London, Middlesex, England.  It appears as though he had red hair!  He married Marrigje Willemson Deurcant, a lady of Dutch descent, in 1624, and on 11 Aug, 1635, he and  his wife (then still childless), together with a single female servant and eleven other male passengers, embarked at London in a small vessel, the Bachelor, on their three-and-a-half months voyage, reaching Boston on 28 Nov that same year.  Lion had been a decorated military engineer in the English army who had served in the Netherlands with great distinction during the war of liberation against Spain, a war during which, incidentally, the home of Marrigje‘s grandfather at Zalt-Bommel had been confiscated.

According to Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, Lion was persuaded by Hugh Peters and other Englishmen to enter the service of the company of the Lords Say and Brooks and other gentlemen that was colonizing an American settlement for the Puritans.  After his arrival in the New World, he took command of 300 soldiers and workers, drawing up and executing plans for towns and forts, among them Saybrook Fort, which he named after the Lords Say and Brooks.  Lion’s son David and his daughter Mary were born there in 1636 and 1638 respectively, David being the first white child to be born in what was to become Connecticut.  After Saybrook Fort was completed, the Pequot Indians declared war on their new neighbors.

Gardiner-pequot painting
Lion Gardiner in the Pequot War, by Charles Stanley Reinhart (painted circa 1890)

The clothing you can see in the picture is pretty much what Lion Gardiner eventually was buried in: an English red uniform and metal armor as shown, with a splendid sword by his side.  The sculpture of a reclining knight on his tomb wears armor somewhat like that, apart from helmet.

During the two-year war with the Pequot, Lion commanded Saybrook.  Here is Lion’s own account of the events: Relation of the Pequot Warres (1660).

At the same time, on the eastern half of Long Island, Chief Wyandanch led the Montaukett tribe and watched the war between the English and the Pequot with great interest.  He soon recognized the superior firepower of the English, repudiated his Pequot kin and formed an alliance with the Lion Gardiner.  According to Faren Siminoff’s Crossing the Sound: The Rise of Atlantic American Communities in Seventeenth-Century Eastern Long Island, such a repudiation was fully within the bounds of traditional native culture.  Wyandanch made sure to negotiate the terms of the alliance according to Indian standards, and he insisted on a client-patron relationship rather than complete subordination.

In turn, Lion was offered the island that now bears his name, and he reportedly bought it for a large black dog, some powder and shot, and a few Dutch blankets.  And this is how the Isle of Wight, or Manchonake, as the Indians called it, became Gardiner’s Island, private property of the Gardiner family.

aerial view island
Aerial view of Gardiner’s Island

So Lion moved his family from Fort Saybrook to Gardiner’s Island, where his daughter Elizabeth was born in 1641, the first white child to be born in New York.  Eventually, in 1653, ten years before he died, Lion Gardiner moved to East Hampton, where his daughter Elizabeth died in 1658 and where the Mulford’s lived into which family his daughter Mary would marry in that same year, 1658.  On 5 October 1663 he died in East Hampton and was buried there.

There are thousands of descendants of his this day, many notable ones among the lot, and there are lots of stories to tell about them and Gardiner’s Island, one involving the infamous pirate Captain Kyd, but we only want to relate one story here, one in which Lion himself was still involved:

Lion’s daughter Elizabeth is said to have played a key role in the colonial witch hunts as the accuser in one of the earliest witch trials of the New World, a short version of which we will recount here.  In New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635; Great Migration, Vol 3, G-H, p. 12, it says that Lion

“became entangled in the witchcraft case against Elizabeth, the wife of Joshua Garlick.  The Gardiners and the Garlicks had had problems in the past.”

Joshua Garlick had been a worker on the Gardiner’s estate.

In any case, we thought Lion’s involvement in the affair, which actually led to the accused lady being declared not guilty, most noteworthy.

Elizabeth, possibly maiden name Blanchard, was married to Joshua Garlick, a farmer who had once worked for Lion Gardiner, the most prominent citizen of East Hampton, Long Island.  As the “Goodwife” Garlick, Elizabeth, then in her 50’s, was tried, in February, 1658, at East Hampton for witchcraft, but was fortunate enough to escape with her life.  She was charged with bewitching Elizabeth, wife of Arthur Howell and daughter of Lion Gardiner, who had died in a state of hysteria.  The case, including depositions, takes up several pages in the printed records of East Hampton.

The case began on a Friday in early February when 16-year-old Elizabeth Howell became delirious with fever and raved that she saw “a black thing at the bed’s feet,” and cried out, “A witch!  A witch!  Now you are come to torture me because I spoke two or three words against you.  In the morning you will come fawning….”  By Sunday evening, the young woman lay dead and Goody Garlick found herself accused of causing this death by witchcraft.


While the father of Elizabeth Howell, Lion Gardiner himself did not testify, his word carried weight and “it is creditably reported by a local Authority, that Mrs. Garlick had been employed in the Family of Capt. Lyon Gardiner, and that another Woman in the same Employ had accused Mrs. Garlick of causing the Death of her Child; while, according to Capt. Gardiner, the Woman who had been a Witness against Mrs. Garlick, had taken an Indian Child to nurse, and starved her own Child to Death for the Sake of the Pay she was to receive for supporting the Indian Child.”

Quoted after the Witches page on rootsweb.com, more specifically “Elizabeth Blachard Garlick“).

We will finish this rather lengthy brag with a historic picture of the Gardiner Manor on Gardiner’s Island.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

manor house built in 1947
The Gardiner’s Island Manor House built in 1947
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