Archive for January, 2012

In Cassidy’s War, Cassidy and her brother, Quinn, take a train to visit Philadelphia. Of course, traveling a long distance by train required luggage.

These helpful luggage hints are from handbooks written by John Murray, who wrote A Handbook for Travellers on the Continent (1853) and Hints to Railway Travellers.

Murray writes, “On all occasions it is desirable to have as little baggage as possible.”

“Ladies should be cautioned not to encumber themselves with supernumerary cap and band boxes; even if they travel post in their own carriage, it will be less trouble and expense to buy such articles in the great towns, than to have to take an extra horse in consideration of the number of packages.”

He also suggests luggage should be clearly marked so a lady’s gentleman escort can easily retrieve it and any essential overnight articles should be kept separate. Instead of taking one heavy trunk, travelers are urged to distribute articles into small packages like portmanteaus or carpetbags.

Since carpetbags can get easily wet and one doesn’t want wet garments, handbook writer, Miss Leslie, urges ladies: “Let the bag be about half a quarter of a yard longer at the back than at the front; so as to leave a flap to turn over, and tie down, when all of the articles are in.”

Contrary to what other travel handbook writers urge about keeping luggage to a minimum a guide advising American travelers going to Europe or the East writes: “As regards to baggage, the author would say in opposition to most writers, who advise against it, don’t cramp yourself for lack of baggage; the few dollars charged for extra luggage will be more than compensated for by having every thing that you may want; and when your wardrobe has been pulled to pieces by custom-house officers, it will not require hours to repack before you can close your trunks.”

Hmmm. Sounds like those mid-19th century travelers had to deal with a lot of issues we still do today. In part two, I’ll talk about modes of 19th century travel.

From an article by Anna Worden: Travel in the mid-19th century: The Citizen’s Companion: June 2009.

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I’m doing another interview today over at Beth Trissel’s blog, One Writer’s Way. http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

I’m also sharing another excerpt from my new release, Cassidy’s War. Stop by and say ‘hi’.

And I’m also posting at Slip Into Something Victorian, following the Civil War timeline of what happened 150 years ago today. Join me to learn why Lincoln lashed out at his generals.

Cassidy’s War available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4729

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1326644295&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war    

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Returning home, Cassidy pulled the pin from her hat and lifted it from her head, careful not to pull her bun out of place. She set the hat on the mahogany entry table and draped her shawl over the hook by the door. Her mother strode from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron.

Guilt niggled at her for lying to George, but she had to get away. His sudden appearance dredged up the hurt he’d caused her, even after five years. A pain she’d hoped never to surface again.

“Since I seem to have no patients, as usual…” She eyed her mother. “I’ll do some gardening after I change into my work dress.”

“That’ll be fine, Cassie. With just you, me, and Matt here, I’ve got the baking well under control.”

Cassidy bit her lip. “Thought you should know…”

Her mother turned back, a frown on her face. “Know what?”

“I saw George in town today.”

“George Masters?” The frown turned into a scowl. “What’s he doing here?”

“Nothing to do with me, Ma. He’s here to pay respects to his father.”

“Well, about time one of Amos’s no-account sons showed up. If the undertaker didn’t bury him, he’d still be rotting in that shack he called home.”


“Just be glad that man ran off before he married you instead of after.”

Cassidy sighed. “I’d rather not discuss this right now. Just wanted to warn you in case you see him in town.”

She turned from her mother’s raised brows and climbed the stairs to her bedroom. After changing, she gathered her sun bonnet, apron, and a spade, then trudged to the small garden bordering the front porch.

Two days ago, she had promised her mother she’d attend to the weeds. New ones sprang up overnight after a few days of heavy rain. Maybe pulling weeds would get her mind off her worries about the practice and seeing George again after all these years.

A half hour later, Cassidy brushed her soiled hands over her apron and surveyed the garden which now looked in fair shape to plant seeds. Rising, she glanced at the sun. Delicious warmth bathed her face. The past winter had been extremely cold with a lot of snow. If not for the work with her father’s patients, hopelessness would have descended with nothing but endless chores to occupy her time.

Cassidy smiled as she remembered the day Ma had ordered Sarah to help Cassidy in the garden. Her sister had worn her best dress and bonnet in hopes Cassidy would send her on her way. When she threatened to smear Sarah’s good dress with mud, she’d flown into the house in alarm.

Sarah had married a lieutenant she’d met during the war and now lived in York. Sarah and her husband, Wesley, weren’t able to visit often, even though York wasn’t much of a distance. They’d last been in town for Pa’s funeral, then stayed for the Christmas holidays—not a very joyous occasion this year—but the family hadn’t seen them since, only communicating through letters.

Her brother, Quinn, was serving an internship in a hospital in Harrisburg. Cassidy ached with jealousy. She wished she could follow in his footsteps by attending a real medical school like he had. His letters and frequent visits left her ravenous with longing. She wanted with all her heart to be a real doctor and set up her own practice. George thought she could, but although her father had taught her well, he hadn’t thought medical school practical for a woman and her mother—while tolerating her daughter’s work with patients since her husband’s death as a way to earn extra money—thought Cassidy should set her sights on eligible men, especially once Quinn returned. But her brother would approve of her applying to a medical school. He was the only support she had left now.

Cassidy’s War available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4729

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1326644295&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war

Read opening chapters at my website.

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“A really good housekeeper is almost always unhappy. While she does so much for the comfort of others, she nearly ruins her own health and life. It is because she cannot be easy and comfortable when there is the least disorder or dirt to be seen.” The Household, January 1884

In my new release, Cassidy’s War, a widow and her grown children live under one roof and she and the female children do most of the household work. While housework is drugery now, imagine what it must have been like before the age of washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and other new cleaning aids coming on the market each day.

Advice abounded in the popular literature of the period on how to keep a proper house. It seemed to be important that one’s home be kept clean, neat and pious, filled with warmth and inviting smells. Only then could a woman achieve her “highest calling”.

Housework was glorified, even though the actual tasks involved proved to be tedious and distressing. But women were told these tasks were “important works assigned to them by Nature and God”. A good housekeeper was urged to use proponents of ‘scientific housekeeping’ in order to run the house efficiently. Women must set up weekly schedules.

This weekly schedule of pure drudge included laundry on Monday, ironing and mending on Tuesday, baking on Wednesdy and Saturday, along with daily chores of tidying in the kitchen and parlor, and a thorough cleaning of the house on Thursday and Saturday. In addition to this, women also were responsible for “childcare, three meals a day, hauling water and keeping the fire burning in the stove”. This chore could take up at least one full hour each day. Women also made family garments, preserved fruits on a seasonal basis, as well as vegetables and meat.

Women who lived on farms were also responsible for the farm garden, livestock and poultry. If she didn’t have to work in the fields during harvest, she often provided room and board for the hired helpers.

Even though women’s lives were full of stress and drudgery in the 19th century, women were able to accept the challenge of keeping house with humor and pride.

For more on housekeeping in the 19h century, visit these sites: http://www.connerprairie.org/Learn-And-Do/Indiana-History/America-1860-1900/Lives-Of-Women.aspx



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Cassidy’s War is now available as both Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWU5XWC2&qid=1326497502&sr=1-3 and Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war books.

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Today my Wednesday Excerpt is combined with a guest post and interview at Cherie Marks’ blog. http://cheriemarks.blogspot.com/ You might find out something you didn’t know about me.

And I’m also at Caroline Clemmons blog, A Writer’s Life http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ talking about what led to the creation of my new historical romance release. as well as posting another excerpt from Cassidy’s War.

Hope you’ll join me at one or both spots and say, ‘hi’.

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My newest historical romance, Cassidy’s War, takes place five years after the American Civil War in 1870. My character is fighting for the right to attend formal medical school in order to establish a licensed medical practice, but women all over the United States faced a long, hard road for the rights that every man enjoyed.

The nineteenth century was a tumultuous time for the establishment of women’s rights, as women fought for their freedom at the same time many men sought to hold them back.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave voting rights to all men, including blacks, but women were excluded.

In 1845, a female reporter, Margaret Fuller, wrote ‘Women in the Nineteenth Century’. She insisted that “individuals had unlimited capacities and that when people’s roles were defined according to their sex, human development was severely limited”.

During the 19th century, women in the United States both organized and participated in many types of reform movements. They sought to improve education, initiate prison reform and ban alcoholic drinks; and in the pre-Civil War period, rallied to free the slaves.

In this time period, a woman speaking before a mixed audience, was frowned upon. But abolitionist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimke from South Carolina, spoke out against slavery in public meetings. A few of the male abolitionists, notably, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass were supportive of women speaking and participating in antislavery activities.

Women compared their position with that of slaves. Women and slaves were supposed to remain “passive, cooperative and obedient to their master-husbands”. Many feminists were also abolitionists, including Stanton, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.

Dorothea Dix led a movement for prison reform in the mid 1800s. She also worked to provide mental-hospital care for the needy.

In July 1848 the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, N. Y. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that “all men and women are created equal” and that “the history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman”.

Women abolitionists were disappointed after the Union victory in the Civil War. They’d hoped the fight for freedom for blacks would also help advance women’s rights. However, the 14th and 15th Amendments granted citizenship and suffrage to black men, but women, whatever their color, were excluded.

Women finally did win the right to vote, but it was long hard struggle. Although women in the western states of Wyoming Territory, Utah Territory, Colorado and Idaho all won the vote by 1896, but eastern states resisted granting that right. Also an amendment to the Federal Constitution granting woman suffrage, failed to pass by the end of the 19th century.

For more info on women’s rights, visit there sites:

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