Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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      Life has given Penelope Drayton very little hope. After years of preparations, 1806 is the year that she is determined to create her own hope. The successful execution of her plan would grant her independence, but failure would certainly be her ruination. Just when her plan begins to meet with difficulty, she finds a faithful ally in Miss Violet Wyndham.Viol […]
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      Is there a story behind your book Penelope’s Hope?As I was developing the storyline for Penelope, I was struggling personally with living in a new place and having a different schedule (working outside the home) while managing the household and our four children, all while living very far away from the place I grew up. Some days, hope seemed a long way off. […]
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      Welcome back to the Book Loft, Susan. Is there a story behind your book Renew-7 Days to a More Positive Outlook? There certainly is. Many hospice patients have shaped my life, and I wanted to share their stories. Believe me, it’s not sad or depressing. Their stories are inspirational. They have taught me to live more freely and lightly while savoring the gif […]
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      Hi again,It's been a long time again since I posted. Haven't done a ton of writing but I did start a new novel or novelette or series of novelettes at the beginning of the month. November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to start a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. November isn't over yet but I know I'm not going […]
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      If you haven't noticed, which I actually hope you have, I haven't blogged for a while. Well, I needed a break. I'd published seven books in three years and I was sort of written out. I simply needed a break. So now I think the break is over. I'm thinking about writing again and have several projects in different stages of writing. They we […]
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      As I stated last week, November is NANOWRIMO. I'm working on the next Stones Creek novel. It's the story of Chloe, Noah Preston's sister. She comes to Stones Creek with her two children. If you would like to read her pre-story simply subscribe to Sophie's Special Emails. No more than twice a month will you receive an email with special co […]
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      Thank you, Lisa, for hosting me! I always enjoy talking about Sassy Pants and delighting children with another story in the series!Buy Sassypants in paperback format from Amazon, $11.99, or order from your favorite bookstore.ISBN-13: 978-0996495356Can you tell us about your new book? Sassy Pants Learns About Strange Creatures Sassy Pants Learns...about stran […]
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      All’s Fair in Love and Arson Sharon McGregorPrism Book Groupc. Nov 2015novellainspirational holiday romance.99 ebookISBN 9781943104255Buy on Amazon the publisher: Bella is back at her childhood home. When her mother took a fall in the Nuisance Grounds (garbage dump) and broke her leg, Bella came back to help her and run her shop, I […]
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      NOTE:  Due to a serious need to cut back on my workload, this will be my last official book review on this blog.It doesn’t seem possible that the evening can get any worse for police officer Josh Wallace after he is dumped by the girlfriend he planned to propose to, but it does.  Josh and his partner are shot while chasing a carjacking suspect. While on the […]
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      Ruthy MacNeil is rescued by Luke Stone after she nearly drowns fording a flooded river with a wagon train. Her step family doesn’t survive and she is finally free of their mistreatment. Luke surived the horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in notorious Anderson prison during the civil war, only to learn that his father has been killed and the family ranch st […]
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      When Pat Taylor wed Tom Allanson he had no way of knowing it would destroy his life in just a matter of weeksIn fact, Pat destroyed a lot of people’s lives. The attractive Southern belle was spoiled by her mother and she expected to live a lavish lifestyle at any cost. Nobody crosses Pat who was fascinated with Scarlett O’Hara. Pat could pour on the charm, b […]

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘Abiah Holbrook’

Put Your John Hancock Here

Posted by elainemcooper on August 5, 2011

“Put Your John Hancock Here”

posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

John Hancock's famous signature

So the saying goes when anyone wants your signature. John Hancock’s ornately written name agreeing with the Declaration of Independence is still looked at with fascination by young and old alike more than 200 years later. No one writes like that anymore, we all say. Hovering with bent shoulders as we click away on our keyboards, the most artistic we get in our writing is creating passages that draw pictures for our readers to envision. But the actual fonts? They are produced, magically it seems, by the software in our machines.

So how did they write like that back in Colonial America? The students learned the art with painstaking practice. With a feather quill and often, homemade ink, these boys and girls refined their strokes in great flowing style that marked an era of intricate penmanship. It has become an art nearly forgotten.

The script demonstrated by John Hancock was known as the “Boston Style of Writing,” taught by Abiah Holbrook who was esteemed as a great master of the pen. Writing masters were universally honored in every community, according to Home and Child Life in Colonial Days by Shirley Glubock. In 1745, Mr. Holbrook had 220 scholars in one school, learning this art of penmanship. John Hancock was one of Holbrook’s most notable students.

In this day of running to Target to buy a Bic, it’s difficult to imagine all the intricacies of this type of written communication. It required a sharp quill with the feather still attached, usually from a goose. Some managed to perfect the art of sharpening the point of the quill with a knife—the origin of the word, “pen-knife.” Those not wanting to sharpen their own could have them done by professionals who stationed themselves on streets. These gentlemen were called “stationers.” Ah-hah, I thought—the origin of stationery!

Gall on an Oak Tree

And then there was the ink. There were various recipes that produced the blue liquid that dried black and eventually faded to a brown tone. But usually the base of the formula was made from galls—odd swellings on oak trees that were a natural reaction to parasites—combined with copperas, which is an iron compound. This produced an ink that has lasted through hundreds of years, making letters from long ago still visible to the naked eye. And beautifully visible at that. The script makes any document look more art than narrative.

In doing my family research a few years back, I received in the mail three rolled up, ornately inscribed muster roll documents in cardboard tubes shipped from England. These were photocopies of documents actually written in the late 1700’s. A British researcher had worked long and hard to find my ancestor, discovering his name in the National Archives. The date on them was 1775, the year my 4th great-grandfather signed on as a 20-year-old with the 21st British regiment. Intent upon helping his homeland conquer those rabble-rousing Rebels, his heart was instead conquered by a young colonial farmwoman. Instead of staying in the British Army, he became an American.

The next hand-written document I have from his life here in America is the ornate script found in the doctor’s ledger treating my ancestor, his wife, and his children for various illnesses with medicines, a tooth removal, or a bleeding. The record was artistically drawn documentation of the lives of my family written so long ago with the touch of a quill and a dollop of ink. A record as old as time and dear to my heart today.

The written word has always been the most widespread form of communication. And today, while our writing may not be as beautifully wrought when we type on keyboards and press “send,” it is certainly more effective in its reach to millions of souls. Souls that need the ultimate Word that was wrought by God who sent us the most meaningful message of all time: We can have eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NIV)



Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »


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