Tuesday, December 25, 2018

17C Christmas - 1687 along the Potomac in Virginia & Maryland

French traveler Mr. Durand, who recounted his travels through the midAtlantic region in 1686. While accompanying a Roman Catholic companion intent on passing Christmas day at a Catholic church in Maryland.  From Port Tobago, as we have seen, Durand went to the Potomac and visited the plantation owned by Colonel William Fitzhugh at Bedford. "He wished now to pass Christmas day in Maryland, and, as we were only five or six leagues distant and had no desire to leave him, it was agreed that all should go to spend the night with Colonel Fitzhugh, whose house is on the shore of the great river Potomac...by the time we reached Col. Fitzhugh's we made up a troop of 20 horse. The Colonel's accommodations were, however, so ample that this company gave him no trouble at all; we were all supplied with beds, though we had, indeed, to double up. Col. Fitzhugh showed us the largest hospitality. He had store of good wine and other things to drink, and a frolic ensued. He called in three fiddlers, a clown, a tight rope dancer and an acrobatic tumbler, and gave us all the divertisement one would wish. It was very cold but no one thought of going near the fire because they never put less than the trunk of a tree upon it and so the entire room was kept warm.. . .the frolic continued well into the afternoon of the second day. . .” 
A Frenchman in Virginia; Being the Memoirs of a Huguenot Refugee in 1686;  Translated by A Virginian; Privately Printed 1923