It was as if I entered a portal to time and crossed over to the American Revolution. Was this a table in the offices of Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc or my great, great, great, great- Grandmothers kitchen table?
While researching a family story online I found an archaeological report keyed to the family name. Could it be? With great excitement I read the details revealed through a survey of their former home site.
Artifacts are each a little clue to the way people lived. Each fragment tells a tiny portion of the larger story of who they were and what their lives might have been like. I just made the jump from names and dates on a family tree to imagining real people, serving punch from a great bowl, setting out milk for the cream to rise and shucking oysters for a hot oyster stew. Was it a long hard day running the tavern next to a shipyard? My ancestor probably sat down at last and sipped a cup of tea from the delicate cup and saucer, English made but patterned in a Chinese design. After that refreshing first sip she picked up her embroidery and set to work on her art.
How can I tell you that bit of story? I’ve seen it! There I was at the table in the archaeologists offices, Public Archeology Survey Team, Inc. 569 Middle Turnpike Storrs, CT 06268 ( incredibly this is only 10 minutes from my house!) many thanks to archeologists, Ross Harper and Bruce Clouette! There were the relics of the dig spread out for my inspection. My ancestor, Mehitable Story, wife of Ebenezer Story of Preston, Connecticut – the secrets the earth gave up to the dig included, large pieces of her redware milk pan, half the pair of embroidery scissors, portions of her cup and saucer along with 2 coins, oyster shucking knives, shoe buckles, glass and fragments of their ship building legacy – slag from the blacksmith shop!
Delicate embroidery scissors, a bagged item from the dig lay on top the map of the archaeological excavation at the Story home site on the edge of the Thames River in Preston, CT. The site is now a permanent archaeological preserve to insure the area is not disturbed. I am researching these family members because the story of the family named Story, needs to be told. These were American patriots, entrepreneurs, and the foundation of a long ancestral line. Ebenezer and Mehitable Story had carved out a good living on the brow of the Thames River. Their family connections in nearby Norwich, CT – the Huntington family led them to their patriotic pursuits. The pursuit of freedom that cost Ebenezer his life.
I am preparing a new version of the story I perform called “Never Forget” it is on my CD “George Henry Story – The Man Who Painted Lincoln” the artist was their Grandson.
The new version will be more in depth, a much more complex tale and a rich view of the lives of Ebenezer and Mehitable and the Ship Confederacy built at their house in Preston, CT. Confederacy and her crew were captured by the British during the American Revolution and the crew became prisoners of war. Ebenezer Story died in the Sugar House Prison in New York City, and so his story ends, but it doesn’t…if you just dig a little!
The story will have its debut at the Connecticut Storytelling Festival, April 25, 2015 in the 1:30 performance time. The Festival is held at Connecticut College (Crozier Hall) just down the river from where they lived.
Here is a previous blog on the same family story search:
The Patriot Gave Everything – Focus on Family Stories