WASHINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
A NEWSLETTER FOR MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
WINTER 2003 EDITION


President's Message

I would like to take this time to thank all of those who volunteered and so freely gave of their time to make this a year of great success. I would like to thank the Board of Directors, the Museum Committee, Archivist and all the Committee Members for taking an active part in the operations of the Society. We have a very ambitious year ahead of us in 2003. We will need the help of all of our members and friends to achieve the goals of the Society. The Board of Directors is in the process of looking into the possibility of the Society's acquiring the Carriage Museum, which is located next to the present Museum. The Historical Society is always interested in New Ideas and the acquisition of New Objects and Washington memorabilia. All members should keep this in mind. The Program Committee is in the process of putting together a program for our 2003 meetings. If you have any ideas that you would like to see in our monthly programs, please get in touch with one of their members. I would like to wish all of our members and their families a Very Happy Holiday Season. We are looking forward to the New Year and our first meeting in April.

John Siciliano, President
Washington Historical Society 2002-2003


TAVERN DRINKS

Contributed by Tom Talpey

As promised in our last Newsletter, here are a couple of old-time recipes for common drinks served in early nineteenth century taverns. I have extracted the recipes and combined comments from several web sites.
Image of a 1785 Tavern Sign: Drink for the thirfty, Food for the hungry, Lodging for the weary and good keeping for Horfes by John Nail FLIP was a dearly loved drink of colonial times; its chief ingredient was beer, with a dash of rum. It was traditionally made in a great pewter mug or earthen pitcher, filled two-thirds with a strong beer, sweetened with molasses (or dried pumpkin, according to your taste) to which was added a "gill" or a dash of rum. Into this mug was thrust a red-hot loggerhead, shaped like a poker, sometimes called a flip-dog. This made the mixture foam and bubble and gave it a burnt, bitter taste, which one reference calls "so dearly loved." Some tavern keepers added a bit of cream and an egg to the mixture before heating, which caused it to foam all the more. Flip was often served in great glass tumblers without handles, called flip glasses, holding several quarts, which nowadays are surely treasured antiques. It is probable that many tavern keepers had their own special twist to the basic recipe outlined here.

SYLLABUB was another, fancier drink in old time taverns, sometimes omitting the liquor. Here are two recipes-one old, one new.

Farmhouse Syllabub: "Fill a china or earthenware bowl of any size nearly half full of cider (of sour it is of no consequence), sweeten to the taste with coarse brown sugar, grate nutmeg and cinnamon to taste, then send the bowl out to the cow to be milked into until quite full of froth. This is generally served quite cold and will even keep until the next day, only not so well. The bowl is generally placed on the table and the syllabub served with a punch ladle into cups placed all around the bowl."
From THE LADY'S FRIEND, published in Philadelphia in July 1867

A Modern Recipe for Syllabub:
  • Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cream or "half and half"
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
image of lemons image of pitcher and glass

Mix lemon juice and rind, sherry and sugar in bowl. Cool and then strain liquid into another bowl, add cream and beat until the mixture gets thick and "soft as a kitten's fur." Pour into individual glasses and chill in refrigerator for several hours. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve, perhaps with ladyfingers. Very rich. May need to eat with a spoon!

"No man can stay depressed or wroth while eating syllabub's fragrant froth."


BEE LINING

Contributed by Ken Brighton

We have all either used or heard the term "bee line" as in "He made a bee line for the door," but it may be that not many realize the significance of the term in years past. Out of curiosity I went on the Internet to see if there was any information on the subject of "bee lining." All I could find was a short passage stating that this was a means of finding wild bee hives in earlier times in order to provide the family with a sweetener, but I could find nothing as to how this was accomplished. As I at one time had the opportunity to participate in such an exercise, I thought that some future generation might be interested in learning how this was done and what materials and equipment were necessary to accomplish it. I hasten to assure anyone interested that there was great pleasure in going through the exercise, which was done on occasional weekends during the late summer. If this is a lost art, somebody in the future may wish to revive it and this note may be a help in so doing.

Caroll & Amy Farnsworth on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1962
Caroll
(click to enlarge)

In the early 1960's we purchased an old farmhouse with about one hundred acres in Washington, NH, to be used as a summer home. After two or three summers had passed and we had become better acquainted with our new home, we learned that the house had been built in the early 1800's by Cyrus Farnsworth, a member of one of Washington's earliest families and one of the founders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. We were also delighted to meet and know a grandson of the builder of the house and farm buildings, Caroll Farnsworth, who at the time was in his eighties and living with his wife, Amy, in a cottage on Millen Pond abutting our property. It was he who provided us with the history of his family and the farm. He also taught us much about our rural surroundings, including the art of bee lining. Although he was, as they say "along in years," he was very active physically and could outpace me in the hikes I took with him through the woods, even though I was many years younger than he.

At some point in our relationship he asked if I and two of our neighbors, Alanson Crandall and Doc Holmes, would be interested in going bee lining. Needless to say we had no idea as to what he was talking about and he patiently explained that this was the method by which wild beehives were located, that it involved fairly strenuous effort and time to actually locate such a hive. He would provide us with some of the materials required and gave us a list of items we should obtain, all of which are as follows:

  • A wooden box, 7" by 6" by 3" high
  • Brood comb (thicker than honey comb)
  • A stand to hold the box and comb, about 4 feet high
  • A mixture of 1/3 sugar and water
  • Oil of anise (from a drug store)
  • 6 oz. Glass with a piece of heavy paper to cover the opening

image of bee

image of bee

image of bee

With these materials in hand, the next step of course is to assemble them at the location where the bee line will start. The best location is at some place near where honeybees are already working flowers, in order to make it easier to find a bee to begin the process.

Having found the location it is necessary to place the box on a stand (usually a stake with a flat seven inch square affixed to the top and driven into the ground.) The brood comb is then placed in the box and sugar water poured onto the comb and a drop or two of anise oil is lightly dabbed on the box.

Now it is necessary to find one of the bees and lightly scoop it into the glass and trap it by placing a paper cover over the opening. With the captured bee in the glass, it is taken to the box on the stand and the glass is placed upside down on the comb while removing the cover. Before long the bee will drop onto the comb and make the discovery of its life, having found an unheard of supply of nectar and will begin taking it in. The glass can now be removed and soon the bee will be sated and will slowly rise into the air and begin to circle the stand until it suddenly takes off in a bee line. Now one must wait patiently for its return with the hope that it will arrive at its hive and attract others to join him in seeking out this unexpected source of food. This is the reason for the oil of anise, as some of its scent will cling to the bee and this will be attractive to its fellow workers. After a short wait, the bee returns to the stand, sometimes with another bee, and the feeding begins again. Eventually as many as a dozen or more bees will be at the comb and as they leave for the hive the direction of the bee line can be fairly easily established. I understand that sometimes one of the bees will be touched lightly with powdered blue chalk to enable the time of flight between the stand and the hive and return to be determined as an aid in estimating the distance to the hive.

Caroll Farnsworth in 1944, playing the violin at the 100th Anniversary of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

(click to enlarge)

The time has now come to relocate the stand following the bee line as closely as possible, considering the nature of the terrain. In our case, the move was almost every time in the direction of a wooded area, which meant minor problems in following the bee line exactly. Before moving, after a dozen or more bees are on the comb, a cover of some sort (such as a shingle) should be placed over the box. The stand with the bees enclosed should now be transported to the next location, which might be a half a mile from the original starting point and hopefully open enough so that the second bee line can be clearly delineated. After setting up the stand and releasing the bees a period of hopeful and patient waiting again takes place until the return of the bees. We were always pleased if two or three of the bees returned to the stand and the process could begin over again. As soon as a sufficient number of bees were again showing up, which always happened, the stand would again be moved. The number of moves of course depended on whether or not the hive was in the vicinity, which in turn was estimated by how rapidly the bees returned to the stand. Once it was determined that the hive was nearby, the search for it began by scanning all the trees in the area. Most likely it would be found in a hollow of an older tree. We managed to find three hives in this manner, but on one occasion the hive was at a local beekeeper's home! The location of the hives were usually two miles, plus or minus, from the starting point as measured along the bee line, but much longer in terms of actual distance walked to find the location of the hive.

Now a decision has to be made as to whether or not the tree should be taken down in order to obtain the honey. This was more work than we flat-landers were up for, but Caroll did on one occasion take the honey. If this was done too late in the summer, the bees in the hive could not accumulate enough honey to last through the winter and the hive would not have made it through the winter.

I regret to have to end this outline of bee lining by saying that as of the present time, in our area at least, bee lining is not possible because there are no longer any honey bees. A disease has destroyed all the wild bees in the area. Hopefully the population will recover and the bees will return again to work the flowers along with the many bumblebees that are still around. When that day comes, I hope that someone will wish to use this guide to go "bee lining" again.


WASHINGTON WORD SEARCH

By Charlene Cobb

All the words listed below appear in the puzzle - horizontally, vertically, diagonally, and even backward. Find them and CIRCLE THEIR LETTERS ONLY. Do not circle the word. The remaining letters describe Washington.

N E R D L I H C H I S T O R I C
HUNTINGFIREYAECA
HIGHLANDKVLTESER
GNILWOBREYETSCVI
CASEIROMEMCEPUIN
CAMPMORGANTRWERG
EULEAIEPCCMPONDS
NHRMYRLCHOEIOARN
TAXESEKLAWNTDTOO
EVLPOLICESGHSUCW
RELAXATIONIEMRKM
FNLMOOSEILLAKESE
RDLPPCLHLFISHAUE
IEAAHISSULRTOWNT
EEMODANWSENIORSI
NRONWCEEELLEVOLN
DLANDNALSIEONACG
SSNOOMFLAHVOTERS

Ashuelot, Bowling, Calm, Camp Morgan, Canoe, Caring, Center, Children, Cows, Cure, Deer, Drive, Each, East, Fire, Fish, Friends, Game, Half Moon, Haven, Highland, Hike, Hills, Historic, Hunting, Ice, Island, Lakes, Land, Lovell, Mail, Mall, Map, Maple, May, Meetings, Memories, Millen, Moose, Nature, Park, Pines, Police, Ponds, Pretty, Reel, Relaxation, Rescue, Rocks, Sand, School, Selectmen, Seniors, Snow, Sun, Taxes, Town, Views, Voters, Washington, Woods.

(see solution)


A recent photo of the interior of the Old District #5 Schoolhouse in East Washington

(click to enlarge)