Monday, March 19, 2018

Easter scratched egg with the Battle of Bunker Hill

Germans in Pennsylvania and Maryland dyed their eggs in brown onion skins or logwood, then scratched designs on the shells to give as gifts. A young Capt. Wm Beatty carved the Battle of Bunker Hill on an egg!! The incredible design was described by a British officer, prisoner in 1781 Frederick, Md. Eggs in photo were made by Tom Martin of Landis Valley museum.

William Beatty (1758-1881) lived near Frederick Maryland, enlisted in the 1st Maryland Line in 1776, fought in most of their battles until shot during the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, SC.  His father, Colonel William Beatty treasured the egg sketched by his eldest son.

In the letter headed "Colonel Beattie’s Plantation, near Frederick Town, in Maryland, July 11, 1781" Thomas Anbury described his time as a prisoner housed at the Beatty farm.   More on Beatty and Anbury below.

“At Easter holidays the young people have a custom, in this province, of boiling eggs in logwood, which dyes the shell crimson, and though this colour will not rub off, you may, with a pin, scratch on them any figure or device you think proper. This is practised by the young men and maidens, who present them to each other as love tokens.

As these eggs are boiled a considerable time to take the dye, the shell acquires great strength, and the little children divert themselves by striking the eggs against each other, and that which breaks becomes the property of him whose egg remains whole.

To impress the minds of his children with their glorious struggle for independence, as they term it, the Colonel [Beattie] has an egg, on which is engraved the battle of Bunker's Hill [June 17, 1775]. This he takes infinite pains to explain to his children, but will not suffer them to touch it, being the performance of his son gone to camp; but now being slain, he preserves it as a relic. The Colonel favoured us with a sight of it, and, considering the small space, the battle is very accurately delineated."

Anburey, Thomas. Travels through the interior parts of America: in a series of letters, Volume 2. London: 1789. 1923 edition, pages 281-292 (more on Frederick MD p. 178-182) HERE

Thomas Anbury's further observations -
"Frederick's Town, Maryland, April 12, 1781.
It being determined by Congress that the army is to make some residence in this town, the men are quartered in very comfortable barracks [Hessian Barracks], that were built by the Americans since the commencement of the war, are better supplied with provisions, and allowed many privileges, such as working for the inhabitants permitted to go into the country to purchase vegetables, &c. and since the men have been prisoners they have never enjoyed so many comforts. Such treatment is more likely to have the desired effect of Congress than ill usage, in tempting them to desert. So prevalent, indeed, has been desertion in our regiment, that it is now reduced to sixty men, including non-commissioned officers, and the other regiments are in proportion, all of which, in Canada, mustered four hundred and fifty.
The officers are quartered in the town and plantations around. My quarters are at a Col. Beattie's, of the militia, who, though strongly attached to the American cause, having a son in the Maryland regiment, in General Greene's army, is not without a penchant for a little of the true touchstone. The plea he makes to his countrymen for admitting us into his house is, that as he has a large family and must provide for them in the best manner possible."

"Colonel Beattie's Plantation, near Frederick Town, in Maryland, July 11, 1781.
Our quarters have been rendered very disagreeable to us by an unpleasant circumstance, the death of the Colonel's son, who was killed at the battle of Camden, in the Carolinas. He, as well as the whole family, have taken it much to heart, and the house has been ever since a scene of lamentation. What renders it still more disagreeable is, whenever we meet the Colonel, he seems extremely anxious to be revenged upon us. We are seeking out for other quarters, but they are very difficult to be obtained."

Thomas Anburey (1759-1840) was a British officer who fought under British Gen. Burgoyne.  He was taken prisoner at Saratoga (1777), moved to various locations to Charlottesville, VA and finally returned to UK in 1781.  In Frederick MD the prisoners, even those quartered in the Hessian Barracks, were able to move around the area, or work to earn money.  He compiled his letters into a book with numerous illustrations and a map.

Colonel William Beatty (1739-1803) fought during the French and Indian War and was in the Maryland Flying Camp (at least early on) in the RevWar.  His "plantation" or farm was on "Dulany's Lot" north of Frederick, inherited by his father Wilhem/William (c1695-1757) and his brothers from their mother Susana (d1745). 

Captain William Beatty (1758-1781), the eldest of 10/17? children, enlisted at age 18 on June 25, 1776 and started a journal about his time in Maryland's Flying Camp until his death (published by Md Historical Society in 1866) HERE

Glade Valley Farm c1757 (the current name) - Col. Beatty's farm at 9314 Liberty Road, is now a large 300 acre horse farm.  The home was built in 1757, the year the first William died and his only surviving son, Col. William inherited the property.  The farm was sold in 1804 after the Colonel died to divide his estate among his many heirs. The surviving home, spring house and bank barn from the 18th century, have been joined by later structures. More HERE

Beatty-Cramer House c1732, family home of Thomas Beatty, Col. William's uncle, at 9010 Liberty Road, still exists as a rare Dutch colonial.  It has an 1855 addition, stone spring house and a smoke house. Now owned by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation, site HERE

Genealogy four generations:  1- John (1660-1720) and Susanna Beatty (as widow purchased the land & d1745) had 10 children including Thomas (1703-1769 Beatty-Cramer House) and 2- William/Wilhem (1693-1757).  William's son 3- Col. William (1739-1803) inherited the farm and had at least 10 children the eldest 4- Capt. William (1758-1781)  

Previous posts about Easter eggs HERE
and Revolutionary War HERE

©2018 Patricia Bixler Reber
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