Welcome to the Khronikos blog! This blog is dedicated to showcasing the work of University of Maine graduate history students. Here you’ll find original research posts, book reviews, from the archives, and other history-related discussions.
The records of Customs Houses in the United States have been consistently used in material-grounded social histories and are a staple of maritime history. They have a great deal of potential for cultural histories of foodways and consumer economies because they not only catalogue the products imported to a city but often do so in very local context. The registers of major Custom Houses like in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Charleston can capture a more general sense of imports into the United States while the two registers of the Castine Customs House in Fogler Library Special Collections provided a much more local context for products in Maine. Scholars in social and maritime history have employed these registers as an important part of their research methodologies. Ignoring this already established used for custom house records, this post will focus on how a biographer, one specifically concerned veterans’ issues and disability studies, can use the registers as the sole record of an individuals life, using a similar methodology as the one described in a previous post, Manuscript Cookbooks as Autobiographies. Read More.
Using the conceptual tool of borderlands history, I am researching the exercise and limitations of geopolitical power at the everyday level in the eastern Lake Ontario region. I am particularly interested in the permeability of borders as a wide variety of historical actors deserted, spied, bargained, attacked, traded, and otherwise traveled between French, British, and Iroquois places. My research has come across many instances where the borderland has come to life; more than just a geographic construct, the human factor often proves to be pivotal.
Enter Captain William Williams, the doubly named colonial officer who served during the Seven Years War (or French and Indian War) in what is today Central New York. Williams was part of the prestigious New England Williams family. He was a relation of Colonel Ephraim Williams, the founder of Williams College in western Massachusetts and martyr at the Battle of Lake George. William was also the father of William Williams; a Harvard educated theologian, soldier, merchant, Continental Congress delegate for Connecticut, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately for Captain Williams, his only real distinction would be the notoriety of being imprisoned by his fellow Anglo-Americans during the Seven Years War. This came about due to his reckless handling of Indian affairs and his insistence on serving as a self-appointed border guard. Read More.
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Header Image Credit: “Battle of Hasting Scene V,” http://www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk/