Boston Street Terrorism

2017-07-04T23:06:21+00:00September 27, 2016|Articles|

Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore,
Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore:
While faithless P—n and his savage Bands,
With murd’rous Rancour stretch their bloody Hands;
Like fierce Barbarians grinning o’er their Prey,
Approve the Carnage and enjoy the Day.

—Excerpt from above image engraved, printed
and published by Paul Revere, 1770 Boston


Few words convey a more evocative negative image than “massacre.” We know how it makes us feel in our own day — it has always been thus. When American Indians won a battle against the cavalry or settlers, it was always deemed a massacre. When the troops won, it was a “hard-fought victory.” The marketing of a battle by the government or the mass media manipulates the outcome on the home front and often demonizes the enemy. On March 5, 1770, a street riot in which British soldiers defended themselves with deadly force was instantly trumpeted throughout the colonies as “The Boston Massacre,” a name the event still retains. The “patriots” won the propaganda battle.


The Old Massachusetts State House then and now —
We will visit a memorial to the conflict here in front of the Old State House as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!

The mere presence of Redcoated soldiers in the city continued to provide insult and provocation to the people of Boston, especially the element agitating for their removal and a restoration of the American rights of self-taxation and non-interference in trade. On a cold night filled with ice and snow, numbers of Bostonian men young and old were in the streets, some responding to a fire alarm, others just throwing snowballs and looking for trouble. An English sentinel came under attack and “called for backup.” An unruly gang began to pelt both him and his comrades with ice and snow, and some claimed, rocks and brickbats.


An 1856 depiction of the Boston Massacre by William L. Champey — Learn about the Boston Massacre and much more as part of our
Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!

The soldiers backed off until cornered and then fired their muskets. The subsequent blood in the snow created a sensation across the colonies, and five years later would again be brought up as a reason for separation from England. The site today is a mere plaque on a wall along the Freedom Trail in Boston.

Inside and out at the Old Massachusetts State House — This and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!

Join us as we visit the site of the Boston massacre and imagine the tragic incidents of that night long ago that still lives in the memories of a nation, even as it stimulated our ancestors to further resistance and the creation of a Republic. By the way, John Adams defended the soldiers in a Boston courtroom and won the case against the mob. Street riot, unprovoked attack, self-defense, massacre?


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One if by Land and Two if by Sea

2017-07-05T03:28:49+00:00September 22, 2016|Articles|

One if by land, and two if by sea
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

— Excerpt from Paul Revere’s Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Old North Church in Boston possessed a towering steeple that could be seen from across the river in Charles Town. As an Anglican Church in Congregationalist Boston, the congregation often contained British soldiers on occupation duty in the town. The members themselves were divided over the appropriate level of resistance to “Royal tyranny.” One of the key leaders of the rebellion was the local silversmith and man-about-town, Paul Revere, and he set up both a network of spies, and a plan to notify the countryside in case the redcoats made an aggressive move in that direction. The steeple of Old North would serve as a beacon, though only for one important minute in the history of the world.


Paul Revere riding to “… spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.”


That minute arrived on the evening of April 18, 1775. Three sworn patriots — the church sexton Robert Newman, Captain John Pulling, and Thomas Bernard — sprang into action that evening, carrying two lanterns to the steeple windows to send the twin lights across the water to the riders. The pre-arranged signal called for one lit lantern if the troops moved across Boston Neck and the Great Bridge and two if they chose an amphibious landing farther up river. In either case, the signal would trigger riders on the Charles Town side of the river to gallop into the countryside and raise the alarm.

Tour the home of Paul Revere, visit Old North Church, and see the historical sites along Boston’s Freedom Trail — this and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!

The two lanterns were lit and off the riders went toward Lexington and dozens of other small towns to warn of the enemy’s approach. Not one to delegate all the risk to others, Revere bolted for Lexington, a feat that every school child in the United States would remember after it was immortalized a hundred years later in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. William Dawes, a local tanner and a member of the militia made that same midnight ride and with as much gusto and risk as Revere, and he was joined by others as the night wore on. It is too late for “the midnight ride of William Dawes” but the effect was the same. The militias formed and the “Lexington Alarm” produced “the shot heard round the world.”

Visit Lexington and Concord — site of the famous ’shot heard round the world” and charge over Old Concord Bridge — this and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!

Join Landmark Events as we walk in the paths of Revere and Dawes, gaze across to Charles Town, look up at the Old North steeple (the third one erected since then) and wonder how history would have changed had a couple faithful men decided to sleep in when the times called for action!


Carrie McGavock — An American Heroine

2017-11-25T15:19:52+00:00March 1, 2016|Articles, Battle of Franklin|


Heroism and self-sacrifice are often exhibited in battle, but it was in the aftermath of the battle of Franklin, Tennessee that one woman’s selflessness became legendary. The impression of Carrie McGavock’s unflinching kindness and the services she rendered lingered long in the memory of both those she served and the entire South.

The number of wounded that were left behind after the battle to be cared for by the citizens of that small town was staggering. The homes of overwhelmed civilians were crowded to overflowing with Confederate soldiers, hastily attended to by too few doctors equipped with inadequate supplies.


Carnton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery

The largest of these field-hospitals was Carnton Plantation, the home of Carrie McGavock. This young mother’s tireless efforts to comfort and calm the soldiers whose shattered bodies filled her home were never forgotten by them.

Accounts written by the survivors of that horrible time are full of gratitude and reverence for the woman who cared for them as if they were her own.

Carrie McGavock

The last of these wounded men would not leave her home until the following year. By that time, Carrie McGavock and her husband, John had taken upon themselves yet another momentous duty.

Offering a portion of their own land, the McGavocks initiated and oversaw the identifying and reinterring of nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers previously buried in mass graves.

Carrie McGavock was committed to identifying and honoring these brave men whose relations had previously been in ignorance of their fate. In a ponderous ledger, she meticulously recorded their names, possessions and final places of burial.

From 1866 until her death in 1905, she cheerfully welcomed a flood of visitors who came in hopes of finding the grave of a loved one they had not heard of since before the battle. Her dedication to preserving the memory of these fallen sons of the Confederacy earned her the nickname “The Widow of the South.”

The Civil War in the West tour is one of the most interesting and inspiring tours we host, full of remarkable providences and colorful characters including Private Tod Carter, John Bell Hood, Patrick Cleburne and many others. Come walk the battlefields and tour the homes that still bear the marks of war with Landmark Events historian Bill Potter and Sam Turley March 16-17 in Franklin and Nashville, TN.

Learn More and Register for the Civil War in the West Tour!

Great Revival in the Southern Armies

2017-07-05T04:27:47+00:00February 24, 2016|Articles|


Military Historian, Bill Potter

One of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history since the Protestant Reformation, occurred in the Southern armies during the American War Between the States. Many thousands of men professed Christ and many thousands of others were renewed in their faith through the faithful preaching of the Word of God by chaplains, missionaries, pastors in and outside the army, and evangelists.

While there is a record of conversions in the Northern armies also, they were simply not on the scale of the broad-based “revival” that swept through the South.


Our Civil War in the West tour includes some of the most compelling stories for men and women, young and old, of any tour. Accounts of great sacrifice, selfless service, noble heroism and remarkable foresight abound in this unique insight into God’s providence amongst civilians and soldiers alike. Get more information and register for the Civil War in the West Tour!

A Remarkable Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

In two books of the times are recorded the stories and anecdotes of the great awakening, The Great Revival in the Confederate Armies by W.W. Bennett and Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones, both reprinted in modern times by Sprinkle Publications of Harrisonburg, VA. Letters, diaries, and memoirs across the Confederacy told the story of the remarkable outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power among the troops in gray.

In the Army of Tennessee, “Its [the revival] influence transcended the ranks, extending from the commanding general to the lowest private. The cohesiveness of the army cannot be fully understood without considering its . . . religious pilgrimage.” (Larry Daniel in Soldiering in The Army of the Tennessee, p.115) The evidence is overwhelming and the modern historians do not know how to explain it. Overflow crowds of soldiers gathered for worship and the chaplains were overwhelmed with trying to reach them all with the sermons. One of General Bragg’s soldiers recorded that a good preacher would draw a thousand men in his brigade alone. The Texas Rangers held nightly meetings for a month in 1863, and the interest in the Gospel lasted to the end of the war. Generals Bragg, Hood, and even President Jefferson Davis all made professions of faith and were baptized during the war.

Carnton Plantation, Home of the McGavock Family

Home of Fountain Branch Carter

One soldier recorded that around the campfires in his regiment “could be heard the sweet songs of Zion” being sung in the evenings. Prayer meetings and Bible studies sprang up in the tents of Christian soldiers and chaplains formed Christian associations for believers. Multiple thousands of tracts and Bibles were distributed by colporteurs throughout the army. One of the most oft-observed aspects of the great revivals were their ecumenical nature. The Protestant chaplains all emphasized repentance and faith for salvation and holy living. The sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man were preached together without reference to one’s denominational preference. Estimates of the number of men who professed faith in Christ in the Confederate armies during the war range between 15,000 and 50,000. Only God really knows.

Rippavilla Plantation, Spring Hill, Tennessee

Fort Negley – Union Stronghold of Nashville

Of course the scoffers and the careless did not disappear, but their numbers dwindled as the war progressed. The awakening swept through the hospitals and prisons as well, and even churches back home were affected. In the Army of Tennessee, which would be virtually destroyed at Franklin and Nashville, Baptist minister and Brigadier General Mark Lowry preached to his own men and provided great encouragement to the work of the chaplains. Some of the letters and diaries record that in regiments where the Spirit of God had been active in changing men’s hearts, the rates of desertions declined and the men stood stronger in the day of battle. When a man is sure of his eternal destiny he is more likely to do his duty in the face of death, knowing his life is ultimately in God’s hands. People have asked many times how the Southern army could have gone to their deaths at Franklin with such resignation and dignity. I believe the spiritual awakening that had been the powerful experience of many of those men cannot be discounted in the answer.

The Women of Scotland’s Past: The Margarets of Wigtown

2017-08-05T20:50:16+00:00August 18, 2015|Articles|

In preparation for our Scotland Tour in September, our guides have composed a series of articles on the men, and women, that shaped Scotland’s past. Although the characters and circumstances were unique to their time, the lessons gleaned from the study of these remarkable Scots are strikingly relevant today.


No King But Jesus

The Covenanter period of Scotland’s history, often called “The Second Reformation”, witnessed the triumph of Reformed Christianity in both Church and State, and it affected every segment of society from the highest nobleman to the lowest peasant. Although factionalism and political turmoil did prevent total unanimity, the Kirk of Scotland, from the signing of the National Covenant in 1638 to the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, realized a freedom of worship and a development of godly rule unprecedented in countries where the Calvinist Reformation succeeded. When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660, a relentless persecution of the Scottish Church ensued in an attempt to destroy the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which lasted until the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 and the accession of William and Mary. A large proportion of those dangerous years in Scotland are known as “the killing times”.

The Rise of Conventicles

The King deposed over 2,000 Puritan and Scottish ministers from their churches. Many pastors simply continued their ministries in the barns, fields, forests, and private homes on the Sabbath, attracting just a few families in some areas and up to many thousands in others! Those meetings were known as Conventicles, and were declared wholly illegal and treasonous to the crown of England. The Episcopal religion had been imposed on all the people of the United Kingdom, so closely linked to government control that King Charles, “the head of the Church”, declared that without bishops ruling his church and under his control, there could be no monarchy. Resistance to that political reality was tantamount to treason, and treason must be punished to the full extent of the law.

Martyr’s Stake

Martyr’s Grave

Deadly Persecution

The attacks against the Scots were particularly ferocious, with the use of thuggish highlanders quartered in Covenanter homes and special military units of dragoons swept the countryside on Sundays trying to find Conventicles of congregations worshipping according to the Bible instead of State dictate. When successful, the raids resulted in arrests, murders, imprisonments or enslavement in the colonies. No one was spared, the old and the young, men and women, and, especially, the pastors, all of whom had the death penalty hanging over them.


Wigtown, Scotland and the Galloway Hills


The Two Margarets

In the southwest of Scotland in the royal burgh of Wigtown along Wigtown Bay, several Covenanters were accused of attending Conventicles. Three men were convicted and hanged and four women convicted but given the opportunity to repent and confess the King as Head of the Church — “the oath of Abjuration”. All four refused to betray Christ and were forced to their knees to hear their sentences read. Twenty-year-old serving maid Margaret Maxwell was to be publically flogged through the streets of the town three days in succession and then put in the stocks. Thirteen-year-old Agnes Wilson could be bonded out by her father if he could come up with the one hundred pound fine. Her sister, eighteen-year-old Margaret Wilson and seventy-year-old widow Margaret McLachlan were sentenced to death by drowning.

The two women were tied to stakes in the tidal river nearby, which filled with the waters of the Solway Firth, the older woman further out so she would drown first. As the waters rose and Margaret McLachlan struggled and drowned, the people shouted for young Margaret to admit to Charles II’s lordship over the church. She refused and remained true to her covenantal oaths to the true King. It was reported that she sang Psalm 25 as she was overwhelmed by the waves. Their bodies were taken down and lie in the old Wigtown churchyard to this day.

Solway Firth

Margaret Wilson

Choose Ye This Day

So often in history do we find the state or the leaders of the state demanding worship as well as absolute obedience, in denial of Christ’s Lordship. The Roman emperors demanded worship, the Japanese emperor was to be revered as a god, pagan monarchs of many continents and times set themselves up as the objects of worship. In the case of England, beginning with the Reformation, the King declared himself the head of the church to replace the Pope, and he ruled through his own bishops. When the very same Reformation took hold in Scotland, Christ was proclaimed the Lord of the Church, and the king, obeyed in all matters civil, could no longer dictate how Christ should be worshipped. That may seem like a small point now but the result was loyalty to Christ as King was viewed as treason to the state. Is it still?



Join Marshall Foster, Colin Gunn, Bill Potter and our small group of kindred spirits as we study the courageous Covenanters at significant sites across Scotland including the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, Bothwell Bridge in Hamilton, and many more during our Scotland Tour!