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Episode Info

Episode Info:

We’re trying something new this week by bringing in a guest for our upcoming historical event segment. Clara Silverstein from Historic Newton tells us about their “Crossing Borders” series. Sticking with the theme, our show this week recounts a romance between young lovers that crossed enemy lines and political allegiances, uniting patriot Billy Tudor and loyalist Delia Jarvis. Even as the Revolutionary War began and Boston was besieged, Billy risked everything and swam across the harbor to visit Delia. As the war continued and they were separated by many miles, Billy would address his letters to Delia to “my fair loyalist,” and then sign them from “your ever faithful rebel.”

Please support us on Patreon and check out the full show notes at:

Love Behind Enemy Lines

A note on names: There are times when it seems that everyone in the extended Tudor family was named either William or Delia for about 150 years. Our main characters William “Billy” Tudor and Delia (Jarvis) Tudor had children named William and Delia, whom we’ll refer to below as William II and Delia II. By son Frederic, they also had a grandson named William, whom we’ll call William III. Delia II married Charles Stewart, captain of the USS Constitution during her most famous victories in the War of 1812, becoming Delia Tudor Stewart. Charles and Delia (II) Tudor Stewart had a daughter named Delia (III) Tudor Stewart who married John Parnell. Delia (III) Tudor Stewart Parnell’s son Charles Stewart Parnell became an Irish nationalist hero.

Boston Book Club

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Our pick for the Boston Book Club this week is Bunker Hill: a City, a Siege, a Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick. Philbrick is the author of a veritable lending library of popular history titles, including books on the wreck of the whaleship Essex, Washington’s strategy at Yorktown, the Mayflower Pilgrims, and the battle of the Little Bighorn. We’ve used his book on Bunker Hill as a source for our episodes on Pope’s Night, the four burials of Joseph Warren, and practically anything to do with the Revolutionary era.

Here’s how Philbrick’s website summarizes the book:

Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape-geographic and ideological-in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

Philbrick does exhaustive research, but his books are written for a general audience and easy to read. Even if you think you know the story of the battle of Bunker Hill, you’ll like this book.

Upcoming Event

For our upcoming event this week, we spoke with Clara Silverstein from Historic Newton about their series of events titled “Crossing Borders.” She told us about the four events (including one we’ve already missed) that are being organized by Historic Newton, the Natick Historical Society, the Needham History Center and Museum, and the Wellesley Historical Society.

  1. Lower Falls Walking Tour, literally crossing the border between Newton and Wellesley on Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m. Suggested donation, $10 per person. Find more details here.
  2. The Suburban Development of Needham, Newton, Natick, and Wellesley. A free lecture with James O’Connell on Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Needham History Center & Museum, 1147 Central Avenue, Needham.
  3. Women of Natick and Ponkapoag: The Untold History of Praying Towns. A free lecture Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. at the Morse Institute Library, 14 East Central St., Natick. Find more details here.
  4. Down By the River: New Takes on Charles River History. A free lecture Tuesday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, 286 Waverley Avenue, Newton.

Historic Newton says,

The collaboration grew from the recognition that borders in this region – municipal and psychological – have shifted over time. Together, the four organizations can interpret a larger story that crosses the porous borders between our cities and towns, engaging the public in learning about trends affecting our region.

Here are a few past episodes that we either mentioned in the interview, or perhaps we should have mentioned

And here are the other historical societies involved in producing the Crossing Borders series:

Read more »

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