Tuesday, July 22, 2014

American Settlers

It’s Tidbit Tuesday. Elaine here with an historical tidbit that affects us all. Immigration is one of the top news topics today. Every politician calls for a so-called comprehensive immigration plan, but for some reason or other, it never gets done. Reminds me of everyone complaining about the weather, but nobody doing anything about it.

When I was researching my western historical series I found some interesting things about immigration. The ranch in my story is based loosely on the huge 101 Ranch in Kansas, but Kansas didn’t fit into my plot, so I moved north to Nebraska. My research began with a 900-page book written by the people who settled the land.

A large number of these settlers came directly from Germany. It made sense. The Germanic people weren’t that far removed from serfdom, so the opportunity to own land was a compelling dream. They had to work hard. Under the Land Act, settlers had to produce a viable farm from virgin prairie within five years to claim ownership.

Many failed and went to the cities of the east or back to their home lands, but those who toughed it out turned this country into the breadbasket it is today.

Before the mid-1800s most immigrants came from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Africa. Between 1881 and 1885, when my series is set, over a million Germans immigrated to the mid-western states. During the 1890s into the early 1900s over five million Italians and one and a half million Swedes and Norwegians immigrated. Lauraine Snelling wrote the Red River of the North series about a Norwegian family settling in North Dakota. One of the best Christian historical series written in my opinion.

Immigration law has a checkered past. Until 1875 states passed their own immigration laws. The first federal law, the Page Act, was passed mainly to restrict Asian immigration. All the laws passed afterward were used to restrict or encourage immigration from one place or the other. In spite of the lack of law, immigration was generally an orderly process with most immigrants coming through Ellis Island.

Some of the immigrants tried to stick together, like those who settled into the industrial centers, but those who prospered most quickly acclimated into American society. The mid-western settlers are proof of that. They brought their religion and customs, but sent their children to little one-room schools and joined with other farmers in church and community events. Within a generation, no one could tell where these settlers came from. Even in the larger cities, the shop keepers and craftsmen, those who dealt with society, did better than factory workers.

I’ve never studied my ancestry, but I have German roots from my father’s side and English from my mother’s side. Honestly though, I’m a mutt and proud of it.

How about you? Do you know where your ancestors came from? Where they settled?
Comment anytime this week to win The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Comment to win The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

Congratulations to  Karen Campbell Prough who was the winner of last week's Giveaway of Julia's Hope by Leisha Kelly!

This week's Giveaway:

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

 Crystal Barnes was kind enough to offer this week's giveaway! 

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?
Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?

Comment on this post or any post this week to get your name in the drawing for these great giveaways!


Coming up this week:

Musing Monday: Looking for Life in a Graveyard by Laura Jackson

Tidbit Tuesday with Elaine Manders

Woven Wednesday: Happy Grilling with Michelle Morris

Thoughtful Thursday: Book Review with Amanda Barratt

Fun Friday: Friendship and a Ritual of Tea by Cindy O'Brien

Sit-Down Saturday: Laura Hodges Poole will be interviewing a special guest!

We look forward to hanging out with you this week!

Check out our Prizes Galore Page to see all our giveaways!


Ebook giveaway alert!
Enter to win an ebook copy of A Jane Austen Encounter by Donna F. Crow on Amber Schamel's blog! Hurry! Drawing ends on Wednesday 7/23/14.

Looking for Life in a Graveyard!

Last Sunday, my pastor taught on Ephesians 2:1-7. It's a powerful portion of scripture explaining how Christ brought us from death to life.

He made a comment about singles not looking for a mate in the graveyard and that we shouldn't date a corpse. It was funny, but I loved his point. His point was if we are alive in Christ, why would we want a mate who is spiritually dead?

It got me thinking. How many times do I look for life in things that are dead?

We search for life in people, places, and things that can never satisfy us. We strive for peace, comfort, and love among the dead.

And then we wonder why we feel spiritually dead, emotionally drained, and even physically tired.

But, we have the answer. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank of the living water, she'd never thirst again. We have the bread of life at our disposal 24/7, especially with the lovely invention of the Bible apps.

Drink of Him. Taste of His Word and see that it is good.

And Live, an eternal life that not even death can touch.

Are you looking for life in a graveyard? Or are you living in the spirit?

Laura Jackson loves Jesus, trees, and the Houston Rockets. She lives in a suburb of Houston, where she serves as a librarian by day and a YA author at night. Her debut novel Worth the Wait released in February, and its sequel Worth the Time comes out in January 2015. Find her at http://authorlaurajackson.blogspot.com/.