Middlesex County

anonymous asked:

Do we have any pictures or any hints of what Laurens's childhood home looked like?

John’s first home was located in St. Michael’s Alley (south of Broad Street in Charleston, SC).  I haven’t come across any descriptions of this home other than this description of the nursery:

By the time little Martha arrived in 1759, if not long before, an imported cradle was a central fixture in the parental bedroom, which was also equipped with necessaries such as a candle stand, a warming pan, and a bedpan passed along from grandfather Laurens. Because Henry and his wife, Eleanor, anticipated extensive use for that nursery item, the cradle was probably one that rocked, featuring a ‘gauze pavilion’ with turned posts at its four corners to support mosquito netting. (The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay)

In June 1762, Henry Laurens purchased Mepkin plantation and then bought land in Ansonborough, SC about three months later.  The Ansonborough property was on the outskirts of Charleston whereas Mepkin was about 30 miles out.  Ansonborough appears to have been the main residence at this time while Mepkin may have been used moreso in the summer months (particularly to escape the diseases in the city).  The home in Ansonborough had “its own wharf and creek, four acres that included a green called Laurens Square, and [was] bounded by Pitt, East Bay, Centurion, and Anson Streets” (The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay).

Here’s a pretty thorough description of the Ansonborough property, provided in The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay:

Papa Henry’s pleasure in the new house glowed in his letters.  “Mahogany is the thing by all means for your Stair case.  You would agree in opinion with me if you saw mine.” Though the darker wood was costly, “in time it becomes abundantly cheaper as it is firm, durable, and gains beauty whether you will or not, with age, whereas Cedar is brittle, splintery and without an excess of rubbing and waxing fades and loses its colour in a very few years.”  He enjoyed careful oversight of every step.  “Cypress is the best and cheapest wood for wainscot, but your [English] oak in my judgment is infinitely preferable.  I have painted one room in my house Wainscoat color and pattern upon a coat of brown Plaister.  It stands very well and is much admired.”  His used of the magisterial “I” meant, of course, that he supervised the task, not actually performed it.

Henry Laurens wanted their new home on East Bay Street to be “worthy…to be occupied by a merchant,” to reflect his cosmopolitan horizons.  Spacious, roomy, and open rather than ornate, and somewhat unimaginative externally, the house was a “plain barn-like building” of brick, almost “square to the winds,” 38 and ½ ft. x 60 ½ ft.—pretentious not in ornamentation or iron grillwork but in acreage and gardens, “with a wall all upon the front of my garden [Wall Street].” Henry had purchased a “Mulatto” slave bricklayer, Samuel, that spring especially to create elegant garden paths around the house.  One feature visible from those bricked walks was a jerkin-head roof—a hipped roof cutting flat angles at the corners of the house.

Inside, the house from cellar to roof featured heavy-hewn timbers.  Two floors had four large rooms each, downstairs and upstairs, plus several small “apartments”—rooms topped by a “spacious attic” with room for wine storage in the hipped-roof corners.  Near the front door was a small hallway, “little more than a vestibule” on the south side of the structure, and a stairway on the left led to the upper story while a door on the right opened into the library.  (Surprisingly, Henry Laurens had omitted the wide central hall great Charles Town houses usually featured in hopes of luring every possible breeze.) But the library was a huge room (18’ 8” x 17’ 2”) with two hundred running feet of shelves, and the books were protected by beautiful decorative glass doors embossed with geometric shapes—octagons, squares, and triangles.  Behind the library was an equally hospitable dining room (17 ½’ x 17 ½’) with a paneled ten-foot-wide chimney all the way to the ceiling.  Immediately above, on the second floor, was the same size ballroom. Some of the fireplace mantels were marble, others elegantly carved wood—all in the highest tone of simplicity and dignity.  The mantels were undoubtedly imported from England, like the ones Henry had ordered for the house of his neighbor Charles Pinckney.

The dining room, with fancy mirrors and a very large “chimney glass,” boasted sconces on the wall, handsome pewter serving dishes, silver tureens, a brass warming pan, and a tinned Japanned waiter—to say nothing of elegant china for entertaining (family meals were served on earthenware).  Martha’s father knew his merchandise: he ordered mirrors “truly elegant and worthy of a place in a Dining Room occupied by a merchant.” But he returned the first ones: “their fault was their fineness.  They are too fine, I will rather say too large for my dining room.” Unfortunately, in the shipping from England to Charles Town, faulty packing had damaged some of the gilded ornamentation and scraped some of the “Quick Silvering.”  “The packer or workman ought really to be answerable,” he demanded. Upstairs in the drawing room, a harpsichord for Martha’s arpeggios and sonatinas held a place of honor, flanked by elbow chairs, a card table, a tea table, settees, and portraits.  To five-year-old Martha, the new home was a palace.

Since the locale and climate of Charles Town allowed a twice-yearly harvest, vegetables and many exotic trees—peach, apricot, mulberry, walnut, chestnut, fig, bitter orange, and pomegranate—flourished. British gardener John Watson was employed to cultivate the new Laurens acres into a charming botanical cornucopia. Henry and Eleanor wanted the kind of beautifully laid out English garden that was rare in the colonies, a display of the useful and ornamental plants that Carolina produced or that Henry could import.  In that sense, landscaping was a more overt statement of the Laurenses’ affluence and sophistication than the house itself.  Neighbors like Eliza Pinckney, who also prided herself on gardening, noted that “only 2 squares from her house, the rich merchant HL was filling his extensive grounds with every rare plant and shrub his numerous connections enabled him to collect.”  Little sisters Nelly and Patsy and their numerous cousins could fashion snapdragon dolls and chant the evocative flower names “foxglove,” “sweet alyssum,” and “periwinkle” as their mother instructed.

Philadelphia garden historian John Bartram, named royal botanist by the king in 1756, came for a visit the year after the Laurenses moved in.  He noted a remarkable “grape vine 7 ½ inches in circumference” at the new home of “Col Laurance [sic] in Charles Town.”  It “bore 216 clusters of grapes, one almost 11 in. long and over 16” in circumference, the grapes large “and as close set in the bunch as they could possibly grow.”  In addition, he admired “a fine young olive tree 15 ft. high, luxuriant.”  By contrast with this luxuriant green, Charleston streets were deep and dusty at a child’s eye level.  Laid out in regular, unpaved, and widely spaced design to allow breezes to reach the building from all sides, the soft sand made its choking way into noses and eyelids.  Narrow paths at each side would one day become sidewalks, but not yet.

The following are some paintings of Mepkin as done by Charles Fraser in Charleston Sketchbook, 1796-1806 (descriptions also from said book):

“Mepkin, the Seat of Henry Laurens, Esq.”

Mepkin was among the several tracts of land granted at the very commencement of the Colony to the three sons of Sir John Colleton, one of the eight Lords Proprietors.  It comprised 3,000 acres and lay nearly opposite Mepshew (now Pimlico), another grant of the three brothers.

John Colleton of the County of Middlesex, England, sold Mepkin in 1762 to Henry Laurens.  Vital affairs of the Colony, of the Revolution, and of the new state, all had a hearing there.  After the destruction of the house during the Revolution Henry Laurens built the one that is shown in the sketch, and in which Henry Laurens, Jr., was living.  As the latter had married a daughter of John Rutledge, Fraser was again among relatives, seeing familiarly a scene where history was made.

“Another View of Mepkin, May, 1803″

“A View on Mepkin”

The Avenue at Mepkin leads from the road along wooded ravines to the bluff close by the river, overlooking the rice-fields and the winding stream.  There stood the house of Henry Laurens.  Mepkin had great natural beauties, and throughout his life Henry Laurens had added to these by continuous attention to the possibilities of agriculture in South Carolina.

The following is “The House of Henry Laurens (1763-1914)”, a pencil drawing done by Alice R. H. Smith in 1911:

None of the buildings remain standing today, but you can visit the streets where the St. Michael’s Alley and Ansonborough properties once stood in Charleston, SC, and you can visit Mepkin Abbey (previously Mepkin Plantation) in Moncks Corner, SC.

The Word of Your Body (Reprise) YTB Video Collection

Finally we decided to sort all videos on YTB here… Hope it would help Hernst fans. xD [Updated on 3rd Mar, 2016]

English Version

Jamie Blackley and Harr McEntire, Matt Doyle and Blake Daniel

Andy Mientus and Ben Moss, Jonathan B. Wright and Gideon Glick 

1st National Tour
Andy Mientus (Hanschen), Ben Moss (Ernst)

Eklektix Theatre Company

Morgan-Wixson Theater
Corey A. Affron (Hanshen), Frankie Rodriguez (Ernst)

Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi
Quentin Garzón (Hanschen), Julien Comeau (Ernst)
*Julien Comeau is also a member of DWSA.

Penn State Harrisburg
Joseph Chubb (Hanschen), Joseph Moussa (Ernst)

Beck Center
Nick Varricchio (Hanschen), Chris Cowan (Ernst)

Middlesex County College
Kyle Abel (Hanschen), Wyatt Manobla (Ernst)

Unknow Production and Cast

OBERON @ Harvard Fall 2011
Peter Manges (Hanschen), Patrick Wicker (Ernst)

Center Stage
Matt Holman (Hanschen), Kevin Forbes (Ernst)

NEYC
Gray Smith (Hanschen), Andrew Slick (Ernst)

Unknown Production
Zack Zaromatidis (Hanschen), Matt Leicht (Ernst)

Minnesota All-State Show 2015
Cullen Wiley (Hanschen), Quinn Kealey (Ernst)
*Totally different from other productions

Unknown Production and Cast

Unknown Production
Stephen Michael Jones (Hanschen), Matthew Hayes Hunter (Ernst)

London
Jamie Blackley (Hanschen), Harr McEntire (Ernst)

Hunter College
Unknown Cast

Non-English Version

Mexico
Iker Madrid (Hanschen), Arturo Valdemar (Ernst)
*The backing track is the same as 2014 DWSA.

Argentina
Eliseo Barrionuevo (Hanschen), Leandro Bassano (Ernst)

Perú
Unknown Cast

Hungary
Unknown Cast
*Fun fact: The title of this part is Two Wounded Souls (translated by Google)

FEBRUARY 6 - IRENE MORGAN

Slightly over a decade before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Irene Morgan was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia for doing the same on an interstate bus from Maryland.

When the sheriff was summoned, she tore up the arrest warrant, kicked him in the groin and fought with the deputy who attempted to pull her off the bus. Though she pled guilty to resisting arrest and paid a $100 fine, she would not plead guilty to violating Virginia’s segregation law.

She appealed her case, and eventually, the US Supreme Court ruled 7-1 that Virginia’s law was, indeed, unconstitutional.

“If something happens to you which is wrong, the best thing to do is have it corrected in the best way you can,” Morgan once stated. “The best thing for me to do was to go to the Supreme Court.”

Rhinocerous woman
Who nobody wants
and everybody used.

They say you’re crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.

Hey, big woman–
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal–
I saw your light
And it was shining.

You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
They gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar
and back it up with realness.

Rhinocerous woman.
Big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside.

You read your bible
but god never came.

Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.

They hate you momma
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty.
They can see in your eyes
a thousand nightmare
that they have made come true.

Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.

Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blod.

They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.

They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
behind yourself
and wallowed in their shame.

Rhinocerous Woman–
This world is blind
and slight of mind
and cannot see
how beautiful you are.

I saw your light.
And it was shining.

—  Assata Shakur, for Eva, her fellow inmate at the middlesex county prison