Sunflowers, Skulls and Back to School

Late summer: the bees are buzzing, sunflowers are popping up like daisies and the back-to-school countdown has begun. Any day I can walk into my favorite retailer and find pencils, paper and Halloween decor sold simultaneously is A-OK in my book.

Moms are looking for ideas to keep their kiddos ones engaged until school starts; one of my favorite things to do is work on Halloween decor and costumes. In the world of creativity Halloween is king – no holds barred, nothing off-limits, it’s all good (or bad depending on how you roll…) costumes. decor, cards and invitations – the sky’s the limit.

When I was perusing Pinterest for my daily visual fix, one of my coloring pages popped up and I knew it was time to look at Halloween – after all its only 3 months away.

32 Halloween party coloring pages! Dozens of ideas for your autumn carnival games and fun.

So if you are looking for a fun way to spend the last few days of summer with your kiddos download a copy of A Harvest and Halloween Handbook and start working on Halloween ( you know how busy fall gets once school/sports/lessons… start.)

Lots to do! Coloring pages, recipes, costumes, decorating and gifts for Halloween – enjoy!
Go fish for prizes
Decorate cookies!

If these don’t grab you, start thinking about costumes… check my Pinterest board for cute ideas

What’s in your closet?

Creative outdoor decor – for some reason I always come back to Alice in Wonderland themes like this picnic in Wonderland and spectral tea party. I shared ideas for economic decor in US News and World Report.

Paper plate sunflowers and rustic turkey pesto sandwiches to die for.

Pull out a few pieces of Halloween decor like this gorgeous skull model and do a still life drawing lesson that does double-duty as an anatomy lesson and decoration for Halloween. This is charcoal on textured paper. Many artists love charcoal for its richness and ability to vary light and dark values. With art supplies on sale, now is a good time to experiment with different media.

If you need a simple activity – consider pulling up drawing lessons on YouTube. Here’s a cute simple bat that your kiddos can draw.

Have them watch the whole demo, then go back to the beginning. As the artists adds a couple of lines, have them pause the video and draw the lines on their paper. Then do it again every few seconds. It is empowering for children going back to school to have talents to share and show off with the others in their classes.

Please President Trump, Halloween has been celebrated on October 31 internationally for about 1200 years, leave it there! From its earliest roots in Sukkot through the dark days of Samhain, into medieval All Hallow’s Eve and the present, people have enjoyed harvest festivals. If people want to party on the last Saturday of the month – go for it!

*****School Districts – make November 1st a teacher prep day and let Junior stay home to sleep off his sugar hangover.

Don’t forget – A Harvest and Halloween Handbook on Amazon and!

Prairie Princesses and Pioneers

Let’s celebrate those hearty souls that braved the dangers of the land to settle the west! This year marks my family’s 400th anniversary in America. We have participated in many chapters of the building of this great nation including the mid-nineteenth century westward migration.

These ideas for Pioneer Day celebrations and family reunion heritage events are from my A Holiday Handbook II, Pinterest and other interesting sources.

SLC Brass Doorknob

July 24th is the anniversary of the day my ancestor, Chauncey Gilbert Webb, entered the Salt Lake Valley, Utah with Brigham Young and the first company of Mormon pioneers in 1847. The Webbs owned one of the 48 blacksmith shops in Nauvoo, Illinois. As the pioneers moved westward, Brigham Young invited the Webb brothers to accompany his wagon train; sort of like taking your auto mechanic on a long cross-country trip. Chauncey’s great…great grandmother Margaret, and William Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden were sisters. You never know who you’ll meet on the plains. 

Happy Pioneer Day! 

Here in Utah it’s celebrated on July 24th, in Kansas it is celebrated on January 29 to commemorate the anniversary of the state’s 1861 admission into the Union. Other states celebrate their founding or admission to the U.S. on different days.

Tallgrass Prairie Sunrise

Children learn best when they are having fun. So I created activities to help them learn about the lives of pioneer children and I hope your littles enjoy them too.
Some of the members of the Mormon Battalion were working at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento when gold was discovered. You might let children pan for gold (shiny pennies) in a sand box and use them to buy treats if they wish. We had salt water taffy that they could buy for a penny each.

Authentic pioneer activity: beanbag game

One of the fun games from that era is a beanbag toss competition, it’s easy to put together with beanbags and a target like a bucket or cornhole game.

Round up stick horses for racing and add squirt guns for putting out prairie fires and bagging buffalo.

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Children of all ages enjoy writing in another visual language. Try sharing stories written in Indian pictographs. We used cut-out brown paper pelts for the structures. You can recycle grocery bags or buy a roll of brown paper. You’ll find a printable download with 72 Native American signs and symbols in my Etsy shop:

This scavenger hunt can also be downloaded from Etsy

Children’s Scavenger Hunt: Hide items around the yard that represent activities and chores of pioneer children: tend animals (a small stuffed animal), make cheese (wrap string cheese in brown paper and tie with a string), sew on a button, gather firewood, hunt for eggs, make a quilt, sing a song, pick fruit, make candles, make soap, plant potatoes, milk a cow (bucket)

Newell and Tim made their own hammers at a forge in Salt Lake City.

Have a few more activities that they can do: as hammer nails into boards and collect glass beads for bracelets. You can even pan for gold (shiny pennies) in a small wading pool – stay nearby for toddler safety.

Teen Challenge – See how many points you can get by completing these challenges:
Say the alphabet backwards: 1 point for each correct letter in backwards order. Name 10 flowers: 1 point each. How many buttons are on your clothes? 1 point for each button. Write your name and phone number. Count the letters in your name for 1 point each. Add together the digits in your phone number then add the number of letters in your name. How many large marshmallows can you stuff in your mouth? 1 point each,no you don’t have to swallow them – ewww. Blow a bubble with bubble gum, 2 points for each piece you can chew.

BEAN For Adults (could you have bean a pioneer?) Its like a bingo game – use dry beans for markers and move the activities around to different places on each card, cut one up to call with. To win, get four in a row

Do you have what it takes to be a pioneer? Make this into a bingo game or play charades.

If you are hosting a celebration and don’t want to serve a whole meal, you might want to make honey butter and raspberry butter and freshly-baked breads. Serve ice cold watermelon and fresh lemonade for a cool treat.

pioneers with style

Prairie Party Menu 
Serve this on a quilt picnic blanket; use bandanas for napkins and enamelware dishes, canning jars for glasses.
A handful of wildflowers in a jar will add beauty.

Fried Chicken Salad – make it easy on yourself by using a prepared bagged green salad from the produce department, a couple of green onions; cut up, a cucumber; a peeled and sliced cucumber, fried chicken strips from the deli, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, Ken’s Steakhouse light bleu cheese salad dressing. Serve with sourdough rolls, honey lemonade, homemade butter (let the children shake a jar of cream with a sprinkle of salt to make butter – they love it), cold watermelon and homemade ice cream

Pretty bottle and tag

Need a bit more Pioneer Day eye candy? Check out the cuties at:

One year on Pioneer Day, I invited my granddaughter Ellyza to have a treasure hunt in the yard. She took her tiny basket and began collecting oak leaves, flowers and small pebbles. A two year-old knows what treasure truly is. 


Hot Fun in the Summertime

Every summer, I experience a condition that can only be described as throwbackitis. Do you suffer too? From music to scents to those tender little feelings that tickle the memory; they all transport me to a different time and place.

Little me.

Destination: Carlsbad, CA – 1779 Guevara Road

Time: Mid-1960’s

Dad is holding Cindy, Mom is holding baby Brian and I got to hold the red balloon. I should have been smiling harder but I don’t like crowds. This was taken at a fund-raising church bazaar.

My family, the Laytons; my Dad, Mom, sister Cindy and Brian and I, are living in a cozy 3 bedroom house with a big grassy backyard and a dichondra/clover lawn in the the front. Mom and Dad bought their first house, a simple ranch-style on a street just a few blocks from a eucalyptus grove and a stinky lagoon (estuary) and the beach! My genius Dad built a wooden fence and installed sprinklers.

He also built us a sandbox out of wood which might have been a good enclosure for the tortoises we babysat one summer for the Headstart program at his school but they were of the Houdini genus. Our gray part-Persian cat Puff was both our purr baby and a watchcat keeping dogs out of our yard.

1779 Guevara Road, Carlsbad, California. the window on the left was Cindy and my room, the one behind the palm tree was Brian’s room. When we lived there it had a lush green lawn. Our funny little cul-de-sac had no sidewalks.

I am pretty sure my Dad used his GI Bill to buy his first home. After serving in the Korean War as a rocket scientist in Germany, he attended USC in Los Angeles. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education then took a job teaching in the Oceanside School District. He had determined it was better not to live in the town he taught in and found this house in Carlsbad. My Mom hadn’t learned to drive yet when we moved to Carlsbad!

Dad took his first teaching job at North Oceanside Elementary School. Within a year or two he was the principal. Then a big construction project took eminent domain and the school was demolished to make room for the I-5 being built from Los Angeles to San Diego. Dad worked as the Vice Principal at Lincoln Junior High in Oceanside and then became principal of The newly-built San Rafael Elementary School at the front gate of Camp Pendleton.

Cindy and I shared a bedroom which our parents painted lavender ( I don’t know where that came from, I was more of a turquoise fan and I think she liked yellow.) We had lavender floral print bedspreads and fiberglass curtains – a new thing.

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We collected Liddle Kiddles.

We had matching teal-padded vinyl toy boxes in our closet where we stored our valuables; dolls, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books, paper dolls, Barbies and their wardrobes, etc.

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We had great dolls – Raggedy Anns, Chatty Cathy and Chatty Baby, highchairs, strollers. I had a doll named Hilda that had a removable hairpiece that could be styled. We had trolls and stuffed animals. I had one I called Wonderdog – he was a kind of Basset hound that I could put my head on when we watched TV. And Batman rings from vending machines – you had to wear your batman ring while watching the TV show.

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One Christmas Cindy and I got talking Mr. Ed puppets; Mr. Ed the talking horse was a tv show character. Brian got a talking Larry the Lion ” Rrroarr – oo, I scared myself!” One of the little neighborhood girls came to our door on Christmas morning looking for the Larry the Lion – she was sure it was hers and Santa had left it at our house by mistake. That stoked my emerging territoralism.

The original kitchen featured birch cabinets and Mom’s home-baked cookies.
Was our kitchen this tiny? It always seemed so big when I was small. A lot of memories were created in the dining room which held a Danish Modern dining table and chairs as I recall.

Brian was down the hall in his own room in a crib. Dad and Mom were across the hall. They even had their own bathroom – a big deal back in the day. The house had a fireplace and was furnished with Danish modern-style furniture that we call Mid-Century today.

At the risk of sharing TMI, I do remember a lot of baths in this tub. Dad usually got the water a little too hot but he did sing us funny songs so we forgave him. Mom let us hold a folded washcloth over our eyes while she washed our hair – it was nice of her but I really hated getting my hair washed.

Brian had a highchair and I had 2 rocking chairs; being the oldest grandchild, I think I got one of whatever I asked for from both sets of grandparents. 1 rocker was wooden with clown decals and a music box that played when the chair rocked. The other was white vinyl; the perfect canvas for American cheese collages (I wouldn’t eat American cheese, but found it came in handy for tearing into shapes to stick on my white rocking chair in artistic arrangements. )

We had a real fireplace! My Mom used to sit in a chair in the lower left corner and listen to me read Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish.

My best friend, red-headed Judi Chaplin lived in a cottage on Oak Street, a few blocks away with her Mom, Dad and enormous German Shepherd Pepper. Judi’s house was my favorite destination. Her Mom Lois made crafts and had a great supply of potato chips in their food storage in the detached garage.

Judi was a full 11 months older than me and knew all kinds of interesting things like how to trace around a picture to color in the lines and about new trends like the Beatles. She also lived down the street from a huge mansion (to us) that had a swimming pool and a homeowner that allowed Judi to bring neighbors over to swim. Her Dad, Don Chaplin, owned one, then 2 motorcycle shops in Carlsbad. Sometimes Lois would take me home on the back of her motorcycle. It was scary and thrilling all at the same time!

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The Schindler’s house were we spent many happy hours swimming in their pool.

I had some second-tier friends that were fun to play with if I didn’t have permission to travel the half mile to a mile to Judi’s. There was Debra Brunswick, the daughter of a Marine stationed at the Camp Pendleton base in Oceanside. Cindy had Linda Urbanski who lived almost directly behind us on Butters Road, I think her father was a policeman. Her family had a travel trailer parked next to the house and they let us play in it. Next to her were twins Pam and Kim Hendricks who were too old to play with but were cool tweens and taught me how to ride a 2-wheeler bicycle. Also their little brother Eric, but we hadn’t noticed that boys existed yet.

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We attended services at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse on California Street in Oceanside, California where we attended Primary one weekday afternoon a week, Sunday School on Sunday mornings and Sacrament Meeting on Sunday afternoons.

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I don’t know what happened – when I attended BV there were no prison bars!
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I attended Buena Vista Elementary School a few blocks from home. I think it was built a year or two before we arrived in Carlsbad. The principal was a towering man that wore glasses and a serious expression; Andrew Channel. I was far too intimidated to test or make fun of him for any reason.

Mrs Boyer was my first grade teacher and I don’t think a kinder woman ever taught littles. On hot days she would have us come in from recess, put our heads down on our desks and place a wet paper towel on our necks to cool us off. I don’t remember her ever raising her voice. My one complaint is that after a fabulous art-making experience, we would put away our pictures and drawings and she would get out the counting man, a metal figure that had spaces for magnetic digits. I remember my brain shutting right down when it was time for math.

On the playgrounds were blacktop game areas complete with tether-ball courts, basketball hoops, 2 and 4-square courts and dodgeball courts. On the dirt were climbing equipment like monkey bars, a pirate lookout tower, climbing ropes and a huge dome to climb. I was wary of heights and preferred to remain on terra firma. There were also giant cement rings that we would claim for forts and other defenses.

I started there in first grade and attended through 5th grade; 6th grade was at Valley Junior High. One year, the city built a street behind the school with an underpass for the students who now had to cross a road – it was thrilling and a bit scary to descend into the underpass that had puddles and earthworms when it rained and my first look at graffiti on the walls.

It was at Buena Vista that I had my first experience as an author. Every year the school held a book fair and each student made a book to enter. In second grade I made a book about dogs with a pink cover and a torn-paper dalmatian. My proud parents oohed and aahed over my clever little book. I knew right then I would need to write at some point.

Our parents had given us a swing set one Christmas, white, decorated with teal diamonds. We also had an inflatable pool that we could turn into a mermaid lagoon and whirlpool when the notion would strike. But our favorite playground was the ocean. I am pretty sure I am part mermaid. My parents could get me to do anything for the promise of a trip to the beach.

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This morning, in July of 2019, for the first time in a long time, my husband, son and I all got back in the water. We went to a public pool and swam laps for a long time. Even though it was a Monday, I was so happy.

If you need a little more beach time this summer – download a copy of A Mermade’s Tale on
Our new logo! Contact us for your creative project needs.

3 Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!


The Fourth of July; Independence Day – our Nation’s birthday. It is an honor and a privilege to be citizens of the greatest country in the world. So many people have sacrificed to provide the elements of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.; I’d like to thank them all but it would be impossible. So to all of you whose sacrifices were known only to God, we thank and honor you.

Here is one of my favorite stories of patriotism, I’ve shared before but it is so meaningful to me that I would like to share it again. It began on a farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the year 1750.

I am writing a historical fiction children’s book called Traveling Time about grandparents who take their children on a trip to get to know their relatives – in other centuries by way of a magic pocket watch and an old suitcase filled with maps. The story begins…

Traveling Time

Elizabeth Duncan Porter

America: 1750-1845

…We look at one of the maps and discover a 1200 mile trail from Virginia to Quebec by way of Detroit, Michigan. The year is 1780 and we don’t know it yet, but we are about to come face-to-face with our great… great grandmother Elizabeth, an American patriot who has been captured by the British. She was marched, while pregnant, over 1200 miles as a prisoner-of-war. As we set the watch for 80 past 1700, the clock begins ticking loudly, “Hold hands!” says Grandma. A whistling wind arises and we close our eyes; as the wind dies down we hear tinkling chimes. We open our eyes and find ourselves in another place… and another time. We are standing in a British prisoner-of-war camp in the freezing winter of Quebec, Canada. The year is 1780. We hear a baby crying. “We’re here,” states Grandma matter-of-factly…” The rest remains to be written, maybe I’ll finish it on the 4th.

In case you are wondering what became of Elizabeth, here is a brief biography:

Honoring an American Heroine; Elizabeth Duncan Porter

Elizabeth was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Duncan in Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1750. The Duncan parents were born in Scotland, moved to Ireland and then to the British colonies in America. They settled in Lancaster, which is known in modern times for an Amish community, lush green farms and hillsides.

Elizabeth enjoyed growing up in the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania. In the spring she played with the lambs and picked flowers. But childhood ended early for Elizabeth; her father died when she was six years old and her help was needed for the farm and family. She grew to be a strong and lovely woman.

At twenty-five she met a man who would sweep her off her feet and she married her beloved Samuel Porter. He and his brothers had immigrated to the colonies from Ireland. As a member of  the Virginia militia, Samuel was one of the men responsible for patrolling the roads and trails to keep travelers safe from Indian raids. The British had enlisted the Indians to attack settlers on the western frontiers of the colonies.

The winds of war began to blow across America.

Samuel, Elizabeth, their two children, her mother, brother and other family members had established a small village in the hills between Kentucky and Virginia. The entire town was captured by Indians  in 1780. It is thought that British soldiers were with them because they were not scalped. The attackers took all of their stock and possessions.

They were marched and carried over 600 miles to Detroit. Elizabeth had to work hard to keep her little children quiet so they would not be killed by their captors. She was pregnant with her third child. Sometimes when she was permitted to ride in a canoe, she sat with her feet in water for hours and hours. Samuel was sentenced to die. The other men were placed in stockades and pens and nearly starved to death.

Elizabeth was put to work cooking for the British officers. She saved scraps of bread and meat from the plates and smuggled them out when she took out the dishwater. As she placed the tub of water and food near Samuel’s prison, he was able to reach through the cracks in the barn to get the food. Her act of courage probably kept him alive.

Elizabeth who was still pregnant, her young children Margaret and Hugh and her mother were marched as a prisoners of war another 700 miles from Detroit to Quebec, Canada.

On January 7th, New York Harbor froze over. In the bitter cold of a winter that would become known as the “little Ice Age, ” far from her home, Elizabeth gave birth to baby Samuel. She was a captive of the British and Shawnee Indians because she believed in freedom.

Her husband Samuel suffered as well in the confinement of the prison camp. 8 of 10 American prisoners died in the hulls of British warships. He did not know what had become of Elizabeth, their unborn baby or the other two young children.

Many people sacrificed much for the cause of freedom. Some sacrificed everything.

Elizabeth took care of baby Samuel, little Margaret and Hugh the best she could. She sang to them the Celtic lullabies her mother had sung to her.

She told them the Bible stories she had learned as a child. Tales of Moses leading Israel to freedom, of brave Joseph and how Daniel’s life was spared.

She would have loved to have been home when spring came. She would have loved to have worked in her garden with her children and enjoyed outings with her family and friends. Because the cause of freedom had meant so much to Elizabeth and Samuel; she had no home to return to.

Samuel was a hard worker and as one of many brothers, he knew how to get along and be helpful. His execution was stayed by a British commander who took a liking to him.

The price of independence was very high. When the war ended and freedom was won,  Elizabeth, Samuel and the others were released and made their way back to Virginia and to each other.

Elizabeth and Samuel had three more children. In later years as Samuel and his sons were building a house, they were attacked again by natives. A pack of wild dogs appeared and chased away the braves. Another time as their daughters were fetching water, they were watched by another band of Indians. It is not known why, but they were left alone. As the family grew, their lives were filled with both joy and sorrow and their sacrifice blessed their family for generations.

Elizabeth lived 95 years. She died and was buried in Jackson County, Missouri where a marker and plaque were placed to honor the memory of this heroine of the American Revolutionary War.

Elizabeth’s legacy is celebrated today by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution organizations with chapters that have been named for her.


This year marks my family’s 400th year in America. Our first ancestor in the colonies was William Tracy who was the governor of the Berkeley Colony in Virginia in 1619, the year before the Pilgrims arrived.

We have lived and died in America, served, wept, laughed and cried here. It is our home and we are forever grateful. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Nebraska flag at half staff for the terrible shooting in CT. :(

For more patriotic inspiration and images, please visit my Pinterest board. And be sure to thank a soldier; young or old, living or gone on to their reward.

My view of a true celebrity!!!!

There is a a story about the events of the eve before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As the authors and members of the Continental Congress convened to discuss the document and ponder its impact on their futures, apparently there was understandable reticence about affixing their name to a document that was in reality treason against the crown and a death sentence. The author of this article from Esoterx recounts an impassioned fiery speech by a “stranger” that urged the signers on to their duty.

Interestingly, the unknown speaker talks about the width and breadth of the country which had probably not been considered as yet and how it was the duty of the colonists to set up a land that God ordained for the freedom of man. As I read it, I found nothing that contradicted my understanding of America as a land of destiny. After the man concluded his remarks he “vanished” from the locked and guarded room. It has been suggested that the unknown orator may have been America’s guardian angel, perhaps Moroni from the Book of Mormon.

There has never been a country like America and those that have studied its rise from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of power of power and influence.

“Gibbet! They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land; they may turn every rock into a scaffold, every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die! “They may pour blood on a thousand scaffolds, and yet from every drop that dyed the axe, or drops on the sawdust of the block, a new martyr to freedom will spring into birth! The British king may blot out the stars of God from His sky, but he cannot blot out His words written on the parchment there. The work of God may perish. His word, never! 
These words will go forth to the world when our bones are dust. To the slave in bondage, they will speak hope; to the mechanic in his workshop, freedom; to the coward kings these words will speak, but not in tones of flattery. They will speak like the flaming syllables on Belshazzar’s wall: ‘The days of your pride and glory are numbered! The day of judgment draws near!’ Yes, that parchment will speak to kings in language sad and terrible as the trumpet of the Archangel. You have trampled on the rights of mankind long enough. At last the voice of human woe has pierced the ear of God, and called his judgment down. You have waded on to thrones through seas of blood; you have trampled on to power over the necks of millions; you have turned the poor man’s sweat and blood into robes for your delicate forms; into crowns for your annointed brows. Now, purpled hangmen of the world! For you comes the day of axes, and gibbets, and scaffolds; for you the wrath of man; for you the lightning of God!
Look how the light of your palaces on fire flashes up into the midnight sky! Now, purpled hangmen of the world, turn and beg for mercy! Where will you find it? Not from God; for you have blasphemed His laws! Not from the people, for you stand baptized in their blood! Here you turn, and lo! a gibbet! There, and a scaffold stares you in the face! All around you death, but nowhere pity! Now, executioners of the human race, kneel down—yes, kneel down on the sawdust of the scaffold; lay your perfumed heads upon the block; bless the axe as it falls — the axe sharpened for the poor man’s neck.
Such is the message of the declaration of man to the kings of the world. And shall we falter now? And shall we start back appalled, when our feet press the very Threshold of Freedom? Do you see quailing faces around you, when our wives have been butchered—when the hearthstones of our lands are red with the blood of little children. What! Are there shrinking hearts or faltering voices here, when the very dead of our battlefields arise and call upon us to sign that parchment, or be accursed. “Sign! If the next moment the gibbet’s rope is around your neck. Sign! If the next moment this hall rings with the echo of the falling axe. Sign by all your hopes in life or death — as husbands, fathers—as men, sign your names to the parchment, or be accursed forever!
Sign! not for yourselves, but for all ages; for that parchment will be the text-book of freedom — the Bible of the rights of man forever. Sign, for the declaration will go forth to American hearts forever, and speak to those hearts like the voice of God. And its work will not be done until throughout this wide continent not a single inch of ground owns the sway of privilege or power.
Nay, do not start and whisper with surprise. It is a truth. Your hearts witness it; God proclaims it. This continent is the property of a free people, and their property alone. God, I say, proclaims it. Look at this strange history of a baud of exiles and outcasts suddenly transformed into a people. Look at this wonderful exodus of the Old World into the New, where they came, weak in arms but mighty in Godlike faith. Nay, look at the history of your Bunker Hill, your Lexington, where a band of plain farmers mocked, trampled down the panopoly of British arms, and then tell me, if you can, that God has not given America to the free.
It is not given to our poor human intellect to climb the skies, to pierce the counsels of the Almighty One. But methinks I stand among the awful clouds which veil the brightness of Jehovah’s throne. Methinks I see the Recording Angel—pale as an angel is pale, weeping as an angel can weep—come trembling up to the throne, and speaking his dread message: “Father! The Old World is baptized in blood! Father! it is drenched with the blood of millions, butchered in war, in persecution, in low, grinding oppression! Father, look! With one glance of Thine eternal eye, look over Europe, Asia, Africa, and behold evermore a terrible sight — man trodden down beneath the oppressor’s feet, nations lost in blood, murder and superstition walking hand in hand over the graves of their victims, and not a single voice to whisper hope to man.
He stands there, his hand trembling with the black record of human guilt. But hark! The voice of Jehovah speaks out from the awful cloud: ‘Let there be light again. Let there be a New World. Tell my people, the poor, down-trodden millions, to go out of the Old World. Tell them to go out from wrong, oppression and blood. Tell them to go out from the Old World to build up my altar in the New.
As God lives, my friends, I believe that to be His voice. Yes, were my soul trembling on the wing of eternity, were this hand freezing in death, were my voice choking with the last struggle, I would still, with my last gasp of voice, implore you to remember the truth—God has given America to be free. Yes, as I sank down into the gloomy shadows of the grave, with my last gasp I would beg you to sign that parchment in the name of One who made the Savior, who redeemed you in the name of the millions whose very breath is now hushed, in intense expectation, as they look up to you for the awful words, you are free!
Laboring men of America! The voice of Patrick Henry and the fathers of American Independence rings down through the corridors of time and tells you to strike. Not with glittering musket, flaming sword and deadly cannon; but with the silent, potent and all-powerful ballot, the only vestige of liberty left. Strike from yourselves the shackles of party slavery, and exercise independent manhood. Strike at the foundation of the evils which are threatening the existence of the Republic. Strike for yourselves, your families, your fellow man, your country and your God. Strike from the face of the land the monopolies and combinations that are eating out the heart of the Nation. Let the manhood of the Nation rise up in defense of liberty, justice and equality. Let the battle go on until all the people, from North to South and East to West, shall join in one loud acclaim, “Victory is ours, and the people are free!” (Morgan, 1891, p770-774)

We are reminded of quote by Alexis de Tocqueville, ““I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”