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About Us

It is fairly common for sites to have an About Us section. Saying who you are and what you do is basic politeness in any conversation. Trust and credibility are major issues on the Web. Explaining who you are and where you come from does matter and we make the following promises to our audience: We'll provide you with accurate, engaging content. Like a friendly neighbor, we'll give you information that you can trust. We won't make you dig through a haystack to find the needle.

We'll make it easy to learn the basics of the topic we cover and we won't confuse you with unnecessary jargon. Our content is succinct, digestible, and entertaining. So many About Us pages are a waste of HTML. Though not everyone wants to know more about you, there are those who do. This page will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you don't) about us! Pay attention, we'll be giving a quiz!

Starting in 1996 I gleaned the web, newspaper articles, magazines, pictures, etc. which I wanted to keep and along with some original content and some things I'm interested in and I hope you are too posted them. I come from Missouri originally and operated this site from Oklahoma now Texas. I have a construction background, but since a stroke I do this Web Site. The Contact Us and The Small Print are located on the contact page.

When R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (R.J. Reynolds) was founded in the late 1800s, the tobacco industry already enjoyed a rich heritage, much of which was associated with the discovery and development of America. The first European to smoke tobacco was said to be a sailor who traveled with Columbus to the New World in 1492. Early explorers were intrigued by the aromatic dried leaves so highly valued by Native Americans.

Regular leaf trade from the Americas did not begin until the late 1500s. About the same time, Sir Walter Raleigh popularized pipe smoking at the English Court. In the 1600s, the first taxes were levied on the sale and use of tobacco, filling the coffers of England's King James I. Later, expansion of the European market would prove vital to the economic survival of the original American colonies.

Revenues from the tobacco trade essentially formed the foundation of the U.S. economy in its early years. During the 19th century, use of chewing tobaccos, and later smoking tobaccos, would become widely popular in the United States. In the late 1800s, demand for tobacco products in the United States was rising with the nation's rapidly expanding population. In fact, consumption of the most popular forms of manufactured tobacco – chewing, smoking and snuff – tripled between 1880 and 1910.

Some July 4th traditions are timeless. It seems all American families have their own special traditions for celebrating the Fourth of July. For some, its attending a town parade. For others, it's a barbecue with family and friends. However, one tradition no Americans can ignore is Fourth of July fireworks, first authorized by Congress for Fourth of July, 1777. A brilliant display of sparkling lights and booms is a tradition Americans hold dear to their hearts, marking the Fourth of July a day to remember.

Democratic political candidates can skip July 4th parades. A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day. "Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party," said the report from Harvard. "The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans," write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

Their findings also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades, likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them. "There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization," the two wrote.

The three key findings of those attending July 4th celebrations: 1.) When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent. 2.) It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent. And 3.)It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they'll make a political contribution by 3 percent.

What's more, the impact isn't fleeting. "Surprisingly, the estimates show that the impact on political preferences is permanent, with no evidence of the effects depreciating as individuals become older,"said the Harvard report. Finally, the report suggests that if people are looking for a super-patriotic July 4th, though should head to Republican towns. "Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place."

The first Christmas tree of record appeared in the upper Rhineland in 1608; for two centuries thereafter it remained a custom in this region of Germany, whence it was brought by the emigrants to America. An issue of the Saturday Evening Post for 1825 described what a lovely sight the trees made, hung with cookies and candies, glimpsed through Philadelphia windows. Such jollifications were not usually the doings of the stern Plain People. It was mostly the gay Dutch who—at a time when Puritan sentiments predominated in this country and the great festival was largely ignored—made the American Christmas merry. Until the twentieth century, in fact, one day was hardly enough. They celebrated the day after, too. In the towns of the gay Dutch, Second Christmas was even livelier than Christmas Day. The local hotel might serve free drinks all day, there would be greased-pig races and shooting matches, fireworks, a cannon might be fired, and Santa Claus—who is partly a Pennsylvania Dutch invention—might arrive from a neighboring town on a special train.

Special foods followed the cycle of the Christian year. For example, doughnuts called fastnachts were prepared in abundance for Shrove Tuesday, a day when even the women ceased work. (To sew on Shrove Tuesday, some believed, might sew up the hens and keep them from laying eggs.) The fastnachts-still baked in large quantities at this season—might be round or square, and a hole in the middle was optional. But they were very powerful medicine. The last person out of bed on Shrove Tuesday morning was called the Fastnacht; he had to do extra chores and was teased and tormented about it all day long. If you wanted to grow large heads of cabbage it was essential to eat lots of fastnachts. And the lard in which they were fried was kept to heal sores or grease wagon wheels.

Ash Wednesday, of course, was not a feast day (ashes were scattered over garden and livestock), but with the approach of Holy Week many preparations had to be made. Dandelion greens had to be gathered to be eaten as a salad on Maundy Thursday, sometimes called Green Thursday. (The favorite dressing was a hot cream gravy made with bacon, and if this sounds strange for use on a green salad the only advice can be to try it.) The dandelion salad would help to keep fevers away all year, and in fact its vitamins were good to have at this season. But the great culinary activity centered around eggs.

The Pennsylvania Dutch introduced the Easter egg and its proud parent, the Easter bunny. (To make the point entirely clear they used to bake a big cooky rabbit in the act of laying an egg, until the squeamish objected.) All winter long, housewives had been saving red onionskins and other natural dyes. For a fancy design, eggs could be boiled in tightly wrapped flowered calico. Each worshipper at the Moravian Easter service received an egg marked “The Lord is Risen.”

Eggs were important all week long. An egg laid on Good Friday was a real treasure and could advantageously be eaten on that day and its shell saved to drink water from on Easter morning. On that day, as soon as the children had found the bunny’s nest, eggs appeared in enormous quantities. Some were made into “Easter birds”—charming, toothpick creatures; others were stuck on an Easter-egg tree. But most were eaten. Boys meeting on the street “picked eggs”; that is, each would thump his hard-boiled egg, at the base, against the other’s. The egg with the weaker shell would crack and be claimed and eaten by the winner.

The Easter egg and the Christmas tree will no doubt always survive (along with Santa Claus, if he can be rescued from the Chamber of Commerce). But most of the holiday customs which the gay Dutch introduced with their feasts have long since disappeared. And looking ahead, it seems clear that it is their more self-denying relatives, the Plain People, who will do most to keep alive the Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine in its full glory for generations to come.

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