Sleepy Hollow: To be, or not to be


Regular readers of my posts quite likely already have noticed that these writings are about the histories of people, places, and things that I have recalled, researched, or fact-checked to the best of my ability and chronicled here because I hold something about their existence near and dear to my heart.  Infrequently though, I add humor and on rare occasions I hint at what could be or might have been, if only . . .  In today’s post, I add to this list another of my interests:  partially fiction and partially factual stories (my timing is rather apropos, don’t you think?) that I value because they spark my imagination or provoke treasured thoughts and emotions within me–regardless of their venue, they resonate within my lover of history, adventure, and nostalgic longings.  For these reasons, I write today about:

Sleepy Hollow – The TV Series (2013-)

Charismatic and well-polished English actor, Tom Mison, breathes eloquent depth and fullness of character as he portrays fictional Ichabod Crane.  In 1781, while a George Washington protagonist and working as a double agent for him during the American Revolutionary War, Crane beheads “The Headless Horseman” (the character from the fictional short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by American author Washington Irving).  In 2013, after having been frozen in time for 250 years, Ichabod Crane awakens in present day Sleepy Hollow, New York. This is where producers’ Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s story line about the seven years of tribulation and the meeting of the two chosen witnesses from the Bible’s Book of Revelations (Ichabod one of them) begins. The main storyline centers on the personification of the two biblical witnesses (prophets) who are tasked to thwart off the apocalypse. Thus, Crane finds himself in the foreboding situation of having to find and kill the fiendish Headless Horseman once again.  To help him through these challenging times, he draws upon his personal knowledge of and relationship with George Washington, George Washington’s letters and bible and his new associate, Deputy Sheriff Abbie Mills who has just learned that she is witness number two because of her sightings of phenomena in her childhood.  Most of Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills research and planning for their daunting task takes place in  “The Archives,” a property of the Sleepy Hollow Sheriff’s Department, where deceased Sheriff Corbin kept all notes about Abbie and her sister’s sightings and other supernatural findings that he assembled throughout his years in the department.

With each new episode and every new season, the stories and characters arise to every occasion to always cleverly save humanity and the world.  2016’s Season 3 finale left me literally weeping. Then with changes to the setting and some of the cast in 2017, I found myself somewhat disenchanted with the Season 4.  But, I remain a staunch fan of the storyline and Tom Mison.  Producers have not yet made a decision about creating a Season 5.  And, as I watched the season four finale this week, I sense it is very likely that I watched the finale of the series.  I feel a sense of loss that leaves a new emptiness inside me. I know nothing can last forever and that’s it’s only a TV show; but, if there is another chance for renewal, I hope the producers return to the successes that we loved in seasons one through three.  As we have seen repeatedly during the past four seasons and 52 episodes of Sleepy Hollow (and other popular fictional series), those who we thought were killed or died, have surprisingly and cleverly rejoined the living.  Just say’n, here, folks.

And finally, thanks to all those great adventures and pauses from reality that I so enjoyed in Sleepy Hollow.  And to my readers, thanks for joining me during my pause from “just the facts.”  Hats off, too, to Kurtzman and Orci for all of their top notch movie and tv productions, and a special thanks to Tom Mison, for all his dedicated and intricate acting talents and skills in bringing to life, Ichabod Crane.

“In the Words of Women: The Revolutionary War and the Birth of the Nation, 1765 – 1799”


Book cover image: In the words of Women

Book Cover:  In the Words of Women

Gossipers believed “Nelly” Custis’ demeanor wild and her contentious predilection towards  life, love, relationships, and marriage half crazy. This is my conclusion supported by her own words in a letter to her friend, Elizabeth, below.  I believe Nelly might also have been better born in the 20th Century.

And, based upon the authors’ blog “… I remain E P Custis Spinster for life,” posted today and recent book reviews of In the Words of Women, I placed my order and can’t wait to learn more about other 18th century women’s behaviors and attitudes.

The quotes and letter below appeared in today’s blog and page 186 of the book:

Quotes From:  American Heritage February 1977, Volume 28, Issue 2

Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, to whom George Washington wrote the letter excerpted in the previous post, remarked to her friend Elizabeth Bordley that when her two older sisters married: “I shall be—Miss Custis— … Strange most passing strange.” She was referring to the custom for the oldest unmarried daughter in a family, now Nelly, to be addressed as “Miss.” The teenager enjoyed the excitement of Philadelphia life so much so that her grandmother Martha wrote, “I hope when Nelly has a little more gravitie she will be a good girl. At Present—she is I fear half crazy.”

 Image of Eleanor Parke Custist Lewis:  from The Republican Court: Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis Lewis (www.librarycompany.org).

Image from The Republican Court: Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis Lewis (www.librarycompany.org).

Joshua Brookes, visiting Mount Vernon when Nelly was there described her: “She appeared to be about twenty, dressed in white sprig muslin tied around her waist with a skyblue silk cord with six round balls at the end, head-dress fillet round her head and hair hanging down in ringlets between three turns of the fillet; no powder, about 5ft 4 high, middling stature and size. Silk stockings. Black shoes with large roses. She appeared modest, well-bred, intelligent, and sensible, has a piercing eye, grecian nose, made judicious remarks and conversed with propriety.”

Quote by:  Joshua Brookes in “George Washington’s Beautiful Nelly” by Donald Jackson .

Nelly’s Letter

In Nelly’s letter below, she wrote to her friend Elizabeth, where she expressed her determination to remain a spinster in spite of others gossip.

Mount Vernon, August 20, [1797]

I am astonished my Dear at the report you mention … I wish the world would not be so extremely busy, & impertinent. E P Custis desires not its notice, & would thank those meddling reporters never to mention her name. I wish they would also allow her to marry who she pleases without perpetually engaging her to those whom she never had a chance of marrying, & never wished to be united to. The opinion of the wise (that friendship alone cannot exist between two young persons of different sexes) is very erroneous & ridiculous. I know it by experience, which is by far a better teacher than any of those, who pretend to know so much. I shall ever feel an interest & sincere regard for my young adopted Brother [George Washington de Lafayette]—but as to being in love with him it is entirely out of the question.

Therefore I shall certainly never be engaged or married to him—as whoever is my Husband I must first love him with all my Heart—that is not romantically, but esteem & prefer him before all others, that Man I am not yet acquainted with—perhaps never may be, if so—then I remain E P Custis Spinster for life.

I am a good deal surprised at the matrimonial news but Wonders never will cease. You are right not to think of making your choice this year as you have had so many bad precedents. The people of this earth how sadly have they degenerated—the next generation I think, & hope will be better (because they can hardly be worse than the present)…. E P Custis

Authors-In the words of womenAbout the Authors

In the Words of Women is the work of independent historians Louise V. North, Janet M. Wedge and Landa M. Freeman (pictured left-to-right in the adjacent photo*), who tracked down, selected, and often transcribed material from the original manuscripts.