Category: homeschooling/education

7th GGF Rev. David Mossum married George and Martha Washington

by Andrea Elizabeth

Rev. David Mossum

“The Anglican Ministry in Virginia, 1723-1766 A Study of Social Class.by Joan Gunderson’s

David Mossom was born in London, the son of a chandler, educated at Lewisham, came to Virginia to live with relatives, while finishing studies for ministry after Cambridge. He returned to London for ordination. He was a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel minister in Massachusetts 1718-1726, He then returned to Virginia to avoid Anglican factionalism in Massachusetts. He was for forty years the rector of St. Peter’s Parish. He had married Elizabeth in England, who died in 1737. Next, he married Mary Claiborne, who died in 1745; finally, he married Elizabeth Sloan Marston who died in 1759.

On a plaque; On the Inside Wall of St. Peter’s Episcopal church; Reverends David Mossom prope Jacet[…] Translation; Reverend David Mossom reposes nearby an alumnus student of ancient Saint John College at Cambridge, Rector of this parish during forty years. He was the first one among the Americans to be admitted into the order of priesthood and to take the rank among all the priests of the Anglican Church; He was second to few (people) in Literature; Finally consumed by old age and worry, caused by varied hard works that he had accomplished. and in view of the day of his death: then being youthful and healthy, he had indicated by testament this place for his sepulcher (burial) and he had chosen that same locality for the sepulcher of his wives Elizabeth and Mary near to his tomb where he reposes until the day he will be resurrected (resuscitated) to the eternal life by Jesus Christ, our Savior. Those words inscribed above not to indicate this stony tomb but to make remembering the man well known who was born in London on the twenty fifth day of March in the year 1690 and who died on the 4th day of January in the year 1767.

On Jan 6, 1759, Reverend David Mosson performed the marriage of Col. George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis, in New Kent County, VA.


Article XXXIV.
Nevertheless, from the long continuance of Mossom in this parish, we doubt not that he was a more respectable man than many of his day. He was married four times, and much harassed by his last wife, as Colonel Bassett has often told me, which may account for and somewhat excuse a little peevishness. He came from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and was, according to his epitaph in St. Peter’s Church, the first native American admitted to the office of Presbyter in the Church of England.


“Virginia Soldiers of 1776″, Compiled from Documents on File in the Virginia Land Office,
David Mossums English ancestry is given on page 206, W. and M. Quar. Vol. V. Rev. David Mossom was Rector of St. Peters Parish for forty years, in spite of his determination to tell the truth, and the reputation he had of being Peevish. He was born in New England, and though he still adhered to the Church of England, he probably had imbibed some of the puritan strict moralities. He came to Virginia at a time when some of the clergy were somewhat to be criticized for their little slips and slides; becoming Rector of Saint Peters 1727, where he remained forty years. He officiated at the nuptial [p.29] of General George Washington, at the White House, a few miles from the church.
Built in 1701, the church is believed to be the location of the marriage between George and Martha Washington on January 6, 1759. One of the oldest churches in the Commonwealth, the site was originally purchased for 146,000 pounds of tobacco. In 1862, Union soldiers marching from Fort Monroe toward Richmond used the building as a stable. The original portion of the church is one of the few Jacobean baroque style structures in America; the 1740s stump tower is also unusual. Located on S.R. 642 (St. Peter’s Lane) off S.R. 609 (Old Church Road) near Talleysville. Church grounds are open to the public every day, but the interior is open only by appointment. Regular worship services are held at 9 and 11 a.m. Sundays. Call (804) 932-4846 for information.


Rev. David Mossom was born March 25, 1690 and died January 4, 1767. The youngest child above of the first marriage, Elizabeth Mossom {6th GGM}, born in 1722, married Captain William Reynolds, owner of a vessel plying in the tobacco trade. their daughter, Elizabeth {5th GGM}, married Richard Chapman, Jr., and the births of their children are entered in an old prayer book which I have been permitted to see: Jane Chapman was born 29 Feb. 1776. [Mrs. Price, of Hanover, d.s.p.] Reynolds Chapman was born 22 July 1778 [died February 1844. Succeeded George C. Taylor as clerk of Orange in 1802. He married Rebecca Conway Madison, daughter of General William Madison and his wife Frances Throckmorton. One of their children was Judge John Madison Chapman, who married August 3, 1841, Susannah Digges Cole.] Johnson Chapman was born 26 Dec. 1780. [Signed] Sunday mar. 1781, Rich. Chapman {4th GGF}”.

Son of Thomas Mossom, chandler, was born at Greenwich, Kent, England, March 25, 1690, schooled at Lewisham, admitted sizar at St. John’s College, Cambridge, June 5, 1705. He became rector of St. Peter’s Church, New Kent County, Virginia, in 1727, and continued forty years. On January 6, 1759, he performed the marriage of George Washington to Martha Custis, widow of Colonel Daniel Parke Custis, and daughter of Colonel John Dandridge. He died January 4, 1767, leaving issue. Reverend David Mossom occasionally served at Queen Anne’s Chapel



Source: Register of St. Peter’s parish YEAR 1736. page 125

Vital Info: Phebe Negro Girl belonging to David Mossom, born Nov 20, 1736 and baptized Jan 30, 1736.

Source: Register of St. Peter’s parish YEAR 1737. page 132
Vital Info: Greenwich Negro man belonging to the Reverend David Mossom died Feb 17, 1736.

Source: Register of St. Peter’s parish YEAR 1739. page 142
Vital Info: Esther Mulatto girl belonging to Reverend David Mossom, born Sept 17, 1739 and baptized November 11, 1739.

Source: Register of St. Peter’s parish YEAR 1739. page 144
Vital Info: Esther Negro girl belonging to David Mossom born July 3, 1739 baptized Aug 17, 1739.”

from http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com

What a surprise

by Andrea Elizabeth

I did not know the hidden treasure, from me anyway, of Katherine Johnson nor her beautifully written blog Evlogia when I began going to St. Maximus parish in Denton this past May. Turns out she has just released the first installment of an Orthodox homeschool curriculum, collectively called, Ages of Grace, which I see is now on the OCA website! The proceeds benefit the building of a new temple for St. Maximus. I’ve ordered the first study, “Age of Triumph”, which includes age-appropriate material for everyone in the family. Here’s what oca.org has to say about it:

Ages of Grace: OCA parishioner offers Orthodox homeschool curriculum

Katherine Johnson, an OCA parishioner and homeschool mother of six children from infant to high school, has pioneered a new Orthodox curriculum designed for the entire family called Ages of Grace.

Katherine Johnson, an OCA parishioner and homeschool mother of six children from infant to high school, has pioneered a new Orthodox curriculum designed for the entire family called Ages of Grace. The plan of study is designed around the history of the world as a story revealing our communion with God. Throughout the lesson plans, Katherine takes the history of the Orthodox Church and weaves it through each subject area: History, Geography, Literature, Art, Music, and more.

She writes on her website, “Throughout the course of study, the golden thread of Orthodoxy runs through the fabric of the entire curriculum, focusing the heart on the story of our salvation, history being His-story.”

Ages of Grace is the fruit of over 11 years of Katherine’s experience educating her own children and her hope to offer them an authentically Orthodox education. She explains, “Orthodoxy can’t be boxed into one subject, one that somehow never seems to cross over into the others. Learning must be layered and the focus of an Orthodox curriculum must be to educate the whole person, the mind and the heart. To accomplish this, I designed Ages of Grace so that each of its parts relates to the whole. Each subject pours into the next as our Faith flows through them all. And so we begin with history, the ages of grace, the continuous narrative of our communion with God. By chronologically cycling through the history of the world, we study one time period each year while weaving in each core subject through the fabric of the curriculum. It’s a beautifully organic way to learn.”

Ages of Grace is a missionary effort and all sales benefit the building of Orthodox missions. Katherine explains, “The goal of an Orthodox curriculum is to build a worthy temple for the Lord in our hearts and the hearts of our children. When families purchase Ages of Grace they also have the opportunity to help in building a physical temple for the spiritual benefit of others.” All curriculum sales now benefit St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Mission in Denton, Texas, a mission of the Diocese of the South (OCA), founded in 2001 by Archbishop DMITRI. Since its founding, Fr. Justin Frederick has led the mission, the spiritual home of 45 families. This upcoming July, St. Maximus will celebrate 10 years of bearing witness to the fullness of the Christian Faith in North Texas. You can learn more about the mission by visiting their website.

To learn more about the curriculum, visit the Ages of Grace website. The first cycle of lesson plans, Age of Triumph, is now available for purchase. Explore this study of the Middle Ages and Byzantium here and purchase the curriculum here. You can also listen to an interview with Katherine on Ancient Faith Radio.

Curriculum Overview: http://agesofgrace.com/2011/04/curriculum-overview/
St. Maximus website: http://www.stmaximus.org/
Ages of Grace website: http://agesofgrace.com/
Explore Age of Triumph: http://agesofgrace.com/category/explore-age-of-triumph/
Purchase Age of Triumph: http://agesofgrace.com/category/purchase-age-of-triumph/
Ancient Faith Radio interview: http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/features/ages_of_grace

Attention spans then and now

by Andrea Elizabeth

It is so sad to learn about Richard’s downfall in Bleak House. Dickens seems to blame his liberal arts education for not preparing him to be able to apply himself to hard work. That implies that liberal arts aren’t hard. I disagree. I believe that the demands of a disciplined degree require one to apply onesself more diligently than is done in one’s youth, no matter what field, medicine, law, business, sports, dancing, or liberal arts. He seems to suffer more from attention deficit disorder in that he can’t keep his mind on one thing. Perhaps one can get by with that in lower grades, but it seems his education did lack by not making him stick to something after it got boring. Initially one can skip through to the exciting parts, but to be proficient at anything, one has to have a pretty determined work ethic, through thick or thin. Stephen King will even tell you that in his On Writing. It’s interesting to hear that 19th century young people had the same problem when one hears about how TV and video games are responsible for low attention spans in today’s youth. In addition to the problem of attention spans, one review I read says that Richard placed all his hope in the court settlement just as some place all their hope in the lottery today. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

What are we working for?

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m pleasantly surprised that both of my eleventh graders made straight A’s last 9 weeks. I really liked their essays. However, I’ve been relying on verbal feedback too much for my 5th grader, and some things have slipped. I need to get more engaged with her schooling.

Speaking of engaged, I just learned about Alex the Parrot last night, whose trainer, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, spent up to 8 facetime hours a day  homeschooling him. I couldn’t tell from the hour long posthumous PBS documentary, which I can’t find a link to, much about their relationship except that she seemed very calm when talking to him. His voice was calm too, but I wonder how much of a strain it was for him to keep one upping himself. He died young at 31 of “natural causes”. The linked youtube video has him repeatedly asking to “go back” into his cage. Part of the problem is having a caged parrot in the first place. They are very social animals and like lots of interaction. Humans can’t really provide the type of interaction they need. Alex is famous for communicating, but I don’t know how much he was really listened to.

Mark Bittner in this promo for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco communicated better with them, I think.

Our wild or tamed world doesn’t really provide the types of interaction any of us were made for. The predator/prey relationship is fallen too. It will be nice when the lion can lay down with the lamb in the next life. Meanwhile we study and work out our salvation.

I think my 11th graders’ essay answer to an Abeka literature test fits in with failed attempts at being intensely engaged.

“Explain the premise of the A.C. in “The Experiences of the A.C.” Why did it fail? Explain your answer from a Christian perspective.”

Son’s answer: In the story “The Experiences of the A.C.” the main character, Enis Billings, explains to his friend his experience of being in the A.C. A.C. stands for Arcadian Club; it was an attempt (or at least an experiment) of a small group of people to create the ‘perfect’ society. It was a quick failure. The main problem with the club was that people disagreed with one another’s opinions or ideas. Some did not want to abstain from the foods that others wanted to abstain from, and most disliked the idea of openly telling another his faults. As Christians, we understand that creating a perfect society without God as its center is impossible.

Daughter’s answer: The A.C. was formed because the group believed that if they followed the ways of Transcendentalism they would find the perfect way of life. It failed because they cast God away and lived by themselves for themselves. They tried to practice “candor” by telling each other what they really thought of each other in order to “enlighten” the other person. This failed because the other person didn’t believe what was said of him and only caused him to get offended. This plus the influence of alcohol also caused the A.C. to fail.”

Even though one can see some of the Puritan influence in this curriculum (my children usually answer according to what their teacher teaches, even if they disagree on smaller points), I mostly agree with them in this case. I can only compare such efforts to failed atheist Communist states or to how a monastery is supposed to be run. In a monastery a spiritual father is the only one allowed such candor. We aren’t supposed to trust each other so much because we are not mature enough nor close enough to God to do so. And monasteries are segregated. When a person is married, I believe their family has to come first and not the “community”. There is all sorts of fine print that goes with that to keep a family from being too selfish or dysfunctional, but family is the priority. I’ve been thinking a bit about the idea of ownership, but that needs to stew a bit more, and probably be its own post.


by Andrea Elizabeth

While they play ping pong with a friend on this ice day, I’ll try to grade and record the three home schooled kids’ papers. They grade their own quizzes, so I have to get caught up on the last three or so tests per subject, and grade their essays. PSAT’s went pretty well, so I’m not worried. Looks like we’ll miss our strings lesson and Vespers thanks to Canadian weather generosity.

Peaking out of my shell

by Andrea Elizabeth

My daughter lost her library card so I had to go in anyway. I’m glad I did because I ended up liking the new legless chair that rocks as I glanced at a book about word origins while the girls browsed. “To badger” comes from the old “sport” of chaining a badger through the tail and releasing dogs on him till he was too maimed to fight back. Yikes. I had to be present for her to get a new card as they need someone with a driver’s license and she doesn’t have one. Going up to the check-out desk feels like going to confession. Turns out she also has to change her info about her legal last name. She prefers to use my third last name, and we didn’t know it mattered when we originally gave it. I was asked to verify that I’m her real mother twice. Thankfully she believed me, but I did get a sidelong glance. That’s one reason I don’t like going out. I also get “Are all these kids yours?” a lot, and I usually feel I need to be both inclusive and honest. But really it’s not their business. I came up with a cheesy, “Yes. Some naturally, and some by choice,” the other week at IHOP. Aww. So my daughter had to pay a three dollar late fee, as well as an extra dollar to get a new card. It’s a racket. If you average $3 per book fine, it would take 43 free, public domain books to break even on a Kindle. It’s worth it to me. But it was nice to see fellow homeschool families who haunt the place during school hours. They always have way larger stacks, and their kids either look exaggeratedly trendy or slightly disheveled, but refreshingly like they have an inner life. My neighbor’s been commenting on how many times my girls go out in the yard with their super warm pajama pants. Oh well. I’m also glad I heard a lady tell someone on her cell phone that “she’s in the hospital”, so that I could covertly pray for her.

Oh, and the checkout lady at Walmart asked if I wanted to bag my milk! A+. No, Thank You.

By the shores

by Andrea Elizabeth

Whole book emersion is definitely a more connective way to learn. This year my 5th grader and I are learning about the eastern hemisphere in Sonlight’s Core 5 curriculum. Btw, when I mentioned our barn homeschool excavation, I was not including our Sonlight literature in the one-ton Goodwill pile. These, which I will keep, are in the house. I like how multifaceted literature can be in that it communicates philosophy, history, sociology, psychology, anthropology and archeology, not to mention language skills. It is the latter skill that I am writing about here. As much as I enjoyed and learned from our previous read-alouds, mostly written by American visitors to China, a couple of which I’ve mentioned in comments and such, I am overjoyed with the first 13 pages of our new book today, The House of Sixty Fathers. It is written by Meindert Dejong, who I thought was from China, but he’s actually from the Netherlands:

Meindert De Jong sometimes spelled as Meindert de Jong or Dejong (4 March 1906 – 16 July 1991) was an award winning author of children’s books. He was born in the village of Wierum, of the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands.


De Jong immigrated to the United States with his family in 1914. He attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and entered the University of Chicago, but left without graduating.

He held various jobs during the Great Depression, and it was at the suggestion of a local librarian that he began writing children’s books. His first book The Big Goose and the Little White Duck was published in 1938.

He wrote several more books before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II serving in China.[1] After the war he resumed writing, and for several years resided in Mexico. He returned for a time to Michigan. After settling in North Carolina, he returned to Michigan for the final years of his life.

Six of De Jong’s books were illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

For some reason our previous books were a little hard for me to read. I kept stumbling over some of the sentence structure. Part of my problem in sight reading, which I also encounter at Church and in playing the piano, is that I don’t look ahead. When I anticipate what’s coming, I’m much smoother. But this book’s language leaps off the page in form as well as content, making reading as easy as falling off a log. I really like alliterative sentences written for sound and rhythm. Here’s a sample from the beginning,

Rain raised the river. Rain beat down on the sampan where it lay in a long row of sampans tied to the riverbank. Rain drummed down on the mats that were shaped in the form of an arched roof over the middle of the sampan. It clattered hard on the long oars lying on top of the roof of mats.

Then at the end of the section,

Rain raised the river. The sampan swayed and bobbed on the rising water. Voices drifted from the other sampans in the long row of sampans and muttered among the drumming rain. Tien Pao closed his eyes and almost slept, and yet he didn’t sleep. He sat sagged against the mats, dreamily remembering the hard days just past, the hard journey.

Channeling “Hiawatha” perhaps?


by Andrea Elizabeth

One last post on God in America now that I think I’ve seen all the episodes. The first half of the fourth one, “A New Light”, dealt with the Americanization of traditional Judaism, mainly lead by Isaac Mayer Wise. I think this also happened to traditional Catholics and Orthodox. They wanted to look and sound like Americans, whom the show said were American Protestants. I have the idea that mainstream America, at least up to the end of the 19th Century, with a short revival in the ’50’s, was Protestant (which was pointed out in the fifth episode on Billy Graham). American Protestants can make their own rules as long as they believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. They mainly agree on the basics of the Trinity, capitalism, and the damnable sinfulness of certain sins, which the Puritans staunchly emphasized.

Towards the end of the 19th Century, liberal rationalistic thought (textual criticism) ensues. Charles Briggs gets it from Germany and brings it back to his American Presbyterian Church and was subsequently excommunicated, but the damage was done. The American Church has been split over this ever since. Those for a scientific interpretation have  been classified as having liberal morals, and those for a literal interpretation seem closed off from the real world. I used to be in the latter camp, but now think the truth is harder to be found than either suppose. I will defend a literal interpretation, which is the American tradition, and the millenia-old traditions of the Jews and the Catholics and the Orthodox. Individual rationalization may be part of being in God’s image, and certain people, including Charles Briggs, may be individually divinely inspired, but the attitude that comes with promoting individual rationalization is arrogant and dangerous.

I think the series was surprisingly kind to conservative Christians in America. They took pains not to denigrate them and focused on educating people on their influence, which they said was significant, for better and worse. This is so refreshing after a lifetime of PBS excluding God from their programming. It was as if Christians didn’t exist in their super-scientific evolutionary explanations. I suppose they realized that Christians will contribute more if their beliefs are respected – it’s the American way of doing business after-all.

On the history of religion in public education

by Andrea Elizabeth

Turns out all the episodes I missed of God in America are available to view online. The second, “A New Eden”, talks about how Catholic Bishop John Hughes ended up getting religious instruction taken out of public schools. How ironic that it wasn’t an atheist who did this. He fought the American Protestant establishment in response to anti-Catholic teaching that was taking place in public schools. New Irish Catholic immigrants were taking their kids out of schools because of having their Church being referred to as the whore of Babylon, the Pope as antichrist and such. He thought this was anti-American. America was supposed to represent freedom of religion.

Protestant bias in education upsets me as my kids and I encounter it in some of their homeschooling instruction. To me it is better than the vacuum created by its absence in the public schools, but I am there to counter the Protestant wrathful God with my own children, not that the Catholic one is much better.* And what about all the other good Christian children who will see my kids’ point of view as morally wrong? When I went to public school I was a Protestant, and since teachers and books couldn’t promote God, they ended up promoting atheism and Darwinism, therefore Christians, Protestant or not, were wrong. It is stressful to go to school where you’re supposed to passively open your mind and be enlightened, and end up having your core identity undermined.

It would be nice if the state and all the people agreed on core issues, but today’s complex society wont allow for that. All the plurality ends up neutralizing people. United people can go much further, but what if they are going the wrong way?

*Just the other day my fourth grader heard the video teacher explain Exodus as God killing all the people who didn’t worship him correctly. It’s hard to explain the Old Testament to children, as well as the exclusive claims of the Orthodox Church. My attempt is that the ground opening up removed damaging people from the situation. This was not necessarily damning them to eternal torment, which is how the Protestants and Catholics connect the dots.

oh the humanities revisited

by Andrea Elizabeth

A Facebook friend linked to this thought provoking article, with comments, on Cardinal Newman’s “Idea of a University”. I don’t think it provides answers as much as questions. Like, Is a classical education for everyone? Is it for women? How liberal are liberal arts? and, Are tradespeople more “real”?

I’ll take the modern’s concern with inclusion of females: Cardinal Newman evidently believed that a proper education is necessary to make one a proper gentleman. The silence about “ladies” is very loud today. Not going into if it’s a mistake to open up more doors to women such as voting, education, and career paths, in the olden days a gentleman was raised to be an overseer of his house, his lands, and in some cases his country. Ladies’ duties were more domestic, but they were also responsible for others. I suppose they were to learn from their parents and then their husbands – a trickle-down effect. Outside education was to make them more accomplished as it was considered demeaning to seek employment. In the 19th C there was a lot of complaining about the narrow options available to them, despite the (gracious?) overseeing of the men in their lives. As an aside, I recently read about the contrast between western ideas of subjection and authority and Orthodox synergy on A Vow of Conversation. Seems to me many eastern and middle eastern cultures also share a more totalitarian view of authority. Anyway, women are expecting more synergy with men nowadays.

I am enjoying reading the classics that I missed with my nursing education, and believe that it is beneficial. But the subject of past views of women inevitably comes up. If past cultures only appreciated a narrow range of feminine qualities, how do we stay “classical” by allowing more feminine inclusion? It’s a dilemma. Maybe a classical education was more valued when it was only for the elite. Then independent risk takers like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Emily Dickenson, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, and the Brontë’s could appreciate it more because they got it on the sly.