"...I trusted in the Almighty… I knew I could only be killed once,
and I had to die sometime."
-Anne Bailey, 1823

Monday, March 29

Mud Scout

March 28 ~29. Auspicious beginnings to the Blue Heron Scout: Small flock of spring turkeys were spied upon a flat as two large males puffed and strutted for hens, displayed their magnificence. Happily, Mr. Browder, of the Longhunter Leather Company, chanced upon me prior to our arranged time and location, and we made a quick study of these fine animals in their glory. If not for fear of alerting any natives in proximity, surely a turkey would have graced the mess this very eve. Mr. Browder and I continued together to the Story Inn, our ordained assembly point. Within moments we were met with others of our scouting contingent; Mr. Egener, Mr. Blackerby and his native son Jeremiah, Mr. Goodwin who is known to all as Pit, Mr. Henderson the renowned potter, and Captain Jacobs with his friend Mr. Harmeson. Together, we convened to review our provisions and maps. After remarking with great humor upon my skills as an artist and mapmaker we set off for Jacobs Station.

Mr. Blackerby, the Tracker Jeremiah, Mr. Browder and Pit set off afoot. I gladly joined Mr. Egener in his fine pirogue, while Captain Jacobs and Mr. Harmeson launched Captain Jacobs newly made pirogue, Mr. Henderson carried many supplies of the men afoot in his small punt.

While weighed down heavily with goods and provisioning our small fleet made haste until such time as a small beast made his presence known with a snap of his tail. We admired his sleek coat as he swam alongside Mr. Henderson, though afore long he evaded us. Had Pit carried in his fine traps Mr. Flattail’s hide would most surely have been in Pit’s possession!

Our small company arrived at Jacobs Station and disembarked, in a short time the troop afoot appeared and required passage from their side of the waterway. Mr. Egener made the ferry trip several times and once more we were assembled together. Captain Jacobs and Mr. Harmeson made a quick survey of the area to determine the area for encampment. Suddenly, a foreign sound to the south sent all to arms. Three natives boldly stepped into view. Pit and Mr. Blackerby immediately strode aggressively toward the men, but were halted by a word from Captain Jacobs.

The native’s leader, a slender man with scalplock, warily but with much confidence came forward, while his two men remained on guard. Their lack of war paint and clear intent to communicate was a small comfort, but the company was vigilant, instantly taking points of defense. The captain laid out trade goods and then stepped forward with a gift held forth. The two men took stock of one another and the noble savage spoke words only intelligible to the captain. With handsigns, a few words of French, and our own tongue, a rough communication was made between the men. With a trade of goods between the leaders a tentative accord was struck. Recently from a maple sugar camp the natives produced a weight of the cakes and offered them to the company. Their leader made it known to us that they were traveling ahead of their families and were much concerned with our intent in this land. Much concerned were they over recent settlements being made in their hunting grounds. The captain confirmed our intent to merely travel through. Our accord now firmly sealed, Captain Jacobs invited these men to join our company for the evening.

The area for our encampment was determined with the help of the natives and shortly order was established, camp made and a fire begun for the mess. A contingent set off for a rough scout of the area surrounding the encampment, whilst a few remained to keep a watchful eye over our newly formed friendship. Upon the scouting contingent’s return a bit of good natured pugilism was taken up by Captain Jacobs and myself. Whilst Captain Jacobs feels certain of his success in the match, his position face down in the mud with my arm covering his windpipe causes me to believe myself to be the victor; if not in skill nor strength, then certainly in spirit.

An evening of fellowship and camaraderie passed without incident. Cloud cover kept the air relatively warm, but soon let forth with a drizzling rain that failed to dampen the company’s spirits. Huddled in my bed of leaves with my blankets and oil cloth, neither the rain nor the temperature were of any consequence to me, however a watchful eye remained upon the tamed savages sleeping nearby; my own rest delayed until theirs was certain. After but a few short hours of sleep, Mr. Browder and I took up watch over the company, soon joined by Mr. Egener. As the men arose it was discovered not all had enjoyed a warm or dry bed. Some found their choice of bedding inadequate or poorly positioned, leaving them more than a bit damp, but all remained in high spirits once coffee and tea was properly taken.

Our native brothers left the camp without incident in the early morn as a dull light filtered through the clouds during a break in the rain. All signs of their brief sojourn wiped away in all but our journals and memories. The company was soon trail ready and decamped. As with the previous day, a portion of our party traveled the water way whilst others cut a trail. Water, dirt, and mud from the continued spring rains seeped into every fiber of our clothing, packs and nearly every crevice as we proceeded upon our way, causing the members of our group to rename the scout from Blue Heron Scout to Mud Scout. Our small, weary, and very muddy company dispersed after taking in a hearty midday meal.

One can only hope each man found comfort in joining in fellowship and company for but a short time. T’was certain that each was a valued member of our little band of brothers, lead by an able captain in an uncertain and dangerous time. I shall recall this time spent together with much fondness, fine memories and a desire to cross paths again with any of these good men.

Monday, March 22


March 21. Spring rains pound the ground causing autumnal seeds to wake, tiny bursts of color dot the landscape; yellow, purple, green, even the barest hint of pink. Spring, in all her eternal glory hath stepped lively into this land, where her charming finger doth point there is renewal, rebirth and strength anew. ‘Tis she, the forever childlike daughter of Mother Nature who casts off ice and chill of old man winter. A fine and fickle child she is, dancing through meadows of tiny lavender flowers one moment and next stomping her feet in the moonlit rising creek. Beware, for when her tempers flare neither man nor beast can hide against her. Man may beg of her tender mercies; this mistress of flood, fire and mayhem, but ‘tis merely her nature, as the beasts recall.

Aye, much like our dear child Spring, my tempers flare; only to be washed away with the coolness of a morning rain shower. One must recall, danger is often only perceived; light of day reveals the frightful monster of night ‘tis merely the small branch of a tree, blown by rushing wind to tap tap tap upon the window glass. Morning hath come, painting the dawn with her full palette.

Friday, March 12

Sparks Ignite!

Great anger hath taken hold and penetrates deeply into both heart and mind. Doubt the Lady and her abilities, eh? One might briefly consider the Lady's hot demeanor before making statements or whispering innuendo. A shower of sparks hath been laid to dry tender and one should hardly be surprised when great flames lick mercilessly at the hand which did so thoughtlessly strike flint to steel.

While at once our great friend, providing warmth and enlivening the dark, remember dear reader, that the twinkling flame is quick to betray the careless hand. Recall, 'tis just a tiny spark that ignites both candle or cannon; and tis but the same to the spark.

Vigilance is again most strongly cautioned, for one knows not from whence an attack may arise. Rumors, like ashes after flame abound, the savage is restless and seeks to strike those who are incautious like mere babes. Preparedness is essential without end. Anger breathes hot through my veins and removes all trace of fear, leaving no room for doubt or hesitation. Aye, the spark hath been well laid and the Lady burns for vengeance.

Wednesday, March 10

early scouting report

March 10. Having returned but hours ago from a brief scouting, I find myself miserably winded, and terribly unfit for the duties necessary for my position. Having gently wintered amongst friends with nearly every possible comfort it is quite disheartening to find oneself in such soft condition.

Indeed, even carrying the barest essentials; my rifle, ax, bedroll, a meager amount of foodstuffs and a small pot with which to cook, has taxed my body and left soreness within my arms and legs. I feel compelled to set out each evening with these few belongings upon my back to prepare, Prepare! for the coming season.

One must be prepared in physique, mind, and spirit for one knows not from whence troubles may arise. I'll relate a bit of a story of a scout named Lynn who encountered resistance in an unexpected manner. This narrative comes by way of a good gentleman, Mr. Dale Payne, who compiled many Narratives of Pioneer Life and Border Warfare;

"In order to make discoveries, on the 26th of September (1777), Capt. Foreman with forty-five men set out for Grave Greek. Having arrived there, and seeing the fort standing and discovering no signs of the Indians, they returned. On arriving at the foot of the narrows, a contention arose between Capt. Foreman and a man by the name of Lynn, who had been sent with him as a spy (scout) upon which road they should take, the river or ridge. Lynn urged the probability of the Indians having been on the opposite shore, and had more than likely seen them pass down; and the most likely place for waylaying them was in the narrows, and therefore urged the necessity of going the ridge road.

Foreman being indisposed to take the council of Lynn, proceeded along the base of the hill. During the contention, Robin Harkness set upon a log, having very sore eyes at the time, and took no part in the dispute; but when Capt. Foreman started, he followed him. Lynn, however with seven or eight other frontiersmen, went the ridge road. Whilst passing along a narrow bottom at the head of the narrows, the foremost of Capt. foreman's men picked up some Indian trinkets, which immediately excited a suspicion that Indians were near, which caused a halt. Before them some five or six Indians stepped into the path behind them about the same number, and at the same moment a fire was poured in upon them from a line of Indians under cover of the river bank, and not over fifteen steps from the white men. Those that escaped the first fire fled up the hill, but it being steep and difficult to climb they were exposed for some time to the fire of the Indians. Lynn and his comrades, hearing the fire when they were below them on the ridge ran along until opposite. They then proceeded to the brink of the hill, where they saw a man ascending near them, who had got nearly to the top when he received a shot in his thigh, which broke it. Lynn and his comrades rand down and lifted him up, carried him over the hill and hid him under a cleft of rocks, and then proceeded to wheeling.As Robin Harkness was climbing the hill near the top and pulling himself up by a bush, a ball struck it and knocked the bark off against him, which alarmed him, as he supposed it to be the ball, he however proceeded on and escaped unhurt. In this fatal ambuscade twenty-one of Capt. Foreman's party were killed and several much wounded; among the slain were capt. foreman and his two sons."

You see dear reader, the folly of hiring a man to fill a position and then discounting that man's words. This grievous error indisposed Capt. Foreman in a most permanent manner. Had but Lynn's word been taken for their worth, the captain his two sons and twenty one mother's sons would be well and breathing for another fight!

Friday, March 5

March 5. Finally, the sun hath shone upon the land, there is much for which one aught give thanks.

Though with the coming spring it is certain the Shawnese will throw off their winter robes and take to their wickedness. Vigilance always; for the snap of a twig is oft afore the crack of rifle fire.

Tuesday, March 2

Meet Anne

In the late 1700s Anne Bailey served in the Great Kanawha Valley as a buckskin-clad frontierswoman who could handle a horse, hatchet, and long rifle as well as any man. When her husband was killed in the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 she was compelled to avenge his death and embarked on a new life as border scout and messenger. The 1861 poem “Anne Bailey’s Ride” commemorates her heroic 1791 ride alone through over 100 miles of mostly wilderness when Fort Lee (Charleston) was threatened with attack to Fort Savannah (Lewisburg) and her return with desperately needed gunpowder.

The story of Anne Bailey's life is interwoven with local folklore, but her place as a pioneer heroine is unquestioned. In 1791 what is today West Virginia was largely unsettled wilderness in the middle of a frontier war between would-be settlers and local Indian tribes. When Fort Lee was threatened with attack and a low supply of ammunition, Anne Bailey, scout and messenger, rode alone through 100 miles of near wilderness to Fort Savannah at Lewisburg and returned with the needed powder to save the fort at Clendenin's Settlement which today is Charleston, West Virginia.

Born Anne Hennis in Liverpool, England, probably in 1742, she came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia when she was about 19 and in 1765 married Richard Trotter, a local settler. When Lord Dunmore called for militia to fight the Indians of the western border in 1774, Richard Trotter enlisted, but was killed on Oct. 10, 1774 at the Battle of Point Pleasant against the forces of Shawnee leader, Cornstalk. This event changed Anne's life completely and she left her son, William Trotter, to the care of others and became a skilled frontier scout, horsewoman, hunter, messenger and storyteller, wearing buckskins, carrying hatchet, knife and long rifle. She married again in 1785 to John Bailey, another frontiersman and army ranger, those forerunners of today's special forces.