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

Wednesday, June 23

Fort Harrod

June 18. Terrible rains pound my small cabin as clouds and light race cross moon lit sky. Darkness oft broken by long flashes of light, and my quiet solitude disrupted by rumble of thunder louder than that of cannon fire. Were it not for the white wash of these cabin walls and small candle, one could hardly see to move pen cross paper. Once more vicious rumours hath reached mine tender ear; friends sequestered in Harrod’s town live in desperate fear of attack. Quickly we gather up only those things most necessary and flee toward the danger. Tis far late in the night when we arrive, Mistress Storey and I, to find all rumours quite true.

For with our very own eyes we have seen such nightmarish sights as can hardly be described; a giant of a red man barely clothed, shirt much stained and shorn nearly from his filthy red painted body, accompanied by many many more just as filth ridden, painted and jeweled as he. Indeed, another giant of a man with long flowing hair and much fearsome demeanor carrying a bow in bear skin the same length and stature as I! Never have mine eyes witnessed such beastly men bearing their teeth such as these! Fortune was much with us as we were able to pass through this hateful territory and slip unnoticed past these restless dogs and into the fort.

All danger and fear fled as mine eyes lit upon the face of our dear friend Mr. Mains, having traveled a great distance from the east to arrive just hours afore us. We were much delighted in each other’s company. A loft within a small cabin was found to stow our meager gear and we set about greeting our dear friends garrisoned within James Harrod’s fort. Mr. Godwin, known as Pit, and Mr. Webster were first to greet us, and quickly others too who had traveled far to lend hand, lead and rifle to the impending fight. Long into the night, nay early into the morn, we gathered to lay plans to overcome the pending siege.

Hardly able to remain wakeful, finally we returned to the small quarters granted us. Just as sleep had nearly taken us into her dream land, a sound the likes of which could not be immediately determined disturbed us greatly. Not but just sound, a feeling quite unusual? By light of moon through open window the source of this disturbance manifested; Bats! Indeed, many many of them, flying but scant inches over us in our repose. Nonetheless, sleep won out and carried us far from concerns over winged vermin.
June 19. Once more the pounding of rain and darkened black, grey and even green tinged skies greeted the morn, fierce winds blew through the fort and great sloughs of water ran from tentage and we were much gladdened to be stowed within our cabin. Friends not yet discovered the night last, made their way through the deluge to assemble with steaming mugs of coffee, tales of far off places, raids, and sad stories of losses so devastating as to make our tender heart break.

As the rains cleared and the hot sun sent steam rising, a few men, women and children ventured outside the fort gates. In fact, two lads feeling much restrained by walls, ventured further out toward the largest Osage tree mine eyes have ever taken in. Foolishly these two harassed each other into a game of shooting skills, but Lo! Just at the crack of the first shot, other shots were heard! My God, the boy was down, not just down, but shot full of lead, blood flying, bone breaking, helplessly jerking about with the agony!

Myself and Mistress Heasely were tending a fire and adding what bits of meat as we had to a meager stew when the multitude of shots rang through the valley. Gathering screaming children, we ran with all our might toward the safe haven of the fort. Blessed we were to make it inside just as the gates slammed shut behind our flying skirts! Quickly gathering my gun, lead and powder to the upper ramparts I ran, loading as my feet found purchase upon the rough ground.
Och! The sight before my eyes! T’was my own dear Mr. Mains flying toward the barred gate! The sheer terror which ran up my spine tightened my grip upon my gun and without conscious thought brought clear focus upon the black painted skull of the savage in my sights. “Dig, Dig!” was the scream from our lips as men began a hole for Mr. M to crawl under the fortifications. Lo! T’was the giant red man with long flowing hair running with a band of miscreants coming toward our most dear one! Tingling limbs worked without thought as we loaded time and again, our barrel so hot it blistered our skin. “Dig!” shouted Captain Curry until finally he was in!

Bold were they, these red dogs! One particularly stood out, perhaps his great height or the filthiness of his rags, but great was the burning anger in my soul to send this son of satan back, back to whence he came! Alas t’was not to be. His brethren, bold fighters were they! Long and hard did they fight, yet we of the fort were able to withstand their bloody assault. Ere long the shots rang out with less frequency, their yellow backs seen slipping into the trees, dragging off their wounded and dead, no doubt to recoup their losses as their own.
Finally, time passed without the hail of their snarls and shots and a great Huzzah was raised within the fort walls! Much celebrating commenced! Everyone gathered about the spring to dip neckcloth, bowl and cup to quench the heat from body and soul. Parson John gave blessings upon many and together we dined with much gladness in our hearts. Mr. Mains close by mine side, covered in more dirt than is usual, much the vermin upon that day! Having barely scratched and crawled through the hole dug small enough but a groundhog should pass. And yet, much thanks given, he had passed through unscathed. Once more late into the night our songs filled the air and wondrous time spent enjoying dear friends, Mistress Storey, the Heaselys, the Selters, our friend and oft times cook; Mr. K. Stambaugh, and so many others impossible to name. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah! for our fortune this day!

June 20. Hot was the sun even upon rising, breezes unknown, nary cloud in the sky to grant even a moments respite and once more we fought! Evil dogs with snarling teeth and rankled hides came tearing through the trees and screams filled our ears. Smoke, thick from our musket and rifle fire, clung in the still air. All round us the fear, terror and fright, and yet we fight! Aye, indeed we fight, blistered skin from barrels blazed hot, split lips from lack of water mean nothing, t’is only powder, lead and shot that fills our minds. Rarely time to take proper aim, rather but a hail of lead we rained down upon those soulless beings with their black painted skin. Women run lead balls without ceasing, men load and hand up rifle and musket quick as can be done. Those of us of a true eye and aim never hesitating. Exhaustion, heat, and lead take our men and theirs. The hurled insults betwixt and between mean nothing against the blood stains of our souls, once more we fight. We fight until blooded and sickened by their losses they slip away once more into the woodlands and trackless forest, like shadows, evil shadows of the night, not but the smell of them left. Gone.

We seek out our loved ones, cry in the arms of those who have lost all, gather together with the Parson to pray and seek divine solace. Why, we wonder, why must life in this fair land be so hard, the losses so great? For land? For gardens and cabins and commerce? Nay, not those foolish things, but for our lives! Our very lives, and our children’s lives, for widows, orphans and those most beloved.

We carry on and we tarry not without rifle at hand, we press on in high hopes that our children will not carry burdens such as these, that they might have more than we. Indeed, that they know freedom from these murderous times. Yet, their eyes have seen, their tiny ears have heard, they’ll not forget what we’ve done. They will carry forth different burdens, different hurts and have other forces against them. Yet we pray we’ve done enough to prepare them, lest they be harmed. For as we fight; they too shall fight. They too shall hold the eye of their enemy in theirs. God grant them mercy to forgive themselves for what they shall do and what we have done. This small mercy we beg, in His name.

Tuesday, June 15

Women on the Frontier

June 11. With our most dear companions, Mistress duPont and Miss Katherine Dennis, we made the long and arduous journey to Mr. Boone’s Fort, to join like minded women of the frontier. Mistress duPont, who is of a much higher station than our own, was quite unfamiliar and a bit uncertain of this rough territory, though she persevered and bravely faced this new adventure with great fortitude. Willing even to forgo her usual accommodations, accoutrements and high styles, to take up the rougher sort of appearance common in this lowly place. The young miss was of a hardy sort, well prepared to undertake the care and assistance of her elder in their travels. Charged with their care we were most cautious to take well traveled and judicious routes. Further, upon our arrival, we begged leave of Mr. Farmer, to allow us make use of a small cabin within the confines of Mr. Boone’s fort. Fortune was with us and we were able to secure our position within the walls of the fort.
June 12. Upon rising, Mistress duPont was much vexed to find there was no coffee to be found within the fort. As this was quite disturbing, we set about resolving this practical matter. Soon we were refreshed and felt better able to face the assembled ladies and gentlemen who were to be our neighbors for this short sojourn.

Mistress DeEsch, Mistress Heasley, Mistress Hayes, Maggie, the Parson and a few others who are well known in these parts were quickly found and an acquaintance betwixt themselves and Mistress duPont was struck. We were all quite delighted with Mistress Heasley’s manner, speech and appearance. For myself it was quite refreshing to find a sister in station, demeanor and thought. Though Mistress Reasoner, being a much higher sort, would surely have looked down her nose upon such a one as Mistress H had she not retired to her suite, much too distressed by the heat to trouble her good self with the likes of us.

The fine Mistress R. did not show herself this day at all, though a native woman of very similar appearance, known only as Two Knives was oft seen and heard within the crowd of gathered women. Indeed this woman Two Knives shared with us the customs of her native people, their dress, accoutrements, and culture. T’was nearly enough to cause us pause in our pure hatred of all things savage, feeling a near kinship with this well spoke woman. Disconcerting, to say the very least. Nearly confounding. For this woman did seem to have a voice much as my own; strong, outspoken, independent and she would have had us believe this is indeed the common demeanor of many the savage’s women. T’is something to think upon, surely. Though one need only momentarily to think upon our heavy loss at hands of this woman’s man to rekindle the fire within our very soul. T’is easier to wonder; was this a fine bit of trickery to coax us to see the commonality of all sister women? Though we resolved not to be lulled into trusting one such as she, our heart was indeed opened by the kindest gesture of friendship; a small piece of this woman’s own treasure given with open heart. The weight of this bit of silver shall serve as reminder of our two opening hearts and our time passed in each other’s company, a visible token of what we have learned from one another.

The remainder of the day though quite warm and a bit stormy, was filled with cheerful conversations, a bit of demonstrating of our varied skills and even a bit of dancing! As the setting sun’s rays lit the fortyard a very special ceremony took place, for one of the fine young ladies of our small group had only just completed her education and forsaking the custom of graduating with her class had chosen to come join us here at Boonesborough. We were all much delighted to hear of her many accomplishments, being able to do much more than make her mark upon a piece of paper, we believe Miss Marz shall be quite a force to be reckoned with!
My own dearest companion Miss Katherine celebrated the 10th year of her birth with a bit of sweet cake and seemed quite delighted to receive a small gift of artist’s necessities from her mother, Mistress Dennis. Mistress Dennis must also have been taken with the heat, much like Mistress Reasoner, as she did not show herself a single moment of this day. The children of the fort played late into the night, thrilled with one another’s company, making fast friendships which shall surely last many a year to come.

June 13. Our pleasant sleep was much reduced by the accompaniment of a very small, but none the less, uninvited guest of the rodent variety. Not quite the vermin which I have become accustom to in this place; but a wee mouse which ran the length and breadth of the cabin, very nearly causing Mistress duPont to assume a position upon a table with broom in hand shrieking! Indeed, one may safely assume, given but the opportunity, Mistress d and Miss K. would surely have spent the remainder of the night ensconced atop the highest table top, much like a princess with the pea! But we digress…

The day being Sunday, the Parson called for a worship service within the fort walls. Mistress Dennis deigned to make an appearance, though one my wonder if it were not merely for the purpose of showing off such a fine gown. Beg pardon, for the boldness, but t’was my thought. For though Mistress Dennis did kindly join Mistress duPont and Miss Katherine in divine services, she was promptly not seen again for hours. Only making a brief appearance to have her portrait sitting with a local artist, Master Dennis Muzzy. Whist I was made busy with other necessary tasks, the ladies three did wander garden paths as Mister Muzzy followed behind, sketch pad in hand.

Though the heat was quite intense Mistress Reasoner too stepped outside her fine quarters to grace us with a small tea party and a word or two of her own. My, my, my, the fine beautiful gowns, trinkets and sundries she did show, things of great worth and dignity the likes of us shall certainly never attain. Though Mistress Dennis does seem quite taken by such things, indeed she made purchase of a lovely burnt orange linen from the dear Mistress Ruff, the purpose of which is to make a round gown.

As for myself, the women and a few men of the fort had gathered near a miserable small shelter outside the fort walls to hear the tales and story of my own poor life. Though it brought tears to mine eyes to repeat the hard words, it is my story to tell and tell I shall. For if in the telling of my own loss, one man may be moved to join up and fight against those red devils, my tears have worth. Many a woman, child and even a man or two were moved with great emotion upon hearing of the devastation those savages have wrought. As indeed they well should be, for is not the loss suffered great? Are times not hard? One can not lightly gloss over what has been done by those yellow dogs with red skin and red coats. For in forgetting are we not doomed to repeat? Aye, we will tell the tale far and wide in hopes those men and women who lost their lives might be remembered. And yet… the weight of this bit of silver upon my ear, causes me to wonder momentarily of the losses suffered by our sister Two Knives...

Monday, June 7

Recent Travels

June 7. My dearest friends, we beg your mercy and forgiveness for the lateness of our writings herein. The trail has been long and our travels far into the wilderness. As such; our time hath been otherwise spent in other endeavors.
The fortnight past; 29 May, found us encamped upon Wolf Creek. Our Governour, Patrick Henry, hath upon Monday the fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven, and in the first year of the Commonwealth, made known to the public his acts for regulating and disciplining the militia.

The men of the Commonwealth mustered up with great zeal in the early hours, however with each passing hour, became most disenchanted with the Colonel in command; one Colonel S. Dennis. Sheriff C. Hodges, known by most as a bald headed prig, collected many a tariff for public lewdness, drunkenness and even thievery! Upon more than one occasion whilst we encamped in this place, men and even women were forced to be bound by hand and by foot to a post for the public to humiliate.

The Morgan Company, lead by Captain Dennis Morgan was found to be the most resourceful and ready of the assembled men and were therefore well rewarded for their service. Other companies, sadly were found insufficient in their tasks as set by Colonel Dennis and were often dressed down for any number of fractious causes.

Perhaps the men of the militia were granted their greatest desires, when t'was found the Colonel’s own wife had turned 'gainst him; found to be a wanton, thief and woman of much ill repute, causing the Colonel’s reputation much harm!

For his part, he acted fairly in that said woman was held to the same punishment of pillory and stocks as others accused of such atrocities. Her begging and pleading upon knees did nothing to warm the Colonel’s cold heart once the woman had proven her true nature. Regardless of this outlandish behavior, our belief remains true in the fine men of this commonwealth who remain steadfast to our cause and stand ready fight with moment’s notice the red skin devils and their red coated yellow bellied deceitful allies of Britton.

Our more recent travels, as of 5 June, brought myself and my companion Mr. J. Mains to the banks of the Licking River where we prevailed upon the mercies of a local inn-keep. T'was our great fortune to unexpectedly encounter Mr. M. Schwendau whom we had last met upon the battlefields of Koh-koh-mah. Further, it seems Mr. Schwendau shall be presiding as land steward over the entire encampment at Blue Licks and shall therefore be more often in our company.

For once having time to tarry about, Mr. M and I took great pleasure in walking the buffalo trace and the hallowed ground of Blue Licks. The spirits our forefathers reached out to touch our hearts and souls as we tread the very ground where Major Hugh McGary had leapt upon his horse shouting, "Them that ain't cowards, follow me." Tears for the men lost in less than 15 minutes welled within my eyes and made blurry all but the blue sky above.

As the sky was so blue, Mr. Mains and I determined to avail ourselves of the fish residing within nearlby Johnson Creek. Much to our regret, the fish remained most reluctant to become our supper, only permitting two of their kind, which were quite small, to be caught upon my line. Mr. M’s lines remained quite untouched by even the smallest nibble, which brought him no small level of disgust!

Our dining fortunes turned dramatically for the better as Mr. K. Stambaugh of Bee Lick, offered up to us as many roasted chickens as we were able to stuff within ourselves! Mr. B. vonDielingen joined us, as did other local inhabitants for an evening of much enjoyment. Mr. vonDielingen, who had been captured by the Shawnee, was much gladdened to have returned to his people and the land of his birth. Though much scarred by recent atrocities, Mr. v. did regale us with tales and many songs, adding much to the night’s entertainments. By my count, an excess of 15 long guns were close at hand to shoot marks both still and on the wing, with differing levels of success. Late into the evening the spark of our powder and the ring of our laughter filled the rolling hills.

‘Tis indeed time such as these which mark our hearts forever. Much gladdened are we for the warmth of friendship and love of dear ones. For, ‘tis these very moments which our fathers, brothers and country men die to protect; the twinkling eye, merriment, and song, all life’s simple and trifling yet most treasured moments.

Dear ones, I remain yours most truly and humbly,