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

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...

1 comment:

  1. As always your journal is a delight to read! Maybe next year I can make it out to Women on the Frontier. I am so in need of sisterly companionship. Eagerly awaiting your next entry!