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

Monday, October 18

Piracy upon the banks of the Mississinewa

October 18.

What’s this!? Another letter? Why yes, and by the style of hand one might speculate it to be from dear Cousin Z! With trembling hands the letter is turned over to reveal a splash of red wax with the initial Z. Indeed! ‘Tis from my dearest cousin!

Dearest Cousin,

I pray you forgive the dire nature of my last letter, sent in August. I fear it may have caused you pain to believe I had perhaps gone to my final resting place at the hands of a petty Governor.

Nay, cousin, do not fear, for as you can well discern by my strong hand; I am quite well and very much alive.

T’was questionable there for a time, indeed, I did quite fear for my life as the day of my hanging drew near. I’ll not trouble you too much to detail the horrid nature of my imprisonment, but suffice it to say I shall never be captured again! Better dead than to be forced to withstand the daily (and nightly!) horrors I’ve experienced.

But all was not lost, for there was one with whom I was able to find some small solace. A young mop haired guard, smooth of cheek and tender of heart, who found himself quite distracted in his guard duty.

Oh my dear one, ‘tis truly a miracle I dinna find myself truthfully in the unhappy and delicate condition I had pled to the judge and Governor! Cousin, I tell you by the 24th day of my captivity I was beginning to fear the day whence it would be discovered (OR NOT!!) a wee babe would suffer consequence of it’s mother’s recklessness. Soon my fear took shape to the point of action, for I could not wait even one more day for the decision of the hangman.

The fair lad I mentioned was quite enamored and I found it was quite possible to slide my left hand to that which was desired, by distracting with my right until a solid form took shape, as I lifted gently from his pocket the key to my survival. Forgive me cousin, for I was forced to give the young lad quite a thump upon his head to ensure my retreat from the stinking cell within which I had been retained. Once free from the walls of my cell I paid my respects to those who had not been so lucky, a glass lifted to their spirits.

Quickly from this hated place did some mates and I retreat. Time passed as it always does and I found myself in with a new crew upon the Great Lakes. Indeed, under Lieutenant Garland and Captain McCrary a crew of likeminded souls had gathered a bit south of the Great Lakes to ply their trade upon the Mississinewa River.

Ah dear cousin, how well we did fall in with this crew. Upon arrival within our temporary camp along the river we encountered a dear dear gentleman who presents himself as an honest trader; Mr. B who sells fine wares, most with the blood stains removed. And the Widow Black too with her coffeehouse, a fine and honest businessperson she is I can tell you. Of course she has no control over who enters the coffeehouse and what commerce may be conducted within it’s confines. Sure and doesn’t she make the finest coffee ya ever had? Of course she does.

And there was Remington, dear Remi, Cousin I’m sure you’d be quite mad about such a young lad as he, most useful he is too! Indeed nary a dish was wantin for the wash water. Though he did slack a bit on the Lords day, leaving our dear Captain Dollinger to act the scullery maid, and that after the waffle man had made fine waffles all morning! No doubt dear Remi shall pay for his late sleeping. Aye, the camp was well filled with ladies and even an apothecary to treat any wounds, ailments or perfidy which might have been visited upon crew or guests. There too was another fine gent whose presence was not oft seen. A well dressed fellow Mr. K, indeed just the very type one would wish to be entertained by at a fete or grand ball, presented by day as a Navy artilleryman, and rogue by night!

But Cousin, dear cousin we leave last for our description; the Captain, who has been but briefly mentioned previously. Captain McCrary, master of seas, rivers and great lakes, plunderer of women and treasure.

He who is known far and wide, for his reputation (well deserved) does for certain precede him. Upon the Captain’s mercy we did fall, pleading to join the sanctuary and protection of his crew. Our fate in his hands, he put to test our skills, talents and abilities. To gain the right to belong, one must be willing to give all to the crew. The captain demanded of me that I make the most of my two best talents in luring in a rival crew and their suspected savage allies. The crew loaded into several boats and off to a nearby island we quickly disembarked.

I, to the front most of the isle; to plead, beg, cry and display most or all of my feminine wiles, to entice the enemy into our waiting hands and muskets! The crew and captain at my back, I presented myself as quite a pathetic and pitiful creature, crying and begging for a gentleman to “please, please save me,” whilst my loaded, cocked and ready pistol was snuggly stowed within my basket at my arm. Alas t’was to no avail, the cowardly bastards refused to come within range of my pistol. (Forgive me dear cousin, my wicked words, I beg you quickly forget such hard words.) Though it was not long afore the fight was on and bravely the Great Lakes River Pyrates did fight!

Dearest, worry not, but I myself was slightly wounded in the fray as a would-be assassin knocked me senseless. Thankfully, a member of the crew readily dispatched the red savage’s soul to Hell afore the mortal blow could be dealt. I was left with nothing too much but a lump upon the head and the red mark of his vile body upon mine, ack, cousin, I do swear I can still smell the stench of his grease upon me! Horrid!

The day’s work done, we returned to our camp and found the dear Mr. B’s delicious burgoo bubbling and smelling as a meal fit for a king. Indeed the meal was quite satisfying.

Later, as the time of the Grand Ball drew near the ladies of the camp and indeed many of the men, presented themselves in a new light, quite clean, proper and well healed. The race to the regency had presented several of the ladies with new gowns which were quite astounding and even Mr. Henderson was well turned out in a fine pair of trousers. Captain McCrary, Remington and Mr. B presented themselves quite well armed! Indeed, every member of the crew held some little surprise for any man who should dare attempt liberties with the Pyrate crew!

Off we set for the Grand Ball, which did not disappoint all who attended, though those better accustomed to dancing were perhaps a bit displeased. The fine Mr. K, looking quite dashing escorted my return to the pyrate camp, with one short but much enjoyed stop at the Navy Artillery camp. One does try so hard Cousin to maintain the countenance of a lady, and yet I fear I failed. In a feeble attempt at humor my wicked nature was quite audibly displayed. Though the gentlemen did laugh quite heartily, so perhaps my fears are unsubstantiated.

Soon Mr. K and I retired back to the Pyrate camp whereupon we discovered nearly all and every man of the 42nd Highland Brigade had also gathered upon the steep bank of the river. My escort faded into the darkness of the camp and the boys of the brigade did their best to entertain us. Ah, and so they did dear cousin, for there are a few lads amongst them one would surely consider entertaining! Though more as a catch and release, than on a permanent basis.

Dearest cousin, you’ll note my name again does not appear upon the end of this missive to you. For surely, I would never want you to be threatened by my wickedness. I fear I have acquired a skill most unsuitable for any lady, aye, as I’ve told you before; the slight of my hand has garnered a prize or two! Indeed, the highland lads gave up much the evening of the Grand Ball. Daggers, knives, and swords of all shape and size did pass through my hands. The grandest prize of all, you’ll nary believe, but truly I tell thee, the Captain’s own fine sword!

Yes, indeed the very Captain’s sword, made for him by the master sword and knife maker Mr. Glenn McClain! With a bump and caress it was out of his sheath and quickly into my possession. Cousin, you can hardly imagine his face as I laid it across my arm and offered it back to him, merely to show him the skills which he now commands. The snarl which crossed his lips turned to a glinty smile as he saw the income I would surly procure on behalf of the crew. Together, the remainder of the evening we did make many a mark pay for their attendance at the Pyrate party.

The following day we discovered many an item left within our camp, aye fine things lost over the dangerously high river embankment, as many as four or possibly five gentlemen experienced a last step which brought them into the cool waters of the Mississinewa. Our plan had worked perfectly!

As the sun rose, the Widow Black was piteously slow in procuring her lifesaving elixir and we found ourselves quite ready to go to blows. Were it not for a hidden stash of the miracle sustenance of early morning life, I fear dear cousin how the day would have begun. Tempers flared upon the new day, yet after a time the brew was perfected and our cups once more filled.

Battles raged once more upon the river, many lives were lost and yet Cousin we were most

fortunate to not only live through another beautiful day, we cleared the land and seas of our enemies, greedily took their weapons and plunder and set off to return to our camp none the less for the work.

Dearest, I know not when we shall ever see one another again, yet I beg you to keep me in your heart and in your prayers as you are in mine,

All my love dear Cousin,


Lest anyone be overly concerned for the fate of the pyrate Z, let it be known no actual thievery took place at the Pyrate camp on the banks of the Mississinewa River, further, all missing items were returned to their rightful owners.

Imagery Credits to The Divine Mistress Karen Garland, and dear Paul Kraase who first displayed their images within the book of faces.

For another perspective on Pirates of Paynetown visit the Pirate Surgeons Journal http://www.markck.com/pages/Piracy/Paynetown10/Paynetown_10_Ch5.htm

Monday, October 11

Siege of Boonesborough

September 1778,

In June our friend Mr. Boone returned from his forced captivity at Chillicothe with dire warnings of a coming Shawnee attack. The men of his fort are of differing thoughts, some believe without hesitation whilst others question his integrity. Months have passed since his return to the fort and no attack has been made. The men of Boonesborough have made small raids against the Shawnee, but have been unable to find Blackfish or his warriors.

The season for war is surely upon us, we shall garrison with Mr. Boone and be well prepared should the Shawnee leader Blackfish appear from the forest to make good upon his threats.

Our journey was most uneventful, though there were signs of recent savage activities. Indeed the half faced shelter outside the fort fairly stank of their presence.

Further, a pair of odd items; a box of sorts and bit of white toweling with the marks of the hideous paint used by savages, had been inexplicably left. Once Mr. Mains and his small niece, Savannah Rae were ensconced within the meager walls of the shelter, my companions and I passed a lovely evening, even with stench and threat of nearby savages, both of red skin and red coat! Mr. MacGillie and Mr. Kell as well as Mr. and Mistress Selter, the dear Heasleys and Mistress Reasoner were amongst those with whom we enjoyed the evening. The slight misting rain which occasionally turned a bit harder was nothing when compared with past visits to Mr. Boone's fort.

Upon the new day the sun burned a mist from the fields outside the fort gates. Many friends had gathered and the time passed quickly as children played, couples strolled the grounds, and many cups of warm coffee were enjoyed with friends.

Suddenly, with no warning, savage beasts sprang from the trees, causing the children, women and even men to scatter across the grounds racing for all they were worth to the safety of the fort. Quickly the gates were secured and guards posted in every possible position. It was Blackfish and contingent of British allies! Strangely, a young man of colour called Pompi, was sent forth bearing a white flag. He hailed the fort crying "Sheltowee, your father would speak to you!"

Mr. Boone, recognizing the lad, stepped out of the safety of the fort and approached his former captors. Blackfish and Boone spoke closely for a time, Blackfish reminded Mr. Boone of his promise to surrender the fort if the women and children were carried safely to Detroit. Boone replied other men had become responsible for the safety of the fort and those housed within, and they did not make the promise to give up without a fight. The two spoke heatedly, and each returned to his people upon several occasions. Little did Blackfish know Daniel was stalling for time, believing troops were well on their way to lend aid in the defense of the fort.

Blackfish demanded of Boone "By what right had the white people taken possession of this country?" Boone presented evidence to Blackfish the Cherokee people had sold him the land at Sycamore Shoals, and Blackfish's own ally from the Cherokee people verified this. Again the two departed company, only to return to talks with their people. Colonel Callaway, whose own daughters had been captured with Jemima Boone just two years ago, was most severely at odds with Mr. Boone. It was an intense time, both inside and outside the fort walls.

Guards remained posted in all positions even a few women wearing men's hunting shirts were stationed upon the roofs, giving the Shawnee the impression there were many far beyond the nearly forty souls garrisoned within the walls.
Blackfish and Boone once more returned to their negotiations, coming to the agreement the Shawnee would remain fast to the Ohio River Boundary if Boone and his men swore allegiance to the King. The treaties were made and upon the request of Blackfish a "long shake" was initiated, this entailed two indians shaking the hands of each white man. Fearing something may be afoot Mr. Boone had given the men warning that should he toss his hat, the guards would commence shooting whatever target their eye may fall upon. Surely a clearer premonition was never made, for once each man was taken in hand by two indians a commotion broke out and a bloody battle ensued.
The men fought bravely as the yellow dogs bit, kicked and used anything at hand, including a stump with which to beat down our men. Fires were set, and even a tunnel was commenced to being dug, but still we held them back.

The battle raged on for eleven long days. We witnessed the capture of one woman who, with a party of others had passed the rear flank of the savages. Sadly, her bravery was her undoing, as she was cut down and captured by a contingent of savages and damnable Britts. The savagery of these white men are oft overlooked, yet we saw with our own eyes, this woman savagely beaten, tied and carried toward a burning pole. Hope struck momentarily as she broke free of her bonds and nearly escaped, only to be caught up again and threatened to be tied with the length of rope she carried upon her belt. Amazingly the woman lifted the length of rope with quick slight of hand and dashed it into the fire, the fight continued, until she was swept off her feet and dealt a final blow with a belt ax. The man who had landed the blow went so far as to claim her blond scalp lifting a sizable portion, which was passed amongst the savages as if a token of their strength. Though hideously murdered, we had only one thought, she had fought so hard she had forced them to kill her upon the field rather than be taken alive back to their camps for ungodly tortures or burning upon the post.

Long did the fires burn, but as it was God's will a mighty storm came upon us and damped out the fire and the will of the savages to fight. Triumphant, the dawn did come and much rejoicing was had by all.

The coolness of the morning was warmed by strong coffee, good company and the Word given to us by Parson John. We departed sadly from the company of our dearest friends. The memory of their warmth, the laughter amongst us and thoughts of those who were no longer with us haunted the long journey home.

Our return to our little cabin brought a bit of good tidings, for a package had been delivered upon our doorstep whilst we were out. Indeed, a small package bearing a lovely gift was just the very thing to raise us from our sour spirits, as we had been mulling over thoughts of friends, and loved ones. The brightness of color, the perfection of it's stitching and every detail brought such cheer to our hearts! A fine pocketbook was enclosed within the tiny package.

Yes, a pocketbook made by the hands of our dear friend Amanda Webster, mother of the darling baby Grace, whom we remember most fondly from our visit to Mr. Martin's Station.

Once more our thoughts turn to friends and though our spirit is much brightened with fond memories, we long too for others to know we wish them well, whatever distances and time separate us.

Much thanks and image credits to Doc Muzzy and his Cannon.
Also, Mr. VonDieligen whose images were first seen by frontier folk. And finally Mr. Selter, who made them available first in the book of faces, and whose fine art may be enjoyed by many interested in the 18th Century.