A journey... Part II

ITTER cold with high gusts greet us as we depart, not a good time of year to be moving about in the out-of-doors. Mr. Burton assures me that we should have no trouble from any indians, much to the disappointment of the brothers Bryant. We crossed the river to the North and then turned Eastward along a well beaten trail. The trail lead East Northeast along fairly even ground for the majority of the morning.

I wore my heavy gray wool overshirt on top of my heavy black wool coat, and a wool scarf about my head and ears (and atop my wig) to fend off the cold. I have not missed the looks given me by Mr. Flynn, Burton and the brothers Bryant concerning my dark cloathes. Each of them, being poor men, wear simple drab brown cloathing in comparison to my own.

We travel all day without stopping, save a few moments to refresh our supplies of water, we even walk whilst eating. It is far easier to take a few handfuls of sustenance from one's haversack while moving, than to spend a prolonged period exposed to these elements.

My travel companions move quickly, their feet sure and silent on the cold, dry ground. We have made good progress today. As the sun sets, we turn off the trail and into the woods to find shelter for the night. We built a fire, but it did very little, shedding more light than warmth. The night sky is clear and cloudless, I can see every star in the Heavens against the black pool of the sky.

I lay my wool blankets out atop a bed of leaves, careful that the red one goes underneath and the dark gray one goes above, to keep me hidden in the night. I sleep with all my cloathing on, even my boots stay on tonight. I simply loosen my neck stock and unbutton my shirt collar and the top two buttons of my waistcoat for comfort.

A journey to tend to Mr. C-----

HAVE received word through a mutual friend that Mr. C-----, my first surviving amputee here upon this frontier is ailing. I have therefore resolved to pack up my instruments and travel to his homestead to pay him a visit in my capacity as his Physician.

We were first introduced several years ago, when I was housed at Mansker his station, Mr. C------ came into the area much like any other. He was giv'n some acres as payment for past military service, and claimed land near Bledsoe's fort. He was inexperienced as a farmer and was injured by his plow, I had no recourse but to amputate his left leg below the knee at the tibia.

He and his wife had little capacity for payment, which I finally took in the way of several chickens, a week's worth of meals prepared (as I oversaw the recovery of the patient), some tidy repairs to my clothing by mr. C-----'s goode wife and a lovely Beaver pelt (which hung in my office above the mantle for some time).

He sought me out the following October complaining of pain in the stump. I bled him vigorously, and he returned home, restored to his health.

After the destruction of the old fort, I traveled down Mansker's creek to the Cumberland River, where I went downstream until I found a spot that I could claim for my own that was a suitable distance from Fort Nashborough. My land is but a day's travel by boat to the fort, as it is all downstream. I am loathe to confess, however, that it takes me two days (three on occasion) of steady rowing to make the return trip.

I had built for myself a small sturdy cabin on a nice flat plot of ground and have since plied my trade sufficiently and with some success.

Since the word has come to me of his ailing, I have begun to make arrangements to travel with a party of gentlemen to pay Mr. C------ a visit at his homestead up near the area of Issac Bledsoe's Lick. The party is to be made up of myself, Mr. Flynn, Mr. Burton and the young brothers Bryant. Mr. Flynn is my closest neighbor, and the other gentlemen are, I believe, hunters and trappers by profession.

Mrs. Flynn has agreed to keep the girls whilst I am away. I have packed up my blue box and have made ready to travel upon the morrow.


HE postman arrived today with the most magnificent package in hand! Wrapped in lovely hand laid paper and tied with a length of twine. I peeled away the exterior to find a small bundle wrapped in what appears to be a section of a newspaper from Williamsburg. Contained within was a marvelous little journal made by mr. P. A. McClintock, whom you may recall, recently came to my aid by procuring certain volumes from the East Bay Auction House on my behalf.

This little book has a cover of fine black leather and handsome marbled paper, in a fantastic shade of blue and brilliant red.

The fully wrapped package, upon receipt.

Just below the laid paper wrapping.

The journal itself!


click to enlarge
In September, upon the occasion of our visit to the Fair at New Boston, I had the girl's portraits made in the popular French silhouette fashion. I had two sets made for each of the grandparents, and they were quite well received. From left to right, they are Lucy (in her straw hat), Molly, and Rose.


A caricature of myself quoting from an amusing incident that

A second letter of condolence to mr. Boone regarding
the death of his son Israel at Blue Licks.


In an attempt to relieve my left margin of some unsightly clutter, I have removed the awards from the bottom area, and placed them on the PRAISE page. A hearty word of thanks to those of you who have seen fit to grace my writings (and scribbles) with any form of acknowledgment. I do so hope that you continue to enjoy them into the future.

I have also temporarily placed the list of readers at the top of the page just below the heading. I wanted to have a look at all you kind folk, and doing it in this manner allows me to gaze upon all you brilliant people. Never you fear, gentle reader, it will only stay there for a few days time.


And so, it would seem that my winter's hibernation begins. The weather has been cold and wet of late, freezing temperatures at night and rain and wet during the days.

I have done a great deal of letter writing, and a good deal of reading in the past few days. And what, pray tell, does your goode Doctor read in his free time you ask? I have always been too busy of a mind to read one thing at a time, so I generally read several books at once. Currently, I am reading:

The Practical Surveyor, by Samuel Wyld, first edition. pp. xv. 182. 1 front plate & 5 end plates.

De Brahm's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District of North America.

A letter concerning the Inocculation of the Smallpox, 1721.

Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers. By Benj. Rush, M.D. published by the War Board, 1778.

as well as the newly arrived Encyclopedia Britannica volumes One through Three from 1771.

I have my new friend mr. P. A. McClintock to thank for those great volumes. He swooped to my rescue and procured them for me from the East Bay auction house.

I will also share with you here, some of the recent letters I have received in the post:

The first portion of the letter written by the Widow C. Black...

...and portion the second of her letter.

As well as a letter from Bridgett McGee.


Wherein the Doctor, in his guise as Surgeon's Mate, travels to Fort Loudoun upon ye Tanassee River, delivers a mail packet, gives and receives Yule gifts, sees his first snow of the season, eats his first onion pie and is inadvertently married to two Cherokee sisters.

Snow had fallen in the night and covered everything in a thick blanket of white. It was still falling in heavy flakes when I stepped out of the barracks to have a look. Kirby and a few others stood outside under the eaves and watched the snow fall.

I swept the infirmary floors and neatened the beds a bit, but as there was little for me to do, I left the Doctor and his new Nurse and went down the the barracks again.

Maggie and some of the other women decorated the entire fort with fresh greens, which gave it a most festive and gay appearance.

I got into my cups at mid day. I made a meal of a large sweet potato with butter and brown sugar, and ate it right down, skin and all.

For a bit of entertainment for those assembled in the barracks, Pvt. Kirby had me read for him his letters that I had brought along. He opened them carefully to preserve the wax seals as best he could, then passed them into my hands. They were as follows:

Dear Sir,

If it be quite convenient and agreeable to you, I'll beg the favour of you to lend me fifty pounds for the space of three months precisely; any security that you shall require and I can give, you may freely ask. A less time would not suit me; a longer, you may depend on it, I shall not desire. Your answer will oblige, Sir,

Your very humble servant,
B. Jonas


There was a time when if any one should have told me that I would ever have written to you fuch a letter as I am now writing, I would as soon have believed that the earth would have burst asunder, or that I should see stars falling to the ground, or trees and mountains rising to the heavens. But there is nothing too strange to happen. One thing would have appeared yet more impossible than my writing it, which is, that you should have given me the cause to have written it, and yet that has happened.

The purpose of this is to tell you, Sir, that I shall never wait on you again. You will truly know what I make myself suffer when I impose this command upon my own heart; but I would not tell you of it, if it were not too much determined to me for have a possibility of changing my resolution.

It gives me some pleasure that you will feel no uneasiness for this, though I should also have been very averse some time ago even to have imagined that; but you know where to employ that attention of which I am not worthy the whole, and with a part I shall not be contented. I was a witness, Sir, yesterday of your behaviour to Miss Henley. I had often been told of this, but I have refused to listen to it. I supposed your heart no more capable of deceit than my own: but I cannot disbelieve what I have been told on such authority, when my own eyes confirm it. Sir, I take my leave of you, and beg you will forget there ever was fuch a woman as,

Your humble servant,
Francis Winifred
We all had a bit of fun at poor Kirby's expense over this, even Chief Little Carpenter and the Parson.

There were firings of the wall gun and the cannons. Ensign Boggs and a crew fired a cannon from one bastion, and Sgt. Nutcher and his crew fired from another. The report echoed all through the hills and down the valley.

Doctor Anderson dispenses his Stout whilst drummer Hamilton holds the lantern.

Several jiggers of rum, two mugs of Stout brewed by Doctor Anderson, wine from the fine ladies in Captain Demere's quarters, and then a good dark ale from Pvt. Newell left me feeling quite in the merry spirit of the season. I think it would be safe to say that I had tossed off my full bumper.

We sang songs in the barracks after dark for the publick that filed through, a good mixture of Christmas songs and the standard military fare we usually sing.

The crescendo of the evening's festivities came with the night firing of the cannons and wall gun from three of the four bastions followed shortly thereafter by the much anticipated 'pie supper'.

With the barracks full to nearly overflowing, we all gathered round the long tables full of every kind and creed of pie that one could imagine. Beef pies, egg pies with cheese, onion pies, fried apple pies, and all kinds of berry and fruit pie known to man. I was loan'd a tin plate by young Private Gamble, as my meager wooden bowl was hardly sufficient to he task of holding a multitude of pies. We all stood 'round and, once released, attacked the tables and their contents with great enthusiasm!

I filled my plate on the first pass with a cold beef pie, a hot egg pie with cheese, a blueberry pie that also contained spiced raisins, a shambling shepherd's pie and another pie I could not identify, but ate all the same.

When I got to the end of the table and my plate was full, I discovered the fried fruit pies wrapped in thin paper. I had no room for them on the large tin plate, so I took two and placed them carefully into my coat pockets!

I even partook on Mr. Ross' excellent onion pie! I have never before had anything of the sort, it was magnificent!

There was a rather large cluster of mistletoe hung in the barracks, and I made note that Eagle Woman and Corn Blossom, Cherokee sisters from the nearby village of Toskegee had decorated their hair with sprigs of the stuff. I took the opportunity to gives them kisses upon both their cheeks. Shortly thereafter, I was reliably informed that this now meant that they were my wives!

Eagle Woman and Cornblossom

After my fill of pie and merriment, a group of us played One and Thirty in the guard house.

I went to bed about 9:30 while others were still up. I threw my blankets over my face and blocked out the world. The last thing I recall before sleep was Ensign Boggs. "Mr. Roberts have you retired?" says he.

"Yes sir I have." says I from under the blanket.


Friday night in the barracks.

Everyone gathers 'round for the gift exchange.

Ensign Boggs gives Sweet grief about his unsightly facial growth.

The Doctor shows off part of the gift giv'n to him by Boggs!
A fine pouch in which to keep his coin.

I read my poem whilst Pvt. Hamilton holds the smudgepot.

Make note of the mail packet there on the table before me.

Kirby admires 'Naughty Molly'.


The letter for Chief J. Ross

Chief Ross's signature in detail.

The top of the first page.

A detail of the body of the letter itself.

Two page hand written letter on cream colored linen stock. Ink was a new experimental blend of Walnut and Kentucky Tobacco.

Winter is the ideal time to have the Doctor write a custom letter or document for you and your persona! Should it please you, examine other pieces custom created by mine own hand.

AND, as a special December ordering bonus... I'll include a FREE map of the Tenassee Gov't with every order made to me before Jan 1. 2010! ORDER TODAY!

Ode to a Tricorn Box

Written on December 3, for the Loudoun Christmas Garrison
by Sgt. Nutcher for his gift to Ensign Boggs.
To be sung to the tune of "O' Tannenbaum"

Oh, Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
How lovely is thy leather.
Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
It’s waxed against the weather.

The stitches are so neat and tight,
The lining is so green and bright.
Oh Tricorn Box, My Tricorn Box
You give me joy and pleasure.

Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
Much Pleasure thou can’st give me.
Oh Tricorn Box, My Tricorn Box
Much Pleasure thou can’st give me.

How often has my poor chapeau
Been bashed and mashed and lumped like dough.
But now within your leathern glow
My tricorn I can safely stow.

Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
Thy buckles shine so brightly.
Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
Thy buckles shine so brightly.

I stitched this box with loving care
I knew my hat would rest in there.
Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
You are a gift just for me.

Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
My joy has turned to sorrow.
Oh Tricorn Box, Oh Tricorn Box
My joy has turned to sorrow.

I found the note naming my giftee.
Alas, ‘twas not a gift for me.
Now, sad, heartbroken, in a fog,
Rot it all, it goes to Boggs.


Wherein the Doctor, in his guise as Surgeon's Mate, travels to Fort Loudoun upon ye Tanassee River, delivers a mail packet, gives and receives Yule gifts, sees his first snow of the season, eats his first onion pie and is inadvertently married to two Cherokee sisters.

FESTIVE SPIRIT filled the air as I arrived at Fort Loudoun on Friday afternoon for the annual Christmastide celebration. I arrived bearing gifts, one was the gift that I had put together for Private Kirby, the other, slightly less expected was that of a mail packet for the men! Mail and news from loved ones is always a welcome gift to the men in the King's military, especially whilst station'd so far from home. And I do believe that none could be farther from their homes than the fine men a Fort Loudoun.

I settled back into the barracks just as though I had never been gone, laid out my two wool blankets on the bunk next to the fireplace. I laid them in the manner that was taught me long ago, to keep out the cold air, very similar to a cocoon.

Discover'd that some of the natives from Toskegee had been invited to stay in the fort for the festivities. Little Carpenter had also been invited to stay, but he refused, saying that his winter house would suffice.

The afternoon was spent in visiting with friends, whilst waiting for the last few men to arrive so the gift giving could begin. William Jack was the last to arrive, and as we had all tossed off a full bumper while waiting, a great huzzah went up as he came through the door of the barracks. T'was round nine o'clock when Ensign Boggs, in quite a jolly old mood, stood in the middle of the long, candle lit room, and took a few moments to introduce every man, woman and child in turn with compliments to each.

Without further ado, the gift exchange began with the children giving their gifts to one another. Some of

The exchange of gift between adults began with Ensign Boggs who had drawn MY name! First, he read his presentation poem, it may be a blessing that I do not recall much of the Ensign's poem... but the gift he got for me came enclosed in a haversack. Within, there was to be found a fine leather wallet, "for your bills", said he. And next to it at the bottom of the haversack was a large pouch filled with gold coins! The goode Ensign said it would so a ways toward fulfilling my goals for the coming year.

I was the second in attendance to have to stand and give my gift. I fetched the small box from my bunk and took the Ensign's place at the center of the room. Pvt. Hamilton stood just behind me with the smudge pot over my shoulder for additional reading light. You may find my poem below:

in FIVE parts

Wherein the story is told of young Private Kirby,
and we discover that the Doctor can not write poetry.

It would seem that Kirby's poor Mother,
had a problem quite like many other,
had his neck by the nape,
so he planned his escape,
the poor lad, how she did tend to smother.

So our Kirby took up the King's Shilling,
bought what the recruiter was billing,
he cared not what it paid,
figured he'd have it made,
to flee home he was Eager and Willing.

Crossed the ocean and got to the port,
his heart sunk when he stepped in the fort,
upon searching his bag,
he cursed the old hag,
he found his necessities short.

Nothing with which to blacken his lungs,
nothing in which to partake in his rums,
no way in which to pickle his liver,
the thought made poor Kirby shiver,
For his things he’d ask these here bums.

So the Doctor took up his request,
and told Private Kirby to rest,
fretting's bad for his health,
he reached up on his shelf,
and gave unto him this ‘ere chest.

My gift to Pvt. Kirby was a small wooden box wrapped with a red ribbon that contained:

  • A brass rum jigger
  • a rather naughty pipe tamp by the name of "Naughty Molly"
  • a pair of dice for gambling
  • A copy of the September 1759 London Gazette
  • A small wooden plate
  • two printed sermons
  • A small, leather wrapped edition of the Proverbs of Solomon
  • two hand written letters from home; One from a fellow by the name of Jonas from London who wrote to request money, and one from a rather upset sounding young woman asking Kirby to never call upon her again. I know this of course because Kirby opened the letters and had me read them to him.
After I gave Kirby his chest, I opened the mail packet and gave each man present his mail. There was even a piece from King George to Cherokee Peace Chief Atta Kula Kulla. He later told me his letter was of a private nature and that he would not discuss it. The mail was so well received that Trader Benn asked if he might keep the canvas packet it came in!

The poems and gifts continued, with even some of the natives getting in on the gift giving.

Pvt. Kirby gave to young miss Newell a beautiful red cloak that she wore for the remainder of the week's end to fend off the cold.

Doctor Anderson was giv'n a beautiful new fleam made for him by the blacksmith. It came in a magnificent wooden case with its own handmade fleam bat.

Atta Kula Kulla gave the Blacksmith a possum fur pouch that contained (I believe) a fancy pipe and some fine indian tobacco.

But my favorite by far came from Sgt. Nutcher, who was the final one of the lot to present. He held in his arms a fine leather tricorn hat box that he had made, and sang a song of his own creation entitled "O' Tricorn Box", which he sang to the tune of "O' Tannenbaum". All in attendance agreed that it was most humorous.

After the gift exchange, there was drinking and merry-making. One private was so in his cups that I had to escort him to his bunk, lest he fall down and do himself injury.

The visiting and discussion carried on well past the midnight hour.

In the night, while the soldiers slept, it snowed! The heavy clouds hung low in the hills and along the water.

to be continued...