HIS Saturday past, I travelled into ye Kentuckee region to spend an evening dining with friends in the Talbott Tavern, which was established there in the Year of our Lord 1779. The evening's host was mr. D. Medley and his wife. Mr. Medley is a surveyor and map maker in the region, and brought games and entertainments of all sorts. I believe it is safe to say that a fine time was had by all in attendance.

Dinner was served, which consisted of a piece of chopped beef, potatoes and leafy greens. I was disappoint'd however to learn that the barmaid could not serve me a Guinness, as there was none to be had. I begrudgingly drank tea instead.

Miss Larner taught me how to play a dice game called 'Captain, Crew & Ship', which I lost at spectacularly. Additionally, I lost money at 'Shut the Box' to every lady assembled at the gaming table. We played several rounds of 'One & Thirty' as well, but fortunately for me, no money was exchanged.

I was feeling quite merry, so I invited the barmaid to sit on my knee so I could sing her a song. She sat, with her arm full of plates and dishes. I told her to repair to the kitchen to relieve herself of her burden, then to return to me. She did not.

There was excellent company to be had in nearly every corner of the room. There was music, in the form of mr. Hagee and another fellow providing music with guitar, violin and flute. I joined in on several occasions singing some of my favorite old sea shanties. Parson John's (seldom seen) wife surprised me when she commented afterward on how lovely she thought my voice was.

The doorstep of the Tavern.

A sampling of those assembled.

The Parson and I have a spirited debate.

A group huddled around the "Shut the Box' game.

Un mystère!

HAVE, this instant rec'd TWO letters from the post rider, 'tis a busy day indeed! One folded rather small and seal'd in a lovely blue wax, I opened it, only to discover that it is written entirely in French! The hand is that of a woman, but the contents are a mystery... perhaps together, fair reader, we can solve this puzzle, if you please? You will find the letter below for you to peruse at your leisure.

The letters upon my desk.

The small letter, seal'd with an "E".

The letter itself, click to read.

The latest offering from the Bible Man

ONDAY last, I was the recipient of a fine gift via the post from our old friend, the Bible Binder. It was his latest volume, "The Book of Common Prayer" dated 1734. In his letter to me, mr. Moore wrote that this gift was a token of our friendship.

He is a kind and generous soul, and his work is so lovely, I would highly recommend it to anyone I know! It takes me back to when I got my first of his volumes, the New Testament. His words to me that day in the cabin were, "The Doctor should never be without it."

To that end, it may be about time to have a special box built to carry all my books about with me!

A detail of the lovely work put into this volume.

One of my favorite sections thus far, the prayers to
remember, remember the fifth of November.

The title page.

The book itself, thicker even I think than my New Testament.


In an attempt to date this fine sea shanty, a reference to 'Spanish Ladies' can be found in the logbook of the Nellie of 1796.

Collections list different distances from Ushant to Scilly. It is variously given as 34, 35 and 45 leagues. The depth of the Channel also varies from 55 to 45 fathoms by version.

I have doctor'd (pun completely intended) the lyrics below to match with the way I was taught.

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we've received orders for to sail for ole England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

We hove our ship to with the wind from sou'west, boys
We hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
'Twas forty-five fathoms, with a white sandy bottom,
So we squared our main yard and up channel did steer.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed on by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dungeoness,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

Then the signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
Let go your shank painter, likewise your cat stopper!
Haul up your clewgarnets, let tacks and sheets fly!

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

Now let ev'ry man drink off his full bumper,
And let ev'ry man drink off his full glass;
We'll drink and be jolly and drown melancholy,
And here's to the health of each true-hearted lass.

We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.

Information, lyrics and tunes can be found on the Songs of the Sea page.


SPENT a goodly portion of the past few days in the out of doors. The weather was unseasonably sunny and warm, glorious! I fiddled about in the garden to make ready for Spring, and worked on a project that has required my attention for a while.

I found a long branch and cut it down to about five feet in length, using a rather over-sized amputation saw made for me by a gunsmith... whose name has completely escaped me, I really am rubbish with names, for I can see his face clearly in my mind, but his name is a mystery. I met him first at Traveller's Rest some time back. Curse my overly busy brain! What WAS his name?

Then the girls and I took turns cutting the bark from its length. It doesn't seem like much, but it will aid me in my pursuits as an amateur Naturalist this year, carrying small specimen cages in the field and the like.

I have done a good deal of letter writing and receiving of late, with more promised in the near future. Currently, I am expecting letters from Bridgett McGee, the Widow Black, Jas. Moore, as well as several others who will be paying for their recent orders of Mrs. Phillips' products.

The calendar has also occupied my mind of late. With the addition of events in Kentuckee and the Indiana territory, this promises to be the busiest year for me to date. You will note that I have added several new events and locations to my Schedule.

I have begun to discover just how many of these events overlap, a singular problem that I have heard others speak of, but that has never effected me to any great degree until this present year.

And, speaking of letters, I have sent several to well placed people that should introduce me into society at Williamsburg for a trip that I have been trying to make there for several years. If I am able to secure entry, I will be going in June, around the end of that month.


This brief note from mr. Barker concerning his oxen.

E were supposed to leave to pick up the new ox today. The fellow who was going to meet us asked that we put it off for a week. Mixed feelings, the weather was supposed to be bad and I do not want to risk an animal or make him uncomfortable, but I really want to get to introducing the animal to the others and get on with the training. Worked George with James yesterday moving a round bale.

mr. Barker at Mansker's Station with,
what appears to be, a very clean Maggie.

I will, upon this coming Saturday, travel up to the Kentuckee region to the Talbott Tavern (built in 1785) for dinner and drinks with friends. I look forward to having several daughts of the fine dark beer brewed by mr. A. Guinness.

Mr. Guinness founded his brewery in 1759 when he sign'd a 9,000 (Yes, you read correctly fair reader, nine THOUSAND)-year lease on an unused brewery at St. James’s Gate, DUBLIN. It costs him an initial £100 with an annual rent of £45 - this includes crucial water rights. The brewery covers four acres and consists of a copper, a kieve, a mill, two malthouses, stabling for 12 horses and a loft to hold 200 tons of hay.

There is also a trade fair to be held just a few extra miles to the Northeast of the tavern that I have decided to attend, not because of any over abundance of funds mind you, but merely to have a look at what is to be had. I have so little restraint, that such excursions are often the source of my financial ruin.

For Love-Adventures

The first bulk lot in production.

HESE are reproductions of the offerings of Mrs. Phillips in her shop at Orange Court in London. She designed them from sheep or goat's gut, pickled, scented and delicately fashioned on glass moulds by the hands of the proprietress herself. I will be providing the standard "Baudruches fines", and for the more cautious customers, the "Superfine Double" which was made from two superimposed and gummed caecums, the blind end of a sheep's bigger gut. They are to be Five dollars a piece. Contact me straight away to place your order before they run out!

When raised to the light, the device within the wrapper is reveal'd!

DISCLAIMER: These products are NOT real Prophylactics, but instead are meant to simulate a Prophylactic from the 18th century in its wrapper. They are not meant to be removed from their wrapping papers... instead, they are meant to be shown against a light for the delight, amusement and education of the Publick. Each Prophylactic comes with a sheet containing historical information about these 18th century reproductions of Mrs. Phillip's fine products.


I have this day, set about the task of creating paperwork for mr. P. A. McClintock, Bookbiner & Stationer, whom you may recall, lately rebound one of my volumes.

Handwritten letter to a mr. Jas. McVicker, Merchant in Larne.

With LOTS of signatures at the bottom.

A trade license for mr. McClintock from Virginia, 1763.

A tax receipt for mr. McClintock.

A letter from LONDON for mr. Benn at Fort Loudoun. I will be able to deliver it into his hands when I return to the fort in March next. Notice the English postmarks.

I do not know the contents of the letter, but it bears black wax upon its back which generally means bad news is contain'd within.


This was written by the hand of our friend mr. G. Barker, and giv'n to me by the Parson John to post here for you, fair-reader.

ILLIAM was sweet. He was always willing to be petted. At events when the others would wear out on little hands, William was ready for another scratch under the chin up to the bitter end. One of the things we had happen was near the close of the day at Vincennes a couple of years ago I was talking to some people and a pair of parents held a little girl, I’d guess about five years old up to pet Will. Without warning, a cannon fired for a demonstration. The girl screamed. She was autistic and sound sensitive. She screamed long and loud, right in Will’s face. He stood there unmoving. When he died Friday he was a seven year old Durham ox that weighed 1700 pounds last time I weighed him. He was the off side leader in a team of four oxen affectionately called “The Four Kings”, George, William, Charles and James.

His best stunt may have been at New Boston. Last September, I was stopped talking to a bunch of students during their “school day”. One little girl came up beside William with a stick of rock candy in her hand. William stood there unmoving. Suddenly the ten inch long tongue flicked out, took the rock candy and ate it, stick and all.

Of the many oxen we have had, I think he was the only one we ever really did call stupid. For example, we always line the team up in the same way: George, William, Charles and James. In six years with us, he was the one ox that never quite could figure this out. The other three would simply pass him down the line and push him into place.

We had constant examples of the other three oxen protecting him and boosting him along. They would nudge him when he forgot to move. George, his partner, pushed him and pulled him on turns when he seemed lost in day dreams. But, when the going was tough, he was not a shirker. He would pull with the best of them.

Friday, we put a new round bale in the hay ring in the pasture. I had gone in town to get feed, and when I came back all four were eating merrily at the bale. I went to the house and started on chores. I got back to the pasture to feed the oxen about an hour later. Will was down, his head in one of the slots of the feeder, his two feet in the next slot. He was dead, but still warm. The other three oxen were standing around, not eating. I tried to disentangle him but I couldn’t do more than get a single foot free.

I fed the remaining oxen and went home. George did not eat. I checked on him twice more that evening. He just stood there by the hay feeder.

The next morning a friend, Mark Simpson and his son, Travis, came to help Maria and I get Will out of the pasture. We had to use the tractor. We tipped the hay ring up and pulled it out from under him then with the ring anchored to the tractor pulled Will out with a neighbor’s four wheel drive pick-up.

Maria comforted George while some of the work was gong on. At one point she called me over. He seemed to want my attention. After we got finished, George went to the gate beside which Will lay. I have read that cattle will cry, but I am not sure if I have ever seen it before. George was dripping tiny grey tears.

I stayed with him a while, left and fed the horses, and came back to him. He just seemed to want me beside him. I stayed as long as I though I could then had to go back home to host Mark and Travis, at least say thank you.

I came back twice more during the day. Each time George was still by the gate. The second time, I was standing by George and Charlie came up. I am sure he felt that if loving was being given out he would like some. (Maybe I should add that each time I was there I gave at least a little time to Charles and James.) Anyway, George shook his horns, snorted and lowered his head at Charles, clear warnings to stay away. Charles raised his head (submission signal), and instantly backed off. When I felt it was time to go back to work, I took George over to the hay and stood with him while he began to eat. James took George’s place at the gate.

When I came back for evening chores (an hour or so later) George was still eating hay. Charlie was now at the gate. I fed everybody, loved up on them a bit and had to go. George went back to the hay ring. I don’t know if anyone went to the gate.

Sunday morning when I went back to the pasture for feeding, George was back at his station by the gate. I could see by the flat spot without frost and the droppings that he had slept there by the gate. He did eat. He spent a long time licking my leg after the feeding and when I left he was back at the hay ring. I checked on him after feeding the horses and he was nibbling grass up by one of the training pens. Charlie was back at the gate.

I went to the pasture to check on and feed the oxen four times Sunday. Each time George was somewhere. If I stayed with him, he would go to the round bale feeder and eat and he is eating sweetfeed, but he is still keeping watch over Will’s body. If he left the gate area, Charlie generally took his place. James only did that once on Saturday. George is extremely affectionate and does not want me to leave. The other two are also, but George is demanding. After evening chores as I was leaving, George planted himself on my path out the gate and stood there blocking my way so I would have to pay attention to him.

Maria and I searched the net for a replacement for Will. Our big fear is losing George and we both think that getting him a new partner and getting him working are the best ways to ensure his survival. We found a shorthorn ox in Massachusetts that sounds like he will work. We agreed to buy him. We have very little money on hand and this is the off season so none will be coming in until April. We have borrowed $1500 and Frank Jarboe, Tom Ruly and Terre Lawson have offered help. We have even had Albert Roberts children break into their piggy bank to send us money for a new ox. There has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy on the internet; something like a hundred messages.

Monday morning the oxen stood mid pasture waiting for Maria and I. Judging by the tracks in the snow, no one slept near the gate. They all wanted affection before feeding, which sometimes happens. It is not that unusual. After feeding them, I had to cover Will back up. The wind had blown the tarp off. George came to the gate and really wanted more contact. I think we are really over the hump. The next goal is to get him working, and the weather is fighting us. I think it is too icy to hook an ox to a load, even with shoes with ice caulks. I don’t want to hurt an animal.


George is the lead ox for the Four Kings, Gerry Barker's oxen that appear at many Reenactments around the country. George and William are the two in the lead in the above photo.

On last Friday, George's partner William suddenly died.

When this happens, the partner usually dies also from grief. The best remedy is to get George back to doing the thing he loves, working. A replacement has been found and funds are urgently and quickly needed to help with transportation this week. Tax deductable donations can be made to this need through the Purefinder Fund ... www.purefinder.org to to the needs page.

I have spent the two last years encamped with mr. Barker and the oxen at the Fair at New Boston. They are really fantastic animals. My girls donated their collective allowances to help out their favorite 'boys'.


HAVE, just moments ago, completed the long overdue letter to my cousin to the North. Now I must employ a post rider to carry it from this place, but I fear it will meet with delay, as I understand that there is a great deal of snow above the Cumberland Mountains and even North of Kentuckee.

The Front, with address.

The reverse with my seal, the great and fancy 'R'.
And a drop of bees wax from my candle