A fictional account of a young woman’s life during the War of 1812.
Copyright 2012 by Mollie Pearce McKibbon
Sunday, October 11, 1812 Thistledown Farm
It has been a momentous week in the life of the Price family. All week long we women folk have been sewing and cooking. Father and William spent most of the first part of the week working on William’s property, fitting in the cabin windows and finishing off the roof so that it is water tight. Mr. Osteen, the stone mason from Johnstown, is a good friend of Father’s and he built William’s hearth from rocks that William had cleared from his land. William found some flat stones to use as a partial floor for Elizabeth’s cooking area. The rest of the floor is made of wood planks, as our’s is at home. Then Father and William constructed a table and benches. Elizabeth’s father, Mr. Branch, drove up from his farm with a wonderful pine bedstead he had them as a wedding present along with a quilt made by Elizabeth’s two sisters, Susanna and Gwendolyn.
Last Thursday, Mother, Evvy and I went to William’s cabin with the straw mattress we had made them and the set of down pillows made of the eider down Mother had saved. Father helped us take everying there in the wagon. William showed us all the new improvements and he was particularly proud of the andirons and cast iron kettle he had purchased for the hearth.
Mother, Evvy and I had took such pleasure in making everything comfortable and warm. We hung up the curtains Elizabeth had made for the two small windows and put the linens she had sewn on their bed. Our neighbours, the Randalls and their visitor, Miss Blaine, sent over two lovely rag rugs for the cabin floor. Evvy brought out the secret project she worked on most of the summer – a sampler she had cross-stitched on a bleached sugar bag. The sampler reads”God bless this house and all who dwell herein.” She hung it up on a nail over their bed. I had made two pillow cases and trimmed them with some left over material from our new dresses. When Elizabeth saw the results of everyone’s labour she cried happy tears and hugged us. I must say the cabin did look snug and pretty.
I do wish you could have attended the wedding, Janetta. Probably by now you are engaged to some nice gentleman from Waddington or perhaps a soldier away at war with Napoleon. England seems so far away and indeed it is, but our life back there hardly seems real to me anymore. Life here is very difficult and yet, so rewarding.
Saturday dawned bright and clear; the sun shining down through red and gold leaves. Elizabeth was handsomely clothed in a new blue cotton gown with a matching bonnet and coat trimmed in squirrel. William looked so grown-up in his dark green militia uniform. They were married by the Anglican reverend under the most beautiful scarlet maple near their cabin. Afterwards we had a delicious supper and some very happy celebration to the music of a fiddler from Fort Wellington who played some lively reels. Gwendolyn and Susanna sang “The Flowers of Edinburgh” , “The White Cockade”, and “The Gypsy Laddie”. Some of William’s militia friends sang “The Girl I Left Behind” and other army songs. It was very entertaining. Dancing on the forest floor is not like dancing in a town hall, but it can be done carefully so as not to trip on tree roots.
Unfortunately, Charles was not able to attend, this being his watch at the fort, but I did dance with Robert Randall and Charle’s friend, John Thompson. Arthur snubbed me. He monopolized Elizabeth’s sister, Susanna and made a total boor of himself on the cider that Col. Jessup’s family had provided for the occasion. Robert was disgusted with his brother and apologized to my father. The Randall’s were exasperated and I overheard Mr. Randall have harsh words with his youngest son. Finally, Robert had to take Arthur away from the festivities, much to everyone’s relief, and the rest of the party stayed until dusk. At dusk, William carried his happy bride over their threshold and we all went home.
Today, we all got up early and after the animals were fed and other chores done, Father gathered us around the table for our usual Sabbath Bible study and prayers. Then Mother led us in a hymn sing in her lovely contralto voice and we sang as many of the dear old hymns as we could remember. Of course, it’s not like being in the church in Wendover, which I do miss a great deal, especially at Christmas.
Monday, Oct. 12, 1812
Arthur Randall rode over on his new horse today and made a half-hearted apology to my father and mother. I don’t think Father was very impressed, but Mother has a softer heart and invited him in for lunch. Thankfully, Arthur politely declined the invitation and rode away without so much as a glance in my direction.
How can two brothers be so very different in nature? They certainly look like brothers, both having dark brown eyes (Charles’ are hazel I’ve noticed) and sand-coloured hair and mustaches (Charles is blond), but otherwise they are totally different in character. Robert is a quiet, soft spoken lad with a pleasant smiling disposition while Arthur is given to moodiness and angry outbursts. Robert carefully considers his replies and is more likely to laugh than complain. Arthur is a hard worker and helpful, but blurts out just what he thinks when he thinks when he thinks it with out due consideration to the feelings of others. I simply cannot understand his petulance.