Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal
A Fictional Account ©2012 Mollie Pearce McKibbon
The Story thus far:
Adeline Price, daughter of James and Martha Price, and her siblings, William, Eveline and Henry, settled on land bequeathed to them by a relative who fought on the side of the British during the American Revolution. Their land lay north of Johnstown and Prescott in what is now Edwardsburg township. Adeline’s older brother, and her father became involved in the militia during the outbreak of the War of 1812. Adeline was captured by an American spy, named Bourke, and taken to Ogdensburg, where she managed to escape after wounding him. A neighbour Robert Randall and Sgt. Charles Houghton, a British soldier brought her to safety. Adeline married Sgt. Houghton, who was mysteriously murdered after the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. After being burned out of her home, Adeline and her twin sons are living with her parents at their farm, Thistledown, but her English father-in-law wants to raise her sons in England and has told his other son, Lt. Houghton, to persuade her.
Sunday, January 15, 1815
We have all been ill with sniffles and the babies have been quite miserable, poor wee ones but thankfully, they seem to be getting better. Mother thinks we all need a good tonic and she is hoping that the Fort physician will be able to give Father something we can add to our porridge or take with our tea. I prefer to ask Robert’s mother as her herbal remedies are more effective in my opinion.
Father and Henry are cleaning out the old log cabin that our family lived in before this stone house was built. I plan to move into it with my boys in the spring. Father wants to patch up the gaps in the chinking before we live there. My babies are getting bigger and will soon be crawling around, so we need more space. As well, although no one has made a complaint, I know the babes must wake everyone up with their crying at night. It will be pleasant to set our own schedule and be cosy in a home of our own.
The old cabin has been used to store implements and seed, so Father plans to build a lean-to on the barn for those things. I will be glad to be able to clean the mouse droppings and cobwebs out of there. It has a very smooth wooden floor and a flat stone hearth. Of course, I shall need a bed and the boys will need beds too. Henry has plans to make some beds with sides on them to prevent them from falling out. Henry dotes on his little nephews and is eager to make them some wooden blocks when they are old enough to play with them. Robert made them each a most ingenious rattle which he filled with tiny pebbles but I have to watch that they don’t accidentally hit each other with them. Both babes are sitting now and they gurgle and giggle together happily most of the day when they aren’t napping.
Saturday, January 28,1815
I hardly find a moment to write in my journal these days. My two lads are growing quickly and now Andrew is trying to take a step holding onto the furniture. Charlie, on the other hand, seems to be content to creep on his knees. He rocks back and forth, appears almost to fall forward on his nose and then crawls forward. Watching my sons and keeping them out of imminent danger of being tread upon takes up a great deal of my time, but it is very amusing indeed.
The rest of my hours are spent mending or making little outfits for the boys to wear, knitting mittens and hats, and working on my father’s and William’s bookkeeping. They are both paying me a stipend for the task and so I want to do my very best to keep them up to date.
Robert has also asked me to help him with his father’s accounts also, now that he and his father are doing the hauling business together as the war is all but officially over. We are simply awaiting the ratification by the American government of the treaty signed in Europe. They seem to be dragging their heels.
Sadly, we have heard nothing from Arthur Randall who is still engaged in combat with the Americans. His son, Adam, is back home with his grandparents now that he is weaned to a cup.
It was necessary to wean him early as his wet nurse is expecting another child and has her hands full with three small children of her late sister’s family.
Our family had one unfortunate and annoying visit from Charles’ brother, Lt. Houghton. He stopped by with Robert, Thursday last, just as I was putting the boys down for their afternoon nap. Robert looked very uncomfortable. It seems that when Lt. Houghton learned that he delivered our mail and parcels, he “suggested” that he should accompany him “in order to learn more about the area”.
Naturally, Mother welcomed him politely and offered him some warming beverage and a slice of her wonderful bread hot from the hearth. He accepted the offer and sat down to talk with Father and Robert. Father was only hospitable.
We all know the real motive for the visit was to see in what circumstances his nephews are living. I expect he shall report his impressions of our modest home back to his father. I ignored him by keeping busy with the children upstairs. Mother made my excuses and eventually he and Robert left to continue Robert’s postal rounds. I do wish he would just go back to Mother England and forget we exist!