Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: June 1814
2012 by Mollie Pearce McKibbon
A fictional account of a young woman’s experiences during the war. Adeline is the daughter of James and Martha Price. James inherited the property from his older deceased brother, Andrew, who was an English soldier during the American revolution. Adeline was kidnapped by American spies and rescued during the attack on Ogdensburg. She married a British soldier, Sgt. Charles Houghton who was murdered by persons unknown a few months later. Adeline has always addressed her journal to her best friend back in England, Janetta.
The following excerpt is from Eveline Price’s journal.
June 17, 1814
We thought we were going to lose Adeline in May after the shock she had finding her home destroyed by fire. Providentially, Mrs. Randall had come to visit Mother with the men who came to take Adeline to her property. Mrs. Randall got her immediately into bed and calmed down with some willow tea. She ordered Adeline to stay in bed for the next few days. Addie looked very frail, but we kept watch and fed her nutritious food. Gradually, she recovered her strength.
Today all our care was rewarded with the birth of Adeline’s twin boys. You can imagine our surprise! The two little fellows are very strong and although Adeline was in labour for many hours, they have arrived in the world healthy and glowing. Adeline named the first one Charles William and the second boy, Andrew James. She is so tired, but so very happy. Mother and Father are completely besotted with their two grandsons and I am once again, a very proud aunt. Henry is already working on another cradle, as we have only one on hand.
Sunday, July 10, 1814
My two little angels are sound asleep beside me. If they begin to stir I push the rockers on their cradles with my foot and they get lulled back to sleep. I have them in their nappies as it is very hot today, but I have covered their cradles with a piece of very closely woven netting Mother had to keep the pesky mosquitos out. I am seated out under a shady maple and it is a blessed relief from the garden where I spent a good deal of time this morning picking beans and weeding. Andrew and Charlie seem to sleep much better under the tree than they do inside.
Elizabeth and William are here today as well. Elizabeth is taking Vickie’s nap time to mend some clothing. Vickie is eight months old and a veritable little rascal when awake. She is so much like our dear departed Victoria it is almost eerie. She has thick brown curls and merry blue eyes as well as amazing dimples. She has her father’s total adoration and Elizabeth sighs with exasperation at what William allows Vickie to do.
It is such a sorrow to me that my Charles is not here to see his beautiful sons. I know that he would have been a wonderful father, not at all like his own. Perhaps I am being uncharitable, judging a man from the words of one letter. If I ever meet him, which I sincerely doubt, I shall try to be more forgiving. He was grieving.
My hands are shaking so badly, I can hardly hold the pen. White Wolf and Robert Randall stopped by today on their way to join the regiment heading to the Niagara area of Upper Canada. The war has been heating up again and although our brave navy has control in the Great Lakes once more, Jacob Brown, the American general, has crossed the Niagara River.
Robert and White Wolf have cautioned me to be on my guard, but they believe that they know who is guilty of Charles’ murder and the burning of our home. They had to tell me of their suspicions so that I could verify whether I was acquainted with the monster.
White Wolf had found some tracks in the forest around our land . He says that it appeared the person had been dragging one foot. This Robert passed on to some sympathetic Americans who do trade with both sides in this war. It was reported back through channels that a former army scout named Bourke had been drinking heavily and boasting about killing an English soldier at his very doorstep. When the man got up to leave the tavern he was dragging his left leg.
As Robert and White Wolf told me this my heart almost completely stopped. I suppose I must have looked very pale as Robert immediately put an arm around me and sat me own on the bench under the maple. I hadn’t realized I had stood up while they were speaking.
“Adeline,do you recognize that name?” asked Robert. “ Do you know anything about
“Bourke, yes of course, Robert! Bourke was the man who kidnapped me and he was the one who held me at gunpoint during the battle in Ogdensburg.” I jumped up again and began crying.
“Bourke was the evil yellow coward that killed Charles? Why? Oh give me a gun and a horse and I will kill that blackguard as I should have the time I shot him.”
At this point my poor lambs began crying, wailing no doubt in fright hearing their mother so distraught. Robert immediately picked up Charlie and began soothing him and Evvy ran from the house to comfort Andrew. I was beside myself I am ashamed to say, but oh how I wanted to scream my fury!
It was Father who rushed out of the barn and finally calmed me down.
“Adeline, come with me right now,” he commanded and I obeyed. He walked with me to the other side of the garden, dried my tears and spoke to me sternly.
“Adeline, I know you have had a terrible shock,but frightening your babies and putting yourself into this hysterical state is not going to accomplish anything. Now, take a few moments to compose yourself and then you will be able to tell White Wolf and Robert what they need to know.”
I did what Father told me to do. I composed myself and walked back to my sobbing children with as much dignity as possible. By the time I returned Robert was putting Charlie in his cradle and Evvy passed a slightly hiccuping Andrew to me to cuddle. Then I described the hateful Bourke to White Wolf , Robert and my father as well as I could.
Robert thought that Bourke would be careful not to return for awhile, but he urged Father to keep a close guard on me and the rest of the family. Finally, Robert spoke straight to me,
“Adeline, please take no chances. I wish I didn’t have to leave, but with Brown causing trouble, we’ve just got to pitch in and help. “
I put my hand on his sleeve and said with sincere anguish, “Please come back safely. I couldn’t bear it if you or White Wolf were ….” My eyes filled with tears again, but I did not shed them.
“Adeline, don’t you fret. We will come back. We will capture Bourke. I will never let that man harm you or your little ones!”
So they rode away and I retreated to the house to feed my babies and shed my dammed up tears. Mother and Evvy changed the boys and sang them to sleep while I sat down to write this. Writing seems to help, but suddenly I am overwhelmed by the knowledge I may have been the cause of my own love’s murder.