Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: November-December 1814

Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal © by Mollie Pearce McKibbon 2014

This is a fictional journal written by a young woman settled in Edwardsburg Township during the war of 1812.mother-baby-graphicsfairy007b

Sunday, November 27, 1814

Dear Janetta,

         I have been so occupied with my sons, that I haven’t had an opportunity to take up my quill pen until today.  Elizabeth and William stopped by to join us for our Bible lesson and some hymns and stayed to share our midday meal so Vickie is keeping Charles and Andrew amused now that she can toddle around.  I have received another letter from England, this time from Persephone Meldrum, Charle’s married sister.  This is what she wrote:

Dearest Sister-in-Law,

       I do hope you think of me as a sister and know how gratified I am that Charles wrote to us about your marriage.  I fear that you may not have felt welcomed to our family.  You must understand that our father was distraught at the news of Charles’ murder  and naturally upset that he was not able to deal with the necessary inquiry himself. 

         I pray that you have begun to recover from your natural grief.  I expect your children are a great consolation.  I know that my father is about to offer to educate Charles and Andrew here in England and will tell you my husband, Percival Meldrum  Esquire, and myself have a very comfortable accommodation for your sons here at Meldrum Manor.  Nanny Parsons is in charge of our three daughters, Leona, Lavinia and Lydia and is quite prepared to take on two more children.  We will of course, employ an extra tutor for your sons and treat them as if they were ours.  They will also be attended by our own physician Mr. Bell, who is much respected in the highest society.

          Please, do not feel at all compelled to send your children to England, but you need to be informed of the advantages of which they will be assured.  Father has even now making arrangements at Oxford College for their future  studies should they have the aptitude.  If not, they will be certain of a commission in the army. 

I anticipate with much pleasure, meeting you and my two nephews next spring.

With fondest regards,

Persephone Houghton-Meldrum”

Persephone seems to be very considerate of my feelings and it is generous of her and her husband to accept the great imposition of my children into their home, but I cannot bear the thought of being separated from my boys.  I showed Mother and Father the letter and  they only remarked that it seemed a good opportunity for my sons to earn their way in society, but they have been careful not to press me to conform to the wishes of the Houghton family. 

Am I being selfish keeping my children with me, when they could have a comfortable future back in England? I wonder what Robert would advise me to do. Perhaps I should ask him when next he brings his mother to visit. 



Sunday, Dec. 18,1814


Wonderful news, just before Christmas! Bourke has been captured by White Wolf and Robert.  He was trying to get back across the St. Lawrence.  He has been incarcerated in the jail at the fort in Prescott.  My sons and I will sleep much more safely from now on although I will need to go to Fort Welllington to identify him as my persecutor. I hope this is the last we hear of him.



Adeline’s Journal -April 17-May 12, 1813

Adeline’s Journal is a fictional account of a young woman’s experiences during the War of !812 in Upper Canada.

Sunday, April 17, 1813                                                                                                                                            My 17th Birthday                                                                                                                                                       

Dear Janetta,                                                                                                                                                                    Today I turned 17.  Mother and Father gave me a present of my great-grandmother’s dresser set.  It is the loveliest set I have ever seen.  It is silver with mother-of-pearl inserts in the mirror back and the brush.  I have put it in my chest with my household linens which I am slowing adding to. I wish I were more adept at sewing like my sister, Evvy.  She gave me a present of two pillow cases embroidered with violets.  Henry gave me a new quill pen he had made.  Elizabeth and William gave me some lovely lavender-filled silk pouches to put amongst my clothing.  

My favourite gift of all was from Charles.  He came to visit me and presented me with a dainty silver locket engraved with my initials, A. P.  He wasn’t able to stay very long as he is on sentry duty tonight, but he squeezed my hand and kissed my cheek when we were alone at the door before he left.  

Happily, Adeline.

May 12, 1813

Dear Janetta,                                                                                                                                                                               Apart from a light dusting of snow at the beginning of this month, May has been lovely.  The yard in front of our home is full of yellow wild flowers and there are lovely violets and trilliums under the apple trees. The apple trees themselves are full of blossoms and busy with bees.  Mother says we should have a bumper crop of mackintosh apples this year.  

I will resume the story of my kidnapping as the house is now quiet and I have finished writing my letter to Grandmother Price.  Goodness knows if she shall ever receive it with the way the Americans are watching the St. Lawrence river traffic.   Our “friends” in Ogdensburgh have been complaining about how their army being nearby is more of a threat to them than protection.  Most of the troops have moved elsewhere.  Some to Sacketts Harbour.                                                                                                        

To renew my tale of woe:  I woke up on the American side of the river in the wee hours of the morning after a fitful slumber full of terrifying dreams.  I wondered just how I could manage an escape.  The snow was piling up around the cabin and a fierce cold wind was blowing.  Harry’s wife was up already cooking eggs and bacon for the company.  Just as I was about to explain to her who I really was and why I was bound, in came Darnell and Seamus, stamping the snow off their boots and brushing off their coats.  

“I need to use the privy,” I told Seamus and so he brought me my father’s coat and escorted me outside to the lean-to behind the cabin.  I considered making a run for it , but realized that I could get more than lost in the blowing snow.  Besides, where would I run?

Later, I struggled to get my breakfast down.  Harry’s wife was a good cook but , in my agitation I had no appetite.  I knew that I would need strength for whatever lay ahead of me, so I made myself swallow it all down.

The storm had abated after breakfast, so it was decided that we would excuse ourselves from the hospitality of Harry and his wife and continue on to Ogdensburgh.  There we would meet up with Bourke.  Darnell sat me up on Bourke’s horse, who seemed none the worse for the swim we had had the night before.  Bourke had evidently taken Darnell’s horse the night before.  Darnell and Seamus led the horses out to the main road where they mounted and we rode on towards Ogdensburgh.  Once again I was forced to endure strange arms around me.  It was slow going through the drifts.  Every now and then Darnell or Seamus was forced to dismount and coax the horses through the deeper snow.  Mostly we rode in silence, Darnell or Seamus only remarking only remarking to each other when they spotted game streaking through the forest on either side of the trail.  I was very uncomfortable and very distressed, but determined not to show it.  I told myself that William and my father, perhaps even Charles, would be searching for me and soon I would be rescued.  I told myself that, but little believed it.  How heartened I would have been to know that our brave soldiers were at that very moment planning to raid Ogdensburgh.  It was not on my behalf, to be sure, but in retribution for all the raids that Forsyth and his rifles had made on our side to the river.

The O’Mearas had taken the gag off me, but I was still bound.  After a long slogging ride we arrived in Ogdensburgh.  It is a large settlement with many stone and brick buildings and a well-established port.  I saw the large stone building that  housed Mr. Parrish’s store where Father and I had bought dry goods for Mother and a pair of boots for Henry just last year.  

Across the St. Lawrence River I could see the fortifications of Fort Wellington and the few little homes that had grown up around it as the town of Prescott.  My heart swelled with longing for home.  I almost cried out and would have, but for a quick jab in the ribs from Darnell.

“Don’t go making a fuss, you hear Missy,” he hissed in my ear.  I just nodded.  We rode through the town to Fort La Presentation which was being repaired and reconstructed.  Bourke, whom I soon learned was Cpl. Bourke of Forsyth’s Rifles, met us at the gate and escorted us into Major Forsyth’s office.  It could hardly be called an office, as it consisted of a camp cot, plain deal table, a chair and a rough hewn bench.  I was ordered to sit on the bench.

Major Forsyth (I assumed) was sitting behind the desk, looking over some maps.  His eyes reminded me of those of a fox, darting from the maps to myself and then to my three kidnappers.  

Who is this lad and why is he here?” he demanded.

“Tis the complication I spoke of, sir.  Tis a girl in fact we caught aspyin’ on us.  We had no choice but ta bring her.”

You’ve answered only part of my question , Bourke.  Her name is?”

At this point, I stood up and answered for myself.  I was not afraid of this impudent soldier.                      “My name is Miss Adeline Price and I was kidnapped yesterday from my brother’s farm in Upper Canada.  I demand to be returned to my own country at once!”

My heart was thundering in my chest and I could hear my voice trembling, but I did not cry.  The man behind the table stared at me coldly, and instructed Darnell O’Meara to remove me from his office immediately and keep me under control.  Darnell approached me to do that but I pulled away from him and marched to Major Forsyth’s desk.  

I demand to see the civil authorities and to be retuned to my home right away!  You have no right to hold me against my will.” 

“I have every right to hold you.  You have been accused of spying,  Mr. O’Meara carry out my order!”

Darnell grabbed at my arms, but instead I stood up straighter and stalked into the hallway.  How could I be a spy when I was simply trying to protect my brother’s property.  The whole situation was a nightmare.  

Shortly, Bourke and Seamus O’Meara emerged from Fortsyth’s office looking grim.  

Well, what are we to do with her?”asked Darnell while he yanked me rudely to my feet.

“We’re to take her to Sheriff York for now,” replied Seamus, “at least until the magistrate can sentence her.”

I’m not a criminal,” I protested.  “I am a kidnap victim and you will all have to answer for whatever happens to me.  My father and brother will see to it.”

Without regard to my protests, I was taken to the Sheriff York.  He was dismayed to discover that I, a young Canadian woman, was to be held in custody.  He stated that it was not his job to hold military prisoners, especially a young woman, in his lock-up.  He had other security matters on his mind.  Instead he sent me with a deputy to the next-door neighbour’s home where he knew I could be provided with a bed and some meals.  I was to stay with a Widow Fenton who ran a boarding house.

I knew from the moment I stepped inside her home, that Widow Fenton did not appreciate my presence.  I was given a chilly attic room and just one blanket.  Her meals were adequate, but not tasty.  They consisted mainly of some kind of stew to which she added ingredients daily.  I spent my first night in her home shivering and crying myself to sleep.  

I must stop writing now as Mother has begun preparing dinner and she needs my help.  I’m trying to improve my culinary skills, but my best efforts seem to be boiling the kettle and setting a pleasant table.  

I do hope I receive another letter from you, Janetta.  I wonder if you have married.

Lovingly, Adeline

Post Script:  Mr. Randall has delivered a letter to me from Charles.  He wrote that he have recovered from a bout of influenza that has laid many soldiers low.  That is one of the worst problems of barracks life – so many illnesses get passed around.  Adeline.

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Adeline’s Journal April 4, 1813

silohuette of Ada Mae
a fictional journal of a young woman during the War of 1812

The story this far:

Adeline and her family live north of Johnstown on farm land her father inherited from his older brother.  William, Adeline, Evaline and Henry are the children of Edmond and Charlotte Price.  William is married to Elizabeth and has a piece of his father’s acreage which he has built on.  William and his father are in the militia and must report to Fort Wellington in Prescott.  The women and younger children have to learn to manage the farm themselves.  John Price taught his daughters to load and shoot a musket after Adeline saved her younger brother from a cougar.  Adeline is being courted by a Corporal Charles Houghton, and two neigbour’s sons, Robert and Arthur.  Henry and Adeline have been watching out for their brother’s farm, when one day her brother returns home with the news that he has seen smoke coming from the chimney of the cabin on William’s property.  Henry and Adeline agree to investigate.

                                                                                           Sunday, April 4, 1813

Dear Janetta,

      It is the Sabbath day and I have just finished a bowl of Mother’s delicious potato soup with one of Elizabeth’s wonderful sourdough biscuits.  The house is quiet now as Father is napping and Mother is writing letters.  Henry, Evvy and Elizabeth are visiting the Randals.

   I am sitting under the eaves, at the desk that Father made for Evvy and I, in the half of the loft that she and I share.  Mother has me bundled up like a caterpillar in a warm quilt and she also tucked a hot brick under my feet.  It is so hot, I almost burnt my toes until I pushed it under my chair.  Honestly, you would think I was recovering from the plague instead of near pneumonia, I have been so coddled since returning from the other side of the river. I still have nightmares and wake up poor Evvy with my muttering and moaning.  

   I must tell you my Ogdensburgh adventure.  Henry and I went to check on William’s and Elizabeth’s cabin where Henry had seen smoke.  Mother insisted that we go warmly dressed, so I put on Father’s warmest trousers over my petticoat and his barn coat with the squirrel collar and hood as well as a woolen cap.  This was all covered with a long woolen scarf and I did not resemble myself so much as a lumberman from the backwoods.  I could hardly move for the layers.  We rode Rosey and Blinky, our old plow horses, up to the road to Prescott and turned north towards the piece of land that Father gave William (thirty good acres – five that William has already cleared).  

    As we reached the bottom of William’s land, we turned off the road toward the cabin.  Before approaching the cabin, we agreed to part and meet back at the road after checking on the property.  First, I would skirt the cabin and see if anything had been disturbed.  If there were any suggestion of intruders we would go and fetch Mr. Randal.

    I felt a bit nervous about approaching the cabin, but could see no smoke from the chimney, so I walked cautiously around the perimeter and peered into the barn.  For a moment it seemed that my heart stopped beating.  There in the stalls, that should have been empty, were three strange horses, – a bay, a roan and a grey.  I recognized the roan and the bay.  They were the O’Meara’s horses.  I didn’t know the grey mare.

     I ducked down behind the woodpile and tried to think why the O’Meara’s would have broken into William’s cabin.  Were they in the very act of thievery?  What should I do?  Had they gone out hunting in the bush?  What if they met up with Henry?  My heart was pounding and my head was aching with indecision.  Who was the third person?  I was thankful that it wasn’t Robert or Arthur. I knew all their horses.  What scheme were the O’Meara’s up to?  

    As I knelt behind the wood, torn between running to the woods to warn Henry or confronting the O’Mearas, a stranger stepped out of the cabin, talking to someone over his shoulder.

    “Ah’ll get saddled.  You bring the maps we made and we’ll make tracks for the river crossing.”

    “Shouldn’t we wait ’til dusk?  Less chances of being seen then.”  Darnell O’Meara came out of the cabin, his flintlock in one hand and a leather saddle bag in the other.

   “Nah, Ah want to make tracks.  We’ll keep to the bush as soon as we can.”

    My head was spinning with shock.  If the O’Mearas were just smuggling to hide their true activities what were they really doing?  Then it came over me suddenly, with horror.  The O’Meara’s were spies.  It was obvious the other person was an American.  Now I was truly in a bad dilemma.  What should I do?

    “Hey, there’s someone behind the woodpile,” shouted Darnell.  

    I ran for the trees, but in all my layers was no match for the fleet-footed American who tacked me around the legs and brought me crashing to the ground.  

    “Who the hell are you, boy?” he shouted as he snatched the hood and hat off my head.  

     “I know who it is,” said Darnell.  “T’is no boy, but Price’s sister, Adeline, a real spitfire!”

     “A troublemaker, huh?  Well, we ‘ll see how much trouble she gives us bound and gagged,”said the American.

   And that is how I found myself bound and gagged seated in front of the American, up on the big grey.  My face was stinging from the snow, my hair was wet and there was snow down the back of my neck.  At least they had used my own scarf to gag me, but my hands were tied with a leather harness William had left hanging in his barn.  I was helpless and furious, but very glad that Henry had not been at the place we’d agreed to meet.  Blinky had obviously wandered off, probably back to our barn.

    It was a very long uncomfortable ride to the river.  I ignored the O’Meara brothers,  They were beneath content.

   Eventually, we left the road and travelled into the dense woods on a path that the O’Meara brothers had surely taken before.  When we arrived at the bank of the St. Lawrence River, it was late afternoon, nearly dusk.  We were several miles west of Fort Wellington.  the river was almost completely frozen.  There was a small, partially obscured shed and two canoes on the shore.  the three men tethered the horses and shoved me into the shed.  There was barely room to sit.  I perched on an over-turned barrel and mulled over my situation.  I was not about to show how truly frightened I was.  The door of the shed suddenly opened, almost pushing me from my perch.  A hand grabbed my bonds and I was dragged from the shed and set back up on the grey mare.

    It was now dark, but a full moon lit up the icy surface of the river.  The lights of Ogdensburgh were little sparks flickering on the other side of the river.  Muttering softly to the horses, the men proceeded across the ice on foot, carefully one after another.  Sometimes the ice seemed to crack where the surface had warmed at bit and melted in the sun, refreezing when the temperature dropped.  I was nervous on the grey as I was terrified the ice would crack open beneath his hooves and I would be drowned.  No one would ever know what had happened to me.  Then I shook myself free of such imaginations and concentrated on keeping warm.  There was a wind blowing a sharp icy spray of snow that stung my cheeks.  My feet were numb in my leather boots.

    Our progress was slow, but steady and silent, except for the occasional curse when the ice made a particularly loud cracking noise.  It seemed we were all jumpy.  A few feet from shore, the ice was thinning and it gave way under the weight of the grey.  I didn’t even have time to scream and my gag prevented it anyhow.  Down we plunged into the numbing St. Lawrence.  I don’t know how, but I managed to hold onto the grey’s pommel and reins and somehow the horse was able to swim to shore.  There she struggle up the bank and I was plucked off her back shivering and dripping.  I was prodded up the embankment.  My clothes were sodden and felt like they were freezing to my body.  My boots iced up more and more with each step.  Finally, we reached a small log home, where the door was opened quickly and I was pushed right in.

   Bourke seemed to be in command, as he told the O’Meara’s to look after the horses, especially the shuddering grey.  

   “Hey,who’s this here lad?” asked a harsh voiced man with a foul smelling pipe in his teeth.  “Ya never told me about no lad.”

   “It’s the O’Meara’s sister.  There’s been a change in plan, Harry.  She overheard us talkin’ so her she is.”

   “If she’s their sister, why is she all trussed up?” asked Harry suspiciously.

   “She don’t agree with their politic, is why.  She’s a bloody royalist,” said the American.  “She’ll need warmin’ up after her swim in the river.”

     “Oh my heavens, Harry, don’t keep her standing and shivering there.  Come here, girl.  I’ll take care of you.”

   Harry with the pipe had a wife who clucked sympathetically and bustled me off behind a thick cloth curtain to change out of my wet clothes.  She gave me a drink of sweet brandy to drink.  I gagged on the fire of it as it burned down my throat.  She untied my hands and helped me out of my father’s wet coat, his trousers and my icy petticoat.  I wanted to tell her the true nature of my abduction, but my teeth were chattering.  She rubbed me down with a rough towel and brought me one of her own woolen robes to slip into.  Then she sat me down in front of the warm hearth with a bowl of hot stew.

    The American, Bourke, I heard his name mentioned, didn’t stay long enough to eat.  

    “I’m going ahead to Ogdensburgh ta meet with the Major.  The O’Meara’s will stay with the horses in the stable.  They will be takin’ their sister ta the Major tomorrow.  Just keep her hands tied and bed her on the cot near the hearth.  Then she won’t make no trouble.”

    Harry’s wife put some food in a satchel for Bourke and he left.  After I had eaten my fill, Mrs. Harry apologized and re-tied my hands, tucking me into bed on the hearthside cot.  She muttered to her husband about how she didn’t approve of my treatment, but go no satisfactory agreement from him.  I did not sleep well.

    The candle is guttering down and dusk has come.  I will finish this another day soon.

Lovingly, Adeline

Adeline’s Journal (January – March 1813)

silohuette of Ada Mae

Adeline’s Journal – a fictional account of a Young Woman’s Life During the War of 1812
© 2012Mollie Pearce McKibbon

January 23, 1813

Thistledown Farm, Edwardsburgh Township

Dear Janetta,

It has been extremely cold, but our little house is cosy.  My brother, William, made a brief visit home two days ago and brought us the mail, a package and news from Fort Wellington.  William said that the mail was a few months old because it had been taken from an English ship by the Americans who had hoped to intercept military information.  It was then discarded by them as it was only family mail for the soldiers and settlers.  That explained why all of the letters had been opened.  

Mother was overjoyed to have a letter from her sister, my Aunt Sadie, from Bath and I received a most happy surprise – a letter from you, Janetta, after all these years.  You apologized for being so negligent in corresponding, but you also told me that a great many things had occurred – both good and bad, since we had left England.  You lost your dear mama to pneumonia and your father had remarried soon afterwards, much to your chagrin.  Your brother was wounded fighting Napoleon and had lost an arm.  However, the good news was that you had your first season in London while visiting your aunt and uncle.  It all sounds so wonderful – all the parties and dances.  Now you are being courted by not just one young man, but three.  That did make me smile.  However will you decide between them?

What shall I write back?  There are so many years to fill in for you.  Will I tell you about Charles?  Evvy says that you have nothing to boast over me because I have three suitors also, but it is hardly the same.  Robert and Arthur Randall are only interested in me because I am the only eligible girl in the vicinity.  There is Kathleen O’Meara, but  she is two years my senior and has shown little interest in any one,  Evvy thinks she is sweet on Arthur, because he spends so much time with her brothers.  There are three O’Meara brothers, Liam, Darnell and Seamus.  I don’t think that Robert or Mr. Randall approve of the O’Mearas.  There have been rumours going around about them and the time they spend on the American side of the river.  Of course, rumours are always circulating about the O’Meara family.  They haven’t lived here in Upper Canada very long and they haven’t been shy about voicing their dislike of the English.  Father says that Mr. O’Meara left Ireland under a cloud (whatever he meant by that) and that he thinks the O’Meara’s aren’t entirely unsympathetic to the Americans.  However, no more gossip.

I also received two letters from Charles.  He asked William to bring them to me and William saw no harm in it.  I think William likes Charles and why ever not!  He is a very fine gentleman , respected by all the other soldiers and militiamen (excepting Arthur of course).  Both Charles’ letters were very kind and amusing.  In the first one, written after our embarrassing scene at the New Year’s Eve party, he begged my forgiveness for causing me to be the topic of gossip.  He also reassured me that he was not involved with any other woman.  He speculated that the picture Robert Randall had seen was of his sister, Persephone, who was also my age when it was painted.  He wrote that his sister was married and had two little girls now and he hoped that one day I would make her acquaintance.  

Charles’ second letter was filled with descriptions of his home in England and his two older brothers, Everett and Bartholemew who are both serving in the army under General Wellington.  They both have commissions of course, but then they are his older brothers.  Evidently Charles’ father and grandfather were both army officers, so military life has been their family tradition going back even to the time of the War of the Roses.  

Our family, the Prices of Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire have always farmed.  There is quite a lot of land in our family as Great Grandfather Price was a squire, but  he had five sons, and my grandfather was the youngest, as is my father the youngest of seven.  Father was managing Grandfather’s land for his eldest brother, but they fell out and now here we are in North America.  I suppose General Houghton would not consider us in his class at all.

Mother’s package hadn’t been opened at all.  Perhaps the Americans were in too much haste to bother.        It turned out to have been sent by Grandmother Benton, mother’s mama.  She sent us some delicate lace capes to wear over our summer dresses on Sundays.  They really aren’t suitable for our summers that tend to be very humid and full of biting insects.  Mother says that perhaps she could apply the lace to a wedding gown for each of us one day or (and she said it quietly so that Elizabeth wouldn’t overhear) to make a christening gown for the family grandchildren.  Elizabeth is still very sensitive about losing her baby.  I think mother had been hoping for something more practical from Grandmother Benson, such as real tea or some spices.  We lack so much now in the way of supplies.  The Americans are constantly harassing our shipping and any boat the comes up the St. Lawrence from Montreal or down the river from York is liable to be threatened.  Mother has to be very careful with the supplies we have and most of our meals rely upon the contents of the root cellar.  Henry rabbit snares and turkey shooting supplies us with meat.  Of course, things haven’t been so good in England either, now that they are at war again.

Lovingly, Adeline 

February 13, 1813

Dear Janetta,

We just seem to dig ourselves out of one snowstorm into another.  The wind has been howling around our little home and piling snow up against the door, so that each morning we have to dig our way out of the house to get to the barn.  There was a bit of a thaw last week and now there are icicles hanging off the roof that almost touch the ground.  We need to melt the snow for water for the animals and believe me, it cools off before we get it to the barn.  

The Americans made another raid, this time against Elizabethtown ( I just can’t get used to calling it Brockville) and they released fifty prisoners, and took several prominent citizens to Ogdensburg as their prisoners.  They are becoming bolder and bolder and we are all worried that Prescott will be next.  Heaven forbid they should capture Fort Wellington!  We are very worried about Father and William.

My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, is staying with us for now.  It is hard enough to keep one home going without having to travel back and forth between two.  William went up to their farm, secured it and brought their cow and horse back with him so our barn is quite full now.  Elizabeth is quite recovered now and so she, Mother, and Evvy look after the house, the meals and the mending.  Henry goes hunting and I care for the animals.  

Father and William spend most of their time at the fort now, going out on patrol.  There is quite a bit of smuggling going on and a few folk have been caught and had their ill-gotten goods confiscated.  I can’t say that I don’t feel any empathy for the people who have relatives on the American side, but I don’t believe that trading with the enemy is anything but treasonous.

Faithfully, Adeline

February 15, 1813

Dear Janetta,

If much more snow falls, I doubt we will have arms long enough to pile it up.  When I go out now, I bundle up like Father.  Mother insists I put on Father’s heavy wool leggings on over my woolen stockings under my woolen skirt.  I do look a fright when I go to the barn, I suppose the cows mind it little.  I only wish there was some way to make my leather boots resistant to the wet snow.  After the chores, my feet are cakes of ice.

I think that I shall have to purchase some winter moccasins from Grandma MacTavish.  We all call the elder Mrs. MacTavish, Grandma because she is a dear old lady who lives with her son and his family in Johnstown.  She lived with the Algonquins when she was just as small girl about six years old until she was 14.  She learned how to sew moccasins which she sells to the settlers now.  She says they are much warmer than our leather boots.  I believe we settlers could learn a great deal from the native tribes about survival in the harsh winter.  

I have become better acquainted with Charles over the past weeks through our correspondence.    Mr. Randall , who is too old to be in the militia, goes back and forth to the fort each week to take their meat supplies from the farmers in the area and he fetches the mail and he has been very obliging to deliver our letters to our men at the fort.  

Charles has been circumspect in all his letters, telling me about his home in England and regaling me with amusing stories his dog, Plato and his horses.  I have told him all about where we farmed in Buckinghamshire and how we came to live here.  He mentioned in his last letter that the whole fort was being kept to a very high standard of readiness in anticipation of another attack by the Americans.  

Mr. Randall says that the Governor-in-chief is expected soon for inspection and “Red George” MacDonell is fighting mad because the American commander, Forsyth, has insulted the capabilities of our troops.  Sometimes, I wish I was a man I feel so angry, but then I am glad I don’t actually have to shoot at anyone.   

Your friend, Adeline

February 16, 1813

Dear Janetta,

Henry came back from hunting today with some disturbing news.  He was following a white tail deer just south of William’s property when he noticed smoke.  He wanted to go and investigate , but he knew that he needed to return home with some meat.  He didn’t manage to get the deer but his snares caught two fat rabbits.  He and I will go and investigate the source of the smoke on William’s property tomorrow.  Elizabeth is concerned that we might be putting ourselves in harm’s way, but she is naturally perturbed about anything or anyone putting their home in jeopardy.  I speculated that perhaps some Iroquoin hunting party had simply camped overnight and that seemed to mollify her, but Henry and I will take the utmost caution as I have assured Mother.  She is not in favour of our expedition at all, but she understands our concern for the security of William’s and Elizabeth’s home.


The following excerpts are from Evaline Price’s Journal:

February 20, 1813

It has been three days since Henry came rushing in the door in great anguish calling ” Addie’s been taken…Addie’s been taken!”  

Still we have no word of what has happened to my dear sister excepting what Henry was able to tell us which wasn’t very much.  He and Adeline went out to William’s property to be certain that all was well because Henry had observed some smoke coming from that direction while out hunting the day before.  Adeline suggested that Henry circle the perimeter of the property while out hunting the day before.  When Henry finally came back to where they had parted, there was no sign of Adeline where they had planned to meet.  Henry approached the cabin, observed that the door was partly opened and there were signs of a struggle inside with the table and chairs pushed over and a broken jug against the wall.  Someone had used the hearth recently and there were some soiled bandages in the ashes.  

When Henry looked in the barn he said that there had been at least three, maybe four horses in there, judging by the all the disarray and horse dung left behind.  Henry rushed to the road to see if he could find any sign of a party on horseback and though he called out Adeline’s names there was no answer.  He did find one of Adeline’s hair ribbons in the snow near the cabin, so he knew that she had been there.  

Mother is terribly distraught and Elizabeth is blaming herself for allowing Adeline and Henry to go up to the property, which is silly.  Once Adeline decides on a course of action, none can deter her from it, except Father.  Mr. Randall and Henry went back to the cabin on the following day and found nothing more.  Mr. Randall called on our nearest neighbours, the O’Meara’s and the Willins, to no avail.  No one had seen Adeline.  

Father and William have been told, but are unable to leave the fort as “Red George” has them on alert, but the whole contingent is aware of Adeline’s disappearance and will be looking for any sign of her.  I have bitten my nails down to the quick with worry.  The best thing to do, Mother says, is to keep busy, however I have seen her going to the orchard where you can just see Virginia’s grave stone above the snow and Uncle Andrew’s not far from it.  I know she is grieving and there is naught that I can do to help.

Sadly, Evvy

March 3, 1813

Praise the Lord, our sister has returned!  She is pale and thin, wounded slightly and exhausted.  All we know of her ordeal is that she was rescued from imprisonment in Ogdensburg by our gallant militia men and the soldiers who carried out a surprise attack on that town and its armories on February 22.  Our brave commander, “Red George” MacDonnell, defied the orders of Sir Prevost, and led our men across the frozen St. Lawrence under the cover of darkness.  How Adeline got to Ogdensburg and what happened there will have to wait until she tells us.  At the moment, all she can do is sleep and recover, with us tenderly watching over her. 

Cpl.  Houghton has been most anxiously waiting an opportunity to speak to her and, as he was greatly involved in her rescue, Father and Mother can hardly refuse him.  Father also is recovering from a head wound he received when an American soldier hit him with his rifle butt.  William, thank the Lord, has suffered no more than frostbite to one of his toes and has returned to duty at the fort.  

Sir Prevost is, of course, taking full credit for the raid on Ogdensburg, even though Red George went totally against orders to carry it out.  More about that much later.  I must hurry now and see to Adeline’s comfort before bedtime.  Thank God, all are well.


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