I went to Charles’ grave in the orchard today and told him that I plan to send our boys to England to protect them.It will be an arduous journey and I am anxious whether I am risking their lives more by the voyage or if I were to keep them here with me.When I told Evvy my decision she was horrified and begged me to reconsider, but Mr. O’Meara’s visit has reinforced my decision though it breaks my heart. I have told my parents and they too, tried to dissuade me, but I am certain Charlie and Andrew must be protected from harm.
Father has sent word to all our neighbours north of Johnstown to be alert for any sign of a stranger.The Randalls and the Branch family have promised to come to our defence, but everyone is haying now.This is the beginning of our busiest time and none can be spared to watch over us. I keep as busy as I can making meals for the men and watching my two little ones.I am storing up memories and Evvy has not stopped her attempts to change my mind.I plan to send word to Persephone as soon as possible …
Thursday, July 20, 1815
Adeline is very ill.She felt illearly yesterday and took to her bed with a raging fever.Mrs. Randall was summoned and has been at her side all night.I have been looking after Charlie and Andrew, but they are constantly calling for their Mamma.I don’t dare let them see her for fear they might get sick also and they need to be in good health for their trip to England.
I know my sister is afraid they are
in grave danger here, but I fear the ocean voyage might be much more of a trial. They need their mother.Robert drove his mother here and stayed to keep the boys amused while I tend to the meals.I think he is more concerned about my sister’s health.It is very plain to see how much regard he has for Addie.Father and William carried Addie over to the cabin so that the rest of us will remain healthy.I know that Mother is anxious because she is humming hymns while she works.
Hector stopped by today, but understood immediately I had no thought in my head but of Addie.He is the most considerate of men.He promised to take a message to Everett and his sister if I wished, but although I know Addie wants to tell Persephone that she has decided to give the children up to her, I am praying it shan’t be required.
Now, I must take some broth over to Mrs. Randall and Adeline.I do hope there has been some change in her health.
Later: Father has sent William to Fort Wellington for the army doctor.Adeline is delirious and Mrs. Randall is very worried.
Lady Persephone Norris has informed her brother, Captain Houghton, that she intends to sail for England by August 1.She did not feel it necessary to return to Thistledown Farm, but wishes to give me time to make my decision without any undue influence on her part.I appreciate her delicacy of feeling, however it worries me that my children won’t have met her before sailing away in her company.
All this was conveyed to us when Capt.Houghton came to visit Evvy on Friday last.It was obvious the true intention of his visit was to woo my sweet sister.Unfortunately for him, Hector had come earlier and had taken Evvy and Henry to the Randalls in his cart.
Evvy will need to make her preference known shortly or the two men in question may come to blows.Everett stayed for tea with mother only as long as polite society requires and left us quite out of sorts.
We had another visitor today.Mr. O’Meara, Arthur’s father-in-law, drove into our yard in his ramshackle wagon, almost overturning my laundry tub and crashing into our garden fence.Of course, he was not in a clear state of mind.He was drunk and slurring his speech.He practically fell out of his wagon and immediately had to be helped up by Father and William.
“Where’s my grandson?” he demanded.
“Where has my good for nothin’ son-in-law taken him? Why ain’t I seen the lad in weeks?”
In consideration of the poor treatment his daughter Kathleen received at the hands of her father and brothers, I was not shocked to hear that Arthur was limiting the familiarity of his infant son with his O’Meara relatives.Had I not been acquainted with other more amiable people of their fair land, I might have formed a very jaundiced opinion of their kind.Today, Mr. O’Meara was not the best representation of their considerable charms.He wore his shabbiest breeches and his homespun shirt was in filthy tatters.I felt some compassion for his situation, but knew his only sorrow at the passing of his daughter was for the many services she had rendered.
Needless to say, we were not able to answer O’Meara’s questions other than to remind him that Adam was in his father’s care and would come to no harm. This reassurance did not placate him at all.
“I know me rights,” he slurred, “ and I want to see me grandson, afore I quit this place.”
“Now O’Meara, when and where are you planning to go?” asked William. “Surely you won’t abandon your home and property.”
“Weesht,and I’ll do what I like, I will.Me son Darnell will give me a home.There’s nothin’ here for me now, no wife nor daughter to give me comfort. Little Adam should be with his kin, not a gormless, limbless pa.”
“Now O’Meara, you are in your cups and making no sense at all,”said my Father.“Go home and sleep this off.We will tell Arthur you wish to speak to him, but I warn you, he shan’t see you if you are three sheets to the wind.”
William and Father put O’Meara back in his wagon, William took the reins and put them in his hand.O’Meara looked down from the wagon blearily, and said , “Hold yer horses, Price.I ain’t done all I came to do.”
O’ Meara scratched his head and then added, “Liam and Seamus have quit this side, but ye best beware of Jake Bourke.”
I just froze! With that warning he drove his horses out of sight.
Adeline is the young mother of twin boys born after the murder of her husband, Sgt. Charles Houghton, a member of the English infantry, stationed at Fort Wellington in Prescott (Upper Canada). Before she was married she was abducted by American spies and taken across the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburg. In order to escape she wounded one of her captors, Jake Bourke. Bourke has sworn to get his revenge and in doing so murdered her husband, and burned her home. He was captured and sent to Brockville to face trial but, escaped with the help of two of his confreres.
Sunday, May 21, 1815
I have not had two minutes together to write a line, until today.Both my babies were sick with croup after my last entry and as soon as they recovered we were busy preparing the garden.Planting will begin as soon as the evenings are warmer.We have a much shorter growing season here in Upper Canada than we had in England.Evvy and I spent a number of days hoeing, digging and pulling up weeds.It will be wonderful to have fresh vegetables again.
Charlie and Andrew are growing stronger, getting sturdier and more curious.I have to watch them every minute.Andrew is especially mischievous and manages to get himself into more scrapes now that he is walking.Charlie is still creeping mostly, but he is trying to copy his brother in every way, so it won’t be long before he is tottering around after Andrew.
Robert hasn’t visited us since that awful day he came to tell me about Bourke.Hehas stopped by to see father and Henry once or twice, but whenever I approach he makes an excuse to leave.I must admit it wounds me and the children miss his visits.Mother and Father have not mentioned this to me, but Evvy has.Evvy says that Robert, Henry and William have taken turns scouting the woods each night for fear of Bourke.
Truly Janetta, I have nightmares about Bourke.One night, I dreamt Bourke had snatched my babies from their cradles and I woke up screaming. Mother and Evvy came running over from the main house with Father, armed with the flintlock pistol he’d confiscated in Ogdensburg.The babies were frightened too.I felt so foolish for letting my fears get the best of me but my babies are my dearest treasures.I am wrestling with the idea of sending them to England where they will be safer.Persephone Houghton Norris wrote to usin April to say that she would be arriving in Prescott in early June if the tides are in her favour.I must make a decision before then.
Sunday, June 18, 1815
Persephone arrived in Prescott three days ago.Her brother, Everett reported that she found the travel by durham boat extremely tiring and “primitive”, but “she is a game girl” (his words) and is bearing up well.She has not as yet visited us but is purchasing “suitable bush clothing” in Ogdensburg.Evvy says that she must be planning on heavy linen from head to foot.If so she will find it serviceable but much too warm.Evidently, she is traveling with a maid and a children’s nanny. I am trying to wean the boys to a cup for the journey, but they only turned one year old yesterday and have no interest in tin cups.Or, perhaps, I simply am not insisting as the days of departure draw closer.Oh how can I give up my sweet loves?They are so affectionate and loving.They are my only tie to Charles.I cannot bear the thought of losing them and yet…what if Bourke were to harm them?
Nothing has been heard or seen of Bourke, or the O’Meara brothers since they killed his guards and released him from the shackles.William thinks they are laying low over the American side of the St. Lawrence until most of the soldiers have left the Fort.I haven’t any confidence that Bourke has given up his planned revenge and I don’t sleep well.
Robert’s brother, Arthur, has returned from America much to the relief of the Randall family.He was reportedly recovering across the river from wounds he sustained in New Orleans. Janetta, I am glad he has returned and now he will be able to look after his son, Adam. Adam is just a few weeks younger than Charlie and Andrew, but seeing them play together, you would think they were all brothers.
Sunday, June 25, 2015
Lady Persephone Norris came calling on Friday with her brother, Captain Houghton.He, most certainly, had an ulterior motive, that of visiting Miss Eveline Price with the sweet temperament and the mishievous dimples.Lady Persephone is not what I’d expected.She is quite practical and gracious.She brought them warm knitted leggings and jackets which will fit them well in the fall.Perhaps she intended them to keep them warm on the voyage to England, but I just cannot bear that thought at the moment.She remarked that in England all children wear frocks until boys are old enough to be put into short trousers, but she felt pioneering required more serviceable clothes.“Serviceable” is the word of which she is most fond.Persephone seems anxious to begin our acquaintanceship on friendly terms and she confided in me she felt oddly conflicted about the mission with which she has been entrusted.
“I think children should be with their parents,” she told me. “That is why I have employed an excellent tutor who boards with us. I want my two girls to know proper deportment, how to carry on an intelligent conversation and how to keep their own account books.Half the problems in society today are caused by foolish unnecessary expenditures for fripperies. Don’t you agree, my dear Adeline?”
Before I had a chance to answer, Persephone had changed the topic of conversation to how brave I am to bear up under the grief of losing the comfort of a loving companion and helpmate.She proceeded to tell me some of her fondest memories of Charles as a little boy, how he loved apples, climbing trees, reading poetry and playing with his constant companion, his dog , Plato.She reminisced about Charles’ desire to see the colonies and how he joined the infantry when he was just 16, barely out of short trousers in her opinion. Although she was three years his elder, she and Charles were evidently close confidants until she got married.
When I offered to go and get the boys up from their nap, she kindly declined the offersaying that she would return later in the week Lady Persephone wears a silver locket with the golden curls of her children in it.She told me her girls, Isolde and Camille, are four and five years of age.
“It pains me to be away from them for any time,” she sighed, “so I can imagine how hard this decision will be for you.All I can tell you is that Issy and Cammy are looking forward to having a brother or brothers to share their nursery.My husband is longing for a son to educate and introduce into society.We will honour whatever your decision will be, but be assured my father will provide an excellent education for his grandsons.”
My distress must have been apparent for Lady Persephone squeezed my hands before she left for Prescott in the wagon with her brother.
Mother gave me a hug and said “Goodness, Lady Norris is a veritable whirlwind talker!She wears no frills and furbelows, I’ll give her that and she speaks quite plainly.I hope she didn’t upset you, Addie.”
My eyes were swimming with tears.I just shook my head and cleared the tea things off the table. My head and heart were whirling.They still are.Whatever will I do, Janetta?
A fictional journal of the War of 1812 as it might have been experienced by a young woman in Upper Canada near Ft.Wellington.
Saturday, November 14, 1814
Robert and his mother visited us to bring us our mail and so that Regina could see how my two sons are progressing. Charlie and Andrew are making attempts to sit up now and are reaching out for anything within their view. They both smile and coo at us and are good natured most of the time. Charlie tends to be more adventuresome, but Andrew who is quite a mimic, seems to be watching whatever we say and trying to repeat it. They both enjoy our walks and are growing so fast they will soon need new beds. Father was thinking of constructing a trundle bed with a bit of a railing and has begun to look for some nice maple from which to construct it.
There was a rather unpleasant surprise in our mail.Charles’ father had written another letter to me personally.It acknowledged my exoneration in the death of my husband, but offered no apology.This is the rest of what he wrote:
“My son, Charles’ brother, Everett, informed me that you have two children whom you claim to be Charles’ progeny.If they are indeed his, I would naturally wish to see them and feel an obligation to provide them with a proper upbringing here in England.Please be advised that this is not an opportunity for you to make any claim of inheritance for them, or a pension for yourself.I would simply give them a home, healthy food and a good education so that they might find employment in the army or in the clergy and acquit themselves as any honourable Houghton sons would.You may think on this subject until the spring, at which time my daughter Persephone will travel to Canada to fetch them.”
Well, you might guess my reply.No one will take my sons from me.No one.
A fictional account of a young woman’s experiences in Upper Canada during the war of 1812.
Saturday, Sept. 4, 1814
Our little cold cellar is so full of vegetables now, I doubt I could hide even one child in there.It has been an extraordinary year for root vegetables and mother is exhausted from making jams and pickled vegetables.Evvy and I are tired of picking them.Father and William have been busy bringing in the grain harvest and our corn crib is well filled.
There has been no sign of Bourke thank goodness, but Father has set Henry on guard whenever Mother and Evvy have to help in the fields.White Wolf followed Bourke’s tracks to the place where Bourke and the O’Meara’s crossed over to Ogdensburgso he has eluded capture once again by crossing the river.
Sept. 18, 1814
Father and I were summoned to Fort Wellington yesterday and so I went with my babes bundled up.I didn’t know what to expect as we were led to believe that the message engraved on the cabin door had exonerated me from all suspicion in the death of Charles. The fort is still under construction so there was the constant sounds of sawing and hammering while we were there. There is also great preparation for winter going on and many of the men who live outside the stockade have been making their shacks more winter-proof as they know now how cold a Canadian winter can be. The woodpile is stacked high within the stockade and army wives are keeping busy knitting warm socks, hats and mitts for the men as I have for my boys.
While at the fort, I received a most alarming shock.At first I heard his voice and turned my head to see a slightly shorter version of my dear Charles.He was standing by the window of the commander’s office talking to some of the soldiers outside and his voice was eerily like his brother’s.They were discussing a recent report of the activities of Major-General Ross and Rear-Admiral Cockburn who had taken a small force and attacked a much larger American force which they defeated.Evidently, Charles‘ older brother, whom I deduced this almost double was, had been in the force that had taken Washington and burnedseveral buildings there, one of which was the presidential residence.
“It was quite astonishing, really,” I heard him say, “the table was all set for a diplomatic banquet and so we felt quite touched that Mrs. Dolly Madison had prepared such a pleasant feast for our enjoyment.”
The men outside guffawed quite heartily at the thought of the invading army sitting down to dinner before burning the place.
“Sadly, we were unable to thank our hostess,” he added, “ as she had fled the premises.”
I confess at that moment I greatly sympathized with Mrs. Madison. I too had lost my home and all my possessions to a fire started by my enemy.
There was more genial laughter and at that point the commanding officer entered the room.
Father had pulled up a chair for me and I sat there with Charlie in my arms.Father was holding Andrew and rocking a bit on his feet.
The Lt. Colonel cleared his throat and the Captain straightened his uniform and saluted.At that point he suddenly seemed to notice me.I must admit, I was staring at him.He looked so much like his brother, although his hair was brown and his mustache was thicker.
The fort’s commander addressed us.
“Widow Houghton and Lt. Price, thank you for coming today.I wanted to inform you of the state of affairs concerning the death ofSgt. Houghton.” He turned to Captain Houghton and made the polite introductions.Captain Houghton made a curt bow.
“I have here a letter for your father, Captain, in which I have included a fair copy of Constable Breton’s report in which he completely exonerates Mrs. Houghton of any part in her husband’s murder.Constable Breton is presently following other lines of inquiry.”
“Lt. General Pearson, I appreciate your attention to this matter,” declared Captain Houghton, “ but having read the report myself,
I rather doubt that my father will be satisfied with the constable’s conclusions.Some scratchings on a door and a home that has conveniently burned to the ground is hardly proof of innocence.I would think it is, rather, a feeble attempt concocted to avert suspicion from the true culprit.”
I began to open my mouth when my father leapt to my defence.
“Excuse me Captain,” he said thrusting Andrew into my arms and stepping forward to face Captain Houghton, “are you implying that somehow we set fire to my daughter’s home to convince the constable of her innocence?”
“I am simply stating, sir, that I did not find the report credible.I do not believe every effort has been made to apprehend Charles’ murderer and I do not believe my father will be any more persuaded than I.”
“ My daughter, Captain Houghton, has been deprived of a husband and a father for her children.She has been deprived of her home and of any income.She has made no demands of Charles’ family, other than the respect due her position as his widow.Her mother and I are now her sole support.If you dare to think that we have had any part in this tragic situation you lack the intelligence that a gentleman of your education and background should have.”
The captain began to protest and my father interrupted him.
“Thank you for your report, Lt. General Pearson.My daughter and I will be leaving now and we wish no further communication from the Houghton family of any sort. Good-day.”
And so we left Ft. Wellington, without the intended visit to see Col. Jessup.Father was too angry to speak as he drove our cart home but he squeezed my hand tightly as we drove back through the dusk.My heart was pounding and my throat hurt from holding back the tears.
A fictional account of the War of 1812 as told through the journals of a young woman, Adeline Price.
Sunday, August 7, 1814
We have had no news of the war beyond an awful battle in a place called Lundy’s Lane, not far from the huge waterfall on the Niagara River.Hundreds of men lost their lives there when forces with the British army commander, Lieutenant-General Gordon Drummond, were attacked at the supper hour.William, who brought us this news from Fort Wellington, said that in the dark it must have been very difficult to tell one’s friends from foes.I asked William if there was any word about Robert or White Wolf, but there was not.All we can do is pray that they will return safely.
As for Bourke, thankfully no one has seen him or anyone of his description on this side of the St. Lawrence.Even so, Father and Henry keep the muskets beside them.
I had so hoped to have my sons back in our own home by now, but Blueberry Creek Farm still lies in ashes and I suppose we won’t see it until next summer.Oh how, I wish this ugly war was done and all of us living peaceful lives as we were before.
Sunday,August 14, 1814
We took the babes to Johnstown in the wagon yesterday to have them Christened by the Reverend Bethune.I dressed them in their best baby robes and Mother gave me two of her shawls to wrap them in.They slept during the drive there and woke up wailing, so I had to nurse them before we went to the reverend’s place of residence.
Elizabeth and William are the boy’s Godparents.The boys were Christened AndrewJames and Charles William. Andy and Charlie were very quiet during the Christening and I felt so proud of my little sons.
Afterwards we drove back home and had a late supper of garden vegetables and one of the old hens that Evvy had stewed with onions.I was very relieved that nothing untoward had happened because it is the first time we had ventured away from the farm with my babes.I did notice that Father had taken his musket and so had William.Thankfully, they were not necessary.
Tuesday, August 16, 1814
I had a terrible shock in the earliest hours before dawn.We were awakened by a musket shot which seemed to be right outside our bedchamber. Father bolted down the stairs with his musket in hand and Henry hot on his heels, but much to our relief it was Arthur Randall, who, unknown to us, was keeping an eye on the farm for his brother, Robert.
Arthur apologized for frightening us, but he had spied a fox creeping into the hen house and had speedily dispatched the thief.Father thanked him and Mother made him a warm breakfast before he set out for his own home at the O”Meara’s.
Father says that the fox tail will make a handsome collar for mother’s winter coat and the rest of the pelt might make smart warm booties for the twins.It was kind of Arthur to keep watch but, perhaps it is unnecessary as no doubt Bourke has had enough revenge.I voiced that opinion,but Father said he was keeping his musket by his side, nonetheless and Mother nodded her head.
“Don’t forget for a moment, Addie, we are still at war.”Henry piped up and Evvy squeezed my hand.
My heart sank when I considered the dangerous world into which I had brought my sons.I wonder if things are as worrisome in dear old England.
Keeping you in prayer,
Tuesday, August 30, 1814
Today should have been a beautiful summer’s day.Theweather was perfect, warm with a gentle breeze ruffling the grass and trees.The sky was pale blue with just a skiff of white cloud and as the rest of the family was out harvesting the furthest oat field, I was left at the house to look after the twins.I dressed them in their tiny lawn night shirts, nursed them and tucked them into their cradles under the shady maple near the well. Pirate wanted to go with Henry, Father, William, Mother and Evvy, but Father told him to stay with me and so he went to lay down and sulk between the two cradles.
Pirate has become an excellent watch dog now that he is almost fully grown.He dotes on the twins and is very proprietory.I therefore felt that it was an excellent opportunity to do some harvesting of the bounty of our garden.I took my reed basket and the musket Father had left for me and settled myself down between the rows of carrots and beans.
Now the garden has already produced many baskets of turnips, potatoes and beets which we have stored in the root cellar Father and William built on the garden side of our stone house.They dug it deep enough so that Father can stand upright in it.They lined it with stones and set down a flagstone floor and fashioned a wooden plank door for it to keep out the snow.Then Henry and Father made some shelves on two walls and a place for wooden barrels set on cedar fence rails to keep them off the floor.Mother put up crocks of wonderful currant and wild berry jams.The black berry, raspberry and wildstrawberries have been abundant this year. Evvy made jam herself from blueberries she harvested at my farm, which isn’t much now without a cabin.
I never thought it would ever be used for anything but produce.As I was working away filling my basket, the sun got warmer and I took off my straw bonnet to wipe my brow.I noticed that Pirate was standing up, the hair on the back of his neck straight up and he was growling.My skin began to prickle, though I was unable to see anything to disturb him.
I listened carefully and thought I heard far-off hoof beats coming in our direction.It might be White Wolf and Robert Randall returning from the battlefront but they wouldn’t approach without hailing us. I knew it couldn’t be anyone else as the harvesting was to go on all day and it was barely noon. Mother had prepared a lunch to take with them.
As well, I knew that Pirate would not growl at Arthur or any of the Randalls.
I had to protect the children. I ran over and snatched them out of their cradles and dashed to the house but midway there, I changed my mind.The house would be the first place anyone would look.I went instead to the root cellar, lifted up the door and scooted down the steps after sending Pirate to get Henry.I hoped he would understand and he seemed to ashe ran off into the woods.I closed the door again and peered out a small knothole that father intended to fill.
It wasn’t long before I could hear a horse snorting and the swishing sound of someone dragging something through the long grass around the house.I peered out the knothole once more hoping to see a familiar figure.The figure I finally saw was familiar but not in a good way.The man’s back was turned but I could tell that the green military jacket he wore had no longer the appearance of care.It was missing trim and had a bedraggled hem needing patches.The hair was long and tied with a dirty ribband in a style long out of fashion.The beard was unkempt and his buckskin breeches were in sore need of cleaning.When he finally looked in my direction, my breath caught in my throat.It was Bourke, the same Bourke who had kidnapped me and menaced my life.It was the man who murdered my husband.
“I knows yer here, Adeline.I knows yer hide’n but yer ain’t goin ter get away this time.I got yer man and I will get yer.”
At that very moment Charlie began to stir and complain. Immediately, Bourke looked in our direction and it seemed my heart stopped beating. How would I protect my children?It was at that moment that I realized with horror that the musket was in the garden with my basket of vegetables.
“Hide’n in the root cellar I see! Clever gal!Very clever, but not enought to fool Jacob Bourke.Oh no…”
I needed a weapon, anything. While he was talkingI went back down the steps and kicked a basket of onions over with my foot.Onions went rolling all over the root cellar floor.I put the twins wrapped in thin blankets into the righted basket and pushed it behind one of the barrels.Then I felt along the floor for a cedar stave to use to trip Bourke down the stairs or beat him.
The door above me began to open and I attempted to shrink further back into the shadows.Suddenly, I could hear Pirate barking from afar and voices shouting.The door slammed shut.
“Damn all, someone’s comin’” hissed Bourke, “Yer saved this time, but I’ll be back.Yer goin’ to pay, Oh yes.”
I could hear Bourke limping away and then the sound of hoofbeats as he fled.Pirate was barking loudly now and growling with a fierceness he’d never had before.I thought Bourke would be far away now, but I heard musket shots and decided to stay where I was until I knew who was in the yard.There were more shouts and I recognized a familiar voice.
“Adeline, are you safe?Addie, O God, why don’t you answer?If Bourke has touched one hair of your head or hurt the babies I will make him pay.”
I snatched up the basket with my two wailing babes and stumbled out of the root cellar.Robert darted forward and pulled Andrew wriggling and crying, out of the basket. He looked him all over, hugged him and handed him to me saying,”there there, little
fellow, here’s Mama.”Then he lifted Charlie out and I followed him into the house.WhiteWolf, inscrutable as ever, reloaded his musket, mounted his horse and rode away following the tracks left by Bourke’s mare. Not long after, Father, William and Henry came on the run after hearing musket shots and Pirate’s barking.
“Father, Robert and White Wolf saved our lives,” I gasped and I recounted to him as best I could, the morning’s narrow escape.
“I am very grateful to Robert and White Wolf for rescuing you, Daughter, but I think it was very brave of you to hide in the root cellar.I shall contrive a way to lock the door from the inside should you ever need protection there again.”
Mother and Evvy were horrified,when they returned on the run, to learn about my ordeal, but relieved to know that we were safe and well.
It wasn’t until he was assured that we were out of danger that Robert returned home to his parents.I knew how grateful they would be to have their son home whole and hale.At the same time, I was very grateful to God thatRobert and White Wolf had chosen to return at that time.
I am so frightened of this horrible person that I cannot sleep, but the candle is guttering.I need to sleep for the babes arise in the “wee hours” as Mrs. Randall would say.
Goodnight dear friend,
Wednesday, August 31, 1814
In all the drama of yesterday, I never enquired about the war in the Niagara River area where Robert and White Wolf had been.Father today informed us that Robert was recovering from a bayonet wound that White Wolf had been tending since the Battle of Lundy Lane.I am glad our good friend is now home to recuperate.
(a fictional account of the War of 1812 as recorded in Adeline Price’s Journal that she addresses as Janetta in memory of her friend in England)
Sunday, March 13, 1814
The icicles on the eaves are beginning to melt and I am looking forward to the day I can return to Blueberry Creek.William has promised to take me back as soon as he has finished felling the trees he needs to replenish their woodpile, but perhaps I will ask Robert.I know that I will not be settling there until after my little one is born, but I worry about our cabin and wonder if there need to be any repairs.Squirrels may have made nests in the chimney, although Arthur stops by with his wife now and thento warm the place up with a fire.Father suggested that I should rent the cabin to Arthur and stay here for the first year after my baby is born.I know it would be a practical decision, but I can’t bear to think of anyone else living in our home longer than Charles and I did together.
I have been knitting baby things with the lovely wool from my sister-in-law’s family farm.Mother has been working with her spindle and loom since January and Evvy and I have produced warm socks for Father and Henry, mittens and even vests.I have also made a pile of tiny booties, vests and even a wee coat for the baby.Mrs. Randall thinks that the baby will be born in early May.I have a sheep skin to put in the cradle for warmth over the small straw tick and a soft woolen blanket Mother made on the loom.I have talked to Elizabeth’s father about buying a ram and a ewe from him when I move back to Blueberry Creek and he has promised me two of this year’s lambs to raise for that purpose.I shall need to learn how to shear them, but it will be good to know that my baby will have warm clothes. I wonder will he or she have my coppery hair or Charles’ straw coloured curls. I spend many moments dreaming of this.
Mother’s latest letter from home mentioned that you were expecting also, Janetta.I wonder will our children ever meet one day.
Saturday, March 19, 1814
Mother’s cat, Aesop, just dropped two mice at my feet.Henry scooped them up by the tails and took them outside for the kittens.Aesop is a great mouser, but not such a thoughtful father.Aesop is our house cat and his mate “Arabelle” lives in the barn with her six kittens.I have my eye on one of the kittens, a pretty marmalade kitty, to take home with me for a house cat.Aesop was one of Mrs. Randall’s cats she sent over a couple of years ago for a pet for Victoria, but he became Mother’s cat when Victoria died.Cats are as necessary here as they are in England.We ‘d get a lot of field mice in our flour and seeds if we didn’t have them.
Pirate doesn’t chase mice, but Henry and Father have been taking him hunting with them and they say that he is learning to flush out the grouse and pheasants even though he is not a bird dog.He sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed every night and growls when the wind or the coyotes howl.He doesn’t leave my side unless Henry whistles for him.Oh how I wish he could speak.I’m sure he saw the coward who killed my husband. I wish I was a man so I could track the villain down.
I am growing larger every day. This little fellow (I am sure its a boy) is very active.Mrs Randall is fairly “flummoxed” as she put it, to see how much the baby had increased.Mother was concerned that I was gaining weight too quickly, and wondered if we should get the doctor at the fort to examine me, but Ann, she insists that I call her by her Christian name now, spluttered that doctors know nothing about birthing, only sawing off limbs and bleeding patients.
Arthur and his wife are going to have a child soon too.Ann has concerns about Kathleen’s health.Kathleen was the youngest of six children, and frankly neglected by her only living parent.Her five brothers got properly spoiled and she grew up to be a live-in servant.
Now, I must crawl into bed.The candle is guttering.
God bless you,
Sunday,April 10, 1814
Father got a letter from Constable Isaiah Breton informing him that as I am under suspicion for the murder of my husband, he is required by Magistrate Sherwood to conduct a proper investigation, beginning with my questioning and a trip back to Blueberry Creek Farm to see the lay of the land so that he may “visualize” the crime.Father got angrier with every word and Mother was crying.A nasty shiver went down my spine and I felt immediately ill.Father is wondering if we should hire a solicitor from Kingston, but we don’t have the funds for that.I know, because I am the one who does Father’s accounts.Oh, what a calamity I have visited on my family and tomorrow we bury my dear Charles.
The following excerpt is from the diary of Eveline Price (Adeline’s sister).
Wednesday, November 17
This has been a very somber day for our family. We had the unhappy duty of burying my brother-in-law, Charles, who was murdered by persons as yet unknown, while tending to his animals on Monday last. Addie is beside herself with grief and none of us can understand how someone so well-liked could come through a major battle unscathed only to be cut down yards away from his cabin door. William, Robert Randall and White Wolf are scouring the forest for whatever coward saw fit to shoot my dear brother-in-law in the back.
Addie was writing in her journal when it occurred and the shot startled her. She immediately ran out to the lean-to in time to see Charles attempting to crawl to the cabin. She told us that he managed to say,” Sorry, Addie” and then died in her arms. At first, she didn’t completely take in what had happened. Then, she , in a daze, saddled her horse, Goldie, and rode all the way to the O’Meara’s where she found Arthur. Arthur said she was hysterical, but he and his wife, made her tea and heard the story. Then he went to get Robert and Mr. Randall, who drove the wagon to Blueberry Creek for the body.
I was setting the table for supper when Father, as pale as the snow, came rushing in to tell us that Mr. Randall had arrived with Charles’ body. He said that Robert and Arthur were not far behind with Adeline. Mother immediately sent Henry to fetch William.
Adeline is inconsolable, but Mother says that it is best that she cry now. I know that she is trying not to upset us, but she cried herself to sleep beside me last night and when I woke up her cheeks were wet. My heart aches for her. She didn’t want anything to eat, but I pressed her to at least have some toast and tea. She ate it and then immediately fled to the outhouse. I suppose that is to be expected under the circumstances.
November 24, 1813
I have been Mrs. Charles Houghton for such a short time and now….now I am a widow. I can hardly write this, but mother thinks it might help me. I must apologize for all the smudges. The tears come on me unbidden. I am trying to keep busy, but I break down so often, I’m of little use. The funeral was very brief – it is winter. In the spring we will bury Charles in the orchard beside Uncle Andrew and dear little Virginia. Mr. Randall built a good coffin and we lined it with my wedding dress , I could never wear it again. Father is preparing a fine field stone memorial with his initials and the date. I have tried to write his parents, but how do I write such awful news to people I’ve never met, people who have never even acknowledged our marriage?
Everyone has been very kind, although I did have to answer a lot of questions from the Lt. Colonel because Charles was murdered. I am so fortunate that my family is known and respected, because I have no witnesses and Charles….was shot in the back. Such a cowardly act! I keep thinking, that if only I had gone to look after the animals as usual, Charles might still be alive.
Last night, after Evvy fell asleep, Mother came upstairs and sat beside me on the bed. She held me in her arms and whispered that she had hoped that I would never have to suffer such a terrible loss so young. Then we both cried.
From now on I shall take my tears outside. I don’t wish to add my grief to what Mother bears already. Somehow, I must gather myself together and carry on. I have a farm to manage and animals for which to care. Father wants me to stay here for the winter…I’m not sure. Robert and Arthur have vowed to find the villain, but all I can remember of that terrible day is the sound of the musket and Pirate barking.
A fictional journal as it might have been written by a young woman in Grenville County during the War of 1812.
Blueberry Creek Farm Saturday, November 13, 1813
William rode in to visit me today. There was solemn news of a huge battle at Mr. Crysler’s farm many miles east of here along the St. Lawrence shore. William said that he had reported that he, Charles and White Wolf had seen the American gunboats approaching and that Lt. Duncan Clark had warned the settlers along the river shore. The weather has been a miserable mixture of snow and sleet, not the best for a battle, but the Americans have been harassing the ships and boats on the river for some time, so an attack was expected.
First of all, William relieved my mind about Charles, Father, And the Randalls. All of them got through the battle without major wounds, thank the Lord, but sadly, Charles’ friend, John Thompson, was killed instantly right beside Arthur Randall in the last skirmish. The Americans had been hit hard and seemed to be retreating, although our soldiers were greatly outnumbered. Suddenly, one company wheeled round and began advancing towards our men. Our troops led by Lt. Colonel Morrison and Major Heriot fought very valiantly and in the melee John was killed and Arthur wounded in his left hand. The doctor was able to remove the bullet and bind it. The settler women nearby were helping to find the wounded and aid the doctor.
I was thrilled to hear of how bravely our young men acted along beside the professional soldiers and I was grateful to William for coming to let me know that my dear Charles was still hale. The militia is pursuing the Americans, but I am trying not to be too concerned. I am keeping myself busy while I wait for Charles to return. I have completely cleaned our cabin, shaken out all our blankets, quits and coverlets and I have made some drapery for around our bed out of two old quilts mother gave me. They will help keep out the cold. I filled our kindling box, trapped some rabbits just like Father taught Henry and me. I’m glad Father taught us how to snare partridge and grouse too, as I don’t think I could shoot well enough to bring down anything as large as a deer or even manage to drag it back home through the woods. Besides, musket balls are scarce now. I must save them for the stray lynx, fox or bobcat that might try stealing our few chickens.
William didn’t stay long as he was anxious to see Elizabeth. Her time is getting close. Their baby is to be born in December. I do hope all will go well. However, I could tell from Williams face, when he first arrived that the battle must have been horrible. He had promised Charles he would stop by. I shall keep myself very busy as it helps the time pass and I will do less fretting. I hope Charles returns home soon.
I was hoping that William might have a letter from Charles’ parents in England. We have been expecting one as Charles has written them about our wedding. I expect it has been delayed by the war against Napoleon or perhaps the mail was seized by the Americans. I did hope to have good news to tell my dearest. I miss him so and I won’t be truly happy until I see him here by our hearth.
Blueberry Creek FarmMonday, November 15, 1813
Heaven be praised! Charles returned home today. Pirate and I ran out to meet him through the wet snow and I could hardly let go of him once he’d dismounted. He looked so very weary. I could see that the battle had taken a toll on his spirits and his body. He stabled his horse and I got to work preparing a hot luncheon. We had the two rabbits I had snared in a good stew with some of the root vegetables from Thistledown Farm. I made a batch of biscuits and for the final course we had blueberry bread pudding. Charles declared himself well satisfied and we sat for awhile drinking hot tea while he described the battle. He said that although our men were outnumbered by the Americans, clever planning by our commanding officers and the help of the Indian warriors like White Wolf and his people turned the tide in our favour. He also said that the American army had tried to attack Montreal in Lower Canada but had been repulsed at Chậteauguay at the end of October so perhaps they know now that we are not to be easily conquered.
“Oh Addie, ” he said,”the fighting was so fierce and in all the smoke and cannon fire it was hard to tell who had the upper hand at Crysler’s farm. I can’t describe the sights and sounds, they were terrible. Young men moved down, enemy or our own, all cut down by deadly fire. There were screams, moaning, some men crying for water or their mothers or sweethearts. Poor John, I thought we would both return home unscarred, but then at the final volley from the enemy, he was done. Thank the Lord it was swift. He didn’t linger. A lot of our comrades lost legs or arms. We must pray that they recover. Some will not.”
Charles sat in silence a long while squeezing my hand. I cried for both of us.
Now Charles and Pirate have gone out to check on the animals and bring in some………
At this point the journal trails off into a sharp downward stroke of the pen and an ink blot as if the pen had been dropped.
A fictional account of a young woman’s life during the War of 1812.
The story up to this point:
Adeline’s Uncle Andrew was awarded land in Upper Canada after serving in the His Majesty’s army during the American Revolution. When her uncle died his much younger brother, James Price, Adeline’s father inherited the land and moved his family from their home in England to Canada. Adeline has an older brother, William, a younger brother, Henry and a sister, Eveline. Their youngest sister, Virginia, died when she was three years old. William recently married Elizabeth whom he was courting just before the war began. James and William joined the local militia and reported for duty to Fort Wellington in Prescott. While William and James were away, Henry and Adeline were checking on their brother’s property and Adeline happened on a rendezvous of an American spy and two of their neighbours. Adeline was kidnapped by these three men and taken across the frozen St. Lawrence to Ogdensburgh. She was rescued when the English army attacked the town. After recovering from her adventure, Adeline has received and accepted a proposal from Sgt. Charles Houghton, an English soldier stationed at Ft. Wellington.
Sunday, August 15, 1813
Oh how I wish I could truly talk to you face to face, Janetta. Mother’s last letter from Grandmother Price said that you were married to a magistrate and living in Bath. How grand! Now you are addressed as Mrs. Janetta Poole-Hasham and travel about in style visiting friends. How things have changed for both of us. I am so happy for you. I wonder if you will learn about my marriage. As the day grows closer, I can think of nothing else, although I must admit that the harvesting and sewing have me quite exhausted. I tried on my wedding outfit yesterday and it is quite handsome. Mother and Evvy are so clever with their sewing. All I can manae are some passable darns and servicable knitted stockings. Ah well, we are not to covet the talents of others.
Today has been a strange day, beginning with an early morning visit from Arthur and his new bride. Yes, I did say bride. Arthur eloped with Kathleen O’Meara, much to his parent’s chagrin, though I think their dismay wasn’t so much about Kathleen’s Irish catholic background as it was about her two brother’s treasonous actions with the enemy. Mind you, they haven’t been heard of since I was rescued from Ogdensburgh.
Arthur and Kathleen are living with old Mr. O’Meara at the moment as he is a widower. Kathleen is just as shy as ever, ducking her head as Arthur introduced her as Mrs. Arthur Randall. Then, just as they were leaving, Arthur turned to me and hissed,” Now, see Adeline, you haven’t hurt or broken my heart at all. Not like you’ve hurt my brother.!”
Honestly, I think Arthur is delusional. I am furious. How dare he insinuate that I gave his brother, Robert, any affection other that of an honest friend! I am convinced that ther is no feeling on Robert’s part, other than brotherly affection so I will give no credence to Arthur’s malevolence. I am truly relieved to know that Arthur will be occupied with things at the fort. Kathleen will be living at home until they find a place closer to Prescott.
The afternoon passed pleasantly enough until the supper hour with it was my chance to put a whole meal upon the table. The pork roast was thoroughly cooked, the vegetables were crisp but, I left the biscuits on the heat too long and they burned on the bottom and didn’t cook on the top. Oh, I despair of ever producing an edible bread for my husband. He will be wishing he’d waited to marry a good English girl with a generous dowry or at least a talent for cookery.