The Premiere of The Kincade Chronicles
This whole idea to do 100 years centered around a family known as Kincade, began over four months ago. This is now my second idea for a mass novel write, the other being, Survival (https://theprose.com/book/2939/survival), completed 15 months ago and like the Kincade Chronicles, will be reposted in one easy to find place. I will post three chapters per week. Whereas, with Survival, I posted each chapter day after day until reaching the end.
We have taken certain liberties with the timeline in history and historic fact. Many factual names you will recognize, and others, perhaps not so much.
But I am very pleased with how, not only how this turned out, but by the creativity of a group of talented writers who gave their all, to see this through to the end.
I want to thank them all here for their support and dedication, as well as perseverance and the time they invested in this project.
First, I want to thank the following three people who also assisted me to insure that we got things right.
Our Resident Historian: ValiantRaptor47.
Our Resident Genealogist: GLD,
And my Assistant Editor.
Where would I be without my second set of eyes
with nightscribbler; checking the double check.
To the rest of the crew who took part in this:
I thank each and every one of you for taking this ride with me. It was an experience I shall not forget.
At the end of each chapter, the writer’s name will be listed so you know who wrote what.
And as I wrote so many months ago, I would ask you to turn the page but in this case, simply scroll down and enjoy the ride with the rest of us.
Like so many others that came across a vast and sometimes horrifying ocean, the ship he sailed with was captured by strong gale winds nearly capsizing the ship. He, like so many others, desperately wanted out from under the King’s wrath. Coming to a place many people called ‘The Americas,’ Randolph Kincade could feel a new world of possibilities opening before his eyes.
The year he arrived was 1783. He was fifty and six at the time. The Revolutionary War had just come to a halt when Great Britain formally recognized the independence of the United States in the Treaty of Paris. It was that signing that told Randolph he was finally free from tyranny. No longer would he have to fear the crazed mind of King George III.
By the spring of 1784, after much hard work and bartering with newly acquired neighbors, a sign proudly displayed above a single door, ‘Kincade’s Mercantile,’ had seen a good rush of customers and the coffers were filling nicely. Peace was the norm of the day in Shackleford, Vermont.
It had been some years later when two well dressed and imposing figures stepped inside his store, asking for pouches of tobacco. One would chew, while the other tamped the tobacco down in his pipe. They introduced themselves to Randolph, names he had never heard of before, but the one doing most of the talking really had a poor grasp of language, which was surprising as he, Thomas Jefferson, in all of his short frame, had written a valuable document. His friend, a rather rotund fellow, had a deep-throated laugh and found merriment from most anything he saw. James Madison was his name. Little did Randolph know he had met two men who would one day lead the Americas. At the time, though, it didn’t matter. Their money spent just as well as anyone else’s.
There had been some gossiping that Vermont might become a state. If that happened, it would mean more people moving to Vermont, and more money for him.
About twenty percent of his business came from the Mohican, Penacook, and the Pochote tribes. They were a friendly sort with their broken English, but the Pochote would frighten the women-folk with their appearance: tattooed markings across their faces, which for them is a badge of honor when in combat or on a great hunt. Still, the women around there stayed clear of them.
When the old year ended at a party hosted by Mayor Samuel Beckwourth, that was the night Randolph met Hope Duckworth, an attractive sort of girl not yet reaching full maturity—after all, she was barely sixteen—and fell blindly, madly, in love with her. He wasn’t alone in his thoughts. Hope saw Randolph as an upstanding, god-fearing businessman who took everyone’s interests to heart. By mid-spring of 1785, with her parents' blessing, Hope and Randolph were married at the Christian Trinity Church.
Within two years they had one son and three daughters. And the truth is, this is where history started being made. Chadwick and Diana (estimated ages: fifteen), were fraternal twins. Chadwick had his father’s unruly brown hair and piercing green eyes, and already nearing six foot and one-hundred-seventy pounds, for one so young, he had an imposing look about him. The following year, Roselyn and Flower, identical twins, (estimated ages: fourteen) would one day uproot themselves and go on their own adventures to see what the world outside of Shackleford, Vermont looked like. All three girls had pale skin like their mother and the brightest blue eyes and yellow-spun hair. Of the three, Diana was the tallest, right at five and six, and the other two stood at five and three. The four saw no future in Shackleford, and as their father had, they wanted to make their own way in the world. It was one trait they all had of their father’s—stubbornness.
Randolph at first refused to allow them departure, and had strong hopes Chadwick would take over the business, but then he was reminded that leaving Great Britain behind and coming to America is pretty much the same thing they were doing.
On the day each left, Hope packed them a sack filled with food, making sure their canvas drinking pouch was filled with fresh water. Randolph gave each of his children fifty dollars in silver coins.
“Spend the money on only what you need. You come by this easier than it was earned.”
With those words said, he made his children promise to write once a week so as not to make their mother too anxious, as he put it.
His closing words to all of them were, “Where you go, what you do, do the right thing and make the Kincade name something to remember.”
When the two oldest departed in 1801, the noise in the house diminished greatly. When the two youngest left six months later, the noise became a graveyard of silence.
Written By: Danceinsilence
Chapter One – The Departing
Chadwick and Diana sat side by side in the carriage his father had given him not long before. Grey—Chadwick’s gray horse (Chadwick was very imaginative)—slowly trotted down the dirt path.
“What are your plans, brother?” Diana asked, breaking the silence that had existed between them ever since they left home. “Certainly, you do not plan to leave without first planning where you are going and what you are doing.”
“I take it that means you have a plan?”
“Why, of course! I have two, to be precise. My first plan is to find a wealthy businessman in a big city. If I cannot find one, I will marry a wealthy plantation farmer.”
Chadwick looked at his sister skeptically. “Your priorities are—off. Money is not everything, you know.”
“It was all in jest, brother. I wish to go to New York and work for the paper.”
“Is that it? That is your plan?”
“Yes. Though I would prefer to write articles, I would be happy in whatever position my employer puts me in,” Diana said, adjusting her hat. “What are your plans?”
Chadwick thought for a moment. “You will think it ridiculous.”
“We are twins. I already know that your plans, whatever they may be, are ridiculous. I have only lived with you my whole life!”
“Well, sister-dear, I wish to become an explorer. I wish to explore new lands. I wish to discover new peoples, never remaining in the same place. One day, you will be publishing articles about me, Diana, and how I founded Kincadia,” he announced, making a gesture with his hands when he said ‘Kincadia.’ “I will be known for expanding the United States beyond its current borders.”
“You have some big dreams, brother. How do you plan on becoming an explorer?”
“I was speaking with a traveling merchant many months ago, and he told me about a group of explorers that he knew about,” Chadwick explained. “I asked him if it was possible for a man like me to join them, and he told me that all I had to do was find them.”
“Where are they?” Diana asked, her curiosity growing.
“Philadelphia. They have headquarters in Pittsburgh. And the merchant sold me this,” Chadwick finished excitedly. He pulled a letter out of his inner-jacket pocket. On it was an address, neatly written in cursive.
“May I join you?”
“I suppose. Though I was hoping I would never have to see you again after I dropped you off in New York.”
“You don’t mean that!” Diana exclaimed furiously.
Chadwick chuckled. “Of course not, Diana.”
The weeks passed quickly. Chadwick and Diana took their time to get to Pittsburgh, stopping at big cities along the way and writing letters to their parents. In New York, Diana made her final decision to join Chadwick on his journey to meet the explorers, and, if possible, join them.
It was February when the duo arrived in Pittsburgh at last. Locating the building was not as easy a task as Chadwick had imagined. The streets were busy with those attempting to move further west. They rented a room at an inn, tied their horse up, and slept without rest the night of their arrival.
When they awoke the next morning, they began asking strangers for directions to their final destination, but no one seemed to know the location of the street they sought.
Chadwick began to wonder if he had been given a fake address. After what seemed like an eternity, they found someone who could give them directions. Relieved that their endless search was over, Diana and Chadwick retrieved their horse and carriage.
When they arrived, they checked the address on the front porch.
“This is the place,” Chadwick said. Both he and Diana stepped down from the carriage, walked up the steps to the porch, and knocked on the door.
After a few moments had passed, the door opened. A stocky, bearded man appeared, taking into view of Chadwick and Diana. He eyed them somewhat questionably before he asked, “How may I help you two on this fine afternoon?”
“A traveling merchant informed me about you and your team of explorers. He told me that all I had to do was find you. I am Chadwick Kincade, and this is my sister Diana.”
“Well, you have come to the right place—was it Chadwick? Yes? Good. Follow me inside.”
As soon as Chadwick stepped inside, the smell of smoke filled his nose. The rumbling of soup boiling over the fire and its savory aroma quickly followed. “My wife and sister have perfected their chicken soup recipe. Oh! Where are my manners? The name is William Brown. This is my wife,” he said, holding his hand out to a young woman with brown hair neatly tied on the top of her head, “Laura. And this woman over here,” he continued, pointing at a young woman in a bonnet with eyes as blue as the ocean, “is my sister Anna. Come, sit. We can talk about expeditions over dinner.”
Chadwick and Diana followed William into his ornate dining room and sat down to eat.
“William, you do not disappoint. This soup is magnificent! Thank you, ladies,”
Chadwick said after a lull in conversation.
“I am glad to hear it,” William said with a jolly chuckle.
“So, about the expeditions,” Chadwick began.
“Ah, yes. If you join the United States Army, like I have, there is an opportunity to go on an expedition of some sort. If you are lucky, you could be chosen to explore a new territorial purchase.”
“Would my sister be able to come with us?”
“No, unfortunately. But, if you seek lodging, I have room here for you and your sister. And she can stay if you decide to join. I am on leave. I know, odd time right now. You can join me on my journey back if you would like.”
“May I speak with my sister before making any decisions?”
“Of course. But don’t be long. I may have to finish your soup if you don’t.”
Chadwick and Diana left the table and entered the living room. The fire where the soup had been cooked still heated the room. “I know that I told you—”
“This is your dream. If you wish to go with him, I will not stop you, nor will I be angry with you. I will find work here, and I am sure I will learn a lot from these two wonderful women.”
“Thank you, Diana. You will not regret this. When I go West, I will bring you a gift.”
Diana and Chadwick returned to the table. Conversation lasted late into the night.
When the day came on which Chadwick was to leave with William Brown to enlist, several tears fell from both his and Diana’s eyes. They realized this would be the first time in their lives they would be separated from one another, and though Diana had nothing but the best thoughts for Chadwick, she couldn’t help but feel an emotional loss somehow. But she also knew she would see him again. When, though, would be the question she couldn’t answer.
July 24, 1801
Dearest Mother and Father,
I have joined the U.S. Army! It took some time to get to this point due to some unexpected delays, but William Brown and I have made it, and I am now well on my way. You should see me in my white coat! I can just imagine myself as a lad putting on this jacket for the first time while Mother fusses over me. When she finally finishes, she looks back and tells me how handsome I am—I miss you both dearly! Have you heard from Roselyn and Flower? In your last letter, you informed me that they had left home. I am amazed at how quickly I received it! How is Diana? I must start writing to her as well. Nothing much of significance has happened since I arrived, though my bunkmate snores like a grizzly.
Best of wishes,
With tears in her eyes, Hope looked at Randolph and said, “I cannot believe that he has joined the Army!”
“You know how he is, darling. He seeks adventure wherever he goes! As long as he stays out of trouble, he will be fine.”
“Have you any news about Flower and Roselyn?” Hope asked.
“No. I expect letters from them to begin arriving soon. It is August after all… They have been gone since June!”
Roselyn sprinted through the woods, her skirt having been ripped to shreds, while Flower followed as closely as possible. Roselyn noticed a new cut across her sister’s cheek.
“They are getting closer, Rosie. I don’t think we will be able to outrun them. They hit me with an arrow!”
“Just keep going! We have to be close now!”
“Are you certain it was a town you had seen?”
“If it wasn’t, we are in for no worse of a fate than we are in for now,” Roselyn replied.
Flower looked forward in determination and picked up speed. “I see it! That is a town if ever I saw one!” she exclaimed happily, pointing at two buildings as they grew nearer.
Another arrow shot through the air and embedded itself in Flower’s calf. “Rosie!” she called as tears began to pour down her face.
Rosie ran back to her sister and helped her to her feet. “Hop along with me! We must make it!” Rosie said, running on with Flower resting on her shoulder.
“HELP! HELP! HELP!” they exclaimed together.
They rapidly approached the end of the woods. “We are going to make it! We are going to make it! We are going to….”
An Indian jumped out in front of the sisters, arrow notched and aimed at them.
“HALT!” a different man yelled, holding a rifle aimed at the Indian.
The Indian lowered his bow, scowled at the white man, and darted back into the woods.
A wave of relief swept over the two girls. They collapsed, falling to sleep in each other’s arms.
Rosie woke up and looked around.
“Good morning, sunshine. I’m afraid I didn’t get your name.”
“I am Roselyn Kincade. Where is my sister?”
“She is recovering—somewhat. What were you girls doing out there in the woods? Why were you being chased?”
“We left our homes, hoping to go south, but on the way we were captured by savages! They took us to their camp and danced around us. It was horrifying! We noticed other white captives, and they told us that we were going to be sacrificed. Two nights ago, I managed to escape. I saw the lights of this town, and I immediately came back to bring my sister. We waited for our next opportunity to run, and ran as fast as we could.
Unfortunately, another prisoner decided to tell an Indian our plans, and we were chased.”
“You are lucky you survived!” the man said.
“What’s the date?”
“August 21st, if I am not mistaken.”
“Where is Flower, my sister?”
“Her injury was very severe. She is currently getting her leg amputated.”
“You need some rest. Your sister will be fine. Do you have any questions for me before I leave?”
“Who are you?”
“I am Alexander Hamilton,” the man said, sitting straight. “To answer your next question, I am from New York.”
Written By: CalebPinnow
Chapter Two: Letters From A New World
September the 3rd, 1803
Dearest Mother and Father,
Much has happened since I last have writ. My Army career, noble and fulfilling as it was, has been put temporarily on hold. I shall no longer enjoy the invigorating push-up routine thrust upon the members of our outfit, seemingly at the whim of whatever commanding presence seems to be about. Nary a day went by when my body did not ache, yet I was made a better man for it.
The prolonged delay of military activities is an entirely positive development. After viewing how well I managed the company stores–talents I owe to your time and patience at Kincade’s Mercantile–our commander, Captain Meriwether Lewis, was emboldened to request my services as the Quartermaster General for our grand outing, which I believe I have mentioned in previous correspondences.
To reiterate, we have been charged by our good President Jefferson–please, father, do not retell the story where he and James Madison visited ye olde Shoppe–to explore lands purchased earlier in the year from the French, west of the Mississippi River. His intents are to declare sovereignty over the savages along the Missouri River, open and chart the still-uncharted West for commerce, and to seek a water route to the Pacific, one joining the Missouri and westward-flowing Columbia River. It appears Alexander Mackenzie’s travels from 1789-1793 have influenced him greatly, as this explorer often spoke of “lucrative trading possibilities” along this latter river.
Word is, the English are interested in taking control of the area, so we are obliged to move swiftly. So important is our quest, at least to our good President, that $2,324, has been allocated to Captain Lewis for the fulfilment of it, a hefty sum I am charged to guard, and naturally my nerves are taxed. Sums such as these were unthinkable back at ye olde Shoppe, eh, father?
At the very least I’m thankful to be away from the commoners in the Army, who seem convinced that Shakespeare be “a kind of fische,” and that France is no more real, say, than a griffin or chimaera.
Throes of great excitement swept over our party on the 31st of last month. Our keelboat, constructed to Captain Lewis’ exact specifications, reached completion. It is one thing to know one is going on the most memorable journey this young nation has ever undertaken, but to see the actual vessel before one’s eyes enflames the heart and inspires the mind. Westward ho!
Our stores being plentiful, we finally set forth from Pittsburgh that same day, as time was of the essence. Gliding down the Ohio River, ever westwards, I was enveloped by a sense of freedom and of opportunity unlike anything I have ever felt, yet was unable to enjoy either. Methinks I shall never know joy again–perhaps I should never have left wonderful Vermont?
Give all my love to our family and friends. I shall be writing Diana again shortly; I miss her presence so. My heart feels halved in her absence.
Your humble son,
May the 30th, 1804
Dearest Mother and Father,
At last have we once again hauled anchor and begun our journeys into the unknown West. Our so-called Corps of Discovery is promised $5-$30 per man (depending on rank), as well as 320 acres, with the exception of York (see below). We left Pittsburgh carrying weapons unheard of in Vermont. A cache of Australian-made .46 caliber Girandoni air rifles made its way on board, along with repeating rifles, each with a tubular 20-round magazine powerful enough to kill deer, as well as all manner of knives and flintlocks. There is cartography equipment, blacksmithing supplies, herbs, and medicines (Flower would have been aghast), flags, and a crate of what Thomas Jefferson deemed “Indian Peace Medals.” These are to be given out liberally to any native chiefs or tribes who support American interests, as the savages are very keen on our medals. After inspecting these medals, I consider it a duplicitous, ignoble affair, as yea, the medals are imprinted with Jefferson’s countenance, but the supposed “silver” of these silver medals is not of the best quality, and makes me wonder how much of it was used, in effect, to produce such bribes.
Captain Lewis has enlisted the help of a frontiersman, William Clark, and he has brought his slave along with him, a powerful African by the name of York. It was my first glimpse of a slave, yet by his telling the South is so full of them the ground is as dark as permanent night there—which I believe to be mere hyperbole, yet still my curious mind wonders.
My companions on the voyage, especially William Clark, appear to be expert huntsmen, and many of the crew are of the hardy and colorful sort.
In a few months’ time we had reached Camp Dubois, in Illinois, our last stop before heading up the Missouri just north of the new trading town of Saint Louis. We whiled away at Camp, and our party grew impatient, but earlier this month on the 14th we finally began traveling again. In a week’s time we were on the Missouri, and had met up with Captain Lewis again, who had been held back on personal matters. Our expedition complete, all 45 of us headed up the Missouri on the 21st, the actual beginning of our voyage into the dark West.
Please give all my love. Landscapes being what they are here, it is difficult to pine for the monumental beauty of our fair state; it is for you, my beloved family, for whom my heart beats longingly. I remain
Your doting son,
September the 3rd, 1804
Dearest Mother and Father,
I have been on my journey for just over a year, and I feel as if I have aged a century.
Upon leaving Pittsburgh and heading into our own backcountry, I have been impressed by two things constantly: the first is the sheer magnificence of the country we call home. The second is the decadence and decay that plagues our countrymen. There seems to be no end to the lows to which some will sink, so forsaken by their God who bore them, their families and communities who raised them, and by whatever ideals they themselves might once have had about decency, respect, kindness, and basic civilized behavior.
I have seen these men heave stones at the most beautiful birds, make lewd and untoward comments toward females we encounter out and about, and fight like rabid dogs upon receiving their first whiff of spirits. The contrast between these two notions—beautiful Nature and decadent man—forces me to wonder just how high we must clamber, if ever we should desire to return to the glory displayed by blessed Nature everywhere we now look. An interminable gulf certainly divides us now.
The natives we have seen were treated by Messrs.’ Lewis and Clark with respect, and each presented with an appropriate medal, as winter is approaching, and we would most likely need help in surviving the terrible frosts.
Our three boats paddled their way westward into August, when our first tragedy struck. A sergeant named Floyd acquired a case of appendicitis from which he never did recover, and we were forced to bury him a world away from his family and loved ones who waited for his return.
There were ill portents shortly thereafter. We reached a place called the “Spirit Mound” on the 25th of August. Captain Lewis and the slave York surmounted the knob with a small party intending to get bearings and look for game. The mound is sacred to many natives, and it is believed “little people” and evil spirits reside there. Upon descent, York fell dreadfully ill, and was plagued by exhaustion. The heat was unbearable, and Mr. Clark said that his slave was “too fat and not accustomed to walking quickly,” yet I have my doubts. I had never seen the slave in but the purest of health, and this sudden reversal had me wondering if there wasn’t something to the Indian legends. Worse, I was sure I glimpsed something wicked in Lewis’ eye I had never seen before. I promised myself I would monitor both.
About a week later, we reached the Great Plains, and I assure you there can certainly be nothing under God’s great heaven as great as the sight of this magnificent landscape. From one end of the horizon to the other one views a panorama of unlimited, immaculate abundance.
The waters of endless rivers saturate this land, rendering it pregnant with more forms of life than one might dream of in a thousand lifetimes. We leave our tents in the morning and cannot decide on what we should dine. Elk, deer, and beavers wander lasciviously over dale and glen, yet I do not grow hungry: my mind and body are sated merely by the appearance of these creatures, each possessing a beauty more noble than the last. One in their number do I purposefully omit, however.
One has seen nothing in life until one has seen the herds of bison stampeding across these great plains. Their numbers are infinite. Our first sighting occurred after we had decided to set up camp for the night, and some noticed a rolling thunder off in the distance that appeared to grow near. The pounding was soon felt by all as it hammered upon the deerskin boots under our feet. The Earth quaked and shook, and erelong, no one was setting up camp.
We ascended a smallish hill and beheld God’s great hand in all of its rumbling glory. One could neither hear, nor speak, nor think of anything else. They rolled on and on, uncountable black ships beating through the clouds of dust they kicked up.
A blood moon rose, and the scene was nothing if not religious.
Yet, as spellbinding as the images were, I chanced to notice a particularly cretinous soldier named Gollum, shooting at the animals with his fingers mimicking a gun. I do not comprehend how it might be possible to view such a scene and not be overwhelmed by awe and nothing else, yet Gollum’s only reaction was violence. This does not bode well for either the buffalo’s or our futures.
York killed an elk one day near the end of August, and I thought it interesting he was allowed to carry and use a firearm. I was forced to consider why he was a slave at all. There was certainly no difference, other than skin color, between our two races, yet William Clark displayed nothing that would indicate his possession of another human, for servile purposes, be unnatural or un-Christian. Sometimes this world confuses me so...
Give my love to family and friends close and distant. You are in my thoughts always, and sometimes your faces are all that reminds me that I am loved, I am needed, and I have a duty to conduct myself as a Kincade would in all of my business. Others in our party, it seems, have no such faces to recall or choose to move beyond them.
Your ever-grateful son,
Dearest Mother and Father,
One of the many tribes we befriended, the Arikara, provided a brilliant example of how similar we all were, be it not for the unwholesome ideas in many white men’s minds.
For these Arikara had never seen a black man before, and he quickly became the darling of our party. He played constantly with Arikara children, roared like a lion, and joked he was an animal before William Clark tamed him, and stated proudly that children “were very good to eat.”
At one point one of the Arikara warriors invited York into his tent, then stood guard outside while the slave and his wife conducted their business.
All of this attention started to gnaw at York however, because by October he pulled a knife on one chief who tried to rub the “paint” from the black man’s skin.
Tensions were high and several men were needed until York could calm himself again. Despite the tensions, York remained one of the expedition’s most valuable members, as no other could placate savage tribes like he could. The thought flittered across my mind that someone—Lewis? Clark? Jefferson, even?—understood this and desired York for the same reason he or they desired the Indian Peace Medals.
But I get ahead of myself. We visited the Arikara only after making contact with the most powerful tribe in the West, if not all of America. The Arikara, like all tribes beforehand, would warn us of the Lakota, a powerful tribe to their North and East with whom most were at war and who wanted to block trade in their territory along the Missouri.
Our peace talks with their leaders broke down many times, and it was a miracle that a larger conflict did not ensue. The Sioux, as we called them (a native word for “enemy,” and the tribe had many of those), desired us either to stay or give more gifts, instead of passing with their blessing. The whole scene was confused because our translator was not present during these talks, and because Captain Lewis offered gifts to partisan chiefs first, instead of the Lakota, who were thus insulted. William Clark called them “warlike,” and “the vilest miscreants of the savage race,” yet I could not silence a voice inside saying we were the intruders, and had little right to expect them to behave as we desired simply because we so wished it. A growing trend continued as well with the use of whiskey as the ultimate weapon of peace. The natives seem enamored of it, and ignorant of what they are giving up in its acquisition.
Once again a semblance of peace was restored, and we traveled westward to the Arikara. After our visit there we continued onwards and reached Mandan country, and we negotiated with them until we were allowed to build Fort Mandan, which became our winter quarters.
It was the worst winter of my life. There were few in the compound that shared my fascination for our magnificent landscape and the native culture there. Most of my companions passed their time drinking whiskey and speaking rubbish. They laughed at one another’s deficiencies and follies, swore, and bragged; made bets which one of them would be able to shoot the most bison when they returned to the Great Plains. Others began betting who would kill the most natives once the Indian wars started. “Once they started!” We had only recently met one other and they already thinking about murder!
President Jefferson wanted to open up the West to commerce, but I remain convinced he was opening it, unconsciously or not, to vice. My fears now—that the bison and natives will be hunted for sport—would be analogous to the murder of our very own soul, represented by the beauty of this endless, bountiful landscape, with its dangers and pitfalls; a place offering, if nothing else, salvation.
It was here where we met with the French-Canadian trapper Charbonneau and his young wife Sacagawea. The trapper became our translator, his wife became the reason I did not perish that winter. Not a moment passed when I did not think of her; I desired nothing more in my life than this fair Indian maiden, and even planned subterfuge and assassinations of her husband. I am not proud of such thoughts. I only illustrate that it is impossible to shield oneself from them when one is cooped up with like-minded civilized refuse.
On April 7th, we began heading West again, but not before sending the keelboat back with all the specimens we had gathered. A part of me yearned to be on board. I was no longer comfortable with exploring, or founding a town in the Kincade name. It would only become another symbol of failure in a place of perfection, should such a location exist.
We followed the Missouri ever westward, and Meriwether Lewis became ever more disturbed at the mountains that grew before us in ever more dizzying heights, more numerous, even, than the humps atop the bison we had seen on the Great Plains, if such a thing were possible. It appears as if he was privy to La Page’s documentation of the Yazoo Moncacht-Apé supposed first transcontinental journey, which neglects to mention what I will call, for want of a better appellation, the “Rocky” mountains. These mountains were what was standing between us and a continuous waterway to the Pacific.
I do not see me surviving this trip much longer, it has become too much of a task for one tired soul to bear. I shall write each of these letters as if they were my last, and can only assure you I have always been
Your loving son,
Mother and Father,
Sacagawea and Charbonneau have proved to be indispensable, like those natives who helped us prevent starvation last winter. Both of these new additions to our party led us, with the help of local native tribes, to the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. Shortly thereafter we reached the Columbia River, and realized the end was nigh.
We have since built another fort—Fort Clatsop—and are currently wintering here near the mouth of the Columbia. We shan’t have made it this far without this wonderful Indian maiden and her more-aged husband Charbonneau, to whom I have been deceitful with all my heart as payment.
An interesting side-story: we reached a point not far from here where we had almost no food and no means anymore of purchasing some from neighboring tribes. We took a vote as to where we should winter, and Sacagawea and York were both allowed to vote. In every civilized corner of the world no savage or slave, from the days of Socrates in Greece to the assemblies of our great Congress in Washington, D.C., was ever allowed the right to cast a ballot in the affairs of state. Yet here at the end of the American wilderness it was performed with nary a batted eye; both of these members of our expedition were equally as valuable as every other–why should they not enjoy a say in our decisions?
On November 7th of last year we saw the Pacific for the first time laying cold and gray off in the distance. The whitecaps indicated anything but placidity.
On the 18th I went with York and William Clark to what would remain my most cherished location of the entire odyssey. We were on a rise above the native settlement called Ilwaco, and Clark carved their names, as well as Lewis’ into a tree there. Thereby York became the first black man to cross the continent, though my mind had already begun to wander. There was something about this mysterious coastline, near the native settlement at Ilwaco, draped in its November garments of gray, that has continued to impress itself upon my inner being. I have never had the sense before of stones being alive, but here I was certain of it.
And so the hours pass in our “paradise” at Fort Clatsop, where we once again bravely attempt to stave off starvation and influenza. Yet these are only ailments of the body; those of the mind will still be part of us long after Fort Clatsop becomes a foggy memory in our past lives. Some part of me dreads the return trip. Whatever I have learned here during our travels deserves to be kept silent, for fear of infecting my fellow men. A wise man once spoke, “one doesn’t know what one has until it is gone,” and I fear everything of true value has already been lost.
Perhaps we are paying the price of the infamous decisions made so long ago by souls neither more nor less advanced than we, despite the great accumulation of knowledge since then.
I bid you adieu. I do not know when I shall see you again, but when I do I hope it will be with a glimmer of hope inside an endlessly black world.
Mother and Father,
It’s Christmastime. New Orleans could not be further from Shackleford, Vermont, unless one counts the occasionally French. I just received word that the commander for our expedition, Meriwether Lewis, committed suicide. Several reports suggest he was robbed and murdered, but these lack substance, and, I think, is the less likely of two options. He was in debt, and troubled. A part of me returns to that day he surmounted the Spirit Mound not far from the Missouri. I never liked the look in his face when he descended again. He looked—transformed. As are we all.
We are damned. We were damned when we set foot on this land; ancient spirits have condemned us. I damn myself for engaging in Satan’s work, and I damn the Kincade name for setting me on a course toward this engagement. I damn all of you for not foreseeing what we are all damned to become.
Written By: Scratch77
Chapter Three: Pots, Pans and Possibility
Middle May – 1806
I am getting tired of washing pots and pans.
I thought these women had so much to teach me. All sorts of skills that would carry me forward in my dreams of becoming a journalist. To live in New York…writing…informing the world…and these women seemed so worldly. So…confident.
But all that quickly fell away. Once William left, the true nature of the household has become apparent. It’s been almost two years since my brother left on his journey. A few weeks after they left, a man named Xavier arrived. I know not his last name. At first, it seemed like Xavier was a good man, merely here to help. But he’s only here for one thing. Our bodies.
Luckily, he has not attacked me yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
But it gets worse. Other townsfolk have noticed Xavier frequenting our house. Once, Anna tried to go for help. She told the village of who Xavier was and what he’s done. But alas, they did not believe her! They now see her and Laura the same way—as vile creatures unworthy of saving. And now that I’m here, and sadly, I fear I am here to stay, their reputation has been smeared on me. I can barely buy vegetables without women giving me an evil look and men eyeing me like I’m food!
I just hope Chadwick is having better luck than me. His letters have been far and few between. Though, the letters I have gotten are—disturbing. He writes of a strange Indian mound, a mound that he says is cursed.
Please, let it all be a legend! This family cannot bear any more curses! I am trapped in a loveless household, my brother is exploring dangerous lands and losing hope of survival, and Rosie and Flower…In the few letters I’ve received from Mum and Pa, they say no one’s heard from them in weeks!
Oh, I am so worried. But whenever I try to write back, Xavier shreds my letters, and tosses them into the fire. He believes I am writing to them in code, begging for help. I am not! I wouldn’t dare risk it!
But it’s no use.
I wonder, does my family miss me? Will Chadwick ever return?
If he does, will I still be alive?
“Diana! Stop writing in that cursed book and do the dishes!” Laura hisses at me. I look up, like a deer alerted to an unknown sound . Right. Pots and pans.
Always working. Laura, bless her, always pulls me away from my journal. Even though she runs the biggest risk of being hurt—she seems to be Xavier’s favorite victim—she always goes out of her way to help us.
She’s the only bright spot in this house of Hell. Even Anna has become desensitized to the violence. After she tried to escape, Xavier crushed all her will.
I wonder, how long will I be here until I start to go numb, too?
Pots and pans. Always pots and pans. Such a monotonous task, it leaves time to think. Too much time to think. A part of me envies Anna, in her numbness. Life would be so much easier if I couldn’t feel. If I couldn’t hear Laura’s and Anna’s screams and have a part of me scream with them. If I could float through my daily dirge without fear of blows.
“Good morning ladies,” Xavier says, coming downstairs with a cheerful grin. I do not understand him. Some days he is so glad, other days…so dark. So angry. I’ve learned to fear his happiness more than his sadness because it’s more unpredictable.
And his happy days are usually followed by weeks of anger so intense it makes the biblical flood look like a trickling stream.
“Morning, sir,” Laura and I chime in unison.
My smile is fake. But I’ve gotten good at faking a smile. Smiling at folks when I go to town. Smiling at Xavier whenever he’s in a good mood, so desperate to preserve a happiness that never lasts. Even when I was a child, smiling when Mother told me I would make a good bride. She couldn’t understand that I don’t want to be a bride. I don’t want to marry a man. Seeing the way Xavier treats these women is a reminder, a reminder that I will always be inferior to a man. I refuse to be trapped in such a way.
Yet, I know I have no choice. One day, I will be unable to prolong it. I will gain a husband. Maybe rich, but probably middle class, just like me. Certainly, I will marry no poor man. Father would never allow it. He’d rather amputate both his arms than allow me to marry a poor man.
Oh, this limited destiny of the times! Some days, I wish I were born in the future. But alas, no one knows what the future may hold. Those uncertain times could be worse than my own.
I scrub at the pans, only one thought in my mind now: Please, don’t notice me.
My hands are red and raw. The vinegar we mix with ashes has begun to irritate my skin. But I cannot stop. As much as I grow weary of pots and pans, I grow wary of Xavier.
The only break I get is sleep. Laura and Anna get beds, but me, I sleep in the pantry, lying on sacks of flour. I wake up dusty and cold, and my sleep is fitful. Sometimes, in wee hours of the night, I awake to the sounds of sobbing. I tune it out. I must always tune it out if I want to stay sane. In those moments, listening to the sobs of broken women and surrounded by food and grime, I pray to God. I beg of Him, please, save me and these women, for we have done nothing wrong. Please, in Your mercy, save me from this cruel man. You who are good and just, please hear my lowly cries and save us!
I know God is fair, kind, and just. Let Him in all His glory please aid me to escape this Hell.
I keep scrubbing pots and pans, waiting for possibility. The possibility of escape. Of safety. Of happiness.
I wish my brother were here. I wish he had fought to take me along with him on his journey. Even with the strange Indian mound that has plagued his thoughts, I would still prefer it to here.
My nails have been bitten down very low, the skin around them is ragged, and they sting when I scrub. But I must endure. I must push forward.
And when William returns—if he does indeed return, which I can only hope for—he may listen to his sister and wife. He may chase Xavier out once and for all.
“Laura, tell that lazy wretch Anna to wake up and come down here,” Xavier says. His good mood has evaporated as quickly and as surely as the rising sun.
“I will wake her,” I say. Anything to get away from pots and pans, from the despair of a dirty kitchen that seems as though it will never get clean. With every pan we wash, Xavier seems to make a new one.
I brush past Xavier, recoiling as my shoulder brushes his, and walk up the stairs with as much haste as I can muster.
Anna’s room is the one on the left. Simple, yet elegant.
“Anna?” I call, my voice a slight whisper. I am afraid of what I may find.
That fear only grows when I see blood on the carpet.
“Anna!” Though I try to scream, my voice stays in a whisper.
Then, I hear sobbing.
“God, oh God, please, no…God…help us. Help us, God…”
“Anna,” I say, pushing into the closet where she lies in a crumpled heap. “Anna, what is the matter?”
Anna stares at me with blue eyes. Eyes as blue as the ocean, but this ocean has been drained and diluted by pain and time.
“Dearest Diana, I am so sorry for this. So sorry. I should have told you to leave, to run far off from this land.”
“Anna, it is alright. Please, just tell me what is the matter?”
Anna looks down at her stomach.
“I am with child. Though it isn’t noticeable yet, I fear it will be soon. I know what being pregnant is like, although I have yet to produce a living child. This one, though…I feel it. Him. Her. Whichever it is, I will make sure my baby lives to be safe. Happy. Alive. And when Xavier finds out, he will kill the baby. He will be angry. I cannot let it happen. My baby…my baby…I must protect my baby…”
“Anna, you know what this means?”
“It means that I will be shunned. Cast out. My baby will be an orphan, or worse…”
“No, Anna. It means…it means we must escape.”
A month has passed since Anna confided in me about her child. I can see her growing rounder by the day. But God is with us—Xavier has not noticed yet. And he’s begun taking longer trips into town. I almost wonder what it is he could be doing, and yet… I also do not care. While he is gone, Anna, Laura, and I conspire, making plans to escape.
It is another month before we have finalized our plans.
Christmas Eve - 1806
But it was Christmas Eve, when Xavier came home smelling of the bottle where everything changed. Where the plans we made changed dramatically.
We’ve been keeping Anna safe, out of sight, for her belly is so noticeable that it is sure to cause a stir. But on this night, Xavier demands to see her, and will not be stopped.
I struggle to placate him, telling him Anna is sick, but he is too drunk to listen to reason.
He pushes me aside. My head slams into the handle of a pan. Of course it’s a pan. I’ve been scrubbing pans all day, all night. I know not where William is, or if he will ever return. Indeed, I have lost hope that he will. My vision is blurry, and when I touch the afflicted area, my hand comes away sticky. No. This bastard Xavier will not kill me. I will not lose. I will escape. We have all the plans finalized. All we need is a bit more time. And please, let Xavier not see Anna. He will kill her child. The other day, I pressed my hand to her stomach and felt a kick, just a tiny flutter. A life. Xavier has no right to take that life away.
I struggle to stand, bracing myself against the sink for support.
My hand closes around the handle of a pan.
“Xavier!” I say, willing my voice to be as loud as possible.
“You,” he says. “Do you dare talk to me like that? Lower your voice, woman!”
“Only if you lower your hand.”
“It is my right!” roars Xavier. “You are women! Servile! Quiet! Timid! It is your place!”
“Then I’ll send you to yours,” I say. “Hell.”
And without hesitation, I swing the pan into his head.
Laura gasps, and her hands fly to her mouth.
I drop the pan to the floor, where it lies still next to Xavier’s unmoving body.
Oh Lord, forgive me. I never meant to kill a man. I merely wanted to escape! I merely wanted to be free!
“Come,” I say, tugging Laura’s arm, averting my eyes from the body.
“Let us take Anna and run far away from here. Where we can be safe.”
Laura nods, speechless.
While she guides Anna out of the bedroom, where Anna has spent most of her time, I wash the blood from my hands and change my clothes.
Then Laura screams.
“Laura! Anna!” I yell, and sprint towards the bathroom.
Laura is cradling Anna’s head. Anna is moaning.
“What is happening?” I ask.
“She is giving birth.”
Has it really been nine months? I suppose it has. There’s no way of telling exactly when Anna got pregnant. Xavier has been here nearly six years in the community since William left, and talked his way into this family almost a year ago with his casual smile and jovial way about6 himself, which was nothing more than an act to have his way, a free place to live and a woman to consort with at his command--but not any longer!
“Get a towel, and some water,” I say. “We will have to deliver the baby from home.”
Anna screams, and blood soaks her skirt.
“We’re going to have to take it off,” I tell her. I don’t think she hears me through the pain.
I pray as I rip her skirt apart. So much blood. I will have to change my clothes again, but right now, that is not my concern. My only concern is making sure Anna’s baby is alive and healthy. Safe.
“Push, Anna,” I say. “It’ll be okay. I know it hurts. Just push.”
Anna screams again, but it’s quieter. She’s getting weaker by the second.
There. A head.
“A little further, Anna,” I say. “He’s beautiful. He’s alive. Healthy. Safe.”
Laura comes back with enough towels to clothe the entire patriot army.
With one last push, Anna screams again, so loud that it feels my eardrums may burst. The baby boy slides into my hands, crying out as his mother goes still. Laura wraps Anna in towels, and hands me one. I wrap the newborn into a towel, rocking him gently.
“What do I do?” I ask. “What do I do? Does he need food? What does he eat? How do I feed him?”
“Diana,” Laura whispers. “She’s gone.”
I stare down at Anna, tears running unashamed down my cheeks.
“No,” I whisper. “No, it can’t be.”
“You must take the baby and go,” Laura says. Tears shine in her eyes as well.
“What about you?”
“I will try to explain to William what happened. He is a good man, better than the rest. He will understand.”
“I know,” Laura says sadly. “I know. But Xanier cannot hurt any of us any longer. I have seen to that. You and I shall bury his body ... take him on the carriage to a remote place out of town ... leave it unmarked, and if anyone should ask, which is dobtful to begin with, we will simply say he left for family reasons and is not known when expected to return.
I look into the baby’s eyes. Blue, like his mother’s.
I will raise him like he is my own son. Even if I don’t know how to do that. He will be a good man. A better man than his father. May he be as good of a man as his mother was a woman.
The baby stops crying as he looks at me. His slimy fingers curl around my own.
“Owen,” I say. “That’ll be your name. Owen Kincade.”
“Look,” Laura says, pointing at the clock. “He’s a Christmas baby.”
“My little miracle,” I croon. “Let’s get you cleaned up, little miracle. Then we’ll figure out what to feed you.”
“What should his middle name be?” Laura asks. “It must be a good name. To match a strong little man.”
I think on that for a minute.
“Possibility,” I say. “Because the possibilities of this little boy are endless. He could invent something that could change the world.”
Laura smiles as she watches us. It’s a bittersweet smile. Though they were sister-in-law’s, Anna was her best friend. Maybe mine, too. This past year has made the three of us closer.
Maybe Owen is not my child, but he is my son. I will love him like he is my own flesh and blood. I will teach him to respect women. I will teach him to be a good man.
I’ll do it for Anna. For his mother. For my friend.
One day, the world will know the name Owen Possibility Kincade.
My little miracle.
Written By: WhiteWolfe32
Chapter Four: From Bondage To Burgos
May - 1808
Roselyn remained further south with Flower. She stood by her side as Flower battled through illnesses and fatigue resulting from her arrow wound. There was in the town, however, a French man by the name of Louis Jacques Pierre. He was an immensely skilled hunter, and would make sketches of the animals he shot or trapped. Mostly he was interested in their anatomical structure.
When her sister was asleep or simply recovering in bed, Roselyn would find herself drawn to Pierre’s sketches more and more. She had an interest in anatomy, she really did, and she was already witnessing some of the practices and treatments being used on her sister in addition to the works of this man. As she watched him in his work, the two grew closer and closer together. As it turned out, Pierre was a skilled physician who studied anatomy in animals in America for leisure, but he belonged to a wealthy family; one that lived in Paris, France.
He was not merely skilled at anatomy, but he was handsome, as well, with flat black hair and a perfectly symmetrical face with brown eyes.
He taught Roselyn much of his trade—how to dress wounds, and how to make and grind certain medicines. It took her a few weeks to realize that he was essentially flirting with her. He gave the impression of a kind, clever young man. Roselyn felt suddenly selfish for being with him.
As soon as she realized that Flower was soon to recover, Roselyn left her with the remainder of their money, and left with Pierre, who was on his way to New York to sell some of his sketches (she would have liked to leave much later, and with her sister, but he claimed to be on a tight schedule). After all, Diana was supposed to be working with something in journalism (or that was what she claimed once) in New York by then.
“I am returning to Paris, my Rosie.” Pierre smiled and embraced her as they stood inside their rented room in a building in New York. “You should come with me: you’ll love Europe!”
“I’m not so sure…” Roselyn began. “My sister, Flower, still has not come up to New York; we only write to each other, and I still have to locate Diana, from whom I have not heard a word. I wish to see them both again.”
“We’ll simply visit Europe, then come back,” Pierre encouraged, and the two bantered back and forth for a while, but ultimately, Roselyn was already carried away by the prospect of visiting a foreign continent.
“Believe me,” Pierre encouraged, smartly flapping the ends of his sharp black coat. “You’ll have a wonderful time!”
A[shrill whistle pierced the air, and a cracking explosion occurred a few seconds later, sending a few troops flying onto their backs. Roselyn kept her head down and ran, trying to avoid death. The day was cloudy, and the smell of smoke and gunpowder fouled the air. She passed a soldier who was squatting on the ground, clutching his wounded stomach. Roselyn thought of helping him, but she had to find the commander. Finally, she spotted the officers huddled under a large tree, seemingly out of place amid the carnage.
“Where is the commander?” she demanded as she ran up, skipping all formalities. Another explosion rang out in the distance, and the loud shouts of a company in combat sounded from somewhere else nearby, followed by the little popping sounds of multiple rifles firing at once.
“I don’t know,” another officer shouted nervously, throwing down the papers he held and looking up at Roselyn. He was young, short, and clean-shaven; well-dressed in a blue uniform, and seemingly inexperienced. “He’s not here, or he’s dead, I think. I mean…Hey! You are a woman? Are you a nurse? I demand to see a soldier! Where is a messenger?”
“He died,” she exclaimed. “Killed by a stray shot. He was to be my escort away from the front line. I have to carry on the message now.”
“I will not listen to a woman at such an urgent time,” the officer exclaimed with, rudely, apparent disgust.
“Never mind,” Roselyn shouted. “Where is the leading commander here?”
“I am that man,” a general (also dressed in a fine blue uniform) stated confidently as he stepped forward. He had a fat, clean-shaven face, and lamb-chop sideburns, but at least he seemed competent, conversely to the other officer to whom Roselyn had spoken.
“Vicente Genaro de Quesada,” he introduced himself firmly. “And I am not dead,” he added harshly to the other officer.
“General, we are hopelessly outnumbered,” Roselyn rushed to explain, wiping ash and dirt from her face. “The adjutant of Belvedere ordered the soldier that I was traveling with to inform you that it is advisable to abandon Burgos.”
“Were these direct orders?” the general questioned suspiciously, his heavily wrinkled face taking on more signs of age as he raised his eyebrows.
“No, Sir, I don’t think so, but the adjutant has view of the whole field,” Roselyn rushed to explain, still out of breath from her parlous run.
“We can’t abandon Burgos!” This was spoken by another, even more stern, officer who had been overhearing the conversation. Just then, a cannon shell landed nearby and exploded. They all crouched down as small chunks of dirt fell over all of them. They stood back up.
“She’s right, we have to abandon Burgos,” the young, incompetent officer cried desperately, suddenly on Roselyn’s side (more likely for fear of his own life rather than out of strategy). Roselyn glanced behind her, at the columns of soldiers engaging in rifle combat of the salvo as dirt and debris rained from the sky under constant cannon shell explosions.
“General, Sir, Belvedere’s forces were completely crushed,” Roselyn exclaimed urgently. “I am the only nurse that escaped capture. We must abandon Burgos!” The general looked out over the war-torn, rolling and dust-covered fields outside the city of Burgos; then, with eyes that seemed to realize the severity of the situation, he sighed and turned back to Roselyn.
“Ride to Villalbilla,” he stated. “Inform the command there that Vicente Genaro de Quesada was unable to hold the French forces of Napoleon. But—also tell them that he was either captured or died trying.” The man actually smiled slightly. “Go to safety. Captain Alfonso will escort you,” he gestured to the rude, incompetent officer, who seemed relieved to be sent away from the raging battle.
“I will, Sir. God be with you!” And with that, she took off at a sprint for an officer’s horse that had been brought for her. They rode away, over the dust-covered hills with patches of grass upon them, racing away from Burgos. The French would take the city, that much was certain, and from there they would likely advance upon Castile. Roselyn and her escort made it to Villalbilla, and Roselyn left after having delivered the message. She spent most of the journey from the city in thought, largely about the bloodshed she had witnessed.
But that was one of the reasons why she had persisted in her short nursing career: she wanted to help people. She had saved the lives of several men who were placed before her on the table, and dressed their wounds, and even assisted more-professional doctors in several surgeries. But she knew that she could not remain at a combat site any longer.
With the clopping sound of her galloping horse, Roselyn left the bloody Napoleonic campaign behind her, hopefully forever.
November 14, 1808
I’m sorry that it has been so long since I’ve written to you. I know that I am an adult, but I feel as if now my childhood has truly ended. I have seen so many horrible things! I already wrote to you that the scoundrel Pierre left me for that Spanish woman as soon as we crossed into Spain, practically! I am so sorry that my selfishness brought me to him, and pulled me away from you. I should have been by your side as you recovered; instead, that scoundrel dumped me here with little money, and I still have trouble with the language!
Oh, but there was no work; except, of course, as a nurse. Napoleon’s forces are on the move, and the Spanish were eager to induct me into the service, and my medical knowledge proved useful. But I have witnessed horrible atrocities! At least the pay was fair. But, sister, I delivered a message to a general! The Spanish lost at Burgos, but I hope that at least my message gave them time to prepare for what was coming, and deal a greater blow to those bloody French! I am sorry, I am ranting…
The point is, I have learned a lot of practical knowledge, and am a lot smarter about the world, now. I am sorry I have been so selfish and left you. I am coming back to America. But some day, I do want to take you back to Europe, or maybe even Asia (I met a man here who has been to India, and he speaks highly of it). I really do believe that you would love it here—after the war is over, of course. But as for me, I plan to book passage on a ship bound for New York, and from there (unless something goes wrong), I shall travel back to you. I hope this letter reaches you, and that you are still living in the same place. I read your last letter, and I am glad to hear that you have been feeling well, lately. I am sending other letters to the other members of the family.
Your sister, Rosie
Flower was still down South, now in a small town just below the border of Tennessee. She had recovered from her arrow wound within a year, but an overarching sickness persisted. Sometimes, it was nothing more than a headache, but other times, it was so intense that she felt as if she might die from the pain. This she battled all through the years of 1805 to 1806. Thankfully, a nearby physician, William Beaumont, was very skilled, and even once had to perform surgery on Flower, but he saved her life on numerous occasions.
He claimed to have been a military surgeon in the United States Army, and his skill was evident. Still, though, Flower disliked him. In fact, she disliked all biologists in general ever since Louis Jacques Pierre swept her sister up and carried her away.
Though, even before 1807, Flower was well enough to write letters, and through that, she found a love of poetry that she had never encountered before. She managed to write home often, which allowed her family to know of the small town where she was, and she occasionally received letters (and, less often, money) from her parents, and once heard from Chadwick. He was apparently on some massive expedition a ways to the west. That was fine with Flower: ironically, despite her name, she was not as in tune with nature as Chadwick and Roselyn seemed to be. The only family member she had not heard from was Diana. In fact, Roselyn even wrote that she could not find their sister in New York, which was somewhat troubling.
Flower was beloved by the local community. She was pretty, and all the men liked her. She was smart and a clever poet, and always impressed with her writing talent. She worked, however, as a seamstress, as that was all she could really do when she was ill. She was welcomed and cherished by the small town, and everyone there was very kind, but she still felt empty.
On a few occasions, and especially after receiving Roselyn’s latest letter, she had to admit to herself that she was at least a little bit jealous. Her father had traveled from across the sea to America, and had established a suitable trade and encountered several notable individuals. Flower’s brother, Chadwick, had gone on an expedition, and a very ambitious one by the sound of it. Flower’s own sister, even, who was only twenty years old (and no older than her), already had a failed romance and a nursing job during a war behind her, not to mention having visited Spain and Portugal, and would now presumably be crossing the Atlantic a second time. And what was this talk of going back to Europe, or maybe even India?
Flower did not like to believe that she felt jealous; she wished to be above that, but compared to the other members of her family, she felt under-accomplished. For all she knew, Diana could be working for the most successful newspaper in New York.
What was Flower’s legacy? An arrow to the leg that took years to really recover from. How she longed to truly prove herself to the world.
And all the while, the people of her small town thought higher of her than of anyone else in the vicinity.
Written By: ValiantRaptor47
Chapter Five: In The Wilderness
Mother and Father,
I know it has been some time since I have written but my life has been in an uneasy place since I parted company with the exploration of new lands. I have been distant when around others and, frankly, I haven’t liked who I have become. I haven’t even tried to write my dear sisters to know where they are in their life. The last I remember; I left Diana with the Browns and know not if she is still there. Nor do I know the whereabouts of Roselyn and Flower. I haven’t been a very good son or a strong brother.
Recently, events of my life have taken a bit of a turn. I ran across a man named Albert Gallatin, a surveyor. He hired me on and taught me the fine basics of how to draw maps, as well as map out distances. We do this for roads, harbors, canals, and even rivers. Albert speaks of how the country is constantly changing and that we must keep a vigilant eye on the progress of the Americas.
This has been a far better experience for me and since the day I left the expedition and that wretched Indian mound, I feel as if I have regained purpose. I am finally doing something I feel is useful. Planning, mapping out a course for easier, safer travel.
We did have an encounter with bandits who tried to waylay us, but we beat them back. After the smoke from all the muskets, we lost one man, but they lost a good ten before they ran off.
The weather here in the everglades, in a place called Florida, is damp and yet hot at the same time. We all have to be careful because we could catch dysentery as the water we tread through has a foul odor, so we make certain our steps are cautious so we do not fall into the murky darkness.
Albert says this job will last another year, maybe two, before he reports back to the Land Office in Washington to report all our findings. Thus far, we have mapped Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and now Florida.
What I will do when this ends, I cannot say. I may return home for a short while if nothing else but to catch up on things and see how much Shackleford has grown.
And I want to say that I hope you accept my apology for sounding bitter in my past letters. I never meant to inflict you both with the pain I was feeling, but—I had no one else to turn to, no one else that might possibly understand the anguish, suffering and yes, fear, that coursed through me. Now, all of that is behind me, and behind me it shall stay.
I must get this to the mail carrier as we are being called back to work. Until next time then.
Your Loving Son,
Shackleford – Late October
Hope laid down the letter she had read many times to herself. Tears filled her eyes, for she did not know an easy way to tell her children that Randolph had passed on. Hard work, age, and his heart had fought against each other.
Chadwick, now a grown man, and her daughters, for all she knew, since the last letters received from them, may well be married off. Hope prayed that one day she would get to see her new adopted grandson, Owen Kincade. She did somewhat smile at the odd middle name but as Diana said in her letter, Owen’s life would be filled with possibilities of becoming someone important one day.
Of the three girls, Rosie, her darling little Rosie, was the one she most worried about. Stranded in a foreign country and she with no means to send her money to return home.
What was she doing? How was she doing? She did mention in her very last brief letter that she was making her way back to America but wasn’t sure when that would be.
And Flower. Since the time the Indians nearly killed her and Rosie, and she almost lost her leg because of it, now she lived in a town working as a seamstress, an honorable enough profession; still, she had terrible nightmares.
One thing Hope wished she could do was thank that Hamilton man for saving their lives, but word came back shortly after he did: he was in some kind of duel and died. In many ways she owed him a debt of gratitude she could never repay.
And now, with Randolph gone, it was just herself and a dear friend Miss Martin that ran the store and it took all she had to keep her strength from weakening. Once sixteen, now nearing forty-six, what once seemed a good life was now becoming nothing less than the survival of each day.
Just how to tell the children. How.
Diana was able to find a sleeping room in New York for a dollar a week and even found a job working for a small newspaper. Her job was to proofread all materials to be printed for the next day’s edition. The pay was four dollars a week. This wasn’t the dream she had but it kept both her and Owen sheltered and food in their bellies. Until something better came along, this would do nicely enough.
A Mrs. Abigail Sumpter watched over Owen while she worked, and Diana wanted to pay her something, but Abigail would have nothing of it.
“Child, the pay is watching him live. It has been many long years since I raised my own. This is like God giving me a second chance.”
Owen had grown his little self rapidly, though not yet a year old, but he would make the cutest noises that made Diana forget her troubles.
Six weeks after beginning work, a man walked into the newspaper office. Everyone was gone but her.
“May I help you, sir?”
“Yes. I would like this printed in the next edition of the Star.” He handed her a paper with his handwriting, which she noticed was rather neat.
“We can do that for you, Mr.—”
“Vanderbilt. Cornelius Vanderbilt.”
Reading the ad in more detail, she looked back up at this tall, gangly man.
“It says you are hiring able-bodied men to build the future. What exactly does that mean?”
“Transportation, young lady. A new way in which to travel. I see steam engines taking us across the Great Divide in faster time than can be done by coach or horse.”
“You have big dreams, Mr. Vanderbilt.”
“I assure you this dream shall happen. I need to hire men to build the engines. Build steel tracks. Surveyors to map out the regions to the west. This country is growing, and we must grow with it. Now, what is the cost to run this for a month?”
Just then, a woman walked into the newspaper room and exclaimed, “Diana!”
It was Roselyn.
Written By: Danceinsilence
Chapter Six: Flower Blooms In Bristol/Chadwick Saves A Young Man
In mid-1811, about forty miles west of Bristol, near a smaller community called New Madrid, an earthquake hit, but the effects were felt when a catastrophic flood threatened to wipe Bristol off the face of the earth. For the first time ever, due to the earthquake, or so it was believed, the Mississippi River flowed backward and destroyed several smaller towns down to practically nothing. People in Bristol did their very best to fill burlap bags with dirt to block the river’s onslaught. People worked day and night, and Flower was one of them.
She would sew the burlap together as quickly as she could, doing as many as possible. She felt as if she couldn’t keep up with the demand.
But she did. When the flood finally receded, Bristol’s dirt streets were thickly muddied and covered with a good foot of water, but damage to homes and life especially were spared. No one lost their life.
There was one young man near her own age. He just happened to have the unfortunate luck to be visiting friends when the flood struck, but his looks, the way he carried himself, sent a shiver of joy (or was it apprehension?) through her being. Flower had never known love, only pain and fear she lived daily, but this—this was different. Whatever, this feeling called love had drawn her right to him like a moth to flame.
After the flood had dissipated, he, William Farragut, actually came to her house.
“I want to personally thank you for the extraordinary work you have done. Were it not for you, this town would have perished.”
“Why, thank you, William.”
“No, it is I who thank you, Flower. You have done us all a service that I am not sure could be repaid properly. But—I would like to invite you to be my guest at a friend’s home tomorrow evening for dinner and perhaps some dancing. You do dance?”
“It seems ages ago since I have, but I do remember how.”
“Good. Then it is settled. I shall arrive at five tomorrow afternoon. Dinner is at six.”
With that, William gently raised Flower’s right hand and kissed it. Then he was gone.
The rest of that day into the night hours before sleep, she couldn’t stop smiling, as she sometimes pirouetted around several rooms humming a bright lovely tune.
In ther middle of that night ...
“Run, Rosie, run! They are getting closer! I can hear them catching up!”
“Flower! You’re hurt! The arrow! Let me help you up! We have to keep moving!”
“OW! It hurts, Rosie! It hurts so badly! I can’t, can’t run any longer ….”
Flower woke up drenched in sweat, reliving the truth of what happened.
That man, Hamilton, saved their lives and she nearly lost her leg, but she carried a painful reminder: a jagged, five-inch scar along her calf, and a permanent limp because of it.
Suddenly, she didn’t feel like dancing.
The weather was just beginning to cool, and Chadwick was once again at a crossroads. The survey work had come to an end and his travels had taken him north into Kentucky.
He had taken time to rest in a small town called Logan. The horse given him was part of his severance pay and, of course, it beat walking. For a dollar, he had his horse, Friendly, taken care of and fed at the local livery, found a small place to grab a meal and a room with a real feather-down bed. Until he lay down, he had almost forgotten what that felt like.
Chadwick was slowly making his way back home. It would be good to see Mother and Father again after years of being away. He had hopes of seeing his sisters as well, but he wasn’t betting that that would happen. But tonight, a long-awaited good night’s rest was in order before he made his way home.
The following morning, after dressing and having a morning meal of cornbread, beef, and eggs, and three cups of coffee, he made his way to the livery where he heard a commotion taking place.
“I said, give me that knife or I’ll bash you into the ground, runt!”
“NO! It was a gift from my father for my birthday. He would tan my hide if’n I just up and let you have it!"
“Me and my friends here’ll do more than tan yer hide, whelp! We git done with you, there won’t be much to recognize.
Still, from Chadwick’s view, the boy, rather thin, held his ground against the three older boys surrounding him. Chadwick had to give the boy credit. He was incredibly brave.
“You want this knife? You’ll have to take it from my dead body!”
That was all it took. The three boys were all over him. Thrashing fists landed over and over again. Still, the one who dared them fought back as best he could, and the odds were well against him.
Chadwick moved swiftly. Grabbing the collars of two boys, he wrenched them backward and the third he spun around and landed a hard, deep blow to the belly.
“I will say this but once—get out of here or you will get a beating like never before."
They didn’t have to be told twice.
Turning to the boy with a cut lip and what would soon be a black eye, he helped him to his feet.
“Thanks, mister. Thanks a lot.”
“You’re welcome. I didn’t like the odds. My name is Chadwick Kincade.” He stuck out his hand, which the boy grabbed, and they shook hands heartily.
“I’m James Bowie but my friends call me Jim.”
“You must sure love that knife a great deal to take such a beating for it.”
“Yeah, I know, but it came from my father. He’s a smelter and made this knife for me for my birthday."
“Then I can see why you fought back so hard. Good for you. May I see the knife?”
“Sure.” James reached down into his boot and pulled out a knife with a four-inch blade and handed it to Chadwick.
“Nice balance. Not heavy, not light, and the bone handle has a nice feel in my grip.”
“Yeah, I like it and one day, I’m going to have a knife people will talk about for weeks. I’m thinking when I turn eighteen, Father will make me the ultimate knife.”
“Well, then—Jim, I wish you success in that, but I have to be going. On my way home to visit family.”
“Well, I do thank you again and if you ever come this way again, stop by to say hello.”
Twenty minutes later, Friendly was saddled and Chadwick started his ride north to Vermont.
Late June 1812
The War of 1812 took its toll in lives on both sides. One person was lucky enough to have a minor wound but was sent back from the front lines by his stepfather. Now, William Farragut had free time for at least ninety days.
One of the very first things he did was return to Flower.
When hearing a knocking at her front door, Flower opened it and a smile as long as the Mississippi River spread across her face.
“The war? Is it over?”
“It is for me, Flower. I rode here fast as I could because I have something important to ask you.”
”My, my, aren’t we in a hurry. Now that you are here, pray tell, kind sir, what is your question?”
“Flower Kincade, would you do me the honor of being my wife?”
Chadwick stayed with his mother and helped to run the store for the better part of four months. He understood why she had had such a difficult time explaining his father’s passing, considering it would be something she would have to do four times.
Know though, in the last thirty-five days, his mother, Hope, had taken ill, and the night of the thirty-first, she passed on in her sleep. The work, the responsibility, the continued worry over her children had taken their toll on Hope.
Chadwick no longer had a reason to stay and sold the store to a Mr. Alfred Brimford for a tidy profit which would become Chadwick’s stake for a new life.
He would find his sisters somehow and give them the grim news. In the process, he would search out new lands to call home, perhaps buy a farm. He was young still, barely twenty and four. Surely, something out there was calling to him.
Written By: Danceinsilence
Chapter Seven: Together At Last
Friendly snorted exhaustedly as she diligently carried her chatty cargo northeast from New York. Rosie couldn’t contain her excitement at the prospect of being reunited with her beloved sister Flower, and was talking Chadwick’s ear off about Flower’s letter, how she was engaged to a handsome young Naval officer who caught her heart at first sight.
And how she had helped save Bristol from the flood and was now living in Boston, where her young man was stationed with the reserve-officers, awaiting his next deployment. Chadwick displayed a rare smile in spite of himself. His sister’s indomitably adventurous spirit was both infectious and welcome.
“According to an article Di recently published in her paper, it’s very likely that one ‘William Farragut’—note the name!—was on board the famous war vessel Constitution when she defeated the Guerriere, under the command of Captain Isaac Hull, and that that battle was instrumental in asserting ‘our mastery over the ocean and our freedom from tyranny.’ They’re calling the ship ‘Old Ironsides.’ What do you think of that? Our sister marrying a war hero?”
Chadwick considered his response for a moment, before stating stoically, “’Long as he treats her right I reckon I’m fine with it.”
A month earlier, Chadwick had found Diana at her newspaper office, and, after embracing her, shared the unhappy tidings of their parents’ deaths. Diana had allowed but a single tear to rush down her cheek before wiping it away. She was overwhelmed with emotion, but she firmly reminded herself that it wasn’t all negative emotion. Here stood her dear brother after all this time, grown fully into a man! She embraced him again, then stepped back and smiled.
“It is so good to see you, dear brother. We have much to catch up on. But first, I must take you back to my quaint little abode. There are a couple of people there who I’m certain will want to see you.”
“Don’t you have work?” Chadwick objected, following his twin sister as she rushed to close the printshop.
“Oh, no, it’s all right. My boss Mr. Barlow is a dear old man. His wife is a friend of Mrs. Sumpter’s, and she’s talked him into allowing me time off whenever I need it to look after my little Owen, provided, of course, that I’ve finished proofing for the day.”
The bell on the front door chimed as they hurriedly departed, Diana stopping only briefly to lock the front door of the noble establishment.
As Diana walked arm in arm with her brother down the street, they commiserated about their mother’s last days, smiled at some of their childhood memories, and briefly outlined their own plans. Diana had made friends here in New York and felt bound more than ever to the writer’s life, being content to bide her time until she was noticed as the journalist she was at heart. Chadwick told of his plans to perhaps secure some farmland somewhere with the money he had inherited from the sale of the family mercantile. After the very first moment of silence between them, Chadwick started apologizing for leaving her in such a vulnerable position all those years ago. But Diana stopped him, looked him in the face earnestly, and said, “It wasn’t your fault.”
From the look in his eyes she could already tell that he had been through as much horror as she had since their last meeting.
Presently, their minds were drawn to more cheerful things. Diana opened the door to her humble apartment and called out, “You’ll never guess who’s here!” to a room clattered full of sudden energetic joy.
Owen ran to his “Mama Di” eagerly, almost tripping over his own little feet, and she picked him up and held him on her hip, as was her custom.
It was then that Chadwick caught sight of Rosie, and an expression of astonishment ran over both of their happy features.
“It’s quite the reunion indeed!” exclaimed Mrs. Sumpter joyfully, who had, ’til now, been quietly observing from behind the kitchen cupboard. “Well, I’ll leave you to it. Coffee’s brewing in the kettle over the fire and Owen’s already eaten his supper.”
She beamed at them in her endearingly matronly way as she bustled out the door. “See you tomorrow morning, dear,” she added to Diana as she left the heart-warming scene.
“This is your Uncle Chadwick.” Diana grinned at Owen. Owen hid his face shyly, clinging protectively to his Ma. But Chadwick soon won his nephew over by producing a little wooden horse from his satchel.
Owen grabbed for it instantly, bright blue eyes filled with wonder.
“’Orse,” he said, and Diana smiled proudly.
“Yes, indeed,” said Chadwick, in his most kingly tone. “A handsome steed for a handsome young gentleman. And what are you going to name him?”
“’Orse!” Owen answered delightedly, and they all chuckled at his three-year-old sureness.
Late September 1813
Flower put down her sewing and rubbed her aching leg. It always hurt worse when she was wracked with anxiety, and today it was downright agonizing. Will’s ship, the Constitution, had been gone for six months on a mission to the West Indies, to resecure trading routes and dispel British invaders. It was all Flower could do to remember his dark-browed, clean-shaven face without bursting into worried tears. The young lovers had been married but a year and already he had been gone from her as long as he had been with her. Her biggest consolation was her darling sister Rosie; they had had such a grand time in those first months here in Boston. Rosie had been her bridesmaid, and even Chadwick had been there at the wedding to give her away before he set out west to buy land for his farming venture.
When Will first left on commission, Flower had found herself seamstressing costumes for a traveling circus. They were to be in Boston for two weeks and rewarded her handsomely for her troubles. Flower felt strangely at home amid these friendly misfits. One suit she sewed was for a gentleman who stood no higher than a horse’s knee, another matching dress was tailored for a lady of six and ten. And there were many other people in the troop who were just as fascinating.
Sir Rupert, the magician, had wanted to start the identical twins in his show, pretending them to be one person magically transported to the other side of the stage. They obliged him for one show only. Rosie was even able to rescue a limping elephant one day, noticing that the poor creature had stepped on a jagged edge of a broken platform and injured its foot. Suffice it to say that there had been ample distractions in the first few weeks to keep Flower’s overactive misgivings at bay.
But now, the circus had moved on months ago and even Rosie had left her. Her two favorite people had up and gone on more adventures, leaving her with her anxiously twinging leg. Despite her worry, Flower couldn’t help admiring her sister’s resolve. Rosie had loved spending time with her twin again; they’d both felt whole once more while
together. But, finally, Rosie felt that she was more needed as a field nurse for the front lines than she was tending to elephant manicures.
Especially now, with this Creek War down south.
Flower sighed heavily, allowing herself a few pitiful sobs which shook through her growing belly. Then she wiped the tears from her eyes, berating herself for feeling self-pity, and concentrated on getting back to the task at hand—sewing baby-clothes.
Written By: EstherFlowers1
Chapter Eight: Wandering Into New Territories
Roselyn Kincade peered out from behind the tree line at the edge of the clearing and sighed deeply when she saw the telltale column of dirty gray smoke rising from beyond the next hill.
This was the second time this week she’d come across the needless carnage being wrought among the settlers during the brutal Creek War. And it was happening more and more often lately.
She’d left the small militia encampment early this morning in the hopes of finding more civilians or soldiers to aid with her nursing skills. She didn’t want people to be hurt, particularly settlers who were unfortunate bystanders in this war. But she knew enough not to let her optimism cloud reality: many out there were injured and needed her help.
War in general was tragic, but what magnified the tragedy infinitely were the countless innocent families and children who were caught between opposing forces. About ten months back, Rosie had heard of an attack on a fort near Mobile, Alabama that had resulted in the deaths of nearly five hundred settlers, both white and mixed-blood. This bloody conflict had been a major impetus in rallying more American support and recruits for the militia. In the months since, the attacks had increased. Rosie only hoped that the rising number of soldiers would help bring the war to a quicker end rather than prolong it.
She wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand. The sun had passed its apex an hour ago and the heat was sweltering. Glancing from side to side, she gingerly stepped into the clearing she needed to cross to reach the valley where the trail of smoke originated.
One couldn’t be too careful. She’d had a couple of near run-ins with both angry Creek warriors—known as “Red Sticks” for their weapon of choice, clubs painted blood red—and American militia—comprising both conscripts and volunteers—and one time she’d witnessed an honest-to-goodness skirmish between the natives and the American soldiers that had taken place entirely in canoes on the Alabama River. It had been a truly terrifying sight, almost akin to her experiences in Spain several years back.
Rosie shuddered whenever she thought back to her first introduction to war. It had affected her deeply, more than she’d initially registered. Something had been crushed inside her soul that she wasn’t sure would ever be repaired. Most days she pushed aside her complicated feelings and focused intently on the task at hand. It was easier that way for now.
As she neared the site of the burning house, the acrid stench of burning wood and flesh floated into her nostrils and she involuntarily cringed. She didn’t think she’d ever get used to it. Walking closer, her heart sank at the sight of several bodies strewn in the field adjacent to the cabin. She didn’t need to closely inspect them to know that these poor souls were beyond all earthly help.
Rosie began murmuring the prayer she’d taken to chanting when she came upon scenes like this. Please, Heavenly Father, let there be at least one survivor. Please allow me to bring healing to a needy man, woman, or child.
Scanning frantically, she froze when a weak moan reached her ears. It was coming from the backside of the rough cabin! Rosie rushed around the house, her heart beating furiously all the while. When she rounded the corner, movement caught her attention.
Thank Heaven! It appeared to be a boy or young man. She hesitated but a second when she glimpsed the rougher clothing and tribal markings on his face and arms. It was a young Creek warrior.
After rapidly determining where his wounds were located, Rosie got to work. With many of the friendlier villages of the Creek nation being allied with American forces, as well as some Cherokee, this wasn’t the first time she’d had a native for a patient. One time she’d even cared for a prisoner from the enemy force of Creek warriors who’d been captured in a brief clash. It always made her feel a twinge of—what might she label it? Nervous thrill?—whenever she treated Creek or Cherokee warriors, mainly due to their exotic culture and strange clothes.
So many years had passed since that fateful day with her sister running from the Indian encampment. But since becoming a nurse, Rosie had expanded in her capacity for compassion and forgiveness toward these people so unlike her own. When it came to healing their bodies, Rosie saw no difference in skin color or political affinity—they were all her patients who deserved the best care she could provide them.
This boy was no different.
As she cleaned out a gaping laceration on his lower abdomen, he moaned again, louder, and turned his dark-haired head toward her. His face was streaked with dirt and blood, but she could see that he was older than she’d believed—possibly nineteen or twenty years of age.
“What’s your name? Do you speak English?” she asked as she fashioned a bandage from strips torn from the hem of her dress and wrapped them across his stomach and around his back. Many Indians had learned a broken form of English, which made it much easier to care for her patients effectively.
Several minutes of silence passed and Rosie assumed her questions were not going to receive replies; then a hacking cough sounded from the young man and a weak voice uttered, “Y-yes…speak English. Name is Little Eagle.”
Rosie met his eyes in surprise. His dark ones, exceptionally keen for his injured state, were fixed on her face. She stared in mild astonishment, mouth slightly agape, before stuttering out a reply. “Little Eagle. My name is Rosie. I have bandaged your wound and will assist you in getting to a safe place. Can you sit up?”
As Rosie attempted to help Little Eagle come to an upright position, the pounding of horses’ hooves sounded from close by; too close, she decided, but before she could make a move to do what she knew not, a group of blue-coated soldiers rode determinedly into the clearing opposite her. Instinctively, Rosie leaned over the young brave protectively. He was friendly, but who knew what they might do.
Stories had been told of Americans committing terrible acts even upon the allied Indians.
They spotted her quickly and approached. The leader dismounted, followed by two lieutenants. His long stride closed the distance and Rosie looked up at his austere face. He had a striking figure: tall stature, grim lips, and a prominent nose. A curved sword hung at his waist. She guessed him to be a general by his livery and comportment. He looked down at her and then over at the wounded man, and she wanted to shrink under his commanding presence.
“We saw the smoke. Are you all right, madam? What is happening here? Who is this Indian?”
Rosie hesitated, which must have given the impression that she was in distress, and the general motioned to his first lieutenant. The other man moved forward, but Rosie rose to her feet before he could reach them.
“Wait! See the pendant he is wearing?” She gestured to the distinctive silver medallion resting on his chest; it bore a likeness of Thomas Jefferson. “He is an ally; he tells me he is from a Lower Creek town near here. You can trust him.”
The general’s features relaxed, but then a slight sneer crossed his face.
“When is a redskin truly trustworthy?” he muttered.
“General Jackson?” his lieutenant questioned uncertainly.
General Jackson waved him back. “It appears our help is not required here.”
They turned to leave. “If I may, Sir,” Rosie called out. The general stopped and regarded her evenly. Rosie blinked and glanced at the ground, then raised her eyes to meet his unflinchingly. “With all due respect, Sir, this land was theirs before it was ours. I—I ask you to deal kindly with them when this war is all over.”
General Jackson’s eyes narrowed severely, and Rosie felt she had overstepped her bounds. But she refused to cower from the conviction she held strongly in her heart.
He seemed to look at her more closely, as if for the first time, and with a final “I will take that into consideration,” the general swiveled on his feet and marched off without another look back, his men following in like fashion.
Rosie let out a long, deep breath. She could only hope that her words, meager though they were, might pierce a heart as stoic as Andrew Jackson’s.
General Jackson Claims Overwhelming Victory
Over British in Miraculous Battle of New Orleans!!
A mere few months have passed since the celebrated victory of General Andrew Jackson over the Red Stick Indians and the subsequent relinquishment of 23 million acres of Indian Territory over to the United States Government in the Treaty of Fort Jackson, and our esteemed General Jackson has successfully secured for our great nation yet another miraculous conquest, this one over the British forces who would invade our Lands from the South. Our Star-Spangled Banner yet waves o’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! No longer must we wait to see justice served upon the British troops who laid waste to the Capital city of Washington, D.C., burning the White House and wreaking havoc in our fair Land.
It was in the final hours of the battle raging in the heart of New Orleans, that many devout nuns and residents of the city gathered for a nightlong vigil to implore the God of Heaven for His hand to intercede, lest the great city be captured by invading forces.
It is reported that a courier ran into the chapel during communion with the wondrous tidings that the British had been defeated! It is also said that our marvelous General Jackson “Old Hickory” himself visited the convent where the vigil had taken place to thank the congregants for their prayers. His very words were recorded as the following: “By the blessing of Heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant Victories in the annals of War was obtained.”
Diana clucked her tongue thoughtfully as she read over the galley proof of the front-page article that would be going to the presses for tomorrow morning’s newspaper.
“It’s accurate enough to the facts, if not a bit…excessively fawning over the good General,” she mused, more to herself. The young apprentice standing before her desk squirmed, his face reddening slightly. “It’s just too bad, seeing that the war had in actuality been ended by treaty eighteen days preceding, that this so-called ‘miraculous victory’ served no practical purpose in the war against Britain, is it not?” she continued.
“There is something to be said about the virtues of establishing more effective communication between America and her European kin. Ah, well; perhaps the engineers and inventors of our country will someday find a means of supplementing those particular shortcomings against which we now struggle.”
The young man stammered, apparently unsure how to respond. Diana set the sheet down and met his nervous eyes. “Relax, Thomas. I cannot complain. You’ve done well for your first major assignment. I can count on you to begin a regular contribution to our front-page news from now on, can I not?”
He froze and eyes widened to round discs that made her want to snort in laughter, but she just barely held it in. “Y-yes, Miss Kincade. Yes, indeed!”
After he left, Diana stood and walked to the window of her second story office that overlooked one of the countless bustling streets of New York City. In the past couple of years, she had worked her way through the ranks of the newspaper staff until she’d reached the coveted position of Associate Editor, just below her boss, Mr. Barlow, the Senior Editor of their middling printshop.
Despite the fact of her gender, which would have held other women back, Diana had fought determinedly for this, accomplishing what most might label as foolhardy, improper, or, worse, shamelessly scandalous.
But she was here, and nothing and no one would take it from her. And she had plans for this newspaper. Mere dreams as yet, but plans, nonetheless.
Her mind wandered to her far-flung brother and sisters. Chadwick was reported to be somewhere up in Indiana territory after the promise of abundant, cheap farmland. Flower had sent word of her newest young one that was to be born in the autumn, joining Will and Flower’s eldest daughter Hope, namesake of their dearly departed mother, and now an energetic toddler.
And Rosie…Diana sighed. Her impetuous, brave, adventurous sister was off in distant lands doing great deeds for God and humanity that Diana could only write about. She wondered if the time would ever come when she would accomplish a deed half as monumental.
Movement on the street below caught her eye; a boy with tousled brown hair and ocean-blue eyes dashed into the building. Soon, quick steps sounded on the wooden slats coming toward her office, and a smile bloomed on her face.
“Mama Di, Mama Di!”
“What is it, Owen?”
His face was flushed, and he barely got the words out before he was forced to gulp air.
“Slow down, sweetheart. Catch your breath, then tell me your news.”
He allowed only a couple of breaths before plowing forward. “Mama Di, Auntie Rosie is an Indian Princess!”
“What? Owen, dear, whatever are you talking about?”
“Auntie Rosie! She’s here!”
Diana’s heart jumped into her throat. Rosie, her brave, reckless little sister, was here? But her last letter told of being on some mission of mercy down in the everglades of Florida.
How could she…? Well, that letter was dated more than six months ago. Perhaps…
Diana leaped from her position by the window toward the door of her office, but footsteps approaching on the stairs below made her stop.
Seconds later, two figures stood in the doorway.
It was Rosie, who, were it not for her blue eyes and bright golden tresses, could be mistaken for an Indian princess. She wore a dress made of soft leather hides and matching moccasins. Her hair was done in intricate plaits with feathers and beads interwoven throughout.
In a word: scandalous. And those gossipy townspeople had thought they had something to talk about with Diana. This would get those mouths flapping double time.
Then she saw the dark-haired, young Indian man, likewise dressed in moccasins but otherwise wearing European-style clothing, standing beside her.
“Hello, Di,” said Rosie.
Diana opened her mouth but could not think of what to say.
Rosie gestured to her companion. “I want you to meet Little Eagle, or Peter, the English name he has chosen to be called while amongst the more civilized city folk.”
Diana nodded faintly. “Ah, Peter—erm, Little Eagle—uh, forgive me, where are my manners?” She smiled at him and curtsied. “How do you do?”
He nodded curtly, but did not speak.
“And he is…?” Diana prompted.
“Ah, yes.” Rosie said. “He is my husband.”
June 24th, 1816
I have been traveling and exploring the territories of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri for the better part of a year now. How I wish you could join me. I have begun to learn to see the beauty and wonder of our great country again, but I still wrestle against the despairs and pain I knew so intimately on my maiden journey West. I am searching for a place which I would be proud to call my home and raise my future babes to full maturity as did our beloved Mother and Father, but I have yet to find it. I will know it when I see it.
Always, I remain
Your loving brother,
Written By: nightscribbler
Chapter Nine: The Struggles Of A Farmer And A Fighter
December 15, 1817
Chadwick Kincade stood outside the house he had built, marveling over his farmland and the barn he had also constructed. After exploring the territories of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, he had ventured to Georgia, and purchased land on the Georgia-Florida border. While enjoying the busy, yet tranquil, life he had found, he also thought of the future. Someday he would meet someone and create a legacy. Chadwick smiled at the warm thoughts of watching his future family appreciate the hard work he put into this little piece of heaven he could call his own.
It was early morning, and before getting caught up in the excitement of the future he daydreamed about, Chadwick thought about the tasks at hand. His farmhands weren’t set to arrive for an hour, but he could start some of the work himself. Several of his animals were ahead of him in starting families, and he would need to care for their babies. He had a recent harvest of vegetables that needed to be checked for quality and freshness, and what passed the test could be packaged and sold to the market. He would also need to trash the bad crops that hadn’t fared as well. The cows would need milking, and the milk would also need to be prepared for the market. Before Chadwick could choose from among these tasks, or the countless others that came from being a farm owner, a whooshing sound interrupted his train of thought.
Chadwick looked behind him and saw an arrow lodged into one of the logs that made up his house. Ducking instinctively, he looked around and could not see his attacker. The cornstalks in front of him were likely the location of the arrow’s owner. He had no weapons on him for defense, but he had a rifle inside. Before Chadwick could retrieve his firearm, another arrow whizzed by and hit the door.
Chadwick felt powerless. Whoever was after him was a skilled archer, and was not giving him anything to work with. The arrows were precise shots, but didn’t seem to be aimed at him directly. Chadwick concluded that the intruder wasn’t trying to kill him yet, but was seeking his attention. Knowing he didn’t have much of a choice, he ventured off his porch and faced the cornstalks. He put his hands in the air, and hoped he wasn’t giving his foe an easy finish.
Out of the cornfields came the shooter. He was a tall, muscular Indian man without a shirt, but he wore a breechcloth and leggings. Chadwick called out to him, hoping the man would understand his language.
“What do you want?” Chadwick asked the man calmly. With a bow and arrow pointing at him, he wasn’t about to get aggressive—yet.
“Name?” the man asked, looking at Chadwick intently.
“Chadwick Kincade. And you?”
“Thlocco Tustennuggee. It mean Big Warrior.”
“Why are you here?” Chadwick asked.
“Taking back land,” Big Warrior answered.
“No,” Chadwick said. He sympathized with the Indians wanting their share of land, especially after reading his sister Rosie’s letters about her war experiences, and her marriage to Little Eagle. But he had purchased this land and built a successful farm business with it. He might die if he stood his ground, but he preferred that to surrendering over what he had worked so hard for.
“Then fight,” Big Warrior responded, a vicious smile crossing his face. He dropped his bow and arrow quiver and ran toward Chadwick.
Chadwick hadn’t fought since the time he assisted Jim Bowie in Logan County. He was in good shape from working on his farm, but he wasn’t sure if he could hold his own against an Indian warrior. Not having much of a choice, Chadwick entered a fighting pose and prepared to square off with Big Warrior.
Big Warrior reached Chadwick and swung an open hand at him. Chadwick ducked and answered with a left hook. Big Warrior was briefly dazed, then smiled before headbutting Chadwick. Chadwick managed to keep standing, and responded by kicking Big Warrior in the chest. Big Warrior retched momentarily, then smiled at Chadwick.
“You fight well, Kincade,” Big Warrior said, somewhat out of breath, but still inspired. “But warrior of the Seminole tribe will prevail!”
“Let’s find out, shall we?” Chadwick responded, enjoying the thrill of this adventure, despite the danger he was in.
The fighters rushed at each other and extended their arms forward, each gifting the other with a fist. Chadwick and Big Warrior both fell to the ground after the exchange, ending their fight in what appeared to be a draw.
Chadwick came to and remembered the events that knocked him out. He glanced over and saw the Seminole lying on his back. He quickly checked Big Warrior’s vitals, and confirmed that he was still alive. He gloated to himself about apparently winning the fight, and despite the adrenaline rush from the battle, he knew he had to do something about the man that had attacked him for possession of his land.
“Rope! That’s it, there’s some inside!” Chadwick exclaimed out loud.
He grabbed the bow and quiver of arrows that Big Warrior had previously tossed on the ground, then dislodged the two arrows from the side of his house before running inside to get rope. Chadwick found the coil of rope in his workshop, then ran back outside to bind Big Warrior in order to buy time to come up with his next course of action. When he returned to the spot where their skirmish occurred, however, Big Warrior was no longer there.
Chadwick rushed back inside, taking the opportunity to arm himself in case the Seminole was hiding nearby. He checked his house, his barn, the cornstalks, and the rest of his land. Big Warrior had apparently fled, and Chadwick had a feeling that he would encounter the warrior again someday.
December 29, 1817
Chadwick was sitting in his living room drinking coffee with Mitchell Damoan, a good friend who served as one of his close confidants in the management of his farm business. Chadwick trusted that Mitchell would be the right person for the request he was about to make.
“Your coffee is exquisite, as always,” Mitchell complimented. “Coffee made from beans grown on Kincadia Farm is truly the best.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” Chadwick said appreciatively.
“Which is why you are the perfect person to take on what I am about to ask.”
“What would that be, my dear friend?” Mitchell asked, curious as to what was being requested.
“I have been called back to service in the U.S. Army to help deal with the issue of the Seminole Indians attacking Americans in these areas,” Chadwick explained. “My recent struggle with the Seminole Indian, Big Warrior, was a minor incident, but more severe attacks are occurring elsewhere.”
“From what I heard about your encounter; you were magnificent!” Mitchell gushed. “After holding your own against one of the best fighters of the Seminoles, I can see why you would be desired by the Army!”
“They don’t get it, though; Big Warrior could have easily killed me, but he didn’t,” Chadwick protested. “Still, if other settlers here are being attacked, it must be stopped. Kincadia Farm would also likely fall if this conflict continued.”
“Indeed, it would,” Mitchell agreed. “And for what role have you summoned me?”
“I would like you to manage Kincadia Farm until I return,” Chadwick requested. “I don’t know how long my duties in the Army will last. Will you handle things here until I can return?”
“It would be an honor, Chadwick, and I thank you for entrusting this to me,” Mitchell said enthusiastically. “If you vow to return safely, I will also vow to keep Kincadia Farm going strong in your absence.”
August 10, 1818
The conflict with the U.S. Army and the Seminoles that I am involved with has been perilous. I thought that we would be protecting our citizens from Seminoles that were attacking them. But as this war progresses, I am not seeing how our actions differ from those we fight to stop. During this past spring, General Jackson led us through the villages of the Seminoles on Lake Miccosukee and along the Suwannee River, and we were ordered to leave a trail of destruction throughout. We invaded Pensacola, and while some of the Seminoles were driven away, many were killed by our hands. Two Seminole Chiefs and two British men who were assisting the Seminoles were captured. The military court suggested that one of the British citizens should receive fifty lashes for punishment, but General Jackson ignored this and forced the execution of the four men. Oh, sister, your disdain for the General is warranted. If only he had listened to you when you tried to talk sense into him during your encounter in the Creek War.
I have been praised for my abilities in combat, and the story of my showdown with Big Warrior has been the constant talk among my comrades. I have not encountered Big Warrior again per the writing of this letter, and I question if he is still alive. I fear for my own life as well, but I promise to somehow survive this nightmare and return to the place I belong, Kincadia Farm. I hope your days are better, sister, and I wish you and Little Eagle the best, always.
Your Loving Brother,
Written By: Roses311Sublime