Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Camp Indians in Mariposa, Yosemite Valley, California by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)


Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Camp Indians in Mariposa, Yosemite Valley, California (c 1872)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Monday, January 30, 2017

19C Music in America - 1880s Native American Musicians


Photograph; cabinet card; studio portrait of two Iroquois musicians, a man and a woman, posing in front of a painted backdrop; the man is standing and holding a violin, he wears a shell gorget choker, beaded collar, bone necklace, fringed shirt, trousers and decorated moccasins; the woman is seated and holds a guitar; she wears a beaded crown, beaded (shell?) choker, beaded necklaces, fringed dress with beadwork at the bottom; North America. c 1880 from The British Museum.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tchón-su-móns-ka, Sand Bar, Wife of the Trader François Chardon by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Tchón-su-móns-ka, Sand Bar, Wife of the Trader François Chardon

New Jersey born George Catlin (1796-1872) is reknowned for his extensive travels across the American West, recording the lives of Native Americans. In 1818, Catlin practiced law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821 to pursue painting. Catlin enjoyed modest success painting portraits & miniatures, but he longed to be a history painter. In 1828, after seeing a delegation of western Indians in the east, he had wrote that he had found a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." In 1830, Catlin made his initial pilgrimage to St. Louis to meet William Clark & learn from him all he could of the western lands he hoped to visit. Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating an astonishing visual record of Native American life. He had only a short time to accomplish his goal—to capture with canvas & paint the essence of Indian life & culture. In that same year, the Indian Removal Act commenced the 12-year action that would remove the remaining Indians from land east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, the Mandan would be decimated by smallpox; with in a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

New England - 1629 Food & Native Americans

A Short and True Description of New England

by the Rev. Francis Higginson, written in 1629 
Printed for Michael Sparke, London, 1630.

Francis Higginson (1588-1630) was an early Puritan minister in Colonial New England, and the first minister of Salem, Massachusetts.

In our plantation we have already a quart of milk for a penny, but the abundant increase of corn proves this country to be a wonderment. Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty are ordinary here. Yea, Joseph’s increase in Egypt is here outstripped with us. Our planters hope to have more than a hundred fold this year, and all this while I am within compass — what will you say of two-hundred fold and upward? It is almost incredible what great gain some of our English planters have had by our Indian corn. Credible persons have assured me, and the party of it himself announced the truth of it to me, that from the setting of 13 gallons of corn, he hath had an increase of 52 hogsheads, every hogshead holding seven bushels of London measure, and every bushel was by him sold and trusted to the Indians for so much beaver as was worth 18 shillings, and so of this 13 gallons of corn which was worth 6 shillings 8 pence, he made about £ 327 of it the year following, as by reckoning it will appear; wherefore you may see how God blesseth industry in this land. There are not such beautiful and great ears of corn I suppose anywhere else but in this country, being also of variety of colors as red, blue and yellow, etc. And of one corn there springeth four or five hundred. I have sent you many ears of divers colors that you may see the truth of it. Little children here by planting of corn may earn much more than their own maintenance.


17C Fishing

They have tried our English corn at new Plymouth plantation, so that all our several grains grow here very well, and have a fitting soil for their nature.

Our governor hath store of green peas growing in his garden as good as ever I ate in England. This country aboundeth naturally with store of roots of great variety and good to eat. Our turnips, parsnips and carrots are here bigger and sweeter than is ordinarily found in England. Here are also store of pumpkins, cucumbers, and other things of that nature which I know not. Also, divers excellent pot-herbs grow abundantly among the grass, as strawberry leaves in all parts of the country and plenty of strawberries in their time, and pennyroyal, wintersavory, sorrel, brooklime, liverwort, carvel and watercresses, also leeks and onions are ordinary, and divers medicinal herbs. Here are also abundance of other sweet herbs delightful to the smell, whose names we know not, etc., and plenty of single damask roses very sweet and two kinds of herbs that bear two kinds of flowers very sweet, which they say, are as good to make cordage or cloth as any hemp or flax we have.

Excellent vines are here up and down in the woods. Our governor hath already planted a vineyard with great hope of increase. Also, mulberries, plums, raspberries, corrance, chestnuts, filberts, walnuts, smalnuts, hurtleberries and haws of whitethorn near as good as our cherries in England, they grow in plenty here...

For beasts there are some bears, and they say some lions also; for they have been seen at Cape Anne. Also here are several sorts of deer, some whereof bring three or four young ones at once, which is not ordinary in England. Also wolves, foxes, beavers, otters, martins, great wild cats, and a great beast called a molke (moose) as big as an ox. I have seen the skins of all these beasts since I came to this plantation excepting lions. Also here are great store of squirrels, some greater, and some smaller and lesser. There are some of the lesser sort, they tell me, that by a certain skin will fly from tree to tree though they stand far distant...

Of the waters of New England with the things belonging to the same. New England hath water enough both salt and fresh, the greatest sea in the world, the Atlantic sea, runs all along the coast thereof. There are abundance of islands along the shore, some full of wood and mast to feed swine; and others clear of wood, and fruitful to bear corn. Also we have store of excellent harbors for ships, as at Cape Anne, and at Massachusetts Bay, and at Salem, and at many other places; and they are the better because for strangers there is a very difficult and dangerous passage into them, but unto such as are well acquainted with them, they are easy and safe enough. The abundance of sea-fish is almost beyond believing, and sure I should scarce have believed it except I had seen it with mine own eyes. I saw great store of whales, and crampus, and such abundance of mackerels that it would astonish one to behold, likewise codfish abundant on the coast, and in their season are plentifully taken. There is a fish called a bass, a most sweet and wholesome fish as ever I did eat. It is altogether as good as our fresh salmon, and the season of their coming was begun when we came first to New England in June, and so continued about three months space. Of this fish our fishermen take many hundreds together, which I have seen lying on the shore to my admiration. Yea, their nets ordinarily take more then they are able to haul to land, and for want of boats and men they are constrained to let many go after they have taken them, and yet sometimes they fill two boats at a time with them. And besides bass we take plenty of skate and thomback, and abundance of lobsters, that the least boy in the plantation may both catch and eat what he will of them. For my own part I was soon cloyed with them, they were so great, and fat, and luscious. I have seen some myself that have weighed 16 pounds, but others have had divers times so great lobsters as have weighed 25 pounds, as they assured me. Also here is abundance of herring, turbot, sturgeon, cusks, haddocks, mullets, eels, crabs, mussels and oysters...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Indigenous Peoples in 19C America by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)


Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indian camp, the end of the day (1862)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

New England & Native Americans - A Year in the Life of Connecticut farmer Thomas Minor (1608-1690)


A Year in the Life of Thomas Minor, Connecticut Farmer, 1668.

Thomas Minor (1608-1690) was born in England & sailed to New England in 1630.  Thomas Minor is considered one of the 4 founders of the Town of Stonington.  In 1653, he bought the land in the Quiambaug from Cary Latham of New London.  He lived in his house there with his wife Grace Palmer, along with 6 sons & 1 daughter: John, age 16, Clement, age 14, Thomas Jr., age 12, Ephraim, age 10, Josiah, age 8, Manasseh, age 5, & Ann, age 3.


Before he moved to Stonington in 1653, Minor was born in 1608 in Chew Magna, Somersetshire, the son of Clement Minor. About 1630, he sailed on the Lyons Whelp & landed at Salem.  After several moves he settled in Charlestown, where he became a founding member of the First Church in 1632.  He married Grace Palmer, daughter of Walter Palmer, & they soon moved to Hingham.  After 14 years in Massachusetts, the family joined John Winthrop, Jr., in the settlement of Pequot (New London) in 1646. There he held important offices, most for several terms: assistant magistrate, sergeant in the New London Train Band, New London deputy to the Connecticut Court, & judge.


He was elected Stonington deputy to the General Court 4 times, town clerk twice, & selectman 9 times. He was often asked to participate in Indian negotiations & was constantly required to lay out boundaries for land grants. In his diary he wrote:  "The 24th of Aprill, 1669, I Thomas Minor am by my accounts sixtie one yeares ould I was by the towne & this year Chosen to be a select man the Townes Treasurer The Townes Recorder The brander of horses by the General Courte Recorded the head officer of the Traine band by the same Courte one the ffoure that have the charge of the milishcia of the whole Countie & Chosen & the sworne Commissioner & one to assist in keeping the Countie Courte."

Portrait of King Philip by Paul Revere

He was the town's chief military officer; & in 1676, when King Philip's War started, Lieutenant Thomas Minor, then 68 years old, picked up his musket & marched off to battle accompanied by several of his sons.  In 1675, the Wampanoag Metacom (known as King Phillip in England) launched a massive attack against the Puritans in an attempt to save his people’s way of life. King Phillip organized a large army which included many disgruntled members of other New England tribes. His armies nearly obliterated some British American settlements near Plymouth & in western Massachusetts.

King Phillip's War 1676

Minor lived in Stonington 38 years, much longer than any other early settler, dying in 1690, at the age of 83. 

Thomas Minor's wolfstone marker - 
'Here lyeth the body of Lieutenant Thomas Minor, aged 83 years. Departed 1690'

For over 30 years (1653-1685), Thomas Minor kept a diary recording his activities as a farmer in Stonington, Connecticut. This diary is a journey into the world of the colonial years in New England leading up to & immediately following King Philip's War (1675-1676).  Although it rarely gives details, it does offer a glimpse into his daily life & community activities. Thomas records many births, marriages, & deaths among his neighbors. His journal served as a calendar & a record of planting, harvesting, & of unusual weather conditions. It is his personal farmers almanac. 

By 1668, when this selection from his journal was written, Minor, his wife Grace, & their children were living in what is now Stonington, a town on the Connecticut coast. Native Americans lived nearby, & the journal shows Minor & his family interacting with them. 

Native American tribal territories in 1600s New England

Agriculture provided an important context for Minor's relations with his wife & sons, with nature, & even with a sense of his own mortality. Minor emerges as someone less interested in calculating profit & loss on his farm than in accomplishing a hard day's work as a steward of the land that he hoped would support his family for generations to come. 

This journal selection records one year in Minor’s life. He began the year in March, as people in England & New England did until the mid-18C. While his spelling is idiosyncratic & sometimes difficult to read, the journal probably shows how Minor pronounced his words.

1668 Journal of Thomas Minor

1668
The first month is march & hath .31. d: sabath day the first and in the first after the leap yeare and from the Creation .5617. and the yeare .1668. and the 20th yeare of the reinge of our lord King Charels the second the .6. day Thomas Tracie and leaffingwell was heare the .7. dai I branded .2. Coults [colts] I sowed hemp & pease in the orchard sabath day the .8. day: sabath day the 15. The 13. I was at mr palmes I had A barell of mallases [molasses] wensday the 18. we made an End between Jossepth & Marie Averie monday the 30 day I ffecthed [fetched] my wifes mare and 26. day Thursday we trained fryday .31.

The second moneth is Aprile and hath 30 days wensday the ffirst we sowed pease in the plaine & wheate: the 7. day we had a towne meeting wensday the .8 I gardned the .9 day I mended the Brige & was at Tagwoncke The 14. day it snowed and the 15 day being wensday ye 16 day we plowed ffor segamoot in the plaine The 20 day mr Brewster and mr star was heare I marked the red mares Coult wensday the .22. I sowed fflax the 23 I was with mr noyce to pay him it was wet.


The third moneth is may and hath .31. days ffriday the first Thursday I was at black hall [Black Hall, a coastal town west of Stonington] John [his son] came hither ffriday the 8. the .11. day I was at norig [Norwich] and burnt my bill: the 12. day John went Away I was to goe to the Court the 14 day was the Electun [election] ffriday the 15 The 17 day I was sicke the 22 I was at Courte the being ffriday monday 25 I came whome [home] the 30 day I paid thee firkin of buter to badcok sabath day 31.


The 22 of June 1668 Ephraim his son was borne. < p>The fouerth moneth is June and hath .30. days monday the ffirst: The .4. I came from new london the same day I received .3 letters ffrom bristoll & monday the 8 I was caring wood the tenth I was lookeing horses Monday the .15 hanah [his daughter] went to Tagwonck The same day was a towne meeting to Chuse a Constable Thomas wheeler was Chosen my lot drawne and the 18 day we ended all about our ffarmes agedowset his five ackers [acres] laid out and he and I exchanged monday 22. the 23 day I was branding horses 24 day my wife came whome sicke ffrom Tagwouncke monday 29 I had mowed most of my orchard Tusday the 30 I was to go to New london we Killed the catle.


July is the fift moneth and hath .31. days wensday the first Thursday mr hill was maried the second day wensday the 8. I was at Crandals mill ffriday the .10. we had our ffloore laid I had ffouer loads and halfe of hay in the baren wee wer [sentence unfinished] Tusday the 14 Cap denison nehemiah palmer & Tho minor was Chosen to make the Contrie Rate and lists the 15 day we made the Contrie Rate being wensday the 17 day I was at pocatuck [Pawcatuck] the 20 day monday Josepth [his son] had Twentie six shillings of wamppum and wensday the 22. 23 I had 2 load of pease into the barne the .25 day saterday we had all our oates & pease into the barne Rachell mason was heare wensday 29. Tho bell came to worke my wheat came all downe ffriday 31 I was at badcoks


The sixt moneth is Agust and hath .31. days saterday the ffirst we tooke all our fflag out of the water the ffifte day wensday I was at Crandals mill saterday the .8. Crandall and his wife was heare we had Ten load of hay whome monday 10 I went to bostowne with the oxen saterday the 15 monday the 17 I came whom from bostowne and saterday 22 I ffecthed the litel Reeck with the .2. steer: and The .27. we had ale our hay whome. 28. we gathered aples saterday .29. I writ letters to Bristoll monday 31.


The seventh moneth is september and hath .30. days Tusday the ffirst saterday the .5. we set up the place for to put corn in monday the 7 we gathered hops Tusday the 8 Thomas perke was heare The 11 I was at new london monday the 14 the Towne meeting about parkers land Tusday the 15. the 17 day I was at the Courte saterday I came whome Tusday .22. the Jurie was discharged Thursday the 24 was our Traing day: .36. was ffined when we came to the Top of the greate hill we met Thomas perk and his sonn Thomas perk and Robert holmes it Rained and wensday the 30 we made an End of carring of indean corne


The Eight moneth is october and hath .31. days Thursday the ffirst the secon day wee chose deputees p’fected our list: mr Richerdson discovered Captaine gookin his horse the .8. day John his wife and Children was heare my wife and I was at london and let the Catele to John keny Thursday the .15 ffriday the 16 John & the Rest went away the 7 day of this moneth John ffish was hurt and Thursday The 22. I make an End of Shuflin in the yard the .18 day mr Thorneton Taught heare thursday .29. we wer to traine


The ninth moneth is november and hath .30. days and sabath day the ffirst The 4 day we delivered the mares to nathaniell Cooper sabath day the .8. mr noyce came whome the 9 day I sent to John and sabath day the 15 the 16 day we broke our wheel Caring muck the 17 day we gathered Turneps we had bushels wensday the 18 was A day of Thanksgiving sabath day 22 the high Tide was sabath 29 mr noyce apoynted the 30 day of december to be a day of ffasting and debate being wensday month and munday the 30 we laid out 300 ackers of land ministrie


The tenth moneth is december and hath .31. days Tusday the ffirst we laid out 200 ackers of land for the ministry The third day the .2. snow and Elisha Cheesbroughs son was borne the 6 day my wife ffell of the mare at the Cart brige the 7 day we looked land the 8 day Tusday I was at the Captaines and gallops the 15 day tusday the 3. snow I begun to thresh and wensday the 4 snow my sons went to new london Tusday the .22. I was at new london Thursday .24. I arested shumatuck 26 day williams was heare


The 16 day of November 1669 Thomas park Junior ffetched a barell of sider and one bushell of apples that was the Just sume ffor the house building


The leventh month is Januarie and hath .31. days ffriday the ffirst and ffriday the eight I tooke up my bay horse The 13 day mr noyce Captaine and his wife was heare the 14 day Ephraim and marie was heare and ffecthed wood the ffifteen ffriday The 20 day wensday The meeting was at our house ffriday 22 The snow melted all away the 23 day we ffecthed wood ffriday the 29 and sabath the .31.


The 25 day of ffebruarie .1668. there was due to me Thirteen shillings from Thomas bell.


The Twelvth moneth is ffebruary & hath .28. days monday the ffirst: this is the yeare of our lord god .1668. from the Creation .5617. and the first after the leap yeare: and The .20th yeare of the Reinge of king Charles the second the .2. day a towne meeting about mr Richarson building upon marshall wights land the same day I was Chosen Towne Treasurer the third day I was at london and paid the marshall the 8 day monday we wer laing out an acker of land at beaporton the ninth day we sent .4. gallons of oyle to goodwife Cheesbrough the 15 day I was with mr noyce at london monday 22 the 24 I was at poquatuck with mr noyce The 25 day Thursday mr Richardson cried out murther The 27 day I was at new london sabath day 28


Source: Thomas Minor, The Diary of Thomas Minor of Stonington, Connecticut, 1653–1684 (New London,CT: The Day Publishing Co., 1899), 83–89.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Army painter Seth Eastman 1803-1875 & the Native American wife & child he abandoned & the US Senate

From the office of the United States Senate curator , we learn That in 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist Seth Eastman 17 to paint images of important fortifications in the United States. He completed the works between 1870 & amp; 1875. For many years, the fort paintings hung in the rooms assigned to the House Military Affairs Committee, first in the Capitol & amp; later in the Cannon House Office Building. During the late 1930s, they were returned to the Capitol for public display. Of the 17 paintings, 8 are located in the Senate wing.
West Point, New York by Seth Eastman

During the late 18th century & amp; Through much of the 19th century, army forts were constructed Throughout the United States to defend the nation from a growing variety of threats, both perceived & amp; real. Seventeen of these sites are depicted in a collection painted especially for the US Capitol by Seth Eastman.
Lt Colonel Seth Eastman (1808-1875) 1860s

Born in 1808 in Brunswick, Maine, Eastman found expression For His artistic skills in a military career. After graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point, where officers-in-training were taught basic drawing & amp; drafting techniques, Eastman was posted to forts in Wisconsin & amp; Minnesota before returning to West Point as assistant teacher of drawing. In 1830 Eastman was assigned to duty topography on the western territory and spent a short time at Fort Snelling before returning to West Point to teach.
Fort Defiance, New Mexico (now Arizona) by Seth Eastman

While at Fort Snelling, Eastman married Wakaninajinwin (Stands Sacred), the 15-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, Dakota chief. Eastman left in 1832 for another military assignment soon after the birth of Their baby girl, Winona, and declared His marriage ended When He left. Winona was also known as Mary Nancy Eastman and was the mother of Charles Alexander Eastman, author of Indian Boyhood .
Fort Snelling, Minnesota by Seth Eastman

From 1833 to 1840, Eastman taught drawing at West Point. In 1835, he married His second wife, Mary Henderson, the daughter of a West Point surgeon. In 1841, he returned to Fort Snelling as a military commander and Remained there with Mary and Their 5 children for the next 7 years. During this time Eastman That Began visually recording the everyday way of life of the Dakota and the Ojibwa people.
Fort Delaware, Delaware by Seth Eastman

Eastman established himself as an accomplished landscape painter, & amp; between 1836 & amp; 1840, 17 of His oils were Exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York City. His election as an honorary member of the academy in 1838 Links: His enhanced status as an artist.
Fort Knox, Maine by Seth Eastman

Transferred to posts in Florida, & amp; Texas in the 1840s, Eastman Became interesed in the Native Americans of These regions & amp; Numerous made sketches of the people & amp; Their customs. This experience prepared him for the next five yeas in Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the commissioner of Indian Affairs & amp; illustrated Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's important six-volume Historical & amp; Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition, & amp; Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. During this time Eastman anche assisted Captain Montgomery C. Meigs, superintendent of the Capitol extension, in securing the services of several Native Americans to model for the sculptors working on the 1850s Additions to the building.
Fort Mackinac, Michigan by Seth Eastman

In 1867 Eastman returned to the Capitol, this time to paint a series of nine scenes of Native American life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. Eastman's talent & amp; His special knowledge of the subject Certainly qualified him for the commission, Which Was Obtained for him by the House Ways & amp; Means Committee Chairman Robert C. Schenck of Ohio. Schenck, a former Civil War officer who, like Eastman, was retired for disability During the war, believed Amerian - not European - Should artists recieve the Capitol commissions. In introducing a resolution urging the hiring of Eastman for the project, Schenck remarked:  "We have been paying for decorations, some displaying good taste & amp; others of tawdry character, a great deal of money to Italian artists & amp; others, while we have American talent much more competent for the work. Among others... is General Eastman, who... is more of an artist in all that Relates to the Indians, except possibly Catlin & amp; Stanley, than any we have had in this country .... If assigned to this duty General Eastman will draw His full pay as lieutenant colonel, instead of as on the retired list, making a difference of about $ 1.200 or $ 1.500 per year. For at the most $ 1,500 to year we will secure service For which we sono stati paying tens of Thousands of dollars to foreign artists, & amp; we will get better work done. "

Schenck's resolution was approved by the House but tabled by the Senate. Nevertheless, the retired Eastman was Placed - by special order of the War Department - on "active duty" So THAT he could be compensated for creating works of art for the Capitol. He finished the nine paintings in 1869.
Fort Scammel and Fort Gorges, Maine by Seth Eastman

In 1870 House Military Affairs Committee Chairman John A. Logan of Illinois Theproposed That Eastman produces 17 canvases depicting army forts. It is indicative of the post-Civil War America sentiment That Logan Eastman specified That was not to paint battle scenes; indeed, the mood of These forts in September landscapes is serene, even nostalgic to some degree. Never a well man, Eastman was aged & amp; ailing by the time he received the commission, & amp; it is not known if he visited the forts. He Had Been stationed at several of These during his military career, & amp; He trained as a topographical draftsman he probably had plans, elevations, & amp; even photographs of the forts at his disposal. Eastman completed the series between 1870 & amp; 1875.
Fort Taylor, Florida by Seth Eastman

Charles E. Fairman, longtime curator of the Capitol, was slightly dismissive of Eastman's fort paintings. He thought they were "probably blackberries valuable as examples of historical accuracy... than for purely decorative purposes."   He Explained That it was important That knowledge Concerning government fortifications Should be easily accessible & amp; These pictures "Contain Desired information & amp; anche relieve acceptably what might otherwise be blank spaces upon an uninteresting wall." Yet without touting Eastman's paintings as masterpieces, it is still possible to value them as Considerably blackberries than repositories of "Desired information."
Fort Trumbull, Connecticut by Seth Eastman

For many years, the fort paintings hung in the House Military Affairs Committee Room, first in the Capitol & amp; later in the Cannon House Office Building. During the late 1930s, they were returned to the Capitol for public display. Of the 17 paintings, eight are located in the Senate, while the others are displayed on the House side of the Capitol. Eastman was working on the painting West Point When He died in 1875.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Native Americans and Lacrosse

George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball-play of the Choctaw--Ball Up

Today's lacrosse resembles games played by various Native American communities. These include games called dehuntshigwa'es in Onondaga ("men hit a rounded object"), da-nah-wah'uwsdi in Eastern Cherokee ("little war"), Tewaarathon in Mohawk language ("little brother of war"), baaga`adowe in Ojibwe ("bump hips") and kabucha in Choctaw.  
George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball-play of the Choctaw--Ball Down 1834

Lacrosse is one of the oldest team sports in North America. There is evidence that a version of lacrosse originated in Canada as early as the 17C.  Native American lacrosse was most popular around the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic seaboard, and American South.
George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball Players

Native American ball games often involved hundreds of players. Early lacrosse games could last several days. As many as 100 to 1,000 men from opposing villages or tribes might participate. The games were played in open plains located between 2 villages, and the goals could range from 500 yards (460 m) to several miles apart.  
George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball-play of the Women

The history of Lacrosse seems to begin among North American Indian tribes. As early as the 1400s, the Iroquois, Huron, Algonquin and other tribes were playing the game. In its beginnings lacrosse, then called baggataway, was a game that was part religious ritual and part military training.  In early games, just running up and down the field was a great feat. Goals could be as far as 500 yards to half a mile apart and no sidelines limited the playing area. Games lasted 2 to 3 days with “time outs” between sundown and sunup. Teams were vying to move a small, deerskin ball past their opponent’s goal. Players used 3-4 foot long sticks with small nets on the end to throw, catch and carry the ball. 
George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball-play Dance by Choctaw, 1834.

Lacrosse had spiritual significance for the Native Americans. A match started with a face off during which players would hold their sticks in the air and shout out to get the gods’ attention. Games were sometimes played to appeal to the gods for healing or to settle disputes between tribes.  The sport became a diplomatic tool saving tribes from more violent warfare. Native Americans used at least one game of lacrosse as a military ploy. The Sauk and Ojibway Indian Tribes staged a lacrosse match outside the gates of Fort Michilimackinac in what is now Michigan, in June of 1763.  The soldiers witnessing the game were fascinated by the rough play and the speedy back-and-forth engagement. Captivated, they began to wager with one another and cheer for their favorites. The troops were so absorbed by the play, that they were not aware that Indian women had been sneaking weapons into the fort and up toward the ring of spectators. The Indian women stood near the fort with weapons hidden under their shawls & blankets.  The men moved the action of the game toward the fort and, whoops, sent the ball over the wall. The Indians threw down their lacrosse sticks, took up the weapons and stormed the fort. French missionaries are responsible for giving the sport its name. Missionaries thought the stick used by Canadian Indian tribes looked like the crosier, or le crosse, carried by bishops.
Fort Michilimackinac Lacrosse 1763

The following article presents an excellent overview & brings lacrosse into the 20C.
THE HISTORY OF LACROSSE
By Thomas Vennum Jr., Author of American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War

Lacrosse was one of many varieties of indigenous stickball games being played by American Indians at the time of European contact. Almost exclusively a male team sport, it is distinguished from the others, such as field hockey or shinny, by the use of a netted racquet with which to pick the ball off the ground, throw, catch and convey it into or past a goal to score a point. The cardinal rule in all varieties of lacrosse was that the ball, with few exceptions, must not be touched with the hands.


Early data on lacrosse, from missionaries such as French Jesuits in Huron country in the 1630s and English explorers, such as Jonathan Carver in the mid-eighteenth century Great Lakes area, are scant and often conflicting. They inform us mostly about team size, equipment used, the duration of games and length of playing fields but tell us almost nothing about stickhandling, game strategy, or the rules of play. The oldest surviving sticks date only from the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and the first detailed reports on Indian lacrosse are even later. George Beers provided good information on Mohawk playing techniques in his Lacrosse (1869), while James Mooney in the American Anthropologist (1890) described in detail the "[Eastern] Cherokee Ball-Play," including its legendary basis, elaborate rituals, and the rules and manner of play.


Given the paucity of early data, we shall probably never be able to reconstruct the history of the sport. Attempts to connect it to the rubber-ball games of Meso-America or to a perhaps older game using a single post surmounted by some animal effigy and played together by men and women remain speculative. As can best be determined, the distribution of lacrosse shows it to have been played throughout the eastern half of North America, mostly by tribes in the southeast, around the western Great Lakes, and in the St. Lawrence Valley area. Its presence today in Oklahoma and other states west of the Mississippi reflects tribal removals to those areas in the nineteenth century. Although isolated reports exist of some form of lacrosse among northern California and British Columbia tribes, their late date brings into question any widespread diffusion of the sport on the west coast.


On the basis of the equipment, the type of goal used and the stick-handling techniques, it is possible to discern three basic forms of lacrosse—the southeastern, Great Lakes, and Iroquoian. Among southeastern tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Yuchi and others), a double-stick version of the game is still practiced. A two-and-a half foot stick is held in each hand, and the soft, small deerskin ball is retrieved and cupped between them. Great Lakes players (Ojibwe, Menominee, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Miami, Winnebago, Santee Dakota and others) used a single three-foot stick. It terminates in a round, closed pocket about three to four inches in diameter, scarcely larger than the ball, which was usually made of wood, charred and scraped to shape. The northeastern stick, found among Iroquoian and New England tribes, is the progenitor of all present-day sticks, both in box as well as field lacrosse. The longest of the three—usually more than three feet—it was characterized by its shaft ending in a sort of crook and a large, flat triangular surface of webbing extending as much as two-thirds the length of the stick. Where the outermost string meets the shaft, it forms the pocket of the stick.

George Catlin (1796-1872) Ball-play of the Choctaw--ball up 1834

Lacrosse was given its name by early French settlers, using the generic term for any game played with a curved stick (crosse) and a ball. Native terminology, however, tends to describe more the technique (cf. Onondaga DEHUNTSHIGWA'ES, "men hit a rounded object") or, especially in the southeast, to underscore the game's aspects of war surrogacy ("little brother of war"). There is no evidence of non-Indians taking up the game until the mid-nineteenth century, when English-speaking Montrealers adopted the Mohawk game they were familiar with from Caughnawauga and Akwesasne, attempted to "civilize" the sport with a new set of rules and organize into amateur clubs. Once the game quickly grew in popularity in Canada, it began to be exported throughout the Commonwealth, as non-native teams traveled to Europe for exhibition matches against Iroquois players. Ironically, because Indians had to charge money in order to travel, they were excluded as "professionals" from international competition for more than a century. Only with the formation of the Iroquois Nationals in the 1980s did they successfully break this barrier and become eligible to compete in World Games.

Apart from its recreational function, lacrosse traditionally played a more serious role in Indian culture. Its origins are rooted in legend, and the game continues to be used for curative purposes and surrounded with ceremony. Game equipment and players are still ritually prepared by conjurers, and team selection and victory are often considered supernaturally controlled. In the past, lacrosse also served to vent aggression, and territorial disputes between tribes were sometimes settled with a game, although not always amicably. A Creek versus Choctaw game around 1790 to determine rights over a beaver pond broke out into a violent battle when the Creeks were declared winners. Still, while the majority of the games ended peaceably, much of the ceremonialism surrounding their preparations and the rituals required of the players were identical to those practiced before departing on the warpath.

For the Cherokee, lacrosse had serious ceremonial aspects and accompanying rituals, including dances and certain taboos. Pictured in this 1889 photograph is the Cherokee Ballplayers’ Dance on Qualla Reservation in North Carolina. In the ceremony before the game, the women’s dance leader (left) beats a drum and the men’s dance leader (right) shakes a gourd rattle. The ballplayers, carrying ball sticks, circle counterclockwise around the fire. A number of factors led to the demise of lacrosse in many areas by the late nineteenth century. Wagering on games had always been integral to an Indian community's involvement, but when betting and violence saw an increase as traditional Indian culture was eroding, it sparked opposition to lacrosse from government officials and missionaries. The games were felt to interfere with church attendance and the wagering to have an impoverishing effect on the Indians. When Oklahoma Choctaw began to attach lead weights to their sticks around 1900 to use them as skull-crackers, the game was outright banned.

Meanwhile, the spread of nonnative lacrosse from the Montreal area eventually led to its position today worldwide as one of the fastest growing sports (more than half a million players), controlled by official regulations and played with manufactured rather than hand-made equipment—the aluminum shafted stick with its plastic head, for example. While the Great Lakes traditional game died out by 1950, the Iroquois and southeastern tribes continue to play their own forms of lacrosse. Ironically, the field lacrosse game of nonnative women today most closely resembles the Indian game of the past, retaining the wooden stick, lacking the protective gear and demarcated sidelines of the men's game, and tending towards mass attack rather than field positions and offsides.


Bibliography:


Culin, Stewart. "Games of the North American Indians." In Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1902-1903, pp. 1-840. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907.


Fogelson, Raymond. "The Cherokee Ball Game: A Study in Southeastern Ethnology." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1962.


Vennum, Thomas Jr. American Indian Lacrosse: Little Brother of War. Washington, DC and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.

Monday, January 23, 2017

1666 A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina

Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina (1666)

This is one of the earliest descriptions of Carolina. It was published by Robert Horne in London (although he may not have been the author). The explicit purpose of the pamphlet was to entice English men & women to migrate to the colony; & thereby increase the value of the Proprietors' estate.

John White c 1587 Natives Fishing in North Carolina

CAROLINA is a fair and spacious Province on the Continent of America: so called in honour of His Sacred Majesty that now is, Charles the Second, whom God preserve; and His Majesty hath been pleas'd to grant the same to certain Honourable Persons, who in order to the speedy planting of the same, have granted divers privileges and advantages to such as shall transport themselves and Servants in convenient time; This Province lying so neer Virginia, and yet more Southward, enjoys the fertility and advantages thereof; and yet is so far distant, as to be freed from the inconstancy of the Weather, which is a great cause of the unhealthfulness thereof; also, being in the latitude of the Bermudas may expect the like healthfulness which it hath hitherto enjoy'd, and doubtless there is no Plantation that ever the English went upon, in all respects so good as this: for though Bermudas be wonderful healthy and fruitful, yet is it but a Prison to the Inhabitants, who are much streightned for want of room, and therefore many of them are come to Carolina, and more intend to follow. There is seated in this Province two Colonies already, one on the River Roanoak (now called Albemarle River) and borders on Virginia; the Other at Cape Feare, two Degrees more Southerly; of which follows a more perticular Description. . 

The Perticular Description of Cape Feare.

In the midst of this fertile Province, in the Latitude of 34 degrees, there is a Colony of English seated, who Landed there the 29 of May, Anno 1664. and are in all about 800 persons, who have overcome all the difficulties that attend the first attempts, and have cleered the way for those that come after, who will find good houses to be in whilst their own are in building; good forts to secure them from their enemies; and many things brought from other parts there, increasing to their no small advantage. The entrance into the River, now called Cape-Feare River, the situation of the Cape, and trending of the Land, is plainly laid down to the eye in the Map annexed. The River is barred at the entrance, but there is a Channel close abord the Cape that will convey in safety a ship of 300 Tons, and as soon as a ship is over ihe Bar, the River is 5 or 6 fathom deep for a 100 miles from the Sea; this Bar is a great security to the Colony against a forreign Invasion, the channel being hard to find by those that have not experience of it, and yet safe enough to those that know it.

The Earth, Water, and Air.

The Land is of divers sorts as in all Countryes of the world, that which lyes neer the Sea, is sandy and barren, but beareth many tall Trees, which make good timber for several uses; and this sandy ground is by experienced men thought to be one cause of the healthfulness of the place: but up the River about 20 or 30 mile, where they have made a Town, called Charles-Town, there is plenty of as rich ground as any in the world. It is a blackish mold upon a red sand, and under that a clay, but in some places is rich ground of a grayer colour, they have made Brick of the Clay, which proves very good; and Lime they have also for building. . . . The Woods are stored with Deer and Wild Turkeys, of a great magnitude, weighing many times above 50lbs a piece, and of a more pleasant tast than in England, being in their proper climate; other sorts of Beasts in the Woods that are good for food; and also Fowls, whose names are not known to them. This is what they found naturally upon the place; but they have brought with them most sorts of seeds and roots of the Barbadoes which thrive very well, and they have Potatoes, and the other Roots and Herbs of Barbadoes growing and thriving with them; as also from Virginia, Bermudas, and New England, what they could afford: They have Indigo, Tobacco very good, and Cotton-wool; Lime-trees, Orange, Lemon, and other Fruit-Trees they brought, thrive exceedingly: They have two Crops of Indian-Corn in one year, and great increase every Crop; Apples, Pears, and other English fruit, grow there out of the planted Kernels: The Marshes and Meadows are very large from 1500 to 3000 Acres, and upwards, and are excellent food for Cattle, and will bear any Grain being prepared; some Cattle both great and small, which live well all the Winter, and keep their fat without Fodder; Hogs find so much Mast and other Food in the Woods, that they want no other care than a Swine-herd to keep them from running wild. The Meadows are very proper for Rice, Rape-seed, Lin-seed, etc., and may many of them be made to overflow at pleasure with a small charge. Here are as brave Rivers as any in the World, stored with great abundance of Sturgeon, Salmon, Bass, Plaice, Trout, and Spanish Mackrill, with many other most pleasant sorts of Fish, both flat and round, for which the English Tongue hath no name. . . . Last of all, the Air comes to be considered, which is not the least considerable to the well being of a Plantation, for without a wholsome Air all other considerations avail nothing; and this is it which makes this Place so desireable, being seated in the most temperate Clime, where the neighbour-hood of the glorious Light of Heaven brings many advantages, and his convenient distance secures them from the Inconvenience of his scortching beams. The Summer is not too hot, and the Winter is very short and moderate, best agreeing with English Constitutions. . . .

If therefore any industrious and ingenious persons shall be willing to pertake of the Felicites of this Country, let them imbrace the first opportunity, that they may obtain the greater advantages.

The chief of the Privileges are as follows.

First, There is full and free Liberty of Conscience granted to all, so that no man is to be molested or called in question for matters of Religious Concern; but every one to be obedient to the Civil Government, worshipping God after their own way.

Secondly, There is freedom from Custom, for all Wine, Silk, Raisins, Currance, Oyl, Olives, and Almonds, that shall be raised in the Province for 7. years, after 4 Ton of any of those commodities shall be imported in one Bottom.

Thirdly, Every Free-man and Free-woman that transport themselves and Servants by the 25 of March next, being 1667. shall have for Himself, Wife, Children, and Men-servants, for each 100 Acres of Land for him and his Heirs for ever, and for every Woman-servant and Slave 50 Acres, paying at most 1/2d. per acre, per annum, in lieu of all demands, to the Lords Proprietors: Provided always, That every Man be armed with a good Musquet full bore, 10lbs Powder, and 20lbs of Bullet, and six Months Provision for all, to serve them whilst they raise Provision in that Countrey.

Fourthly, Every Man-Servant at the expiration of their time, is to have of the Country a 100 Acres of Land to him and his heirs for ever, paying only 1/2d. per Acre, per annum, and the Women 50. Acres of Land on the same conditions; their Masters also are to allow them two Suits of Apparrel and Tools such as he is best able to work with, according to the Custom of the Countrey.

Fifthly, They are to have a Governour and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the Laws of the Assembly put in due execution; but the Governour is to rule but 3 years, and then learn to obey; also he hath no power to lay any Tax, or make or abrogate any Law, without the Consent of the Colony in their Assembly.

Sixthly, They are to choose annually from among themselves, a certain Number of Men, according to their divisions, which constitute the General Assembly with the Governour and his Council, and have the sole power of Making Laws, and Laying Taxes for the common good when need shall require.

These are the chief and Fundamental privileges, but the Right Honourable Lords Proprietors have promised (and it is their Interest so to do) to be ready to grant what other Privileges may be found advantageous for the good, of the Colony.

Is there therefore any younger Brother who is born of Gentile [Genteel] blood, and whose Spirit is elevated above the common sort, and yet the hard usage of our Country hath not allowed suitable fortune; he will not surely be afraid to leave his Native Soil to advance his Fortunes equal to his Blood and Spirit, and so he will avoid those unlawful ways too many of our young Gentlemen take to maintain themselves according to their high education, having but small Estates; here, with a few Servants and a small Stock a great Estate may be raised, although his Birth have not entitled him to any of the Land of his Ancestors, yet his Industry may supply him so, as to make him the head of as famous a family.

Such as are here tormented with much care how to get worth to gain a Livelyhood, or that with their labour can hardly get a comfortable subsistance, shall do well to go to this place, where any man what-ever, that is but willing to take moderate pains, may be assured of a most comfortable subsistance, and be in a way to raise his fortunes far beyond what he could ever hope for in England. Let no man be troubled at the thoughts of being a Servant for 4 or 5 year, for I can assure you, that many men give mony with their children to serve 7 years, to take more pains and fare nothing so well as the Servants in this Plantation will do. Then it is to be considered, that so soon as he is out of his time, he hath Land, and Tools, and Clothes given him, and is in a way of advancement. Therefore all Artificers, as Carpenters, Wheelrights, Joyners, Coopers, Bricklayers, Smiths, or diligent Husbandmen and Labourers, that are willing to advance their fortunes, and live in a most pleasant healthful and fruitful Country, where Artificers are of high esteem, and used with all Civility and Courtesie imaginable, may take notice, that

There is an opportunity offers now by the Virginia Fleet, from whence Cape Feare is but 3 or 4 days sail, and then a small Stock carried to Virginia will purchase provisions at a far easier rate than to carry them from hence; also the freight of the said Provisions will be saved, and be more fresh, and there wanteth not conveyance from Virginia thither.

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but Civil, and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other, will purchase them for their Wives.

Those that desire further advice, or Servants that would be entertained, let them repair to Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, Ironmonger, at the Sign of the Three Feathers, in Bishopsgate Street, where they may be informed when the Ships will be ready, and what they must carry with them.

Thus much was convenient to be written at present, but a more ample Relation is intended to be published in due time.

Source: Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wandering Indians near Fort Laramie (1861) by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Wandering Indians near Fort Laramie (1861)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New England - 1629 The Native Americans

A Short and True Description of New England

by the Rev. Francis Higginson, written in 1629 
Printed for Michael Sparke, London, 1630.

Francis Higginson (1588-1630) was an early Puritan minister in Colonial New England, and the first minister of Salem, Massachusetts.

Now I will show you a little of the inhabitants thereof, and their government.

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Indian Manner of Fishing

For their governors they have kings, which they call saggamores, some greater, and some lesser, according to the number or their subjects. The greatest saggamores about us can not make above three hundred men, and other lesser saggamores have not above fifteen subjects, and others near about us but two.

Their subjects about twelve years since were swept away by a great and grievous plague that was amongst them, so that there are very few left to inhabit the country.

The Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth part of the land, neither have they any settled places, as towns to dwell in, nor any ground as they challenge for their own possession, but change their habitation from place to place.

For their statures, they are a tall and strong limbed people, their colors are tawny, they go naked, save only they are in part covered with beasts skins on one of their shoulders, and wear something before their privates. Their hair is generally black, and cut in front like our gentlewomen, and one lock longer than the rest, much like to our gentlemen, which fashion I think came from hence into England.

For their weapons, they have bows and arrows, some of them headed with bone, and some with brass. I have sent you some of them for an example. The men for the most part live idly, they do nothing hut hunt and fish. Their wives set their corn and do all their other work. They have little household stuff, as a kettle, and some other vessels like trays, spoons, dishes and baskets.

Their houses are very little and homely, being made with small poles pricked into the ground, and so bent and fastened at the top, and on the sides they are matted with boughs, and covered on the roof with sedge and old mats, and for their beds that they take their rest on, they have a mat.

They do generally confess to like well of our coming and planting here; partly because there is abundance of ground that they cannot possess nor make use of, and partly because our being here will be a means both of relief to them when they want, and also a defense from their enemies, wherewith (I say) before this plantation began, they were often endangered.

For their religion, they do worship two gods: a good god and an evil god. The good god they call Tantum, and their evil god, whom they fear will do them hurt, they call Squantum.
For their dealing with us, we neither fear them nor trust them, for forty of our musketeers will drive five hundred of them out of the field. We use them kindly: they will come into our houses sometimes by half a dozen or half a score at a time when we are at victuals, but will ask or take nothing but what we give them.

We propose to learn their language as soon as we can, which will be a means to do them good.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shé-de-ah, Wild Sage, a Wichita Woman by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Shé-de-ah, Wild Sage, a Wichita Woman

New Jersey born George Catlin (1796-1872) is reknowned for his extensive travels across the American West, recording the lives of Native Americans. In 1818, Catlin practiced law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821 to pursue painting. Catlin enjoyed modest success painting portraits & miniatures, but he longed to be a history painter. In 1828, after seeing a delegation of western Indians in the east, he had wrote that he had found a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." In 1830, Catlin made his initial pilgrimage to St. Louis to meet William Clark & learn from him all he could of the western lands he hoped to visit. Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating an astonishing visual record of Native American life. He had only a short time to accomplish his goal—to capture with canvas & paint the essence of Indian life & culture. In that same year, the Indian Removal Act commenced the 12-year action that would remove the remaining Indians from land east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, the Mandan would be decimated by smallpox; with in a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Croatoan The Native American Mystery - 1590 John White's Return to Roanoke - All Had Vanished -

Return To Ronoake of John White (1590)
Theodor de Bry included this plate made from a drawing by John White in his volume America, published in 1590.

Text from Richard Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, Voyages of the English Nation, III (1600).

The 15 of August towards Euening we came to an anker at Hatorask, in 36 degr. and one third, in fiue fadom water, three leagues from the shore. At our first comming to anker on this shore we saw a great smoke rise in the Ile Roanoak neere the place where I left our Colony in the yeere 1587, which smoake put vs in good hope that some of the Colony were there expecting my returne out of England.

The 16 and next morning our 2 boates went a shore, & Captaine Cooke, & Captain Spicer, & their company with me, with intent to passe to the place at Roanoak where our countreymen were left. At our putting from the ship we commanded our Master gunner to make readie 2 Minions and a Falkon well loden, and to shoot them off with reasonable space betweene euery shot, to the ende that their reportes might bee heard to the place where wee hoped to finde some of our people.

This was accordingly performed, & our twoe boats put off vnto the shore, in the Admirals boat we sounded all the way and found from our shippe vntill we came within a mile of the shore nine, eight, and seuen fadome: but before we were halfe way betweene our ships and the shore we saw another great smoke to the Southwest of Kindrikers mountes: we therefore thought good to goe to that second smoke first: but it was much further from the harbour where we landed, then we supposed it to be, so that we were very sore tired before wee came to the smoke.

But that which grieved us more was that when we came to the smoke, we found no man nor signe that any had bene there lately, nor yet any fresh water in all this way to drinke. Being thus wearied with this iourney we returned to the harbour where we left our boates, who in our absence had brought their caske a shore for fresh water, so we deferred our going to Roanoak vntill the next morning, and caused some of those saylers to digge in those sandie hilles for fresh water whereof we found very sufficient. That night wee returned aboord with our boates and our whole company in safety.

The next morning being the 17 of August, our boates and company were prepared againe to goe vp to Roanoak, but Captaine Spicer had then sent his boat ashore for fresh water, by meanes whereof it was ten of the clocke aforenoone before we put from our ships which were then come to an anker within two miles of the shore. The Admirals boat was halfe way toward the shore, when Captaine Spicer put off from his ship.

The Admirals boat first passed the breach, but not without some danger of sinking, for we had a sea brake into our boat which filled vs halfe full of water, but by the will of God and carefull styrage of Captaine Cooke we came safe ashore, sauing onely that our furniture, victuals match and powder were much wet and spoyled. For at this time the winde blue at Northeast and direct into the harbour so great a gale, that the Sea brake extremely on the barre, and the tide went very forcibly at the entrance. By that time our Admirals boate was halled ashore, and most of our things taken out to dry, Captaine Spicer came to the entrance of the breach with his mast standing vp, and was halfe passed ouer, but by the rash and vndiscreet styrage of Ralph Skinner his Masters mate, a very dangerous Sea brake into their boate and ouerset them quite, the men kept the boat some in it, and some hanging on it, but the next sea set the boat on ground, where it beat so, that some of them were forced to let goe their hold, hoping to wade ashore, but the Sea still beat them downe, so that they could neither stand nor swimme, and the boat twise or thrise was turned the keele vpward; whereon Captaine Spicer and Skinner hung vntill they sunke, & seene no more.

But foure that could swimme a litle kept themselues in deeper water and were saued by Captain Cookes meanes, who so soone as he saw their ouersetting, stripped himselfe, and foure other that could swimme very well, & with all haste possible rowed vnto them, & saued foure. They were a 11 in all, & 7 of the chiefest were drowned, whose names were Edward Spicer, Ralph Skinner, Edward Kelley, Thomas Beuis, Hance the Surgion, Edward Kelborne, Robert Coleman. This mischance did so much discomfort the saylers, that they were all of one mind not to goe any further to seeke the planters. But in the end by the commandement & perswasion of me and Captaine Cooke, they prepared the boates: and seeing the Captaine and me so resolute, they seemed much more willing.

Our boates and all things fitted againe, we put off from Hatorask, being the number of 19 persons in both boates: but before we could get to the place, where our planters were left, it was so exceeding darke, that we ouershot the place a quarter of a mile: there we espied towards the North end of the Iland ye light of a great fire thorow the woods, to the which we presently rowed: when wee came right ouer against it, we let fall our Grapnel neere the shore, & sounded with a trumpet a Call, & afterwardes many familiar English tunes of Songs, and called to them friendly; but we had no answere, we therefore landed at day-breake, and comming to the fire, we found the grasse & sundry rotten trees burning about the place. From hence we went thorow the woods to that part of the Iland directly ouer against Dasamongwepeuk, & from thence we returned by the water side, round about the Northpoint of the Iland, vntill we came to the place where I left our Colony in the yeere 1586.

In all this way we saw in the sand the print of the Saluages feet of 2 or 3 sorts troaden yt night, and as we entred vp the sandy banke vpon a tree, in the very browe thereof were curiously carued these faire Romane letters C R O: which letters presently we knew to signifie the place, where I should find the planters seated, according to a secret token agreed vpon betweene them & me at my last departure from them, which was, that in any wayes they should not faile to write or carue on the trees or posts of the dores the name of the place where they should be seated; for at my comming away they were prepared to remoue from Roanoak 50 miles into the maine. Therefore at my departure from them in Anno 1587 I willed them, that if they should happen to be distressed in any of those places, that then they should carue ouer the letters or name, a Crosse in this forme, but we found no such signe of distresse. And hauing well considered of this, we passed toward the place where they were left in sundry houses, but we found the houses taken downe, and the place very strongly enclosed with a high palisado of great trees, with cortynes and flankers very Fort-like, and one of the chiefe trees or postes at the right side of the entrance had the barke taken off, and 5. foote from the ground in fayre Capitall letters was grauen CROATOAN without any crosse or signe of distresse; this done, we entred into the palisado, where we found many barres of Iron, two pigges of Lead, foure yron fowlers, Iron sacker-shotte, and such like heauie things, throwen here and there, almost ouergrowen with grasse and weedes. From thence wee went along by the water side, towards the poynt of the Creeke to see if we could find any of their botes or Pinnisse, but we could perceiue no signe of them, nor any of the last Falkons and small Ordinance which were left with them, at my departure from them.

At our returne from the Creeke, some of our Saylers meeting vs, tolde vs that they had found where diuers chests had bene hidden, and long sithence digged vp againe and broken vp, and much of the goods in them spoyled and scattered about, but nothing left, of such things as the Sauages knew any vse of, vndefaced. Presently Captaine Cooke and I went to the place, which was in the ende of an olde trench, made two yeeres past by Captaine Amadas: wheere wee found fiue Chests, that had been carefully hidden of the Planters, and of the same chests three were my owne, and about the place many of my things spoyled and broken, and my bookes torne from the couers, the frames of some of my pictures and Mappes rotten and spoyled with rayne, and my armour almost eaten through with rust; this could bee no other but the deede of the Sauages our enemies at Dasamongwepeuk, who had watched the departure of our men to Croatoan; and assoone as they were departed, digged vp euery place where they suspected any thing to be buried: but although it much grieued me to see such spoyle of my goods, yet on the other side I greatly ioyed that I had safely found a certaine token of their safe being at Croatoan, which is the place where Manteo was borne, and the Sauages of the Iland our friends.

When we had seene in this place so much as we could, we returned to our Boates, and departed from the shoare towards our Shippes, with as much speede as we could: For the weather beganne to ouercast, and very likely that a foule and stormie night would ensue. Therefore the same Euening with much danger and labour, we got our selues aboard, by which time the winde and seas were so greatly risen, that wee doubted our Cables and Anchors would scarcely holde vntill Morning; wherefore the Captaine caused the Boate to be manned with fiue lusty men, who could swimme all well, and sent them to the little Iland on the right hand of the Harbour, to bring aboard sixe of our men, who had filled our caske with fresh water: the Boate the same night returned aboard with our men, but all our Caske ready filled they left behinde, vnpossible to bee had aboard without danger of casting away both men and Boates; for this night prooued very stormie and foule.

The next Morning it was agreed by the Captaine and my selfe, with the Master and others, to wey anchor, and goe for the place at Croatoan, where our planters were: for that then the winde was good for that place, and also to leaue that Caske with fresh water on shoare in the Il and vntill our returne. So then they brought the cable to the Capston, but when the anchor was almost apecke, the Cable broke, by meanes whereof we lost another Anchor, wherewith we droue so fast into the shoare, that wee were forced to let fall a third Anchor; which came so fast home that the Shippe was almost aground by Kenricks mounts: so that wee were forced to let slippe the Cable ende for ende.

And if it had not chanced that wee had fallen into a chanell of deeper water, closer by the shoare then wee accompted of, wee could neuer have gone cleare of the poynt that lyeth to the Southwardes of Kenricks mounts. Being thus cleare of some dangers, and gotten into deeper waters, but not without some losse; for wee had but one Cable and Anchor left vs of foure, and the weather grew to be fouler and fouler; our victuals scarse, and our caske and fresh water lost: it was therefore determined that we should goe for Saint Iohn or some other Iland to the Southward for fresh water. And it was further purposed, that if wee could any wayes supply our wants of victuals and other necessaries, either at Hispaniola, Sant Iohn, or Trynidad, that then wee should continue in the Indies all the Winter following, with hope to make 2. rich voyages of one, and at our returne to visit our countrymen at Virginia. The captaine and the whole company in the Admirall (with my earnest petitions) thereunto agreed, so that it rested onely to knowe what the Master of the Moonelight our consort would doe herein. But when we demanded them if they would accompany vs in that new determination, they alleged that their weake and leake Shippe was not able to continue it; wherefore the same night we parted, leauing the Moone-light to goe directly for England, and the Admirall set his course for Trynidad, which course we kept two dayes.

On the 28. the winde changed, and it was sette on foule weather euery way: but this storme brought the winde West and Northwest, and blewe so forcibly, that wee were able to beare no sayle, but our forecourse halfe mast high, wherewith wee ranne vpon the winde perforce, the due course for England, for that wee were dryuen to change our first determination for Trynidad, and stoode for the Ilands of Acores, where wee purposed to take in fresh water, and also there hoped to meete with some English men of warre about those Ilands, at whose hands wee might obtaine some supply of our wants. . . .

The 2. of October in the Morning we saw S. Michaels Iland on our Starre board quarter.

The 23. at 10. of the clocke afore noone, we saw Vshant in Britaigne.

On Saturday the 24. we came in safetie, God be thanked, to an anker at Plymmouth.