The Valley Manuscript
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[The following is taken from the Land We Love, edited by Gen. D. H.
Hill, of date January, 1869, and was prepared by Fannie Fielding, of
Norfolk, VA, who prefaces it with the following words: “From a
collection of archives known in our household by the above title from
which I have been making extracts.” It is now re-published by request in
this paper and will appear in three parts.]1
The Common Place Book of Margaret Lewis nee Lynn, of Loch Lynn
Scotland, being a rest of my soul’s repose in the troublous times which
Here nothing burthening myself with style or date, I can retreat when
toil and turmoil of the day be past, speaking as into a faithful ear
some of my woman’s sorrow. So shall I not add to their weight who have,
Heaven knows enough of woe to bear for themselves.
Bidding farewell to the bonny loch and knowes of Lynn, though along
with the gallant Huguenot I had taken from my husband, caused surely a
woman’s grief to my heart, nay, something like a child’s I might say.
Well, so be it,--Loch Lynn and its rock-crowned summit and purple
heather are all past by now, like as when one goes on a journey and
beareth away in memory only, impression of the landscape. The crags to
be sure had in them nothing loving, but that they grew by home and for
the blue heather, the eyes of my two boys, Andrew and William, and their
sweet sister Alice, glad me more than acres of such. Poor Thomas, my
oldest born! he hath a defect in his sight, but for all this he looks
into his mother’s heart deep down enough, leaving there, which is better
than the shade of blue heather,--sunshine. He is a noble lad.
We have worse trouble come upon us now, I say, than that of a young
wench leaving her mother’s fire-side. My poor John is sorely belabored
in soul with the grievous malice of this same Lord of Clonmithgairn.
The contentious noble hath said to the good Dean of Ulster, a few nights
ago, how that my husband’s leasehold on the estate of Clonmithgairn and
Dundery should be revoked at next assizes or (and he took a vile oath!)
blood should be spilt between the contenders.
My husband has amassed much means, but he does not choose (as what man
of spirit would?) to be driven to and fro in the matter of his rightful
So I play with my children and for John I have words cherry and
careless-like, but faithful Nora, she sees it is not in my heart.
She essays compassionate sentences and looks for me, and I tell her
many troubles, yet it is a foe to order and household authority when the
heads thereof use to confiding greatly in even the best servants.
Now, when a woman’s tongue must not wag, some corresponding member must
take its place, here, then comes in this book of mine which at one time
served John Lewis for his tenantry accounts.
In this year of Grace, 1730, what things are come to pass.
Blessed Christ pardon the souls of such wicked-minded men as the last
Lord’s Day would so rush to arms and blood, making havoc and murder and
sacrifice to evil passion.
I can no more, now take this my book, my companion, to the nook of a
private withdrawing room in Clonnell Castle.
Drawing there the crimson dark curtains, shutting out the world and my
noisy little ones, I liked that retirement where I could read, or pray,
or talk to myself in writing. My home lies in ashes, but, far worse,
ashes lie on my heart too.
My best beloved John is a fugitive from the law and for me, I cannot
say why my poor sight was not blasted by what it four days since beheld.
My husband had his family around him, as is the custom when we go not
to evening service (indeed our chaplain was at home sick in bed),
expounding for the soul’s health of children and servants, texts of Holy
Edward, poor man! begged the reading should go on in the round tower
room where he lay. Months he had been ailing, yet being somewhat on the
mend then, he had come with his wife and infants to his brother’s house.
Strange to say as the passage, “are you come out as against a thief
with swords and staves?” passed John’s lips a rude shouting was heard
without. On looking to the direction of the noise, we perceived the
drunken Lord of Clonmithgairn leading an armed force of ruffian clans.
This to eject John Lewis from his rightful domains. The envious heart
could not bear the sight of his neighbors prosperity.
Dark was the shadow upon Clonmell that evening. My husband armed
himself like a man, rallied our domestics around him and even poor, puny
Edward girt on his arms right speedily. Poor soul? he had as well not,
may be better, for he was the first victim of the ferocious raid.
Ere he come three steps one of the marauders cried out: “Where will
that white pigeon be going?” Then shot him through the head. He fell
Then John looked like an enraged tiger surely. He wielded right and
left when lo! first the obnoxious, noble then his favorite steward were
Finally our men succeeded in driving off the interlopers but some of
our best were slain. More than this a very great sorrow which we had
not looked for greeted us as the invaders dispersed in the slain and
trampled body of poor little Eubank, Edward’s oldest son. He was only
eight years old. How he came among them we could not tell. His green
tunic was stained with blood and tramping feet, and his white marble
face looked like a sculptured cherub, but on these nor the portly,
prostrate form of his father must we stay to anger our eyes.
Clonmithgairn was a man of power and weight and we must hurry away from
the bloody scene of that brief, bloody battle.
I and my little ones abide here (Dunraven) with good friends, while he,
my best beloved of all, roameth I don’t know where.
Servants have buried our dead long before this time, while I sit
weeping tears from different fountains. Of bitterest affliction for
John, dear man!-- of gloom enough for Edward’s double bereft widow, and
the kin couples darkening the memory of our once house and home; tears
of thankfulness that he, my life was spared,--and may sweet Christ
forgive me!--tears of joy that the prosecutor, the mover of the Devil’s
work, fell in his evil undertaking.
Last night about sun-setting, Lady Clara sang to her kitar a low, sweet
song,--this upon the south balcony. My soul seemed to leave the body as
I listened, as though something strange should come to pass to me or
By and by she sudden stopped and I recall myself. A white kerchief was
waved slowly against the dusky park wood. News from my husband! this
was to be his signal.
Lady Clara and I started off in the direction whence the sign had come,
but John, poor soul! had hidden himself then, lest the sounds he heard
might be other than friendly steps, I thought presently to speak aloud,
though my heart was up in my mouth, so he knew the voice and came to the
edge of the wood again. We three sat talking as long as we dared, and
now I know my destiny and he is gone. He has been to Portugal, so he
tells, but likes it not much for living. The Virginia wilds hold out a
safe asylum for our oppressed house and thither we sail at once. The
changed life we lead there is nothing to think of; safety from
injustice, if we shall find it, covers all the ground.
So far seeing the way clear, the prospect darkens now with doubt and
fear lest some unknown evil overtake and intercept or prevent our
That God is better than our fears is truly said. I look up at the top
of my page and see what I last wrote there in the dear land I shall
never see again, and I say--Evil Heart--why can we not trust more!
Not only are we safe come hither, but John Lewis standeth clear before
all the world of the death of Charles of Clonmithgairn.
My Lord Finnegal hath shown himself a good friend, and one worthy to be
entrusted with the concerns of any proper man.
When the right circumstances of the affray were made known according to
the written statement my husband placed in his hands, witnesses whereto
were at last found and proved. His Majesty sent full and free pardon
and also generous patents, grants of land in this Eden Valley of
John Mackey who has come all this way with us, gives good aid in
erecting our house, which I have some impatience to see done. This log
cabin may do in times of peace, but should these savages change their
policy of amity and good-will, it will go evil if we have not
wherewithal to meet them.
It has been enough for me ever since, to hear John Salling tell at
Williamsburg, when first we came to this country, how these people did
ferociously entreat such as fell into their power. John Lewis was more
taken with the newly-freed captive’s account of the land in this part,
the beauty and abundance of which has not yet been told, to say true.
The broad prairie before our door at the front looks like miles and
miles of gaudy carpeting, with its vendure of flowers.
Our cow, Snow-drop, as the children call her, is fastened each day on
the meadow border by a tether many a fathom long. They drive her in
when required for the use of Charles--our New World baby-- and her white
feet are continually dyed red with wild strawberries.
The new settlement begins to look quite lively now, with the gardens
around the cabins, the patches of grain and all. About thirty of our
tenatry have clung to us through evil and through good report, and these
are for the most part able and efficient work people. Joe Naseby hath a
neat rail to his garden ground and some sort of ornament structure on
the top of his house to entice the wild pigeon--a cupola like.
When our grey stone dwelling is done I shall feel something like or
namentation it may be, and for my children’s sake, and especially Alice,
I shall like to make things look enticing. I think people get beauty of
soul with growing up among pretty things, particularly girls, but all,
indeed, should have their home beautified so that they may love to say
in it or come to it as the case may be. The holy Pascol said not much
of any more worth than these words: “Most of the evil of this world
grows out of peoples discontent to stay at home.”
That is true. Now how shall they love home if home is not made
lovely? Here then we have the key to our families destiny.
I will not wait for the new house for this. I will take Andrew,
William, and Alice,--Thomas has gone hunting with his father and John
Mackey, and plant, this day, some of the prairie roses to run beside our
door and on the roof.
Oroon-ah came by while the children and I set the plants by our
cottage. He shook his head, “Wrong” he said, “the Great Spirit put the
herbs where he wanted um;” and when Alice brought him a bowl of clabber
he turned away in great disgust, the while uttering--”Rotten, no good!”
The child gets used to him and the other Indians better than I ever
shall. She has many friends among them. as have the boys too, and they,
call her a sweet name-- “White Dove”--but for all that they give me the
same feeling as did those painted Mountebanks of the Christmas
festivities at Darley. I always am startled when one of them appears
John Mackey is like many others. He is good in giving help to any
outside of home. I think, on the contrary, all good offices should
begin and spend their best strength there.
John Lewis prospered with the clearing, his crops and his building, and
John Mackey helps him or anybody else who will hunt with him now and
then, but he lays up nothing for himself, and his household might gather
many comforts around if he would act different. My husband hath located
one hundred thousand acres of good land, but when he goes out to explore
and choose what is rich and the best, poor Mackey will go along to
John said to me a Thursday, “Peg”,--he always calls me Peg after
dinner, yet I should say that, though he gets his bowl of toddy for
dinner, a more sober man is not in the Old Dominion, said he--”Mackey
has laid up not a penny since he came to the settlement.”
Indeed I was very sure he had not.
Well, if he lives at this gait, I suppose the Indian heaven will be
good enough for him hereafter,--broad hunting grounds and plenty of deer
Our town of Staunton goes finely on, thanks to John Lewis’ enterprise
and energy. It shall descend to his posterity that he has builded the
first town in the Valley. It is about four miles from our place of
Beverly Masson here, which some call Fort Lewis.
Un-gee-wah-wah and his tribe we find are not friendly to us, but still,
if they make farther demonstration, (they captured three of our men
yesterday, who made them drunk and then got away) we shall be able to
hold our own against them.
Our fort is formed of blockhouses, stockades, and the cabins. The
outside walls are ten to twelve feet high. The block-houses are built
at the angles of the fort and project full two feet beyond the outer
walls of the cabins and stockades.
The upper stories of our houses are eighteen inches larger in
dimension, every way, than the story below, an opening being left at the
commencement of the second story to prevent the lodgement of the enemy
under the walls. We have port-holes in all, and the savages having no
artillery, we should stand our ground if they offered assault.
Oroon-ah, or Tiger King’s son, a lad of sixteen, has crowned my Alice
with a prairie rose wreath--Queen of White Doves, he calls her, and has
given her a fawn which has become domestic now.
I did not like to hear Thomas say last night--he is older than
Omayah--suppose sister Alice should grow up and marry Omayah. Youth is
romantic and thinks strange thoughts.
I hope she may have none such.
Then I set me to thinking--the child is fourteen years old in May, and
that just two years younger that I was when I became a married woman.
The reflection gave me pain, but I will think of it more. There is
nothing gained by shunning the fixed truth, whatever it be. Look god’s
fact in the face, whether agreeable or not. Its like going up to a
white object in the haunting dark, taking hold of it and proving it no
A terrible accident occurred at the Academy of Music, Norfolk, Saturday
night, which was not discovered until Monday. James Hatch, a young man
who is employed on the stage, fell from the flies after the close of the
performance Saturday night and his neck was broken. He was not seen by
his fellow-workmen. During the time from Saturday night until Monday
morning the rats had gnawed his head and face in a horrible manner.
Scott Bishop, a negro, who murdered Mr. Hugh Hammock in Nottaway county
some days ago, was lynched Monday morning at 1 o’clock by a mob of 200
men one mile west of Blackstone. Bishop’s guards, with hopes of saving
his neck, let him down out of a second-story window by means of a rope,
and unknown to the excited crowd stole off to the woods with him, where
he was afterwards found by the mob. He had previously admitted his
The Valley Manuscript
Last spring, and this is 1737 now, John Lewis visited the death of
Government, Williamsburg, met there one Burden, but lately come over as
agent for Lord Thomas Fairfax. John was so pleased with his company and
he with the accounts of this fertile land that he must needs come back
with him and explore and hunt. This was a gala time for John Mackey,
but Burden was a more provident hunter than he.
My sons took in the chase, a young buffalo calf, which the stranger
much affected and it was given to him. This was towards the end of his
stay, for he made a pleasant inmate of our home several months. He took
the rude animal and made it a present to the most worshipful Governor
Gooch, who never having seen so comical a monster in the Lower Virginia,
did promptly favor the donor by entering upon his official book full
authority to Benjamin Burden for locating 500,000 acres of land nigh to
the James River and Shenandoah waters; this on condition he should,
within ten years, settle at the least one hundred families within the
The Presbyterians of North Ireland, Scotland, and adjacent portions of
England do abide at home uneasily, and they will come freely, to
Burden’s bidding for the peopling of this new settlement.
While our friends in lower Virginia much carouse and keep up the
customs of the old country, we beyond the mountains are the most part a
sober set. So much the more does our departure from our usual way of
doing make a great event among us.
John Salling, one of the first explorers of this region, hath his land
about fifty miles off, down in the forks of James. A young nephew
living with him has seen and admired and made proposals of marriage to
Joe Naseby’s grand-daughter. The girl has sometime said him Nay, saying
it a poor comfort one will find in a hunter’s home,--so playing on the
word, for her name is Comfort,--but he is a well-looking lad enough, so
turning his perseverance to some account in his favor, they have been
Thomas Salling brought many attendants to his wedding all riding
bare-backed, and clad in raw hide. I laughed to see the nuptial
procession approach, and said to my husband,--and our Chaplin,--the
riders seemed to my eyes something as did the Spanish equestrians to the
unsophisticated Mexicans,--as though man and horse formed all one
It is a rare thing, indeed in any of the section if there be a
merry-making without its attendant work. Weddings form nearly the only
exception. Sometimes the settlers come together to make arrangements
for mutual safety against the Indians, for we have had our own trouble
with them from time to time, sometimes for reaping, building a cabin,
and so on, when they will have a repast of bear’s meat, buffalo-steak or
venison, topping off with a dance and games.
On this wedding occasion it was an odd array of toilettes. Linsey and
brocade mingled grotesquely. Some old world relics placed beside the
ornaments newly picked up here produced a mingled effect of savage life
and civilization struggling with one another.
I had given Comfort, who is a much smaller woman than I, the yellow
brocade I wore the day the surveyers located the town, which was to me
an unlucky day. No sooner had we set dinner than Mr. Parks, who was one
of them, growing animated in his talk, made a gesture which over-set the
gravy-boat upon my lap. I laughed it off right well, though my heart
was ill at ease with thinking I had no French chalk to remove the soil,
but then a woman early learns such lessons of self command. I forgive
Mr. Parks, heartily and do not even which, while he gives us such a racy
paper,1 that any one may so misplace his ink as to soil his hose or
breeches. I hope the men will be going down in a few weeks, and fetch
It is a common practice now to make whiskey, an intoxicating drink,
from the Indian corn, and a part of the wedding entertainment is a race
for a bottle of this stuff. When the guests are approaching the house
of the bride, two of the young men most intrepid in horsemanship, are
singled out to run for the bottle. The victor in the race is met at the
door by some one of the family who confers the prize. He hurries back
to the cavalcade who are halting about a mile off, and gives first to
the bridegroom then to the other company a dram, then after forming
again they ride on to the destined place. Our steeple-chases are no
more trails of fearlessness and good riding than these bottle races,
seeing the competitors do come through mud, mire, woods, brush, and over
hill and dale.
Great mirth prevailed at Joe Naseby’s though the wedding-table was only
a rude board,--this was spread with pewter and queensware, and covered
with a substantial repast of meat and vegetables and fowls and bread.
The company sat down to it as soon as the wedding ceremony was over, and
there was little more ceremony of any kind.
I wished to take leave at dinner and bring Alice away. I do not like
her to join in these vulgar sports, but she begged, and her father said
better wait and see the end, and I felt some curiosity myself to know
what rare thing would at last befall. These new world manners are making
queer innovations among our people.
At dark I knew I was wanted here so Alice agreed to come, though Thomas
stayed daunting, and John Lewis went back after conveying us home. He
tells me that shortly after he returned, a delegation of the young girls
stole the bride away and conducted her to her bed up in the loft. By
and by some young men took away the bridegroom and safely deposited him
there also, and late in the night refreshments of bacon, beef, and
cabbage and such like things were sent up to them; and along with all
this--Black Betty, which means a bottle of whiskey.
By this time Burden’s settlement is fast filling up. There be some of
the Established Church among them but mostly our neighbors are Scotch
Irish Presbyterians. It soundeth like the gathering of the clans to
call over the M’Kees, M’Cues, M’Campbells, M’Clungs, M’Kowns,
Carutherses, Stewarts, Wallaces, and Lyles together with the Browns,
Prestons, Paxtons, and Grigsbys with them associated.
I am led to think of them the more now by an accident which occurred
here the last night. --About sun-down a traveler, in hot haste, tricked
out in the rough costume of the country, rode up and asked lodging. This
was readily granted, together with such entertainment as we had at
hand. He was an ungainly looking person, though setting his horse well.
An hour afterward other horsemen came clattering up and rushed afoul of
this stranger, who happened then to be without doors looking after his
horse, for there was quite a good light from the moon.
I heard from my seat by the fireside hilarious voices and the words
“Confess! confess!!’ echoed in a roughly jocose way. “We have been
seeking you for some days!” I then heard, and knew not what to think,
but this story which the pursuers told as they came into the house, and
to which the culprit did good naturedly attest,-- with somewhat of
shame, too, explained all.
When Ben Burden, the younger, came to make deeds to such of the
settlers as held cabin rights, the name Mulhollin so often did appear as
to be a matter of wonder to him. He sat about making inquiry, and so
found that Mulhollin had been a person most efficient in deeds of
enterprise among them. So far it was well. Inquiry was now made for one
Polly Mulhollin, who, to pay her passage from Ireland, had sold herself
to James Bell, who advanced the money for her. She served his family in
all honesty, the time out, then disappeared.
Now it turns out that this same Polly Mulhollin did put on man’s gear,
hunting shirt, moccasins, etc., and go into Burden’s grant for the
purpose of becoming a landed proprietor and erected thirty cabins. The
thing hath caused much merriment wherever known. Polly with some
chagrin and much meekness, hath gotten on woman’s attire, borrowed from
some one in the settlement, and will betake herself henceforth to
Our neighbors in the valley are people of most staid principles and
habits and are very diligent in business. They commence their Sabbath on
Saturday when the sun goes down, while I think it not a shame to have a
hot turkey for my Sunday dinner.
The father of Omayah has sought the father of White Dove, as he calls
our sweet Alice, for his son’s wife. He says that the Tiger-King’s
oldest born pines to hear her voice cooing among the wild pines about
his cabin. It made me tremble to hear him speak, almost as though I
thought John Lewis could be persuaded thereto and give away my tenderly
reared lamb. He wished to treat it as a joke, though, and seated Alice
at the spinnette, whereon I taught her to play with some skill. “That,”
said he, “is all white women are good for you don’t want them,--bah.”
“Fingers fast! fingers jump quick,” said Tiger -King--”gut fish!”
My husband still joked with him, which was, perhaps, the better policy,
but Oroonah retired discomfited, I could see.
Thomas is a man of books, albeit his sight is defective and he makes
out but poorly at hunting. His brothers are stalwart hands, though, in
all matters of strength, as indeed he is too, but they have sleight of
hunting, fishing and all employments common to the country which he, for
his intiunity hath not.
The Valley Manuscript
Heavenly Father give strength to bear what is come upon us now.
Last Monday was an holiday, and many of the young folks and their
elders did take a repast along in their baskets and go up to see the
Tower Rocks, as we call them, a few miles off. I being a stay at home
body remained with my domestic occupations, while John Lewis did take
Alice, her older brothers also going along to join in the frolic.
Omayah was there, sad and silent, and brooding as he hath been of
late. He has much attached himself to our race, as seemed his father
indeed also to do.
The men and maidens were strolling about, and my daughter went with the
young Indian across a branch of a little stream, Lewis River, to gather
Good-Luck plant, as we call it, but wo betide the luck to us and her,
poor dear lost one! No doubt it was a preconcerted signal, but as the
last rock stepping-stone was passed, a savage yell broke forth, a band
of red men sprang from the pine woods and they and Alice and Omayah
disappeared in its thickness. Our men fired and ran, but the tangle and
brush, and the deep forests which they will never learn like the
Indians, all combine to make the pursuit passing difficult.
The females of the party returned home under escort of some of the men,
for there was terror stricken to the hearts of all by what had befallen,
and my child’s father and brothers frantic with rage and distress,
dashed off after the artful enemy.
At nightfall, John Lewis came home alone, for he feared to leave me
longer, seeing what news the returning party had brought me. I had
never showed such grief before him till then,--no, not when we made that
little grave on the prairie and piled the white rocks upon it. I was
striding the floor as he surprised me, wringing my hands, and may Heaven
forgive me! almost reproaching the Most High that he had mocked me so to
hear my prayer and raise her up from that dreadful fever when she lay a
little one, tossing in my arms,--getting ready for flight, I thought.
He soothed me, poor man, well as he could, his own heart was nigh
bursting, and the morning scarce dawned ere he set off again with more
of the men to overtake the marauders. Alice’s brothers have never yet,
all these four days, nor the men with them, turned to come home.
I cannot work,--save what duty absolutely demands. I cannot talk only
here may I ooze out the suppressed stream of my sorrow;--carefully,
indeed, lest it take possession of me.
I had thought Omayah above the cunning artifices of his subtle race,
but they may not be trusted, as individuals or in the mass, and all of
my instinctive dread of them from the beginning was but a forerunner of
what I was destined to suffer at their hands. O, my Alice! White Dover
indeed, in a Vulture’s nest.
There is a terrible warfare going on between our settlers and the
faithless Indians. What of my gentle child I cannot tell.
Last night our fort was assailed for the second time since this
dreadful business broke out, but there was little damage done, for they
have no artillery. John Lewis and his boys are still away on the search,
but those left at the fort managed manfully. I could feel no fear and
the wild war-cries waked no terror, for one strong feeling keepeth
another at bay, and I was already possessed with dread and anguish.
Toward day, long after the savages dispersed, our men still having one
eye open for them, did see, creeping on all-fours, from the wood and
toward the settlement, nay, (indeed, close by my house, when it had been
permitted to come so far, then Joshua Grant fired on it,) what seemed to
be a stout Indian, all painted and bedizened in full war array. The
creature groaned and fell, dropping its bow and arrows on the ground.
There all lay till some one should run up,--William Stuart first and the
victim turns out to be Greenlee’s mad sister. Some deem her mad, that
is to say, some a witch. She rideth all over the country alone, at
will, and talks strangely at times. Months she has been missing from
Burden’s grant where her brother lives, and no one could tell aught of
her. She has been a captive she says. Indeed she will be more angel in
my sight than flesh and blood, if she talks not idly in the news she
bears me. She can bring Alice, if I but give her a swift horse. Her
wound was not deep though some painful. I could not entreat her to stay
for its better healing but dressed it tenderly as I could and gave her
our best animal and prayed her speed.
I can see Nora thinks the pony is gone for no profit. The woman, does
to be sure, talk wildly of the palace under the earth where she has
hidden White Dove. She knows something of her, giving proof that far in
calling her by her Indian-bestowed name. That gives me hope, while I
ponder again upon her disconnected harangue of silver palace-walls and
pearly floors. She hath an apartment there, so she tells, where she
holds communion with the dead, and their voices answer her. Her language
is very good, and she commences talk with so rational and plausible an
air that you find yourself listening most intently, and rapt indeed,
then she becomes so excited that mind and tongue run riot together, and
a brain of only healthy velocity cannot keep up.
I write no more.
There promises to be little peace between us and those savages ever
again, scarce a day now passes but chronicles some new depredation until
they do us the justice to acknowledge the red man with the aggressor.
The Great Spirit, they say, is on the side of the white man, and indeed
our mode of warfare, hath been destructive enough.
My husband has imported the pink clover into the country, but they will
have it, it is their wild white clover, which Lewis and his men dyed red
with the blood of the Indian.
My poor Alice looks infant-like and innocent with her bald-head.
A threatened fever followed the excitement and terror of her stealing
away by the savages, and her roses in her cheeks are scarce recovered
Mary Greenlee was good as her word in bringing the lost baby to us, and
for Alice, she told the strangest tale, the which, did I not have proof
better, might almost make me think the child mad as Mary Greenlee. This
latter was with the Indians in their assault the night before her
discovery of herself to us. They had truly taken her captive, and she,
the more readily to pave the way to escape when time should offer,
feigned dislike of the whites, and that she had run to them of her own
will. She painted her skin like them and dressed like them, but the
very night they brought White Dove home a captive, her heart was stirred
for her race.--She watched her opportunity, seized her pony they had
captured with her, and taking the fear-distraught child behind her, set
out at speed of the wind, so Alice tells, and so deftly did she manage
that they were not pursued,--to be conscious of pursuit.
The witch, as some call her betook her rescued prisoner and herself to
a strange great cavern somewhere which none have since been enabled to
find trace of, then let the pony go, so the red men might follow its
tracks, nor halt at her retreat, which, indeed, it is a question if it
is known to them.
I tell Alice she has become daft, what with her capture and reading of
the Arabian Nights, for she talks of the grand marble palace under
ground, of its interminable galleries, its statues and its fountains,
and withal of stars and moon peering through its roof. Now everyone
knows no human head would contrive anything so silly as a princely hall
of this gait with any of its roof open to the sky. It must be a weird
edifice, truly, and worthy the keeper who feedeth herself and chance
guests on dried haws and chinquapins. But none of the Lewis name can,
forevermore carp at Mary Greenlee, what she does. Blessed creature! I
would walk on hands and knees to serve her, to the latest of day my
That day of the last siege of our fort, while Alice was lost, as she
did demonstrate to us afterwards, she showed more wit to give us tidings
of our stolen one, than we to make good use thereof. She had shot over
the wall, fastened to her arrows the words, scratched in berry-juice
upon a piece of white rag, “The white dove is safe.” She sought for and
found the same afterwards.
How this strange being fell in with the savages again, after liberating
herself, it hath been her frank not to tell, but she comes and goes like
a spirit, and some do say, indeed, they are beginning to regard her with
a sort of superstition.
My sons do great praise for their bravery in combating the common
Such we must regard them. They have been a long time coming to this,
and they pretended affront of refusing intermarriage with them was only
a pretext for what they had long ago considered.
Omayah came with downcast looks to visit us again, after the carrying
away and restoration of Alice. He protests and we are inclined to
believe, truly, he had nothing to do with the treachery thereof.
He, too was surprised, he says.
He adds, that he saw Mary Greenlee’s contriyance for getting the White
Dove away, and kept his mouth bang up (shut tight). She bears him out
in this, but we cannot tell from her evidence. At any rate I am
willing and glad to think the boy was not at fault.
He has been the play-fellow of my sons so long I cannot but feel
attached to him. Tiger King professes great penitence, but in him I
have less faith. In the old I look for more stability, in the young I
look for more truth. This for red man and white man. Omayah comes
The Rev. Morgan Morgan, who hath been chiefly instrumental in erecting
the first church in this Virginia Valley takes much interest in
civilizing and christianizing the savage race, and his labors among them
have not been altogether discouraged. Indeed, if he might but win one
to the right of the Bible, it would be great gain, yet I cannot be
disabused of my thought that it is an up-hill work, and that a preacher
may always be prepared for an ambush, even when he thinks he has gained
both ear and heart.
Charles, my new world child, as I call him, being the first born here,
is a daring spirit. The boy lives in the chase or in war.
Among the Alleghanies he was captured some time since by a party of
Indians, who took the child on, bare-foot, some two hundred or more
miles, his poor arms girded behind him and he driven on by threats and
brandishing of knives of his vile tormenters. Traveling along a bank
some twenty feet high, Charles suddenly and by intense muscular force
snapped the cords by which he was bound, dashed himself down the
precipice into the bed of a mountain torrent below, and there effected
Not but that they followed him fast enough, yet he had some little the
advance of them, so, leaping the trunk of a tree which chanced to lay
prostrate in the way, a sudden failing of strength did come over him and
he sank in the woods and tall trees which surrounded it. His pursuers
bounded over, sundry of them almost touching him as they sprang, but God
be thanked, they did not slacken speed, and hurried on still seeking
As soon as he deemed it safe, he essayed to rise from his grassy bed,
but here was a new adversary to cope withal--a huge rattlesnake lying in
deadly coil so near his face he even must hold his breath, lest the bare
movement caused by inspiration bring the monster’s fangs and his own
nose (of which he had a goodly allowance) in fatal contact. Once,
indeed, as he waved to and fro, his huge rattle rested upon Charles’
ear. Let him but wink, let him but move one muscle and lo! the terrible
thing would be upon him. He lay thus in painful movelessness many
minutes, when the beast, supposing him dead, crawled over the lad’s body
and went his way.
It is a noble characteristic that they will not attack that which hath
not life and power to get away. I wonder if it be not token of my death
to-day, wiping spectacles and putting them on, I have taken up this book
after so long laying it aside.
I feel indeed like a traveler whose way has lain by a devious and
up-hill road, and now in some peaceful, sweet day, when there are no
clouds in the sky, turns to survey the way he has come, before entering
into his rest and closing the doors about him.
I see my children here and there setting around me, sons and my
daughters, dear Andrew, who is known as General Lewis, still follows the
fortunes of his great chief, Washington. Thomas is in the honorable
House of Burgesses, my Alice bears her matronly honors well, and
sometimes tells her eldest child how they dying Indian boy, Omayah,
Christianized at the last, did wildly crave the wings of the White Dove
to bear him up to the house of the Great Spirit.
There is a grave by Great Kanawha’s side which tells where Charles
Lewis, my blue-eyed American child fell bravely fighting, honored and
beloved, in the fierce affray at Point Pleasant. --God rest him! the
gentle at home are the bravest at war, ever. A little hillock on the
prairie with its white mound of stones is not overlooked, though an
insignificant object in the landscape to any but mother-eyes.
William is confined by sickness, so we hear to-day, also that his wife,
noble woman! has sent off her last three sons, the youngest thirteen, to
repel the British at Rockfish Gap. “Go, my children,” this Roman mother
said, “I spare not even my youngest, fair haired boy, the comfort of my
declining years, I devote you all to my country. Keep back the
invader’s foot from the soil of Augusta, or see my face no more.”1
Men with such mothers are the men to form a nation. But the wrangle of
wars and rumors of wars sound faint to me now, and I say to the one who
standeth hand in hand with me on this height, who hath been a helpmeet
every step of the way,--only a little longer, John Lewis, and the Lord
of the mountain will open unto us and we enter his doors together.
1. Rockbridge County News, beginning 26 February 1891 and running
through 12 March 1891. This is a verbatim transcription.
2. Va. Gazette, published was by Wm. Parks at Williamsburg, Aug 6,
3. When this circumstance was related to Washington, his face lighting
with enthusiasm, he exclaimed: “Leave me but a banner to plant upon the
mountains of Augusta, and I will rally around me the men who lift our
bleeding country from the dust and set her free.”