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First edition, 2003
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(title page) A Thrilling Sketch of the Life of the Distinguished Chief Okah Tubbee Alias, Wm. Chubbee, Son of the Head Chief, Mosholeh Tubbee, of the Choctaw Nation of Indians
Tubbee, Okah, b. 1810 or 11
Allen, L. L. (Lewis Leonidas), Rev.
Call number E99.C8 T83 (Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.)
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IN contemplating the Indian character, there is an interest thrown around it, which cannot fail to impress the mind of every inquiring person, although the Indian race is fading away; their palmy days being gone; yet there is a charm thrown around their past history, and the most lively emotions are created in the mind of the Patriot and Philanthropist in contemplating their past and present history, and are led to look upon the high and lofty bearing of the red man, with the most intense admiration. There was a period in the history of the aborigines of North America, when they reigned as supreme lords over this vast continent. The Yonkoo tribe had undisputed sway over the New England country, which means literally conqueror. The term Yankee comes from the tribe of Indians styled Yonkoo—when the English conquered them after a long and bloody contest; when blood had flown in crimson currents, and the shrieks of many an innocent and massacred female rent the air, and the red man's tomahawk was wreaking in the blood of its victim. At length they were subdued, when the War Chief, a proud and noble fellow, stepped forth and presented his tomahawk to the officer in command of the English forces, saying me yonkoo or conqueror, but now you yonkoo, hence the term has been twisted about until it has become yankee—the English called the six States named New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont, New England, in contradistinction to Old England; we Americans call the New Englanders Yankees, but on the other side of the ocean, all Americans are called Yankees, Odium sometimes is attached to the term Yankee, yet candid and unprejudiced minds are willing to admit that the Yankees are a thorough going go-a-head people. The Massachusetts tribe inhabited what is now called the State of Massachusetts, the name being derived from the tribe. All the States do not derive their names from the
Indian tribes. Vermont is an exception from the Latin words, vers mons, meaning verdure or green, and mount, meaning mountain, hence the name of the State Vermont, or green mountain, the State of New York, so called from the Duke of York, and called New York to distinguish it from old York. Pennsylvania, meaning Penn's woods; Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Dakotah, Minesotah, and Nebrascah, and Oregon, all are Indian names. Louisiana, derives its name from Louis a former monarch of France; the Carolinas, from Queen Caroline; Virginia, from one who bore that name in the old world; Georgia, derived its name from a king. It would be interesting and useful to trace this feature of the subject further, but time will not permit me at present, hereafter we will resume the subject. All Indian names are beautifully significant—take a few merely for the sake of illustration. Okah Tubbee, which means Big Chief, not only referring to a great and enlarged mind but to a powerful tribe, a Chief of the Choctaw nation. Mississippi father, hence the Choctaw of the Mississippi, hence the Mississippi is called the father of waters—how significant one of the largest rivers upon the face of the globe, taking its rise in the rocky mountains, continuing its onward course through an immense valley, widening and deepening in its onward course, bearing on its broad bosom a world of commerce, wealth and enterprize, with six thousand trading and two thousand steam boats, until it disembogues into the gulph of Mexico, moistening and fertalizing the soil of three territories and ten states. Laah, Ceil, Manetoi, Elaah, or the Great Spirit's gift, a Princess of the Mohawk tribe. Oletepu, the beautiful Prarie-Bird. We will pursue this subject also hereafter.
It is difficult to arrive at a correct conclusion as to the origin of the Indian race; it is supposed by historians sacred and profane, ancient and modern, that all the races which have been, and are now upon the earth are derived from Noah, that from Shem, Ham and Japheth sprang white, red, and black men, and from them the great variety of nations, kindreds and tongues. Some suppose that the Indians are descended from some of the lost tribes of Jews, that they pursued a northern course as far as Behrring Straits and constructed some kind of floating raft, and crossed over where it is only about nineteen miles to one Island, and about nineteen to another, and took possession of the country before it was discovered by Americus Vespucius, or Christopher Columbus; indeed, there is strong evidence to support this view, from tradition, and a similarity of features,
&c. There is another fact worthy of consideration—the great number of mounds and tumuli, found in various parts of the United States and Mexico, and Central America, there is every evidence of their having been constructed by a race in possession of art and science. Antiquarians have given careful research and enlarged dissertations upon them; whatever position the Indian may have occupied in past ages, one fact we must admit, they were the rightful owners of the soil, when the transatlantics found them here, and that they then roamed unmolested over these vast domains; they dwelt secure in their own leafy bowers, they smoked their pipes in their own wigwams, the young Indians chased the wild deer and skimmed the light canoes over the murmuring streams and silvery lakes; the young Indian girl entwined the wreath around her raven tresses, as beautiful as her own lovely form, but they are melting away, driven away from their own lovely bowers. Nation after nation, and tribe after tribe, are passing away.
Philip, Logan, Blackhawk, Powahatan Keokuck, and other noble warriors, have bowed themselves under the crushing weight of misfortunes; disease has spread like a pestilence through the tribes; war has swept like a dessolating ravager through their lands, and a foe like a hydra monster has swept on its fiery course, carrying its millions to the grave. What a melancholy picture is presented in bold relief to the mind of the philanthropist; how scenes of the most thrilling interest come looming upon the vision. Behold a mother bidding a final farewell to the place of her nativity, to the spot where the light of heaven first fell upon her infant eyes, what tender emotions rush upon her memory, scenes of other days cluster around her, and that which is indearing, the tombs of her ancestors; view her standing upon the last green hill pressing her little one to her bosom, covering its little face with her burning tears; she moves on a few steps, and then for the last time bids her long and much loved home farewell forever, and often in her migrations to the far west, does scenes of the past crowd upon her memory. At last, with a little remnant of a tribe, they arrive to the place of their new home, and finally, broken hearted they sink into the tomb. The white man often in his undue thirst for more land, and a want of reflection, ploughs up the very bones of their children, and scatter them to the four winds of heaven. But I will not pursue this painful subject. There are features in the Indian character which we invite your attention to. An Indian never forgets an injury or an act of kindness, and there are instances on record where Indians
have cherished for years feelings of revenge, and have finally avenged the injury; they are strict in carrying out their own laws. An Indian once in a fit of anger committed murder, and gave himself up immediately, but asked for time to enable him to raise corn, and provide venison for his family, which was allowed him; at the end of six months, he came and told the friends of the person whose friend he had killed, that he had provided for his family, and as he had broken the laws of the Great Spirit, and of his nation, he must suffer the penalty, and he was ready to die. The brother of the wife of the deceased arose, and deliberately clove his skull through with his tomahawk. They often return good for evil. An instance is related where an Indian applied to a white man for food and shelter, as he had been hunting all day and killed no game, and he was very hungry and tired, but the white man in angry tone bid the Indian dog to begone. Sometime after this, the white man went out on a hunting excursion, but after hunting all day was unsuccessful, and losing his way, being weary and hungry, he was about to give up in despair, but seeing the smoke of a wigwam, he hastened to it, but what was his surprise when entering the lodge to find the very Indian he had driven away and hungry from his own lodge—he expected immediate death, but the Indian bid him welcome, with the utmost kindness and his squaw prepared him food; he eat and drank, and then he lay down and slept free from all harm. In the morning the Indian gave him his gun, and accompanied him on his journey. Arriving near the white settlement, and pointing through the wood told him there was the white man's home. His wife and children were weeping and with anxious solicitude were awaiting his return. "You remember poor Indian hungry and tired, ask you give some food, and lie down and sleep in your wigwarm; you say no begone you Indian—you come by and by to Indian lodge, you tired and hungry, you think Indian kill you, but no, Indian say no, you have wife and children who love you, me look on my squaw and papoose, me love em too, me say no me kill white man, and make sorrow and sadness come to his house—you are free, go white man, go to your home, make your wife and children happy, and dont forget poor Indian, how much he suffer, how the white man have wronged him."
Noble son of the forest, what lofty and sublime principles occupy his heart; how magnanimous his mind to prove himself superior to the white man in returning good for evil. I remember an instance which occurred in the days of my childhood, which is fresh in my memory. An Indian woman came to the
house of my parents, and being very sick asked permission to remain a few days, which was cheerfully granted. On recovering she left us, returning her thanks. Some months after she returned, bringing with her a number of beautiful baskets which she had made with her own hands, and a quantity of home-made sugar which she gave to my mother—my mother went to pay her an equivolent, which the Indian woman positively refused, saying "me sick squaw, you good to squaw, me never forget white squaw for her kindness to poor indian squaw."
Mosholeh Chubbee, the father of the subject of this Memoir, was a Chief of the Choctaws, who inhabited a scope of country on the Yazoo River, about one hundred miles west of the Mississippi River. Of this tribe we will briefly allude to their present situation, after alluding to a treaty between the eastern and western Indians.
The Covenant, readily received, and McIntosh with the Six Nations, also at the same time, the wise men of the Choctaws and Six Nations, went over the river to propose the Covenant. To the Osages they said they could not treat with them, but would call the young men together, and all that would might take the Covenant. They then left them and returned to the Choctaw Nation, as the Six nations had not finished their road any farther, they left the Covenant with the Choctaws, and told them they would return in a few days. They left them the word, also the token, which was Wampum.
In a few days they returned back to the Choctaws, and together went to treat with the Osages, sending six men before them (to the Osage Nation,) to remind them of the talk. Some of them were of the Six Nations, some Choctaws, Chief Chubbee was one. When they came near, knowing them to be warlike, they sent in a part of their men; the Osages said, in so many suns setting, and so many suns rising, their Chiefs and young men would be ready to meet them in Council. Agreeable to the request of the Osages they returned, and found the Osages prepared for defence, with a kind of brush fort, ditched about inside and outside, piqueted with brush and poles, they wished to get the Osages word, and would not be repulsed by their warlike appearance. Their word was, that they would not all receive
their Covenant, yet some of them had been weak enough to do so, and had hung the tokens in their ears. They are sober men, but we are not, but choose to stand by ourselves. The Choctaws and Six Nations were friends—their errand was peace, and they asked will you not receive our Covenant? The Osages were very independent, and said they would not willingly, but told them as they were their grandfathers, they must make them do so, as children had sometimes to be whipped into obedience. The Chiefs that were treating with them, bade them recollect their grandfather was like a Bear, whenever he laid his toe-nail down, he was always sure to gain the ground. They told them they would come back in a few days in peace, as they should now return to the Choctaws, and when they returned to them again, if they received not the peace, they would cause them to do so by chastisement. They likewise so done. After they were whipped, they wandered off between the two rivers, supposed to be the Mississippi and Missouri, but their grandfather followed them there, and then made them receive the Covenant of Peace. The Chiefs of the Six Nations were not willing to leave the Covenant with them, although they had made their road this far, and the emblems thereof were worked on the Wampum, but chose to carry it back and leave it with the Choctaws, called in their original tongue, Oyataw, signifying a large Nation The Mississippi River, they called Oyatawgah, because of its size, and having many snags. Now this people, called by them Oyataw. The Cherokee Nation claimed to be the same who treated with the Six Nations at this time, but the grandfather says it was the Choctaw, and that they knew no difference then between the Cherokees and Choctaws; but finding them all living on this great river, named them after it as one great nation, the Oyataw. But they named the Choctaws many days afterwards, acknowledging the same men to have been their Chiefs. Farthermore, let the Council be examined; here we find the Cherokees have not got the Covenant of Peace left by the Chiefs of the North; neither the speeches, significations, or articles, belonging thereunto, but a very few, neither do they explain or seem to know the use of these illustrations. Thus we are left to judge that they never really belonged to that portion of the Oyataw, but they have been separated away by their Chiefs and called Cherokees. But the Six Nations knew them in these days, the Oyataw, One Nation. Furthermore, this road has not been extended any farther in a proper manner, or any thing done as should have been, though the Chiefs have made many trials. Except one Covenant of Peace made by George
Herron, with the Camanches. This was rightly done, the only one that has been conducted, after the pattern since the Six Nations and the Oyataw covenanted, together with the Osages. Furthermore, let the old men of the Six Nations treat the Choctaw and Cherokee as seemeth them good; receive them as two nations, search out their Chiefs, wise men, their fathers and their families, and let them be received in order in the Covenant, or else consider them as one, the former Oyataw, and let the Six Nations ascertain and point out those of the families of their former Chiefs, namely the Chubbee, the McIntosh that the braves of the Choctaws need no longer say, as they said to me in the Cherokee Council, we have no head, no elderly wise men; the Chubbee is gone: his family, none of them survive him to our knowledge. We are babes in the sayings of our fathers, and request our grandfather of the Six Nations to teach us. I ask them for the Pipe of Peace given them by the Chiefs of the Six Nations; described it by saying it was one-half white, and one side red. It could not at first be found. I thought this might throw some light upon the gloom that darkens the hopes, even the dying request of the loved, the brave, the lamented, Big Chief, or Chubbee, of the Oyataw Nation, respecting the youngest son of his, who was with the pale face. Furthermore, many evil designing men, have reported that this child was dead, others that Chief Chubbee had no such child, and now had no heir living. Others said there was such a person, but that his origin had never been traced out, and many disputed his being the son of their Chief. These statements were made at the last Council, when the Choctaws said if they could find him, they would serve and love him. At length the Pipe was brought, having been found, among the Cherokees—the grandfather knew that it was left with Chubbee. The pipe was injured; the Articles of the Covenant scattered among the two divisions. The braves understood not the talk of their grandfather, but their silence and confused faces showed they were children in the affairs of their nation, and they again requested to be taught; but the grandfather being grieved at heart, determined to seek out the last one—the child of their worthy Chief, and divert his mind from his pale faced friends to his own people, if possible. He has succeeded; he is proud and satisfied, thankful to the Great Spirit, that so fine a mind, so much national talent, upright principle, is concentrated in the son, the representative of the long distinguished line of noble Chiefs, the Chubbee. Grateful respects to the pale face friends for their care and attention from the grandfather, whose heart is warm of being pleased with his
prize, as he bears a strong personal resemblance to his father, except the father was taller and heavy built also. Now may the pale face and the Red man dwell peacefully together, is the desire, the prayer of the grandfather.
There certainly is no race of mankind who have so many claims upon the attention and admiration of the philanthropist as that of the Indian; a noble race, with high and exalted notions of honor, he scorns anything which is low and mean. How melancholy to trace his history from the period when the pale face first landed at Plymouth and Jamestown—behold them in their native forest, roaming the wild wood alone, unmolested, chasing the nimble deer, or in skimming the light canoe over the limpid waters or in smoking the pipe of peace around the council fire, happy in their own native home, the little birds carolled their mellow notes beneath the foliage, the young Indian girl as innocent and as beautiful as the wild flowers which wove and entwined around her young brow, and adorned her lovely tresses, and the young warriors, bedecked in gaudy attire, went forth to battle, with a consciousness of being the descendant from a noble race, while the mighty Chiefs held their talks, and poured forth some of the most lofty and sublime strains of eloquence which ever fell from the lips of mortals. But the White man came and drove the Red man from his native home—tribe after tribe have been driven away step by step, until they have dwindled down to a few scattered and pealed people. Look at them leaving their hunting grounds, council fires, and the bones of their sires and matrons—see the fond mother pressing her little one tenderly and affectionately to her bosom, and kissing off the little tear from the soft velvet cheek—how she lingers upon the last green hill, and how the affections clings to their altars. But they are gone—they are melting away, and when they shall all have crossed over the mighty waters of the Mississippi, and the immoveable barriers, the Rocky Mountains, where will they then find a resting place?
The following view of the present condition of the Choctaw Indians, (1846) written by a highly respected and devoted Missionary, and Teacher at Fort Coffee Academy, Iowa Territory, Rev. W. G. Montgomery, will show that the Indian is not the
degraded being that some would have him to be, but that he has been endowed with a mind as susceptible of improvement as the pale face.
The Choctaws have a pleasant, and for many considerations, an interesting country, lying between latitude 32 deg. and 35 deg. north. On the north, it is bounded by the Arkansas River, it being the line between them and the Cherokees; on the south Red River separates them from the State of Texas, on the east they are bounded by the State of Arkansas, on the west by the Creek and Seminole Indians. They have perhaps more territory than half the State of Kentucky. Some portions are very fertile, especially the bottom and low lands on the rivers and creeks. There are a good many extensive prairies, some of them are rich, others are too sandy to be productive. On the low lands there are extensive cane brakes and a bottom grass, which keeps green through the winter.
The Porto, Cliamahu and Canadian Rivers, with many other smaller rivers and creeks, are all tributaries of Red River, and Arkansas, and take their rise in, and flow their whole length through the Choctaw country. Steamboats go up the Arkansas River more than a thousand miles, passing several hundred miles into the Indian country. There is high water in this river always in the months of June and July. There is much mineral wealth from ore, stone coal, and salt springs, in their country.
THE CLIMATE.—The winters are mild, the summers are very warm, and frequently dry. Cotton and corn grow here in abundance. That migratory disposition so characteristic of the Indian tribes, has in a great measure left the Choctaws, and they wish to be stationary. They do not wish to remove to any other country—they are now improving their lands, building houses, and planting vineyards. Many of these farmers have from ten, twenty, fifty, to one hundred acres in corn, and large fields of cotton. There are few, comparatively speaking, who live by hunting. The Buffalo are gone, there are Bear and Deer, and many other kinds of wild game. During the winter season the whole creation seems alive with the various tribes of birds; the forests and prairies are made to resound with the melody of their notes, and the river and ponds and lakes, are covered with water fowls of various kinds; cattle, horses and hogs are raised in great abundance. He says, "I saw very few sheep among them. It is not uncommon for an Indian man to have 560 head of cattle; I frequently saw fifty and one hundred and sixty milk cows belonging to one man, the cows and calves are kept gentle by the following course: the calves are put into
a pen or lot of an acre or more, on the edge of a prairie and are kept in there during the day, and at night the cows are put into the same pen, the calves are turned out into the prairie, where they feed around during the night, and in the morning they are about the fence waiting to be let in the pen with the cows; in the fall they are branded and turned out, and live during the winter upon the cane rushes and prairie grass. Their horses and cattle are smaller than ours, their horses being most generally of the pony stock.
Christianity has done much for this people, and is still doing more, they may be said to be redeemed from heathenism, and placed upon the high and elevated ground of civilization, the arts and sciences being cultivated by them to some considerable extent. They have a well drawn up, and printed Constitution; republican in its character; the elective franchise committed to the people; the members of the Council are elected every year; crimes are punished by fines and otherwise; the murderer is shot by an officer called the Lighthorseman. There are Washingtonian Temperance Societies among them, and the Temperance cause has many advocates. The tribe may be said to be temperate—the white man is prohibited by law from selling whiskey among them—the New Testament is translated into their language, and many other little historical and religious tracts, hymn books, &c. &c. And now the weapons of war are beaten into ploughshares, and no longer is the war whoop heard, but songs of Zion may be heard from their cabins and houses, and places of worship are built for the true and living God. Oh! for the salvation of God to all the aborigines of the wilderness. By an act of their council, they have set apart forever more than six hundred thousand dollars, of their annuity money as a fund, the interest of which is to be appropriated to educational purposes. There are three National Academies now established among them, where twenty thousand dollars is expended annually for the education of their youth. The Fort Coffu Academy is located on the Arkansas river, and is under the control of the M. E. C. S. The Spencer Academy is within a few miles of Red River, and under the control of the Presbyterian Church, Old School. The Armstrong Academy on Chiamechia river, is under the control of the Baptist church. The children who enter these Academies are selected by the Trustees, two from each Indian family—some of them come 150 miles, without names, in their Indian costume—they are expected to remain four years, during which time they complete the following English branches of education: Reading, writing,
arithmetic, grammar and geography, and learn to talk the English language. The senior class then enters upon the study of ancient languages and the higher branches of English. After going through a prefacatory course, some members of this class will be sent to the best colleges and universities in United States, where they will remain until they graduate. Each of the aforesaid Academies is expected to take under its care 100 students, where they are clothed, boarded and instructed. The buildings for the female department at Fort Coffee are frame, and were put up at an expense of $3,000. The boys are taught agriculture—they spend three hours a day on the farm at work; the girls are instructed in sewing, knitting, and the science of house wifery. These Academies are all on the manual labor system. There are several other missionary schools among them, (the Choctaws) supported entirely by the money of the Missionary Societies, and there are now, at least 500 of their children going to their schools and academies now in successful operation among them. Workshops are intended to be established with each of the three National Academies, and a part of each day spent in learning the different trades of mechanism. The population of this tribe is about 30,000.
[Here commences a true narrative drawn up from his own lips in a simple, touching and beautiful style, which may be relied upon as true.]
The first recollections of my childhood are scenes of sorrow, though I have an imperfect recollection of a kind father, who was a very large man, with dark red skin, and his head was adorned with feathers of a most beautiful plumage. I seem to have been happy then, and remember the green woods, and that he took me out at night, and taught me to look up to the stars, and said many things to me that made my young heart swell with sweet hope, more than filled with bright thoughts, too large for it to retain, then he bent over me to say farewell, this scene soon changed, for I had a new father, or a man who took me to a new home which proves to have been Natchez, Mississippi; although I have no recollection where this intercourse took place with my own father, yet from various circumstances which has since occurred, I am led to believe that it must have been upon the Yazoo river before the Choctaws removed from their old homes. I soon found this was not my old, father neither in appearance nor action, and began to understand I could have but one father. This man was white, and the slave woman had the management of his house; she had two children older than myself, a boy and a girl; she was very fond of them, but was
never even kind to me, yet they obliged me to call her mother. I was always made to serve the two children, but many times had to be whipped into obedience; if I had permission to go out an hour to play I choose to be alone, that I might weep over my situation, but even this consolation was refused me. I was forced to go in company with them, taking with me, many times, a smarting back, after a promise had been exhorted from me that I would remain with, and obey them; I soon found myself boxing heartily with the boys, both white and black, because they called me nigger, and every thing but that which was true, for I could not, and would not, and never will submit to such gross insults without defending myself, which is so characteristic of the Red man. Her children were well dressed and neat; I was not only in rags, but many times my proud heart seemed crushed within me, and my cheek crimsoned with shame because of their filthy condition, and I often left them off in consequence, but soon learned to take them off and wash them myself, such was my abhorrence to filth. I often wore them unironed. When I was compelled to go in a nude state to enable me to wash my clothes and they upbraided me for my nakedness, I replied where did you ever see or hear of a child being born with clothes on. I was then a child too young to work, but did errands. A very aged man obtained leave of this unnatural mother to let me go with him to Shelling's Lake to fish with him. He set me to holding his line, and how to manage it, and oh, what a proud moment was this to my little heart, and with what ecstasy did I gaze upon the fish as I drew it out of its native element, struggling for life. I was so fortunate as to catch one more fish than the old man; this encouraged me much, a new world sprang before me. I then began to contrive how I could possess myself of a hook and line. I could imitate many sounds, such as mewing of a cat, the barking, howling and growling of a dog, &c. Some gentlemen overhearing me gave me a few pence; this was my first bow in ventriloquism, imitation, music, &c., and the first compensation I received, not dreaming for a moment that I should ever stand before such large and respectacle audiences which I have since had the honor to appear before, through various portions of the United States, and so warmly greeted and smiled upon. I was so delighted with the money I received I could hardly contain myself, not because I loved money, but because it secured my wishes. I went twice with the old man, after this I went alone and caught twelve or fourteen dozen fishes. I took the money home to this unnatural mother and
asked her to buy me some clothes, for my fish brought me half a dollar a dozen; but she retained the money, and the only satisfaction I had, was to be compelled to follow her and the two children to the store, and see her expend it for finery for them, and then carry it home. I had however the consolation of retaining a trout and perch line with a hook for each, which I hid under the pavement with a few pence; although they were steel hooks, yet they were more valuable than silver or gold to me. After this little experiment, when I wished to enjoy a fishing excursion. I was obliged to run away; I laid up money enough to purchase a suit of clothes; my bank was the brick pavement, my banker was my fish-hooks and lines, my cashier was my own hands, and my associates my own brains. At length I got a lawyer to obtain me a suit of clothes with my own money, but I not only had the mortification of having them taken away from me, but given to her little boy, and by way of interest received a sound flogging, and here I remember hearing her for the first, in her anger, call me an outlandish savage, although I could not understand it, yet it made a peculiar impression on my young mind. At night when I ought to have been sleeping I was rolling on my bed watering my pillow with my tears, thinking of the advice of my old, and tried friend, a colored man who was a preacher, and truly a good man, who taught me to pray and to hope for better nays. When he died I lost the only true friend, I had in the world, and I was almost inconsolable at the loss. Peace to his ashes. Reader, tread lightly over the ashes of the dead.
About this time I became acquainted with a family by the name of Thomas Munce. By this time I had become quite a whistler, by this method and other means had obtained quite a sum of money again, and I employed the same lawyer who had assisted me on a former occasion, to purchase another suit of clothes, and the lawyer went and told this woman that he had presented them to me, and that she must let me wear them. She did so, for which I was so thankful that I was willing to give her anything which I could make by my ingenuity. She could not bear to hear me praised, especially above her own children, and I supposed she saw a superiority in mind over her children, and forbid me receiving any more presents. I then hired out to doctors and lawyers to sweep their offices, &c. Some were kind enough to feed and pay me something; others fed me only, and took me home with them to their families. I gave the woman my money, also the presents I received, but the more I gave her, the more she exacted from me. Child as I was,
I could not allow myself to weep by day. If she found my pillow wet with my tears, she whipped me for that, and I formed a habit of going alone at night, and lifting my heart to God in prayer, for his preservation, and that my father might return. When I stood thus alone, in the open air, high hope was in my heart, and a feeling of hope within my heart, when I felt thus alone before God, with the stars, which in my childish language I called the eyes of heaven, gazing down upon me; here I gained fortitude to bear all my wrongs—here I determined to ask the white men, whom I sometimes saw, about my own father. I had now and then mentioned it to the woman, she always told with tongue and heart, begone, outlandish, savage, you never had any father. As she was always angry at my inclination to be alone about this time, she gave me a severe whipping for climbing a bluff, which no other boy dared to, and thus spending a Sabbath with my thoughts, tears, prayers, and childish aspirations. This point was called Buzzard Roost. I have since, thought she in her anger, forgot herself at this time, for she asked me if I did not know that this was the way Indians and all wild savages lived, and could not be tamed—that the white people could not make as much service of them, as they could of the blacks, for they could not work for them, but sport their lives in wandering about in the woods, both day and night, living with the wild beasts. Now I loved wild beast, and my heart was swelling within me; I forgot her evil blows with clasped hands, and tearful eyes, my heart kindling with the most intense emotion at her recital. I cried out, Oh! tell me more, tell me more. She looked at me, said something about the strange wild light in my eyes—seated herself, and seemed in deep thought. She then said something which I did not understand, though I listened, for I thought she was going to tell me more. I think she said in a soliloquy, what is bred in the bone will be in the marrow, consequently, when I hear the remark, my mind resorts to this scene of my childhood, with peculiar emotion, and intense interest. I accordingly asked the white man where he found me, and when my father would come for me. He seemed astonished to find I had any recollection of a father before I saw him. He told me I had been dreaming that he was not my father; bade me remember I was this woman's child, and she could do as she pleased with me; bade me never to mention this thing to any one, nor speak of it again to him; but told me I would know more about it when old enough to work. Here I gave myself up to despair, and run away and went into the back part of the city. I had often been nearly starved, and thought I
could stand hunger pretty well, and manage to climb up and sleep in an old hay loft; but I became very hungry, and knew not what to do, as I was unacquainted here, and wished to remain in secrecy least I should be taken back. My spirits were so much broken, that I could not enter into my old pranks to gain me friends. I sat myself down early in the morning, near a fine looking house, thinking what I should do. I could not bear to beg. There chanced to come to feed their dogs, some of the inmates of the house. As soon as their backs were turned, I hastened to the spot, and with all the strength I had, begged the poor dogs for a morsel of food to prevent me from starving. My hunger made it sweet to me. For several days I slept upon my bed of hay at night, and watched the shaking of table cloths, and with the dogs picked up the crumbs that was thrown from the table of the owners. I could not endure this kind of life, and began to search for work. I at length hired to assist in a brickkiln. I passed a few weeks here as happy as my feelings would allow, but a black woman, who knew my pretended mother, recognized me, and gave information. I was taken back. They had searched much for me, also advertised for me. The brick maker had heard of the search, but never supposed that it referred to me. He had often spoken to me of my red skin, saying I resembled Indian boys he had often seen about Natches. I then had the privilege of asking what Indian Savages meant, and received satisfactory answers. They told much of them which excited my curiosity; that brought to my mind scenes of my earliest recollection. Then they had faded from my mind, yet I determined if my life was spared, I would visit that people. He also set before me the different grades of society, which enabled me to understand why I had often seen this hated appellation, while I had been absent. This unnatural mother had seen and advertised in a N. O. paper, which she mistook for me, and she had not been home long before I was brought there also. After her old custom, as usual, she stripped me to give me a lashing, but at the sight of my bruised and lacerated body, she seemed to have some relentings, and I thought was moved for a moment even to pity. The reason of my being thus managed, was in consequence of refusing to return. They beat me and lashed me so unmercifully with a cowhide, that my body was black and blue. She then said she wished she had never seen me or the man who had brought me there. She seemed to have given up all hopes of conquering me, and said she ought to tell all she knew and get rid of me, least I should do something in my fits of anger of an awful nature. She then
bade me put on my clothes and begone out of her sight, and told me to remember that at some future time she should punish me. I then went to Major Young of the U. S. Army, who was then stationed there, and through his influence I obtained a situation with a Physician, Dr. A. P. Merill, who was also a Surgeon in the U. S. Army. How long I remained with this kind gentleman, my memory does not serve me; it may have been a year. I was one day sent to the office of the Surgeon, upon an errand, by some of the ladies of the officers of the Post. While passing from the office, a young man who was studying medicine with the Surgeon, raised his window and called me. A lad about 16 years of age happened to be near (to who.) This lad was asking the young Surgeon if I lived there; when I came up, he seeing me, said with a sneer of contempt, there comes the nigger. Mrs. Munce's family, of whom I have before spoken, was very kind to me, and when memory brings up the reminiscences of the past, the scenes of my childhood cluster around me, causing my bosom to heave with peculiar emotion, and my bosom heaves to and fro like the troubled waves of old ocean, and the big burning tears often course down my cheeks, and so long as memory holds her empire, I cannot forget the kindness of this family. This family was blessed with a young daughter as beautiful as she was kind and innocent, who manifested much sympathy for me.
This lad, of whom I have spoken, was very fond of Mary, and become very jealous of me, consequently he was always tantalizing me, and upbraiding me with the epithet of nigger. When this lad thus said, yonder comes the nigger, all my Indian nature was aroused, and my very blood boiled in every vein, and my feelings were so intense that I called upon the Great Spirit, and conjured heaven and earth to know where I originated from. I picked up a part of a brick, though I scarcely hoped to reach him, yet I aimed at his head with all my might; it reached him just as he happened to turn around, to see what I was doing. It cut his lips, and knocked out five of his teeth. The doctor had to sew up his lips. His friends made a search to see who was around me, and threatened to prosecute them. The Surgeon quieted my feelings, saying no harm should befall me. They went to my unnatural mother to see what they could do with her. My runaway excursion was not yet settled for, and she said she could not do any thing about it, and they must take my body. She made many complaints about my violent and unconquerable temper, and said she had intended to have me imprisoned, and there whipped and starved, until my spirit should be tame.
The white people were strangers to me, and the fathers of many other boys that I had boxed for the same insult, took advantage of this, and bore testimony against me that I was a dangerous boy when angry. They however spoke of my industrious habits and talents favorably, and upon the whole they concluded to confine me. I became alarmed at this, began to beg for pardon, with now and then a flogging, with little to eat. I heard my sentence with sullen composure—they asked me if I was not sorry; I told them if their laws and prison had power to keep my body, I was sure I had power over my own tongue, that I could not, and would not, talk with them, and when I was sorry it would be before God alone. While I was in prison, a white man came to me, and said he had many things to say to me to which I must listen attentively. He told me that the woman called my mother was a slave, as well as the mother of the two children, but she was set free before the birth of these two children, consequently her two children were free, but I was their slave. This unloosed my tongue, and raised every angry passion of my nature. I loudly asserted that he had brought me from my own home, and had made me a slave; he bade me be quiet until he could tell me all; he then changed his tone, and told me I had a father, probably a white man, but as he did not come to buy me, I was to come; I was consequently given over as a slave to the children; he said I must never reveal this, he only told it to comfort me, but told me if I would promise to bear the taunts that would occur; I told him I could not and should not (break) make any such promises, for I would be sure to break them, and to spare himself the trouble of trying to console me, with such base falsehoods. I told him this woman when angry called me different names wishing she had never seen the wild savage devils, sometimes even calling me a white woman's child, which besides her evil treatment, gave me every reason to believe she was not my mother. I told him that some strange mysteries hung over my birth, and I accused him of knowing what it was, and on my knees implored him to unravel it to me if to none other, telling him by so doing he could console me. He turned coldly from me, while I stretched myself on the floor in despair, assuring him my blood was free, and pure. I crawled around where I could look him in the face, telling him he need not fear to rescue me from this place of abuse and disgrace, that every step in my after life, should be to prove it, and honor him, but said nothing to reassure me, nor even to speak. I then thought he would do nothing for me; I said, well, I will bear it; it will lay me in my grave, and there I shall be free.
He was touched with my earnest importunity; gazed upon me a moment, then stooped, and raised me from the floor, with his own hand and he begged me to be calm, to compose the tumult of my feelings, saying it is a pity that you should be wronged for the love of money, for let your skin be what it may, you have a noble heart; and when I contrast your last appeal to my humanity, with your language regarding your enemies, it reminds me of the sun breaking out clear and warm through a dark, thick cloud. He promised me he would never wrong me, but strove again to obtain the promise he first wished; but I could not promise; he said he would use his influence to obtain my release; he bid me a kind farewell, wishing me kind friends, and better success for the future. I was then left alone for the night, and a part of the next day, after which I underwent a severe course of punishment, the severest of it being their advice as regarded names or epithets that I might receive, telling me I must even expect it, and bear it too, from the very fact of the woman known as my mother, having been a slave, but as usual I denied her being my mother, told them all I knew of myself before I knew her, which was new to them, and some of my enemies were thus turned to friends; they said it was not reasonable to suppose that I was an Indian child, taken when small, for the purpose of making me a slave. Some asserted they had heard of such circumstances, and it was easily done, where there was such a diversity of color as there is in the South. I was allowed to remain with kind friends, who said if they had known of my troubles they would have interposed, and proved me a good child, with the exception of a violent temper, which could not be denied, but when treated half right, I was industrious, obedient, gentle and kind, and was free from many faults that beset boys, who had not only the advantage of being white, but whose parents moved in the highest circles of society—that my manners were manly in the extreme; and then I had many exalted and noble ideas, relative not only to men and things in this world, but also entertained the most elevated and exalted views of God and his attributes, and as I had received no education, either moral, mental or physical, these thoughts must have been original. This leads me to believe that these ideas must have emanated from the Good Spirit, and that man is immortal, and shall live eternally after he leaves this world.
I soon accepted an offer from a Mr. Russell, to learn the blacksmith's trade. He urged me much to come, and promised to treat me well, but he failed in the very commencement. I had entertained such entire confidence in him that my spirits sank
within me. I was totally unprepared for his unkind treatment. I wept again and again over his cruel conduct to me, and found suspicion and jealousy so contrary to my nature, and which had hitherto been a stranger to me, had taken possession of my heart. I was entirely unconscious of other persons suffering the same painful emotions, that was gnawing like a canker worm upon my heart, crushing down my young heart; I was becoming poorer in flesh every day, but I still continued steadily at my work, to drive away my bad feelings. I do not know how old I was, but they raised three steps to raise me high enough to blow the bellows, and strike upon the anvil. Some months had passed in this fearful manner, when at length one day Mr. Russell came to me, and ordered me to strip for the whip; in vain I begged to know what I had done to merit such usage; he only answered me with angry oaths, so loud that I was dead in silence, and obeyed, determining in my mind that this should be the last time I would do it. He used a whip known in the South as the overseer's whip. I fell to the floor, after a few of the first blows, they were so severe, they seemed to take away my breath, and I thought my life; but I retained my consciousness of it until he ceased; I tried but could not arise, but my cries for help at first were so heart rending, that although the shop was closed, people hearing my cries rushed through the back way and forced him to stop; they raised me up, but I knew it not; I had fainted; they took me away, and washed my body, bathed my wounds, which brought back a sense of pain, but it was only to faint again, while the blood flowed fast. On coming to myself again, I vomited freely, but soon fainted again from pain and loss of blood. A Physician was called, he seemed alarmed at my situation, and said it might cause my death, the vomiting and fainting for twenty-four hours in spite of all their efforts, continuing. Russell seemed now very much alarmed, but I could not bear the sight of him, and would not permit him to come near me; he then gave orders to have every thing done possible for my recovery. What alarmed him most was that the people told him that if I died, in consequence of his cruel treatment, that they would put the law in force against him, which would be first without any formal trial to tar and feather him, ride him on a rail, and then hang him without judge or jury, or the benefit of clergy.
My friends watched over me with all the tenderness that they would if I had been their own child. For the first three weeks I was compelled to lie upon my stomach, and when I was compelled to change my position, I was compelled to rest on my
knees, so that I have at least been in a humble position once in my life, if no more, from the force of circumstances, but I feel grateful to the Good Spirit that he has given me a heart to bow before him, and adore his goodness, and I shall even be thankful that he raised me up such kind friends, for had he not I must have died, and now been sleeping beneath the green sod of the valley; the wounds in my back were so deep that you could in some places see through into my stomach. My back was a complete mass of supuration. It was well known that I was perfectly well on the morning that this circumstance took place, and then to see me in this situation, it was talked over again and again, that the people became so exasperated that they told Russell that if he did not leave, they would ride him out of the town on a rail; this so alarmed him that he picked up his duds and moved away; soon after he died a miserable life, being drowned in a ditch, in a fit of intoxication, making my prophecies true that God would punish him for his savage treatment to me, though hand in hand the wicked shall not go unpunished.
I was one day walking the streets of New Orleans, when Mrs. Russell accosted me, saying how do you do sir? I think I know you, I replied probably you do madam. She then said do you remember once telling a man that God would punish him for his cruel treatment to you? I answered perfectly well. She said my words had proved too true, and said she was his wife; after telling me her husband died, went on to say to me that she was in distress, and had not eat any thing in three days, and begged me to lend her some money, to buy something to eat, and tell her where I lived. I had some $10 in my pocket, and immediately gave her $5 50 and 25 cents to the child that was with her. After this she came to the house where I lived, and offered to return my money, but I looked at her feet, and saw that she was partly barefooted, and I gave her $2 50 to buy her another pair of shoes, for which she thanked me very kindly. My heart was full with sorrow for her; I could not nor would not take any thing from her, but gave her my well wishes, and advised her to change her course. She gave me a full history of the rascality that had been practiced against me. Upon her promising to reform I gave her the rent of my house free for three months. She soon became industrious, and by her labors was enabled to sustain herself. Having to repair my house, she left, and I have not heard from her since. My friends took me away from Russell, home with them, where I remained unti I revived, and any who offered to take me home with them, I became afraid of them. I saw the future in the past, as I visited
from place to place, among my friends, I was secretly devising a plan to visit some of the Indian tribes. An opportunity soon offered.
One day I walked down to the river, and found Steam Boats from every part of the great valley of the Mississippi. The captain of one of them, bound to Red River, who knowing I was unprotected, without employment, asked how I would like a trip to Alexandria, saying he thought it would improve my health and spirits. I told him if I could pay my expenses I would gladly go. I was soon on board, and the boat soon under way. Before we reached the place of destination, I frankly told the Captain my belief respecting my birth, and that I did not wish to return, but rather to remain in that country to visit some of the Indian villages—he willingly permitted me to stay, and promised to say nothing on his return respecting my retreat. I here felt reassured, and though I had no friends present, it was a comfort to know I had no enemies, I soon obtained sundry small jobs, which paid for my board, and something beside. I did not wish to enter into steady employment, as I intended the first opportunity to visit the Indians.
Perhaps I should have stated, that I had seen Indians frequently in Natchez, but soon learned that when any of them came to town I was carefully and closely watched. It appears that some one always gave the necessary information to whoever I lived with, saying I had threatened to run away with them. Permit me to describe my feelings the first time I ever saw Indians. I had just stepped out of a door into the street as they were coming down the street; they were walking slowly, seeming to be looking at the buildings; I appeared nailed to the spot, my heart leaped with joy, yet a choaking sensation amounting to pain seized me; confused ideas crowded upon my mind; they were near me, yet I moved not, until the keen eyes of one of them rested upon me; he spoke, the eyes of the whole company turned upon me, and then upon each other, while as it seemed to me they uttered an exclamation of surprise; they came towards me, I was wild with delight, I thought I was their child, that they were seeking for me; I started and held out my hands, tears gushed from my eyes. I addressed them in a language to me unknown before; it was neither English, Spanish, or French; astonished, they spoke kind to me, smoothing my hair with their hands; an explanation now took place as one could speak English; he said I had asked in Choctaw for my father, saying that he had gone and left me, and I was with bad people; that I begged to know if he was not with them; they then asked for
my mother, this pained me; I told them she was not my mother; they looked at each other, spoke faster and louder, and looked very angry; there had a crowd of children and men and women gathered; the Indians loudly asked where and to whom does this child belong? some one answered to a colored woman. The clouds seemed to grow darker on their way, yet to me sweet fact, the same one said, to a slave woman, and he is a slave. The Indian held his hands high above his head and said, but white man lie, he no good, him no slave, no niger, no, bad white man steal him, his skin is red; this was repeated in imperfect English by them all—me, I love him—the crowd were some smoking, laughing, some mocking, angry and cursing—the Indians conversed in a low tone together: here some of the crowd interfered, and separated me from my new, but dear friends—while all the time, bad white man lie, he steal him, he no niger, him Indian boy, now and then reached my ears. I was then torn from them—my feelings towards them I cannot attempt to explain.
I now returned to Alexandria. I hear learned that the Indians often visited the village, that they came here and fished and sold their fish to the inhabitants, and I determined to make their acquaintance here, and so get an invitation to their camps. As I still retained a love for the hook and line, it was just in my hand. The first Indian I met, assisted me in a friendly manner, which I returned, and was soon happy among them, for they seemed to regard me as a companion; they did not even ask for or look for other blood in me. I tasked my memory in bringing to mind words, often on my tongue though I had no recollection of their meaning. They told me it was the Choctaw tongue. I was over anxious to gain the friendship of those who spoke a little English, and as soon as I was sure of their confidence, I gave to them a history of my sorrows in part; it was night, and we were gathered around the camp fire, one of them serving as interpreter. I had scarcely began before the pipe was laid by, one saying their hearts were sorry, and they could not smoke; the elder ones bent their eyes on the ground, their features settled into an immoveable silence, their arms were folded upon their breasts; their very silence said to me, this is but another lesson in the deceitfulness of the pale face; the eyes of the younger ones were fixed upon me, and their features manifested a restlessness, and they manifested signs of revenge; they grasped their tomahawks firmly; my emotion soon prevented my proceeding; I showed them my back; that expression, eagh! eagh!! eagh!! so significant of high resolves,
contempt, and indignation, &c., escaped the lips of the older, while an angry wail went forth from the young. Their leader spoke, when all was silent; their interpreter gave me what follows: Pale face always say he friend, poor Indian get money, bad pale face get fire-water, then he friend; Indian got no money, then he got no friend, but he got hunting-ground, pale face want it, he fight a little, give little this, and little that, last poor Indian take fire-water, he then loses sense, then white man get his home, the Great Spirit gave pale face children, houses, cattle, but this no enough, he love black slave, Indian skin no white, but dark red, so he think Indian make good slave, so he try him, but he no make slave, so bad white man steal papoose, may be he make good slave, no, no, no, bad white man, he no good, he speak with a forked tongue. While he was speaking not a motion was made, or any other sound heard, not a leaf trembled; as he ceased my ears were almost deafened with the loud yells of indignation that burst upon me as they sprang to their feet and began dancing around me. This was a scene novel to me; I had roused their feelings for me, but knew not how to quell them. It was late before we laid down in our wigwams; we rose very early, they said they could not sleep, and were sorry for their brother's son, and their fears plainly showed me that they were ill at ease. We washed ourselves all over, thoroughly; they gathered around the fire, standing in a circle, holding their left hand up to the Great Spirit, said a few words in their own tongue deeply serious, wet the fore finger with the same hand, dipped it in the ashes, beginning at the corner of the eye drew it downwards, imitating the trickling of a tear; their leader then spoke a few words, the others imitating him, at holding up the same hand, their eyes fixed on the morning sky as their words fell from their lips, they looked upon me, as though they were reading my heart, instead of searching my features I did not know how to act, but the interpreter told me they were invoking the Great Spirit for me, and expressing sorrow for my situation. They then very gravely informed me, that I must not fish for them any more, as I had caught more fish than they, and they were convinced that the Great Spirit had given him this as a gift to supply his wants, and he would be angry with them if they accepted of any which I could sell. To this I undertook to object, telling them I had some little money and was their visitor, and had partaken of their bread, and still they answered, we also have partaken of your fish. My interpreter here motioned me to be silent; they believed a supernatural power would uphold me, and that these difficulties were suffered
to gather around the path to test my honor; that the God of the pale face, and the bad alike, had come before me, if I chose the good, the Great Spirit would deliver me; I then wished to be cheerful, but as long as they let the ashes grow upon their faces I scarcely spoke, but when this was taken off, I felt at liberty, and attempted to answer them, by telling anecdotes about myself which pleased them so much that they had a great pow, pow about it, and they were in perfect ecstacies about them.
I had stolen away one morning, repaired to the spot where I had hidden my fish poles under a flat-bottomed boat, on touching the poles I heard the cry which was like what I had always supposed to proceed from a niger baby, and which gave me the most horrid sensations, though I had never seen one, but had often heard white people speak of the peculiarity of their cry, not doubting, I stooped down to examine more closely, it seemed in a sitting posture, leaning forward, looked young, and I felt all my former disgust return, I touched it with a pole, again it uttered a hideous cry; I snatched up my poles and returned to the lake, I could not but reflect that if it was human it was sensible of pain, cold and hunger. I was touched with pity, and returned, determining to serve it; but I could not reach it, it seemed frightened at me: I relinquished the idea, and went back to the lake, I passed several houses in watching, expecting to see it emerge from its concealment, on being left alone—about one o'clock, a Spaniard come to me, I told him my exploit, spoke of its cries, and endeavored to interest him in its favor, he stooped down and examined closely, and said ah, this Johny Crapo, and to my amazement drew forth a large Bull-frog whose head was nearly as large as my head: it still kept on crying like a niger baby, the Spanish man killed, and dressed it, and sold it to some Frenchmen for $3; another one opposite kept hollowing chubbe, chubbe, chubbe; I am coming, I started to go to it, and on the way passed two large mockasin snakes, but they did not molest me; I killed the frog and sold it for half a dollar; while I was fishing, I made a little basket to put my fish in and when I went to put my fish in it, a large mockasin jumped at me, but I soon dispatched him; I was afterwards attacked by two of their snakeships who had stretched themselves on a log that had fallen across a small river; they were after my fish, I killed one and the other escaped from me—this restored cheerfulness, and the leader drew a moral from this, saying, my enemies took me for a niger baby, but it will all come out like the frog story. The Spanish man told the joke, and my enemies often tormented me with it. I then would sit by the side of the lake and watch the
frogs—I then imitated them in a coarse base voice, the head one answed knee deep, and another one call out, fried bacon, more rum, another, snatch him, the head frog called out, toleration, his mate hollowed flam him, and another crawled along on a log crying, caty dit—they were so delighted that they entered heartily into the feast and dance.
I then returned to Alexandria, where I made many friends, French, Spanish, and one English family especially, who made me aequainted with a gentleman who was very wealthy, who resided in Mississippi; claimed me as his cousin, he was related to the family who became so friendly to me. Mrs. Kitchen, was a sister of this gentleman, which would have made us relatives. Captain Brown, was going up to Natchitoches in a keel boat, he engaged me to accompany him, after having proceeded some miles up the river, I being on deck, surveying the scenery as we passed, having a pair of high heel shoes on made me very clumsy, and I fell overboard; the current was swift here and carried me down, as I was not an expert swimmer, I struggled and did not exert myself; a young man saw me sinking and dove in and rescued me from drowning; I came up out of the water, farther down the river than he had expected; he by using all his exertions saved me as I was sinking the third time; I had not until this moment had any acquaintance with either the young man, or his father, but a brotherly feeling sprang up between us; we made our trip and returned together, his father living opposite Alexandria, I went home with him; the young man proposed that I should assist him at the ferry; I worked with them three months; my Indian friends often visited me, and informed me that many of the Choctaws living in Mississippi advised me to visit them; about this time a gentleman living in Natchez landed here; recognized me; coaxed me to return with him, saying I had many friends in Natchez who were anxious about me, and which had been much concerned about my absence. I found that to visit the Indian country I must return by the way of Natchez; he promised that my unnatural mother should have no control over me; he said I should go to a trade and be used well, and I told him that I must make one more expedition; I left Alexandria, many friends followed me to the boat, sending their best wishes; I returned to Natchez, having been absent nine months; my friends greeted me with smiles, complimenting me with my improvement; I had not only become more bulky, but much taller, and my spirits were much improved; I had offers on every hand for employment; a Mr. McCafry, who had ever been my friend, proposed that I should
finish the blacksmithing with him; here I was treated as a member of his family; I worked very hard for some months, when I had a violent attack of the billious fever, the only sickness I ever had in my life; I was almost unconscious, and suffered much for three weeks, I recovered slowly and lingered for some time under the effects, and the physicians advised me to travel for my recovery; I had some money and insisted on the Doctor taking some, and left for a while, starting for Brandon, and my money giving out, threw me again upon my own resources. One night being tired I stopped at a little cottage where the people treated me very kindly, and gave me a poor old horse which they had turned out upon the commons; I rode him on the level road and walked up and down the hills, by this means I was enabled to reach Brandon springs where I soon made friends, and spent the fall and winter. I had sometimes visited ball rooms and acted as a prompter, my voice being strong and distinct. I was employed as a prompter—in the spring I returned to my old employer.
MR. ALLEN—Dear Sir: I am very sorry that I cannot see you before I relate what soon followed—William at first said I must not write it, for up to this day, he cannot keep down his anger, when he remembers that he was tied when sleeping and whipped by a woman after he was a man, the scars she left he must take down into the grave—although when released he gave her a broomsticking, yet he is ashamed to have it mentioned. I think it ought to be, for it was known there—he has consented to have it in part, if we both wish—what I write will be but a sketch, yet strictly true, if you think best use it. Please correct my many mistakes.
She asked me, if I thought I had ever seen Sally Kelly, before
I saw her. I immediately recollected what Sally had said to me when I was between ten and twelve years old, though I had no recollection of seeing her, when so young, yet I led her to believe that I had. When somewhere about the age named, I met a very black woman in the street, she seemed very glad to see me, and yet big tears stood in her eyes, she asked me to shake hands with her because she was my first black mamma; one black mamma was too many, and I wished to be off, yet her words fast chained me there; she looked about the street and up to the windows, I thought to see if any person was looking at her, still holding on to my hand, said to herself, (but my ears were open) yes, this son of the broad forest Chief was brought to me first, though I was then and am yet very wicked, yet I never wronged an innocent child, and his bitter lamentations for his parents, especially his father, still rings in my ears. I had become impatient to know all she knew of me—she ceased speaking, but gazing inquiringly into my eyes said, you are young and if you should tell they would beat me to death—she said if I would not tell until I was grown she would then tell me all she knew of me; she bade me follow her down the alley and she would talk to me. She then said, yes, child, the white man's blood possesses no more freedom than yours, yet they have made no distinction between you and the negro slave—she then said the white man who found me, and her master, were great friends, that he had been on one occasion some time from home, and or returning he brought me there and wished to see her master alone; (she was the only woman there,) so when they were alone, she slipped up and listened, for my appearance had excited her curiosity, for she had often heard them speak of stealing Indian children and make slaves of them, and she heard him say to her master, yes, I can get the shiners for him, for the old Chief is away and will search for him when he returns, and I can easily say I found him, and he will pay me for my trouble and a present besides, and then I shall not have to raise him or run the risk of his dying; and as his colored woman and himself had parted in a quarrel, it was decided that I should be told that he had bought you below, and that I must learn you to talk, as it seemed you did not know how to speak with any sense; my master then asked him if you was old Bill Chubby's son, he answered yes, and they laughing, swore he had made a lucky hit. I then left the key-hole and sought the child, who was afraid of me and would not speak—they soon told me some tale about you, little dreaming that I knew you was to be kept close in the house, I was not to take you out myself; you seemed very anxious to go
out, and eat very little, and either screamed and cried or sat in sullen silence. I often listened to find out any thing concerning you, and at length found that your father supposed you had been destroyed by wild beasts or stolen by some warlike tribe, he had vowed vengeance on whoever had the child. Now came many consultations; he feared to take you home lest he should suffer, your father had not thought of your being with the white men, he believed they were friends. They now began to talk of keeping you as a slave; my own conscience smote me, and I threw out my hints, thinking to frighten them, but they carelessly told me I knew too much, saying they must find the child a mother, but I was so black that I would not do; I was glad of it, and the man had long promised to set his woman free, he now offered her freedom if she would say she gave birth to this child, when they moved to Natchez, to this she agreed, and he set her free; we all moved to Natchez: she became known as the mother of you. She then turned to me and said, now if you can keep this until you are a man, I will tell you more, yes you will know it all and be free and respected; I always knew it and that has kept my tongue still, but I could not help telling you I was your mother first, and when you are about they are afraid I will tell it all, for I always took your part—so good bye, my heart is easier now, come and see me and remember what I promise when you are grown, so mind your tongue.
When alone, I endeavored to stamp her words in my brain, saying them over to myself, for fear I should forget them. I had not seen Sally for some years, as some stolen goods were found to be harbored by her, she had to leave the city unexpectedly and unknown to me, and I had heard nothing of her since. I had never named her communication with me, and now that I was thus questioned I determined to make use of my knowledge—I accordingly accepted an invitation to come to her house, and eat and talked with her, when I told her Sally was my mother before she was, she was silent some moments, and then said, yes, but we did not think you remembered her, or being with her at least. But she refused to tell me where Sally was, but she told a story corroborating with Sally's, alleging she had to do as her master wished. She opened a bureau-drawer and showed me a suit of fine clothes that that man left when he went away, saying he expected to return when he left, but she should keep the clothes for his son; she told me her children was his. She then said that slavery was not confined to the negro, but that any other child the whites could steal that was not white was just as much a slave as the negro; she then said she was
going to tell me a little more and trust to my own good heart to do her justice, I motioned her to proceed, and she said that a white man had got me from old Bill Chubbe, the Chief of some tribe of Mississippi Indians, and that because he was so big and fat they called him Chubbee; that he failed to come for me; every thing turned against the man; he had prepared to give her children a part of his fortune, (at this time eatibles were brought in, and I drank coffee freely, while she after waiting as long as she could added) so he just gave you to them, and now we will do what is right, you are a fine young man about 25 or 26, I think, though some say, not over 23. While she was speaking a painful stupor seemed to come over me, I raised to go but she detained me almost forcibly saying, I must hear her out; I sat down for I could scarcely stand, and I tried to rally myself, for I feared my feelings had overcome me, my head seemed ready to burst, while a dizzy sleepiness took possession of me; the old woman finished by saying, you can make the children a few presents and do something for me, and we will give you up, and thus stop this quarrel. I told her I would never give a farthing as a present, or pay for the freedom with which I was born I again arose but could not walk or scarcely stand. She told me I must not go, that I was too sleepy, I must go to bed; scarcely knowing what I did I pulled off my coat and vest and threw myself on the bed and went to sleep, when I awoke it was to a sense of the keenest pain, I seemed smarting, could it be I felt the lash, yes, writhing under its torture, as it way laid upon my flesh, I endeavored to rise, I could not move, the blows seemed to fall heavy and fast, but how could this be possible, I had been too happy, I must be suffering under some dreadful disease, I thought I had the nightmare, but then by this time I had gathered my scattered senses and remembered that I was in bed, and found that I was on my face, the sheet wound close about my head, my hands and feet tied fast to the bedstead, I remembered where I was, and our conversation, I then knew it was no nightmare, no dream, and I struggled with all my might to unwrap my head, at length I partly succeeded, and saw light again; the blows ceased and oh horror! there she stood, she whose guest I was, and now her prisoner—even to this day, when I think of or relate this disgusting scene, the same feelings return, I felt sick at heart; she soon spoke like this: sir, I have taken this plan to show you have a master, you have refused to give me any thing for yourself, just as I expected, though I thought I would try you; you are so ungovernable that no one will buy you, and the people are fools enough to think that you
do not belong to us, but I have got you now in my own power in spite of your fraud or cunning, and no craftiness of yours can release you, no indeed, nothing but your word that you will buy yourself will do; I will take your word for what a slave man is worth, and now promise me quickly, and be like an Indian in keeping your word, you would hate to own you was whipped by me after you came out a fine gentleman, and if you please I will say nothing about it, if not I will beat you until you are glad to promise. I then said are you prepared beastly woman to answer to God and man for my life? I now solemnly say, I will never promise that. She then saying, you are in my power, began to lay on the blows—now that I discovered my foe had tied me, and my senses had returned, the reality of my disgraceful situation was plain before me, together with the smart of the keen lash seemed to give me lion like strength, and with a few desperate leaps I succeeded in tearing the bedstead into pieces, breaking the cord that bound my feet, tearing up a cloth pair of pants for which I had just paid $17, with the part to which my hands were fastened I felled the old woman, leaving her to pick up herself, while I rushed to the door where I soon gnawed my right hand loose, and seeing a friend of hers coming to her at a distance, I picked up a piece of brick and leveled him—my jaws and teeth were tired, and by way of experiment I found I could saw a rope in too with two bricks: I was soon loose but almost naked and bloody, with little hesitation I walked to her door it was locked, I picked up a stick of wood knocked in her window, and went in, got my coat and vest, but then I had no pants, I opened the drawer and took the suit she had shown me, dared her to move while I washed and dressed in these clothes, and left the house forever. Officers tracked me, and I was brought to Natchez—my enemies now undertook to make me buy myself, saying let me be what I might I was given to them, and they had a right to me, and I could not be sold for I was well known, my friends respected me too much to buy me, and my enemies were afraid of me.
I immediately left for Vicksburg, where there was a party given, and they hired me to play on the flute, for which they gave me $100 for the night. I had several good jobs here, when I was sent for to go to Natchez to play on the Fourth of July, for which they gave me $50—this pleased my friends as much as it gratified me. I returned to Vicksburg after a week's visit here; stayed long enough to be highly received by Dr. Anderson's family, and Lawyer Harrison's Son-in-law, also by Mrs. Nartona, who lived a few miles back of Natchez, at whose house I had
often met with many ladies and gentlemen. I had many friends here, yet some of the lower class began to find fault with my visiting among them, and news began to circulate concerning my fate in Natchez.
As things still remaineed unsettled I thought I would go still further up the Mississippi river, and took passage on board steamer George Washington, Mr. Egerton, Captain, and I take the liberty of saying he was on the eve of marriage with the accomplished Miss Cathrine Oldam, of Louisville, Ky., I was introduced to the family, and many of the first families of that city. The day for the marriage to take place was fixed, and I played now and then for the Captain and his lady love, to while away the time, which seemed to hang heavy on their hands, but the wedding day at length arrived, and a bright affair it was too; afterwards they went down to the George Washington and had a ball; here my music was just the thing. I here saw the Hon. Henry Clay for the first time, I knew nothing of politics but I was much pleased with the man himself. I went to a convention of the whig party, Mr. Clay was the hero of the day.
I kept a parlor open for the reception of visitors, many came here to practise with me, and many more to listen to us—several young men put themselves under my tuition, and although I had never been taught myself, they progressed finely in their studies and I soon brought out, not only the best field music, but also for dinners, balls, cotilion and tea parties, weddings, &c. I became acquainted with the Hon. Mr. Morton, Gov. of Louisiana; he seemed to be beloved by all as well as myself, and before all parade days my name was circulated as unequaled—I was always present at the Governor's review, receiving presents and compliments from that worthy gentleman, with many public testimonials of regard—true, all were not my friends, and many reports followed me from Natchez here, as they have since done elsewhere, and belied by enemies, but my recommendations were such, that I was admitted, and received and treated with the respect due to a respectable white man.
I visited Bay St. Louis again and was welcomed by the citzens. When I visited a city I was lucky enough to find those whom I could esteem as friends, by playing some of their favorite melodies—thus wherever I roamed with this unseen key, did I unlock the heart of the stranger, and find the priceless treasure of a friend. O, where and what should I have been, had not nature implanted within me this clue to that changeable organ, the human heart—with it I could disarm envy, avert the eye of suspicion, and although not able, even yet, to clip the
tongue of scandal, yet have I trudged side by side with it, and gained more friends than it could make me enemies—when I returned, those of my acquaintance were very glad to see me, it was near the hour for reviewing, and as I was riding through the city, I met a carriage full of friends, who being the first people of the United States, were at liberty to act as to them seemed best, without the fear of enemies; they alighted from their carriage, and crowned me with a wreath of flowers, thus testifying their regard for me, in honor of my uncultivated talents—this touched a tender chord in my bosom, and I mentally exclaimed, what am I! As I remembered the crown of thorns, it melted me even unto tears, and I feared that I had murmured withal; a strange foreboding crept into my heart, and I felt to resign myself into the Hands of God, with confidence to believe that he in his own time would deliver me from this dreadful uncertainty.
I first started on a teaching excursion, and went to fort James while the dispute was going on in Natchez about my indentures; my enemies said, let him go, I could not travel without something stating who and what I was, but I did not think so, for I had travelled even when a boy without any trouble, and I had no fear of trouble on that point. I proceeded from Fort Adams to Wardville, then returned to Natchez, from thence to Fayette, thence to port Gibson, where I became acquainted with a very excellent man by the name of John Flecher, also Mr. Greenleaf and Mr. Bob Shelby, I also had the pleasure of meeting my friend, Bob Shelby, at Jackson, Mississippi, some time afterwards, where I had gone to petition the legislature to grant me the privilege of living in the State without being brought under the laws enacted for the African race. I returned to Natchez, ever hoping that God would enable me to find some clue to identify me as belonging to some family or tribe.
While at Brandon, I made many enquiries about the Choctaws, found they lived still farther back. My horse having died the next day after I reached Brandon, I had to postpone journeying until my health was restored. I was ready to start two or three times, but something occurred to hinder me, and I began to consider that I had prolonged my stay longer than Mr. McCafferey expected. I determined to return and finish my trade, hoping something would occur in my favor. I had seen several parties of Indians, who I promised to visit at Natchez. Before I returned, I made a firm promise to God, that if he would spare my health, I would finish my trade as soon as possible. Many hours I occupied my mind in beating the time of some favorite
tune with my sledge hammer. I seemed to work faster, and then it soothed the care of my mind, serving to drive away angry and sorrowful thoughts. Soon after I returned, I was chosen to play for the Natchez Cadets, and they elected me File Major—gave me my uniform, and on the fourth of July, 1830 or '31, (if I mistake not,) my feelings were of mingled gratitude and pride, for as we marched through the street, I saw mortified countenances on every hand—I received many congratulations from friends, and the highest hopes of the future took possession of my mind. I became a great favorite, loved on one hand as strongly as I was hated—oppressed on the other. My boss soon noticed the manner I executed music with my hammer—it was commented upon by the workmen, comers and goers, and I could get a dime a tune, many times 50 cents, and keep at my work, throwing in now and then some imitations—many horse shoes I made in this manner, and from my presents I managed to keep an extra suit of fashionable clothes, preferring white linnen for summer as it suited the redness of my skin, and when the shop was not crowded, I had the privilege of stopping at five or six o'clock, and taking a pleasant stroll with my friends, who seemed to vie with each other to cause me by their kindness to forget the obscurity of my birth; but it seemed to haunt most of my waking hours, otherwise I should have been as happy as need be. I still continued exercising music adding the clarionet to my practice.
Late in the fall, some of the Indians I had seen at Brandon came to see me. Mr. McCafferey received them kindly—told me I was free for the day. I had the inexpressible pleasure of a walk with them through the principal streets, introducing them to friends, and as they were well behaved, we were invited to visit some of the Grandees, where they publicly acknowledged me. This was very gratifying, as enemies always looked black to see me walking or talking with respectable white people, but now they had no time to look this way, seeming not to see me. We returned to Mr. McCafferey's, had something to eat and retired. On rising, I was warmly greeted by shopmates, who told me my last march was the best one I ever made, but behind my back some white men who wished to see me held as a slave, sought out the Indians—said white man no like black man, he like Indian best, Eugh! All silent but the Indian and white man. Why you tell me this with a little hesitation. The white man answered, we see you Indians and slave boy walking together, eugh! Again the white man proceeded; may be you no know he slave. We tell you we like Indian heap, eugh! No
is excuse, we no know he slave—may be you no know it—may be white man lie heap. They knew they alluded to me, and angrily told them they wanted no believe, and soon left the city. Time moved on in this pleasant manner, without much interruption. I was steady at work—was well treated—nothing of importance occurring that I need relate untill the next fall, except that I began to save my money and do extra jobs. Such mending as I could do, my boss gave me pay, and making pot hooks, when one day my heart was gladdened as the sound of bobashelah (which is friend in Choctaw) fell on my ear. There was a large party camped on the bluff, and had sent these after. I was permitted to go after doing a job. I was very anxious to go, but still when my work was done, I had not only the satisfaction of going, with the consent of all hands, but had their congratulations on being the cause of the approaching festivity as they were making great preparations. They came for me at the house; I returned with them to the camp, from whence the whole company proceeded through the principal streets; I walked in front with the Chief, the oldest men followed next, the braves bringing up the rear. We walked quietly through the street, back to the camp, on the bluffs; there I spent three days before they would let me go; they then conducted me home; I waited at the door until men women and children bade me adieu. I thought they done this to gratify themselves and please me, but I found it had a great bearing in the mind of many, knowing that one Indian can tell another, and they told all who met them that this brother's son may be Big Chief's son. They told me to learn my trade, and then come and see my people, and learn them.—My extra jobs began to increase so as to employ each moment. I had learned to make gridirons, tributes, or iron stands, &c., and picked up all the scraps of Iron, saved all the old horse shoes about the shop, which I began welding together, working late and early, for business in my line was increasing I soon finished welding, and had iron enough to make a pair of shovel and tongs. My boss bought it for nails, giving me in return as much new iron, and enough over to make a pair of andirons. When I got them finished, I received $3 a piece for the three articles. My health was good—strength increasing every day. In this manner five years passed away, which released me from my trade. Mr. McCafferey gave me a good suit of clothes, and by my own industry, and through his indulgence, I had saved $300. My friends had often told me to get papers or indentures to show I had served my trade and was released honorably. My boss was very willing, but some opposed it, and looked back on the
last five years, and felt I had enjoyed a sweet calm—my sky had long been clear—a cloud seemed gathering in the distance, from which a fearful storm arose.
A friend offered me a house on reasonable terms, which I fitted up with little expense, for my friends made me many presents in the household line—the front room was fitted for a barber shop. I hired a barber to carry it on, whose custom was quite extensive. Here I kept young bachelor's hall, being determined that the lessons I had taken in my adversity, should now be of some use to me. I served as market boy and chamber maid.
I had marched a few times with the Natches Fencibles while at my trade, as soon as free I took the command of their music, and now appeared with the Natchez Guards. Soon after, Adam's Light Guards. This drew my acquaintance to my house—my prosperity seemed to gall my enemies sorely, so much so that I was often abused and insulted in the street by slaves and free, even at the head of companies. This was very painful to me, and served to mar the peace I had so long enjoyed, without much interruption. Some time had elapsed since I left Mr. McCafferey, and I had not got my papers yet—I was much opposed.—My enemies said that I could make money fast, and could afford to buy myself of the woman, and thus settle the dispute. This mortified me very much; indeed my feelings I do not attempt to describe. When I was waited upon for an answer to the degrading proposition, what! I with the consciousness of possessing a good heart, a fine mind; nature having lavished on me talents of the highest order, uncultivated as they were, they were beginning to be highly approved by many. Could I stoop to this? I was exceedingly careful in my manners, and now that the boy was somewhat polished in the man, why should they persecute me still? I firmly refused them, not that I valued the money so much, no; to have had them cease tormenting me I would not have begrudged twice the amount, but to have it said that I had to buy the flesh and blood that this lofty spirit—Oh! horrible thought! it stung my inmost soul, and almost maddened me into despair!
My friends done all they could for me; I staid near three months, saving while there $300, besides a present of a new suit of clothes. It seemed by an act of Congress all free people not white must pay license for living in the States. I was about returning to Natchez to make a visit among my friends; some wished me never to go there again, but my mind led me back. I went; my enemies again beset me. Determined that
I should take out license in less than 23 hours or leave the State in three days. To live in the State, my friends said they (my enemies) were so ashamed to see me there at the dinner, they were trying to pay me back. It is with a heart overflowing with gratitude, that I remember my truest friend, not yet named, and if any of them peruse my book, and their name is missing, do not think it has no place in the heart. I was blessed with the friendship and advice of honorable Judge Edward Turner, Gen. John A. Quitman, also Mr. Ferraday, who gave me much good advice; he wished me to go to England, and cultivate my talents, saying that there I could soon gain the good feelings of the people, earn a fortune and win a name that would gladden the heart of friends, and cause my enemies to blush. I was grieved in heart, and determined, license or no license, I would leave the State, for although it was the supposed land of my birth, some of its sons were my bitter enemies. I had had the command of the Military Music—several colored men had applied for a place in the band, and on being refused would vent their spite on me, with their fists and canes. I paid several bills to the physicians from these assaults, but at length told them I had the receipt in the pain and bruises, and they must get their money from those to whom these liberties were allowed, or from their masters, who when they had the bills to pay, would put a stop to their outrages. I left the city, determined, though I had good friends there, to seek others abroad. I proceeded to New Orleans. I did not spend my money here but soon made one dollar bring me two. I soon obtained the friendship of some influential persons there, who advised me to become a Machinist, and I was soon to set in for three years at finishing and fitting.
Now that I knew what I was going to do, I thought I would go back to Natchez and settle up all and take a kind leave of my friends. I visited Mrs. Munse again, and her kind son-in-law, Mr. Cyrus Marsh, who had always been very kind indeed to me. I well recollect being in his debt $13; he told me to take any thing I needed; it was late in the fall; I was not yet of age, and was fixing for winter; I was saving my money, and tried to get new jobs to pay for what I wanted. Mr. Marsh said he would find a way to pay for it, but it went on until I became uneasy, and I went to him and offered the money, but he refused it, and said he was only trying my integrity—that he intended to make me a present of the things; and now, said he, when you want any thing, come to me, I am your friend.
While visiting my acquaintances, some of the gentlemen proposed that a petition should be drawn up, and let all the ladies
who wished me to stay sign their names, and have it presented at the Orphan's Court. Mr. Turner, the Judge, being my friend, I was to live as themselves, having all the privileges of citizenship granted. They stated that I was not only worthy of citizenship, but of unexceptionable character; that it was greatly desired by the ladies that I should remain, and enjoy the liberty of a white citizen; also all the Military Companies were very anxious for my stay, as I was of great use to them; my enemies said if I could get so many signers among the ladies they would give it up and say no more about it. I was willing to make the trial and sure of success, gladly improved the opportunity of letting my enemies hear the high sounding titles of my friends. The aged Matron stepped forth to aid me—the Mother, the young and blooming Wife; yes, many beautiful Maidens, blushingly added their names to my list; all greeted me with wishes for success, and many tears were shed in supplication for me. My list was soon more than filled by dozens, but it was all in vain that these kind ladies sent forth names to the public, for as soon as it was found that the number was more than filled, they flew from their word, and said they would take every advantage the law allowed. Thus was I doomed to feel the ingratitude of man, because nature had made a red skin instead of a white one. My enemies thus persecuted me, but God turned it to my good. But did we know what hung over our heads, (referring to the awful tornado that laid that city low a few years since) I could but exclaim, Oh! my native city, I have seen you blessed with riches and prosperity, and in my adversity you turned on me your back, and I have lived to see you prostrated, laid low by the hand of him who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. Oh! that your sons had dealt in righteousness; that you might have escaped this outpouring of the weather, or at least have been better prepared to meet your doom. My language cannot describe the feelings of my heart, as I gazed from the hill down on the ruins. I was at the time the wind came, in the house of A. P. Merrill, in company with a relative of Mrs. Merrill, John Francis Turault by name. As dinner was nearly ready, we sauntered out on the back gallery. I had made Mr. Merrill's little sons some pop guns, which he brought out. The balls were hanging on the China trees, and Turault bantered me to shoot at them with him. This was about half an hour before the storm. I noticed a peculiarity in the lightning that I had never observed before, and as I listened to the steady rolling of the deep toned thunder, a strange awe crept over me. I said to John Francis, listen, the merry thunder can speak, and it is now admonishing
us that we are spending our time foolishly when we should be thinking about God. Poh! nonsense, said he, we are only trying to raise enough to drown its bellowing; It had begun in the South, but was fast spreading to the North. As it neared the West it commenced blowing hard, growing very dark. Mr. Merrill now came home—haste had nearly exhausted his strength—he stopped a moment on the gallery—the wind seemed to take away his breath; I raised him up, caught him and rushed into the house. The table was set, and candles were lighted, because of the darkness. The ladies had fled up stairs, and now the wind came from the North, the low, angry voice of the thunder, sending dread into our very hearts—the house trembled so violently that I chose the open air, placing myself under the large Cedar tree, clasping it with my arms to keep my position. The heavens grew darker still, and day light seemed shut out. I heard as it were a loud explosion over head—again louder, and the third one seemed not only to deafen us, but laid prostrate much of the city. The tall Cedar seemed kissing the earth in humble resignation to the will of its Maker. In a few moments the dreadful rage seemed somewhat abated, and I with difficulty reached the house, the door of which they had been unable to shut. All was upside down; indeed the lights were extinguished, the dinner table was upset, leaving the dinner on the floor, and throwing the doors wide open, (even the folding doors in the parlor, in spite of the lock) the furniture was all out of place, and a great part of it lay in heaps in and about the stairway, even the dining table was there, the table cloth hanging in one of the hinges. The ladies could not get down, the windows were gone, and the beautiful curtains, which had cost $100, were also gone, although they were hung with golden rings, yet the tempest had torn them away; the furniture was cleared from the stairway; the ladies in sorrow and weeping descended to the scene of desolation, which but a few hours ago was filled with tranquil pleasure, yet we were filled with thankfulness that our lives were spared through this awful hour.
I remained in Natchez until the time appointed for commencing in a Foundry in New Orleans. I bade all adieu. I returned, and was soon engaged in finishing and fitting, or as a Machinist. I furnished my own sleeping room, and boarded with my employer. On first visiting New Orleans, I played for the old Louisiana Guards, on an excursion on the 8th of January, 1837, in which they had a sham battle, the first thing of the kind I had ever seen. I rendered them great satisfaction, and now on my return found friends to greet me. I was steady at my post, and found time to do some extra jobs of forging, for which I received
pay. It was the custom of the city to parade on the first day of the month. My music was always solicited, and I loved to favor them with the same, for in many an hour of trouble, when suspense seemed gnawing at the very strings of my heart, did I pour into my instrument the deep emotions stirred within me, from a heart warm and sensitive to a high degree, nearly bursting at times with contending passions, at other times overflowing with gratitude for some friendly act. Then arose the soul thrilling tones and variations for which my performance on the flute has since been so highly praised by all lovers of music.
I soon attached myself to Charles F. Hosea's Company of Washington Guards. I discharged my duties honorably, and gained the esteem of many warm hearted persons. The second summer I resided in New Orleans it was very warm and sickly, and consequently times were dull. I visited Bay St. Louis, across Lake Pontchartrain, also Mobile, Alabama, making in all a very pleasant summer. I was elected Fife Major for the Washington Battalion, Charles F. Hosea was Major. In this manner the three years passed away; afterwards I returned to Natchez, in order to visit my friends, many of whom I had neither seen or heard from, during the last three years I spent some weeks there, and on preparing to return to New Orleans, was informed that the Natchez Guards were going to Orleans to celebrate, and wished me to go and escort them to New Orleans. They gave this demonstration of their regard for me. I had left a man to fill my place in the Battalion, who had been under my tuition, although I had never been taught, (but am self-taught in every respect.) I proceeded with them to New Orleans, attended the celebration, and returned with them to Natchez, where I remained a few weeks before returning to New Orleans. I had sometime before cultivated an acquaintance with Mr. James F. Dakin, of Louisiana, a young officer of high respectability, and rising higher and higher in office, had carried with him respect and admiration, and through his instrumentality I was elected Fife Major. I received a large compensation for my musical services, also applause. I again stopped laboring. I situated myself very comfortably, kept bachelor's hall, and studied into my duties in order to acquit myself honorably.This thrilling and deeply interesting sketch will be continued in forthcoming numbers, and presented to the public in a neat and interesting form, from Cameron's Steam Power Presses.