Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Moving West - Food Needed for a Wagon Trip Across Country


Randolph B. Marcy. A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions. Harper and Brothers, New York 1859

"Supplies for a march should be put up in the most secure, compact, and portable shape. Bacon should be packed in strong sacks of a hundred pounds to each; or, in very hot climates, put in boxes and surrounded with bran, which in a great measure prevents the fat from melting away. If pork be used, in order to avoid transporting about forty per cent. Of useless weight, it should be taken out of the barrels and packed like bacon; then so placed in the bottom of the wagons as to keep it cool. The pork, if well cured, will keep several months in this way, but bacon is preferable.



"Flour should be packed in stout double canvas sacks well sewed, a hundred pounds in each sack. Butter may be preservd by boiling it thoroughly, and skimming off the scum as it rises to the top until it is quite clear like oil. It is then placed in tin canisters and soldered up. This mode of preserving butter has been adopted in the hot climate of southern Texas, and it is found to keep sweet for a great length of time, and its flavor is but little impaired by the process. Sugar may be well secured in India-rubber or gutta-percha sacks, or so placed in the wagon as not to risk getting wet.

"Dessicated or dried vegetables are almost equal to the fresh, and ar put up in such a compact an portable form as easily to be transported over the plains. They have been extensively used in the Crimean war, and by our own army in Utah, and have been very generally approved. They are prepared by cutting the fresh vegetables into thin slices and subjecting them to a very powerful press, which removes the juice and leaves a solid cake, which, after having been thoroughly dried in an oven, becomes almost hard as a rock. A small piece of this, about half the size of a man's hand, when boiled, swells up so as to fill a vegetable dish, and is sufficient for four men. It is believed that the antiscorbutic properties of vegetables are not impaired by dessication, and they will keep for years if not exposed to dampness. Canned vegetables are very good for campaigning, but are not so portable as when put up in the other form. The dessicated vegetables used in our army have been prepared by Chollet and Co., 46 Rue Richer, Paris.



"There is an agency for them in New York. I regard these compressed vegetables as the best preparation for prairie traveling that has yet been discovered. A single ration weights, before boiling, only an ounce, and a cubic yard contains 16,000 rations. In making up their outfit for the plains, men are very prone to overload their teams with a great variety of useless articles. It is a good rule to carry nothing more than is absolutely necessary for use upon the journey. One can not expect, with the limited allowance of transportation that emigrants usually have, to indulge in luxuries upon such expeditions, and articles for use in California can be purchased there at less cost than that of overland transport.

"The allowance of provisions for men in marching should be much greater than when they take no exercise. The army ration I have always found insufficient for soldiers who perform hard service, yet it is ample for them when in quarters. The following table shows the amount of subsistence consumed per day by each man of Dr. Rae's party, in his spring journey to the Arctic regions of North America in 1854:
"Pemmican.....1.25 lbs
Biscuit.....0.25 lbs
Edward's preserved potatoes....0.10 lbs
Flour.....0.33 lbs
Tea.....0.03 lb
Sugar.....0.14 lb
Grease or alcohol, for cooking.....0.25 lb

"This allowance of a little over two pounds of the most nutritious food was found barely sufficient to subsist the men in that cold climate. The pemmican, which constitutes almost the entire diet of the Fur Company's men in the Northwest, is prepared as follows: The buffalo meat is cut into thin flakes, and hung up to dry in the sun or before a slow fire; it is then pounded between two stone and reduced to a powder; this powder is placed in a bag of the animal's hide, with the hair on the outside; melted grease is then poured into it, and the bag sewn up. It can be eaten raw, and many prefer it so. Mixed with a little four and boiled, it is a very wholesome and exceedingly nutritious food, and will keep fresh for a long time.



"I would advise all persons who travel for any considerable time through a country where they can procure no vegetables to carry with them some antiscorbutics, and if they can not transport dessicated or canned vegetables, citric acid answers a good purpose, and is very portable. When mixed with sugar and water, with a few drops of the essence of lemon, it is difficult to distinguish it from lemonade. Wild onions are excellent as antiscorbutics; also wild grapes and greens. An infusion of hemlock leaves is also said to be an antidote to scurvy.

"The most portable and simple preparation of subsistence that I know of, and which is used extensively by the Mexicans and Indians, is called "cold flour." It is made by parching corn, and pounding it in a mortar to the consistency of coarse meal; a little sugar and cinnamon added makes it quite palatable. When the traveler becomes hungry or thirsty, a little of the flour is mixed with water and drunk. It is an excellent article for a traveler who desires to go the greatest length of time upon the smallest amoung ot transportation. It is said that half a bushel is sufficient to subsists a man thirty days



"Persons undergoing severe labor, and driven to great extremities for food, will derive sustenance from various sources that would never occur to them under ordinary circumstances. In passing over the Rocky Mountains during the winter of 1857-8, our supplies of provisions were enterely consumed in eighteen days before reaching the first settlements in New Mexico, and we were obliged to resort to a variety of expedients to supply the deficiency. Our poor mules were fast failing and dropping down from exhaustion in the deep snows, and our only dependence for the means of sustaining life was upon these starved animals as they became unserviceable and could go no farther. We had no salt, sugar, coffee, or tobacco, which, at a time when men are performing the severest labor that the human system is capable of enduring, was a great privation...

"A decoction of the dried wild or horsemint, which we found abundant under the snow, was quite palatable, and answered instead of coffee. It dries up in that climate, but does not lose its flavor. We suggered greatly for the want of salt; but, by burining the outside of our mule steaks, and sprinkling a little gunpowder on them, it did not require a very extensive stretch of the imagination to fancy the presence of both salt and pepper. We tried the meat of horse, colt, and mules, all of which were in a starved condition, and of course not very tender, juicy, or nutritious. We consumed the enoumous amount of five to six pounds of this meat per man daily, but continued to grow weak and thin, until, at the expiration of twelve days, we were able to perform but little labor, and were continually craving for fat meat.



"The allowance of provisions for each grown person, to make the journey from the Missouri River to California, should suffice for 110 days. The following is deemed requisite, viz.: 150 lbs of flour or its equivalent in hard bread; 25 lbs. Of bacon or pork, and enough fresh beef to be driven on the hoof to make up the meat component of the ration; 15 lbs. of coffee, and 25 lbs. of sugar; also a quantity or saleratus or yeast powders for making bread, and salt and pepper.

"These are the chief articles of subsistence necessary for the trip, and they should be used with economy, reserving a good portion for the western half of the journey. Heretofore many of the California emigrants have improvidently exhausted their stocks of provisions before reaching their journey's and, and have, in many cases, been obliged to pay the most exorbinant prices in makign up the deficiency. It is true that if persons choose to pass through Salt Lake City, and the Mormons happen to be in an amicable mood, supplies may sometimes be procured from them; but those who have visited them well know how little reliance is to be placed upon their hospitality or spirit of accomodation.

"I once traveled with a party of New Yorkers en route for California. They were perfectly ignorant of every thing relating to this kind of campaigning, and have overloaded their wagons with almost every thing except the very articles most important and necessary; the consequence was, that they exhausted their teams, and were obliged to throw aways the greater part of their loading. They soon learned that Champagne, East India sweetmeats, olives, etc, were not the most useful articles for a prairie tour."
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Moving West - Living Costs - 1824-7 in Missouri


Gottfried Duden, Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America: Written during a stay of several years along the Missouri, 1824-1827.


MISSOURI. March 1827. Financial requirements for frontier families.

"A quarter of a mile from me there lives a farmer by the name of Jacob Haun. Seven years ago he began to establish a homestead. Because he possessed scarcely a hundred Thaler (about $1), he at first lived on state property and there tried to earn enough for the purchase of 160 Morgen. Then he continued to farm on his own property after the usual fashion and prospered, so that in seven years, without any assistance, he acquired a fortune of three thousand Thaler.

"Meanwhile his wife bore him five children, and now his household annually consumes over twelve hundred pounds of pork, an oxen weighing five to six hundred pounds, and several dozen roosters and hens. Also, at least ten to twelve deer are killed and a large number of turkeys. (No powder is used for partridges; it is left to the children to catch them in traps.) Who would believe that so much meat could be consumed in one household of two adults and five children, of whom the oldest is scarcely six years? Some, of course, is contributed to hospitality. But most of it is due to the extravagant use of an article of food that is almost cheaper here than the most common vegetables in Germany."


Monday, September 26, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.



Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) The River Road 1855


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Moving West - Setting Up House - 1824-27 in Missouri


Gottfried Duden, Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America: Written during a stay of several years along the Missouri, 1824-1827.

George Martin Ottinger (American artist, 1833-1917) Away Away to the Mountain Dell - The Valley of the Free Immigrant Train 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MISSOURI. September 1825. Wagon trip to the frontier; establishment of new home in wilderness; food & supplies for the frontier family.

"A large freight wagon (or several, according to the needs of the family) is loaded with the household goods in such a manner that a covered space remains free for passengers. In addition to the household goods, tents and provisions are included: smoked pork, beans, peas, rice, flour, cheese, and fruit; also for the first week, bread, and maize for the energetic horses. Thus the journey is begun.

"Sometimes the owner rides with his wife and children in a special wagon, sometimes in a coach, or he rides on horseback. If he has male slaves, one of these will be the driver. Otherwise he or some other member of the family does it.

"On the entire trip of perhaps more than 1,200 English miles, there is no thought of stopping at an inn. During the feeding of the horses at noon the kitchen also goes into operation. A stopping place is chosen near a spring or a brook, either in the shade or in the open according to the weather. A fire is quickly lighted and housekeeping proceeds as if they were at home. In the evening, more thought is given to the selection of the next campsite.

"If something is needed; such as cooking utensils or provisions, they stop near a farm and tents are set up, especially if the weather is bad. Some members of the party tend to the domestic animals (if the journey is not too long even the cattle are taken along), and others are busy with the kitchen. Finally, the lodging for the night is prepared.

"Everywhere the wagon train stops for the night, the natives are polite and ready to supply what is desired. Household goods are loaned, provisions are sold at low prices, horses are granted places to graze if it is preferred to let them graze in the open. The latter rarely presents any difficulties. Usually it is necessary only to hang a bell around the neck of the leader of the herd and to make his walking more difficult by fastening hobbles to his legs. They are tired and hungry and will not easily leave a good grazing place. Also, a trained dog would easily find their trail. However, there are cases when they take advantage of a moment of freedom to run back home. No distance and no stream will then hold them back, and they know how to find the way back to their old homes even through great forests. In my neighborhood there are two oxen that recently returned from a distance of one hundred English miles, having swum across the Missouri. A horse came back alone from Franklin (a distance of about one hundred twenty English miles)....

"As soon as a traveling family has arrived at the site of its new home, it stops at the exact spot where the buildings are to stand. Then an enclosure is erected as a temporary protection for household goods and tents, which are now set up for a longer period of time. Fencing is needed to keep out the cows of neighboring settlements. The young calves are also kept in this enclosure to restrict the movement of the freely grazing cows, which return regularly and, without the slightest attention or care, constantly provide the family with milk and cream. The site for the house is chosen near a good spring or brook. A small building is immediately erected over the spring to protect it from pollution and also to provide a cool place for storing milk, butter, and meat.

"The next concern is the building of a dwelling in the manner previously described. The wood for it is not hewn and, in the beginning, only a barnlike structure is planned to provide temporary shelter. A second one is built for the Negroes; then a third to be used as a barn, anti a smaller building to serve as a smokehouse. The tree trunks are felled in the neighborhood and dragged up by horses or oxen. The building itself is erected with the help of neighbors if the family cannot manage it alone. Not more than four or five persons are required to erect such a building. Boards are sawed for doors and floors, or trees are split into planks, for which purpose the ash and hackberry trees (Celtis crassifolia, or lotus tree) are especially suitable. The hearth, together with the chimney, is built very simply of wood, lined below with a stone wall and covered at the top with clay. If the chimney is six inches higher than the top of the roof smoke will not be a bother. The danger of fire depends on the construction of the stone wall and the clay covering.

"Anyone who looks upon such a dwelling with too much contempt is not familiar with the local climate. I have been in some where cleanliness and good furniture made for a very attractive appearance. Many families desire nothing else, since in other matters they live a life of plenty. The only thing that I have to criticize about the houses is that they usually have no cellar (the hut around the spring takes its place). In the summer a moldy odor rises out of the humus under the rough floor. This rarely offends one's nose but obviously endangers one's health. A floor laid by a carpenter affords perfect protection. Whoever does not want to spend that much on it can take care of the matter himself by removing the humus from the building site, or by burning cut wood from the clearing on the home site.

"When the building is completed, which requires scarcely two to three weeks, the family already feels at home and the next step is to make the land arable. They usually begin by fencing in the chosen area in order to use it temporarily as an enclosed pasture for the horses and oxen which they want to keep close for convenience...

"Very rarely is the cold said to interrupt outside work for more than two days. Even in January the weather is not always unfavorable for removing the roots of brush. Where horses, cattle, and hogs, not excluding the tenderest calves, can survive the winter without shelter, the climate cannot be too harsh.

"It is remarkable how quickly all these domestic animals become accustomed to their homestead. Milk cows are kept near their fenced-in calves. Therefore, when a cow is sold its calf is part of the bargain. Calves are never slaughtered, partly because they grow up without any care or expense. During the first months cows return to their young at temporarily and this seems too inconvenient to a new settler...

"At the beginning an acreage of four to five Morgen is sufficient for a small family. A half Morgen may be used for garden vegetables; a second halfMorgen for wheat, although it is usually too late to sow it during the first fall. This leaves three or four Morgen for maize.

"In the western regions of America maize is a main product of agriculture. One could call it the wet nurse of the growing population. It serves all domestic animals as food, as it is used for fattening. The flour from it is simply called meal. On the other hand, the ground product of wheat is called flower [sic]. When boiled with milk, it makes a very nutritious healthful, and palatable food. If it is kneaded with the boiled pulp of the pumpkin, ( Concurbita pepo) however, a bread can be baked that I prefer to wheat bread, especially if the dough is fermented by subjecting it to heat for approximately twelve hours. A dough of cornmeal mixed with water or milk and then baked produces a bread that is too dry, but with fatty foods it is quite palatable. The bread is baked in covered iron pots which are placed on a bed of glowing wood coals on the hearth and also covered with them.

"In most households fresh bread is prepared every day, and in general, the cooking and baking are not very inconvenient because of the constant supply of glowing coals on the spacious hearth. Bread is also made of wheat flour. As well as I remember, the cornmeal is called groats in the Rhine region. There are many varieties of maize here. The most common varieties have white and yellow grains. There are also red, blue, and red-and-blue-speckled ones, and some that are transparent like beautiful pearls. These variations are preserved by propagation. The meal from all of them is the same. The stalks grow very tall, ten to fifteen and even twenty feet.

"The garden provides the best European garden produce. Peas and beans flourish beyond all expectation. Only the finer varieties of beans are found. In order to require neither poles nor a special bed they are usually planted in the maize fields where the tall cornstalks serve as support for the vines. Pumpkins, lettuce, and several other things are planted there also.

"In this fertile soil, without the least fertilization, all these plants grow at the same time just as luxuriously after twenty years as in the first ones. I assure you that there is no exaggeration in this statement and that I have convinced myself many times of its truth. One of my neighbors, by the name of William Hencock [Hancock] , owns a farm on the banks of the Missouri that was started twenty years ago. Every year without interruption these areas have produced the richest harvests which no fertilizer can increase. In fact, the only change is that wheat can now be grown on fields that have been under cultivation for so long, whereas formerly it always fell over.

"However, some garden produce requires natural fertilizer. The farmer provides this in a very simple manner. He quarters his sheep overnight in the area intended for beds. Every year there is an abundance of cucumbers and melons (watermelons, and others), of course without any care. A good vegetable for the garden is the Bataten (called sweet potato here; the common potatoes are called Irish potatoes). They require a long summer and probably would not develop well in Germany. Prepared in steam they taste like the best chestnuts. I like them very much with coffee in the morning, although so early I can rarely eat the fried meat that is usually served in addition. Like the cucumber, the plant has vines that spread over the ground.

"In the second year cotton is raised also; however, north of the Missouri only for family use. On the whole, the American farmer tries to spend no money for food or drink or clothes (with the exception of real finery). Therefore, flax and hemp are cultivated, and a small herd of sheep is kept. The products are all made at home. The spinning wheel is found everywhere, and if there is no loom, the housewife or one of the daughters goes from time to time to a neighbor who owns one. Just as most men are skilled at making shoes, few women find it difficult to make not only their own clothes but also those of the men. The demands of changing fashions are not ignored.

"After housekeeping has been organized and the first purchases have been paid for, the whole family lives a carefree and happy life without any cash. And this is the real reason small sums are less important here than in Europe. [In Europe] when the husband brings home a little ready money, the wife immediately needs something, and usually there is no peace and quiet in the home until it has all been spent in the nearest store, usually for tawdry finery...

"If the farmer owns two slaves, he may devote his time merely to supervision without doing any of the work himself and, in this case, the housewife will have little reason to complain about keeping house. Food is abundant. Also beer can easily be brewed since enough hops grow in the forests. The apple and peach orchards found on every farm furnish cider and brandies. Although a very good whiskey can be made from corn, the apple and peach brandies are preferred. I have tasted old corn whiskey that cost thirty cents a gallon (about two Cologne quarts) and it was as good as the best French brandy. Even without slaves, the farmer lives in a manner that surpasses by far that of a European farmer of the same financial status.

"For most of the harder work of housekeeping there are ways of making the labor easier. If, for instance, laundry is to be done, a fire is lighted next to a nearby brook and a kettle is hung over it. The bleaching ground cannot be far away either, and it is a matter of course that during the summer a shady place is chosen. If butchering is to be done, there are similar advantages. Usually, animals to be slaughtered, oxen as well as hogs, are shot. The animals are lured to a suitable place with a little feed and very rarely does a shot fail to serve its purpose. In this way a single person can do the entire job, although it is the custom that neighbors help each other in this work.

"Finally, I must correct the erroneous opinion that the difficulty of social intercourse is the dark side of the vaunted lot of the American settler. One should dismiss from his mind the idea that the accomplishment of his purpose demands a great degree of isolation from neighbors and consider, at the same time, that a distance of from two to three English miles here is negligible, even for the female sex. No family is so poor that it does not own at least two horses. Everyone strives to make these animals, which are kept at so little expense, his first purchase. Next in line are good saddles, and it is not unusual to spend twenty-four to thirty dollars for a woman's saddle (which would suffice for three saddles on the Atlantic coast, for example, in Baltimore ). Women and girls, old and young, ride (sidesaddle in the English manner) at a rapid or a slow pace without any difficulty, and they last in the saddle as long as the men. Not a week passes in which the housewife does not visit her neighbors on horseback either alone or with a companion.

"On Sundays, only the weather can be a hindrance. Often the whole family leaves the house without the slightest worry about thieves. Some houses are not even provided with locks, although the kitchen utensils alone are worth more than twenty dollars. Horse racing, cock fights, and target shooting are here, as in North America in general, the most frequent occasions for the gathering of men."


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.


Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Habitants on a Trip to Town


Friday, September 23, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West. Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Return from the Hunt

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West.


Cornelius Krieghoff (Canadian genre painter, 1815-1872),  Fiddler and Boy Doing Jig

Saturday, September 17, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West. Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Habitant Family with Horse and Sleigh

Thursday, September 15, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872



Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Early Canadian Homestead 1859

Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.


Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Lt Alfred Torrens and His Wife in Front of the Citadel


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cherokee Leader Nancy Ward 1738-1822 of Tennessee

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From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.


By the 1760s, Native American Cherokees were well known in Britain. Here Three Cherokees visit London in 1762

Nancy Ward (c 1738-1822), Cherokee leader, was probably born at Chota, a Cherokee village on the Little Tennessee River near Fort Loudoun in Monroe County, Tennessee. Her father is said to have been a Delaware Indian who, following the custom in the matriarchal Cherokee society, had become a member of the Wolf clan, when he married Tame Doe, the sister of Atta-kulla-kulla (Little Carpenter), civil chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Nancy (an anglicized version of her Indian name, Nanye’hi), was married at an early age to Kingfisher of the Deer clan, by whom she had a son, Fivekiller, & a daughter, Catharine.

She first won notice in 1755, when her husband was killed during the battle of Taliwa (near present-day Canton, Ga.), a skirmish in the long rivalry between the Cherokees & the Creeks. At once taking his place in the battle line, she helped secure a decisive Cherokee victory. In recognition of her valor, she was chosen Agi-ga-u-e, or “Beloved Woman” of her tribe. In this capacity, she headed the influential Women’s Council, made up of a representative from each Cherokee clan, & sat as a member of the Council of Chiefs.

Her 2nd husband was Bryant (or Brian) Ward. Ward, an English trader who had fought in the French and Indian War, took up residence with the Cherokees & married Nancy in the late 1750s. Ward had a wife, but since Cherokees did not consider marriage a life-long institution, the arrangement apparently presented few problems. Ward & her English husband lived in Chota for a time & became the parents of a daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy).

Ward left the Cherokee Nation sometime prior to 1760, when the suddenly hostile Cherokees destroyed Fort Loudoun & massacred its British garrison. Ward moved back to South Carolina, where he lived the remainder of his life with his white wife & family. Nancy Ward and Betsy visited his home on many occasions, where they were welcomed and treated with respect.

Influenced perhaps by these associations, as well as by her uncle, Atta-kulla-kulla, usually a friend of the English, Nancy Ward seems to have maintained a steady friendship for the white settlers who were gradually establishing themselves along the Holston & Watauga river valleys of eastern Tennessee.

This friendship had important results during the American Revolution. In 1775 or 1776, Nancy Ward is credited with having sent a secret warning to John Sevier, a leader of the Tennessee settlers, of a planned pro-British Cherokee attack. When one settler, Mrs. William Bean, was captured by Cherokee warriors, Nancy Ward personally intervened to save her from death at the stake. Such was Nancy Ward’s repute among the settlers that in October 1776, when the Cherokee villages were devastated by colonial troops, Chota was spared.

Four years later, when another Cherokee uprising was imminent, she again sent a timely warning to the settlers, using an intermediary Isaac Thomas, a local trader. A countering raid was at once organized; as the expedition approached the Cherokee territory-according to the report later sent to Thomas Jefferson, governor of Virginia, noted, “the famous Indian Woman Nancy Ward came to Camp,…gave us various intelligence, & made an overture in behalf of some of the Cheifs [sic] for Peace”

Despite her efforts the Cherokee villages were pillaged, but again Nancy Ward & her family were given preferential treatment. At the subsequent peace negotiations conducted by John Sevier, Nancy Ward spoke for the new defeated Cherokees, again urging friendship rather than war. In 1785, at the talks preceding the Treaty of Hopewell, she again pleaded eloquently for a “chain of friendship” linking the 2 cultures.

Nancy Ward was described by one settler in 1772, as “queenly & commanding” & her residence as outfitted in “barbaric splendor” (Hale & Merritt, I, 59). While sheltering Mrs. Bean after her rescue in 1776, she had learned from her how to make butter & cheese, & soon afterward she introduced dairying among the Cherokees, herself buying the first cattle. In postwar years, she sought further to strengthen the economy of her people by cattle raising & more intensive farming.

Ward exerted considerable influence over the affairs of both the Cherokees & the white settlers & participated actively in treaty negotiations. In July 1781, she spoke powerfully at the negotiations held on the Long Island of the Holston River following settler attacks on Cherokee towns. Leader Oconastota designated Kaiyah-tahee (Old Tassel) to represent the Council of Chiefs in the meeting with John Sevier & the other treaty commissioners. After Old Tassel finished his persuasive talk, Ward called for a lasting peace on behalf of both white and Indian women. This unparalleled act of permitting a woman to speak in the negotiating council took the commissioners aback.

In their response, Colonel William Christian acknowledged the emotional effect her plea had on the men & praised her humanity, promising to respect the peace if the Cherokees likewise remained peaceful. Ward's speech may have influenced the negotiators in a more fundamental way, because the resulting treaty was one of the few where settlers made no demand for Cherokee land. Before the meeting, the commissioners had intended to seek all land north of the Little Tennessee River. Nevertheless, the earlier destruction of Cherokee towns & the tribe's winter food supply left many Indians facing hunger. As a result of the desperate circumstances, Ward & the very old Oconastota spent that winter in the home of Joseph Martin, Indian Agent to the Cherokees & husband of Ward's daughter Betsy.

Again, at the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785, Ward made a dramatic plea for continued peace. At the close of the ceremonies, she invited the commissioners to smoke her pipe of peace & friendship. Wistfully hoping to bear more children to people the Cherokee nation, Ward looked to the protection of Congress to prevent future disturbances and expressed the hope that the "chain of friendship will never more be broken." Although the commissioners promised that all settlers would leave Cherokee lands within six months and even gave the Indians the right to punish recalcitrant homesteaders, whites ignored the treaty, forcing the Cherokees to make addional land cessions.

Though too ill to be present, she sent a vigorous message to the Cherokee Council of May 1817, urging the tribe not to part with any more of its land. But other forces were stronger than her aged voice. At this time, the Cherokee moved from a matriarchal, clan-type of government to a republic much like our own. The new republican order supplanted the old hierarchy among the Cherokees, & by the Hiwassee Purchase on 1819, they gave up all the land north of the Hiwassee River.

Thus forced to leave Chota, Nancy Ward opened a small inn overlooking the Ocoee River in the southeastern corner of Tennessee, near the present town of Benton. She died there in 1822, & was buried on a nearby hill, in a grave later marked by a Tennessee D.A.R. chapter bearing her name. Her grave is beside the graves of her son Five Killer and her brother Long Fellow (The Raven). Thirteen years after her death the Cherokees surrendered all claim to their historic homeland & were transported to new territories in the Southwest.


Nancy Ward's Grave, once unmarked, near Benton, Tennessee

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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Friday, September 9, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


Cornelius Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, and studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec and moved to the Montreal area, where he created genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, and the hardships and daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff lived in Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Ice Bridge at Longue Point 1847


Thursday, September 8, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872


Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) The Habitat Farm 1856

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921


Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Native Americans & Mary Jemison, Captive, 1743-1833


From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.

Mary Jemison (Deh-he-wä-mis) (1743–1833) was probably about 15 years old, when she was captured & adopted by Seneca Indians during the French and Indian War.  Jemison was 80 years old, when she told her story to James Seaver who wrote the narrative of the young British American woman who chose to remain within the Indian culture which had adopted her.


Mary Jemison statue in Letchworth State Park.

"The night was spent in gloomy forebodings. What the result of our captivity would be, it was out of our power to determine, or even imagine. At times, we could almost realize the approach of our masters to butcher and scalp us; again, we could nearly see the pile of wood kindled on which we were to be roasted; and then we would imagine ourselves at liberty, alone and defenseless in the forest, surrounded by wild beasts that were ready to devour us. The anxiety of our minds drove sleep from our eyelids; and it was with a dreadful hope and painful impatience that we waited for the morning to determine our fate.

"The morning at length arrived, and our masters came early and let us out of the house, and gave the young man and boy to the French, who immediately took them away. Their fate I never learned, as I have not seen nor heard of them since.

"I was now left alone in the fort, deprived of my former companions, and of every thing that was near or dear to me but life. But it was not long before I was in some measure relieved by the appearance of two pleasant looking squaws, of the Seneca tribe, who came and examined me attentively for a short time, and then went out. After a few minutes' absence, they returned in company with my former masters, who gave me to the squaws to dispose of as they pleased.

"The Indians by whom I was taken were a party of Shawnees, if I remember right, that lived, when at home, a long distance down the Ohio.

"My former Indian masters and the two squaws were soon ready to leave the fort, and accordingly embarked -- the Indians in a large canoe, and the two squaws and myself in a small one-and went down the Ohio. When we set off, an Indian in the forward canoe took the scalps of my former friends, strung them on a pole that he placed upon his shoulder, and in that manner carried them, standing in the stern of the canoe directly before us, as we sailed down the river, to the town where the two squaws resided.

"On the way we passed a Shawnee town, where I saw a number of heads, arms, legs, and other fragments of the bodies of some white people who had just been burned. The parts that remained were hanging on a pole, which was supported at each end by a crotch stuck in the ground, and were roasted or burnt black as a coal. The fire was yet burning; and the whole appearance afforded a spectacle so shocking that even to this day the blood almost curdles in my veins when I think of them.

"At night we arrived at a small Seneca Indian town, at the mouth of a small river that was called by the Indians, in the Seneca language, She-nan-jee, about eighty miles by water from the fort, where the two squaws to whom I belonged resided. There we landed, and the Indians went on; which was the last I ever saw of them.

"Having made fast to the shore, the squaws left me in the canoe while they went to their wigwam or house in the town, and returned with a suit of Indian clothing, all new, and very clean and nice. My clothes, though whole and good when I was taken, were now torn in pieces, so that I was almost naked. They first undressed me, and threw my rags into the river; then washed me clean and dressed me in the new suit they had just brought, in complete Indian style; and then led me home and seated me in the center of their wigwam.

"I had been in that situation but a few minutes before all the squaws in the town came in to see me. I was soon surrounded by them, and they immediately set up a most dismal howling, crying bitterly, and wringing their hands in all the agonies of grief for a deceased relative.

"Their tears flowed freely, and they exhibited all the signs of real mourning. At the commencement of this scene, one of their number began, in a voice somewhat between speaking and singing, to recite some words to the following purport, and continued the recitation till the ceremony was ended; the company at the same time varying the appearance of their countenances, gestures, and tone of voice, so as to correspond with the sentiments expressed by their leader.

"Oh, our brother! alas! he is dead-he has gone; he will never return! Friendless he died on the field of the slain, where his bones are yet lying unburied! Oh! who will not mourn his sad fate? No tears dropped around him: oh, no! No tears of his sisters were there! He fell in his prime, when his arm was most needed to keep us from danger! Alas! he has gone, and left us in sorrow, his loss to bewail! Oh, where is his spirit? His spirit went naked, and hungry it wanders, and thirsty and wounded, it groans to return! Oh, helpless and wretched, our brother has gone! No blanket nor food to nourish and warm him; nor candles to light him, nor weapons of war! Oh, none of those comforts had he! But well we remember his deeds! The deer he could take on the chase! The panther shrunk back at the sight of his strength! His enemies fell at his feet! He was brave and courageous in war! As the fawn, he was harmless; his friendship was ardent; his temper was gentle; his pity was great! Oh! our friend, our companion, is dead! Our brother, our brother! alas, he is gone! But why do we grieve for his loss? In the strength of a warrior, undaunted he left us, to fight by the side of the chiefs! His warwhoop was shrill! His rifle well aimed laid his enemies low: his tomahawk drank of their blood: and his knife flayed their scalps while yet covered with gore! And why do we mourn? Though he fell on the field of the slain, with glory he fell; and his spirit went up to the land of his fathers in war! They why do we mourn? With transports of joy, they received him, and fed him, and clothed him, and welcomed him there! Oh, friends, he is happy; then dry up your tears! His spirit has seen our distress, and sent us a helper whom with pleasure we greet. Deh-hew5-mis has come: then let us receive her with joy!-she is handsome and pleasant! Oh! she is our sister, and gladly we welcome her here. In the place of our brother she stands in our tribe. With care we will guard her from trouble; and may she be happy till her spirit shall leave us."

"In the course of that ceremony, from mourning they became serene,-joy sparkled in their countenances, and they seemed to rejoice over me as over a long-lost child. I was made welcome among them as a sister to the two squaws before mentioned, and was called Deh-hew5-mis; which, being interpreted, signifies a pretty girl, a handsome girl, or a pleasant, good thing. That is the name by which I have ever since been called by the Indians.

"I afterward learned that the ceremony I at that time passed through was that of adoption. The two squaws had lost a brother in Washington's war, sometime in the year before, and in consequence of his death went up to Fort Du Quesne on the day on which I arrived there, in order to receive a prisoner, or an enemy's scalp, to supply their loss. It is a custom of the Indians, when one of their number is slain or taken prisoner in battle, to give to the nearest relative of the dead or absent a prisoner, if they have chanced to take one; and if not, to give him the scalp of an enemy. On the return of the Indians from the conquest, which is always announced by peculiar shoutings, demonstrations of joy, and the exhibition of some trophy of victory, the mourners come forward and make their claims. If they receive a prisoner, it is at their option either to satiate their vengeance by taking his life in the most cruel manner they can conceive of, or to receive and adopt him into the family, in the place of him whom they have lost. All the prisoners that are taken in battle and carried to the encampment or town by the Indians are given to the bereaved families, till their number is good. And unless the mourners have but just received the news of their bereavement, and are under the operation of a paroxysm of grief, anger, or revenge; or, unless the prisoner is very old, sickly, or homely, they generally save them, and treat them kindly. But if their mental wound is fresh, their loss so great that they deem it irreparable, or if their prisoner or prisoners do not meet their approbation, no torture, let it be ever so cruel, seems sufficient to make them satisfaction. It is family and not national sacrifices among the Indians, that has given them an indelible stamp as barbarians, and identified their character with the idea which is generally formed of unfeeling ferocity and the most barbarous cruelty.

"It was my happy lot to be accepted for adoption. At the time of the ceremony I was received by the two squaws to supply the place of their brother in the family; and I was ever considered and treated by them as a real sister, the same as though I had been born of their mother.

"During the ceremony of my adoption, I sat motionless, nearly terrified to death at the appearance and actions of the company, expecting every moment to feel their vengeance, and suffer death on the spot. I was, however, happily disappointed; when at the close of the ceremony the company retired, and my sisters commenced employing every means for my consolation and comfort.

"Being now settled and provided with a home, I was employed in nursing the children, and doing light work about the house. Occasionally, I was sent out with the Indian hunters, when they went but a short distance, to help them carry their game. My situation was easy; I had no particular hardships to endure. But still, the recollection of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my home, and my own captivity, destroyed my happiness, and made me constantly solitary, lonesome, and gloomy.

"My sisters would not allow me to speak English in their hearing; but remembering the charge that my dear mother gave me at the time I left her, whenever I chanced to be alone I made a business of repeating my prayer, catechism, or something I had learned, in order that I might not forget my own language. By practicing in that way, I retained it till I came to Genesee flats, where I soon became acquainted with English people, with whom I have been almost daily in the habit of conversing.

"My sisters were very diligent in teaching me their language; and to their great satisfaction, I soon learned so that I could understand it readily, and speak it fluently. I was very fortunate in falling into their hands; for they were kind, good-natured women; peaceable and mild in their dispositions; temperate and decent in their habits, and very tender and gentle toward me. I have great reason to respect them, though they have been dead a great number of years...

"After the conclusion of the French war, our tribe had nothing to do till the commencement of the American Revolution. For twelve or fifteen years, the use of the implements of war was not known, nor the warwhoop heard, save on days of festivity, when the achievements of former times were commemorated in a kind of mimic warfare, in which the chiefs, and warriors displayed their prowess, and illustrated their former adroitness, by laying the ambuscade, surprising their enemies, and performing many accurate maneuvers with the tomahawk and scalping knife; thereby preserving, and banding to their children, the theory of Indian warfare. During that period they also pertinaciously observed the religious rites of their progenitors, by attending with the most scrupulous exactness, and a great degree of enthusiasm, to the sacrifices, at particular times, to appease the anger of the Evil Deity; or to excite the commiseration of the Great Good Spirit, whom they adored with reverence, as the author, governor, supporter, and disposer of every good thing of which they participated.

"They also practiced in various athletic games, such as running, wrestling, leaping, and playing ball, with a view that their bodies might be more supple -- or, rather, that they might not become enervated, and that they might be enabled to make a proper selection of chiefs for the councils of the nation, and leaders for war.

"While the Indians were thus engaged in their round of traditionary performances, with the addition of hunting, their women attended to agriculture, their families, and a few domestic concerns of small consequence and attended with but little labor.

"No people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace, before the introduction of spiritous liquors among them. Their lives were a continual round of pleasures. Their wants were few, and easily satisfied, and their cares were only for to-day -- the bounds of their calculation for future comfort not extending to the incalculable uncertainties of to-morrow. If peace ever dwelt with men, it was in former times, in the recess from war, among what are now termed barbarians. The moral character of the Indians was (if I may be allowed the expression) uncontaminated. Their fidelity was perfect, and became proverbial. They were strictly honest; they despised deception and falsehood; and chastity was held in high 'veneration, and a violation of it was considered sacrilege. They were temperate in their desires, moderate in their passions, and candid and honorable in the expression of their sentiments, on every subject of importance.

"Thus, at peace among themselves and with the neighboring whites -though there were none at that time very near- our Indians lived quietly and peaceably at home, till a little before the breaking out of the Revolutionary War...

"Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, my Indian brother, Kau-jises-tau-ge-au, (which being interpreted signifies Black Coals,) offered me my liberty, and told me that if it was my choice I might go to my friends.

"My son Thomas was anxious that I should go; and offered to go with me, and assist me on the journey, by taking care of the younger children, and providing food as we traveled through the wilderness. But the chiefs of our tribe, suspecting, from his appearance, actions, and a few warlike exploits, that Thomas would be a great warrior, or a good counselor, refused to let him leave them on any account whatever.

"To go myself, and leave him, was more than I felt able to do; for he had been kind to me, and was one on whom I placed great dependence. The chiefs refusing to let him go was one reason for my resolving to stay; but another, more powerful if possible, was, that I had got a large family of Indian children that I must take with me; and that, if I should be so fortunate as to find my relatives, they would despise them, if not myself, and treat us as enemies, or, at least, with a degree of cold indifference, which I thought I could not endure.

"Accordingly, after I had duly considered the matter, I told my brother that it was my choice to stay and spend the remainder of my days with my Indian friends, and live with my family as I hitherto had done. He appeared well pleased with my resolution, and informed me that, as that was my choice, I should have a piece of land that I could call my own, where I could live unmolested, and have something at my decease to leave for the benefit of my children."


Source: James E. Seaver, The Life of Mary Jemison: The White Woman of the Genesee. 1824. New York.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.)