Tuesday, November 11, 2003 STONY POINT, N.Y.
Jennings Beckwith, father of Jim, fought here during the Revolution.
General Wayne and his men's story is told by Theordore Roosevelt in the book "Hero Tales From American History".
In their ragged regimentals
Stood the old Continentals,
When the grenadiers were lunging,
And like hail fell the plunging
When the files
Of the isles
From the smoky night encampment bore the banner of the rampant
And grummer, grummer, grummer, rolled the roll of the drummer,
Through the morn!
Then with eyes to the front all,
And with guns horizontal,
Stood our sires;
And the balls whistled deadly,
And in streams flashing redly
Blazed the fires;
As the roar
On the shore
Swept the strong battle-breakers o'er the green-sodded acres
Of the plain;
And louder, louder, louder cracked the black gunpowder,
--Guy Humphrey McMaster
¶ 8:18 PMFriday, September 12, 2003
As a boy, Jim heard stories told by his father about the Revolution. Jim was vividly impressed with the stirring scenes conjured up by Jennings Beckwith and his old patriot friends. Jim especially remembered the true tales about General Mad Anthony Wayne at Stony Point, New York, the location of a major battle in which his father took part.
¶ 11:30 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Time and fate have moved you to this very spot.
Don't move any further.
The NUCULUS will return shortly.
¶ 2:57 AM The lore and the lure of stealing horses
The circumstance of the old Tory, M'Donald, and the charger 'Selim'
This was a tale told to Jim by old soldiers and patriots who frequented his father's home back in Virginia in the days before
the hardships of St. Charles.
Jim remembered this story...all his life.
~~~~~~~~~~~~From: The Life of Gen. Francis Marion
".....This was young Scotch Macdonald. Now the curious trick which he played, is as follows.
Soon as he heard that colonel Tarleton was encamped at Monk's Corner, he went the next morning to a wealthy old tory of that neighborhood, and passing himself for a sergeant of Colonel Tarleton's corps, presented that officer's compliments, adding that colonel Tarleton was just come to drive the rebels out of the country, and knowing him to be a good friend of the king, begged he would send him one of his best horses for a charger, and that he should be no loser by it.
"Send him one of my finest horses!" cried the old traitor, with eyes sparkling with joy; "Yes, Mr. Sergeant, that I will, by gad! and would send him one of my finest daughters too, had he but said the word. A good friend of the king, did he call me, Mr. Sergeant? yes, God save his sacred majesty, a good friend I am indeed, and a true. And, faith! I am glad too, Mr. Sergeant, that colonel knows it. Send him a charger to drive the rebels, heh? Yes, egad will I send him one, and as proper a one too, as ever a soldier straddled. Dick! Dick! I say you Dick!"
"Here, massa, here! here Dick!"
"Oh, you plaguy dog! so I must always split my throat with bawling, before I can get you to answer heh?"
"High, massa! sure Dick always answer when he hear massa hallo!"
"You do, you villain, do you? -- Well then, run! jump! fly, you rascal, fly to the stable, and bring me out Selim, my young Selim! do you hear? you villain, do you hear?"
"Yes, massa, be sure!"
Then turning to Macdonald, he went on: "Well, Mr. Sergeant, you have made me confounded glad this morning, you may depend. And now suppose you take a glass of peach; of good old peach, Mr. Sergeant? do you think it would do you any harm?"
"Why, they say it is good of a rainy morning, sir," replied Macdonald.
"O yes, famous of a rainy morning, Mr. Sergeant! a mighty antifogmatic. It prevents you the ague, Mr. Sergeant; and clears a man's throat of the cobwebs, sir."
"God bless your honor!" said Macdonald, as he turned off a bumper of the high-beaded cordial.
But scarcely had he smacked his lips, before Dick paraded Selim; a proud, full-blooded, stately steed, that stepped as though he disdained the earth he walked upon.
Here the old fellow brightening up, broke out again: "Aye! there, Mr. Sergeant, there is a horse for you! isn't he, my boy?"
"Faith, a noble animal, sir," replied Macdonald.
"Yes, egad! a noble animal indeed! -- a charger for a king, Mr. Sergeant! -- Well, my compliments to colonel Tarleton: tell him I've sent him a horse, my young Selim, my grand Turk, do you hear, my son of thunder? And say to the colonel that I don't grudge him neither, for egad! he's too noble for me, Mr. Sergeant. I've no work that's fit for him, sir; no! damme, sir, if there's any work in all this country that's good enough for him, but just that which he is now going on; the driving the d----d rebels out of the land."
And in order to send Selim off in high style, he ordered Dick to bring down his elegant new saddle and holsters, with his silver-mounted pistols. Then giving Macdonald a hot breakfast, and lending him his great coat, as it was raining, he let him go, with a promise that he would come next morning and see how colonel Tarleton liked young Selim.
Accordingly next morning he waited on colonel Tarleton, and told his name, with the smiling countenance of one who expected to be eaten up with fondness. But alas! to his infinite mortification, Tarleton heard his name without the least change of feature.
After recovering a little from his embarrassment, he asked colonel Tarleton how he liked his charger.
"Charger, sir!" replied Tarleton.
"Yes, sir, the elegant horse I sent you yesterday."
"The elegant horse you sent me, sir!"
"Yes, sir, and by your sergeant, sir, as he called himself."
"An elegant horse! and by my sergeant! Why really, sir, I-I-I don't understand all this!"
The looks and voice of colonel Tarleton too sadly convinced the old traitor that he had been `bit'; and that young Selim was gone! then trembling and pale, cried out, "Why, my dear good sir, did you not send a sergeant yesterday with your compliments to me, and a request that I would send you my very best horse for a charger, which I did?"
"No, sir, never!" replied Tarleton: "I never sent a sergeant on any such errand. Nor till this moment did I ever know that there existed on earth such a being as you."
To have been outwitted in this manner by a rebel sergeant -- to have lost his peach brandy -- his hot breakfast -- his great coat -- his new saddle -- his silver mounted pistols -- and worse than all, his darling horse, his young, full-blooded, bounding Selim -- all these keen reflections, like so many forked lightnings, falling at once on the train and tinder of his passions, blew them up to such a diabolical rage that the old sinner had like to have been suffocated on the spot. He turned black in the face; he shook throughout; and as soon as he could recover breath and power of speech, he broke out into a torrent of curses, enough to raise the hair on any Christian man's head.
Nor was colonel Tarleton much behind him, when he came to learn what a noble horse had slipped through his hands. And a noble horse he was indeed! Full sixteen hands high; the eye of a hawk, the spirit of the king eagle; a chest like a lion; swifter than a roebuck, and strong as a buffalo.
I asked Macdonald, how he could reconcile it to himself to take the old poltroon's horse in that way?
"Why, sir," replied he, "as to that matter, people will think differently; but for my part I hold that all is fair in war: and, besides, sir, if I had not taken him colonel Tarleton, no doubt, would have got him. And then, with such a swift strong charger as this, he might do us as much harm as I hope to do to them."
And he did do them harm with a vengeance; for he had no more sense of fear than a hungry tiger. And, as to his strength, it was such, that with one of Potter's blades he would make no more to drive through cap and skull of a British dragoon, than a boy would, with a case-knife, to chip off the head of a carrot. And then, he always kept Selim up so lustily to the top of his metal. He was so fond of him, that I verily believe he would at any time have sold the shirt off his back to get corn for him. And truly Selim was not much his debtor; for, at the first flash and glimpse of a red coat, he would paw and champ his iron bit with rage; and the moment he heard the word "go", off he was among them like a thunderbolt.
And to see how Macdonald would charge, you would swear the fear of death was never before his eyes. Whether it was one or ten against him, it made no odds to this gallant Scotsman. He never stopped to count noses, but would dash in upon the thickest of them, and fall to hewing and cutting down like a very fury incarnate.
Poor Macdonald! the arm of his strength is now in dust; and his large red cheeks have, long ago been food for worms: but never shall I forget when first I saw him fight. 'Twas in the days when the British held Georgetown; and Marion had said to me, "Go and reconnoitre." I took only Macdonald with me. Before day we reached our place of concealment, a thick clump of pines near the road, and in full view of the enemy's lines. Soon as the bonny grey-eyed morning began to peep, we heard the town all alive, as it were, with drums and fifes; and about sunrise, beheld five dragoons turn out, and with prancing steeds dash up the road towards us. I turned my eye on Macdonald, and saw his face all kindled up with the joy of battle. It was like that terrible joy which flashes from the eyes of an ambushed lion, when he beholds the coming forth of the buffaloes towards his gloomy cave. "Zounds, Macdonald," said I, "here's an odds against us, five to two." "By my soul now captain," he replied, "and let 'em come on. Three are welcome to the sword of Macdonald."
Soon as they were come fairly opposite to us, we gave them a blast from our bugles, and with drawn sabres broke in upon them like a tornado.
Their panic was complete; two we stopped, overthrown and weltering in the road. The remaining three wheeled about, and taking to their heels, went off as if old Nick had been bringing up the rear. Then you might have heard the roar, and seen the dust, which dragoons can raise, when, with whip and spur and wildly rolling eyes, they bend forward from the pursuit of death. My charger being but a heavy brute, was soon distanced. But they could not distance the swift-footed Selim. Rapid as the deadly blast of the desert, he pursued their dusty course, still gathering upon them at every jump. And before they could reach the town, though so near, he brought his furious rider alongside of two of them, whom he cut down. One hundred yards further, and the third also would have been slain; for Macdonald, with his crimson claymore, was within a few steps of him, when the guns of the fort compelled him to retire. However, though quickly pursued by the enemy, he had the address to bring off an elegant horse of one of the dragoons whom he had killed. "
¶ 2:35 AM
St Charles, 1805-
For every four families building their homes on adjoining properties, there would be at least one block house to protect them in case of
It looked similar to this:
It was not unusual for alarms to be sounded in the settlements and for this scene to occur:
Whites, seen as encroachers, were not welcome by many Indians in these times.
One day when Jim was still quite young, he went to visit a friend and found his friend and friend's family freshly dead.
Massacred by Indians.
Imagine coming to this scene...
you are only 9 years old....
¶ 2:02 AMTuesday, September 09, 2003
The United States Postal Service has a rule: A person must be dead for at least ten years before they can appear on a stamp.
¶ 7:35 PM
The Negro George Bush Goes to Washington
George W Bush
"Another famous mulatto explorer was James P. Beckwourth, who called himself “Chief of the Crow nation,” in his autobiography written in 1858. Beckwourth also discovered the pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which bears his name.
Another Negro, George Bush, is partly responsible for the claims of the United States to the Oregon Territory. He was one of the first founders of what is now the State of Washington."
George W. (W for Washington) Bush became Washington's first African American settler when he came to the Tumwater area in 1845. Even so, it required a special acthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif of Congress to allow him to obtain the deed to his homestead.See George Bush's stories here
In 1820, with some companions, he made a trip to the Pacific Coast, traveling from Mexico to the Columbia River, trapping and hunting for a fur company of St. Joseph, Missouri.
Perhaps he and Jim crossed paths....who knows?
Imagine Jim crossing paths with today's George W Bush....
¶ 7:30 PM
Twelve miles north of what is known today as St. Charles, Missouri, a child arrived with the young Beckwith family to a new home between the forks of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.:
Near Portage Des Sioux
This is St. Louis in earlier times...
Incidentally, 22 negro slaves came along on the trip to Missouri with the Beckwith family.
In 1805, the St. Charles area was nothing more than a howling wilderness..
strange, savage men.....
¶ 7:09 PM
Monday, September 08, 2003
Time and fate have moved you to this very spot.
Don't move any further.
The NUCULUS will return shortly. ¶ 11:36 PM