"...I trusted in the Almighty… I knew I could only be killed once,
and I had to die sometime."
-Anne Bailey, 1823

Tuesday, April 13

A Fine Frolic at Pricketts Fort

April 8. We rose early in the morning to journey far to the south, with great anticipation in our hearts and much haste at heel. Arrived at the back woods cabin of Mr. J. Mains and was entertained well by the family therein. We left Mr. Main’s in Augusta at one’oclock in high spirits and embarked for the Great Kanawha Valley. We proceeded along the river passing Blue Licks and Limestone, after which time Mr. Mains lost himself, or rather became bewildered for a time, in his own river valley. We passed on from hence, crossing uneventfully the River Ohio, whereupon we found ourselves once again.

We proceeded along at a reasonable pace to the Kanawha River with only a brief correspondence from one D. Rowsey who informed us of another gentleman upon whom we might call, but greatly regretted he himself would not be making the journey to the fort, as he was presently embroiled in other Indian affairs. Within the prescribed time we found the location of Prickett’s Fort. Having been nothing but a blinding rain in the valley for days upon end Mr. Mains spoke to the keeper of an ordinary outside the fort who had rooms to let and we stopt for a time. It being a fine establishment, we found ourselves in great comfort and were entertained in a high fashion for the night.

April 9. We arose grudgingly, early this morning and proceeded 4 miles lower to the fort. The land is quite good in this area and we traveled easily with much sun, arriving at the determined time. Quite befuddled were we to find Mr. D. Jones, known simply as Muggs, was not to be found within the fort walls or without. Having come into a poorly spirit he found himself quite unable to travel.

Upon arrival near the fort, a smell the likes of which can only be ascertained near a tannery assaulted our very senses and we found the tanner Mr. Ch. Brown attending to the necessaries of his profession. Mr. Brown is well known as a fine tanner and waxed on about his profession to all who would listen. A good many hides were in evidence strewn about the area, most of which had been perfectly tanned. Mr. Brown seemed mildly amused and only lightly vexed with commentary by a Mr. Ma. Baker who requested significantly less fine quality, he, Mr. Ma. Baker, perhaps not being afforded the ability to pay for high quality hides and repeatedly suggested he receive “narly” hides. Messers Brown, Mains, and Baker enjoyed some humor and much discussed the topic. Resulting in Mr. Baker presenting Mr. Mains with a bit of deer tail for his hat, for which Mr. Mains while exceedingly grateful ultimately returned.

The good Doctor Mr. A. Roberts was visited by a goody many sorts near the fortyard. A fair bit of bloodletting, an amputation, scalp reattachment and other status of the arts of medicine were practiced. One poor miserable creature who had been beaten about the head with a war club was forced to undergo trephination. Dr. Roberts expounded upon his work with great zeal, to the crowd which had gathered to witness this miraculous work, he explained that once the hole had been created with the trephan, he would straddle the crack with his instrument and poke around abit, extracting bits and pieces of bone and tissue, relieving the intracranial pressure, then allow the crack to close up and scab over.

We determined a great fort dinner feast was in order and much food was prepared and enjoyed by all inside the fortyard. The company of a good many souls was much enjoyed. Captain Jacobs and Mr. Browder had made the journey and were fine company well into the evening. Many acquaintances were made and renewed. It seems the exploits of Mstrss. A. Bailey have become known in many forts, ordinaries and coffee houses and she was well received, with few exceptions.

April 10. Messers: St. Gengelbach, Mr. M. Miller a fine rifle maker, Mr. Eh. Ehlert and Mr. Ma. Baker were in attendance from the Second Company. Mr. G and Mr. E gave fine intelligence of several scouts made far and near. Mr. Miller discussed the various types of critter getters of the rifled variety.

Messers Kobuck, Charlton, Hersee and the tailor Mr. T. Crowder made fools of themselves much of the time until mustered Saturday afternoon, at which point one was utterly confounded to find the uncouth Mr. N. Kobuck in a role of leadership,

causing great consternation among my company. The tailor T. Crowder was found to be quite competent, even in his spirited shape, and produced many necessary hunting shirts for the assemblage.

Those who mustered at Pricketts fort were good men, brave and true with few exceptions, those of which found not to be in possession of all necessary goods were fined a shilling per piece. About the fortyard there were fixed, like dung upon rails, any number of men found unfit to serve. agedness, physical and mental infirmity were plain to see but a few had the look of simpletons, loafers and layabouts, the likes of which should, by all rights have been stockaded, beaten or whipped and pressed into service within our very sight.

Upon review of the good Doctor, the vast majority of the assemblage of men were proclaimed fit for service, though Mstress A. Bailey caused a pause in the questioning and requested proof the Good Doctor was fit to conduct such examinations upon herself. Upon which time the Doctor presented a document writ in the hand of the very doctor who had trained him up. Once so proven, your friend Mstress Bailey was approved for service as spy and scout within the company. While scouting, one in her company was unfortunate to step upon a large thorn which required extraction, and cauterization. The Doctor, suddenly unavailable and likely to be found imbibing with the proprietress of a local coffee house, required Mstress B. to extract the offending item herself, strike a fire, cauterize the wound and then fend off an imminent attack with her hatchet. The impending attack narrowly averted caused much hunger in the fort.

Mr. Baker, who one would be hard pressed to call a camp cook, waxed prolific on his findings on his study of the Natural Man. Mr. B, while quite proficient as an instructor was found to be lacking in his presentation of buffaloe short ribs. In addition, his jovial manner while dishing his three sister stew with cowpeas, corn and squash, resulted in a scuffle with Mr. J. Mains, the resulting scald upon Mr. Mains hand will likely require restitution from Mr. B. for an extended time. Once again the Doctor was completely unavailable and Mr. Mains endured the nursing skills of Mstrss B. who gathered bits of plantain from thereabouts, chewed it and then spit a mighty hank of green slime upon the blistered area and wrapped it in linen.

The tavern provided much distraction and a fine frolic for all assembled. Games of chance, skill and luck prevailed within, and without the fortyard, as patrons imbibed in spirituous beverages of shrub and punch, prepared, of course, by the drunkard Kobuck and his group of instigators. Mr. Charlton presided over the hearth area, much impressing all in his banyan and cap, to which many others aspired but, alas fell short.

Mr. Mains and Mstrss Bailey much enjoyed the company of many a good man, but retired early to quarters without the bewildering and befuddled nature so easily obtained from one’s cups, not requesting nor requiring the strong assistance of Mr. G. upon this years gathering; unlike in years passed upon which Mr. Gengelbach fairly slung Mr. Mains over his shoulder and tossed him to quarters.

Indeed, fine times were had. Departing the fort brought nearly a tear as hands were tightly clasped perhaps for the last, and fond farewells given, until such time as many of us shall reconvene near the falls of the Ohio at Laughery Creek or at Martins station, whereupon much concern has been addressed of an impending raid.

The journey to the River Ohio was uneventful and Mr. Mains split company from us at his cabin with much regret. One can only hope he regains use of his much disfigured limb and will thus be counted upon in the event of the raid at Martins Station. Upon returning, my own small cabin affords warmth, comfort and the feeling of home until such time as we shall be called out into the wilderness again. A candle remains lit late into the eve, the log upon the hearth crackles merrily and letters shall be writ to share the fine times, that others may know of them and remember our names.