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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nathaniel Griffith

Outside Newport, RI January 1675

Ah, please excuse my breeches dear friends. And my new friends, I'm Nathaniel Griffith. Please, come quickly into my house. Take my musket and this quiver of arrows. There's bows behind the door.

What is my concern? The Plymouth Colony in November sent a colonial militia against the Narragansett tribe. 'Tis a shame, I say. We, in Newport, have always found the Narragansett to be a friendly people. Nonetheless, it has happened.

In December, the colonial force found the Narragansett fort not far from here. With men from Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Connecticut (along with some Pequots and Mohicans), an attack was launched against the fort. Aye, it put all of us here in a fine mess. Many of the Narragansett people escaped, but face a winter with little food and shelter.

Which brings me to my breeches. I took supplies to those friends I'd made over the years. 'Twas midday, when I rode down a trail at a canter,  my chestnut mare as anxious as I to get home. Hearing some noise behind me, I looked over my shoulder and the next thing I knew I  sat upon the trail and not on me horse. It happened so quickly I had no time to know what hit me, but when I looked up I saw a rope strung across the trail at the height of a rider.

'Twas by the grace of God I escaped. My mare had stopped. No doubt, I'd yanked hard on her mouth when I'd been thrust from my seat. She stood looking at me, her head slightly tilted as though asking why I sat there and not on her back. I jumped to my feet and leapt upon her back then raced home.

As you saw when you joined me, I have just arrived home. No one pursued me, and I pray my goodwill toward the Indians will stay their anger against us. But I wish not to be caught unawares, nor do I wish to incite the militia against my friends. Many in Newport have taken in the wounded from that battle last month. Some of the wounded colonists from the north are heading home now. I fear, however, that this will not be the end of it.

What's this ye say? Ye must continue your journey? Have ye supplies? Aye, I thought not. I have a gelding who would make you a good pack animal. You may take him, and I will give you some of what we have, along with some arrows and two bows. I fear I have no ammunition to spare. I have not sufficient ammunition to protect ourselves through these months.

I wish you all Godspeed. Take care to stay out of the frozen swamp, for that is where many of the Narragansett warriors and their families fled.


Lynn Squire here,

When I was about eleven, I was up at our neighbor's farm playing cowboys and Indians. While galloping my sorrel mare away from said 'cowboys' (I was riding bareback and therefore an Indian) I looked over my shoulder and instantly found myself sitting on the ground. My horse had ridden under the clothesline, which hit me at chest level. When I landed on the ground I didn't know what had happened until (like Nathaniel) I looked up. Not until I had seen the line did I feel its sting.

At the time, I was rather embarrassed. What fool rides under a clothesline? But  now I chuckle whenever I think of it. Unfortunately, my mare was not as nice as Nathaniel's. She ran home without me!

5 comments:

  1. Love it! What a delightful snippet. And just which book will (or did) this show up in? Would love to read "the rest of the story".

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  2. Lynn, your story at the end put a smile on my face. This story sounds somewhat familiar. Do tell, where is this taken from?

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  3. Cute story, Lynn! I always love reading these stories!

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  4. This wasn't taken from any book. I am sometimes asked by writers if 'such and such' a scenario was plausible when they are writing a scene with horses. That is the foundation of most of these stories. In this case, I've been long fascinated by King Phillip's War and the 'personalities' of the colonies involved. The attack on the Narragansett Fort by the men from the other colonies did happen, and the Indians did flee to the swamp.

    Nathaniel Griffith is the main character in Despite Death (not yet published). In that story he is rescued by the Indians after being thrown from his barge when traveling around Cape Cod to get to Newport. In the second book, Dawn over Narragansett Bay, Nathaniel is a secondary character. He is trying to keep the colonists from blaming the Indians for stealing what was missing from their stores.

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  5. Thank God, Lynn, you were not hurt (other than your pride perhaps).

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