Warren Johnson's Journal: 1760-1761

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

George

Cannon
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
7,913
Reaction score
1,859
This is from the Journal of Warren Johnson, Sir William's brother, published as _Warren Johnson's Journal: 1760-61_. It was written while Warren was visiting Sir William in Montgomery County, N.Y., at what is today a National Historic Landmark, Old Fort Johnson, Sir William's home built in 1749. It includes some observations on board the ship/ships he traveled on. I don't know if this is the entire journal.

Spence
****************
The Duch keep the New year always for 6 days as Holy Days, and lie alltogether let there be ever soe many men & Women, before the fire; the men must have on their Breeches, & women their Petty Coats...

The Indians very often carry their Canoes on their Backs over it, particularly if made of Birch, almost all Indians have Sleas; they are generally crooked ham'd with black Eyes, & hair,- few, red, & of a Large Size, very decent at a funeral, whereof I was Eyewitness, they are Accustomed to keep in thier Toes to avoid stumps in the woods, they bury in the fields after which they drink merrily...

They all wear Check shirts, & some ruffles of the Same & alsoe Indian Shoes stockings, & Night Caps.-...

Most officers this War, wore Check Shirts in the woods:...

Hats there good but not well coloured-- & are Sold at 1L-15s. English a piece...

The Duch make great Use of Stoves, which keep the Room next to them, very warm, which is intirely disagreable to all Strangers & gives them an Head-ach”¦

The houses having noe windows shuts above stairs in the country are much colder than in Europe.

Morning, breakfasted upon Sausages, fryed Bacon & Strong Punch...

Dutch and Indians carry knives, And are very Treacherous particulary, if Drunk,...

The Tree, by which Sir Willm. Stood in the Action at Niagara had fourteen Balls Lodged in it.-...

The Indians paint their Bodies, legs, & head &C, And in Action have on, only a Lap, & Indian Shoes, & their Amunition Slung round them, with Balls in their Mouths which prevents their being thirsty. Several Indians, & Some white People blue their Faces, (in a kind of Ridges) & nick their Breasts, &:C: which is done by pricking the Skin with Pins, till the Blood comes, & then applying Gunpowder to it; which will remain for ever: 'tis a great Torture, however it makes them look desperate, & besides is a Considerable Addition to their Fury,-

The Indians, in Action, dress a Red Feather in their Heads and Make a Terrible Noise with their Shouting and Screaming. They are Excellent at curing Disorders by herbs gathered in the woods, they cure the french Disease well, by herbs; they have got it, & other Disorders very much among them...

Decemr. the 28th. it was soe cold as to freeze almost any thing even by the fire's side:...

Indians chiefly live on boiled Indian Corn. One Gallon of Molosses, which is but 2s. Ster., sufficient for a Barrell of Spruce Beer...

Officers wore noe Swords here during the whole War, in Action, but a kind of Bayonet, which was more handy in the Woods...

Indians mourn more, by goeing Naked than by wearing black, they often doe the former. They catch Horses with salt tho: ever soe wild, or young; the Horses will follow one like Dogs, after tasting it Twice...

The light used in Mills & houses here generally is pichd.-pine Nots; The Indians have it in their Canoes fishing, & by it in the Night doe see Salmon & spear them... 6s. English for knitting a pair of Cotton Stockings...

Some People have an Indian's Skin for a Tobacco Pouch...

Indians know all Medicinal herbs; the Men of them goe mostly bare headed..

The Dutch hate both English and Irish, & Eat hogs Lard on their bread, instead of Butter, with Tea; they Use the Grease of fryed Bacon with Sallets, instead of Oil, & mix it up with their Hands for they never use forks; they Eat Cumcumbers sliced, in Buttermilk”¦

January the 8th The Dutch not very polite, they Smoke in Ones Parlour, thoe not asked to sit down, & always seat themselves without bidding. Their Children at Seven year Old Smoak, & their Parents think it a great Qualification.

January the 23d. Extreme Cold, & very hard frost. If one walks two Mile in European shoes & gloves, he is frost bitten; Numbers of our Troops in marching last Winter suffered vastly soe, & were rendered incapable of Service, having lost Toes, & Fingers, & some feet Obliged to be cut off; above 100 suffered. When they Encamp in the Woods, have large Fires at their feet, & Sleep on the Branches of Trees, & Sometimes a shade of them round them...

The Weather still soe cold that handling Brass, or Iron leaves a Blister on the Fingers; & in Bed People are cold even with ten Blankets on. They are remarkable at Philadelphia for making rifled Barrell Gunns, which throw a Ball above 300 yards, vastly well, & much better than any other Barrells. People here in general Shoot very well with Ball, but don't doe much with Shot. The Dutch all wear their hair (which buckles like Candles) or Night Caps, they wont be at the Expense of Wiggs, The Men of them sleep in their Breeches, & Stockings, & the Women in their Pettycoats. A Slea carries five Barrells of wheat...

There are many free Negroes here, who have good Estates; most Indians have their Ears cut, & Trinkets in them, & their Noses, which they Think a great Ornament: They very often have boiled bear & deer skins, on which they use to sleep, & Eat them for want of food: Sir William very often lay in the wods, in very wet & severe weather, without any Covering, & had his Sadle for a Pllow...

There is noe Oath in the Indian Language. Noe Salt in North America; they had it here from the West Indians in January 1761 at 6s. per bushel...

February the 18th, I heard and Indian playing many European Tunes, & pretty well on the Fidle...

America in general is vastly remarkable for fine Navigable Rivers & Creeks, in which are plenty of Fish. If one gets a Dutch Girl with Child, 'tis not minded...

I seen but 3 Dutchmen, who wore wigs, & them black, their Cloaths in Town are always of the Same Colour; They are at noe Expence by Mourning..

Pine Buds in spring used by way of Tea, & Buds of Red Deal Excellent agains the Gravel...

Seen an Indian dressed like a white Man, with a Wigg. &.C...

Indians, good Archers, can kill anything with Bows & Arrows...

Shaving here in Winter is vastly disagreeable & painful”¦

There are vast Quantities of Snakes whose bites are mortal, if not immediately prevented by applying Salt or Oyle to the Part affected. Otherwise the Leg swells, which runs upwards, & the Person dies very shortly; in winter they goe into Rocks and Holes, & the latter End of April come out weak and feeble.

The Indians affirm, that if you tie an Eel skin round yr. Leg, noe Snake will Ever come near you...

Their heads [rattlesnakes] boiled, & hogs Lard thrown into it, will poison Balls.

March the 17th... A great meeting at my Brother's House to drink St. Patrick, & most got vastly drunk.

April the 1st... 'tis dangerous being in the Woods, lest trees would fall on one”¦

The Dutch salt Cabbage in the fall, on which they chiefly live with Bread.

there is noe Eating Butter or Milk, on Acct. of the Cows feeding mostly on Onions in the wood, which last but about a forthnight... Indians formerly did not Sport or marry untill 30 years of Age, for they immagined it infeebled them; and when going to War, are not very fond of their Wives, on the same Acct... there was an Advertisement, this Winter, published by the Select Men of Boston, to warn People, to hang, or Chain up their Dogs, for fear of an Infection of the Small Pox...

Parsons keep publick Houses in this Country. When Deer lick Trees in Night Time; if a lighted Candle be left in the Tree which It licks, that one may see him; & then stand at a litle Distance, one may Easily kill him...

the Streets of Albany the Dirtiest I ever Saw, & worse than Edinburgh in Scotland for litle Houses... the reason the Duch doe not pave the Streets of Albany, is the Dread of the Stone wearing the Iron of their Cart wheels:...

Postage free for the officers by Lord Loudon; The Bread at Albany is very Good & white:...

The Indians. Sometime use the Bark of Trees, for Tobacco; a Gent: at Albany drank 27 Bowls of Punch one Night...

Trees are in blossom, and Asperigus very plenty the 15th. of April Instt...

Officers, from the highest to the lowest, game here, to a very Surprizing Degree; (I was taken in for some Pieces) & they spend a vast Deal of Mony at Taverns; how they can doe soe, is what I can Scarcely Guess...

9th of May Sailed for Bristol... tis vastly disagreeable on Board, havng 10 Cabbin Passangers, 2 women, & two young Parsons, all bad Companions... I scalded my right hand very much, the 22d. Day with a ketle of boiling Water. the Cooks' Cabhouse being on fire, upon which Occasion we made use of the water, & happily Extinguished it tho twice on fire, &.C...

The 11th. in the afternoon, a hard Gale of wind which carried off all our Top Masts, try sail, Mast, & Sprit Sail, 4 Men got on the Yards, but fortunately none carried over Board, nor much hurt... I have a Constant Heart-burn & am Stomach Sick...

There was a Sailor flogged in Boston by order of the Select men, for kissing his wife in the Streets on Sunday tho. after three years absence”¦
 

SgtErv

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
1,338
Reaction score
15
What a neat reference! I just read in another book about Sullivan's campaign against the Iroqouis in 1779. The author said that by that time they were living in cabins and practicing a lot of animal husbandry and agriculture. The reference to the fiddle playing and the one fella wearing a wig there also eludes to some heavy European influence among the Six Nations, well before the Revolution too.

:hatsoff: Thanks for sharing, Spence.
 

Latest posts

Top