Washday Blues – Duties of a Georgian Laundrymaid
A Brief History of Clans
One of the most common queries we get at Culloden is people researching their own family history and trying to understand more about the clan from which they come. So, we thought we’d do a little insight into clans to give you a bit of background on the complicated topic.
First things first: just what is a clan?
The word clan comes from the Gaelic clann meaning children or family.
A clan was typically a community of people living in roughly the same area at the head of which was the Chief. Members of this community could be related to the Chief by blood or they could have been inhabitants upon his lands. The members of the community, or clansmen, gave their loyalty to the clan Chief and in return he gave them protection, justice, and leadership. Clan members often took the Chief’s surname whether they were related to him…
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Portrait by William Dobson, some commentary by Carolyn Bruce.
James Graham was hung, quartered and his head impaled on a stake at the Mercat Cross on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, On 21 May in 1650!
On 21 May 1650, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose and 5th Earl of Montrose, Chief of Clan Graham and an able and brilliant soldier, was hanged at Old Market Cross in Edinburgh. When Charles I tried to force upon the Scots a prayer book they regarded as “too Catholic”, the Presbyterian Scots resisted, and James Graham joined them, partially because of the political power King Charles had vested in Anglican Bishops. Civil war raged for years, with Montrose participating at first against the king, and later, against the Covenanters, as he tried to establish an apolitical clergy. His reputation as a military leader was well earned, and after the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645, the king appointed him Lord Lieutenant and Captain-general of Scotland. When Charles I was defeated in the Battle of Naseby and sent for Montrose to come to his aid, Montrose was defeated at Philiphaugh. Unable to raise another army, he escaped to Norway. Charles I was beheaded, and his son, Charles II, in exile, from where he appointed Montrose Lieutenant of Scotland. As such he returned home to raise an army, but was betrayed; the king had struck a deal with the Covenanters to regain his throne. After his execution “The Great Montrose” was decapitated and his head was set upon “the prick [pike] on the highest stone” of the Old Tolbooth at St. Giles Cathedral. There it remained for 11 years, at which time his body parts were reunited for a hero’s funeral.
You can read about this event in my novel DARK DESTINY, which is book three of the DARK BIRTHRIGHT TRILOGY.
Here is an excerpt:
Chapter 30 – “Letters” June 29, 1650
The Duke stood in his study, gazing out the open window. The day was oppressively hot, with temperatures above ninety. Because of the weather, he was informally dressed – in breeks, a shirt, and no shoes or socks. “Whew, it’s hot!” He mopped his brow with a handkerchief.
Dughall spotted Jamison crossing the courtyard with a pack of letters in his hand. His spirits lifted. “Perhaps it’s from Gilbert.” He left the window and moved his ledgers to the sideboard. There was a knock on the door. “Come in.”
Jamison entered. “My Lord.” The servant was sweaty from the heat. “A courier dropped these letters at the gate.” He placed them on the desk.
“How many are there?”
Dughall motioned for him to take a seat. He picked up one of the envelopes and saw that it was addressed to Jamison. “This one is for ye.”
The servant grinned. “I know. I want to read it together. It’s from my contact in Edinburgh. He’s a member of Parliament. I asked about Montrose.”
Dughall frowned. “Ah… The trial.”
“We shall see.” The Duke sliced open the envelope and extracted the letter. “Shall I read out loud?”
The author had some schooling. It was written in fancy handwriting.
Jamison my friend,
You inquired about the Marquess of Montrose. There is quite a story to tell. The Parliament condemned him to death in absentia before he arrived here. James Graham was brought as a prisoner to Edinburgh and without trial was sentenced to death on May 20th. Archibald Johnston read his fate out loud for all to hear. He was to be hanged at the Market Cross with a copy of De Rebus hung ‘round his neck. This book you may remember was Bishop Wishart’s favorable biography of Graham’s life. But there was more to his humiliation! He was to swing on the scaffold for three hours, after which time, his head was to be severed and his body quartered. Unless he repented, he was to be buried in unhallowed ground.
Graham did not repent. He insisted that he was a real Covenanter and a loyal subject. This was met with jeers and shameful gestures of mockery.
I watched the sentence carried out on May 21st at the town market cross. I must say that Graham accepted his fate with grace and courage. When allowed final words, he prayed to heaven, “Scatter my ashes! Strew them in the air, Lord, since thou knowest where all these atoms are.”
The hanging was then carried out. As prescribed, his body hung for three hours, was decapitated, and quartered. The head was displayed on a pike at the Tollbooth Prison, while the parts were dispersed for display in Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and Aberdeen.
I suspect that you will approve of this action, given your experience with the man. But it was a disgraceful end for a Lord of the realm. I fear that we have set a bad precedent. After his death, some of us convinced Parliament to bury his body parts in hallowed ground. They were going to dump them in a common grave on Burgh Muir.
In closing, we must be careful what we wish for! Someday, it could apply to us. I hope that this satisfies your curiosity. Stay safe, my friend. Give my regards to Lord Drake and the Lady of the castle.
Sincerely – John H.
The Duke shuddered. “He’s right. That was a disgraceful way for a lord to die.”
Jamison grunted. “Agreed.”
You can read about the trilogy at:
My mother was an author, too. Download her eBook FREE using coupon code FM36P at checkout. Good until May 31, 2015
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Book description: Memoirs, stories, and poems from the heart of Clara A. Bastien Treat, one of America’s Rosie-the-Riveters. About the author – Clara Treat was a wife, mother, and grandmother. She was a well-known antique dealer, inventor, and WWII Rosie-the-Riveter. Her writing was inspired by love of family, freedom, and country.
MEMOIRS OF A ROSIE THE RIVETER
North Tonawanda, New York
December 4, 1941
A few days before the Pearl Harbor attack
The days before Pearl Harbor were some of the happiest in my life. The gang met at my house two or three evenings a week to play cards, listen to the player piano, talk, and eat a wonderful snack that my mother provided. The house had been built around the turn of the century and had a long room in the front with a lovely front porch. A gas log fireplace provided a cozy and warm place for us to meet.
Three tables were set up for pinochle and the front parlor served as a dance floor. There were fourteen young men and four young women in our group. Some families wouldn’t allow their daughters to participate because they thought we were too wild, but it wasn’t true. We were as innocent and pure as the driven snow. After a while, we would roll up the rugs and dance to the player piano or a lively tune on the radio.
Most of the guys were like brothers to us, except for a few. I was regarded as Chester’s girl and my sister Julie, who was younger, was unattached. She did however take the time to flirt with each and every one of them.
We were coming out of the depression, which had held us down for so long. Some of our friends joined the army and navy to get a job and joined us on furlough. To survive tough times my widowed mother ran a boarding house, providing two meals a day, a packed lunch, and a place to sleep for seven men. My sister and I helped out; keeping busy with laundry, ironing, and housework and my brother Jim kept the lawn and maintained the house.
On top of that, Julie and I worked as usherettes at the Riviera Theatre several evenings a week. It was a busy life, but we enjoyed ourselves. There was no time to get into trouble.
Then, everything changed…
A DAY OF INFAMY
North Tonawanda, New York
December 7, 1941
“We have witnessed this morning the attack of Pearl Harbor and a severe bombing of Pearl Harbor by army planes, undoubtedly Japanese. The city of Honolulu has also been attacked and considerable damage done. This battle has been going on for nearly three hours…It’s no joke. It’s a real war.”
— News bulletin from Honolulu, heard over WCAE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I shall never forget that day. My sister and I were on our way to work as usherettes at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, New York. We noticed people gathering on street corners, alerting us to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The attack had come in the morning hours on the Hawaiian Islands. With wire delays and the speed of relay, the news did not reach us until well into mid-afternoon. My first feeling was disbelief, which turned quickly to horror at the thought that anyone would attack the United States like that. It occurred to my sister, Juliette, and I that this day would forever change our country and us. We would have to pitch in and help our country to defend itself in any way we could.
After work, the gang gathered at my house to discuss the attack and make plans to assist our country. We wondered what happened to two of our friends, who were stationed on the Arizona. One was a flyer and the other was a sailor. We would wait patiently for news of their fate.
The boys reacted in different ways. Some were angry, while others were committed to defending this country. They discussed the branches of the military and decided on the ones to join.
Julie and I had a sinking feeling. We knew that things were changing forever and that some of these boys would never come back. We swore that we would do everything in our power to assist the war effort and write to each and every one of them. The night ended on a somber note. Due to the war, our gang was breaking up forever.
Over the next few weeks, most able-bodied young men joined the service and left for their destinations. Because of this, the factories were left short-staffed and many of them were being converted to manufacture war goods and supplies to support the troops. The radio and newspapers were calling for workers for these factories and asking the women to participate. Shortages were expected, so Julie and I joined drives to collect paper, glass, tin, iron, and other materials. It wasn’t enough. We decided to leave our jobs as usherettes and work in the factories.
We were very close, so we always worked at the same place. The first place that we went to work for was the Van Rault Mills on Sweeney Street in North Tonawanda. The factory that had once made nylon lingerie and undergarments for women had transformed—virtually overnight—to making nylon for parachutes. Julie was assigned to the rollers. She had to wrap the giant rolls of nylon, package them and put them on a hand truck destined for the shipping department. I was assigned to the spinner department, where cones of nylon thread were being spun into rolls. I couldn’t let the cones run out, or the rolls would be faulty.
After three months, we’d had enough and sought employment at Remington Rand, Co. in Tonawanda. This company had been involved in manufacturing office equipment, but had now geared-up to make parts for the airplanes being built by Buffalo-based Curtis-Wright. At Remington Rand I learned how to drill and handle tools, something that I never thought I would be doing. Julie was a driller as well, something that was out of character for her. We were working on parts that were used to put airplane wings together. Once, I got my drill caught in Julie’s hair, an act that led to a rule about hairnets.
After eighteen months, my sister and I passed security checks and accepted positions at Curtis-Wright to work directly on transport planes as riveters, drillers, and buckers.
Julie got lucky and became a bond-girl, selling war bonds at the factory as her regular job. I was assigned to riveting and bucking on the C47 Transport Plane. The noise in the plane was deafening and many of us lost some of our hearing. The riveter and the bucker communicated by taps. The riveter was outside tapping on the place where they wanted to rivet, while the bucker was inside tapping with a bucking bar. When the two met, the riveting began. The bucker’s job was uncomfortable and a bit dangerous. Crouching in spaces where you couldn’t stand, you didn’t dare sit down for fear of getting a drill in your behind. Each night, my ears rang for hours after I left the plant.
In addition to this, I received training and volunteered as a nurse’s aide at Degraff Memorial Hospital. Julie and I volunteered at the local U.S.O., spending many nights dancing with young navy men and flyboys who would soon be shipped overseas.
My family, my friends, and I continued to contribute in other ways by collecting glass, paper, and anything that could be recycled for the war effort, in addition to planting “Victory gardens.” Everyone was subject to rationing, so anything that we could grow was appreciated.
It was a time of uncertainty. We did not know if, when, or how we would be attacked again.
A PATRIOTIC ENGAGEMENT
North Tonawanda, New York
It was the summer of 1943. Two young sailors, temporarily stationed in our area, rented an apartment from my mother. The Richardson Boat Company that manufactured Chris-Craft pleasure boats had been refitted to make landing craft for the US Navy. Ray Nobes and Jimmy Cavey had been tasked with shepherding the finished boats down the Erie Canal to Albany and points beyond, where they were loaded onto large ships.
Ray Nobes was a tall, slim, dark-haired young man from the state of Maine. Reserved and soft spoken, he was a sweet man with a beautiful smile.
Jimmy Cavey, a New Englander as well, was tall and muscular and handsome in his uniform. Outspoken and quick-witted, he enjoyed dancing the jitterbug and the waltz.
They rented a car and asked us to show them around. Ray and Jimmy took Julie and me to Niagara Falls, the local Canteen, and on rides through the countryside.
One day, they came to us with sad news. Their time in our area was almost up and they’d received orders to leave the next day for a European tour of duty. The boys had a request. If they could tell their officers that they were getting engaged to two sisters, they would be granted an extra day with us. Would we be willing to say that we were engaged to them?
Julie and I saw no harm in it. We liked these men and wanted to help them. We agreed to meet them later on the bridge that crossed the Erie Canal to have one last evening together.
After dinner, we walked with the boys to the canal. We were sad that they were leaving but flattered that they wanted to pretend to be engaged to us, even for a few hours. We didn’t know if we’d ever see them again, yet we promised that we’d write faithfully.
On the bridge, we got a big surprise. Both men presented us with diamond engagement rings and asked us to wait for them. Julie was flattered and remarked that the rings were absolutely beautiful. With tears streaming down her face, she promised Jimmy that she would think about it seriously. I was shocked and had not considered marriage at that point. How could I say no? Ray was heading off to war and he might never return. Reluctantly, I accepted the ring and agreed to think about it.
They left early the next day. We had really enjoyed their company and life seemed empty without them. Unwilling to tell our mother about this, we stashed the rings in a drawer.
Months later, I told Ray in a letter that I wasn’t ready for marriage. I’m not sure what Julie did about Jimmy.
We busied ourselves working for the war effort and helping our mother with her boarding house.
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The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising. On April 16, 1746, near Inverness , the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) faced a royalist army commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. The Jacobites had a goal – to overthrow the reigning House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. Their army consisted of Scottish Highlanders, a number of Lowland Scots, a small detachment of Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment, and French and Irish units. They were supported and supplied by France. The Duke of Cumberland’s army was largely English, with a fair number of Scottish Highlanders, and Ulster men from Ireland.
The battle on Culloden Moor was bloody and quick. Over 1500 Jacobites were killed or wounded in an hour – while Hanovarian forces incurred light losses – about 50 dead and 250 wounded. Many wounded Jacobites were slaughtered in the aftermath – earning the Duke of Cumberland the title of ‘Butcher’. Charles Stuart escaped to France and made no further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Britain.
In the following months, the King’s forces continued the assault on Jacobite sympathizers with the Act of Proscription, disarming them and banning the kilt and the tartan. Violators were incarcerated or transported to a penal colony for a second offense. Other Acts ended the feudal bond of military service and removed the sovereign power chiefs had over their clan. The ban on kilt and tartan was not lifted until thirty-five years after the battle. This monument stands as a silent reminder of this tragic event.
Here is a short story I wrote about this battle:
“Recollections of a Spirit”
It was a cold morning on April 16th, 1746. The sun had just risen.
Duncan and I had traveled for days on horseback, to join the army of the Prince. We trusted that he could defeat the red soldiers as he had at Prestonpans. Near Inverness, a French courier demanded our intentions and asked us to carry letters to Culloden House. Duncan took the letters, stored them in his plaid, and we continued on our way. His brothers met us at Inverness, telling us to fight with the Glengarry regiment, camped near Drumossie Moor. I took the letters and told him to join his brothers, that I would follow after I delivered them.
That was the last time that I saw him as a free man. I was taken at Inverness by the English and jailed. When it was determined that I carried letters in French, they beat me mercilessly, asking who they were for, and what their meaning was. I could not tell them. They kept me in irons in a cold cellar, without food or water. The beatings were relentless.
Word came that day that the Prince’s army had been soundly defeated. Other prisoners joined me, many with mortal wounds, dying shortly thereafter. Men arrived with limbs hacked or bowels pierced. The stench of rotting flesh was overpowering. There was no word of my friend or his brothers. They kept us in a cellar, bound, with no food or water for that day and the next. No one tended our wounds or administered last words. Men cried piteously for water or death. Still, I held out hope.
On the morning of the third day, I learned that I was to be executed as a rebel. After sunrise, I would be flogged to death at the tree outside the jail. They’d sent for a lowlander from a nearby encampment, known for his brutality.
Before sunrise, I was brought outside and made to sit on the cold ground to await my fate. I smelled wood fires and heard dogs barking, as red soldiers guarded me. Able-bodied prisoners were brought out to watch, but they wouldn’t look at me. I knew it was my last day.
As a young man, I was no stranger to whippings. I did as I liked and risked the consequences. Father whipped me soundly with a strap many times. I played a game that I would not flinch or cry out, so he beat me until he was no longer angry. These were my thoughts as I waited, that it would not be worse than that.
The red soldiers allowed a man of the cloth to approach me to say the last words. It was cold and he wore a hood that obscured his face. As he knelt beside me and pushed back his hood, I saw that it was Duncan. By God’s grace he had survived the battle. He touched my forehead and made the sign of the cross, saying the words we’d heard so many times. With tears in his eyes, he whispered that he couldn’t save me, but would avenge my death with his last breath. I begged him not to watch it, but he would not leave me.
At sunrise the Lowlander arrived, a muscular man with eyes of steel. Soldiers pounded stakes into either side of an oak, removed my irons and shirt, and tied me to the tree with rope. It was cold but I was sweating, and my heart pounded like a drum. As blood rushed in my ears, I heard the sentence being read.
A soldier gagged me, but the man removed it, saying that he needed to hear me. He took the ‘cat’ out of his bag and showed it to me. It was a whip of nine knotted strands, ending in sharp bits of metal. In a voice that was cold and deliberate, he taunted me, calling me a rebel, a traitor, and an animal. I burned with humiliation and anger.
All I wanted was to bear my punishment in silence and die like a man; but it wasn’t to be. I held staunch for twenty strokes and faltered, my pride crumbling. I grunted, cursed, and gasped for breath as the leather tails blistered my back. May God forgive me, I cried like a child, and rubbed my wrists raw against the ropes.
He stopped after one-hundred strokes to drink. I was nearly unconscious, so they roused me with water. Before he began again, he taunted me. He’d wagered that I wouldn’t last another fifty, and intended to finish me now. The man ran his rough fingers across the marks in my flesh, thrust his hand down the front of my kilt, and touched me as a lover would.
In spite of my predicament, I was furious and spit into his face. His eyes narrowed in anger.
He began again, whipping me with a vengeance. Blood soaked my kilt, ran down my legs, and pooled in my boots. I could barely stand, and the cries that I made were not even human.
I heard them call out one-forty.
Silently, I begged God to take my soul. I was cold and trembling, too weak to cry out. My body was dying but my mind was a raging storm. I held on to anger and refused to die. My inner voice cried, “I won’t let go, I won’t let go!”
Duncan’s anguished thoughts broke through my inner turmoil.
Eavan let go!
Let go! Eavan let go!
For God’s sake let go!
May God forgive me for not taking your place!
My mind calmed and my breathing slowed. A brilliant bubble formed before my eyes, translucent and full of light. I saw Mother looking out to sea for my brother, Grandfather whittling a walking stick, and young John struggling on his deathbed. The bubble enfolded me, and softly popped.
I was pleasantly confused, convinced that they’d stopped the execution. I stood among them in my best riding breeks, shirt, and plaid. It was lightly snowing but I was as warm as fresh bread. I flexed my shoulder muscles and gazed at my hands. My backside was whole and my wrists were healed.
The big man cleaned and oiled his whip and put it in his bag. He joked with the soldiers about the rebel bastard, and collected his wagers. Still I did not understand. Duncan mounted his horse and rode towards me.
I waved my hands. “Duncan. Over here! They let me go.”
My friend stared through me to a place beyond, his face lined with grief. What did he see? I turned my head and saw the bloody shell of a body that was mine, and knew I was dead.
A young soldier thrust his bayonet into the body. “The rebel is gone! Let this be a lesson to all who oppose the King of England.”
Duncan made the sign of the cross and rode off on his chestnut mare. I followed him out of town, where he dismounted and concealed his horse behind some trees. He sat on a log and waited, running his thumb along the blade of his dirk.
Before long a rider appeared; the lowlander with eyes of steel. Dressed as a man of the cloth, my friend concealed his knife and bid him stop. As the man dismounted, Duncan seized him and cut his throat from ear to ear.
I watched this without emotion. It didn’t matter. Mine was a world without pain and hunger, or domination by the English. Duncan would be along soon enough.
By Jeanne Treat
Jeanne is the author of the Dark Birthright Trilogy, a tale of 17th century Scotland, England, and the Colonies. You can read about it online at:
February 28, 1638, Edinburgh, Scotland
The morning was cold and dry in the city. There had been little snow or rain that month, causing fresh water shortages. The sun had just risen, casting rays through low clouds. The streets were bustling with activity. Women swept their doorsteps and hung out damp bedding to dry. Children ran with dogs, shouting and spinning hoops. Tradesmen and mariners left their homes to go to their daily jobs. These things were happening and more. For more than fifty thousand men had descended upon Edinburgh to sign the National Covenant. They came from all parts of Scotland; the Highlands, Lowlands, and even the islands.
Back in October, the King had stripped the capitol city of purpose and influence. He’d ordered the petitioners to leave or be arrested and tried for treason. Worse yet, the Privy Council and law courts were advised to desert Edinburgh for a secure location. The King had promised to consider the petitions when the city was peaceful, but that hadn’t happened. Instead, he seemed content to let them stew in their own juice. Dozens of petitioners were arrested and transferred to London to await their fate in the Tower of London. Many of the Lords involved withdrew to safe locations to raise money and support for Leslie’s army. There was no doubt as to how this would go down.
Word of the rebellion traveled to the far reaches of Scotland via letters, posters, and personal accounts. The protest grew into a campaign of petitions and supplications denouncing the Laudian prayer book and criticising the power of bishops.
Led by the lords Loudoun, Rothes, Balmerino, and Lindsay, the supplicants organised four elected “Tables” or committees to represent the nobility, gentry, burgesses and clergy. A fifth Table was to act as an executive body. In the face of the Privy Council’s impotence, they acted as an alternative government.
The well-respected clergyman Alexander Henderson and the lawyer Archibald Johnstone were tasked with drawing up a National Covenant. It was to unite the supplicants and clarify aims, the main one being a rejection of untried “innovations” in religion.
Favors were called in and loyalties tested. By early December, the specter of religious persecution was the basis for fiery sermons, town hall meetings, and supper table conversation. Money was raised; weapons and supplies gathered, and men committed themselves to the cause. They awaited marching orders.
Word came in mid-January, asking them to report to Edinburgh by the end of the third week of February. There they would be given the opportunity to sign a covenant and pledge their support for the rebellion. In vague terms, they were told about Leslie’s army and encouraged to join the ranks.
Lord Traquair, after his brush with death in the Edinburgh riot, obtained permission to come to the King. He told Charles frankly that he must either abandon the new Liturgy requirements or come to Scotland with 40,000 armed men. Instead of an army, Traquair was given a proclamation to deliver. The King made it clear that it was he not the bishops who was responsible for the new service book. Anyone who dared to oppose it directly challenged the King’s authority. The proclamation was read on the twenty-second of February to a hostile crowd who greeted it with hoots and jeers. A rival protestation was read in the presence of his Majesty’s heralds, who could not escape the crowd. They were bound to report to the King.
This created a need for a signed Covenant. Henderson and Johnstone were encouraged to complete it in a manner that would leave little open to debate. Not all ministers were convinced that Episcopacy was against divine law, so no mention was to be made of bishops. They were to ask all signatories to pledge themselves to defend the reformed religion and resist innovations, unless accepted by free assemblies and Parliaments.
It was now the twenty-eighth of February. According to posters and the word on the street, the National Covenant would be presented today. Supporters were to attend a ceremony in Greyfriars Kirk to commit to preserving the purity of the church.
Alex Hay was one such man. He’d spent five months in Leslie’s army, with only sporadic contact with his family. The militia had grown rapidly after the riot, from a private army of mercenaries to a loosely organized force of thousands. They’d made him a lieutenant and put him in charge of a band of plough boys no older than his sons…
Read about it at:
Early 18th Century Dress in the American South ~ “The heat is beyond your conception…”
In 1705, for the first time, a native born Virginian published a book that included in-depth description about the colony’s climate. At the turn of the eighteenth century, earlier settler’s had established themselves within the quickly growing colony. Robert Beverley’s The History and Present State of Virginia examined the history of the colony, natural products suited for trade, native indians, and the current state of affairs. Beverly included his observations on climate, which for the first time seemed to tell the brutal truth unlike authors before him in the early seventeenth century. Beverley wrote:
THE Natural Temperature of the Inhabited part of the Country, is hot and moist: tho’ this Moisture I take to be occasion’d by the abundance of low Grounds, Marshes, Creeks, and Rivers, which are every where among their lower Settlements; but more backward in the Woods, where they are now Seating, and making new Plantations, they have abundance of…
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