Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Scarlet October Sunrise In Hawaii

When I awoke this morning, what should greet my eye’s,
but the suns rays robed in scarlet, lighting up the skies.
The air was full of bird calls, the roosters crow at dawn,
and I stood caught within the spell, and stifled back a yawn.
I could feel the magic, the heavens a delight,
the moon was hanging in the sky, glowing too with light.
The sun grew ever brighter, the scarlet turned to pink,
and faded like the stars at dawn, quicker than a wink.
The day came on with gladness, the moon was not so bold,
and I went back inside my house, to warm up from the cold.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

1st Gathering at Boone's Station

 On a sunny morning our group of intrepid frontiersmen and woman, gathered together for the very first time to occupy the camp at Boone’s Station on Mount Kilauea. What we lacked in numbers we made up for in spirit, and led by our fine host and leader, Mr. Boone, we commenced the eating of a fine breakfast of eggs, ham, cornbread, and sweet cakes. 
The camp was well accoutered, including such useful items as long rifle’s, powder horns, leather bags, jugs, and a rough box for cooking utensils. This boded well for the gathering, and was the sure sign of a masterfully appointed, well guarded, and thought out camp. Several cut logs, encircling the fire, were sat upon while we drank our coffee and all agreed that there was no better tasting coffee than that supplied by our kind host.

Upon our arrival, he had taken a coffee pot from off the fire, and had proceeded to fill our tin cups. Having first placed ground coffee in a linen scrap over our cups. To me it seemed a novel approach, but was very effective, for the linen sieved the grounds, while the boiling water poured over, brewed it to perfection. This was much preferred to the boiled bean method I had been subjected to in many of my travels.
I brought with me a few items to camp, such as a pewter lidded tankard, which came from the,“Old Stone House”, our family home in Kentucky; a small pale orange pocket, which contained my huswif, both of which had belonged to grt. grandma May Roberts, (It carried hers and  my sewing needles very nicely.); A hand-woven linen shawl, made by mom, Maryann Hanners, which I left in my sewing basket, for the morning was over warm. My basket also held a pair of hand sewn breeches I have been making for our host, Mr. Boone, which I will be sharing here at a later date. Lastly I had pinned to my neck-scarf, a pair of very old glasses that had belonged to a grt. grt. grandmother, who like myself could not do close-work without them.
A half shelter of stalwart logs was the main focus of the camp, and was at our hosts back as he sat before the fire. He was dressed as a scout, for most assuredly that is what he is. His hunting shirt of striped linen showed the wear of years, as did his breeches of dark brown linen, and his rough leather legging’s, that nearly covered his worn leather moccasins. Years of living in the wilderness had etched its lines upon his face. His hair, showing signs of grey, was long and fair, falling below his shoulders. His eyes when he looked at you, were piercing, and sparked with a flame not made by the reflections of the campfire. When he stood, he was tall and lean of frame, and spoke with a deep-timbered voice. You knew the wilderness had made him the man he was, for he was a man of wisdom and courage, who had faced much adversity, and we were glad to have him as our leader.
A fellow frontiersman, Ben, was well dressed out in black felt hat, rough linen shirt, neck scarf, grey knee breeches, knit stockings, and leather moccasins too. He being in descent from the Pawnee, is a welcome addition to our company. His rugged strength aided greatly in the construction of the half shelter and camp, under the guiding hands of Mr. Boone, and we are all very grateful for his talents.

As for myself, Lysbeth, being of Dutch descent, went dressed in my traditional traveling clothes,  for when I journey to outlying camps or stations, my settlement clothing will not do. My clothing therefore was of rough cotton. My skirt dyed indigo blue, was covered by an over-skirt of madder red. My old bonnet, neck-scarf, and soiled apron, left sun bleached white. A rather ragged blue checked short-gown, and black cloth slipper shoes, completed the ensemble. I thought all were well suited to the occasion, yet they would have caused sniffs of distaste, in my friends back in Williamsburg. They do not understand my love of the wilderness, and would fain I give up my travels there. But as I am a teacher, historian, as well as a tailor, and enjoy such travels to gatherings, I shall not listen to their strident remonstrations, but hope only to bring to our company, whatever of my talents may be needed.
An additional bright spot to the occasion was the visit of family and friends. Tamara and Seth, who aroused by curiosity, took the time to climb the hill, and stayed to chat and inspect our accouterments and camp we most welcome. It was very enjoyable to speak with them about the camp, and even about some of our frontier history. Sadly, I did not capture a likeness of Tamara, the spouse of Mr. Boone, but do hope that she will return in future, for we found her company exceedingly enjoyable.
The gathering, I feel, was a huge success. Conversations abounded, as all were finding the thorough enjoyment which comes with mutual interests, attitudes, and curiosity sated.

All too soon however the time of our gathering was over, and we had to depart, each to our separate homes. As I wended  my way once more down the mountain, I knew my journey had been worth the effort and would remain in my memory, for years to come, as one of the most pleasant.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Richard Clarke I, The Founder Of Our American Clark Family

Richard Clarke I, my 9th grt. grandfather, and founder of our Clark family in America, was thought to be born about 1631, some think in England, tho this has not been proven. He was a Presbyterian by religion and was living by 1650 on Long Island, which is now New York. However, during his years of living there he would see it controlled first by the Dutch, taken by the English, taken again by the Dutch, and at the last retaken by the English. (This was a 126 years before the Revolutionary War, and it became American.) These were momentous times and living in the, "New World", was certainly a challenge.

We find Richard I, in the 1650's living with his wife, Elizabeth, (No name of her parents has been found, as to date), in Southampton on Long Island, he is a ship builder, a planter, and a whale striker. This latter occupation peaked my interest so I went and researched into it. This was a job for a man of strength and courage, for he was the man who rode in the prow of the whaleboat, paddling with an oar until close enough to the whale. He then lay down the oar, reached down and picked up the harpoon with which to strike the whale, and cast it as hard as he could into its side. Attached to the harpoon was a hemp rope of several hundred feet, that lay in a barrel at his feet. This played out as the whale attempted to escape. The men in the boat had to then ride along with the whale until it tired out. Then more harpoons were thrown, and the whale was rowed back to shore for processing.

At that time whale hunting was done from the shore, and the Colonists relied on whale sightings to initiate a hunt. Often the men were assisted by the Montauk, who were the dominant tribe of natives on the east end of Long Island, closely affiliated with the Pequot's of Connecticut. They were great whalers, their canoe's having plied the waters of Long Island Sound, long before the arrival of any white men. Their skill was greatly admired by the whites and many a native tribesman found work in the whaleboats of the English and Dutch.

The west end of Long Island was controlled at this time by the Dutch, and their settlements were located there. The dominant native tribe associated with the Dutch were the Carnarsee, they were affiliated with the Mohawk of the Hudson Valley. Thus the island was divided, the Montauk working with our English family ancestors, and the Carnarsee associating with our Dutch family ancestors. (You will find out more about our Dutch lines later.)

Getting back to the whaling. Whaling was not a year long occupation, as the whales were hunted during the months of October through March, when they were sighted off the coast. This meant that this was a mostly winter activity. I cannot imagine how difficult and dangerous it must have been to follow this occupation. The North Atlantic in the winter is a cold stormy place, and I for one would want no part of it. Tho no doubt the cold help keep a lid on the smell of cooking and possibly rotting whale meat.

During the warmer months Richard I, was a ship builder, he and his son, Richard II who was born in Southampton in 1661, worked together building ships. It is only said of Richard I, that he was a whale striker, his son Richard II, was said only to be a ships carpenter. Maybe Richard II, was content to work for his father and oversee the business instead of going out into the miserable cold sea, to hunt the mighty whales?!
Here are a few maps from that time. As you can see by the third, New York was even considered a part of Connecticut Colony for a time. Long Island was a place rich in resources and very strategically located, which is why the Dutch and English fought to control it. They were not the only ones fighting over Long Island however. The Indians too fought each other for control of it.

Here are some notes of interest taken from an article I found on a website. The complete article may be read here:

When Long Island was first settled by Colonists it was inhabited by 13 groups of Indians. The Canarsee, Rockaway, Merrick, Marsapeague, Secatogue, & Unkechaug lived on the South Shore. On the north were the Matinecock, Nesaquake, Setalcott, & Corchaug. On the east were the Shinnecock, Manhasset and the Montauks. The Unkechaug tribe occupied the South Shore of Brookhaven town with headquarters in Mastic, & Tobaccus was the sachem of this tribe in 1664. The North Shore of Brookhaven town was inhabited by the Setalcott tribe, which had headquarters at Setauket and was a very powerful group.
The Montauks, had most likely been, the most warlike tribe on the Island and had reduced the other groups to some kind of subjection. Wyandanch, the sachem of the Montauks, was grand sachem of all the tribes on the island and his signature was required on the early Indian deeds in addition to that of the sachem of the local tribe when land was purchased by the white colonists.
Wyandanch was a friend of the white's and this friendly interaction made their relations with the Indians of Long Island peaceful and harmonious. Wyandanch refused to enter into any conspiracy with the tribes from across the sound and always maintained a friendly attitude towards the whites. 

The Indians of the Island were tall and straight, muscular and agile, with straight hair and reddish brown complexion. Their language was the Algonquin, the highly descriptive tongue in which John Eliot wrote the Indian Bible, and was the language which greeted the Pilgrims at Plymouth in Massachusetts.     

In 1653 the Narragansett Indians, under Ninigret, one of their chiefs, invaded the territory of the Montauks, and commenced a war which lasted for several years, and would have exterminated the whole Montauk tribe if they had not received help from the white colonists. They were compelled to abandon their villages and flee for refuge to East Hampton, where they were kindly received and protected.
The commissioners sent supplies and military supplies to the towns of East Hampton and Southampton, and to the Indians. They also stationed an armed vessel in the sound under the command of Captain John Youngs, with orders to wreck Ninigret's canoes and destroy his forces if he attempted to land on the Island. By the time the war ended in 1657 the Montauks were left in a very weakened condition. 
(Richard Clarke I, fought to assist his neighbors the Montauk Indians against the Narragansett Indians in this war.) 
 From this map you can see both Southampton and Southold, Long Island. Richard Clarke I, was living in Southampton by 1650, and this where he fought in the Indian War which ended in 1657,  and where his first born son, Richard II, my 8th grt, grandfather was born in 1661. He also had a daughter, Elizabeth, born there in 1664. By the time his third child, John was born in 1667, he had moved his family across to Southold, Long Island, where he continued in business. Three more of his children were born in Southold, namely: Samuel born 1668; Joseph Joshua born 1670; and Ephraim born 1673.
Here is a sloop similar to what Richard Clarke I would have been building in the 1600's. As you can see it is not very large. He may have been also building much larger ships, we just lack a record.
This litho shows a scene of shore whaling on  Long Island, and is a good likeness of what it would have looked like during the time Richard Clarke I, was living there.
Tho this shore whaling litho is done in North Carolina, this would have looked very similar to the shore whaling done on Long Island, New York.
Being very difficult to find pictures of 1650's whale boats from Long Island, I have placed this one of a later date to give you some idea of how they looked.
I was happily amazed to find this picture of actual replica's of the Pequot traditional sea going whaling canoes. They look much the same as those made by the Montauk's of Long Island. These were made by the Mashpee Wampanog nation boat builders, using the traditional methods of burning and scraping out a tree to build these canoe's. They can be rightfully proud of such a heritage. These can be seen at the Plymouth Plantation Museum in Massachusetts.
I found this rather interesting and somewhat humorous idealized bronze of a whale striker, (located in New Bedford, Massachusetts), and include it here, so you can see how muscular a fellow would have to be to do this job. However, since my ancestor would have been doing this in the dead of winter in the freezing north Atlantic, I hardly think he would be striking this, "Fabio", like pose with his shirt off.

By 1678 we find Richard Clarke I, has moved his family once again, tho we do not know the reason why? He is still in the business of ship building and his son Richard likewise. He and his family were members of the above pictured church, the 1st Presbyterian church of Elizabethtown, New Jersey. (Tho this was not the original building they would have worshiped in, for the above was built in 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War.) They had also been members of the 1st Presbyterian church of Southampton, Long Island, New York. It was here one last child was born to Richard and Elizabeth in 1681, they named him  Benjamin.

Richard Clarke 1, died on board a ship bound for New York on April 1, 1697 his remains were returned to Elizabethtown, and he was buried in the graveyard above. In his will he left an estate of 159 pounds, 
5 shillings, 12 pence and numerous personal items, including a negro woman and child, valued at 32 pounds.
This would seem to establish that he was a man of some wealth and a slave owner. While I do not condone a thing of this nature, I will not gloss over history, nor make modern assessments based on our more enlightened understandings. People lived in the times allotted to them and made decisions accordingly, it may not be what we like, but it was what it was, and I will not apologize for what happened in the 1600's. I am not an apologist for history.

Richards wife, Elizabeth, my 9th grt. grandmother was born about 1640 in Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts and passed away in 1725 at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and was laid beside her husband in the cemetery pictured above. Other than these few facts and the children she bore, like many women in history, very little else is known of her life or the hardships she must have faced as an early colonist in America.