Liverpool/Pulling Manuscripts 2
1792 Pulling Report ~Green's Pond ~ August
Robin Gilham whom I saw here informed me there were three or four canoes of those aformentioned Indians at Ragged Harbour on Friday last.
William Elliott who resides at Ragged Harbor was going along near the seaside with another man and a boy to set some fox traps and coming to a pond fired at some ducks. Then going on a little farther came to an Indian Wigwam with a fire in it and some birds roasting; there were also some deer skins and other Indian (crafts ?) which they had just left, for Elliott, by going to the landwash (sea shore) saw four canoes of Indians not a quarter of a mile off , but paddling from the shore as fast as possible. There were only three or four Indians to be seen in each canoe. Elliott supposes there were a large party of them by a number of canoes as it's customary when those savages are suprised by any of the British to hide in their canoes, all but few to paddle away.
Elliott judges , as most certainly was the case that the Indians were put to flight by the report of the gun fired at the ducks. He says he did not meddle with anything belonging to them which certainly is possible for God forbid all the Northern furriers and salmon catchers should be alike.
He supposes they would come again in a little time to their wigwam as he has known them to do before when he has routed them in a similar way.
As recent occurrences are what I am endeavoring to collect. Thomas Gilham [ Could this be today's Gillingham ?] cannot furnish me with any that has come within his own knowledge but told me several circumstances respecting those people some years ago as he has lived in Gander Bay these thirty years.
Thomas Gilham, as well as every man who I have conversed with on the subject of civilizing those harassed mortals, joins me in opinion of the probability as well as utility of the undertaking.
The last time Gilham saw any of the Indians was four years ago and four of them ran into the woods and left a canoe in the land wash which he brought back.
He also told me that an old man by the name of Hollett, who I have heard frequently spoken of, as being on friendly terms with the Indians has been dead these six years.
This old man who was a salmon catcher and lived amongst the Northern brooks, many years, has frequently met with and parted from the Indians without offering to hurt each other, as I have been very credibly informed. One instance I remember being told where they played him a trick by taking away his boat, while he was absent from it and carrying it over the other side of the river, and when he came to the place where he had left it, they stood laughing and making fun at the old man, on the other side; and he was obliged to walk some distance to where he could cross the river but when he came to his boat, he found it had not received the smallest injury.
1792 Pulling Report ~ up the River Exploits ~ August
Mr. Harry Miller , who is the chief resident up this river, aquainted me, he had sent eight of his men, the latter end of February, to go up the Main Brook [ The Main Brook was a local name for the Exploits River] in pursuit of some Indians who had the preceding summer, taken away some of his salmon nets, traps and many other things, then and at many different times before.
I saw seven out of the eight who went on the laudable expedition and got from them the particulars of it, as well as I could.
Thus William Richmond told it to me.
Thomas Taylor, my brother Richard ( nick name Double Dick), James Lilly, William Hooper, Nicholas Eton, Dumb Jack, ( all which I saw) James Greene ( who is now in England) and myself set out from Mr. Miller's house on a Tuesday morning with our guns, ammunition, provisions, etc. at our backs in pursuit of the Indians, fully resolved to kill everyone we saw, both big and small, to be revenged on them for killing Thomas Rowsell, the summer before, and stealing from us, as they do. But, Bless God, our own consciences , when we came to the point, would not suffer us to do it. We travelled up the Main brook [Exploits river] ( and when we came to a (water)fall, took the path which the Indians make to go around) from the Tuesday morning, until the Saturday following, before we came up to our pursuits, and walked at the rate of 20-miles a day, for it was as good walking as I ever knew on the ice. We kept on from sunrise until sun set and only stopped a few minutes; two or three times in the course of a day, to eat a mouthful of bread and take a drink of water, so eager were we for revenge.
It was about the middle of the day, on Saturday, when we perceived fresh footings of the Indians in the snow. We then stopped, freshed primed our guns and we were determined to destroy all we could. We walked about a mile farther when we saw their canoes in a little cove. One of the Indians came out on the hither most point of the cove and called out ' yoho' three times. We answered 'Halloo'. The Indian ran back towards the wigwam which we by this time saw and presently came out on the point again with another following him. We then were near enough to distinguish four wigwams and the Indians, greatly frighten, came in a body to the brook side. Says I to Thomas Taylor, "Let's give 'em fair play, if they run we won't fire, but if they don't we will indeed."
So we all said, for our consciences pricked us, and would not let us do as we a few minutes before intended.
As we proceeded towards the wigwams the Indians seein who we were some caught up some thing, some another,many their children and all ran away up the Main Brook
[ Exploits River] , we and our dogs persuing them.
We could only come up with two women, but our dogs came up with more, and if we had not called them off, I believe, would have torn some of them to pieces.
The women I catched was a young good looking woman , who, when she found i was nearly overtaking her, threw a naked infant from her breast sprawling into the snow( to make use of William Richmond's own words "just like a young swile".
When I came up with her she cried very much and was desperately frighten but on Thomas Taylor bringing her child to her and putting it into her arms she became more pacified. the other was a woman sixty or seventy year old and was at first very sulky indeed.
After we had taken the woman we did not follow any more of them but came back to the wigwam and brought the woman with us. We than began to cook a kettle and opened a pack of vension. The Indians had preserved forty or fifty packs (by the frost) which we found in the wigwams. All the bones of the deer was taken out and the flesh pressed togeather in packs of four or five [feet], the longest way.
We gave the women some bread and bit it before them , it was good to eat. They eat of it and so they did some of the venison we roasted. The young women eat very hearty and seemed pretty reconciled. After dinner we got togeather as many deer skins as we could drag away with a few other things.We made the deer skins up in bundles, one for each of us.
We stayed all night in one of the wigwams and gave the women to understand they were to go away with us early in the morning.
The young woman seemed perfectly willing ( she made two pair of moccasins, at night by the light of the fire for her self, two pairs for the old woman and a pair of arm sleeves for her child, all out of deer skin).
We did not reach Mr. miller's again until the Saturday following, being loaded and some snow falling.