Liverpool / Pulling Manuscript 5
Richard Richmond's Narratives
The large Rattling Brook where Richard Richmond's , Nicholas Eton, and James Lilly furred last winter lies on the same side that that William Richmond lives and the mouth of it is about twelve miles higher up the Main Brook. They had their tilts pitched about ten miles from each other and the last was near forty miles up the Rattling Brook. It was up this brook that Richard Richmond was robbed of his traps last winter by the Indians and thus he related to me the circumstances.
"It was on the 17th of March last ( I mind the day because it was Patrick's Day)~my dog barked a great deal about noon but I did not heed him much, for I thought it was a wolf going by, as wolves often come near our tilts. But I went out soon after with my hatched on my shoulder , to cut some birch firewood, to dress my beaver with the next day, which was Sunday ( for it is customary with us, when at winter's quarters to have a roasted beaver for Sunday dinner).
I had not gone far from my tilt when I saw fresh footing of Indians in the snow. My hair stood on end on my head for I had no gun and nothing but my hatchet to defend myself. I hasten back to my tilt as fast as I could and then pulled off my pot-lid racket's ( which are round, about the size of the rim of a man's hat) and put on my Indian rackets ( which are the shape nearly of a boy's paper kite) loaded my piece with drop shot, took a little provision on my back, and set out in pursuit of the Indians.
I followed their tracks which led me to the different places where my traps had been set but they had taken them away then was determined if possible to come up with them. I followed their tracks two days and must have walked nearly forty miles at the end of which time I found I was within six miles of my tilt again. Then I gave over chase and my traps being stolen I went to the next tilt about ten miles distance where one of my fellow servants furred."
I told Richmond that I suppose if he had come up with the Indians there must have been murder committed on one side or the other.
"Yes," said he, "that there most certainly, for I would have fired in my own defense or they would have killed me."
Richmond had also a fleet of salmon nets taken away by the Indians this summer.
Mr. Miller told me the Indians by taking those nets and traps away did him thirty pounds injury.
William Cull another of Miller's crew was disturbed by the Indians in April last. He furred at two brooks called Northern and Peter's Brook ( that is he placed traps on and near both those brooks last winter to catch the beaver, foxes, etc. that frequented those parts. The two brooks are near together and lie almost opposite to Burn's Arm.
Cull told me that one morning about sunrise while he was putting on his clothes his dog barked very much and he herd something out by the corner of his tilt which he also judged as a wolf, but to his surprise instead of a wolf he saw print of feet in the snow which he knew must be the tracks of Indians. He also heard their rackets make a noise at their backs. There were two of them but the bushes hid them from his sight. He went into his tilt again and put on his rackets, then went out and took up all his traps, hid them, and hid and destroyed all he could not carry away with him. Then with his fur, etc., on his back made the best of his way to his master's house.
I asked Cull if he should have fired at the Indians if he had had an opportunity. He told me yes had he known it was Indians when hey past by his tilt he would have removed some fir bows that stooped up a kind of window and had a shot at them.
He also remarked to me that had he known it was Indians he could have called in his dog and opened his door when perhaps they may have been induced to come in and then he could have shot them ( as he could have laid an ambush for them had he known they were near).All these pretty schemes did he amuse himself with to have killed an Indian. Aye yes, said he, repeating one of his former schemes , had I but known it was Indians when they passed my tilt I would have whipped my gun out the window and had them at once, so little did he think of shooting an Indian or two.
In short the people who reside at this part of Newfoundland seem to think it no crime to take away a life or the property of those unenlightened wretches for they look on them as a race of men who take every opportunity to injure them and think it right and doing themselves justice to retaliate.
I remember a man by the name of Creazy, an old Northern furrier ( who I passaged with on a voyage to Newfoundland) , talking very often about his shooting at and wounding Indians with as much coolness and as little concern as I would speak of shooting a duck. The Indian men are often called Cock Indians by those gentlemen salmon catchers and furiers as they are called anything else.
Cull told me that he was afraid to follow either of the Indians who had disturbed him as the took two different paths and he feared if he had followed the tracks of either the other in the meantime may have gone to his tilt and stolen his furs.
He told me he measured the print of one of the Indian rackets , for they put them on a small distance from his tilt, though they had them off when they passed his tilt as more dispatch can be made without them on a beaten path. The prints of the rackets measured 3 ft. 6 in. in length and two feet in breadth, the rims very narrow and one board under the foot only.
Cull also told me that in the summer of 1790, as he with Thomas Taylor and four others of their crew were returning to Mr. miller's in his large boat full of hoops, they saw on opening Indian Cove two canoes; and keeping in towards the cove saw the wigwams were inhabited , for they were covered with sails which on their near approached were stripped off and by the time they got to the wigwams the Indians had fled into the woods, and left very little behind them but their canoes and their salmon net which was spread out on the beach. Miller says they had stolen the net from him a short time before.
In the wigwam were some salmon and sculpin lately caught with some English fishing gear for there were the hooks and line baited with squid. The sculpin were split like codfish.
The canoe's, salmon nets and everything Miller's people thought worthwhile they brought away and shortly after saw a canoe under sail coming towards the cove but on the Indians who were in her discovering Miller's boat they took down their sail and paddled under the shore and were soon out of sight. The canoes they brought away had also sails belonging to them for Cull told me he saw two masts and their paddles together in the bushes and judged the sails belonging to them were those spread over their wigwams when they first saw them.
Thomas Taylor is Miller's head man. He is very cautious in what he says about the expedition to Charle's Brook as well as the expedition with Peyton and Miller in 1781 which I gave reason to believe was very barbarous and fatal one to the poor savages, I had herd of Peytons expedition before I came to the Exploits, and took great pains to sift what I could respecting it; but I fear there was much more done than they thought proper to let me know.
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