Skip to comments.The Saga of the LongKnife
Posted on 07/08/2020 6:55:06 AM PDT by w1n1
In a time of Looming war, a young boy is thrust into a man's shoes in colonial North Carolina to protect his family farm with a 40 Caliber Rifle & Tomahawk.
Twelve-year-old Wilbur Bowling had a smile on his face as he emerged from the forest that fringed his family's 25-acre farm on a cold March afternoon. He felt like a man. He looked like one too, at least in the opinion of Ruthie and Mary, his younger half-sisters. They were especially impressed with the stag-handled hunting knife he'd traded John Colby's wife for in exchange for his squirrel hunting services while her husband and oldest son were gone with the militia. Wilbur thought it was really his well-worn, homespun-wool blanket coat that made him look seasoned.
THE BOWLING FAMILY'S life, and Wilbur guessed everyone's life in the 13 American colonies, had turned upside down in the last nine months. Much had changed since the spring of 1775, when British soldiers trying to seize the arms and powder of the Massachusetts militia were met with armed resistance at Lexington and Concord.
As he walked toward home across their bare corn fields, Wilbur recalled the day in early May of '75 when he and his father first learned of the armed clashes in Massachusetts from a wagon driver they passed on the road to the county seat at Salisbury. By then, the news was more than a month old. Wilbur was confused about why the British soldiers who fought to protect them from the Indians and their papist French allies were now shooting at colonial militia. He asked dozens of questions, which his father patiently answered after pondering them over silences so lengthy, he sometimes thought his father had forgotten him.
That spring, his father decided to plant no tobacco. That led to a terse exchange with his mother. She was business-minded, and Father credited a good share of their family's prosperity to her. Tobacco was their most profitable crop. She didn't want to let it go, but Father convinced her. He said, A good many people of this colony are Whigs who've decided they won't bow to a government an ocean away that treats them like subjects rather than citizens.
What's happened in New England shows the scourge of war is already on us and God knows when and how it will end. You and the children can't eat tobacco.
Corn it was to be, and events before the fall harvest proved Father right. The royal governor dissolved the North Carolina general assembly elected by the people.
AT THAT TIME, the prospect that his father would be called off to war had filled Wilbur with dread. He was 11½ years old then, the oldest male child. The thought of taking on his fathers duties was overwhelming and frightening. He'd wondered, how could he manage a farm, a distillery and their three slaves, and keep them and his mother and younger sisters fed and protected? When, almost in tears, he confessed these fears to his parents, he was surprised by their beaming smiles. As long as he lived, he would never forget the embraces, and the exchange of words that followed. Revisiting them in his mind helped to bolster his spirits in the face of challenges. Read the rest of saga of longknife.
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