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THE LEGEND OF LOUISA ST.CLAIR

from "The St.Clair Papers", pages 179-180:

The proposed Indian treaty at Duncan Falls, in 1788, being postponed and adjourned to Fort Harmar, the Indians prepared for peace or war, and were hostile to holding a convention to adjust peace measures under the guns of Harmar and Campus Martius. Young Brant, son of the famous chief of that name, came down the Tuscarawas and Muskingum trail with 200 warriors, camped at Duncan Falls, nine miles below Zanesville, and informed Governor St.Clair, by runner, that they desired the treaty preliminaries to be fixed there.

The Governor suspected a plot to get him to the Falls and abduct him, yet nothing had transpired of that import. He sent Brant's runner back with word that he would soon answer by a ranger. Hamilton Kerr was dispatched to Duncan's Falls to reconnoitre and deliver St.Clair's letter. A short distance above Waterford, Kerr saw tracks, and, keeping the river in sight, crept on a bluff and raised to his feet, when hearing the laugh of a woman, he came down to the trail, and saw Louisa St.Clair on a pony, dressed Indian style, with a short rifle slung to her body. Stupefied with amazement, the ranger lost his speech, well knowing Louisa, who was the bravest and boldest girl of all at the fort. She had left without knowledge of anyone, and calling "Ham" - as he was known by that name - to his senses, told him she was going to Duncan's Falls to see Brant. Expostulation on his part only made her laugh the louder, and she twitted him on his comical dress - head turbaned with red handkerchief, hunting shirt, but no trousers, the breech-clout taking their place. Taking her pony by the head, he led it up to the trail, and at night they supped on dried meat from Hamís pouch. The pony was tied, and Louisa sat against a tree and slept, rifle in hand, while Ham watched her. Next morning they pursued their way, and finally came in sight of the Indian camp. She then took her father's letter from the ranger, and telling him to hide and await her return, dashed off on her pony, and was soon a prisoner. She asked for Brant, who appeared in war panoply, but was abashed at her gaze. She handed him the letter, remarking that they had met before, he as a student on a visit from college to Philadelphia, and she as the daughter of General St.Clair, at school. He bowed, being educated, read the letter, and became excited. Louisa perceiving this, said she had risked her life to see him, and asked for a guard back to Marietta. Brant told her he guarded the brave, and would accompany her home. In the evening of the third day they arrived with Ham Kerr at the fort, where she introduced Brant to her father, relating the incident. After some hours he was escorted out of the lines, returned to the Falls, and went up the valley with his warriors, without a treaty, but in love with Louisa St.Clair. In January 1789, he returned, took no part in the Fort Harmar treaty, was at the feast, and asked St.Clair in vain for the hand of his daughter.

In the fall of 1791, Brant led the Chippewas for a time during the battle of Miami, where St.Clair was defeated, and told the warriors to shoot the general's horses, hut not him. St.Clair had four horses killed, and as many bullet holes in his clothes, but escaped unhurt. Had St.Clair given his daughter to young Brant, would the alliance have averted war?

LEGEND OF "THE POLWARTH THORN"

[Scotland Illustrated, by William Beattie. London. George Virtue & Co., 1838, pages 27-8]

Polwarth is one of those poetical localities which so frequently arrest the traveller's attention on the frontiers, and exert such pleasing or impressive influence on the fancy - the effect of past association rather than the force of existing circumstances or scenery. The legend of the Polwarth Thorn is founded on the following circumstances connected with the ancient fami1y of Sinclair, to whom this estate originally belonged. In the fifteenth century, it is said, the direct male line having failed, the inheritance devolved upon two daughters, co-heiresses of the family, whose favour became an object of no small ambition. Of their many suitors, preference was conceded to the sons of their powerful neighbour, Home of Wedderburn, and it so happened that the younger sister was beloved by the elder Home - George; while the elder placed her affections on the younger - Patrick. After death of their father the young ladies passed into ward of an uncle, who, anxious to prevent their marriage that he himself might become their heir, immured them in his castle, somewhere in the Lothians. In this dilemma the fair prisoners contrived to transmit a letter to their suitors by means of a mendicant woman, and they were soon gratified with the sight of the two Homes accompanied by a hand of men of the Merse, The uncle made vain resistance and remonstrance; his nieces were forcibly taken from him, and carried off in triumph.

On their arrival at Polwarth the two marriages were celebrated in due form, and the merry rural dances which succeeded under "the thorn" were the first to commemorate an event propitious alike to the houses of Wedderburn and Polwarth. From that date the custom was introduced of holding all marriage festivals at "Polwarth on the Green", which gave rise to a dance tune so named, to which songs have been successfully adapted. The trunk of this celebrated "nuptial tree" is still preserved in Marchmont House.

THE ORCADIAN HOMELAND

(MRS J.L. Sinclair)

Written on receiving a newspaper from the Northland Isles. The expression "gownsmen" is in allusion to the progress made in education, so many Orcadians appear to be gaining University honours.

In the land of the rocks and the heather,
The Northern Lights and the snow,
When the Islesmen assemble together,
I should like to be present, I know.
I should like to attend their meetings
A-near the cathedral chime;
As I cannot, I send kind greetings
To the "Land of the Runic Rhyme".

By mountain, by field, or by river,
Where duty impels to go forth,
Our hearts, like the needle, turn ever
To the dear island home in the North.
For our sires in the old time were sea-kings,
Who sailed o'er the waves alway,
Thus our pulses are stirred like a vikingís
At the sight of the salt sea spray.

To the land of the cross engrelee,
The land of the midnight sun,
My thoughts revert thitherward daily,
Ere ever the day is done.
And when darkness comes with the night-time.
As I put aside my work,
Once more I hear the bright-chime
O; the old cathedral kirk.

A message from o'er the Pacific
Has come to the Maoriland shore;
It acts as a magic specific,
Reviving the memories of yore.
Oftentimes I peruse in press page
The name of some schoolmate or friend,
Who has passed thro' this life's serried stages,
Enduring, in hope, to the end.

Here's "Good Luck" to our old fellow townsmen
And women, so tender and true -
Of whom many have since become gownsmen,
And many more likely to do.
And success to dear "Ultima Thule"
In all that is brightest and best!
May her children act wisely and truly,
Until they are called to their rest.

In the land of the rocks and the heather,
The Northern Lights and the snow,
When my countrymen gather together,
I should like to be present, I know,
Once more to hear at their meetings
Tales of the northland clime;
As I cannot, accept these greetings
For the sake of the olden time.

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