Notes From My Knapsack 4-16-15
A Body in the Well (pt. 5)
"Levi Rose is going to be fit to be tied," said Job Case as he walked down the hill towards Pataskala Creek.
"I've not been introduced to the Colonel," replied Hezekiah Mirk cautiously. From the dead body they'd just pulled from the well west of the Sugar Loaf, to not a few of the residents of Granville in the winter of 1815, there were still many which the newly arrived cutler hadn't met.
Case tugged at his layered waistcoats; the day was warming up quickly, and even heading downhill the effort was enough to make the blood pump on a once cool morning.
"The Colonel was always uncomfortable about that whole affair around the soldiers paroled, and those sent off up Lake Erie," puffed Case. Mirk nodded, not quite sure what the point was, but suspecting one was coming.
"When that old fool Hull surrendered us to the British there before Detroit, two years ago and more, the regulars became prisoners of war, but we militia were to be paroled, sent home on condition of not fighting again against the British. It's a usual thing between nations, this parole."
Mirk nodded again.
"Well, Caleb Munro wouldn't take the oath of parole." As Job Case spoken the light dawned for Hezekiah Mirk. "He was always a hot-tempered, willing to fight when no offense was meant, testy sort of man. He'd fought duels back East, even though they were quite out of fashion."
"So they put him with the regular army fellows on the transports up the lake?" asked Mirk.
"Precisely. He spat curses at us for going on along with the British request, said no man could make him promise not to fight tyranny if he chose, and if the price was more capitivity, well, they could do their best to hold him. And that was the last we saw of him," said Case with a touch of a guilty, aggrieved tone.
"And a number of those transports sank even before they'd left Maumee waters behind," added Mirk.
"So we made our way back to Granville, paroled from a fight we'd been surrendered to before we'd even had a chance to show our mettle. It was an embarrassment all around. We tried to help out Caleb's wife, Tirzah Munro… I mean, Williams."
"She remarried, then," nodded Mirk.
"Not until just a few months ago, well over a year before she'd asked the town to declare him dead, what with so many stories of everyone dead, sunk in those blasted bilgewater transports the British knew weren't safe. The bodies didn't wash up until the far end of Erie, what with the winds, and no one knew the odds."
Then, pausing at the side of the creek, where they rolled up their trousers after removing boots and stockings, Case added "Judson Williams was widowed himself that year, and they were compatible. We all wanted the best for them."
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him what you'd like to learn about Granville history at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.