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The Story of Indian Jamie

by Robert Dinsmore, "the Bard of Derry."

"The Story of James Cochrane" or "Indian Jamie" as written early in the Nineteenth Century by Robert Dinsmoor of Derry, New Hampshire. It is claimed that a son of James Cochrane entered the English Navy and became the famous Admiral Cochrane." Handwritten, leather-bound book executed by Dr. Sarah Ann Kendall, M.D., as a gift to her brother, William Paine Kendall and his family, Christmas, 1913.

James COCHRANE emigrated from Derry, Ulster co, Ireland and married Anne Rankin. He died in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was the GGG grandfather of Charles S., Dr. Sarah A., and William Paine Kendall.

Give ear my friends and let me relate
A tale that now appears of ancient date!
Not less its interest for being old,
For children like to hear old stories told.
And think that something useful be learned,
Especially when parents are concerned.
The hero of our tale was "indian Jamie".
And lest you for obscurity should blame me,

A little sketch of history I’ll give,
And tell you where his parents once did live.
In Ulster County, Erin’s Northern strand,
Five shiploads joined to leave their Native land.
Oppressed by tithes and rent and harsh dominion,
‘Twas liberty they sought for – their opinion.
These twenty families embarked in each
And had a minister to pray and preach.

Here would I note, and have it understood,
These emigrants were not Hibernian blood,
But Caledonian whose ancestors had fled
From Argyleshire where Protestants had bled.
In days of Charles the first and James the second,
When persecution was a virtue reckoned,
And taken shelter on the Irish shore,
In Ulster, scarce a century before.

Four of these ships in Boston harbor landed.
The fifth by chance in Cases bay was stranded.
When disembarked they knelt down on the shore
And worhipped God who’d brought others safely o’er.
The mighty deep into a country free,
Where all might have religious liberty.
Those twenty familys in Concert sang
Jehovah’s praise, till sea and desert rang.

Who’d led them forth from Pope and Prelate’s camp,
True Protestants of Presbyterian stamp.
These they gave up in one united prayer,
Themselves and children to the Almighty’s care.
In seventeen hundred eighteen, August Fourth,
Our ancestors received their freedom’s birth.
But sixteen of those families thought best
To seek a settlement some further West.

They came to Northfield since called Londonderry,
The others chose near where they were to tarry.
Among the rest was one of Cochrane name,
Of no small note, who with these strangers came.
On the main land this father settled down,
This place is called Brunswick, of renown.
From Bowdoin college a few rods is seen
The corn in cellar where his house had been.

How famed McKeen of late his pupils led,
And by his lore profound made useful Science spread.
The Cochrane stranger’s oldest son was James,
But eight years old and now our notice claims.
When Jamie’s blood had felt the genial heat
Of sixteen summers high his pulses beat
With manly vigor, anxious then to show
What his strong nerves and dauntless heart could do.

He then from bears would guard his father’s corn
Armed with his gun shot-bag and powder horn.
That trusty piece had often stopped the buck
The whistling partridge and the flying duck.
Fearless he’d lie behind the hemlock log
Till dawning day dispersed the misty fog.
The howling wolf that he was wont to hear,
And catamorant made music in his ear.

The sly marauding bear at dead of night
Came like a thief who wished to show the light.
Young Jamie heard the lusty cornstalks crack,
But nothing saw, for all was dark and black.
The thrifty hill he levelled with his paw,
Then stretched him down to fill his heavy maw.
Smartly he feasted on the milky maize
While misty clouds obscured the moon’s pale rays.

At length daylight began to illume the East.
And Jamie’s eye discovered the grizzley beast.
Arising slow, in hideous form he stood,
His bowels aching with the luscious food.
Short pause he made, in mopish motion then
He hobbled off to listen in his den.
His proper course not far from Jamie led,
When gun was levelled at the fellow’s head.

Well-loaded cocked and primed he kept his aim
Until the beast to proper distance came.
Then sprung the lock his father oft had fired
The shot was fatal and the beast expired.
This manlike action raised our hero’s name;
His bosom panted for some higher fame.
As deeds of valour added to courage strength,
So this young hero proved it out at length.

Like that young Hebrew stripling when he slew
A fear and [l--n] more courageous grew.
And fearless fought and killed Goliath too.
Young Jamie’s heart no lessons yet oppressed.
But in soft slumbers seek to silent rest
When stretched upon his homely bed of straw
He in his sleep an awful vision saw.
A forest wild, standing far and wide.

Dispersed with mountains, vales, swift streams and surging tides
When tracts of all description wildly round
And savage men traversed the gloomy grass;
When tawny squads in secret ambush lay.
To catch white men who luckless there might stray.
And now and then upon his ear there fall
A shriek terrific or a hideous yell.
The cataracts roar seemed to absorb the sound,

And made strange echoes through the glen rebound.
His lusty fancy painted all things bright
And placed the phantom plainly in his sight.
But – all at once – appeared to close the scene,
A fiend-like man of dark and ghastly mein,
Armed with a knife a hatchet and a gun, --
The wars armed like him followed on the run.
Their long black hair hung dangling in the sun.

Swiftly they sped their way and passed him by
When Oh! Alas! He heard a__ in first cry.
The hapless child had wandered out to play,
These fiends kidnapped it for their lawful prey.
To scalp – to kill – to sell – just as a savage may.
Horror [a__ ?] seized our youth and in his dream
He surely thought he heard his mother scream.
Her bitter cries he could distinctly hear.

My Jamie’s lost! My Jamie’s lost I fear!
At this he woke, and joy it to him seemed
To find his whole a visionary dream.
Awoke and now sat smiling on the dawn.
And spread her way hushed o’er the lawn.
The moon was bright, the skies, serene and fair.
The cheerful birds with music filled the air.
Sweet nature’s charms gave Jamie’s heart delight.

And banished all the horrors of the night.
His frugal mother hastily prepared the morning meal
The father’s household shared
True Yankee food, made of sweet indian corn.
Not oatseed "sowau" supped with spoons of horn
As Erin’s sons first filled their hungry maws;
These quaffed the paste first made by indian squaws,
Sweet milk and "hasty pudding", rightly warmed

Was their repast – by Barlow’s sonnet fancied
Where all had feasted on the wholesome fare
To Heaven the sire returned a grateful prayer.
Thus to their labor all by order went.
But James was on a special errand sent
O’er hills and faced he ne’er had seen before,
With musket armed and ammunition store
His mother placed a knapsack on his back.

With things convenient, not a Christmas pack
In hunting garb, an archer well-equipped
Like Hagar’s son thus through the wood he tripped;
No road he sought for but the watery flint.
Where haply he might find a flock of ducks.
He loved to tell how many he could kill
With his old musket and his dextrous skill.
At one good shot he thought to fill his wallet

And with his booty please his parents’ palate.
He through the marshes sought the distant creek
Of which he’d heard the Indian hunters speak
Who sauntered sometimes round his father’s farm.
In quest of bears and called themselves to warm,
The old gray sachem told his father where
He’d shot a moose and where he’d killed a bear,
And where, some distance off, a river ran.

But lately known to any Englishman
Where mighty tumult trembling on the rocks
Invited thither wild fowl in great flocks
Which fed the marsh extending far below
Where the Great Waters daily ebb and flow.
The stream though large he did not rouse at all
But at the bottom of the waterfall
A minor river, emerging from the wood,

Which circled round and weighted with the flood.
This ground description Jamie bore in mind,
And eagerly he sought that place to find,
But often paused and gave a listening ear
To see if he the cat smart could hear.
At length he heard the tumbling waters soar
Descend o’er rocks and dash against the shore,
And soon he found the rapid waterfall

By crossing first the creek a river small,
Which circling sound made many an isthmus clad
With foliage sweet, one which the water fowl fed
While there he stood in wonder and amaze.
In silence still on this expanse to gaze,
A flock of ducks through the thick air above
With whistling wings are lighted in a corn
Within short distance, Jamie cocked his gun.

And made towards his game upon the [river?]
The frighted ducks confused left the water
And as they rose Jamie’s deadly shot did scatter.
The aim was true, and plainly he could tell
Many lay dead and others wounded fell.
He left his trusty musket on the shore,
His powder-horn shot-bag and all his store
Except his knapsack which he thought his duty
To fill with game and carry home the booty.
Then in the flood he dashed not fearing trouble

The roaring stream he valued not a bubble.
With ducks and rakes his knapsack soon was filled
No matter then how many he had killed,
He knew it was his father’s favorite food.
And often he’d heard his mother call it good,
Who by her skill could make them taste and smell’
Like savory meat that Isaac loved so well.
Not to deceive as sly Rebecca did

Her old blind husband with a well-dressed kid.
Flushed with success he turned toward the shore
When lo! He spied an armed Sagamoor
Take up his gun his powder-horn and shot.
Ten Indians warriors stood there on the spot
Launched from a thicket where they sometimes lay
To pick up while men who might hither stray.
Some strange conjectures troubled Jamie’s mind

But what this [wameant?] he felt completely blind.
He knew not French and Indian formed alliance
Which to humanity bade all defiance,
That all white persons whether young or old
If taken captive were by Indians sold.
For every scalp a certain price was paid,
Quebec was then the heart for such a trade.
To get the English settlements destroyed

The French with gold those savages employed.
Our hero now advancing was the shore
Could recognize the aroused Sagamoor,
The very phiz! he’d seen it oft before
When hunger drove them to his father’s door
Where hospitality he was taken in
And treated as a neighbor or a kin.
James carefully approached him from the strand,

Bowed, called him "Father," offered him his hand
And humbly asked him to give back his gun.
He frowned, "Me no your father – you no be my son."
With this he found the warriors all on [uster?]
And James was soon surrounded in a cluster.
In vain he plead [sic], and urged his parents honor,
Said he’d go back and come to them tomorrow.
"No! Me no trust you" was the short reply,

"You no come back, you white men all will lie."
"Your fathers over the great waters came
To take our land, and kill and eat our game.
"You shoot our bears, though Indian want their grease.
"You shoot our ducks and carry off our geese,"
"You kill our moose and deer, no hear our speeches,"
"Eat up their flesh, and wear their skins for breeches;"
You take our fish and carry off our clams,"

"Indian us cross great water to catch lambs!"
"We no go there to plunder white mans house,"
"We no go there to kill and eat his cows."
"Indian no wish to take from him his land."
"This country ours, all given us by command
Of the Great Spirit cause he was so good,"
"Gave all these creatures for poor Indians food."
"You no be here again you great pappoose"

"To shoot our ducks and carry off our goose."
"You father taught you thief! See knapsack pack’d
With Indian game, we caught you in the act."
You be our captive man yourself the cause."

"Your life the forfeit by our Indian laws."
"We take you Canada there you sell,
But we us know, your scalp may do as well."
Young Jamie found submission to their sway
Surrendered all and seemed their willing prey.
Some days were spent in wandering through the wood,
At length twas requisite to seek some food.
This necessary object to pursue

They thought it best to separate, two and two.
Our hero fixed as Indian prisoners are
When they take captive in a time of war,
Was placed between two warriors armed as guard,
Who both seemed pleased that they this honor shared.
He, gun and all, was placed in their command,
All to be called for at the keepers hand.
The old gray sachem vested with command

Gave orders – "March to Canada!" offhand.
The guard he charged not in their speed to slack
Till they should meet their brothers in Quebec.
When the old sachem orders gave to start,
Something like hope then thrilled through Jamie’s heart.
Then all in pairs in different ways set out.
The two who guarded Jamie made one scout,
And safely them conducted him about.

He found it best his masters to obey
Nor make the least attempt to run away.
His interest feigned in everything they had
If Fortune favored them he seemed right glad.
And if she frowned it seemed to make him sad.
He seemed to place his life in their protection,
And by hypocrisy gained their affection.
As they grew intimate he seemed contented.

They lived like brothers when they got acquainted.
He seemed to take such pleasure in their sport –
They never dreamed that he would do them hurt.
His fear to meet some other Indian scout
Would make him stay with them they made no doubt.
But faithful to their charge kept him in sight
And had him sleep between them every night.
They oft indulged him with a gun and hatchet

What they commanded quickly he’d dispatch it.
To build a wigwam he became expert –
Could shoot a duck or deer, and dress it smart.
A willing servant he to them became
And when they lodged took care of guns and game.
Such confidence they in their prisoners put
His access had to all within their hunt.
To keep thier guns and ammunitions dry

He careful was to set or lay them by.
He by their breathing knew when they were sleeping,
They never dreamed that he was vigil keeping.
It was his part to give the fire fuel,
They did not dream that Jamie’s heart was cruel.
But oh! What honor in his bosom wrought;
When he upon his sad condition thought!
And every day his case more desperate grew.

As near and nearer to Quebec they drew.
What Sachem told him "be remembered still –
We take you Canada and there you sell –
"But we no know – your scalp may do as well."
"My God!" thought Jamie, "must this be my doom?"
"Unless I do a dreadful act assure."
"I am compelled this adage old to try—"
"To desperate cases desperate means apply."

"And would that act be wonder called [prolpense?]"
"Most surely not, it must be self-defense."
"That [?Keritta] lady who look [sisecra?] in
Might be more justly charged with murderous sin."
"When, faint and way, he lay on the floor,
She to secrete him covered him all o’er.
"She brought him butter in a lowly dish
"And gave him milk when water was his wish.

"In her protection he securely slept.’
"While she with nail and hammer to him crept.
"His head uncovered wanting nothing more
"Then through his temples nailed him to the floor."
"That daring deed with hammer and with nail
Brought down God’s blessing on the good-wife Joel."
"This woman’s act was false and cruel too
As mine would be if I those Indians slew."

"And yet the hour is come defenceless now they lie."
"The blow I strike must kill them, or I die."
"I must be daring resolute and bold
"I in my hand the dreadful weapon hold,"
Then rising up to give the fatal stroke
By accident a small dry stick he broke,
And when it snapped one of the Indians woke,
And asked him what he wanted, Jamie said,

"The fire wants fuel." The stick he on it laid
Then down he lay, as if to rest the better,
This Indian thought that nothing was the matter
And fell asleep more soundly than before.
And soon they both began to wheeze and snore.
James rose again when they were sleeping sound
And at one blow he killed one on the ground,
Then for the second draw a stroke far bolder,

But missed his head and hit him in the shoulder,
The Indian then, arising to his feet,
In fearful rage did Jamie’s hatchet meet,
Which soon dispatched him brainless there he fell,
And never knew what hurt him nor could tell.
Our hero then soon left this dire abode
And frantic ran some miles nor sought the road.
At length he stopped to take a little breath

And think upon those Indian’s tragic death.
How far he’d gotten from the Indian hut
He could not tell for he was light of foot.
The moon and starts his only guide this night.
Those heavenly orbs shone luminous and bright.
And seemed to give his eyes some new delight.
His mind still fancied sometimes reasoned well,
He said, "I die sure as those Indians fell,"

"I cannot live deprived of all subsistence,
"What means have I to keep me in existence."
"What have I gained if I must die of hunger?"
"I must go back, I’ll think upon’t no longer."
"There gun and hatchet and some good provision
Place in my knapsack with some ammunition."
Then back he went as fast as he could go,
And found some light although the fire was low.

He roused it up, there the two Indians lay;
He scalped them both and bore their scalps away.
A load for him packed up as Indians do.
And homeward then he did his course pursue.
In quest of food he had no need to roam,
His pack supplied him to his father’s home.
James entered in, laid off his pack and gun.
His sire with joy ecstatic kissed his son.

His mother shrieked, and instant swooned away,
And overcome with terror sometime lifeless lay.
Poor woman! She imagined him twas his ghost,
And not her Jamie’s body that was lost,
The girls threw water in their mother’s face,
And slapped her hands till life again took place.
James to her nose held an old burning shoe,
As in hysteric fits he’d often seen those do,

Which raised the wind and quickly gave her breath,
Her pulse returned and she was saved from death.
The family soon brought her to the air
And amongst the rest she spied her Jamie there.
While to her [ucation?] bosom he was pressed,
She for such favors God her Savior blest.
When she revived, his story she must hear it,
And James related all as she could bear it.

His father’s gun and his own knapsack too
And his accoutrements he placed in view.
The Indian’s arrows, hatch, and each gun
He next produced as trophies he had won.
When he a captive two stout Indians slew
Then from his wallet forth their scalps he drew,
Which showed his prowess and his victory grand
As did Goliath’s head in David’s hand.

But Oh! What horrid panic pierced them through
Whene’er those Indian scalps were brought to view!
"We live too near these tribes," the father said.
"They soon will find two of their brothers dead."
"And seek revenge, the Sachem he can tell
Who did the deed, he knew our Jamie well,
And knows his father and the place we dwell.
"We must be gone for we shall be pursued."

"These savages will surely seek our blood.
"No other way can we their hands avoid."
"Come! Let us go or we shall be destroyed!"
"From hence we’ll fly as Jacob’s household fled."
"When his two sons killed Haman’s household dead."
Then all set out with they will could carry
And kept this course till they arrived in Derry.
Their numerous friends made all their troubles cease,

And these good people lived and died in peace.
There "Indian James" succeeded in their stead
Till age extreme laid him amongst the dead.

"Robert Dinsmore the author of this little epic was approaching old age when John Greenleaf Whittier was a lad, and some of his [JGW] early and unpublished verses were dedicated to "The Bard of Derry."
Seattle, Washington
Christmas nineteen hundred and thirteen –
Sarah Kendall

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