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Landon's Day (Miserable & BBQ'd Edition)


On this day [actually yesterday; sorry!] in 1776, a Tuesday, Landon Carter, several of whose slaves, led by a man named Moses, had recently escaped, entered the following into his diary:

Beale returned but brought no account of Moses and his gang. He went to the King and Queen camp on the point between the Rappahannock and Pianketank and talked with the commander. They had catched other people’s negroes but not mine. Beale reported that the men who followed my people in the Petty Auger when they were driven ashore was the Towles Point guard in a boat of Burgess Ball.
Another report from Guthrie, who I have a long time known to be an egregious liar, that some runaways told him that they saw some slaves who had run away from Dunmore, who told him that they saw Moses on the Island; who swore to them if he could get back he would return to his master; for Dunmore had deceived all the Poor Slaves and he never met so barbarous or so vile a fellow in all his life.
Beale owns the Captain of that guard told him the slaves were returning daily, most miserably and barbecued, and did aver the whole gang of slaves must leave the Island as soon as they could get off.
Beale tells me that when he went to ask for the Petty Auger which the minute men had taken from my People, Captain Berryman with an oath refused to give it up.

Read other entries from Carter’s diary.
IMAGE: On Gwynn’s Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, where Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, and a number of escaped slaves, had taken refuge

DISCUSSION

5 thoughts

  1. I’m snickering at “Petty Auger”… I’m assuming the transcriber was not familiar with near the same name “periauger”? … the boat.

  2. Hi, Marc. This doesn’t appear to be a transcription error, so I looked it up. According to the “The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia (Revised and Enlarged Edition),” Vol. 7 of 12, from 1914, the word “periagua” means a canoe made from the trunk of a single tree hollowed out. The dictionary then lists early variations on the word, including the corruption “petty-auger.”
    http://bit.ly/ovLCeQ
    I wondered what other words are the result of such corruptions and was led to this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_%28linguistics%29
    Turns out “parting shot” began its life as “Parthian shot.” Who knew?
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hi again, Marc. A colleague of mine is less convinced about my explanation and is looking into the possibility of a transcription error. We’ll report back when we know more.

  4. I first ran across the mention to the type of boat while reading South Carolina “Indian Trader” chronicles… the term was also used in NC early 1700s (perhaps before)… I think it was also used not only by the Indians but became a general term for fur traders… perhaps even becoming fairly large with a crude sail. I was surprised to see the term all the way to VA.

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