Three Rivers
Hudson~Mohawk~Schoharie
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume I, Page 213.-- A Visit to Fort Johnson, and an Explosion.-- Not long after Sir William Johnson had been trading at Fort Johnson, whose traffic was with the Indians and frontier settlers, the following novel incident befel one of the latter customers: A German from Stone Arabia, having been to the store on some errand, purchased, among other articles half a pound of gun powder, which, as he mounted his horse to return home, he carefully deposited in his pocket. With a well filled tobacco pipe in his mouth, he set his face homeward; and as puff after puff of smoke curled around his head, driven in his face by a gentle breath of air, his thoughts were, no doubt, with his family, and the happiness his return would inspire. The pleasing reverie must have been interrupted by the dread imaginings of hostile Indians, for his visit was about the time of the French war, and, with his fancy on tiptoe, he unconsciously slipped his pipe into the pocket with the powder and urged on his horse.

As the eye of the traveler was scanning a dark and suspicious spot, he was suddenly shot from his horse by a party of Indians, at least so he thought. On recovering a little from his fright, he found himself beside the road, with his clothes much torn, on fire in parts, and a strong smell of sulphur about them. Seeing no scalping knife in the hand of a hideous Indians ready to take off his crown, as he at first anticipated, he cast about him to make out what had happened. "Mine dunder!" he uttered half aloud, as he regained his feet with trembling limb and bristling hair, "vot is der matter now!" Feeling for his pipe, his accustomed agent to drown his troubles, it was gone; and then flashed upon his mind what had happened. As he gathered up his tobacco box, and such other effects as the explosion had spared, and started on to overtake his horse, he uttered, if not with a grateful heart, certainly not in the best of humor: " I see how it vosh; I poots mine bipe on mine powter, and pe dunder, dot shoots him off. Yah, and dot's all!" After running some distance he regained his horse, which did not like half pound charges, and remounting, he rode home without further adventure, coming to the sage conclusion that a lighted pipe and gun powder had better not be carried in the same picket. Family tradition from Hon. Charles Gray.

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