Green Eyes Smiling
edited: Monday, September 04, 2006
By MaryFrances W Williamson
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, September 03, 2006
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The boat had landed and my dearest was suppose to be coming in from Scotland. It had been a year since mama and papa had wrestled the stormy sea coming to America along with my younger brother and I. It seemed like years had past since I saw my love. He was to come later from Dundee with my Uncle Richard and Aunt Sarah.
As The Knickerbocker came in closer , I could see a bright green color as it flashed across the way and the tall slim figure looked very familiar to me. I thought, "Oh, Gosh! If only that could be Ephraim"! He was of Scotch and Irish ancestry. His grandparents had gone from Ayr, Scotland to Dublin, Ireland and then back to Ayr, Scotland by the way of Dundee. There on a very special day I met Ephraim two years before we left Scotland for the colonies. His father was a handsome man who could draw attention to every detail to what he was saying. But it was my father who really made Ephraim stand attention and my love for him was so great . I thought I had to spend the rest of my life with him.
He teased me about my almond eyes and thick black lashes which were rare to a true Scot. I loved his way and my parents knew for sure we were right for each other.
Sure enough, as we got up to the dock , one by one each immirgant flocked to the shore and just as their feet landed on Maryland soil there seemed to be a sigh of relief that the trip had ended and they all were safe . I was standing with open arms waiting, waiting! Finally there was Ephraim- His broad shoulders drawn back as to balance his heavy baggage that almost over powered him. The moment I looked into his green eyes smiling , so as to say he was on top of the world, I knew this trip had been a miracle to me. It took weeks to get my mail from him and we did keep in touch with a letter every other month. We discussed how we would get married and have a family, most likely, in Maryland or Virginia. King George of England was taxing everything though and it just seemed like you never had enough to go around . There was a whisper about that some of the settlers were really getting upset with England and some rumbling about how we are gonna have to take matters in our own hands.
All that seemed far away from two young people in love and we had other things to discuss rather than the British tories who had actually taken up residence and the thought that the colonists was suppose to house them and feed them was more than the men folk around our place could stomach.
As the days went by , Ephraim and I spent long hours discussing our wedding plans and surely papa would ask our minister to set aside the time and we would just invite all our family and friends over for a nice wedding celebration.
It was months later that we finally settled in as man and wife. I had never felt as secure as I did being part of someone else.
Ephraim was so gentle and his warmess in character just made everyone love to be around him. If anyone needed anything ; they came to Ephraim. He took action.
We both took our wedding vows seriously. John, my younger brother, drew a beautiful portrait of us on our wedding day. Everyone thought John was a great artist and when they saw the portrait of Ehpraim and me- they were convinced . Papa had that canvas especially brought over from France on a merchant ship but the taxes were so high he almost could not afford it. We thought we were very blessed to have it.
One morning as Ephraim was discussing the flax growers with a few men who had gathered to talk about what was going on- I was busy about making our morning meal of porriage and over hearing the conversation I was confused as to what was going on. I gathered it was something they did not want to upset me with because ladies were to be about our own business and not worry about being safe or taken care of. It was the man's job to worry about things outside the home.
I heard the words, Stamp Act, and I drew closer and closer to hear what they were saying. One old man , Mr. Horn had fought in the French and Indian war and he was very knowledgable about what was going on. His ancestors came from Ireland two generations ago and he knew what he was doing.
They were ready to fight if it meant being free from England and become independent colonies. The men were going to be called minutemen. Ephraim saw I was very nervous so he came over and put his arms around me assuring me that everything was going to be okay.
I knew that I just had to stay put and be quite and listen because I could learn more that way than butting in on what they were planning. After all, women did not do that sort of thing so I just sat back and prayed for them.
The men folk had their muskets ready in their hands and had plans to use them if need be.
One morning about daylight at Lexington - it was in the Springtime of the year, there were many minutemen who were waiting on the common , right near the village church. To the British troops surprise they opened their eyes to see the colonists arms drawn standing all lined up. Someone opened fire which they called it the "shot heard round the world." Our people were driven from Lexington . The British headed toward Concord destroying whatever they could in sight. As the British were leaving and were passing the people they hurried up to them with their muskets drawn. Many of the British were left in the road .
I heard Ephraim tell Mr. Horn that he would let him read his copy of Thomas Paines "Common Sense". That phamplet urged the people to fight for our freedom from England.
I heard them talk about how after the leaders had met and discussed plans to become free; they had to appoint someone to become Commander of the Continental Army. Since we did not have but very little authority we had to do something. There was a meeting in Philidelphia and a very important man, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia where Ephraim and me wanted to live before all this got started.....Mr. Lee wrote , "That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states."
I was amazed as I was kept informed by my husband that on 4th of July 1776 on a peice of parchment paper was written the Declaration of Independence. Now the colonists could not go back on it and they saw before them a very big task.
Now there were some of the colonists who just could not depart from their mother country and fight the British eventhough they did not like what the King was doing to us. They would just have to leave the colonies because I guess the feeling was , if you are not for us , your against us!
As time went on there were many things happening.
My eyes came to tears as Ephraim shared with me how at Valley Forge Washington's little army was really in dire straights. They had fought so long their shoes were worn out and trekking through that snow with barefeet made me tremble with sorrow as I heard the news. Their food was really giving out and their tattered clothes was a mess.
We got some help from France because Benjamin Franklin went over there and made friends with the French.
Ephraim told me about how one man shared with him a story of a family who moved over the Appalachian Mountains and had made their home there. They kept being raided by Indian mobs and since the British was in charge trying to make the colonists enemies to them- the Gov. of VA, Patrick Henry aided in carrying out a plan to get independance for them too.
My husband's father, a good papa- had been gone for several months and we did not know where he was. It seemed the war for independence had gone on forever and we were all getting tired and anxious for it to be over.
Finally , as 1781 came- time rolled along and little did we know that our beloved who had held the hands of his bride and repeated after the minister, "to death do we part". Had raised a Godly family of 10 children, 6 boys and 4 girls - his life had been taken by a British soldier who yelled, "damn ye Scots". He raised his arms with is ammo pointed at Ephraim's father and as his finger released the shot was heard around the camp and thus ended a beautiful life who came to these united colonies to make a better life for himself and his family.
The note finally came from George Washington informing us about papa and we all stood around in a circle as he had done so many times with us- and prayed.
The huge snowflakes were falling outside our cabin with the light from the sky dimly lighting the way as mum led us out the back way down to papa's blacksmith shop where he loved to spend many hours each day. Ephraim held the candle as she reached out her small aged hands and let her fingers gently run across the cold metal. Ephraim reached out and took his mother's arm and led her back to the cabin where others were waiting by the fireside. It was so cold out but she trusted the providence of God that we would not catch pneumonia.
As our family wondered back inside to discuss what we would do next without papa, the war finally was drawing to a close. We got word that Lord Cornwallis and his army had surrendered to General of the Continental Army George Washington at Yorktown.
Now our country was free and as the British packed up their bags and headed back to England to inform King George that they lost; our family was trying to put the pieces back together and start all over as we were to face hardships and many challenges ahead as we moved forward. Ephraim and I were expecting our first child, and if it was a boy were declared we would name it John Ephraim Michael Watson , III. A very brave man , now a very brave country.
copywrite:2006 Mary F. Watson Williamson
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