Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

The Savages Come to Town

From the day I recovered from the sickness of the sea, I looked forward to seeing a live savage, of which I had been told there were many in America, and when we sighted land for the first time I remained on deck waiting for the first glimpse of an Indian.

When at last, the John and Sarah came to anchor off the bank in which we were to make our home, and where I fully expected to see the shore lined with savages, never one met my eager gaze for several days, and great was my disappointment.

I would have gone in search of some, regarding not the danger of being lost, or of coming upon evil-minded Indians who would do me harm; but, as I have already set down, I was in duty bound to do whatsoever of work I might, in order to aid my parents, therefore did it seem to me as if I would never be able to satisfy my curiosity.

We had scarce been in our cave home a week, however, when I, who was helping mother hang some quilts to keep out the dampness, which seemed really, to soak through the earth, heard a great cry above us, and, running into the open air to learn the cause, I saw a company of eight savages, who stood not many yards away from William Markham's hut, staring about them curiously.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Verily I was disappointed in them. It had been in my mind that I should see a wonderful race of people, when I stood face to face with the savages, and yet they were not unlike our own people, save as to the color of their skin, and the fanciful dress they wore.

One could see at a single glance that they were not Negroes, and yet they were very dark; much the color of a penny that has been passed from hand to hand until it has lost its brightness.

Some of our company, eager to show a friendly front to these odd-looking visitors, went forth to greet the savages; but there was little chance of their making themselves understood, since neither party could speak the other's language, and after a deal of jabbering and much making of gestures, the Indians went away, leaving us none the wiser for their having come.

It was understood by us who had voyaged in the John and Sarah, that when William Penn came over to take charge of this city, we were to build, it would be his right to make friends with these savages in behalf of us all; but until he could attend to it, no one, except William Markham, whom we called the deputy governor, had any reason for doing other than as we had done during this first visit.


Front Matter

The Name of My City
My Own Name
Why We Went to London
Bound for America
On Board Ship
Unknown Country
The End of the Voyage
Going Ashore
Our First Shelter
A Tedious Task
Our Cave Home Completed
How We Kept House
Savages Come to Town
What the Savages Wore
Game in Plenty
Sea Food
News of the Factor
Arrival of the Amity
Going to Meet the Factor
A Tiresome Journey
Meeting Old Friends
Roasting Turkeys
Turning an Honest Penny
A Place for the City
Building the City
A Bear Hunt
The New Home
Penn's Care for Colonists
The First Baby
How the Indians Live
Indian Utensils and Tools
Canoes of Bark
Making Wampum
The Beehive Huts
Finishing the Cure
Starting a Fire
Cooking Indian Corn
News of Penn's Arrival
Our Humble Preparations
The Welcome to Penn
A Day of Festivities
Penn Joins in the Sports
More Serious Business
What a Bake Oven Is
Baking in the New Oven
Penn Plans to Buy Land
Penn and the Indians
The Price Paid for Land
Gratitude of the Indians
Trapping Wild Turkeys
New Arrivals
Government by the People
The Promise of a School
Dock Creek Bridge
The Nail Business
Buying Iron in New York
No Merrymaking after Dark
Busy Days
Enoch Flower's School
End of Our School Days
Settlement of Germantown
New Laws in Our Own Town
A Division of Opinion
A Matter of History
Boundary Lines
The Governor's Following
A Proud Departure
The Settlement of Chester
Dining in State
Anchored off New Castle
An Uncomfortable Night
A Dull Journey
In Lord Baltimore's City
A Splendid Home
A Question of Duty
Amy of Maryland
The Shops of Maryland
The Result of the Visit
Philadelphia Progresses
Penn Goes Back to London