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The Life of John W. Johnson
Chapter 13
Getting to Know His Family - 1857?

Transcribed - June 1998 - by Ne-Do-Ba

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I remained here a few days and then went to Biddleford, where I stopped with my brother Samuel about a week, and then went to Limington and from there to Limerick, where I commenced to go to the Academy, my tuition being paid by Dr. Fogg, and my board being given me by Mr. Cotton Bean. Both of these gentlemen have proved themselves strong friends to me. Not being accustomed to the confinement, I found in about three weeks that I could not stand it, and I had to give up going to school, and started back to Biddeford, where I commenced to practice medicine, and did well, having quite an extensive practice. I went up to Stowe a few weeks after I came to Biddeford, and my brother Samuel thinking that I was rather long, and something must have happened, got a horse and with another man went after me. Thinking that I would have been likely to stop at Mr. Abbott's, a great friend of mine in Fryeburg (which I did do), he called there and inquired for me. There were none of the man folks at home, and none of the women know my brother Samuel, and they thought that my brother was a man sent to carry me back to the Indians, and they thought they would detain my brother and his companion that was with him until the men folks came home. They therefore asked them to stop and get something to eat, and kept up a pretty lively conversation, but all to no purpose, for my brother was bound to keep on, when finding that they could not stop them, they let them go. They had no sooner left the house than one of Mr. Abbott's sons came home, and his mother telling him the circumstances he harnessed up a horse and started for Stowe, taking a different road than the one my brother went and somewhat longer, and just as my brother Samuel drove up to the house where I was stopping, young Abbott came, and they both entered the house at the same time. I introduced my brother Samuel to Abbott, who after finding that Samuel was my brother and explaining the matter, had a hearty laugh over it. We all started back and stopped at Mr. Abbott's to tea, explaining the circumstance to them who were much pleased at the intelligence. My brother and his companions and myself kept on that night as far as Sebago, and stopped at Deacon Haley's, and the following day went to Limington, where I stopped at Mr. Manson's, whilst the others kept on to Biddeford. I remained in Limington about a week, and then went to Limerick, and there sold my horse to Isaac Bean, who at first was somewhat afraid to purchase, not knowing whether my title to him was good or not, as the Newells had accused me of running away with their horse, but after getting Squire Lord to write to the man I purchased the horse of, and receiving a satisfactory answer, he bought him. I then went to Saco, stopping with my cousin, Daniel Johnson, and commenced to practice medicine again.

While there I heard that some Indians intended to go down to the Pool, and have a boat-race with some whites, and being well acquainted with them, I went down in the fast-sailing steamer Halifax, with the Indians. I saw the boat-race at the Pool, the Indians paddling their canoe against a four-oared boat, but the Indians were beaten, as they had a very poor canoe. I was well pleased to meet with the Indians, and promised to meet one of them in the covered bridge, and go with them into Portland. After returning from the Pool I went to my boarding-place, and getting some things that I wanted, I told them that I had to visit a patient, and after getting out of the house I hurried down to the covered bridge, but the Indian was not there, having got tired of waiting for me. I therefore hurried up to the Biddeford depot just in time to take the cars for Portland, and found the Indians on board, and they were very glad to see me. We arrived at Portland, and from there went to Cape Elizabeth, where I found my wife and her folks. I was glad to see my wife, and her father, who had always used me well, and was a very kind man. He was exempt from many habits and indulgences that the Indians an accustomed to, as he never swore, used tobacco, or drank strong drinks, which may perhaps account for his long life and his remarkable health, as he was never to my knowledge sick, and is now about one hundred years old, yet smart and active. They were very glad to see me, but I told them that I was only on a visit, and intended to leave again soon.

My father, who now lived in Biddeford, hearing that I had gone to Portland, came in to see me the next day after I arrived there, and taking me outside of the tent, endeavored to persuade me to go back with him, but I had been so long accustomed to the Indians, I seemed to feel at home amongst them, and I did not feel disposed to go back. My father finding that I would not go back, invited me to call and see him, whenever I had an opportunity, which I promised to do, and he then left me and returned home.

My wife's brothers wishing to keep me with them, began to talk of getting up an exhibition, and wanted me to help them. As I always had a turn for this kind of life, I entered heartily into it, and went and engaged the City Hall in Portland, and having about one hundred dollars, bought some curtains, dresses, and other things, using up the most of my money. I procured some bills, and had them posted up, and before I got through I used up all of my money, as the other ones did not have any. I agreed to furnish the money and purchase the things, and the first night we were to go shares, and after that the company were to hire out to me, for so much a night for their services. The first night the hall was full, some eight or ten hundred I should judge, and the tickets were twenty-five cents, yet at the close of the evening the ticket seller gave the money to me in a small box, which after dividing among us, we had four dollars and sixty cents apiece, and only eight of us in the company. We had two men that we hired to take and sell tickets, whether or not they cheated, I did not know; but I did know that some of the company sold tickets before the performance and kept the money, not giving any account for it.

I then expected to play the following night, but those that had engaged to play for me, refused, and I was thus left some one hundred dollars short, having to show for it about half the amount in properties. The rest of the company engaged Deering's Hall, and advertised to play on Monday night, as we had played on Saturday evenings but as the curtains and dresses were mine, and as they had no fixtures at all, they had to give it up. They therefore got put out with me, because I would not let them have my curtains and dresses, and would not have anything to do with me, which provoked me so that I packed up my things, and went with my wife to Wells Depot. We stopped here about a week, making baskets, and selling them in the villages but as it was a small place, we left it and went to North Berwick, where we camped in "Walnut Grove," where we made and sold baskets.

We next went to Elliot, Me., and camped by the side of the railroad. We stopped here about a fortnight, but as we could not sell many baskets, we got entirely out of money.

We next went to Portsmouth, N.H., and we heard that there were some Indians at Kittery Point, and taking some baskets we traveled over there, selling our baskets as we went along, but not finding any Indians, we went back to Portsmouth. We then took the cars and went to Hampton, camping out there and making baskets, selling quite a number. Here we fell in with my wife's brother, who was camping out. We next went to Cambridgeport, Mass., where we made quite a number of baskets, and did very well.

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