Posts Tagged ‘Maquinna’

The First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest didn’t scalp their enemies. They decapitated them – as young English seaman John Jewitt discovered when his crewmates were slaughtered by Mowachaht warriors of the tribe of Maquinna in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in 1803.

We describe this terrible incident in the following exerpt from our bestselling historical adventure Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story).

The chief pushed his captive ahead of him until they reached the quarter deck. Here, John was met by a sight that would remain with him for the rest of his days.

The heads of twenty-five of his crewmates were lined up in neat rows that extended all the way across the bloody deck from the starboard rail to the port-side rail. Most were recognizable, some barely recognizable and a few not remotely recognizable.

It took a moment for the ghoulish sight to register in John’s brain. When it did, he tried to scream. Something stuck in his throat before he could let the scream out. It was his own vomit. He sank to his knees, retching, before finally disgorging the contents of his stomach on the deck.

 

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

 

Into the Americas  is available as a paperback and Kindle ebook via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

 

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Sterling Gate Books has launched The Adventures of John Jewitt, the 19th Century public domain book that was the inspiration for Lance and James Morcan’s bestselling historical adventure novel Into the Americas.

 

THE ADVENTURES OF JOHN JEWITT: The true story that inspired Into the Americas (Illustrated) by [Jewitt, John Rodgers]

A book by Jewitt, about Jewitt.

 

Written by Jewitt himself, his story is a tale of two vastly different cultures – indigenous North American and European civilization – colliding head on; his adventures in the Pacific Northwest must surely rank as one of history’s greatest wilderness survival stories.

Sketch - Young John Jewitt

A young John Jewitt… Note the  forehead scar left by a Mowachaht warrior’s tomahawk. 

When the nineteen-year-old blacksmith boarded the brigantine The Boston in his home port of Hull, England, in 1802, he couldn’t have envisaged what awaited him upon arrival in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, off the west coast of the country now known as Canada. Jewitt was one of only two survivors when fierce Mowachaht warriors slaughtered twenty-five crew members aboard the brig. He and his fellow survivor had to endure more than two years as slaves of the First Nations people of Nootka.

Sketch - The Boston arrives at Nootka

The Boston arrives at Nootka Sound.

According to Jewitt’s diary entries, the Mowachahts’ slaughter of his crewmates was quite premeditated. Unfortunately, his description of the events leading up to the massacre doesn’t tell the full story, which is that the Mowachahts – like most or all the tribes of the Pacific Northwest – had put up with many, many years of abuse by successive Spanish, English and American traders. History shows that the abuse ranged from unfair trades to the frequent rape of indigenous women and all too often to murder.

There’s no denying the Mowachahts were savage. Jewitt himself writes of their savagery. However, he also refers to the kindness and generosity of his captors and their love of family, and we note the examples he gives far outweigh references to their savagery.

Thanks to Jewitt’s fondness for the written word and his diligence in maintaining his diary entries throughout his captivity, we have been left with an intriguing insight into his life, and into the lives of First Nations people. His account is made all the more extraordinary by virtue of the fact that such interaction between whites and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest was virtually unheard of and certainly never before (and seldom since) written about in such detail.

In his self-effacing way, a modest Jewitt explains how his work ethic, his friendly nature and his willingness to accept the native peoples as his equal endeared him to many of his captors. He even married a local maiden who bore him a son – though he makes little mention of this in his writings other than admitting his wife was very pleasing on the eye. (Georgian era attitudes perhaps dissuaded him from revealing more).

Such was his eye for detail, John Jewitt leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the Mowachahts’ customs, language, daily work habits, hygiene, trading, hunting, whaling and fishing techniques, diet and food preparation, potlatches, housing (they lived in lodges left by Spanish visitors), tree-felling and canoe-making, toolmaking and weapons, worship, feuds and settlement of intertribal disputes. How Jewitt eventually engineered his freedom makes for entertaining reading.

Sketch - Mowachaht war canoe

Mowachaht warriors paddle to war.

All this, and more, will become evident as you read The Adventures of John Jewitt (The true story that inspired Into the Americas). The book also has 10 original illustrations.

 

The Adventures of John Jewitt: The true story that inspired Into the Americas (Illustrated) is available now via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C36WL37

 

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INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  has entered Amazon’s bestseller lists in three categories this week – namely Action & Adventure (two) and Historical Fiction (one).

Book reviewers are resonating with the novel, giving it a 4.7 (out of 5 stars) rating on Amazon.

 

Examples of what reviewers are saying follow:

★★★★★ “I absolutely loved this book.”

★★★★    “Really good informative historical fiction”

★★★★★ “A fantastic story. One of the best historical novels i’ve read.”

★★★★★ “I thought it was something special.”

★★★★     “Before anyone visits Vancouver they should read this book!”

★★★★★  “Loved this book Very thought provoking.”

★★★★★  “Want a great historical fiction read? Here it is!”

★★★★★  “Must Read for Fans of this Genre.”

★★★★★  “Five Stars. A real page-turner.”

★★★★★  “I could not put the book down.”

★★★★★  “Of all the Morcan novels, this is by far my favourite.”

 

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)

A gritty, real-life adventure based on one of history’s greatest survival stories. It was inspired by the diary entries of young English blacksmith John Jewitt during his time aboard the brigantine The Boston and also during his sojourn at Nootka Sound, on North America’s western seaboard, from 1802 to 1805. 

 

INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

 

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Historical Novel Review

Mirella Patzer, of Great Historical Fiction Book Reviews, has this to say about our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story):

I have been an avid follower of all books by these authors, thoroughly loving each book. This book was no exception. There is a beautiful cadence to the story, flowing at a perfect pace while striking an easy balance between detail and plot.

The characters, especially the protagonist and his cohort, are fascinating in every aspect. They are deeply complex with differing motivations as they struggle to survive as slaves of the native people. Of course there is a bit of a romance, although that is a small contribution to the plot. 

What I enjoyed most is that it is based on the true story of John Jewitt, the son of an English blacksmith who sailed on The Boston and was captured by the Indians and later escaped. Of all the Morcan novels, this is by far my favourite. It is understandable why this was chosen to be made into film! An awesome tale! 
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To read the full review go to Great Historical Fiction Book Reviews:  http://historicalnovelreview.blogspot.co.nz/2015/11/into-americas-by-lance-and-james-morcan.html
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IntoTheAmericas ebook cover
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Into the Americas  is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/
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In the following excerpt from our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  young English seaman John Jewitt and American sailmaker Jonathan Thompson are pursued by Mowachaht savages as they cross Vancouver Island’s snow-covered mountain ranges in their attempt to reach the Strait of Georgia.

Anxious to catch sight of the escapees before nightfall, Maquina was keen to resume the chase. To his eyes, it was obvious their quarry had descended to the stream at the foot of the hill and then waded upstream, or possibly downstream, so as to leave no tracks. However, Katlahtik suspected otherwise. The tracker motioned to Maquina to study the false tracks more closely.

Mowachaht chief Maquina

Joining Katlahtik, the chief immediately saw what his tracker had noticed: on close inspection it was evident the borders of some of the tracks overlapped, signaling that whoever had made the tracks had stepped into the same tracks again.

Maquina smiled to himself. “The White-Faces have learnt much from us,” he said, looking eastward, “yet they still have much to learn.”

The chief set off after the escapees, his warriors in tow. They moved quickly now.

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John and Thompson fought their way through dense undergrowth as they entered the timberline of the mountain range they’d just crossed. Aware they’d soon run out of daylight, they made haste, anxious to find a place to overnight before darkness finally descended.

Englishman John Jewitt…in later life.

The escapees were unaware they’d entered the territory of the Ehattesaht tribe, a warlike people whose violent history of interaction with whites would not have brought the pair any joy had they been aware of it. Right now, the Ehattesahts were the least of their problems. Hungry and exhausted, they were resigned to spending at least one more night in the mountains before they reached their destination.

“We gotta find shelter,” Thompson gasped, stating the obvious.

John nodded. He was very aware of the dangers a night in the open presented. Even though they’d reached the shelter of trees, there was still snow underfoot and the temperature was close to freezing. Unless they kept moving, he doubted they’d survive a night in the open.

They descended via a forest trail carved out by generations of elk and other animals of the region. Steep in places, it caused them to slip and slide their way down the mountainside.

Thompson tripped and John hurried to help him to his feet. When they looked up, a cougar appeared on the trail barely thirty yards ahead of them.

“Holy shit!” Thompson muttered.

The escapees froze. So, too did the cougar. She stood looking at the pair through huge eyes that seemed to glow almost orange in the semi-dark of the forest.

John’s first thought was for the musket he’d lost in the ravine. Next to him, Thompson was already unshouldering his musket.

“Easy!” John whispered, anxious that his companion made no sudden movement that could prompt the cougar to attack.

Thompson didn’t need any such warning. He moved so slowly it took him an age to unshoulder his musket. As he did, the cougar bared her fangs and growled. It was a long, low growl that was barely audible, but it sent shivers through the pair. Both were convinced the feline was viewing them as dinner.

Still the cougar made no move. Which was just as well as Thompson had yet to prime his musket. A task he could normally perform in a few seconds took him another age – by which time both he and John were sweating profusely despite the cold.

Anxious not to spook the cougar, John resisted the temptation to ask Thompson whether he was loading a musket ball or shot into the musket. He prayed it was the latter as firing pellets required less accuracy than did firing a solitary musket ball.

The cougar suddenly emitted a bone-chilling scream and pounced, her charge so quick Thompson barely had time to raise his musket and pull the trigger.

Strait of Georgia…the escapees’ intended destination.

Thompson’s aim was true, and the musket ball he’d just loaded struck the cougar between the eyes, killing her instantly. She hit the ground hard just ten yards from them, rolling over and over until she stopped almost at their feet.

“Great shot!” John rejoiced, the relief evident in his voice.

Thompson was momentarily speechless. He looked down at his hands and saw they were trembling violently. Then he started laughing.

John joined in the laughter. Their delight was unrestrained. Neither thought it odd. It seemed a natural way of expressing their huge relief, and neither gave any thought to the possibility others may have heard the shot.

Finally, Thompson said, “Well, fuck me! I thought we were gonners.”

As their laughter subsided, John said, “At least we have meat on tonight’s menu.”

Thompson looked down at the cougar and smiled as he pictured himself tucking into a meal of barbecued cougar rump.

 

You have been reading an excerpt from Into the Americas — available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

IntoTheAmericas ebook cover

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The following excerpt from our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story)  is set in the slaves’ quarters in the village of the Mowachahts, in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, the night of the massacre of the crew of the brig The Boston. Two survivors of that violent event – young English blacksmith John Jewitt and grizzly American sailmaker Jonathan Thompson – adapt as best they can to their new surroundings.

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)

John and Thompson found themselves in the company of forty or more male slaves whose ages ranged from young to middle-aged. The slaves’ physical characteristics were noticeably different to the Mowachahts, signaling they were all from other tribes. Their number included several with Mohawk-type hairstyles, three whose heads were clean-shaven, two whose distinctly Asian features resembled the Inuits who lived much further north, a couple whose foreheads sloped back at a sharp angle, and several stocky individuals who seemed almost as wide as they were tall.

Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island…where it all took place.

If there was one characteristic they shared it was that they were all underweight and in poor physical condition. Their raggedy clothes hung off their spare frames and their faces were gaunt, as if they hadn’t had a good meal in months.

The newcomers weren’t to know their fellow slaves were the last to eat when food rations were in short supply. Even the villagers suffered deprivations over the long winter months, but for the slaves – male and female – it was especially tough as they had to rely on the generosity of their Mowachaht masters for any scraps of leftover food. Often, they had to forage for themselves if they wanted to eat. The pickings were slim in winter, and it was common for at least a few slaves to die of starvation over those cold, dark months.

Among the slaves was one with only one eye. He and the others stared at the whites menacingly.

The threatening reception didn’t go down well with Thompson who immediately bristled. Glaring directly at the one-eyed slave, he said, “What the fuck are you lookin’ at, One-Eye?”

“Thompson!” John hissed just loud enough for his belligerent companion to hear. “You’ll get us killed!”

“Ha!” the older man retorted. “I’ll throttle every last one of these sorry sons o’ bitches if they try anything.”

John’s concern grew as the slaves talked heatedly amongst themselves. They were obviously discussing the new arrivals – in particular the sailmaker who they now stared at malevolently.

The minutes passed and, to John’s relief, nothing happened. The other slaves went back to whatever it was they’d been doing. Some were greedily helping themselves to the contents of a large cooking pot that sizzled over the flames of an open fire. They used clam shells to scoop a porridge-like stew out of the pot into cedar calabashes that resembled crude soup bowls. That done, most dispensed with the shells and used their fingers to transfer the stew into their mouths. So hot was the food, they had to blow on their fingers to cool them between mouthfuls.

Nootka Sound…as it was in the days of the trading ships.

Smoke from the fire curled up through the larger of several holes in the roof. Not all the smoke escaped, so the atmosphere inside was quite smoky, which no doubt explained why some of the slaves appeared to have permanent coughs.

John and Thompson surveyed their new surroundings without enthusiasm. Besides half a dozen wooden apple boxes that served as chairs, there were no furnishings; the lodge’s dirt floor was reduced a muddy quagmire whenever it rained – as was the case right now. The rain had just returned with a vengeance. Where water had dripped down moments earlier, now it cascaded down and gushed through the holes in the roof, adding to everyone’s discomfort.

Most alarming was there weren’t enough bed mats to go round. As a result, half the slaves had to sleep on mats they’d fashioned out of palm fronds and leafy branches. There weren’t enough blankets to go round either, and some of the slaves used palm fronds and other vegetation as substitute blankets.

John and Thompson turned their attention to the large communal cooking pot in the center of the lodge. Those slaves who hadn’t yet eaten were now dipping their hands into a vile-looking stew and shoveling it into their mouths. Hungry though they were, the new arrivals resisted the urge to join their inhospitable companions. The pair sat down just inside the entrance, away from the others.

Thompson looked at John. “You alright, Jewitt?”

John nodded unconvincingly.

Thompson wasn’t fooled. He knew his young companion was going through his own private hell. The Philadelphian looked over at the other slaves. They were all staring at the two whites, and openly talking about them in their native tongue.

“The White-Faces smell like pigs,” One-Eye said to a bald slave.

The bald slave nodded. “They look like pigs, too.”

The others laughed aloud.

Thompson sneered at them. “Filthy animals. I’ll flatten these whale-fuckers if I get ‘alf a chance.” He spat in One-Eye’s direction.

“We can’t afford to make enemies of them!” John said with some urgency. “They’re slaves, too.”

Thompson bristled. “I told you, Jewitt. I’m no man’s slave.”

John wanted to make the older man see sense, but he didn’t have the energy. “I need to sleep,” he mumbled.

“Me too.”

Nootka Sound…in more recent times.

The two men crawled to the driest section of floor they could find close by then lay down and prepared to sleep. Thompson didn’t trust the other slaves, so he tried to sleep with one eye open, but that didn’t work. All the while, water dripped down onto them, keeping them both awake.

After an hour of tossing and turning, John turned to the dark shape lying next to him. “You awake?”

“Of course I’m bloody awake.”

His back turned to the others, John unbuttoned his shirt to reveal the two pistols he’d recovered from The Boston’s armory. The shiny, silver weapons were just visible to Thompson in the dim, flickering light of the fading fire.

The sailmaker’s eyes widened at the site of the pistols. “Where’d ya get those?” he whispered.

“From the armory.”

Thompson glanced around to ensure they weren’t being observed. He needn’t have bothered. The others were fast asleep. “You got ammunition for them?” he asked.

Embarrassed, John shook his head.

“What use are pistols without ammo?” an incredulous Thompson asked.

“You just never know.”

Thompson looked askance at John. “Christ, I’m gonna go insane here.” He turned his back on his companion, annoyed by the young man’s naivety.

Undeterred, John wrapped the pistols in a handkerchief and surreptitiously deposited them behind a loose board in the near wall.

 

You have been reading an excerpt from INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story). The book is available exclusively on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

 

Product Details

 

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In our true-life adventure novel Into the Americas, we relate how young Englishman John Jewitt and his fellow hostage Jonathan Thompson accompany their Mowachaht captors on a raid into the territory of the fierce Haachaht tribe of the Northwest Pacific.

Nootka Sound…Home to the proud Mowachaht tribe of Vancouver Island.

In the following excerpt from our novel, the Mowachaht raiders are ambushed by the Haachahts as they paddle up a river:

Callicum, the Haachaht chief, and three hundred of his warriors waited in ambush in the trees on the far bank. Most wore the distinctive and frightening wolf’s brow-mask, and all carried bows, spears, tomahawks and other traditional weapons. There wasn’t a musket in sight. However, what they lacked in fire-power they made up for in manpower and ingenuity.

On the near bank, directly opposite Callicum and his men, another hundred Haachahts waited. They, too, wore brow-masks and were similarly armed. Within their ranks, two strong, well-built bowmen stood some twenty yards apart. Each held a bow almost as long as himself. Their arrows resembled slim spears and were close to six foot long. A line trailed from each of their shafts. The lines were tied to the front edge of a huge, reinforced fishing net, which lay spread out on the ground between the two bowmen.

Both groups of Haachahts were visible to each other, but the dense undergrowth and foliage still hid them from the raiders even though their canoes were almost level with them.

At a signal from Callicum, the two bowmen opposite lay down on their backs, their knees bent and their moccasined feet raised skyward. After positioning their feet against the inside of their bows, they each loaded a long arrow and prepared to loose it toward the opposite bank. Even though they each used both hands to draw the mighty bows, the tremendous effort required caused their muscular arms to tremble. Their eyes were focused on a headman who stood midway between them and whose eyes, in turn, were focused on Callicum on the opposite bank.

The Haachaht chief now had his tomahawk raised high above his head. As the lead canoe drew level with his position, Callicum brought his tomahawk down.

At a nod from the headman opposite, the two bowmen gratefully released their long arrows in synch. Nearby, two more bowmen prepared to send a second net toward their enemies.

In the lead canoe, John and his fellow paddlers looked up as the huge net sailed above them, trailing behind the two spear-like arrows. The arrows buried themselves in the ground on the opposite bank and the net slowly floated down. It narrowly missed the lead canoe, settling over the one following and entangling its occupants.

Terrifying Haachaht war cries shattered the silence, and arrows and spears rained down on the Mowachahts. Most of those entangled in the net were quickly struck down as they struggled to disentangle themselves. Several scrambled overboard and tried to swim downstream, but they were quickly picked off by well-placed arrows. The canoe’s captain, Quasoot, was among the casualties.

The Mowachahts’ first thought was to use their muskets to fight off their enemies. They instinctively discarded their paddles and frantically began priming their muskets. As a result, the canoes bumped into each other and began drifting aimlessly in the current, their surprised occupants sitting targets.

Callicum had anticipated this and urged his bowmen to pick the disorganized Mowachahts off before they could wreak havoc with their muskets.

Maquina saw the danger immediately and exhorted his warriors to forget about their muskets for the moment and to paddle to the left bank where Callicum and his warriors happened to be. They responded straight away, retrieving their paddles and paddling furiously.

At the same time, another net sailed over the river and settled on a second canoe – this one captained by Toowin. Fortunately for Toowin and his fellow paddlers, one of the two arrows used had been misdirected, and so the net didn’t completely envelope the craft. Even so, the disruption it caused resulted in at least half the canoe’s occupants being killed or wounded. Toowin himself suffered a flesh wound when an arrow creased his chest.

As the remaining canoes closed with the far bank, they were met by a hailstorm of spears and arrows. Callicum’s warriors were trying to finish their enemies off before they could reach the shore. Mowachaht casualties mounted. Some of those who had been killed floated off downstream with arrows, and in one case a spear, protruding from them. Blood stained the water around them.

For one long moment, Maquina’s eyes locked with Callicum’s. The Mowachaht chief stood upright in the prow of his canoe. Ignoring the arrows that flew around him, he cursed his opposite. “Callicum, you treacherous dog!” he shouted. “I will personally cut out your heart!”

Callicum shouted something unintelligible back at his opposite.

Maquina was first to disembark. With no apparent concern for his own safety, he ran directly at Callicum, musket in one hand and club in the other. He used the latter weapon to effortlessly swat aside two Haachahts who made the mistake of not getting out of his way.

John and Thompson were among the next to disembark. As they scrambled up the bank, they fired their muskets at near point-blank range at the nearest Haachahts. Their hands were a blur as they primed their muskets and fired again. Identifying their enemy was made easy by the wolf brow-masks most of the Haachahts wore.

In anticipation of close-quarter fighting, Maquina had wisely ordered his fellow raiders to use shot, or pellets, as opposed to musket balls. John and Thompson were thankful for that as they loosed shot after shot at their enemies: each shot felled two or more Haachahts, so tightly were they congregated and so effective were the deadly pellets directed their way.

The whites were quickly joined by their fellow raiders who brought their own muskets into play. More Haachahts were struck down.

Chaos reigned. War cries, musket shots, curses, agonized screams, shouted orders and insults mingled in one deafening cacophony of sound; smoke from the constant discharge of muskets hung in the air, its acrid smell instantly recognizable; spears, arrows, tomahawks, axes and knives flew through the air as warriors grappled with their enemies in the woods, along the riverbank and even in the river; and all the while bodies piled up along the bank and in the shallows, and still more floated downriver.

You have been reading an excerpt from INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story). The book is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)

 

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