J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Fox and Goose Story

I must be getting hungry for lunch because I feel an urge to share this culinary anecdote from The Revolutionary Adventures of Ebenezer Fox, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, published in 1838. At about age sixteen, Fox volunteered for service with the Massachusetts troops in the Revolutionary War. He and his comrades marched south to the New York theater. They did little damage to the British army, but probably didn't help relations with civilians along the way:

One afternoon some geese were discovered enjoying themselves in a pond near the road; and one of the soldiers, thinking that a little poultry would not be an unacceptable addition to our bill of fare, threw a stone among them and killed one of the largest of the flock.

The prize was secured and concealed by taking off the head of a drum and putting the goose into it, and then restoring the instrument to its former appearance. The owner of the poultry followed and complained to the commanding officer of this depredation of his property. We halted long enough to have the wagons searched, but the goose was not found; and we were allowed to march on.

When the camp fires were kindled at night, the goose was roasted, and our captain did not hesitate to eat a leg, wing, and a piece of the breast without troubling us with any questions regarding our right of possession.

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