Archive for herbalist

Thinking Back: Josephine Legard, Indentured Servant and Herbalist

Posted in Crewe Reflections... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Who are you?

Josephine Legard, an indentured servant from Cancale, in the Brittany region of France.

What are your dealings with the Archangel?

I am indentured to the Master Gunner of the Archangel, Dorian Lasseter.

What is your most memorable event concerning that relationship, and do you have any prized possessions connected to the event?

My most memorable event would be my rescue from my indenture from St. Malo by Monsieur Lasseter. I was indentured to a rather unkind tavern owner in the city, and the Archangel crewe took rest at our tavern following a great storm that damaged their ship. They were disguised as Frenchmen so as to receive kind treatment. Toward the end of their stay, Dorian Lasseter was involved in a game of cards with the tavern owner. The owner bet my papers in a last ditch effort to recoup his losses, but was defeated and my papers passed to Monsieur Lasseter.

I still carry a letter in my pocket, written by my brother when he was forced upon a ship bound to New France. It was the last word I had from him, and my last connection to St. Malo. I carry it in the hopes that I will someday find him again.

NOTE: In the late 17th/early 18th century many women often kept Herbals, books or scrap books containing herbal remedies known to work, to care for their families.

“The housewife is assured that she will not be asked to deal with the ‘depth and secrets of this most excellent art of physic,’ receiving instruction only in ‘some ordinary rules and medicines which may avail for the benefit of her family…for the curing of those ordinary sicknesses which daily perturb the health of men and women’.” Gervase Markham

For more information on the subject, please see the following:

Anna’s Herbal, An Education in the Healing Power of Herbs
Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders
Sharon Hiltz, 2011…AS%20HERBAL.pdf

The English Housewife, Gervase Markham
Edited by Michael R. Best…epage&q&f=false

For more on Josephine Legard, click here…-joseph-legard/
Copyright September 2013/J.Otte


Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania 20-21 September

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

September 20

September is a pleasant month in the Carolina colony. The weather, which all throughout the summer is nearly unbearable, becomes much more temperate. The crops, which had grown green and tall all summer, are now golden and ready for harvest; the farmers can be seen working in the fields daily. However, for pirate hunters, any time of year can become tumultuous if pirates decide to invade the coast of the colonies. Thus was the case for the Crewe of the Archangel this September.

It was at the start of this month that Dorian and I received word from Captain John Sterling that our assistance was needed in the Pennsylvania colony. Rumor was spreading of a pirate gathering, and all available hands were to meet at Marcus Hook to repel the pirate force. After packing the carriage and making sure that all was in order, Dorian and I left this afternoon. We travelled by way of the coast of Virginia in order to join with Captain Sterling’s son, Sean Merriweather, who was in the area for schooling, and together the three of us travelled to Pennsylvania. The trip was, thankfully, uneventful for us, and we crossed the Chesapeake Bay at sunset; what a beautiful site!

We arrived here at Marcus Hook on the heels of Captain Sterling, Monsieur Murtaugh, and Monsieur Merriweather the Younger. We quickly greeted one another before setting about to work on the encampment. The Vigilant Crew had set up its encampment throughout the day, and was there to meet us and aid us in the set-up of our encampment. After several hours of unloading and set-up, the carriages are unpacked, the tents are standing, the beds are arranged, and the crewe members have bid one another a restful night of sleep. Tomorrow, we have dealings with the pirates.

September 21

We awoke today in the early morning hours,
delcohistorysept2013 198with the intention of preparing ourselves for the day’s activities. I was to remain in the camp, along with Doctor Geiger,Dr. Geiger and prepare my herbal remedies in the chance that injuries should occur. Madam Kate Stephens was also with us in camp, helping to curb our appetites and to inform any curious local residents as to the situation at hand. I situated myself alongside the Doctor toward the back of the encampment, where we would have room to work if the situation called for such action. We had lit the brazier, in order to heat several of my herbal concoctions, but it also provided the opportunity to heat the food that had been obtained for lunch: a meat pie called a pasty which was filled with chicken, peas, and other vegetables and was surrounded by something similar to a small pie crust folded in half. Never had I tried such a creation, but it was delicious and filling!

Captain Sterling, Monsieur Lasseter, and the remaining sailors all moved back and forth between the battlefield and the encampment throughout the day, attempting to nourish themselves when not forced to partake in the battle. Nearly every hour, cannon fire could be heard from the waterfront, and my anticipation grew with each resounding rumble. It was impossible to know from the encampment if we were in fact maintaining an upper hand over the scoundrels or if they were inflicting damage upon our crewe. However, as the afternoon grew into evening, it became apparent that the crewe had gained the upper hand with very little damage done to our sailors. Once again, the Crewe of the Archangel had driven back the pirate force and maintained the safety of the coastal town of Marcus Hook.

As the men returned from the field of battle, a look of exhaustion and hunger stretched across their faces, the wind picked up and the sky behind them began to turn a dark gray. Fionn quickly started dinner for the crewe, a soup of chicken and vegetables, as we began to prepare our encampment for foul weather. Large rain drops began to fall just as dinner was served; we all made our way under canvas to partake in a hot meal and conversation. I had grown tired rather early in the evening and went into our tent to lie down. To the sound of conversation and laughter among friends, I have found myself drifting off to sleep even as I write this.

September 22

This morning, rising early, I began to organize our belongings back into the sea chest. Our journey home is expected to take near 7 hours, longer should we need to stop along the way, so an early start was the plan. By noon, the encampment looked barren, as though we had never set foot on the site. The carriages being loaded and there being no other work for Dorian or I to do, we bid farewell to our crewe family and to the remaining members of the Vigilant Crewe, and we made our way back home to the Carolina colony. Arriving home after dark, we unloaded the carriage and crawled into bed, exhausted from a successful weekend and wondering where our next adventure will take us.

Copyright October 2013/J. Otte

Special thanks to K.Strayer & Delco History for the photographs.

How to Make Herbal Concoctions

Posted in How to with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

June 19

When preparing herbal concoctions for crewe members, I often am asked a multitude of questions regarding my practice. Although I am not a doctor, and I cannot always explain the medical reasons why my concoctions work as they do, I receive my information on good authority before I use it. Trying to explain the difference between a tea, a decoction, and an infusion; a salve, a poultice and a bath; what exactly is a tincture, &c., all the while treating the ill or wounded is a rather trying task. In an attempt to clarify my thoughts so that I may better answer the questions of the curious, I thought perhaps I would put them down in this journal so that they are fresh in my mind regularly.

Teas, Decoctions, and Infusions
Teas are made by boiling water and placing a teabag filled with the herb into the water to steep. The teabag can be made of muslin or another thin fabric that will allow the herbal oils to seep into the water while keeping the herb itself out of the water. The herb should steep for 10-15 minutes, with the tea having a slightly bitter taste which can be sweetened with honey. This bitterness is an indication of the medicinal qualities.

(A tea cup, tea bag, and white willow bark for making a tea of the herb)

Decoctions are similar to teas, except that the herbs are placed directly into the water before it is boiled. This allows for the oils to seep more directly into the water itself. The water can then be strained while being poured, preventing the herb pieces from entering the cup. This treatment may make for a stronger medicinal quality.

Infusions are similar to teas in that the herbs are allowed to steep in the hot, boiling water, however this process is done in an air-tight container for several hours at the very least. Infusions can be taken as a drink or can be applied externally to wounds or trouble areas. If taken as a drink, the infusion does not need to be hot; it can also be temperate or ice cold.

Salves, Poultices, Balms and Baths
Salves are concoctions that are applied externally to the skin in an attempt to heal a wound or other health problem. Salves are made using either fresh or dried herbs that are ground in a mortar and pestle and then mixed with mineral water or Aloe vera juice. Not only will salves heal external wounds, but when applied externally they will aid swelling in muscles and joints.

(Crushed herb being added to a small amount of water to make a salve)

Poultices are made using the herbs that remain after making an infusion. The liquid infusion can be used to wash the area of the skin and the herbs are then placed directly onto the affected area. If it is preferred that the herbs not enter the wound directly, wrap them in muslin or another thin clean cloth and place them on the wounded area. This wrapping can be dipped in the infusion liquid as well.

Balms are made using oil in the place of water. A base oil is used, such as grape seed oil, and is warmed over a low heat source. Once the oil is warm, beeswax is added and permitted to melt into the oil. Once the beeswax has melted, the mixture is removed from the heat source and oils are added based on their desired medicinal effects. When the mixture cools, it has a thick consistency that can easily be applied to skin.

(An agrimony balm to treat wounds)

Baths are simply made of warm water and the desired herb depending on the illness or injury. The warm water is added to a bowl containing the herb, and clothes are soaked in the water and then applied to the injured area. Occasionally, such as with English ivy for wound treatment, the leaves themselves can be applied directly instead of the cloths.

Tinctures, unlike the other concoctions listed above, are alcohol based and take a longer period of time to cure. When making tinctures, the desired herbs are placed in a glass container that can be sealed. The jar is then filled with a clear alcohol in the highest percentage alcohol by volume that the maker can afford, making sure that all of the herbs are completely immersed in the alcohol. The container is then sealed and stored in a temperate environment, with no extreme temperature fluctuations, for six to eight weeks. Occasionally during this time period, the container should be gently shaken so as to mix the herbs and alcohol thoroughly. After the six to eight weeks, the herbs should be strained from the container and the liquid kept in a dark place or in a dark glass to maintain its quality.

(A case bottle of alcohol and an echinacea tincture in a small bottle kept in the nearby bag for darkness)

Through the use of these techniques with the proper herbs is the Crewe of the Archangel kept healthy. I am truly thankful to be able to be a help to the crewe in return for my rescue from the inn in St. Malo.

Copyright 9/2013 J.Otte

Blackbeard Pirate Festival, 2013 Hampton, Virginia

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

May 31

Dorian and I awoke early; we plac’d the last of our belongings atop the carriage, and left the cottage on our way to Hampton, Virginia. It was in Hampton that we were instructed to meet with the rest of the Crewe of the Archangel. The Captain had overheard a rumor that a pirate gathering was to be held within Hampton, and he felt that we should make our presence known to protect the town and possibly arrest suspect’d pirates. T’was a short, uneventful ride into Hampton and we soon met with the crewe members who had already arriv’d and we quickly pitch’d our tent. This afternoon we spent a great deal of time with the crewe, arranging the responsibilities of each member for the length of our stay in Hampton, and laying out a game plan for protecting the town. The Captain was inform’d of a ball to be held not but a short distance away, so he and Monsieur Lasseter made their way to the site of the ball, and press’d those entering the building for their papers. I remain’d in camp with Fionn, Doctor Geiger, Monsieur Atlas, and those who arriv’d later in the evening, while awaiting the return of Mon Capitaine and Monsieur Lasseter. It has been a long day, the men have return’d from the ball, the Capitaine none too pleased to see his one time fiancé in attendance having turned Turk, and I expect another hot day tomorrow. Mon Capitaine and Fionn have been summon’d back to the plantation and so are preparing to ride back this evening, so Dorian shall be maintaining order amongst the crewe until their return, and I shall be disguising myself as Joseph in order to be of assistance. 983712_4847499107767_1810845113_n

June 1

We awoke early to a bright, clear sky and air that felt as though it clung to our skin; t’was another hot, humid day. We assembl’d in camp for a crewe meeting and to prepare for the day’s activities. Mon Capitaine and Monsieur Murtaugh had left last night to attend to Mon Capitaine’s business at home, and Monsieur Lasseter brief’d the rest of us on the situation at hand. It seemed that a small contingent of pirates was to approach Hampton by water, and that we were to take our great gun, Gabriel, to the waterfront in order to defend the town against the incoming pirates. T’was only expect’d to be a small band of raiders, so no more than a shot or two would be necessary. We gathered and mov’d the great gun to a spot on the point overlooking the river, where we join’d with other militia to take aim against the suspect’d pirates. At first sight of the boat and sail, a volley was fired from the guns position’d on the point; although there was little or no damage done to the pirates, they retreat’d. View More: With the city safe for a time, we returned to camp with Gabriel in tow and readied the cart for a press gang, as Archangel has lost a number of crewe this past year and is in need of strong backs to carry the ship along in a most speedy manner. The heat, by this early point, was already taking hold of the crewe. Although we were doing our best to keep our thirst to minimum, it seem’d we were sweating out the liquids as fast as we were taking them in.

View More:

Despite the high temperatures, the crewe members partaking in the press gang carried and escorted the worn ox cart along the waterfront and to the small square where we expected to find sailors to be press’d. We were not disappointed, as we were able to round up a hand full of men to press onto our ship. We brought them all to the cart and tied them to the rear, although one escaped and had to be chased by several of our crewe members to return him to the cart. He received a proper beating to keep him in line as we returned to camp. Many citizens heckled the pressed men as we made our way back to camp, knowing that they tried to escape impressment. Once back in camp, they were properly fitt’d out and introduced to their new crewe members before being permitted to retire for the evening in camp. The remainder of the crewe caught a few much need’d moments of rest, and several men took to necessary tasks such as Monsieur Ryerson, a newly pressed man, who deftly splic’d a chip board to its log line.

Around mid-afternoon, Capitaine Sterling and Monsieur Murtaugh return’d to camp, and settl’d themselves into the encampment once again, just in time for dinner. F108D90DSC_4780-001_nets We dined on chicken, corn, fruits, and bread as we discussed the handling of the pirates for the remainder of the trip. This evening, as we made our way to the waterfront for a fireworks show, the pirates’ sail appeared again on the river. After yet another volley, the boat disappear’d and the fireworks show was able to continue. We return’d to camp and enjoy’d a round of punch before retiring to our tent. It has been a long, hot day but the city has yet to be overrun with the pirates as they feared. Capitaine believes that tomorrow we shall monitor the situation, and as long as the city has the defense under control, we shall break camp and return to our abodes. For now, rest is in order.Atlas Cooking Hampton Retouched

June 2

Dorian and I awoke early, yet again, to a bright, clear sky but with a slight breeze, which lift’d our spirits. We hoped the breeze would help to somewhat lessen the effect of the heat, and we were not disappoint’d. Word had reached camp that the pirates were to make one last attempt on the city of Hampton, and our assistance was request’d at the point one last time. The crewe moved the great gun, Gabriel, down to the firing line, and I join’d them and several other crewe members who were not firing the guns near the line to watch the battle.941497_10200159072679388_1878124050_n There were enough hands to run the guns, so my disguise was not necessary. After nearly a handful of shots from the guns at the point, the pirates were once again forced to retreat, and the city of Hampton was safe. Around noon, the crewe once again attempt’d to obtain new sailors through the use of a press gang, and those collect’d were returned to camp. Quite a few more were gather’d today than yesterday. I have no doubt that they will soon resign themselves to their impressment. After a brief period of rest, we broke camp, pack’d the carraiges, and began the journey back to our respective homes, leaving the city of Hampton once again safe from the pirate invaders. As Dorian and I approach our cottage, I cannot help but wonder what adventure our next voyage shall bring…

Adam with Punchbowl Hampton FB retouchedF108D90DSC_4710-001_netsF108D90DSC_4996-001_netsF102D800DSC_1630-001Alice Standing Hampton Retouched

Copyright 2013 J.Otte
Special thanks to James Callahan for the use of his photos.

Military Through the Ages, Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, Virginia

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2013 by creweofthearchangel


Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

Friday, 28, April 1719
I stood on the deck as the Archangel moor’d just off of the western shore of Ile de Ré around midday. As the crewe load’d the boats, which would ferry the burial party and our necessary goods ashore, I could not help but admire the beauty of the island. Somewhere in my mind, I recall’d being a little girl and overhearing my father talk about the religious siege that took place long ago on the island. It was hard to believe that such a beautiful spot held such a violent past. My thoughts were broken by the Master Gunner’s voice calling me to his side. It was time to go disembark.
Those of us going ashore climb’d into the boats and made our way to the beach, along with several injured and two dead crewe members, one of whom was Lieutenant Hazzard. Images of the most recent battle in the Mediterranean flash’d through my mind and I shuddered as I tried to remove it from my head. The cloudy weather add’d to the somber mood as we work’d to set up camp and build a fire before darkness fell. The dead men were laid out under a canopy within our camp, the Lieutenant in his burial clothes and the seaman in his hammock. The Archangel, having suffer’d minor damages during an attempt on a merchant ship during our latest conflict, the War of Quadruple Alliance in the Mediterranean, made way for La Rochelle on the mainland for quick repairs. Although we hope it to be a short stay, the officers intend to remain until the wounded, the captain being one of such, recuperate. We had removed several great guns from the ship when we left, bringing them on shore with us as a means of protection. Having set up camp and eaten a light dinner, we have retired to our tents for the night. Tomorrow begins the burial process.

Saturday, 29 April, 1719
We awoke early, as there was much work to be done, and found that the weather had deteriorated further. The clouds overhead open’d up around mid-morning, forcing several crewe members to maintain the fire and the rest of us to move as much of our chores under canvas as possible. I, myself, moved my basket under the canopy with the doctor and the dead, and began attending to my remedies. Josephine and Matt by the fire With the injured members of the crewe among us, I was only too happy to assist Dr. Geiger. I had brought along several simple herbal physicks for injuries, both internal and external, and spent the day prepping the herbs and administering them to the crewe members who were in need. Doctor Geiger was prepared to amputate if necessary, but thankfully the amputation needs were few. The Master Gunner, Dorian Lasseter, and the Master at Arms, Constable Heartless, maintained the guns and kept a close eye on the sea for any Spanish ships that may appear. The Bosun and the blacksmith were busy throughout the day making repairs that would be needed once we were back on board the Archangel,

Adam making nails

while Mister Merriweather the Younger attended to the food with the assistance of Mister Merriweather the Elder, our pilot Matty Black Horse, and ABS Atlas. Fionn and Sean at lunch Captain Sterling had received a wound to the head, when a powder chest on the quarterdeck accidently ignited during our last encounter, and was being given time to relax near the fire while the wound healed. The Capitaine’s Steward, Fionntan Murtaugh, managed to have Mon Capitaine kept comfortable, fed, and even had him seated a couple times throughout the day. This is no small task!
Although we were standing on French soil, I felt out of place. I missed my home, my brother, and my father, but having been away for so long I now wonder’d if I could even continue to call it home. I found that I had grown attach’d to the crewe of the Archangel, and I was looking forward to returning with them to England and resting up from our endeavors in the Mediterranean. I do not believe that I will ever grow accustom’d to battle, and to losing members of our crewe. How lucky these men are to receive a proper burial! (and how fortunate we are as well that they shall be well grounded)The Lieutenant being an officer, Mon Capitaine did all in his power to find land in which to bury the body. Burial at sea, where the fish and other sea creatures destroy your remains, makes it impossible for you to enter heaven upon your death. The crewe always makes every effort to find land when an officer dies. The seaman that we are burying was brought along as we were already burying one; we figured we should bury the other on land as well. Had it been just the seaman who passed, he would have been sent to the depths. It is all just too horrible to imagine. I hope their remains will rest easy, as both being Protestant, they have been turned away from our Catholic cemeteries on the main land.
The rain has picked up, and exhaustion is setting in. Tomorrow, we bury the dead, and soon, the wounded permitting, return to the Archangel.

J. Otte © 2013 All rights reserved

special thanks to Krystian Williams for her photographs

Cayo Hueso-lll

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel


December 1
The trial was held this morning, with two men being accused of piracy. The evidence against these two men was lacking, however, and Capitaine Sterling was forced to free the two with only a stern warning that their faces not be seen in that court again. Following the trial, the British again began to skirmish with the pirates and with the Archangel, and a short battle ensued.
The British, being flanked by pirates with Archangel gun crewes fighting them head on, narrowly lost the battle. Continue reading

Cayo Hueso- II

Posted in Event Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by creweofthearchangel

Josephine’s Journal
The Account of an Indentured Servant’s Adventures with the Crewe of the Archangel

great guns operating as field cannons

November 29
Our journey remained uneventful until this very morning, when a Spanish ship came up behind us, requesting that we stop for a spell. They said that they wished to hear the latest news of the world. Capitaine Sterling, concerned by their appearance had earlier ordered all men to their battle stations, just as a precaution. With closer inspection, he became even more suspicious of their actions and as the Spanish fired the first shot without provocation, Continue reading