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The Crow Legacy

The Crow Legacy

Book excerpt

A New Beginning 1862

San Diego was bustling with activity. The harbor was full of ships from all over the world. The discovery of gold in the north back in ‘48 had changed California forever. Men of every nation still flocked to the Golden State in hopes of becoming rich.

Jedadiah Crow was walking down a street close to the ocean when a voice called out, “Isaiah! Isaiah Crow!”

Jed turned to see a man, short in stature but powerfully built. He was dressed in black and wore a captain’s cap. As the man rushed up with his hand extended, he stopped. With a look of surprise on his face, he said, “I apologize young man. I thought you were someone else.”

“You knew Isaiah Crow? He was my father.”

“Was?” asked the man.

“My father died a few years ago. I’m Jed, Jedadiah Crow.”

“I’m sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I’m Captain King. Your father saved me a great deal of money once. We became good friends. I even attended his wedding.”

“I’m headed for the cantina down the street. Would you care to join me?” asked Jed.

“Why yes, I feel the need for something to eat. My ship sails tonight and it will be some time before I’ll have food from a cantina again.”

It was an enjoyable meal. Jed listened, fascinated by Captain King’s stories. When it came time to go, Jed asked, “I know it’s late notice, but could I purchase passage aboard your ship?”

“You want to go to Boston, do you?”

“Yes and no. I actually want to go to Washington. I have heard about the War of Rebellion and thought I would travel overland. However, if I can get passage on your ship… ”

“You plan on joining the army, do you?”

“Yes sir, cavalry if they’ll have me. I’m good with horses, and I can read and write.”

“Son, you are welcome aboard my ship and to sail for nothing. The money your father saved me paid your passage long ago. Say, you don’t happen to own any books do you?”

“I have several of my father’s books with me.”

“Yes, it will be a pleasure having you aboard. When we leave here, I’ll show you where to be at five this afternoon. I will send a boat to pick you up.”


*  *  *


The sun was setting, and the sky was ablaze with color as The Boston Queen’s bow sliced through the Pacific waters. Jed stood alone, breathing in the smell of the ocean. They were headed for The Cape of Good Hope, “Around the Horn,” as Captain King put it; around the Horn and on to a new life.

The trip to Boston took nearly seven months. Crow bid farewell to Captain King and went into Boston to purchase two horses; one for riding and another as a pack animal to carry his kit. Two days later, Crow was headed to Washington, where he hoped to join the Cavalry.

The trek to Washington took Crow twelve days instead of ten because he was fascinated with the countryside and the people he met. Arriving in Washington, he found a rooming house run by a widow lady. The widow introduced him to the man at the livery, and he boarded his horses there.

President Lincoln continued the construction of the capitol building during the war and Crow spent several days watching its development. One day, when Crow returned to the livery, the owner approached him. “Mr. Crow, I have something that might interest you.”

Crow followed the man to the back of the stables. There, the liveryman stopped at the last stall. “He’s in there.”

In the stall was a magnificent black stallion. As Crow approached, the Black charged the gate. “Watch him,” called out the Liveryman, “He bites!”

Crow held his hand flat, and the horse went for it. Quick as a Cobra, Crow had the Black by its upper lip in a vice-like grip. The Black froze in place. Crow reached out with his other hand and gently stroked the Black’s nose, whispering. Then Crow released the lip of the Black and it backed away. Crow continued speaking in a low voice, and the horse came back. But his time, he bumped Crow’s hand to ask for more attention. “I ain’t ever seen anything like it,” said the Liveryman in a whisper.

“Is he for sale?” asked Crow.

“Yes, sir, he is and cheap too, only a hundred and fifty dollars. The man who owns him can’t control him, and it bites him.”

“See if he would be interested in a trade, my mount with saddle and tack for the Black. If you can convince him, I will give you my pack horse.”

The next day Crow owned the Black and the Liveryman owned a pack horse.

Crow spent the next four weeks training the Black as his father had taught him.

One day, Crow left the livery and walked to a building with a sign that read Henry Repeating Arms. Inside, Mr. Hall, the proprietor, was surprised by the number of pistols and the Henry Rifle purchased by the young man named Crow. Crow impressed Mr. Hall, even more, when he paid cash for it all. “It has been a pleasure serving you, Mr. Crow. Should you ever need anything in firearms in the future, I hope you will call on me.”

Crow carried two canvas bags containing his purchases. Crow saw a sign that read, “Red Rooster Saloon.” ‘I think I’ll stop for a drink and some food,’ thought Crow and stepped inside.


A Chance Meeting

Earl Stump, 1st Sergeant, US Cavalry, stood with his back to the room. He leaned against the bar, resting on one arm while lifting his drink with the other. Three malicious looking men eyed the man standing at the bar in the Red Rooster saloon. “I’m a gonna gut that son-of-a-bitch,” the big one said to the others. The big man stood up and drew a heavy bladed knife from a scabbard attached to his belt. The assassin advanced on the unsuspecting1st Sergeant and prepared to thrust his blade into the back of his victim. From out of nowhere, a chair crashed down on the big man’s head, dropping him like a shot deer.

Earl Stump jerked around to face the commotion. The big man’s friends charged the tall man with the broken chair in his hand. Earl grabbed a bottle from the bar to use as a weapon. Before he could engage the two advancing men, the man with the chair threw it across the floor tripping the second attacker. The third attacker fell over the second, landing hard on top of him. Before either could move, two quick blows from the stranger’s closed fists knocked them both out.

“Damn son, was it something they said?” asked Earl, with a lopsided grin on his face.

“The one with the knife was about to stick you in the back. ‘Just didn’t strike me as being right.”

“I’m obliged to you. The one with the knife took exception to me taking up space at another saloon a couple weeks ago. I tried to beat some sense into him, but apparently, it didn’t take. ‘Don’t know the others though. ‘Must be friends of his.” Earl Stump stuck out his hand, “I’m Earl Stump.

Shaking Earl’s hand, the man said, “I’m Jedadiah Crow.”

There was a groan from the man with the knife as he began to regain consciousness.  “I think we might want to move on from here,” said Earl. “How about I treat you to a good meal?”

“I’ll take you up on that! I’ll just get my kit.”

As Jed gathered his kit, Earl noticed that the man with the knife had gotten to his hands and knees. Earl leaned over him and said, “I didn’t get a chance to give you a proper hello!” With a punch that heavyweight champ Tom Hyer would have been proud of, Earl knocked out the would-be assassin.

“Now that we’ve got the pleasantries out of the way, let’s go eat.”

Leaving the Red Rooster, Jed carried a canvas bag over his right shoulder and another in his left hand as he walked along with Earl. The streets of Washington were filled with people on horseback, in carriages and like themselves, just walking. “I'm not used to so many people,” said Jed.

 “Where are you from?”

“I’m from California, near San Diego. You?”

“Born and raised in Michigan. Here, give me one of those bags to carry.”

Jed handed the bag he had in his hand to Earl. “Damn! What have you got in here?”

“I stopped and picked up a few things. I hope to join the cavalry.”

Earl stopped, “You don’t say! How about after we eat, I take you to our commanding officer? He might be interested in talking to you. Do you ride or know anything about shooting?”

“My family raised horses, and I know a bit about shooting.”


Lieutenant Crow

Stump liked Jedadiah Crow. The young man was unpretentious; though it was obvious he was of high intelligence. After their meal, Earl led Crow to the tent of Colonel White, his commanding officer. Colonel White granted Crow twenty minutes to convince him that he should allow Crow to join his unit. The meeting lasted over an hour. When the flap to the colonel’s office opened, the colonel called for his aid, Lieutenant Gilroy.

Gilroy left the commanding officer’s tent with Crow, took him straight to the quartermaster and authorized uniforms of a lieutenant to be issued to Lieutenant Jedadiah Crow, United States Army. Lieutenant Gilroy then took Crow to the tent of Captain Murphy. Crow was told to wait outside the tent while Gilroy talked to the captain. Crow stood outside the tent, his arms full of uniforms. A few minutes later, a uniformed young man came out of the tent and ran down the company street. Crow saw him stop in front of a tent and then saw 1st Sergeant Stump appear. Stump followed the runner back to the captain’s tent and entered.

Stump stepped out of the tent and said, “You sure as hell don’t let any grass grow under your feet… sir! Follow me.” Stump led Crow to his tent and held the flap for Crow to enter. “Drop your uniforms on the cot and take a seat… sir.

“Captain Murphy will see you in the morning after you get settled and you are in uniform. Today and tonight, you will stay with me. We will go back to the quartermaster’s to get the rest of your equipment, and I will show you how to wear it. It will take a while to get you a mount, but we can get you a saddle and tack.”

“I have a mount. I bought him four weeks ago. I will also have to pay for my room and pay the livery whatever I owe them.”

Stump looked at Crow, trying to figure him out. “I can send one of my men to take care of your room and livery if you want. He can also bring your horse. We have a lot to do tonight, and it would save us time.”

Crow looked over at the two sacks of his belongings that Stump kept for him while he met with the colonel. “I have some personal things at my room that the landlady is keeping for me. I will have to write a note, or she won’t give them to him.”

Stump stood up and went to the tent opening and yelled, “McCauley!”

A handsome young man with pitch black hair appeared at the entrance of the tent. “McCauley, this is Lieutenant Crow. He has a horse and some personal things in town. I want you to get a wagon and go and get them and bring them back here.”

McCauley stepped into the tent, “Lieutenant,” McCauley addressed Crow. Crow stood up and reached into his pocket and withdrew several coins. “Here are fourteen dollars. The landlady gets eight, the livery gets six. It is more than I owe, but they have been helpful to me. I will draw you a map and give you a note for each of them explaining who you are.”

“McCauley, go there and straight back, no stopping along the way.”

Crow took two more coins and with a wink, handed them to McCauley, “It’s not official yet, me being an officer. So for doing this for me, here is some extra for when you can stop along the way.”

Grinning ear to ear, McCauley replied, “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir!”


Colonel White

Colonel White adjusted the wick of the lamp on his field desk. Leaning forward in his chair, he pushed a bottle of whiskey across the table to his second in command, Lieutenant Colonel Gibson. The lieutenant colonel, known to all as “Gibbs”, picked up the bottle and poured two fingers worth into his empty glass. White said, “We got a new man today, Jedadiah Crow. I’m most impressed with him, he’s from California. I’ll introduce you to him in the morning. Then I want you to take him around to meet the other officers.”

“You commissioned him then?”

“I did. If Crow passes muster, I think I’ll have him lead our scouts when we move out.”

“That might upset a few officers. Every lieutenant in the regiment wants that job.”

“Yes, I’ve thought on that, but none of those lieutenants have lived with the Indians, had a father that was a Mountain Man or a grandfather that is a war chief. Now, that’s all on his word. That’s why I want you to watch him close and evaluate him. Oh, and by the by, Crow saved 1st Sergeant Stump of Twelfth Troop’s, life today. Remember the man that attacked Stump a couple weeks ago? He and two of his friends followed him to a saloon today. Well, when they tried to kill Stump, Crow stepped in and beat the three unconscious, according to Stump.”

Gibbs held up his glass, “I’m looking forward to meeting this young man.”



Ulf's Tale

Ulf's Tale