But now, a matter of religion got in between us and Brandon. A launch came down the creek; and, as we were nearly out of gasoline, the Commodore hailed the craft and made inquiry as to where we could get some. One of the two men aboard proved to deal in gasoline, and appeared to be the only one about who did. He had some of it then on the pier at Claremont; and would sell it any day in the week except Saturday. The rather puzzling exception he explained by saying that he was a Seventh-day Adventist. To be sure, it was then only Thursday; but as it seemed making up for bad weather that might prevent our running down to the pier next day, we arranged to take on a barrel of the gasoline that afternoon.
We started after a rather late dinner; and ran back down the river to where we had seen the schooner and the barges the day before. Just as the Commodore made a nice, soft-bump landing at the pier, a man informed him that the gasoline had been carried to the Adventist’s mill by mistake. So, we cast off our ropes again, and went farther down to where the little mills steamed away at the foot of the bluffs.
Off shore, several sloops and rowboats were tied to tall stakes in the water. We went as close to shore as we dared; and Gadabout crept cautiously up to one of the stakes, so as not to knock it over, and was tied to it. Then, the Commodore went ashore and arranged to have the gasoline brought out to us.
Presently, two negroes rolled the barrel into a lighter. They poled their awkward craft out to Gadabout and made fast to a cleat. It took a long time to pump the gasoline into cans, and then to strain it into our tank on the upper deck. The day was about over. Relinquishing our plan of visiting Brandon, we ran back to our Chippoak harbour, and our anchor went to bed in the creek as the sun went down.
At the pier marked “Brandon”
It was late on the following afternoon when Gadabout was out of the creek, out in the river, and bound for the little pier marked Brandon.
A belated steamboat was swashing down stream, and a schooner, having but little of wind and less of tide to help it along, was rocking listlessly in the long swell. In the shadow of the slack sails a man sprawled upon the schooner’s deck, while against the old-fashioned tiller another leaned lazily.
Gadabout had to make quite a detour to get around some shad-net poles before she could head in toward the Brandon wharf; and her roundabout course gave time for a thought or two upon the famous old river plantation.
Starting but a few years after those first colonists landed at Jamestown Island, the story of Brandon is naturally a long one. But, working on the scale of a few words to a century, we may get the gist of it in here.
Among those first settlers was one Captain John Martin, a considerable figure of those days and a member of the Council appointed by the King for the government of the colony. He seems to have been the only man who believed in holding on at James Towne after the horrors of the “Starving Time.” He made vigorous protest when the settlers took to the ships and abandoned the settlement.