Trail Foods. Byrd. The Secret History.
William Byrd II (March 28, 1674 – August 26, 1744)
“The Portable Provisions I would furnish our Foresters withal are Glue-Broth and rockahomini : one contains the Essence of Bread, the other of Meat.
The best way of making Glue-Broth is after the following method: Take a Leg of Beef, Veal, Venison, or any other Young Meat, because Old Meat will not so easily Jelly. Pare off all the fat, in which there is no Nutriment, and of the Lean make a very strong Broth, after the usual Manner, by boiling the meat to Rags till all the Goodness be out. After Skimming off what fat remains, pour the Broth into a wide Stew-Pan, well tinn'd, & let it simmer over a gentle, even Fire, till it come to a thick
Jelly. Then take it off and set it over Boiling Water, which is an Evener Heat, and not so apt to bum the Broth to the Vessel. Over that let it evaporate, stirring it very often till it be reduc'd, when cold, into a Solid Substance like Glue. Then cut it into small Pieces, laying them Single in the Cold, that they may dry the Sooner. When the Pieces are perfectly dry, put them into a Cannister, and they will be good, if kept Dry, a whole East India Voyage.
This Glue is so Strong, that two or three Drams, dissolv'd in boiling Water with a little Salt, will make half a pint of good Broth, & if you shou'd be faint with fasting or Fatigue, let a small piece of this Glue melt in your Mouth, and you will find yourself surprisingly refreshed. One Pound of this cookery wou'd keep a man in good heart above a Month, and is not only Nourishing, but likewise very wholesome. Particularly
it is good against Fluxes, which Woodsmen are very liable to,
by lying too near the moist ground, and guzzling too much cold Water. But as it will be only us'd now and then, in times of Scarcity, when Game is wanting, two Pounds of it will be enough for a Journey of Six Months. But this Broth will be still more heartening if you thicken every mess with half a Spoonful of Rockahominy, which is nothing but Indian Corn
parched without burning, and reduced to Powder. The Fire drives out all the Watery Parts of the Corn, leaving the Strength of it behind, and this being very dry, becomes much lighter for carriage and less liable to be Spoilt by the Moist Air.
Thus half a Dozen Pounds of this Sprightful Bread will sustain a Man for as many Months, provided he husband it well, and always Spare it when he meets with Venison, which, as I said before, may be very Safely eaten without any Bread at all.
By what I have said, a Man needs not encumber himself with more than 8 or 10 Pounds of Provisions, tho' he continue half a year in the Woods. These and his Gun will support him very well during that time, without the least danger of keeping one Single Fast. And tho' some of his days may be what the French call Jours maigres, yet there will happen no more of those than will be necessary for his health, and to carry off the Excesses
of the Days of Plenty, when our Travellers will be apt to indulge their Lawless Appetites too much”.
“After these necessary Matters were settled, I ordered 1000 lb
of Brown Biscuit, & 200 lb of white to be provided, & 6 Baggage Horses to carry it, at the rate of 3 Baggs containing 200 lb. each Horse. As for meat I intended to carry none, but to depend intirely upon Providence for it. But because the Game was not like to be plentifull till we got above the Inhabitants, I directed all the men to find themselves with 10 day's Provision. I augumented my Number of Men to 17, which together with 3 which Firebrand undertook to get made up the Complement of 20. For these I provided Ammunition after the Rate of 2lbs of Powder a Man, with Shot in proportion”.
Byrd. The Secret History.
“We, on the part of Virginia, that we might be sure to be punctual, arriv'd at Mr. Kinchin's, the place appointed, on the 19th, after a Journey of three days, in which nothing Remarkable happen'd.
We found three of the Carolina-Commissioners had taken Possession of the House, having come thither by water from Edenton, By the Great Quantity of Provisions these Gentlemen brought, and the few men they had to eat them, we were afraid they intended to carry the Line to the South sea.
They had 500 lbs of bcaon and dry'd Beef, and 500 lbs of Bisket, and not above three or four men. The misfortime was, they forgot to provide Horses to carry their good things, or else trusted to the Incertainty of hireing them here, which, considering the Place, was leaving too much to that Jilt, Hazard.
On our part we had taken better Care, being completely furnisht with everything necessary for transporting our Baggage and Provisions. Indeed we brought no other Provisions out with us but 1000 lbs of Bread and had Faith enough to depend on Providence for our Meat, being desirous
to husband the publick Money as much as possible. We had no less than 20 men, besides the Chaplain, the Surveyors and
all the Servants, to be Subsisted upon this Bread. However, that it might hold out the better, our men had been Order'd to provide themselves at Home with Provision for Ten days, in which time we judg'd we should get beyond the Inhabitants, where Forest-Game of all sorts was like to be plenty at that time of the Year”.
“One of our Men Spy'd three Buffaloes, but his Piece being loaded only with Goose-shot, he was able to make no effectual Impression on their thick hides; however, this Disappointment was made up by a Brace of Bucks, and as many Wild Turkeys, kill'd by the rest of the company. Thus Providence was very Bountiful to our Endeavours, never disappointing those that Faithfully rely upon it, and pray heartily for their Daily Bread”.
Byrd. History of the Dividing Line.