Affiliate Link

Molasses and Flagging

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

The following droll affair lately happened at Kinderhook, New York. A young fellow, an enemy to the liberties of America, going to a quilting frolic, where a number of young women were collected, and he the only man in company, began his aspersions on Congress, as usual, and held forth some time on the subject, till the girls, exasperated at his impudence, laid hold of him, stripped him naked to the waist, and instead of tar, covered him with molasses, and for feathers took the downy tops of flags, which grow in the meadows, and coated him well and then let him go. He has prosecuted every one of them, and the matter has been tried before Justice S—-. We have not as yet heard his worship’s judgment. It is said Parson Buel’s 1 daughter is concerned in the affair. 2


1 “Parson Buel, during his residence at Southhold, Long Island, was on friendly and intimate terms with Gov. Tryon, and from his lively disposition, ready wit, and fondness for the chase, was a favorite with Sir William Erskine, and often had it in his power to soften the severity of war. Sir William, one Saturday, said to Mr. Buel, ‘I have ordered the people of your parish to appear with their teams at Southampton to-morrow.’ Mr. B. replied, ‘I know it, but I, as commander-in-chief on the Sabbath, have annulled the order.’ Sir William did not insist.

“Mr. Buel frequently joined the parties of the British officers, which he enlivened by humorous anecdotes and agreeable conversation. Once when he was behind the appointed time for a deer hunt, Sir William had detained the party. Tired of waiting they had now mounted, when seeing his friend Buel approaching, he ordered his men to dismount to receive him. Lord Percy, an aid, while impatiently pacing the floor, was introduced to Mr. Buel, who thereupon asked him what portion of his majesty’s forces he had the honor to command? ‘A legion of devils just from hell.’ ‘Then,’ said Mr. Buel, with a low bow, ‘I suppose I have the honor of addressing Beelzebub, the prince of devils!’ His lordship put his hand on his sword. This was rebuked by Sir William, and the laugh turned on Percy, who after a while was restored to good humor by the marked attention of the parson.”–Holmes’ Annals.

2 Gould’s Diary; Gaine’s Mercury, October 2.

1 comment

  1. Flags might be sweet flag or a similar plant. I don’t see anything that looks “downy” in pictures of sweet flag, though. Maybe he’s actually referring to cattails.

Comments are closed.