A Memoir Lost

For Michael, writing his thoughts and dreams was important and was done within two books he kept close. The first was his ‘journal of dreams’, where he wrote down the flowers, vegetables and trees he wished to procure for the garden of his Shannon hut. He also recorded memories of his beloved sister Mary and the times he had dreamt of her. The hardships of outlawed life were also recorded by Michael, as Calder himself asserts, stating, “he was now often chased for his life by the black natives, as was proved by a kind of journal he kept, that was found in his knapsack afterwards, which was taken from him in one of his hard conflicts with his white pursuers. His nights were even worse than his days, for it is recorded by himself that he never closed his eyes, but he dreamed he was pursued, one moment by the blacks and the next by the whites.” The second book was the gardening book he had taken from Mr Pitt, where on the fly leaf Michael recorded his sister’s birthday in conjunction with the number of years they had been parted. Both these books were held together with kangaroo skin, which Michael had sewn “very neatly with sinews”, with the gardening book being “so studied”, that he had “thumbed its covers off”. The gardening book was the first to be lost, as it was in the knapsack he was forced to abandon at Jericho, when pursued by soldiers in April 1817. While his beloved journal was lost to him in the final month of his life, after he was attacked by McGill and Musquito near the Fat Doe River in September 1818.

Image from ‘The Outlaw Michael Howe’.

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