Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 12
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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It made one trip a day, stayed overnight, and returned the next
Being a strong boy for my age, I was recommended to Captain
Burns as "hop boy." My job was to dispense brandy and water,
ginger tea, sandwiches in paper bags, and to see that the shivering
passengers were kept warm with sheepskin blankets. The iceboat
was fittingly named the Endeavour. The crew of four oarsmen,
able male passengers, and myself hauled her forward on her
runners over long, icy stretches, and when we came to open water
she was rowed forward.
Not long after taking this invigorating job I learned, some-
what to my consternation, that my predecessor of the winter
before had slipped from the ice into the water and lost his life.
I mentioned this to Captain Burns. He gave me short shrift.
"My boy," he said, "think nothing of it. Keep your wits about
you, tend to your work, and you'll be fine and dandy. As for the
passengers," he continued, shifting the subject so deftly I could
not cope with him, "when they start complaining, ignore them.
Now, button up your coat, my boy, and shake a leg."
When warmer weather came and the iceboat no longer oper-
ated, I was taken on as boy aboard a lobster smack, a much more
exciting if even more arduous occupation. In Northumberland
Strait there are great tides and rips against which contrary winds
would often blow, kicking up the sea. It was exciting work,
hauling up the lobster traps, gingerly removing their darkly
squirming contents, and replacing the bait of rotten fish. Be-
tween times I helped with the sails and the cooking, and pri-
vately scanned the rugged shore for signs of buried treasure.
As I rocked on the deep green waters, I remembered Captain
William Atkinson, an ancestor of whom I had heard at home.
Captain William Atkinson, along with his vessel, the John and
Hannah, was captured in 1726 by the buccaneer William Fly,
who had led a mutiny in the West Indies. However, Atkinson,
with three other prisoners, surprised Fly and overcame him.
Having regained his command, Atkinson took Fly to Boston
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/24/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.