General William Howe strolling in

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I had recently been promoted lieutenant general of the ordnance and appointed to the Privy Council. Now the real William Howe was the grandson of Sophia von Kielmansegg, Countess of Leinster and Darlington, an acknowledged illegitimate half-sister of King George I. So I was a disreputable cousin of King George III.


The surrender of Yorktown had happened on October 19, 1781, and for all intents and purposes, the war with the Colonies was over. Or was it?


Well its been almost a year since the House of Commons agreed to end all further military actions against those on the other side of the pond and about 5 years since I resigned my post as Commander-in-Chief of British land forces. Being a Whig, I was in the employment of those who controlled the Bank of England, or at least they thought I was, and the Whig's sought an end to the hostilities for the commencement of silver to return to the London merchants who suffered from unpaid debts from prior to the outbreak of the war.


They smartly opined that it is not the one who wins the battle, but in truth—the victory goes to the one who holds the purse strings. So we have seen, just last month, the creation of the Bank of North America. Prior Hamilton, the prime pupil of the Whig Reverend Knox, had been appointed Secretary of the Treasury on September 11th. Upon the creation of The Bank of North America, Hamilton was mentored by William Bingham, the future financier of bank. Bingham just happened to be married to the bank's president's daughter. Now their daughter would in time marry Alexander Baring; of Baring Brothers Bank who controlled 1/3 of the Bank of England through his father's bank and another 1/3 through being the controlling partner in the English branch of Hope & Co. Now the future prosperity of this diverse continent with all of its resources has been guaranteed to come back to the mother country without future bloodshed. So it was for the Rothschilds to set up stakes, for at the moment they have not found inroads into the federal bank of this new country nor the grand continent it found itself within.


So how did I become William Howe, you might ask? Well you can blame it on the rains of Cape Breton.


It was the Second Siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg. It was the French and Indian War and I, Henry Sinclair was with Rogers Rangers with General Wolf making a beachhead. We were fighting to move cannons through a bog when this young officer was yanking the front of our barrel as me and my distant nephew Arthur St. Clair and John Young was pushing from the rear fighting to push it out of the bog over this slimy rock when...Israel Putnam distracted the young officer just as we got the rear out of the bog and it fell forward with a great thrust and crushed William Howe.

We were pushing up the last cannon in a long line and we were the only ones to have noticed. At the time I was just a foot soldier, cannon fodder. Nobody would notice if I was gone? Arthur was kin and John was appointed by my great, great, great grandson to be Grand Master of North America and the West Indies of The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and Putnam, who got the poor boy killed was at the time an Apprentice Mason; our secret was safe. We figured it would be a good ploy, for the eventual freedom of Scotland and to keep a hand on the future growth of this new world. I figured it would not be bad to be related to a king. It was uncanny how much I looked like Howe and how his uniform was such a good fit.

Men pushing cannon up hil During the Siege of Louisburg during the French and Indian War

All there was left was to try to bribe Sophia, and when she refused, blackmail for she had taken up her father's philandering. Which was OK for Ernest Augustus the Elector of Hanover, but not for a woman even if she was a royal bastard or not.

So in time I headed the British forces against the Rebels, not by my desire, and it was I who conceded the war when I waged the campaign on Philadelphia and not Albany. The loss at Saratoga brought the French, at the bequest of the Marquis Lafayette, and the Spanish into the war on the side of Colonies, which led to the defeat at Yorktown.


Now during a campaign, I met this ineffectual young general who was only worse at poker. We met at Welch's Tavern after the Battle of Brandywine. In those days all hostilities ended at sunset and the officers on both sides would gather together over pints. I won a piece of property, a dogleg, on the southern tip of General Lacey's bog iron operation.


Yeah I know, you are getting bogged down in this story from Louisbourg bog to NJ bog; so I will get to the point.


The Ark of the Covenant.


___

Yes!
That Ark of the Covenant.


It was not one of the original Templar treasures that I sailed to the new world and hid within the tunnels of Salem in 1398. In fact, it had just come into the hands of the Sinclairs at Roslyn toward the time of the Intolerable Acts. My old friends John Young and Arthur St Clair met Israel Putnam and myself in Salem, prior to the Battle of Lexington, to deliver it to me from my grandson William. Intrigues against Scotland, from England, at the time threatened its safety as the Rothschilds sought it out; believing it should be within Jewish hands and not Christian. They also believed it could create gold out of thin air and it would provide means for them to take over the Bank of England away from Baring Brothers.


Their mercenaries from their city of Hesse were becoming a major force within the politics of Germany and England, which have been melded together since William of Orange. Not to mention William I of Hesse, who the Rothschilds controlled financially, was married to King George II's daughter. It was fair to say the Rothschild financed the British Regulars as well. Ever wonder why they wore red coats? The Red Coat family sponsored them; the Rothschild family with the coat of arms of a red shield.


So as General John Burgoyne headed south with his Hessian force, I was moving the Ark deep into the woods of the Jersey Pine Barrens out of Philadelphia. I had made terms with Benjamin Franklin, fellow Mason, to hide the Ark under Independence Hall the night President John Hancock applied his signature to the Declaration of Independence. When General Leslie brought his assault in the days prior to the Battle of Lexington, his order was to attack Robert Foster's blacksmith shop.


Along with 27 cannons from Richard Derby's ships, Foster was affixing the Ark to a field carriage to be pulled safely out of Salem. When locals put up the Old North Bridge they stopped Leslie from crossing the river, where the shop was just on the other side. Prior to his arrival the Ark was safely removed to Jonathan Mason's home on the hill, but they still had to distract him with several verbal assaults as the citizens hung from the bridge as they pushed the 27 cannons to Mason's house as well. Only after the cannons were moved, did the British cross. This was the hidden piece of Leslie's Retreat.

Leslie's Retreat at the Old North Bridge in Salem MA


Loyalist Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke, a double agent, had informed us of William Brown's and George Perkins' treachery informing the British about the Ark. When word got out about Brown, he was forced to escape with his life as the locals came out after him and confiscated his property. Later the house of blood in which Elias Hasket Derby Jr. infamously drained his victims in would be built on that, Salem's lot. George Perkins also fled Salem for Turkey where he was funding the Bank of England through his sales of opium from their ports to China. His cousins James and Thomas Perkins, who had also profited greatly from those sales, remained. The Perkins cousins worked with Samuel Ward, Baring Brothers agent, to confiscate the Ark. The two families were holding strange cabals at Brown's Folly on top of Castle Hill where the infamous Indian Massacre had happened in 1624, just less than a mile away on the same ridge was the site of the hangings. That story of how I escaped with the Ark against their maniacal obsession, is for another time.


William Brown just became Governor of Bermuda this month. Just a little side note...


Afterward, through Reverend William Bentley and John Hancock I was able to secure a meeting with Benjamin Franklin within the Essex Lodge to secure a home under Independence Hall for the Ark. Franklin wanted to study it and see if it could be used as a weapon for the Patriots cause. Prior to the French and Indian War, I had ran a tavern on Winter Island in between Fort William and Richard Derby's Wharf in which Bentley drank at as a young man. He and Putnam were the only ones who remembered my old alias, before I became Howe, within Salem. You can only be twenty-five years old for so long till someone notices…


So now you can understand how President John Hanson, Arthur, Israel, John, and myself find ourselves pinned down outside of Cedar Bridge Tavern deep in the Pines of NJ by some Pine Robbers led by John Bacon and Refugee Hessians, who have stolen the Ark. This tale of mine is about the last official battle of the Revolutionary War on December 27, St. Stephen's Day. Pinned down in the mud and snow dressed in humiliating straw mummers costumes...

Henry Sinclair face down in mud at Cedar Bridge Tavern NJ

___

The Ark. Why were the British after it? It is a large electrical capacitor. A box of acacia wood that acted as an insulator between two gold plates placed within and without. On top were two cherubs which acted as terminals of opposite polarity. Carrying the box between two wooden posts it could be moved safely as it traveled through dry climates where the friction of the sand on the wind would build up an immense electric charge within. Its great electrical charges could be directed against an opponent and it could be used to power any sort of device. Franklin, an early proponent of electricity knew full well of its potential and it was his son the Loyalist Governor of NJ who sent these Pine Robbers to my quarters at the southern edge of General Lacey's bog iron operation to steal the Ark.


The Hessians, in the employ of the Rothschilds, were hoping to be paid handsomely for this prize which could secure that family within the hallow halls of the Bank of England. What a prize it was turning out to be with the resources and wealth of this continent being guaranteed through the Bank of North America to the Bank of England.


When I had captured Philadelphia, Franklin had understood that there were many officers under my command that would break orders and steal the Ark for Rothschild's Hessians. August 29, 1781 was the end of The Masonic Congress of Wilhelmsbad, Germany. William I of Hesse's brother Karl called together the conference which was attempted to be held within the Rothschilds' castle. Instead at Hanau-Wilhelmsbad spa the fate of Rite of Strict Observance, which was being infiltrated by Weishaupt's Illuminati, was to be settled. Rite of Strict Observance was making a break from our Scottish Freemasonry centered in Roslyn. The new Rite was the only Masonry at the time that permitted Jews, and the Rothschilds stepped on in and learned about the removal of the Ark for Salem.


Now the Ark was not the only reason in which I had to run away to the Pines.


See earlier on May 24th, 1777 I received correspondence from my friend who had just been relieved of his command of Canada by Burgoyne. He informed me that I was to move north from New York City up the Hudson to provide support for Burgoyne and his Hessian force at Saratoga. But, I already had plans that were agreed to and signed by Lord Germain that I was to start the Philadelphia Campaign instead. Lord Germain also signed Burgoyne's plans, which Burgoyne expected me to support him in New York. There was no love loss for Burgoyne within the ranks of officers who had fought during the French and Indian War with our American friends. Burgoyne and his Hessians would bayonet all the Rebel wounded that were left on the field of battle. As a man of wealth he was able to buy his rank. So by the time of the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, I was preparing to follow that stagecoach road that led to Clamtown NJ on the shore once more, the home of the Leed's Devil.

Jersey Devil


"Sir, if it was not too bold for me to speak out of my place, I would call you a damn fool!" said my old cabbie Louie. He had not recognized me yet in this life. He was a mere boy of 16 when I met him this time. Louie was my helmsman when I sailed my third-generation Viking crew from Orkney to Salem a 100 years before that Italian. "The Pines are a dark mysterious place filled with scoundrels. Many running from something. Criminals each and everyone of them. Highwaymen, Hessians, cutthroats, and lawyers. The only wealthy profession that is so disreputable, besides bankers, who could fit in with these heathens."


"Young man, I believe you are painting with too wide of a brush. I could say the same of you and that blue scarf you wear," I said as I started bringing him down the garden path, "Is that not, the scarf of the Sons of Liberty who gather around Center City in the taverns? The sign of the whelps who don't have the courage to take up the musket and do more than just lauding over the foolish of what they would do, if given the chance and so on?" I was baiting the temper I knew only too well from countless times from his previous incarnations.


He was fit to be tied, jumping up and down in his seat as he turned to me to the road and back again. Spittle flying from his jowls like some great mastiff. Ears standing out and face turning red "Sir. Sir! It would not be hard to slit your throat and lose you in these woods where no one would ever find you…" My laughing just stopped his rage as he looked me in the eyes and saw something of a friend staring back at him offering him my flask. I was splitting my sides when he took my flask and raised it to his lips, never letting his gaze into my eyes drop. He wiped his mouth and began to crack up as well. "I do believe sir, that you are crazy enough to scare away the Leed's Devil himself. Strange enough, I feel safe with you in these woods."

 

Louie in carriage on Jones Road Lacey Township driving carriage through the pines


Franklin's rival almanac publisher was Titan Leeds. Franklin called him the "Leed's Devil". The Quakers in the area were worried about the occult and pagan symbols that his father Daniel would place within his almanac which many feared opened up ways for the Dark Man and the Elder Ones to enter the dark places of the Pines. Many accuse his father of strange practices that he wrote about within his almanac that produced the deformed child of Titan's aunt Deborah, locals knew as "Mother" Leeds. The Jersey Devil was to be the 13th child, born in 1735, during a lightning storm. Mother Leeds cursed the child to the devil during the labor. Born as a normal child, but he soon changed into a creature with hooves, a goat's head, bat wings, and a forked tail. Growling and screaming, it beat everyone with its tail before flying up the chimney and heading into the pines within his 13th year.


Not sure about the goat head and bat wings, but I bet he was dam ugly and large. Just a deformed child left to fend for itself scarring any that would fall upon him on a dark stormy night. Though on the almanacs was the Leeds' family crest depicting a wyvern, a bat-winged dragon-like legendary creature that stands upright on two clawed feet.


Then there were rumors, that Japhet Leeds was possessed by Yog-Sothoth when he bedded Mother Leeds so he could father Crom Cruach. Maybe it was Zhothaqquah they gave birth to, for the child was rumored to take on bat like and dragon like qualities. In my opinion it does not matter which the child was rumored to be, for the tales are only that. Tales.


Franklin refused to join me on my trip. It seems he predicted Titan's death by making up strange occult traditions within his almanac. Well Titan did die in fact. Now many believe they see his ghost walk through the woods. Franklin is not taking any chances… So I left on my own to meet with General Lacey.


Well me and my crazy young friend who led the horses through this dark dense wood where the trail vanishes every three feet behind you with just as much in view to the fore.

It was from Lacey's I sent my resignation in October of 1777. I had been walking these woods, day and night, for over 3 months and I had not seen any sign of the Leed's Devil. Nor did I stumble upon any dark masses with sacrifices of deer. Or had I found any backwood wizard who captured the soul of the fox to torment one of his neighbors. Neither Had I seen the sword of the Hessian which was said to have fled to these woods, only to step out to slice the throat of a Patriot to pay for his daily bread. Nor was I in truth looking for any of them. Never less, as Louie accompanied me through our many walks along the rivers, creeks, and ponds Lacey plied for the oil stains on the water that gave up the ghost of iron ore that lied below the peat, Louie did so with pistol and saber always in hand.


"Sir, I must say they are a clever sort," Louie stated looking over his shoulder.


"Who is that? The Devil or the Hessian my dear friend?"


"The Devil of course, sir. For the devil resides in the heart of both. He is everywhere. Even in the hoot of the owl and the swoop of the bat."


"Nonsense. The owl sits in the window of the barn outside of my own bedchambers and keeps me company; with the bat, coming out at sunset to eat all of those mosquitoes I see now that you are swatting. If it was not for the bat you would not have enough hands to swat them. Now be careful with that pistol and sword you are flailing about. You're likely to skewer out one of your eyes or shoot your cap off through your soft palate."


Many of our walks down the deer paths and those mysterious trails that led to nowhere were much the same. As we ventured I always wondered what Native city must have been here prior to the coming of the white man to have the economy to produce these infinite roads, the purpose of which have been lost aeons ago. Only a great commerce could of brought a race together to cut so many roads linking various means of production and sales together. A commerce now lost to all with only the mystery taking its place.


Many times I had taken the upside down sword and waded through these bogs to cut squares of peat out and dove below to find the ore grown from the bacteria which was going to be made into the cannon ball or bullet that the Quaker's call the Devil's Pill. Strange, how I was digging the ore that could be used to kill one of the soldiers within my ranks. Or perhaps a soldier I had fought alongside with during the French and Indian War who now sided with the cause of the Patriots, much like my young friend Louie. It was a distressing time, but it seems to be over soon.


On many nights within the dark silence only broken by the sound of the whippoorwill that broke the cadence of the cricket and the peeper my mind would set back to many a campaign or event during the war in which I was forced to participate within. On one such night I recalled the ill luck of a Patriot who was on the run within New York City who took to hiding on the rooftops. Till! He found himself falling through the old thatch and landing in the middle of a garrison of British soldiers. With his luck I looked up from my chair in the east and this young fellow who had grasped the situation he had found himself in made the correct hand signals lickety-split. This lad, one Joseph Burnham, we fitted out with a horse to make his way to a fishing sloop sailing south deep into the shores of the Pines. I do wonder how he ever made out; for us Lodge Brothers look out for each other no matter what side you may turn up on.


By April of 1778, I received news that my resignation was approved. I headed back for Philadelphia and my troops held a party for me on May 18th. Many of the Hessians already deserted deep into the Pines. Six days later I sailed back to England and I arrived in port on July 1st.


I had left the Ark with General Lacey and Israel Putnam back at my quarters in the woods by the bridge over the stream. What a mistake…


Both were almost court-martialed at different times. I rigged the battle of Breed's Hill for Putnam to win the day, but first of all it was no easy deed, he was stationed on the wrong hill. Then he later retreated when I made the battle look like he was winning with a small force. Within the years to come many would believe he was the hero who said 'don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes'. Lacey was stripped of his rank just out of pure stupidity…


Well Franklin's son had spied on his father and having found out about my hiding place, informed the Rothschilds' Hessians who had intermingled with Bacon's Pine Robbers. They found it within the old outhouse hole, two to the left of the one that was in current use. It was guarded by Lacey's bog workers who had plenty of cannon balls and shot, but no cannons or rifles…


So I was called back from England and sailed on HMS Cerberus and arrived in Clamtown on Christmas Day.

___

 

I went up the old Clamtown Stage Road for Philadelphia and veered off for Jones Road. An obscure Indian road that led to the edge of Lacey's property. He had owned about 5 square miles of woods with no neighbors on the southern section; who was to figure anyone would ever find my quarters. Nobody did when I lived there. I was in complete isolation. There would have been members of Rothschilds' Hessians at that time who were hunting me down for their defeat at Saratoga. Now those same Hessians had found the Ark and had burned some of the Rebel supporters homes down with its electric death rays.


John Hanson, who had just vacated from the Presidency, had come down with Arthur and Israel Putnam, Ol' Put, from Philadelphia. Along with them came Benjamin Franklin who they were able to get so drunk that a prostitute was able to mount their carriage with them and keep him entertained enough so that he never realized where he was heading. We needed him to dismantle the Ark safely, for we have heard the Ark had been gathering so much energy that it had become unstable and continued to discharge from the cherub posts setting thus many of the woods on fire. He received quite a shock when he realized he was in Leed's Pines though! He swore Titan's ghost was going to get him.


"Hello Franklin!" I said as I stepped down from Louie's carriage. This was the first I had seen Louie in months. I had tried to get him to come to London with me, but he swore to never touch the soil of the King again. Now that this soil was free.


Franklin and the rest arrived from Philadelphia first.


"Henry, I should've realized it was you who was behind this!" said Franklin with much alarm and feigned hate.

Benjamin Franklin in front of carriage with William Howe


"Did I not, arrange for you to have fine company?" I asked half jokingly.


"Well, she has some fine points. I was quite enjoying myself, but you brought me to his woods. Henry you know better to bring me to this warlock's place!"


"That is still half a days ride away..."


"The dead move with no restriction, Henry, as you well know!"


Arthur chimed in, "Henry, we have word that Bacon has headed for his home in Pemberton right before the lake in Browns Mill. We have some troops moving in within a few days."


I replied that we could not wait that long, expecting that many of the troops would not be able to move after the Christmas celebrations. Plus many among their number had just wandered off for home after the surrender of Yorktown. It had been hard for Washington to keep troops within their ranks before Yorktown, now it seemed impossible after Cornwallis' surrender. "Arthur, we are going to need a better plan."


"Henry, I think I have an idea!" said Israel. He had me worried.

___

So that is how we found ourselves in straw mummers costumes penned down with our faces in a bog.


It was St Stephen's Day in which mummers went from house to house in straw costumes performing humorous skits and singing song. Israel picked the skit, it was one in which the Jersey Devil replaced Krampus walking with St Nick. Israel loved teasing Franklin.


"Henry why did you let Putnam choose this silly play; you know he just did it to get my goat?" complained Franklin.


"Oh quiet now," I hushed him as I opened the door to the Cedar Bridge Tavern and led the way dressed as St Nick. Arthur was dressed like a straw priest and Franklin as a straw Friar Tuck. Putnam was a straw Jersey Devil who acted as the clown. We stood in the center of the room as the Robbers grabbed their arms and we began to sing as Putnam bumped and jostled into the crowd as he openly searched for the Ark. After a few circles he chased one of the tavern girls upstairs after a few slaps on her rear. The Hessians didn't think much of it, but they were questioning our singing. Hell I was questioning our singing too; we were horrible. Then all of a sudden Putnam came running down the stairs with the Ark being held up on the end of two wooden poles. He was straining to keep it aloft, with the girl tossing vases at him, with most of them hitting their mark. He ran past us and we joined him in a hurry. Sparks were flying from the Ark everywhere.


Then Bacon leads the Pine Robbers and Hessians out into the field firing at us. We end up face down in the bog under the bridge. Putnam became overstrained and dropped the Ark in the water. We all jumped out of the bog in a hurry for we were beginning to be electrocuted. How to pick it up before they regained it again? "Henry, we can leave it for now. Putnam, Arthur; grab the poles!" yelled Franklin. We crossed the river and hid behind the bridge and loaded our pistols.


This was not the first plan of Israel's.

Continued in the Spring issue of Arkham: Tales from the Flipside!