Jonathan Dickinson’s Journal is the written account of his experiences from the time he left Port Royal Jamaica on September 23, 1696 until he arrived in Philadelphia Pennsylvania during February, 1697. The Quakers published the first edition in August, 1699. Today, only a handful of original copies exist. At least twenty-two editions’ in English, Dutch, and German have been printed, under various titles. In the eighteenth century, the Journal became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic.
It is unknown how Jonathan kept track of the events that occurred each day. He writes that he had no items with him including paper and pen. Possibly Jonathan Dickinson took with him to Philadelphia the personal statements each the survivor gave to the Spanish while recovering in San Augustine. Joseph Kirle, Master of the barkentine Reformation, read the original edition and confirmed its accuracy. The journals most important distinction is that it is the only witnessed, written description of the early American Indians who lived along the Atlantic Coast of Florida.
Jonathan Dickinson’s Journal inspired the development of Deliverance. However, in no way do I try to create a nonfiction account of Mr. Dickinson’s experiences. I am not writing a play-by-play record of the original journal. My historical fiction story focuses on Jonathan’s character as he developed as both a man and leader. I believe that the pain and suffering he endured at the hands a hostile, childish and thoughtless group of people made him search deep within him for the tools needed to keep the castaways alive.
Steve Witucki has created an oil painting depicting the barkentine Reformation trying to out run a storm. Unfortunately, the ship sailed into something much worse. A great amount of research went into re-creating an image of the Reformation, which had three masts. The foremast consisted of square sails. The fore and aft sails on the main and after mast allowed it to cut deep into the wind. The adjustable rigging allowed the ship to sail in a many directions. However, in foul weather, it was less stable than a square a square sailed ship.
On September 23, 1696 the Reformation sailed out of Port Royal in route to Philadelphia. On board, were Jonathan Dickinson, his wife, son, a relative, a Quaker missionary, eleven slaves and a crew of nine. Not everyone survived.
Steve had brought to life many of the scenes in his illustrations. This is a series you’ll want to add to your collection of art.
Author GE Gardiner
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