(Marietta, Ohio – 1806) 

You think they’ll come?” I asked.

Robbie leaned close to me and the boat shifted slightly to the left. He whispered. “Mr. Burr will come with his men and try to take these boats. That’s why we have to sit here in ‘em and stop him.”

My voice shook. “Did he really kill someone?”

Robbie nodded slowly. “He killed Alexander Hamilton in cold blood.”

How would three young boys stop a criminal? I was 14 and tall for my age; still, Robbie and his brother Johnny were only 11 and 12. Mr. Burr was a grown man.

I shivered and pulled my woolen coat tighter around me. Stars splattered the night sky, and a December chill cut through my threadbare jacket.

 “He’s accused of treason. Pa said he plans to get the western states to separate from the country and join with Mexico.”

“Shh,” said Johnny as he stepped close to us. “I think I heard something.”

We sat perfectly still. The boat rocked slightly over the waves by the dock. My stomach flip-flopped, even though we were anchored.

There was a stillness, broken only by the steady lapping of river waves against the dock.

All three of us perched tensely on the seat of the boat.

Just then, I heard it: a steady sound of a boat plowing down the river.

“Look!” Johnny pointed directly ahead.

My heart began thumping. There were two large boats heading right towards us.

How would we keep them from taking the boats?

Mr. Greene had told us earlier: “Don’t let that man get the boats. He’s dangerous. He’s trying to escape and we can’t let him. You boys secure these boats. I’m staying close on shore with a group of militia. When he comes, you give the signal, and we’ll move in and capture him.”

I always wanted an adventure, but now that I was in one, I felt my stomach knot, and I wished I was back home in Pittsburgh with my family – not here in the middle of this frigid river, waiting to stop a criminal.

To be continued…

By Susie Garber