As told by Chief Meadowlarke Sweetweed 5th Shirrif of the Addernotch Station Bounders


I thought I would write down what little is known of the first year of that group of Bounders that founded Addernotch Station. There are not folk around any more who remember it. If anybody can drag Rumache out of his retirement long enough to write a history - that would be grand. He was there.


Even the names of them who gathered to form the Bounders is lost. All that is known is that a group of Shire folk decided that there were menacings about the Shire and they were going to see to it that such a wonderful place did not fall to the corruptions.


This was a particular group of volunteers, not formally associated with the long-time, traditional Bounders. A peculiarity about this group is that they were willing to venture beyond the Bounds to challenge the growing forces of darkness that were bringing these threats to the Shire. Most hobbit folk were of the opinion that Shire folk should keep to themselves and not get involved in the affairs of the world.


However, them who know history know that the Shire was formed by folk who left the safety of their homes near Bree to move into an unknown land, that we came here from the Misty Mountains before that, and that when the King at Fornost sent out a call, the Bounders answered with a company of archers what fought to defend the capital.


It just didn’t seem wise to let the lands of dwarf, elf, and men get overrun by evil if we had the ability to step in and stop them.


The history of the Bounders becomes less obscure at about the time of 4th Shirriff Rumache Beanfeast, from Needlehole. As is the case with most peoples, the original history comes from the second-hand stories told and retold of some of its early heroes. Such is the case of the story of Rumache and the Warg.


There are various versions of this story that have been told. However, what they all have in common is that Rumache, as a newly enlisted slug squasher, was the only Bounder available to battle either one or several wargs that had entered the Shire near Overhill. Second Shirriff Rubetta sent him a notice to go and protect Overhill. Young Rumache stood against the menace alone and resolved to bravely face the threat in spite of the danger. He managed to kill the warg with a single shot from his bow an instant before the warg would have otherwise killed him instead. The warg – or, at least, a statue that is often held to be that of the famous warg – still sits in the entryway of Addernotch Station. By tradition, a Bounder – and, in particular, a Bounder officer – will kiss the warg statue upon entering the station.


This was only one of the traditions that started in the early days of the Bounders.


Another tradition that lingers to this day is Bounder inspections, held every Saturday at the crack of noon. There’s no record of where the Bounders held their inspections in these early days.


These early Bounders also began the practice of Shire patrols – sending reports and updates to the Regional to be read before the customers that assembled there. The main credit for starting this tradition falls to Foxleaf. She would wander from town to town, sending messages to The Regional announcing where she was going and seeking to know if anybody was in need of help at each location.


During one of these patrols, Little Meadowlark Sweetweed of Buckland was at The Regional listening as the reports came in. He decided that he wanted more than anything to be a member of the Bounders. From the reports, he knew where he could find Foxleaf and, when he found her, he promptly enlisted.


This would eventually lead to his uncle, Meadowlarke Sweetweed, becoming the 5th Shirriff of Addernotch Station.


In this distant and unrecorded past, the Bounders were lucky enough to find a place to build their station in the newly established township of Addernotch. It was a piece of great fortune that the Bounders were able to get this property. Addernotch has, from that point to the present, been the very first of the homesteads in the newly established homesteads region. This made the station easy to find. This, in turn, meant that visitors would stop by more often than they might have done at other places.


Perhaps the most turbulent period in the history of Addernotch Station came when Rumache Beanfeast decided it was time to retire. He was engaged in business with the elfs, importing fertile Rivendell soils for growing and wanted to devote his attentions to that.


At the time, the senior officer in the Bounders was Ayrhawk Sweetweed, older brother to Little Meadowlark Sweetweed, mentioned earlier. However, Rumache felt that Ayrhawk had qualities that might not make him the best candidate for leadership. Eventually, it became known that Ayrhawk was involved in events at Archet, near Bree, that left him strictly devoted to taking up arms against the enemies of the Shire. He had made no secret of the fact that, if he became Chief, the Bounders would be required to show up at 4:00 AM every morning for a forced march to Hobbiton and back – before breakfast! He would prohibit drinking and other frivolities, and demand that each Bounder be in a constant state of readiness.


To prevent this, Rumache approached Ayrhawk’s uncle, Meadowlarke Sweetweed (often confused with Ayrhawk’s younger brother Little Meadowlark Sweetweed). Meadowlarke had been successor shirriff at Buckland and then retired, opening up a trading business between Buckland and Bree. Meadowlarke had grown up in Bree and was comfortable talking with and dealing with people outside the Bounds. Meadowlarke’s business had also made him extremely wealthy. Rumache was reported to have said to Meadowlarke, “At least with you as leader, there’d be no need to worry about the Station maintenance contracts getting paid.”


Meadowlarke, however, refused the title, wanting no part of leadership. He reported that he would be willing to help as successor shirriff, but not as leader. In light of this, veteran Addernotch bounder Bilcome took the role of leadership.


However, on the very day that he was to be named leader, Bilcome announced that a member of his family had fallen ill and he would have to be resigning his post. He left immediately, and Meadowlarke Sweetweed was instantly raised to 5th Shirriff in his place.


This left Voluntary Assistant Chief Ayrhawk Sweetweed most upset that he had been snubbed. However, he was of a sort to put the defense of the Shire above any hurt pride, and he continued to do battle against its enemies within the Shire and beyond. While he kept his title of Voluntary Assistant Chief, Ayrhawk left the Shire to do battle beyond the Bounds. At last report, he was battling orcs and helping the dwarfs return to their home in Moria.


The rest of the Bounders accepted Meadowlarke as the new Shirriff – which was seen as better than having to decide between quitting the Bounders and marching to Hobbiton and back every morning before breakfast. At this point, the Bounders entered a long period of relative stability.