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Saturday, December 17, 2005
Some Period Recipe sites
For those who might be thinking of a period feast, here are some sites with interesting and usable recipes:
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
From Philadelphia to Pittsburg, 1784
Road to Pittsburg
From Philadelphia to Lancaster.....66 miles
to Middleton.......................26 miles
Harris's Ferry.....................10 miles
Fort Loudon........................13 miles
Fort Littleton.....................18 miles
Juanita Creek......................19 miles
the foot of the Allegany Mountains...15 miles
Stony Creek.........................15 miles
the East Side of Laurel Hill........12 miles
Fort Ligonier........................9 miles
Total from Philadelphia: 320 miles
Monday, February 07, 2005
Caring for Chickens, ca. 1750
POULTRY and their eggs come more immediately under the care and management of our country housewife, than any other outward part of the farmer's business; and accordingly many farmers think it their interest to let their wives have all the profit of their eggs and poultry, for raising money to buy what we call common or trivial necessaries in the house, as sugar, plumbs, spices, salt, oatmeal, &c. &c. which piece of encouragement engages our housewife and her maid-servants to take special care of feeding her poultry in due time, setting her hens early, and making capons at a proper age.
The best Feed for Dunghill Fowls, to make them lay early Eggs, and many of them --Is horsebeans and hempseed. Of the first, a particular woman had such an opinion, that she preferred it to all others, and the rather as horsebeans in some wet summers grow in prodigious plenty, and are sold very cheap, sometimes for less than two shillings a bushel; hempseed indeed is dearer. As this last is furnished with much hot oil, as the horsebean is with a very hot quality, they both cause hens to lay in winter, when no other common seed can so well; but if hens were confined always in a room, it hinders very much their laying. The game hen lays most eggs, but they are commonly the least sort.
Sorts of Hens.--The Hertfordshire dunghill fowls and their eggs have been in great esteem a long time, and at this time their eggs have the greater reputation of all others, insomuch that the very cryers of eggs about London streets take particular care to make the word Hertfordshire be well known; for our country is a Chiltern one, abounding with many hills, dry soils, gravelly rivers, plenty of most sorts of grain, and allow'd by professors of physick to be the healthiest air in England, all which undoubtedly contributes to the breeding of the best of eggs and soundest of dunghill fowls; a proof of which is very demonstrable, by the game cocks bred in Hertfordshire, that beat for the most part those bred in other counties. But I can't say our dunghill fowls exceed all others, for there are excellent sorts of the Poland, the Hamburgh, and the Darking dunghill fowls; the character of the last of which is hereafter inserted.
Of Hens sitting, and of Chickens and young Ducks.--The game hen sits oftner than the dunghill hen, and will fight the hawk better in defence of her chickens: But as their legs are commonly as black as their feathers, few farmers keep them, because their blackish chickens will not sell like the white-leg'd dunghill sort. When a hen sits on her own eggs, she commonly hatches in three weeks, but when she sits on duck eggs, a month. If she has sat a week on duck eggs, and by accident the eggs are broke, or the hen too much disturbed, so that if she is set again on other duck eggs, she will not sit out her time; in such a case, if she is set again on the hen eggs, she will, because on these she sits a shorter time than on the duck eggs. A hen that sits beyond her time of three weeks seldom brings all her eggs to perfection, which is chiefly owing to her being set in a cold place, or going too far for her meat when off; but that is the best hen that hatches a day or two before the usual time. It is a fault to set a pullet with too many eggs. One was set with eighteen eggs, which she sat on well till the first chicken chirp'd, and then she was affrighted, ran away, and forsook the rest, so that our housewife could preserve but three, and for bringing them up she was forced to use more than ordinary care.--To have early chickens, an industrious housewife living at Gaddesden had a brood of chickens a fortnight old this 25th of February 1747-8; she set her hen in a chimney corner that had no fire near it, but on the back of the same chimney there was a daily one kept, which struck such a sufficient heat to the corner, as enabled the hen to sit close in this cold season, and hatch twelve chickens, which our housewife kept in this place, giving them offald wheat, that was screened at the mill from good wheat, and now and then some wetted pollard; with these the chickens went on well, and for eating up what the chickens and their hen left, our housewife let in a laying hen now and then, so that here was no waste made.
Dunghill Fowls, their Nature, by Mortimer.--The oldest are best sitters, and the youngest best layers, but good for neither if kept too fat. To breed right chickens is, from two to five years old; the best month is February, and so any time between that and Michaelmas [here Mr. Mortimer is wrong, for when a hen begins to moult, she ought not to be set, because her chickens then seldom live.] A hen sits (says he) twenty days; geese, ducks, and turkeys, thirty; let them have always meat by them while they sit, that they may not straggle from their eggs and chill them. One cock will serve ten hens. If fowls are fed with buck-wheat, they will lay more eggs than ordinary, and the same with hempseed; the buck-wheat whole, or ground and made into paste, which is the best way: It is a grain that will fatten hogs or fowls speedily, but they are commonly fatten'd with barley-meal made into a paste with milk; but wheat-flower is better.--Mortimer, vol. I.
To fatten Hens, Pullets, Chickens, Capons, or Turkeys.--Their coops must be kept very clean, for all ill smells and nastiness is prejudicial to the fattening of fowls, as contributing towards giving their flesh a bad tang, and an unwholsome quality; to this purpose, they should have also two troughs, that one may be scalded and dried, while the other is in use, and both meat and water, or other liquor, should be kept from each other free of any mixture. As to their meat, there may be several sorts made; one by boiling barley till it is tender in water, another parcel of it in skim milk, another in strong ale; when so boiled, a little coarse sugar may be mixed with it. Or make a paste with barley-meal, and water or skim milk. And as to their drink, let them have strong ale or skim milk, or water wherein a little brickdust is mixed; for if they have not something to scower their maws or crops, they will not thrive to expectation, therefore if brickdust is not put into their drink, either a little of that, or fine sand, should be mixed with their meat now and then, to get them an appetite, and make them digest their food the quicker; the ale will intoxicate them, and cause them to sleep much and fatten the sooner, but the milk tends most to the whitening of their flesh. Now it wants no demonstration by argument, to prove that variety of meats forward the expeditious fattening of any animal; in this case, therefore, give any of these fowls these several sorts of foods alternately; so will they be creating them an appetite while they are fattening, to the making of them exceeding fat in a little time.
An ancient Author's Way to fatten Chickens.--Boil (says he) bread in milk, as though they were to eat it, but make it thick of the bread, which slice into it in thin slices, not so thick as if it were to make a pudding; but so that when the bread is eaten out, there may some liquid milk remain for the chickens to drink; or that at first you may take up some liquid milk in a spoon, if you industriously avoid the bread; sweeten very well the pottage with good kitchen sugar of four-pence per pound, so put it into the trough before them; put therein but little at a time (two or three spoonfuls) that you may not clog them, and feed them five times a day, between their awaking in the morning and their roosting at night. Give them no other drink, the milk that remaineth after they have eaten the bread is sufficient, neither give them gravel or aught else; keep their coops very clean, as also their troughs, cleansing them well every morning. To half a dozen very little chickens, little bigger than blackbirds, an ordinary porringer full every day may serve, and in eight days they will be prodigiously fat. One penny loaf, and less than two quarts of milk, and about half a pound of sugar, will serve little ones the whole time; bigger chickens will require more, and two or three days longer time; when any of them are at their height of fat, you must eat them, for if they live longer, they will fall back and grow lean; be sure to make their pottage very sweet.--Or you may pound rice in a mortar till it is very small, and the smaller the better, for then it may be made into a paste with scalded milk and coarse sugar, which if given to chickens by a little at a time, so that they are not gorged, will fatten them in a very little time; let them have ale or good small beer to drink, and give their meat warm.--But there is a receit that directs the fattening of chickens with rice without pounding or grinding it, only to boil rice in milk till it be very tender and pulpy, as when you make milk-pottage; it must be thick, that a spoon may stand an end in it; sweeten this very well with ordinary sugar, and put it into their troughs where they feed, that they may be always eating of it; it must be made fresh every day; their drink must be only milk in another little trough by their meat-trough; let a candle (ftly disposed) stand by them all night for seeing their meat, for they will eat all night long. You put the chickens up as soon as they can feed of themselves, which will be within a day or two after they are hatched, and in twelve days or a fortnight they will be prodigiously fat; but after they are come to their height, they presently fall back, so that they must be eaten. Their pen or coop must be contrived so, that the hen (who must be with them to sit over them) may not go at liberty to eat their meat, but be kept to her own diet in a part of their coop that she cannot get out of; but the chickens must have liberty to go from her to other parts of the coop, where they may eat their own meat, and come in again to the hen to be warm'd by her at their pleasure. You must be careful to keep their coop very clean.--Or you may scald oatmeal in milk, and feed the chickens with it the first week, and rice and sugar the second week; in a fortnight they will be prodigiously fat; a little gravel will now be necessary sometimes to cleanse their maws and give them an appetite.
Sir Kenelm Digby's Receit to make a luscious Food to fatten Chickens in the sweetest and quickest Manner.--Stone (says he) a pound of raisins of the sun, and beat them in a mortar to pulp, pour a quart of milk upon them, and let them soak so all night; next morning put to them as many crums of grated stale bread, which beaten together will bring them to a soft paste; work all well together, and lay it in the trough before the chickens (which must be about six in a pen, and keep it very clean) and let a candle be by them all night. The delight of this meat will make them eat continually, and they will be so fat (when they are but of the bigness of blackbirds) that they will not be able to stand, but sit down upon their bellies to eat.
Gaddesden Farmers Way to feed Chickens.--Notwithstanding we live on a high hill, and on a red clayey soil, yet some of our farmers venture their early bred chickens abroad, and let them take their chance in going with the hen abroad from the first, even in February or March, though the weather is frost or snow; but then we take care to give them a hearty food, for enabling them to withstand the cold; and that is whole oatmeal and barley mixt together, which will so hearten them, that they will not kill themselves with chirping and pain, as those chickens are apt to do, that are fed with sloppy meat, such as wetted pollard, &c. And if the chickens should fall sick, we give each one sow-bug or wood-louse, and it often recovers it; but a hen as well as a chicken is killed by musty corn. The chicken is cured by the bug, or both the hen and chicken are sometimes cured by rue.--Butter and scouring-sand must be given a little in large pills or pellets.--For the same reason, put rue into the water the chickens drink, which will keep them in health, and from the cramp.
The Country Housewife's Family Companion, W. Eliis, London,1750
Sunday, February 06, 2005
A Letter from Pittsburgh, 1806
Letter 1 (pp 1-21)
General character of the north-eastern States of America:--of the middle States:--the southern. Town of Pittsburg. Alleghany mountains. Lancaster. The Susquehanna. Harrisburg. Shippensburg, and Strasburg. Interesting account of a tavern and its occupiers. Bedford. Sublimity and horror of a night passed in a forest. Thoughts on natural history:--St. Pierre.
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, October, 1806.
I THOUGHT that you knew my heart too well, to attribute my silence to a decay of affection; and I had hopes that you entertained too just an opinion of my head, to expect from me extraordinary discoveries in philosophy or politics. At the same time, I hope to convince you that my supposed neglect has operated to the advantage of my correspondence.
The American states through which I have passed, are unworthy of your observation. Those to the north-east are indebted to nature for but few gifts: they are better adapted for the business of grazing than for corn. The climate is equally subject to the two extremes of burning heat and excessive cold; and bigotry, pride, and a malignant hatred to the mother-country, characterize the inhabitants. The middle States are less contemptible: they produce grain for exportation; but wheat requires much labour, and is liable to blast on the sea-shore. The national features here are not strong, and those of different emigrants have not yet composed a face of local deformity: we still see the liberal English, the ostentatious Scotch, the warm-hearted Irish, the penurious Dutch, the proud German, the solemn Spaniard, the gaudy Italian, and the profligate French. What kind of character is hereafter to rise from an amalgamation of such discordant materials, I am at a loss to conjecture.
For the southern States, nature has done much, but man little. Society is here in a shameful degeneracy: an additional proof of the pernicious tendency of those detestable principles of political licentiousness, which are not only adverse to the enjoyment of practical liberty, and to the existence of regular authority, but destructive also of comfort and security in every class of society; doctrines here found by experience, to make men turbulent citizens, abandoned Christians, inconstant husbands, unnatural fathers, and treacherous friends. I shun the humiliating delineation, and turn my thoughts to happier regions which afford contemplation without disgust; and where mankind, scattered in small associations, are not totally depraved or finally corrupt. Under such impressions, I shall write to you with pleasure and regularity; trusting to your belief, that my propensity to the cultivation of literature has not been encouraged in a country where sordid speculators alone succeed, where classic fame is held in derision, where grace and taste are unknown, and where the ornaments of style are condemned or forgotten. Thus guarding you against expectations that I should fear to disappoint, I proceed to endeavour at gratifying the curiosity which my ramblings excite in your mind.
The town of Pittsburg* is rather more than 300 miles from Philadelphia: of which space, 150 miles are a continued succession of mountains, serving as a barrier against contending seas; and as a pregnant source of many waters, which take opposite directions, and after fertilizing endless tracts, and enriching various countries, are lost in the immensity of the Mexican Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean. Knowing the road to be mountainous and stony, I preferred travelling on horseback to going in a stage-coach, that is seven or eight days on the road; and the fare in which, for the whole journey, is twenty-four dollars. The first sixty miles were a turnpike road; and my horse, which cost me only eighty dollars, arrived tolerably fresh at the end of them in twelve hours. distant [Note : * Situated in latitude 40° 26' north, and longitude 79° 48' west from London.]
The place at which I stopped was Lancaster, the county-town of Pennsylvania. The inhabitants are chiefly Dutch and Irish, or of Dutch and Irish extraction: they manufacture excellent rifle-guns and other hardware. The town is large, clean, and well built; but in spite of these attractions, I quitted it the next morning by sun-rise. Dr. Johnson was never more solicitous to leave Scotland, than I was to be out of the Atlantic States. In hurrying along the next day, my career was interrupted by the rapid Susquehanna. The peevishness and dissatisfaction which before possessed me, were now compelled to yield to contrary sensations. The breadth and beauty of the river, the height and grandeur of its banks, the variation of scenery, the verdure of the forests, the murmur of the water, and the melody of birds, all conspired to fill my mind with vast and elevated conceptions.
Harrisburg, a handsome Dutch town, stands on the cast bank of this river. I did not stop however, but pursued my course to Carlisle; which has a college, and the reputation of a place of learning. This may be so but, I have the misfortune to dispute it; for though indeed I saw an old brick building called the university, in which the scholars had not left a whole pane of glass, I did not meet a man of decent literature in the town. I found a few who had learning enough to be pedantic and impudent in the society of the vulgar, but none who had arrived at that degree of science which could delight and instruct the intelligent.
Having thus no motive for delay here, I passed on to Shippensburg and Strasburg, both German or Dutch towns; the latter at the foot of the stupendous mountains before alluded to, and which are called the Alleghany. During the first and second days, I met with no considerable objects but such as I was prepared to expect; immense hills, bad roads, and frightful precipices: I drove my horse before me most of the distance. On the evening of the third, about dusk, I arrived at the tavern where I meant to repose: it was a miserable log-house, filled with emigrants who were in their passage to the Ohio; and a more painful picture of human calamity was seldom beheld:--old men embarking in distant arduous undertakings, which they could never live to see realized; their children going to a climate destructive to youth; and the wives and mothers partaking of all these sufferings, to become victims in their turn to the general calamity. This scene held out no very strong temptation to me for passing the night here, but there was no alternative; for my horse was tired, the wolves were out, and the roads impassable in the dark: the fire-side too, and all the seats, were occupied, and the landlord was drunk.
I was too much engrossed however with the distress round me, sensibly to feel my own. I stood in fact motionless, with my arms folded, and fell into a reverie; from which I was roused by a meteor crossing the room, or at least my surprise was as great as would have been occasioned by such a phenomenon. It was a beautiful young woman,
--"Fitted or to shine in courts With unaffected grace; or walk the plain, With innocence and meditation join'd In soft assemblage."
She spoke to her father, and then addressed me with infinite grace: lamenting that their accommodation "was so bad a gentleman;" and offering to make a fire and serve supper up stairs, and strive to make me as comfortable as the situation and circumstances would permit. In a short time she was as good as her word; and invited me to a small room, clean and warm, with supper already served. In all this proceeding; in her conversation, actions, and manners; there was a merit which could not be the result of a common mind. Her person was tall and elegant: her eyes were large and blue: her features regular and animated; and expressive of a pride and dignity which the meanest clothing, and the strongest consciousness of her humble circumstances in life, could neither destroy nor conceal. I desired her to sit down, and then questioned her on local subjects: her answers were neat and sensible. I extended my inquiries to a wider range; talking of natural curiosities in the neighbourhood, the face of the country, manners, books, &c. and to these particulars also her replies were judicious, intelligent, and unassuming. She had read much; and the impression which this had made on her, appeared favourable to her retired life, to virtue, and to feeling: too
much so to the latter; for when I exclaimed, "By what accident has one so lovely in person, so improved in understanding, and so delicate in mind, become the inhabitant of these terrific mountains, these gloomy woods?" she burst into tears, and left me. I then rose from table, called the ostler, and saw my horse fed; and this man explained the mystery. The young lady's father, it seems, was an Irishman; who, having been once opulent, gave his children the most refined education which his country could afford. He was respected and happy: they were admired and beloved. In an evil day, some jealous demon infused into his heart disaffection to his king: he associated with misguided characters, was implicated in their guilt, and with them banished from his native land. His amiable and suffering family followed him to America; where, soon after his arrival, some swindlers stripped him of most of his money. He took refuge in profligacy and drink; his wife died of a broken heart; his child is fading in unmerited misery; and he is left to drag on a wretched existence, which in the moments of reason must be embittered to a degree too painful to hear, or almost to think of.
I saw Eleanor (for that was the name of this interesting creature) the next morning, when she had returned to her usual duties and apparent serenity. I had an elegant edition of Thomson in my pocket, which attracted her notice as it lay on my supper-table the night before. I now wrote a romantic but just compliment on a blank leaf in it, and then presented to her the book: after which I instantly mounted my horse, and resumed my journey; deprecating the revolutionary politics which had brought this family, and thousands of others, into such ignominy and distress.
The town of Bedford is next to Strasburg, and consists of about two hundred well built houses. It is natural to inquire into the motives which could tempt men to settle in a region so remote from commerce and the world: iron-mines, and some fine interval land (as it is here called), were the original attractions. Bedford is but a short day's ride from the highest mountain of the prodigious chain; and which, by way of distinction, is called exclusively "the Alleghany:" the others having received names from local events, or something remarkable in their features; as Coneeocheque or Bloody Mountains, the Three Brothers, the Walnut and the Laurel Hills, &c. I travelled along so attentive to the objects round me, and wasted so much time in visionary speculations, that I was overtaken by night on the summit of the mountain; where the road was narrow and bounded by frightful precipices. If I attempted to advance, a sudden and rapid death was unavoidable; or if I remained where I was, wolves, panthers, and tiger-cats, were at hand to devour me. I chose the latter risk, as having less of fatal certainty in it: I thought I could effect something by resistance; or that fortune might favour me by giving a more suitable supper, and a different hunting-ground, to the ferocious animals.
The progress of night was considerably advanced; and the powerful exhalations of the preceding sun, for want of wind to disperse or waft them to other parts, were returning to their parent woods. They at first hovered, in the form of transparent clouds, over small creeks and rivulets in the intervals of the mountain; and then assumed a wider range, spreading over the entire valley, and giving to it the appearance of a calm continued sea. This beautiful transfiguration took place several hundred feet below me; while the summit of the hill had no mist, and the dew was not sensible. The moon shone, but capriciously: for though some places were adorned with her brightest beams, and exhibited various fantastic forms and colours, others were unaffected by her light, and awfully maintained an unvaried gloom; a "darkness visible," conveying terror and dismay.
Such apprehensions were gaining fast on my imagination, till an object of inexpressible sublimity gave a different direction to my thoughts, and seized the entire possession of my mind. The heavenly vault appeared to be all on fire: not exhibiting the stream or character of the aurora-borealis; but an immensity vivid and clear, through which the stars, detached from the firmament, traversed in eccentric directions, followed by trains of light of diversified magnitude and brightness. Many meteors rose majestically
out of the horizon: and having gradually attained an elevation of thirty degrees, suddenly burst; and descended to the earth in a shower of brilliant sparks, or glittering gems. This splendid phenomenon was succeeded by a multitude of shooting-stars, and balls and columns of fire; which, after assuming a variety of forms (vertical, spiral, and circular.), vanished in slight flashes of lightning, and left the sky in its usual appearance and serenity. "Nature stood checked" during this exhibition: all was
"A death-like silence, and a dread repose."
Would it had continued so for a time! for I had insensibly dropped on my knees; and felt that I was offering to the great Creator of the works which I witnessed, the purest tribute of admiration and praise. My heart was full: I could not suppress my gratitude, and tears gushed from my eyes.
These pious, these pleasing sensations, were soon forced to yield to others arising out of the objects and circumstances round me. The profound silence maintained during the luminous representation, was followed by the din of the demon of the woods. Clouds of owls rose out of the valleys, and flitted screaming about my head. The wolves too held some prey in chace, probably deer their howlings were reverberated from mountain to mountain; or, carried through the windings of the vales, returned to the ear an unexpected wonder. Nor was the panther idle; though he is never to be heard till in the act of springing on his victim, when he utters a horrid cry. The wolf, in hunting, howls all the time; certainly with the view of striking terror: for, being less fleet than many of the animals on which he subsists, they would escape him if he did not thus check their speed by confounding their faculties. This is particularly the case with the deer: at the hellish cry, the poor animal turns, stops, and trembles; his eyes fill; his flanks heave; his heart bursts; and he dies the moment before the monster rushes upon him. The tiger-cat was busily employed close by me. Like our little domestic creature of the same species, he delights in tormenting, and is admirably skilled in the art. He had now caught an opossum, as I understood by the lamentations, but was in no haste to kill it. By the action and noise, he must have let it escape his clutches several times, and as often seized and overpowered it again; dropping it from the tree, and chasing it up the trunk, till, the wretch being wearied at length with his vagaries and cruelty, he strangled and devoured it.
The intervals between these cries and roarings, were filled by the noise of millions of other little beings. Every tree, shrub, plant, and vegetable, harboured some thousands of inhabitants, endowed with the faculty of expressing their passions, wants, and appetites, in different tones and varied modulations. The most remarkable was the voice of whip-poor-will: plaintive and sad, "Whip poor Will!" was his constant exclamation; nor did he quit his place, but seemed to brave the chastisement which he so repeatedly lamented. The moon, by this time, had sunk into the horizon; which was the signal for multitudes of lightning-flies to rise amidst the trees, and shed a new species of radiance round. In many places, where they rose and fell in numbers, they appeared like a shower of sparks; and in others, where thinly scattered, they emitted an intermittent pleasing ray.
At length the day began to dawn: both the noisy and the glittering world now withdrew, and left to Nature a silent solemn repose of one, half-hour. This I employed in reflections on the immensity and number of her works, and the presumption of man in pretending to count and describe them. Whoever dares to compose the history of nature, should first pass a night where I did: he would there be taught the vanity of his views, and the audacity of his intentions. He would there learn, that though gifted with a thousand years of life, and aided by ten thousand assistants, he still would be hardly nearer to his purpose; neither the time nor the means would be sufficient for him to pourtray, with their properties, the herbs under his foot, and, with their affections, the insects that dwell among them. Yet every country has its natural historian! A residence of three weeks, and a daily walk of two hours for that period, are deemed an ample qualification for the
discovery and character of the productions of some of the finest regions on the globe. Such was not the disposition of St. Pierre: after passing many years in the laborious search of natural objects, and many years more in investigating their laws and principles, as a preparation for writing the history of nature, he abandoned the pursuit as impracticable and impious; and favoured the world merely with his Studies, which are beautiful, intelligent, and unassuming.
I conclude for the present; again entreating you to observe, that in my letters you are not to look for the graces of style, or peculiar accuracy of detail. I write from the heart, from the impulse of the impressions made by real events; and this will, I hope, sufficiently gratify your tender and amiable feelings.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Country Housewife's Family Companion, 1750
Friday, January 28, 2005
Emmigration to TN
Chapter 23: Emmigration to Tennessee,pgs 350-366
TENNESSEE is the daughter of North Carolina, having been in the chartered bounds of the colony, and also reckoned a part of the independent confederated State, until the year 1791, when she was reckoned one of the territories of the United States; and having received many of its earliest settlements and strongest reinforcements from the old North State, and from the original stock in Ireland and their descendants in the Middle States. The beautiful fields along the Holston and Clinch, and the charming valleys, allured the early emigrants by the same inducements as charmed and captivated the wanderers from Ireland and Pennsylvania, to fix their abodes between the Yadkin and the Catawba.
The phrases--"western counties"--"mountains"--"mountain men"--"Washington County," as used during the invasion of the Carolinas, by the King's forces, had reference to sections of country now in, or bordering upon the State of Tennessee. Ferguson was in pursuit of the soldiers of these regions, when he visited Rutherford county, and sent his insulting message; and on the Wataga, the forces began to assemble that gave him the fatal answer at King's Mountain.
The troubles and trials of the first settlement we can scarcely glance at, nor in the present connection is it necessary, they being in kind and circumstances altogether similar to those of the pioneers of the western part of the mother State, with this only exception, they were farther removed from market, and from the influence of royal authority either in church or state. The wide ranges for cattle and for game, were the first inducements to settle on the Holston; and the time of the first cabin and the name of the pioneer will probably never be known. Next to this influence, was the policy of giving bounty for military service, in wild lands; and Carolina gave a value to the forests of her western wilds by rewarding the labors and exposure of her sons, with titles to lands, that might become a home to them or their descendants. So rapid was the influx of enterprising men, particularly about the close of the Revolutionary war, that an effort was made in the years 1784-5, to form a State by the name of Franklin. This movement was premature rather than uncalled for; and in 1791, a territory was set off, and ultimately a state was organized by the name of Tennessee, the Indian appellation of the principal river. Mecklenburg, Rowan, Orange and Granville Counties, North Carolina, sent forth crowds of emigrants, and numerous ministers in their train. The family of the Polks, so numerous and so noted in the time of the Revolution, all but one branch, emigrated, and cast their lot in with the bold spirits that sought a home in the great valley of the Mississippi. The old Carolina names are numerous in Tennessee.
To the great crowds from Carolina were joined many families of the Scotch-Irish race from Virginia, and from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These collected families of the same race, but different parts of the United States, gave a tone to the rising population of the State, which all the influx of other races from other regions has only modified. The Scotch-Irish and their descendants may not now be a majority in the State; they may perhaps be a minority; but the character impressed by their predecessors will remain for ages, perhaps for ever--enterprise, independence, and a desire for improvement. The church, the school-house, and the college, grew up with the log cabins; and the principles of religion were proclaimed, and the classics taught where glass windows were unknown, and books were carried in bags upon pack-horses.
The first minister of religion, that is known to have preached in Tennessee, was a Presbyterian by the name of Cummins, from Virginia, who accompanied the expedition from Carolina against the Cherokees in 1776. As he passed through the Holston settlements, he preached in the forts and stations, those places of defence and of instruction, and, for a time, of public worship. Among the Scotch-Irish that settled West Pennsylvania, Carolina, Virginia, and entered the wilderness of Tennessee, and were gathered into forts and stations, so often made the opportunities of dissipation, it was no uncommon thing for those gatherings to be improved for instructing children, and for seasons of religious worship. Mr. Cummins did not remain long in Tennessee, neither did he organize any churches at that time.
The first minister that took his abode in Tennessee, was the Rev. Samuel Doak; and as he is identified with the history and progress of sound learning and religion in North Carolina, west of the Blue Ridge, a few particulars concerning his early training and the labors of his maturer years cannot be improper. His parents, Samuel Doak and Jane Mitchell, emigrated very young from the North of Ireland, and took their abode in Chester county, Pennsylvania. At the time of their marriage, they were both members of the church; and soon after that event they emigrated to Virginia, and settled in Augusta county, in the bounds of New Providence congregation. They were both of that party called the Old Side in distinction from that called the New Side, which two then divided the Presbyterian church. Their son, Samuel, was born August, 1749. He remained with his parents, and worked on the farm till he was sixteen years old. At that time he was admitted member of the church in full communion; and soon after commenced a course of classical study with Mr. Robert Alexander, who resided about two miles from his father's house. This grammar-school was soon after removed two or three miles further, to about the place where the Seceder meeting-house, called Old Providence, now stands. The school was taught by a Mr. Edmondson, who afterwards studied medicine. About this time the school came more immediately under the charge of the pastor, the Rev. John Brown, who having served the church of New Providence some forty-four years, removed to Kentucky, and lies buried near Pisgah church. By Mr. Brown the school was removed to Pleasant Hill, within about a mile of his dwelling, and about the same distance north of the village of Fairfield. While here, Mr. Ebenezer Smith, the brother of John B. and Samuel Stanhope Smith, was employed as teacher. A Mr. Archibald succeeded Mr. Smith, and William Graham succeeded Mr. Archibald. At this time the Presbytery of Hanover adopted the school. From near Fairfield it was removed to Timber Ridge; and from thence to near Lexington; and is now Washington College, in Lexington, Virginia.
In Oct., 1773, Samuel Doak entered Princeton College and remained two years. Returning to Virginia he was married to Esther Montgomery, sister of the Rev. John Montgomery, whose family belonged to New Providence; and shortly after became tutor in Hampden Sydney College in Prince Edward county. Here, for about two years, he pursued the study of divinity under the direction of the Rev. John B. Smith, the President of the College. Being licensed by the Hanover Presbytery, after preaching in Virginia for a short time, he removed to the Holston settlement, in what is now Sullivan county, Tennessee. Not finding this a suitable field for the designs of education he had in view, he removed in the course of a year or two to the settlement on Little Limestone, in Washington county, purchased a farm, and on his own land built a small church, and log college, and founded Salem congregation. His institution was incorporated by the Legislature of North Carolina, in 1788, under the name of "Martin Academy;" and is the first literary institution that was established in the great valley of the Mississippi. In 1795 it was changed into a college, and received the name of "Washington." From the incorporation of Martin Academy till 1818, Mr. Doak continued the President of the Institution; and his elders of Salem congregation formed a part of the Board of Trustees. He procured for his institution a small library in Philadelphia, caused it to be transported in sacks on pack-horses, across the mountains, and thus formed the nucleus of the library at Washington College. The brick buildings overlook the site of the log college; but long must it be before the enlarged institution can equally overshadow the usefulness of the log academy and college that for a time supplied the opportunities for education for ministers, lawyers and doctors, in the early days of Tennessee, and still is sending out its stream.
Having organized a number of churches in the county in which he lived, also Bethel and Timber Ridge in Greene county, about the year 1818 he resigned the Presidency of Washington College in favor of his son, Rev. John M. Doak, M.D., and removed to Bethel. Here he opened an academy to prepare youth for college, and named it Tusculum; and passed the remainder of his days in usefulness and honor. Under his son, Samuel W. Doak, the academy has grown into a flourishing college. Says a gentleman who knew him well--"His praise is in all our churches. During the Revolutionary war he was a warm, decided and uniform friend to civil and religious liberty, took part in the defence of his country, was a member of the convention that in 1784-5 gave rise to the insurrectionary state of Franklin; was upon the committee that reported an article of its constitution, making provision for the support of learning; and to the close of life was still its devoted servant, advocate, and patron. A rigid opposer of innovation in religious tenets; very old school in all his notions and actions; uncompromising in his love of the truth, and his hostility to error or heresy; a John Knox in his character, fearless, firm, nearly dogmatical and intolerant; but no one has been more useful to church or state, except it be Hall or Caldwell in N. C., or Waddell in South Carolina and Georgia. A volume would not exhaust the incidents of his life."
About the same time that M. Doak settled in Tennessee, Rev. Samuel Houston, reared in the same congregation, and at the same school, took his residence in Washington county. After a few years he returned to Virginia, and lived to a good old age in Rockbridge county. Having been a soldier in the battle at Guilford Court-house, and ranking among the bravest of the brave, there can be no doubt of his love of American liberty. While living in Tennessee he took an active part in public matters, and was a conspicuous member of the Franklin convention. A brother and other connexions settled near Houston's station in Blount county; and his co-emigrants formed Providence church at Maryville. The name of Houston is familiar in Texas.
The Rev. Hezekiah Balch and Rev. Samuel Carrick came to Tennessee about the same time; both were members of Hanover Presbytery. Mr. Balch from Pennsylvania, Donegal Presbytery, formed one of the original members of Orange, and Mr. Carrick had been ordained by Hanover Presbytery, in whose bounds he labored for a time. These gentlemen met undesignedly in 1789, in the settlement where Lebanon church now is. Mr. Carrick had sent an appointment to preach, and on a short notice a great crowd assembled to hear the strange minister. Mr. Balch came that day. The place chosen for preaching was a large Indian mound at the junction of Holston and French Broad. Mr. Carrick courteously yielded the precedency to Mr. Balch as being the older man. After listening to the sermon, he observed "that he had selected the same subject, and as it was not yet, and could not be exhausted, he would still preach upon it." After preaching, the ordinance of Baptism was administered. Mr. Balch assisted in the organization of churches; under his patronage Greenville College was founded and rose to usefulness. Mr. Carrick organized Lebanon church, and also the church in Knoxville. He was the first President of Blount College in that place, and finished a life of usefulness in 1808, very suddenly. For want of memoranda little can here be said of these men, whose lives afforded matter of great interest to the Christian public, and must hold a prominent place in a correct history of Tennessee. Says a gentleman who knew him--"Rev. Samuel Carrick, equally orthodox, and not less learned or devoted to the service of his master,"--he is running a parallel with Mr. Doak,--"was yet more liberal, tolerant, and refined. He had a great deal of urbanity, much of the suaviter in modo, less of the fortiter in re, dressed neatly, behaved courteously, grave, polite, genteel, in short he was a model of an old-fashioned Southern gentleman, and had been evidently (as all Presbyterian clergymen of that day were, and ought still to be) well raised."
About the same time a son of the first minister of Sugar Creek, after preaching for a time in the church of his father, removed to West Tennessee, and settled near where Nashville now is, on the Cumberland river. A man of fine talents and capable of close thought, he did the cause of religion much service. In the latter part of his life he had some difficulties that hindered, for a time, his usefulness, but which served to draw forth the friendly influence and unqualified approbation of General Jackson, who was not unacquainted with Sugar Creek and its recollections. Mr. Craighead lies buried near the Hermitage.
The above short notices are given merely to show the connection of the churches in Tennessee with those in Carolina and Virginia, to the first for the most emigrants, and to the second for most ministers; and also to say, that there are a variety of incidents connected with the first settlements, that must be, if preserved, of exceeding interest to succeeding generations.
Abingdon Presbytery was formed August, 1785, its first meeting being held at Salem. A well written history of that Presbytery, and those formed from it, would comprise a history of the struggles and tempests of the Presbyterian church, which were felt in all their force in Tennessee, before the surface of the ocean was agitated around Philadelphia, as will be seen by a reference to the minutes of the Synod of North Carolina, in the preceding chapter.
We shall close this short chapter, by giving the names of the first trustees of three of the Colleges:--
1st. Washington College:--Rev. Messrs. Samuel Doak, Charles Cummins, Edward Crawford, Robert Henderson and Gideon Blackburn:--Messrs. Jonathan Cottom, Alexander Matthews, John Nelson, Henry Nelson (father of two preachers, Kelso Nelson and David Nelson), John McAllister and John Blois, who were elders of Salem church; and Messrs. Joseph Anderson, John Sevier, Landon Carter, Daniel Kennedy, Leroy Taylor, John Tipton, Wm. Cooke, Archibald Roane, James Hamilton, John Rhea, Samuel Mitchell, Jesse Payne, James Aiken, Wm. Hott, Wm. Chester, David Deaderick and John Waddell.
2d. Of Blount College:--Rev. Samuel Carrick, President, Messrs. James White, Francis Alexander Ramsey, George McNutt and John Adair, elders in Mr. Carrick's churches; and Messrs. William Blount, Daniel Smith, David Campbell, Joseph Anderson, John Sevier, Alexander Kelly, Wm. Cooke, Willie Blount, Joseph Hamilton, Archibald Roane, Charles McClung, George Ruolstone and Robert Houston.
3d. Greenville College:--Rev. Messrs. Hezekiah Balch, Samuel Doak, James Balch, Samuel Carrick, Robert Henderson and Gideon Blackburn; and Messrs. A. Roan, Joseph Hamilton, Wm. Cooke, Daniel Kennedy, Landon Carter, Joseph Harden, John Rhea and John Sevier.
The efforts for literature and morals in Tennessee, are not surpassed in any of the western or southwestern States, and they compare advantageously with any of her older sisters. There is much pure religion and vital goodness in Tennessee.
Monday, January 03, 2005
Conflict in the Ohio Valley
What changes have been mirrored in the blue Ohio during the last hundred years! The waters of the river itself have not been more changing than the landscape. This is the true age of magic. Who is there that does not see that the Lamp of Civilization far surpasses the dull luminary of one Aladdin? Not a single palace, but whole cities have sprung into existence, as it were, in a single night. Instead of transforming towns into lakes, and their inhabitants into blue, green, and yellow fish, by our magic, swamps and reedy lakes are transformed into cities, and in the place of innumerable suckers, cats, and minnows, behold thronging populations of men. Unnumbered generations of wide-eyed children have wondered at the enchanted horse, which, by the turning of a peg, in a single day transported the Prince of Persia and his lady love to his distant dominions. But we have enchanted horses which travel at the rate of a mile a minute, able to carry, not merely two persons, but whole populations. Yet we do not wonder. The author of the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments" thought his fancy had transcended the bounds of all that was possible. But the creations of his imagination are tame and dull beside the marvelous handiwork of the real Genie, the Spirit of Civilization.
It is still possible to imagine the past. We can conjure up faint visions of the majestic river rolling on in everlasting solitude. The winding shores lie wrapped in the mantle of perennial forests. Not a sound is heard above the muffled roar of the flood.
It is evening. At points where the shore slopes gradually to the water, stand shadowy herds of mild-eyed deer, now drinking from the cooling current, now lifting their graceful necks, and watching with timid anxiety some spot along the shore, from which had come the suspicious sound of rustling leaves. Lying hid in the thicket is a phantom canoe. A dusky form steals cautiously through the underbrush toward the gentle denizens of the forest. He obtains a view of the lovely sight, his eye flashes, his nostril quivers, but not with admiration of the beautiful.
There is a whirring sound, as a light shaft whistles through the air. The startled deer leap toward the shadow of the forest. Too late. The arrow-head is buried in the heart of a noble buck. His leap was unto death. The crimson tide spurts forth in hot jets upon the leaves of the wild wood. His large and intelligent eye is slowly covered with a film which shut out forever the view of his forest home. His slender form stiffens. The head is partially lifted, as if to look with mild reproachfulness upon the enemy whom he had never harmed. Then it sinks back upon the spreading antlers. The agony is ended.
The dim picture quickly fades. Where stood the shadowy outlines of the forest, now stately buildings and the stony expanse of a great city's public landing, covered with vast piles of merchandise, force themselves upon the vision. Along the shore stretches a mile of stately steamers. From some just landed, streams of busy passengers pour forth over the wharf-boat. Others are about to depart. Dozens of drays thunder down the stony slope with freight for the out-going vessels. Gangs of deck-hands are hurriedly carrying aboard the last of the cargo. The voice of the master is heard above the din, incessantly urging the hands to greater exertions, now cursing them for clumsiness or abusing them for laziness, now threatening them with discharge and no pay, now promising various glittering rewards for more speed.
At last, the cargo is loaded. The last barrel is rolled aboard. The last consignment of brooms and wooden buckets is stowed away. The smoke, which has been rising from the steamer's chimneys in thin, idle currents, now rushes upward in black volumes. The gangway is hauled aboard, the hawser cast off. There is a hasty jingling of various signal bells. A heavy puff from the engines, and the roaring swash of the paddle-wheels is heard as the steamer slowly draws off from the dock.
If we turn from the din and confusion of the landing, we hear above us the roar of the Queen City. Miles upon miles of bowldered streets stretch on between tall rows of gloomy buildings. The air is heavy with the smell of groceries, and tremulous with the clangor of metropolitan activity. The street lamps are being lighted, and as we look up the long avenue their yellow flames on either side extend in a narrowing vista, until, far up on the hill, the walls of the street seem to come together.
How came the change? Whence is the marvelous transformation? Few of us think of it. The cities are here--it is enough. What care we for the struggles of our fathers? No doubt they were gentlemen, loving quiet, and, following their tastes, they left the settled towns and cities of the east to build rude homes in the peaceful valley of the Ohio. Unmolested by any disturber, we think they quietly plowed the glebe, harvested crops, reared their children, and were gathered to their graves.
What a mistake! The peace we now enjoy is the offspring of war. Our fathers were not peaceful, timid men. They were bold adventurers. They were scouts. They were Indian fighters. The Ohio valley was won from the savages only after the longest, the bloodiest struggle on record. It was a war which raged without perceptible intermission from the breaking out of Lord Dunmore's war, in 1774, to the battle of Fallen Timbers, in 1794, a period of twenty years. During that time the pioneers of the magnificent valley knew no peace. The battles of the Revolution were fought and won, but in the struggle with the savages there was no victory for the brave colonists. The independence of the New Republic was achieved by force of arms in spite of the greatest military nation on earth, but against the redskins of the Ohio the arms of the colonies prevailed not.
Peace was made with England, but with her Indian allies no armistice took place. Treaties were concluded with every European government, but the outraged red man still shook aloft the gory tomahawk. Years rolled by. Expedition after expedition was sent against the Indians of the west, only to end in rout and massacre. Children grew to be men and women, middle-aged men and women grew gray in the ceaseless conflict, yet they fought with all the zeal of the bygone years.
The prize was worth the struggle, and the combatants knew it. The region of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee is the finest part of the American continent. The Indians of the west for unnumbered generations knew it as the best hunting-ground between the oceans. The white settlers saw in it a seat of an empire for their posterity, unequaled in Europe or America. Midway between the extremes of temperature, with mild winters and cool summers, with the richest soil, moderate rain-fall, a rolling surface, and abundant forests, it is evident at this day that the pioneers did not overestimate the prospect. There is hardly any limit to the population which the region is sustaining. Delightful for residence, it is also the natural home for trade, agriculture, and manufacture.
As a nursery of great men, the Ohio valley has long since distanced any other portion of the country. Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph E. McDonald, John Sherman, James A. Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Hugh McCulloch, Robert G. Ingersoll, Oliver P. Morton, Stephen A. Douglas, Thomas A. Hendricks, Allen G. Thurman, Benjamin Harrison, Matthew Simpson, E. S. Ames, Tom Corwin, Thomas Marshall, George D. Prentice, Robert Dale Owen, Henry Ward Beecher, William T. Sherman, Henry Bascom, A. E. Burnsides, Stonewall Jackson--these are the men whom the valley of the Ohio has already furnished to the Republic. Where can be found any other portion of the country, which, within less than a hundred years after the first settlers found it a silent wilderness, has given to world such a constellation of statesmen, orators, military commanders, and writers?
The Ohio valley then was won by war, by twenty years of conflict. Reserving for separate chapters the stories of the different expeditions and the most famous Indian fighters, in this chapter we will collect the crumbs which fall from the table of the feast.
The greater part of the romantic stories of Indian adventures have been buried with the daring actors in oblivion. Besides, the few tales which happened to be preserved in manuscript or print, there yet linger in certain old families shadowy traditions of their ancestors' struggles and adventures. Gray-haired men are yet to be found in warm chimney corners, who can repeat many romantic stories told them by their mothers. But in another generation these dim traditions will be gone, as will be the men who tell them. Even with a recountal of the feats of which the stories have been preserved, many volumes could be filled. Here we can only outline some representative deeds and dangers.
THE ESCAPE OF McCONNEL.
How to milk an unlucky Cow and prevent her Mischief.--As insignificant an article as this at first may seem to appear, I am sure there are thousands that stand in need of its information. In Cheshire and many other places the milk-maid wears a black hat, partly because she is obliged to push and hold her head hard against the cow's flank, to discourage her from kicking the pail of milk down, for such pressure somewhat diverts the motion, because as the maid pushes her head hard against the cow, the cow naturally leans her body hard against the maid's head, by which she can feel the cow's intent to strike, and so take away her pail in time; yet I call this only discouraging, for it will not always prevent it, for some cows will kick to that degree, that they must have their legs fetter'd, by tying them above the hind middle joints. Others again are so unlucky, that to prevent the damage of their kicking, they must be milked through a hurdle. Of this sort are many of the Holderness breed, that have large bodies, short horns, taper-headed and necked, thin-skin'd, and give a great deal of milk, but are very apt to kick, break through hedges, and leap over gates and stiles. And when they are so very mischievous, as some of them are with both head and heels, they are better parted from than kept; if kept, the milk that is got from them must be by only milking a single teat or dug at a time into a pint wooden or earthen dish or bowl, and that in such danger, as makes it perhaps not worth while to keep her. But this is not all the mischief that belongs to an unlucky cow, for many of these kickers are very apt and prone to buck other cows, spoil their bag (as I have known an instance of) and sometimes the calf in the cow's belly; for which last reasons, all cows should have wooden tips fastened to the end of their horns, to prevent the great danger that weak and underline cows are liable to suffer by those we call master cows; for woeful experience has given us many deplorable cases of mischief done by cows horns to men, women, children, and beasts. Therefore I have always every one of my cows horns thus served, whether they be of the unlucky or the gentle sort; for although a cow may be gentle at other times, yet when she has a calf by her, there is danger in feeding, milking, and suckling her. The next thing I have to advance is, that if the maid milk cross-teated, that is to say, if she milks a backward dug of the further side with the forward dug of the hither side, it is thought the cow is not so prone to kick, as if milked by the next two side dugs, but that she'll give her milk down the freer for it. And indeed, this cross-milking is both easier for the cow and the milker. Again, it is the necessitous case of many farmers to feed their cows at a considerable distance from the house, in summer-time especially, which travel brings a beast under great heat and pain, with their full bags of milk; therefore cross-teat-milking is here a beneficial service, because it discharges the milk from both sides the bag in equal quantities, and thereby cools, eases, and refreshes the cow at once. It is likewise to be observed as a material point in milking of cows, and which is the custom of some dairies, that after all the cows are milked, the milker begins again to milk, or what we call drip that cow which was first begun with, and so on, dripping every one of the rest. One intent of which is to prevent milk being left in the bag; for some of the idle sort of milkers are frequently guilty of this, and then it greatly damages the beast, and prejudices its owner, by lessening the after quantities of milk, and drying the cow the sooner. A second intention is, that by thus dripping or milking a cow over again, that cow which held up some of her milk the first time, may give it all down at the second milking. A third intention is, that by this dripping of cows, there will be got what we call stroakings, which being little inferior to cream may be added to it and increase its quantity. But for performing this with judgment, it is hardly worth while to do it, where there are but few cows kept, and where there are many there should be more hands than ordinary to dispatch the dripping, else the cows may be obliged to stay too long from feeding, and their bags or udders replenished with new milk, to the lessening of the next meal. Again I have to observe, that a slow milker damages a cow, by lessening her milk; when one that milks briskly, and is used to milk her, preserves her milk in good order. And for her longer continuance in plenty of milk, that cow that calves in April or May stands the best chance for it, because the first spring of grass meets her; and although some of the small Welsh cows will live on a shorter bite of grass, and are hardier than the larger sort, yet their carcases are of the less value to fatten. Therefore where there is meat enough for a large beast, I am of opinion, they'll pay more than a smaller one, because when they go guest and have done milking, and are fatted for the butcher, their price will be large accordingly, as I have proved, by fattening my own cows abroad and at home.People will eat. Alexander McConnel, of Lexington, Kentucky, though no philosopher, had observed this. So it came to pass that he went hunting one spring morning in 1780, and killed a fine deer. It was necessary to procure a horse to transport the game. Five Indians happened to find the fallen buck, understood the situation, and, from a neighboring thicket prepared a reception for the hunter. Presently McConnel, careless of danger and chuckling over his good luck, appeared on his horse. The Indians fired, killed the horse, but not the rider, and took the later captive
His captors turned out to be jolly fellows, in spite of the deep melancholy which is supposed to haunt the heart of the savage. They let McConnel have his gun, and he chimed in with the fun by killing game for them with fancy shots. About the fourth evening the travelers encamped on the shore of the Ohio. McConnel concluded the fun had gone far enough. He resolved to escape before they crossed the river. He complained that the cords with which they tied him at night were painful. Being polite gentlemen, they tied him loosely, passed the ends of the buffalo tug around their own bodies, and went to sleep. McConnel lay quiet till midnight
hen he made his right hand as small as possible, and tried to draw it out of the loop. Impossible! He tried the left hand with the same result. He attempted to reach the knot with his mouth. It could not be done. Heretofore he had borne his light captivity with considerable resignation. Now he became frantic. His veins grew swollen with rage. He strained and pulled with the energy of despair. Useless! He thought of his home, of perpetual captivity, of a death by torture, of suicide.
As he lay almost bursting with fury, something on the ground, glittering in the firelight, caught his eye. He studied it attentively. At last he made it out. It was a knife. How could he reach it? He could not move his hands two inches without waking his sleeping guards. It lay nearly two yards from his feet. He commenced to slowly move his body toward the foot of his rude pallet, under the cover of buffalo skin. As this singular movement continued, he gradually drew his hands upward, leaving them in the same relative position. Now they were over his face, now above his head; now stretched at full length toward the head of the bed. His head was covered with the buffalo robe. It could no longer be lifted. Unable to see the knife he sought it with his foot. He felt everywhere for it. He could not find it. With his great toe he made a mark on the ground. Then he drew himself up. He raised his head. The knife was there. The mark made by his toe was eleven inches this side of it. Eleven inches between liberty and a death by torture!
McConnel thought. In a little while he commenced moving his head from side to side. At each movement he seized the edge of the buffalo skin in his teeth and dragged it a little. Presently the skin was partially pulled of the savage on the right. He got cold. He turned over in his sleep to warm his cold side. This threw him much nearer McConnel. But it also gave considerable play to the prisoner's hands. Again the latter cautiously wriggled toward the foot. Again he extended his hands above his head. Again the foot sought for the precious knife.
It was reached, grasped firmly between the toes, and drawn upward. In a moment McConnel had it in his hand and severed his bonds. He rose. Instead of fleeing, he deliberately sat down by the fire. Strange conduct for a fugitive! Too well he knew that to fly without killing his captors meant certain pursuit and recapture. The trail he would leave would be as plain to their eyes as a plow furrow. He might succeed in cutting the throats of one or two. But the death rattle must rouse the rest.
At last he took all but two of the guns of the savages and hid them in the forest. Of the two he carefully examined the loads. They appeared satisfactory, for he noiselessly laid the barrels across a log, and aimed each at a savage. The flickering light of the camp fire revealed his calm but determined face. Bang! Bang! The guns were fired almost simultaneously, killing two of the savages outright. At the report the other three sprang to their feet. McConnel rushed instantly to the spot where had did the guns. As his enemies bounded towards him, he fired again. The ball passed through the body of the foremost Indian and wounded the one behind him. The fifth and last savage instantly fled. McConnel clubbed the wounded brave, shouldered his gun, and made his way home in safety.
The surviving Indian paused not till reached his people. Among them was a white captive, Mrs. Dunlap. Afterward she escaped, and told McConnel of this Indian's account of the affair to his people. He related that he and his companions had captured a fine hunter at Lexington, and had brought him as far as the Ohio; that, while there encamped, a large party of white men had fallen upon them in the night, and killed all his companions, together with the defenseless prisoner, who lay bound hand and foot, unable to either escape or resist.
A RACE FOR LIFE.
One July evening in 1781, as the tired harvesters of what in Hardin County, Kentucky, were trudging to their cabins, a war party of Indians burst into the settlement with wild yells, murdered no less than twelve persons, and withdrew as swiftly as they came. The stricken pioneers started in pursuit. In their party was Peter Kennedy, a young Indian fighter, known as the swiftest runner in Kentucky. This talent caused him to be looked on as a very brilliant fellow. In the fury of pursuit the settlers ran into an ambuscade. Better had it been for the anxious women and children, left behind in the cabins, if the brave ones had never gone from them. The savages fired from ambush, killing every white except Kennedy. He jumped behind a tree. As an Indian ran at him with uplifted tomahawk, the runner fired, killed the savage, and ran. Nine rifles were discharged. A ball in his leg disabled him. It also cost him two years' captivity in the wigwams along the Wabash River in Indiana.
He time came at last when his wound healed and his captors were off their guard. He made his way to the Ohio River, built a raft, and crossed it. He felt pretty safe. A fat deer was shot by him, and, building a fire, he proceeded to roast a delicious haunch of venison. The savory roast was just done, and the hungry man was putting the first rare morsel to his lips, when a rifle was fired from the thicket, and Kennedy felt a sharp sting on his leg. Hurt, but not disabled, he seized his gun and started at the top of his speed for the mountains. Thirty miles away was Gooden's Station. That point he must make.
The Indians started in hot pursuit. Now Kennedy summoned to his aid all the skill and endurance which had won his fame as a runner. Up-hill, down-hill, through the underbrush, over fallen logs, across stony ground, and in the midst of quagmires, he sped like an arrow. He gained on his pursuers. But they still followed. At the end of five miles he was out of gun-shot. At the end of ten miles the perspiration streamed from his brow. His face and neck were swollen till the blood seemed ready to burst forth. Still he ran on without the least abatement of speed. Fifteen miles were accomplished. He found himself at the summit of a ridge of hills, near Rolling Fort. He paused for a moment. The pursuers were no longer in sight. He leaned against a tree for the whole of a minute. This seemed to refresh him immensely.
With redoubled speed he bounded down the rugged hillside, leaping from rock to rock, momentarily planting his flying feet on spots which seemed to furnish no foothold. A vast plain was before him. He was a mile from the ridge before he heard the yells of his pursuers. He looked over his shoulder. They had paused on the summit. At the moment Kennedy saw the Indians they caught sight of him. Far away on the hill-top he saw their gestures of rage outlined against the sky. Suddenly they leaped down the slope as he had done.
Kennedy redoubled his exertions. Mile after mile was accomplished. Hour after hour he maintained his terrific speed. At times he could see his pursuers crossing the open country two miles behind him. Once, losing sight of them, he thought the pursuit was abandoned. He threw himself on the ground. His limbs trembled violently. His chest heaved up and down in convulsive respiration. In a moment more stupor would have seized him. Just then the wind bore to his ears a faint yell. They were still after him, only much nearer. He had not been able for an hour to hear their voices.
Once more he started. The speed was no longer so great. His gate was stumbling and irregular. Twice he fell headlong over trifling obstacles. Twenty-five miles were completed. Kennedy again lost sight and sound of his pursuers. Twenty-six miles--they were hopelessly in the rear. Twenty-seven miles--the flaming disk of the afternoon sun sank behind the tree-tops. Twenty-eight miles--Kennedy felt he had won the race. Thirty miles--and he sank exhausted, but victorious, on the floor of the fort. He gasped out an explanation. A party was organized. Almost within gunshot of the fort lay the savages. When discovered, they tried to run. But their strength was exhausted. They had run their race only to meet death at the end.
It was several weeks before Kennedy recovered from the effects of his fearful exertions. His race is without parallel in frontier chronicles.