Front Matter At Boonesborough Beginning of the Story Boone on the Yadkin Boone Moves his Family Ready for the Journey What we Wore Driving Cattle and Sheep Camping at Nightfall The Long Halt Jimmy Boone Goes to Clinch Murder of Jimmy Boone A Time of Mourning The Faint-hearted Return A New Home Making Moccasins Tanning Leather Governor Dunmore Our Home on the Clinch Household Duties Attacked by a Wildcat Fighting the Wildcat Boone and Father Return The Wilderness Road Building the Forts Boonesborough Gathering Salt Boonesborough Precautions Our Home in the Fort Ready for Cooking Furnishing the House The Hominy Block The Supply of Water Sports Inside the Fort Wrestling and Running Religion of the Indians Indian Babies Colonel Callaway Arives News from Eastern Colonies Venturing Outside the Fort Dividing the Land Who Owned Kentucky? Ready to Build a Home Billy's Hard Lot Preparing Flax Spinning and Soap Making Broom Making More Indian Murders Indian "Signs" Woodcraft and Hunting Pelts Used as Money Petition of the Settlers Making Sugar Building Fences Capture of the Girls My Willful Thoughts Finding the Trail The Pursuit The Story Told by Jemima Elizabeth's Heroism Rescuing the Girls Alarm Among the Settlers Indians on the Warpath The First Wedding The Wedding Festivities The Brides Home The Housewarming Attacks by the Indians Besieged by the Savages In the Midst of the Fight The Assault by the Indians Failure of the Assault Watchfulness of the Indians The Sortie My Father Wounded Our Wounded

Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

At Boonesborough

When a girl fourteen years old, who has never been to a real school, sits down to write a story, she ought to explain her boldness. More than two years ago my family came to Boonesborough over the Wilderness Road with Mr. Daniel Boone. We believed then that it would not be very long before the Indians would be driven out of Kentucky; but they are making even more trouble for us now than when we first came here.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

It may not seem possible that the Indians, who are surrounding our fort and forcing us to stay inside, could have anything to do with my writing what mother says will be a story such as the children on the other side of the mountains have never read. Yet, were it not for them, I should be at work in the flax field to-day rather than sitting here in the cabin. Mother says it will help to keep my mind from the dangers which beset us, if I tell how we happen to be in Colonel Boone's fort on this day of August in the year 1777.

Beginning the Story

The greatest difficulty in writing a story of this sort is in beginning it. I do not know what to say first, and mother has no time to help me, for she is too busy spinning threads of nettle flax. This kind of work is very hard, but she must do it or we shall soon be without cloth for garments. The Indians are prowling around so thickly that we women and children may not venture into the flax field even though all the men and boys in the fort go to guard us.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

It isn't to be supposed that any one outside our own family will ever see what I am writing, and yet I ought to begin it properly. Mother makes me laugh when she says that my grandchildren will be interested in reading of our life out here, where everything would be so beautiful but for the savages. The idea of a girl only fourteen years old writing something for her grandchildren to read!

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Mr. Boone on the Yadkin

My father's cabin stood next to the one built by Mr. Daniel Boone, near the Yadkin River in North Carolina, and I was born there a year after the birth of Mr. Boone's daughter, Jemima. I cannot begin to tell what a venturesome life Mr. Boone has led. Even before he married Rebecca Bryan, he went, some say, with General Braddock to fight the French and Indians. To this day I do not believe any one can explain how he ever came out alive from that terrible slaughter. Mother says he must have had enough fighting then, for he came back meek as any lamb and married Rebecca, expecting, I suppose, to become a planter.

But he must have soon given up all idea of settling down, for I have been told that he spent the greater portion of his time with his brother, Squire, isn't that an odd name hunting and spying out the country until he came to believe there was no other place like the country which the Shawnee Indians called "Kaintuckee," or, as we say, Kentucky.

It would take much too long if I should try to tell you all he did and suffered. At one time he stayed alone four months in the wilderness while Squire came back to the Yadkin for powder, bullets, and salt. Twice he was taken prisoner by the Indians; he lost all the furs that had been gathered and came very near to losing his life into the bargain.

Mr. Boone Decides to Move His Family

How strange things are in this world! If Mr. Boone hadn't spent so much time hunting and trapping, or hadn't met Mr. John Finley, who told him about Kentucky, mother and I would probably now be at the old home on the Yadkin, instead of out here beyond the mountains, besieged by Indians.

However, Mr. Boone did hear about Kentucky from Mr. John Finley, and he did travel over the mountains, and the result of it all was that, four years ago, he came home with news of the wonderful land on this side of Cumberland Gap, where he intended to take his family.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

The stories he told of the new country in the hunting grounds of the Indians stirred all his neighbors so greatly, that by the time he was ready to make a start five other families had agreed to go with him, and one of the five was ours.

Mother said it was a big undertaking to cross the mountains with two small children meaning Billy and me; but father was determined to follow Mr. Boone, and so we went.

Before we started I thought, and so did Billy, that it would be very fine to go with the hunters. Some of the people seemed to think there was reason for regret in leaving behind us the homes in which we had lived so long; but Billy and I looked upon it as a brave deed to follow Mr. Boone, the greatest hunter on the Yadkin.

Jemima said it couldn't be any pleasure to her, because she would be forced to spend every moment looking after the younger children while the rest of us were having a good time; but we found out that it was all work and no play for each of us from the very hour of starting.

Making Ready for the Journey

My father had two horses, on one of which mother was to ride, while the other carried the few belongings we were able to pack on his back.

Mother made up small packages of seeds in linen cloth, .and father took the tools that would be needed in the new home, as well as a bushel of meal and a side of bacon. My best linsey-woolsey dress, a change of clothes for mother, together with spare powder and bullets, made up as much of a load as the poor old horse could be expected to carry over the mountains.

Now, doesn't that seem like a sorry outfit for four people going on a long journey, to say nothing of making a new home?

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Of course we would have plenty to eat, for Mr. Boone was very skillful with his long rifle, which carried forty bullets to the pound, even though the other men, including my father, might not be good marksmen.

Even Billy has sometimes brought home a deer and so many turkeys that I could hardly count them, al-though hunting on the Yadkin is not considered good. Billy declared that he could shoot enough to feed us all, and he is only thirteen years old, though large for his age, being able to hold his own at wrestling with any other of his weight in the settlements.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

What We Wore

Billy had a splendid hunting shirt of brown linen, which I had made for him; the bosom of it was double and sewed together to "form a pocket where he could carry tow for wiping the barrel of his gun, or even food. It was belted with a strip of soft-tanned deer hide, tied behind, with the ends hanging down. I had intended to ornament the ends with colored porcupine quills, like the belt worn by Mr. Boone; but Billy didn't kill a porcupine until two days before we started, and then it was too late. In the belt were a tomahawk and a scalping knife in a deerskin sheath, all exactly like father's. He had a coonskin cap, with the tail hanging down behind, and the stoutest moccasins mother could make.

I had made his leggings from a doeskin which father had tanned, and had fringed them on the out-side of each leg in a beautiful way; but he had been in the creek with them on so many times that no one would ever have been able to say what the color was.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

I wore shoepacks, and so did mother, because Mr. Boone was in such a hurry to get away that we hadn't time to make moccasins. We both had brand-new sunbonnets, and our linsey-woolseys were also much the same as new, not having been in use as dress-up clothes for more than a year.

Driving Cattle and Sheep

Father decided to take with him two cows and five sheep; the other men had more or less live stock, all of which were to be driven in one herd, with us children to look after them. It was pretty hard work to keep the animals together after we came upon the mountains, where the road was just a narrow trail, or trace, as Mr. Boone calls it.

There were nine cows and twenty sheep, and only twelve children to drive them. From morning till night we ran into the thickets, first on this side and then on that, to keep them on the trail, climbing, climbing all the time, until it seemed to me now and then as if I could not take another step even though the whole herd were lost.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Sometimes mother got down from the horse, and I took her place in the saddle. But Billy had no such chance to rest his legs nor would he have taken advantage of it no matter how weary, because he wished to show that he was already a hunter and trapper.

Jemima Boone declared that she wouldn't ride a horse while her mother walked, and during the first four days of the journey she followed the cattle until her dress was actually in rags, and she had lost her only sunbonnet into a stream that whirled it away before she had time to cry out.

I noticed that after the sunbonnet had gone she seemed to lose courage, although the trail was no more difficult than might have been expected, but from that time, I think, she rode as often as I did.

Camping at Nightfall

The men went on ahead, leaving the older boys to look after the women and children. Often and often we did not see them from the beginning of the journey in the morning until we made camp at night. A lean-to of branches and vines with a fire in front of it was our only shelter from the dew until we came through the Gap into Kentucky. Then, as there was danger from the Indians, we lay down on the ground.

There were days when we had really pleasant camping places, and the halt was made early in the after-noon that we might rest sufficiently. Then I was glad that we were going into that land which Mr. Boone said was so beautiful. At such times we had feasts of deer meat or turkeys roasted over a bed of glowing coals, with as much journey cake as we could eat sopped in meat drippings, which we had caught in dishes of bark.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

But the time came when we no longer dared to build a fire. We went hungry to bed on the ground with not even a lean-to for shelter, because it would have been dangerous to build a fire that might betray our whereabouts to the Indians.

It was one weary day after another. But there was less labor for us children because our fathers did not dare let us stray very far into the forest in search of the cattle or sheep, lest the Indians should find us.

I could not, if I would, set down the whole story of our climbing the hills until we came to Powell's Valley. There we had a view of the mountains which shut us out from the land in which we were to make new homes.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

The Long Halt

Finally we came to a place where Mr. Boone believed we were no longer in danger of being attacked by the Indians. Here it was decided to make a long halt in order that we children and our mothers might get sufficient rest to put us in condition for the more difficult part of the journey. I said to myself that if the trace was to be .any more wearing, it was likely that some of us would fall by the wayside.

In order that we might be better sheltered from the weather, father spread on stakes all our blankets, covering them with branches, lest a sudden wind should blow our poor hut away. While mother made ready the morning meal, Billy and I lay near the camp fire and kept our eyes on the cattle that were feeding on the grass. We both felt the delight of being able thus to idle away the time.

Jimmy Boone Goes to the Clinch

Before breakfast was cooked, and I well remember that the last of our store of meal was used for the journey cake that morning, Jemima Boone came to tell us that her oldest brother, Jimmy, and two of the men were to ride over to the Clinch River, in the hope of being able to buy some meal from the settlers.

"Father says that Jimmy must now do the work of a man, and surely you never saw a prouder boy than he was when he rode off at the head of the little party."

"Will they be away long?" Billy asked, and Jemima replied with a laugh.

"No; so we need not feel lonely. Father has given orders that they come back by sunset, whether they buy any meal or not."

"Is he afraid the Indians may be near?" Billy asked, and Jemima laughed as if he had said something comical.

"While we are here in the valley there is no fear that they will bother us. To tell the truth, Hannah, I am beginning to believe so much has been said about the danger in order that we might keep sharper watch over the cattle and sheep. Surely if there were any Indians this side of the Cumberland Mountains, we should have seen them days and days ago."

Then Jemima left us to tell the other children where Jimmy had gone, for she enjoyed spreading news.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When night came once more, Jimmy Boone and those who had ridden with him had not returned, and I asked Mrs, Boone if she was afraid some trouble might have come, or whether he had not lost the trace?

She laughed at such a foolish question, declaring that Jimmy was nearly as well able to take care of himself as was his father, and that she would be ashamed of him if at his age he could not ride from Powell's Valley to the Clinch River without going astray.

But the poor boy had mistaken the trail, as we were soon to learn. Next morning a white man and a negro rode into camp at full speed, as if the Indians were dose at their heels, and then we heard this most cruel story:

Murder of Jimmy Boone and His Companions

James and the two men of our company had found their way to the Clinch River without trouble, and the settlers at that place were so well supplied with meal as to be willing to let us have more than Jimmy and his companions could carry. Six of the people therefore proposed to visit our camp, bringing the meal on their horses.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When they were within three miles of our camp, they wandered from the trace into the darkness. Believing it would be better to make camp and wait until morning, when there would be no difficulty in finding their way, they came to a halt. They felt secure against a visit from the Indians, and so built a camp fire and made themselves as comfortable as possible, even lying down to sleep without a guard.

A band of Shawnee Indians, who had been on a raid to the Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River, came upon the slumbering men and killed and scalped all save the two who had ridden into our camp.

Our fathers believed that the Shawnees were probably lingering near at hand, awaiting a favorable chance to fall upon our party, and made such preparations to protect us as were in their power. The women were armed with pistols or rifles, and boys even younger than Billy were called upon to act the part of men.

And during all that time Mr. Boone and his wife were grieving over the death of their oldest son!

A Time of Mourning

As mother says, those who have been killed are past all care save that of God, and the living must put away their grief to guard each other. It was my first lesson of the many needed, to make me understand how hard are the lives of the men and women who prepare the way in the wilderness.

Jemima and I sat by the embers of the neglected fire, clasped in each other's arms and weeping bitterly. Mother, thinking, perhaps, to stop us, said that it was our lot to bear these trials without repining, in the belief that a great people coming later in our footsteps would remember with gratitude our names and deeds when this vast, awful wilderness should be filled with happy, peaceful homes.

Not until the next day did Mr. Boone, my father, and the two from the Clinch River go out to bury the dead, and while they were away those of us who were not standing guard sat silently in a group.

There was never a tear on Mr. Boone's face when he came back. He spoke to no one, not even when he laid his hand on his wife's shoulder and kissed in turn each of his children; but he looked from time to time at the priming of his rifle, as if believing an opportunity might speedily come when he would be able to use the weapon against those who had caused the death of his boy.

The Faint-Hearted Return

During this evening the men began to talk of going back to the Yadkin. All save my father and Mr. Boone appeared to think it useless to travel farther toward Kentucky, for it seemed certain that the Indians were on the warpath and that it would be inviting death to continue the journey.

While they talked the matter over, some of the people being especially fearful lest the Indians make another attack at once, a company from the valley of Virginia arrived on their way across the Gap, and halted in alarm on learning of the murders. It seemed as if the stronger we grew in numbers, the greater became the terror of all, and the more reason why every attempt to get into Kentucky should be abandoned.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Mr. Boone declared flatly that he would take his family to the Clinch River and remain there until he could know what the savages were about, rather than go back to the Yadkin, and my father pledged himself to do the same, despite all that the strangers and our old neighbors could say against it.

Two days passed before the question was finally settled, and then all the men, with their families, save only Mr. Boone and my father, set off on the backward trail, leaving us alone. It made me homesick to see them marching away, while we remained in the very midst of the savage Indians; but not for worlds would I have admitted that I felt sad because of the parting.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

A New Home

Within an hour after they left us we started for the river, traveling as we had while coming over the mountains, with us children looking after the cattle, while the two men, with Israel Boone and Billy, scouted slowly ahead on the lookout for danger. Before the sun set again we had come to an abandoned cabin on the bank of the Clinch; none of us expected to stay there many days, and yet it was nearly two years before we left.

Father straightway took the boys on a hunt, and while he was away, Mr. Boone made a large trough from the trunk of a honey-locust tree, sinking it in the earth, so that Mrs. Boone might tan some of the deer hides which our hunters were certain to bring back, for her children were badly off for both moccasins and shoepacks.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Making Moccasins

Mother Makes moccasins for us children by having us put our bare feet on a piece of wet, smoke-tanned deer hide. Then she draws the skin up around each foot, tying it in place, and we sit before the fire until it dries. By this means she gets the form of the bottom and sides of the moccasin, and it only remains to gather this to a top piece with linen thread or deer sinews, after it has dried and been rubbed soft on the edges. Then the heel seam is to be sewed up stoutly, without gathers, and as high as the ankle joint. The lower part must have left on it two flaps four or five inches long by which the boys may bind their moccasins to the bottom of the leggings.

Shoepacks are made in much the same way, except that they are formed of leather and have no flaps. A sole of elk hide is put on if one can get it, and we girls are proud indeed when our shoepacks are thus stiffened on the bottom.

Tanning Leather

Tanning leather, whether you do it in the white man's way or work it down by rubbing and smoking after the Indian fashion, is wearisome labor, yet Mrs. Boone is very clever at the business and keeps our family well supplied when the hunting is good.

For a vat she uses such a trough as I have just spoken of, and we children are set at gathering and drying bark, after which we pound or scrape it into fine fragments such as can be soaked readily. She uses hard-wood ashes instead of lime for taking off the hair, and bear's grease or fat because of the lack of fish oil. One of the men curries it with any kind of knife that is at hand, and we children make a blacking of soot and hog's lard, rubbing it in well with blocks of wood.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When we were on the Yadkin, I saw shoes which had been put together by a man whose trade it was to make them. The leather was beautifully black and glossy, but mother doubted if it would wear as well as that which we make with so much hard labor.

Father and the boys came back with all the game they could stagger under, and went off again next day with two of the horses to bring in the meat that had been left hanging in the forest. Two bears, seven deer, and six big turkeys, to say nothing of many squirrels, made up such a store of food that it did not seem possible we could eat it all during the short time we might stay there.

Every one of us except Johnny Boone, the baby, set about curing the meat, expecting to carry it with us into Kentucky. Yet the days went by, sometimes slowly, and sometimes, when we felt reasonably safe against the Indians, rapidly, until winter had come and gone, our fathers all the while thinking that it would be dangerous to lead us across the mountains.

It must not be supposed that we had nothing to do. The men spent the greater part of their time in ranging through the woods in order to hunt or to learn what the savages were about. We children were forced to scrape away the snow here and there that the animals might feed upon the grass of the last summer, and our mothers were kept , busy from sunrise to sunset at one household duty or another.

Governor Dunmore Sends for Mr. Boone

Thus the days passed until warm weather came once more. We were beginning to make preparations for leaving the old cabin, when a messenger came from Watauga in search of Jemima's father. He told us that Governor Dunmore had sent him to ask Mr. Boone and my father to go into Kentucky and warn the white people, who were in the wilderness surveying the land, against remaining any longer. It was the governor's plan to wage war upon the Indians who had their hunting grounds where our people wanted to settle, and he wished to make certain that all "the white men should know what was about to happen.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Had we dreamed that father might be away from us long, both mother and I would have said all we could to prevent him from leaving us; but, not realizing how difficult and dangerous the task was to be, and rejoicing because he had a chance to earn some money, we held our peace, only insisting that a generous supply of meat should be brought in before he started.

The messenger from Watauga joined our fathers in the hunt, and within three days there was piled up in front of the cabin, or hanging from the trees, as much game as could be cured before it would spoil.

Israel Boone and Billy were cautioned to keep a sharp watch for Indian signs, and not to wander very far into the forest when they went hunting. The messenger left us to return to Watauga, and then, promising to come back as soon as the surveyors had been warned, our fathers marched away, carrying with them for food only one large journey cake and four or five slices of cooked deer meat.

Mother insisted that they should have half of our store of salt, but both men declared they would not take anything so precious, for in Powell's Valley a bushel of salt was worth a good cow and a calf, while in the settlements on the Yadkin it sold for fifty cents a quart.

Our Home on the Clinch

During the first two or three days we hardly realized the absence of our fathers, so busy were we all, and so accustomed to their being away from home scouting or hunting. We were not really alone, for only twelve miles away was a settlement of three cabins; therefore we had no reason to feel lonely, especially while there were so many of us under one roof.

In the Boone family were Israel, Susannah, Jemima, Lavinia, Rebecca, Daniel, and little Johnny, while in ours there were only Billy and I. Nine children and two mothers filled the cabin so full that we were really crowded, for the abandoned house we had found was by no means large.

There were two rooms on the ground and two above in the loft, with a window at the back of the building, which could not well be kept open in stormy weather, for we had neither oiled paper nor oil-soaked fawn skin to cover it. At the opposite end was a door made of a double thickness of stout puncheon planks, with bars so large that there was little danger the Indians could break it down, no matter how many might make an attack.

In addition to the knives carried by Israel and Billy, Mrs. Boone had two and mother one, but we had only two kettles,—one for each family, and when hot water was needed, there remained only the single dish for cooking food.

Billy found two of the nicest flat stones I ever saw, on which to bake journey cakes, and Jemima and I whittled out enough laurelwood spoons to supply each of us with one, and to leave a few to replace those that were likely to split when the food or water was too hot.

The man who built the cabin of which we had taken possession had made a long pen seven feet wide, running the entire length of the house, by placing cleft logs in a row ; the space between them and the side of the building served as a bed for all in the house. This we filled with fresh boughs, and we considered ourselves very fortunate in having a grove of pine trees within half a mile of the cabin. Mother says that the person who can make his bed of pine boughs has no right to complain.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Household Duties

It is not to be supposed that we were idle after curing the deer meat and making ready the skins for tanning. We had three cows, twelve sheep, two horses, and three dogs, all of which it was necessary to care for and prevent from straying.

The best that could be done was to pasture the live-stock in the woods near by, where they found plenty of green food. Each cow wore a bell; therefore, as long as the herd kept together there was little difficulty in finding them at night, but we had a task when any of them strayed.

Soon after our fathers went away Israel and Billy made a rail fence inclosing a small bit of land in the rear of the cabin, where the animals could be kept together during the night; it was the duty of Jemima Boone and me to drive the herd home before sunset. Of course the other children helped us when they were really needed, for there were times when we were forced to go two miles or more from the house to find the beasts, and then my heart seemed to be in my mouth, because of the fear that the Indians might attack us.

The first duty of Israel and Billy in the morning, before any one ventured out, was to look carefully through the crevices between the logs in the loft, to make sure that no Indians had crept up during the night and were waiting for us to open the door so they could rush in and kill us all.

When, after ranging in the woods near by until they were certain there were no Indians in the neighborhood, Israel and Billy told us girls that we might venture out, we often made merry, gathering hackberries, paw-paws, plums, haws, and . honey-locust pods, on all of which we feasted until it was impossible to eat more; then we filled dishes made of leaves or bark, to carry home.

Sometimes we gathered winter grapes, piling them up outside the cabin on the south side, where they would ripen in the sun and then be exposed to the first frost, for until they have been chilled by the weather they are much too sour to be eaten.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Now and then we gathered a store of seeds from the coffee bean tree, of which our mothers would make a brew that we fancied tasted like real coffee. We found crab apples in abundance, and marked the location of the walnut and hickory trees that we might get the nuts when the frost had tumbled them to the ground.

Because we expected each day, after two weeks had gone by, that our fathers would come back to take us into Kentucky, we made no provision for the winter, either for ourselves or for the stock. We bitterly regretted such neglect when the snows came and we were shut up in that log house.

One day before the frosts, when the boys declared there were no Indians around, we ventured farther and farther into the woods until we had wandered two or three miles without thinking of harm.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Attacked by a Wildcat

My brother made us a swing by tying up the ends of wild grapevines, after which he pushed us high into the air, all the party shouting and laughing as merrily as if we had been safe at home on the banks of the Yadkin.

Israel had wandered off by himself, as he often did, but we gave no heed to his absence until I fancied I heard, above our noise, the cries of a person in distress, mingled with the most horrible yells and screams.

It was fully a minute before I could quiet the younger children so that we might listen, and then, when it was possible to hear distinctly, Billy cried as he ran at full speed in the direction of the noise:—

"Israel is in trouble! Get back to the cabin, girls, for the Indians may be about!"

I knew that the Indians never made such a noise when they were attacking white people, and, leaving Jemima to look after the younger ones, I followed Billy.

Within ten minutes we were looking at a terrible sight. It seems that Israel had stopped to rest and was sitting on a log, when suddenly an enormous wildcat, snarling as if in a rage, stepped out from among the leaves in front of him, her short tail swinging from side to side viciously, and her crop ears lying back close to her neck.

Israel's first thought was to shoot, but immediately he realized that the report of his rifle would alarm those in the cabin, as well as us children, so he stooped to pick up a broken branch, hoping to frighten her with it.

It was while he was leaning forward that the animal sprang at him. He saw the moving shadow in time to jump up, but it was too late to guard himself wholly.

The cat, instead of seizing him by the neck, which was most likely her aim, fastened her teeth into his side, and began digging the flesh of his left leg with her hind claws.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Fighting with the Wildcat

He could not reach his rifle, which had been left leaning against the log, nor would it have been possible to use such a weapon even if it had been in his hands. He could only clutch her by the throat; unable to get a firm hold, he threw himself against a tree, with the cat between him and the trunk, hoping to crush her, and crying at the same time for us to come to his aid.

When he began to shout, the cat screamed. This was the noise that had attracted my attention.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

As Billy and I came up we could not understand what the matter was. It seemed to me an age before we fully made out what was going on, and even then it was not a simple matter to end the battle. Israel did not dare move back far enough for Billy to strike a blow at the cat, and he could not release his hold of her throat to unsheath his knife, therefore he was forced to remain in the same position until Billy cried: —

"Can't you leap back when I strike?"

"No; but never mind what you do to me. Thrust at her! I'd rather be killed by a knife than torn to death by this animal!"

Again and again did Billy thrust, his face showing deathly white because of the fear that he might kill Israel, and each time he drew back I could see that the knife was crimsoned with blood, yet the cat continued to scream, bite, and tear.

It seemed to me that Billy must have struck at least twenty blows before the animal opened her jaws and fell backward as Israel staggered against a tree, the blood running in streams from his side and leg.

I really believed the poor boy would die before we could get him home, for we could not carry him in our arms without causing him pain, so we made a drag of branches, on which he was hauled as on a sled.

Mrs. Boone and mother washed and bound up his wounds quite as well as father could have done; but Israel was not able to move about for many a long day.

Mr. Boone and Father Return

Finally they came, father and Mr. Boone. They had traveled many hundred miles, going as far as the Falls of the Ohio and warning all the white men on that land, which the Indians called the "dark and bloody ground," of what was likely to happen.

"Now we'll make ready to go over into Kentucky, or to our old home," Jemima whispered to me as we listened to the news our men had brought, and I agreed. But before the first evening had come to an end we knew that there was no hope of our leaving the Clinch River yet. Lord Dunmore was about to send out an army in order—to clear Kentucky of the Indians, and Mr. Boone and my father had come back only to persuade the settlers in Powell's Valley and on the Clinch to enlist as. soldiers.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Mother was almost disheartened because father was to leave us again, and we children were silenced by the thought of more battles to be fought.

I need not write more regarding our life on the Clinch, save to say that our fathers joined Governor Dunmore's army and that we did not see them again until the war was ended, although the Indians were not driven out of Kentucky, as we have good reason to know.

The two men were no sooner with us again than there came to our cabin a Mr. Henderson, who had bought from the Cherokee Indians a large section of land in Kentucky and was eager to make settlements there. He wanted to hire Jemima's father to make a trace, which should, after crossing the Gap and following the Warriors' Path fifty miles or more, strike off to the north, running from Powell's Valley into the new country no less than three hundred miles.

The Wilderness Road

So Mr. Boone and father left us alone again.

Not only did Mr. Boone blaze what is called the Wilderness Road, but he, with father and many other men to help him, built a fort on the bank of Otter Creek, in Kentucky, close by the river of the same name, and it was to this place, which was already spoken of as Boonesborough, that we were to go without delay.

It must not be supposed that the making of the Wilderness Road and the building of the fort were done without trouble from the Indians.

When the road makers were within fifteen miles of the place where the fort was afterwards built, and during the night when all were sleeping soundly in the belief that the Indians would hold to certain promises lately made, that they would cease from making attacks on the settlers, the Shawnees surrounded our men.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

At daybreak the war whoop rang out, mingled with the reports of rifles as the savages fired at the sleeping men. Mr. Boone and his companions sprang to their feet in alarm. But for the fact that these road makers were old hunters who had fought again and again with the Indians, all might have been murdered; but, because of past experience, they were no sooner awake than every man was ready for battle.

It must have been that God prevented the savages from taking good aim, for only one white man was killed and two were wounded, one so badly that he died on the third day after.

When the Indians saw our people take shelter behind the trees and open fire, they beat a quick retreat, for they will not stand up in open fight against white men. Mr. Boone's company remained crouching in hiding ready to open fire on the first red face or tuft of feathers that could be seen, many of them meanwhile urging that all attempts to build a fort be abandoned, and that they return beyond the Cumberland Mountains, for there was good reason to believe that the Indians had taken to the warpath again.

Building the Forts

Father says that Mr. Boone would not listen to these arguments. He insisted that a fort should be built then and there, after which the question of turning back could be discussed.

By nightfall a stockade seven feet high, with but one narrow opening, had been put up, and then the company waited, meanwhile sending out two of their number as scouts, to learn whether the Indians intended to make more trouble.

Father also said that not less than a hundred men had gone into Kentucky with, or ahead of, the road makers, and were building forts at different places; therefore when Mr. Boone believed the savages were not planning to make another attack very soon, he sent out two of the company to warn these people, hoping they would join him in a short time.

After this had been done a number of the road makers followed Mr. Boone to Otter Creek, close by the Kentucky River, and there this fort, in which mother and I are to-day, was built.

Not until the settlement of Boonesborough was well begun, and all the men from neighboring forts had met to make laws for the new colony, did Mr. Boone and father come back to us.

And now I must say "Colonel," instead of "Mister," when speaking of Jemima's father; for after the laws had been made and officers for the colony chosen, he was put in command of the settlers in Boonesborough when they should be gathered together in defense of the place.

Setting out for Boonesborough

Do you suppose we were long in making ready for the journey after father and Colonel Boone told us they had come to take both families into Kentucky? We children worked as we never had worked before in order that no time might be lost. It was about the first of September, 1775, when we set out, driving the cattle and sheep before us as we had done when leaving the Yadkin.

The second day's march ended at Powell's Valley, where we found Hugh McGarry, Richard Hogan, and Thomas Denton, with their wives and children, awaiting our coming that they might go with us over into what we believed to be the Land of Promise. There were thirty men, five women, and many children in the company when, after one day's rest, we pushed onward toward Cumberland Gap.

Now we had a drove of cattle indeed, and it was well for us that we were supplied with moccasins and shoe-packs, for running to and fro in search of the sheep, and striving to keep the cattle in an orderly line, was hard upon the feet.

After crossing Buffalo Creek, we arrived at Flat Lick, where we made a halt of two days that the men might get a larger store of meat before coming to a country where it was believed the savages would be troublesome.

Gathering Salt

I had never before seen a salt lick, and was much surprised because it was not so greatly different from other places. The earth had been trodden smooth and hard by the countless number of animals that had come to lick up the salt from the ground. There were many, many small springs of salt water which, wasted by the sun, had left a white powder all around, nothing more nor less than salt, for which we so. often hungered, or paid a large price. In order to get one bushel of the powder it was necessary to boil down eight hundred gallons of the water.

From every point through the cane and blue-grass plains were paths worn by the buffaloes, elks, deer, or bears, as they came for the salt, and here the hunters expected to get as much meat as would be needed, until we arrived at the fort.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Jemima and I saw wild turkeys so fat that, when they dropped from a tree on being killed, their skins would burst. We ate their flesh until I hoped I might never see such a bird again, although many a time since we have been shut up here at Boonesborough, I have wished that we could have on the spit in our cabin just one of those plump turkeys as a change from journey cake and dried deer meat.

From Flat Lick on toward Boonesborough we crossed a dozen or more creeks, and were forced to run many a mile while keeping the cattle together; but we did not mind so long as our fathers did not find Indian signs such as would bring us to a halt.

When we came to the headwaters of the Dix River, those who had joined us at Powell's Valley struck off on a trace leading to a fort that had been built quite a distance from Boonesborough, by Mr. James Harrod. We were saddened at parting company with these people, but we were looking forward to our new home, which was pictured in our minds as the most beautiful spot on earth.

During the days which followed, no fresh signs of the savages appeared, and we pressed steadily on until coming to Blue Lick, where we halted to rest ourselves as well as the cattle. Here Colonel Boone and his wife, with Jemima and Susannah, started on ahead; so it happened that Mrs. Boone and her daughters were the first women to enter a settlement in Kentucky. The rest of the Boone family stayed with Billy and me.


At length we arrived within sight of Boonesborough, and all rejoiced that here was a fort in which we would be safe from the Indians.

There are ten strong log cabins built in the form of a rectangle, inclosing a space of about one third of an acre. Continuous with the backs of the huts, and joining one to the other, is a stout fence of logs set firmly into the ground; this palisade, together with the backs of the houses, makes what Billy calls the line of defense. Each cabin is twenty feet long, and from twelve to fifteen feet wide, while those that stand at each corner have an additional story which extends out over the lower part, so that those who are inside may see any Indians that creep up under cover of the fence to shoot through the crevices.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

On two sides of this fort, opposite each other, are heavy gates made of puncheon planks. These are swung on wooden hinges, with enormous bars inside, so that when they are closed and the stout timbers dropped into place, all the savages in Kentucky could not break them down.

Around the fort the trees are cleared away for a long distance, so that the Indians cannot sneak up from behind one tree to another, and thus come close to the palisade before being seen.

This fort, already called Boonesborough, stands by the side of the creek, within view of the Kentucky River, and when I first saw it, after the long journey from Powell's Valley, I believed no place could be more beautiful; but I have since come to wonder if the Yadkin is not as fine as this creek, and if the country about my old home is not more pleasant.

What seemed strange to me was, that although we could see men in the inclosure, from the slight rise of land where we halted to view our future home, no one came forth to meet us, nor were the big gates thrown open to give us entrance, even though our company was less than half a mile away. It appeared almost as if the people in the fort were not pleased at our coming; yet we knew that Mr. Boone, his wife, and two daughters were inside.

Precautions Against an Attack

While mother and I stood silent, father went forward where he could be seen plainly by those in the fort and waved his cap to attract attention.

Instantly the big gate fronting the creek was opened wide enough for a company of twelve men to come out, after which it was closed again, and I heard some one say that the Indians must lately have been seen near Boonesborough, because those who defended the stockade seemed to fear lest an attack be made at the moment of our arrival; but father thought there was nothing strange in such precautions.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When the men from the fort came up, they said that savages had been seen lurking about that very morning, and that it was necessary to have a large force ready to stand on the defensive when the gate was opened again. While we advanced I could see men, in the watch-houses and on the top of the stockade, watching keenly the surrounding forest. Not until the animals had been herded near the gate, was it opened, and then every creature, as well as the women and children, was urged through on the run, while the men stood, rifles in hand, ready to open fire in case the Indians should appear.

Only when we were inside, with the gate closed and barred once more, did I draw a long breath, and at the same time I found myself in Jemima Boone's arms. She had been watching our march across the cleared ground, trembling with anxiety lest some misfortune befall us.

Our Home in the Fort

It was a positive relief to me, and I know it was also to mother, when we found that we were to have one of the cabins all to ourselves. I had thought we might have to share a house with some other family.

Colonel Boone's cabin was the same as ours, and what pleased me greatly, was the fact that it stood next door, with but the palisade of logs between; therefore Jemima and I would be together almost as much as when we lived on the Clinch.

No sooner were we in the fort than father and Billy set about making a fireplace and chimney, at the same time promising to lay a puncheon floor, for this new home of ours had nothing inside it save the earth beaten down hard. There were two square holes as windows, which I hoped some day to see covered with oiled paper or thin hide.

I could not help shuddering when I saw the many tiny holes in the side of the building facing the forest, for I realized that they had been made to shoot through. Already I could see in my mind father, mother, and Billy standing, rifle in hand, and peering through those loopholes to see a savage whom they could kill.

This has since been a reality many times, while I went from one to the other, carrying powder or bullets and cleaning the rifles when they became heated from rapid firing, for my father owned two spare guns in addition to those used by Billy and mother.

Making Ready for Cooking

Our first need was a fireplace and a chimney, so that mother might do some baking, the family being heartily sick of meat all the time, with no bread whatever.

Father and Billy soon had the chimney made of slender sticks, well protected by a coating of clay both inside and out, and I must say the work could not have been done better had they had stones and mortar.

The fireplace cost much more labor, for we could not easily find rocks sufficiently large, and Colonel Boone's strict command was that no one should be allowed to go farther than fifty paces from the gate of the fort.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Mrs. Boone already had her cabin fitted for convenient cooking, therefore her children helped Billy and me in our search for rocks, while father brought a plentiful supply of mud. We did not succeed in baking a journey cake in our own house that night, but before another day came to a close we had at one end of the house as good a fireplace as could be found in any of the houses in Boonesborough.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

On that first night Mrs. Boone insisted that we do our cooking in her cabin, and I shall never forget how sweet was the journey cake mother made. A good cook she was, and is; but one can hardly expect her to show very much skill when she has only a fire built in front of a log in the forest, with such a stone as can be found most easily on which to spread the dough.

However, when she has a regular fireplace, with a flat rock, that seems to have been made especially for a pan, and with .the smoke and cinders flying up the chimney instead of directly upon the cake, she can do, as on that first night, nicer cooking than any other woman that ever lived.

We had no beds save the bare earth; but mother promised that we should soon be able to sleep in comfort, for turkeys and pigeons were so abundant that it would not take father many days, providing the Indians did not molest him, to bring home plenty of feathers.

When we lay down to sleep that night, I heard mother thanking God that we were finally in the land of Kentucky, and praying that Billy and I might grow up to be man and woman such as would honor Him and be of service to this colony we were helping to settle.

It surprised Jemima and me very much to learn how many people had already come into Kentucky. On the morning after our family arrived, I heard one of the men say that there is a settlement called Harrodstown about fifty miles west of us, and six or seven miles .from there is a fort known as Boiling Springs, in which two places live no less than a hundred people. North from here, so we heard, about forty miles, is Hinkson's, where are nineteen settlers, and lower down toward the Ohio River is still another fort named Miller's, in which are no less than eight men. Thus it can be seen that we of Boonesborough are not really alone in the wilderness.

Furnishing the House

Father soon made our home as nearly as possible like the one we had left on the Yadkin. Because we had loaded our one pack horse with such farming tools as it was believed would be needed immediately after we arrived, mother and I had little or nothing with which to set up housekeeping. It seemed as if we were well supplied with conveniences when the fireplace was ready for use, and we had exactly such a stone for baking journey cake as one could desire.

On our long journey we had been able to buy meal now and then; sometimes, it is true, we were forced to go without it. But here in the fort each must grind his own corn, or eat it whole; so father made his first purchase in Kentucky when he bought a hand mill of a settler who had determined to go back over the Wilderness Road, so fearful was he lest the Indians might succeed in capturing the fort.

We had never owned such a thing, for on the Yadkin there was a water mill, to which Billy and I carried the corn for grinding; therefore this machine was to us almost a curiosity.

It required two men to set the mill up in one corner of our cabin. First, there is a large rock, called the bedstone, nearly the size of a small cart wheel and rough on the upper side; on top is placed another of the same size, with a large opening into which the grain can be poured. This rock is called the runner. Around these two, encircling them as a hoop does a barrel, is a broad band of wood with a spout in one side to let the meal run out when the corn has been ground.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Another hole, but shallow, in the upper surface of the runner, near the outer edge, is intended for a pole fastened in firmly, its upper end running into a hole in a puncheon made fast to the floor above; thus two people may work at turning the runner and divide the labor.

It is not easy to move this upper rock around on the bedstone because of its roughness, so when Billy and I work the mill, mother or father must help us start it; but once in motion we can keep it going and feed in the corn at the same time, although it is wearisome labor.

The Hominy Block

No sooner was the hand mill set up than father decided we would make a hominy block, so that it might not be necessary for us to call upon the neighbors for theirs.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

First, he took a block of wood about three feet high, and so large around that I could barely clasp it with both arms. In the top he burned a deep hole, and afterward scraped it out until it was almost as smooth as the inside of a gourd. He made the hole wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, so that when the corn is pounded with a pestle, it is thrown up on either side in such a manner that it will fall again to the bottom and thus be cracked evenly.

Some people use a hand pestle with which to bruise the grain; but father put up a slender pole, rising as high as the flooring above, with the butt end resting against the lowermost log in the side of the house. This pole was held in position by two forked sticks standing perhaps eight feet from the butt, and on the upper end was a piece of sapling long enough to come down within twenty inches of the bottom of the hole.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

On the sapling he fastened, by a wooden pin, a pestle, which is nothing more than a piece of maple wood fashioned to fit the hole in the block. Billy and I have only to tie a bit of wild grapevine to the upper end of the pole, and, having placed the corn in the hole, pull the pestle down and let it fly up again, which, as can readily be understood, is far less labor than raising the heavy block of maple by hand.

The same man who sold us the hand mill gave mother his corn grater, no one in the fort being willing to buy it. Just then it would be of little service, but I understood that later, when we had raised a crop of corn, it would be of great value, even though such a tool may be used only when the grain is too soft to be ground.

This grater is nothing more than a half-round piece of tin with holes punched through it in such manner that the ragged edges of the metal are on the outside. It is nailed to a piece of puncheon after the fashion of a horse's hoof, and the ears of corn are rubbed over the rough edges of the holes, allowing the pulp to fall through on the puncheon, from which it can be scraped into a dish.

The Supply of Water

Inside the fort, and not far from our cabin, is a spring, in which, in time of need, there will be found enough sweet water to supply all; that for cooking purposes must be brought from the creek. Again and again I have seen a dozen or more of the boys, each carrying a bucket, steal out through the gate that had been opened just enough to allow them to squeeze through, guarded by a score of men with rifles in hand, and bring as much water as might be needed during the day.

Thus far there have been many times when we had cause to worry about a lack of water, and days when those who showed themselves 4 incautiously upon the stockade were shot at from the forest near by. Each time, however, that our men went out in numbers they drove away the Indians who, as father says, have ever shown themselves cowardly save when it was possible to surprise and attack white people with overwhelming force.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Before we had been at Boonesborough many days Billy, with the other lads and some of the men, engaged in such sports as shooting at a mark, wrestling, or running races. Not more than twice, however, could the poor boy afford to display his skill with his rifle. It would be sinful extravagance for him to waste much powder in proving that he was a better marksman than some other, for Mr. Henderson, who bought from the Cherokees all this land, sells our people powder at $2.66 a pound and lead at one shilling. So it may be seen that we children are not allowed to spend even a sixpence for pleasure.

Sports Inside the Fort

I believe Jemima and I enjoyed the sports almost as much as did Billy, for it was really fine to see those men, on whose marksmanship our lives might depend, shooting so straight at a target. That which interested us most was when they drove an iron nail into one of the logs of the stockade just far enough to hold it in place, and then, standing forty paces away, each shot to hit, the nail directly on the head, thus forcing it yet farther into the wood.

It was exciting to see each man, as he came up in turn, clean carefully the barrel of. his gun with the bit of greased tow which every hunter carries in the bosom of his hunting shirt, then put a bullet in the palm of his hand and pour out enough powder to cover it, being careful to use no more. Afterwards, he would brush with rough fingers every black particle carefully into the barrel of the rifle, then drop upon it the bullet wrapped in a bit of oiled nettle-bark linen, and ram the whole down as if everything depended on the work being done deftly.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Then the taking aim! Each marksman raised the barrel of his weapon over a forked stick, having due care not to press hard on it with his fingers lest the re-coil of the powder should cause it to move ever so slightly out of range. Even Billy Could hit the nail squarely on the head twice out of every three times, as I had seen him do many a time before we came to Boonesborough.

I should not praise my own brother, and yet I must say that he can use a rifle very nearly as well as father, for again and again I have seen him bark a squirrel; that is, kill the little creature by hitting the bark of the limb on which he is crouching, thus taking away his life by the wind of the bullet without actually inflicting a wound.

Wrestling and Running

When those who were displaying their skill with the rifle had burned as much powder as they could afford to use in mere play, there were other sports.

Some of the younger members of the company, who thought they were wondrously strong, dared others to wrestle with them, but I cannot watch such rough play with any pleasure, for one can well believe they are truly fighting, so savagely do they kick and bite in the hope of gaining the victory.

There was one young man who had come on a visit from Harrodstown, and who believed himself a great dandy. His hair was so long that the ends fell in little curls on his shoulders, and his hunting shirt was embroidered with colored porcupine quills until it was so stiff that, as Jemima said, it would have stood alone. On his leggings was buckskin fringe at least three inches long, colored most fancifully, while his moccasins were quite as gorgeous as the shirt.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

He seemed to think there were none in the stockade who could run quite so fast, or jump so high as he, and in order to let this be known he stood on a stump waving his arms and crowing like a cock.

Israel Boone said he would cut the comb of that rooster, and straightway dared him to run a race twice around the inside of the stockade. To the great pleasure of Jemima and me, the dandy from Harrodstown was beaten by a full yard, whereupon Israel mounted the stump and crowed so loudly that several women looked out from their houses to learn what had caused all the disturbance.

It seems to me, instead of writing about the way in which our men and boys amused themselves, I ought to set down something about the people who are at this moment besieging us in the fort.

The Religion of the Indians

Colonel boone, not meaning in any way to excuse their terrible deeds, says that among these savages the young Indian who would be looked upon as a man by his fellows must take the scalps of either white men, or those Indians who are the enemies of his tribe, and that the stealing of horses and cattle is to them an indication of bravery and skill, even as is good marksmanship, or wrestling, or running to our people.

Father told Billy and me what sounded like an odd story about the religious belief of the Shawnees and Cherokees. They believe that long, long ago a baby was found in the water, drifting around in a canoe made of bulrushes. She was brought to the lodge of the chief and, after growing up to be a woman, did many wonderful things. She turned water into dry land and made this whole country, for it was, at first, only a tiny island, so small that people could not find room enough on it to run about. This squaw called upon the water turtles and the muskrats to bring mud and sand up to the shore. This they did until that small island became the land where we are now living. Because the country was thus made by one of their people the Indians claim that the white men have no right to live here, much less to hunt or trap.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

They do not seem to be at all particular about what they worship, for while believing in one Great Being, they burn tobacco and buffalo and deer bones as sacrifices to many little gods; but they will not use the bones of bears or elks for such a purpose. When an eagle perches on a tree near their lodges just at sunset, or an owl comes around the village, they burn bones or tobacco in order that the eagle or the owl may carry good reports of that tribe to the other gods. If they come across an elk or a deer which is misshapen, or of a peculiar color, they claim that it is in some way connected with the Great Being and worship it after their fashion, which means by burning bones, dancing, shrieking, and otherwise making themselves hideous.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Indian Babies

It does not seem reasonable that people who delight in torturing others could have any love for their own family, and yet father says that a squaw takes as good care of a baby, after her own fashion, as does a white woman.

What amused Billy and was his description of an Indian cradle. It is nothing more than a thin board with a foot rest at the bottom covered with soft moss, so that the child, when laid on, the board, shall not bruise its feet; at the top there is a stout wooden hoop which extends out three or four inches so that the child's head may be protected from swinging boughs or falling branches when the mother carries it on her back, as she always does while attending to her work in the cornfield or the lodge.

The baby is wrapped in strips of softest deer hide, the bandages beginning at the feet and winding around until even the arms and hands are bound tightly to the child's sides, while the face, except for the hood of which I have spoken, is left ' uncovered. There are two holes, one on either side of the upper end of the board, through which are passed thongs of buck skin, serving to tie the cradle, baby, and all, on the mother's back; for fastenings are passed over her shoulders, under her arms, and then tied to the bottom of the board in such a fashion that even though she bends over at her work of hoeing or cooking, the odd cradle cannot move about.

Colonel Callaway Arrives

We were hardly settled down in our new home when, one day, just as mother was calling out to Colonel Boone to know how soon the boys would be allowed to go to the creek for water, one of the men in the watch-house nearest the big gate cried out that a company of white people was coming toward the fort.

In an instant men, women, and children were running here and there, some to scramble up on the long shelf of puncheons near the top of the stockade, a sort of platform for the marksmen, and others to gather near the gate to get a glimpse of the newcomers when our people swung back the heavy barrier.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

"It's Colonel Callaway!" I heard Jemima's father cry as he ran into one of the watch-houses, and shortly afterward we knew that the entire Callaway family, together with William Poague, John B. Stager, and their wives and children, had followed us over the Wilderness Road.

What a time of rejoicing that was! I had seen Elizabeth Callaway once, while we were living on the Clinch River, and had almost as much of a liking for her as for Jemima.

Soon we girls, meaning all the Poagues, Stagers, Callaways, and Boones, got together in father's cabin, while our mothers were helping the other women settle down, and what a nice time we had!

News From the Eastern Colonies

For the first time we now heard that the eastern colonies had risen against the rule of the king, and that already war had begun. How strange it seemed for the people in America to dare do such a thing, and how we wondered whether it would make any difference to us way out here in Kentucky!

Probably our fathers had heard something about this before, for instead of being thrown into a turmoil, as I had expected, they were concerned only about matters which had to do with Boonesborough.

The clear space inside the stockade was no more than one third of an acre, and even before the coming of these new settlers our cattle, horses, and sheep had eaten every green thing to be found there. The men had been speculating that very morning as to how it would be possible to get fodder for the beasts while the Indians were lurking near at hand.

Now, however, the number of live stock was nearly doubled, for Colonel Callaway alone had brought in nine sheep, two cows; and three horses, while the Poagues and Stagers had nearly as many more. It was really wicked to keep the poor things shut up inside the fort when there was such an abundance of grass and cane beyond the gate, and surely the moment had come when something must be done.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Jemima saw the men gathering in one of the watch-houses, and we were wondering what they could be doing when Billy came in, announcing, as he took his and father's rifles from the antlers on which they hung, that it had been decided to drive the live stock outside to feed.

Venturing Outside the Fort

Every man and boy, except two who were to remain on watch, were to go boldly out as guards, and in case the Indians made an attack it would be the duty of the women and children to drive inside as many of the cattle as possible, while our fathers and brothers fought to protect us.

Of course there was great danger that we might lose some of the animals if there should be a real battle; 'but even that would be better than to have to kill the poor things simply to save them from starvation.

It was the first time I had been through the gate since the day we entered the stockade, and how good it did seem to walk on the grass! Our mothers joined us, making it seem much like some merrymaking on the Yadkin, save that we were constantly watching for a glimpse of feathers among the trees on the edge of the forest, or listening for the watchman's cry, which would give warning that the Indians were about.

However, not one of them dared show himself while our men and boys stood ready to shoot down the first who appeared, and before the day had come to an end we had nearly forgotten our fear.

While the men stood on guard, I could hear them talking about the location of the plantations they expected to lay out the next spring, and it pleased me much when father, pointing to a rising piece of ground overlooking the creek, and not more than a mile from the fort, said to Colonel Callaway that there he hoped to build a home when he should be able to work with safety in the forest.

From that day until a certain time, of which I shall tell later, the horses, sheep, and cows were driven outside the fort each morning, with a guard of men and boys to watch them; after a week had passed we girls began to think there were no longer any savages about, even though the hunters claimed to see fresh signs every time they went into the forest in search of game.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Dividing the Land

Mother says I should tell something about the restlessness which was coming over our people in regard to dividing the land, if I expect this to be a story of our struggles, not only against the savages who prowled around for the sole pleasure of shedding blood, but against those Indians whom General Hamilton, the British commander at Detroit, set upon us when the eastern colonies and the king's soldiers were really at war against one another.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

First, I should say that Colonel Richard Henderson, expecting to make a great deal of money, had bought his land with such trifles as beads, hatchets, and other things that the savages wanted. Then he hired many men, as I have already said, to make the Wilderness Road, so that people might find it easy to get into that part of the country.

Colonel Boone, my father, and, in fact, nearly all the men in Boonesborough believed at first that Colonel Henderson had a right to the land, having bought it as I have said, and when this fort was finished, they were ready to buy plantations from him.

Who Owned Kentucky?

Before we from the Clinch River arrived, Colonel Henderson had opened a land office in the fort, and was selling plantations to the people of this settlement, of Harrodstown, Hinkson's, and all the other stockades about, at the rate of thirteen and one third cents an acre. The colonel also brought over the trace goods to sell, charging our people big prices, even as he did for powder; but when he wanted to hire men to work for him at clearing land, or bringing burdens over the mountains, he was willing to pay only from thirty-three to fifty cents a day. The men could use up a day's pay in less than an hour's fighting with the Indians, and they did not think it right for the settlers to be obliged to buy powder and bullets at such a big price, only to use them in defending Colonel Henderson's land.

More than five hundred thousand acres of land had been sold, or spoken for, at the time Colonel Callaway's family joined us. I suppose the men were growing dissatisfied with paying out so much money when they could earn only very little, for each day the talk became warmer, until many of them insisted that the matter should be laid before the Assembly of Virginia, to learn whether Colonel Henderson's claim to the land was really just, simply because he had bought it from the Cherokees, when the Shawnees and all the other savages who hunted in Kentucky might claim the land as well.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

However, it was a long time before our men could have the matter settled, and those who had bought land were eager to begin work upon it, so that seeds might be planted in the early spring. Five or six, therefore, among whom was my father, set about cutting down trees with which to build a home outside the fort, some of them working a full mile and a half from the stockade.

Day after day passed and the Indians remained hidden in the forest; they were keeping a sharp watch over the fort, as we knew from the signs found by the hunters. When I wanted to go with Billy to see what father was doing, mother refused to let me wander farther from the gate than two hundred paces, saying again and again that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.

Making Ready to Build a Home

Father, believing that the Indians had given up trying to kill us, despite all Colonel Boone said to the contrary, was eager to get his land ready for planting, but decided that he would make no attempt at building a house until another spring. He wanted only to clear the land, and in such work Billy could be of almost as much assistance as a man.

There were shrubs and bushes to be grubbed up by the roots, small trees to be cut down and larger ones girdled, and again a certain number felled to be used in making the house. Of course I should say that when our people "girdle" a tree, they simply cut a deep line entirely around the trunk, through the bark and into the wood, so the sap will flow out instead of going up into the branches; this causes the tree to die very quickly. Later, standing stumps can be pulled up so that a plow may be used more easily.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When I said to father one night, while he and Billy were laying plans for the next day's work, that a cornfield filled with stumps would not be a very beautiful sight, he repeated mother's old saying which often tries my temper because she seldom uses it save to my disadvantage, "Handsome is that handsome does," and then went on to say that while it would please him to have a fine plantation, his only aim just then was to raise enough corn and potatoes to keep his family from want.

Billy's Hard Lot

Poor Billy! Day after day, except when he was appointed by Colonel Boone to serve as one of the guards over the cattle, he was forced to go up the creek with father, working hard from early light until so late that often mother would blow the horn loudly, calling them home for fear lest the Indians near would take advantage of the gloaming to creep up on them.

"If I ever build a home for myself," Billy said to me one night when his arms were so stiff from labor that he could hardly raise the journey cake to his mouth, "If I ever build a home for myself it will be in a country where some other has cleared the land, for I have had enough grubbing and chopping and mauling of rails to serve me to the end of my life."

It pleased me when father praised Billy for being an industrious boy and I have heard him tell mother many a time that Billy could cut and split no less than seventy rails a day out of blue-ash wood; but of course when it came to hickory trees, thirty was a good day's stint, especially for so small a boy.

I was puzzled to know why father should keep splitting rails, if he was so eager to have the ground cleared before winter should come, but he said that he intended by the coming summer to have fenced in on his plantation a piece of land that should serve as pasture. It would not only be a saving of labor for us, but do away with the need of our venturing into the forest after the cattle.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Twice while father was working upon his plantation Jemima and I went down to help burn the small branches of the trees. It was fine sport to make the big piles and then to see the flames streaming high into

Twice while father was working upon his plantation Jemima and I went down to help burn the small branches of the trees. It was fine sport to make the big piles and then to see the flames streaming high into the air, sending forth clouds of smoke in odd, dancing forms.

It is not to be supposed that while father and Billy were clearing the land, mother and I remained inside the stockade idle. Indeed we .had so much to do that, save when Jemima and I went to burn the brush, I do not believe I had at any time a full hour for pleasure with the other girls in the fort.

Preparing Nettle-Bark Flax

Although we had as yet no loom on which to weave cloth, father had made for mother a spinning wheel, promising that during the next year a loom should be set up, and she and I spent many an hour rippling, clean¬ing, and even braking and swingling, what we called flax.

Of course we had no real flax then in Kentucky. Save for here and there a small patch which had been planted by the men before we women folks came, none of the land was under cultivation.

Did you ever see the wild nettle growing, and notice the silky fiber that runs through the leaves? If so, you will know where mother got material for weaving into cloth. Whether it was her own notion, or some friendly person had told her that this could be done, I know not; but it is certain that during five or six days all of us, including father, gathered wild nettles, preparing the rind or bark exactly as you would flax, save that we did little rippling, by which I mean combing out the fibers over nails that are set in a board to make a comb. Instead, we set the leaves in the creek, after having driven stakes around to hold them in place and having piled up layer after layer of the green nettles, the whole being weighted with saplings and heavy rocks so that it would not float away. When the mass had rotted, we could take it out and easily get rid of the decayed portion.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

After this the fibers were tied in bundles. Then came the braking, when it was put between two tree trunks which had been hewed into little edges to fit one between the other like the cogs of a wheel; the upper trunk was brought down heavily upon the lower in such a manner that the weedy part of the fiber would be broken and bruised so that it could be swingled with a block and knife, until everything save the silky veins was scraped or shaved off.

Then we made the clean fibers up into bundles, which would have been called "strikes" in the case of real flax, and these were swingled again until every tiny thread was thoroughly cleaned, after which came the hackling, when the fiber was dampened and drawn through sharp pegs that had been set close together in a board until a square of perhaps four or five inches had been formed of these .small points. The hackling determines the fineness of the thread, since it separates each large fiber into very many small ones.

Spinning and Soap Making

And then the spinning! How homelike it sounded when, after a long time of the hardest kind of work, we had ready the nettle fiber for the wheel, and mother sat in front of the fireplace drawing out the long threads as she crooned the songs I had heard her sing on the Yadkin, but which never had come to her lips from the time we left the old home until this day on which the wheel was first set to whirling.

I cannot say how many skeins of thread mother spun in one day, but there were many. None of it was light in color, yet she did not expect to bleach it, because it made very little difference to us at Boonesborough whether our garments were white or brown.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

After the spinning came the soap making, which was done outside the cabin. Father made for us an ash hopper out of splints which he had taken from a blue-ash tree. The bottom, which was smaller than the top, was packed with dried buffalo, grass to the depth of three or four inches as a strainer. Underneath it was a trough directly below the hole in the bottom of the hopper.

Then we filled it with ashes, and from time to time poured warm water over them, which, settling down and down, came out finally into the trough as lye, weak at first, but stronger and stronger as it was poured back time and time again to run through the ashes until it became as brown as the mixture in a tanning vat. To this we added bear's fat, and the whole was boiled until it became soap, soft and ill-smelling ; but yet we had no other, except for special days, when, by adding a bit of salt and boiling it still more, the whole became hardened like a piece of journey cake.

This soap was most convenient to use when washing one's hands and face ; but mother said we could not afford the luxury, with salt at twenty dollars a bushel, except on some unusual occasion like a birthday.

Broom Making

One who had never lived in the wilderness might suppose that on days when it was too stormy to work out of doors or to hunt, a boy could pass the time in the house as best suited him; but not so in Kentucky.

While clearing the land, whenever father came upon a small, straight-grained, hickory sapling that seemed fitted for the purpose, he brought it home with him at night, so that Billy might make brooms and brushes on stormy days, when he was forced to remain indoors.

I have seen my brother sit hour after hour splitting with infinite care the tiny fibers of wood from one end of the sapling up to the length of eight or ten inches, until he had made as perfect a brush as one formed of coarse hairs, save for the heart, or core, which was cut out because it was too brittle to split well. Around the fibers, within an inch or two of the top, a green withe was bound so tightly as to force outward the lower ends of the splints. If to be used as a broom, the handle, or upper part of the sapling, was left long; but as a brush around the fireplace, it was cut off much shorter.

It seemed as if we were living industrious, peaceful lives in Kentucky, and so we were during all too short a time. Even though it was probable the Indians were lurking about, our hunters were ever ready to take their lives in their hands in order to supply us with food, and hardly a day passed that we did not have turkeys, pigeons, or squirrels, and so many deer that I dreaded the time when once more we must set about the work of tanning, as we had done on the Clinch River.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

The knowledge that we were making a home for ourselves at the same time we bore our share in building up a town in the wilderness, really seemed to lighten the labor, severe though it was.

More Indian Murders

One morning, it was near to Christmas I remember, because of Billy's desire to have a day's hunting in the woods, Sam McQuinney and Daniel Saunders announced in the stockade that they were going out to trap turkeys, which would be cheaper than killing them with a rifle while powder cost so much money.

Billy was wild to go and I came near losing my temper when father insisted that he must work at clearing the plantation. It seemed to me wicked to make the lad grub and hew all the day long while other children in Boonesborough were given a holiday now and then.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

How often have I repented for these unkind thoughts, and how many times since have I dreamed that Billy was allowed to go with Sam and Daniel!

Because our people had apparently come to believe there was no longer any danger from the Indians, no one gave much heed when Sam said it was possible that he and Daniel might not come home till next day, if there was a chance of bringing back a lot of turkeys by that time, and the boys set off, calling out to Jemima as they passed her home:—

"Don't weep for us any longer, Jemima Boone, For we're coming back to see you mighty soon."

That was the last time we saw them alive.

When night came and they had not returned, every one supposed the boys had decided to wait for the first catch of turkeys; but when the sun set again, and nothing had been heard, their parents began to fear some accident had befallen them.

It was not until the third day after they went away that four of our hunters set off in search of them, and then Sam's body was found about halfway between the creek and the river. He had been scalped, most likely on the very day he left us.

Daniel has never been heard of from that time until this. His mother hopes he may yet be alive, held prisoner by the Indians; but father says he would rather see Billy lying dead before him than think of his being held captive.

Indian "Signs"

It can well be supposed that this made our people more cautious about their own safety. Work on the land was stopped, and we women and children were forced to stay inside the stockade while the hunters ranged the woods near and far to learn what they might of the savages.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Before this search had come to an end enough was found to prove that the Indians had been hovering close about us all the time we were feeling so safe. That they had not killed more of us during the time when every one wandered at will around the stockade, was thought by Colonel Boone to be because they intended soon to make an attack upon the fort and hoped to make us believe they had departed.

You may be certain that we were exceedingly cautious for a long time after this. The gates were kept closed and barred, the boys were carefully guarded as they brought water from the creek, and four men were constantly on duty in the watch-houses.

A large quantity of dry grass and cane had been gathered for the cattle and sheep, therefore we should not see them suffering for food, as when we first arrived.

Then came the snow. When the storm had cleared away, our hunters went out to make another search. After three days, they came back and delighted us with the report that it was positive the savages no longer remained about; but for how many days they might leave us in peace no one could say.

However, our people hunted as they pleased, and went to and fro from the stockade to the creek without a guard; finally, matters went on much as before poor Sam was murdered and Daniel carried away.

Father's work on the plantation was ended until warm weather came again, when he would plant the first crop, and then build our home. Consequently Billy, having made a good store of brooms, and having nothing to do but look after the horses, cattle, and sheep, went much into the woods with the men, and it pleased me to know the poor boy was finally having an opportunity of enjoying himself.

Woodcraft and Hunting

He hoped to become a mighty hunter like Colonel Boone, and would spend the evenings telling me what he had learned of woodcraft. I soon came to know that one must not go for deer after the leaves have fallen and while they yet lie dry upon the ground; nor should he hunt while the snow is falling, for then he can neither track the animals nor follow their course by the blood if they have been wounded.

The best time for such work, so Billy declares, is when the snow lies two or three inches deep, when the frost is sharp and the air calm. In stormy weather deer seek the sheltered places on that side of a bill which is protected from the wind, while in rainy weather and when there is no wind, the hunter must look for them in the open woods on the highest ground.

Billy claims, and father says it is true, that one can tell direction by the bark on the trees, because on the north side it is thicker and rougher than on the south; also moss grows on the north side.

I surely hope Billy will be a great hunter and that he can hold his own with all the others in wrestling, running, leaping, and shooting, else he is likely to make a poor sort of man here in Kentucky, where strength and skill are needed if one would live and support a family.

Billy likes to tell of the night when he and father went to a salt lick three miles down the creek and built there a tiny hut of branches, in which they hold until day-break, when the deer came to drink. They killed three fine bucks and two does; on the way home Billy "called" a wild turkey within rifle range. I really wish some of the, folks on the Yadkin could hear him "gobble"; he does it so naturally that you would surely think an old turkey was strutting around close at hand. Father declares that Billy will stand at the head of our hunters when he is man grown.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Pelts Used as Money

During that winter Billy was very fortunate in getting furs, and brought in so many that father told him he was earning more than half enough to support the entire family, which made the boy exceedingly proud.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

We have very little real money, such as is used in the eastern colonies; even Colonel Henderson pays his laborers in goods or ammunition. We do our trading with furs. During our first year in Boonesborough it was agreed that a beaver, otter, fisher, dressed buckskin, or a large bearskin was equal in value to two foxes or wildcats, four coons, or eight minks.

To pay for linsey-woolsey enough for a dress for me, mother was asked to give two beaver and three mink skins; but she very wisely said I could wear my old frock another year, or make a new one of doeskin, rather than spend so much, for when we have our loom, she can weave all the cloth of every kind that may be needed.

During this winter, when our men had little to do save see that the fort was kept well supplied with meat, the people from Harrodstown, Boiling Spring, and Hinkson's, together with us of Boonesborough, sent a petition to the Virginia Assembly, protesting against many :things which Colonel Henderson had done and was doing. Among these matters they claimed that he had no right to our land, which he had already named Transylvania, because the Cherokees could not sell that which they did not really own.

We children heard the affair talked of so much that we could repeat nearly the entire petition, long as it was. Just now I remember only the last part of it, which was much like this:—

The Petition of the Settlers

"And, as we are anxious to concur in every respect with our brethren of the United Colonies, for our just rights and privileges, as far as our infant settlement and remote situation will admit of, we humbly expect and implore to be taken under the protection of the honorable Convention of the Colony of Virginia, of which we can-not help thinking ourselves still a part, and request your kind interposition in our behalf, that we may not suffer under the rigorous demands and impositions of the gentlemen styling themselves Proprietors, who, the better to eject their oppressive designs, have given them the color of a law, enacted by a score of men, artfully picked from the few adventurers who went to see the country last summer, overawed by the presence of Mr. Henderson."

I distinctly remember that part of it because Jemima used to laugh over the idea of calling ourselves an “infant” settlement. She said that if the people of Virginia could see some of our dandy rufflers standing on a stump crowing like a cock because of having beaten another at wrestling or leaping, they would think we were indeed healthy infants.

Father believes that some of the language in the petition was too strong, because Colonel Boone and Mr. Harrod were among those "artfully picked"; but neither of the men seemed to think there was any-thing disrespectful in such words, and actually signed the petition.

During stormy winter days father and Billy with axes dug out troughs from buckeye logs, which we might use for collecting sap as soon as the time came for sugar

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis
making. How we children watched for a change in the weather which should tell that the day was near at hand when we might revel in sweets! Elizabeth Callaway gave me a spoonful of sugar shortly after her family came into the fort, and from that time I had not tasted anything in the way of sweetness. Now, however, we promised ourselves that plenty of sugar should be made as soon as the sap began to run, and Billy announced that he expected to get plenty of wild honey during the summer, no matter how many Indians might be skulking around.

Making Sugar

All the children in the fort were ready on that day when our fathers told us the work might begin, and al-though we had neither heard nor seen anything of the Indians for many a day, four of the hunters went out to stand guard while the boys made deep wounds in the trees with axes.

Then, while the men put up a half-faced camp, we girls carried the troughs to the trees that had been tapped and watched with eager eyes as the sap oozed out drop by drop, but yet so rapidly as to give promise of a good yield.

Perhaps there are some who do not know what a "half-faced"camp is like. A big tree was cut down, and the branches trimmed off for a length of eight or ten feet from the butt. This, as it lay on the ground, served for the back side. Ten feet in front, and ten feet apart, two double sets of -stakes were stuck in the ground for the four corners. Between the double stakes were laid poles extending from one corner to an-other. At each side more poles were placed from the front to the rear, a few inches apart, after the fashion of latticework,

Across the top for a roof poles were laid, between which we girls wove branches of trees until the whole would serve fairly well as a shelter against wind and rain. The front part was left open, which, I suppose, is the reason why it is called half-faced, and here a fire was built for boiling the sap.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Colonel Callaway brought with him his horse; father made of tree tops what would serve as a sled, and on it we hauled the troughs to the camp as fast as they were partly filled.

Then came the boiling down, which was continued far into the night by the men and boys, for we girls were obliged to be inside the fort before sunset; but when the sap had thickened to a sirup, we made spice-wood tea from half-opened buds, whitened it with milk, and sweetened the mixture until none but those who were half-starved for something sweet could have drunk it.

What sport we had! And how sticky we all were until the sugar making came to an end, and the fruits of our labor had been stored in one of the watch-houses that we might have molasses or sugar during the rest of the year.

When the snow had entirely melted from the ground, father went to work once more on our plantation, and Billy's portion of the labor was to maul rails until he had enough with which to fence off a pasture for the live stock.

Building Fences and Shearing Sheep

Poor boy! There was no more merrymaking for him inside the stockade, where, nearly all the time, a number of idlers could be found ready to wrestle, leap, or run races. He wasn't strong enough to build the whole fence; but he could lay the worm, which means the bottom rail, and he could also drive in the stakes; or checks. Before shearing time came we had a splendid pasture from which the live stock could not stray.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

As soon as the weather grew warm it was decided that all the sheep should be sheared at the same time, each family setting about the work with their neighbors until it was finished.

We girls drove the animals down to the creek, where the boys had great sport washing the long wool, which was exceedingly dirty and filled with cockles and other burs. As the poor beasts came up out of the water nearly frightened to death, their legs were tied together, and then the shearing began.

The whole number of sheep belonging to us of Boonesborough was not above thirty, therefore the task was readily finished in one day; but on the next and the next, and many another day, I was kept busy puffing the burs and bits of wood from the wool.

After this, however, the work was not so disagreeable, for I dearly loved to card the fleece into rolls for spinning, and the buzz of the wheel, when mother allowed me to do the double-and-twisting, was like real music. I should not boast; but Jemima has said again and again that her mother often held me up as a model at such work, and it is indeed true that I could do it quickly and well.

And now I have come to what might have been a most terrible disaster but for the mercy of God, as mother says.

The Capture of the Girls

It was on a hot day in July, when even the most industrious of our company were forced to seek some spot where they could be sheltered from the burning rays of the sun, that Billy and I were sitting just within the shadow of the watch-house nearest the creek, when Elizabeth Callaway, with her sister Fanny and Jemima Boone, came over to ask if we would go on the water in her father's canoe.

I knew that by drifting down the creek as far as the river we would find a cooling breeze, and I dearly wanted to go with the girls, as did Billy; but only the day before mother had said that, without first getting her consent, we must not wander a hundred paces from the fort, unless we went to the plantation with father.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Billy went at once to find her, believing she might be in Mrs. Boone's cabin; but she was not there, and he spent so much time searching for her that Elizabeth finally said that they would go on, but that we should follow when mother had given permission.

My Willful Thoughts

They went away, and I watched them drifting down the creek, thinking mother was unreasonable not to let us go wherever we pleased, as long as there was nothing to be feared from the Indians. I was not allowed to do as the other girls in the fort did, and I was feeling quite wronged by the time Billy came back to say that mother was not willing we should go.

"She thinks we are still babies and can't be trusted out of her sight," he said angrily, and straightway in a fit of the sulks threw himself down on the ground by my side.

We remained there until father came up from the plantation, and then I was forced to help mother cook supper.

The girls had not come back at that time, although it was within half an hour of sunset; but I was so occupied that I gave little or no heed to the matter until Mrs. Boone came in, long after we had eaten supper, to learn if Jemima had told me where she was going.

Then, as can well be supposed, there was an exciting time. It seemed certain some accident had happened, otherwise the girls would never have stayed away from the fort after dark, and I began to realize that perhaps one's father and mother knew what was best, while Billy whispered to me that we hadn't been wronged so much after all.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

It was while the women were running to and fro in distress, and the men were getting ready to go in search of the missing ones, that Samuel Henderson, who expected some day to be married to Elizabeth Callaway, came running into the stockade with the very worst news that could have been brought.

He had been on the river locating some land which his brother had sold to John Holder, and had come back by way of the creek. When he was within less than a mile of the fort, he found an overturned canoe which he recognized as Colonel Callaway's, and on the bank of the creek were marks of a struggle, the footprints showing that some of those who made them were white women.

Half frantic with fear and apprehension, he hurried on to the fort, for it was by this time too dark to follow the trail.

Finding the Trail

At that moment Colonel Boone was in the forest, and nearly an hour passed before he came back; but the time was not wasted, because it would have been of little avail to set off in the night, and no one in the stockade would have thought of going on such an errand without Jemima's father to lead the way.

Immediately after Colonel Boone came back he called upon Samuel Henderson to lead him to the place where the canoe had been seen, and, taking with him four or five pine knots that he might examine the trail by aid of a light, he with a number of the men went away, leaving us women and children stupefied with fear and grief.

When Colonel Boone came back, he said that a small party of Shawnees had done the cruel deed; he could say to what tribe they belonged by the marks left by their moccasins, for he was indeed a skillful woodsman. At once everybody was astir, making ready for the men to set off in pursuit.

Not even Samuel Henderson dared ask Colonel Boone if he believed it possible to rescue the girls. I never saw Jemima's father look so enraged as he did then. His lips were closed tightly; his nostrils expanded and closed, as do those of a horse who has run a long race, while he seemed trying to shun all our company, except his wife, whose arm he gripped from time to time.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

The Pursuit

Colonel Boone divided the men into two companies, for it was not certain but that those Indians who had captured the girls might have carried them away in a canoe. One party, with Colonel Callaway at the head, set off for Licking River, thinking they might come upon the Shawnees at the ford of the lower Blue Lick, while the other, led by Colonel Boone himself and including Samuel Henderson and Flanders Callaway, followed the trail that led up from the creek.

Colonel Callaway's party started two hours before daylight, for they had no trail to follow; but Colonel Boone waited until day was just beginning to break, when he and the others of his company went out of the fort, after cautioning us to keep the gates closed and barred until they should come back or had sent a messenger.

My father was given charge of the stockade, and he took his station in the watch-house nearest the river, while we women and children wandered around from one cabin to another, too sad to be able to go about our regular work.

During the next three days we were most anxious. Nearly every one in the stockade had given up hope, and all were mourning the poor girls as dead, or worse, when father, who was in the watch-house, shouted so that you might have heard him half a mile away "They're coming! They're coming, and the girls are with them!'

The Story Told by Jemima

Ten minutes later I had Jemima in my arms, and she was telling me all the dreadful story.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

It seems that while the canoe was drifting down the creek, close to the bank, and when it was near the mouth of the river, five Shawnees in full war paint suddenly came from the bushes and waded into the water until one of them took hold of the canoe, shoving it in front of him toward the shore. Jemima confesses that she was nearly dead with fear, believing all three of them would be killed at once; but she screamed with her full strength until a big hand was clapped over her mouth in such a manner that she could hardly breathe.

Fanny Callaway sat like a statue, so Jemima says, her face as white as if she had been dead, and seemingly unable even to whisper; but Elizabeth showed her courage in a way to make us people of Boonesborough, and particularly Samuel Henderson, proud of her.

She picked up one of the paddles and, before the painted Shawnee realized what she was about, brought it down on his head so hard as to cause a severe wound.

It was of little use for the poor girls to fight, however. They were without weapons, and there were five of the Indians, who, after dragging the prisoners ashore, threatened to tomahawk the first that made the slightest outcry.

Of course the girls knew that the Indians would not hesitate to carry out such a threat, so they held their peace.

Before setting off across country the savages made Jemima and Fanny put on Indian moccasins, so that our people might not be able to trace them readily; but Elizabeth refused to take off her shoepacks, and because of her spunk it was possible for Colonel Boone and his party to make certain they were on the right trail.

Elizabeth's Heroism

She not only refused to wear their moccasins; but she tore off little bits of her linsey-woolsey gown, dropping them on the ground, and now and then she bent or broke a twig in such a manner that those who followed must know it had been done by a white prisoner.

When the Shawnees saw what she was about, one of them threatened to strike her down with his tomahawk and promised to kill her without warning if she did anything more of the kind. Elizabeth had sense enough to understand that the threat would be carried out, and ceased trying to leave a trail in that way; but whenever she came to damp ground, she set her foot down firmly, in order to leave the plain imprint of her shoepack, and this was of great assistance to those who were following.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

During the evening of the day they were captured, and throughout all the daylight of the following forty-eight hours, those poor girls were forced to walk at their best pace, for it was not until early morning of the third day that our people came upon them.

Jemima could not tell me very much about what happened when they were finally rescued. On the next day, however, when I found Flanders and Jemima sitting together inside the stockade, I asked him to tell me what had been done by Colonel Boone and his company.

Rescuing the Girls

Colonel Boone was much aided by Elizabeth's trail, and never once did he lose sight of it for more than a few moments at a time, and at daybreak of the third morning after the girls had been captured, Colonel Boone and his party saw in the distance the smoke of a camp fire.

There could be no question but that they had come to an end of the chase, and Flanders described how cautiously the men crept up, for there was every reason to believe the Indians would kill their captives if they saw our people in time to commit such a terrible crime.

The Shawnees were cooking breakfast, and a dozen paces away sat the three girls, Elizabeth upright like the brave woman she is, and the other girls with their heads in her lap.

You can fancy how carefully our men looked to the priming of their rifles, when Colonel Boone whispered that each was to select his target, and with what care they took aim. The first the poor girls knew that friends were near at hand was when the reports of five guns rang out.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

One of the Indians fell forward upon the fire, but quickly scrambled to his feet and disappeared in the cane brush as if badly wounded; no one could say whether the others were hurt or not. At all events, they disappeared amid the thick canes, leaving behind them guns, moccasins, knives, and tomahawks, all of which were in a pile near a log where a shelter of boughs had been put up.

Colonel Boone would not listen to the proposal of a chase. The cane was so thick that it would have been an easy matter for the savages to remain in hiding, and no one could say how many might be around. Besides, the first thoughts of all were for the girls, and by the time it had been learned that they were not injured, the Indians had had ample chance to get away.

Little of anything save the rescue was talked about during that evening after the girls were brought home; but the next morning our men began to wonder whether the Shawnees might not be making ready to attack Boonesborough, or why was that party of five skulking around so near the fort? Our people were not the only ones who were alarmed just at that time.

The Alarm Among the Settlers

On the next day after Jemima was brought home seven men from Hinkson's came into the fort, declaring that the savages were rising against us, and begging that we go back to Virginia with them. It was enough to scare even a brave person to hear the tales those frightened people had to tell, regarding what the Indians were making ready to do; but father insisted that they had cut out of whole cloth considerably more than half of all their stories.

Those men were determined to go back over the Wilderness Road while there was yet time to save their lives, and ten of our company were persuaded to join them, despite all Colonel Boone and Colonel Callaway could say to the contrary.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Father said we were well rid of the cowards, for if it happened that the Indians did make an attack on Boonesborough, we wanted with us none but those who could stand up and fight as long as a single charge of powder was left.

Neither Colonel Boone nor any of our men whom I heard talking about the matter believed there was a grain of truth in what the people from Hinkson's had told. They knew it was likely the savages might come upon us at any time; but we were in a strong fort and would be able, not only to hold our own, but, perhaps, to prevent the savages from doing very much mischief in the country roundabout.

The cowards from Hinkson's had hardly more than left us before people from all around came in, nearly dead with fear, until there were times when the stockade was so crowded one could barely move about.

They came in parties of five or ten, some from Harrodstown, others from Boiling Springs and from Miller's, until it really seemed as if all the white people in Kentucky were going back over the Wilderness Road.

Indians on the Warpath

Within a week a messenger arrived from the Watauga settlements with the warning that the Cherokees were on the warpath there and were coming to drive us away.

It was only to be expected that, as man after man came in with word of what the Indians were doing, even the less timorous of our people should become alarmed, and there was such a panic in Boonesborough that it seemed as if the result might be that all our hopes of a settlement in Kentucky must come to naught.

Billy and I overheard a conversation in one of the watch-houses one day which gave us a better idea than ever before of why our people were so stubborn to remain in Boonesborough.

Colonel Boone was talking to Colonel Callaway, my father, and two or three other men, when John Floyd said: —

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

"I am as anxious as any other man to see my family in a place of safety; but if we leave the country now, there is hardly a settler who will remain, and all that we have fought and worked for will be as the wind. We can defend our selves here in Boonesborough until the savages have come to understand that we are not to be driven out, even though we are forced to slaughter for food every head of cattle we have brought over the mountains with so much of labor, and I'm for holding what we have bought with money and a willingness to shed our blood."

I dare not say how many visited our fort on their journey back to Virginia; but it really seemed as if all the people I had seen come over the Wilderness Road went down it again on their way to the Gap, and that we of Boonesborough were left alone in the country.

Yet, regardless of all this trouble, and anxiety, and fear, we gave our minds to more pleasant matters, for within three weeks after the girls had been rescued from the Shawnees, it was decided that Elizabeth Callaway and Samuel Henderson were to be married.

The First Wedding in Kentucky

Only think! The first real wedding in Kentucky, and I was to be there! Shall I ever forget that wedding day?

Colonel Boone's brother, Squire, had given over hunting and trapping to be a Baptist minister, and it really seemed as though God must have sent him to us, for he came just in the nick of time to marry Elizabeth and Samuel. Of course he had met all those cowards who were traveling over the Wilderness Road toward the Gap, and had heard the dreadful stories of what was being done in Kentucky by the Shawnees, yet he kept straight on.

A most exciting time we had, making ready for the wedding, for we girls had very nearly as much to do with the work as did the bride. Our mothers baked twelve large squares of sweet bread, for we had sugar of our own making in abundance, and to Jemima and me was left the entire work of making the meal cakes.

Then I realized what a blessing meal ground from corn is because so many things can be made from it, as may be seen when I tell you what we had for the wedding.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

First, we made quarts and quarts of mush, which is meal boiled in water until it is so stiff that a spoon will stand upright in it; this was to be eaten with milk or sugar syrup. Then we baked ash cakes without number, as you might say. To make these one has only to mix meal with water until it can be shaped with the hands, and then cover the cakes with hot ashes and embers until they are crisp. They are very pleasant to the taste, although being crusted rather too thickly with ashes to suit me. With this dough of meal we could, without other mixing, make journey cake, by baking it on a stone or board; hoecake by cooking it on the blade of a hoe; pone by cooking it in a kettle covered with a heated lid; or dodgers by molding it into small portions and baking it on a stone.

I really wish you could have seen inside our stockade on the morning when Elizabeth and Samuel Henderson were to be married. The bride looked beautiful in a new linsey-woolsey frock of her own making, with moccasins that were embroidered with beads and quills of the porcupine till they appeared to be made of the richest stuff, and a new sunbonnet which Jemima and I had trimmed with our own hands.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

If we had been living on our own claims, Samuel Henderson and his friends would have ridden to Elizabeth's home in fine style; but because we were forced to stay within the inclosure, all the young men secretly led their horses outside, where, each dressed in his newest or cleanest hunting shirt and leggings, they mounted, rode twice around the stockade, whooping and yelling, to dash in through the open gate and up to Colonel Callaway's cabin, where they pulled in their horses so suddenly that more than one of the animals fell back on his haunches, throwing his rider in disgrace.

The Wedding Festivities

Of course Samuel Henderson led the party, and how fine he looked in his new shirt and leggings, with a mink-skin cap made so that the tail drooped gracefully down his back!

The night before, two fiddlers had come all the way from Boiling Springs to make music for the dancing, and when the bridegroom and his party appeared, the musicians struck up "The Campbells are Coming," in a way that made one fairly gasp for breath. We girls led Elizabeth out near the spring, where all the older people were waiting.

The ceremony was no sooner over than the bride and all the other girls went into the watch-house nearest the gate, where tables were spread with everything good to eat, from roasted deer meat to turkey and bear steaks, while the men had grand shooting matches, running races, and not a little wrestling, until Colonel Boone shouted that all were to go inside for dinner.

I must not forget to say that Billy covered himself with glory during the shooting match, for when it came to snuffing a candle without killing the flame, he did it squarely and neatly three times out of four, which was better than any of the older men could do. I was proud of him, and knew that father felt much as I did, for he patted the boy on the head in an admiring way, promising that he should have a rifle with the barrel as long as Colonel .Boone's, when the pelts we had taken the winter before were sold.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

After every one had eaten until it was not possible to swallow another mouthful with comfort, the dancing began, and how we did dance! When night came, the tables were covered with food again, and the dancers were glad, as I know full well, to have something more to eat. Of course dancing is only a pleasure, but before that merrymaking came to an end I was as tired as if I had been making soap or hackling nettle-bark all day.

Not until next morning did the fun cease; but long before the first of the merrymakers showed signs of having done with the wedding sport, I was in bed, sleeping soundly.

Jemima and I think that Samuel Henderson was right lucky to get Elizabeth for a wife, because in addition to being brave, she is a good housewife, and brings to her husband, a horse, two cows and a calf, four real wool blankets, and linen of her own weaving enough to fill a small chest. Colonel Callaway is well-to-do, otherwise his daughter never could have got together so much of a dowry.

The Bride's Home

It is not to be supposed that the merrymaking was really at an end with the dancing. Our people were determined the newly married couple should be fitted out in proper fashion, and so the fiddlers remained to help in the celebration after a home for Elizabeth and Samuel had been built.

Before I was awake next morning, the older men, and as many of the younger ones as were not too weary from having danced all night, set about building a cabin for the bride and groom, and, as might have been expected, Billy was in the thick of it, for he counted himself a full-grown man after having beaten his elders at shooting.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

I don't suppose there is any need to tell how a house is built out here in our country, and yet because Elizabeth was the first white bride this side of the Gap, it really seems as if I should set down everything in which she had any concern.

Samuel had already staked out the land, and it was not above a quarter of a mile from where our home was to be. On it was plenty of timber, and as soon as breakfast had been eaten the men of the fort set to work rolling up a cabin. Some began chopping trees and trimming them into .proper lengths to make the sides and ends of the house. The boys dragged out the logs to where the cabin was to be set up, and yet other men cut and split trees into clapboards to cover the roof. Some worked at splitting logs into puncheons for the door and floor, and all labored with such a will that, aided at noon by those who had danced hardest during the night, everything was ready before sunset for rolling up the house, for even the foundation timbers had been laid.

Next day the house was finished and the chimney put up. Elizabeth was indeed proud of it, for there were two windows with thin, oiled doeskin to keep out the rain, and heavy shutters with loopholes in case it should be necessary to defend the place against the Indians. There was a real table made of clapboards, plenty of pegs at one end of the room on which to hang things, and as many as four three-legged stools, to say nothing of half a dozen short logs that, when placed on end, were as good chairs as one could desire.

The bed was a marvel, and I am hoping we shall have some just like it when our cabin is built. Two forked poles were set in the floor about seven feet apart and not less than five feet from the side of the house. Across the forks, lashed by deerskin thongs that Elizabeth had dyed a most' beautiful red, was a stout sap-ling, forming the front of the bed. Across this last, with the ends thrust between the logs of the building, were placed poles which would bend easily under one's weight; over these some thin puncheons were laid.

Samuel had a quantity of bear and deerskins, smoke-tanned; and when the bed was made up with them, it was something beautiful to look upon, besides being most comfortable.

The Housewarming

Then, on that same evening, came the housewarming, when Elizabeth, with us girls to help her, cooked the first supper in the new fireplace, providing food enough for all; after supper the dancing began, not to end until the sun had risen again.

If ever a young couple were fortunate, it is Elizabeth and Samuel, for nothing could be nicer than their home, although thus far, owing to the Indians, they have not been able to live in it very much of the time.

It was shortly after the housewarming that Simon Kenton, a young man, big as a giant and with long, curling, light hair, came to Boonesborough from McClelland's Station and told us what the eastern colonies were doing in the war against the king. It was a tale to stir the blood, for our people in this country have declared that they will have no more of British rule.

Billy was much excited by the news, and declared that he would go back alone, if necessary, over theWilderness Road to help our people on the Yadkin show that North Carolina colonists are as good fighters as the settlers in Massachusetts; but father insisted that Billy's work was cut out here, where we must hold Kentucky against our enemies.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Attacks by the Indians

Within a week after Simon Kenton left us, for, in order to warn our people when danger threatened, he was going about from place to place learning what he could of the movements of the Indians, we heard that the men at McClelland's Station had had a regular battle with the Shawnees; worst of all, two had been killed. and two others captured, only to be tortured at the stake.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

From that day we heard nothing but news of massacres and attacks, and there was no longer any question but that the Indians were bent on our destruction.

Once more we were shut up closely within the fort. Samuel and Elizabeth Henderson came into the stockade, leaving their beautiful home; and we were able to gather only the smallest part of our crops. Again we women and children went out into the fields harvesting, with all the men of the settlement to guard us, and scurried in whenever an alarm was raised. By day we watched for the savages and at night dreamed that they were upon us, until our life, which had been so peaceful by comparison, was much the same as a torture.

Day by day word came that not only the Shawnees, but all the other Indians around, were coming into Kentucky, being sent by the British in Detroit, who hoped to serve their king by hiring the savages to attack all the settlers in this part of the country.

In this spring of 1777 there have been many days when we were actually hungry, although there was game to be had in abundance if our people could have gone out after it. First, we killed the oldest of the sheep for meat, because the supply of meal had run short, and then, one after another, the rest of the live stock, hoping all the while that the savages would not dare attack so strong a fort as ours at Boonesborough.

Besieged by the Savages

Then, suddenly, the Indians whom General Hamilton, of Detroit, had sent against us could be seen in every direction around the stockade; but they took good care at first to keep beyond range. Many days later, we learned that the wretches had made an attack on Harrodstown and on a fort that had been built by a man named Logan. I heard father say to mother, when he believed Billy and me to be so far away we could not overhear the words, that at last the time had come when we must fight for our lives.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Then every boy large enough to raise a rifle to his shoulder was given a post of duty at one or another of the loopholes, while the women and girls were ordered to go from cabin to cabin, cleaning the guns which had become foul from rapid firing, or loading spare weapons when our people were sorely pressed at this point or that.

It was real war which had come upon us at last, and we knew that in case our men were overcome, we women and children would be taken captives. What our lives might be as slaves in the villages of the savages was a thought to make our blood run cold. Elizabeth Henderson, for one, declared that she would never be taken prisoner again.

On that dreadful morning when we could see the savages skulking behind the trees in every direction, only a few shots were fired. The Indians waited in the hope of being able to pick off some of our men without exposing themselves to danger, so we in the fort were unable to shoot with any hope of success.

Perhaps a dozen shots were fired from the stockade without effect, so far as we could see, when Flanders Callaway set up a shout of triumph, and the men declared that he was the first to bring down an enemy.

Slowly the feathered headdresses could be seen approaching the stockade. As the number increased, they grew bolder, until every man and boy inside the fort was forced to remain keenly on the alert; again and again Jemima and I loaded spare guns for this man or that, so hotly were the savages pressing us be-fore sunset.

How many we killed or wounded I know not; but certainly two of our men were wounded. John Holder had been shot through the shoulder and Benjamin Smith had been hit in the arm, although neither of the men was willing to admit that he had been hurt seriously.

Mother and Mrs. Boone insisted on dressing the wounds, and would have kept both men in our cabin, but they refused to remain idle when every rifle was needed, for the Indians might make a rush at any moment, and on account of their large numbers, it was possible they could succeed in climbing over the stockade or in setting fire to the logs.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

In the Midst of the Fight

When night came, there was but little change in affairs. The twinkling lights of their camp fires could be seen here and there through the leaves, and during all the hours of darkness we heard the yells and whoops which told that they were dancing and exulting over the expected victory.

Colonel Boone insisted that we need have no fear they would make any real attack while it was dark, so, for the first time since morning, we made an attempt to satisfy our hunger. The smaller children had carried water from the spring to those who were on duty, and, therefore, we had not suffered from thirst. Two of the sheep had been killed, lessening the number of our flock to fifteen, and every man was given as much meat as he needed, but the women and children ate sparingly.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Billy showed himself a man on that day, and Colonel Callaway plainly told him he not only had done a man's work, but should be counted among the real defenders of the fort.

Jemima came into our cabin that evening, and mother told us we must go to sleep while there was a chance; we did our best, but whenever my eyelids would close from weariness, they opened very suddenly again as the yelling from the Indian camp fires burst out afresh.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

The Assault by the Indians

Just before break of day the savages made a rush, bringing with them great armfuls of dry wood in the hope of setting fire to the stockade. The men in the watch-houses gave the alarm, and in an instant every one of us inside the stockade was moving here and there to learn where it was possible to aid in the defense.

What was done from daybreak until sunrise I can hardly say. I only know that I carried powder and bullets to the men who cried out that their supply of ammunition was running low, and that I cleaned rifles which had grown so hot that the barrels nearly blistered my fingers, while the owners were loading and firing the spare weapons as quickly as possible. It seemed to me that I worked like one in a dream, doing whatever my hands found to do, and all the while asking myself whether I would be brave enough to endure through it all.

Failure of the Assault

Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the uproar died away, and some one in the watch-house cried out that the savages were running back to cover, having had enough of trying to capture the stockade.

I saw a man staggering across the inclosure toward his cabin with the blood streaming from a wounded cheek, and another sitting on the ground tying around his leg strips torn from his shirt, too proud to ask any of the women to help him; but I was like one in a horrible dream, rather than a girl who ought to have taken pattern after her father, mother, and brother, by standing up bravely with a rifle in her hands.

During the remainder of that terrible day I had no dear idea of what was going on around me, save that always there were the horrible cries of the savages, the crackling of rifles, and the shouts of men, until one's head seemed bursting, and the stiffing odor of burning powder hung close down over one's mouth and nose.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When the afternoon was about half gone, the word was passed around that the Indians were falling back, as if in despair, and I remember how I sat down on the threshold of our cabin, with the front of my gown over my head, and cried; but I could not have said why I wept, unless it was for joy and relief because the danger had passed, even if only for a short time.

There I sat, crying like a baby, when Jemima found me, and what she said was enough to cause my cheeks to burn with shame, for she spoke of what a girl who had come into Kentucky should be able to do at such a time as we had just passed through, until it seemed to me I had brought reproach not only upon myself because of my tears, but on all who knew me.

The Watchfulness of the Indians

Many of our men believed that the Indians had not given up the attack on our fort, but rather had drawn back into the forest, where it would be possible to watch us while they remained safely out of range, and that they were but waiting until they should be stronger in numbers before making another attack.

From this time on, for many a day, we were as completely shut inside the stockade as if 'the gates had been barred on the outside. Our men could no longer go out even in the night, because the Indians entirely surrounded us and seemed content to hold our people prisoners. There was nothing to prevent them from hunting at any time, while we were actually hungry and sometimes suffering for water, when the cattle had drunk the spring dry.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

We had altogether, counting such marksmen as Billy, twenty-two who could be depended on to fight desperately, and it was the business of us women and girls to see that these brave fellows had nothing to do but guard the fort; therefore we strove to keep a check upon our own appetites, so that they might have the food they needed.

I should give due praise to Simon Kenton, for I have heard father say again and again that, with the exception of Colonel Boone, there was no one who did such valiant service; and in order that something of his part in the fight may be known, I am going to set down what he did when the second attack was made on the fort.

The Sortie

The Indians waited just beyond rifle range until so many of their allies had joined them that it seemed certain they could overcome us; even then, instead of coming out into the open to fight, they tried one of their tricks.

Our watchmen saw five or six warriors steal out of the forest toward the fort as if bent on trying to climb over the stockade; but they did not know that half a hundred or more had crept up toward the gate through the weeds and were lying there hidden from view.

When Colonel Boone saw these few savages coming toward the fort, he ordered the gate to be thrown open, and out he ran, followed by Simon Kenton, my father, John Todd, and four or five others.

Jemima and I were watching from one of the big houses and saw, to our horror, when Colonel Boone and his followers were a short distance from the gate, all the hidden savages rise up from among the weeds and begin shooting.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

It seemed as if our people were doomed, for I could not believe even such mighty hunters could prevail against so many, and I shut my eyes. When I looked again, I saw our men, few though they were, standing there fighting for life, while the cowardly savages, who outnumbered the white men eight or ten to one, held off.

Then I heard Colonel Boone shout to our people at the big gate to stand ready when he made a dash, and almost in the same breath he called out for every man to run toward the fort.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

My Father Wounded

Imagine my feelings when I saw father fall under the fire of the Indians! Then John Todd went down as if he were dead, and but an instant later Colonel Boone himself fell, his leg broken by a bullet, as we afterward learned.

While father and John Todd were crawling toward the gate, and while those who remained uninjured were firing and loading as rapidly as possible, hoping to hold the savages in check, Simon Kenton came up to Colonel Boone just as a powerful Indian was about to strike him with a tomahawk. Simon fired, and instantly the savage fell back dead. Before the smoke of the powder cleared away Kenton had taken Colonel Boone upon his shoulders and was running toward the gate.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Our Wounded

After that I saw only father. Thanks to the brave fellows who were holding the Indians in check at the risk of their own lives, he and the other wounded men had gained the shelter of the stockade. None of our people were killed outright, although of the nine who ventured through the gate, six returned wounded.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

No sooner were our men inside the stockade and the gate securely barred than the savages made another assault, this time rushing up to the very face of the palisade and shooting between the crevices of the logs, while we women and children, as before, loaded and cleaned rifles, while our men fought regardless of their wounds.

During two days and nights we fought nearly every moment of the time, striving only to save our lives, while the savages attacked again and again, spurred on by the hope of gaining the rewards which had been offered by General Hamilton.

The Indians, after forty-eight hours of fighting, have drawn off once more into the forest, where they still watch over us, and I am sitting here writing this story to keep from thinking of what may be our fate if the Shawnees come against us again.

I pray that whosoever reads what I have written will ask further about Boonesborough, for, even though we who are here now may not live many days longer, there is a great wish in my heart that our settlement may prosper as we have dreamed it would.

And while learning what may have become of us who are now within the stockade, I hope that, among the others, there may be remembered the girl who at the last moment is proud to call herself Hannah of Kentucky.