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

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