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

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.