Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, explorer, woodsman, and frontiersman, whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. In his lively biography, Daniel Boone The Pioneer of Kentucky, historian John Abbott traces the remarkable life of this early American legend.
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Daniel Boone The Pioneer of Kentucky
CHAPTER I | The Discovery and early Settlement of America.
CHAPTER II | Daniel Boone, his Parentage, and early Adventures
CHAPTER III | Louisiana, its Discovery and Vicissitudes
CHAPTER IV | Camp Life Beyond the Alleghanies
CHAPTER V | Indian Warfare
CHAPTER VI | Sufferings of the Pioneers
CHAPTER VII | Life in the Wilderness
CHAPTER VIII | Captivity and Flight
CHAPTER IX | Victories and Defeats
CHAPTER X | British Allies
CHAPTER XI | Kentucky organized as a State
CHAPTER XII | Adventures Romantic and Perilous
CHAPTER XIII | A New Home
CHAPTER XIV | Conclusion
Further Reading: Strategy Six Pack 13 – The Caesars, Patrick Henry, My Sixty Years on the Plains, Anne Hutchinson, A Princess from Zanzibar and Journal of a Trapper: Nine Years in the Rocky Mountains (Illustrated)
Daniel Boone: The Pioneer of Kentucky by John S. C. Abbott. First published in 1874. This edition published 2017 by Enhanced Media. All rights reserved.
The little fleet of three small vessels, with which Columbus left Palos in Spain, in search of a new world, had been sixty-seven days at sea. They had traversed nearly three thousand miles of ocean, and yet there was nothing but a wide expanse of waters spread out before them. The despairing crew were loud in their murmurs, demanding that the expedition should be abandoned and that the ships should return to Spain. The morning of the 11th of October, 1492, had come. During the day Columbus, whose heart had been very heavily oppressed with anxiety, had been cheered by some indications that they were approaching land. Fresh seaweed was occasionally seen and a branch of a shrub with leaves and berries upon it, and a piece of wood curiously carved had been picked up.
The devout commander was so animated by these indications, that he gathered his crew around him and returned heartfelt thanks to God, for this prospect that their voyage would prove successful. It was a beautiful night, the moon shone brilliantly and a delicious tropical breeze swept the ocean. At ten o'clock Columbus stood upon the bows of his ship earnestly gazing upon the western horizon, hoping that the long-looked-for land would rise before him. Suddenly he was startled by the distinct gleam of a torch far off in the distance. For a moment it beamed forth with a clear and indisputable flame and then disappeared. The agitation of Columbus no words can describe. Was it a meteor? Was it an optical illusion? Was it light from the land?
Suddenly the torch, like a star, again shone forth with distinct though faint gleam. Columbus called some of his companions to his side and they also saw the light clearly. But again it disappeared. At two o'clock in the morning a sailor at the look out on the mast head shouted, "Land! land! land!" In a few moments all beheld, but a few miles distant from them, the distinct outline of towering mountains piercing the skies. A new world was discovered. Cautiously the vessels hove to and waited for the light of the morning. The dawn of day presented to the eyes of Columbus and his companions a spectacle of beauty which the garden of Eden could hardly have rivalled. It was a morning of the tropics, calm, serene and lovely. But two miles before them there emerged from the sea an island of mountains and valleys, luxuriant with every variety of tropical vegetation. The voyagers, weary of gazing for many weeks on the wide waste of waters, were so enchanted with the fairy scene which then met the eye, that they seemed really to believe that they had reached the realms of the blest.
The boats were lowered, and, as they were rowed towards the shore, the scene every moment grew more beautiful. Gigantic trees draped in luxuriance of foliage hitherto unimagined, rose in the soft valleys and upon the towering hills. In the sheltered groves, screened from the sun, the picturesque dwellings of the natives were thickly clustered. Flowers of every variety of tint bloomed in marvellous profusion. The trees seemed laden with fruits of every kind, and in inexhaustible abundance. Thousands of natives crowded the shore, whose graceful forms and exquisitely moulded limbs indicated the innocence and simplicity of Eden before the fall.
Columbus, richly attired in a scarlet dress, fell upon his knees as he reached the beach, and, with clasped hands and uplifted eyes, gave utterance to the devout feelings which ever inspired him, in thanksgiving to God. In recognition of the divine protection he gave the island the name of San Salvador, or Holy Savior. Though the new world thus discovered was one of the smallest islands of the Caribbean Sea, no conception was then formed of the vast continents of North and South America, stretching out in both directions, for many leagues almost to the Arctic and Antarctic poles.
Omitting a description of the wonderful adventures which ensued, we can only mention that two years after this, the southern extremity of the North American continent was discovered by Sebastian Cabot. It was in the spring of the year and the whole surface of the soil seemed carpeted with the most brilliant flowers. The country consequently received the beautiful name of Florida. It, of course, had no boundaries, for no one knew with certainty whether it were an island or a continent, or how far its limits might extend.
The years rolled on and gradually exploring excursions crept along the coast towards the north, various provinces were mapped out with pretty distinct boundaries upon the Atlantic coast, extending indefinitely into the vast and unknown interior. Expeditions from France had entered the St. Lawrence and established settlements in Canada. For a time the whole Atlantic coast, from its extreme southern point to Canada, was called Florida. In the year 1539, Ferdinand De Soto, an unprincipled Spanish warrior, who had obtained renown by the conquest of Peru in South America, fitted out by permission of the king of Spain, an expedition of nearly a thousand men to conquer and take possession of that vast and indefinite realm called Florida.
We have no space here to enter upon a description of the fiendlike cruelties practiced by these Spaniards. They robbed and enslaved without mercy. In pursuit of gold they wandered as far north as the present boundary of South Carolina. Then turning to the west, they traversed the vast region to the Mississippi river. The forests were full of game. The granaries of the simple-hearted natives were well stored with corn; vast prairies spreading in all directions around them, waving with grass and blooming with flowers, presented ample forage for the three hundred horses which accompanied the expedition. They were also provided with fierce bloodhounds to hunt down the terrified natives. Thus invincible and armed with the "thunder and lightning" of their guns, they swept the country, perpetrating every conceivable outrage upon the helpless natives.
After long and unavailing wanderings in search of gold, having lost by sickness and the casualties of such an expedition nearly half their number, the remainder built boats upon the Mississippi, descended that rapid stream five hundred miles to its mouth, and then skirting the coast of Texas, finally disappeared on the plains of Mexico. De Soto, the leader of this conquering band, died miserably on the Mississippi, and was buried beneath its waves.
The whole country which these adventurers traversed, they found to be quite densely populated with numerous small tribes of natives, each generally wandering within circumscribed limits. Though these tribes spoke different languages, or perhaps different dialects of the same language, they were essentially the same in appearance, manners and customs. They were of a dark-red color, well-formed and always disposed to receive the pale face strangers with kindliness, until exasperated by ill-treatment. They lived in fragile huts called wigwams, so simple in their structure that one could easily be erected in a few hours. These huts were generally formed by setting long and slender poles in the ground, inclosing an area of from ten to eighteen feet in diameter, according to the size of the family. The tops were tied together, leaving a hole for the escape of smoke from the central fire. The sides were thatched with coarse grass, or so covered with the bark of trees, as quite effectually to exclude both wind and rain. There were no windows, light entering only through the almost always open door. The ground floor was covered with dried grass, or the skins of animals, or with the soft and fragrant twigs of some evergreen tree.
The inmates, men, women and children, seated upon these cushions, presented a very attractive and cheerful aspect. Several hundred of these wigwams were frequently clustered upon some soft meadow by the side of a flowing stream, fringed with a gigantic forest, and exhibited a spectacle of picturesque loveliness quite charming to the beholder. The furniture of these humble abodes was extremely simple. They had no pots or kettles which would stand the fire. They had no knives nor forks; no tables nor chairs. Sharp flints, such as they could find served for knives, with which, with incredible labor, they sawed down small trees and fashioned their bows and arrows. They had no roads except foot paths through the wilderness, which for generations their ancestors had traversed, called "trails." They had no beasts of burden, no cows, no flocks nor herds of any kind. They generally had not even salt, but cured their meat by drying it in the sun. They had no ploughs, hoes, spades, consequently they could only cultivate the lightest soil. With a sharp stick, women loosened the earth, and then depositing their corn or maize, cultivated it in the rudest manner.
These Indians acquired the reputation of being very faithful friends, but very bitter enemies. It was said they never forgot a favor, and never forgave an insult. They were cunning rather than brave. It was seldom that an Indian could be induced to meet a foe in an open hand-to-hand fight. But he would track him for years, hoping to take him unawares and to brain him with the tomahawk, or pierce his heart with the flint-pointed arrow.
About the year 1565, a company of French Protestants repaired to Florida, hoping there to find the liberty to worship God in accordance with their interpretation of the teachings of the Bible. They established quite a flourishing colony, at a place which they named St. Mary’s, near the coast. This was the first European settlement on the continent of North America. The fanatic Spaniards, learning that Protestants had taken possession of the country, sent out an expedition and utterly annihilated the settlement, putting men, women and children to the sword. Many of these unfortunate Protestants were hung in chains from trees under the inscription, "Not as Frenchmen but as Heretics." The blood-stained Spaniards then established themselves at a spot nearby, which they called St. Augustine. A French gentleman of wealth fitted out a well-manned and well-armed expedition of three ships, attacked the murderers by surprise and put them to death. Several corpses were suspended from trees, under the inscription, "Not as Spaniards, but as Murderers."
There was an understanding among the powers of Europe, that any portion of the New World discovered by expeditions from European courts, should be recognised as belonging to that court. The Spaniards had taken possession in Florida. Far away a thousand leagues to the North, the French had entered the gulf of St. Lawrence. But little was known of the vast region between. A young English gentleman, Sir Walter Raleigh, an earnest Protestant, and one who had fought with the French Protestants in their religious wars, roused by the massacre of his friends in Florida, applied to the British court to fit out a colony to take possession of the intermediate country. He hoped thus to prevent the Spanish monarchy, and the equally intolerant French court, from spreading their principles over the whole continent. The Protestant Queen Elizabeth then occupied the throne of Great Britain. Raleigh was young, rich, handsome and marvelously fascinating in his address. He became a great favorite of the maiden queen, and she gave him a commission, making him lord of all the continent of North America, between Florida and Canada.
The whole of this vast region without any accurate boundaries, was called Virginia. Several ships were sent to explore the country. They reached the coast of what is now called North Carolina, and the adventurers landed at Roanoke Island. They were charmed with the climate, with the friendliness of the natives and with the majestic growth of the forest trees, far surpassing anything they had witnessed in the Old World. Grapes in rich clusters hung in profusion on the vines, and birds of every variety of song and plumage filled the groves. The expedition returned to England with such glowing accounts of the realm they had discovered, that seven ships were fitted out, conveying one hundred and eight men, to colonise the island. It is quite remarkable that no women accompanied the expedition. Many of these men were reckless adventurers. Bitter hostility soon sprang up between them and the Indians, who at first had received them with the greatest kindness.
Most of these colonists were men unaccustomed to work, and who insanely expected that in the New World, in some unknown way, wealth was to flow in upon them like a flood. Disheartened, homesick and appalled by the hostile attitude which the much oppressed Indians were beginning to assume, they were all anxious to return home. When, soon after, some ships came bringing them abundant supplies, they with one accord abandoned the colony, and crowding the vessels returned to England. Fifteen men however consented to remain, to await the arrival of fresh colonists from the Mother Country.
Sir Walter Raleigh, still undiscouraged, in the next year 1587 sent out another fleet containing a number of families as emigrants, with women and children. When they arrived, they found Roanoke deserted. The fifteen men had been murdered by the Indians in retaliation for the murder of their chief and several of his warriors by the English. With fear and trembling the new settlers decided to remain, urging the friends who had accompanied them to hasten back to England with the ships and bring them reinforcements and supplies. Scarcely had they spread their sails on the return voyage ere war broke out with Spain. It was three years before another ship crossed the ocean, to see what had become of the colony. It had utterly disappeared. Though many attempts were made to ascertain its tragic fate, all were unavailing. It is probable that many were put to death by the Indians, and perhaps the children were carried far back into the interior and incorporated into their tribes. This bitter disappointment seemed to paralyse the energies of colonization. For more than seventy years the Carolinas remained a wilderness, with no attempt to transfer to them the civilization of the Old World. Still English ships continued occasionally to visit the coast. Some came to fish, some to purchase furs of the Indians, and some for timber for shipbuilding. The stories which these voyagers told on their return, kept up an interest in the New World. It was indeed an attractive picture which could be truthfully painted. The climate was mild, genial and salubrious. The atmosphere surpassed the far-famed transparency of Italian skies. The forests were of gigantic growth, more picturesquely beautiful than any ever planted by man's hand, and they were filled with game. The lakes and streams swarmed with fish. A wilderness of flowers, of every variety of loveliness, bloomed over the wide meadows and the broad savannahs, which the forest had not yet invaded. Berries and fruits were abundant. In many places the soil was surpassingly rich, and easily tilled; and all this was open, without money and without price, to the first comer.
Still more than a hundred years elapsed after the discovery of these realms, ere any permanent settlement was effected upon them. Most of the bays, harbors and rivers were unexplored, and reposed as it were in the solemn silence of eternity. From the everglades of Florida to the fir clad hills of Nova Scotia, not a settlement of white men could be found.
At length in the year 1607, a number of wealthy gentlemen in London formed a company to make a new attempt for the settlement of America. It was their plan to send out hardy colonists, abundantly provided with arms, tools and provisions. King James I., who had succeeded his cousin Queen Elizabeth, granted them a charter, by which, wherever they might effect a landing, they were to be the undisputed lords of a territory extending a hundred miles along the coast, and running back one hundred miles into the interior. Soon after, a similar grant was conferred upon another association, for the region of North Virginia, now called New England.
Under the protection of this London Company, one hundred and five men, with no women or children, embarked in three small ships for the Southern Atlantic coast of North America. Apparently by accident, they entered Chesapeake Bay, where they found a broad and deep stream, which they named after their sovereign, James River. As they ascended this beautiful stream, they were charmed with the loveliness which nature had spread so profusely around them. Upon the northern banks of the river, about fifty miles from its entrance into the bay, they selected a spot for their settlement, which they named Jamestown. Here they commenced cutting down trees and raising their huts.
In an enterprise of this kind, muscles inured to work and determined spirits ready to grapple with difficulties, are essential. In such labors, the most useless of all beings is the gentleman with soft hands and luxurious habits. Unfortunately quite a number of pampered sons of wealth had joined the colony. Being indolent, selfish and dissolute, they could do absolutely nothing for the prosperity of the settlement, but were only an obstacle in the way of its growth.
Troubles soon began to multiply, and but for the energies of a remarkable man, Capt. John Smith, the colony must soon have perished through anarchy. But even Capt. John Smith with all his commanding powers, and love of justice and of law, could not prevent the idle and profligate young men from insulting the natives, and robbing them of their corn. With the autumnal rains sickness came, and many died. The hand of well-organised industry might have raised an ample supply of corn to meet all their wants through the short winter. But this had been neglected, and famine was added to sickness, Capt. Smith had so won the confidence of the Indian chieftains, that notwithstanding the gross irregularities of his young men, they brought him supplies of corn and game, which they freely gave to the English in their destitution.
Captain Smith having thus provided for the necessities of the greatly diminished colony, set out with a small party of men on an exploring expedition into the interior. He was waylaid by Indians, who with arrows and tomahawks speedily put all the men to death, excepting the leader, who was taken captive. There was something in the demeanor of this brave man which overawed them. He showed them his pocket compass, upon which they gazed with wonder. He then told them that if they would send to the fort a leaf from his pocket-book, upon which he had made several marks with his pencil, they would find the next day, at any spot they might designate, a certain number of axes, blankets, and other articles of great value to them. Their curiosity was exceedingly aroused; the paper was sent, and the next day the articles were found as promised. The Indians looked upon Captain Smith as a magician, and treated him with great respect. Still the more thoughtful of the natives regarded him as a more formidable foe. They could not be blind to the vastly superior power of the English in their majestic ships, with their long swords, and terrible fire-arms, and all the developments, astounding to them, of a higher civilization. They were very anxious in view of encroachments which might eventually give the English the supremacy in their land.
Powhatan, the king of the powerful tribe who had at first been very friendly to the English, summoned a council of war of his chieftains, and after long deliberation, it was decided that Captain Smith was too powerful a man to be allowed to live, and that he must die. He was accordingly led out to execution, but without any of the ordinary accompaniments of torture. His hands were bound behind him, he was laid upon the ground, and his head was placed upon a stone. An Indian warrior of herculean strength stood by, with a massive club, to give the death blow by crushing in the skull. Just as the fatal stroke was about to descend, a beautiful Indian girl, Pocahontas, the daughter of the king, rushed forward and throwing her arms around the neck of Captain Smith, placed her head upon his. The Indians regarded this as an indication from the Great Spirit that the life of Captain Smith was to be spared, and they set their prisoner at liberty, who, being thus miraculously rescued, returned to Jamestown.
By his wisdom Captain Smith preserved for some time friendly relations with the Indians, and the colony rapidly increased, until there were five hundred Europeans assembled at Jamestown. Capt. Smith being severely wounded by an accidental explosion of gunpowder, returned to England for surgical aid. The colony, thus divested of his vigorous sway, speedily lapsed into anarchy. The bitter hostility of the Indians was aroused, and, within a few months, the colony dwindled away beneath the ravages of sickness, famine, and the arrows of the Indians, to but sixty men. Despair reigned in all hearts, and this starving remnant of Europeans was preparing to abandon the colony and return to the Old World, when Lord Delaware arrived with several ships loaded with provisions and with a reinforcement of hardy laborers. Most of the idle and profligate young men who had brought such calamity upon the colony, had died. Those who remained took fresh courage, and affairs began to be more prosperous.
The organization of the colony had thus far been effected with very little regard to the wants of human nature. There were no women there. Without the honored wife there cannot be the happy home; and without the home there can be no contentment. To herd together five hundred men upon the banks of a foreign stream, three thousand miles from their native land, without women and children, and to expect them to lay the foundation of a happy and prosperous colony, seems almost unpardonable folly.
Emigrants began to arrive with their families, and in the year 1620, one hundred and fifty poor, but virtuous young women, were induced to join the Company. Each young man who came received one hundred acres of land. Eagerly these young planters, in short courtship, selected wives from such of these women as they could induce to listen to them. Each man paid one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco to defray the expenses of his wife's voyage. But the wickedness of man will everywhere, and under all circumstances, make fearful development of its power. Many desperadoes joined the colony. The poor Indians with no weapons of war but arrows, clubs and stone tomahawks, were quite at the mercy of the English with their keen swords, and death-dealing muskets. Fifteen Europeans could easily drive several hundred Indians in panic over the plains. Unprincipled men perpetrated the grossest outrages upon the families of the Indians, often insulting the proudest chiefs.
The colonists were taking up lands in all directions. Before their unerring rifles, game was rapidly disappearing. The Indians became fully awake to their danger. The chiefs met in council, and a conspiracy was formed, to put, at an appointed hour, all the English to death, every man, woman and child. Every house was marked. Two or three Indians were appointed to make the massacre sure in each dwelling. They were to spread over the settlement, enter the widely scattered log-huts, as friends, and at a certain moment were to spring upon their unsuspecting victims, and kill them instantly. The plot was fearfully successful in all the dwellings outside the little village of Jamestown. In one hour, on the 22nd of March, 1622, three hundred and forty-seven men, women and children were massacred in cold blood. The colony would have been annihilated, but for a Christian Indian who, just before the massacre commenced, gave warning to a friend in Jamestown. The Europeans rallied with their fire-arms, and easily drove off their foes, and then commenced the unrelenting extermination of the Indians. An arrow can be thrown a few hundred feet, a musket ball more than as many yards. The Indians were consequently helpless. The English shot down both sexes, young and old, as mercilessly as if they had been wolves. They seized their houses, their lands, their pleasant villages. The Indians were either slain or driven far away from the houses of their fathers, into the remote wilderness.
The colony now increased rapidly, and the cabins of the emigrants spread farther and farther over the unoccupied lands. These hardy adventurers seemed providentially imbued with the spirit of enterprise. Instead of clustering together for the pleasure of society and for mutual protection, they were ever pushing into the wild and unknown interior, rearing their cabins on the banks of distant streams, and establishing their silent homes in the wildest solitudes of the wilderness. In 1660, quite a number of emigrants moved directly south from Virginia, to the river Chowan, in what is now South Carolina, where they established a settlement which they called Albermarle. In 1670, a colony from England established itself at Charleston, South Carolina. Thus gradually the Atlantic coast became fringed with colonies, extending but a few leagues back into the country from the sea-shore, while the vast interior remained an unexplored wilderness. As the years rolled on, ship-loads of emigrants arrived, new settlements were established, colonial States rose into being, and, though there were many sanguinary conflicts with the Indians, the Europeans were always in the end triumphant, and intelligence, wealth, and laws of civilization were rapidly extended along the Atlantic border of the New World.
For many years there had been a gradual pressure of the colonists towards the west, steadily encroaching upon the apparently limitless wilderness. To us it seems strange that they did not, for the sake of protection against the Indians, invariably go in military bands. But generally this was not the case. The emigrants seem to have been inspired with a spirit of almost reckless indifference to danger; they apparently loved the solitude of the forest, avoided neighbors who might interfere with their hunting and trapping, and reared their humble cottages in the wildest ravines of the mountains and upon the smooth meadows which border the most solitary streams; thus gradually the tide of emigration, flowing through Indian trails and along the forest-covered vines, was approaching the base of the Alleghany mountains.
But little was known of the character of the boundless realms beyond the ridges of this gigantic chain. Occasionally a wandering Indian who had chased his game over those remote wilds, would endeavor to draw upon the sand, with a stick, a map of the country showing the flow of the rivers, the line of the mountains, and the sweep of the open prairies. The Ohio was then called the Wabash. This magnificent and beautiful stream is formed by the confluence of the Alleghany and the Monongahela rivers. It was a long voyage, a voyage of several hundred miles, following the windings of the Monongahela river from its rise among the mountains of Western Virginia till, far away in the north, it met the flood of the Alleghany, at the present site of the city of Pittsburg. The voyage, in a birch canoe, required, in the figurative language of the Indians, "two paddles, two warriors and three moons."
The Indians very correctly described the Ohio, or the Wabash, as but the tributary of a much more majestic stream, far away in the west, which, pouring its flood through the impenetrable forest, emptied itself they knew not where. Of the magnitude of this distant river, the Mississippi, its source, rise and termination, they could give no intelligible account. They endeavored to give some idea of the amount of game to be found in those remote realms, by pointing to the leaves of the forest and the stars in the sky.
The settlers were deeply interested and often much excited by the glowing descriptions thus given them of a terrestrial Eden, where life would seem to be but one uninterrupted holiday. Occasionally an adventurous French or Spanish trader would cross the towering mountains and penetrate the vales beyond. They vied with the Indians in their account of the salubrity of the climate, the brilliance of the skies, the grandeur of the forests, the magnificence of the rivers, the marvelous fertility of the soil and the abundance of game.
As early as the year 1690 a trader from Virginia, by the name of Doherty, crossed the mountains, visited the friendly Cherokee nation, within the present bounds of Georgia, and resided with the natives several years. In the year 1730 an enterprising and intelligent man from South Carolina, by the name of Adair, took quite an extensive tour through most of the villages of the Cherokees, and also visited several tribes south and west of them. He wrote an exceedingly valuable and interesting account of his travels which was published in London.
Influenced by these examples several traders, in the year 1740, went from Virginia to the country of the Cherokees. They carried on pack horses goods which the Indians valued, and which they exchanged for furs, which were sold in Europe at an enormous profit.
A hatchet, a knife, a trap, a string of beads, which could be bought for a very small sum in the Atlantic towns, when exhibited beyond the mountains to admiring groups in the wigwam of the Indian, could be exchanged for furs which were of almost priceless value in the metropolitan cities of the Old World. This traffic was mutually advantageous, and so long as peaceful relations existed between the white man and the Indian, was prosecuted with great and ever increasing vigor. The Indians thus obtained the steel trap, the keenly cutting ax, and the rifle, which he soon learned to use with unerring aim. He was thus able in a day to obtain more game than with his arrows and his clumsy snares he could secure in a month.
This friendly intercourse was in all respects very desirable; and but for the depravity of the white man it might have continued uninterrupted for generations. But profligate and vagabond adventurers from the settlements defrauded the Indians, insulted their women, and often committed wanton murder. But it would seem that the majority of the traders were honest men. Ramsay, in his Annals of Tennessee, writes, in reference to this traffic:
"Other advantages resulted from it to the whites. They became thus acquainted with the great avenues leading through the hunting ground, and to the occupied country of the neighboring tribes—an important circumstance in the condition of either peace or war. Further the traders were an exact thermometer of the pacific or hostile intention and feelings of the Indians with whom they traded. Generally they were foreigners, most frequently Scotchmen, who had not been long in the country, or upon the frontier; who, having experienced none of the cruelties, depredations or aggressions of the Indians, cherished none of the resentment and spirit of retaliation born with and everywhere manifested by the American settler.
"Thus free from animosity against the aborigines, the trader was allowed to remain in the village, where he traded, unmolested, even where its warriors were singing the war song or brandishing the war club, preparatory to an invasion or massacre of the whites. Timely warning was thus often given by a returning packman to a feeble and unsuspecting settlement, of the perfidy and cruelty meditated against it."
Game on the eastern side of the Alleghanies, hunted down alike by white men and Indians, soon became scarce. Adventurers combining the characters of traders and hunters rapidly multiplied. Many of the hunters among the white men far outstripped the Indians in skill and energy. Thus some degree of jealousy was excited on the part of the savages. They saw how rapidly the game was disappearing, and these thoughtful men began to be anxious for the future. With no love for agriculture the destruction of the game was their ruin.
As early as the year 1748 quite a party of gentlemen explorers, under the leadership of Doctor Thomas Walker of Virginia, crossed a range of the Alleghany mountains, which the Indians called Warioto, but to which Doctor Walker gave the name of Cumberland, in honor of the Duke of Cumberland who was then prime minister of England. Following along this chain in a south-westerly direction, in search of some pass or defile by which they could cross the cliffs, they came to the remarkable depression in the mountains to which they gave the name of Cumberland Gap. On the western side of the range they found a beautiful mountain stream, rushing far away, with ever increasing volume, into the unknown wilderness, which the Indians called Shawnee, but which Doctor Walker's party baptised with the name of Cumberland River. These names have adhered to the localities upon which they were thus placed.
In 1756 a feeble attempt was made to establish a colony upon the Tennessee river, at a spot which was called London. This was one hundred and fifty miles in advance of any white settlement. Eight years passed, and by the ravages of war the little settlement went up in flame and smoke. As the years rapidly came and went there were occasional bursts of the tempests of war; again there would be a short lull and blessed peace would come with its prosperity and joy.
"In the year 1760, Doctor Walker again passed over Clinch and Powell's rivers on a tour of exploration, into what is now Kentucky. The Cherokees were then at peace with the whites, and hunters from the back settlements began, with safety, to penetrate deeper and further into the wilderness of Tennessee. Several of them, chiefly from Virginia, hearing of the abundance of game with which the woods were stocked, and allured by the prospect of gain which might be drawn from this source, formed themselves into a company composed of Wallen, Seagys, Blevins, Cox and fifteen others, and came into the valley, since known as Carter's Valley, in Hawkin's county, Tennessee. They hunted eighteen months upon Clinch and Powell rivers. Wallen's Creek and Wallen's Ridge received their name from the leader of the company; as also did Wallen's Station which they erected in the Lee county, Virginia.
"They penetrated as far north as Laurel Mountain, in Kentucky, where they terminated their journey, having met with a body of Indians whom they supposed to be Shawnees. At the head of one of the companies that visited the West, this year, came Daniel Boone from the Yadkin, in North Carolina, and travelled with them as low as the place where Abingdon now stands, and there left them."
This is the first time the advent of Daniel Boone to the western wilds has been mentioned by historians or by the several biographers of that distinguished pioneer and hunter. There is reason however to believe that he hunted upon Watauga some time earlier than this.
It was but a narrow fringe upon the sea coast of North America, which was thus far occupied by the European emigrants. Even this edge of the continent was so vast in its extent, from the southern capes of Florida to the gulf of St. Lawrence, that these colonial settlements were far separated from each other. They constituted but little dots in the interminable forest: the surges of the Atlantic beating upon their eastern shores, and the majestic wilderness sweeping in its sublime solitude behind them on the west. Here the painted Indians pursued their game, while watching anxiously the encroachments of the pale faces. The cry of the panther, the growling of the bear, and the howling of the wolf, were music to the settlers compared with the war-hoop of the savage, which often startled the inmates of the lonely cabins, and consigned them to that sleep from which there is no earthly waking. The Indians were generally hostile, and being untutored savages, they were as merciless as demons in their revenge. The mind recoils from the contemplation of the tortures to which they often exposed their captives. And one cannot but wonder that the Almighty Father could have allowed such agony to be inflicted upon any of His creatures.
Notwithstanding the general desire of the colonial authorities to treat the Indians with justice and kindness, there were unprincipled adventurers crowding all the colonies, whose wickedness no laws could restrain. They robbed the Indians, insulted their families, and inflicted upon them outrages which goaded the poor savages to desperation. In their unintelligent vengeance they could make no distinction between the innocent and the guilty.
On the 10th of October, 1717, a vessel containing a number of emigrants arrived at Philadelphia, a small but flourishing settlement upon the banks of the Delaware. Among the passengers there was a man named George Boone, with his wife and eleven children, nine sons and two daughters. He had come from Exeter, England, and was lured to the New World by the cheapness of land. He had sufficient property to enable him to furnish all his sons with ample farms in America. The Delaware, above Philadelphia, was at that time a silent stream, flowing sublimely through the almost unbroken forest. Here and there, a bold settler had felled the trees, and in the clearing had reared his log hut, upon the river banks. Occasionally the birch canoe of an Indian hunter was seen passing rapidly from cove to cove, and occasionally a little cluster of Indian wigwams graced some picturesque and sunny exposure, for the Indians manifested much taste in the location of their villages.
George Boone ascended this solitary river about twenty miles above Philadelphia, where he purchased upon its banks an extensive territory, consisting of several hundred acres. It was near the present city of Bristol, in what is now called Buck's County. To this tract, sufficiently large for a township, he gave the name of Exeter, in memory of the home he had left in England. Here, aided by the strong arms of his boys, he reared a commodious log cabin. It must have been an attractive and a happy home. The climate was delightful, the soil fertile, supplying him, with but little culture, with an ample supply of corn, and the most nutritious vegetables. Before his door rolled the broad expanse of the Delaware, abounding with fish of delicious flavor. His boys with hook and line could at any time, in a few moments, supply the table with a nice repast. With the unerring rifle, they could always procure game in great variety and abundance.
The Indians, won by the humanity of William Penn, were friendly, and their occasional visits to the cabin contributed to the enjoyment of its inmates. On the whole a more favored lot in life could not well be imagined. There was unquestionably far more happiness in this log cabin of the settler, on the silent waters of the Delaware, than could be found in any of the castles or palaces of England, France, or Spain.
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