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Pioneers of the Old Southwest by Constance Skinner

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Kelly Library Of St. Gregory's University; Thanks To Alev Akman.


This narrative is founded largely on original sources--on the
writings and journals of pioneers and contemporary observers,
such as Doddridge and Adair, and on the public documents of the
period as printed in the Colonial Records and in the American
Archives. But the author is, nevertheless, greatly indebted to
the researches of, other writers, whose works are cited in the
Bibliographical Note. The author's thanks are due, also, to Dr.
Archibald Henderson, of the University of North Carolina, for his
kindness in reading the proofs of this book for comparison with
his own extended collection of unpublished manuscripts relating
to the period.

C. L. S.

April, 1919.



Pioneers Of The Old Southwest

Chapter I. The Tread Of Pioneers

The Ulster Presbyterians, or "Scotch-Irish," to whom history has
ascribed the dominant role among the pioneer folk of the Old
Southwest, began their migrations to America in the latter years
of the seventeenth century. It is not known with certainty
precisely when or where the first immigrants of their race
arrived in this country, but soon after 1680 they were to be
found in several of the colonies. It was not long, indeed, before
they were entering in numbers at the port of Philadelphia and
were making Pennsylvania the chief center of their activities in
the New World. By 1726 they had established settlements in
several counties behind Philadelphia. Ten years later they had
begun their great trek southward through the Shenandoah Valley of
Virginia and on to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. There
they met others of their own race--bold men like themselves,
hungry after land--who were coming in through Charleston and
pushing their way up the rivers from the seacoast to the "Back
Country," in search of homes.

These Ulstermen did not come to the New World as novices in the
shaping of society; they had already made history. Their
ostensible object in America was to obtain land, but, like most
external aims, it was secondary to a deeper purpose. What had
sent the Ulstermen to America was a passion for a whole freedom.
They were lusty men, shrewd and courageous, zealous to the death
for an ideal and withal so practical to the moment in business
that it soon came to be commonly reported of them that "they kept
the Sabbath and everything else they could lay their hands on,"
though it is but fair to them to add that this phrase is current
wherever Scots dwell. They had contested in Parliament and with
arms for their own form of worship and for their civil rights.
They were already frontiersmen, trained in the hardihood and
craft of border warfare through years of guerrilla fighting with
the Irish Celts. They had pitted and proved their strength
against a wilderness; they had reclaimed the North of Ireland
from desolation. For the time, many of them were educated men;
under the regulations of the Presbyterian Church every child was
taught to read at an early age, since no person could be admitted
to the privileges of the Church who did not both understand and
approve the Presbyterian constitution and discipline. They were
brought up on the Bible and on the writings of their famous
pastors, one of whom, as early as 1650, had given utterance to
the democratic doctrine that "men are called to the
magistracy by the suffrage of the people whom they govern, and
for men to assume unto themselves power is mere tyranny and
unjust usurpation." In subscribing to this doctrine and in
resisting to the hilt all efforts of successive English kings to
interfere in the election of their pastors, the Scots of Ulster
had already declared for democracy.

It was shortly after James VI of Scotland became James I of
England and while the English were founding Jamestown that the
Scots had first occupied Ulster; but the true origin of the
Ulster Plantation lies further back, in the reign of Henry VIII,
in the days of the English Reformation. In Henry's Irish realm
the Reformation, though proclaimed by royal authority, had never
been accomplished; and Henry's more famous daughter, Elizabeth,
had conceived the plan, later to be carried out by James, of
planting colonies of Protestants in Ireland to promote loyalty in
that rebellious land. Six counties, comprising half a million
acres, formed the Ulster Plantation. The great majority of the
colonists sent thither by James were Scotch Lowlanders, but among
them were many English and a smaller number of Highlanders. These
three peoples from the island of Britain brought forth, through
intermarriage, the Ulster Scots.

The reign of Charles I had inaugurated for the Ulstermen an era
of persecution. Charles practically suppressed the Presbyterian
religion in Ireland. His son, Charles II, struck at Ireland in
1666 through its cattle trade, by prohibiting the exportation of
beef to England and Scotland. The Navigation Acts, excluding
Ireland from direct trade with the colonies, ruined Irish
commerce, while Corporation Acts and Test Acts requiring
conformity with the practices of the Church of England bore
heavily on the Ulster Presbyterians.

It was largely by refugees from religious persecution that
America in the beginning was colonized. But religious persecution
was only one of the influences which shaped the course and formed
the character of the Ulster Scots. In Ulster, whither they had
originally been transplanted by James to found a loyal province
in the midst of the King's enemies, they had done their work too
well and had waxed too powerful for the comfort of later
monarchs. The first attacks upon them struck at their religion;
but the subsequent legislative acts which successively ruined the
woolen trade, barred nonconformists from public office, stifled
Irish commerce, pronounced non-Episcopal marriages irregular, and
instituted heavy taxation and high rentals for the land their
fathers had made productive--these were blows dealt chiefly for
the political and commercial ends of favored classes in England.

These attacks, aimed through his religious conscience at the
sources of his livelihood, made the Ulster Scot perforce what he
was--a zealot as a citizen and a zealot as a merchant no less
than as a Presbyterian. Thanks to his persecutors, he made a
religion of everything he undertook and regarded his civil rights
as divine rights. Thus out of persecution emerged a type of man
who was high-principled and narrow, strong and violent, as
tenacious of his own rights as he was blind often to the rights
of others, acquisitive yet self-sacrificing, but most of all
fearless, confident of his own power, determined to have and to

Twenty thousand Ulstermen, it is estimated, left Ireland for
America in the first three decades of the eighteenth century.
More than six thousand of them are known to have entered
Pennsylvania in 1729 alone, and twenty years later they numbered
one-quarter of that colony's population. During the five years
preceding the Revolutionary War more than thirty thousand
Ulstermen crossed the ocean and arrived in America just in time
and in just the right frame of mind to return King George's
compliment in kind, by helping to deprive him of his American
estates, a domain very much larger than the acres of Ulster. They
fully justified the fears of the good bishop who wrote Lord
Dartmouth, Secretary for the Colonies, that he trembled for the
peace of the King's overseas realm, since these thousands of
"phanatical and hungry Republicans" had sailed for America.

The Ulstermen who entered by Charleston were known to the
inhabitants of the tidewater regions as the "Scotch-Irish." Those
who came from the north, lured southward by the offer of cheap
lands, were called the "Pennsylvania Irish." Both were, however,
of the same race--a race twice expatriated, first from Scotland
and then from Ireland, and stripped of all that it had won
throughout more than a century of persecution. To these exiles
the Back Country of North Carolina, with its cheap and even free
tracts lying far from the seat of government, must have seemed
not only the Land of Promise but the Land of Last Chance. Here
they must strike their roots into the sod with such interlocking
strength that no cataclysm of tyranny should ever dislodge
them--or they must accept the fate dealt out to them by their
former persecutors and become a tribe of nomads and serfs. But to
these Ulster immigrants such a choice was no choice at all. They
knew themselves strong men, who had made the most of opportunity
despite almost superhuman obstacles. The drumming of their feet
along the banks of the Shenandoah, or up the rivers from
Charleston, and on through the broad sweep of the Yadkin Valley,
was a conquering people's challenge to the Wilderness which lay
sleeping like an unready sentinel at the gates of their Future.

It is maintained still by many, however often disputed, that the
Ulstermen were the first to declare for American Independence, as
in the Old Country they were the first to demand the separation
of Church and State. A Declaration of Independence is said to
have been drawn up and signed in Mecklenburg County, North
Carolina, on May 20, 1775.* However that maybe, it is certain
that these Mecklenburg Protestants had received special schooling
in the doctrine of independence. They had in their midst for
eight years (1758-66) the Reverend Alexander Craighead, a
Presbyterian minister who, for his "republican doctrines"
expressed in a pamphlet, had been disowned by the Pennsylvania
Synod acting on the Governor's protest, and so persecuted in
Virginia that he had at last fled to the North Carolina Back
Country. There, during the remaining years of his life, as the
sole preacher and teacher in the settlements between the Yadkin
and the Catawba rivers he found willing soil in which to sow the
seeds of Liberty.

* See Hoyt, "The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence"; and
"American Archives," Fourth Series. vol. II, p. 855.

There was another branch of the Scottish race which helped to
people the Back Country. The Highlanders, whose loyalty to their
oath made them fight on the King's side in the Revolutionary War,
have been somewhat overlooked in history. Tradition, handed down
among the transplanted clans--who, for the most part, spoke only
Gaelic for a generation and wrote nothing--and latterly recorded
by one or two of their descendants, supplies us with all we are
now able to learn of the early coming of the Gaels to Carolina.
It would seem that their first immigration to America in small
bands took place after the suppression of the Jacobite rising in
1715--when Highlanders fled in numbers also to France--for by
1729 there was a settlement of them on the Cape Fear River. We
know, too, that in 1748 it was charged against Gabriel Johnston,
Governor of North Carolina from 1734 to 1752, that he had shown
no joy over the King's "glorious victory of Culloden" and that
"he had appointed one William McGregor, who had been in the
Rebellion in the year 1715 a Justice of the Peace during the last
Rebellion [1745] and was not himself without suspicion of
disaffection to His Majesty's Government." It is indeed possible
that Gabriel Johnston, formerly a professor at St. Andrew's
University, had himself not always been a stranger to the kilt.
He induced large numbers of highlanders to come to America and
probably influenced the second George to moderate his treatment
of the vanquished Gaels in the Old Country and permit their
emigration to the New World.

In contrast with the Ulstermen, whose secular ideals were
dictated by the forms of their Church, these Scots adhered still
to the tribal or clan system, although they, too, in the
majority, were Presbyterians, with a minority of Roman
Catholics and Episcopalians. In the Scotch Highlands they had
occupied small holdings on the land under the sway of their
chief, or Head of the Clan, to whom they were bound by blood and
fealty but to whom they paid no rentals. The position of the Head
of the Clan was hereditary, but no heir was bold enough to step
forward into that position until he had performed some deed of
worth. They were principally herders, their chief stock being the
famous small black cattle of the Highlands. Their wars with each
other were cattle raids. Only in war, however, did the Gael lay
hands on his neighbor's goods. There were no highwaymen and
housebreakers in the Highlands. No Highland mansion, cot, or barn
was ever locked. Theft and the breaking of an oath, sins against
man's honor, were held in such abhorrence that no one guilty of
them could remain among his clansmen in the beloved glens. These
Highlanders were a race of tall, robust men, who lived simply and
frugally and slept on the heath among their flocks in all
weathers, with no other covering from rain and snow than their
plaidies. It is reported of the Laird of Keppoch, who was leading
his clan to war in winter time, that his men were divided as to
the propriety of following him further because he rolled a
snowball to rest his head upon when he lay down. "Now we despair
of victory," they said, "since our leader has become go
effeminate he cannot sleep without a pillow!"*

* MacLean, "An Historical Account of the Settlement of Scotch
High.landers in America."

The "King's glorious victory of Culloden" was followed by a
policy of extermination carried on by the orders and under the
personal direction of the Duke of Cumberland. When King George at
last restrained his son from his orgy of blood, he offered the
Gaels their lives and exile to America on condition of their
taking the full oath of allegiance. The majority accepted his
terms, for not only were their lives forfeit but their crops and
cattle had been destroyed and the holdings on which their
ancestors had lived for many centuries taken from them. The
descriptions of the scenes attending their leave-taking of the
hills and glens they loved with such passionate fervor are among
the most pathetic in history. Strong men who had met the ravage
of a brutal sword without weakening abandoned themselves to the
agony of sorrow. They kissed the walls of their houses. They
flung themselves on the ground and embraced the sod upon which
they had walked in freedom. They called their broken farewells to
the peaks and lochs of the land they were never again to see;
and, as they turned their backs and filed down through the
passes, their pipers played the dirge for the dead.

Such was the character, such the deep feeling, of the race which
entered North Carolina from the coast and pushed up into the
wilderness about the headwaters of Cape Fear River. Tradition
indicates that these hillsmen sought the interior because the
grass and pea vine which overgrew the innercountry stretching
towards the mountains provided excellent fodder for the cattle
which some of the chiefs are said to have brought with them.
These Gaelic herders, perhaps in negligible numbers, were in the
Yadkin Valley before 1730, possibly even ten years earlier. In
1739 Neil MacNeill of Kintyre brought over a shipload of Gaels to
rejoin his kinsman, Hector MacNeill, called Bluff Hector from his
residence near the bluffs at Cross Creek, now Fayetteville. Some
of these immigrants went on to the Yadkin, we are told, to unite
with others of their clan who had been for some time in that
district. The exact time of the first Highlander on the Yadkin
cannot be ascertained, as there were no court records and the
offices of the land companies were not then open for the sale of
these remote regions. But by 1753 there were not less than four
thousand Gaels in Cumberland County, where they occupied the
chief magisterial posts; and they were already spreading over the
lands now comprised within Moore, Anson, Richmond, Robeson,
Bladen, and Sampson counties. In these counties Gaelic was as
commonly heard as English.

In the years immediately preceding the Revolution and even in
1776 itself they came in increasing numbers. They knew nothing of
the smoldering fire just about to break into flames in the
country of their choice, but the Royal Governor, Josiah Martin,
knew that Highland arms would soon be ceded by His Majesty. He
knew something of Highland honor, too; for he would not let the
Gaels proceed after their landing until they had bound themselves
by oath to support the Government of King George. So it was that
the unfortunate Highlanders found themselves, according too their
strict code of honor, forced to wield arms against the very
Americans who had received and befriended them--and for the
crowned brother of a prince whose name is execrated to this day
in Highland song and story!

They were led by Allan MacDonald of Kingsborough; and tradition
gives us a stirring picture of Allan's wife--the famous Flora
MacDonald, who in Scotland had protected the Young Pretender in
his flight--making an impassioned address in Gaelic to the
Highland soldiers and urging them on to die for honor's sake.
When this Highland force was conquered by the Americans, the
large majority willingly bound themselves not to fight further
against the American cause and were set at liberty. Many of them
felt that, by offering their lives to the swords of the
Americans, they had canceled their obligation to King George and
were now free to draw their swords again and, this time, in
accordance with their sympathies; so they went over to the
American side and fought gallantly for independence.

Although the brave glory of this pioneer age shines so brightly
on the Lion Rampant of Caledonia, not to Scots alone does that
whole glory belong. The second largest racial stream which flowed
into the Back Country of Virginia and North Carolina was German.
Most of these Germans went down from Pennsylvania and were
generally called "Pennsylvania Dutch," an incorrect rendering of
Pennsylvanische Deutsche. The upper Shenandoah Valley was settled
almost entirely by Germans. They were members of the Lutheran,
German Reformed, and Moravian churches. The cause which sent vast
numbers of this sturdy people across the ocean, during the first
years of the eighteenth century, was religious persecution. By
statute and by word the Roman Catholic powers of Austria sought
to wipe out the Salzburg Lutherans and the Moravian followers of
John Huss. In that region of the Rhine country known in those
days as the German Palatinate, now a part of Bavaria, Protestants
were being massacred by the troops of Louis of France, then
engaged in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13) and in the
zealous effort to extirpate heretics from the soil of Europe. In
1708, by proclamation, Good Queen Anne offered protection to the
persecuted Palatines and invited them to her dominions. Twelve
thousand of them went to England, where they were warmly received
by the English. But it was no slight task to settle twelve
thousand immigrants of an alien speech in England and enable them
to become independent and self-supporting. A better solution of
their problem lay in the Western World: The Germans needed homes
and the Queen's overseas dominions needed colonists. They were
settled at first along the Hudson, and eventually many of them
took up lands in the fertile valley of the Mohawk.

For fifty years or more German and Austrian Protestants poured
into America. In Pennsylvania their influx averaged about fifteen
hundred a year, and that colony became the distributing center
for the German race in America. By 1727, Adam Muller and his
little company had established the first white settlement in the
Valley of Virginia. In 1732 Joist Heydt went south from York,
Pennsylvania, and settled on the Opequan Creek at or near the
site of the present city of Winchester.

The life of Count Zinzendorf, called "the Apostle," one of the
leaders of the Moravian immigrants, glows like a star out of
those dark and troublous times. Of high birth and gentle nurture,
he forsook whatever of ease his station promised him and fitted
himsclf for evangelical work. In 1741 he visited the Wyoming
Valley to bring his religion to the Delawares and Shawanoes. He
was not of those picturesque Captains of the Lord who bore their
muskets on their shoulders when they went forth to preach.
Armored only with the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the spirit, his feet "shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace," he went out into the country of these
bloodthirsty tribes and told them that he had come to them in
their darkness to teach the love of the Christ which lighteth the
world. The Indians received him suspiciously. One day while he
sat in his tent writing, some Delawares drew near to slay him and
were about to strike when they saw two deadly snakes crawl in
from the opposite side of the tent, move directly towards the
Apostle, and pass harmlessly over his body. Thereafter they
regarded him as under spiritual protection. Indeed so widespread
was his good fame among the tribes that for some years all
Moravian settlements along the borders were unmolested. Painted
savages passed through on their way to war with enemy bands or to
raid the border, but for the sake of one consecrated spirit, whom
they had seen death avoid, they spared the lives and goods of his
fellow believers. When Zinzendorf departed a year later, his
mantle fell on David Zeisberger, who lived the love he taught
for over fifty years and converted many savages. Zeisberger was
taken before the Governor and army heads at Philadelphia, who had
only too good reason to be suspicious of priestly counsels in the
tents of Shem: but he was able to impress white men no less than
simple savages with the nobility of the doctrine he had learned
from the Apostle.

In 1751 the Moravian Brotherhood purchased one hundred thousand
acres in North Carolina from Lord Granville. Bishop Spangenburg
was commissioned to survey this large acreage, which was situated
in the present county of Forsyth east of the Yadkin, and which is
historically listed as the Wachovia Tract. In 1753, twelve
Brethren left the Moravian settlements of Bethlehem and Nazareth,
in Pennsylvania, and journeyed southward to begin the founding of
a colony on their new land. Brother Adam Grube, one of the
twelve, kept a diary of the events of this expedition.*

* This diary is printed in full in "Travels in the American
Colonies." edited by N. D. Mereness.

Honor to whom honor is due. We have paid it, in some measure, to
the primitive Gaels of the Highlands for their warrior strength
and their fealty, and to the enlightened Scots of Ulster for
their enterprise and for their sacrifice unto blood that free
conscience and just laws might promote the progress and safeguard
the intercourse of their kind. Now let us take up for a moment
Brother Grube's "Journal" even as we welcome, perhaps the more
gratefully, the mild light of evening after the flooding sun, or
as our hearts, when too strongly stirred by the deeds of men,
turn for rest to the serene faith and the naive speech of little

The twelve, we learn, were under the leadership of one of their
number, Brother Gottlob. Their earliest alarms on the march were
not caused, as we might expect, by anticipations of the painted
Cherokee, but by encounters with the strenuous "Irish." One of
these came and laid himself to sleep beside the Brethren's camp
fire on their first night out, after they had sung their evening
hymn and eleven had stretched themselves on the earth for
slumber, while Brother Gottlob, their leader, hanging his hammock
between two trees, ascended--not only in spirit--a little higher
than his charges, and "rested well in it." Though the alarming
Irishman did not disturb them, the Brethren's doubts of that race
continued, for Brother Grube wrote on the 14th of October: "About
four in the morning we set up our tent, going four miles beyond
Carl Isles [Carlisle, seventeen miles southwest of Harrisburg] so
as not to be too near the Irish Presbyterians. After breakfast
the Brethren shaved and then we rested under our tent....
People who were staying at the Tavern came to see what kind of
folk we were.... Br Gottlob held the evening service and then
we lay down around our cheerful fire, and Br Gottlob in his
hammock." Two other jottings give us a racial kaleidoscope of the
settlers and wayfarers of that time. On one day the Brethren
bought "some hay from a Swiss," later "some kraut from a German
which tasted very good to us"; and presently "an Englishman came
by and drank a cup of tea with us and was very grateful for it."
Frequently the little band paused while some of the Brethren went
off to the farms along the route to help "cut hay." These kindly
acts were usually repaid with gifts of food or produce.

One day while on the march they halted at a tavern and farm in
Shenandoah Valley kept by a man whose name Brother Grube wrote
down as "Severe." Since we know that Brother Grube's spelling of
names other than German requires editing, we venture to hazard a
guess that the name he attempted to set down as it sounded to him
was Sevier. And we wonder if, in his brief sojourn, he saw a lad
of eight years, slim, tall, and blond, with daring and
mischievous blue eyes, and a certain, curve of the lips that
threatened havoc in the hearts of both sexes when he should be a
man and reach out with swift hands and reckless will for his
desires. If he saw this lad, he beheld John Sevier, later to
become one of the most picturesque and beloved heroes of the Old

Hardships abounded on the Brethren's journey, but faith and the
Christian's joy, which no man taketh from him, met and surmounted
them. "Three and a half miles beyond, the road forked.... We
took the right hand road but found no water for ten miles. It
grew late and we had to drive five miles into the night to find a
stoppingplace." Two of the Brethren went ahead "to seek out the
road" through the darkened wilderness. There were rough hills in
the way; and, the horses being exhausted, "Brethren had to help
push." But, in due season, "Br Nathanael held evening prayer and
then we slept in the care of Jesus," with Brother Gottlob as
usual in his hammock. Three days later the record runs: "Toward
evening we saw Jeams River, the road to it ran down so very steep
a hill that we fastened a small tree to the back of our wagon,
locked the wheels, and the Brethren held back by the tree with
all their might." Even then the wagon went down so fast that most
of the Brethren lost their footing and rolled and tumbled
pell-mell. But Faith makes little of such mishaps: "No harm was
done and we thanked the Lord that he had so graciously protected
us, for it looked dangerous and we thought at times that it could
not possibly be done without accident but we got down safely...
we were all very tired and sleepy and let the angels be our
guard during the night." Rains fell in torrents, making streams
almost impassable and drenching the little band to the skin. The
hammock was empty one night, for they had to spend the dark hours
trench-digging about their tent to keep it from being washed
away. Two days later (the 10th of November) the weather cleared
and "we spent most of the day drying our blankets and mending and
darning our stockings." They also bought supplies from settlers
who, as Brother Grube observed without irony,

"are glad we have to remain here so long and that it means money
for them. In the afternoon we held a little Lovefeast and rested
our souls in the loving sacrifice of Jesus, wishing for beloved
Brethren in Bethlehem and that they and we might live ever close
to Him.... Nov. 16. We rose early to ford the river. The bank
was so steep that we hung a tree behind the wagon, fastening it
in such a way that we could quickly release it when the wagon
reached the water. The current was very swift and the lead horses
were carried down a bit with it. The water just missed running
into the wagon but we came safely to the other bank, which
however we could not climb but had to take half the things out of
the wagon, tie ropes to the axle on which we could pull, help our
horses which were quite stiff, and so we brought our ark again to
dry land."

On the evening of the 17th of November the twelve arrived safely
on their land on the "Etkin" (Yadkin), having been six weeks on
the march. They found with joy that, as ever, the Lord had
provided for them. This time the gift was a deserted cabin,
"large enough that we could all lie down around the walls. We at
once made preparation for a little Lovefeast and rejoiced
heartily with one another."

In the deserted log cabin, which, to their faith, seemed as one
of those mansions "not built with hands" and descended
miraculously from the heavens, they held their Lovefeast, while
wolves padded and howled about the walls; and in that Pentacostal
hour the tongue of fire descended upon Brother Gottlob, so that
he made a new song unto the Lord. Who shall venture to say it is
not better worth preserving than many a classic?

We hold arrival Lovefeast here
In Carolina land,
A company of Brethren true,
A little Pilgrim-Band,
Called by the Lord to be of those
Who through the whole world go,
To bear Him witness everywhere
And nought but Jesus know.

Then, we are told, the Brethren lay down to rest and "Br Gottlob
hung his hammock above our heads"--as was most fitting on this of
all nights; for is not the Poet's place always just a little
nearer to the stars?

The pioneers did not always travel in groups. There were families
who set off alone. One of these now claims our attention, for
there was a lad in this family whose name and deeds were to sound
like a ballad of romance from out the dusty pages of history.
This family's name was Boone.

Neither Scots nor Germans can claim Daniel Boone; he was in blood
a blend of English and Welsh; in character wholly English. His
grandfather George Boone was born in 1666 in the hamlet of Stoak,
near Exeter in Devonshire. George Boone was a weaver by trade and
a Quaker by religion. In England in his time the Quakers were
oppressed, and George Boone therefore sought information of
William Penn, his co-religionist, regarding the colony which Penn
had established in America. In 1712 he sent his three elder
children, George, Sarah, and Squire, to spy out the land. Sarah
and Squire remained in Pennsylvania, while their brother returned
to England with glowing reports. On August 17, 1717, George
Boone, his wife, and the rest of his children journeyed to
Bristol and sailed for Philadelphia, arriving there on the 10th
of October. The Boones went first to Abingdon, the Quaker
farmers' community. Later they moved to the northwestern frontier
hamlet of North Wales, a Welsh community which, a few years
previously, had turned Quaker. Sarah Boone married a German named
Jacob Stover, who had settled in Oley Township, Berks County. In
1718 George Boone took up four hundred acres in Oley, or, to be
exact, in the subdivision later called Exeter, and there he lived
in his log cabin until 1744, when he died at the age of
seventy-eight. He left eight children, fifty-two grandchildren,
and ten greatgrandchildren, seventy descendants in all--English,
German, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish blended into one family of

* R. G. Thwaites, "Daniel Boone", p. 5.

Among the Welsh Quakers was a family of Morgans. In 1720 Squire
Boone married Sarah Morgan. Ten years later he obtained 250 acres
in Oley on Owatin Creek, eight miles southeast of the present
city of Reading; and here, in 1734, Daniel Boone was born, the
fourth son and sixth child of Squire and Sarah Morgan Boone.
Daniel Boone therefore was a son of the frontier. In his
childhood he became familiar with hunters and with Indians, for
even the red men came often in friendly fashion to his
grandfather's house. Squire Boone enlarged his farm by thrift. He
continued at his trade of weaving and kept five or six looms
going, making homespun cloth for the market and his neighbors.

Daniel's father owned grazing grounds several miles north of the
homestead and each season he sent his stock to the range. Sarah
Boone and her little Daniel drove the cows. From early spring
till late autumn, mother and son lived in a rustic cabin alone on
the frontier. A rude dairy house stood over a cool spring, and
here Sarah Boone made her butter and cheese. Daniel, aged ten at
this time, watched the herds; at sunset he drove them to the
cabin for milking, and locked them in the cowpens at night.

He was not allowed firearms at that age, so he shaped for himself
a weapon that served him well. This was a slender smoothly shaved
sapling with a small bunch of gnarled roots at one end. So expert
was he in the launching of this primitive spear that he easily
brought down birds and small game. When he reached his twelfth
year, his father bought him a rifle; and he soon became a crack
shot. A year later we find him setting off on the autumn
hunt--after driving the cattle in for the winter-with all the
keenness and courage of a man twice his thirteen years. His rifle
enabled him to return with meat for the family and skins to be
traded in Philadelphia. When he was fourteen his brother Sam
married Sarah Day, an intelligent young Quakeress who took a
special interest in her young brother-in-law and taught him "the
rudiments of three R's."

The Boones were prosperous and happy in Oley and it may be
wondered why they left their farms and their looms, both of which
were profitable, and set their faces towards the Unknown. It is
recorded that, though the Boones were Quakers, they were of a
high mettle and were not infrequently dealt with by the Meeting.
Two of Squire Boone's children married "worldlings"--non-
Quakers--and were in consequence "disowned" by the Society. In
defiance of his sect, which strove to make him sever all
connection with his unruly offspring, Squire Boone refused to
shut his doors on the son and the daughter who had scandalized
local Quakerdom. The Society of Friends thereupon expelled him.
This occurred apparently during the winter of 1748-49. In the
spring of 1750 we see the whole Boone family (save two sons) with
their wives and children, their household goods and their stock,
on the great highway, bound for a land where the hot heart and
the belligerent spirit shall not be held amiss.

Southward through the Shenandoah goes the Boone caravan. The
women and children usually sit in the wagons. The men march ahead
or alongside, keeping a keen eye open for Indian or other enemy
in the wild, their rifles under arm or over the shoulder. Squire
Boone, who has done with Quakerdom and is leading all that he
holds dear out to larger horizons, is ahead of the line, as we
picture him, ready to meet first whatever danger may assail his
tribe. He is a strong wiry man of rather small stature, with
ruddy complexion, red hair, and gray eyes. Somewhere in the line,
together, we think, are the mother and son who have herded cattle
and companioned each other through long months in the cabin on
the frontier. We do not think of this woman as riding in the
wagon, though she may have done so, but prefer to picture her,
with her tall robust body, her black hair, and her black
eyes--with the sudden Welsh snap in them--walking as sturdily as
any of her sons.

If Daniel be beside her, what does she see when she looks at him?
A lad well set up but not overtall for his sixteen years,
perhaps--for "eye-witnesses" differ in their estimates of Daniel
Boone's height--or possibly taller than he looks, because his
figure has the forest hunter's natural slant forward and the
droop of the neck of one who must watch his path sometimes in
order to tread silently. It is Squire Boone's blood which shows
in his ruddy face--which would be fair but for its tan--and in
the English cut of feature, the straw-colored eyebrows, and the
blue eyes. But his Welsh mother's legacy is seen in the black
hair that hangs long and loose in the hunter's fashion to his
shoulders. We can think of Daniel Boone only as exhilarated by
this plunge into the Wild. He sees ahead--the days of his great
explorations and warfare, the discovery of Kentucky? Not at all.
This is a boy of sixteen in love with his rifle. He looks ahead
to vistas of forest filled with deer and to skies clouded with
flocks of wild turkeys. In that dream there is happiness enough
for Daniel Boone. Indeed, for himself, even in later life, he
asked little, if any, more. He trudges on blithely, whistling.

Chapter II. Folkways

These migrations into the inland valleys of the Old South mark
the first great westward thrust of the American frontier. Thus
the beginnings of the westward movement disclose to us a feature
characteristic also of the later migrations which flung the
frontier over the Appalachians, across the Mississippi, and
finally to the shores of the Pacific. The pioneers, instead of
moving westward by slow degrees, subduing the wilderness as they
went, overleaped great spaces and planted themselves beyond, out
of contact with the life they had left behind. Thus separated by
hundreds of miles of intervening wilderness from the more
civilized communities, the conquerors of the first American
"West," prototypes of the conquerors of succeeding "Wests,"
inevitably struck out their own ways of life and developed their
own customs. It would be difficult, indeed, to find anywhere a
more remarkable contrast in contemporary folkways than that
presented by the two great community groups of the South--the
inland or piedmont settlements, called the Back Country, and the
lowland towns and plantations along the seaboard.

The older society of the seaboard towns, as events were soon to
prove, was not less independent in its ideals than the frontier
society of the Back Country; but it was aristocratic in tone and
feeling. Its leaders were the landed gentry--men of elegance, and
not far behind their European contemporaries in the culture of
the day. They were rich, without effort, both from their
plantations, where black slaves and indentured servants labored,
and from their coastwise and overseas trade. Their battles with
forest and red man were long past. They had leisure for
diversions such as the chase, the breeding and racing of
thoroughbred horses, the dance, high play with dice and card,
cockfighting, the gallantry of love, and the skill of the rapier.
Law and politics drew their soberer minds.

Very different were the conditions which confronted the pioneers
in the first American "West." There every jewel of promise was
ringed round with hostility. The cheap land the pioneer had
purchased at a nominal price, or the free land he had taken by
"tomahawk claim"--that is by cutting his name into the bark of a
deadened tree, usually beside a spring--supported a forest of
tall trunks and interlacing leafage. The long grass and weeds
which covered the ground in a wealth of natural pasturage
harbored the poisonous copperhead and the rattlesnake and, being
shaded by the overhead foliage, they held the heavy dews and bred
swarms of mosquitoes, gnats, and big flies which tortured both
men and cattle. To protect the cattle and horses from the attacks
of these pests the settlers were obliged to build large
"smudges"--fires of green timber--against the wind. The animals
soon learned to back up into the dense smoke and to move from one
grazing spot to another as the wind changed. But useful as were
the green timber fires that rolled their smoke on the wind to
save the stock, they were at the same time a menace to the
pioneer, for they proclaimed to roving bands of Cherokees that a
further encroachment on their territory had been made by their
most hated enemies--the men who felled the hunter's forest. Many
an outpost pioneer who had made the long hard journey by sea and
land from the old world of persecution to this new country of
freedom, dropped from the red man's shot ere he had hewn the
threshold of his home, leaving his wife and children to the
unrecorded mercy of his slayer.

Those more fortunate pioneers who settled in groups won the first
heat in the battle with the wilderness through massed effort
under wariness. They made their clearings in the forest, built
their cabins and stockades, and planted their cornfields, while
lookouts kept watch and rifles were stacked within easy reach.
Every special task, such as a "raising," as cabin building was
called, was undertaken by the community chiefly because the
Indian danger necessitated swift building and made group action
imperative. But the stanch heart is ever the glad heart. Nothing
in this frontier history impresses us more than the joy of the
pioneer at his labors. His determined optimism turned danger's
dictation into an occasion for jollity. On the appointed day for
the "raising," the neighbors would come, riding or afoot, to the
newcomer's holding--the men with their rifles and axes, the women
with their pots and kettles. Every child toddled along, too,
helping to carry the wooden dishes and spoons. These free givers
of labor had something of the Oriental's notion of the sacred
ratification of friendship by a feast.

The usual dimensions of a cabin were sixteen by twenty feet. The
timber for the building, having been already cut, lay at
hand--logs of hickory, oak, young pine, walnut, or persimmon. To
make the foundations, the men seized four of the thickest logs,
laid them in place, and notched and grooved and hammered them
into as close a clinch as if they had grown so. The wood must
grip by its own substance alone to hold up the pioneer's
dwelling, for there was not an iron nail to be had in the whole
of the Back Country. Logs laid upon the foundation logs and
notched into each other at the four corners formed the walls;
and, when these stood at seven feet, the builders laid parallel
timbers and puncheons to make both flooring and ceiling. The
ridgepole of the roof was supported by two crotched trees and the
roofing was made of logs and wooden slabs. The crevices of the
walls were packed close with red clay and moss. Lastly, spaces
for a door and windows were cut out. The door was made thick and
heavy to withstand the Indian's rush. And the windowpanes? They
were of paper treated with hog's fat or bear's grease.

When the sun stood overhead, the women would give the welcome
call of "Dinner!" Their morning had not been less busy than the
men's. They had baked corn cakes on hot stones, roasted bear or
pork, or broiled venison steaks; and--above all and first of all
--they had concocted the great "stew pie" without which a raising
could hardly take place. This was a disputatious mixture of deer,
hog, and bear--animals which, in life, would surely have
companioned each other as ill! It was made in sufficient quantity
to last over for supper when the day's labor was done. At supper
the men took their ease on the ground, but with their rifles
always in reach. If the cabin just raised by their efforts stood
in the Yadkin, within sight of the great mountains the pioneers
were one day to cross, perhaps a sudden bird note warning from
the lookout, hidden in the brush, would bring the builders with a
leap to their feet. It might be only a hunting band of friendly
Catawbas that passed, or a lone Cherokee who knew that this was
not his hour. If the latter, we can, in imagination, see him look
once at the new house on his hunting pasture, slacken rein for a
moment in front of the group of families, lift his hand in sign
of peace, and silently go his way hillward. As he vanishes into
the shadows, the crimson sun, sinking into the unknown wilderness
beyond the mountains, pours its last glow on the roof of the
cabin and on the group near its walls. With unfelt fingers,
subtly, it puts the red touch of the West in the faces of the
men--who have just declared, through the building of a cabin,
that here is Journey's End and their abiding place.

There were community holidays among these pioneers as well as
labor days, especially in the fruit season; and there were
flower-picking excursions in the warm spring days. Early in April
the service berry bush gleamed starrily along the watercourses,
its hardy white blooms defying winter's lingering look. This
bush--or tree, indeed, since it is not afraid to rear its
slender trunk as high as cherry or crab apple--might well be
considered emblematic of the frontier spirit in those regions
where the white silence covers the earth for several months and
shuts the lonely homesteader in upon himself. From the pioneer
time of the Old Southwest to the last frontier of the Far North
today, the service berry is cherished alike by white men and
Indians; and the red men have woven about it some of their
prettiest legends. When June had ripened the tree's blue-black
berries, the Back Country folk went out in parties to gather
them. Though the service berry was a food staple on the frontier
and its gathering a matter of household economy, the folk made
their berry-picking jaunt a gala occasion. The women and children
with pots and baskets--the young girls vying with each other,
under the eyes of the youths, as to who could strip boughs the
fastest--plucked gayly while the men, rifles in hand, kept guard.
For these happy summer days were also the red man's scalping days
and, at any moment, the chatter of the picnickers might be
interrupted by the chilling war whoop. When that sound was heard,
the berry pickers raced for the fort. The wild
fruits--strawberries, service berries, cherries, plums, crab
apples--were, however, too necessary a part of the pioneer's
meager diet to be left unplucked out of fear of an Indian attack.
Another day would see the same group out again. The children
would keep closer to their mothers, no doubt; and the laughter of
the young girls would be more subdued, even if their coquetry
lacked nothing of its former effectiveness. Early marriages were
the rule in the Back Country and betrothals were frequently
plighted at these berry pickings.

As we consider the descriptions of the frontiersman left for us
by travelers of his own day, we are not more interested in his
battles with wilderness and Indian than in the visible effects of
both wilderness and Indian upon him. His countenance and bearing
still show the European, but the European greatly altered by
savage contact. The red peril, indeed, influenced every side of
frontier life. The bands of women and children at the
harvestings, the log rollings, and the house raisings, were not
there merely to lighten the men's work by their laughter and
love-making. It was not safe for them to remain in the cabins,
for, to the Indian, the cabin thus boldly thrust upon his
immemorial hunting grounds was only a secondary evil; the greater
evil was the white man's family, bespeaking the increase of the
dreaded palefaces. The Indian peril trained the pioneers to
alertness, shaped them as warriors and hunters, suggested the
fashion of their dress, knit their families into clans and the
clans into a tribe wherein all were of one spirit in the
protection of each and all and a unit of hate against their
common enemy.

Too often the fields which the pioneer planted with corn were
harvested by the Indian with fire. The hardest privations
suffered by farmers and stock were due to the settlers having to
flee to the forts, leaving to Indian devastation the crops on
which their sustenance mainly, depended. Sometimes, fortunately,
the warning came in time for the frontiersman to collect his
goods and chattels in his wagon and to round up his live stock
and drive them safely into the common fortified enclosure. At
others, the tap of the "express"--as the herald of Indian danger
was called--at night on the windowpane and the low word whispered
hastily, ere the "express" ran on to the next abode, meant that
the Indians had surprised the outlying cabins of the settlement.

The forts were built as centrally as possible in the scattered
settlements. They consisted of cabins, blockhouses, and
stockades. A range of cabins often formed one side of a fort. The
walls on the outside were ten or twelve feet high with roofs
sloping inward. The blockhouses built at the angles of the fort
projected two feet or so beyond the outer walls of the cabins and
stockades, and were fitted with portholes for the watchers and
the marksmen. The entrance to the fort was a large folding gate
of thick slabs. It was always on the side nearest the spring. The
whole structure of the fort was bullet-proof and was erected
without an iron nail or spike. In the border wars these forts
withstood all attacks. The savages, having proved that they could
not storm them, generally laid siege and waited for thirst to
compel a sortie. But the crafty besieger was as often outwitted
by the equally cunning defender. Some daring soul, with silent
feet and perhaps with naked body painted in Indian fashion, would
drop from the wall under cover of the night, pass among the
foemen to the spring, and return to the fort with water.

Into the pioneer's phrase-making the Indian influence penetrated
so that he named seasons for his foe. So thoroughly has the term
"Indian Summer," now to us redolent of charm, become
disassociated from its origins that it gives us a shock to be
reminded that to these Back Country folk the balmy days following
on the cold snap meant the season when the red men would come
back for a last murderous raid on the settlements before winter
should seal up the land. The "Powwowing Days" were the mellow
days in the latter part of February, when the red men in council
made their medicine and learned of their redder gods whether or
no they should take the warpath when the sap pulsed the trees
into leaf. Even the children at their play acknowledged the
red-skinned schoolmaster, for their chief games were a training
in his woodcraft and in the use of his weapons. Tomahawk-throwing
was a favorite sport because of its gruesome practical purposes.
The boys must learn to gauge the tomahawk's revolutions by the
distance of the throw so as to bury the blade in its objective.
Swift running and high jumping through the brush and fallen
timber were sports that taught agility in escape. The boys
learned to shoot accurately the long rifles of their time, with a
log or a forked stick for a rest, and a moss pad under the barrel
to keep it from jerking and spoiling the aim. They wrestled with
each other, mastered the tricks of throwing an opponent, and
learned the scalp hold instead of the toe hold. It was part of
their education to imitate the noises of every bird and beast of
the forest. So they learned to lure the turkey within range, or
by the bleat of a fawn to bring her dam to the rifle. A
well-simulated wolf's howl would call forth a response and so
inform the lone hunter of the vicinity of the pack. This forest
speech was not only the language of diplomacy in the hunting
season; it was the borderer's secret code in war. Stray Indians
put themselves in touch again with the band by turkey calls in
the daytime and by owl or wolf notes at night. The frontiersmen
used the same means to trick the Indian band into betraying the
place of its ambuscade, or to lure the strays, unwitting, within
reach of the knife.

In that age, before the forests had given place to farms and
cities and when the sun had but slight acquaintance with the sod,
the summers were cool and the winters long and cold in the Back
Country. Sometimes in September severe frosts destroyed the corn.
The first light powdering called "hunting snows" fell in October,
and then the men of the Back Country set out on the chase. Their
object was meat--buffalo, deer, elk, bear-for the winter larder,
and skins to send out in the spring by pack-horses to the coast
in trade for iron, steel, and salt. The rainfall in North
Carolina was much heavier than in Virginia and, from autumn into
early winter, the Yadkin forests were sheeted with rain; but wet
weather, so far from deterring the hunter, aided him to the kill.
In blowing rain, he knew he would find the deer herding in the
sheltered places on the hillsides. In windless rain, he knew that
his quarry ranged the open woods and the high places. The fair
play of the pioneer held it a great disgrace to kill a deer in
winter when the heavy frost had crusted the deep snow. On the
crust men and wolves could travel with ease, but the deer's sharp
hoofs pierced through and made him defenseless. Wolves and dogs
destroyed great quantities of deer caught in this way; and men
who shot deer under these conditions were considered no huntsmen.
There was, indeed, a practical side to this chivalry of the
chase, for meat and pelt were both poor at this season; but the
true hunter also obeyed the finer tenet of his code, for he would
go to the rescue of deer caught in the crusts--and he killed many
a wolf sliding over the ice to an easy meal.

The community moral code of the frontier was brief and rigorous.
What it lacked of the "whereas" and "inasmuch" of legal ink it
made up in sound hickory. In fact, when we review the activities
of this solid yet elastic wood in the moral, social, and economic
phases of Back Country life, we are moved to wonder if the
pioneers would have been the same race of men had they been
nurtured beneath a less strenuous and adaptable vegetation! The
hickory gave the frontiersman wood for all implements and
furnishings where the demand was equally for lightness, strength,
and elasticity. It provided his straight logs for building, his
block mortars hollowed--by fire and stone--for corn-grinding, his
solid plain furniture, his axles, rifle butts, ax handles, and so
forth. It supplied his magic wand for the searching out of
iniquity in the junior members of his household, and his most
cogent argument, as a citizen, in convincing the slothful, the
blasphemous, or the dishonest adult whose errors disturbed
communal harmony. Its nuts fed his hogs. Before he raised stock,
the unripe hickory nuts, crushed for their white liquid, supplied
him with butter for his corn bread and helped out his store of
bear's fat. Both the name and the knowledge of the uses of this
tree came to the earliest pioneers through contact with the red
man, whose hunting bow and fishing spear and the hobbles for his
horses were fashioned of the "pohickory" tree. The Indian women
first made pohickory butter, and the wise old men of the Cherokee
towns, so we are told, first applied the pohickory rod to the
vanity of youth!

A glance at the interior of a log cabin in the Back Country of
Virginia or North Carolina would show, in primitive design, what
is, perhaps, after all the perfect home--a place where the
personal life and the work life are united and where nothing
futile finds space. Every object in the cabin was practical and
had been made by hand on the spot to answer a need. Besides the
chairs hewn from hickory blocks, there were others made of slabs
set on three legs. A large slab or two with four legs served as a
movable table; the permanent table was built against the wall,
its outer edge held up by two sticks. The low bed was built into
the wall in the same way and softened for slumber by a mattress
of pine needles, chaff, or dried moss. In the best light from the
greased paper windowpanes stood the spinning wheel and loom, on
which the housewife made cloth for the family's garments. Over
the fireplace or beside the doorway, and suspended usually on
stags' antlers, hung the firearms and the yellow powderhorns, the
latter often carved in Indian fashion with scenes of the hunt or
war. On a shelf or on pegs were the wooden spoons, plates, bowls,
and noggins. Also near the fireplace, which was made of large
flat stones with a mud-plastered log chimney, stood the grinding
block for making hominy. If it were an evening in early spring,
the men of the household would be tanning and dressing deerskins
to be sent out with the trade caravan, while the women sewed,
made moccasins or mended them, in the light of pine knots or
candles of bear's grease. The larger children might be weaving
cradles for the babies, Indian fashion, out of hickory twigs; and
there would surely be a sound of whetting steel, for scalping
knives and tomahawks must be kept keen-tempered now that the days
have come when the red gods whisper their chant of war through
the young leafage.

The Back Country folk, as they came from several countries,
generally settled in national groups, each preserving its own
speech and its own religion, each approaching frontier life
through its own native temperament. And the frontier met each and
all alike, with the same need and the same menace, and molded
them after one general pattern. If the cabin stood in a typical
Virginian settlement where the folk were of English stock, it may
be that the dulcimer and some old love song of the homeland
enlivened the work--or perhaps chairs were pushed back and young
people danced the country dances of the homeland and the Virginia
Reel, for these Virginian English were merry folk, and their
religion did not frown upon the dance. In a cabin on the
Shenandoah or the upper Yadkin the German tongue clicked away
over the evening dish of kraut or sounded more sedately in a
Lutheran hymn; while from some herder's but on the lower Yadkin
the wild note of the bagpipes or of the ancient four-stringed
harp mingled with the Gaelic speech.

Among the homes in the Shenandoah where old England's ways
prevailed, none was gayer than the tavern kept by the man whom
the good Moravian Brother called "Severe." There perhaps the
feasting celebrated the nuptials of John Sevier, who was barely
past his seventeenth birthday when he took to himself a wife. Or
perhaps the dancing, in moccasined feet on the puncheon flooring,
was a ceremonial to usher into Back Country life the new
municipality John had just organized, for John at nineteen had
taken his earliest step towards his larger career, which we shall
follow later on, as the architect of the first little governments
beyond the mountains.

In the Boone home on the Yadkin, we may guess that the talk was
solely of the hunt, unless young Daniel had already become
possessed of his first compass and was studying its ways. On such
an evening, while the red afterglow lingered, he might be mending
a passing trader's firearms by the fires of the primitive forge
his father had set up near the trading path running from
Hillsborough to the Catawba towns. It was said by the local
nimrods that none could doctor a sick rifle better than young
Daniel Boone, already the master huntsman of them all. And
perhaps some trader's tale, told when the caravan halted for the
night, kindled the youth's first desire to penetrate the
mountain-guarded wilderness, for the tales of these Romanies of
commerce were as the very badge of their free-masonry, and entry
money at the doors of strangers.

Out on the border's edge, heedless of the shadow of the mountains
looming between the newly built cabin and that western land where
they and their kind were to write the fame of the Ulster Scot in
a shining script that time cannot dull, there might sit a group
of stern-faced men, all deep in discussion of some point of
spiritual doctrine or of the temporal rights of men. Yet, in
every cabin, whatever the national differences, the setting was
the same The spirit of the frontier was modeling out of old clay
a new Adam to answer the needs of a new earth.

It would be far less than just to leave the Back Country folk
without further reference to the devoted labors of their clergy.
In the earliest days the settlers were cut off from their church
systems; the pious had to maintain their piety unaided, except in
the rare cases where a pastor accompanied a group of settlers of
his denomination into the wilds. One of the first ministers who
fared into the Back Country to remind the Ulster Presbyterians of
their spiritual duties was the Reverend Hugh McAden of
Philadelphia. He made long itineraries under the greatest
hardships, in constant danger from Indians and wild beasts,
carrying the counsel of godliness to the far scattered flock.
Among the Highland settlements the Reverend James Campbell for
thirty years traveled about, preaching each Sunday at some
gathering point a sermon in both English and Gaelic. A little
later, in the Yadkin Valley, after Craighead's day there arose a
small school of Presbyterian ministers whose zeal and
fearlessness in the cause of religion and of just government had
an influence on the frontiersmen that can hardly be

But, in the beginning, the pioneer encountered the savagery of
border life, grappled with it, and reacted to it without guidance
from other mentor than his own instincts. His need was still the
primal threefold need family, sustenance, and safe sleep when the
day's work was done. We who look back with thoughtful eyes upon
the frontiersman--all links of contact with his racial past
severed, at grips with destruction in the contenting of his
needs--see something more, something larger, than he saw in the
log cabin raised by his hands, its structure held together solely
by his close grooving and fitting of its own strength. Though the
walls he built for himself have gone with his own dust back to
the earth, the symbol he erected for us stands.

Chapter III. The Trader

The trader was the first pathfinder. His caravans began the
change of purpose that was to come to the Indian warrior's route,
turning it slowly into the beaten track of communication and
commerce. The settlers, the rangers, the surveyors, went westward
over the trails which he had blazed for them years before. Their
enduring works are commemorated in the cities and farms which
today lie along every ancient border line; but of their
forerunner's hazardous Indian trade nothing remains. Let us
therefore pay a moment's homage here to the trader, who first--to
borrow a phrase from Indian speech--made white for peace the red
trails of war.

He was the first cattleman of the Old Southwest. Fifty years
before John Findlay,* one of this class of pioneers, led Daniel
Boone through Cumberland Gap, the trader's bands of horses roamed
the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains and his cattle
grazed among the deer on the green banks of the old Cherokee
(Tennessee) River. He was the pioneer settler beyond the high
hills; for he built, in the center of the Indian towns, the first
white man's cabin--with its larger annex, the trading house--and
dwelt there during the greater part of the year. He was America's
first magnate of international commerce. His furs--for which he
paid in guns, knives, ammunition, vermilion paint, mirrors, and
cloth--lined kings' mantles, and hatted the Lords of Trade as
they strode to their council chamber in London to discuss his
business and to pass those regulations which might have seriously
hampered him but for his resourcefulness in circumventing them!

* The name is spelled in various ways: Findlay, Finlay, Findley.

He was the first frontier warrior, for he either fought off or
fell before small parties of hostile Indians who, in the interest
of the Spanish or French, raided his pack-horse caravans on the
march. Often, too, side by side with the red brothers of his
adoption, he fought in the intertribal wars. His was the first
educative and civilizing influence in the Indian towns. He
endeavored to cure the Indians of their favorite midsummer
madness, war, by inducing them to raise stock and poultry and
improve their corn, squash, and pea gardens. It is not necessary
to impute to him philanthropic motives. He was a practical man
and he saw that war hurt his trade: it endangered his summer
caravans and hampered the autumn hunt for deerskins.

In the earliest days of the eighteenth century, when the
colonists of Virginia and the Carolinas were only a handful, it
was the trader who defeated each successive attempt of French and
Spanish agents to weld the tribes into a confederacy for the
annihilation of the English settlements. The English trader did
his share to prevent what is now the United States from becoming
a part of a Latin empire and to save it for a race having the
Anglo-Saxon ideal and speaking the English tongue.

The colonial records of the period contain items which, taken
singly, make small impression on the casual reader but which,
listed together, throw a strong light on the past and bring that
mercenary figure, the trader, into so bold a relief that the
design verges on the heroic. If we wonder, for instance, why the
Scotch Highlanders who settled in the wilds at the headwaters of
the Cape Fear River, about 1729, and were later followed by Welsh
and Huguenots, met with no opposition from the Indians, the
mystery is solved when we discover, almost by accident, a few
printed lines which record that, in 1700, the hostile natives on
the Cape Fear were subdued to the English and brought into
friendly alliance with them by Colonel William Bull, a trader. We
read further and learn that the Spaniards in Florida had long
endeavored to unite the tribes in Spanish and French territory
against the English and that the influence of traders prevented
the consummation. The Spaniards, in 1702, had prepared to invade
English territory with nine hundred Indians. The plot was
discovered by Creek Indians and disclosed to their friends, the
traders, who immediately gathered together five hundred warriors,
marched swiftly to meet the invaders, and utterly routed them.
Again, when the Indians, incited by the Spanish at St. Augustine,
rose against the English in 1715, and the Yamasi Massacre
occurred in South Carolina, it was due to the traders that some
of the settlements at least were not wholly unprepared to defend

The early English trader was generally an intelligent man;
sometimes educated, nearly always fearless and resourceful. He
knew the one sure basis on which men of alien blood and far
separated stages of moral and intellectual development can meet
in understanding--namely, the truth of the spoken word. He
recognized honor as the bond of trade and the warp and woof of
human intercourse. The uncorrupted savage also had his plain
interpretation of the true word in the mouths of men, and a name
for it. He called it the "Old Beloved Speech"; and he gave his
confidence to the man who spoke this speech even in the close
barter for furs.

We shall find it worth while to refer to the map of America as it
was in the early days of the colonial fur trade, about the
beginning of the eighteenth century. A narrow strip of loosely
strung English settlements stretched from the north border of New
England to the Florida line. North Florida was Spanish territory.
On the far distant southwestern borders of the English colonies
were the southern possessions of France. The French sphere of
influence extended up the Mississippi, and thence by way of
rivers and the Great Lakes to its base in Canada on the borders
of New England and New York. In South Carolina dwelt the Yamasi
tribe of about three thousand warriors, their chief towns only
sixty or eighty miles distant from the Spanish town of St.
Augustine. On the west, about the same distance northeast of New
Orleans, in what is now Alabama and Georgia, lay the Creek
nation. There French garrisons held Mobile and Fort Alabama. The
Creeks at this time numbered over four thousand warriors. The
lands of the Choctaws, a tribe of even larger fighting strength,
began two hundred miles north of New Orleans and extended along
the Mississippi. A hundred and sixty miles northeast of the
Choctaw towns were the Chickasaws, the bravest and most
successful warriors of all the tribes south of the Iroquois. The
Cherokees, in part seated within the Carolinas, on the upper
courses of the Savannah River, mustered over six thousand men at
arms. East of them were the Catawba towns. North of them were the
Shawanoes and Delawares, in easy communication with the tribes of
Canada. Still farther north, along the Mohawk and other rivers
joining with the Hudson and Lake Ontario stood the "long houses"
of the fiercest and most warlike of all the savages, the Iroquois
or Six Nations.

The Indians along the English borders outnumbered the colonists
perhaps ten to one. If the Spanish and the French had succeeded
in the conspiracy to unite on their side all the tribes, a red
billow of tomahawk wielders would have engulfed and extinguished
the English settlements. The French, it is true, made allies of
the Shawanoes, the Delawares, the Choctaws, and a strong faction
of the Creeks; and they finally won over the Cherokees after
courting them for more than twenty years. But the Creeks in part,
the powerful Chickasaws, and the Iroquois Confederacy, or Six
Nations, remained loyal to the English. In both North and South
it was the influence of the traders that kept these red tribes on
the English side. The Iroquois were held loyal by Sir William
Johnson and his deputy, George Croghan, the "King of Traders."
The Chickasaws followed their "best-beloved" trader, James Adair;
and among the Creeks another trader, Lachlan McGillivray, wielded
a potent influence.

Lachlan McGillivray was a Highlander. He landed in Charleston in
1735 at the age of sixteen and presently joined a trader's
caravan as packhorse boy. A few years later he married a woman of
the Creeks. On many occasions he defeated French and Spanish
plots with the Creeks for the extermination of the colonists in
Georgia and South Carolina. His action in the final war with the
French (1760), when the Indian terror was raging, is typical.
News came that four thousand Creek warriors, reinforced by French
Choctaws, were about to fall on the southern settlements. At the
risk of their lives, McGillivray and another trader named Galphin
hurried from Charleston to their trading house on the Georgia
frontier. Thither they invited several hundred Creek warriors,
feasted and housed them for several days, and finally won them
from their purpose. McGillivray had a brilliant son, Alexander,
who about this time became a chief in his mother's nation perhaps
on this very occasion, as it was an Indian custom, in making a
brotherhood pact, to send a son to dwell in the brother's house.
We shall meet that son again as the Chief of the Creeks and the
terrible scourge of Georgia and Tennessee in the dark days of the
Revolutionary War.

The bold deeds of the early traders, if all were to be told,
would require a book as long as the huge volume written by James
Adair, the "English Chickasaw." Adair was an Englishman who
entered the Indian trade in 1785 and launched upon the long and
dangerous trail from Charleston to the upper towns of the
Cherokees, situated in the present Monroe County, Tennessee. Thus
he was one of the earliest pioneers of the Old Southwest; and he
was Tennessee's first author. "I am well acquainted," he says,
"with near two thousand miles of the American continent"--a
statement which gives one some idea of an early trader's
enterprise, hardihood, and peril. Adair's "two thousand miles"
were twisting Indian trails and paths he slashed out for himself
through uninhabited wilds, for when not engaged in trade,
hunting, literature, or war, it pleased him to make solitary
trips of exploration. These seem to have led him chiefly
northward through the Appalachians, of which he must have been
one of the first white explorers.

A many-sided man was James Adair--cultured, for his style suffers
not by comparison with other writers of his day, no stranger to
Latin and Greek, and not ignorant of Hebrew, which he studied to
assist him in setting forth his ethnological theory that the
American Indians were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of
Israel. Before we dismiss his theory with a smile, let us
remember that he had not at his disposal the data now available
which reveal points of likeness in custom, language formation,
and symbolism among almost all primitive peoples. The formidable
title-page of his book in itself suggests an author keenly
observant, accurate as to detail, and possessed of a versatile
and substantial mind. Most of the pages were written in the towns
of the Chickasaws, with whom he lived "as a friend and brother,"
but from whose "natural jealousy" and "prying disposition" he was
obliged to conceal his papers. "Never," he assures us, "was a
literary work begun and carried on with more disadvantages!"

Despite these disabilities the author wrote a book of absorbing
interest. His intimate sympathetic pictures of Indian life as it
was before the tribes had been conquered are richly valuable to
the lover of native lore and to the student of the history of
white settlement. The author believes, as he must, in the
supremacy of his own race, but he nevertheless presents the
Indians' side of the argument as no man could who had not made
himself one of them. He thereby adds interest to those fierce
struggles which took place along the border; for he shows us the
red warrior not as a mere brute with a tomahawk but as a human
creature with an ideal of his own, albeit an ideal that must give
place to a better. Even in view of the red man's hideous methods
of battle and inhuman treatment of captives, we cannot ponder
unmoved Adair's description of his preparations for war--the
fasting, the abstention from all family intercourse, and the
purification rites and prayers for three days in the house set
apart, while the women, who might not come close to their men in
this fateful hour, stood throughout the night till dawn chanting
before the door. Another poetic touch the author gives us, from
the Cherokee--or Cheerake as he spells it--explaining that the
root, chee-ra, means fire. A Cherokee never extinguished fire
save on the occasion of a death, when he thrust a burning torch
into the water and said, Neetah intahah--"the days appointed him
were finished." The warrior slain in battle was held to have been
balanced by death and it was said of him that "he was weighed on
the path and made light." Adair writes that the Cherokees, until
corrupted by French agents and by the later class of traders who
poured rum among them like water, were honest, industrious, and
friendly. They were ready to meet the white man with their
customary phrase of good will "I shall firmly shake hands with
your speech." He was intimately associated with this tribe from
1735 to 1744, when he diverted his activities to the Chickasaws.

It was from the Cherokees' chief town, Great Telliko, in the
Appalachians, that Adair explored the mountains. He describes the
pass through the chain which was used by the Indians and which,
from his outline of it, was probably the Cumberland Gap. He
relates many incidents of the struggle with the French--
manifestations even in this remote wilderness of the vast
conflict that was being waged for the New World by two imperial
nations of the Old.

Adair undertook, at the solicitation of Governor Glen of South
Carolina, the dangerous task of opening up trade with the
Choctaws; a tribe mustering upwards of five thousand warriors who
were wholly in the French interest. Their country lay in what is
now the State of Mississippi along the great river, some seven
hundred miles west and southwest of Charleston. After passing the
friendly Creek towns the trail led on for 150 miles through what
was practically the enemy's country. Adair, owing to what he
likes to term his "usual good fortune," reached the Choctaw
country safely and by his adroitness and substantial presents won
the friendship of the influential chief, Red Shoe, whom he found
in a receptive mood, owing to a French agent's breach of
hospitality involving Red Shoe's favorite wife. Adair thus
created a large proEnglish faction among the Choctaws, and his
success seriously impaired French prestige with all the
southwestern tribes. Several times French Choctaws bribed to
murder him, waylaid Adair on the trail--twice when he was
alone--only to be baffled by the imperturbable self-possession
and alert wit which never failed him in emergencies.

Winning a Choctaw trade cost Adair, besides attacks on his life,
2200 pounds, for which he was never reimbursed, notwithstanding
Governor Glen's agreement with him. And, on his return to
Charleston, while the Governor was detaining him "on one pretext
or another," he found that a new expedition, which the Governor
was favoring for reasons of his own, had set out to capture his
Chickasaw trade and gather in "the expected great crop of
deerskins and beaver...before I could possibly return to the
Chikkasah Country." Nothing daunted, however, the hardy trader
set out alone.

"In the severity of winter, frost, snow, hail and heavy rains
succeed each other in these climes, so that I partly rode and
partly swam to the Chikkasah country; for not expecting to stay
long below [in Charleston] I took no leathern canoe. Many of the
broad, deep creeks...had now overflowed their banks, ran at a
rapid rate and were unpassable to any but DESPERATE PEOPLE...
the rivers and swamps were dreadful by rafts of timber driving
down the former and the great fallen trees floating in the
latter.... Being forced to wade deep through cane swamps or woody
thickets, it proved very troublesome to keep my firearms dry on
which, as a second means, my life depended."

Nevertheless Adair defeated the Governor's attempt to steal his
trade, and later on published the whole story in the Charleston
press and sent in a statement of his claims to the Assembly, with
frank observations on His Excellency himself. We gather that his
bold disregard of High Personages set all Charleston in an

Adair is tantalizingly modest about his own deeds. He devotes
pages to prove that an Indian rite agrees with the Book of
Leviticus but only a paragraph to an exploit of courage and
endurance such as that ride and swim for the Indian trade. We
have to read between the lines to find the man; but he well
repays the search. Briefly, incidentally, he mentions that on one
trip he was captured by the French, who were so

"well acquainted with the great damages I had done to them and
feared others I might occasion, as to confine me a close prisoner
...in the Alebahma garrison. They were fully resolved to have
sent me down to Mobile or New Orleans as a capital criminal to
MYSELF SOME WAY OR OTHER. They appointed double centries over me
for some days before I was to be sent down in the French King's
large boat. They were strongly charged against laying down their
weapons or suffering any hostile thing to be in the place where I
was kept, as they deemed me capable of any mischief.... About an
hour before we were to set off by water I escaped from them by
land.... I took through the middle of the low land covered
with briers at full speed. I heard the French clattering on
horseback along the path...and the howling savages pursuing...,
but MY USUAL GOOD FORTUNE enabled me to leave them far
enough behind...."

One feels that a few of the pages given up to Leviticus might
well have been devoted to a detailed account of this escape from
"double centries" and a fortified garrison, and the plunge
through the tangled wilds, by a man without gun or knife or
supplies, and who for days dared not show himself upon the trail.

There is too much of "my usual good fortune" in Adair's
narrative; such luck as his argues for extraordinary resources in
the man. Sometimes we discover only through one phrase on a page
that he must himself have been the hero of an event he relates in
the third person. This seems to be the case in the affair of
Priber, which was the worst of those "damages" Adair did to the
French. Priber was "a gentleman of curious and speculative
temper" sent by the French in 1786 to Great Telliko to win the
Cherokees to their interest. At this time Adair was trading with
the Cherokees. He relates that Priber,

"more effectually to answer the design of his commission...ate,
drank, slept, danced, dressed, and painted himself with the
Indians, so that it was not easy to distinguish him from the
natives,--he married also with them, and being endued with a
strong understanding and retentive memory he soon learned their
dialect, and by gradual advances impressed them with a very ill
opinion of the English, representing them as fraudulent,
avaritious and encroaching people; he at the same time inflated
the artless savages with a prodigious high opinion of their own
importance in the American scale of power.... Having thus
infected them...he easily formed them into a nominal
republican government--crowned their old Archimagus emperor after
a pleasing new savage form, and invented a variety of
high-sounding titles for all the members of his imperial
majesty's red court."

Priber cemented the Cherokee empire "by slow but sure degrees to
the very great danger of our southern colonies." His position was
that of Secretary of State and as such, with a studiedly
provocative arrogance, he carried on correspondence with the
British authorities. The colonial Government seems, on this
occasion, to have listened to the traders and to have realized
that Priber was a danger, for soldiers were sent to take him
prisoner. The Cherokees, however, had so firmly "shaked hands"
with their Secretary's admired discourse that they threatened to
take the warpath if their beloved man were annoyed, and the
soldiers went home without him--to the great hurt of English
prestige. The Cherokee empire had now endured for five years and
was about to rise "into a far greater state of puissance by the
acquisition of the Muskohge, Chocktaw and the Western Mississippi
Indians," when fortunately for the history of British
colonization in America, "an accident befell the Secretary."

It is in connection with this "accident" that the reader suspects
the modest but resourceful Adair of conniving with Fate. Since
the military had failed and the Government dared not again employ
force, other means must be found; the trader provided them. The
Secretary with his Cherokee bodyguard journeyed south on his
mission to the Creeks. Secure, as he supposed, he lodged
overnight in an Indian town. But there a company of English
traders took him into custody, along with his bundle of
manuscripts presumably intended for the French commandant at Fort
Alabama, and handed him over to the Governor of Georgia, who
imprisoned him and kept him out of mischief till he died.

As a Briton, Adair contributed to Priber's fate; and as such he
approves it. As a scholar with philosophical and ethnological
leanings, however, he deplores it, and hopes that Priber's
valuable manuscripts may "escape the despoiling hands of military
power." Priber had spent his leisure in compiling a Cherokee
dictionary; Adair's occupation, while domiciled in his winter
house in Great Telliko, was the writing of his Indian Appendix to
the Pentateuch. As became brothers in science, they had exchanged
notes, so we gather from Adair's references to conversations and
correspondence. Adair's difficulties as an author, however, had
been increased by a treacherous lapse from professional etiquette
on the part of the Secretary: "He told them [the Indians] that in
the very same manner as he was their great Secretary, I was the
devil's clerk, or an accursed one who marked on paper the bad
speech of the evil ones of darkness." On his own part Adair
admits that his object in this correspondence was to trap the
Secretary into something more serious than literary errata. That
is, he admits it by implication; he says the Secretary "feared"
it. During the years of their duel, Adair apparently knew that the
scholarly compiler of the Cherokee dictionary was secretly
inciting members of this particular Lost Tribe to tomahawk the
discoverer of their biblical origin; and Priber, it would seem,
knew that he knew!

Adair shows, inferentially, that land encroachment was not the
sole cause of those Indian wars with which we shall deal in a
later chapter. The earliest causes were the instigations of the
French and the rewards which they offered for English scalps. But
equally provocative of Indian rancor were the acts of sometimes
merely stupid, sometimes dishonest, officials; the worst of
these, Adair considered, was the cheapening of the trade through
the granting of general licenses.

"Formerly each trader had a license for two [Indian] towns....
At my first setting out among them, a number of traders...
journeyed through our various nations in different companies and
were generally men of worth; of course they would have a living
price for their goods, which they carried on horseback to the
remote Indian countries at very great expences.... [The
Indians] were kept under proper restraint, were easy in their
minds and peaceable on account of the plain, honest lessons daily
inculcated on them...but according to the present unwise
plan, two and even three Arablike peddlars sculk about in one of
those villages...who are generally the dregs and offscourings
of our climes...by inebriating the Indians with their
nominally prohibited and poisoning spirits, they purchase the
necessaries of life at four and five hundred per cent cheaper
than the orderly traders.... Instead of showing good examples
of moral conduct, beside the other part of life, they instruct
the unknowing and imitating savages in many diabolical lessons of
obscenity and blasphemy."

In these statements, contemporary records bear him out. There is
no sadder reading than the many pleas addressed by the Indian
chiefs to various officials to stop the importation of liquor
into their country, alleging the debauchment of their young men
and warning the white man, with whom they desired to be friends,
that in an Indian drink and blood lust quickly combined.

Adair's book was published in London in 1775. He wrote it to be
read by Englishmen as well as Americans; and some of his
reflections on liberty, justice, and Anglo-Saxon unity would not
sound unworthily today. His sympathies were with "the principles
of our Magna Charta Americana"; but he thought the threatened
division of the English-speaking peoples the greatest evil that
could befall civilization. His voluminous work discloses a man
not only of wide mental outlook but a practical man with a sense
of commercial values. Yet, instead of making a career for
himself among his own caste, he made his home for over thirty
years in the Chickasaw towns; and it is plain that, with the
exception of some of his older brother traders, he preferred the
Chickasaw to any other society.

The complete explanation of such men as Adair we need not expect
to find stated anywhere--not even in and between the lines of his
book. The conventionalist would seek it in moral obliquity; the
radical, in a temperament that is irked by the superficialities
that comprise so large a part of conventional standards. The
reason for his being what he was is almost the only thing Adair
did not analyze in his book. Perhaps, to him, it was self evident.
We may let it be so to us, and see it most clearly presented in a
picture composed from some of his brief sketches: A land of grass
and green shade inset with bright waters, where deer and domestic
cattle herded together along the banks; a circling group of
houses, their white-clayed walls sparkling under the sun's rays,
and, within and without, the movement of "a friendly and
sagacious people," who "kindly treated and watchfully guarded"
their white brother in peace and war, and who conversed daily
with him in the Old Beloved Speech learned first of Nature. "Like
towers in cities beyond the common size of those of the Indians"
rose the winter and summer houses and the huge trading house
which the tribe had built for their best beloved friend in the
town's center, because there he would be safest from attack. On
the rafters hung the smoked and barbecued delicacies taken in the
hunt and prepared for him by his red servants, who were also his
comrades at home and on the dangerous trail. "Beloved old women"
kept an eye on his small sons, put to drowse on panther skins so
that they might grow up brave warriors. Nothing was there of
artifice or pretense, only "the needful things to make a
reasonable life happy." All was as primitive, naive, and
contented as the woman whose outline is given once in a few
strokes, proudly and gayly penciled: "I have the pleasure of
writing this by the side of a Chikkasah female, as great a
princess as ever lived among the ancient Peruvians or Mexicans,
and she bids me be sure not to mark the paper wrong after the
manner of most of the traders; otherwise it will spoil the making
good bread or homony!"

His final chapter is the last news of James Adair, type of the
earliest trader. Did his bold attacks on corrupt officials and
rum peddlers--made publicly before Assemblies and in print--raise
for him a dense cloud of enmity that dropped oblivion on his
memory? Perhaps. But, in truth, his own book is all the history
of him we need. It is the record of a man. He lived a full life
and served his day; and it matters not that a mist envelops the
place where unafraid he met the Last Enemy, was "weighed on the
path and made light."

Chapter IV. The Passing Of The French Peril

The great pile of the Appalachian peaks was not the only barrier
which held back the settler with his plough and his rifle from
following the trader's tinkling caravans into the valleys beyond.
Over the hills the French were lords of the land. The
frontiersman had already felt their enmity through the torch and
tomahawk of their savage allies. By his own strength alone he
could not cope with the power entrenched beyond the hills; so he
halted. But that power, by its unachievable desire to be overlord
of two hemispheres, was itself to precipitate events which would
open the westward road.

The recurring hour in the cycle of history, when the issue of
Autocracy against Democracy cleaves the world, struck for the men
of the eighteenth century as the second half of that century
dawned. In our own day, happily, that issue has been perceived by
the rank and file of the people. In those darker days, as France
and England grappled in that conflict of systems which culminated
in the Seven Years' War, the fundamental principles at stake were
clear to only a handful of thinking men.

But abstractions, whether clear or obscure, do not cause
ambassadors to demand their passports. The declaration of war
awaits the overt act. Behold, then, how great a matter is kindled
by a little fire! The casus belli between France and England in
the Seven Years' War--the war which humbled France in Europe and
lost her India and Canada--had to do with a small log fort built
by a few Virginians in 1754 at the Forks of the Ohio River and
wrested from them in the same year by a company of Frenchmen from

The French claimed the valley of the Ohio as their territory; the
English claimed it as theirs. The dispute was of long standing.
The French claim was based on discovery; the English claim, on
the seato-sea charters of Virginia and other colonies and on
treaties with the Six Nations. The French refused to admit the
right of the Six Nations to dispose of the territory. The English
were inclined to maintain the validity of their treaties with the
Indians. Especially was Virginia so inclined, for a large share
of the Ohio lay within her chartered domain.

The quarrel had entered its acute phase in 1749, when both the
rival claimants took action to assert their sovereignty. The
Governor of Canada sent an envoy, Celoron de Blainville, with
soldiers, to take formal possession of the Ohio for the King of
France. In the same year the English organized in Virginia the
Ohio Company for the colonization of the same country; and
summoned Christopher Gist, explorer, trader, and guide, from his
home on the Yadkin and dispatched him to survey the land.

Then appeared on the scene that extraordinary man, Robert
Dinwiddie, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, erstwhile citizen of
Glasgow. His correspondence from Virginia during his seven years'
tenure of office (1751-58) depicts the man with a vividness
surpassing paint. He was as honest as the day--as honest as he
was fearless and fussy. But he had no patience; he wanted things
done and done at once, and his way was THE way to do them. People
who did not think as he thought didn't THINK at all. On this
drastic premise he went to work. There was of course continuous
friction between him and the House of Burgesses. Dinwiddie had
all a Scot's native talent for sarcasm. His letters, his
addresses, perhaps in particular his addresses to the House,
bristled with satirical thrusts at his opponents. If he had
spelled out in full all the words he was so eager to write, he
would have been obliged to lessen his output; so he used a
shorthand system of his own, peculiar enough to be remarkable
even though abbreviations were the rule in that day. Even the
dignity of Kings he sacrificed to speed, and we find "His
Majesty" abbreviated to "H M'y"; yet a smaller luminary known as
"His Honor" fares better, losing only the last letter--"His
Hono." "Ho." stands for "house" and "yt" for "that," "what,"
"it," and "anything else," as convenient. Many of his letters
wind up with "I am ve'y much fatig'd." We know that he must have

It was a formidable task that confronted Dinwiddie--to possess
and defend the Ohio. Christopher Gist returned in 1751, having
surveyed the valley for the Ohio Company as far as the Scioto and
Miami rivers, and in the following year the survey was ratified
by the Indians. The Company's men were busy blazing trails
through the territory and building fortified posts. But the
French dominated the territory. They had built and occupied with
troops Fort Le Boeuf on French Creek, a stream flowing into the
Allegheny. We may imagine Dinwiddie's rage at this violation of
British soil by French soldiers and how he must have sputtered to
the young George Washington, when he summoned that officer and
made him the bearer of a letter to the French commander at Fort
Le Boeuf, to demand that French troops be at once withdrawn from
the Ohio.

Washington made the journey to Fort Le Boeuf in December, 1753,
but the mission of course proved fruitless. Dinwiddie then wrote
to London urging that a force be sent over to help the colonies
maintain their rights and, under orders from the Crown, suggested
by himself, he wrote to the governors of all the other colonies
to join with Virginia in raising troops to settle the ownership
of the disputed territory. From Governor Dobbs of North Carolina
he received an immediate response. By means of logic, sarcasm,
and the entire force of his prerogatives, Dinwiddie secured from
his own balking Assembly 10,000 pounds with which to raise
troops. From Maryland he obtained nothing. There were three
prominent Marylanders in the Ohio Company, but--or because of
this--the Maryland Assembly voted down the measure for a military
appropriation. On June 18, 1754, Dinwiddie wrote, with unusually
full spelling for him:

"I am perswaded had His Majesty's Com'ds to the other Colonies
been duely obey'd, and the necessary Assistance given by them,
the Fr. wou'd have long ago have been oblig'd entirely to have
evacuated their usurp'd Possession of the King's Lands, instead
of w'ch they are daily becoming more formidable, whilst every
Gov't except No. Caro. has amus'd me with Expectations that have
proved fruitless, and at length refuse to give any Supply, unless
in such a manner as must render it ineffectual."

This saddened mood with its deliberate penmanship did not last
long. Presently Dinwiddie was making a Round Robin of himself in
another series of letters to Governors, Councilors, and
Assemblymen, frantically beseeching them for "H. M'y's hono." and
their own, and, if not, for "post'r'ty," to rise against the
cruel French whose Indians were harrying the borders again and
"Basely, like Virmin, stealing and carrying off the helpless
infant"--as nice a simile, by the way, as any Sheridan ever put
into the mouth of Mrs. Malaprop.

Dinwiddie saw his desires thwarted on every hand by the selfish
spirit of localism and jealousy which was more rife in America in
those days than it is today. Though the phrase "capitalistic war"
had not yet been coined, the great issues of English civilization
on this continent were befogged, for the majority in the
colonies, by the trivial fact that the shareholders in the Ohio
Company stood to win by a vigorous prosecution of the war and to
lose if it were not prosecuted at all. The irascible Governor,
however, proceeded with such men and means as he could obtain.

And now in the summer of 1754 came the "overt act" which
precipitated the inevitable war. The key to the valley of the
Ohio was the tongue of land at the Forks, where the Allegheny and
the Monongahela join their waters in the Beautiful River. This
site--today Pittsburgh--if occupied and held by either nation
would give that nation the command of the Ohio. Occupied it was
for a brief hour by a small party of Virginians, under Captain
William Trent; but no sooner had they erected on the spot a crude
fort than the French descended upon them. What happened then all
the world knows: how the French built on the captured site their
great Fort Duquesne; how George Washington with an armed force,
sent by Dinwiddie to recapture the place, encountered French and
Indians at Great Meadows and built Fort Necessity, which he was
compelled to surrender; how in the next year (1755) General
Braddock arrived from across the sea and set out to take Fort
Duquesne, only to meet on the way the disaster called "Braddock's
Defeat"; and how, before another year had passed, the Seven
Years' War was raging in Europe, and England was allied with the
enemies of France.

>From the midst of the debacle of Braddock's defeat rises the
figure of the young Washington. Twenty-three he was then, tall
and spare and hardbodied from a life spent largely in the open.
When Braddock fell, this Washington appeared. Reckless of the
enemy's bullets, which spanged about him and pierced his clothes,
he dashed up and down the lines in an effort to rally the
panic-stricken redcoats. He was too late to save the day, but not
to save a remnant of the army and bring out his own Virginians in
good order. Whether among the stay-at-homes and voters of credits
there were some who would have ascribed Washington's conduct on
that day to the fact that his brothers were large shareholders in
the Ohio Company and that Fort Duquesne was their personal
property or "private interest," history does not say. We may
suppose so.

North Carolina, the one colony which had not "amus'd" the
Governor of Virginia "with Expectations that proved fruitless,"
had voted 12,000 pounds for the war and had raised two companies
of troops. One of these, under Edward Brice Dobbs, son of
Governor Dobbs, marched with Braddock; and in that company as
wagoner went Daniel Boone, then in his twenty-second year. Of
Boone's part in Braddock's campaign nothing more is recorded save
that on the march he made friends with John Findlay, the trader,
his future guide into Kentucky; and that, on the day of the
defeat, when his wagons were surrounded, he escaped by slashing
the harness, leaping on the back of one of his horses, and
dashing into the forest.

Meanwhile the southern tribes along the border were comparatively
quiet. That they well knew a colossal struggle between the two
white races was pending and were predisposed to ally themselves
with the stronger is not to be doubted. French influence had long
been sifting through the formidable Cherokee nation, which still,
however, held true in the main to its treaties with the English.
It was the policy of the Governors of Virginia and North Carolina
to induce the Cherokees to enter strongly into the war as allies
of the English. Their efforts came to nothing chiefly because of
the purely local and suicidal Indian policy of Governor Glen of
South Carolina. There had been some dispute between Glen and
Dinwiddie as to the right of Virginia to trade with the
Cherokees; and Glen had sent to the tribes letters calculated to
sow distrust of all other aspirants for Indian favor, even
promising that certain settlers in the Back Country of North
Carolina should be removed and their holdings restored to the
Indians. These letters caused great indignation in North
Carolina, when they came to light, and had the worst possible
effect upon Indian relations. The Indians now inclined their ear
to the French who, though fewer than the English, were at least
united in purpose.

Governor Glen took this inauspicious moment to hold high festival
with the Cherokees. It was the last year of his administration
and apparently he hoped to win promotion to some higher post by
showing his achievements for the fur trade and in the matter of
new land acquired. He plied the Cherokees with drink and induced
them to make formal submission and to cede all their lands to the
Crown. When the chiefs recovered their sobriety, they were filled
with rage at what had been done, and they remembered how the
French had told them that the English intended to make slaves of
all the Indians and to steal their lands. The situation was
complicated by another incident. Several Cherokee warriors
returning from the Ohio, whither they had gone to fight for the
British, were slain by frontiersmen. The tribe, in accordance
with existing agreements, applied to Virginia for redress--but
received none.

There was thus plenty of powder for an explosion. Governor
Lyttleton, Glen's successor, at last flung the torch into the
magazine. He seized, as hostages, a number of friendly chiefs who
were coming to Charleston to offer tokens of good will and forced
them to march under guard on a military tour which the Governor
was making (1759) with intent to overawe the savages. When this
expedition reached Prince George, on the upper waters of the
Savannah, the Indian hostages were confined within the fort; and
the Governor, satisfied with the result of his maneuver departed
south for Charleston. Then followed a tragedy. Some Indian
friends of the imprisoned chiefs attacked the fort, and the
commander, a popular young officer, was treacherously killed
during a parley. The infuriated frontiersmen within the fort fell
upon the hostages and slew them all--twenty-six chiefs--and the
Indian war was on.

If all were to be told of the struggle which followed in the Back
Country, the story could not be contained in this book. Many
brave and resourceful men went out against the savages. We can
afford only a passing glance at one of them. Hugh Waddell of
North Carolina was the most brilliant of all the frontier
fighters in that war. He was a young Ulsterman from County Down,
a born soldier, with a special genius for fighting Indians,
although he did not grow up on the border, for he arrived in
North Carolina in 1753, at the age of nineteen. He was appointed
by Governor Dobbs to command the second company which North
Carolina had raised for the war, a force of 450 rangers to
protect the border counties; and he presently became the most
conspicuous military figure in the colony. As to his personality,
we have only a few meager details, with a portrait that suggests
plainly enough those qualities of boldness and craft which
characterized his tactics. Governor Dobbs appears to have had a
special love towards Hugh, whose family he had known in Ireland,
for an undercurrent of almost fatherly pride is to be found in
the old Governor's reports to the Assembly concerning Waddell's

The terror raged for nearly three years. Cabins and fields were
burned, and women and children were slaughtered or dragged away
captives. Not only did immigration cease but many hardy settlers
fled from the country. At length, after horrors indescribable and
great toll of life, the Cherokees gave up the struggle. Their
towns were invaded and laid waste by imperial and colonial
troops, and they could do nothing but make peace. In 1761 they
signed a treaty with the English to hold "while rivers flow and
grasses grow and sun and moon endure."

In the previous year (1760) the imperial war had run its course
in America. New France lay prostrate, and the English were
supreme not only on the Ohio but on the St. Lawrence and the
Great Lakes. Louisbourg, Quebec, Montreal, Oswego, Niagara,
Duquesne, Detroit--all were in English hands.

Hugh Waddell and his rangers, besides serving with distinction in
the Indian war, had taken part in the capture of Fort Duquesne.
This feat had been accomplished in 1758 by an expedition under
General Forbes. The troops made a terrible march over a new
route, cutting a road as they went. It was November when they
approached their objective. The wastes of snow and their
diminished supplies caused such depression among the men that the
officers called a halt to discuss whether or not to proceed
toward Fort Duquesne, where they believed the French to be
concentrated in force. Extravagant sums in guineas were named as
suitable reward for any man who would stalk and catch a French
Indian and learn from him the real conditions inside the fort.
The honor, if not the guineas, fell to John Rogers, one of
Waddell's rangers. From the Indian it was learned that the French
had already gone, leaving behind only a few of their number. As
the English drew near, they found that the garrison had blown up
the magazine, set fire to the fort, and made off.

Thus, while New France was already tottering, but nearly two
years before the final capitulation at Montreal, the English
again became masters of the Ohio Company's land--masters of the
Forks of the Ohio. This time they were there to stay. Where the
walls of Fort Duquesne had crumbled in the fire Fort Pitt was to
rise, proudly bearing the name of England's Great Commoner who
had directed English arms to victory on three continents.

With France expelled and the Indians deprived of their white
allies, the westward path lay open to the pioneers, even though
the red man himself would rise again and again in vain endeavor
to bar the way. So a new era begins, the era of exploration for
definite purpose, the era of commonwealth building. In entering
on it, we part with the earliest pioneer--the trader, who first
opened the road for both the lone home seeker and the great land
company. He dwindles now to the mere barterer and so--save for a
few chance glimpses--slips out of sight, for his brave days as
Imperial Scout are done.

Chapter V. Boone, The Wanderer

What thoughts filled Daniel Boone's mind as he was returning from
Braddock's disastrous campaign in 1755 we may only conjecture.
Perhaps he was planning a career of soldiering, for in later
years he was to distinguish himself as a frontier commander in
both defense and attack. Or it may be that his heart was full of
the wondrous tales told him by the trader, John Findlay, of that
Hunter's Canaan, Kentucky, where buffalo and deer roamed in
thousands. Perhaps he meant to set out ere long in search of the
great adventure of his dreams, despite the terrible dangers of
trail making across the zones of war into the unknown.

However that may be, Boone straightway followed neither of these
possible plans on his return to the Yadkin but halted for a
different adventure. There, a rifle shot's distance from his
threshold, was offered him the oldest and sweetest of all hazards
to the daring. He was twenty-two, strong and comely and a whole
man; and therefore he was in no mind to refuse what life held out
to him in the person of Rebecca Bryan. Rebecca was the daughter
of Joseph Bryan, who had come to the Yadkin from Pennsylvania
some time before the Boones; and she was in her seventeenth year.

Writers of an earlier and more sentimental period than ours have
endeavored to supply, from the saccharine stores of their fancy,
the romantic episodes connected with Boone's wooing which history
has omitted to record. Hence the tale that the young hunter,
walking abroad in the spring gloaming, saw Mistress Rebecca's
large dark eyes shining in the dusk of the forest, mistook them
for a deer's eyes and shot--his aim on this occasion fortunately
being bad! But if Boone's rifle was missing its mark at ten
paces, Cupid's dart was speeding home. So runs the story
concocted a hundred years later by some gentle scribe ignorant
alike of game seasons, the habits of hunters, and the way of a
man with a maid in a primitive world.

Daniel and Rebecca were married in the spring of 1756. Squire
Boone, in his capacity as justice of the peace, tied the knot;
and in a small cabin built upon his spacious lands the young
couple set up housekeeping. Here Daniel's first two sons were
born. In the third year of his marriage, when the second child
was a babe in arms, Daniel removed with his wife and their young
and precious family to Culpeper County in eastern Virginia, for
the border was going through its darkest days of the French and
Indian War. During the next two or three years we find him in
Virginia engaged as a wagoner, hauling tobacco in season; but
back on the border with his rifle, after the harvest, aiding in
defense against the Indians. In 1759 he purchased from his father
a lot on Sugar Tree Creek, a tributary of Dutchman's Creek (Davie
County, North Carolina) and built thereon a cabin for himself.
The date when he brought his wife and children to live in their
new abode on the border is not recorded. It was probably some
time after the close of the Indian War. Of Boone himself during
these years we have but scant information. We hear of him again
in Virginia and also as a member of the pack-horse caravan which
brought into the Back Country the various necessaries for the
settlers. We know, too, that in the fall of 1760 he was on a lone
hunting trip in the mountains west of the Yadkin; for until a few
years ago there might be seen, still standing on the banks of
Boone's Creek (a small tributary of the Watauga) in eastern
Tennessee, a tree bearing the legend, "D Boon cilled A BAR on
this tree 1760." Boone was always fond of carving his exploits on
trees, and his wanderings have been traced largely by his
arboreal publications. In the next year (1761) he went with
Waddell's rangers when they marched with the army to the final
subjugation of the Cherokee.

That Boone and his family were back on the border in the new
cabin shortly after the end of the war, we gather from the fact
that in 1764 he took his little son James, aged seven, on one of
his long hunting excursions. From this time dates the intimate
comradeship of father and son through all the perils of the
wilderness, a comradeship to come to its tragic end ten years
later when, as we shall see, the seventeen-year-old lad fell
under the red man's tomahawk as his father was leading the first
settlers towards Kentucky. In the cold nights of the open camp,
as Daniel and James lay under the frosty stars, the father kept
the boy warm snuggled to his breast under the broad flap of his
hunting shirt. Sometimes the two were away from home for months
together, and Daniel declared little James to be as good a
woodsman as his father.

Meanwhile fascinating accounts of the new land of Florida, ceded

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