Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Michael Lockey and PG Distributed
STORIES OF GREAT AMERICANS FOR LITTLE AMERICANS
AUTHOR OF "TRUE STORIES OF AMERICAN LIFE AND ADVENTURE"
"A FIRST BOOK IN AMERICAN HISTORY" AND "A HISTORY
OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS PEOPLE FOR
THE USE OF SCHOOLS"
The primary aim of this book is to furnish the little learner reading
matter that will excite his attention and give him pleasure, and thus
make lighter the difficult task of learning to read. The ruggedness of
this task has often been increased by the use of disconnected
sentences, or lessons as dry and uninteresting as finger exercises on
the piano. It is a sign of promise that the demand for reading matter
of interest to the child has come from teachers. I have endeavored to
meet this requirement in the following stories.
As far as possible the words chosen have been such as are not
difficult to the little reader, either from their length or their
unfamiliarity. The sentences and paragraphs are short. Learning to
read is like climbing a steep hill, and it is a great relief to the
panting child to find frequent breathing places.
It is one of the purposes of these stories to make the mind of the
pupil familiar with some of the leading figures in the history of our
country by means of personal anecdote. Some of the stories are those
that every American child ought to know, because they have become a
kind of national folklore. Such, for example, are "Putnam and the
Wolf" and the story of "Franklin's Whistle." I have thought it
important to present as great a variety of subjects as possible, so
that the pupil may learn something not only of great warriors and
patriots, but also of great statesmen. The exploits of discoverers,
the triumphs of American inventors, and the achievements of men of
letters and men of science, find place in these stories. All the
narratives are historical, or at least no stories have been told for
true that are deemed fictitious. Every means which the writer's
literary experience could suggest has been used to make the stories
engaging, in the hope that the interest of the narrative may prove a
sufficient spur to exertion on the part of the pupil, and that this
little book will make green and pleasant a pathway that has so often
been dry and laborious. It will surely serve to excite an early
interest in our national history by giving some of the great
personages of that history a place among the heroes that impress the
susceptible imagination of a child. It is thus that biographical and
historical incidents acquire something of the vitality of folk tales.
The illustrations that accompany the text have been planned with
special reference to the awakening of the child's attention. To keep
the mind alert and at its best is more than half the battle in
teaching. The publishers and the author of this little book believe
that in laying the foundation of a child's education the best work is
none too good.
The larger words have been divided by hyphens when a separation into
syllables is likely to help the learner. The use of the hyphen has
been regulated entirely with a view to its utility. After a word not
too difficult has been made familiar by its repeated occurrence, the
hyphens are omitted.
The First Governor in Boston
Marquette in Iowa
William Penn and the Indians
One Little Bag of Rice
The Story of a Wise Woman
Franklin his own Teacher
How Franklin found out Things
Franklin asks the Sunshine something
Franklin and the Kite
Too much for the Whistle
John Stark and the Indians
A Great Good Man
Putnam and the Wolf
Washington and his Hatchet
How Benny West learned to be a Painter
Washington's Christmas Gift
How Washington got out of a Trap
Washington's Last Battle
Clark and his Men
Daniel Boone and his Grapevine Swing
Daniel Boone's Daughter and her Friends
Decatur and the Pirates
Stories about Jefferson
A Long Journey
Captain Clark's Burning Glass
The First Steamboat
Washington Irving as a Boy
Don't give up the Ship
The Star-spangled Banner
How Audubon came to know about Birds
Audubon in the Wild Woods
Hunting a Panther
Some Boys who became Authors
Daniel Webster and his Brother
Webster and the Poor Woman
The India-rubber Man
Doctor Kane in the Frozen Sea
A Dinner on the Ice
Doctor Kane gets out of the Frozen Sea
Longfellow as a Boy
Kit Carson and the Bears
Horace Greeley as a Boy
Horace Greeley learning to Print
A Wonderful Woman
The Author of "Little Women"
A Song from the Suds
STORIES OF GREAT AMERICANS.
[Illustration: THE FIRST GOVERNOR IN BOSTON]
Before the white people came, there were no houses in this country but
the little huts of the In-di-ans. The In-di-an houses were made of
bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.
Some people came to one part of the country. Others started
set-tle-ments in other places. When more people came, some of these
set-tle-ments grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were
planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to
fill with people.
The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is
now, settled there a long time ago. They had a gov-ern-or over them.
He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John
The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After
that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise
any-thing to eat. They had brought flour and oat-meal from England.
But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise
corn on their new ground.
Win-throp sent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a
long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They
went to the sea-shore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to
get these to eat.
At last they set a day for every-body to fast and pray for food. The
gov-ern-or had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into
bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would
get any more.
Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His
bread had all been eaten up. His family were hungry. The gov-ern-or
gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel.
Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up toward Boston. It was loaded
with food for all the people.
The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The
fast day was turned into a thanks-giving day.
One day a man sent a very cross letter to Gov-ern-or Win-throp.
Win-throp sent it back to him. He said, "I cannot keep a letter that
might make me angry." Then the man that had written the cross letter
wrote to Win-throp, "By con-quer-ing yourself, you have
MARQUETTE IN IOWA.
The first white men to go into the middle of our country were
French-men. The French had settled in Can-a-da. They sent
mis-sion-a-ries to preach to the Indians in the West. They also sent
traders to buy furs from the Indians.
The French-men heard the Indians talk about a great river in the West.
But no French-man had ever gone far enough to see the Mis-sis-sip-pi.
Mar-quette was a priest. Jo-li-et was a trader. These two men were
sent to find the great river that the Indians talked about.
They trav-eled in two birch canoes. They took five men to paddle the
canoes. They took some smoked meat to eat on the way. They also took
some Indian corn. They had trinkets to trade to the Indians.
Hatchets, and beads, and bits of cloth were the money they used to pay
the Indians for what they wanted.
The friendly Indians in Wis-con-sin tried to per-suade them not to go.
They told them that the Indians on the great river would kill them.
The friendly Indians also told them that there was a demon in one part
of the river. They said that this demon roared so loud that he could
be heard a long way off. They said that the demon would draw the
trav-el-ers down into the water. Then they told about great monsters
that ate up men and their canoes.
But Mar-quette and the men with him thought they would risk the
journey. They would not turn back for fear of the demon or
The two little canoes went down the Wis-con-sin River. After some days
they came to the Mis-sis-sip-pi. More than a hundred years before, the
Spaniards had seen the lower part of this river. But no white man had
ever seen this part of the great river. Mar-quette did not know that
any white man had ever seen any part of the Mis-sis-sip-pi.
The two little canoes now turned their bows down the river. Some-times
they saw great herds of buf-fa-loes. Some of these came to the bank of
the river to look at the men in the canoes. They had long, shaggy
manes, which hung down over their eyes.
For two weeks the trav-el-ers paddled down the river. In all this time
they did not see any Indians. After they had gone hundreds of miles in
this way, they came to a place where they saw tracks in the mud. It
was in what is now the State of I-o-wa.
Mar-quette and Jo-li-et left the men in their canoes, and followed the
tracks. After walking two hours, they came to an Indian village. The
Frenchmen came near enough to hear the Indians talking. The Indians
did not see them.
Jo-li-et and Mar-quette did not know whether the Indians would kill
them or not. They said a short prayer. Then they stood out in full
view, and gave a loud shout.
The Indians came out of their tents like bees. They stared at the
strangers. Then four Indians came toward them. These Indians carried a
peace pipe. They held this up toward the sun. This meant that they
The Indians now offered the peace pipe to the French-men. The
French-men took it, and smoked with the Indians. This was the Indian
way of saying, "We are friends."
[Illustration: Marquette and Joliet]
Mar-quette asked the Indians what tribe they belonged to.
They told him that they were of the tribe called the Il-li-nois.
They took Jo-li-et and Mar-quette into their village. They came to the
door of a large wig-wam. A chief stood in the door. He shaded his eyes
with both hands, as if the sun were shining in his face. Then he made
a little speech.
He said, "French-men, how bright the sun shines when you come to see
us! We are all waiting for you. You shall now come into our houses
The Il-li-nois Indians made a feast for their new friends. First they
had mush of corn meal, with fat meat in it. One of the Indians fed the
Frenchmen as though they were babies. He put mush into their mouths
with a large spoon.
Then came some fish. The Indian that fed the vis-it-ors picked out the
bones with his fingers. Then he put the pieces of fish into their
mouths. After they had some roasted dog. The French-men did not like
this. Last, they were fed with buf-fa-lo meat.
The next morning six hundred Indians went to the canoes to tell the
Frenchmen good-by. They gave Mar-quette a young Indian slave. And they
gave him a peace pipe to carry with him.
When Mar-quette and his men left the Il-li-nois, they went on down the
river. The friendly Il-li-nois had told them that the Indians they
would see were bad, and that they would kill any one who came into
The Frenchmen had heard before this that there were demons and
monsters in the river. One day they saw some high rocks with pictures
painted on them. The ugly pictures made them think of these monsters.
They were painted in red, black, and green colors. They were pictures
of two Indian demons or gods.
Each one of these monsters was about the size of a calf. They had
horns as long as those of a deer. Their eyes were red. Their faces
were like a man's, but they were ugly and frightful. They had beards
like a tiger's. Their bodies were covered with scales like those on a
fish. Their long tails were wound round their bodies, and over their
heads, and down between their legs. The end of each tail was like that
of a fish.
The Indians prayed to these ugly gods when they passed in their
canoes. Even Mar-quette and his men were a little frightened when they
saw such pictures in a place so lonely. The Frenchmen went down the
river about twelve hundred miles. Some-times the Indians tried to kill
them, but by showing the peace pipe they made friends. At last they
turned back. Jo-li-et went to Can-a-da. Mar-quette preached to the
Indians in the West till he died.
WILLIAM PENN AND THE INDIANS.
The King of England gave all the land in Penn-syl-va-ni-a to William
Penn. The King made Penn a kind of king over Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Penn
could make the laws of this new country. But he let the people make
their own laws.
Penn wanted to be friendly with the Indians. He paid them for all the
land his people wanted to live on. Before he went to Penn-syl-va-ni-a
he wrote a letter to the Indians. He told them in this letter that he
would not let any of his people do any harm to the Indians. He said he
would punish any-body that did any wrong to an Indian. This letter was
read to the Indians in their own lan-guage.
Soon after this Penn got into a ship and sailed from England. He
sailed to Penn-syl-va-ni-a. When he came there, he sent word to the
tribes of Indians to come to meet him.
The Indians met under a great elm tree on the bank of the river.
Indians like to hold their solemn meetings out of doors. They sit on
the ground. They say that the earth is the Indian's mother.
When Penn came to the place of meeting, he found the woods full of
Indians. As far as he could see, there were crowds of Indians. Penn's
friends were few. They had no guns.
Penn had a bright blue sash round his waist. One of the Indian chiefs,
who was the great chief, put on a kind of cap or crown. In the middle
of this was a small horn. The head chief wore this only at such great
meetings as this one.
When the great chief had put on his horn, all the other chiefs and
great men of the Indians put down their guns. Then they sat down in
front of Penn in the form of a half-moon. Then the great chief told
Penn that the Indians were ready to hear what he had to say.
Penn had a large paper in which he had written all the things that he
and his friends had promised to the Indians. He had written all the
promises that the Indians were to make to the white people. This was
to make them friends. When Penn had read this to them, it was
explained to them in their own lan-guage. Penn told them that they
might stay in the country that they had sold to the white people. The
land would belong to both the Indians and the white people.
Then Penn laid the large paper down on the ground. That was to show
them, he said, that the ground was to belong to the Indians and the
white people to-geth-er.
He said that there might be quarrels between some of the white people
and some of the Indians. But they would settle any quarrels without
fighting. When-ever there should be a quarrel, the Indians were to
pick out six Indians. The white people should also pick out six of
their men. These were to meet, and settle the quarrel.
Penn said, "I will not call you my children, because fathers
some-times whip their children. I will not call you brothers, because
brothers sometimes fall out. But I will call you the same person as
the white people. We are the two parts of the same body."
The Indians could not write. But they had their way of putting down
things that they wished to have re-mem-bered. They gave Penn a belt of
shell beads. These beads are called wam-pum. Some wam-pum is white.
Some is purple.
They made this belt for Penn of white beads. In the middle of the belt
they made a picture of purple beads. It is a picture of a white man
and an Indian. They have hold of each other's hands. When they gave
this belt to Penn, they said, "We will live with William Penn and his
children as long as the sun and moon shall last."
[Illustration: Penn jumping with the Indians.]
Penn took up the great paper from the ground. He handed it to the
great chief that wore the horn on his head. He told the Indians to
keep it and hand it to their children's children, that they might know
what he had said. Then he gave them many presents of such things as
they liked. They gave Penn a name in their own language. They named
him "O-nas." That was their word for a feather. As the white people
used a pen made out of a quill or feather, they called a pen "o-nas."
That is why they called William Penn "Brother O-nas."
Penn sometimes went to see the Indians. He talked to them, and gave
them friendly advice. Once he saw some of them jumping. They were
trying to see who could jump the farthest.
Penn had been a very active boy. He knew how to jump very well. He
went to the place where the Indians were jumping. He jumped farther
than any of them.
When the great gov-ern-or took part in their sport, the Indians were
pleased. They loved Brother O-nas more than ever.
ONE LITTLE BAG OF RICE
The first white people that came to this country hardly knew how to
get their living here. They did not know what would grow best in
Many of the white people learned to hunt. All the land was covered
with trees. In the woods were many animals whose flesh was good to
eat. There were deer, and bears, and great shaggy buf-fa-loes. There
were rabbits and squirrels. And there were many kinds of birds. The
hunters shot wild ducks, wild turkeys, wild geese, and pigeons. The
people also caught many fishes out of the rivers.
Then there were animals with fur on their backs. The people killed
these and sold their skins. In this way many made their living.
Other people spent their time in cutting down the trees. They sawed
the trees into timbers and boards. Some of it they split into staves
to make barrels. They sent the staves and other sorts of timber to
other countries to be sold. In South Car-o-li-na men made tar and
pitch out of the pine trees.
But there was a wise man in South Car-o-li-na. He was one of those men
that find out better ways of doing. His name was Thomas Smith.
Thomas Smith had once lived in a large island thousands of miles away
from South Car-o-li-na. In that island he had seen the people raising
rice. He saw that it was planted in wet ground. He said that he would
like to try it in South Car-o-li-na. But he could not get any seed
rice to plant. The rice that people eat is not fit to sow.
One day a ship came to Charles-ton, where Thomas Smith lived. It had
been driven there by storms. The ship came from the large island
where Smith had seen rice grow. The captain of this ship was an old
friend of Smith.
The two old friends met once more. Thomas Smith told the captain that
he wanted some rice for seed. The captain called the cook of his ship,
and asked him if he had any. The cook had one little bag of seed rice.
The captain gave this to his friend.
There was some wet ground at the back of Smith's garden. In this wet
ground he sowed some of the rice. It grew finely.
He gathered a good deal of rice in his garden that year. He gave part
of this to his friends. They all sowed it. The next year there was a
great deal of rice.
After a while the wet land in South Car-o-li-na was turned to rice
fields. Every year many thousands of barrels of rice were sent away
to be sold.
All this came from one little bag of rice and one wise man.
[Illustration: Rice Plant.]
THE STORY OF A WISE WOMAN.
You have read how Thomas Smith first raised rice in Car-o-li-na. After
his death there lived in South Car-o-li-na a wise young woman. She
showed the people how to raise another plant. Her name was
The father of Miss Lucas did not live in Car-o-li-na. He was
gov-ern-or of one of the islands of the West Indies. Miss Lucas was
fond of trying new things. She often got seeds from her father. These
she planted in South Carolina.
Her father sent her some seeds of the in-di-go plant. She sowed some
of these in March. But there came a frost. The in-di-go plant cannot
stand frost. Her plants all died.
But Miss Lucas did not give up. She sowed some more seeds in April.
These grew very well until a cut-worm found them. The worm wished to
try new things, too. So he ate off the in-di-go plants.
But Miss Lucas was one of the people who try, try again. She had lost
her indigo plants twice. Once more she sowed some of the seed. This
time the plants grew very well.
Miss Lucas wrote to her father about it. He sent her a man who knew
how to get the indigo out of the plant.
The man tried not to show Miss Lucas how to make the indigo. He did
not wish the people in South Carolina to learn how to make it. He was
afraid his own people would not get so much for their indigo.
So he would not explain just how it ought to be done. He spoiled the
indigo on purpose.
But Miss Lucas watched him closely. She found out how the indigo ought
to be made. Some of her father's land in South Carolina was now
planted with the indigo plants.
[Illustration: Indigo Plant.]
Then Miss Lucas was married. She became Mrs. Pinck-ney. Her father
gave her all the indigo growing on his land in South Carolina. It was
all saved for seed. Some of the seed Mrs. Pinck-ney gave to her
friends. Some of it her husband sowed. It all grew, and was made into
that blue dye that we call indigo. When it is used in washing clothes,
it is called bluing.
In a few years, more than a million pounds of indigo were made in
South Carolina every year. Many people got rich by it. And it was all
because Miss Lucas did not give up.
FRANKLIN HIS OWN TEACHER.
Few people ever knew so many things as Franklin. Men said, "How did he
ever learn so many things?" For he had been a poor boy who had to work
for a living. He could not go to school at all after he was ten
His father made soap and candles. Little Ben Frank-lin had to cut
wicks for the candles. He also filled the candle molds. And he sold
soap and candles, and ran on errands. But when he was not at work he
spent his time in reading good books. What little money he got he used
to buy books with.
He read the old story of "Pil-grim's Prog-ress," and liked it so well
that he bought all the other stories by the same man. But as he wanted
more books, and had not money to buy them, he sold all of these
books. The next he bought were some little his-to-ry books. These were
made to sell very cheap, and they were sold by peddlers. He managed to
buy forty or fifty of these little books of his-to-ry.
Another way that he had of learning was by seeing things with his own
eyes. His father took him to see car-pen-ters at work with their saws
and planes. He also saw masons laying bricks. And he went to see men
making brass and copper kettles. And he saw a man with a turning lathe
making the round legs of chairs. Other men were at work making knives.
Some things people learn out of books, and some things they have to
see for them-selves.
As he was fond of books, Ben's father thought that it would be a good
plan to send him to learn to print them. So the boy went to work in
his brother's printing office. Here he passed his spare time in
reading. He borrowed some books out of the stores where books were
sold. He would sit up a great part of the night sometimes to read one
of these books. He wished to return it when the book-store opened in
the morning. One man who had many books lent to Ben such of his books
as he wanted.
It was part of the bargain that Ben's brother should pay his board.
The boy offered to board himself if his brother would give him half
what it cost to pay for his board.
[Illustration: Franklin at Study.]
His brother was glad to do this, and Ben saved part of the money and
bought books with it. He was a healthy boy, and it did not hurt him
to live mostly on bread and butter. Sometimes he bought a little pie
or a handful of raisins.
Long before he was a man, people said, "How much the boy knows!" This
He did not waste his time.
He read good books.
He saw things for himself.
HOW FRANKLIN FOUND OUT THINGS.
Frank-lin thought that ants know how to tell things to one another. He
thought that they talk by some kind of signs. When an ant has found a
dead fly too big for him to drag away, he will run off and get some
other ant to help him. Frank-lin thought that ants have some way of
telling other ants that there is work to do.
One day he found some ants eating mo-las-ses out of a little jar in a
closet. He shook them out. Then he tied a string to the jar, and hung
it on a nail in the ceiling. But he had not got all the ants out of
the jar. One little ant liked sweet things so well that he staid in
the jar, and kept on eating like a greedy boy.
[Illustration: Ants talking (magnified)]
At last when this greedy ant had eaten all that he could, he started
to go home. Frank-lin saw him climb over the rim of the jar. Then the
ant ran down the outside of the jar. But when he got to the bottom, he
did not find any shelf there. He went all round the jar. There was no
way to get down to the floor. The ant ran this way and that way, but
he could not get down.
[Illustration: An Ants Feeler (magnified)]
At last the greedy ant thought he would see if he could go up. He
climbed up the string to the ceiling. Then he went down the wall. He
came to his own hole at last, no doubt.
After a while he got hungry again, perhaps. He thought about that jar
of sweets at the end of a string. Then perhaps he told the other ants.
Maybe he let them know that there was a string by which they could get
down to the jar.
In about half an hour after the ant had gone up the string, Franklin
saw a swarm of ants going down the string. They marched in a line, one
after another. Soon there were two lines of ants on the string. The
ants in one line were going down to get at the sweet food. The ants in
the other line were marching up the other side of the string to go
home. Do you think that the greedy ant told the other ants about
And did he tell them that there was a string by which an ant could get
And did he tell it by speaking, or by signs that he made with his
If you watch two ants when they meet, you will see that they touch
their feelers together, as if they said "Good-morning!"
[Illustration: FRANKLIN ASKS THE SUNSHINE SOMETHING.]
One day Franklin was eating dinner at the house of a friend. The lady
of the house, when she poured out the coffee, found that it was
She said, "I am sorry that the coffee is cold. It is because the
servant forgot to scour the coffee-pot. Coffee gets cold more quickly
when the coffee-pot is not bright."
This set Franklin to thinking. He thought that a black or dull thing
would cool more quickly than a white or bright one. That made him
think that a black thing would take in heat more quickly than a
He wanted to find out if this were true or not. There was no-body who
knew, so there was no-body to ask. But Franklin thought that he would
ask the sunshine. Maybe the sunshine would tell him whether a black
thing would heat more quickly than a white thing.
But how could he ask the sunshine?
There was snow on the ground. Franklin spread a white cloth on the
snow. Then he spread a black cloth on the snow near the white one.
When he came to look at them, he saw that the snow under the black
cloth melted away much sooner than that under the white cloth.
That is the way that the sunshine told him that black would take in
heat more quickly than white. After he had found this out, many people
got white hats to wear in the summer time. A white hat is cooler than
a black one.
Some time when there is snow on the ground, you can take a white and a
black cloth and ask the sunshine the same question.
FRANKLIN AND THE KITE.
When Franklin wanted to know whether the ants could talk or not, he
asked the ants, and they told him. When he wanted to know some-thing
else, he asked the sunshine about it, as you have read in another
story. That is the way that Franklin came to know so many things. He
knew how to ask questions of every-thing.
Once he asked the light-ning a question. And the light-ning gave him
Before the time of Franklin, people did not know what light-ning was.
They did not know what made the thunder. Franklin thought much about
it. At last he proved what it was. He asked the lightning a question,
and made it tell what it was. To tell you this story, I shall have
to use one big word. Maybe it is too big for some of my little friends
that will read this book. Let us divide it into parts. Then you will
not be afraid of it. The big word is e-lec-tric-i-ty.
Those of you who live in towns have seen the streets lighted by
e-lec-tric-i-ty. But in Franklin's time there were no such lights.
People knew very little about this strange thing with a big name.
But Franklin found out many things about it that nobody had ever known
before. He began to think that the little sparks he got from
e-lec-tric-i-ty were small flashes of lightning. He thought that the
little cracking sound of these sparks was a kind of baby thunder.
So he thought that he would try to catch a little bit of lightning.
Perhaps he could put it into one of the little bottles used to hold
e-lec-tric-i-ty. Then if it behaved like e-lec-tric-i-ty, he would
know what it was. But catching lightning is not easy. How do you think
he did it?
First he made a kite. It was not a kite just like a boy's kite. He
wanted a kite that would fly when it rained. Rain would spoil a paper
kite in a minute. So Franklin used a silk hand-ker-chief to cover his
kite, instead of paper.
[Illustration: Franklin's Discovery.]
He put a little sharp-pointed wire at the top of his kite. This was
a kind of lightning rod to draw the lightning into the kite. His kite
string was a common hemp string. To this he tied a key, because
lightning will follow metal. The end of the string that he held in his
hand was a silk ribbon, which was tied to the hemp string of the kite.
E-lec-tric-ity will not follow silk.
One night when there was a storm coming, he went out with his son.
They stood under a cow shed, and he sent his kite up in the air.
After a while he held his knuckle to the key. A tiny spark flashed
between the key and his knuckle. It was a little flash of lightning.
Then he took his little bottle fixed to hold e-lec-tric-i-ty. He
filled it with the e-lec-tric-i-ty that came from the key. He carried
home a bottle of lightning. So he found out what made it thunder
After that he used to bring the lightning into his house on rods and
wires. He made the lightning ring bells and do many other
When Franklin was an old man, he wrote a cu-ri-ous letter. In that
letter he told a story. It was about some-thing that happened to him
when he was a boy.
Here is the story put into verses, so that you will re-member it
better. Some day you can read the story as Franklin told it himself.
You will hear people say, "He paid too much for the whistle." The
saying came from this story.
TOO MUCH FOR THE WHISTLE
As Ben with pennies in his pocket
Went strolling down the street,
"Toot-toot! toot-toot!" there came a whistle
From a boy he chanced to meet,
Whistling fit to burst his buttons,
Blowing hard and stepping high.
Then Benny said, "I'll buy your whistle;"
But "Toot! toot-toot!" was the reply.
But Benny counted out his pennies,
The whistling boy began to smile;
With one last toot he gave the whistle
To Ben, and took his penny pile.
Now homeward goes the whistling Benny,
As proud as any foolish boy,
And in his pockets not a penny,
But in his mouth a noisy toy.
"Ah, Benny, Benny!" cries his mother,
"I cannot stand your ugly noise."
"Stop, Benny, Benny!" says his father,
"I cannot talk, you drown my voice."
At last the whistling boy re-mem-bers
How much his money might have bought
"Too many pennies for a whistle,"
Is little Benny's ugly thought.
Too many pennies for a whistle
Is what we all pay, you and I,
Just for a little foolish pleasure
Pay a price that's quite too high.
JOHN STARK AND THE INDIANS.
John Stark was a famous gen-er-al in the Rev-o-lu-tion. But this
story is not about the Rev-o-lu-tion. It is about Stark before he
became a soldier.
When he was a young man, Stark went into the woods. His brother and
two other young men were with him. They lived in a camp. It was far
away from any houses.
The young men set traps for animals in many places. They wanted to
catch the animals that have fur on them. They wanted to get the
skins to sell.
The Indians were at war with the white people. One day the young men
saw the tracks of Indians. Then they knew that it was not safe for
them to stay in the woods any longer. They began to get ready to
John Stark went out to bring in the traps set for animals. The Indians
found him, and made him a pris-on-er. They asked him where his
Stark did not wish his friends to be taken. So he pointed the wrong
way. He took the Indians a long way from the other young men.
But John Stark's friends did not know that he was a pris-on-er. When
he did not come back, they thought that he had lost his way. They
fired their guns to let him know where they were.
When the Indians heard the guns, they knew where the other hunters
were. They went down to the river, and waited for them. When one of
the men came down, they caught him.
Then John Stark's brother and the other man came down the river in a
boat. The Indians told Stark to call them. They wanted them to come
over where the Indians were. Then they could take them.
John knew that the Indians were cruel. He knew that if he did not do
what they told him to, they might kill him. But he wished to save his
brother. He called to his brother to row for the other shore.
When they turned toward the other shore, the Indians fired at them.
But Stark knocked up two of their guns. They did not hit the white
men. Then some of the other Indians fired. Stark knocked up their guns
also. But the man that was with his brother was killed.
John now called to his brother, "Run! for all the Indians' guns are
His brother got away. The Indians were very angry with John. They did
not kill him. But they gave him a good beating. These Indians were
from Can-a-da. They took their pris-on-ers to their own village. When
they were coming home, they shouted to let the people know that they
[Illustration: Stark running the Gauntlet]
The young Indian war-ri-ors stood in two rows in the village. Each
prisoner had to run between these two rows of Indians. As he passed,
every one of the Indians hit him as hard as he could with a stick, or
a club, or a stone.
The young man who was with Stark was badly hurt in running between
these lines. But John Stark knew the Indians. He knew that they liked
a brave man.
When it came his turn to run, he snatched a club from one of the
Indians. With this club he fought his way down the lines. He hit hard,
now on this side, and now on that. The young Indians got out of his
way. The old Indians who were looking on sat and laughed at the
others. They said that Stark was a brave man.
One day the Indians gave him a hoe and told him to hoe corn. He knew
that the Indian war-ri-ors would not work. They think it a shame for a
man to work. Their work is left for slaves and women. So Stark
pre-tend-ed that he did not know how to hoe. He dug up the corn
instead of the weeds. Then he threw the hoe into the river. He said,
"That is work for slaves and women."
Then the Indians were pleased with him. They called him the young
After a while some white men paid the Indians a hundred and three
dollars to let Stark go home. They charged more for him than for the
other man, because they thought that he must be a young chief. Stark
went hunting again. He had to get some furs to pay back the money the
men had paid the Indians for him. He took good care that the Indians
should not catch him again.
He af-ter-wards became a great fighter against the Indians. He had
learned their ways while he was among them. He knew better how to
fight them than almost any-body else.
In the Rev-o-lu-tion he was a gen-er-al. He fought the British at
Ben-ning-ton, and won a great vic-to-ry.
A GREAT GOOD MAN.
Some men are great soldiers. Some are great law-makers. Some men write
great books. Some men make great in-ven-tions. Some men are
Now you are going to read about a man that was great in none of these
things. He was not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. He was
never rich. He was a poor school-teacher. He never held any office.
And yet he was a great man. He was great for his goodness.
He was born in France. But most of his life was passed in
Phil-a-del-phi-a before the Rev-o-lu-tion.
He was twenty-five years old when he became a school-teacher. He
thought that he could do more good in teaching than in any other way.
School-masters in his time were not like our teachers. Children were
treated like little animals. In old times the school-master was a
little king. He walked and talked as if he knew every-thing. He wanted
all the children to be afraid of him.
But Ben-e-zet was not that kind of man. He was very gentle. He treated
the children more kindly than their fathers and mothers did. Nobody in
this country had ever seen a teacher like him.
He built a play-room for the children of his school. He used to take
them to this room during school time for a little a-muse-ment. He
man-aged each child as he found best. Some he could persuade to be
good. Some he shamed into being good. But this was very dif-fer-ent
from the cruel beatings that other teachers of that time gave
Of course the children came to love him very much. After they grew to
be men and women, they kept their love for the good little
schoolmaster. As long as they lived they listened to his advice.
There were no good school-books in his time. He wrote some little
books to make learning easier to his pupils. He taught them many
things not in their books. He taught them to be kind to brutes, and
gentle with one another. He taught them to be noble. He made them
despise every kind of meanness.
He was a great teacher. That is better than being a great soldier.
Ben-e-zet was a good man in many ways. He was the friend of all poor
people. Once he found a poor man suf-fer-ing with cold for want of a
coat. He took off his own coat in the street and put it on the poor
man, and then went home in his shirt sleeves.
In those days negroes were stolen from Af-ri-ca to be sold into
A-mer-i-ca. Ben-e-zet wrote little books against this wrong. He sent
these books over all the world almost. He also tried to persuade the
white men of his own country to be honest and kind with the Indians.
Great men in other countries were pleased with his books. They wrote
him letters. When any of them came to this country, they went to see
him. They wanted to see a man that was good to everybody. His house
was a plain one. But great men liked to sit at the table of the good
There was war between the English and French at that time. Can-a-da
belonged to the French. Our country belonged to the English. There was
a country called A-ca-di-a. It was a part of what is now No-va
Sco-ti-a. The people of A-ca-di-a were French.
[Illustration: Departure of the Acadians]
The English took the A-ca-di-ans away from their homes. They sent them
to various places. Many families were divided. The poor A-ca-di-ans
lost their homes and all that they had.
Many hundreds of these people were sent to Phil-a-del-phi-a. Benezet
became their friend. As he was born in France, he could speak their
lan-guage. He got a large house built for some of them to stay in. He
got food and clothing for them. He helped them to get work, and did
them good in many other ways.
One day Benezet's wife came to him with a troubled face. She said,
"There have been thieves in the house. Two of my blankets have
"Never mind, my dear," said Benezet, "I gave them to some of the poor
One old Acadian was afraid of Benezet. He did not see why Benezet
should take so much trouble for other people. He thought that Benezet
was only trying to get a chance to sell the Acadians for slaves. When
Benezet heard this, he had a good laugh.
Many years after this the Rev-o-lu-tion broke out. It brought trouble
to many people. Benezet helped as many as he could.
After a while the British army took Phil-a-del-phi-a. They sent their
soldiers to stay in the houses of the people. The people had to take
care of the soldiers. This was very hard for the poor people.
One day Benezet saw a poor woman. Her face showed that she was in
"Friend, what is the matter?" Benezet said to her. She told him that
six soldiers of the British army had been sent to stay in her house.
She was a washer-woman. But while the soldiers filled up the house she
could not do any washing. She and her children were in want.
Benezet went right away to see the gen-er-al that was in command of
the soldiers. The good man was in such a hurry that he forgot to get a
pass. The soldiers at the gen-er-al's door would not let him go in.
At last some one told the gen-er-al that a queer-looking fellow wanted
to see him.
"Let him come up," said the general.
The odd little man came in. He told the general all about the troubles
of the poor washer-woman. The general sent word that the soldiers must
not stay any longer in her house.
The general liked the kind little man. He told him to come to see him
again. He told the soldiers at his door to let Benezet come in
when-ever he wished to.
Soon after the Rev-o-lu-tion was over, Benezet was taken ill. When the
people of Phil-a-del-phi-a heard that he was ill, they gathered in
crowds about his house. Every-body loved him. Every-body wanted to
know whether he was better or not. At last the doctors said he could
not get well. Then the people wished to see the good man once more.
The doors were opened. The rooms and halls of his house were filled
with people coming to say good-bye to Benezet, and going away again.
When he was buried, it seemed as if all Phil-a-del-phi-a had come to
his fu-ner-al. The rich and the poor, the black and the white, crowded
the streets. The city had never seen so great a fu-ner-al.
In the company was an A-mer-i-can general. He said, "I would rather be
An-tho-ny Benezet in that coffin than General Wash-ing-ton in all
PUTNAM AND THE WOLF.
Putnam was a brave soldier. He fought many battles against the
Indians. After that he became a general in the Revolution. But this is
a story of his battle with a wolf. It took place when he was a young
man, before he was a soldier.
Putnam lived in Con-nect-i-cut. In the woods there were still a few
wolves. One old wolf came to Putnam's neigh-bor-hood every winter. She
always brought a family of young wolves with her.
The hunters would always kill the young wolves. But they could not
find the old mother wolf. She knew how to keep out of the way.
The farmers tried to catch her in their traps. But she was too
cunning. She had had one good lesson when she was young. She had put
the toes of one foot into a steel trap. The trap had snipped them off.
After that she was more careful.
One winter night she went out to get some meat. She came to Putnam's
flock of sheep and goats. She killed some of them. She found it
There were no dogs about. The poor sheep had nobody to protect them.
So the old wolf kept on killing. One sheep was enough for her supper.
But she killed the rest just for sport. She killed seventy sheep and
goats that night.
Putnam and his friends set out to find the old sheep killer. There
were six men of them. They agreed that two of them should hunt for her
at a time. Then another two should begin as soon as the first two
should stop. So she would be hunted day and night.
The hunters found her track in the snow. There could be no mistake
about it. The track made by one of her feet was shorter than those
made by the other feet. That was because one of her feet had been
caught in a trap.
The hunters found that the old wolf had gone a long way off. Perhaps
she felt guilty. She must have thought that she would be hunted. She
had trotted away for a whole night.
Then she turned and went back again. She was getting hungry by this
time. She wanted some more sheep.
The men followed her tracks back again. The dogs drove her into a
hole. It was not far from Putnam's house.
All the farmers came to help catch her. They sent the dogs into the
cave where the wolf was. But the wolf bit the dogs, and drove them
Then the men put a pile of straw in the mouth of the cave. They set
the straw on fire. It filled the cave with smoke. But Mrs. Wolf did
not come out.
Then they burned brim-stone in the cave. It must have made the wolf
sneeze. But the cave was deep. She went as far in as she could, and
staid there. She thought that the smell of brimstone was not so bad as
the dogs and men who wanted to kill her.
Putnam wanted to send his negro into the cave to drive out the wolf.
But the negro thought that he would rather stay out.
Then Putnam said that he would go in himself. He tied a rope to his
legs. Then he got some pieces of birch-bark. He set fire to these. He
knew that wild animals do not like to face a fire.
He got down on his hands and knees. He held the blazing bark in his
hand. He crawled through the small hole into the cave. There was not
room for him to stand up.
At first the cave went downward into the ground. Then it was level a
little way. Then it went upward. At the very back of this part of the
cave was the wolf. Putnam crawled up until he could see the
When the wolf saw the fire, she gave a sudden growl. Putnam jerked the
rope that was tied to his leg. The men outside thought that the wolf
had caught him. They pulled on the other end of the rope.
The men pulled as fast as they could. When they had drawn Putnam out,
his clothes were torn. He was badly scratched by the rocks.
He now got his gun. He held it in one hand. He held the burning
birch-bark in the other. He crawled into the cave again.
When the wolf saw him coming again, she was very angry. She snapped
her teeth. She got ready to spring on him. She meant to kill him as
she had killed his sheep. Putnam fired at her head. As soon as his
gun went off, he jerked the rope. His friends pulled him out.
He waited awhile for the smoke of his gun to clear up. Then he went in
once more. He wanted to see if the wolf was dead.
He found her lying down. He tapped her nose with his birch-bark. She
did not move. He took hold of her. Then he jerked the rope.
This time the men saw him come out, bringing the dead wolf. Now the
sheep would have some peace.
WASHINGTON AND HIS HATCHET
It was Ar-bor Day in the Mos-sy Hill School, Johnny Little-john had to
speak a piece that had some-thing to do with trees. He thought it
would be a good plan to say some-thing about the little cherry tree
that Washington spoiled with his hatch-et, when he was a little boy.
This is what he said:
He had a hatch-et--little George--
A hatch-et bright and new,
And sharp enough to cut a stick--
A little stick--in two.
He hacked and whacked and whacked and hacked,
This sturd-y little man;
He hacked a log and hacked a fence,
As round about he ran.
He hacked his father's cher-ry tree
And made an ug-ly spot;
The bark was soft, the hatch-et sharp,
And little George forgot.
You know the rest. The father frowned
And asked the rea-son why;
You know the good old story runs
He could not tell a lie.
The boy that chopped that cher-ry tree
Soon grew to be a youth;
At work and books he hacked away,
And still he told the truth:
The youth became a fa-mous man,
Above six feet in height,
And when he had good work to do
He hacked with all his might.
He fought the ar-mies that the king
Had sent across the sea;
He bat-tled up and down the land
To set his country free.
For seven long years he, hacked and whacked
With all his might and main
Until the Brit-ish sailed away
And did not come again.
HOW BENNY WEST LEARNED TO BE A PAINTER.
In old times there lived in Penn-syl-va-ni-a a little
fellow whose name was Ben-ja-min West. He
lived in a long stone house.
[Illustration: Painting Baby's Portrait]
He had never seen a picture. The country was new, and there were not many
pictures in it. Benny's father was a Friend or Quaker. The Friends of
that day did not think that pictures were useful things to make or to
have. Before he was seven years old, this little boy began to draw
pictures. One day he was watching the cradle of his sister's child.
The baby smiled. Benny was so pleased with her beauty, that he made a
picture of her in red and black ink. The picture of the baby pleased
his mother when she saw it. That was very pleasant to the boy.
He made other pictures. At school he used to draw with a pen before he
could write. He made pictures of birds and of animals. Sometimes he
would draw flowers.
[Illustration: Flower and Fruit of the Poke-Berry.]
He liked to draw so well, that sometimes he forgot to do his work. His
father sent him to work in the field one day. The father went out to
see how well he was doing his work. Benny was no-where to be found. At
last his father saw him sitting under a large poke-weed. He was making
pictures. He had squeezed the juice out of some poke-berries. The
juice of poke-berries is deep red. With this the boy had made his
pictures. When the father looked at them, he was surprised. There were
portraits of every member of the family. His father knew
Up to this time Benny had no paints nor any brushes. The Indians had
not all gone away from that neigh-bor-hood. The Indians paint their
faces with red and yellow colors. These colors they make them-selves.
Sometimes they prepare them from the juice of some plant. Sometimes
they get them by finding red or yellow earth. Some of the Indians can
make rough pictures with these colors.
The Indians near the house of Benny's father must have liked the boy.
They showed him how to make red and yellow colors for himself. He got
some of his mother's indigo to make blue. He now had red, yellow, and
blue. By mixing these three, the other colors that he wanted could
But he had no brush to paint with. He took some long hairs from the
cat's tail. Of these he made his brushes. He used so many of the cat's
hairs, that her tail began to look bare. Everybody in the house began
to wonder what was the matter with pussy's tail. At last Benny told
where he got his brushes.
[Illustration: Making a Paint Brush.]
A cousin of Benny's came from the city on a visit. He saw some of the
boy's drawings. When he went home, he sent Benny a box of paints. With
the paints were some brushes. And there was some canvas such as
pictures are painted on. And that was not all. There were in the box
six beautiful en-grav-ings.
The little painter now felt himself rich. He was so happy that he
could hardly sleep at all. At night he put the box that held his
treasures on a chair by his bed. As soon as daylight came, he carried
the precious box to the garret. The garret of the long stone house was
his stu-di-o. Here he worked away all day long. He did not go to
school at all. Perhaps he forgot that there was any school. Perhaps
the little artist could not tear himself away from his work.
But the schoolmaster missed him. He came to ask if Benny was ill. The
mother was vexed when she found that he had staid away from school.
She went to look for the naughty boy. After a while she found the
little truant. He was hard at work in his garret. She saw what he
had been doing. He had not copied any of his new en-grav-ings. He had
made up a new picture by taking one person out of one en-grav-ing, and
another out of another. He had copied these so that they made a
picture that he had thought of for himself.
His mother could not find it in her heart to punish him. She was too
much pleased with the picture he was making. This picture was not
finished. But his mother would not let him finish it. She was afraid
he would spoil it if he did anything more on it.
The good people called Friends did not like the making of pictures, as
I said. But they thought that Benny West had a talent that he ought to
use. So he went to Phil-a-del-phi-a to study his art. After a while he
sailed away to It-a-ly to see the pictures that great artists
At last he settled in England. The King of England was at that time
the king of this country too. The king liked West's pictures. West
became the king's painter. He came to be the most famous painter
He liked to remember his boyish work. He liked to remember the time
when he was a little Quaker boy making his paints of poke-juice and
WASHINGTON'S CHRISTMAS GIFT.
Washington was fighting to set this country free. But the army that
the King of England sent to fight him was stronger than Washington's
army. Washington was beaten and driven out of Brook-lyn. Then he had
to leave New York. After that, he marched away into New Jersey to save
his army from being taken. At last he crossed the Del-a-ware River.
Here he was safe for a while.
Some of the Hes-sian soldiers that the king had hired to fight against
the Americans came to Trenton. Trenton is on the Del-a-ware River.
Washington and his men were on the other side of the Del-a-ware River
from the Hes-sians. Washington's men were dis-cour-aged. They had been
driven back all the way from Brook-lyn. It was winter, and they had no
warm houses to stay in. They had not even warm clothes. They were
dressed in old clothes that people had given them. Some of them were
bare-footed in this cold weather.
The Hes-sians and other soldiers of the king were waiting for the
river to freeze over. Then they would march across on the ice. They
meant to fight Washington once more, and break up his army. But
Washington was thinking about something too.
He was waiting for Christmas. He knew that the Hessian soldiers on the
other side of the river would eat and drink a great deal on
[Illustration: Marching to Trenton.]
The afternoon of Christmas came. The Hessians were singing and
drinking in Trenton. But Washington was marching up the river bank.
Some of his bare-foot men left blood marks on the snow as
The men and cannons were put into flat boats. These boats were pushed
across the river with poles. There were many great pieces of ice in
the river. But all night long the flat boats were pushed across and
then back again for more men. It was three o'clock on the morning
after Christmas when the last Americans crossed the river. It was
hailing and snowing, and it was very cold. Two or three of the
soldiers were frozen to death.
It was eight o'clock in the morning when Washington got to Trenton.
The Hessians were sleeping soundly. The sound of the American drums
waked them. They jumped out of their beds. They ran into the streets.
They tried to fight the Americans.
But it was too late. Washington had already taken their cannons. His
men were firing these at the Hessians. The Hessians ran into the
fields to get away. But the Americans caught them.
The battle was soon over. Washington had taken nine hundred prisoners.
This was called the battle of Trenton. It gave great joy to all the
Americans. It was Washington's Christmas gift to the country.
HOW WASHINGTON GOT OUT OF A TRAP.
After the battle of Trenton, Washington went back across the Delaware
River. He had not men enough to fight the whole British army.
But the Americans were glad when they heard that he had beaten the
Hessians. They sent him more soldiers. Then he went back across the
river to Trenton again.
There was a British general named Corn-wal-lis. He marched to Trenton.
He fought against Washington. Corn-wal-lis had more men than
Washington had. Night came, and they could not see to fight. There was
a little creek between the two armies.
Washington had not boats enough to carry his men across the river.
Corn-wal-lis was sure to beat him if they should fight a battle the
Cornwallis said, "I will catch the fox in the morning."
He called Washington a fox. He thought he had him in a trap.
Cornwallis sent for some more soldiers to come from Prince-ton in the
morning. He wanted them to help him catch the fox.
But foxes sometimes get out of traps.
When it was dark, Washington had all his camp fires lighted. He put
men to digging where the British could hear them. He made Cornwallis
think that he was throwing up banks of earth and getting ready to
fight in the morning.
But Washington did not stay in Trenton. He did not wish to be caught
like a fox in a trap. He could not get across the river. But he knew a
road that went round the place where Cornwallis and his army were. He
took that road and got behind the British army.
It was just like John waiting to catch James. James is in the house.
John is waiting at the front door to catch James when he comes out.
But James slips out by the back way. John hears him call "Hello!"
James has gone round behind him and got away.
Washington went out of Trenton in the darkness. You might say that he
marched out by the back door. He left Cornwallis watching the front
door. The Americans went away quietly. They left a few men to keep up
the fires, and make a noise like digging. Before morning these
slipped away too.
When morning came, Cornwallis went to catch his fox. But the fox was
not there. He looked for the Americans. There was the place where
they had been digging. Their camp fires were still burning. But where
had they gone?
Cornwallis thought that Washington had crossed the river by some
means. But soon he heard guns firing away back toward Princeton. He
thought that it must be thunder. But he found that it was a battle.
Then he knew that Washington had gone to Princeton.
Washington had marched all night. When he got to Princeton, he met the
British coming out to go to Trenton. They were going to help
Cornwallis to catch Washington. But Washington had come to Princeton
to catch them. He had a hard fight with the British at Princeton. But
at last he beat them.
When Cornwallis knew that the Americans had gone to Princeton, he
hurried there to help his men. But it was too late. Washington had
beaten the British at Princeton, and had gone on into the hills, where
he was safe.
The fox had got out of the trap.
WASHINGTON'S LAST BATTLE.
Washington had been fighting for seven years to drive the British
soldiers out of this country. But there were still two strong British
armies in America.
One of these armies was in New York. It had been there for years. The
other army was far away at Yorktown in Virginia. The British general
at Yorktown was Cornwallis. You have read how Washington got away from
him at Trenton.
The King of France had sent ships and soldiers to help the Americans.
But still Washington had not enough men to take New York from the
British. Yet he went on getting ready to attack the British in New
York. He had ovens built to bake bread for his men. He bought hay for
his horses. He had roads built to draw his cannons on.
He knew that the British in New York would hear about what he was
doing. He wanted them to think that he meant to come to New York and
fight them. When the British heard what the Americans were doing, they
got ready for the coming of Washington and the French. All at once
they found that Washington had gone. He and his men had marched away.
The French soldiers that had come to help him had gone with him.
Nobody knew what it meant. Washington's own men did not know where
they were going. They went from New Jersey into Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Then
they marched across Penn-syl-va-ni-a. Then they went into Mary-land.
They marched across that State, and then they went into Vir-gin-i-a.
By this time everybody could tell where Washington was going. People
could see that he was going straight to York-town. They knew that
Washington was going to fight his old enemy at York-town.
But he had kept his secret long enough. The British in New York could
not send help to Cornwallis. It was too late. The French ships sailed
to Vir-gin-i-a, and shut up Yorktown on the side of the sea.
Washington's men shut it up on the side of the land. They built great
banks of earth round it. On these banks of earth they put cannons.
The British could not get away. They fought bravely. But the Americans
and French came closer and closer.
Then the British tried to fight their way out. But they were driven
back. Then Cornwallis tried to get his men across the river. He
wanted to get out by the back door, as Washington had done. But the
Americans on the other side of the river drove them back again.
Washington had now caught Cornwallis in a trap.
The Americans fired red-hot cannon balls into Yorktown. These set the
houses on fire. At last Cornwallis had to give up. The British marched
out and laid down their guns and swords.
The British army in New York could not fight the Americans by itself.
So the British gave it up. Then there was peace after the long war.
The British pulled down the British flag and sailed away. The country
was free at last.
General Mar-i-on was one of the best fighters in the Revolution. He
was a homely little man. He was also a very good man. Another general
said, "Mar-i-on is good all over."
The American army had been beaten in South Car-o-li-na. Mar-i-on was
sent there to keep the British from taking the whole country.
Marion got to-geth-er a little army. His men had nothing but rough
clothes to wear. They had no guns but the old ones they had used to
shoot wild ducks and deer with.
Marion's men wanted swords. There were no swords to be had. But Marion
sent men to take the long saws out of the saw mills. These were taken
to black-smiths. The black-smiths cut the saws into pieces. These
pieces they hammered out into long, sharp swords.
Marion had not so many men as the British. He had no cannon. He could
not build forts. He could not stay long in one place, for fear the
British should come with a strong army and take him. He and his men
hid in the dark woods. Sometimes he changed his hiding place suddenly.
Even his own friends had hard work to find him.
From the dark woods he would come out suddenly. He would attack some
party of British soldiers. When the battle was over, he would go back
to the woods again.
When the British sent a strong army to catch him, he could not be
found. But soon he would be fighting the British in some new place. He
was always playing hide and seek.
The British called him the Swamp Fox. That was because he was so hard
to catch. They could not conquer the country until they could catch
Marion. And they never could catch the Swamp Fox. At one time Marion
came out of the woods to take a little British fort. This fort was on
the top of a high mound. It was one of the mounds built a long time
ago by the Indians.
Marion put his men all round the fort, so that the men in the fort
could not get out to get water. He thought that they would have to
give up. But the men in the fort dug a well inside the fort. Then
Marion had to think of another plan.
Marion's men went to the woods and cut down stout poles. They got a
great many poles. When night came, they laid a row of poles along-side
one another on the ground. Then they laid another row across these.
Then they laid another row on top of the last ones, and across the
other way again.
[Illustration: Marion's Tower.]
They laid a great many rows of poles one on top of another. They
crossed them this way and that. As the night went on, the pile grew
higher. Still they handed poles to top of the pile.
Before morning came, they had built a kind of tower. It was higher
than the Indian mound.
As soon as it was light, the men on Marion's tower began to shoot. The
British looked out. They saw a great tower with men on it. The men
could shoot down into the fort. The British could not stand it. They
had to give up. They were taken prisoners.
CLARK AND HIS MEN.
At the time of the Revolution there were but few people living on the
north side of the O-hi-o River. But there were many Indians there.
These Indians killed a great many white people in Ken-tuck-y.
The Indians were sent by British officers to do this killing. There
was a British fort at Vincennes in what is now In-di-an-a. There was
another British fort or post at Kas-kas-ki-a in what is now the State
George Rogers Clark was an American colonel. He wanted to stop the
murder of the settlers by the Indians. He thought that he could do it
by taking the British posts.
He had three hundred men. They went down the O-hi-o River in boats.
They landed near the mouth of the O-hi-o River. Then they marched a
hundred and thirty miles to Kas-kas-ki-a.
Kas-kas-ki-a was far away from the Americans. The people there did not
think that the Americans would come so far to attack them. When Clark
got there, they were all asleep. He marched in and took the town
before they waked up.
The people living in Kaskaskia were French. By treating them well,
Clark made them all friendly to the Americans.
When the British at Vin-cennes heard that Clark had taken Kaskaskia,
they thought that they would take it back again. But it was winter.
All the streams were full of water. They could not march till spring.
Then they would gather the Indians to help them, and take Clark
and his men.
But Clark thought that he would not wait to be taken. He thought that
he would just go and take the British. If he could manage to get to
Vin-cennes in the winter, he would not be expected.
Clark started with a hundred and seventy men. The country was nearly
all covered with water. The men were in the wet almost all the time.
Clark had hard work to keep his men cheerful. He did everything he
could to amuse them.
They had to wade through deep rivers. The water was icy cold. But
Clark made a joke of it. He kept them laughing whenever he could.
At one place the men refused to go through the freezing water. Clark
could not per-suade them to cross the river. He called to him a tall
sol-dier. He was the very tallest man in Clark's little army. Clark
said to him, "Take the little drummer boy on your shoulders."
The little drummer was soon seated high on the shoulders of the tall
man. "Now go ahead!" said Clark.
The soldier marched into the water. The little drummer beat a march on
his drum. Clark cried out, "Forward!" Then he plunged into the water
after the tall soldier. All the men went in after him. They were soon
safe on the other side.
At another river the little drummer was floated over on the top of his
drum. At last the men drew near to Vin-cennes. They could hear the
morning and evening gun in the British fort. But the worst of the way
was yet to pass. The Wa-bash River had risen over its banks. The water
was five miles wide. The men marched from one high ground to another
through the cold water. They caught an Indian with a canoe. In this
they got across the main river. But there was more water to cross. The
men were so hungry that some of them fell down in the water. They had
to be carried out.
Clark's men got frightened at last, and then they had no heart to go
any farther. But Clark remembered what the Indians did when they went
to war. He took a little gun-powder in his hand. He poured water on
it. Then he rubbed it on his face. It made his face black.
With his face blackened like an Indian's, he gave an Indian war-whoop.
The men followed him again.
The men were tired and hungry. But they soon reached dry ground. They
were now in sight of the fort. Clark marched his little army round and
round in such a way as to make it seem that he had many men with him.
He wrote a fierce letter to the British com-mand-er. He behaved like a
general with a large army.
After some fighting, the British com-mand-er gave up. Clark's little
army took the British fort. This brave action saved to our country the
land that lies between the Ohio River and the Lakes. It stopped the
sending of Indians to kill the settlers in the West.
DANIEL BOONE AND HIS GRAPEVINE SWING.
Daniel Boone was the first settler of Ken-tuck-y. He knew all about
living in the woods. He knew how to hunt the wild animals. He knew how
to fight Indians, and how to get away from them.
Nearly all the men that came with him to Kentucky the first time were
killed. One was eaten by wolves. Some of them were killed by Indians.
Some of them went into the woods and never came back. Nobody knows
what killed them.
Only Boone and his brother were left alive. They needed some powder
and some bullets. They wanted some horses. Boone's brother went back
across the mountains to get these things. Boone staid in his little
cabin all alone.
Boone could hear the wolves howl near his cabin at night. He heard the
panthers scream in the woods. But he did not mind being left all alone
in these dark forests. The Indians came to his cabin when he was
away. He did not want to see these vis-it-ors. He did not dare to
sleep in his cabin all the time. Sometimes he slept under a rocky
cliff. Sometimes he slept in a cane-brake. A cane-brake is a large
patch of growing canes such as fishing rods are made of.
Once a mother bear tried to kill him. He fired his gun at her, but the
bullet did not kill her. The bear ran at him. He held his long knife
out in his hand. The bear ran against it and was killed.
He made long journeys alone in the woods. One day he looked back
through the trees and saw four Indians. They were fol-low-ing Boone's
tracks. They did not see him. He turned this way and that. But the
Indians still fol-lowed his tracks.
He went over a little hill. Here he found a wild grape-vine. It was a
very long vine, reaching to the top of a high tree. There are many
such vines in the Southern woods. Children cut such vines off near the
roots. Then they use them for swings.
Boone had swung on grape-vines when he was a boy. He now thought of a
way to break his tracks. He cut the wild grape-vine off near the root.
Then he took hold of it. He sprang out into the air with all his
might. The great swing carried him far out as it swung. Then he let
go. He fell to the ground, and then he ran away in a dif-fer-ent
di-rec-tion from that in which he had been going.
When the Indians came to the place, they could not find his tracks.
They could not tell which way he had gone. He got to his cabin
Boone had now been alone for many months. His brother did not get back
at the time he had set for coming. Boone thought that his brother
might have been killed. Boone had not tasted anything but meat since
he left home. He had to get his food by shooting animals in the woods.
By this time he had hardly any powder or bullets left.
[Illustration: Boone on the Grapevine Swing]
One evening he sat by his cabin. He heard some one coming. He thought
that it might be Indians. He heard the steps of horses. He looked
through the trees. He saw his brother riding on one horse, and leading
another. The other horse was loaded with powder and bullets and
clothes, and other things that Boone needed.
DANIEL BOONE'S DAUGHTER AND HER FRIENDS.
Daniel Boone and his brother picked out a good place in Ken-tuck-y to
settle. Then they went home to North Car-o-li-na. They took with them
such things as were cu-ri-ous and val-u-a-ble. These were the skins of
animals they had killed, and no doubt some of the heads and tails.
Boone was restless. He had seen Kentucky and he did not wish to settle
down to the life of North Carolina.
In two years Boone sold his farm in North Carolina and set out for
Kentucky. He took with him his wife and children and two brothers.
Some of their neighbors went with them. They trav-eled by pack train.
All their goods were packed on horses.
When they reached the place on the Kentucky River that Boone had
chosen for a home they built a fort of log houses. These cabins all
stood round a square. The backs of the houses were outward. There was
no door or window in the back of a house. The outer walls were thus
shut up. They made the place a fort. The houses at the four corners
were a little taller and stronger than the others. There were gates
leading into the fort. These gates were kept shut at night.
In the evening the people danced and amused themselves in the square.
Indians could not creep up and attack them.
When the men went out to feed the horses and cows they carried their
guns. They walked softly and turned their eyes quickly from point to
point to see if Indians were hiding near. They held their guns so they
could shoot quickly.
The women and children had to stay very near the fort so they could
run in if an Indian came in sight.
Daniel Boone had a daughter named Je-mi-ma. She was about fourteen
years old. She had two friends named Frances and Betsey Cal-lo-way.
Frances Galloway was about the same age as Jemima.
One summer afternoon these three girls went out of the fort. They went
to the river and got into a canoe. It was not far from the fort. They
felt safe. They laughed and talked and splashed the water with
The cur-rent carried them slowly near the other shore. They could
still see the fort. They did not think of danger.
Trees and bushes grew thick down to the edge of the river. Five
strong Indians were hiding in the bushes.
One Indian crept care-ful-ly through the bushes. He made no more noise
than a snake. When he got to the edge of the water he put out his long
arm and caught hold of the rope that hung down from the canoe. In a
moment he had turned the boat around and drawn it out of sight
from the fort. The girls screamed when they saw the Indian. Their
friends heard them but could not cross the river to help them. The
girls had taken the only canoe.
Boone and Cal-lo-way were both gone from the fort. They got home too
late to start that day. No sleep came to their eyes while they waited
for light to travel by.
As soon as there was a glim-mer of light they and a party of their
friends set out. It was in July and they could start early.
They crossed the river and easily found the Indians' tracks where they
started. The brush was broken down there.
The Indians were cun-ning. They did not keep close together after they
set out. Each Indian walked by himself through the tall canes. Three
of the Indians took the captives.
Boone and his friends tried in vain to follow them. Sometimes they
would find a track but it would soon be lost in the thick canes.
Boone's party gave up trying to find their path. They noticed which
way the Indians were going. Then they walked as fast as they could the
same way for thirty miles. They thought the Indians would grow
careless about their tracks after traveling so far.
They turned so as to cross the path they thought the Indians had
taken. They looked carefully at the ground and at the bushes to see if
any one had gone by.
Before long they found the Indians' tracks in a buffalo path.
Buffaloes and other animals go often to lick salt from the rocks round
salt springs. They beat down the brush and make great roads. These
roads run to the salt springs. The hunters call them streets.
The Indians took one of these roads after they got far from the fort.
They could travel more easily in it. They did not take pains to hide
As fast as their feet could carry them, Boone and his friends traveled
along the trail. When they had gone about ten miles they saw
The Indians had stopped to rest and to eat. It was very warm and
they had put off their moc-ca-sins and laid down their arms. They were
kindling a fire to cook by.
In a moment the Indians saw the white men. Boone and Galloway were
afraid the Indians would kill the girls.
Four of the white men shot at the Indians. Then all rushed at them.
The Indians ran away as fast as they could. They did not stop to pick
up their guns or knives or hatchets. They had no time to put on their
The poor worn-out girls were soon safe in their fathers' arms.
Back to Boones-bor-ough they went, not minding their tired feet. When
they got to the fort there was great joy to see them alive.
I do not believe they ever played in the water again.
DECATUR AND THE PIRATES.
Nearly a hundred years have passed since the ship "Phil-a-del-phi-a"
was burned. But the brave sailors who did it will never be
The people of Trip-o-li in Af-ri-ca were pirates. They took the ships
of other nations at sea. They made slaves of their prisoners. The
friends of these slaves sometimes sent money to buy their freedom.
Some countries paid money to these pirates to let their ships go safe.
Our country had trouble with the pirates. This trouble brought on a
war. Our ships were sent to fight against Trip-o-li.
One of the ships fighting against the pirates was called the
"Phil-a-del-phi-a." One day she was chasing a ship of Trip-o-li. The
"Phil-a-del-phi-a" ran on the rocks. The sailors could not get her
off. The pirates came and fought her as she lay on the rocks. They
took her men prisoners. Then they went to work to get her off. After a
long time they got her into deep water. They took her to Tripoli. Our
ships could not go there after her, because there were so many great
cannons on the shore near the ship.
The pirates got the "Philadelphia" ready to go to sea. They loaded her
cannons. They meant to slip out past our ships of war. Then they would
take a great many smaller American ships.
But the Americans laid a plan to burn the "Philadelphia." It was a
very dan-ger-ous thing to try to do. The pirates had ships of war near
the "Philadelphia." They had great guns on the shore. There was no way
to do it in the day-time. It could only be done by stealing into the
Bay of Tripoli at night.
The Americans had taken a little vessel from the pirates. She was of
the kind that is called a ketch. She had sails. She also had long
oars. When there was no wind to sail with, the sailors could row her
with the oars.
This little ketch was sent one night to burn the "Philadelphia." The
captain of this boat was Ste-phen De-ca-tur. He was a young man, and
De-ca-tur made his men lie down, so that the pirates would not know
how many men he had on his ketch. Only about ten men were in sight.
The rest were lying hidden on the boat.
They came near to the "Philadelphia." It was about ten o'clock at
night. The pirates called to them. The pilot of the ketch told them
that he was from Mal-ta. He told them that he had come to sell things
to the people of Tripoli. He said that the ketch had lost her anchor.
He asked them to let him tie her to the big ship till morning.
The pirates sent out a rope to them. But when the ketch came nearer,
the pirates saw that they had been fooled. They cried out, "Americans,
Then the Americans lying down took hold of the rope and pulled with
all their might, and drew the ketch close to the ship. They were so
close, that the ship's cannons were over their heads. The pirates
could not fire at them.
The men who had been lying still now rose up. There were eighty of
them. In a minute they were scram-bling up the sides of the big ship.
Some went in one way, some another. They did not shoot. They fought
with swords and pikes, or short spears.
Soon they drove the pirates to one side of the ship. Then they could
hear the pirates jumping over into the water. In a few minutes the
pirates had all gone.
But the Americans could not stay long. They must burn the ship before
the pirates on the shore should find out what they were doing.
They had brought a lot of kin-dling on the ketch. They built fires in
all parts of the ship. The fire ran so fast, that some of the men had
trouble to get off the ship.
When the Americans got back on the ketch, they could not untie the
rope that held the ketch to the ship. The big ship was bursting into
flames. The ketch would soon take fire.
They took swords and hacked the big rope in two. Then they pushed hard
to get away from the fire. The ketch began to move. The sailors took
the large oars and rowed. They were soon safe from the fire.
All this they had done without any noise. But, now that they had got
away, they looked back. The fire was shooting up toward the sky. The
men stopped rowing, and they gave three cheers. They were so glad,
that they could not help it.
By this time the pirates on shore had waked up. They began to fire
great cannon balls at the little ketch. One of the balls went through
her sails. Ah! how the sailors rowed!
The whole sky was now lighted up by the fire. The pirates' cannons
were thundering. The cannon balls were splashing the water all round
the ketch. But the Americans got away. At last they were safe in their
STORIES ABOUT JEFFERSON.
Thomas Jef-fer-son was one of the great men of the Revolution. He was
not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. But he was a great thinker.
And he was a great writer.
He wrote a paper that was the very beginning of the United States. It
was a paper that said that we would be free from England, and be a