"I observe what you say respecting our losses by Daniel Boone. I had heard of the misfortune soon after it happened, but not of my being a partaker before now. I feel for the poor people who perhaps are to lose their pre-emptions. But I must say I feel more for Boone, whose character I am told suffers by it. Much degenerated must the people of this age be, when amongst them are to be found men to censure and blast the reputation of a person so just and upright, and in whose breast is a seat of virtue too pure to admit of a thought so base and dishonorable. I have known Boone in times of old, when poverty and distress had him fast by the hand, and in these wretched circumstances, I have ever found him of a noble and generous soul, despising everything mean, and therefore I will freely grant him a discharge for whatever sums of mine he might have been possessed at the time."
Boone was now forty-five years of age, but the hardships to which he had been exposed had borne heavily upon him, and he appeared ten years older. Though he bore without a murmur the loss of his earthly all, and the imputations which were cast upon his character, he was more anxious than ever to find refuge from the embarrassments which oppressed him in the solitudes of his beautiful Kentucky. Notwithstanding his comparative poverty, his family on the banks of the Yadkin need not experience any want. Land was fertile, abundant and cheap. He and his boys in a few days, with their axes, could erect as good a house as they desired to occupy. The cultivation of a few acres of the soil, and the results of the chase, would provide them an ample support. Here also they could retire to rest at night, with unbolted door and with no fear that their slumbers would be disturbed by the yell of the blood-thirsty savage.
The wife and mother must doubtless have wished to remain in her pleasant home, but cheerfully and nobly she acceded to his wishes, and was ready to accompany him to all the abounding perils of the distant West. Again the family set out on its journey across the mountains. Of the incidents which they encountered, we are not informed. The narrative we have from Boone is simply as follows: our readers will excuse the slight repetition it involves:
"About this time I returned to Kentucky with my family. And here, to avoid an enquiry into my conduct, the reader being before informed of my bringing my family to Kentucky, I am under the necessity of informing him that during my captivity with the Indians, my wife, who despaired of ever seeing me again, had transported my family and goods back through the wilderness, amid a multitude of dangers, to her father's house in North Carolina. Shortly after the troubles at Boonesborough, I went to them and lived peaceably there until this time. The history of my going home and returning with my family forms a series of difficulties, an account of which would swell a volume. And being foreign to my purpose I shall omit them."
During Boone's absence from Kentucky, one of the most bloody battles was fought, which ever occurred between the whites and the Indians. Colonel Rogers, returning with supplies (by boat) from New Orleans to the Upper Ohio, when he arrived at the mouth of the Little Miami, detected the Indians in large numbers, painted, armed, and evidently on the war path, emerging from the mouth of the river in their canoes, and crossing the Ohio to the Kentucky shore. He cautiously landed his men, intending to attack the Indians by surprise. Instead of this, they turned upon him with overwhelming numbers, and assailed him with the greatest fury. Colonel Rogers and sixty of his men were almost instantly killed. This constituted nearly the whole of his party. Two or three effected their escape, and conveyed the sad tidings of the massacre to the settlements.
The Kentuckians were exceedingly exasperated, and resolved that the Indians should feel the weight of their vengeance. Colonel Bowman, in accordance with a custom of the times, issued a call, inviting all the Kentuckians who were willing to volunteer under his leadership for the chastisement of the Indians, to rendezvous at Harrodsburg. Three hundred determined men soon assembled. The expedition moved in the month of July, and commenced the ascent of the Little Miami undiscovered. They arrived in the vicinity of Old Chilicothe just before nightfall. Here it was determined so to arrange their forces in the darkness, as to attack the place just before the dawn of the ensuing day. One half of the army, under the command of Colonel Logan, were to grope their way through the woods, and march around the town so as to attack it in the rear, at a given signal from Colonel Bowman, who was to place his men in position for efficient cooperation. Logan accomplished his movement, and concealing his men behind stumps, trees, and rocks, anxiously awaited the signal for attack.
But the sharp ear of a watch-dog detected some unusual movement, and commenced barking furiously. An Indian warrior came from his cabin, and cautiously advanced the way the dog seemed to designate. As the Indian drew near, one of the party, by accident or great imprudence, discharged his gun. The Indian gave a war-whoop, which immediately startled all the inmates of the cabins to their feet. Logan and his party were sufficiently near to see the women and the children in a continuous line rushing over the ridge, to the protection of the forest.
The Indian warriors, with a military discipline hardly to be expected of them, instantly collected in several strong cabins, which were their citadels, and from whose loop-holes, unexposed, they could open a deadly fire upon their assailants, In an instant, the whole aspect of affairs was changed. The assailants advancing through the clearing, must expose their unprotected breasts to the bullets of an unseen foe. After a brief conflict, Colonel Logan, to his bitter disappointment and that of his men, felt constrained to order a retreat.
The two parties were soon reunited, having lost several valuable lives, and depressed by the conviction that the enterprise had proved an utter failure. The savages pursued, keeping up a harassing fire upon the rear of the fugitives. Fortunately for the white men, the renowned Indian chieftain Blackfish, struck by a bullet, was instantly killed. This so disheartened his followers, that they abandoned the pursuit. The fugitives continued their flight all the night, and then at their leisure returned to their homes much dejected. In this disastrous expedition, nine men were killed and one was severely wounded.
The Indians, aided by their English allies, resolved by the invasion of Kentucky to retaliate for the invasion of the Little Miami. Governor Hamilton raised a very formidable army, and supplied them with two pieces of artillery. By such weapons the strongest log fort could speedily be demolished; while the artillerists would be entirely beyond the reach of the guns of the garrison. A British officer, Colonel Boyd, commanded the combined force. The valley of the Licking River, along whose banks many thriving settlements had commenced, was their point of destination.
A twelve days' march from the Ohio brought this army, which was considered a large one in those times, to a post called Kuddle's Station. The garrison was immediately summoned to surrender, with the promise of protection for their lives only. Resistance against artillery was hopeless. The place was surrendered. Indians and white men rushed in, alike eager for plunder. The Indians, breaking loose from all restraint, caught men, women and children, and claimed them as their prisoners. Three persons who made some slight resistance were immediately tomahawked.
The British commander endeavored to exonerate himself from these atrocities by saying that it was utterly beyond his power to control the savages. These wolfish allies, elated by their conquest, their plunder and their captives, now demanded to be led along the valley five miles to the next station, called Martin's Fort. It is said that Colonel Byrd was so affected by the uncontrollable atrocities he had witnessed, that he refused to continue the expedition, unless the Indians would consent, that while they should receive all the plunder, he should have all the prisoners. It is also said that notwithstanding this agreement, the same scenes were enacted at Martin's Fort which had been witnessed at Ruddle's Station. In confirmation of this statement, it is certain that Colonel Byrd refused to go any farther. All the stations on the river were apparently at his disposal, and it speaks well for his humanity that he refused to lead any farther savages armed with the tomahawk and the scalping knife, against his white brethren. He could order a retreat, as he did, but he could not rescue the captives from those who had seized them. The Indians loaded down their victims with the plunder of their own dwellings, and as they fell by the way, sinking beneath their burdens, they buried the tomahawk in their brains.
The exasperation on both sides was very great, and General Clark, who was stationed at Fort Jefferson with a thousand picked men, entered the Indian territory, burned the villages, destroyed the crops, and utterly devastated the country. In reference to this expedition, Mr. Cecil B. Hartley writes:
"Some persons who have not the slightest objection to war, very gravely express doubts as to whether the expedient of destroying the crops of the Indians was justifiable. It is generally treated by these men as if it were a wanton display of a vindictive spirit, where in reality it was dictated by the soundest policy; for when the Indians' harvests were destroyed, they were compelled to subsist their families altogether by hunting, and had no leisure for their murderous inroads into the settlements. This result was plainly seen on this occasion, for it does not appear that the Indians attacked any of the settlements during the remainder of this year."
The following incident, well authenticated, which occurred early in the spring of 1780, gives one a vivid idea of the nature of this warfare:
"Mr. Alexander McConnel of Lexington, while out hunting, killed a large buck. He went home for his horse to bring it in. While he was absent, five Indians accidentally discovered the body of the deer. Supposing the hunter would return, three of them hid themselves within rifle shot of the carcass while two followed his trail. McConnel, anticipating no danger, was riding slowly along the path, when he was fired upon from ambush, his horse shot beneath him, and he seized as a prisoner. His captors were in high glee, and treated him with unusual kindness. His skill with the rifle excited their admiration, and as he provided them with abundance of game, they soon became quite fond of him. Day after day the savages continued their tramp to the Ohio river, to cross over to their own country. Every night they bound him very strongly. As they became better acquainted, and advanced farther from the settlements of the pioneers, they in some degree remitted their vigilance. One evening when they had arrived near the Ohio, McConnel complained so earnestly of the pain which the tightly bound cords gave him, that they more loosely fastened the cord of buffalo hide around his wrists. Still they tied it, as they supposed securely, and attached the end of the cord to the body of one of the Indians.
"At midnight, McConnel discovered a sharp knife lying near him, which had accidentally fallen from its sheath. He drew it to him with his feet, and succeeded noiselessly in cutting the cords. Still he hardly dared to stir, for there was danger that the slightest movement might rouse his vigilant foes. The savages had stacked their five guns near the fire. Cautiously he crept towards them, and secreted three at but a short distance where they would not easily find them. He then crept noiselessly back, took a rifle in each hand, rested the muzzles upon a log, and aiming one at the heart, and one at the head of two Indians at the distance of a few feet, discharged both guns simultaneously.
"Both shots were fatal. The three remaining savages in bewilderment sprang to their feet. McConnel instantly seizing the two other guns, shot one through the heart, and inflicted a terrible wound upon the other. He fell to the ground bellowing loudly. Soon however he regained his feet and hobbled off into the woods as fast as possible. The only remaining one of the party who was unhurt uttered a loud yell of terror and dismay, and bounded like a deer into the forest. McConnel was not disposed to remain even for one moment to contemplate the result of his achievement. He selected his own trusty rifle, plunged into the forest, and with the unerring instinct of the veteran hunter, in two days reached the garrison at Lexington to relate to them his wonderful escape."
Death of Squire Boone.—Indian Outrages.—Gerty and McGee.—Battle of Blue Lick.—Death of Isaac Boone.—Colonel Boone's Narrow Escape.—Letter of Daniel Boone.—Determination of General Clarke.—Discouragement of the Savages.—Amusing Anecdote of Daniel Boone.
It was in the autumn of the year 1780 that Daniel Boone, with his family, returned to Boonesborough. A year before, the Legislature of Virginia had recognized essentially what is now Kentucky as one of the counties of Virginia, and had established the town of Boonesborough as its capital. By this act Daniel Boone was named one of the trustees or selectmen. Town lots were ordered to be surveyed, and a very liberal grant of land was conferred upon every one who would erect a house at least sixteen feet square, with either brick, stone, or dirt chimney. For some reason Colonel Boone declined this office. It is probable that he was disgusted by his own experience in the civil courts.
There was little danger now of an attack upon Boonesborough by the Indians. There were so many settlements around it that no foe could approach without due warning and without encountering serious opposition. On the sixth of October Daniel Boone, with his brother Squire, left the fort alone for what would seem to be an exceedingly imprudent excursion, so defenceless, to the Blue Licks. They reached the Licks in safety. While there they were discovered by a party of Indians, and were fired upon from ambush. Squire Boone was instantly killed and scalped. Daniel, heart-stricken by the loss of his beloved brother, fled like a deer, pursued by the whole band, filling the forest with their yells like a pack of hounds. The Indians had a very powerful dog with them, who, with unerring scent, followed closely in the trail of the fugitive. For three miles this unequal chase continued. The dog, occasionally embarrassed in his pursuit, would be delayed for a time in regaining the trail. The speed of Boone was such that the foremost of the savages was left far behind. He then, as the dog came bounding on, stopped, took deliberate aim, and shot the brute.
Boone was still far from the fort, but he reached it in safety, leaving upon the Indians the impression that he bore a charmed life. He was very deeply afflicted by the death of his brother. Squire was the youngest of the sons, and the tie which bound the brothers together was unusually tender and confidential. They had shared in many perilous adventures, and for months had dwelt entirely alone in the wilderness, far away from any other society.
The winter of 1780 was one of the saddest in the annals of our country. The colonial army, everywhere defeated, was in the most deplorable state of destitution and suffering. Our frontiers were most cruelly ravaged by a barbarian foe. To add to all this, the winter was severely cold, beyond any precedent. The crops had been so destroyed by the enemy that many of the pioneers were compelled to live almost entirely upon the flesh of the buffalo.
Virginia, in extending her jurisdiction over her western lands of Kentucky, now, for the sake of a more perfect military organization, divided the extensive region into three counties—Fayette, Lincoln, and Jefferson. General Clarke was made commander-in-chief of the Kentucky militia. Daniel Boone was commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel of Lincoln County. The emigration into the State at this time may be inferred from the fact that the Court of Commissioners to examine land titles, at the close of its session of seven months had granted three thousand claims. Its meetings had been held mainly at Boonesborough, and its labors terminated in April, 1780. During the spring three hundred barges, loaded with emigrants, were floated down the Ohio to the Falls, at what is now Louisville.
As we have stated, the winter had been one of the most remarkable on record. From the middle of November to the middle of February, the ground was covered with snow and ice, without a thaw. The severity of the cold was terrible. Nearly all unprotected animals perished. Even bears, buffalo, wolves, and wild turkeys were found frozen in the woods. The starving wild animals often came near the settlement for food. For seventy-five years the winter of 1780 was an era to which the old men referred.
Though the Indians organized no formidable raids, they were very annoying. No one could safely wander any distance from the forts. In March, 1781, several bands entered Jefferson County, and by lying in ambush killed four of the settlers. Captain Whittaker, with fifteen men, went in pursuit of them. He followed their trail to the banks of the Ohio. Supposing they had crossed, he and his party embarked in canoes, boldly to continue the pursuit into the Indian country. They had scarcely pushed a rod from the shore when hideous yells rose from the Indians in ambush, and a deadly fire was opened upon the canoes. Nine of the pioneers were instantly killed or wounded. The savages, having accomplished this feat, fled into the wilderness, where the party, thus weakened in numbers, could not pursue them.
A small party of settlers had reared their log-huts near the present site of Shelbyville. Squire Boone had been one of the prominent actors in the establishment of this little colony. Alarmed by the menaces of the savages, these few settlers decided to remove to a more secure station on Bear's Creek. On their way they were startled by the war-whoop of they knew not how many Indians concealed in ambush, and a storm of bullets fell upon them, killing and wounding many of their number. The miscreants, scarcely waiting for the return fire, fled with yells which resounded through the forest, leaving their victims to the sad task of burying the dead and nursing the wounded. Colonel Floyd collected twenty-five men to pursue them. The wary Indians, nearly two hundred in number, drew them into an ambush and opened upon the party a deadly fire which almost instantly killed half their number. The remainder with great difficulty escaped, leaving their dead to be mutilated by the scalping knife of the savage.
Almost every day brought tidings of similar disasters. The Indians, emboldened by these successes, seemed to rouse themselves to a new determination to exterminate the whites. The conduct of the British Government, in calling such wretches to their alliance in their war with the colonies, created the greatest exasperation. Thomas Jefferson gave expression to the public sentiment in the Declaration of Independence, in which he says, in arraignment of King George the Third:
"He has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions."
There were two wretched men, official agents of the British Government, who were more savage than the savages themselves. One of them, a vagabond named Simon Gerty, had joined the Indians by adoption. He had not only acquired their habits, but had become their leader in the most awful scenes of ferocity. He was a tory, and as such was the bitterest foe of the colonists, who were struggling for independence. The other, Colonel McGee, with a little more respectability of character, was equally fiendlike in exciting the Indians to the most revolting barbarities. Thus incited and sustained by British authority, the Indians kept all the settlers in Kentucky in constant alarm.
Instigated by the authorities at Detroit, the warriors of five tribes assembled at Old Chilicothe to organize the most formidable expedition which had as yet invaded Kentucky. These tribes were the Shawanese on the Little Miami, the Cherokees on the Tennessee, the Wyandotts on the Sandusky, the Tawas on the Maumee, and the Delawares on the Muskingum.
Their choicest warriors, five hundred in number, rendezvoused at Old Chilicothe. This Indian village was built in the form of a square enclosing a large area. Some of their houses were of logs, some of bark, some of reeds filled in with clay. Boone says that the Indians concentrated their utmost force and vengeance upon this expedition, hoping to destroy the settlements and to depopulate the country at a single blow.
Not far from Boonesborough, in the same valley of the Kentucky, there was a small settlement called Bryant's Station. William Bryant, the founder, had married a sister of Colonel Boone. On the fifteenth of August, a war party of five hundred Indians and Canadians, under the leadership of Simon Gerty, appeared before this little cluster of log-huts, each of which was of course bullet-proof. The settlers fought heroically. Gerty was wounded, and thirty of his band were killed, while the garrison lost but four. The assailing party, thus disappointed in their expectation of carrying the place by storm, and fearing the arrival of reinforcements from other settlements, hastily retired. Colonel Boone, hearing of the attack, hastened to the rescue, joining troops from several of the adjacent forts. The party consisted of one hundred and eighty men, under the leadership of Colonel Todd, one of "nature's noblemen." Colonel Boone seems to have been second in command. Two of his sons, Israel and Samuel, accompanied their father upon this expedition.
The Indians, led by British officers, were far more to be dreaded than when left to their own cunning, which was often childish. As the little band of pioneers, rushing to the rescue, approached Bryant's Station and were informed of the retreat of the invaders, a council of war was held, to decide whether it were best for a hundred and eighty men to pursue five hundred Indians and Canadians, through a region where every mile presented the most favorable opportunities for concealment in ambush. Gerty was a desperado who was to be feared as well as hated. Contrary to the judgment of both Colonels Todd and Boone, it was decided to pursue the Indians. There was no difficulty in following the trail of so large a band, many of whom were mounted. Their path led almost directly north, to the Licking River, and then followed down its banks towards the Ohio.
As the pursuers were cautiously advancing, they came to a remarkable bend in the stream, where there was a large and open space, with prairie grass very high. A well trampled buffalo track led through this grass, which was almost like a forest of reeds. Along this "street" the Indians had retreated. The scouts who had been sent forward to explore, returned with the report that there were no signs of Indians. And yet, four hundred savages had so adroitly concealed themselves, that their line really extended from bank to bank of the river, where it bent like a horseshoe before them. The combined cunning of the Indian, and the intelligence of their white leaders, was now fatally enlisted for the destruction of the settlers. A hundred and eighty men were to be caught in a trap, with five hundred demons prepared to shoot them down.
As soon as Colonel Todd's party passed the neck of this bend, the Indians closed in behind them, rose from their concealment, and with terrific yells opened upon them a still more terrific fire. The pioneers fought with the courage of desperation. At the first discharge, nearly one third of Colonel Todd's little party fell dead or wounded. Struck fatally by several bullets, Colonel Todd himself fell from his horse drenched with blood. While a portion of the Indians kept up the fire, others, with hideous yells sprang forward with tomahawk and scalping knife, completing their fiendlike work. It was a scene of awful confusion and dismay. The survivors fighting every step of the way, retreated towards the river, for there was no escape back through their thronging foes. Colonel Boone's two sons fought by the side of their father. Samuel, the younger, struck by a bullet, was severely but not mortally wounded. Israel, his second son, fell dead. The unhappy father, took his dead boy upon his shoulders to save him from the scalping knife. As he tottered beneath the bleeding body, an Indian of herculean stature with uplifted tomahawk rushed upon him. Colonel Boone dropped the body of his son, shot the Indian through the heart, and seeing the savages rushing upon him from all directions, fled, leaving the corpse of his boy to its fate.
Being intimately acquainted with the ground, he plunged into a ravine, baffling several parties who pursued him, swam across the river, and entering the forest succeeded in escaping from his foes, and at length safely by a circuitous route returned to Bryant's Station. In the meantime the scene of tumult and slaughter was awful beyond all description. Victors and vanquished were blended together upon the banks of the stream. In this dreadful conflict there were four Indians to each white man. There was a narrow ford at the spot, but the whole stream seemed clogged, some swimming and some trying to wade, while the exultant Indians shot and tomahawked without mercy. Those who succeeded in crossing the river, leaving the great buffalo track which they had been following, plunged into the thickets, and though vigorously pursued by the Indians, most of them eventually reached the settlements.
In this dreadful disaster, the colonists lost sixty men in killed and seven were taken prisoners. The Indians in counting up their loss, found that sixty-four were missing. In accordance with their barbaric custom, they selected in vengeance four of the prisoners and put them to death by the most terrible tortures which savage ingenuity could devise. Had Colonel Boone's advice been followed, this calamity might have been avoided. Still characteristically, he uttered not a word of complaint. In his comments upon the event he says:
"I cannot reflect upon this dreadful scene but sorrow fills my heart. A zeal for the defence of their country led these heroes to the scene of action, though with a few men to attack a powerful army of experienced warriors. When we gave way, they pursued us with the utmost eagerness, and in every quarter spread destruction. The river was difficult to cross, and many were killed in the flight; some just entering the river, some in the water, others after crossing, in ascending the cliffs. Some escaped on horseback, a few on foot; and being dispersed everywhere in a few hours, brought the melancholy news of this unfortunate conflict to Lexington. The reader may guess what sorrow filled the hearts of the inhabitants; exceeding anything I am able to describe. Being reinforced we returned to bury the dead, and found their bodies strewed everywhere, cut and mangled in a dreadful manner. This mournful scene exhibited a horror almost unparalleled; some torn and eaten by wild beasts; those in the river eaten by fishes; all in such a putrified condition that no one could be distinguished from another."
This battle of the Blue Licks, as it is called, occupies one of the most mournful pages in the history of Kentucky. The escape of Boone adds another to the extraordinary adventures of this chivalric and now sorrow-stricken man. Colonel Boone communicated an official report to the Governor of Virginia, Benjamin Harrison, father of William Henry Harrison, subsequently President of the United States. In this report, it is noticeable that Boone makes no allusion whatever to his own services. This modest document throws such light upon the character of this remarkable man, and upon the peril of the times, that it merits full insertion here. It is as follows:
"Boone's Station, Fayette Co., Aug. 30, 1782.
"Sir,—Present circumstances of affairs cause me to write to Your Excellency, as follows: On the sixteenth instant, a large body of Indians, with some white men, attacked one of our frontier stations, known as Bryant's Station. The siege continued from about sunrise until two o'clock of the next day, when they marched off. Notice being given to the neighboring stations, we immediately raised one hundred and eighty-one horsemen, commanded by Col. John Todd, including some of the Lincoln County militia, and pursued about forty miles."
After a brief account of the battle which we have already given, he continues:
"Afterwards we were reinforced by Colonel Logan, which made our force four hundred and sixty men. We marched again to the battle ground, but finding the enemy had gone, we proceeded to bury the dead. We found forty-three on the ground, and many lay about which we could not stay to find, hungry and weary as we were, and dubious that the enemy might not have gone off quite. By the sign, we thought that the Indians exceeded four hundred, while the whole of the militia of the county does not amount to more than one hundred and thirty.
"From these facts, Your Excellency may form an idea of our situation. I know that your own circumstances are critical; but are we to be wholly forgotten? I hope not. I trust that about five hundred men may be sent to our assistance immediately. If these shall be stationed as our county lieutenant shall deem necessary, it may be the means of saving our part of the country. But if they are placed under the direction of General Clarke, they will be of little or no service to our settlement. The Falls lie one hundred miles west of us, and the Indians north-east; while our men are frequently called to protect them.
"I have encouraged the people in this county all that I could; but I can no longer justify them or myself to risk our lives here, under such extraordinary hazards. The inhabitants of this county are very much alarmed at the thoughts of the Indians bringing another campaign into our country this fall. If this should be the case, it will break up these settlements. I hope therefore that Your Excellency will take the matter into your consideration, and send us some relief as quick as possible. These are my sentiments without consulting any person. Colonel Logan will I expect immediately send you an express, by whom I humbly request Your Excellency's answer. In the meantime, I remain yours, etc., Daniel Boone."
General Clarke, who was the military leader of Kentucky under the Colonial government, was established at the Falls. The British authorities held their head-quarters at Detroit, from which post they were sending out their Indian allies in all directions to ravage the frontiers. General Clarke was a man of great energy of character, and he was anxious to organise an expedition against Detroit. With this object in view, he had by immense exertions assembled a force of nearly two thousand men. Much to his chagrin, he received orders to remain at the Falls for the present, to protect the frontiers then so severely menaced. But when the tidings reached him of the terrible disaster at the Blue Lick, he resolved to pursue the Indians and punish them with the greatest severity.
The exultant savages had returned to Old Chilicothe, and had divided their spoil and their captives. Colonel Boone was immediately sent for to take part in this expedition. Clarke's army crossed the Ohio, and marching very rapidly up the banks of the Little Miami, arrived within two miles of Chilicothe before they were discovered. On perceiving the enemy the Indians scattered in all directions. Men, women and children fled into the remote forest, abandoning their homes and leaving everything behind them. The avenging army swept the valley with fire and ruin. Their corn just ripening, and upon which they mainly relied for their winter supply of food, was utterly destroyed. Every tree which bore any fruit was felled, and five of their towns were laid in ashes. The trail of the army presented a scene of utter desolation.
The savages were alike astonished and dismayed. They had supposed that the white men, disheartened by their dreadful defeat at the Blue Lick, would abandon the country. Instead of that, with amazing recuperative power, they had scarcely reached their homes ere another army, utterly resistless in numbers, is burning their towns and destroying their whole country.
This avenging campaign so depressed the Indians that they made no farther attempt for the organised invasion of Kentucky. The termination of the war with England also deprived them of their military resources, and left them to their own unaided and unintelligent efforts. Still miserable bands continued prowling around, waylaying and murdering the lonely traveler, setting fire to the solitary hut and inflicting such other outrages as were congenial with their cruel natures. It thus became necessary for the pioneers always to live with the rifle in hand.
Colonel Boone had become especially obnoxious to the Indians. Twice he had escaped from them, under circumstances which greatly mortified their vanity. They recognised the potency of his rifle in the slaughter of their own warriors at the Blue Lick; and they were well aware that it was his sagacity which led the army of General Clarke in its avenging march through their country. It thus became with them an object of intense desire to take him prisoner, and had he been taken, he would doubtless have been doomed to the severest torture they could inflict.
Mr. Peck, in his interesting life of Boone, gives the following account of one of the extraordinary adventures of this man, which he received from the lips of Colonel Boone himself. On one occasion, four Indians suddenly appeared before his cabin and took him prisoner. Though the delicacy of Colonel Boone's organization was such, that he could never himself relish tobacco in any form, he still raised some for his friends and neighbors, and for what were then deemed the essential rites of hospitality.
"As a shelter for curing the tobacco, he had built an enclosure of rails a dozen feet in height and covered with canes and grass. Stalks of tobacco are generally split and strung on sticks about four feet in length. The ends of these are laid on poles placed across the tobacco house, and in tiers one above another, to the roof. Boone had fixed his temporary shelter in such a manner as to have three tiers. He had covered the lower tier and the tobacco had become dry; when he entered the shelter for the purpose of removing the sticks to the upper tier, preparatory to gathering the remainder of the crop. He had hoisted up the sticks from the lower to the second tier, and was standing on the poles which supported it, while raising the sticks to the upper tier, when four stout Indians, with guns, entered the low door and called him by name.
"'Now, Boone, we got you. You no get away more. We carry you off to Chilicothe this time. You no cheat us anymore.'
"Boone looked down upon their upturned faces, saw their loaded guns pointed at his breast, and recognising some of his old friends the Shawanese, who had made him prisoner near the Blue Licks in 1778, coolly and pleasantly responded:
"'Ah, old friends, glad to see you.'
"Perceiving that they manifested impatience to have him come down, he told them he was quite willing to go with them, and only begged that they would wait where they were, and watch him closely until he could finish removing the tobacco.
"While thus parleying with them, Boone inquired earnestly respecting his old friends in Chilicothe. He continued for some time to divert the attention of these simple-minded men, by allusions to past events with which they were familiar, and by talking of his tobacco, his mode of curing it, and promising them an abundant supply. With their guns in their hands however, they stood at the door of the shed, grouped closely together so as to render his escape apparently impossible. In the meantime Boone carefully gathered his arms full of the long, dry tobacco leaves, filled with pungent dust, which would be blinding and stifling as the most powerful snuff, and then with a leap from his station twelve feet high, came directly upon their heads, filling their eyes and nostrils, and so bewildering and disabling them for the moment, that they lost all self-possession and all self-control.
"Boone, agile as a deer, darted out at the door, and in a moment was in his bullet-proof log-hut, which to him was an impregnable citadel. Loop-holes guarded every approach. The Indians could not show themselves without exposure to certain death. They were too well acquainted with the unerring aim of Boone's rifle to venture within its range. Keeping the log cabin between them and their redoubtable foe, the baffled Indians fled into the wilderness.
"Colonel Boone related this adventure with great glee, imitating the gestures of the bewildered Indians. He said that notwithstanding his narrow escape, he could not resist the temptation, as he reached the door of his cabin, to look around to witness the effect of his achievement. The Indians coughing, sneezing, blinded and almost suffocated by the tobacco dust, were throwing out their arms and groping about in all directions, cursing him for a rogue and calling themselves fools."
Kentucky organized as a State.
Peace with England.—Order of a Kentucky Court.—Anecdotes.—Speech of Mr. Dalton.—Reply of Piankashaw.—Renewed Indications of Indian Hostility.—Conventions at Danville.—Kentucky formed into a State.—New Trials for Boone.
The close of the war of the Revolution, bringing peace between the colonies and the mother country, deprived the Indians of that powerful alliance which had made them truly formidable. Being no longer able to obtain a supply of ammunition from the British arsenals, or to be guided in their murderous raids by British intelligence, they also, through their chiefs, entered into treaties of peace with the rapidly-increasing emigrants.
Though these treaties with the Indians prevented any general organization of the tribes, vagabond Indians, entirely lawless, were wandering in all directions, ever ready to perpetrate any outrage. Civil society has its highway robbers, burglars and murderers. Much more so was this the case among these savages, exasperated by many wrongs; for it cannot be denied that they were more frequently sinned against than sinning. Their untutored natures made but little distinction between the innocent and the guilty. If a vagabond white man wantonly shot an Indian—and many were as ready to do it as to shoot a wolf—the friends of the murdered Indian would take revenge upon the inmates of the first white man's cabin they encountered in the wilderness. Thus it was necessary for the pioneers to be constantly upon their guard. If they wandered any distance from the fort while hunting, or were hoeing in the field, or ventured to rear a cabin on a fertile meadow at a distance from the stations, they were liable to be startled at any hour of the day or of the night by the terrible war-whoop, and to feel the weight of savage vengeance.
This exposure to constant peril influenced the settlers, as a general rule, to establish themselves in stations. This gave them companionship, the benefits of co-operative labor, and security against any small prowling bands. These stations were formed upon the model of the one which Daniel Boone had so wisely organized at Boonesborough. They consisted of a cluster of bullet-proof log-cabins, arranged in a quadrangular form, so as to enclose a large internal area. All the doors opened upon this interior space. Here the cattle were gathered at night. The intervals between the cottages were filled with palisades, also bullet-proof. Loop-holes through the logs enabled these riflemen to guard every approach to their fortress. Thus they had little to fear from the Indians when sheltered by these strong citadels.
Emigration to Kentucky began very rapidly to increase. Large numbers crossed the mountains to Pittsburgh, where they took flat boats and floated down the beautiful Ohio, la belle riviere, until they reached such points on its southern banks as pleased them for a settlement, or from which they could ascend the majestic rivers of that peerless State. Comfortable homesteads were fast rising in all directions. Horses, cattle, swine, and poultry of all kinds were multiplied. Farming utensils began to make their appearance. The hum of happy industry was heard where wolves had formerly howled and buffalo ranged. Merchandise in considerable quantities was transported over the mountains on pack horses, and then floated down the Ohio and distributed among the settlements upon its banks. Country stores arose, land speculators appeared, and continental paper money became a circulating medium. This money, however, was not of any very great value, as may be inferred from the following decree, passed by one of the County Courts, establishing the schedule of prices for tavern-keeping:
"The Court doth set the following rates to be observed by keepers in this county: Whiskey, fifteen dollars the half-pint; rum, ten dollars the gallon; a meal, twelve dollars; stabling or pasturage, four dollars the night."
Under these changed circumstances, Colonel Boone, whose intrepidity nothing could daunt, and whose confidence in the protective power of his rifle was unbounded, had reared for himself, on one of the beautiful meadows of the Kentucky, a commodious home. He had selected a spot whose fertility and loveliness pleased his artistic eye.
It is estimated that during the years 1783 and 1784 nearly twelve thousand persons emigrated to Kentucky. Still all these had to move with great caution, with rifles always loaded, and ever on the alert against surprise. The following incident will give the reader an idea of the perils and wild adventures encountered by these parties in their search for new and distant homes.
Colonel Thomas Marshall, a man of much note in those days, had crossed the Alleghanies with his large family. At Pittsburgh he purchased a flat-boat, and was floating down the Ohio. He had passed the mouth of the Kanawha River without any incident of note occurring. About ten o'clock one night, as his boat had drifted near the northern shore of the solitary stream, he was hailed by a man upon the bank, who, after inquiring who he was, where he was bound, etc., added:
"I have been posted here by order of my brother, Simon Gerty, to warn all boats of the danger of permitting themselves to be decoyed ashore. My brother regrets very deeply the injury he has inflicted upon the white men, and to convince them of the sincerity of his repentance, and of his earnest desire to be restored to their society, he has stationed me here to warn all boats of the snares which are spread for them by the cunning of the Indians. Renegade white men will be placed upon the banks, who will represent themselves as in the greatest distress. Even children taken captive will be compelled, by threats of torture, to declare that they are all alone upon the shore, and to entreat the boats to come and rescue them.
"But keep in the middle of the river," said Gerty, "and steel your heart against any supplications you may hear."
The Colonel thanked him for his warning, and continued to float down the rapid current of the stream.
Virginia had passed a law establishing the town of Louisville, at the Falls of the Ohio. A very thriving settlement soon sprang up there.
The nature of the warfare still continuing between the whites and the Indians may be inferred from the following narrative, which we give in the words of Colonel Boone:
"The Indians continued to practice mischief secretly upon the inhabitants in the exposed part of the country. In October a party made an incursion into a district called Crab Orchard. One of these Indians having advanced some distance before the others, boldly entered the house of a poor defenseless family, in which was only a negro man, a woman and her children, terrified with apprehensions of immediate death. The savage, perceiving their defenseless condition, without offering violence to the family, attempted to capture the negro, who happily proved an over-match for him, and threw the Indian on the ground.
"In the struggle, the mother of the children drew an axe from the corner of the cottage and cut off the head of the Indian, while her little daughter shut the door. The savages soon appeared, and applied their tomahawks to the door. An old rusty gun-barrel, without a lock, lay in the corner, which the mother put through a small crevice, and the savages perceiving it, fled. In the meantime the alarm spread through the neighborhood; the armed men collected immediately and pursued the savages into the wilderness. Thus Providence, by means of this negro, saved the whole of the poor family from destruction."
The heroism of Mrs. Merrill is worthy of being perpetuated, not only as a wonderful achievement, but as illustrative of the nature of this dreadful warfare. Mr. Merrill, with his wife, little son and daughter, occupied a remote cabin in Nelson County, Kentucky. On the 24th of December, 1791, he was alarmed by the barking of his dog. Opening the door to ascertain the cause, he was instantly fired upon by seven or eight Indians who had crept near the house secreting themselves behind stumps and trees. Two bullets struck him, fracturing the bones both of his leg and of his arm. The savages, with hideous yells, then rushed for the door.
Mrs. Merrill had but just time to close and bolt it when the savages plunged against it and hewed it with their tomahawks. Every dwelling was at that time a fortress whose log walls were bullet proof. But for the terrible wounds which Mr. Merrill had received, he would with his rifle shooting through loop-holes, soon have put the savages to flight. They, emboldened by the supposition that he was killed, cut away at the door till they had opened a hole sufficiently large to crawl through. One of the savages attempted to enter. He had got nearly in when Mrs. Merrill cleft his skull with an ax, and he fell lifeless upon the floor. Another, supposing that he had safely effected an entrance, followed him and encountered the same fate. Four more of the savages were in this way despatched, when the others, suspecting that all was not right, climbed upon the roof and two of them endeavored to descend through the chimney. The noise they made directed the attention of the inmates of the cabin to the new danger.
There was a gentle fire burning upon the hearth. Mr. Merrill, with much presence of mind, directed his son, while his wife guarded the opening of the door with her ax, to empty the contents of a feather bed upon the fire. The dense smothering smoke filled the flue of the chimney. The two savages, suffocated with the fumes, after a few convulsive efforts to ascend fell almost insensible down upon the hearth. Mr. Merrill, seizing with his unbroken arm a billet of wood, despatched them both. But one of the Indians now remained. Peering in at the opening in the door he received a blow from the ax of Mrs. Merrill which severely wounded him. Bleeding and disheartened he fled alone into the wilderness, the only one of the eight who survived the conflict.
A white man who was at that time a prisoner among the Indians and who subsequently effected his escape, reported that when the wounded savage reached his tribe he said to the white captive in broken English:
"I have bad news for the poor Indian. Me lose a son, me lose a broder. The squaws have taken the breech clout, and fight worse than the long knives."
But the Indians were not always the aggressors. Indeed it is doubtful whether they would ever have raised the war-whoop against the white man, had it not been for the outrages they were so constantly experiencing from unprincipled and vagabond adventurers, who were ever infesting the frontiers. The following incident illustrates the character and conduct of these miscreants:
A party of Indian hunters from the South wandering through their ancient hunting grounds of Kentucky, accidentally came upon a settlement where they found several horses grazing in the field. They stole the horses, and commenced a rapid retreat to their own country. Three young men, Davis, Caffre and McClure, pursued them. Not being able to overtake the fugitives, they decided to make reprisals on the first Indians they should encounter. It so happened that they soon met three Indian hunters. The parties saluted each other in a friendly manner, and proceeded on their way in pleasant companionship.
The young men said that they observed the Indians conversing with one another in low tones of voice, and thus they became convinced that the savages meditated treachery. Resolving to anticipate the Indians' attack, they formed the following plan. While walking together in friendly conversation, the Indians being entirely off their guard, Caffre, who was a very powerful man, was to spring upon the lightest of the Indians, crush him to the ground, and thus take him a prisoner. At the same instant, Davis and McClure were each to shoot one of the other Indians, who, being thus taken by surprise, could offer no resistance.
The signal was given. Caffre sprang upon his victim and bore him to the ground. McClure shot his man dead. Davis' gun flashed in the pan. The Indian thus narrowly escaping death immediately aimed his gun at Caffre, who was struggling with the one he had grappled, and instantly killed him. McClure in his turn shot the Indian. There was now one Indian and two white men. But the Indian had the loaded rifle. McClure's was discharged and Davis' missed fire. The Indian, springing from the grasp of his dying antagonist, presented his rifle at Davis, who immediately fled, hotly pursued by the Indian. McClure, stopping only to reload his gun, followed after them. Soon he lost sight of both. Davis was never heard of afterwards. Doubtless he was shot by the avenging Indian, who returned to his wigwam with the white man's scalp.
McClure, after this bloody fray, being left alone in the wilderness, commenced a return to his distant home. He had not proceeded far before he met an Indian on horseback accompanied by a boy on foot. The warrior dismounted, and in token of peace offered McClure his pipe. As they were seated together upon a log, conversing, McClure said that the Indian informed him by signs that there were other Indians in the distance who would soon come up, and that then they should take him captive, tie his feet beneath the horse's belly and carry him off to their village. McClure seized his gun, shot the Indian through the heart, and plunging into the forest, effected his escape.
About this same time Captain James Ward, with a party of half a dozen white men, one of whom was his nephew, and a number of horses, was floating down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. They were in a flat boat about forty-five feet long and eight feet wide. The gunwale of the boat consisted of but a single pine plank. It was beautiful weather, and for several days they were swept along by the tranquil stream, now borne by the changing current towards the one shore, and now towards the other. One morning when they had been swept by the stream within about one hundred and fifty feet of the northern shore, suddenly several hundred Indians appeared upon the bank, and uttering savage yells opened upon them a terrible fire.
Captain Ward's nephew, pierced by a ball in the breast, fell dead in the bottom of the boat. Every horse was struck by a bullet. Some were instantly killed; others, severely wounded, struggled so violently as to cause the frail bark to dip water, threatening immediate destruction. All the crew except Captain Ward were so panic-stricken by this sudden assault, that they threw themselves flat upon their faces in the bottom of the boat, and attempted no resistance where even the exposure of a hand would be the target for a hundred rifles.
Fortunately Captain Ward was protected from this shower of bullets by a post, which for some purpose had been fastened to the gunwale. He therefore retained his position at the helm, which was an oar, striving to guide the boat to the other side of the river. As the assailants had no canoes, they could not attempt to board, but for more than an hour they ran along the banks yelling and keeping up an almost constant fire. At length the boat was swept to the other side of the stream, when the miscreants abandoned the pursuit, and disappeared.
Quite a large party of emigrants were attacked by the Indians near what is now called Scagg's Creek, and six were instantly killed. A Mrs. McClure, delirious with terror, fled she knew not where, followed by her three little children and carrying a little babe in her arms. The cries of the babe guided the pursuit of the Indians. They cruelly tomahawked the three oldest children, and took the mother and the babe as captives. Fortunately the tidings of this outrage speedily reached one of the settlements. Captain Whitley immediately started in pursuit of the gang. He overtook them, killed two, wounded two, and rescued the captives. Such were the scenes enacted during a period of nominal peace with the Indians.
There has been transmitted to us a very curious document, giving an account of a speech made by Mr. Dalton, a Government agent, to a council of Indian chiefs, upon the announcement of peace with Great Britain, and their reply. Mr. Dalton said:
"MY CHILDREN,—What I have often told you is now come to pass. This day I received news from my great chief at the Falls of the Ohio. Peace is made with the enemies of America. The white flesh, the Americans, French, and Spanish, this day smoked out of the peace-pipe. The tomahawk is buried, and they are now friends. I am told the Shawanese, the Delawares, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and all other red flesh, have taken the Long Knife by the hand. They have given up to them the prisoners that were in their hands.
"My children on the Wabash, open your ears and let what I tell you sink into your hearts. You know me. Near twenty years I have been among you. The Long Knife is my nation. I know their hearts. Peace they carry in one hand and war in the other. I leave you to yourselves to judge. Consider and now accept the one or the other. We never beg peace of our enemies. If you love your women and children, receive the belt of wampum I present you. Return me my flesh you have in your villages, and the horses you stole from my people in Kentucky. Your corn fields were never disturbed by the Long Knife. Your women and children lived quiet in their houses, while your warriors were killing and robbing my people. All this you know is the truth.
"This is the last time I shall speak to you. I have waited six moons to hear you speak and to get my people from you. In ten nights I shall leave the Wabash to see my great chief at the Falls of the Ohio, where he will be glad to hear from your own lips what you have to say. Here is tobacco I give you. Smoke and consider what I have said."
Mr. Dalton then presented Piankashaw, the chief of the leading tribe assembled in council, with a belt of blue and white wampum. Piankashaw received the emblem of peace with much dignity, and replied:
"MY GREAT FATHER THE LONG KNIFE,—You have been many years among us. You have suffered by us. We still hope you will have pity and compassion upon us, on our women and children. The sun shines on us, and the good news of peace appears in our faces. This is the day of joy to the Wabash Indians. With one tongue we now speak. We accept your peace-belt.
"We received the tomahawk from the English. Poverty forced us to it. We were followed by other tribes. We are sorry for it. To-day we collect the scattered bones of our friends and bury them in one grave. We thus plant the tree of peace, that God may spread its branches so that we can all be secured from bad weather. Here is the pipe that gives us joy. Smoke out of it. Our warriors are glad you are the man we present it to. We have buried the tomahawk, have formed friendship never to be broken, and now we smoke out of your pipe.
"My father, we know that the Great Spirit was angry with us for stealing your horses and attacking your people. He has sent us so much snow and cold weather as to kill your horses with our own. We are a poor people. We hope God will help us, and that the Long Knife will have compassion on our women and children. Your people who are with us are well. We shall collect them when they come in from hunting. All the prisoners taken in Kentucky are alive. We love them, and so do our young women. Some of your people mend our guns, and others tell us they can make rum out of corn. They are now the same as we. In one moon after this we will take them back to their friends in Kentucky.
"My father, this being the day of joy to the Wabash Indians, we beg a little drop of your milk to let our warriors see that it came from your own breast. We were born and raised in the woods. We could never learn to make rum. God has made the white men masters of the world."
Having finished his speech, Piankashaw presented Mr. Dalton with three strings of blue and white wampum as the seal of peace. All must observe the strain of despondency which pervades this address, and it is melancholy to notice the imploring tones with which the chief asks for rum, the greatest curse which ever afflicted his people.
The incessant petty warfare waged between vagrant bands of the whites and the Indians, with the outrages perpetrated on either side, created great exasperation. In the year 1784 there were many indications that the Indians were again about to combine in an attack upon the settlements. These stations were widely scattered, greatly exposed, and there were many of them. It was impossible for the pioneers to rally in sufficient strength to protect every position. The savages, emerging unexpectedly from the wilderness, could select their own point of attack, and could thus cause a vast amount of loss and misery. For a long time it had been unsafe for any individual, or even small parties, unless very thoroughly armed, to wander beyond the protection of the forts. Under these circumstances, a convention was held of the leading men of Kentucky at the Danville Station, to decide what measures to adopt in view of the threatened invasion. It was quite certain that the movement of the savages would be so sudden and impetuous that the settlers would be compelled to rely mainly upon their own resources.
The great State of Virginia, of which Kentucky was but a frontier portion, had become rich and powerful. But many weary leagues intervened, leading through forests and over craggy mountains, between the plains of these distant counties and Richmond, the capital of Virginia. The convention at Danville discussed the question whether it were not safer for them to anticipate the Indians, and immediately to send an army for the destruction of their towns and crops north of the Ohio. But here they were embarrassed by the consideration that they had no legal power to make this movement, and that the whole question, momentous as it was and demanding immediate action, must be referred to the State Government, far away beyond the mountains. This involved long delay, and it could hardly be expected that the members of the General Court in their peaceful homes would fully sympathize with the unprotected settlers in their exposure to the tomahawk and the scalping knife.
Several conventions were held, and the question was earnestly discussed whether the interests of Kentucky did not require her separation from the Government of Virginia, and her organization as a self-governing State. The men who had boldly ventured to seek new homes so far beyond the limits of civilization were generally men of great force of character and of political foresight. They had just emerged from the war of the Revolution, during which all the most important questions of civil polity had been thoroughly canvassed. Their meetings were conducted with great dignity and calm deliberation.
On the twenty-third of May, 1785, the convention at Danville passed the resolve with great unanimity that Kentucky ought to be separated from Virginia, and received into the American Union, upon the same basis as the other States. Still that they might not act upon a question of so much importance without due deliberation, they referred the subject to another convention to be assembled at Danville in August. This convention reiterated the resolution of its predecessor; issued a proclamation urging the people everywhere to organise for defence against the Indians, and appointed a delegation of two members to proceed to Richmond, and present their request for a separation to the authorities there.
"The Legislature of Virginia was composed of men too wise not to see that separation was inevitable. Separated from the parent State by distance and by difficulties of communication, in those days most formidable, they saw that Kentuckians would not long submit to be ruled by those whose power was so far removed as to surround every approach to it with the greatest embarrassment. It was, without its wrongs, and tyranny and misgovernment, the repetition of the circumstances of the Crown and Colonies; and with good judgment, and as the beautiful language of the Danville convention expressed it, with sole intent to bless its people, they agreed to a dismemberment of its part, to secure the happiness of the whole."[F]
[Footnote F: Daniel Boone, by W. H. Bogart.]
It is not important here to enter into a detail of the various discussions which ensued, and of the measures which were adopted. It is sufficient to say that the communication from Kentucky to the Legislature of Virginia was referred to the illustrious John Marshall, then at the commencement of his distinguished career. He gave to the request of the petitioners his own strong advocacy. The result was, that a decree was passed after tedious delays, authorising the formal separation of Kentucky from Virginia. On the fourth of February, 1791, the new State, by earnest recommendation of George Washington, was admitted into the American Union.
It does not appear that Colonel Boone was a member of any of these conventions. He had no taste for the struggles in political assemblies. He dreaded indeed the speculator, the land jobber, and the intricate decisions of courts, more than the tomahawk of the Indian. And he knew full well that should the hour of action come, he would be one of the first to be summoned to the field. While therefore others of the early pioneers were engaged in these important deliberations, he was quietly pursuing those occupations, congenial to his tastes, of cultivating the farm, or in hunting game in the solitude of the forests. His humble cabin stood upon the banks of the Kentucky River, not far from the station at Boonesborough. And thoroughly acquainted as he was with the habits of the Indians, he felt quite able, in his bullet-proof citadel, to protect himself from any marauding bands which might venture to show themselves so near the fort.
It seems to be the lot of humanity that life should be composed of a series of storms, rising one after another. In the palace and in the cottage, in ancient days and at the present time, we find the sweep of the inexorable law, that man is born to mourn.
"Sorrow is for the sons of men, And weeping for earth's daughters."
The cloud of menaced Indian invasion had passed away, when suddenly the sheriff appears in Boone's little cabin, and informs him that his title to his land is disputed, and that legal proceedings were commenced against him. Boone could not comprehend this. Kentucky he regarded almost his own by the right of his discovery. He had led the way there. He had established himself and family in the land, and had defended it from the incursions of the Indians. And now, in his advancing years, to be driven from the few acres he had selected and to which he supposed he had a perfect title, seemed to him very unjust indeed. He could not recognise any right in what seemed to him but the quibbles of the lawyers. In his autobiography he wrote in reference to his many painful adventures:
"My footsteps have often been marked with blood. Two darling sons and a brother have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me forty valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I been a companion for owls, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun, and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."
Agitated by the thought of the loss of his farm and deeply wounded in his feelings, as though a great wrong had been inflicted upon him, Boone addressed an earnest memorial to the Legislature of Kentucky. In this he stated that immediately after the troubles with the Indians had ceased, he located himself upon lands to which he supposed he had a perfect title; that he reared his house and commenced cultivating his fields. And after briefly enumerating the sacrifices he had made in exploring, settling and defending Kentucky, he said he could not understand the justice of making a set of complicated forms of law, superior to his actual occupancy of the land selected, as he believed when and where it was, it was his unquestioned right to do so.
But the lawyers and the land speculators were too shrewd for the pioneer. Colonel Boone was sued; the question went to the courts which he detested, and Boone lost his farm. It was indeed a very hard case. He had penetrated the country when no other white man trod its soil. He discovered its wonderful resources, and proclaimed them to the world. He had guided settlers into the region, and by his sagacity and courage, had provided for their wants and protected them from the savage. And now in his declining years he found himself driven from his farm, robbed of every acre, a houseless, homeless, impoverished man. The deed was so cruel that thousands since, in reading the recital, have been agitated by the strongest emotions of indignation and grief.
Adventures Romantic and Perilous.
The Search for the Horse.—Navigating the Ohio.—Heroism of Mrs. Rowan.—Lawless Gangs.—Exchange of Prisoners.—Boone Revisits the Home of his Childhood.—The Realms beyond the Mississippi.—Habits of the Hunters.—Corn.—Boone's Journey to the West.
The Indians still continued hostile. The following incident gives one an idea of the nature of the conflict which continued, and of the perils which were encountered.
There was a striving station where a few settlers were collected, at a spot now called State Creek Iron Works. One or two farm-houses were scattered around, but at such a short distance from the fort that their inmates could at once take refuge behind its log walls, in case of alarm. In the month of August, 1786, a young man residing in the fort, by the name of Yates, called at one of these farm-houses and requested a lad, Francis Downing, to accompany him in search of a horse, which had strayed away. The two friends set out together, and after searching the forest in vain, found themselves, the latter part of the afternoon, in a lonely uninhabited valley, nearly seven miles from the fort. Here young Downing became quite alarmed by some indications that Indians were dogging their steps. He communicated his fears to his companion. But Yates, who was several years older than Downing, was an experienced hunter and inured to life in the woods, had become to a certain degree indifferent to danger. He made himself quite merry over his young companion's fears, asking him at what price he was willing to sell his scalp, and offering to insure it for sixpence.
Still Downing was not satisfied, and his alarm increased as he insisted that he occasionally heard the crack of dry twigs behind them, as if broken by some one pursueing. But Yates deriding his fears, pressed on, making the woods resound with a song, to which he gave utterance from unusually full and strong lungs. Downing gradually slackened his pace, and when Yates was some thirty yards in advance of him, sprang into a dense cluster of tall whortleberry bushes, where he was effectually concealed. Scarcely had he done this, when to his great terror he saw two Indians peeping cautiously out of a thick canebrake. Deceived by the song of Yates, who with stentorian lungs was still giving forth his woodland ditty, they supposed both had passed. Young Downing thought it impossible but that the savages must have seen him as he concealed himself. Greatly alarmed he raised his gun, intending to shoot one and to trust to his heels for escape from the other.
But his hand was so unsteady that the gun went off before he had taken aim. Terror stricken, he rushed along the path Yates had trod. Yates, alarmed by the report of the gun, came running back. As they met, the two Indians were seen not far from them in hot pursuit. They soon could easily see that the enemy was gaining upon them. In their rapid flight they came to a deep gulley which Yates cleared at a bound, but young Downing failed in the attempt. His breast struck the opposite almost precipitous bank, and he rolled to the bottom of the ditch. Some obstruction in the way prevented the Indians from witnessing the fall of Downing. They continued the pursuit of Yates, crossing the gulley a few yards below where Downing had met his mishap. Thus in less time than we have occupied in the narration, the Indians disappeared in their chase after Yates.
Downing was in great perplexity. He did not dare to creep out of the gulley, lest he should be seen, and as soon as the Indians should perceive that he was not with Yates, as they inevitably would ere long do, they would know that he was left behind, and would turn back for his capture. Unfortunately young Downing had so far lost his presence of mind, that he had failed to reload his gun. Just then he saw one of the savages returning, evidently in search of him. There was no possible resource left but flight. Throwing away his now useless gun, he rushed into the forest with all the speed which terror could inspire. He was but a boy, the full-grown Indian gained rapidly upon him, he could almost strike him with his tomahawk, when they came to an immense tree, blown up by the roots. The boy ran on one side of the trunk and the Indian on the other, towards the immense pile of earth which adhered to the upturned roots.
The boy now gave up all hope in utter despair. It seemed certain that the brawny Indian would get ahead of him and intercept his further flight. But it so happened—was it an accident or was it a Providence—that a she-bear had made her bed directly in the path which the Indian with almost blind eagerness was pursuing. Here the ferocious beast was suckling her cubs. The bear sprang from her lair, and instantly with a terrific hug grasped the savage in her paws. The Indian gave a terrific yell and plunged his knife again and again into the body of the bear. The boy had but one brief glance, as in this bloody embrace they rolled over and over on the ground. The boy, praying that the bear might tear the Indian in pieces, added new speed to his flight and reached the fort in safety.
There he found Yates who had arrived but a few moments before him, and who had outrun the other Indian. The next morning a well armed party returned to the tree. Both the bear and the Indian had disappeared. Probably both had suffered very severely in the conflict, and both had escaped with their lives.
Another incident illustrative of these perilous adventures in the now peaceful State of Kentucky. Mr. Rowan, with his own and five other families, left the little hamlet at Louisville to float down the Ohio to Green River, and to ascend that stream, intending to rear their new homes on its fertile and delightful banks. The families were quite comfortably accommodated in a large flat-bottomed boat. Another boat of similar construction conveyed their cattle and sundry articles of household furniture. On the route which they were pursuing, there were then no settlements. The Ohio river and the Green river flowed through unbroken solitudes.
The flat boats had floated down the beautiful Ohio, through scenes of surpassing loveliness, about one hundred miles, when one night about ten o'clock a prodigious shouting and yelling of Indians was heard some distance farther down the river on the northern shore. Very soon they came in sight of their camp-fires, which were burning very brightly. It was evident that the Indians were having a great carousal rejoicing over some victory. Mr. Rowan immediately ordered the two boats to be lashed firmly together. There were but seven men on board who were capable of making efficient use of the rifle. Plying the oars as vigorously and noiselessly as they could, they endeavored to keep close to the Kentucky shore. And yet they were careful not to approach too near, lest there might be Indians there also. It was evident that there was a large gathering of the Indians on the northern bank, for their camp-fires extended for a distance of nearly half a mile along the river.
As the boats floated noiselessly along in the gloom of the night, under shadow of the cliffs, they were not detected until they were opposite the central fire, whose brilliancy threw a flood of light nearly across the stream. A simultaneous shout greeted this discovery, and with terrific yells the savages rushed to their canoes and commenced a pursuit. The two flat boats rapidly floated beyond the illumination of the fires into the region of midnight darkness. The timid Indians, well acquainted with the white man's unerring aim, pursued cautiously, though their hideous yells resounded along the shores.
Mr. Rowan ordered all on board to keep perfect silence, to conceal themselves as much as possible, and ordered not a gun to be fired till the Indians were so near that the powder of the gun would burn them, thus rendering every shot absolutely certain. The Indians, with their hideous yells, pursued in their canoes until within a hundred yards of the boats. They then seemed simultaneously to have adopted the conviction that the better part of valor was discretion. In the darkness, they could not see the boatmen, who they had no doubt were concealed behind bullet-proof bulwarks. Their birch canoes presented not the slightest obstruction to the passage of a rifle ball. Knowing that the flash of a gun from the boat would be certain death to some one of their number, and that thus the boatmen, with the rapidity with which they could load and fire, would destroy a large part of their company before they could hope to capture the flat boats, they hesitated to approach any nearer, but followed in the pursuit for nearly three miles down the river, assailing the white men only with harmless yells.
The heroic Mrs. Rowan, as she saw the canoes approaching, supposing that the savages would attempt to board the boats, crept quietly around in the darkness, collected all the axes, and placed one by the side of each man, leaning the handle against his knee. While performing this significant act she uttered not a word, but returned to her own seat in silence, retaining a sharp hatchet for herself.
With such determined spirits to assail, it was well for the savages that they did not approach within arms-length of those whom they were pursuing. They would certainly have met with a bloody reception.
The savages at length, despairing of success, relinquished the pursuit and returned to their demoniac orgies around their camp-fires. It was supposed that they had captured a boat which was descending the river the day before, and that their extraordinary revelry was accompanied by the roasting of their captives. A son of Mr. Rowan, but ten years of age, who subsequently became one of the most distinguished men in Kentucky, was present on this occasion. He frequently, in after-years, alluded to the indescribable sensations of sublimity and terror which the scene inspired. The gloom of the night; the solemn flow of the majestic river; the dim view of the forests on either side; the gleam of the camp-fires of the Indians, around which the half-clad savages were dancing in hideous contortions; the unearthly yells in which every demoniac passion seemed contending for the mastery; the shout which was given when they discovered the boats beneath the shadows of the opposite cliffs; the pursuit of the canoes with redoubled vehemence of hooting; the rapidity with which, with brawny arms, they paddled their boats to and fro; the breathless silence which pervaded the flat boat while for more than an hour the occupants awaited, momentarily expecting the terrible onset; and above all, the fortitude and heroism displayed by his mother,—all these combined to leave an impression upon the mind of the boy which could never be obliterated. Few will be able to read the record of this adventure without emotion. What then must it have been to have experienced it in bodily presence, and to have shared in all its terrible dangers?
As we have before said, there was no distinctly proclaimed war, at this time, between the pioneers and the Indians. While lawless men on both sides were committing the most atrocious outrages, the chiefs and the legitimate authorities were nominally at peace. The red men, whether engaged in what they deemed lawful warfare, or moving in plundering bands, were in the habit of inflicting upon their captives the most dreadful tortures which their ingenuity could devise. The white men could not retaliate by the perpetration of such revolting cruelty.
It probably was a suggestion of Colonel Boone that a council might be held with the Indian chiefs, and a treaty formed by which prisoners should be exempted from torture and exchanged, as in civilized warfare. The Indians were by no means reckless of the lives of their warriors, and would probably be very ready to give up a white captive if by so doing they could receive one of their own braves in return. A council was held at a station where Maysville now stands. Colonel Boone was at once selected as the man of all others most fit to take part in these deliberations. He was not only thoroughly acquainted with the Indians, their habits, their modes of thought, and the motives most likely to influence their minds; but his own peculiar character seemed just the one calculated to inspire them with admiration.
The principle was here adopted of an exchange of prisoners, which notwithstanding the continued violence of the lawless, saved the lives of many captives. It is an interesting fact, illustrative of the sagacity and extraordinary power of Colonel Boone over the Indian mind, that the chiefs with one consent agreed in grateful commemoration of this treaty, that if any captive should hereafter be taken by them from Maysville, that captive should be treated with every possible degree of lenity. And it is worthy of record that such a captive was subsequently taken, and that the Indians with the most scrupulous fidelity fulfilled their pledge. Indeed, it is difficult for an impartial historian to deny, that these poor savages, ignorant and cruel as they were, often displayed a sense of honor which we do not so often find in their opponents. It is to be feared that were Indian historians to write the record of these wars, we should not find that they were always in the wrong.
Colonel Boone, ejected from his lands and thus left penniless, felt keenly the wrongs which were inflicted upon him. He knew full well that he had done a thousand times more for Kentucky than any other man living or dead. He had conferred upon the State services which no money could purchase. Though to his intimate friends he confided his sufferings, he was too proud to utter loud complaints. In silence he endured. But Kentucky had ceased to be a happy home for him. Over all its broad and beautiful expanse which he had opened to the world, there was not a single acre which he could call his own. And he had no money with which to purchase a farm of those speculators, into whose hands most of the lands had fallen. Could the good old man now rise from his grave, a Kentucky Legislature would not long leave him landless. There is scarcely a cabin or a mansion in the whole State, where Daniel Boone would not meet with as hospitable a reception as grateful hearts could give.
As a grief-stricken child rushes to its mother's arms for solace, so it is natural for man, when world-weary and struggling with adversity, to look back with longing eyes to the home of his childhood. The remembrance of its sunny days animates him, and its trivial sadnesses are forgotten. Thus with Daniel Boone; houseless and stung by ingratitude, he turned his eyes to the far distant home of his childhood, on the banks of the Schuykill. More than forty years of a wonderfully adventurous life had passed, since he a boy of fourteen had accompanied his father in his removal from Reading, in Berk's County, to North Carolina. Still the remarkable boy had left traces behind him which were not yet obliterated.
He visited Reading, probably influenced by a faint hope of finding there a home. A few of his former acquaintances were living, and many family friends remained. By all he was received with the greatest kindness. But the frontier settlement of log huts, and the majestic surrounding forests filled with game, had entirely disappeared. Highly cultivated farms, from which even the stumps of the forest had perished, extended in all directions. Ambitious mansions adorned the hillsides, and all the appliances of advancing civilization met the eye. There could be no home here for Daniel Boone. Amid these strange scenes he felt as a stranger, and his heart yearned again for the solitudes of the forest. He longed to get beyond the reach of lawyers' offices, and court-houses, and land speculators.
After a short visit he bade adieu forever to his friends upon the Schuykill, and turned his steps again towards the setting sun. His feelings had been too deeply wounded to allow him to think of remaining a man without a home in Kentucky. Still the idea of leaving a region endeared to him by so many memories must have been very painful. He remembered vividly his long and painful journeys over the mountains, through the wilderness untrodden by the foot of the white man; his solitary exploration of the new Eden which he seemed to have found there; the glowing accounts he had carried back to his friends of the sunny skies, the salubrious clime, the fertile soil, and the majesty and loveliness of the landscape; of mountain, valley, lake and river which Providence had lavished with a prodigal hand in this "Garden of the Lord."
One by one he had influenced his friends to emigrate, had led them to their new homes, had protected them against the savages, and now when Kentucky had become a prosperous State in the Union, containing thirty thousand inhabitants, he was cast aside, and under the forms of law was robbed of the few acres which he had cultivated as his own. His life embittered by these reflections, and seeing nothing to attract him in the wild and unknown regions beyond the Mississippi, Colonel Boone turned sadly back to Virginia.
It was an easy task for him to remove. In such an hour, one can sometimes well say, "Blessed be Nothing." A few pack-horses were sufficient to convey all his household goods. It is probable that his wife and children, indignant at the treatment which the husband and father had received, were glad to leave.
This was doubtless one of the saddest journeys that Colonel Boone ever undertook. Traversing an almost pathless wilderness in a direction a little north of east from Boonesborough, he crossed the various speers of the Alleghany range, supporting his family with his rifle on the way, until after passing over three hundred miles of the wilderness, he reached the mouth of the Kanawha river, as that stream flows from Virginia due north, and empties into the Ohio river. Here there was a point of land washed by the Ohio on the north, and the Great Kanawha on the west, to which the appropriate name of Point Pleasant had been given. It does not appear that civilization had as yet penetrated this region. The emigration to Kentucky had floated by it down the river, descending from Pittsburg, or had crossed the mountain passes from North Carolina, several hundred miles to the south.
Colonel Boone was now fifty-five years of age. If there were any settlement at the time at Point Pleasant, it must have consisted merely of a few log huts. Here at all events, Colonel Boone found the solitude and the communion with nature alone, for which his heart yearned. The world might call him poor, and still he was rich in the abundant supply of all his earthly wants. He reared his log hut where no one appeared to dispute his claim. The fertile soil around, a virgin soil, rich with undeveloped treasures, under the simplest culture produced abundantly, and the forest around supplied him daily with animal food more than a European peasant sees in a year.
Here Colonel Boone and his family remained for several years, to use a popular phrase, buried from the world. His life was mainly that of a hunter. Mr. Peck, speaking of the habits of those pioneers who depended mainly upon the rifle for support, writes:
"I have often seen him get up early in the morning, walk hastily out, and look anxiously to the woods and snuff the autumnal winds with the highest rapture; then return into the house and cast a quick and attentive look at the rifle, which was always suspended to a joist by a couple of buck-horns or little forks. The hunting dog understanding the intentions of his master, would wag his tail, and by every blandishment in his power, express his readiness to accompany him to the woods."
It probably did not diminish Colonel Boone's interest in his new home, that it was exposed to all the perils of border life; that his rifle should be ever loaded; that his faithful watch-dog should be stationed at the door, to give warning of any approaching footsteps; and that he and his family should always be ready for a siege or battle. With these precautions, Boone had no more fear of assault from half a dozen vagabond Indians, than he had from so many howling wolves.
The casualties of life had greatly reduced his family. Of his three sons, the eldest had fallen beneath the arrow and the tomahawk of the savages amidst the gloomy defiles of the Alleghany mountains. His second son was killed at the dreadful battle of the Blue Licks, as his agonised father had been compelled to abandon him to the merciless foe. His third son, probably chagrined by the treatment which his father had received from the authorities of Kentucky, had bidden adieu to all the haunts of civilized life, and traversing the wilderness towards the setting sun for many hundred miles, had crossed the Mississippi and sought a home in the wilds of the upper Louisiana, then under the dominion of Spain.
As Boone was quietly engaged in his solitary vocation of farmer and hunter, where there were no books, no newspapers, nothing whatever to inform him of what was transpiring in the busy world of civilization, or in the haunts of savage life, two or three hunters came one day to his cabin, where of course they met with a very hospitable reception. It was not difficult to entertain guests in those days. The floor of the cabin supplied all the needed accommodations for lodging. Each guest with his rifle could easily furnish more food than was desired for the whole family.
A little corn-meal, very coarsely ground in what was called a tub-mill, gave quite a variety of palatable food. Boiled in water it formed a dish called mush, which when eaten with milk, honey or butter, presented truly a delicious repast for hungry mouths. Mixed with cold water, it was ready to be baked. When covered with hot ashes, it emerged smoking from the glowing embers in the form of Ash Cake. When baked upon a shingle and placed before the coals, it was termed Journey Cake, so called because it could be so speedily prepared. This name has been corrupted in modern times into Johnny Cake. When baked upon a helveless hoe, it formed the Hoe Cake. When baked in a kettle covered with a heated lid, if in one large cake, it was called a Pone or loaf. If in quite a number of small cakes they were called Dodgers.
Corn flour seems to have been peculiarly prepared by Providence for the pioneers. For them it possesses some very great advantages over all other flour. It requires but few and the most simple cooking utensils. It can be rendered very palatable without either yeast, eggs, sugar or spices of any kind. It can easily be raised in the greatest abundance, and affords the most wholesome and nutritious food.
"Let paeans," writes Mr. Hartly, "be sung all over the mighty West, to Indian Corn. Without it, the West would still have been a wilderness. Was the frontier suddenly invaded, without commissary, or quartermaster, or other sources of supply, each soldier parched a peck of corn. A portion of it was put into his pockets, the remainder in his wallet, and throwing it upon his saddle with his rifle on his shoulder, he was ready in half an hour for the campaign. Did a flood of emigration inundate the frontier, with an amount of consumers disproportioned to the supply of grain, the facility of raising the Indian corn, and its early maturity, gave promise and guarantee that the scarcity would be temporary and tolerable. Did the safety of the frontier demand the services of every adult militiaman, the boys and women could themselves raise corn, and furnish ample supplies of bread. Did an autumnal intermittent confine the whole family, or the entire population to the sick bed, this certain concomitant of the clearing and cultivating the new soil, mercifully withholds its paroxysms till the crop of corn is made. It requires no further labor or care afterwards. Paeans, say we, and a temple of worshipping to the creator of Indian Corn!"
The hunters to whom we referred were indeed congenial companions to Daniel Boone. As day after day they accompanied him in the chase, and night after night sat by the blaze of his cabine-fire, related to him the adventures they had encountered far away beyond the Mississippi, the spirit of his youth revived within him. An irrepressible desire sprang up in his heart again to become a pioneer in the pathless forest which he loved so well. It is not improbable also that his parental feelings might have been aroused by the consideration that his son had gone before him to that distant land; and that he might have been animated by the hope of being reunited with him in his declining years.
The hunters represented to him that another Kentucky could be found beyond the Father of Waters; that the game was abundant and would be inexhaustible, until long after his earthly pilgrimage should end; that the Spanish Government, desirous of promoting emigration, were ready to make the most liberal grants of land to any man who would rear a cabin and commence the cultivation of the soil; that over an expanse of hundreds of miles of a sunny clime, and as luxurious soil as heart could desire, he could select his broad acres with no fear of ever again being ejected from his home.
These representations were resistless. Colonel Boone decided again to become a wanderer to the far West, though it involved the relinquishment of American citizenship and becoming a subject of the crown of Spain.
The year 1795 had now come, as Colonel Boone gathered up his few household goods for the fourth great remove of his life. He was born on the banks of the Delaware; his childhood was passed amidst the solitudes of the Upper Skuylkill; his early manhood, where he reared his cabin and took to it his worthy bride, was in North Carolina. Thence penetrating the wilderness through adventures surpassing the dreams of romance, he had passed many years amidst the most wonderful vicissitudes of quietude and of agitation, of peace and of war, on the settlement of which he was the father, at Boonesborough, in the valley of the Kentucky river. Robbed of the possessions which he had earned a hundred times over, he had sought a temporary residence at Point Pleasant, in Virginia. And now, as he was approaching the termination of his three score years, he was prepared to traverse the whole extent of Kentucky, from the Alleghany border on the east, to the mighty flood of the Mississippi, which then upon the west rushed with its turbid flood through an almost unbroken solitude. It was a long, long journey.
We can only surmise the reasons why he did not float down the Ohio in a flat boat. It may be said that he was entirely unaccustomed to boating. And as it does not appear that any other families joined him in the enterprise, his solitary boat would be almost certain to be attacked and captured by some of the marauding bands which frequented the northern banks of the Ohio.
Colonel Boone was perfectly at home in the wilderness. He could always find a path for himself, where there was no trail to follow. And but few Indians now ventured into the interior of the State. We have no record of the journey. He reached the Mississippi safely, crossed the river into what is now the State of Missouri, and found a warm greeting in the cabin of his son Daniel M. Boone, who had established himself upon the western banks of the river, near where the city of St. Louis now stands.
A New Home.
Colonel Boone welcomed by the Spanish Authorities.—Boone's Narrative to Audubon.—The Midnight Attack.—Pursuit of the Savages.—Sickness in the Wilderness.—Honesty of Colonel Boone.—Payment of his Debts.—Loss of all his Property.
At the time when Colonel Boone crossed the Mississippi and entered Missouri, the Spanish Government, then in possession of that territory, being anxious to promote the settlement of the country, gave a very cordial welcome to all emigrants. The fame of Colonel Boone, as one of the most bold and valuable of pioneers, had preceded him. The Lieutenant Governor under the Spanish crown, who resided at St. Louis, received him with marked attention, and gave him the assurance that ample portions of land should be given to him and his family.
Colonel Boone took up his residence, with his son, in what is called the Femme Osage district. The Spanish authorities appointed him Commandant of the district, which was an office of both civil and military power. His commission was dated July 11th, 1800. Remote as was this region from the Atlantic States, bold adventurers, lured by the prospect of obtaining large tracts of land, were rapidly pouring in. Instead of collecting together, they scattered wildly over the vast domain. Don Charles, the Spanish governor, gave Colonel Boone eight thousand acres of land on the north side of the Missouri river. By the law of the province he was bound to build upon some part of this land a house within the year, and also to obtain a confirmation of the grant from the representative of the Spanish crown, then residing in New Orleans. Both of these precautions the simple-minded man neglected to adopt. To visit New Orleans required a journey through the wilderness of more than a thousand miles. Though he might float down the stream in his boat he would be exposed continually to attacks from the Indians on its banks, and when ready to return he could not surmount the rapid current of the river in his boat, but would be compelled to traverse the winding banks, often through almost impenetrable forests and morasses. His duties as syndic or justice of the peace also occupied much of his time, and the Lieutenant Governor at St. Louis agreed to dispense with his residence upon his lands. In addition to this, Colonel Boone had no doubt that the country would soon come under the power of the United States, and he could not believe the United States Government would disturb his title.
Soon after Boone's emigration to Missouri, the Emperor Napoleon, by treaty with Spain, obtained possession of the whole of the vast region west of the Mississippi and Missouri, then known as Louisiana, and the region was transferred to France. It is a curious fact in the history of Boone passing through such wonderful adventures, that he had been a subject of George II., George III., a citizen of the United States, of the temporary nationality of Transylvania, an adopted son and citizen of the Shawanese tribe of Indians, a subject of Charles IV. of Spain, and now he found himself a subject of the first Napoleon, whose empire was then filling the world with its renown.
Not long after this, the Emperor sold the country, as we have recorded, to the United States, saying with that prophetic wisdom which characterised this extraordinary man, "I have now given England a rival upon the seas." The fulfilment of this prophecy has since then been every hour in process of development.
Colonel Boone seems to have been very happy in his new home. He still enjoyed his favorite pursuit of hunting, for the forests around him were filled with game and with animals whose rich furs were every year becoming more valuable. The distinguished naturalist, J. J. Audubon, visited him in his solitary retreat, and spent a night with him. In his Ornithological Biography he gives the following narrative which he received from Boone, that evening as they sat at the cabin fire. We give the story in the words of the narrator: