Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Such was the fort. Outside a considera- and would hardly be undertaken for the ble area had been cleared even of the indulgence of a few hours' chat. Percane and papaw, that nothing might be haps, however, Mrs. Boone and her daughleft within gun shot which could conceal ter found a compensating pleasure in bean enemy.

ing belles among the chivalrous knights of One large elm, however, was spared for early Kentucky; or, better still, when the beauty and convenience, of which Colonel cooking, mending, etc., was all done for Henderson, in his journal, writes with the their own household, they could find many most enthusiastic admiration, calling it the helpful ways of making themselves agree“divine elm.” Under its green canopy, able to the other fathers, brothers and with its graceful leaf branches ever whis- husbands whose families had not yet arpering of divine care and protection, they rived. When in a short time Colonel erected a rude pulpit and held divine ser- Callaway's wife and daughters were added vice. It also served them for a council to their nunaber, what a joy it was. The chamber, within whose shadow at noon a fathers had been old friends and the girls hundred persons could "commodiously soon grew as intimate as three girls could seat themselves.” There were also, a little be, with a three-fold enjoyment of all the farther off, three notable sycamores, two of healthy, hearty pleasures their wilderness which are said to have measured twenty home afforded, while Mrs. Boone also feet around the trunk. How magnificent found a congenial companion in the the forests must have been, presided over mother. Everybody found plenty to do, by such giants as these.

and while enjoying the deliciously bracing The inner square was a clean turf of the weather of the early autumn and feasting native wild clover. Here the whole com- their eyes on the richly changing colors of munity gathered in the evenings to enjoy the forests, they did not forget that the together such simple pleasures and ath- winter was coming. The cabins were letic amusements as suited their various thorou hly daubed, fuel stored away in fancies.

abundance, and every possible preparati For awhile Rebecca Boone and her made for planting the crops in the spring. daughter seem to have been the only Nor was there lack of novelty and excitefemales in the fort. At Harrodsburg ment for every day of their lives. Instead there were three mothers of families, with of balls and parties or the planning and whom they had traveled part of the way construction of their winter wardrobe, they from the Clinch. No doubt it would have looked forward to the coming home of the been very delightful if they could have hunters. The game had already been met occasionally and gossiped a little over scared off to such an extent that they their mutual housekeeping experience and sometimes had to go fifteen or twenty the exploits of their respective husbands. miles and be absent for several days to get But alas ! they were fifty miles apart, and a good supply, but an eager little audience a trip of that length in those days was always awaited them on their return ready something to be thought of a long time to listen to the recital of each one's adventures. Sometimes it was a contest with a daughters of Colonel Callaway with Jefierce wildcat, sometimes a narrow escape mima Boone learned a severe lesson on from a cunning panther or the encounter this point in the early summer of 1776, with a herd of buffaloes. Each skin and which caused the greatest alarm and discarcass had its own story to tell, and tress in the fort as well as to themselves. women's hearts all the world over applaud An account of it is given below in the deeds of daring, encouraging them with words of a grandson of the elder Miss sparkling eyes and cheeks that glow. Such Callaway, the venerable Dr. Rivers of incidents as these and even a race with Louisville, and written by special request : Indians were quite ordinary occurrences, Much of romance is connected with the early yet such as one never grows accustomed history of Kentucky. Daniel Boone was a marvel of

tact, energy, boldness in the face of danger, and to or tires of hearing when the hero is one

noted for his love of the wild forest and of advendear to us.

tures where no civilized foot had ever trodden. He Thus the winter passed, the spring was a pioneer such as may never be seen again. He opened, and all began to think of garden: associated with him in the first settlement of Ken

was an Indian fighter of the boldest type. He had ing. Each spot was chosen and marked tucky many brave and daring spirits. This was beoff, the trees cut down or girdled and the fore the Revolutionary war and when a wilderness brush burned. Then the ground was

had to be crossed in passing from North Carolina or

Virginia in order to reach the dark and bloody broken up and softened, after which it was

ground. The grandparents of the writer were among turned over to the wives and daughters. those who joined Daniel Boone in his wild venture So every bright day found them busy to separate himself from civilization and build up a planting the seed brought with them from colony in the heart of the vast wilderness of Ken

tucky. They were not then married. Their names the older settlements, inhaling fresh vigor were Samuel Henderson and Elizabeth (called Betsy) from the virgin soil and appreciating these Callaway. On a bright morning in May three girls days without the fort with somewhat of the determined to seek recreation and left the monotony keen relish that city children do a picnic; Kentucky river. They were Jemima Boone, Eliza

of Boone's fort for the purpose of a boat ride on the howbeit, it was necessary to keep a con- beth (or Betsy) Callaway and Fanny Callaway, her stant eye on the forests and the nearest sister. They were strong and brave and felt that gate of the fort.

they could " paddle their own canoe." So they loosed

the rude boat from the bank and were soon enjoyThe Indians were evidently very much

ing the romance of a ride on the sparkling waters of enraged at these invasions of their hunting the Kentucky river. Seeing some beautiful wild grounds, and yet all this winter and spring flowers on the west bank of the river they in

cautiously paddled their canoe to the shore that passed without any serious disturbance at

they might obtain each for herself a nice bunch of Boonsborough. The men, of course, flowers. While they were landing, some red men of never went anywhere without their insep. the forest, who were secreted near, among the bushes, arable companions, the rifle and the knife, rushed down to the beach and made all three of the

girls prisoners. No sooner had they captured them but the girls could hardly realize the dan

than they started off with their fair victims into the gers that might lurk in every bush or cane- pathless forest toward the setting sun. The girls brake along the river's bank, and some

kept their presence of mind and moved off, obedient

to silent orders and without arousing the wrath of times ventured thoughtlessly to rash dis

their captors. My grandmother perceived at once tances away from the fort.

The two

their great danger and determined to do all in her

power to lessen it. She took her pocket handkerchief too savage to admire either their beauty or their and, without being observed, tore it into shreds and worth. The air was rent with a shout of joy and threw the pieces on the ground that they might be a the wilderness exhibited a scene of gladness such as guide to the braves in the fort, who she knew would never before had lighted up its primeval gloom. The be sure to follow for their rescue. When the handker- girls were unharmed. (Among the traits of the chief gave out she, with seeming carelessness, would American Indian, especially in the olden time, was now and then break a twig and drop it in their track. a sacred regard for woman's virtue.) Unharmed, This she continued during the rest of their short cap- except with swollen feet and hands sore from breaktivity. Some few hours after the capture the fort was

ing the twigs which served so useful a purpose in sethrown into great alarm, and the cry was, “Our curing their rescue, the girls rejoicingly started with girls are captured, and we must to the rescue !" A their proud captors back to their parents and band of eighteen brave men, led by my grandfather, friends at the fort, I guess, wisely determining not Samuel Henderson, soon started in pursuit. He again to attempt to paddle their own canoe. In was then engaged to be married to one of the fair two weeks after this there was a marriage in the fort. prisoners. His heart was with her whom he loved Squire Boone, the brother of Daniel Boone, was a better than life. He was young, enthusiastic, Baptist preacher, and he was called upon to perform talented and brave. A fine specimen of a man, a marriage ceremony for the first time in the history nearly six feet in height and weighing one hundred of the colony. The parties to this contract were and seventy pounds, he was fit to be a hero, and Samuel Henderson and Betsy Callaway. These courageous enough to confront any danger that he were the first white people ever married in the state might save the girls, and especially his betrothed, of Kentucky. The first child born of this pair was a from worse than death. On they rushed, these girl and was named Fannie, who afterwards married young men, regardless of fatigue or danger. Guided Mr. Gillespie, who was president of Chappel Hill, by the shreds of linen torn with so much presence of North Carolina. My mother always told me that mind by Betsy Callaway, they found little difficulty

her sister Fannie was the first white child ever born in following right on the track of the savages. Then

in this commonwealth. After her birth, about 1777, the sprigs broken and scattered by the same deft my grandfather returned to North Carolina to take hands gave additional zest and activity to the pur- part in the Revolutionary war, He rose to the rank suit. The young men were all well armed for that of colonel and was said to be a brave officer. He day, but the fear was that the Indians miglit see died in Franklin county, Tennessee, whither he and them in their near approach, and scalping the girls, his brother-in-law, Colonel Richard Callaway, had might make their escape. They had now been in removed in the early part of this century. My grandpursuit some twenty-four hours, and the Indians had parents reared a large family, some six daughters been in possession of their prey more than thirty

and four sons. Of these all are dead except Colonel hours. They knew by the freshness of the broken Alfred Henderson and his sister, Mrs. Endosia twigs that they were nearing the precious objects of Estill, who are both living in Texas at a very adtheir pursuit, whom they were soon to rescue or to vanced age. My parents were married in 1807 and see scalped and left dead. As though it were provi- lived together more than fifty years without a death dential, the Indians had become careless, feeling in their family. My mother always took the deepest they were sufficiently distant from the fort to re- interest in Kentucky. Her oldest brother, Richard gard their prizes secured ; and no longer fearing Henderson, died in the town of Henderson about pursuit, they encamped, tied the girls each to a tree, the year 1814. His children and grandchildren still and all except five (who were left as guards) had live in that city. It was from the lips of my mother, gone bunting. The girls were all near each other. who lived until her ninetieth year, that I learned all Those who were with them were busy preparing

the facts stated in the above narrative. She used what food they had for themselves and their prison

to gather her children around her and give to us the The nearest one was more than fifty yards stirring incidents in the history of the pioneers of from the girls. The young men saw their opportu- Kentucky. nity. Two or three of them fired but missed the Yes, two weeks after the capture and savages. In another moment the girls were rescued

rescue of the girls the fort was again in a and their savage captors running at full speed from those who would have sacrificed life itself to save

grand state of excitement. No alarm of these jewels of the wilderness from those who were savages this time but the imperative whis

ers.

perings of a tiny god who does not con. groom. Here the young gallants of the fine his influence to "society" and "high fort and perhaps some from other forts culture." Samuel Henderson, the stal- were collected. Flanders Callaway and wart hero of the rescue, would wait no Captain John Holder you may be sure longer for his promised bride. Perhaps were there. They were lovers also, rehe coveted the right to say his beloved spectively, of the other two maidens of should never go boating again without the quandam captivity, and the romance him.

of that little episode was to be fittingly What, marry out in the wilderness! completed some of these days by two Yes; why not? There was the preacher, more weddings, each of a rescued maiden good Squire Boone, and plenty of people to one of her brave rescuers. And Colto make a jolly wedding. But a wed- onel John Floyd, the handsome young ning with no tailor, dressmaker nor mil- widower, he certainly would not miss seeliner within hundreds of miles ! Naying the last of the thoughtful little lassie even spinning and weaving had scarce he had helped to recapture from the begun in Kentucky. Yet even so, each savages. girl friend, and even the bride herself, had Picture them to yourself, those men but to take down from the peg behind of early days, grand specimens of nathe door (her wardrobe), and shake out ture's athletes, every one of them “with her best linsey petticoat, and see that nerves of iron and sinews of steel," and a the linen or linsey short gown, all home. cool, self-possessed strength and good naspun, to be worn with it, was clean and ture, equally ready to face a bear, elude a neat for the occasion. So they were in- savage or dance at a wedding. Their cosdependent, you see, of dressmakers. And tume was in keeping. The short breeches, though this outfit was neither dainty nor leggings and moccasins were made of fine, it at least left untrammeled the free, dressed deer skin, and the hunting-shirt, graceful motions of nature.

so universally worn, was of homespun Early on the eventful day each cabin linsey, like the girls' dresses. . This huntwas busy and bustling. The ceremony ing-shirt was a loose frock coat reaching must needs be performed before, dinner. half way down the thighs, with large open That was the fashionable hour in those

sleeves and a cape, and worn with a days, and of course all must participate,

leather belt fastened behind. All the for in a community like this, shut up edges were decorated with fringes made within fort walls and cut off, in a measure,

of a raveled piece of cloth of some (once) from other associations, joys and dangers bright color, which gave quite a handsome were shared by all as if they had been one appearance.

Add the tomahawk at one family. The sun was nearing its noon- side, the scalping-knife in its sheath at the day strength when the excitement began other and the inevitable rifle in hand or to culminate in one of the larger corner within easy reach, and the pioneer stands cabins, that occupied by Colonel Hen- complete before you, prepared for whatderson, elder brother to the expectant ever may happen. Some of the ceremonies

[ocr errors]

afterwards in vogue, as running for the could make it, for a table, and served in bottle, were probably omitted on this occa- wooden bowls and trays, with wooden sion, for even if whiskey had been intro- spoons. The carving was done with the duced at this early date, there was lack. ever ready knife at each belt, and they ate of space in the fort for the race, and the as they pleased, or as best they could. recent raid of the savages and the occa- Perhaps there were enough left of the sional indications of their lurking presence pewter spoons and tin cups brought from rendered it more prudent to confine their their old homes to supply an honored few, fun within fortification limits.

and the crystal nectar dipped from the At another cabin might have been found bubbling spring under the “divine elm" the pretty sun-browned lassie, with cheeks was a beverage as refreshing as it was like the blush on twin peaches and a soft harmless. light in her bright eyes.

Her two com- The guests sat on long, wooden benches, panions in pleasure and danger were with with a three-legged stool at each end of her, her sister Fannie and Jemima Boone, the table, and however served or however and they were discussing, with nimble eaten you may be sure they made a merry fingers, some flowers hastily gathered meal of it. while out milking in the morning under When dinner was over, as the cabins shelter of the guns and watchful eyes of were rather small, they adjourned to the their “braves.” Just enough to decorate, green, where on the smooth sward they in their own simple fashion, themselves danced the hours away until the sun went and the cabin where the wedding feast is down and the moon and stars came out to laid. In a very short time the delicious light the jolly scene. If a stray fiddler fragrance of the wild roses waited to the had found his way to the wilds of Keneager senses of young Henderson reminded tucky, no doubt he was there making the him of his own sweet rose that had so forests echo to the sound of jigs and nearly been snatched from his grasp. reels and merry-go-rounds. It was the

The brief ceremony was performed by usual custom to keep up the dancing until Squire Boone, who was a Baptist preacher, the next day, but on this occasion they immediately on the arrival of the groom were doubtless more inoderate, for when and his party, after which came the wed. Betsy Callaway became a matron there ding dinner. Not delicate dishes and were probably but two young ladies left in confectionery, but good substantial food the fort, as the Boones and the Callaways such as vigorous appetites crave and over seem to have been the only families there which Mother Callaway and Mother at that time, and the rest of the children Boone and whatever other mothers were must have been small. So much for the in the fort at the time had been busy all first wedding of Kentucky. the morning. Beef, bear's meat, fowls We cannot doubt they were all more careand venison, with such vegetables as they ful from this time, and we do not hear of had been able to raise, set out on a four- any more similar accidents at this fort. legged wooden slab, as smooth as an ax Daniel Boone himself was notably cau

« AnteriorContinuar »