Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

THE CHIMNEY CORNER

OLD STORIES RETOLD.

A Slayer of Indians -{cohUhu. d).

The fort being now in much danger from Indians, and salt running short, Captain Boone and thirty men undertook to make an armed foray, and bring a supply from the Lower Blue Licks, but when the pack-horses, with salt, had just been despatched to the fort, a party of a hundred and two Indians fell on Boone, and made him their prisoner. Although the British Governor of Detroit offered one hundred pounds for his ransom, the Indians determined that Bonne should become a member of their tribe, and Blackfish, a great chief among the Shawanoes, adopted him as his son. The forms of the ceremony of adoption are often severe and ludicrous. The hair of the head is plucked out by a tedious and painful operation, leaving a tuft, some three or four inches in diameter, on the crown, for the scalplock, which is cut and dressed up with ribbons and feathers. The candidate is then taken into the river, and there thoroughly washed and rubbed, “to take all his white blood out.” The captive is next taken to the council-house, where the chief makes a speech, in which ho expatiates upon the distinguished honor conferred upon him, and the line of conduct expected of him. His head and face are painted in the most fashionable style, and the ceremony is concluded with a grand feast and smok-

Boone bided bis time. His rifle-balls being always counted by the Indians, he contrived to split several bullets, and so laid iq) a store for future use. Finding at Chillicothe four hundred and fifty warriors in their war-paint, prepared to march against the fort, he at once resolved on escape. Secreting some jerked venison, be struck out one morning for his home, and reached it in less than five days, only eating one regular meal during the forced march of one hundred and sixty miles. A few days after, four hundred and forty-four Indians arrived at the fort, with British and French colors flying. Boone’s foi’ce was only between sixty and seventy men. The cows and horses had already been driven inside the walls, and water had been collected in every available vessel. Duquesne, the commander of the Indians, proposed a parley. Though suspecting treachery, it was determined, after consultation, to accede to the proposition of Duquesne, and hold a treaty. Nine persons were selected for the hazardous and responsible duty—four of them being Flanders Callaway, Stephen Hancock, William Hancock, and Squire Boone. The parties met on the plot of ground in front of the fort, and at the distance from it of about sixty yards. The terms offered were exceedingly liberal ; too liberal, as Boone and his associates saw, to come from honest intentions. The propositions were, that they should remain unmolested, and retain all their property, only submitting to the British authorities in Canada, and taking the oath of allegiance to the king. At the conclusion, the Indians proposed that on so great an occasion, “ to make the chain of peace more strong and bright,” they should revive an ancient custom, and that two Indians should shake hands each with a white man, and that this should be the token of sincere friendship. Captain Boone and his associates were from the first prepared for treachery. Before they left the fort twenty men were stationed with loaded rifles, so as to command a full view of all the proceedings, and ready for the slightest alarm. The parties on the treaty ground had no weapons, and were divested of all outside garments. As they had agreed to hold the treaty, it would have been regarded as a breach of confidence, and a direct insult to refuse the proffered ceremony at the close. When the Indians approached each grasped the hand and arm of their white antagonist. A scuffle ensued, for the Indians at once attempted to drag them off as prisoners. The Kentuckians, however, either knocked down, tripped, or pushed off their antagonists, and fled into the fort. The fire from the vigilant guard at the same time threw the enemy into confusion. Tire Indians then rushed from their camp, and made a vigorous attack on the fort. Squire Boone was wounded, but not severely. The siege lasted from the 7th to the 20th of December. The Indians then retreated, having lost thirty-seven killed, while the Kentuckians had only two killed, and four wounded. According to the statement of Captain Boone, a hundred and twenty-five pounds of musket-balls were picked up round the fold, besides those that penetrated and were made fast in the logs. During the seige, Jemima, the eldest daughter of Boone, afterwards Mrs Callaway, received a contusion in her hip, from a spent ball, while she was supplying her father with ammunition. While the parley was in progress an unprincipled negro man deserted, and wont over to the Indians, carrying with him a large, farshooting rifle. He crossed the river, ascended a tree on its bank, and so placed himself that he could raise his head, look through a fork of the tree, and fire into the fort. One man had been killed, and another wounded, from that direction, when Captain Boone discovered the negro, by his head peering above the fork. The old hunter fired and the negro was seen to fall. After the Indians had retreated, his body was found ; his forehead was pierced with the ball, fired at the distance of one hundred and seventy yards. The Indians, who burned or carried off their own dead, would not touch his body. In a subsequent fight with Indians the Kentucky malitia were defeated, and Boone had the agony of having his son killed by his side. After the defeat, when General Clarke, with whom Boone served, was burning some Indian towns, a small party of southern Indians attacked a small settlement called Crab Orchard. A party of savages approached a single cabin, in which were a woman, her children, and a negro, from whom they expected no resistance. One of the number entered in advance of the rest, thinking without doubt, to secure the whole as prisoners, or, at least, to obtain their scalps. He seized the negro man, expecting no resistance from the others. In the scuffle b dh fell, when the children shut and bolted the door, and with an axe the mother cut off the Indian’s head. The rest of the Indiana hearing

the scuffle rushed at the door which, they found barricaded against them, and assailed it with their tomahawks. But the mother seized an old rusty gun, without a lock, which lay in a corner, and put it through a crevice in the logs, which so alarmed them that they left the place.

In 1783, Kentucky became more settled, and the town of Danville was founded. At a short distance from his cabin, Boone had raised a small patch of tobacco for the use of his neighbors, for lie himself never smoked. As a shelter for curing it, he had built an enclosure of rails a dozen feet in height, and covered with cane and grass. Stalks of tobacco are usually 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 the other to the roof. Booiie 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 getting in the remainder of the crop. He had hoisted up the sticks from the lower to the second tier, and I was standing on the poles that 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. Wo carry you otf to Chillicothe this time. You no cheat us any more.” Boone looked down upon their upturned faces, saw their loaded guns pointed at his breast, and recognising some of his old friends, the Shawanoes, who had formerly made him prisoner near the Blue Licks, coolly and pleasantly responded, “ Ah, old friends, glad to see you !” Perceiving that they manifested impatience to llave him come down, he told them that he was quite willing to go with them, and only begged they would wait where they were, and watch him closely, until he could finish removing his tobacco. While parleying with them, inquiring after old acquaintances, and proposing to give them his tobacco when cured, he diverted their attention from his purpose, until he had collected together a number of sticks of dry tobacco, and so turned them as to fall between the poles directly in their faces. At the same instant he jumped upon them with as much of the dry tobacco as he could gather in his arms, filling their mouths and eyes with its pungent dust, and blinding and disabling them from following him, rushed out and hastened to his cabin, where he had the means of defence. Notwithstanding the narrow escape, he could not resist the temptation after retreating some fifteen or twenty yards, to look round and see the success of his achievement. The Indians, blinded and nearly suffocated, were stretching out their hands and feeling about in different directions, calling him by name, cursing him for a rogue and themselves for fools. The old hunter, when telling this story, used to imitate their gestures and tones of voice with great glee. Boone next removed to the Kenhawa, in Virginia, and from there, seeking more elbow-room, he pushed on to the Femme Osage settlement, in the district of St. Charles, about forty-five miles west of St. Louis. There he received a grant of ten thousand arpents of choice land on the north side of the Missouri, and became commandant of a district. Even in old age he continued his hunting expeditions in search of deer and beaver, and ventured with only a negro boy in the wildest parts of the Osage territory. On one occasion, soon after preparing his camp and laying in his supplies for the winter, he was taken sick and lay a long time in camp. The horses were hobbled out on the range. After a period of stormy weather, there came a pleasant and delightful day, and Boone felt able to walk out. With his staff, for he was quite feeble, he took the boy to the summit of a small eminence, and marked out the ground in shape of a grave. He instructed the boy, in case of his decease, to wash and lay his body straight, wrapped up in one of the cleanest blankets. He was then to construct a kind of shovel, and with that instrument and the hatchet to dig a grave exactly as he had marked it out. He was then to drag the body to the place, and put it in the°grave, which he was directed to cover up, placing posts at the head and foot. Poles were to be placed around and over the surface; the trees to be marked, so that the place could be easily found by his friends ; the horses were to be caught, the blankets and skins gathered up, and he gave some special instructions about his old rifle, and various messages to the family. All these directions were given, as the boy, afterwards declared, with entire calmness. But the old man soon recovered, broke up his camp, and returned homewards without the usual spoils of a winter’s hunt.

At the ;\go of fourscore, and without a rood of land, the old hunter petitioned Congress for a confirmation of the Spanish grants. The lonely fort he had once built was now surrounded by four hundred thousand souls, yet he had to crave a little earth for charity. In March, 1813, Boone lost his wife at the age of seventy-six, and in 1820 the old pioneer expired in the eighty-sixth year of his age. For years before exaggerated stories about Boone had been circulated by the American press, one especially, the wildest of the set, had gained wide credence. A traveller from Ohillicothe, Ohio, visited the Missouri territory, in the summer of 1818. On his return, an editor of a weekly paper in that town questioned this gentleman for news from Missouri, this territory being then a frontier in the Far West. In a waggish humor, the traveller replied, “I do not recollect anything new or strange, except one event that occurred while I was in the territory. The celebrated hunter, Daniel Boone, died in a very singular manner while I was there.” The story, given by the narrator was, that the old pioneer had encamped at a salt lick, watching the deer, as customary ; the morning he was found dead, lying on his breast, with his rifle to his shoulder, and the eyeball glazed in death, as though he was taking sight, or, as a hunter would say, “ drawing a bead” upon a deer. The Missouri Gazette noticed the fiction and contradicted the story ; but truth always lags behind falsehood. A few weeks after this story had obtained currency, a friend told the old pioneer the tale which the newspapers had made about him. With his I customary pleasant' smile, Boone said, “1 would not believe that tale if I told it myself. I have not watched a deer’s lick for ten years. My eyesight is too 1 toy gone tp fcwt."

The Reverend John M. Peak, who has written an excellent biography of Daniel Boone, has described a visit he paid to the old Leatherstocking. In boyhood he had read of Daniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentuck}', the celebrated hunter and Indianfighter ; and imagination had pourtrayed a rough, tierce-looking, uncouth specimen of humanity. But in every respect the reverse appeared. Boone’s high, b )ld forehead was slightly bald, and his silvered locks were combed smooth; his countenance was ruddy and fair, and exhibited the simplicity of a child. His voice was soft and melodious, and a smile frequently played over his features in conversation. His clothing was the coarse, plain manufacture of the family; but everything about him denoted that kind of comfort which was congenial to his habits and feelings, and evinced a happy old age. His room was part of a range of log-cabins, kept in order by his affectionate daughter and grand-daughters. The Reverend James C. Welch has sketched Boone at the age of eighty-three. “ I gazed,” he says, “at the old colonel with no ordinary interest, having heard my parents in Kentucky speak .of him with admiration from the time of my earliest recollection. Ho was rather low of stature, broad shoulders, high cheek-bones,

very mild countenance, fair complexion, soft and mild in his habits and manners, having but little to say unless spoken to, amiable and kind in his feelin s, very fond of retirement, of great self possession, and of indomitable perseverance. He never made a profession of religion, and yet he was what would be called by the world a very moral man. He listened to the preaching with apparent interest. I asked the old colonel about the tales I had heard of his digging a largo hole in the hill-side, near the Kentucky river, as a habitation for himself and family, and calling it Boonesburrow. ‘Oh 1 sir,’ said the colonel, ‘I dug no hole in any hill; I built my cabin and stockaded it round as a defence from the Indians, as all newcomers were in the habit of doing. That was all I did. ’ ” To the end of his life Boone lived in a log-cabin, and his trusty rifle was the most valued chattel he left behind him. His

last words were prophetic of the great nation to which he belonged : ‘ ‘ Too crowded, too crowded ; more elbow-room. ”

In the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, over the door of the chamber of the House of Representatives, there is a relievo representing Boone in deadly grapple with an Indian, while another lies trampled under his feet. The redskin is raising his tomahawk, but Boone’s heavy hunting knife is already at his heart. This is founded on a fictitious adventure, but it serves at least to preserve the memory of a brave man.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item
Bibliographic details
Word Count
2,756

THE CHIMNEY CORNER Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, 16 October 1879

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working