xt7mw6693m63 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7mw6693m63/data/mets.xml Davis, Garrett Morrow, 1851- 1903  books b92fd2926i2009 English The Neale publishing company : Washington, D. C. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Boone, Daniel, 1734-1820 In the footsteps of Boone; an historical romance of pioneer days in Kentucky text In the footsteps of Boone; an historical romance of pioneer days in Kentucky 1903 2009 true xt7mw6693m63 section xt7mw6693m63 

an historical romance of pioneer   days   in kentucky


washington, d. c.


431 eleventh street mcmiii 

   To E. R. J).

The woman who has piloted my life-boat sheer of full many a quicksand and shoal 


On a slight elevation of ground, looking westward, while his mind traveled into the future and his imagination endeavored to picture the land lying on the other side of the mountain range, stood a youth in the full vigor of young manhood, presenting an example of manly beauty quite common at that day in the great valley of western Virginia, walled in on the one side by the Blue Ridge and on the other by the Alleghany mountains.

As he stood with his left arm resting at an acute angle on the muzzle of his long, slim-barrelled rifle, his chin thrust forward and supported by the arm, he might have been an interesting study for an artist.

In his belt, which was tied behind, was a strong, well-sharpened knife, cased in its leather sheath, hanging at his left side. Suspended from his right was the indispensable hatchet or tomahawk. 



His hunting shirt was of dressed deer skin, the bosom being constructed in such a manner as to serve as a wallet in which might be carried bread and jerked meat sufficient to last for several days, and the tow with which to wipe his rifle barrel.

His leggins were made of the same material, and these, with the cap of fur surmounted by a buck's tail, completed his attire.

Of course the powder horn and bullet pouch in the front'part of the belt were not wanting, for he was prepared to start on a long and venturesome journey, and he had just taken a last look at the familiar scene before night set in.

I have thus described him at length, for it is predestined that those who follow this story to the end shall know him better than at the beginning of it.

On the morrow he and two companions would make an early start to join a company under the command and direction of Captain James Harrod, who had started from Pennsylvania with a few followers, recruiting his ranks in Maryland and Virginia, until it now numbered some forty men. They were about to journey down the Ohio seeking a location in which, eventually, to make homes in that new land beyond the mountains.

History tells us that at this time, 1774, the country along the James River in Virginia was well settled and that civilization had even pushed its way into the Shenandoah valley; that 


wealth and a degree of luxury and refinement distinguished the life of the people in many parts of the old colony, and that education was found in no small degree among the inhabitants of the towns and in the families of the landed proprietors.

The owners of vast estates were the almost absolute rulers of their respective domains, as were also the smaller landed gentry in lesser degree, though they had their Governor and House of Burgesses to make and execute the general laws. Of course the majority of these were well content and satisfied with their surroundings so far as they had to do with their social and domestic concerns, nevertheless the spirit of adventure was still alive among them, and in many instances the desire to better their worldly prospects was pretty lively in their midst, especially among the younger sons and among those whose lines had been cast in less pleasant places. Thus it happened that there were those, not only in the colony of Virginia, but also in the neighboring colonies, who were from time to time induced to undertake the perilous journey further westward into that comparatively unknown land, and among the earliest of them was Captain Harrod and his little party.

Let us pause a moment, standing by the side of the young man in hunter's garb, and turn our eyes to the west also.

Through that distant range of mountains and up toward the north the beautiful river, the 


Ohio, cuts its way and seeks the bosom of the Father of Waters. Down toward the south, beyond our vision, the rocks have been rent asunder and the mountains stand aside to let the van of civilization pass. Beyond the misty blue of this mountain wall, which broadens for many miles to the rolling country beyond, the army of progress has later found a land flowing with milk and honey, and has pitched its tents along cooling streams and laid its paths in pleasant places.

Good Queen Bess never added a rarer gem to her royal diadem than that land which later on the mother, Virginia, gave to the sisterhood of States and called Kentucky.

Had I the pen of a poet and were the Muses propitious, I might picture to you in words the beauties of the majestic forests, the graceful windings of the frequent streams, the sparkling of the waters in the sunlight, the varied tints of the myriad flowers, the wave-like motion of the blue grass, the wonders of this land which stretched from the mountains, over hill and dale, through forest and plain, abounding in lovely landscapes, blessed with a soil rich in promise, beneath whose bosom lay untold wealth in undisturbed profusion; this land stretches even until it reaches the great artery which runs through the body of this great country.

Here, shortly before the period at which this story begins, Dame Nature ruled with a sway 

whose calm was only disturbed by the visits of her own children in human form, armed for the chase or for the deadlier conflict with their own kind.

We know not for how many hundreds of moons these forests had echoed to the shout of the Indian hunter as he pursued the panting deer, or for how many years the Red warriors had here met in the death struggle.

Even in those days it seems to have been a border land, a land set apart and distinct, one over which no people or tribe exercised exclusive sovereignty, a land waiting to be claimed.

If it were permissible in a story like this to linger and speculate, one might wonder indeed at the hints found buried in the mounds scattered over this great hunting ground of a more advanced civilization, and of one of greater antiquity than that found to exist among the North American Indians since the white man first made his acquaintance. But we dare not pause for fear that the fascination of the subject might cause us to forget our story and thus incur the displeasure of the patient reader at the outset.

Into this land came first from the East, from across the mountains, a few venturesome spirits from the white man's settlements, hunting, prospecting, and sometimes trading with the Indians, and thence returning whence they came, with pelts, with stories of adventure, and with wonderful tales of the beauty of the country and of the fertility of the soil.  Later others 

came who essayed to take possession and claim sovereignty over this unoccupied territory.

Among the first of these was a man from Old North State, in the prime of life, whose intrepid spirit and sterling character made him a conspicuous leader among the sturdy pioneers and endeared him to his associates in the dangers of the life here. The history of Kentucky would be incomplete did not the name of Daniel Boone appear conspicuously in its pages, and no story told of those early days would be true unless he figured to some extent at least in the telling of it.

Around that name clings a halo of romance, and when we attempt to read between the lines that chronicle the events of his remarkable career, the imagination fails to add much of interest to the actual facts.

As the dweller in that fair land today walks on the firm but springy turf and looks out over the panorama of tobacco field, of corn and of wheat, of wooded hill and grassy plain spread before him; as he sees in it all, a land of plenty and peace, his heart swells with a natural pride and he knows that it is good to dwell therein. Should his mind chance to take a retrospective glance and begin to make comparison of the things of the past and present; should he allow his eye, in imagination, to follow the pages of the history of his State, one after another, beginning some hundred or more years ago, the legend, the story, the romance, and the song of 

pioneer days would all centre around the name of Boone, typifying in his mind the pioneer settler of Kentucky, and the picture of the hermit life in the cave in the cliffs of the Kentucky River would come very vividly before him, the cautious and silent tread of the moccasined feet as the hermit went forth in search of game for food, or visited his traps set to snare the fur--bearing animals, the sharp report of his rifle sending its message of death, the cunning and strategy which avoided the unequal conflict, the hardships endured and the difficulties overcome, the predominance of the domestic traits of character, of the love of family which prompted him in the face of all dangers to bring his wife and family from the old home to dwell with him, the father-love which induced him in the midst of savage foes to bear the stricken form of his son in his own stalwart arms to a place of safety where he might die on that father's breast and feel the sympathetic heart-throbs as his life passed away; that same love and courage which at another time sent him forth from BoonesbOrough . fort to rescue a daughter from certain shame and death, the sound opinion and advice which found rugged expression and caused his words to be listened to in the first council of the embryonic Commonwealth; the strong, honest and manly character which placed him among the leaders in those early days not only in war, but in peace, all this and much more would 


come before his mind's eye, and in his heart of hearts stands a monument erected to the memory of the heroic men and women who crossed the mountains and found a land of promise and left it a rich heritage for all time to their children and to their children's children. Yes, this monument and the^names inscribed on it are a part of the heritage, and it is of these early days and of these people that T wish to tell my story.

It is not my desire or province to trace the historical or political events which culminated in the admission of Kentucky as a State into the great American Union; but merely to follow the general course of events as they have a bearing on the lives of a few individuals dwelling in that section of the country which is within the territory out of which that State was formed, as we see them in the daily walks of life, and as illustrating the progress of events and the advancement of civilization in that land.

It is the mission of the historical novel as the author understands it   and he dares entertain the hope for this little story, that it may fairly claim a small interest in such mission   to tell of individual happenings in such manner as to be consistent with the general progress of events, to keep pace with the times and thus to illustrate, in individual instances, the manner of living, the character of the people as influenced by surroundings and existing conditions during 

given period of time and in a particular locality, so that the reader may be induced to take a more personal interest in the narrative and retain a more lasting impression of facts than could be expected of him from reading a merely historical or chronological statement of them.

If the pen of the narrator is skillful enough to make the reader feel that he has a personal acquaintance with the actors in the scenes depicted, and that they are real flesh and blood, living, moving fellowmen and women, having the same passions and ruled by the same ambitions as ourselves, it seems to the author that this would so fix his sympathy and interest that he would not easily forget the things fold of them, and that thus, in pleasant form, he would be studying history. 

June Stone, the young man we left standing leaning on his rifle, had heard of the adventures of Boone and his brother, he had listened with bated breath to the stories of hair-breadth escapes from the Indians, had learned of the abundance of game, of the beauty of the country and of the fertility of the soil, had become enamored of the accounts of the freedom of the life, had learned with absolute certainty that almost any quantity of land could be obtained without any appreciable expenditure of money, had listened to these things until his very soul was imbued with the idea that here was his chance.

Being a young man of a thoughtful turn of mind he looked far into the future which was somewhat rose-tinted just then perhaps, nevertheless one in which he thought that he could see enough of practicality to bring his hopes within the realm of possibility; but he had experience enough in his pursuit of game and in the occasional encounters with the Indians temporarily in that section of the country to know 

that it was an arduous and dangerous undertaking which the little band of men was about to begin, still, like the others, he was willing to risk it.

The next day Stone and his companions joined Captain Harrod, and the party began their march down the Ohio to what was even then known as The Dark and Bloody Ground. After some little time they reached a point on the Ohio River where Louisville now stands; but shortly concluded to move further into the interior, induced to do so on account of the proximity of the Indian tribes dwelling north of the river, and being fearful of the ease with which these savages could come down upon them in numbers and interfere very materially with any little domestic arrangements they might make in that immediate neighborhood. So they proceeded to seek a place of comparative safety, and went south and east until the vicinity of Salt and Dick's Rivers was reached, and here they pitched their camp and determined to stay. Here, near a large spring, they laid off the first town in Kentucky, and began the first permanent settlement, though they were before a great while forced to abandon it until March, 1775.

Harrod then returned with another party, bringing with him, however, some of those who had followed him hither the year before, and among them our acquaintance, June Stone. During the spring they began the erection of 
   ' 1


cabins, assisting each other in the work. For the sake of safety they were forced to build their houses very near each other, and for convenience each man was allowed a lot of ground consisting of half an acre on which to build his cabin, with an out lot of five or ten acres attached. When these cabins were completed they were joined together by stockades, thus forming a fort which was quite formidable against attacks with small arms.

Some of the men went into the woods near by and began to fell trees and prepare the logs for the sides of the houses and cut the clapboards for the roofing. The sound of the axe and the crash of falling timber was heard from early morning until darkness drove the toilers to the camp fires and into the temporary huts. During these busy days many a mighty monarch of the forest bent its proud head and fell prostrate at the feet of those sturdy pioneers, submissive to their will.

Stone was in stature somewhat below the medium height, with broad shoulders and wide chest, very compactly built, with muscles of steel and well-formed limbs.

Being skilled to some extent in the rough carpentering possible in the circumstances, he and a man named Beatty were chosen to complete the inside work in the Captain's house and to make the furniture for the same. So after the material for the house had been gotten together and the "house raising" accomplished and the 

roofing put on, Stone and Betty first carefully prepared a clapboard to serve as a door and placed it in position. They then made a table, which consisted of a split slab supported by four round legs set in auger holes. Afterwards some three-legged stools were made, which, although not quite so comfortable as the Morris chair of today, answered every purpose for which they were intended. The two young men then made a bed and placed it in position. This was done by putting a fork of a young tree, cut to suit, with its lower end in a hole in the floor and its upper end fastened to a joist, and placing a pole in the fork with one end through a crack in the wall. They then crossed this with another and shorter pole, with its outer end through another crack in the wall, and put boards from the longer pole with the other ends of the boards resting in a crack in the wall at the end of the house. Upon these boards they put a sack filled with dry grass and leaves, to serve as mattress, and spread several blankets over this, making a bed whose invitation to tired limbs was not to be resisted.

Not yet content with what they had done, they proceeded to put up pegs in various places along the walls on which to hang different articles belonging to the household arrangements, also making a rack for the rifle to rest in, and shelving for the few knives and forks and dishes which the Captain had brought with him. When it was all finished they showed it, with 

much pride, to Captain Harrod, who was much pleased with their efforts in the house decorating line. He had just returned from a short hunting and prospecting tour, and had brought back with him, tied to the skirt of his saddle, a nice mess of squirrels, so he invited the two boys to take dinner with him the next day. They did dine with him, and he served them a very appetizing stew. In such manner the men worked until all were housed and the best arrangements possible made for their comfort.

As time went on the little town received accessions from the older settled parts of the country. Traders came, bringing with them for barter and sale, certain articles appertaining to the more civilized life in the east, so that-in a few years the settlement was in quite comfortable circumstances and began to wear an air of importance. In fact, three years later it had a population of two hundred souls, of which number twenty-five were women; and a number of children played in the streets and around the block house, or fort, and carried water for their mothers from the spring quite near the town, and I have no doubt some of them often lay in ambush around the spring and surprised the others with a sudden rush upon them, while they rent the air with the mimic war whoop of the savages. Stone and Beatty being both unmarried men, built themselves a cabin, in which they lived together for companionship.

Captain Harrod was a man of commanding appearance and of undaunted courage, and was 


the acknowledged leader in this little community for a long time, not only by unanimous choice, but by the logic of events. He was gentle as well as brave, and all complaints were made to him, and all disputes referred to his arbitration. The men all loved and respected him for his noble traits of character, and June Stone had become very much attached to him. Harrod recognized in Stone much that attracted him, and stone loved him as his friend, his councilor, and his leader.

Physical strength and courage were no where and at no time more necessary or more respected than among the pioneers of Kentucky; and when these virtues were united to soundness of judgment and coolness in the face of danger, when resourcefulness was shown in vexed situations, they met with prompt recognition. Both Harrod and Stone possessed this combination, in different degrees perhaps, still each saw it in the other and thus they were mutually attracted.

Captain Harrod was fond of hunting and of    the chase, and spent much of his time in the woods, where Stone was frequently his com. panion. From one of these trips Harrod never returned, and it is believed that he met his death at the hands of the Indians, but this was some time afterwards.

All the while that the cabins were being built, timber was being prepared with which to erect a fort, and certain men were detailed to begiti the building of it. Corn was also planted during this year, and some of the settlers brought 

their wives and families to Harrodstown, which was the name given to this little settlement. We find the names of Mrs. Denton, Mrs. McGary and Mrs. Hogan among the first females to take up their residence at this place. There was but one other town in Kentucky at this time which could rival it, and that was Boonesborough, where Daniel Boone, with his family, had located.

Harrod was absent from the little frontier post, which he had started in 1774, until the next year, as we have stated. In fact, the place was practically deserted until the next year during the summer.

Stone and Beatty both returned with Harrod and remained in Harrodsburg, and put in a crop of corn together. They often hunted together, sometimes going as far as the Blue Lick Spring in search of buffalo, which were then plentiful in Kentucky, being attracted especially to that neighborhood by the salt which is a part of the composition of the water of this spring, even today so celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the land.

The buffalo was desired as game on account of its usefulness as food, and because its hide could be utilized in various ways to subserve the comfort and necessities of the early settler. These two companions became very expert hunters of the animal, and it was interesting to note the tactics employed by them, almost invariably with marked success.   They would, 
   In the footsteps of boone. 23

for instance, approach as near as possible to the herd at the lick, jumping from tree to tree, from rock to rock, from bush to bush, crawling noiselessly, stealthily as they approached, until they were in fair rifle shot, and then each picking out his animal, almost simultaneous shots would ring out on the air, and the now frightened herd would start at breakneck speed down the incline toward the river, or in another direction and into the woods. But just as quickly the two hunters, who were both swift of'foot, would start in pursuit, running well up with the herd along its side, firing and loading and firing again as they ran, bringing down an animal at almost every shot, until they were outwinded and the maddened game dashed out of sight and into safety.

They very seldom, however, killed more than they thought that they could carry away with them, although sometimes they could only cut out the tongues and take them back. Their return was alaways welcomed by those left at home, for the meat was distributed among the more needy of their fellow townsmen after reserving sufficient for their own needs. In fact, the best hunters were often sent out from the various settlements to procure meat for the post. It was for only three or four years that the buffalo stood this kind of treatment, and then he crossed the Mississippi and returned not again in numbers to Kentucky. 

During the winter work was commenced on the fort, for which the men had been preparing material for some time, and it was completed early in the spring of 1776.

Stone and Beatty were still living together, and had the previous summer planted a good-sized crop of corn, and had in fact extended their farming operations considerably. Their crop being gathered and put into the log crib and covered with a roof of boughs and corn stalks, and their garden truck put into the cabin, June bethought him one morning that a piece of nice juicy venison steak would not go badly; so he suggested to his companion that one or both of them should go forth and try to kill a deer. Beatty had some chores about the house he wanted to finish that day, so it was decided that Stone should procure the meat, if possible, and that Beatty should cook it when it was brought in. Deer and wild turkeys were plentiful then and June did not anticipate much difficulty in procuring something for the larder. He was a splendid marksman, and by this time 

knew the country for miles a round the settlement, and was also a great hunter and usually a very successful one.

He was now the proud possessor of a horse, which he often rode on his excursions to the woods. This animal he had trained to stand wherever he left him and to come to his master when whistled for, which arrangement was very convenient, especially after the game was shot and must be taken sometimes a long distance to his cabin. On this particular morning he mounted his horse, laying his rifle across the animal's crupper, and started on his quest. A slight snow had fallen the day before so that the game could be easily tracked. The Indians had not been seen or heard of in the vicinity for some weeks past, and this was one reason that June had for venturing forth alone.

It was a little before daylight when he started up Salt River, where the ground was somewhat broken, and where he thought the younger growth of the trees would afford many excellent resting places for the deer seeking a night's lodging beneath its branches and among the still standing tuft of grass. Here, too, some of the leaves were still green and the young twigs retained their sap, on which the deer might make his early breakfast before washing it down with the water of the convenient stream.

He rode on and on, crossing and recrossing the river, which was not very deep, never going more than half a mile from its banks, first on 
   26       in The footsteps of boone.

one side and then on the other, keeping a sharp lookout for game and also against surprise by the savage foe who might be lurking behind some tree and waiting even then to pounce upon him. He continued to travel in this way until he had left the settlement some five or six miles behind, when he dismounted and began to hunt more cautiously. Presently he came upon the bed lately occupied by a deer. It was now broad daylight, and in the snow he saw the tracks of the animal leading from place to place where it had stopped to graze, until they finally led to the river, and following cautiously he soon came in sight of a fine buck standing with his fore-hoofs in the water and in act of drinking.

June was well hidden by a clump of bushes, and pearing through them and along the barrel of his rifle, he took deliberate aim just a little behind the left shoulder. At this moment his horse, which he had left standing when he had begun following the trail, gave a neigh, and the deer startled, at the unusual sound, quickly raised his head and sniffed the air suspiciously, at the same time giving a stamp with his fore-hoof.

Ah, he was a magnificent sight as he stood thus a moment before darting off, but he never consciously lifted the other foot, for at this moment the leaden messenger of death entered his heart, and if he heard the sharp report that heralded its flight it was too late to have given him warning.   He  sank  noiselessly  to the 

ground, with one reproachful glance from those big, pathetic eyes, as June leaned over him, and they closed forever.

There is not much room for sentiment in the life of a frontiersman, but June used to say that he never looked into the eyes of a dying deer without regret, and without thinking of some innocent child. Who stops, though, to think of the pathetic eyes, or the harmlessness and innocence of the victim, when the excitement of the hunt is on, or when the white tail of the deer is seen rising and falling amid the brown leaves of the scrub oaks as the animal bounds from place to place in his headlong flight? Or who pauses before pressing the trigger after the eye has glanced along the barrel of the gun and has sought the spot covered by the sight ? It is after this that reflection comes.

June whistled to his horse, and the faithful animal came trotting up, apparently very much interested in the result of the shot. Throwing the carcass of the deer across the horse's crupper, June sprang upon his back and started to return home.

After he had proceeded some distance, and was probably within two miles of the settlement, and while riding leisurely along over an open piece of ground not a great distance from the river, through a small valley formed by the ridges between which the river ran, the sharp crack of a rifle shot sounded, coming apparently from the rise to the right about fifty yards 

off. The next instant June's horse plunged forward and fell, bringing his rider down with him. In the fall his rifle was loosened from his grasp and fell to the ground just beyond his reach. At the same instant an Indian came running down the incline toward him, with knife in hand, having thrown his rifle to the ground as he ran.

Almost simultaneously another Indian started on the run toward June, with his rifle, still loaded, in his hand. With exultant whoop he came on from the bank of the river behind which he had been hiding. Evidently both Indians thought that Stone had been wounded, and they could see that his rifle was not in his hand. But as a matter of fact he had not been touched, though his horse had been killed.

As quick as thought Stone took in the situation. He must recover his own rifle and try to dispatch, first, the Indian who still had possession of his, and then resort to the knife and grapple with the other in a hand-to-hand encounter to the death.

It seemed a desperate chance, but June was in a desperate strait. He must act quickly; one moment's hesitation would be fatal. No thought of surrender or of entering a plea for mercy came into his mind for a moment. He knew too well the character of the foe he had to deal with, knew that any such plea would be useless, and that surrender meant the loss of his scalp, so he determined to sell his life, if must be that, as dearly as possible. 


It is something we all know, some of us from what we have been told and from what we have read, others of us from what we have experienced, and still others of us from all these sources   that the human mind acts with lightning-like rapidity on occasion in great crises, in moments of mortal danger, and we have been told that when death is close upon us we recollect many things long forgotten.

We are told that all the little mean things we have ever done pass in panoramic view before our mental vision, and that some of the good things we have done are seen also. We remember the prayer, even the rudest of us, that we used to say at our mother's knee; we again feel the touch of the kind and loving fingers as they were wont to stroke our hair or tuck the bed clothes tightly and snugly around us; and the nightly kiss, too, some of us   oh, thank God! yes, many of us do. And her prayer, which hovers around our lives, alas, is sometimes almost the only benediction we have known. "Now I lay me down to sleep" was the prayer that arose to the Great White Throne from the lips of the buffalo hunter on the Western plains, as he lay in the dust beneath the flashing eye of the enraged and wounded bull, the points of the murderous horns just touching his breast. Can we say that this was not sufficient? At any rate, it saved his life. 

With an effort as quick as it was effectual, June Stone extricated his foot from its entanglement with the body of the horse and the carcass of the deer, and reached far out and grasped his rifle. Then rapidly turning onto his stomach and resting on his elbow, he raised his gun and took aim at the Indian who still had his rifle, and pulled the trigger. They were only about twenty feet apart now, and the weapon in th