The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise. — Tacitus

Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis




Billy's Hard Lot

Poor Billy! Day after day, except when he was appointed by Colonel Boone to serve as one of the guards over the cattle, he was forced to go up the creek with father, working hard from early light until so late that often mother would blow the horn loudly, calling them home for fear lest the Indians near would take advantage of the gloaming to creep up on them.

"If I ever build a home for myself," Billy said to me one night when his arms were so stiff from labor that he could hardly raise the journey cake to his mouth, "If I ever build a home for myself it will be in a country where some other has cleared the land, for I have had enough grubbing and chopping and mauling of rails to serve me to the end of my life."

It pleased me when father praised Billy for being an industrious boy and I have heard him tell mother many a time that Billy could cut and split no less than seventy rails a day out of blue-ash wood; but of course when it came to hickory trees, thirty was a good day's stint, especially for so small a boy.

I was puzzled to know why father should keep splitting rails, if he was so eager to have the ground cleared before winter should come, but he said that he intended by the coming summer to have fenced in on his plantation a piece of land that should serve as pasture. It would not only be a saving of labor for us, but do away with the need of our venturing into the forest after the cattle.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Twice while father was working upon his plantation Jemima and I went down to help burn the small branches of the trees. It was fine sport to make the big piles and then to see the flames streaming high into

Twice while father was working upon his plantation Jemima and I went down to help burn the small branches of the trees. It was fine sport to make the big piles and then to see the flames streaming high into the air, sending forth clouds of smoke in odd, dancing forms.

It is not to be supposed that while father and Billy were clearing the land, mother and I remained inside the stockade idle. Indeed we .had so much to do that, save when Jemima and I went to burn the brush, I do not believe I had at any time a full hour for pleasure with the other girls in the fort.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

At Boonesborough
Beginning of the Story
Boone on the Yadkin
Boone Moves his Family
Ready for the Journey
What we Wore
Driving Cattle and Sheep
Camping at Nightfall
The Long Halt
Jimmy Boone Goes to Clinch
Murder of Jimmy Boone
A Time of Mourning
The Faint-hearted Return
A New Home
Making Moccasins
Tanning Leather
Governor Dunmore
Our Home on the Clinch
Household Duties
Attacked by a Wildcat
Fighting the Wildcat
Boone and Father Return
The Wilderness Road
Building the Forts
Boonesborough
Gathering Salt
Boonesborough
Precautions
Our Home in the Fort
Ready for Cooking
Furnishing the House
The Hominy Block
The Supply of Water
Sports Inside the Fort
Wrestling and Running
Religion of the Indians
Indian Babies
Colonel Callaway Arives
News from Eastern Colonies
Venturing Outside the Fort
Dividing the Land
Who Owned Kentucky?
Ready to Build a Home
Billy's Hard Lot
Preparing Flax
Spinning and Soap Making
Broom Making
More Indian Murders
Indian "Signs"
Woodcraft and Hunting
Pelts Used as Money
Petition of the Settlers
Making Sugar
Building Fences
Capture of the Girls
My Willful Thoughts
Finding the Trail
The Pursuit
The Story Told by Jemima
Elizabeth's Heroism
Rescuing the Girls
Alarm Among the Settlers
Indians on the Warpath
The First Wedding
The Wedding Festivities
The Brides Home
The Housewarming
Attacks by the Indians
Besieged by the Savages
In the Midst of the Fight
The Assault by the Indians
Failure of the Assault
Watchfulness of the Indians
The Sortie
My Father Wounded
Our Wounded