Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis


At length we arrived within sight of Boonesborough, and all rejoiced that here was a fort in which we would be safe from the Indians.

There are ten strong log cabins built in the form of a rectangle, inclosing a space of about one third of an acre. Continuous with the backs of the huts, and joining one to the other, is a stout fence of logs set firmly into the ground; this palisade, together with the backs of the houses, makes what Billy calls the line of defense. Each cabin is twenty feet long, and from twelve to fifteen feet wide, while those that stand at each corner have an additional story which extends out over the lower part, so that those who are inside may see any Indians that creep up under cover of the fence to shoot through the crevices.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

On two sides of this fort, opposite each other, are heavy gates made of puncheon planks. These are swung on wooden hinges, with enormous bars inside, so that when they are closed and the stout timbers dropped into place, all the savages in Kentucky could not break them down.

Around the fort the trees are cleared away for a long distance, so that the Indians cannot sneak up from behind one tree to another, and thus come close to the palisade before being seen.

This fort, already called Boonesborough, stands by the side of the creek, within view of the Kentucky River, and when I first saw it, after the long journey from Powell's Valley, I believed no place could be more beautiful; but I have since come to wonder if the Yadkin is not as fine as this creek, and if the country about my old home is not more pleasant.

What seemed strange to me was, that although we could see men in the inclosure, from the slight rise of land where we halted to view our future home, no one came forth to meet us, nor were the big gates thrown open to give us entrance, even though our company was less than half a mile away. It appeared almost as if the people in the fort were not pleased at our coming; yet we knew that Mr. Boone, his wife, and two daughters were inside.


Front Matter

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
Gathering Salt
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