Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Building Fences and Shearing Sheep

Poor boy! There was no more merrymaking for him inside the stockade, where, nearly all the time, a number of idlers could be found ready to wrestle, leap, or run races. He wasn't strong enough to build the whole fence; but he could lay the worm, which means the bottom rail, and he could also drive in the stakes; or checks. Before shearing time came we had a splendid pasture from which the live stock could not stray.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

As soon as the weather grew warm it was decided that all the sheep should be sheared at the same time, each family setting about the work with their neighbors until it was finished.

We girls drove the animals down to the creek, where the boys had great sport washing the long wool, which was exceedingly dirty and filled with cockles and other burs. As the poor beasts came up out of the water nearly frightened to death, their legs were tied together, and then the shearing began.

The whole number of sheep belonging to us of Boonesborough was not above thirty, therefore the task was readily finished in one day; but on the next and the next, and many another day, I was kept busy puffing the burs and bits of wood from the wool.

After this, however, the work was not so disagreeable, for I dearly loved to card the fleece into rolls for spinning, and the buzz of the wheel, when mother allowed me to do the double-and-twisting, was like real music. I should not boast; but Jemima has said again and again that her mother often held me up as a model at such work, and it is indeed true that I could do it quickly and well.

And now I have come to what might have been a most terrible disaster but for the mercy of God, as mother says.


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