Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Who Owned Kentucky?

Before we from the Clinch River arrived, Colonel Henderson had opened a land office in the fort, and was selling plantations to the people of this settlement, of Harrodstown, Hinkson's, and all the other stockades about, at the rate of thirteen and one third cents an acre. The colonel also brought over the trace goods to sell, charging our people big prices, even as he did for powder; but when he wanted to hire men to work for him at clearing land, or bringing burdens over the mountains, he was willing to pay only from thirty-three to fifty cents a day. The men could use up a day's pay in less than an hour's fighting with the Indians, and they did not think it right for the settlers to be obliged to buy powder and bullets at such a big price, only to use them in defending Colonel Henderson's land.

More than five hundred thousand acres of land had been sold, or spoken for, at the time Colonel Callaway's family joined us. I suppose the men were growing dissatisfied with paying out so much money when they could earn only very little, for each day the talk became warmer, until many of them insisted that the matter should be laid before the Assembly of Virginia, to learn whether Colonel Henderson's claim to the land was really just, simply because he had bought it from the Cherokees, when the Shawnees and all the other savages who hunted in Kentucky might claim the land as well.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

However, it was a long time before our men could have the matter settled, and those who had bought land were eager to begin work upon it, so that seeds might be planted in the early spring. Five or six, therefore, among whom was my father, set about cutting down trees with which to build a home outside the fort, some of them working a full mile and a half from the stockade.

Day after day passed and the Indians remained hidden in the forest; they were keeping a sharp watch over the fort, as we knew from the signs found by the hunters. When I wanted to go with Billy to see what father was doing, mother refused to let me wander farther from the gate than two hundred paces, saying again and again that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.


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