Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Making Ready to Build a Home

Father, believing that the Indians had given up trying to kill us, despite all Colonel Boone said to the contrary, was eager to get his land ready for planting, but decided that he would make no attempt at building a house until another spring. He wanted only to clear the land, and in such work Billy could be of almost as much assistance as a man.

There were shrubs and bushes to be grubbed up by the roots, small trees to be cut down and larger ones girdled, and again a certain number felled to be used in making the house. Of course I should say that when our people "girdle" a tree, they simply cut a deep line entirely around the trunk, through the bark and into the wood, so the sap will flow out instead of going up into the branches; this causes the tree to die very quickly. Later, standing stumps can be pulled up so that a plow may be used more easily.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

When I said to father one night, while he and Billy were laying plans for the next day's work, that a cornfield filled with stumps would not be a very beautiful sight, he repeated mother's old saying which often tries my temper because she seldom uses it save to my disadvantage, "Handsome is that handsome does," and then went on to say that while it would please him to have a fine plantation, his only aim just then was to raise enough corn and potatoes to keep his family from want.


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