F Heritage History | Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis
Contents 
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 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

Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis




Spinning and Soap Making

And then the spinning! How homelike it sounded when, after a long time of the hardest kind of work, we had ready the nettle fiber for the wheel, and mother sat in front of the fireplace drawing out the long threads as she crooned the songs I had heard her sing on the Yadkin, but which never had come to her lips from the time we left the old home until this day on which the wheel was first set to whirling.

I cannot say how many skeins of thread mother spun in one day, but there were many. None of it was light in color, yet she did not expect to bleach it, because it made very little difference to us at Boonesborough whether our garments were white or brown.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

After the spinning came the soap making, which was done outside the cabin. Father made for us an ash hopper out of splints which he had taken from a blue-ash tree. The bottom, which was smaller than the top, was packed with dried buffalo, grass to the depth of three or four inches as a strainer. Underneath it was a trough directly below the hole in the bottom of the hopper.

Then we filled it with ashes, and from time to time poured warm water over them, which, settling down and down, came out finally into the trough as lye, weak at first, but stronger and stronger as it was poured back time and time again to run through the ashes until it became as brown as the mixture in a tanning vat. To this we added bear's fat, and the whole was boiled until it became soap, soft and ill-smelling ; but yet we had no other, except for special days, when, by adding a bit of salt and boiling it still more, the whole became hardened like a piece of journey cake.

This soap was most convenient to use when washing one's hands and face ; but mother said we could not afford the luxury, with salt at twenty dollars a bushel, except on some unusual occasion like a birthday.