Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Sports Inside the Fort

I believe Jemima and I enjoyed the sports almost as much as did Billy, for it was really fine to see those men, on whose marksmanship our lives might depend, shooting so straight at a target. That which interested us most was when they drove an iron nail into one of the logs of the stockade just far enough to hold it in place, and then, standing forty paces away, each shot to hit, the nail directly on the head, thus forcing it yet farther into the wood.

It was exciting to see each man, as he came up in turn, clean carefully the barrel of. his gun with the bit of greased tow which every hunter carries in the bosom of his hunting shirt, then put a bullet in the palm of his hand and pour out enough powder to cover it, being careful to use no more. Afterwards, he would brush with rough fingers every black particle carefully into the barrel of the rifle, then drop upon it the bullet wrapped in a bit of oiled nettle-bark linen, and ram the whole down as if everything depended on the work being done deftly.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Then the taking aim! Each marksman raised the barrel of his weapon over a forked stick, having due care not to press hard on it with his fingers lest the re-coil of the powder should cause it to move ever so slightly out of range. Even Billy Could hit the nail squarely on the head twice out of every three times, as I had seen him do many a time before we came to Boonesborough.

I should not praise my own brother, and yet I must say that he can use a rifle very nearly as well as father, for again and again I have seen him bark a squirrel; that is, kill the little creature by hitting the bark of the limb on which he is crouching, thus taking away his life by the wind of the bullet without actually inflicting a wound.


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