Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Making Sugar

All the children in the fort were ready on that day when our fathers told us the work might begin, and al-though we had neither heard nor seen anything of the Indians for many a day, four of the hunters went out to stand guard while the boys made deep wounds in the trees with axes.

Then, while the men put up a half-faced camp, we girls carried the troughs to the trees that had been tapped and watched with eager eyes as the sap oozed out drop by drop, but yet so rapidly as to give promise of a good yield.

Perhaps there are some who do not know what a "half-faced"camp is like. A big tree was cut down, and the branches trimmed off for a length of eight or ten feet from the butt. This, as it lay on the ground, served for the back side. Ten feet in front, and ten feet apart, two double sets of -stakes were stuck in the ground for the four corners. Between the double stakes were laid poles extending from one corner to an-other. At each side more poles were placed from the front to the rear, a few inches apart, after the fashion of latticework,

Across the top for a roof poles were laid, between which we girls wove branches of trees until the whole would serve fairly well as a shelter against wind and rain. The front part was left open, which, I suppose, is the reason why it is called half-faced, and here a fire was built for boiling the sap.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

Colonel Callaway brought with him his horse; father made of tree tops what would serve as a sled, and on it we hauled the troughs to the camp as fast as they were partly filled.

Then came the boiling down, which was continued far into the night by the men and boys, for we girls were obliged to be inside the fort before sunset; but when the sap had thickened to a sirup, we made spice-wood tea from half-opened buds, whitened it with milk, and sweetened the mixture until none but those who were half-starved for something sweet could have drunk it.

What sport we had! And how sticky we all were until the sugar making came to an end, and the fruits of our labor had been stored in one of the watch-houses that we might have molasses or sugar during the rest of the year.

When the snow had entirely melted from the ground, father went to work once more on our plantation, and Billy's portion of the labor was to maul rails until he had enough with which to fence off a pasture for the live stock.


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