Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

The First Wedding in Kentucky

Only think! The first real wedding in Kentucky, and I was to be there! Shall I ever forget that wedding day?

Colonel Boone's brother, Squire, had given over hunting and trapping to be a Baptist minister, and it really seemed as though God must have sent him to us, for he came just in the nick of time to marry Elizabeth and Samuel. Of course he had met all those cowards who were traveling over the Wilderness Road toward the Gap, and had heard the dreadful stories of what was being done in Kentucky by the Shawnees, yet he kept straight on.

A most exciting time we had, making ready for the wedding, for we girls had very nearly as much to do with the work as did the bride. Our mothers baked twelve large squares of sweet bread, for we had sugar of our own making in abundance, and to Jemima and me was left the entire work of making the meal cakes.

Then I realized what a blessing meal ground from corn is because so many things can be made from it, as may be seen when I tell you what we had for the wedding.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

First, we made quarts and quarts of mush, which is meal boiled in water until it is so stiff that a spoon will stand upright in it; this was to be eaten with milk or sugar syrup. Then we baked ash cakes without number, as you might say. To make these one has only to mix meal with water until it can be shaped with the hands, and then cover the cakes with hot ashes and embers until they are crisp. They are very pleasant to the taste, although being crusted rather too thickly with ashes to suit me. With this dough of meal we could, without other mixing, make journey cake, by baking it on a stone or board; hoecake by cooking it on the blade of a hoe; pone by cooking it in a kettle covered with a heated lid; or dodgers by molding it into small portions and baking it on a stone.

I really wish you could have seen inside our stockade on the morning when Elizabeth and Samuel Henderson were to be married. The bride looked beautiful in a new linsey-woolsey frock of her own making, with moccasins that were embroidered with beads and quills of the porcupine till they appeared to be made of the richest stuff, and a new sunbonnet which Jemima and I had trimmed with our own hands.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

If we had been living on our own claims, Samuel Henderson and his friends would have ridden to Elizabeth's home in fine style; but because we were forced to stay within the inclosure, all the young men secretly led their horses outside, where, each dressed in his newest or cleanest hunting shirt and leggings, they mounted, rode twice around the stockade, whooping and yelling, to dash in through the open gate and up to Colonel Callaway's cabin, where they pulled in their horses so suddenly that more than one of the animals fell back on his haunches, throwing his rider in disgrace.


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