Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

The Wilderness Road

So Mr. Boone and father left us alone again.

Not only did Mr. Boone blaze what is called the Wilderness Road, but he, with father and many other men to help him, built a fort on the bank of Otter Creek, in Kentucky, close by the river of the same name, and it was to this place, which was already spoken of as Boonesborough, that we were to go without delay.

It must not be supposed that the making of the Wilderness Road and the building of the fort were done without trouble from the Indians.

When the road makers were within fifteen miles of the place where the fort was afterwards built, and during the night when all were sleeping soundly in the belief that the Indians would hold to certain promises lately made, that they would cease from making attacks on the settlers, the Shawnees surrounded our men.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

At daybreak the war whoop rang out, mingled with the reports of rifles as the savages fired at the sleeping men. Mr. Boone and his companions sprang to their feet in alarm. But for the fact that these road makers were old hunters who had fought again and again with the Indians, all might have been murdered; but, because of past experience, they were no sooner awake than every man was ready for battle.

It must have been that God prevented the savages from taking good aim, for only one white man was killed and two were wounded, one so badly that he died on the third day after.

When the Indians saw our people take shelter behind the trees and open fire, they beat a quick retreat, for they will not stand up in open fight against white men. Mr. Boone's company remained crouching in hiding ready to open fire on the first red face or tuft of feathers that could be seen, many of them meanwhile urging that all attempts to build a fort be abandoned, and that they return beyond the Cumberland Mountains, for there was good reason to believe that the Indians had taken to the warpath again.


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