Scouting with Daniel Boone
by Everett T. Tomlinson
[Illustration: On the August air arose the reports of many rifles
and the terrifying whoops of the Indians"]
PIONEER SCOUT SERIES
SCOUTING WITH DANIEL BOONE
BY EVERETT T. TOMLINSON
Illustrated by NORMAN ROCKWELL
GARDEN CITY NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE &COMPANY 1917
Copyright, 1914, by THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA For Boys'
Copyright, 1914, by EVERETT T. TOMLINSON
All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign
languages, including the Scandinavian
CHAPTER III. THE
HUNT FOR GAME
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER VII. TWO
CHAPTER IX. AT
CHAPTER X. A
CHAPTER XI. THE
ADVENTURE OF THE
CHAPTER XII. AN
CHAPTER XIV. THE
CHAPTER XVIII. A
BAND OF SCOUTS
CHAPTER XIX. THE
CHAPTER XX. AN
OFFER OF RELEASE
THE COMING OF
CHAPTER XXIV. A
DECOY AND AN
CHAPTER XXV. A
FIELD OF CORN
THE STRUGGLE IN
AT THE LOWER
CHAPTER XXIX. TO
Perhaps not unnaturally in certain details there is a slight
confusion or divergence in the various works that recount the heroic
deeds of Daniel Boone. The men of that day were making history rather
than recording what they did. There is, however, a striking uniformity
in all the records as to the simple faith and almost fatalistic
conviction of Daniel Boone that he was called to be a pathfinder for
the new nation in America. His courage, reverence, rugged honesty, and
unselfishness, his childlike simplicity that was mixed with a certain
shrewdness, at least in his dealings with the Indians, are, however,
qualities in which the historians mostly agree.
I have cast this record into story form and have used the license of
a story-teller. I have incorporated a few adventures on the border
which strictly do not belong to this tale. Every one of them, however,
is true, and I hope will help in giving a true picture of those early
and trying days.
In the midst of it all I have placed the great scout. The qualities
he displayed are the same that are necessary for success in our day or
any day. The problems may vary from generation to generation, but the
elements of true manhood are ever the same.
I have made free use of the many historical works which portray the
character of the great scout.
First of all is the diary of Daniel Boone himself. In addition to
that fascinating story, the following works also should be read by
those who are interested in his life:
The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone, by General Filson;
Life of Boone, by Timothy Flint;
Daniel Boone and the Hunters of Kentucky, by W. H. Bogart;
Daniel Boone, the Pioneer of Kentucky, by J. S. C. Abbott;
The Adventures of Daniel Boone, the Kentucky Rifleman, by the
author of Uncle Philip's Conversations ;
Four American Pioneers, by Frances M. Perry and Katherine Beebe.
The various publications of the Filson Club of Louisville, Kentucky,
have also been helpful. The Siege of Bryant's Station, by the
President of the Club, Colonel Reuben Durrett, and The Battle of Blue
Licks, by Colonel Bennett H. Young, are most interesting.
McClung's Sketches of Western Adventure, and Strickland's
Pioneers of the West have provided many interesting details. The
author also gratefully acknowledges the aid he has had from some of the
lineal descendants of Boone himself.
If English boys are eager to hear about the heroic adventures of
King Arthur, Robin Hood, and other characters, in part at least
legendary, why should not American boys be equally interested in the
true stories of the rugged heroes of their own land?
There never has been a time when the development of a true
patriotism was more needed than it is to-day. Our perils and problems
are not concerned with savages and wild beasts, but they may be no less
dangerous than those which confronted our forefathers. How to meet
them, what qualities ought to be strengthened in the life of an
American boy, how best to inspire the younger generation with love and
devotion for our country, are vital questions of the present.
The author believes there is no better way of doing this than by
interesting our boys in such heroic men as Daniel Boone.
EVERETT T. TOMLINSON.
Elizabeth, New Jersey. ILLUSTRATIONS
On the August air arose the reports of many rifles and the
terrifying whoops of the Indians Frontispiece
'What is that?' At the question the two pioneer boys stopped
He was a tall, lean man, quiet in his bearing, and with every
indication of self-control, as well as of strength, stamped upon his
face and form 28
The Indian had been able to draw his knife and struck at her again
and again while the bear held him in one of her most fervent hugs 76
Boone quickly rallied his startled followers and when the red men
returned the hardy settlers were ready and awaiting their coming 116
One of the men who had been stationed as a guard was shot early in
the morning 126
The scout, with his family, returned to Boonesborough 220
Silently the men crossed the ford 276
SCOUTING WITH DANIEL BOONE
CHAPTER I. IN THE WILDERNESS
What is that?
At the question the two pioneer boys stopped abruptly. From within
the forest they had heard the sound of a snapping branch. The sound
itself had not been loud, but the quiet of that September day in 1773
had been sharply broken by the slight noise from the brush. For a brief
time both boys listened intently and then one of them went back a short
distance along the trail over which the little procession had advanced,
carefully looking for signs of danger on either side.
And there was need for caution. Under the leadership of Daniel Boone
five families besides his own had been making their way slowly through
the unbroken wilderness from the settlement on the Yadkin in North
Carolina. At Powell's Valley, through which they recently had passed,
forty men had joined the little company, thereby adding greatly to its
strength, and increasing the confidence of the hardy settlers.
As the little cavalcade spread out in a long line, an advance guard
of five opened the way, while three rear guards, of two each at
irregular intervals, were stationed to prevent surprises from the
hostile Indians or attacks by the prowling beasts of prey that were
wont to follow the trail of men in the wilderness.
At this time the band was crossing Powell's Mountain, and the
extreme rear guard was made up of James, the oldest son of Daniel
Boone, and his friend, Peleg Barnes, the latter being one of the number
that had been added to the company when the settlers arrived at
Powell's Valley. Persuaded that no enemy was near, the two boys resumed
their positions and proceeded on their way.
Each boy was dressed in a hunting costume and wore leggings and
fringed trousers made from the skin of the deer. Each also was armed
with a rifle which he carried almost as naturally as if it was a part
of himself. Powder-horns and bullet-pouches were swinging from their
shoulders. It was manifest from the attitude and the manner of both
young hunters that they were familiar with the ways of the wilderness
and were alert to detect signs of the presence of friend or foe.
I don't like that noise, suggested Peleg in a low voice. 'Tis the
second time we have heard it since we have been the rear guard to-day.
His companion smiled and did not reply, and for a time Peleg also
remained silent. He was a restless, dark-haired, muscular, and
well-grown boy, perhaps seventeen or eighteen years of age, which also
was the age of his more quiet comrade. The boys were warm friends, but
like many men of the earlier days, they were prone to silence, though
little that occurred in the nearby forest escaped their attention.
The wilderness through which they were advancing was almost
untrodden. Confidence and hope were expressed on the rugged faces of
the boys, however, for they early had learned to live in the presence
of continual danger from the prowling beasts and the hostile red men.
I never knew a man just like your father, suggested Peleg, at last
breaking the silence.
Neither did I, replied James Boone, with a smile that strongly
lighted up his face, as he turned to his friend.
He never seems to think about himself. He is taking this expedition
to the land he has found because he believes it to be for our advantage
for him to do so.
He knows it is.
I heard him tell about the wonderful sky and soil he had found
there; and it must be worth while to go, else he would not be advising
us to leave the Yadkin and cross all these mountains into the
wilderness. I never saw such a strong man as your father is. I don't
believe he has an ounce of fat on his body. Is it true that he is
having a record kept of the places he has found and the journeys he has
I should like much to see it. I can read writing, and if some time
you will ask him to grant me the privilege I shall want to read what he
has had written
Peleg stopped abruptly and grasped his companion's arm, as both boys
were startled once more by the sudden snapping of a branch apparently
only a few yards to the left. Instantly both were listening
breathlessly, and were holding their rifles in readiness, while they
peered anxiously into the brush from which the threatening sound had
I declare to you, whispered Peleg, that there is some one
Verily, whispered James Boone, although he did not turn away his
eyes from the forest as he spoke.
The alarm of the two young guards was not unnatural, as has been
said. On the lower slopes of the mountain great trees were growing, but
as the band of emigrants had steadily climbed, the timber diminished,
and even underbrush had become somewhat thinned. Still, on every side
of the trail there were sufficient bushes to hide the presence of an
enemy that might be following the pioneers. Both boys knew that game of
many kinds abounded in the wilderness. Many a time their skill had been
tested long before they had left their homes on the Yadkin.
That their perils would be increased as they withdrew into the
region in which the foot of no white men except Daniel Boone and his
comrade had ever trod they both were well aware. On this September day
the advancing settlers had been moving in a much longer and thinner
line than had been adopted the preceding day. The difficulties of the
ascent and the frequent great rocks in their way made their progress
over the mountain more difficult and different from the easier march
through the valley on the opposite side. Only an occasional white man
had been seen since they had left their homes, and there was constant
fear of the red men, almost all of whom were exceedingly hostile at
this time and very jealous in guarding their own domains from the
incursions of the whites.
Perhaps not unnaturally most of those who were in Boone's party
looked upon the Indian as a natural enemy. Few were mindful of the fact
that the red men were but doing their utmost to defend their own homes
and retain their hunting grounds from the trespassing whites, who, they
were fearful, would soon push them from the region, unless by
determined warfare the Shawnees and other neighbouring tribes might be
able to prevent their entrance and settlement.
It was well known that the region into which Daniel Boone was
leading his company on that September day was considered by the Indians
to be the best of all their hunting grounds. There the buffalo and the
deer abounded. Wild turkeys were so numerous that the report which
Daniel Boone had brought scarcely had been credited by his friends.
There were times in the autumn when great flocks of wild pigeons
sweeping through the woods might be felled with a club by a man
standing in the way of their advance. It is true that where so much
game was found dangerous animals also abounded. The panther and bear
were much in evidence, and prowling wolves often made the night hideous
with their weird and terrifying howls.
There was no one in the advancing company who did not fully
understand what the cost of seeking and making a new home in the
wilderness was likely to be. Doubtless some would fall victims to the
cunning of the hostile red men. Others were certain to lose their lives
in attacks by the treacherous panther, the deadliest four-footed foe of
the white men in the new world.
When the two young pioneers, who formed the rear guard of the slowly
moving procession, resumed their advance, both were silent for a time
and keenly observant of the woods on either side of the trail left by
those who had preceded them. In places the autumn foliage already was
tinted with scarlet or gold. The soft air of the September day became
slightly cooler as the party steadily approached the higher regions of
In the midst of such surroundings it was impossible for the young
hunters long to retain their anxiety, though neither ceased his keen
How old is your father? inquired Peleg at last.
I wish much to hear him tell of his adventures in this land which
he says the Indian calls Kantuckee. Do you know what that word means?
Do you think your father is fearful the redskins may attack us
before we come to the Licks, where he affirms he will make our
You must ask him, replied young Boone. I do not believe he thinks
that we or any other band of settlers will ever build a home in such a
country as he has found without having to fight for it. Peleg, I have
almost decided that one never gets anything worth having without having
to fight some kind of a battle.
That is surely so, replied Peleg, laughing softly as he spoke. I
shall never forget how Schoolmaster Hargrave had to fight to teach me
to use a quill. The letters somehow would not come, not even when he
set his best copy for me. He told me one day that they looked like a
whirlwind in distress. I was minded several times to give up the whole
attempt, but he told me to fight on, and now I am glad that I did.
I am told that the schoolmaster later expects to come where we are
So I have heard. I hope he will leave his ferrule behind. Whew! My
knuckles ache now with the mention! Still he seemed to get some
pleasure out of it, but
Peleg stopped suddenly as a faint cry was heard far in their rear.
It was a sound not unlike that made by a child in distress. Weird,
pathetic, startling as it was, neither of the boys was for a moment
unaware of its meaning. It was the cry of a panther far in the
[Illustration: 'What is that?' At the question the two pioneer boys
And panthers not infrequently hunted in pairs. It might be possible
that two of the treacherous creatures had been following the slowly
moving caravan, for slow-moving it was indeed. The children and women
were carried on the backs of the horses. The few heavy wagons were
dragged with difficulty over the rough ground, and many a time the
entire band was compelled to halt while the men felled a tree which
blocked their advance.
I tell you, said Peleg in a whisper, that sound we heard before
was made by a painter.
It may be true.
Will you stay here while I go back over the trail a little way to
see if I can find any signs of the varmints? It is yet too light for
them to attack us, but I should like to know if there is a pair on our
Do not go far, said James Boone hesitatingly.
You may be sure that I shall not be over-venturesome. I shall
In a moment Peleg disappeared from the sight of his companion as he
lightly and yet swiftly sped back over the way by which they had come.
Left alone, young Boone seated himself upon a fallen tree and
awaited the return of his companion. Holding his rifle lightly in his
hands after he had carefully looked to its priming, he was keenly
observant of all about him. He had been disturbed more than he had
acknowledged to Peleg by the sounds which they had heard. He had known
of instances in which a panther had trailed a man for many hours. The
conjecture of Peleg that a pair of the hated beasts might be following
the slowly moving settlers was not improbable.
As the moments passed the anxiety of the young hunter for his
companion increased. No sound to alarm him had broken in upon the
silence, and yet somehow the son of the great pioneer scout was anxious
for his friend.
Rising from his seat he ran swiftly in the direction in which Peleg
had gone. In a few moments he discovered his friend standing beneath a
spreading chestnut and holding his gun in such a manner that it was
manifest that he had heard some sound to alarm him. A huge panther
crouched upon the limb of the chestnut tree, almost directly above the
place where Peleg was standing.
CHAPTER II. HUNTER SAM
If the vision of James Boone had not been trained, and unusually
keen, the sight of the crouching animal would have escaped him. Its
tawny skin was of a colour not unlike that of the tinged foliage of the
branches of the chestnut upon which it was lying. There was an
occasional nervous twitching of its tail, but otherwise it was as
motionless as if it had been carved of marble.
So intense was the interest of the savage beast in the young hunter
directly beneath it that it was unaware of the approach of James Boone.
Even as he perceived the animal, however, its muscles tightened, and it
prepared for a leap upon the unsuspecting boy.
Instantly bringing his rifle to his shoulder, and taking careful
aim, James fired at the motionless target. He ignored the exclamation
of the startled Peleg, who leaped to one side at the report of the
rifle, and then, glancing at his friend, followed the direction of his
gaze, and became aware of the peril above him.
For a moment the beast seemed to be unharmed. It remained in the
same position, motionless, and with its head leaning below the limb to
which it clung.
Young Boone did not move from the place where he was standing, but
instantly began to reload his rifle, all the time keeping careful watch
upon the movements of the beast.
Suddenly the panther began to claw at the limb to which it had been
clinging. It was manifest that its hold was broken or breaking. The
long claws were driven savagely into the bark, but in spite of all its
efforts the creature plainly was slipping. There were two or three
snarls, and once it turned and snapped savagely at its side. The tail
began to lash the branch, and then suddenly became motionless.
Slowly the ability of the savage beast to maintain itself was
departing. A stream of red showed the effect which young Boone's bullet
had taken. He had aimed just a little back of the fore-shoulder, and it
was difficult for him now to understand how even a panther, tenacious
of life as the beast was known to be, was still able to cling to the
Struggling, snarling, the great beast turned and gradually but
surely began to slip from its perch. For a moment it almost seemed that
it would be able to maintain its grasp even after its body had turned
to the underside of the huge branch. But all at once, without a sound,
the long body fell, striking hard upon the ground twenty feet or more
Before the animal could show whether or not it was still alive,
Peleg, who now had recovered from his first alarm, raised his rifle and
fired at the prostrate body.
There was slight question now as to the approaching death of the
savage beast. It lay almost motionless on the ground, but there was
still an occasional nervous twitching of its long tail. Both boys,
however, were too skilled in the art of the hunter to venture within
reach of the terrible claws until they were satisfied that the dreaded
enemy was indeed dead.
There may be another, said Peleg nervously, as he glanced into the
woods after he had hastily reloaded his rifle. That cry we heard
probably was the call of this one's mate.
That may be so, said young Boone.
What are you going to do? inquired Peleg in surprise, as he saw
his companion place his rifle against a tree and draw his hunting-knife
from his belt.
I am going to skin this big cat.
Do you think we ought to stop for that? asked Peleg.
Then let me help.
No, you keep guard. Our guns may have stirred up more trouble than
Acting upon this suggestion, both boys became silent while young
Boone began his task.
Swiftly and deftly he slit the beautiful skin the length of the
body, and then did likewise on each leg. So skilful was the young
hunter that in a brief time he had drawn back the skin sufficiently to
cause him to call to his companion, Come here and help me.
Together the two boys then tore the skin from the body, and young
Boone rolled the panther's hide into a small, compact bundle. He tied
this securely with a deerskin thong, and then added it to his burden.
At once the boys began to run swiftly to regain the distance they
had lost. They had not advanced far, however, before they saw some one
approaching them on the trail.
'Tis as I thought, said James Boone with a smile. Our guns have
'roused our friends.
That's Sam Oliver.
I see it is, replied James.
Neither of the boys spoke again as the man rapidly approached them.
Both knew him as one of the hunters of the company, and as one whose
labours chiefly were confined to that field.
Sam was perhaps fifty years of age, tall, rawboned, sunburned, with
an expression of face not unpleasing, and a frequent twinkle in his
eyes. As for felling the trees or building the houses of logs, Sam was
willing for others to assume those labours, and whatever honours might
accrue from such tasks. For himself he much preferred to do his part by
supplying the band with game.
Frequently the two boys had gone with the trapper when he had made
the rounds of his traps, and in the warm days of summer nothing had
delighted either more than to accompany him into the forest, where they
were interested in the weird, and at times fantastic, tales Sam related
of his personal adventures, and also of the characteristics of the
denizens of the forest.
What's wrong, lads? inquired the hunter as he approached.
Nothing is wrong now, laughed Peleg. We shot a painter back here.
And there is its hide, he added as he pointed with pride to the bundle
which was suspended from his companion's shoulders.
Glancing at the object to which his attention had been directed, Sam
whistled and then said, Seen any more?
Seen any signs o' redskins?
No, sir. Have you seen any?
That's for the King to say, replied the hunter, laughing in
apparent heartiness, though no sound escaped his lips.
The expression, that's for the King to say, was one that fell so
frequently from the lips of Sam Oliver that both boys understood what
he meant. It was his method of evading a direct reply to any question
he did not wish to answer.
All of which means, said James, that you have seen some
A few signs. Nothing very bad, and nothing that should be spoken of
by either of you. In course we are bound to find the varmints following
us, but I don't think they will attack us if we are on our guard. We
must do our best, and after that there is no good in trying to do
anything more. Your father says everything that happens is right, or it
wouldn't be. Strange, he added, as he again looked at the panther's
skin which James Boone was carrying, strange that you should have got
him so easy. I have known the time when it would have taken half-dozen
bullets to put an end to a fighting painter.
Have you shot a good many of them? inquired Peleg.
Oh, a few, a few, replied the hunter. The strangest sight I ever
see was one time when I was followin' three o' the varmints. They led
me a hard chase, and it was two days before I caught up with them, and
when I did, I almost wished I had not.
I will tell you. When I came near a big open space there in the
woods I heard the worst screechin' I ever heard in my life. You simply
cannot describe it. They were snarlin' and spittin' and screamin' and
growlin', and sometimes it seemed as if they were doin' all four things
at once. My first thought was that this was no place for Sam Oliver. It
sounded like a hundred painters were fightin' to the death. I reckon I
did turn back a little way, but the screechin' and the screamin' kep'
up so that I finally decided that I must find out what was goin' on.
What was it? inquired Peleg.
When I crep' up close to the clearin' and peeped out I saw two
painters a-fightin'. They were crouchin' on the ground facin' each
other and callin' each other every name they could think of in painter
language. I did not know what had happened to the third painter, but I
knew I ought not to stay there long. But all at once the two varmints
leaped at each other and a minute later they were in such a plight that
you would not have known what kind of beasts they was. They had ripped
and torn and clawed and scratched and bit each other until it did not
seem as if what was left could hang together. Then all at once one of
them got the other fellow by the throat and it wasn't long before he
Did you shoot him? asked Peleg.
No, for just then I heard a noise right behind me and when I looked
back I see the third painter creepin' toward me and I fired at it and
ran. Somehow I managed to get away, and next day I went back to the
scene o' battle but I could not find anythin' there except the dead
painter. The others had gone. I had been so long trailin' them that I
thought I wouldn't follow any further. But if I live to be a hundred
years old I shall never forget that there fight I saw between those two
big cats! There are some animals, continued the hunter, that seem to
have reg'lar feuds, jest like fam'ly troubles. They may fight one
another once in a while, but they will make up to fight the enemies of
the fam'ly every time they get a chance.
What do you mean? asked Peleg.
Well, for instance, there's the beaver and the otter. They seem to
have had a declaration of war from the very beginning same as cats and
dogs. I see a beaver house one day las' winter standin' right in the
middle o' the pond which the beavers had made. You know they build a
long tube right up through the centre o' the floor which looks
somethin' like a chimney. The top o' this one was about four feet
higher than the floor, and it was a good two feet through. The water
round their house came almost to the top of the door. Mr. Beaver, when
he wanted to go into his house, used to dive and come up through the
tube, then he would shake himself, and slide down to his floor, which
was always dry. It was always warm, too, for even in the coldest
weather the water all round the house kep' it from freezin'. I reckon
this particular fam'ly was pretty well provided for because they were
all fat. Leastwise they looked as if they might have been, though they
were dead when I saw them.
How was that? inquired Peleg.
Why, the otter had gone after them.
Into their house?
No! No! No otter would ever dare do that. In a fight in a place
like that the beaver, which has such strong teeth and is such a strong
little brute anyway, would have the advantage every time. The otter
works in 'nother way. The beaver fam'ly had been busy all through the
summer hidin' their strips o' poplar and birch and willows in the
bottom o' the lake which they had made. They intended to have their
easy time in the winter, and they do, too, unless some otters happen
In this case I am tellin' you about, a couple o' otters had tried
to break into the house, but the walls was hard as granite. If the
otter can only get the beaver into the water he can catch him easily,
because the otter is as quick as a fish. So the beaver simply works on
the defensive and builds a house strong enough to keep out any otter
that may happen along. But pretty soon the otters begin to look into
the beavers' dam. By and by, when they find a weak spot, where they can
work a hole straight through, they begin their job. When the weather is
not too cold and the ice not too thick, just as soon as the water in
the lake begins to drop a little, then the beavers begin to hunt for
the leak. But when the water falls fast and there is a covering of ice
all over the lake and sometimes the ice caves in, you see the beavers
then cannot get their provisions, and the inside o' their houses is as
cold as it is outside.
The otters have a reg'lar course they follow, goin' from one place
to 'nother and making their rounds 'bout every ten days to two weeks. I
reckon in the case o' this beaver fam'ly I am tellin' you about that
the otters came back in a fortnight or so and found the beavers all
dead or in no shape to fight. Here comes Daniel Boone himself, the
hunter exclaimed suddenly, and I reckon you boys will have to explain
to him what you meant by your shots back yonder.
CHAPTER III. THE HUNT FOR GAME
At the words of the hunter the boys looked up and saw the scout
approaching. He was a tall, lean man, quiet in his bearing, in the
prime of middle life, and with every indication of self-control, as
well as of strength, stamped upon his face and form. His expression
showed that he was anxious concerning the shots which had been fired,
but as he drew near the boys he was not the first to speak. Peleg's
admiration was manifest in the manner in which the young pioneer looked
up to the great leader, though the boy, like others of his day and age,
seldom spoke to his elders unless first they had spoken to him.
In response to the question which was expressed in the eyes of
Daniel Boone, rather than in words, Sam Oliver said quietly, The boys
shot a painter.
There was a slight smile on the face of Daniel Boone as he said,
Did they? Was it necessary? he added, as he turned to his son.
Yes, sir, replied young Boone. The varmint was just ready to
spring on Peleg. He was crouching on the branch of a tree directly over
him, and if I had not fired he would have had him.
It must be right. You know, added Boone quietly, smiling again as
he spoke, I am one of those who believe that whatever happens is
And yet, suggested the hunter, you don't stop tryin' for
yourself, nor for others, either.
Not at all, answered the scout. A man must follow the best light
he can get and then, beyond that, where he cannot go, he must believe
that things do not 'happen.' I have heard some men blame their 'luck'
for what befell them. I have never thought there was any such thing as
'luck.' The trouble is we do not always see the connection in events,
and in our ignorance we say a thing 'happens.' I am sorry the boys had
to shoot the painter.
I never knew, laughed the loquacious Sam, that you had any
sympathy to waste on those critters.
I haven't, replied Daniel Boone, a trace of a smile again
appearing on his face as he spoke. I am not sorry that the painter was
shot. I am sorry that the boys had to shoot it. Just now I am more
afraid of their rifles than I am of painters.
The trio looked quickly into the face of the leader, but his quiet
expression was unchanged, and what he may have implied by his statement
he did not explain.
I do not love the varmints, said Sam, shaking his head. I shall
put them out of the world every chance I get.
So shall I, assented Boone, although sometimes I feel sorry that
I have to do so. I do not suppose that a painter is following anything
else than the instinct which was given him, the same as a hound dog
follows the track of a rabbit.
How about men? inquired Sam.
I believe the same thing is true of men, said Daniel Boone
seriously. Fortunately for me, I had a good father and a good mother,
so that when I was a child I was kept free from many of the things
which drive some people I have known into divers sorts of evil.
The little party was advancing steadily during this conversation,
and apparently, now that the explanation of the two shots had been
given, the leader was no longer apprehensive. To Peleg, however, who
was watchful of the man's every movement, it seemed as if he was
continually listening for sounds which the others were unable to hear.
The boy was aware of the threatening peril from the Indians, although
not once had a red man been seen since the emigrants had departed from
Powell's Valley. But the fact that the Shawnees kept themselves hidden
from sight by no means proved that they might not be near. Frequently
he and James Boone had talked over the possibility of an attack by
their foes, but the presence of the additional forty men that had
joined the expedition recently provided an added sense of security.
They felt that it was doubtful if even a large band of warriors would
venture to attack a party so well defended as was that now led by
When the sun set the entire band halted and preparations were made
for the night. The few wagons were drawn toward one spot and left with
their rear ends turned toward the forest. An enclosure was formed in
this way, in the centre of which a fire was kindled and preparations
for supper were speedily made. Meat from the deer which had been shot
the preceding day was roasted on spits turned by some of the younger
children. Only a scanty supply of vegetables was to be had, and for the
most part the hardy settlers were compelled to rely upon the supplies
of game which the boys and Sam Oliver and other hunters had no
difficulty in obtaining in the forest.
Guards were assigned for the night, one man being stationed on each
of the four sides of the camp and close to the encircling wagons. The
dogs which accompanied the expedition were also used as aids in
detecting the presence of enemies, but throughout the night nothing
more dangerous than a deer or a curious night-bird was heard.
There were several young girls in the company whose duties consisted
largely in looking after the younger children and in helping prepare
the meals when the emigrants halted. There was an air of confidence in
the bearing of almost all the members of the expedition, but Peleg
Barnes was convinced that Daniel Boone himself was far from feeling at
ease. The boy felt sure, of course, that the leader was anxious not for
his own safety, but for those who were following him in their search
for the wonderful land which he had found in Kantuckee.
Before sunrise preparations for the resumption of the journey were
completed, and after an ample breakfast, though the food did not differ
materially from that of the preceding evening, the word to depart was
The little children and many of the women rode on the backs of the
horses, some of which were hauling the heavy wagons that contained the
simple household possessions of the emigrants. As there were more
horses than wagons, there was ample provision made for all who were
unable to endure the hardships of the march. The sister of young Boone,
however, frequently insisted upon walking with her brother, except when
he was to be one of the guards. No fresh excitement occurred and no
fears were aroused until after the band had passed Walden's Mountain.
Cumberland Mountain is not far beyond, said Sam to Peleg and young
Boone when the nightly camp had been made after a second mountain had
been crossed. When once we get beyond that we shall soon see the land
o' promise. I think to-morrow I shall have to take you two boys with me
and see if we cannot get some fresh venison. Our stores are runnin'
low, and a few pa'tridges or wild turkeys would not be bad, either, and
I am sure we shall find plenty o' both in the valley.
There must be pigeons left from those we shot yesterday, suggested
There are some, replied the hunter, who was in general charge of
the larder, but it would be a change for us if we could get a few
turkeys. We ought to find some fish, too, in the stream in the valley,
and I think I shall set some o' the boys to catchin' them. We shall go
ahead o' the main party to-morrow, or else let the band go ahead of us,
so that if there happen to be any redskins on our trail they will not
mistake us for the whole band.
Have you seen any more signs? inquired Peleg quickly.
[Illustration: He was a tall, lean man, quiet in his bearing, and
with every indication of self-control, as well as of strength, stamped
upon his face and form"]
Plenty o' signs, but we have not seen one o' the varmints. I know
from the way Daniel Boone is watchin' that he is a bit fearful. I think
I shall tell him to-morrow when we start for our game that we will let
the rest o' the party go ahead of us and we will bring up the rear. It
may save time to do that, because it will be easy to follow the trail
they will leave. Most of this country is new to me and the only one
that is sure of his way is the scout himself.
I think that would be better, assented young Boone, and, besides,
if we hunt in the rear of the party we shall be able to do double duty
by serving as a rear guard at the same time.
That is right, laughed Sam. Though that's for the King to say.
The great trouble with him is that he does not say very much.
You have never been troubled that way, have you, Sam? laughed
I can't say that I have. I think o' so many things; and if I think
o' them I want some one else to know what they are, too. You make your
arrangements with the King and we will be ready to do our share on the
Accordingly, on the following day, when the advance was resumed, Sam
Oliver and his two young comrades waited for the cavalcade to pass and
then began their task of providing supplies and game for the company.
The emigrants now were nearing Cumberland Mountain. The three
mountains were not far apart and looked almost as if they had been
carefully planted at equal distances in the midst of the wilderness by
some giant hand. Some of the cliffs were so wild and rugged that when
the creaking wagons drew near the edge the children screamed in their
terror. In the main, however, the trail was less difficult than had
been expected. The huge masses of rock had been torn asunder in places
by some volcanic action in preceding ages and had left narrow
passageways through which the moving cavalcade was able to proceed
without much difficulty.
October had come and the foliage which had been slightly tinted in
the preceding days had turned to a deeper shade. The trees were now
ablaze with colour. Sam Oliver in his enthusiasm declared that within a
half hour he and his companions would be able to rejoin the company
with ample supplies for the following day.
When the boys began their search for game his words seemed about to
be verified: near the mountain brook they spied three deer, two of
which fell at their first shot. Sam, who had preferred to hunt alone,
also must have found game plentiful, the boys concluded, because twice
within five minutes the report of his gun had been heard.
We must get some turkeys before we go back, suggested Peleg.
I am afraid you will have to wait until later in the day if you
want to get them, responded young Boone.
I don't know about that, began Peleg. He stopped abruptly when, as
if in confirmation of his own opinion, a gobble was heard not far to
their right. This was quickly followed by an answering gobble from
You take one and I will look for the other, eagerly suggested
The plan was instantly adopted, and each of the boys, crouching low
and stealthily making his way among the trees and through the brush,
tried to steal upon the bird, which still was noisily announcing its
James Boone moved forward thirty yards from the place where he had
left his comrade and cautiously peered about him for a sight of the
calling turkey. His feet, clad in moccasins, made little noise as he
advanced over the moist ground. Deftly he parted the bushes in making
his way, and they closed behind him with no more noise than as if they
had been swayed by a gentle breeze.
Suddenly young Boone came to a place from which he was able to see
plainly a short distance before him. The gobble now was so distinct
that, he held his gun in readiness for instant use. Cautiously
advancing, he peeped from behind a tree, hopeful that he might obtain a
sight of the bird he was seeking. To his terror he saw an Indian
directly before him leaning against the trunk of a huge tree. The mouth
of the warrior was partly closed by his hands. His face was daubed with
paint, and his discoloured cheeks seemed to be doubly disgusting as he
emitted sounds which even the keenest of the wild turkeys would
scarcely have detected as different from its own.
CHAPTER IV. THE GOBBLERS
At the moment when the young pioneer discovered the Indian, the
warrior also became aware of the presence of his enemy. Whether it was
because James was amazed at the redskin's skill in mimicking the call
of the wild turkey, or because his enemy was somewhat quicker in his
movements than he, is not known. At any rate, before young Boone could
raise his gun to his shoulder the Indian turned and with all his
strength hurled his tomahawk.
True to its aim, the weapon struck the face of the young hunter,
almost cleaving his head in twain.
As the body of the stricken boy fell forward, the Indian halted a
moment and then in his shrillest tones imitated the call of the crow
four times. He waited until there was a response similar to his own,
and then, running to the prostrate young hunter, deftly removed his
scalp. He then dashed into the woods and ran in the direction from
which the answering call had been heard.
Meanwhile Peleg Barnes, who had been striving to locate the turkey
which had been gobbling steadily in response to the calls of the one
first heard, was more fortunate than his friend. Stealthily creeping
through the bushes and darting from tree to tree, he discovered the
warrior that was imitating the gobbles before the latter was aware of
The boy almost intuitively was aware of the purpose of the warrior,
and without hesitation raised his gun and fired.
As the Indian fell to the ground Peleg did not wait to discover the
effect of his shot, but ran back at his utmost speed toward the camp.
Frequently, as he ran, the terrified young hunter shouted his warning
of the presence of his enemies.
Before he had regained the camp he was joined by Sam Oliver, who was
angry as well as startled by the wild shouts of his young companion.
What's the trouble, Peleg? he demanded.
I shot a redskin! There must be a good many more! replied the boy,
almost breathless in his excitement. The varmint was daubed with paint
and gobbling like a turkey, trying to draw some one into his trap.
Did young Boone go with you?
No, he heard another 'turkey.'
Where is he now? demanded Sam sharply.
I do not know. We must get word to the scout.
Nothing more was said until the returning hunters, both of whom were
running at their utmost speed, came within sight of the place where the
camp had been made. In a brief time they gained the open place in
front, for the camp this time had been pitched on a small plateau,
sheltered by a frowning cliff on one side and protected by a steep,
rocky gulch on another, while in front of it was sufficient space to
enable the watching guard to detect the approach of an enemy from that
As soon as they were within hearing, both hunters shouted their
warnings; but even as they raised their voices the sound of rifles was
heard and a moment later there was a sudden cry and rush made by at
least three score of the Indians. The suddenness of the attack as well
as the lack of preparation, due to the faith of the emigrants in the
security of the position which they had selected for their halt, and
their confidence in the guards which had been stationed, prevented an
The Indian warriors, hideously painted, crouching low and running
swiftly, and at the same time emitting their terrifying whoops, fired
at every paleface that they could see.
To the startled pioneers the region seemed to be filled with their
foes. The screams of frightened children, the calls of the women, and
the shouts of the men as they summoned their companions increased the
confusion. For a time the din was almost deafening. Above the shouts
and cries were heard the frequent reports of the rifles of the
Peleg and Sam, who by this time had gained the shelter of the camp,
instantly joined the few men that had rallied as soon as the warning
was given. All now were doing their utmost to check the onslaught.
Every man, without waiting for orders, fired at the shouting, leaping
savages. As soon as their guns had been discharged, however, it was
plain that the attacking party had many other weapons. Those who had
emptied their rifles brandished their tomahawks and tried to make
amends by the fierceness of their cries for their lack of more
formidable ways of attacking. In a brief time the defenders were thrown
into confusion, outnumbered as they were at the moment, and driven back
toward the place where the camp was located.
It was speedily known that several had fallen before the fire of the
warriors, but just who or how many there was no time to ascertain. It
was now every man for himself as they sought protection behind the
great trees or darted for the friendly shelter of rocks, which were
numerous in the region.
It was at this time, however, that the great leader himself appeared
upon the scene. Familiar with the ways of the Indians, Daniel Boone
ordered every man to conceal himself behind some tree and make no
attempt to flee from the place until the entire party had been driven
away. The presence of Boone seemed to revive the courage of the
retreating guards. As soon as sheltering places had been secured, every
man reloaded his rifle and, following the example of the great scout,
fired at the enemy, who now almost had crossed the open space before
The fierceness of the onslaught of the Indian warriors was well
known, but it was also understood by every white man that the red men
seldom persisted in a long attack. A stealthy and sudden dash was their
favourite method of fighting, but if the resistance was determined or
prolonged they would usually withdraw to the shelter of the forest.
In their present attack the Indians followed their customary plan.
As soon as Boone and his companions ceased to flee and began to return
the fire with vigour, the Indians faltered, and then, after they had
given several unusually wild whoops and a final discharge of their
weapons, they all fled back to the protecting forest from which they
had so suddenly emerged.
As soon as the enemy had departed, Daniel Boone, who thoroughly
understood Indian nature and ways, doubled the guards, assigned some of
his followers to the task of bringing in the bodies of the fallen, and
then ordered the others to withdraw within the camp itself, and hold
themselves in readiness for a sudden call. Meanwhile they were told to
do their utmost to quiet the frightened women and children, the latter
still vocally expressing their terror.
It was soon learned that five of the whites had fallen. Their bodies
were hastily borne within the protecting circle of the camp and two men
who had been wounded were at once cared for.
Peleg, whose excitement during the short, sharp fight had been
intense, now recalled that he had not seen young Boone since his
comrades had returned. Without voicing his fears he made a hasty tour
of the camp, searching in every conceivable place for his friend.
When at last the young hunter was convinced that James was nowhere
to be found among the emigrants, he ran to Daniel Boone himself and
said, Have you seen James anywhere?
No, replied the scout, glancing keenly at the young hunter. Was
he not with you?
We were together until we heard the 'turkeys' gobbling. Then he
followed the sound of one and I went after the other. When I came near
the place I saw it was a warrior trying to decoy us.
And James was not with you?
Did you call to him?
No, sir. I shot the redskin and then started for the camp as fast
as I could go. Sam Oliver came with me, and if it had not been for our
alarm I am afraid the redskins would have done more damage than they
The leader was silent as he gazed into the surrounding forest. He
was well aware that the woods might conceal many more hostile Indians
than had appeared in the sudden attack upon the camp. That he was
deeply troubled by the message Peleg had brought him was manifest. Had
his enemies already killed his son or had they made him a prisoner?
What had become of James?
Do you think they have taken him? inquired Peleg in a low voice.
That is what I hope, replied Daniel Boone; and then in response to
the unspoken question of the young hunter he added: If they have made
him prisoner we may be able to get him again, but if they have not
What the pioneer scout left unsaid was fully understood by Peleg,
whose face became pale as he saw the anxiety of the leader for his boy.
A man must do his best, and it is useless to rebel, said Daniel
Boone, almost as if he were speaking to himself. If James has fallen,
all that we may try to do will be useless. If he has escaped, he will
not need all our help. If the Shawnees have made him their prisoner,
then we shall do more to help him by quick action than in any other
Turning from the women, who were weeping over the bodies of the dead
men that had been brought back to the camp, in a few words Daniel Boone
related to his companions what Peleg had told him. A band of twenty or
more was speedily formed, every one eager to join in the search for the
Peleg, inquired the scout just before the men departed from the
camp, do you think you can lead the way to the place where you and
James heard the 'turkey'?
Yes, sir, replied Peleg.
Then let us start at once.
No man in the band was without fear when they entered the forest
lest he might be the target of some concealed Indian. And yet the
little force was relying upon the very boldness of their venture for
There was no trace of fright, however, when the men ran across the
open space and followed Daniel Boone as he led the way in the direction
indicated by Peleg, who was close behind him.
In a brief time the party came to the place where Peleg had shot the
Indian that had been imitating the gobble of a turkey. There was no
delay, however, and as soon as Boone was convinced that the red man was
dead he turned with his companions in the direction in which the other
turkey had been heard.
As yet not a sign of the presence of their enemy had been
discovered, although every one was aware that dark eyes were doubtless
watching their every movement. Why they had not been fired upon was as
yet not understood.
In a few minutes, however, these things were forgotten when Peleg
led the way to the place toward which his young companion had gone to
seek the turkey which had so noisily announced its presence.
A low exclamation escaped the young hunter's lips when he and the
leader halted a few minutes later and saw upon the ground before them
the prostrate body of the missing boy.
CHAPTER V. PELEG'S NEW PLACE
Not a word escaped Daniel Boone's lips at the gruesome discovery of
the body of his oldest son. He ran quickly forward, turned the body so
that the face could be seen, and in this manner instantly realized the
terrible fate which had overtaken James.
Peleg Barnes, who was close behind him, never was able to forget the
sound of the one long, dry sob to which Daniel Boone gave utterance.
Then, almost as if he still was unaware of the presence of any one
except the dead boy, he lifted the body tenderly, and with exceeding
care placed it across his shoulders. Then, turning about, the great
scout started back toward the camp.
For a moment the other members of the party stood silent as they
watched their suffering leader. There was not one of the men who would
not have been glad to express his sympathy in words, but they were all
aware of Daniel Boone's prejudices against giving full expression to
one's feelings; and they had not yet recovered from the staggering
surprise which the discovery of the body of James had created.
When Daniel Boone disappeared in the brush, Sam Oliver ran to the
spot where this discovery had been made and, picking up the gun of
James, turned to his companions and said: We must follow him. We must
keep close to him. The redskins might almost scalp him and he would not
understand what they are doing, the way he feels now.
Acting upon this suggestion, the men all turned to follow the
direction in which their leader had disappeared. Peleg had run in
advance of the other members of the band, eager to help the scout in
his task. Quietly the leader shook his head, but did not speak in
response to the young hunter's offer to aid. Apparently he was hardly
aware that his friends were so near him.
Without delay the party soon gained the open space in front of the
camp. There Daniel Boone stopped, and, turning to his friends, whose
presence apparently neither surprised nor startled him, said: I shall
take my boy to the place where the other bodies are lying. I desire you
to say nothing of what has befallen him until first I shall break the
news to my wife.
No reply was given to the request of the hunter, nor was any
expected. There was no protest by the scout, however, when Sam Oliver
and Peleg followed him as he bore his burden to the place where the
bodies of the men who had fallen in the sudden attack by the Indians
were lying, covered by blankets. There, still quiet, and as tender in
his manner as a woman, Daniel Boone lifted the body of his boy from his
shoulders and laid it beside those who were his fellow victims.
Peleg, whose eyes were watching every movement of the man for whom
his feeling was little less than adoration, in spite of his grief,
marvelled at the wonderful strength the scout displayed. There was no
evidence of struggle on his part, and as soon as he had deposited the
body, Daniel Boone turned away, and the two hunters required no word
from him to inform them that he had gone to tell his wife of the great
sorrow which had come into their lives. Peleg's eager look followed him
even when he saw him beckon her to one side of the company, and then
both withdrew from the sight of the entire band. The bearing of the
scout was still unchanged. So great was his self-control that no one in
the party, who did not know of the calamity, suspected that anything
had befallen the leader beyond the common feeling of sorrow for the
loss of the five men.
What was said by Daniel Boone to his wife in that heartbreaking
interview no one ever knew. When the scout rejoined the band, which now
had assembled behind the protecting barricade, he said simply: We must
prepare for a hasty burial. These bodies must not be left for the
wolves to maltreat. The leader spoke as quietly as if he were
referring to one of the ordinary experiences of life, instead of one
that would have wrung the heart of the strongest man.
On the hillside, near the place where the camp had been pitched, the
bodies of the fallen men were hastily buried. There were cries and sobs
from many of those who had been bereaved, and the unutterable fear and
horror which more or less possessed all the emigrant band were apparent
in the glances of terror which were frequently cast toward the forest.
Even some of the men gave way to their sorrow and anxiety. Not a trace
of either emotion, however, was to be seen in the face of Daniel Boone
when at last the leader turned away from the place of burial.
Later in the day Peleg chanced upon the scout when the latter
believed himself to be alone. Seated upon a log looking steadily upon
the ground, still without a cry, the man's frame was shaken in his
agony of grief. Abashed by the discovery, Peleg, whose sorrow at the
loss of his friend also had been keen, stealthily withdrew from the
place and did not refer to his discovery when later he joined his
companions. Before the scout returned, the boy had decided that at his
first opportunity he would explain to him how strong had been the
friendship between himself and James. Peleg was too modest to believe
that the great man had ever been aware of the friendship between the
two boys. Such matters were of too minor importance for him even to
recognize, much less to remember, thought the lad.
Great then was the young hunter's surprise, and greater still his
pleasure, when the scout stopped by his side the next day and, looking
into his face, said calmly, Peleg, you and James were great friends.
Hereafter I shall have a special love for you, Peleg, because you
loved my boy.
Tears, which the young hunter was unable to control, sprang into his
eyes at the words which were evidence not only of the keen observation
of Daniel Boone but also of his regard for one who had been the friend
of his son. Still the scout's voice was quiet and calm. Peleg was
convinced that he was not unaware of his inability to reply. It is one
of the things, Peleg, which cannot be changed, continued Daniel Boone.
James was a good son and I looked forward to a useful life for him,
but he is not to be here. It does no one any good to rebel uselessly,
and only children and savages complain when everything they desire is
not arranged as they wish.
Yes, sir, assented Peleg. At first he suspected that the words of
the leader were intended as a rebuke to him for the display of his
feelings. Perhaps it was a weakness, he thought, and yet, somehow, the
young soldier was convinced that the father of his friend perhaps did
not think any the less of him because he had been deeply moved by the
tragic death of James Boone.
It is not the first time, continued the scout, that I have been
compelled to face sorrow. Somehow I feel that one is like a leaf
carried on the stream. It may whirl about and turn and twist, but it is
always carried forward. As he spoke, the leader stooped, and taking a
tiny branch which had fallen to the ground tossed it into the noisy
little stream which went tumbling down the side of Cumberland Mountain
on its way to the great river and the sea beyond. It is somewhat like
that, my lad, continued Daniel Boone, running his fingers through his
hair as he spoke. Man is borne onward by a Power which he does not
understand, and yet which he must recognize as greater than his own. It
is so that one is carried by the years. One is helpless to stop them in
their course, as helpless as that little branch which I threw into the
water. It does no one any good to rebel or complain. Every man must
accept the facts of his life, believing that there is a Power that
guides and controls far better than he knows how to do.
The scout spoke musingly, almost as if he thought himself to be
alone. A brief silence followed his words, and then Daniel Boone turned
once more to Peleg. My lad, he said, all I say is that one cannot
turn back. However much I may sorrow over the loss of my boy, I cannot
go back to him. The only direction in which I can move is forward. If
one can only find the right way, that is not so bad.
Yes, sir, said Peleg, hardly aware of the full meaning of Boone's
You were a friend of my boy.
Yes, sir, again responded Peleg, his voice breaking once more in
spite of his efforts at self-control.
You shall be my friend from this time forward. You cannot
take the place of James, but because you were his friend you shall have
a share, if you so desire, such as he might have had, in my life and my
plans. Your father is not living?
He has been dead three years.
And your mother?
She died when I was a baby.
Then there is no one to whom you can turn?
I have lived with my uncle, but I have no desire to go back to
Boone looked keenly into the face of the boy by his side and was
silent a moment. Peleg, he resumed, I meant what I said just now. If
you so desire, you shall be my friend.
I do desire it, said Peleg impulsively. There Is nothing I want
so much as I do to be with you. It is good of you to think of me
Say no more, interrupted Boone. I shall not forget, though I may
not speak to you soon of this matter again. When the time comes, I
shall not fail to let you know.
When night fell the guards of the camp were doubled, for with the
coming of darkness the terror of some of the emigrants increased. There
were frequent cries heard from the little children, cries which the
mothers were unable to quiet and in which some of them even joined. A
feeling of terror had settled over the whole camp.
To Peleg was assigned a post of danger, as his position as guard was
to be near the gulch. Steep as this was, it would have been possible
for a warrior to climb its rocky sides if he were familiar with the
Before Peleg departed for his station he was joined by Israel Boone,
a younger brother of James, who insisted upon sharing the vigil. In the
light of the campfire Peleg saw the face of the scout change colour
when the suggestion was made by his son, but he did not offer any
objection, and in spite of Sam Oliver's declaration that One boy was a
boy and two boys was half a boy, the leader quietly gave his consent.
When the silence of the outer night became more marked in the
deepening darkness, the occasional cries of the children did not cease.
They were cries not of suffering, but of terror. There were times when
even the two young guards shared in the prevailing fear. The darkness
that surrounded them might conceal painted warriors who were watchful
of their every act. At any moment a bullet from some unseen enemy might
find its way to the heart of a watching sentinel. Such a condition was
not long to be endured. As the hours passed, both boys grew more eager
for the coming of the morning, when, whatever plan might be formed, at
least relief from the depressing silence would come.
To Peleg no thought of any change in the plans of the emigrants had
occurred, and he was therefore the more astonished the following
morning when, after he had been relieved from duty and had obtained a
few hours of sleep, he was informed before breakfast that the men were
assembling for a council. Even his feeling of hunger was ignored in the
exciting announcement which soon was made by Boone.
CHAPTER VI. SCHOOLMASTER HARGRAVE
Before breakfast had been prepared Peleg was aware of a certain
partly suppressed excitement among the members of the band. The women,
with tears in their eyes and with their children clinging to their
skirts, frequently had been in conference with Daniel Boone or with
other men of the party.
It was therefore not without some previous intimation that Peleg
heard the scout summon the men to a new conference.
As soon as they were assembled Boone said, It will not be possible
for us to proceed at this time.
Why not? demanded Sam Oliver.
The women are terror-stricken. I myself had not thought that we
should so soon be attacked by the savages. I have reason to remember
our stay on Cumberland Mountain For a moment the scout was silent,
and an expression of sympathy ran through the entire assembly. Once
more in control of his feelings, Boone continued: It is not for
myself, as you know, that I am asking this return. It is useless,
however, now to go on with such fear among our womenfolk, and the
redskins opposing us more strongly the farther we go into Kantuckee.
Where can we go? inquired one of the assembly.
I have decided that our best plan is to return to the settlement on
the Clinch River.
How far is that from here? asked the inquirer.
About forty miles.
I am not one to favour return just because we have been
There is no question, said Daniel Boone, his eyes flashing in
spite of the quiet manner of his speech, about what we shall do. We
shall make our plans to return at once.
Whatever feeling of rebellion may have been aroused in the minds of
some of his followers, the decision of the leader was not to be
disputed. The confidence of every one in his courage, integrity, and
judgment was so strong that no one at the time would have dared oppose
the great scout.
Accordingly, hasty preparations were made for the return of the
entire band, and within an hour the emigrants were on their way.
The same order was maintained which previously had been used. An
advance party of five and three rear guards were formed, but now the
scout had in addition a small body moving on each flank, parallel with
the main body.
With the departure, renewed confidence came to all. As the band
withdrew further from Cumberland Mountain their spirits in a measure
revived, and when on the third day they arrived at the little
settlement which they were seeking on the Clinch River, even the
tragedy which had befallen them was seldom mentioned. Even the
packhorses pricked up their ears and required no incentive to induce
them to move rapidly down the mountainside.
When the emigrants at last arrived at their destination it was found
necessary to erect several new houses. The nights already were cool,
and a snowfall might be expected at any time. Even Sam Oliver, who
seldom assisted in the labours of the settlements, was induced to aid
his companions in felling the trees and cutting the logs for the little
houses which must be the sole protection of the people throughout the
Not many weeks after the return of Daniel Boone and his party,
Schoolmaster Hargrave found his way into the settlement. He was a
peculiar man in his appearance, exceedingly awkward and angular, a fact
which was made more marked by the odd clothing he wore. Disdaining
garments made from the skins of wild beasts, his clothes were of
woollen material, and made, too, after a fashion that in itself was
fearful and wonderful to behold. Even his cocked hat did not become
him, but in some way seemed to make more prominent his long nose, which
was covered with splotches of red, as were also his cheeks. That he was
earnest and deeply interested in his tasks no one denied. The prime
qualification for the work of the schoolmaster in that day, however,
consisted in the fact that he was very muscular and able to compel the
obedience of even the oldest boys in his school, who frequently were
tempted to pit their strength against his.
At the suggestion of the scout, a schoolhouse of logs was erected
soon after the coming of Master Hargrave. In this little schoolhouse
there was a fireplace, or chimney, which extended nearly across one
entire end of the building. When a huge log fire was burning there it
sent out not only its genial heat, but at frequent intervals with the
changing winds it drew clouds of smoke down the chimney and into the
eyes of the children that were seated on the rude benches. The little
building was equipped with more windows than the cabins which had been
built for dwellings. The windowpanes were of paper and made transparent
by oiling or greasing them.
Young Daniel Morgan Boone, the third son of Daniel, became a
constant companion of Peleg in the days that followed the return of the
emigrants. Daniel had begun to attend school as soon as the rude little
building was erected, and many of his experiences with the awkward
schoolmaster were gleefully related to Peleg, who now was no longer
counted a pupil of the master.
Master Hargrave, said Daniel one day, makes us learn many verses
Does he? inquired Peleg.
Indeed he does. To-day he gave us three: 'The rod and rule give
wisdom,' 'A rod fits a fool's back,' and 'He that spoils the rod is not
Peleg laughed and said: I remember those verses myself. He taught
them to me. Does he rap your knuckles with his ferrule?
Sometimes he uses a ferrule, but more often he stands there by one
of the windows making a pen, and out of the corners of his eyes watches
every one of the eighteen scholars. He always has a stout hickory in
his hand or under his arm. The other day there was a disturbance on one
of the benches, and without waiting to find who was guilty he laid his
hickory across the backs of every one of us.
So you have your share, too, do you?
Indeed I do. But the strangest part was day before yesterday, when
Schoolmaster Hargrave chased Return Sharp. Return would rather go
fishing or swimming or hunting any day than go to school. He says he
does not care for learning.
He is a stout, burly fellow. I suppose a beating does not trouble
That's the strange part of it, laughed Daniel gleefully. He
doesn't seem to mind one at all. The other afternoon when the boys had
been called in from recess, Return ducked around the corner of the
house and began to run. Master Hargrave spied him, and, spitting on
both his hands, he grasped his hickory and sallied forth to catch him.
Return saw him coming and took to his heels. Every one in the school
was out there in front of the schoolhouse watching the sport. We were
ready to dodge back into our seats, but we wanted to see the race.
What did he do? Did the master get him?
Return took a circuit and started for the meadow, and in a little
while he was of course coming back toward the schoolhouse. Master
Hargrave was gaining upon him at every jump, and just as Return cleared
the fence Master Hargrave let him have it with the hickory. For once in
his life Return made haste, I can tell you. He was not very long in
reaching the ground from the top of that fence! The schoolmaster was on
the other side, and as he saw that all the scholars were watching him
he jumped over the fence and started after Return faster than ever. I
would not have believed that he could run so fast. Return looked back
to see how near the schoolmaster was, and just then he stumbled and
fell, and Master Hargrave was so close behind that he, too, stumbled
over Return and then tumbled to the ground. Return jumped up and took a
back track, but the Master was after him in a minute, and before he got
halfway to the schoolhouse he had caught up with him, and at every jump
the master also let him have it with the hickory. Return got the last
love pat just as he tumbled over the fence and crawled into the
schoolhouse. We all thought when the master came in that he would use
his hickory on Return plentifully, and also on all the rest of us; but
for some strange reason he seemed to have given Return all that he had
to spare that day. Strange how he seems to take delight in beating poor
He always took his whaling like an ox, laughed Peleg, and grows
fat on it every day. I have marks yet on my knuckles that the
schoolmaster gave me.
What are you doing? demanded Daniel, apparently for the first time
becoming aware of Peleg's occupation.
I am making a new stock for this rifle-barrel.
The gun looks like it might kick, commented Daniel sagely, looking
critically at the rifle-barrel which was lying upon the rude little
bench at which Peleg was working.
It would if a boy like you should try to use it.
Daniel laughed derisively and said: Pray, Mr. Venerable Barnes, how
long since you were a boy yourself?
If you think you can fire this gun, I shall let you be the first
one to try it. I have it almost ready now, and all I have to do is to
fit the barrel into the stock
Hello! called Daniel, looking up sharply as he became aware of the
approach of a man on horseback. This is some stranger. I wonder what
he can be wanting.
A visitor from any of the faraway settlements was a matter of
moment, and Peleg advanced to the door to see who the newcomer might
The man was a stranger to both boys. As soon as he spied the lads he
said, Is Daniel Boone in this settlement?
He is, sir, answered Peleg promptly.
Where can I find him? I would have word with him.
Daniel, do you tell your father there is a gentleman here who
desires to speak to him.
I am a messenger, spoke up the stranger, a courier from Governor
Dunmore. 'Tis a matter of importance, and Mr. Daniel Boone will do well
to report promptly.
Peleg looked at the messenger, who was not much older than he. His
air of importance was not lost upon the young settler, who laughed
slightly when, after Daniel's departure in search of his father, he
turned again to the visitor.
It is a great honour I have for Daniel Boone, suggested the
That depends somewhat, I fancy, upon who you are and what you have
to bring him.
I have told you already that I am a messenger from Governor
Dunmore. It is meet in you, young man, to respect men who are high in
I do respect the Governor, said Peleg dryly.
Then you should have respect for the Governor's messenger.
I have respect for all who are respectable.
What mean you by that? demanded the visitor hotly; as he spoke he
leaped from the seat on the back of his horse and advanced
threateningly upon Peleg.
His attitude changed, however, when Peleg quietly stood his ground
and even slightly smiled at the pompous words and manner of the
The return of young Daniel Boone interrupted the interview.
My father will be pleased to see you, said the lad, glancing
questioningly first at Peleg and then at the messenger.
Of course he will see me, declared the courier. Why did he not
return with you?
He is awaiting your coming and bade me conduct you to our home.
Is it far from here?
Very good. I shall be pleased to go with you and give my message to
Peleg was an interested observer of the departing visitor, and his
interest would have been still keener had he known how much the message
from Governor Dunmore concerned his own future.
CHAPTER VII. TWO SCOUTS
Peleg resumed his congenial occupation, working steadily upon the
rifle which he was fashioning. The barrel had been part of a gun which
belonged to one of the men who had fallen in the recent attack by the
Indians, its stock having been shattered by the blow of a hatchet.
After the weapon had been found, instead of throwing it aside as its
finder was tempted to do, Peleg had taken it for himself. All the way
from Cumberland Mountain he had carried the barrel, which was all that
he had saved of the rifle. He was aware of the confidence which its
recent owner had in its qualities, and he had determined to fashion
from it a gun for himself upon which he might rely.
A smile of satisfaction lighted up the countenance of the young
hunter when after several hours had elapsed he critically examined his
new weapon, the parts of which now had all been joined.
At supper time at the home of Daniel Boone, of whose family Peleg
had been made a member since the death of James, the visitor of the
afternoon was recalled by a question of Israel Boone, the second of the
five sons of Daniel Boone.
Why did not that man stay all night? he inquired of his father
when the family was seated about the rude table.
He would not remain, replied his father quietly.
Who was he? continued Israel.
A messenger from Governor Dunmore.
The lad was eager to continue his questioning, but evidently he saw
something in the glance of his father which precluded further attempts,
and he became silent.
It was not until the following morning that Peleg learned of the
reason, and then only in part, for the coming of their recent visitor.
Peleg, said Daniel Boone quietly, would you prefer to remain here
in the settlement, or go with me on a scout?
I would rather go with you, responded Peleg promptly.
It is possible that we may be gone two months or more.
And may have to travel something like eight hundred miles.
I shall do my best.
You are well aware, lad, that we shall meet many hard experiences.
And you are not afraid?
Not if you are to find the way.
Daniel Boone smiled and reached for Peleg's new gun. He examined the
weapon critically, raising it to his shoulder and sighting it several
'Tis a handy rifle, lad, he remarked, when his inspection was
ended. Have you tried it?
And is it true?
It is as far as I am able to make it so.
If you go with me, is this the gun you will take?
Why do you not prefer to remain in the settlement? There is work to
be done here. The gardens are to be cared for and the game must be
provided for the people. Here is where I should remain were it not that
when I hear the call of Governor Dunmore I realize that there is work
for me which I must not neglect.
Peleg was silent as he watched the great scout. Even while the man
was speaking there came into his eyes an expression such as the boy had
seen only when he and his friend had been together in the forest. It
was the look of one seeing visions, and yet there was also in it the
expression of a man of resolute purpose.
'Twill not do, continued Daniel Boone turning again to Peleg, to
take any chances. I had thought at first to take Sam Oliver with me,
but now it seems good to me for you to go, if you so desire.
I suggest that you try out your new rifle several times before we
leave. The time to prepare is before we start. After we have gone on
our way a hundred miles or more 'twill be difficult then to correct any
fault or change any plans. More than half the winning of any battle
depends upon the preparations one makes, I care not whether it be a
fight with the Indians or with one's own weaknesses. There are other
rifles from which you may make a selection, Boone added.
Yes, sir, but I think I prefer this. I have made it myself and have
tested and tried it every way. I have chosen a name for it.
What have you named it? inquired Boone.
And you have sufficient bullets?
Yes, sir, responded Peleg. As he spoke he showed a huge
powder-horn which he had polished and upon which he had carved the
following dire warning:
Ye mann what steles this powd^r horne,
Will go to helle as sure as y^re borne.
The scout slowly read the inscription and, shaking his head, said:
I think I should leave that horn behind. There are plenty more which
are not so sharp in their warnings.
But it is true, isn't it? If a man steals, isn't that the place
where he belongs?
Apparently the thoughts of the great leader were withdrawn to other
matters, for, ignoring the question, he said: Peleg, we shall start
before sunrise to-morrow morning. These June days are long and we do
not want to lose any of the hours.
Shall we stop at night?
That will depend much upon events. There may be times when we shall
be glad to have the night protect us in our advance, and when it will
be necessary for us to hide in the daytime. There are some things to
see to before we go. One of these is that you must learn how to follow
Peleg's eager manner expressed a question. His interest was keen.
If you are lost or are not able to find me I shall mark my trail
with five stones placed like this. As he spoke the pioneer arranged
five small stones in a semicircle on the ground near him. You may
expect to find these near the springs or at the places where I may
cross the rivers. We must plan to keep closely together, but I am
referring to this in case anything should happen to separate us. There
are some other things about which I shall tell you after we have
started. I wish I felt a little more confidence in that rifle, he
added. What did you say you have named it?
Boone said no more, and Peleg withdrew beyond the border of the
settlement to make additional tests of his newly made rifle. Apparently
these were satisfactory, for at three o'clock the following morning
when he and Daniel Boone departed from the little settlement it was
Singing Susan, which Peleg was carrying over his shoulder.
As yet the boy did not know whither he and his comrade were going.
Only in a general way had Boone explained how long they might be
absent. However, it was clear to the mind of Peleg that the scout was
moved by a feeling that he was engaging in an enterprise from which
there was to be no turning back, and that he felt that he needed some
one to accompany him.
To be near Boone was sufficient reward in itself, and buoyantly the
young man carried himself as they moved in single file through the
passes of the mountains. It was seldom that either spoke, and it was
agreed that their guns were not to be fired except when it was
necessary to secure game.
Many miles had been covered when the two hunters decided to rest,
for night was at hand. Selecting a sheltered spot near a swiftly
running brook, they were protected from peril from the rear of their
camp by the huge walls of the hill which rose abruptly behind it. A
fire was kindled with Peleg's flint and tinder and allowed to burn only
long enough to roast the loin of deer which had been secured by a shot
from the scout's rifle early that morning.
As soon as their supper had been eaten the fire was extinguished.
The June air was warm and it was with a sense of comfort that Peleg
seated himself upon the ground with his back against the protecting
cliff. His companion had seldom spoken to him throughout their journey,
and the pace at which they had been travelling had told more severely
upon the younger hunter than upon Boone. Yet there was a feeling of
deep comfort in Peleg's heart. The stars were twinkling in the sky, the
gentle breeze that swept the treetops was softly musical in its sound,
and beyond all these was the pleasure of being in the company of the
man to whom he looked up as to no one else. All combined to make the
young hunter happy.
To his surprise he found that Daniel Boone was willing to talk more
freely than he ever had known him to do before.
Yes, Daniel Boone was saying, my grandfather came from England
and settled in Pennsylvania. He had nine sons and ten daughters. My
father he called Squire. I do not know just why, unless it was because
he was more active than his brothers. I was born on the right bank of
the Delaware in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1734. Not long after my
father married he moved to another part of the colony, and when I was a
little lad he took us overland through Maryland and Virginia and
settled at the headwaters of the Yadkin.
A fine place, too, that is, said Peleg.
Indeed it is, assented the scout, but it was not for me. Somehow
I seem destined to find the way for others rather than to be able to
enjoy much of quiet and rest myself. It was on the first day of May,
1769, that I left my family in quest of the country of Kantuckee. Five
men travelled with me, all of us relying upon the reports of John
Finley, one of our number, who had been trading with the Indians there.
He averred that he had found the most beautiful of all lands. I shall
not soon forget the seventh day of June that year, when John Finley and
I, from the top of an eminence, looked out upon the beautiful land of
Kantuckee. Buffalo were more numerous than are cattle in the
settlements. They fed upon the grass that grows marvellously on those
plains. We saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers about the salt
springs were amazing. On the 22d of December, John Stuart and I were
having a pleasing ramble. We had passed through a great forest and were
amazed at the variety of the blossoms we saw. As for game, why it
almost seemed to seek us out instead of making us the hunters. It was
near sunset and we were near the Kantuckee River, when a number of
Indians rushed out of a canebrake and made us their prisoners.
How long did they keep you?
Seven days. We did our utmost not to show any uneasiness, and
gradually they became less suspicious of us. But in the dead of the
night of that seventh day, when we were lying by a large fire and all
the others were asleep, I gently shook my companion, whispered my plan,
and we left the camp without disturbing any one. My brother and another
man, who had started after us to explore the country, found the camp of
our party, but it had been plundered and the other men in our band had
fled. Strangely enough, we soon came upon one another in the forest.
You may be sure that this meeting with my brother was most welcome. The
man who was with him, however, soon went on a private excursion and was
attacked and killed by wolves. John Stuart was killed by the Indians.
There we were in a howling wilderness, hundreds of miles from our
families and surrounded by Indians who were determined to kill us. All
through that winter we had no trouble, however, and on the first of the
following May my brother went home for a new recruit of horses and
ammunition, leaving me alone. I had been without bread for a year; I
had no salt nor sugar, and not even a horse or a dog for company.
I knew I must not lament, however, and accordingly I undertook a
tour which I thought might be of benefit to others who, I had no doubt,
soon would follow me. Often I heard the hideous yells of the savages
searching for me. On the 27th of July my brother returned, and together
we went as far as the Cumberland River, scouting through that part of
the country and giving names to the different rivers. In the following
March I went back to my family, determined to bring them as soon as
possible, even at the risk of life and fortune, to make a home in
Kantuckee, which I esteemed a second Paradise.
You know, my lad, how I sold my land on the Yadkin and disposed of
such goods as we could not carry with us, and how with five other
families we started on the 25th of September to journey to Kantuckee.
You were one of us at that time.
You well remember also what occurred on the 10th of October, when
our company was attacked by the Indians, how I lost my boy, and how we
all journeyed back to the settlement on the Clinch River.
And now? queried Peleg.
And now, answered Daniel Boone, you and I are to journey to the
Falls of the Ohio. Our surveyors there are in great peril from the
Indians. We shall, without doubt, find ourselves often in danger, and I
am selecting you to accompany me because already I have found that I
could rely upon you. You have been quick to learn what I have taught
you, and I do not believe you will easily be taken unawares, because
you have already learned how to prepare yourself for any event. Any one
who has not learned that lesson can never become a successful man, to
say nothing of succeeding as a scout.
CHAPTER VIII. PELEG'S ENCOUNTER
The following morning dawned clear and warm, and as no signs of
Indians had been seen the two scouts renewed their journey with lighter
hearts. At least a part of Peleg's fear was gone, though it was
impossible for him to determine by anything his companion said whether
or not he shared his feeling.
Without an open declaration of war, the Shawnees, Wyandottes,
Cherokees, and Delawares were working more or less together at this
time and were untiring in their determination to prevent the whites
from entering and establishing homes in the region which the Indians
believed was entirely their own.
The second day passed, and the progress of the two scouts was
unbroken. Still Daniel Boone was using great caution, forbidding the
discharge of guns except when food was required, and insisting upon the
fire being extinguished as soon as the meals had been prepared.
On the fourth day of their journey the anxiety of the great scout
became more manifest. I have seen some things, he explained to his
companion, which are troubling me.
Are the Indians near us?
I have been convinced that they have been near us all our journey,
but I fear now they are approaching still nearer. My suggestion is that
we separate, and I will go to the south and you to the north of the
path we would have taken and meet again in our camp here a few hours
from this time. We may throw them off our trail.
Shall we start now? inquired Peleg, rising at once as he spoke.
'Twill be well to do so. The sun is now two hours high, and we must
both be back here in camp by noon.
As he finished speaking, Daniel Boone departed silently into the
forest and his example was promptly followed by the younger scout.
The young hunter had been gone almost an hour and as yet had
discovered only a few signs of the presence of their enemies. He was
near the bank of a stream some twenty feet or more in width when,
glancing behind him, he saw two Indians swiftly approaching.
His first impulse was to fire upon them, but holding his rifle in
readiness he waited for them to come nearer. Suddenly one of the red
men raised his gun and fired at Peleg. The young scout heard the bullet
whistling close to his head, and, instantly taking aim, returned the
fire, causing one of the Indians to fall forward upon his face. The
other warrior, however, was armed, and was swiftly approaching.
Peleg's first impulse to use his gun as a club and strive to defend
himself was quickly abandoned when in some consternation he became
aware of the size of the advancing red man. Never before had he seen an
Indian so large as the one who was now approaching. Not merely was the
man tall, but his breadth of shoulder and every movement alike showed
the great strength which he possessed.
Thinking this was a case where discretion was the better part of
valor, Peleg darted swiftly into the woods. As he did so his enemy
fired at him, but fortunately the boy escaped unhurt. He ran at his
utmost speed, but as he glanced over his shoulder he saw that his
pursuer was speedily gaining upon him. Peleg Barnes was considered the
best wrestler and the strongest of the younger men in the little
settlement on the Clinch River. He now was more than six feet tall and
the muscles in his arms and legs were marvellously developed. If the
man behind him had not been of such gigantic and ferocious aspect, the
young hunter would have ventured a single combat; but Peleg had decided
that flight was the safer course.
For several hundred yards he ran at his utmost speed, but every
glance backward showed him that, swiftly as he was running, his pursuer
was steadily gaining upon him.
The woods through which they were speeding consisted almost entirely
of small trees, few of which were large enough to provide protection or
Peleg had passed a large walnut tree, which he had noticed standing
like a patriarch among the surrounding saplings, and suddenly he paused
in his flight and ran back ten steps to gain it. This action of the
young scout plainly startled the Indian, who halted a moment, thereby
giving his adversary the advantage of reaching the shelter he was
If Peleg's gun had been loaded the solution of his troubles would
not have been difficult. As it was, the huge warrior resumed his rapid
advance. Again Peleg fled, but he was well aware that sooner or later
he must stop and strive to defend himself by using his rifle as a club.
The moment for such action soon came, and, abruptly halting, Peleg
seized his rifle by the barrel and raised it above his head. The Indian
dropped his empty gun and advanced upon his victim with his tomahawk.
Instead of waiting to receive the attack, Peleg suddenly leaped
forward and struck with the stock of his gun. The warrior at the same
moment whirled his tomahawk and threw it.
In a manner both blows took effect. The stock of the rifle was
dislocated by the blow which Peleg struck the Indian's skull, and at
the same time the vicious blow of the tomahawk was deflected by the
barrel of the rifle, though it cut deeply into Peleg's hand between his
thumb and forefinger as it glanced.
As the Indian attempted to draw his knife, Peleg seized him and
together both fell to the ground.
For a time the efforts of the Indian were by no means violent, and
Peleg was hopeful that the blow which the warrior had received had
partly disabled him; but it was soon manifest that the Indian had
recovered, for, wrapping his long arms around Peleg's body, he pressed
him to his breast with well-nigh crushing force.
[Illustration: The Indian had been able to draw his knife and
struck at her again and again, while the bear held him in one of her
most fervent hugs"]
Peleg, powerful young scout that he was, had never felt an embrace
like that of the huge warrior. Relaxing his efforts for a moment, he
endeavoured to convince his enemy that his strength was well-nigh gone.
The Indian apparently was deceived by his trick and made an attempt to
reach for Peleg's gun, which had fallen on the ground nearby. The young
hunter at the same moment made a sudden and desperate attempt to free
himself from the arms of the giant.
Success crowned his efforts, but before he was able to escape from
the place the Indian leaped to his feet, and, seizing Peleg with one
hand and grasping the collar of his hunting shirt with the other, he
drew his enemy steadily to his hip, and then by a sudden effort threw
him at least ten feet into the air, much as he might have tossed a
little child. Peleg fell upon his back at the edge of the stream, but
before the savage could spring upon him, he was again upon his feet,
and, stung with rage as well as desperation, instantly, and with a
violence which for a time made up for his lack of strength, he renewed
his attack upon his gigantic enemy.
The Indian, however, closed again with Peleg and hurled him to the
ground, though the young hunter still doggedly clung to his foe.
Together they rolled into the water, where the struggle continued
unabated for a time, as each did his utmost to thrust and hold the head
of his opponent beneath the surface.
It soon was plain that the Indian was unused to such long-continued
and violent exertion, and Peleg felt sure that his enemy was weaker
than when the struggle began.
Suddenly the young hunter by a supreme effort seized the warrior by
his scalp-lock and thrust his head under the water, where he succeeded
in holding it until the struggles of the Indian became faint and
convinced Peleg that the contest was ended.
The cunning warrior, however, had been shamming, and as soon as
Peleg released his hold he quickly regained his foothold and in turn
forced Peleg under the water. In the struggle which followed both
contestants were carried into the current of the stream beyond their
depth, and were compelled to let go their hold and swim for their
Peleg was the first to gain the shore. A low hill, partly wooded,
was directly before him, and he ran as swiftly as his strength
permitted up the long, sloping ridge. In a brief time he discovered
that the Indian was gaining upon him so rapidly that all hope of escape
At that moment the young scout saw at his side a large tree, which
in some storm had been torn up by its roots and was lying prostrate on
Instantly he ran along the side of the tree, aware that his enemy
was following upon the opposite side. Doubtless the red man expected to
seize him when the huge roots of the tree had been gained.
On the warm ground at the roots of the tree, all unknown to the
pursuer and the pursued, a huge she-bear was lying with her two cubs.
The Indian was the first to arrive at the spot, and as he darted around
the roots the savage animal with a snarl of rage instantly sprang upon
him. The growls of the bear and the cries of the warrior instantly
produced a deafening uproar.
The Indian had been able to draw his knife, and struck at her again
and again while the bear held him in one of her most fervent hugs.
Peleg, without waiting to learn the result of the startling and noisy
contest, instantly turned and ran back over the way he had come.
CHAPTER IX. AT THE SPRINGS
The young scout was breathless and exhausted when at last he arrived
safely at the camp. His appearance was such that no explanation was
required by Daniel Boone, who was already there. He instantly noticed
the wound which Peleg had received on his hand and how blood-stained
his clothing was. He asked no questions, however, and at once attended
to the wants of his companion.
In a short time Peleg had recovered sufficiently to enable him to
relate the story of the adventures which had befallen him.
You have lost Singing Susan? suggested Boone.
Peleg nodded in response, but did not speak.
Can you find the place where you dropped her?
And the place where the Indian was hugged by the bear?
Again Peleg nodded.
If you will tell me where the places are I might go to both of
Very well, said Peleg quickly, but I shall go with you.
Boone said no more and busied himself in arranging the small packs
which the two scouts were carrying. It was not long before Peleg
declared he was ready to accompany his friend, and without a further
word they departed from their camp.
It was not difficult for the young hunter to find his way to the
place where the Indian had been seized by the angry mother-bear.
Cautiously approaching, both men peered intently about them, but they
were unable to discover any signs of either the warrior or the animal
that had attacked him. When they advanced to the spot where the tree
had been uptorn by the roots they found an abundance of footprints of
the bear and also of the moccasined Indian, but that was all.
They both got away, said Boone at last.
Or ate each other up, suggested Peleg with a smile.
We will look for Singing Susan. You lead the way, Peleg.
Wearied as Peleg was by his recent contest, he nevertheless
responded promptly, and in a brief time the hunters arrived at the
border of the stream near which Peleg had been compelled to drop his
rifle. When he had cast it from him he had tossed it into the nearby
bushes, dimly thinking that if by chance he should escape he might
return and find the weapon which he prized so highly. A part of the
scout's teachings already had taken effect in this forethought of his
young comrade. To be prepared for any emergency was an essential part
of life in the woods. As they drew near the spot, Peleg was thinking of
the great lesson he had learned from Boone. He ran to the bushes,
pushed aside the brush and drew forth his gun with some pride. A smile
lighted the face of Boone as he nodded his head in approval of the
forethought of his young friend, and advancing, he extended his hand to
inspect the weapon.
What happened to the gun? he inquired, as he marked the condition
of the stock.
I struck the skull of the Indian.
'Twas a hard blow, son, and I have slight doubt the Indian's head
If it had not been for that, I should not be here to tell you about
No one can say about that. You are here, Peleg, and we must
act upon that which is rather than upon what might have been.
Indeed, I have long since learned to accept my life with that
understanding. I had nothing to say about when I should come into the
world, and I have as little to say about when I shall leave it. The
only part I can guide is that which is in between. I can fix this
stock, he added, and soon we shall have Susan singing again. We will
push forward a little farther and find some place where we can camp for
the night. A good sleep will do you more good than anything else,
though first I must attend again to that hand of yours.
Selecting a linen bandage, a small supply of which Boone always
carried with him on his expeditions, he gathered some leaves of the
witch-hazel plant and, pounding them to a pulp, spread them upon the
cloth. Thoroughly washing the wounded hand of Peleg, he then bound the
cloth and pulp of the leaves upon the wound, saying as he did so: In a
week you will be as good as new.
As soon as this task had been accomplished the journey was resumed,
although only two miles was covered before Boone was convinced that his
companion was too weary to proceed farther.
The following day, although Peleg's hand still was sore from his
wound, he found little difficulty in carrying his rifle, for the great
scout had been successful in restoring Singing Susan to her former
Increasing signs of the presence of the Indians were seen, and once
Boone turned aside from his pathway when an old canoe was found, which
with a little effort he was able to patch up.
I am fearful of the water, he said, for I cannot swim. Can you,
Yes, sir, replied Peleg, glancing up in astonishment at this
acknowledgment of his friend's one weakness.
It is well you can, said Boone with a smile. I never was able to
get the knack. You will have to be the leader now. We can go down this
stream five or six miles, perhaps more, before we strike across the
How is it, inquired Peleg, that you find your way through the
forests? I am never afraid of being lost in any of the woods where I
have been before, but I should not be sure of myself in trying to go to
the Falls of the Ohio, although even now we must be within a few days
of the place.
Boone smiled as he replied: There are some things which a man can
learn and some which must be born in him to help him in the forests. A
man who can sing, if he will go to the singing schools faithfully, may
become a better singer; but if he has no voice to begin with, there is
little use in his saying do, ra, me, fa, so, la, si, do over and
over again. So it is in the woods. I watch the birds, the trees, and
the leaves, as well as the lay of the land, but beyond all that there
is a part which I cannot explain. It must be my nature, just the same
as it is for a fish to live in the water or a bee to seek the flowers.
Do you think I ever can learn?
I do, son. I have marked you often and know that you have the
ability as well as the will to learn.
Signs of the presence of Indians increased as the two scouts
proceeded. It seemed to Boone that the Indians were moving eastward, a
matter which promised ill for the scattered settlements on the border.
However, the days passed, and Boone and his companion evaded their
foes, and on the twenty-ninth day arrived at the Falls of the Ohio,
whither Governor Dunmore had directed them to go.
Only once had Daniel Boone referred to the purpose of his journey,
and then he had explained to Peleg how the Governor had become
exceedingly anxious concerning the safety of the surveyors. Cut off as
they were in their faraway camp from the help of others, they also were
unaware that the hunters were bringing word of the increasing
restlessness among the Indians. Some of the scattered settlers recently
had been killed by the angry tribes, and the rumours and reports all
had it that the Shawnees, Delawares, and Wyandottes were becoming more
and more savage in their attacks upon the whites, upon whom they now
looked with deadly hatred because they were making homes in their land.
The coming of Daniel Boone and his young companion aroused much
interest among the band of surveyors whose headquarters were at the
Falls of the Ohio. Several log houses had been erected by them there,
and the little settlement bore more evidences of refinement than one
usually found on the frontier. There were many questions asked and a
deep interest shown in the doings of the great world beyond, with which
the lonely men had had nothing to do for many long months.
When, however, Daniel Boone explained the purpose of his coming,
most of the men received his word with incredulity. They acknowledged
that occasionally they had seen a few Indians, but not yet had they
been molested, nor had any threats been made against their remaining
where they were.
To such statements the great scout made no reply except to repeat
the reason for his coming, and the anxiety of Governor Dunmore in their
We will sleep over it and let you know to-morrow, declared one of
the men laughingly. You don't think anything will happen to-night, do
I am willing to wait until the morrow, said Boone quietly. You
must decide, however, within two days what you will do.
There was one young member of the surveyors' party who apparently
had not been long in the new world. He explained to Peleg, to whom he
was drawn because they were nearly of the same age, that he had come to
America to make a fortune. I am the youngest son of Earl Russell. In
England the younger boys do not have many opportunities, because all
the property is left to the oldest son, so I have come to America, and
hope to secure for myself some great tracts of land over here. They may
not be valuable to-day or in the near future, but some time, as surely
as the sun rises, they will be of great worth. You must come with me,
he continued, early to-morrow morning to Fontainebleau.
Where? demanded Peleg.
Where is that, and what is it? demanded the young scout.
It is a name we have given to a spring about a mile from here on
the opposite side of the river. Five or six of us go there every
morning and drink the waters. We have an idea that they are better than
the waters of the real Fontainebleau.
Where is that?
The young Englishman laughed as he said: 'Tis plain that you have
never travelled in France.
I never did, acknowledged Peleg. I have travelled in the woods,
though, and before we get back to the settlement some of you may be
glad that Daniel Boone and I have had that experience.
The young Englishman again laughed, but made no reply.
In the morning, however, he, together with six other men, stopped at
the little cabin in which Daniel Boone and Peleg had been spending the
night, and in response to his invitation the young scout joined the
party when they explained that they were going to Fontainebleau to
drink of its marvellous waters.
The carelessness and indifference of the men somewhat alarmed Peleg,
who was still under the influence of his recent companion, the scout.
Daniel Boone had impressed upon the boy the need of continual vigilance
and silence. No one could say when danger might suddenly present
itself. Frequently he recalled the escape he had had through the shot
which James Boone in the preceding year had fired at the panther
crouching above his head. This always impressed the young woodsman
afresh with the need of continual care. Nevertheless he enjoyed the
conversation of the men with whom he was walking, though he himself
When the little party arrived at the spring the waters caused Peleg
to express his disgust. Heavily charged with sulphur and various other
chemicals, the taste was one that did not appeal to the young scout.
His companions, however, professed to enjoy the water, which was
marvellously clear and sparkling, and drank deeply, casting themselves
prostrate upon the ground as they did so, and drinking from the spring.
Three of them were in this position and the other four were urging
their companions to make haste, when suddenly wild yells arose that
seemed to come from every direction at once. Before the startled men
were fully aware of what was occurring a band of Indians rushed from
the woods, some armed with rifles and others using their bows and
Only part of the little band of surveyors had been armed when they
had started that morning from the settlement for the spring at
Fontainebleau. The young scout, however, who was mindful of the
teachings of his leader, had brought Singing Susan with him. As Peleg
was about to fire, an arrow pierced the young Englishman between the
shoulder blades, and with a loud cry he fell to the ground.
CHAPTER X. A TERRIFIED BAND
It was Peleg's first experience in taking command of a party. The
helplessness of the surveyors, however, and the fact that they all
turned to him for directions, at once decided the young scout to lead,
and he well knew there was no time to be lost.
In his position he was aware also that the Englishman was in dire
distress, and apparently he was the only one who could aid him. The
decision to act had come to the young scout promptly, and he had almost
instinctively raised Singing Susan to his shoulder and fired at the
Indians, whom he could see darting from tree to tree and plainly trying
to come nearer the spring.
Before he reloaded his gun Peleg turned to his companions, two of
whom were already disappearing among the trees in the distance.
Come here, he said in a low voice. Help me with this man.
Two of the young surveyors obeyed his word, and with all speed the
trio carried the body of their fallen comrade within the shelter of the
forest. When Peleg looked down into the face of the suffering man he
was convinced that his wound was fatal.
It would never do, however, to leave the man in his misery. Turning
to his companions he called: Retreat cautiously! Use the tree trunks
for shelter! Take this man with you!
While speaking, the young scout hastily reloaded his gun. This task
completed, he turned once more to his companions and said: Take the
man now and go! Do as I tell you! I shall bring up the rear and do my
best to stave off the Indians. They are sure to follow us, though I do
not think there are more than eight or ten in the whole band.
Three of the men who were members of the party which had visited the
spring had brought their guns with them. Two of these weapons were in
the hands of the men who were to carry the young surveyor back to the
Seizing these weapons and making certain that all were loaded and
primed, Peleg darted behind a huge maple, from which he was able to see
that the Indians were stealthily approaching. No cry had been heard
from them since the loud whoop they had given when first they had
darted into the open space and fired upon the unsuspecting men.
Peleg waited until the men who were carrying the surveyor had had an
opportunity to withdraw to a considerable distance among the trees, and
as he saw the red men were coming nearer he abruptly fired upon them.
He first discharged Singing Susan, and then, before the smoke had
cleared, he fired the other two guns in quick succession.
A low exclamation of pleasure escaped his lips when he saw that his
shots had taken sufficient effect to cause the Indians hastily to
disappear from sight and to send forth several of their noisy
Taking advantage of the favouring opportunity, the young scout
reloaded his own rifle and, casting the other two guns from him, ran at
his utmost speed in the direction in which his recent companions had
As soon as he had overtaken them he was aware that the Indians were
again closing in upon the retreating band. He was startled to find that
the red men were moving in the form of a semicircle. By this means they
doubtless hoped to cut off the men before they could regain the safety
of the settlement.
Bidding his friends make haste with their burden, Peleg once more
fired upon the yelling Indians. His main purpose was to try to impress
upon their minds the fact that the retreating band was armed and
prepared to defend itself. He was more and more disturbed, however, by
his increasing fear that their retreat would be cut off, and all three
might fall into the hands of the yelling savages.
Several times the same maneuvers were followed, Peleg bidding his
friends, who still were carrying the young surveyor, to precede him on
their way back to the settlement, while he himself remained behind to
fire Singing Susan at such of the Indians as exposed themselves. After
each shot he hastily reloaded his rifle and withdrew to join his
After his third shot Peleg was almost persuaded that escape was
impossible. The semicircle had been extended until he was fearful that
if the warriors should rush upon them they would enclose the three
Still the boy was determined to do his utmost to help the fallen
surveyor and protect the two men who were bearing their unconscious
comrade through the forest. In his zeal the young scout had almost
forgotten his own peril. His attention was divided between the
retreating party and the Indians who were pressing so swiftly upon
Suddenly Peleg said to himself, as he heard the report of a rifle
far away, There is Daniel Boone! If he and the other surveyors have
come out to help us we may stand a little better chance of getting out
of this alive.
The report of the rifle which had been heard by Peleg was speedily
followed by the sound of other guns. Convinced by what he had heard
that help was at hand, Peleg regretted the loss of the guns which he
had cast aside in his fear that they might hinder him and his friends
in their efforts to withdraw from the spring. Soon the reports of the
guns were repeated, and as Peleg sent forth his wild halloo he was
answered by a cry which he recognized as coming from Daniel Boone
It was not long before Peleg saw the scout approaching through the
forest. The silent man was thoroughly aroused. Usually quiet in his
manner and deliberate in his actions, it now seemed as if his every
nerve was tingling in his excitement. Sheltered behind nearby trees,
Peleg watched the approaching surveyors, some of whom were loading
their rifles rapidly, while others were firing at the enemy.
It was soon evident that the Indians, disheartened by this fresh
attack, were withdrawing into the forest.
As soon as Daniel Boone saw Peleg and the two men approaching with
their burden, his plan instantly changed. Summoning the young scout, he
said, Send all the rest of them back to the settlement as fast as they
can go. You and I, lad, are the only ones prepared, so we are the only
ones who can protect these men.
Will the Indians leave? inquired Peleg in a low voice.
For a time, yes, answered Daniel Boone. If the surveyors make
haste they will be able to get back to the settlement. You and I, lad,
must try to hold these Indians off until our friends have had time to
carry back the man who was shot. Was he killed?
No. He was alive when I saw him last, but I do not think he will
Was it an arrow?
Daniel Boone nodded his head and made no further reply. Darting from
tree to tree, the two scouts stealthily made their way through the
forest in the direction in which their friends had gone.
Apparently there was no longer any peril of an immediate attack by
the Indians. None of them appeared within sight, and the sound of their
wild cries no longer was heard.
Alternately stopping and retreating, Daniel Boone and his young
companion at last regained the shelter of the settlement at the Falls
of the Ohio.
The little houses of logs were well protected, and as there was an
abundance of ammunition as well as of food on hand, the great scout
said to Peleg: We could hold out here two months if it should be
But we are not to stay here, are we? inquired Peleg anxiously.
No. We must leave just as soon as we can do so safely.
The conversation was interrupted by the entrance of the surveyors in
a body. Fear, and even panic, was manifest in the face of every one.
The unexpected attack upon their comrade had confirmed the warning
which Governor Dunmore had sent by the two scouts, and not only did no
one want to remain, but all were eager to be gone at once.
We must start to-night, said MacHale, the oldest of the party. We
must not remain!
Not to-night, said Daniel Boone quietly.
It is as necessary for us to know our way as it is for us to
But you found your way here! Why can you not find it when you go
I can, replied Boone quietly. It is not for myself I fear. I
would not be the leader of a party unfamiliar with the woods and facing
what we must if we leave here in the night. You must be prepared to
start as soon as the gray of dawn appears.
But we want to go before! persisted the surveyor.
Boone quietly shook his head and gave no further explanation. The
matter was decided, and plainly the scout thought there was nothing
more to be said. Ignoring the anger as well as the alarm of the
surveyors, the great scout at once busied himself in preparing for the
departure which would not take place until the following morning. The
services of Boone, however, were not required in caring for the wounded
surveyor, because life had fled before the party regained the
There was a hasty burial in the dim light, and then Boone bade his
companions obtain such sleep as they could, he himself preparing to
serve as guard throughout the night.
At last, however, he consented to the pleadings of Peleg and
permitted the lad to keep watch during the earlier hours. As soon as
this had been decided Boone cast himself upon the ground and,
apparently confiding in the ability of Peleg to protect the camp, was
soon sleeping soundly.
Just before daybreak the entire band departed from the Falls of the
Ohio. In advance went Daniel Boone as guide, while Peleg was to serve
as the rear guard.
It is a long race, the scout explained to his companions. We have
four hundred miles to cross before we arrive at the settlement on the
Clinch River. Our safety depends largely upon the promptness with which
you do my bidding. If there is one of you who is not willing to obey me
in every particular I shall greatly prefer to have him go by himself.
Every member of the party, however, assured the scout that his word
was to be law and that every one would implicitly follow his directions
throughout the long journey. When daylight came it was manifest in the
faces of the surveyors that the terror of the forest was still strong
upon them. Every man was armed, and every one carried a small pack upon
It was impossible to make as good time on the return as had been
made by Boone and Peleg in the journey to the Falls. However, both
hunters were urgent and seldom stopped even when heavy storms came upon
At last, when the long journey had been safely made, and the
settlement on the Clinch River had been gained, the spirits of the
surveyors revived, although they were free to declare that it was the
care and wisdom of Boone and his young companion which had brought them
safely through the wilderness.
Nearly eight hundred miles had been covered by the two scouts in
their long journey, and only sixty-two days had been required to
Boone and his companion, however, were not to be permitted to rest
long. Less than a week had elapsed after their return when Boone called
Peleg aside one morning and explained to him that a new project, and
one still more perilous than that through which they had safely come,
was now to be undertaken.
CHAPTER XI. THE ADVENTURE OF THE
Peleg, said the great scout, Governor Dunmore has sent another
request to me.
Has he? inquired Peleg eagerly.
In spite of the perils and labours of the long journey which had
been made to the Falls of the Ohio, Peleg was eager to be with Daniel
Boone wherever he might be. The boy's admiration for his friend had
increased with every passing day. The coolness and calmness of the
great scout, his gentleness and consideration of others, his
fearlessness in time of peril, the readiness with which he met every
event, and above all the conviction which held him that he was divinely
called to be a pathfinder for the coming generations, all had made a
deep impression upon his young companion. Peleg was not without hope,
too, that somehow he was coming to hold a place in the interest and
affection of the man which once had been held by his son James.
Yes, continued Boone thoughtfully, the Governor has given me the
command of three garrisons in the campaign which is to be made against
When do you go? queried Peleg.
Immediatelythat is, if I can persuade you to look after my family
while I am absent. Israel is beginning to feel that he is almost old
enough to take the place of his brother James, but I shall feel very
much more at ease if I can go with the assurance that you will be
looking out for the welfare of my wife and children.
Striving to repress the disappointment which he felt at the words of
his friend, Peleg said quietly, You know, sir, that I shall be willing
to do all in my power for you at any time. I do not know, but
The rare smile known only to his closest friends appeared for a
moment on the strong face of the hunter as he shook his head and said:
Nay, Peleg, not this time. I fancy there will be other and perhaps
greater work soon to be done, and in that you shall have your share.
The time is coming when I hope to take my family again to that
marvellous region I have found in Kantuckee. No land I have ever seen
can compare with it. There I would live and there I would die.
Meanwhile I must do my part in trying to make the lives of these hardly
beset settlers a little safer.
You may depend upon me to do my best, said Peleg cordially.
That is all I need to know, lad, and I shall be at ease while I am
The great scout immediately departed from the little shop which
Peleg had built and in which he was accustomed to make or repair the
various utensils used by the household of Daniel Boone. Here he had
fashioned Singing Susan, and in this place he had rebuilt his gun after
his return from the long journey he had made with the scout and in
which, as we know, the rifle had suffered from the blow of the tomahawk
which the huge Indian had hurled at him.
A moment Peleg stood in the doorway watching the scout as he
departed. The expression of the lad's face plainly showed his love and
admiration for the man. The calm courage of Boone, softened as it was
by his gentleness and guided by his prudence, was crowned by a
marvellous modesty. His robust, somewhat uncouth body showed the great
strength of the hunter, while it concealed his quickness. His manner
was dignified, almost cold, so silent and quiet was he under ordinary
circumstances. His face, however, homely though it was, was at times
lighted by an expression that was exceedingly kind and tender. He
seldom spoke, and almost never of himself, except in reply to direct
Several times during the months that followed Daniel Boone returned
to the little settlement on the Clinch, to visit his family and make
certain of their safety. On each occasion he was warm in his
expressions of gratitude to Peleg for the care which he was taking of
those who were in a measure dependent upon him.
There was work to be done every day, and the time passed rapidly for
the young scout. One day, while he was busy in his little shop
fashioning a new hunting knife, he was suddenly interrupted by the
voice of Mrs. Boone. Peleg! Peleg! she called. Come! Come!
Instantly running toward the log house, Peleg was met by the
frightened woman, who, touching him on the arm, said: Do you hear that
sound? What is it?
Peleg turned abruptly toward the log schoolhouse and listened
intently. From within the rude little building sounds such as he never
before had heard were issuing. There seemed to be snarls and growls
such as a wild beast might have emitted, and mingled with these were
cries and screams as of some one in dire distress.
A moment served to convince the young scout that either Schoolmaster
Hargrave was in trouble, or some of the school children were in peril;
and he darted into his little shop, returning with Singing Susan in his
Swiftly as he ran toward the little building, which was not more
than two hundred and fifty feet away, when he arrived he discovered
that already several of the women from the settlement were there in
advance of him, and with terror-stricken faces were looking first
within the schoolhouse, and then to the road for help.
What is it? demanded Peleg, as he ran to the door.
We do not know. We cannot tell, answered one of the women. It may
be evil spirits. She was almost hysterical, and convinced that he
could obtain no information from her, Peleg pushed back the door and
entered the room.
The sight which greeted his eyes was more perplexing than startling.
He saw Schoolmaster Hargrave leaning against one corner of the rude
desk over which he presided, his face plainly expressing agony or fear;
Peleg was unable to determine which feeling predominated.
What is it, Master Hargrave? called the boy anxiously.
In reply no articulate words were spoken; but a scream was followed
by a groan, and in the midst of it all were also sounds like the
gasping and snarling of some wild beast. The suffering of the man was
manifest, but the cause was nowhere to be seen.
There flashed into the mind of the young hunter the suggestion which
Mistress Horan had made that evil spirits were the cause of the
commotion. Such beliefs were not uncommon at the time, and although
Peleg had never shared in the superstitions of the more ignorant
people, nevertheless the mystery of the terrifying sounds, as well as
the expression of Schoolmaster Hargrave's face, caused even the young
hunter to hesitate.
What is it, Master Hargrave? he shouted, for the uproar still
Oh-h-h-h! Help me! Help me!
The cries of the schoolmaster were interrupted by strange noises,
that still appeared to come from within the desk. Moans and cries and
snarls, such as a wild beast might have emitted, were plainly to be
distinguished in the midst of the uproar.
Peleg had stopped a few feet in front of the desk, and in amazement
was watching the man before him. Apparently the schoolmaster was
struggling and striving with some unseen body or person, and with
intense effort he had grasped both sides of the desk and held it with
all his strength, as if he was fearful it might escape. In one hand he
also held a cylindrical ruler.
At this moment Mrs. Horan, who had gained sufficient courage to
enter the building, advanced to Peleg's side. I fear 'tis sick the man
is, she said. Turning to the schoolmaster she suggested in a loud
whisper: If 'tis colic you are suffering from, Master Hargrave, I
Her recommendation, however, was interrupted by a terrible scream
from the suffering man.
'Tis good for you, said the kind-hearted woman once more. The
schoolmaster, however, still writhed as if in great agony and looked at
the woman with an expression that might have quieted the tongue of a
less courageous woman than Mrs. Horan.
Why do you cling to the desk in that manner? demanded the woman.
The agony in the expression of the schoolmaster's face seemed to be
deepened by the question, but he made no response.
What's the matter, Master Hargrave? demanded the woman once more.
'Tis Peleg and I who are here to help you.
Suddenly from the lips of the tormented man came the cry, I have
caught a cat! Perspiration was streaming from his face, and his
manner, expressive of fright, agony, and fatigue combined, made his
words scarcely recognizable.
Peleg glanced behind him and saw that many more of the neighbours
had arrived and were curiously standing within the room at a safe
distance from the desk, watching the actions of the man, who still
writhed and twisted as he clung to the desk in front of him.
The young hunter darted around the corner of the rude desk, to
discover the cause of all the trouble. He first saw that a part of the
clothing of the unfortunate man had been torn from his body, which was
pressed against the edge of the desk. Closer inspection showed that the
teeth of a huge cat, or lynx, were fastened in the side of the
schoolmaster. Bringing his gun to his shoulder the scout was about to
fire, when the fear of Master Hargrave became stronger even than his
Don't shoot! Don't shoot! You will hit me! Oh-h-h-h! he screamed,
still striving to hold his adversary against the edge of the desk.
Disregarding the appeal, Peleg fired, and after a few confused
struggles, the huge cat was lifeless.
Still the schoolmaster held the body in its place, however, and when
his sympathetic friends drew him back they were horrified to discover
that the jaws of the dead lynx were locked about one of his ribs.
Several minutes elapsed before the man was freed from this death grip.
Meanwhile the assembly in the room had increased, and several
children that had been brought by their mothers lifted up their voices
to add to the general confusion.
In the midst of it all, Mrs. Horan was not to be denied the
satisfaction of her curiosity. Pressing more closely upon the man who
now had been placed on one of the rude benches almost in a fainting
condition, she said: I thought at first, Master Hargrave, that it was
spirits, but now I see it was just a cat. Why did you fight the lynx in
Ignoring his suffering, the schoolmaster managed to gasp out a
tolerably full explanation:
What do you suppose? I was sitting alone at my desk, writing copy
for the children to use on the morrow, when I heard a noise at the door
and saw this enormous cat with her forefeet upon the step, every hair
standing erect and her eyes shining as if they were on fire. My
position behind the desk at first concealed me from her sight, but a
slight motion of my chair revealed my presence, and in a moment the cat
and I were each looking into the eyes of the other.
Master Hargrave stopped to recover his breath, and aware of the
interest of his hearers, for all the visitors now had gathered about
him, he resumed his story: I had heard much from hunters concerning
the power of the human eye to quell the fury of wild beasts.
Accordingly, I frowned savagely at my visitor. Apparently, however, she
was not alarmed. Her eyes flashed fire and she began to gnash her
teeth, seemingly bent upon serious hostilities. Aware of my danger, I
immediately made great haste and snatched this cylindrical ruler from
the desk, but the wildcat was too quick for me.
Why didn't you hit her?
I had nothing but the ruler with which to strike; besides, she was
too quick. Springing upon me with all the proverbial ferocity and
activity of her tribe, she fastened upon my side with her teeth and
began to rend and tear with her claws like unto a fury. In vain did I
strive to disengage her. Her teeth seemed to be fastened about my ribs,
and all my efforts served but to enrage her the more.
When I saw the blood flowing so copiously from my wounded side I
became seriously alarmed, and as a last resort threw myself upon the
edge of the desk and with the entire weight of my body pressed the
animal against a sharp corner. It was at this moment that the cat began
to utter the most discordant cries to which I ever listened, and as
doubtless I was somewhat excited at the time and lost a measure of my
self-control, I have no question that we engaged in a duet that must
have resounded loudly throughout the settlement.
That's enough of the story, said Peleg. We have killed the cat
and we shall now take you and put you in bed.
CHAPTER XII. AN ATTACK
Several weeks elapsed before the schoolmaster recovered sufficiently
from his wounds to enable him to resume his task.
It was now March, 1775, and Daniel Boone had returned to the
settlement on the Clinch. The task which Governor Dunmore had assigned
him had been accomplished. He found Peleg and the members of his family
engaged in their preparations for the spring work.
At the close of the first day after his homecoming, the great scout
once more had an interview with Peleg. I have just come from Watage,
he explained when no one was near, where there has been an assembly of
the Cherokees. I went at the request of a gentleman named Henderson,
who is acting for several other men as well as for himself. He desired
me to represent him in the purchase of land south of the river of
Kantuckee. I did as he requested, and arrangements for the purchase of
all the land as far as the Tennessee River were completed.
Why did Mr. Henderson
Colonel Henderson, broke in the scout; Colonel Richard
Why did Colonel Richard Henderson, repeated Peleg, and the other
gentlemen wish to purchase so much land?
Because they had learned of the fertility of the soil through the
reports which my brother and I had given them. In a way I am to be
Did the Cherokees sell to him?
They did. I fancy they were glad to part with an empty title for a
solid though moderate recompense. Trouble arose, though, when Colonel
Henderson and his friends prepared to take possession, relying upon the
validity of the deed which the Indians had given them. Unfortunately,
the land lies within the limits of Virginia, according to the old
charter which King James gave, and I understand that the Virginians are
claiming for themselves the privilege of purchasing the title to all
land which the Indians held within the limits of their state. Already
the treaty of Colonel Henderson has been pronounced null and void as
far as he is concerned, but the Virginians declare that the title given
by the Cherokees is valid, and that they will assume the rights. That
is a very peculiar method of dealing, according to my light. But 'tis
not concerning that, lad, that I would speak to you to-day.
The scout was silent a moment, and Peleg, interested far more than
his quiet manner betrayed, looked eagerly into the face of his friend,
waiting for him to explain.
I agreed, resumed Boone, to take a band of men with me and mark
out or clear a road to this region in Kantuckee.
A road? asked Peleg in surprise.
Yes, a road over which packhorses and wagons can be driven. It will
require patience and much labour, but the reward will be great.
Whenever I think of that marvellous country and of the possibilities
contained in it for families like my own, I am eager to open the way to
it. I am authorized by Colonel Henderson to say that he will pay
thirty-three cents per day to every man whom I may select to be of our
When do we go? inquired Peleg eagerly.
On the day after to-morrow. How is Singing Susan? inquired Boone
with a smile.
She is doing famously. I have gained a reputation in the settlement
for being a better shot than I would be warranted in claiming to be,
unless I had the song of Susan to help me.
That is good, said Boone cordially. Now if you can secure an axe
that will render you as efficient service in its way as Singing Susan
does in hers, you will be well equipped for our expedition. It is
important that we make haste, if the way is to be opened in time for
settlers to sow any crops this spring.
Hard as it was for Daniel Boone to leave his family again in charge
of Israel and Samuel, nevertheless his strong feeling that he was
simply an instrument being used to further the advance of the rapidly
growing nation in the American colonies was sufficient to induce him to
accept this task. In addition, his wife shared the same conviction.
She, too, was eager for him to continue his labours, and in spite of
the anxiety she would suffer during his absence, she urged him to
accept the offer which Colonel Henderson had made.
At the appointed time a band of twenty-five men, every one fully
armed and all equipped with axes, departed from the settlement on the
Clinch. Confidence in their leader and the hope that not only would
they be able to open a way into the marvellous land, but that their own
families also might share in the reward, made all the men eager to go.
It was not believed that the task would require many weeks, but the
necessity of preparing the soil and planting some crops before the
summer came was an inducement for haste.
There were places where trees had to be felled, and the ringing of
the axes was heard all the day long. In other regions, however, very
little labour was required, because the road, as it was selected, led
in its winding course around many open ledges and through sparsely
wooded passes of the hills and mountains.
Nearly three weeks passed and the hardy band of hunters and woodsmen
was drawing near the region which they were seeking. They had not been
molested by the Indians, and were beginning to congratulate themselves
that they were to escape the perils which every day threatened them.
Without warning, one day, however, above the ringing of the axes
were heard the wild cries of the red men. Darting from the woods,
shouting and brandishing their guns and hatchets, the Indians suddenly
appeared. Dodging from tree to tree and firing upon the startled white
men, they seemed to be on all sides at once.
Instantly the coolness and courage of Daniel Boone became
invaluable. Though many of his comrades had been surprised and
terrified by the sudden onslaught, the great scout had held himself
prepared for the present emergency.
Run for the trees! shouted Boone. Run! Hold your fire until you
gain cover and then give the rascals your best! As Boone looked out
from his own shelter after his rifle had been discharged, he saw
several of his companions lying dead or wounded upon the ground.
Calmly yet swiftly Boone darted from the protection of the forest,
and lifting one of the men in his arms bore him back within shelter.
The example of the leader, mindful of the needs of others in the
hour of his own peril, inspired his companions to similar action, and,
in the midst of all the turmoil and danger, the other wounded men were
rescued. It soon was discovered, however, that three of the fallen men
were already dead.
The temporary withdrawal of the warriors to the forest left the
field free once more, and Boone turned to his companions and said,
Come with me, every one!
Instantly his followers responded, and, dashing to the place where
their companions had fallen, they bore the bodies back to a place of
safety, thankful to find that they had not yet been mutilated.
There was no time for ceremony or for lamentations, and the three
who had fallen to rise no more were hastily buried in one grave by
The unexpected attack, following as it had the long days of quiet,
was seriously disturbing to the roadmakers. That evening there were no
camp-fires, and guards were established to watch through the night.
When morning came the alarm had not been repeated, and many were
persuaded that the assault of the previous day was merely the act of a
desperate band which had attacked the settlers without any preconceived
plan. Nevertheless Daniel Boone declared that it was necessary to
maintain a guard throughout the day.
The labour was entered into with zeal, and though a renewal of the
attack was not made, thoughts of the new peril were in the minds of
every man, and made all serious. At the request of his followers Boone
devoted most of his time to scouting in the nearby region, a duty which
he insisted upon sharing with his younger companion, Peleg.
The sun had dropped below the borders of the forest, and the men
were congratulating themselves that the day had passed without a
renewal of hostilities, when suddenly both scouts were seen running
swiftly toward the place where the men had encamped for the night.
This startling sight was sufficient to arouse every member of the
party. Every man seized his gun and ran for the shelter of some huge
[Illustration: Boone quickly rallied his startled followers, and
when the red men returned the hardy settlers were ready and awaiting
Boone was wildly gesticulating as he drew near, but his gestures
were misunderstood by his friends. Before either scout was able to
regain the place where the pioneers were hiding, there was another wild
whoop and a band of Indians larger than that which had been seen the
previous day darted from the woods in the rear of the settlers. Before
they were able to return the unlooked-for fire, two of their number
fell dead from the bullets of their enemies, while three more were
Like a flash the Indians were gone again. But Boone quickly rallied
his startled followers and when the red men returned, as they did
within a few minutes, appearing from another section of the forest, the
hardy settlers were ready and awaiting their coming.
Once more had the careful preparation of Boone for what he thought
was likely to occur saved his followers and himself from peril.
Several of the Indians fell under the deadly fire of the white men,
and with loud cries and lamentations the warriors dragged their fallen
comrades into the forest and once more disappeared.
Never have I seen the Indians so savage as in these two attacks,
said Boone soberly to Peleg, after guards had been established for the
night and the men had stretched themselves on their blankets to obtain
such sleep as was possible in the midst of the threatening dangers.
They seem almost beside themselves with rage.
Do you still plan to go on?
I shall go on, said Boone simply. The way must be opened for our
people to gain some of the advantages of this wonderful region toward
which we are moving. The tribes hereabout are a strange people. I have
never known Indians more hospitable than are the Cherokees and
Shawnees. If one brave enters the wigwam of another, even if it be that
of a stranger, he is deeply offended if he is not given an invitation
to eat, though he may just have had a meal at his own wigwam. Nor is it
sufficient on these occasions that the ordinary food be offered him.
You know the Indians live mostly on venison and hominy, but when a
visitor comes, sugar, bear's oil, honey, and rum, if they have it, are
to be set before him.
Suppose they do not have anything in the house to eat?
Then the fact is stated quietly. It is at once accepted as
sufficient. I was in a wigwam not long ago where the visitor thought
the host was not as hospitable as he ought to be and he took him
severely to task. He said: 'You have behaved just like a Dutchman. I
shall excuse you this time, for you are young, and have been brought up
close to the white people, but you must remember to behave like a
warrior and never be caught in such little actions. Great
actions alone can ever make a great man.' They are a strange people,
added Boone thoughtfully. I saw a white man some time ago trying to
help in carrying some game which the warriors had shot. I shall never
forget how the Indians laughed when, after the squaws and the boys had
started to bring back the meat, this white man took a large piece of
buffalo meat on his own back. After he had gone two or three miles he
found it was becoming too heavy for him and he threw it down. Then I
saw one of the squaws, laughing as if it was a huge joke, take the meat
which the white man had dropped and put it on her own pack, which
already was as large as that of the man, and carry the double burden
back to camp.
They are not as swift as our men, though, suggested Peleg.
Not for a short distance, assented Boone, but they can keep up a
pace for an almost incredible length of time. I have known Indians who
could run twelve or fourteen hours without a morsel of food, and then,
after a light meal and a short rest, start again and go as far as they
had before they stopped.
They never do that in fighting, though.
No, they may keep up a warfare for many years, but they never make
a prolonged attack. They like a sudden dash such as they made upon us
and in which those poor fellows were killed. Peleg, I fear the morrow.
The Shawnees that are watching us see our axes, and they are sure now
that we are trying to enter their hunting grounds and take away their
lands. We shall have serious trouble, I fear.
And the following day Boone's fears were confirmed.
CHAPTER XIII. THE WHITE SHAWNEE
There was no open attack by the Indians such as had been made
previously, though the yells of the warriors were frequently heard in
the distance. It was plain that they were striving to terrorize the
hardy settlers and make them turn back on their way.
One of the men who had been stationed as a guard was shot early in
the morning and his mutilated body was not found until Daniel Boone,
making a tour of the camp, discovered what had befallen his companion.
Returning to the camp, Boone summoned his men, and as soon as they
were assembled, said to them: We must stop our work on the road for a
time and build a fort.
There was an expression of consternation on the faces of some of his
comrades as they heard this quiet statement from the scout, and, aware
of what was in their minds, though no one spoke, Daniel Boone
continued; It will not require many days. I think a fortnight will be
sufficient for us to build such a fort as will protect us. We are now
almost as far on our way as we wish to go. We will begin the work at
Whatever disappointment or fears may have been in the minds of his
companions, no one made any open protest, and the task immediately was
begun. Certain of the men were assigned to the felling of trees, others
dug trenches and set the logs in the stockade, which was erected first.
When the stockade had been completed, various cabins were built
wherein the men might live if they were compelled to seek the refuge of
The defences were erected near a spring of water that promised to be
never-failing. Nearby was the river, so close to the fort as to enable
the defenders to escape if flight became necessary. And yet the fort
was sufficiently far from the banks to prevent an approach by their
enemies without being discovered.
So steadily did the men labour that Boone's prophecy was fulfilled,
and when fourteen days had elapsed the little fort was declared to be
ready for occupancy. The stockade was strong and had been made of the
stakes fashioned from the trees. One end of each log was sharpened and
then all were driven into the ground side by side; portholes being
provided at frequent intervals.
A feeling of intense relief came to the hardly beset men when the
work was completed. The supreme thought, however, in the mind of the
leader, was voiced when he explained to Peleg the following day: It is
now April, and I must go back to the settlement on the Clinch for my
Alone? inquired Peleg quickly.
Yes, alone. I must not take one man away from the party here, and I
shall be doubly anxious for you all while I am gone; but the time has
come when I may think of my family and myself. In this wonderful land
I, too, would make my home.
But will you dare to come back with your family with only you and
Israel to protect them?
Boone's face lighted up with the rare smile which occasionally
appeared upon it as he said: There will be others, many others, I
hope, who will join us on our way.
I never knew the Indians to be so savage as they are now,
suggested Peleg anxiously.
That is true, said Boone, and one cannot altogether blame them.
They seem to be well-nigh mad in their hatred of us because we have
begun to build our homes in the land which they planned to keep as
their own. If it were not for their fear of the 'Long Knives,' as they
term us, I fancy they would make a desperate assault very soon. As it
is, however, they have a wholesome feeling of fear mingled with their
anger, and although you will have to be continually on your guard, I do
not believe they will venture to attack the fort while I am gone.
Peleg made no reply, and the scout, acting as if the last word had
been spoken, soon after set forth on his long journey to the Clinch.
During the absence of their leader the men continued their labours,
felling the trees and clearing the land, until in the immediate
vicinity of the fort sufficient ground had been made tillable to enable
them to plant the few seeds which Boone had insisted should be brought
The days now were warm, and the delights of the marvellous climate
were appreciated by all the men.
The only event of special interest that occurred during the absence
of the scout was the coming of Sam Oliver. As unconcerned as if he had
long been a member of the company and had earned his thirty-three cents
per day for his labours, the hunter entered the fort one night and
composedly received the warm greetings which were given him. It was
well known that the newcomer was a famous shot, and the coming of even
one man strengthened the little garrison not a little.
The general line of the defence of the fort was at once mapped out
by Sam, who without a word assumed the position of leader. It was he
who arranged the details and the nightly guards which were maintained,
and it was his word which decided any dispute that arose among the men.
One day Peleg was on guard in the adjacent forest. His watch was
almost ended and he was about to return to the fort, when he was
startled to behold an Indian approaching with the palms of both hands
Holding Singing Susan in readiness for instant use, and glancing
keenly about him into the adjacent forest to make sure that his visitor
was unaccompanied, Peleg waited patiently for the stranger to approach.
As the warrior drew near Peleg looked at him with increasing
astonishment. Dressed in the Indian garb, the warrior, who seemed to be
only about twenty years of age, nevertheless had no features like those
of the neighbouring tribes. Tanned, the stranger undoubtedly was, but
nevertheless his skin did not have the bronze colouring of the Indian.
His figure and even his walk were more like the white man's. And yet in
every other point the stranger apparently was of the Indian race.
As he drew near Peleg, his face was lighted by a smile as he said,
Me broder. Me white Shawnee.
Peleg did not respond, although his astonishment was increased by
the speech of the approaching warrior.
Me wan' go home. No fader. Me Shawnee fader. Me wan' white fader.
White moder dead. White fader dead. No Shawnee fader some more.
The puzzling statements were followed by some words unintelligible
to Peleg, though he concluded that they were spoken in the Shawnee
Do you want to see Daniel Boone? he inquired.
Gesticulating forcefully, the young man inquired, He me fader?
White fader dead. White moder dead. Shawnee warriors kill me fader.
Kill moder. Many moons ago.
A puzzled expression for a moment appeared on the stranger's face,
and then, comprehending the meaning of the question, he opened and
closed his hands so many times that, although Peleg was unable to count
the number of moons indicated, he concluded that the Shawnee was
approximately of his own age.
Me live in Shawnee wigwam many moons. Me Shawnee. Me white Shawnee.
Me have Shawnee fader and Shawnee broder, and he held up two fingers
to indicate the number of his brothers.
[Illustration: One of the men who had been stationed as a guard was
shot early in the morning"]
What are you doing here? What do you want? demanded Peleg sharply.
He was mystified by the statements which had been made and was fearful
of some trap or treachery on the part of his visitor or his companions,
who might even then be watching from the nearby forest.
Me fader, me broder, me go, the visitor replied, pointing to
himself. All go trap many beaver, many mink, many muskrat, he added,
making a circle with his hand to indicate his inability to count the
pelts which had been taken. Me broder he wan' go on warpath. He wan'
help drive palefaces out Kantuckee. Me fader he say he go, nodding his
head many times to emphasize his statement. But one night many owls
scream and cry. He say then no go. Me broder he say go. Me fader say
Where are they now?
The young stranger gazed earnestly into the face of his questioner,
and at last, apparently comprehending his question, turned and waved
his hand toward the forest to indicate that the men to whom he had
referred were far away.
Why are you here? Why do you not go with them?
Me wan' see white faces some more. Me wan' find white broder. Me
white Shawnee, where go? Must see paleface wigwam.
For a moment Peleg was silent as he gazed earnestly into the face of
the young man who had so strongly impressed him. He was convinced that
he was indeed white, and he concluded that he must have been adopted by
the Indians many years ago. As a consequence of his association with
the Shawnees, doubtless he had almost forgotten the language of his own
In his statement words unknown to Peleg were spoken, but he had
understood enough to convince him that either the white Shawnee was
speaking the truth, or else was trying to set some trap into which the
defenders of the fort might be drawn.
Come with me, said the young scout finally. As they turned toward
the fort they met Sam Oliver, who stopped and gazed in surprise at
Peleg's companion, and laughed scornfully when he heard the story of
You say you and your Shawnee father and brother buried the canoe in
which you came down the river? demanded the hunter brutally as he
turned upon the visitor.
Then you take us straight to the place where it is. I know well
enough you are trying to play some sneaking game on us, and if you are,
you will be the first one to suffer for it. If you try to lead us into
any trap, no matter what happens to us, I will put a bullet into you.
No go, pleaded the young warrior.
You must go! retorted Sam Oliver harshly.
Peleg sympathized with the stranger. He understood, he thought, the
desire of the returning white man to shield his foster-father and
brother. The young hunter was now convinced that his visitor had spoken
Sam, he ventured to suggest, this young brave was stolen when he
was a little child, and he has lived with his Shawnee father ever
since. He doesn't want to betray him. You cannot blame him for that,
There is only one way to deal with the varmints! retorted Sam
hotly. You might just as well try to make a pet out of a nest of
rattlesnakes as to try to be friends with an Indian. No, sir!
Thiswhatever he is, white man, or red manhe must prove what he has
said, and the only way for him to do it is to take us to the place
where he pretends that canoe is buried in the ground.
The brutal manner of the hunter apparently had made a deep
impression upon the stranger. With manifest reluctance he finally
consented to conduct the party to the place where the canoe was buried.
It was well known among the settlers that the Indians, after their
voyages on the river, buried their light canoes to prevent them from
being warped by sun and rain.
You go where owl cry. Owl scream, me faderiron The stranger
stopped as if he was unable to recollect the word he wished to use,
making motions with his hands to describe what he wished to say.
Peleg suggested, Was it an iron kettle?
A vigorous nod from the stranger indicated that was the word he was
trying to recall, and he continued, Me fader hide iron kettle in hole
in tree. Me show you.
You wait here, ordered Sam, while I get two or three more men and
we will soon look up that kettle.
Peleg suspected that the white Shawnee, in order to delay the quest
of the hidden canoe and thereby give his foster-father and brother an
opportunity to escape from the region, had suggested a visit to the
tree where the cry of the owl had alarmed his father.
In a brief time, however, Sam and his companions returned, and the
hunter roughly ordered the stranger to lead the way.
CHAPTER XIV. THE HIDDEN CANOE
While Sam Oliver had been gone to the fort to secure a few of his
comrades to accompany him, the young Indian, or white, or white
IndianPeleg was uncertain to which class his visitor really
belongedentered with apparent confidence into conversation with the
young scout. In his broken English he related many things concerning
the life which he had lived in the wigwam of his foster father.
Peleg was impressed by the increasing facility with which the white
Shawnee, as the young brave preferred to call himself, was using the
language of the whites.
It may have been that the words he now heard recalled to his mind
expressions which had almost faded from his memory. At all events he
talked more freely and with an increasing ability to express himself.
Me fader hear owl cry. He know from strange cry that some die or be
pris'ner. He old man. He 'fraid. He say go back up river. Me broder he
say no. Me say no. Me fader still 'fraid, but he keep him promise.
What was his promise? inquired Peleg.
He say he take us on warpath to help keep palefaces from going into
Kantuckee. He no wan' go, but he say he go. We all lie down sleep.
Pretty quick me fader wake up. Me fader wake me broder. Wake me, too.
What was the trouble? asked Peleg.
Me fader have sleep and see
What do you mean, he had a dream?
That so, replied the visitor, nodding his head. Me fader have
What did he dream?
He say we go to Kantuckee, we die. Me fader cry. He no wan' go on
But you came, suggested Peleg.
His visitor nodded and continued: Me fader say he keep him promise.
But he say more. He say we go back to wigwam. Go quick. He good man.
Heap good man. He keep him promise. Me broder say me fader mus' keep
him promise now.
So you came?
We go on warpath. Me fader say he go quick. No stay any more where
So you started right away, did you?
We go on warpath all night. When light come we turn to place where
white man build fort.
Are there many Shawnees here?
The young visitor, nodding, said: Pretty quick, heap Shawnee come.
He held up three and then four fingers to express the idea that the
Indian bands were advancing in parties of three or more, and at some
prearranged place or by some well-known signals the scattered little
parties would be brought together and one large band formed.
The information was startling to the young scout and seemed to him
to be altogether probable. It was in accordance with the well-known
methods of Indian fighting, and agreed with experiences which the young
hunter already had had.
He deeply regretted the absence of the great leader. The gentleness
and firmness, the courage and resource of Daniel Boone would be greatly
needed if the Shawnees attacked the little fort. Boone, however, was
not near and his help could not be relied upon.
Meanwhile Peleg was awaiting the return of Sam Oliver. He was well
aware of the excellent qualities which the hunter possessed, and he was
familiar also with the intense bitterness with which Sam looked upon
the Indians. For him they possessed no good qualities. They were simply
enemies of the whites and to be exterminated like the rattlesnake and
the panther. He recognized no feeling of patriotism on their part, and,
because the method of their warfare was cruel, he judged their motives
Me no wan' go where canoe is, said the young brave earnestly. Me
love Shawnee fader. Me no betray him. Him good man. Me fader kind to
me. No wan' him lose scalp.
It is too bad, acknowledged Peleg. He was distressed by the fear
that Sam Oliver and his companions would have little mercy upon the
Indian father to whom they were compelling the young man to conduct
them. In his heart there was a desire to help the young stranger who
had felt the call of his own people so strongly that he had even
deserted the family which had cared for him since his early childhood.
Peleg's thoughts were interrupted by the return of the hunter and
four of his comrades. It was evident that all five were suspicious of
treachery, and also that they were determined to put the strange
visitor's words to the test.
Now, then! ordered Sam, as he turned sharply upon the white
Shawnee. You take us straight to that place where you say your canoe
Apparently unmoved by the brutal demand, the young visitor answered,
Me no wan' you hurt me fader. Him good fader. Him take care me.
Why didn't you stay with him then? laughed Sam.
Me wan' see white fader's people, too. Me wan' find white moder's
people, said the visitor simply.
You will have time enough to look them up after we have found out
whether you are telling us the truth or not, declared Sam. I have my
suspicions that you are trying to get us into some trap, and as I told
you before, if you are I shall fill you full of lead the first thing.
If I find you are trying to trap us, you cannot complain if I do just
what I tell you I shall do.
Me no wan' go, repeated the young man.
You are going whether you want to go or not, retorted Sam Oliver
brutally. Are you coming with us, Peleg? he inquired, turning to the
I am, said Peleg quietly. He had made his decision instantly in
his desire to protect or help the young visitor, whose suffering in the
prospect of being compelled to betray his father had deeply stirred the
heart of the young hunter. Aware that there was no escape from the
demand, the white Shawnee turned and led the way into the forest.
The men who were following him were continually alert, suspicious as
they were of the treachery of their guide, and fearful of the presence
of other Shawnees in the forest through which they were moving.
The confidence of Sam Oliver, who followed close upon the heels of
the stranger, in a measure strengthened the courage of his followers.
Peleg, who was next behind the leader, was as observant of the
hunter as he was of the signs in the woods. He was convinced, too, that
the young stranger was using time either to delay his followers or to
give them an opportunity to abandon their demand for him to be false to
the foster-father who had cared for him since his childhood.
If such thoughts had been in the mind of the young white Shawnee
they were not expressed and certainly were not fulfilled. There was no
escaping the demands of Sam Oliver and his companions.
At last, when an hour or more had elapsed, the guide stopped and,
raising his hand in token of silence, in a low voice explained that
they were approaching the tree in which the iron kettle had been
Instantly the demeanour of the settlers changed and they began to
creep forward more stealthily. Every man was alert to discover the
presence of the Indian who still might be near the place where the
kettle had been hidden.
After a few moments Peleg perceived two Indians not far before him.
Both were seated before a fire cooking some venison. One of the
warriors was an old man and his companion not much more than a boy.
The guide discovered the two Indians at the same time that Peleg did
and instantly he became greatly agitated. Once more he turned to Sam
Oliver and in low tones begged him not to kill the man who had been his
foster-father nor the other who had been his foster-brother.
Sam, whispered Peleg, it will be better for us just to make
prisoners of these two men. I think we ought to do this. The boy
plainly has spoken the truth. He did not want to betray his father and
his brother, and you and I cannot blame him. Take both the Indians
prisoners, but do not fire upon them.
Aware that Sam was somewhat moved by his plea, Peleg repeated his
request more urgently and was almost as relieved as the guide when at
last Sam reluctantly consented.
In accordance with the directions of the hunter the band scattered
to surround the place where the two unsuspecting Indians were cooking
their dinner. When all the preliminaries had been completed, Sam Oliver
stepped forward and in his loudest tones demanded the surrender of both
men. At the same time his companions darted forward, making a rush upon
the unarmed warriors.
To the surprise of every one, the old Indian made a desperate
resistance. With an almost incredible quickness the Indian boy dodged
his enemies and escaped to the forest. The old man, apparently striving
to hold back the attacking party, resisted to the utmost of his
strength until in his rage Sam Oliver raised his rifle to his shoulder
and shot him.
The recent guide, when he saw his foster-father fall, instantly
rushed to the spot where the old man was lying. The aged warrior was
bleeding profusely, but he was still conscious. Flinging himself upon
the ground beside the prostrate body, with the tears streaming down his
cheeks and his voice broken by sobs, again and again the white Shawnee
spoke to the aged warrior. Even Sam Oliver was silent as he saw the
grief of their guide.
His companions indifferently watched the bereaved boy, but Peleg
looked away when he saw the old man raise his hand feebly and place it
upon the head of his adopted son. It was a token of his forgiveness,
although his few words were not understood by the listening group. The
meaning of the act, however, was clear to every one.
Soon the old warrior breathed his last, and as soon as Sam Oliver
was aware that the end had come his sympathy speedily departed. Turning
once more to the guide and ignoring the grief of the boy, he roughly
said: Now take us where that canoe is buried. The other Indian has got
away from us, and he will probably make straight for the canoe. You
lead us there about as fast as you can travel and we will try to head
him off before he can go down the river!
In broken utterances the young white Shawnee begged the hunter not
to enforce this last demand. Me show where me fader was. Me fader
dead. Me no show where broder is. Me wan' broder escape. No go broder!
No go broder! he besought the hunter earnestly.
Sam Oliver, however, was not to be turned from his decision. You go
with us or I shall make you! he said, and in spite of Peleg's protests
he turned the young guide's face to the forest and with many threats
compelled him to lead the way.
Two hours elapsed before they came near the place where the canoe
had been buried. Creeping cautiously among the trees, the settlers came
within rifle shot of the spot, and as they peered keenly about them no
one at first was able to discover the presence of the young Indian.
By the direction of Oliver every man remained in his hiding-place
waiting for the arrival of the Indian boy, who, Sam was convinced,
would soon come to the place. This expectation was fulfilled, as in
about ten minutes the young Indian appeared and started to the sandy
shore of the river.
Without hesitation he proceeded to the spot where the canoe had been
hidden and, as he began to dig the sand, the hunter ordered his
companions to fire upon him. The reports of the five rifles rang out
The young Shawnee leaped high into the air and fell dead upon the
sand. Doubtless he never knew of the unwilling treachery of his
foster-brother by which he and his father had lost their lives.
CHAPTER XV. GATHERING CLOUDS
The grief of the white Shawnee at the death of his foster-brother
was pitiful to behold. Even Sam Oliver and his companions, who seldom
showed any sympathy for the Indians, were not unmoved by his agonized
cries of grief.
In the Shawnee tongue, some words of which all the white men present
understood, the young stranger poured forth his sorrows. He called upon
the spirits of his foster-father and brother to wait for him in their
journey to the happy hunting-grounds. He explained that in no way had
his treachery been of his own choosing. In spite of his protest, he
explained, he had been compelled to direct the white men to the place
where those who were nearest and dearest to him had fallen before their
Several minutes elapsed and no one of the settlers spoke. Then Sam
Oliver said sharply: We have had enough of this! I feel just about as
guilty as I do when I shoot a panther cub. Without a further word the
hunter stepped to the place where the body of the young Indian was
lying and scalped his victim. Even Peleg, hardened though he was to the
scenes that were enacted upon the border, shuddered as he saw his
companion perform this act.
At the urgent request of Peleg the white Shawnee was permitted to
return with his newly found friend to bury the body of his
foster-father, after his brother also had received decent burial at his
When this act, in which Peleg had aided, was completed, the young
hunter turned to his heartbroken companion and said, You must come to
the fort with me.
No go! No go! wailed the visitor.
I do not blame you very much, acknowledged Peleg, but you have no
other home, and you might just as well come with me. I am sure you will
be treated kindly, and as soon as Daniel Boone comes back you need have
no further fears. If you go back to the Shawnees they will think you
have betrayed your father and brother. Of course I understand that you
did not do anything of the kind.
Me do! Me false to me fader, interrupted the white Shawnee, his
lamentations breaking forth afresh.
What is your name? abruptly demanded Peleg.
The reply of his companion sounded to him very like Tontileaugo, but
although it was repeated several times Peleg was unable to pronounce it
I might call you Tonti, and I might call you Henry. Which do you
No call Tonti.
Then I will call you Henry. Don't you remember what your name was
when you were a white boy?
Henry shook his head, although plainly he was striving to recall
the name which belonged to the years that were now dim in his memory.
You come with me, said Peleg.
Together the two boys returned to the fort. Neither of them spoke
until they entered within the stockade, where the men of the settlement
were assembled listening to Sam Oliver's dramatic description of the
events which had just taken place.
The sight of the hunter seemed to revive the sorrow of Henry, as
Peleg henceforth called the young stranger, and bring back
recollections of his own, unwilling treachery to the family which had
been kind to him since the time of his adoption into the tribe.
However, Peleg did his utmost to shield his friend, to whom his
heart went out in strong sympathy.
What you goin' to do with your friend? laughed Sam as he spoke to
Peleg when the group at last scattered.
I am going to take care of him, replied Peleg quietly.
Make a pet of him, are you? The next rattler I find or the next
wolf's cub I run across I will bring back to you, lad, and let you make
a pet of that, too. The only trouble is that a rattlesnake is kinder at
heart than an Indian.
Peleg shook his head but did not reply to this statement of the
It is true, what I am tellin' you, continued Sam, as if somehow he
was striving to justify himself. It's got to be extermination. Either
you kill the redskins or they will kill you. There isn't room for both
in the same land. They are trying to kill us off, and I am not one to
sit down quietly and invite them to bring their tomahawks and brain me.
If I can get the drop on them before they can get it on me, that's all
to my advantage.
I think Henry feels began Peleg.
Henry? Who's Henry? broke in Sam Oliver.
That's the name I have given this boy. He told me what his name was
in Shawnee, but I could not quite get it. It sounded like Tontileaugo,
and I offered to call him Tonti for short but he didn't like that.
You will live to regret the day you ever took him in, warned Sam.
But he is a white boy, persisted Peleg.
Born white, but raised an Indian. It doesn't make much difference
where a man is born. He grows to be like what he sees and is used to.
He has been brought up to look at things through Indian eyes and he
thinks Indian thoughts. You will find he will play you false before you
are done with him.
I shall have to take my chance as to that, said Peleg. Daniel
Boone has told me to try to do something to help somebody every day. He
told me to start out with that in my mind the first thing every
You are makin' a mistake, lad, said Sam Oliver more quietly.
It was plain to Peleg that the old hunter was convinced that what he
said was true, and there had been many experiences along the border to
justify him in his conclusion. What Sam Oliver had been unable to
comprehend was that, much as the methods of the Indians in their
warfare were to be condemned, they still were fighting for the
protection of the lands which they believed to be their own.
A few days afterward Daniel Boone and his family arrived with their
little caravan, which included two milch cows and several pack-horses.
The scout was hilariously greeted by the settlers, and without
opposition at once resumed his position as leader of the little
Every one that could share in the labour was busily engaged now
throughout the long hours of the day. The sound of the axe was
continually heard, and the few crops which had been planted were
carefully tended, and, what is more, were giving promise of an
abounding harvest from the small sowing.
Peleg had related to the great scout the events which had been
connected with the coming of Henry to the settlements. The young
scout's heart was still sore for his friend, who now had little to say
to any one except Peleg. Together the boys toiled in the field or
hunted game in the forests; but Henry was never stationed as a guard.
It is this way, lad, said Boone, after he had heard the entire
story. Sam Oliver means right, but he has no understanding of the
feelings of any one else. Because I shoot an Indian and he
shoots an Indian, he thinks we both act from the same motive. Never yet
have I raised my rifle to fire at an Indian without feeling in my heart
that perhaps he might be as fully entitled to the land for which he is
struggling as I am. I should be glad to share with him. The trouble is
he will not share with me. There ought to be room enough here for us
both; but, now I am sure, lad, through the actions of the Indians
themselves, it must be either white man or red man who will dwell in
this wonderful country. As he spoke, Daniel Boone looked around him at
the wonderful vision that spread before his eyes. It was a day late in
the summer and a slight haze rested over the forests and the fields.
The silence which enveloped all things was in itself impressive. The
cloudless sky and the colours of the trees below the hill where the
scout and his companion were standing combined to impress upon their
minds the marvellous beauty of the region. This is destined to be a
great land, lad, Boone said simply. It is a wonderful thing that you
and I should have a little part in opening it up. When I close my eyes,
almost I see the homes that will be built here, the men and women who
will find resting-places here; even the voices of the little children
who will be born two hundred years from now are sounding in my ears.
Changing his tone, Boone said: Have you seen anything in your friend
to make you feel suspicious of him?
Never! said Peleg positively. Have you?
No. There are some men in the settlement, however, who are fearful
that he may try to betray us when trouble comes.
He never will, said Peleg positively. If you had been with me and
seen him when Sam Oliver shot his foster-father and brother I am sure
you would never suspect Henry of not being true.
That is my feeling, lad, said Boone gently. Do all in your power
to prevent him from doing anything which might arouse the anger or even
the suspicions of our men.
He never talks to Sam Oliver and very seldom to any one else. He
stays with me all through the day, except when I am on guard.
You are welcome to bring him to our home any time.
To stay there? inquired Peleg.
That is what I mean, lad, replied the great scout, his face
lighting up with the occasional smile that appeared upon it. My wife
and daughters feel toward him as I do. Do you know that they were the
first white women ever to stand on the banks of the Kantuckee River?
I had not thought of that, replied Peleg.
There are many others coming soon. Already I have received word
that Mrs. McGary, Mrs. Hogan, and Mrs. Denton are on their way here.
The arrival soon afterward of more than a score of white men to join
the settlers aroused great enthusiasm, because now it was confidently
believed that, after so many had passed safely over the roadway which
Boone and his companions had opened to the beautiful region, many more
would surely follow. These expectations were soon fulfilled.
The continued labours of the whites, however, had increased the
intense hostility of the Indians, who naturally believed all these
lands belonged to them. When they saw the settlers felling the trees
and erecting their houses and planting their crops, a spirit of
determination to drive the whites from the region spread among the
There was just now, however, a lull in the direct warfare. Dusky
faces occasionally were seen in the forest, but there was no open
Daniel Boone, however, was not to be deceived. He was confident that
it was simply the hush which at times precedes the coming of the
tempest. In his own mind he was convinced that the Indians simply were
reserving their strength until they could rally a sufficient number to
make an attack worth while. And Boone in the midst of all his
laboursfor he was toiling with the men of the settlementwas forming
plans by which he hoped to meet the fierce attacks he expected the
Shawnees to make.
Frequent sallies upon the men when they were at work in the fields
now began to be made. While they were plowing, the stealthy warriors
did their utmost to waylay and shoot them. When they were hunting they
were chased and sometimes fired upon. Sometimes an Indian would creep
up near the fort in the night and fire upon the first of the garrison
to appear in the morning. The little settlement soon was in a state of
continual and increasing alarm.
Even many of the ordinary duties of life were performed only at
great risk. But the determination in the hearts of the hardy people to
defend their new homes in the wonderful region strengthened with every
Many of the settlers every night assembled within the walls of the
fort. It was the expressed desire of Boone that all should do this, for
in this way only could the safety of every one be assured. For the most
part the people responded willingly to his appeal, and after a certain
eventful night all were willing to heed his counsel. On that particular
night occurred a struggle with the prowling Indians which made the name
of one of the heroic women long to be remembered.
CHAPTER XVI. CAPTIVES
As has been stated, the opening by Daniel Boone of the road through
the wilderness to the new settlement, and the safety with which the
journey thither had been accomplished, were strong inducements now to
other families to make similar ventures.
Within a few months the little settlement had increased until it
contained at least one hundred and fifty people. Trees had been felled,
log houses had been built, and with great energy the new people were
preparing to make permanent homes in the fertile valleys. Most of the
newcomers were more than willing to follow the suggestion of Boone, who
strongly advised all the settlers to seek safety in the shelter of the
fort when night fell.
The great scout was convinced that the Shawnees were continually
watching the little community, and that their anger at the
determination of the settlers to make permanent abodes in the beautiful
region was steadily increasing. Every day Boone was watchful.
Occasionally the red men were seen, and not infrequently they crept
close enough to the fort, or to the men when they were toiling in the
forests or fields, to fire upon them; but as yet no concerted attack
had been made.
Among the families which had come was one named Merrill. Mr. Merrill
was a vigorous, active young man, and his wife was almost as large as
he and as strong. So convinced were the two young people of their
ability to withstand any attack that might be made upon their home that
they had been somewhat unmindful of the request of the leader.
One morning in December Daniel Boone said to Peleg: I wish you to
go to Mr. Merrill's at once, and say to him that I have seen recently
some signs of the Indians which greatly disturb me. It will not be
necessary for you to say more, except that I strongly urge the Merrills
to comply with my suggestion and come nightly to the fort.
Peleg, at the request of the scout, mounted a horse and rode in the
direction of the little log cabin which the Merrills had erected on the
extreme border beyond the settlement. He and Henry, accompanied by
young Israel Boone, who now had become almost a man in size, had been
frequent visitors at the friendly home of the Merrills. It was
therefore with a feeling of personal interest as well as anxiety that
the young hunter hastened to carry out the suggestion of the great
Before he arrived at the little house its appearance suggested to
him that something was wrong. It was early in the morning and yet no
smoke was rising from the chimney. The silence which rested over the
place seemed ominous. So anxious was the young scout that he dismounted
before he entered the clearing, tied his horse to one of the trees, and
then cautiously crept forward to discover what might be amiss with the
When Peleg approached the border of the little clearing he halted
and peered anxiously before him. No one was seen about the place.
Delaying only a brief time, and holding Singing Susan in his hands
ready for instant use if occasion required, Peleg called to the inmates
of the house.
Hello! he called. As no response was given to his hail, he raised
his voice and called again, Hello! Mr. Merrill! Not even the dog,
which was a great pet of Peleg's, made any response. Several minutes
elapsed and the silence was still unbroken.
Troubled by his failure to arouse any one, Peleg darted swiftly
across the clearing and, as he approached the door, stopped in
astonishment when he beheld near the threshold the bodies of two dead
Indians. As he looked about he saw bloody trails leading into the
forest, which indicated that others also had been wounded. In the door
a large breach had been made which was evidently the work of the Indian
The young scout, his flesh creeping at his discovery, glanced about
him in every direction, but no sign of friend or enemy could he see.
The door itself was partly open, and as Peleg stepped within the little
cabin the odour of burned feathers greeted him.
There were many indications of a struggle which plainly had taken
place within the room, but it was not until he had passed out to the
rear of the little building and descried Mrs. Merrill approaching that
his full courage returned. The resolute woman, her face pale, but
otherwise not betraying any emotion, approached the young scout and
said quietly: I have just buried my husband.
The astonishment of Peleg was so great that he was unable to reply
to the staggering statement, and then aware that the silent grief of
his friend was almost more than she could bear, he assisted her within
the house and soon was listening to her story.
I did not like to bury my husband so soon, began the woman at
last, but I dared not wait to ask any one to come.
Tell me about it, said Peleg quietly, unless you think that we
had better start for the fort right away.
Mrs. Merrill shook her head as she said: I do not think there is
need of immediate haste. It must have been about midnight when our dog
began to growl so savagely that my husband thought something must be
wrong. He got up, and when he opened the door to find out what the
trouble was he received the fire of six or seven Indians. He sank to
the floor, but managed to call me to close the door and let down the
I don't know that I ever had such a thrilling or awful moment in my
life! I could hear the savages on the porch, and I was afraid they
would get to the door before I could shut and bar it. Just as I managed
to close it and let the bar fall, the Indians began to pound upon it
with their tomahawks. If I had been one second later they would have
got inside the house and I should now be where my husband is. They kept
pounding on the door until they made a large hole in it. They did not
know that I stood close by, waiting for them with an axe, and as fast
as one after anotherfour of themtried to crawl through, I killed or
badly wounded every one that made the attempt. They could not force
their way into the cabin, she added simply.
How many Indians did you say there were at the door? inquired
Peleg in astonishment.
Four, but only two of them were killed. At least there are only two
left here, and the others may have got away.
I saw two, said Peleg. How many were there altogether?
Seven, I think. They kept away from the door after that, but pretty
soon I heard them up on the roof. I knew then that they were trying to
get into the house by coming down the chimney.
I think I know how you kept them out, said Peleg, smiling
Yes, replied the woman. I grabbed the only feather bed we had in
our cabin and ripped it open, in desperate haste, feeling just as I did
when I was trying to close the door. I knew if I was not quick enough
the Shawnees would be in the room. It was fortunate that there were
coals on the fireplace, and just as soon as I put the feathers on them
a blaze sprang up and such smoke as I never saw began to pour up the
chimney. In less than one minute two of the redskins fell into the
fireplace, and with the same axe with which I had defended the door I
quickly put an end to both varmints.
That made six of the seven, then, suggested Peleg.
Yes. But the seventh wasn't ready to leave yet. He ran around to
the door and tried to crawl through while I was busy at the chimney. It
was fortunate that I chanced to see him. He got a gash in the cheek,
and you ought to have heard him yell when he ran away from the door.
Talk to me about the Indians never making any fuss! This man was
yelling so that you might have heard him at the fort. He called me the
'Long Knife Squaw,' but I didn't care so long as he cleared out for
good and all! And I don't believe any of them will come again very
What are you going to do now? inquired Peleg.
I haven't any plans.
You must come with me to the fort.
But I must not leave my clearing, said the heroic woman. Now that
my husband is dead, I shall have everything to do.
Come with me, and I will find some one to do what ought to be done
Yielding to the persuasion of the young scout, Mrs. Merrill
accompanied him to the fort, where at once some of the women offered
her the solace of their sympathy.
Peleg at once assembled a little company of men, and led by Daniel
Boone himself they returned to the scene of the brave woman's
struggles. The dead Indians were buried and the two cows were driven
within the stockade.
It will not be safe, said Daniel Boone to Peleg, for Mrs. Merrill
to come back here alone. If she does insist upon coming, either you or
Israel must be with her. She should be persuaded, however, not to
expose herself to such dangers as she will meet here.
She seems to be able to protect herself, said Peleg dryly.
Indeed she does. I question if there is another woman in our
settlement who would have been able to do what she did. Single-handed,
to keep off seven Shawnees! I believe that the story of her bravery
will be told to your grandchildren, Peleg.
Mrs. Merrill, however, was found to be more reasonable than the
great scout's fear had warranted. She was quite willing to make her
home for the present where the peril and the loneliness were not so
great as in her cabin.
The attacks of the Indians continued, although no party as large as
that which had attacked the home of the Merrills was seen. The plowmen
in the fields, the men cutting the timber, and those who separated from
their fellows while hunting game were continually in danger.
The determination of the whites was as great as that of the Indians,
and although every one was anxious, no one thought of withdrawing from
To Daniel Boone himself there came a little later an experience
almost as thrilling as that which had befallen Mrs. Merrill.
Among the new families was one named Callaway. In this family there
was a girl of nearly the same age as Daniel's Boone's daughter Jemima.
One morning, early in the summer, the girls, taking the one canoe which
was kept near the fort, paddled out upon the river.
Do not go more than one hundred feet above or below the fort,
warned Daniel Boone, who stood on the bank watching the girls. Both
promised, and soon in their light-hearted way were paddling the canoe
back and forth from shore to shore.
Satisfied that the girls were well within the protection they
needed, Daniel Boone returned to his labours and no one was left upon
the bank to watch them.
As the sport continued, and before either of the girls was aware of
the fact, the light canoe had drifted beyond the points which had been
designated by the scout as the limits of safety. Discovering some
flowers along the shore, they pushed the little craft in among the tall
rushes while they plucked the blossoms they were seeking. The canoe was
well within the rushes and concealed, as the girls thought, from the
sight of any one on the bank.
Suddenly the younger girl, emitting a piercing shriek, turned to
Jemima Boone, and exclaimed: Look there! Oh, look there!
As Jemima sharply turned about she saw, creeping through the rushes
and concealed from the sight of any one on the shore, a huge Shawnee
warrior, who already had seized the painter of the little craft.
Scream followed scream when the Indian began to pull the canoe
toward him. In a moment he was joined by several of his dusky comrades.
The canoe was drawn to the shore and the girls, prisoners of the
savages, were dragged up the bank.
CHAPTER XVII. THE PURSUIT
The screams of the terrified girls were plainly heard at the fort. A
little company of frightened women and frantic men quickly assembled
upon the bank, but in spite of the piteous appeals it was too late to
help the unfortunate prisoners. Four additional Indians appeared and,
assisting their comrades, seized the girls and with them rushed into
The men from the fort who were standing on the bank of the stream
were unable to cross, the only canoe being now on the opposite shore.
Calling to one another, the men endeavoured to find some one who
would venture to swim to the other shore. No one volunteered, however,
as all were afraid that the Indians might return if such an attempt
should be made. Both Daniel Boone and the father of Miss Callaway were
absent from the settlement at the time, and it was nearly night when
Stopping only a moment to comfort his heartbroken wife, Daniel
Boone, as soon as he was informed, acted promptly and decisively, as
was his habit. He was well aware that no time should be lost, and
fortunately he discovered Peleg at that moment returning to the fort.
The girls have been taken by the Indians, said Boone, suppressing
What girls? What do you mean? inquired Peleg, aghast.
Jemima and her friend, the Callaway girl.
This noon. I have no time to explain. We must get a party to start
right away. Find every man you can and I, too, will look about, and we
will meet here at the fort just as soon as we can get our party
Darting into the house, Peleg secured Singing Susan, and then,
finding Israel Boone, who was almost as aroused as his father, the two
instantly began their search for men who would join the rescue party.
Soon afterward a band of eight men stood with the scout on the bank
of the Kentucky River near the fort. The quiet of the summer evening
was unbroken save by the occasional cry of some night-bird. It had been
long since the screams of the disappearing girls had been heard, but
the direction from which they had come indicated the way in which to
start the pursuit.
How many are here? inquired Boone, as he glanced about the group.
Eight, replied Peleg, including you and Israel.
We need more, but I shall not wait. We will start at once.
The canoe meanwhile had been secured by one of the boys of the
settlement who swam across the river at dusk and returned in the little
craft, paddling with his hand, for the blades had been broken by the
Indians to delay pursuit.
The men now were ferried across the river, and as soon as every one
was standing on the opposite bank Daniel Boone again inquired: Is
every one prepared?
Every member of the party declared that he was ready to follow
wherever the great scout might lead.
Instantly Daniel Boone led the way into the forest. The anxious
scout was so quiet and self-controlled that an uninformed spectator
would never have suspected that he was labouring under special stress.
Even Peleg was astonished at the composed bearing of the man.
Turning to Israel, the young scout remarked: Your father is saving
every ounce of his strength for the work ahead of us. He is not wasting
any time crying.
He never does, responded Israel proudly. Do you know, Peleg,
young Boone said, there are times when Parson John Lythe preaches to
us that he speaks of the Great Father of us all, and somehow I always
think of Him as if He looked somewhat as my father does.
Deeply impressed as Peleg was by the reverence in which the son of
Daniel Boone held his father, there was no opportunity at the time for
In Indian file the pursuers advanced, and all soon were running,
following the custom of the Indians. So skilled was the leader in this
work that it was well known that he was able for many hours to maintain
the pace at which he was now moving.
One time, said Israel to Peleg, my father ran like this for eight
hours, then rested two hours, and then ran eight more, and after he had
taken another rest he made the third stretch of the same number of
The leader had not spoken except when in the dim light of the moon
he was compelled to stop to search for the trail. Once when he halted
he said to his companions: The Shawnees are not moving in one body.
They have broken up into ten parties and are moving in parallel lines.
Did they expect to throw us off the trail in that way? asked
Doubtless they hoped to. Peleg, inquired Boone, turning to the
young scout, how many do you make out were in this band that stole
About thirty, I should say, replied Peleg.
It is more nearly thirty-five, declared Boone, as he turned to
direct his followers to resume the pursuit.
Somehow the night did not prove to be a serious obstacle to the
great leader. Almost as if by instinct Boone found his way, and the
parallel trails made by the Indians, instead of throwing the pursuers
into confusion, really aided them. If the trail was lost in one place
it then became comparatively easy for the men to scatter and in a brief
time discover it nearby.
How far have we come? Israel inquired of his father when a halt
was made in the morning.
Thirty miles, replied Daniel Boone.
Do you find anything new?
Yes, replied the scout, nodding his head. The Indians are less
careful than they were. The trail is becoming plainer. I hope we shall
overtake them before noon.
It was not long before the pursuit was resumed, and the pace of the
entire party was increased when it was discovered that the Indians had
entered a buffalo road and were following that clearly defined path.
The expression upon the face of Boone, who, with Peleg and Israel,
was in advance of the little band, made every one aware that he
expected soon to overtake the savages. The time of anxiety as well as
peril was surely approaching.
Peleg, whispered Israel, what do you think will be done to the
girls if the Indians see us before we get within rifle shot?
Peleg shook his head and did not reply, although both he and his
friend were aware that the Indians would doubtless tomahawk their
captives and then flee if they should discover their pursuers close
Nearly ten more miles were covered before the escaping band was
overtaken. Each party discovered the other almost at the same moment.
The Indians were in the act of kindling a fire and preparing camp for
the night. Almost as if it was one sound, the rifles of Daniel Boone,
Peleg, and Israel rang out together.
Two of the Indians fell to the ground. All the other braves, as if
driven by one impulse, instantly turned and fled from the spot, leaving
the terrified girls behind them. So sudden had been the flight of the
savages that when they darted into the adjacent forest they had been
unable to don their moccasins. Not a man in the pursuing party had been
The cry of Jemima Boone when in the dim light she beheld her father
approaching at the head of the rescuing party was one that those who
heard her never were able to forget. She sprang from the ground where
she had been seated and threw herself into her father's arms. For a
time not a word was spoken by any one, while the well-nigh exhausted
girl clung to Daniel Boone sobbing as if her heart would break.
The pursuit which had been led by the great scout had been so swift
and unrelenting that scarcely any time for rest had been given the band
since its departure from the fort the preceding evening; and only a
short time for recuperation could be allowed even now. This was some
hardship for the men, but for the girls, who, in addition to the terror
and despair which had possessed them, had been compelled to travel
through the forests at a speed which exhausted their strength, it was
Jemima explained to her father that they had arrived at the place
where they had been discovered only a few moments before the coming of
the hunter and his friends. The girl shuddered as she said: If the
Shawnees had had two minutes more they would have killed both of us
before they ran; and I do not understand why they ran, anyway.
How many warriors were in the band? inquired her father.
We cannot stay here long. The varmints will be coming back, and
they outnumber us so greatly that we may have serious trouble.
It was accordingly decided that the party should begin their return
at once. For a time Daniel Boone carried his daughter in his arms,
while her companion, almost exhausted, was also carried by one of the
When several miles had been covered word for rest was given, and
then, after a hasty meal was made from the loin of a deer which Peleg
shot, the flight toward the fort was resumed.
It was soon discovered, however, that the Indians were not pursuing,
and when Boone became convinced that this was so, his anxiety was
relieved, and he decided not to maintain the swift pace at which they
had been moving.
Two days later the party arrived at the fort on the bank of the
Kentucky, and the relief of the distracted mothers as well as the
general rejoicing over the safe return of the rescuers was great. After
a rest of a day, the scout and all the party resumed their accustomed
It was a few days afterward, while Peleg and Israel were engaged in
hoeing a field of corn that belonged to Peleg, that the scout
approached his friend.
Peleg, he said, as he halted in front of the boy, we are to have
a meeting in the fort to-morrow at noon and I hope you surely will be
What is the meeting for?
We are to pass some laws. We now have more than one hundred and
fifty souls in this little settlement, and up to the present time every
one has been a law unto himself. We now must pass some laws which shall
govern us as a community.
Is Sam Oliver here again? inquired Peleg with a laugh.
Not as yet, answered Boone quizzically, smiling as he appreciated
the discovery his young friend had made as to one of the causes for his
desire to pass some laws by which all should be regulated.
Colonel Henderson will preside, said Boone. He, as you know, was
the original purchaser of this tract of land from the Cherokees, and he
kindly consented to permit us to make a settlement here.
I shall try to be there, promised Peleg, as the scout passed on to
make further arrangements for the meeting, and the two boys resumed
It was a serious assemblage of men that met the following noon.
After accepting the chair, Colonel Henderson said: I shall ask the
Reverend John Lythe, our pioneer preacher, to address the Throne of
At the conclusion of the old minister's prayer, Colonel Henderson
solemnly said: This legislature is now opened in the name of his
Majesty the King of Great Britain. In his address he reminded his
hearers of the importance of laying a broad and strong foundation for
the future. He declared that the secret of future success depended
largely upon the carefulness of their present preparation. He also
explained how good and wholesome laws, such as would command the
respect and support of the people, would benefit not merely the
settlement as a whole, but also every individual member.
Various laws then were proposed, discussed, and adopted by vote of
In the midst of the meeting, which both Peleg and Israel were
enjoying keenly, Daniel Boone arose and asked for recognition from the
My father is going to make a speech! whispered Israel in
amazement, as he leaned toward Peleg. Never had either heard the scout
speak under such circumstances. He was so self-contained in his manner
and spoke so seldom that no one had thought of him as a man to make a
public address. It was therefore with intense interest that every one
present turned to listen to what Daniel Boone might say.
CHAPTER XVIII. A BAND OF SCOUTS
He would rather face three live painters, whispered Israel
gleefully. I never saw my father scared before.
In a moment, however, the boys were listening intently to what the
great scout was saying.
I am no speechmaker, began Daniel Boone, his voice trembling
slightly as he spoke. I know a little of the language of the deer and
of the songs of the birds. The cry of the nighthawk has its meaning for
me, to which it almost would be possible for me to reply. Even the
scream of the painter is in a language which I understand, but when I
look into the faces of my friends, who are much better fitted than I am
to say what is best for this little community, I am at a loss how to
proceed. The hunter paused a moment and the sympathetic interest of
his hearers plainly encouraged him to go on. It is true, he continued
quietly, I have a name for being somewhat successful as a scout and a
hunter. I think you will all bear me witness, however, that never yet
willingly have I inflicted pain upon even the weakest of God's
creatures. Whenever I draw a bead on a deer I do so with the thought in
my mind that here is the provision of the Almighty for food for His
children. With all my might, mind, and strength I am opposed to any
cruelty to dumb creatures, and also to any wanton waste of the game in
our forests. I am sure I am giving voice to your convictions also when
I say that we want no man within our settlement who does not have some
such feeling as I have just described. Sometimes our boys are
thoughtless and shoot perhaps more for the sake of killing than to
secure provisions for our homes. We must be patient with them and
strive to show them how mistaken they are. What I desire greatly just
now is that a law shall be adopted to protect the game in our forests.
The hunter took his seat and a murmur of applause at once came from the
Do you make that as a motion? inquired Colonel Henderson.
I do, responded the scout, rising and gravely bowing as he spoke.
The motion was seconded, and without one opposing vote the assembly
agreed to the suggestion of Daniel Boone.
As soon as this motion was adopted the great scout once more arose
and in his quiet and dignified manner again began to speak: There is
another matter in which I am deeply interested. I have never been able
to understand how any man made in the image of his Creator could take
his Creator's name in vain. In my experience I have noticed that
profanity is limited to men who are either weak or vicious. I think, my
friends, that you will agree with me that we want neither class in our
little settlement on the banks of the Kentucky. I therefore move that
we adopt a law prohibiting profanity.
It was manifest that not every one in the assembly agreed with these
sentiments of the hunter, and there was a moment of hesitation. Peleg,
however, always ready to further the efforts of his friend, whom he
admired more than he did any living man, promptly arose and seconded
the motion, which then was passed without any opposition, though not
with the enthusiasm which had greeted the preceding motion.
Once more the tall scout arose and said: I have still one other
desire in my heart. As you all know, our little settlement has been
unusually free from the brawls which occur in so many of the hamlets on
the border. I am confident it is the desire of every one here that the
same things shall continue to be true. If we must fight, then let us
fight hard; but all petty quarrellings and brawls, let them not
henceforth even be mentioned among us. With this peaceful desire in our
minds, I greatly desire that a law shall be adopted to express the wish
of this settlement that the Sabbath shall not be like other days. We
surely toil so hard throughout six days of the week that if there were
no other purpose in our minds we ought to rest on the Lord's Day. In
order that this may be clearly understood, I move that a law be adopted
which shall voice the sentiment of this community against the
profanation of the Sabbath Day.
There was no openly expressed opposition to the desire of the scout,
and Peleg having promptly seconded this motion, his third suggestion
also was adopted.
Soon afterward, Colonel Henderson called upon the pioneer preacher
to close the meeting with prayer, and the assembly dispersed.
Peleg, Israel Boone, and Henry departed together from the fort. The
last named was now able to express himself in English and, though he
was still reserved in his bearings toward the people in general, his
friendship for Peleg and Israel had strengthened with every passing
I never know such man like your father, said Henry to Israel.
He is the best man that ever lived! broke in Peleg
enthusiastically. He has been just like a father to me, and if he was
my real father I should be the proudest man in all Kentucky.
That would mean a great many people, suggested Israel with a
smile. I understand there are new settlers arriving every day. I have
heard that Logan's Fort and Harrodsburgh are filling in very fast.
So I have heard, responded Peleg.
If the Indians would only leave us free!
But they will not, broke in Henry. They say white people not make
any more settlements, and it not long before they drive out those that
Let them try! said Israel dryly.
They have been trying, remarked Peleg. There is not a day that we
have not seen some signs of the Shawnees or Delawares prowling around
They have not made any open attack for some time now, suggested
Henry shook his head as he said: That means they only wait. Pretty
soon you see. They feel for white men like wolf feel for bear.
And that is about the same love that a dog has for a cat,
suggested Peleg with a laugh.
That is it, acknowledged Henry soberly. I never know why bear and
wolf no like each other. They kill many other things, but when wolf
find trail of bear he call to all his friends and they begin to chase
Mr. Bear. One day I saw a pack of wolves chasing big bear.
Was the bear running from them? inquired Israel.
Yes, he run much fast. By and by he come to place where he can go
no more, then he stand up with his back to tree, and the way he cuff
those wolves first one side, then on other, make me laugh.
Yes, said Peleg, I have seen the same thing myself. It is like
the feeling that Sam Oliver says the otter has for the beaver.
Or the mink for the ermine, suggested Israel.
Both mink and ermine bad as they can be, said Henry, shaking his
head. They kill all things not so strong as they.
Yes, suggested Peleg, I think the mink and ermine are about the
worst animals alive. The mink is three or four times as big as the
ermine is and has a good deal more strength
But the ermine so quick, interrupted Henry. He so quick, he
repeated, and he most bloodthirsty little animal in the forest. When
he begin to fight he always fight on until either he is killed or mink
Sam Oliver was telling me the last time he was in the settlement,
said Peleg, that last winter he was trailing a fox that was chasing a
rabbit, and when Sam came to his trap-line he heard, away off to one
side, a mink scream. He says you can hear a mink scream almost a
quarter of a mile away. He was trapping minks and he thought he had one
caught, so he turned and started for his trap. When he got there he
saw, so he said, the biggest fight he ever saw in the woods. A mink was
caught in his trap and an ermine was fighting him.
Pretty quick he saw that instead of there being only one there were
two of the ermine. They kept walking around the mink in a circle and
kept going faster and faster until by and by one of them, quick as
lightning, right in front of the mink, jumped for him, and almost at
the same time the other ermine jumped in, too, and tried to get a grip
on the mink's neck. They must have tried that same thing before,
because this time he heard the mink scream, too, though he was doing
something besides. For about half a minute Sam said he couldn't hear or
see much of anything except the fracas. Then just about as swiftly as
the two ermine had jumped into the fight, they jumped out and began to
circle around the mink again. The next time they tried to get the neck
hold only one of them slipped back. The other got his teeth fastened
right where he wanted them, and you know they are like needles. Then
the other ermine came back and he, too, got a throat hold. In just a
few minutes the whole affair was ended and the ermine came out ahead.
Sam said he could have walked up to them and picked them up, they were
so excited, squeaking like mice, and trying to tear the dead mink all
Sam got the two ermine then, didn't he? inquired Israel.
Yes. I told him, though, I thought they had earned their right to
live, but Sam never feels that way about such things.
The reference to Sam Oliver had brought a scowl to the face of Henry
and caused him to become silent as long as the hunter was a topic of
In the succeeding days reports of the presence of Indians steadily
increased. Several men toiling in the fields were fired upon by
Shawnees who had crept up to the border of the forest.
Steadily the Indians showed their determination to do their utmost
to prevent the settlers from making homes in their hunting grounds. The
hostilities of the Shawnees became more marked with every passing
month. Indeed, so many were the manifestations of their plan to attack
the settlements that finally Colonel Clark, who at this time had been
given the command of all military forces in Kentucky, became so
convinced that there was a plan in the minds of the Indians to assemble
a great body of their warriors to destroy the border forts and their
inhabitants that he begged the pioneer scout to act as a spy and to
assume charge of other spies that were to be sent among the tribes to
learn their numbers as well as their designs.
Daniel Boone, fully aware of the danger, and in spite of his desire
to remain at home, responded to this new call because he looked upon
himself as in a measure answerable for the safety of the people whom he
had induced to come into Kentucky. At this time the region was known as
the dark and bloody ground, so many had been the attacks and
conflicts between the incoming whites and their Indian foes.
Daniel Boone ordered his spies to start out in different directions,
and after they had scoured the country for miles around, they were to
meet at a time and place agreed upon and report what they had
discovered and form their plans for the future.
Convinced at last that there was no immediate danger of a concerted
attack by the Indians, the scout returned to Boonesborough and resumed
Peleg, said Boone one day not long after his return, we must have
some salt. I shall take a party to Blue Licks. Will you come?
Yes, sir, replied Peleg promptly.
I shall leave Israel at home to protect the family, but I shall
want you and Henry to go with me. We ought to have a party of
twenty-five or thirty men not only to make the salt, but to keep back
the Shawnees, who are likely to make trouble for us if we are not
strong enough to defend ourselves.
The following day Daniel Boone, together with Peleg and twenty-six
other men, departed for the salt springs, or Blue Licks, as they were
called by the settlers. Neither of the scouts, however, was aware that
he was there to meet with the most thrilling adventure of his life.
CHAPTER XIX. THE CAPTURE
Several days of hard work followed the arrival of the party at the
salt springs. Fireplaces had to be made, boilers arranged, and the
water evaporated, leaving its deposit of salt, so necessary in the life
of the people of Boonesborough.
The process, however, was exceedingly slow, although the men toiled
day and night because of their desire to return to their homes, and
their fear of the prowling Indians. On the third day, when the supplies
of food were low, Daniel Boone suggested that he should for a time
leave his companions at their task while he secured some game which
might be prepared for their dinner that night.
Taking his rifle and shaking his head when Peleg offered to
accompany him, the hunter departed. No one expected him to be gone more
than an hour. When, however, three hours had elapsed his friends became
increasingly uneasy. They had relied on their numbers as being a
sufficient protection against the prowling Indians. The savages were
known to be near, and occasionally they had been seen skulking from
tree to tree. Because of this condition, the decision of Daniel Boone
to go alone had been opposed by his companions, and as his absence
continued there was increasing anxiety for his safety.
Meanwhile, if Peleg and his companions had known what had befallen
the scout, they would have had even stronger grounds for their fears.
For some reason Boone was unable to discover any game in the
immediate proximity of the camp, so he proceeded several miles through
the forest in his search. When he halted at last and looked about him
he concluded that he must be at least four miles from the Blue Lick
Springs. He was aware of the peril which might beset a lonely hunter at
such times, and as the afternoon sun was steadily declining, decided to
retrace his way toward camp.
As he turned abruptly he was startled to behold five young Indians
Without hesitating a moment Boone whirled about and ran. Exerting
himself to the utmost, he sped through the forest, closely followed by
his pursuers, who, for some reason which he did not understand, had not
fired upon him.
Capable as Boone was of a long-continued race, speed could not be
his main reliance. He was no longer a young man, and his pursuers were
in the prime of their young manhood.
Glancing behind him, Boone was aware that his enemies were gaining
upon him. Wheeling suddenly he darted into the brush, then leaped into
a swiftly running stream and ran with the current for one hundred feet
or more before he jumped to the bank on the opposite side and once more
resumed his flight.
Apparently, however, it was impossible for him to shake off his
pursuers. Doggedly they held to the chase, and the conviction was
strengthening in Boone's mind that not only were the young warriors
gaining steadily upon him, but also that they were maintaining a pace
which would soon be too great for him to keep up. Indeed it was only a
few minutes later when by an unusual burst of speed his enemies
overtook and surrounded him.
Boone smiled in spite of his peril when he saw that their first
demand was for his rifle. It was plain that they knew who he was and
were proud of their success in capturing the great scout. One of the
young Indians was able to speak a few words of English, and advancing
to Boone he extended his hand as a token of friendship and shook hands
after the manner of the white people.
Big scout broder, said the young warrior, No shoot. No kill.
Boone smilingly nodded his head in token of comprehension and
without demur followed his captors as they led him rapidly through the
forest. If he was chagrined or cast down his feeling was not betrayed
by his countenance.
The Indians seldom spoke as they proceeded, and Boone's surprise was
great when after an advance of an hour he was taken into the midst of a
group of one hundred and fifty Shawnee warriors.
Here, too, the hunter was recognized, and there were many
expressions of delight over the capture of the man whom all the Indians
of the region knew and feared. Boone soon was to learn that they also
entertained for him a feeling close to affection.
Apparently unmoved by the peril in which he now found himself, Boone
looked quietly into the faces of the braves and awaited their action.
In a brief time, in the midst of the band, he was conducted back
toward Blue Lick Springs. Surprised at first by the direction in which
they were moving, his fears for his friends increased with every
passing mile. They were outnumbered by the Indians in the approaching
party, and were without his leadership. How would they be able to
defend themselves from an attack?
This question was unanswered when the band arrived within a half
mile of the place they were seeking. Then one of the younger chiefs
approached Boone and said in his broken English: Big hunter. No hurt.
Broders of big hunter no hurt. No shoot.
Do you mean, inquired Boone, that my friends will be taken
prisoners and not shot?
The Indian laughed, for his pleasure at the apparent success of
their undertaking was manifest, and he said: No shoot. No kill white
Do you mean, asked Boone once more, that if they do not shoot,
you will not?
No shoot. No hurt, answered the Indian.
Which means that you will take us all to your village?
The Indian nodded in assent.
And if they do not shoot and you make captives of them, do you
promise that you will not harm them when you take them to your
No shoot. No hurt, repeated the Indian, nodding his head several
times to add emphasis to his words. Big scout go with Owaneeyotell
You want me to tell them that you are here, and that if they do not
shoot then you will not shoot, either, and that you give your word that
they will not be harmed if they go with you to your village?
The Indian smiled broadly as he said: Big scout go with Injuntell
broder. Shawnee no shoot. No hurt white broder. White broder shoot,
Shawnee shoot. No take white broder to village, take white broder
For a few moments Boone silently considered. He well knew that it
would be impossible for his friends to escape the united attack of the
Shawnees. Every warrior was armed with a gun, and, as the band
outnumbered the whites nearly five to one, it would be worse than
useless for them to attempt to defend themselves. On the other hand, if
they submitted quietly it might be possible partly to disarm the
captors of their watchfulness, and as there were so many of the whites
some opportunity might arise that would provide an avenue for escape.
In the latter event the chances that more of the men would escape alive
were much better than they would be if they attempted to defend
themselves at the present time.
Accordingly, Boone said to the young chief: I will go with you to
tell my brothers what the chiefs say if you will come with me unarmed.
For a moment there was an expression of anger or suspicion in the
eyes of the stalwart young Indian, but it quickly passed, and he said:
Big scout no lie. Owaneeyo go without gun. Tell broders what Owaneeyo
say to scout.
Turning to his companions the young chief gave his command for them
to encircle the springs where the white men were at work. As soon as
his orders had been obeyed he stepped up to Boone and bowed low to
indicate his readiness to accompany the scout.
Without a word both advanced, with Boone moving directly before his
companion. They soon came to the spot where the whites were engaged in
their task, all unaware of the peril that was threatening them.
Many curious glances were given the companion of the scout when
Boone and the chief first appeared. In compliance with Boone's
suggestion, the men gave up their labours and assembled to hear what
the chief had to say.
The speech of Owaneeyo was not long, but every word held a meaning
which strongly impressed the listening settlers.
When the chief ceased speaking Boone himself stepped forward and
said: My friends, there is nothing else to do. I am sure you would not
credit me with being a coward. I am speaking that which I know. There
are at least one hundred and fifty of the Shawnees here and they are in
a circle all about us right now. We have no defences behind which to
fight, and they are able to pick us off without exposing themselves. If
we run we should find in whatever direction we went that we were going
straight into their arms. They promise us that if we do not fire upon
them they will not shoot any of us. The chief also has agreed to see
that we have good treatment not only here and on our way to their
village, but also after we arrive there.
There were some murmurs of disapproval, but the word and the example
of the scout were both so influential that assent was soon given, and
the chief was told that the white men would make no protest.
At his bidding their rifles were all deposited in one place. A
moment later he emitted a loud call, and almost as if they had sprung
from the ground itself the Shawnees came running to the place where the
settlers were awaiting them.
The entire party soon left the springs, the white prisoners being
scattered among the warriors in such a manner that no two were able to
converse. In spite of the fierce glances of some of the braves, there
was slight fear on Boone's part that the word of Owaneeyo would be
broken. Cruel the Indian might be in his own way, and treacherous
according to the standards of the whites, but his promise, once having
been given, was binding.
The band moved rapidly, stopping only occasionally by night. Not one
of the prisoners was aware what Indian village was to be their
destination, although the scout, from his familiarity with the region
through which they were conducted, was convinced that they were being
taken to the place called Chillicothe.
His surmise proved to be correct, and on the fifth day the returning
party with their prisoners arrived at the capital of the Shawnees.
Their coming was greeted with cries and shouts and many expressions of
delight by the Indians of Chillicothe. To these, however, the warriors
gave slight heed, and the prisoners endeavoured to follow their
example, though it was difficult for some of them completely to assume
an air of indifference. What the fate of the captives was to be was not
to be known until the following day.
CHAPTER XX. AN OFFER OF RELEASE
There had been slight opportunity for Peleg to have any conversation
with his friend throughout the march.
The Indians, rejoiced over their success in making a prisoner of the
great scout, nevertheless appeared to be fearful lest the man whom they
valued so highly should escape. Throughout the journey the prisoners
were treated with consideration, although when night came and the halts
were made for rest the white men were compelled to sleep within a
circle formed by their captors. In this way they were deprived of every
possibility of escape. When, however, they had arrived at the old
village of Chillicothe, there were a few minutes when Daniel Boone and
Peleg and several of their comrades were left together in the wigwam
into which they had been thrust.
Peleg, said Daniel Boone in a low voice, what a mistake our
enemies have made.
What do you mean? inquired Peleg quickly.
If they had taken us to Boonesborough or to Logan's Fort and there
had shown us to the settlers they could have demanded almost any price
they might choose for our ransom.
Will they not do it yet? inquired Peleg.
I hardly think so, replied the scout, shaking his head. The
Indians are like children in many ways. When they have been successful,
either on the warpath or in the chase, they immediately return to their
friends to celebrate their good fortune with them. They are easily
elated, and are almost childish in seeking the praise of those whose
opinions they value. That is the reason why they have come back to the
village with their twenty-eight prisoners.
What will happen to us? inquired Peleg anxiously.
That no man can say. All that I am sure of is that we must bear
whatever comes in the spirit of those who know that it is the best
thing that could happen for every one of us.
If they burn us at the stake? inquired Peleg bitterly.
Yes, even if they burn us at the stake. It will be hard to bear if
they do that, but I am not without hope that they will adopt some other
They may make us run the gauntlet.
Yes, they may, admitted Boone, but there is one thing, Peleg, we
do not have to do.
What is that, sir?
We do not have to bear anything before it comes. All that any man
can do is to prepare for what may befall him, and then, whatever comes,
bear it like a man. But he who worries over his troubles before they
arrive is in no condition to bear them after they come.
I know that is your way of thinking, said Peleg, but I have not
learned it yet.
That's the correct word, Peleg.
What word? inquired the younger scout quickly.
The word 'learned,' No one has it at the beginning of his life.
Even Preacher Lythe told us one time that he, like Paul, 'learned' in
whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content.
So have you! said Peleg cordially.
Boone smiled and shook his head as he replied: I have learned not
to reveal all my feelings. Beyond that I cannot say. But I am so fully
convinced that whatever befalls me in this life is part of a great
plan, that it would be foolish for me to complain or whine. Whatever
happens, no one shall ever be able to say that he heard a whimper from
Daniel Boone. Whate'er may come to us, lad, do not let any of these
Shawnees see that you are in the least cast down.
I shall do my best.
I am hopeful, said Boone, that we shall not be treated severely.
Chief Owaneeyo gave us his promise when we surrendered that we should
be treated with kindness both on our journey and after we arrived at
the Indian village. I believe he spoke truly.
What I am afraid of, said Peleg, is that some of these braves
will not listen to him. I think Owaneeyo will live up to his promise as
far as he is able.
There, Peleg, you are borrowing trouble again. What shall I do with
you? said Boone gently. For myself, I shall look for the better side,
and if the hard times come I shall bear them as I may be able, but I am
expecting that things will not be as bad as you fear, and I shall keep
myself ready if Providence reveals any opening for our release. I
believe firmly that such an opening will come and that we shall yet go
back to our friends.
I hope so, said Peleg fervently.
But whatever comes, Peleg, you must be cheerful, at least in your
appearance. If the Indians see that you are cast down or afraid, they
will immediately lose their respect for you, and no one can tell what
In a measure the words of the scout proved to be true. The prisoners
were treated with kindness and were assigned to various members of the
tribe in such a manner that they seldom had an opportunity of
conversing with one another.
Mindful of the directions of the great scout, Peleg did his utmost
to maintain a cheerful manner. He was confident, too, as the days
passed, that however heavy his own heart might be the Shawnees were
sure that he was adapting himself to the life of their tribe and was
not unhappy in their midst.
A few days after the captives had been brought into the village,
Owaneeyo came to Boone one morning and said: Big scout shoot. No shoot
The word which he wished to use failed the young chief, but laughing
heartily he conducted the hunter to a place where Daniel Boone saw that
a target had been erected. He concluded that the plan of the Indian was
for him to enter into a contest with some of the best shots among the
With apparent eagerness he accepted the invitation, and soon many of
the warriors were assembled, keenly watching the contest between Boone
and three of the braves.
Daniel Boone wisely was shooting well, but not too well. Two of his
competitors he easily outdid, but the third, who was Owaneeyo himself,
and no mean shot, he permitted to beat him. The glee of the Indian when
the match was ended was so marked and childish that Boone instantly
decided that if future contests of a similar character were held he
knew what his own course of action must be.
The following day a second contest was arranged, and at Boone's
suggestion Peleg also was summoned to share in it.
Lad, whispered Boone, while he was apparently bending over his
rifle and looking to its priming, I am sure if we are careful we shall
soon be permitted to have our own rifles. Perhaps you can get yours now
for the match, if you want it, but my advice to you in any event is to
let the Indians beat you, but not too easily.
The delight of the Indians was even greater than on the preceding
day, when Owaneeyo and one of his warriors succeeded in making a better
record than Peleg and were tied with the work which the scout did.
At frequent intervals throughout the autumn these contests were
held. In every event the white scouts were careful to shoot well, but
not too well. So manifest was the feeling of affection and confidence
among the Shawnees, especially for Daniel Boone, that it was not long
before the white men, one or two at a time, were permitted to accompany
the Indians whenever they went on the hunting path.
In this manner the winter passed and already there were promises of
the return of spring. March had come and the snows were beginning to
disappear from the depths of the forest. It was in this month that
Owaneeyo came to Daniel Boone one day, saying eagerly: Broder go with
Go where? inquired Boone. His anxiety for his family in their
faraway home by the Kentucky by this time had become almost unbearable.
As they were unaware of the fate which had befallen him and his
companions, and yet were fully aware of the cruelty of the Indians and
the hatred which they had manifested for the settlers at Boonesborough,
the scout was continually thinking of the anxiety which must possess
his own family at this time. Not a word had come to them concerning his
safety or his whereabouts, and there was no means by which such word
might be sent. It was therefore with a feeling of consternation which
it was difficult for him to conceal that he heard the statement of the
Broder see where go, laughed the Indian, as if he was preserving
some great pleasure for his friend.
Aware that protests were vain, Boone, with apparent cordiality,
expressed his desire to accompany the Indians, although he was ignorant
of the destination of the proposed journey.
To his surprise, the following day when the party set forth from the
village, he found Peleg and nine other whites in the company.
There was no opportunity, however, for conversation among the
captives, who, in spite of the freedom which of late had been granted
them by the Shawnees, now were watched more carefully as the warriors
sped through the forest.
When the band at last arrived at Detroit, Boone was not surprised at
the destination. Here several days elapsed before Owaneeyo expressed
his purpose to return. Just why Boone had been compelled to accompany
the Indians the scout did not yet understand.
However, on the day before their departure, Governor Hamilton
summoned Owaneeyo and Daniel Boone to his quarters.
After a few preliminary words the Governor said to the Indian: I
will give you £100 for the ransom of this man.
A scowl instantly appeared upon the face of the chief and he turned
as if about to depart from the presence of the Governor.
Wheeling abruptly about, however, his eyes shining and an expression
upon his face which showed how deep his feeling was, he said: No sell
broder. He my broder. As he spoke, Owaneeyo looked steadily into the
eyes of the scout, and there was no question in the mind of Daniel
Boone as to the sincerity of the young chief's feelings.
But he is a white man, protested the Governor.
He my broder, declared Owaneeyo, as if no further explanation need
Ask him if he would rather go with you or stay here.
I would rather go, said Daniel Boone, than have you pay so much
gold for my release. The Shawnees have been good to me, and though I am
a white man, my own friends and country could not deal more kindly with
me than have Owaneeyo and his tribe.
No take gold, said Owaneeyo, and strode from the Governor's
quarters as he spoke.
Boone delayed a few minutes, explaining to the Governor that it
would be impossible for him to accept such a ransom, saying in his
simple way: I am in the hands of a greater Governor than even you,
Governor Hamilton, and I am sure that the right in the end will be
Apparently the commander was not yet fully persuaded, for on the
following morning, before the Shawnees departed from Detroit, several
of the Englishmen at the post, deeply touched with sympathy for the
scout in his captivity, came to Boone himself with offerings of money
for his release. The sturdy scout smiled, however, and shook his head,
explaining that it would be impossible for him to accept such benefits
which would forever be beyond his power to return or repay.
But you need never return the money to us. It may be our turn to be
prisoners of the Indians soon, and then some one will have to do for us
what we now are trying to do for you, protested one of the men.
I cannot take your gifts, said the hunter shortly. It was manifest
that all efforts to induce him to change his decision would be
In a few hours the entire band of Shawnees and their captives set
forth on their return to Chillicothe. No reference was made by Owaneeyo
to the offer which had been made by the Governor and his friends, but
it was plain to Daniel Boone throughout their long march that the
chief's feeling of affection for him had been greatly strengthened by
what had occurred at Detroit.
However, when the party at last arrived at the Indian town, even
Daniel Boone was startled by the proposition which was made by one of
the Shawnee chiefs.
CHAPTER XXI. FLIGHT
What do you think, Peleg? inquired Boone a few days after the
return from Detroit. Blackfish wishes to adopt me into his family.
What! exclaimed Peleg in amazement.
Yes. One of his sons was killed not long ago and he wishes me to
take his place. I do not know how much older my foster-father will be
than I am. As a rule I think it is wise for a father to be a little
older than his son, added Boone quizzically. But it won't make any
great difference in this case.
You are not going to allow it, are you? repeated Peleg.
I must. Blackfish seems to be very fond of me, and since we came
back from Detroit, Owaneeyo has spread many reports of my devotion to
the tribe. He little realizes what restraint I have had to put upon
myself, and how there are times when it seems to me that I would almost
give my life for the privilege of looking upon the faces of my family
once more. It will never do for me to refuse.
Peleg said no more, but in spite of the scout's information he was
scarcely prepared for the adoption which followed in a short time.
In the presence of the family of Blackfish and of some of the
leading warriors of the tribe, a good deal of hair was pulled from the
head of Boone, leaving his scalp-lock not unlike that of the Indians.
His body then was bathed in several waters, the medicine-men who
performed the act claiming that in this way his white blood was washed
away, and he became essentially a Shawnee in nature as well as in name.
A feast followed the formality of adoption, and then Daniel Boone was
given a nameThe Man with the Long Rifleand formally declared to
be a son of the great Chief Blackfish.
There was a slight change in the treatment which Boone and his
companions received after this event. The increasing confidence of the
Indians was manifest, and found its most complete expression when a few
days afterward they sent Boone, together with two or three white men
and a score of warriors, to the springs of the Sciota to make salt.
Upon their return from this expedition Boone was alarmed as well as
astonished by the appearance of the Shawnee braves. Many of them were
daubed in their war paint, and it was apparent on every side that the
warriors were preparing for battle.
It was not difficult for the great scout to learn that the object of
the campaign was to take the little settlement on the Kentucky, where
his home was located.
Familiar as he was with the Indian customs, Boone was aware that
more extensive preparations than he had yet seen would be made before
the warriors started on the warpath. Meanwhile, he was determined to
escape from the Indian village, and return with his warning to his
friends on the Kentucky.
In spite of the freedom he enjoyed, he knew that it would be
extremely difficult for him to escape. At least one hundred and sixty
miles of forest and wilderness intervened between the village and
Boonesborough. To obtain supplies of food, or weapons by which he might
defend himself from beasts and warriors, was well-nigh impossible.
Nevertheless the determined man decided to try to escape from the
Shawnees at the first favourable opportunity. He was fully aware that
he must not do anything to arouse the suspicions of the tribe. Yet the
time of the departure of the warriors could not be far distant.
Meanwhile, he talked over these matters in the occasional interviews
he was permitted to have with Peleg. Almost all the younger scout knew,
however, was that his friend had determined, when the proper time
arrived, to flee from the village and warn the settlers of their peril.
It was also understood that, after the departure of the scout, if Peleg
should see the least opportunity, he, too, would attempt to leave the
When June came the great scout saw that the men were preparing for a
march within a few days. Whatever he was to do must be done quickly. No
opportunity had been granted for a further word with his young friend,
when early one morning Boone fled from Chillicothe.
A small piece of jerked venison was all the food he had been able to
take with him on his long journey. He was without rifle or knife and
before him stretched a pathless forest through which he must flee one
hundred and sixty miles before he again would be among his friends! No
one knew better than Boone himself that it was to be a race for life,
for pursuit on the morrow was as certain as the rising of the sun.
Nevertheless with the same quiet courage which had ever been the
great scout's strong reliance, he struck out for the Ohio River.
Through the deep forests, over the high crags and rocks, across the
creeks and following the courses of the river, by day and by night, he
forced his tireless way.
Success crowned his efforts at last, and he gained the shores of the
Ohio. But when he arrived upon the bank he found the river full and at
least a mile in width.
Unable to swim, for a time the scout was uncertain what his next
move should be. Fortunately, he found, on the bank near the place where
he was standing, an old canoe which had been driven against the shore.
Although the little craft was untrustworthy, one end having been badly
broken, the intrepid man succeeded in paddling his way in it to the
Four days and four nights the scout had been running with only an
occasional brief respite. Throughout that time he had eaten but one
meal. His strength was failing, but his hope was strong, for Daniel
Boone was aware now that he was near to his home. At last the quaint
fort was seen before him and the end of the journey had been gained.
The return of the scout was almost like that of one who had come
back from the dead. Every man in the little settlement had believed
that Daniel Boone was to be seen no more. No tidings had come from
faraway Chillicothe, and no one in Boonesborough had any means of
knowing what had befallen the party in their labours at Blue Licks.
Where is my wife? Where are my children? demanded Boone as soon as
he entered the fort.
Gone, answered Sam Oliver, who at the time was making one of his
occasional visits at the settlement.
'Gone!' repeated Boone in astonishment. 'Gone!' Where?
Your wife and all your children except Jemima have gone back to
North Carolina. They all believed you to be dead and your wife felt
that she could no longer remain here. Jemima is the only one that
It was not long before the scout found his intrepid daughter, who in
spite of the departure of the other members of the family had been
strong in her conviction that either her father would return or some
definite word concerning his fate would be received. For that reason
she had remained in the fort.
Not a moment was to be lost. Weary, indeed almost exhausted by his
long flight, as soon as food and a brief rest had been obtained Boone
at once helped the little garrison to work day and night upon their
fortifications. New gates were made and double bastions were speedily
completed. The horses and cattle were driven in from the fields, and
powder and balls prepared. Before ten days had elapsed the fort was in
readiness for the coming of the enemy.
Early in the morning of the final day, while Daniel Boone was
himself on guard, he discovered a man approaching from the forest.
Keenly watching the indistinct figure and prepared for instant action,
although as yet he had not summoned any of his companions, Boone soon
was aware that the returning man was none other than his friend Peleg.
The young scout was admitted by Boone, and in response to his
queries he was soon describing what had befallen him.
In the midst of the excitement which had followed the escape of
Boone, Peleg found the opportunity for which he himself had been
waiting, and he, too, fled from the little village. In some ways,
however, he had been more successful than his friend, inasmuch as he
had been able to secure both Singing Susan and some ammunition,
together with a hunting-knife.
Have they followed you, lad? inquired Boone eagerly.
I do not know. They were filled with the plan of attacking the fort
and I do not know whether anything has been done to turn them aside
from it. I have had many trials, continued the young scout. If I had
not found the circles of stones which you left I could not have
followed your trail. I do not know how you crossed the Ohio.
I found an old canoe, explained Boone.
That makes everything plain, then, laughed Peleg, for I used the
same canoe. Some one must have brought it back or it had floated down
stream; at any rate it saved me from getting Singing Susan wet. The
first place I found your stones was about two miles from the river, at
the spring where there is a little waterfall. I can't tell you what it
meant to me, for I was not sure of my way. I tried to think of
everything you had told me about the stars, the course of the streams,
and the changes in the trees, and then every little while I climbed to
the top of a hill when I came near one and got my bearings from there.
You are here, lad, said Boone. You were led as I was. That is
enough. Now tell me about the Shawnees. Are they coming?
I think so, but the attack will be delayed several weeks.
Why is that?
Because you escaped. They tried their best to overtake you, but
when Owaneeyo and some of the other warriors of the tribe came back and
said they had not found you, then Blackfish declared that you would
come to the fort here to warn the settlers. They then decided, I think,
to put off their march about three weeks.
Boone nodded his head several times as if the explanation Peleg had
given was one that commended itself to his judgment. There was no
alteration, however, in the plans of the scout for strengthening the
defences of the little fort. By this time the alarm had spread
throughout the little settlement and every man was alert.
The delay in the coming of the Shawnees, however, continued so long
that Boone concluded that they might have become discouraged by the
report of their spies concerning the condition of the fort.
Prowling Indians had been seen frequently in the vicinity of
Boonesborough after the arrival of Peleg, and the scout now decided
that it would be a good plan for him to turn the tables and with a
party invade the country of the Shawnees themselves.
Choosing nineteen men from the little garrison, he led them swiftly
and silently as far as Paint Creek on the Sciota. He had come within
four miles of the little Indian village, when unexpectedly the band met
a party of thirty warriors, who were marching to join the expedition
There was no opportunity for retreat or deliberation. Instantly
Boone called upon his companions to follow his example and fired upon
the astonished warriors.
The Shawnees without attempting to respond, and doubtless unaware of
the numbers of their enemies, immediately turned and fled.
The scout now halted his forces and sent two spies to discover what
was taking place in the village. The men returned with the information
that it had been abandoned.
As soon as this information had been received, Boone summoned his
followers and said to them: I am convinced from the reports of our
friends that a great army of the Indians is now marching against
Boonesborough. Our friends are in almost as great danger as are we.
There is nothing left for us except to return and make the best
possible time in our march.
Every one assented to the suggestion and the return was begun, the
men marching day and night, hoping to elude the Indians, who, the scout
now believed, were between them and Boonesborough.
It was not long before the returning band discovered the trail of
the advancing warriors. Thereupon the leader decided to make a detour
and avoid his enemies. All unknown to the Indians, on the sixth day of
the returning march the intrepid band passed the red men, and on the
seventh arrived safely at Boonesborough.
The following day five hundred hideously painted, thoroughly armed
Indians appeared at the fort.
The alarm of the little garrison would have been still greater had
they known that Duquesne, for whom Fort Pitt was first named, was in
command of the entire band. Even Blackfish for the time had resigned
his position as leader, preferring to have the skilful Frenchman assume
the command in the attack on the fort. Nor was Captain Duquesne alone,
for twelve of his countrymen also were with him to assist in leading
the savages in their attack.
CHAPTER XXII. THE COMING OF
Peleg, said Daniel Boone after the appearance of the enemy in
front of the fort, I understand now why it was that I was so long a
prisoner of the Shawnees.
Peleg expressed his question without replying in words and the
hunter continued: If I had not been a captive I never should have
known how strong they are nor what their plans might be. And I think,
too, that I never should have known what the relation is between the
Shawnees and the French.
Do you think we can hold this place? inquired Peleg anxiously.
We shall do our best, lad, and the result is not altogether in our
hands. I have sent messengers all through the settlements asking for
The conversation was interrupted by the appearance of a messenger
from the attacking armya white man. Before he arrived at the stockade
he was hailed by Daniel Boone, who, with Peleg, was standing on one of
After a few preliminary words the man said: I am instructed by
Captain Duquesne to state to you that he has received orders from
Governor Hamilton at Detroit to take this fort, but to save the lives
of the people, if it is possible so to do.
Boone gazed down into the face of the speaker, but did not reply.
I am further instructed by Captain Duquesne, resumed the
messenger, to ask you to send nine men from the fort to arrange for a
treaty. You can meet the men from our army wherever you desire.
I shall report to you as soon as I have consulted my friends, said
Daniel Boone as he and his companion retired to the fort.
When the defenders were assembled Sam Oliver declared hotly: I
should never send nine men out to meet the redskins! It is one of their
tricks, and not one of the nine will ever come back.
I do not feel that way about it, said Boone. I suspect that it
may be a trick, as you suggest, but it may help us to put off the
beginning of the fight until some of the other settlers for whom we
have sent can come to our aid. I favour sending a delegation of nine
men to meet a delegation from the Indians, but the place must be within
fire from the fort. I do not know how you feel, but for myself I am
willing to say that we shall never surrender this place while there is
one man left alive to defend it.
That's the way we all feel, said Sam Oliver, who still opposed the
Daniel Boone returned to the bastions and announced to the messenger
that nine men would meet a party from the Indians in accordance with
the proposition which had been made for the conference.
Selecting eight of his followers, the scout led the way to the
appointed place of meeting, which was sixty yards from the fort. There
the little band met Captain Duquesne and eighteen or twenty Indians.
The red warriors were silent, but their flashing eyes impressed the
scout more than any words could have done.
What we propose, began Captain Duquesne, is that every man in the
fort shall swear allegiance to King George the Third and submit to our
rule. If this can be done we can assure you that you may live in peace
and retain all your property.
Boone, who was the spokesman of the settlers, arose to reply. He
knew little of the great struggle which at that time was going on for
the independence of the colonies. His life on the border was too remote
from the battlefields of the north and east, and only occasional
rumours of the long contest came to the pioneers.
Boone's speech, conditionally agreeing to Duquesne's proposal, was
followed by one from Blackfish. The old chief, looking only once upon
his adopted son, and by the gleam in his eyes expressing his hatred,
asserted that when two great armies entered into a treaty it was
customary for the men to shake hands, and in doing so for two Indians
to shake the hands of each white man. There were smiles among the men
from the fort as they heard the smooth words of the crafty old chief,
but as all the warriors and white men were unarmed they were not unduly
At that moment a gun was fired as a signal from the forest, and the
Indian members of the council, advancing with open hands, grasped the
hands of the white men. Instantly the warriors endeavoured to drag
their white enemies toward the woods where many of the Shawnees were
concealed. A desperate conflict followed, and the Indians from the main
body begun to rush quickly toward the spot.
At the same time the watching men at the fort began to pour a fire
upon the approaching enemy, and in a few minutes, under stress of the
excitement, the scout and his friends tore themselves from the grasp of
the Indians and fled back to the fort. The heavy gate was closed and
bolted as soon as they were behind the defences. Fortunately only one
man had been wounded by the fire of the savages.
Captain Duquesne and Blackfish now ordered an attack upon the fort.
As the place was almost surrounded by woods except on the side toward
the river, the attacking party was well protected. The advance was made
from three sides at once.
Amid the wild yells of the Indians a volley of bullets was poured
into the fort, and as soon as the guns were discharged they were again
loaded and a steady fire maintained.
The defenders of the fort, however, were not wasting their scanty
ammunition. Every man from his porthole, or the place which he was
occupying on the bastions, was selecting his own special mark and every
shot was telling in the work of death. The fight continued throughout
the day, and when night fell, contrary to their custom, the Indians
still maintained their attack.
Another day and another night followed, without any break in the
struggle. Daniel Boone was aware that the Indians were now being guided
by Captain Duquesne and were not following their usual custom of
abandoning an attack when darkness fell. Meanwhile Boone was moving
from place to place encouraging his men and making sure that all things
Jemima Boone, by the direction of her father, was firing through one
of the portholes. In the second day of the fight a negro, who had fled
from the fort, climbed into a tree near by, fired at the girl and
Daniel Boone, who at the moment was standing near his daughter,
instantly peered through the porthole, discovered the deserter, and the
report of his rifle was followed by the fall of the man from the tree
in which he had hidden.
Day followed day and still the attack was maintained. The Indians
were unable to force an entrance into the place, but they were
unwilling to abandon the attack.
One afternoon Peleg came to Daniel Boone and, greatly excited, said:
Come with me!
Leading the way to the side of the fort which faced the river, he
called the attention of the scout to the colour of the water.
What does that mean? inquired Peleg.
It means that the varmints are trying to dig a trench from the bank
of the river to the fort, said Boone. The earth they have thrown out
has coloured the water. If they once get inside the fort they may
compel us to surrender.
What can we do? inquired Peleg. We must do something!
Come, I will show you, replied Boone quietly.
Selecting several men to aid Peleg in his task, he soon arranged for
a counter trench to be dug which would cross that which the Indians
were digging. Nor was it long before the discovery of the work of the
defenders caused the red men to abandon their scheme.
More furiously than before, the siege was continued. A new device
was tried by the Indians on the fifth day.
Arrows with burning brands attached to them were shot in such a
manner that they struck the roofs of the houses within the fort. It was
impossible for any one to prevent this work.
At last a cry was raised that the fort itself was on fire. The cry,
terrifying as it was, instantly brought Henry to the front, who said
calmly: I put out flame.
For a moment every gun and voice within the fort was silent while
the anxious inmates watched Henry as he made his way to the roof where
the fire already was kindled. A wild yell from the Indians greeted the
appearance of the young man and a shower of bullets fell all about him.
Undismayed by his peril, Henry succeeded in making his way to the
blazing arrow, flung it to the ground, and succeeded in putting out the
fire. As he turned to make his way back to his friends another shower
of bullets fell about him, and a groan escaped the watching defenders
when they saw the young hero suddenly lose his grasp upon the roof, and
after a brief struggle roll to the ground outside the walls.
The numbers of those who had fallen within the fort had not been
great, protected as they were by its wall and also by their own
continued vigilance. The ranks of the assailants, however, steadily had
been thinned, and on the ninth day, without any warning to the
defenders, the attacking Shawnees withdrew from the place.
Peleg was engaged in his duties in the fort on the morning following
the siege when the scout approached him and, in response to the
enthusiastic words of the boy, smiled as he said: Well, we did pretty
well, lad. We lost only two and had only four wounded.
And Henry was one of the killed, suggested Peleg.
I do not know. He has not been found, replied Boone. If one had
to die I think Henry was the best one to go. In response to a look of
inquiry from the boy, the scout continued: He had no family; his white
blood prevented him from being entirely at home among the Indians,
while his Indian bringing-up would have prevented him forever from
feeling that he was one of us. There were times when I was afraid for
the life of Sam Oliver, so bitter was Henry's hatred of him.
Do you know how many of the Indians were killed?
It is reported that thirty-seven were killed and a great many
wounded. It is difficult to say just what the losses were, because the
Indians always carry away their dead and wounded.
Do you think they will come back again?
The scout shook his head as he said: The country hereabouts is
increasing so rapidly in its population, and there are so many other
stations now between Boonesborough and the Ohio, that I hardly think
they will attack us again. Certainly not in the near future.
How is Jemima this morning? asked Peleg.
She will be all right in a few days, replied Boone. It was only a
flesh wound in the shoulder that she received.
What are you planning to do next?
If you agree, replied Daniel Boone, I shall leave you in charge
of my farm and start as soon as I can for North Carolina, to bring back
It was not long before the scout set forth alone on his journey to
the Yadkin, whither his wife had gone with all her children except
Jemima, to find a refuge in her father's house, after she had become
convinced that Daniel Boone had been killed by the Indians.
The journey was successfully made and the coming of Boone was to his
wife almost like the return of one from the dead. There were some
matters on the Yadkin, however, which prevented their immediate
departure, and it was not until several weeks had elapsed that the
scout with his family returned to Boonesborough.
Meanwhile Peleg had looked carefully after the farm which his friend
owned, and he received warm words of praise for his efforts when Boone
As soon as the scout saw that his family once more was established
in the settlement, and the attacks of the Indians, for a time at least,
had ceased, with his brother, who also now had joined the settlers, he
once more started for Blue Licks to make salt, of which the settlers
and their cattle were greatly in need.
Are you not afraid to go to the Blue Licks? inquired his brother
when Boone was ready to set forth on his expedition.
Why should I be? inquired Boone.
It was there that you were taken by the Indians.
[Illustration: The scout, with his family, returned to
They say, replied the scout with a smile, that lightning never
strikes twice in the same place. I am not afraid. I think the Shawnees
have been taught a good lesson. Colonel Bowman and his one hundred and
sixty men, though he was not very successful in his attack upon old
Chillicothe, nevertheless showed the Indians that we were not unmindful
of their plans. And Colonel Harrod at all events, when he made his
attack with the horsemen, certainly scattered the Indians on every
side. I think they will remember both men, although I wish that we
might have inflicted greater damage upon their village. The report is
that only two scalps were taken, but that may mean very little. The
attacks which Colonel Bird, with his five hundred Indians and
Canadians, made upon Riddle's Station and the little station upon the
Licking River, seem to me to show that the Indians are not ready to
give up yet.
Boone's assurance overcame the objections of his brother and
persuaded him that there was no special danger attending their labours
at Blue Licks.
The confidence of the scout seemed warranted when several days had
passed, the necessary salt had been made, and the two men were
preparing to return to the fort. Not an Indian had been seen, nor had
there been any signs of their presence.
Hardly had the two men, however, set forth on their return when,
without warning, they were attacked by a band of Indians. Boone's
brother was killed and scalped. But the scout instantly darted into the
thickest part of the forest. Owing to his superior knowledge of the
country he was not overtaken at once; and running steadily and as
swiftly as he was able, he at last sought refuge in a ravine, followed
by a dog which the Indians were using to trail him. Boone waited
quietly until the savage animal approached and then calmly shot it.
Aware that the report of his rifle would reveal his presence to his
enemies, the intrepid man, as the woods about him were dense and
darkness was approaching, resolutely made his way into the forest again
and resumed his flight toward Boonesborough.
CHAPTER XXIII. FOUR WARRIORS AND
With his usual coolness and fortitude, the great scout continued on
his way, and without further trouble arrived at the fort.
Peleg, he said the following day, when the two were labouring in
the field together, Blue Licks somehow seems to be destined to be a
place of trouble and sorrow for me. Only a few days ago my brother was
calling my attention to that fact and now his death has confirmed his
words. It grieves me that I could not even bring away his body. That,
however, is a part of the fortune of pioneers, and as no man ever yet
has heard me whine, I do not intend to begin now. But my brother's
death is a source of very heavy sorrow to me.
Do you think the Indians are planning another attack?
Not right away. I suspect that they are trying to attack or capture
me. Their anger against the settlement doubtless is as keen as ever,
but they look upon me as one who has deserted their tribe. Some day
they will find me. But I have one consolation, and that is that they
will not find me unprepared.
The words of the scout concerning the further attacks by the Indians
were confirmed during the year that followed. The little settlement at
Boonesborough steadily increased in numbers and prosperity. For a time,
free from the attacks of the Indians, the families toiled in their
fields. More extensive clearings were made and in the marvellously
fertile soil the crops were bountiful. There were many new homes
established in the community, too, for among the continually arriving
settlers were many young women.
In the quiet labours on his clearing Boone found peace and comfort
such as he seldom had enjoyed. Peleg, who had secured some land
adjoining the farm of his friend, worked with the scout and Israel, and
as they assisted one another both places steadily improved.
The feeling of Boone, however, that he was still an object of hatred
among the Shawnees was confirmed repeatedly. His most critical
experience came one day when, all unknown to the scout, four athletic
Shawnees were detailed by Blackfish to approach the settlement without
arousing any suspicions of their presence, watch the movements of the
scout, and either bring him back to the tribe or bring his scalp.
On his farm the scout had erected, not far from his cabin, a little
house in which he dried the tobacco he cultivated. The little building
stood in the midst of his tobacco patch. Within the house there were
three tiers of timber from which the tobacco leaves were hanging to
Boone and Peleg were busily engaged here one autumn day, almost
unmindful of peril, the younger scout believing that the fears of his
friend were without foundation.
The tobacco on this lower tier, said Boone after he had made a
careful investigation, seems to be entirely dry.
Then we had better change the sticks to the tier above, responded
Peleg. That will leave plenty of room for the leaves we have not
brought in as yet.
That's a good suggestion, answered Boone, and together the two
scouts began to transfer the sticks from the lower to the second tier.
Peleg departed from the building to bring in more of the tobacco
leaves and left Boone standing on the poles that separated the upper
Suddenly as the scout glanced below him he saw four Shawnee warriors
stealthily enter through the door and laugh as they looked up to him.
You no get away some more, said one of them whom Boone recognized
as Owaneeyo, We take you to Chillicothe this time. You no cheat us
Every one of the savages was armed and looking up into Boone's face,
while the direction in which the guns were aimed added force to this
Not for a moment losing his self-control, and aware that he was in
the greatest peril of his life, Boone's careful preparation now showed
its value. Ah! said he quietly. Glad to see you, my friends. How
have you been this long time?
Been heap mad, said Owaneeyo, frowning in a manner which betrayed
his rising anger. You come down.
I shall be very glad to go with you, my friends. Tell me, how is
Blackfish these days?
You come down! repeated Owaneeyo.
I just told you, said Boone, that I shall be glad to come down. I
prefer, however, to have you wait until I finish with my tobacco. In
the hunter's heart there was hope that Peleg would discover his
predicament and bring him aid before he should be seized by the angry
Make yourselves comfortable, continued Boone pleasantly. You see
I cannot get down from here and I cannot get away from you. The scout
paused a moment and glanced at his would-be captors.
You like tobacco? he resumed. When I have this cured I will give
some of it to you and we will smoke together.
The Indians were becoming impatient, and plainly were unaware of
what the scout was doing. Continuing his conversation and making more
inquiries concerning his friends in the Indian town, he did his utmost
to hold the attention of his dangerous visitors while he gathered
together some armfuls of tobacco.
Carefully arranging the bundles of the dry tobacco between the poles
and standing where he was able to look directly down into the faces of
his enemies, Boone suddenly cut the strings by which the sticks of
tobacco were held. At the same moment, with his arms full of the dried
leaves, he leaped down upon the Indians, and instantly filled their
mouths and eyes with dry tobacco dust. The Shawnees were blinded and
well-nigh suffocated in the little tobacco house. There were sneezes
and shouts and cries from the startled warriors, who now were unable to
see even the direction in which the door was located.
Darting from the little house, the scout made his escape and ran
swiftly to his cabin. In a moment he seized his trusty rifle, but as he
returned to the tobacco house he saw the Indians running blindly and
staggering toward the woods.
Boone restrained his impulse to fire upon the fleeing warriors, and
called to Peleg and Israel, who with several of the younger members of
the settlement were now hurriedly approaching, all of them prepared to
pursue the departing Shawnees.
Do not go after them! called Boone.
Reluctantly the young men halted, and Peleg said: Why do you not
want us to chase them? We might have had every one of them.
If the Shawnees do not go on the warpath, why should we?
They were on the warpath for you! said Israel. It was lucky you
Boone laughed silently as he recalled the appearance of the Indians
when he had thrown the tobacco dust into their faces. I am sure, he
said, the Shawnees will remember what I said to them and how they were
treated by me. Perhaps it will do more good than it will to shoot
The months passed and the peace of the settlement remained unbroken.
Few even suspected the terrible struggle which was awaiting them.
The game in the forest was becoming somewhat scarce. The settlers,
increasing steadily in numbers, now were scattered from the Kentucky
River to the Ohio. It was commonly believed that the Indians had
finally accepted the coming of the whites as inevitable, and no longer
were ready to dispute their occupation of the western forests.
The one marked exception was Daniel Boone. To all the assertions of
his friends he replied by expressing his own conviction that the red
men were simply biding their time. No one was more familiar with the
Indian ways and thoughts than the scout and he was positive that they
had not forgotten the injuries which they had sustained at the hands of
the whites. Sooner or later they would strive to obtain vengeance and
at the same time unite in a supreme endeavour to drive the hated people
from the lands which they believed to be their own.
I am more convinced than ever that trouble is brewing, said Boone
one day to Peleg and Israel, who now were his frequent companions. I
know Simon Girty, and a worse man never lived. He is a renegade and a
traitor. He has given up living among the whites, and in everything but
colour and in their better qualities he has become an Indian. I am sure
that we shall hear from him before many months have passed.
Little the great scout dreamed that even while he was expressing his
opinion to the boys, runners at that very time had been sent by Simon
Girty to many of the northwestern tribes, urging them all to lay aside
the jealousy they felt for one another and unite in one common cause
against the white invaders.
The following spring the storm burst. As the pattering raindrops
sometimes fall at the beginning of a downpour, so among the scattered
settlements a renewal of attacks by prowling bands of Indians indicated
what was to follow.
One day when Daniel Boone returned to his home he was unusually cast
down. He explained that he had just learned of an attack which a party
of twenty-five Wyandottes had made upon Estill's Station. The warriors
had stolen into a little cabin which was apart from the others in the
settlement. They had seized the occupantsa woman and her two
daughtersand tomahawked and scalped all three. The bodies were still
warm when they were discovered upon the floor of the cabin by
neighbours. The scout told what followed.
Immediately Captain Estill collected a band of twenty-five daring
men and followed the Indians more swiftly than I followed the band
which took Jemima prisoner. The Wyandottes at first seemed to be
frightened and began to run, but at last they made a stand on one side
of a creek, while the whites were on the other. They were not more than
fifty yards apart and every man was sheltered behind a tree or rock and
firing at any enemy that could be seen. Captain Estill had lost one
third of his men and had shot about as many of the Indians, but the
braves were still returning his fire, and showed no signs of leaving.
He thought if he should keep up that kind of a fight, every one at last
would be killed, unless perhaps it should be the very last white or
Mindful of this, Captain Estill sent out a party of six men, led by
Lieutenant Miller, telling them to creep around and attack the Indians
on their flank. But the chief was as shrewd as the captain, and as soon
as he saw that the fire of the whites was slowing up in front of him,
he instantly made a stronger attack upon the men that were left.
Jumping into the water, they fell upon the captain and his men, driving
them before them and killing a good many. Those who escaped finally got
back to the Station, and you can readily see how alarmed the people
What happened to Captain Estill? inquired Israel, greatly shocked
by the story of his father.
He and eight more of his men were killed, and, besides, four were
That's more than half that went out, isn't it? inquired Peleg.
Yes, answered Daniel Boone.
The report of the misfortune which had overtaken the men of Estill's
Station was speedily succeeded by another report no less alarming. A
band of Indians had crept up to Hoy's Station and there had stolen two
Quickly Captain Holder gathered a band of seventeen angry men and
started in pursuit of the Indians. It was not long before he overtook
them, but he and his men were driven back after more than half the
party had fallen.
The alarm now became widespread. The success which had attended the
plans of the Indians encouraged them to continue their efforts.
Sometimes singly, frequently in small parties, they crept close to the
settlements and by their stealthy attacks kept the people in continual
There was no one now to dispute the great scout's prophecy that more
serious trouble was to come. Within a few weeks an army of Indians,
made up of bands from many of the northwestern tribes and numbering
nearly six hundred warriors, began its march from Chillicothe.
The renegade Girty was in command. The little army moved with great
caution, and their approach was unsuspected by the whites. One August
night they arrived at Bryant's Station, surrounded it, and prepared to
dash upon the unsuspecting people the moment the gates should be opened
the following morning.
CHAPTER XXIV. A DECOY AND AN ATTACK
The fort at Bryant's Station was for the protection of forty cabins
placed in parallel lines upon a little hill on the bank of the Elkhorn
All through the night the garrison had been preparing as soon as
daylight came to depart from the fort to carry aid to the men at Hoy's
Station. A messenger had brought word to Bryant's Station of the defeat
which almost had overwhelmed Holder and his men. If Girty's band of six
hundred Indians had arrived a few hours later they would have found in
the fort only a few women and children, besides a small number of old
men, unable to fight.
Afterward it was learned that the Indians were listening all through
the night to the sounds of the activities within the fort, and when
they saw the lights gleaming from the blockhouse and the cabins they
must have suspected that news of their coming already had been received
by the inmates.
However, they made no attempt to steal upon the fort in the
darkness, although Girty and the Indian chiefs were planning and
arranging their attack for the following day.
For some strange reason many of the forts on the border had been
built at a considerable distance from the springs upon which the people
depended for their water. The fort at Bryant's Station was no
By Girty's direction many of the Indians placed themselves in
hiding, within shot of the spring. One hundred selected warriors also
were stationed at a distance from the spring. The latter were ordered
to open a sharp fire and make their presence known to the garrison.
Doubtless the hope of the red men was that the actions of this party
would draw the white defenders from their place of safety.
If their plan succeeded Girty then expected that the other band of
warriors instantly would rush upon the opposite gate of the fort and
hew it down with their tomahawks while the men were chasing the little
decoy force. In this manner all the leaders of the attacking force
expected to make their way into the little cabins within the stockade.
When daybreak came the garrison was almost ready to open the gates
and march to the assistance of their friends at Hoy's Station.
Suddenly there was a furious and continued discharge of rifles
accompanied by such hideous yells and screams and whoops that they
terrified not only the women and children of Bryant's Station, but
alarmed even the men, accustomed though they were to the methods of
Running to the stockade and peering out through the loopholes, the
startled white men saw before them a small band of Indians. These
warriors were plainly exposed, yelling and making the most insulting
and furious gestures toward the fort.
All this was so different from their usual custom that some of the
older men of the fort warned their comrades that a trick of some kind
was being played upon them.
It is a decoy party, said one of the men positively. They will
draw you out of the fort and before you know it you will find
yourselves surrounded by more than a hundred of those howling savages.
That is right said another. My suggestion is that we all make for
the other side of the fort. I believe the Indians are trying to draw us
out on this side and then attack us on the other.
The experiences which many already had had with the Indians of the
border confirmed the impression made by the words of the last speaker.
Even the younger men, who were eager to sally forth and attack the
young warriors that were making such a commotion, were held back by the
We cannot protect ourselves very long in the fort, said one of the
men when the defenders had been divided into two bands.
Why not? inquired another.
Because we have no water. There is not enough water in the fort to
last us thirty hours.
What can we do? inquired one of the older men after a tense
silence had followed the statement of the speaker. If we go down to
the spring the Indians will pick us off, every one.
Send the women, suggested another. They go to the spring every
morning. The Indians may not think we have any suspicion of what they
are planning to do. If the women and girls go to the spring for water
just as they usually do the Indians will not fire at them. They will
want to save all their bullets for their attack on this side when our
men have been drawn out to chase the savages who are yelling now on the
It seems cowardly, said another man to ask the women to go down
to the spring when we know it would be sure death for us to go.
It will not be sure death for the women, and my opinion is that not
one of them will be harmed, said the first speaker positively. At all
events we can ask them to go and let them say whether they will or
When the proposition was made to the women there were some who made
replies not unlike those which their male defenders had suggested in
the council. Some of them said: If the men were afraid that they might
be shot, why should they ask the women to go in their place? Then it
was explained just why the request was made. Immediately some of the
bolder women and girls, taking their buckets, opened the gates and
started toward the spring, which was only a short distance from the
Frightened, the women undoubtedly were, and with good reason. But
with unbroken lines they continued on their way to the spring. One by
one they knelt and filled their buckets and then joined the line which
was returning to the fort.
When the matrons and maids had arrived within a few yards of the
open gate their terror became so overpowering that they all began to
run for the shelter. Many a dusky face had been seen on the borders of
the forest, but not a shot was fired at the bold girls and the women of
Bryant's Station when they brought the water from the spring to the
inmates of the fort.
Now is our time, said one of the men, after the return of the
women. We ought to do two things: First we must get some one out of
the fort to carry word to Boone of the trouble we are having.
And second? inquired one of the company.
We must send out some of the younger men to attack that decoy
That's right, suggested one of the young men eagerly. We must go
out and make all the noise we can. Then all the other men here in the
fort can be ready for Girty when he comes, and I know he will come.
I will carry the message to Boone, volunteered one of the younger
men named Bell. It was arranged that he should depart with the young
men who were to attack the decoy party, and then instead of returning
to the fort he should make a dash into the forest and try to make his
way to Boonesborough as speedily as possible.
The men in the fort were all serious when they saw thirteen of their
younger companions depart from the fort through the gate which opened
toward the place where the decoy party had been seen.
Do not chase the varmints too far, charged one of the watching
No response was given to the warning, and as soon as the hardy,
young settlers had departed the gate was closed and the remaining men,
cocking their guns, took their positions to await the result of the
expected attack as soon as it should be unmasked.
It was not long before the report of rifles was heard from the
distant road, and gradually the sound indicated that the men were being
decoyed farther and farther from the fort.
Girty will order an attack on us soon, now that the boys have made
so much noise, suggested one of the waiting defenders.
Scarcely had the man spoken when Simon Girty, springing from the
forest at the head of five hundred of his painted warriors, rushed upon
the western gate of the fort. It was plain that they were trying to
force their way over the undefended palisade.
The men of the Station had been carefully arranged in small
divisions; and at the word from their leaders they fired upon the
approaching warriors. The determination of the white men and their
anxiety for their wives and children served to steady the nerve of
every man and make of him a sharpshooter.
The consternation of Girty's army cannot be described. Startled by
the unexpected resistance and beholding their comrades falling on every
side of them, with wild cries of anger and dismay the painted braves
scattered, and in confusion all ran back into the sheltering forest.
Two minutes after the sally not an Indian was to be seen, and the
party of thirteen young settlers returned to the shelter of the fort.
Every defender of Bryant's Station, however, was aware that this was
but the beginning of the siege. The attack now was undertaken more in
accordance with the usual methods of Indian warfare. From behind trees
or protected by rocks the red men fired upon the defenders whenever any
one showed himself. And the men of Bryant's Station were replying to
the attack in kind. Not much time had elapsed before it was plain that
this method of warfare was without marked effect on either party.
By the middle of the afternoon, however, a sudden change occurred
which instantly altered the entire combat. The cause of this change was
due to the messenger who had been sent from Bryant's Station as soon as
the discovery of the Indians had been made. Upon the fleetest horse in
the settlement young Bell had succeeded in making his way to Lexington,
with news of the dire need of help at Bryant's Station.
The messenger, however, was keenly disappointed when he found only
the women and children and a few old men in the place. He was informed
that the able-bodied men had all marched to the rendezvous at Hoy's
Station as soon as the knowledge of Holder's defeat had been received.
Following the direction in which he had been informed the fighting
band had gone, it was not long before Bell overtook them and gave them
In the band were sixteen mounted men and more than twice that number
of men on foot. As they set forth in response to Bell's appeal, their
courage was strengthened by the report of the coming of a force of men
from Boone's Station, among whom were Peleg, Israel, and the great
CHAPTER XXV. A FIELD OF CORN
At a good pace the band was moving steadily over the rough roadway
that led to Bryant's Station. The men were silent for the most part,
for they had serious work before them. What a siege by five hundred
Indians was likely to be, led by such a man as Simon Girty, required no
description. The mounted men, however, preceding the men on foot, found
little on their way to indicate the peril of their friends.
It was late summer now, and already some of the leaves of the forest
were tinged with the colours of autumn. The song of a bird was seldom
heard, although the locusts were noisily announcing their presence in
As the advancing men came nearer the end of their journey their
precautions increased. The men on horseback still led, but were closer
to their comrades than in the earlier part of the journey. The
information which the courier had brought had been so meagre that the
exact location of Girty's band of warriors was not known. Bell had
reported only that Bryant's Station was besieged and that Girty was the
leader of the howling horde of savages.
Bryant's Station was less than a mile and a half distant. The
advancing men were in a bend in the road, on one side of which
stretched the primeval forest, while on the other one hundred or more
acres had been cleared and planted to corn. The stalks of corn were
higher than the head of the tallest man in the band.
Come on! called Peleg to Israel and his friends. Let the men who
are riding go around by the road and we'll cut across lots through this
The suggestion at once was acted upon, and the men on foot, among
whom were most of the boys and younger men in the rescuing party, ran
into the cornfield where they were soon concealed from the sight of
their companions. Around them the stalks were standing so high that it
would have been an easy matter for one not accustomed to such places to
lose his way.
Meanwhile, the mounted men continued on their way. It was unknown to
them, as it was also to their companions in the cornfield, that the
keen-eyed Indians had been aware of the departure of the courier from
Bryant's Station. Indeed, it was suspected afterward that intentionally
the red men had permitted him to proceed through their lines. All the
warriors apparently were eager for the messenger to return and bring
the men who doubtless would respond to his appeal.
Consequently, when the mounted men drew near the forest opposite the
cornfield, they had no information or even suspicion that Girty's
warriors, concealed behind the trunks of the great trees, were awaiting
their coming. Steadily advancing, the horsemen soon were drawing near
the place where the ambuscade had been formed.
Meanwhile, Peleg and Israel, in advance of their comrades, had been
moving through the cornfield. They had arrived at a point which they
thought must be midway in the great field, when at the sound of a gun
both young pioneers stopped short, and Israel seized Peleg's arm as his
face became pale and he said, What has happened?
There was slight need for Peleg to reply to the startling question.
On the August air arose the reports of many rifles and the terrifying
whoops of the Indians.
It was impossible for the men in the cornfield to see what was
occurring in the road. They were aware of the attack, of course, and
there was slight doubt in the mind of any that the entrance of the men
on foot into the cornfield had been seen by their watching enemies.
Keep close to me, said Peleg to his companion. It is every man
for himself, now, but I want you to stay by me. We will take our
chances that way.
Peleg started when a whoop wilder and fiercer than any that had
preceded it came from the bend in the road.
I wonder if they got every man, whispered Israel, his voice
trembling in his excitement. I do not believe one of our men suspected
there was any danger here. Not even my father spoke of it.
Your father does not always speak of his fears. If it is possible
for any one to get away I am sure your father will be safe.
What's that? whispered Israel sharply. From the sounds it was
evident that some at least of the mounted men were fleeing from the
place. The shots of the Indians were plainly heard, and it was clear
that they were following the fugitives. Perhaps a few had contrived to
force their way around the bend.
The two anxious young settlers, however, soon were recalled to the
perils of their own position. Suddenly, not far to their right, they
heard a rustling sound, as of the furtive approach of some one moving
through the standing corn.
Drop! whispered Peleg. Don't move! Do not say a word!
The two boys cast themselves upon the ground, each holding his rifle
in readiness for instant use. The sound of some one moving in the midst
of the corn might indicate the presence of an enemy or of a friend, and
until the anxious boys could determine which was near, they remained
All at once the silence which had continued for moments was broken
by whoops nearby, and the reports of rifles from within the field. Both
boys were startled when each looked into the other's face and found his
suspicions confirmed. The Indians were aware of the presence of the
settlers in the cornfield and were stealthily entering from every side
of the field at the same time. Already some of the unfortunate settlers
had been found and their fate had been sealed. The summer stillness was
broken by the wild whoops which indicated the success of some warrior
in bringing his victim to the ground. There were also calls and cries
from the wounded, mingled with the frequent reports of the rifles.
The standing corn, a few yards in advance of the place where Peleg
and Israel were lying, now suddenly was drawn apart and the boys saw
three painted Shawnee warriors in single file stealthily making their
way between the tall stalks.
They concluded that discovery was not to be avoided, and after Peleg
had whispered to his companion to follow his example, one after the
other the boys raised their rifles and fired upon their enemies.
Aware that one and perhaps two of the approaching red men had fallen
and that the third warrior had darted rapidly away at the discharge of
the guns, both boys sprang to their feet, and, crouching low, began to
run through the corn.
Both were too experienced to lose their way easily, and not many
minutes had elapsed before Peleg, without speaking, laid his hand
warningly on his friend's shoulder. Instantly both stopped and
Peleg believed that they had arrived near the border of the field.
He was fearful now that reserves had been stationed so that from
whatever side the unfortunate settlers might attempt to escape they
would be met by the bullets of the watching warriors. Both boys
listened intently until several minutes had elapsed.
We had better separate here, whispered Israel. Peleg hesitated a
moment and then quietly nodded his assent. The possibility of escape,
slight as it was, would be increased if they proceeded singly rather
You know the way to the Station? whispered Peleg. Israel nodded
his head, and, moving to a place twenty feet to his left, turned, and
in a course parallel to the one Peleg was following, cautiously
continued on his way toward the border of the field.
When Peleg came near to the edge of the field he stopped once more
and peered cautiously all about him, listening for sounds that might
indicate the presence of his enemies. From behind him still were heard
the shouts and shrieks that were mingled with the reports of the guns
and the whoops of the excited Indians.
Somehow, in spite of his peril, the beat of the young settler's
heart seemed to be almost normal. He watched a little field mouse that
fearlessly peered up at him from the ground. He even counted the swings
of a spider making her web between the swaying branches of an enormous
stalk of corn.
Apparently the fighting was confined to the farther side of the
field. Only infrequent sounds of the conflict were heard at his right
and left, while from the region before him there had been almost no
sounds of conflict at all.
Was the border in front of him unguarded? Or was it doubly dangerous
because the Indians were attempting from the other three sides to drive
the unfortunate men into a trap?
Stealthily Peleg still crept forward. After each step he paused and
looked keenly about him as he listened for sounds which might indicate
renewed peril. He had seen nothing of Israel since his friend had left
Suddenly he was startled to hear what evidently were the sounds of a
struggle between two men nearby. The laboured breathing and an
occasional exclamation which he heard alike convinced him of this. With
increasing anxiety Peleg crept forward.
He was not molested when he came to the end of the row, but before
him he saw a contest which threatened to terminate speedily as well as
fatally for Israel Boone.
The son of the great scout was in the hands of a white man, and was
struggling desperately. His contestant, however, plainly was much the
stronger. Peleg saw the face of the man distinctly, and he assured
himself that never before had he looked upon so villainous a
countenance. The man's face was distorted and discoloured by his
efforts, and the perspiration streamed down his cheeks leaving furrows
behind it. In spite of his excitement, Peleg asked himself if the man's
face had ever been washed. The necessity for quick action, if his
friend was to be rescued, caused Peleg instantly to raise his rifle to
his shoulder and fire.
Israel's contestant dropped to the ground as Peleg had seen an ox
collapse from the blow of an axe.
Instantly darting to the side of his friend, Peleg whispered,
That is Simon Girty! gasped Israel, looking down into the face of
the fallen man before him.
Startled as Peleg was by the words of his companion, he did not wait
to verify them, but turned back at once into the cornfield. As soon as
he had gone a short distance, bidding Israel follow him, he turned to
his left, and, still running swiftly and silently, the boys advanced a
hundred yards; they then turned abruptly to their right in the
direction of the side of the field where they had first entered.
Although mystified by the action of his companion, Israel did not
protest as he followed Peleg in his flight.
CHAPTER XXVI. THE WHITE SHAWNEE
Again turning to his left, Peleg, still followed by his friend, ran
swiftly toward the border of the cornfield.
The cries and whoops in a measure had died away, and from what he
could hear Peleg concluded that some of his friends had escaped from
the field and were being pursued in their flight toward the fort.
When Peleg and Israel found they were near the road, on the opposite
side of which stood the forest where the Indians had made their
ambuscade, they peered cautiously in all directions, but were unable to
see any of their enemies. That another band of warriors had followed in
pursuit of the men who had escaped from the first attack and from the
fight in the cornfield was most likely, they concluded.
Peleg whispered: The safest place for us is where the Indians were
hidden. They have gone from there and will not come back to look for
any of us.
Israel nodded his head in assent, and, firmly grasping their rifles,
the boys darted across the road and gained the shelter of the trees.
When the two young scouts were convinced that their immediate presence
had not been discovered, Peleg said to Israel: Are you sure you can
find your way if we again separate?
Yes, answered Israel. But the Indians are between us and the
fort. Do you think we can ever get through?
We must, said Peleg. The folk at Bryant's Station are in such
danger that not one of us must fail them now.
The words hardly had been spoken when there was a sharp report of a
rifle, and a bullet passed so near them that both boys heard it singing
on its way.
Moved by a common impulse, they turned and dashed into the forest.
Whether or no any of their enemies were hiding behind the trees toward
which they were running neither knew.
They were chiefly intent upon speed now, and ran on for several
minutes, well knowing that their lives depended upon the success of
At last, breathless, both halted for a rest, and Peleg said to his
companion, I am sure it will be better for us to separate now. You
know the way, and can look out for yourself. I shall come, too, and if
we succeed In getting through, it had better be before night.
Yes, assented Israel. If we wait until dark and then creep up to
the fort, the guards will be likely to fire upon us, mistaking us for
With these words Israel departed. Peleg watched his friend as long
as he remained within sight, and then began with caution to retrace the
way over which they had come. Keeping a firm grip upon Singing Susan,
Peleg darted from tree to tree and did not venture from each refuge
until he was convinced that no one was near him.
His attempt to proceed was interrupted, however, by the report of a
rifle, and again a bullet whistled uncomfortably close to his head,
tearing some splinters from the tree at his elbow. The young scout at
his utmost speed darted into the wood at his right.
He was aware that a swift flight could not long be maintained
because of his recent exertions. Where a refuge might be found he did
not know. But just then he noticed the trunk of what appeared to be a
huge hollow tree leaning over a shallow brook, across which he must
leap if he continued his flight.
He entered the stream, ran swiftly a few steps with the current, and
then retraced his way to the tree. It was but the work of a moment for
him to climb to the broken top, and great was his relief when he saw
that the tree indeed was hollow. Without thought of where he might fall
he dropped into the welcome opening.
He fell several feet before the decayed wood provided a foothold
strong enough to enable him to stand. Fortunately the hollow of the
tree was larger than his body, and although he was cramped and almost
blinded by the decayed mass, he nevertheless managed to reach his
hunting-knife, and, making a small opening through the soft wood,
peeped out to see if his enemies were within sight. As he did so his
fears were aroused that the tree itself might fall. It was a mere shell
and so decayed that he was surprised that his descent had not torn it
At that moment a wild cry, plainly from the road, came to his ears.
Then shouts were followed by the reports of guns and answering whoops
from the Indians.
Anxious for his friend Israel, Peleg turned once more to ascertain
if any of his enemies were near his hiding-place. He was hopeful that
his trail could not be followed farther than the bank of the little
brook, although he was sufficiently familiar with Indian ways to know
that the red men, if they really were pursuing him, would run in either
direction along the banks until they found the place where he had left
the water. He smiled as he recalled how he had been standing in the
stream when he had thrown his arms around the trunk of the bending
tree. Singing Susan was still held, but it would be impossible for him
in his cramped position to make use of her musical voice.
Suddenly Peleg was startled to behold an Indian step forth from the
forest and stand for a moment on the bank of the stream almost directly
beneath him. His surprise increased when he recognized the warrior as
Henry. He had believed that the white Shawnee, as Henry had loved to
call himself, had been killed in the attack on Boonesborough. His brave
deed in extinguishing the fire that had been kindled by the burning
arrow had been followed, as Peleg and others had believed, by his
death. At least every one had seen him fall from the roof and roll to
the ground. It is true, his body had not been recovered, but there were
other bodies which had similarly disappeared.
When his first feeling of astonishment had passed and Peleg was
convinced that it indeed was Henry who was beneath him, a feeling of
intense anger swept over the young settler. Henry was white, and yet
had renounced his allegiance to his own people and gone back to the
Shawnees, and with them he was now making war upon his own nation!
There was little in his present appearance to distinguish him from
other braves of the tribe. He wore the scalp-lock and was clad in the
Peleg's problem in part was solved when at that moment the rotten
wood gave way beneath him, and the tree, unable longer to support the
weight of the young scout, fell with a crash to the ground. As it
struck the bank the tree was rent asunder, and to the white Shawnee's
astonishment Peleg scrambled to his feet from out of the wreckage.
Before he could brush the dust from his eyes and bring Singing Susan
to his shoulder Henry leaped forward and placed both hands upon the
barrel of the rifle, saying, No shoot broder.
You are no brother of mine! said Peleg. You are a Shawnee and not
a white Shawnee, either! You are fighting us!
No fight broder, repeated Henry. Broder show way to fort.
For some strange reason which Peleg was unable to explain even to
himself, he said abruptly: Lead the way, then! If you can take me
safely through the line of these savages, I shall never forget you.
The young scout was eager to inquire of his companion what had
befallen him and why he had returned to the Shawnees. His present
peril, however, was so great that he restrained his impulse, and in
silence followed Henry as he led the way toward Bryant's Station.
Occasionally a halt was made when from some nearby place shots were
heard indicating that the scattered settlers were being pursued either
in small detachments or individually, for the terrified men had
scattered when first the ambuscade had been discovered.
When Henry, who apparently was aware of the location of the
besieging braves, drew near the fort he stopped and said: Now go.
Peleg looked about him, and, unable to discover any of his enemies
nearby, followed the advice which had been given him, and, placing his
hat on the end of the barrel of Singing Susan as a token of his
peaceful intentions, approached the gate.
He was at once admitted, and his relief was great when the first to
greet him was Israel Boone.
How many are here? asked Peleg.
I do not know, answered Israel. I have heard that only six of our
men were killed or wounded. When we all started toward Lexington they
might have chased us all the way and taken the fort there, because
there was nobody left to fight for it.
How many Indians were in that ambuscade? asked Peleg.
I hear there were three hundred.
How did you get to the fort?
I ran straight ahead for an hour, replied Israel with a smile.
How did you come?
Henry got me through the lines.
Henry! demanded Israel in surprise. Henry! I thought he was
So did I, but he is very much alive. I had no time to ask him how
he came to be here. I was thinking mostly of getting inside the fort.
It is a comfort to know that at least Girty will not lead any
Israel stopped speaking as a lusty shout was heard from a stump that
stood near one of the bastions, and the two young defenders to their
amazement beheld Simon Girty himself standing erect upon the stump and
waving a cloth which at some time in its history may have been white.
In response to this hail every man ran to hear what the renegade
leader of the Indians had to say.
They were soon to know the purpose for which Girty, on his hands and
knees, had crept to the place where he now was standing.
What do you want? shouted one of the defenders.
I have come, replied Girty in a loud voice, to save your lives.
We have more than six hundred warriors here, and by to-morrow we shall
have more. Some of our friends will bring cannon, and when we have them
we can blow every cabin in Bryant's Station into flinders. If we storm
your fort, as we sure can do when we get our cannon, I will not promise
that one life will be spared. You know the redskins well enough to
understand how I shall not be able to hold them back. If you surrender
now, I give you my word of honour that not a hair of the head of any
one of you shall be hurt. I am Simon Girty, and you know you can rely
upon every word I speak.
A derisive cry from several of the defenders greeted this assertion,
but when Peleg and Israel looked about them they were aware that many
of the men had been strongly moved by Girty's appeal.
CHAPTER XXVII. THE STRUGGLE IN THE
Before any conference of the defenders could be held, one of the
younger men leaped to the wall to reply to Girty's plea.
You know who I am, don't you? called Girty.
Indeed I do know! shouted young Reynolds: Everybody south of the
Falls of Ohio knows that you are Simon Girty. I have a good-for-nothing
cur dog which I have named Simon Girty, or Simon Dirty, he looks so
much like you. If you have any reinforcements or artillery, bring them
up! But let me warn you that if you or any of those naked rascals with
you ever get into this fort we shall not use our guns upon them. We
have no powder to waste on such wretches. We have cut some big bunches
of birch switches and have scattered them all through the fort; and
that is just what we cut them forto thrash you and your rascally
comrades. And let me tell you, he continued, that you are not the
only ones who are expecting reinforcements! We have received word that
the whole country is aroused and marching to help us, Simon Girty! he
shouted. If you and your gang of murderers stay twenty-four hours
longer before the fort you will never be able to leave. Your scalps
will be drying in the sun on the roofs of our cabins.
A loud laugh from his friends greeted the words of the young
backwoods orator, and it was plain that the spirit which young Reynolds
had displayed had aroused the drooping courage of his companions. Many
of the men were aware that on more than one occasion the Indians had
indeed brought cannon with them, and by their aid had succeeded in
destroying two of the stations.
All became silent when Simon Girty once more stood up to reply. It
is too bad, began the renegade, it's a pity that such people should
be tomahawked and scalped! I can protect you now, if you will
surrender, but I give you fair warning if you do not I shall not be
able to hold back my warriors.
A derisive shout greeted this declaration, and in apparent sorrow
Simon Girty at once withdrew.
It was not known within the fort that he instantly ordered
preparations to be made for raising the siege. Throughout the night not
a sound was heard, and when daylight came the Indian camp was deserted!
When Peleg and Israel sought the place where the warriors had
encamped they found the fires still burning brightly and even pieces of
meat left on the roasting-sticks.
You see! said Israel gleefully. They left just a little while
Yes, said Peleg, that is when they usually roast their meat. I
wonder if they are all really gone?
The rejoicing at Bryant's Station was great when it was known that
the Indians had departed. Before noon the fighting force of white men
was increased to one hundred and sixty-seven. Among those who entered
came Daniel Boone, or Colonel Boone as some now called him, since he
had received his commission from Colonel Clark.
What does this mean? demanded Israel when he saw his younger
brother Daniel among the men in the assembly, What are you doing
I think I have as good a right to come as you, retorted Boone's
younger son. I am almost seventeen.
And old enough to know better, laughed Peleg, who was fond of the
boy and many a time had taken him with him on his expeditions into the
The officers, who had hastened to the place as soon as reports of
its peril had been brought, now assembled, and at once called the men
of Bryant's Station to a conference.
It is known, explained Colonel Todd, that Colonel Logan has
collected a strong force in Lincoln and that it will be here within
twenty-four hours. If we wait for his coming we shall be that much
stronger when we start in pursuit of Girty and his savages. What do you
think? he asked, addressing Boone, who stood leaning upon his rifle in
the rear of the assembly.
It will be wise to wait, replied Boone quietly. I have never
found it to be a mistake to get ready before you attempt to do
anything. Girty, according to his story, has treble our numbers. The
trail which the Shawnees have left behind is so plain and so broad that
I am suspicious that they have made signs which they hope will lead us
to pursue them. My advice is to wait until Colonel Logan shall come
with his men.
The younger members of the force, however, were unwilling to delay.
To them appearances were convincing that the Indians had fled because
they were alarmed. Now was the time, they declared, when the savages
ought to be chased and taught a lesson! If there should be a delay even
of a day in following them, the Indians would gain such an advance that
they could not be overtaken and punished for their evil deeds.
The fiery zeal of the young men was not to be denied. Against the
counsel of Boone and others of the older scouts, who had long
experience in dealing with their Indian enemies, a swift pursuit
instantly was begun. Many of the men were mounted on horses, but the
entire mass, horse and foot, kept well together.
The eager party had not gone far from Bryant's Station before a halt
was called, when it was discovered that the retiring Indians had turned
into the buffalo road and, almost as if they were attempting to make
their trail still more evident, it was noticed that they had chopped
many of the trees, on either side with their hatchets.
Boone shook his head when he discovered these indications of
apparent carelessness in the band they were following.
My opinion is, he said soberly to Colonel Todd, that Girty is
trying to lead us on. Just as our men ran into their trap on the way to
Bryant's Station, I am afraid now that they will be led into another.
But it is too late to go back, said Colonel Todd.
Yes, I am afraid our men will not go back now. My only word of
advice to you is to go ahead cautiously.
Will you be one of the advance guard?
If you so desire.
At least you are not afraid, and you will not see what is not
I shall do my best, said Boone quietly.
As Peleg, who was standing nearby and had heard the conversation,
looked into the face of his friend he became aware that the years of
anxiety had left their mark upon his rugged countenance. There was,
however, a deeper expression of gentleness on the face of the great
scout which in no way detracted from the impression of strength which
his entire body still produced.
Orders were soon given to camp for the night in the forest, and on
the following day the little army arrived at the Lower Blue Licks. Just
as the force, proceeding without any form of order, arrived at the
southern bank of the Licking, some of the men saw several Indians
climbing the rocky ridge on the opposite side. The red men halted when
the Kentuckians appeared, looked at them intently a few minutes in
silence, and then, as calmly and leisurely as if no enemies were near,
disappeared over the top of the hill.
A halt of the white men was made at once, and several of the
officers held a consultation.
Apparently there were differences of opinion among the leaders, for
after a few minutes had elapsed Colonel Todd summoned Daniel Boone and
inquired his opinion as to what had best be done. All the officers were
now very serious.
The great scout, leaning upon his rifle, spoke in the deep, quiet
tones he usually used: My opinion is that our situation is critical
and difficult. The force before us without question is ready for battle
and outnumbers us largely.
Why do you think that? inquired Colonel Todd.
Because of the easy and slow retreat of the Indians who just went
over the crest of yonder hill. I am familiar with all this region and I
am fearful they are trying to draw us on. About a mile ahead of us
there are two ravines, one on either side of the ridge. There the
Indians can hide and attack us at the same time, both in front and on
our flanks, almost before we could know they were there.
What do you think is the best thing to do, then? inquired Colonel
My advice, said Boone, is to do one of two things: Either wait
for the coming of Colonel Logan, who without doubt is on his way to
join us; or, if it is decided to attack the Indians without waiting for
him to come up, then my advice is that half our force ought to go up
the river, cross the rapids, and fall upon the Indians from that side
at the same time the others attack them from the front.
I am afraid that cannot be done, said Colonel Todd, shaking his
Whatever is done, said Boone quietly, my advice to you is to go
over the ground carefully before the men cross the river here. Send
some scouts ahead. I have never found, Colonel Todd, that any man lost
by being prepared for what might befall him.
Every man in the little assembly was listening with deep attention
to the great scout who was a man of silence unless his advice was
When he ceased some urged the adoption of his recommendation to wait
for the coming of Colonel Logan and his men. There were others,
however, who were strongly in favour of advancing at once.
In the midst of the warm discussion Major McGary, one of the young
officers who was unable to endure the thought of being near an enemy
and not fighting, let out a wild whoop. At the same moment he waved his
hand over his head, spurred his horse into the river and then shouted
in his loudest tone, Let all who are not cowards follow me!
Instantly the mounted men dashed into the river, every one
apparently striving to be the first to gain the opposite shore. The men
on foot also rushed into the stream, which for a time seemed to be a
rolling mass of men and water. No order had been given and no order now
was desired. Through the deep river horses and men staggered forward,
with McGary still leading the way.
They gained the opposite shore where the unprotected nature of the
ground seemed to forbid their advance. Trampled by the buffalo, every
bush and low tree had been stripped bare. Multitudes of rocks blackened
by the sunlight were to be seen on every side. No scouts were sent in
advance and none acted on the flanks. The contagious example of Major
McGary acted like magic, and men and horses went forward as if every
one was doing his utmost to outstrip his neighbour.
Along with the others went Daniel Boone, his two boys, and Peleg.
The expression of Boone's face had not changed since his sober advice
had been disregarded by his impulsive comrades. But he was not one to
draw back when his friends were rushing into action.
Suddenly the men in front halted. They had arrived at the place
mentioned by the scout, where the two ravines met. A small body of
Indians appeared for a moment and fired at the approaching settlers.
Instantly McGary and the men with him returned the fire, although
they were at a great disadvantage because they were standing upon a
bare and open ridge, while their enemies were in a ravine in which the
bushes partly concealed the warriors.
As the reports of the guns were heard, the men in the rear rushed
forward to assist their friends. But before they were able to gain the
ridge they were stopped by a terrible fire from the ravine which was on
their flank. They halted, and it was almost as if they had been shut in
by the jaws of some enormous beast. There was no cover, and a terrible
fire was being poured into them from front and side, while their
enemies still were hidden from sight.
Gradually, however, the Indians pushed out from the ravine as the
fire became fiercer. Indeed they were striving to extend their lines
and turn the right of the Kentuckians so that their retreat would be
As soon as this was made clear by the increase of the firing from
that quarter, the men in the rear attempted to fall back, and then by
breaking through the attacking party, gain their only way of escapeto
Their actions, in part misunderstood by their companions, created
what was almost a panic. From the ravine to the river the sight was
indescribable. Above the reports of the guns rose the shrieks and cries
of the wounded and the wild and merciless whoops of the Indians.
Many of the mounted men escaped, but those who were fighting on foot
were in deadly peril. Daniel Boone, in the thick of the fight, saw his
boy, Israel, fall lifeless before the guns of the Indians. Even the
death of his son, however, did not prevent the great scout from
becoming aware that he himself was almost entirely surrounded by the
frantic, howling, whooping mob of warriors.
CHAPTER XXVIII. AT THE LOWER BLUE
It was in such crises that the great scout best displayed the
qualities which had made him a marked man among the pioneers. It had
been impossible for him to rescue the body of his fallen son. Around
him on every side were heard shouts and cries and the continual report
of the rifles.
Whatever occurred, Daniel Boone was never long at a loss how to act.
Controlling his feelings, he turned to the men who were near him and
said quietly, Come with me!
As the men obediently followed, the scout, who was familiar with the
entire region, instead of running toward the ford as most of the
fugitives now were doing, dashed into the ravine where many of the
Indians previously had been concealed. Apparently they had now left to
join in the wild pursuit of the demoralized settlers.
Boone and his comrades were not to escape, however, without
attracting the attention of some of the howling Indians. A half dozen
or more discovered the fleeing settlers and with wild whoops started in
It was here that Boone's knowledge of the region, as well as his
coolness, came to his aid. Leading the way to a place in the ravine
where there was a narrow passage between the rocks, he ordered his
companions to precede him, while he himself raised his rifle with
deliberation and fired at the approaching Indians.
The entire band halted, for their own rifles were not loaded at the
time and they were depending upon a similar condition among the whites.
The red men were now relying on their tomahawks.
As soon as the band halted, Boone waited a moment to assure himself
that his companions were safe, and then, running swiftly, rejoined
them. When the fleeing men came to the end of the ravine, once more
they found a small band of their foes awaiting them, and with wild
cries they started toward them. But the great scout, in spite of the
need of haste, had bidden his companions to reload in preparation for
this very emergency. After receiving the fire from their guns, the
Indians dropped back, while the white men, quickly making use of the
advantage thus afforded, were able to escape to the woods beyond.
We shall now be able to make our way to Bryant's Station, said
Boone. There will be no Indians to interfere with us from this time
His words proved to be correct, and by the middle of the afternoon
the half-dozen men with the great scout arrived safely at the fort.
Throughout the remainder of the day many of the men who had so
confidently gone forth in the morning came straggling back to the fort.
Peleg, who had been among those who rushed to the ford, returned to
Bryant's Station when it was nearly dusk. He had secured the aid of two
others, and the three were carrying young Daniel Boone, who also had
been shot in the fight at the Licks.
It was soon discovered that Boone's younger son was not seriously
wounded. When the welcome information was received the face of the
great scout remained unchanged in its expression, though the deathly
pallor, that for a moment had spread over it when he had been informed
of what had befallen his boy, disappeared.
'Tis a wonder, said Peleg, that any of us are left alive to tell
the story. Some of us ran up the stream and swam across. Young Dan was
as brave as any man in the crowd. Even after he had been shot in the
shoulder he did not give up, but he swam across the stream, keeping up
with the rest of us. The men who could not swim were the ones that were
shot down or were made prisoners without being able to do anything to
Were any shot after you had crossed the river? inquired Boone.
I do not know of any, replied Peleg. But from the ravine clear
down to the ford the loss was heavy. One of the bravest deeds I ever
saw in my life was that of young Aaron Reynoldshe is the one who made
us laugh when Simon Girty mounted the stump and gave us his speech.
Reynolds was on horseback, and about halfway between the battle ground
and the ford he found Captain Patterson completely worn out. The
captain had dropped in his tracks, he was so exhausted, for you see he
had been wounded three or four times in the fights we had with the
Indians two or three years ago.
I remember that he was, said Boone.
The Indians were almost ready to close up on the captain, but just
at that moment Reynolds saw what was going on. He jumped from his
saddle, helped Captain Patterson to mount, and then turned and ran on
foot as fast as he could go. He ran like a deer after he was out of the
main road, then jumped into the river right where you said you crossed,
and swam to the other side. There he had some serious trouble, though.
He was wearing a pair of buckskin breeches and they became so heavy and
full of water when he was in the river that he could not run very fast
when he struck the shore. When he sat down and tried to get rid of a
part of the water some of the Indians rushed up and before he knew it
he was their prisoner.
Did you say he is here now? inquired Boone.
Yes, sir. I was afraid the Indians would tomahawk him, but they
kept to their regular plan of not putting any of their prisoners to
death until they get back to their own country, so Reynolds wasn't
troubled very much at the time. They left him in charge of three of the
braves while the others started for some more of our men who were
nearby. The three Indians were so excited when they saw our men that
two of them left Reynolds in charge of the third while they ran to join
in the chase with the others. Then the Indian that had Reynolds in his
charge started for the woods.
Were they both armed? asked Boone.
Reynolds had had his rifle taken away from him, but the Indian had
a tomahawk and a rifle in his hands. After they had gone a little way
the Indian stooped to tie the string of his moccasin and Aaron
instantly jumped upon him, knocked him down with his fist and then ran
for the woods. Captain Patterson has just come in and he says he is
going to give Aaron two hundred acres of the best land he owns.
Such of the bodies as had been recovered were now being brought to
the fort, and the fact that many of the men of Bryant's Station had
been made prisoners by the attacking Indians increased the feeling of
gloom that settled upon the place. Among the men who had fallen was
Colonel Todd, who had sought the advice of the great scout and then did
not follow it.
Long before nightfall Colonel Logan and his men arrived at Bryant's
Station. In his force were no less than four hundred and fifty men.
Upon their arrival they learned from the men who had succeeded in
returning to the fort of the fate which had befallen the band which
Colonel Todd had led against the Indians.
Waiting to hear no more, greatly alarmed for his friends and
suspecting that only a part of the disaster had been reported, Colonel
Logan at once led his men over the way by which the defenders of the
fort had gone in their untimely pursuit of their wily foe.
[Illustration: Silently the men crossed the ford"]
With Colonel Logan went Daniel Boone and Peleg, as well as many
others of the defenders. The great scout showed plainly the suffering
through which he was passing. Two of his boys had been shot by the
relentless Shawnees and his third son had received a severe wound.
Apparently Boone did not believe that his sufferings were to be
relieved by anything his friends could do to aid him. He had seldom
spoken since the men had departed from the Station, but Peleg was
confident that he understood the purpose which was urging the
gentle-hearted hunter forward.
The second day the advancing soldiers came near to the place where
the fight had occurred. Long before they had arrived, however, Peleg
had shuddered when he discovered flocks of circling buzzards that were
hovering over the battle ground. He glanced into the face of his
companion when the discovery had been made, and knew that the scout
also understood the meaning of their presence.
When the advancing band approached the bank of the river they
discovered many of the bodies still floating near the shore. They were
the unfortunate victims that had been shot by the Indians after they
had rushed into the stream.
A silence, indescribable, intense, awful, settled over all the men.
There were tears in the eyes of some of the hardiest of the settlers at
the fearful sight upon which they looked. No man was able to recognize
among the putrid bodies the face of his lost friend.
Silently the men crossed the ford and advanced toward the ravine. In
the scene of the recent fight the sight was even more heartbreaking.
Here, too, the bodies of the many who had fallen could no longer be
distinguished one from another.
Daniel Boone, unmindful of the presence of his comrades, had been
searching quietly among the bodies for that of his missing boy. Even
the men who were most eager in their search for their friends stopped a
moment as they watched the man in his agonizing and fruitless quest.
The great scout soon turned to Colonel Logan and said: 'Tis no use,
Colonel. We must give the poor fellows decent burial here and now.
The men at once carried out the bidding which their leader gave.
Silently the settlers, for the moment all thoughts of vengeance gone
from their minds, dug trenches wherever the soil permitted, and in
these the bodies of their dead and mutilated friends were buried.
There were many faces in the band down which the tears were rolling
while this task was being accomplished. The manner of the great scout,
however, was unchanged. Only the deepening of the lines in his face and
his unusual pallor gave indications of the strain through which he was
passing. His manner still was silent and self-controlled, as in the
days when the joyous things of life had more often been his portion.
When the gruesome task at last was finished, it was Daniel Boone
himself who said to Colonel Logan in reply to the latter's inquiries:
It is useless now to try to follow the Shawnees.
Why do you say that? inquired the colonel.
Because by this time they are far beyond our reach. They have lost
no time, you may be sure.
How many captives do you think they have taken with them?
Not many, said Boone.
But there are some sixty-seven of our men missing.
Yes, assented Boone, but we have accounted for nearly sixty this
I am told, suggested the colonel, that they will put every
prisoner to death, or so many of them as may be required to make good
any loss they themselves have had.
The great scout shook his head as he replied: The Indians have not
lost as many as we.
Why do you say that?
Because the advantage was all with them. They greatly outnumbered
us, and in a good part of the fight they were sheltered by the rocks
while our men were fighting in the open. It was the bloodiest fight I
was ever in.
And to you one of the saddest, suggested the colonel.
Boone nodded his head but did not speak.
I cannot understand, continued the colonel, why it is that you
take your own troubles so quietly. You certainly have suffered more
than most men on the border, and yet I fancy the man has yet to be born
who has heard you complain.
And why should I complain? inquired Boone, smiling as he looked
into the face of his friend. It does not make my own griefs less to
try to have another share them. That is something no one can do. My
heart, at least, must bear its own burden. If any one thinks that his
troubles are less than those that come to his friends, he is probably
mistaken. My experience has led me to believe that almost every one has
about all he can bear. There are only two classes of people, at least
as far as I have observedand I am well aware how little I know in
this particularbut as I saidthere are only two classes of people
that cry and laugh easily.
Who are they?
Children and savages. Neither class has learned to control itself.
A strong man shows his strength, at least in my humble judgment, Boone
added modestly, by being able to refrain from useless words, and by
not whining over his troubles.
I think you are correct, said Colonel Logan musingly. Now, then,
he continued after a moment, is it your judgment that the best thing
for us to do is to return to Bryant's Station?
Then if it is a good thing to do it will be well for us to do it
quickly. I shall see that the order is given. We have some stirring
days before us because I am sure it will never do to let the Shawnees
believe for any length of time that they have been able to defeat the
CHAPTER XXIX. TO THE MEETING-PLACE
The judgment of Daniel Boone was accepted by all the men in the
band. Indeed there were many now who were blaming others as well as
themselves for not having listened to the word of the wise old scout
before they had entered into the unequal struggle with the Indians at
Swiftly and seriously the men retraced their way to Bryant's
Station, where they were dismissed by Colonel Logan with the
understanding that they would respond if he should call for their help
in the near future. This he fully expected to do.
In a rude wagon Daniel Boone and Peleg carried the wounded boy back
to his home. The wound itself was not believed to be serious, although
naturally after the tragedies which had occurred in his family Daniel
Boone was anxious for his son. Daniel Morgan Boone, or young Dan, as
he sometimes was called by the settlers, to distinguish him from his
father, made light of his experiences and even declared that he was
prepared to ride his horse back to Boonesborough instead of being
carried in the jolting wagon. His protest, however, was not heeded, and
in a short time the Boonesborough men were back in their settlement.
To all it now was evident that Daniel Boone held a place in the
regard of the settlers such as he never before had won. His deep sorrow
over the distressing tragedies which had resulted in the loss of two
promising sons, and his willingness to do all in his power to aid his
friends: these qualities won him sympathy and affection in addition to
the respect in which he was held because of his excellent judgment. The
simple manner of the great scout, his skill as a hunter, his knowledge
of the Indians, and his enduring friendship, were more highly
appreciated with every passing day.
Shortly after the return of Boone and his companions, the scout said
to Peleg, I have just received word from Colonel George Rogers Clark
from the Falls of the Ohio.
What does he want? asked Peleg quickly. The sturdy colonel in
control of the forces of the entire region was known to be a man of
action, and one whose activities were familiar to all the settlers.
He sends me word, said Boone quietly, that he plans to raise a
force of one thousand men to go against the Indian towns.
Why does he do that?
He has two reasons: One is that the people are so discouraged and
disappointed by the recent successes of the Indians that many are
thinking of withdrawing from Kentucky. The other reason is that he
thinks the Indians ought not to be permitted to rest upon the victories
which they have won, and that the battle of Blue Licks and the fight at
Bryant's Station must be avenged, or the Shawnees and the Wyandottes
will soon be more active than they have been.
What do you think? inquired Peleg.
It is not for me to say, replied Boone, his rare smile lighting
his face for a moment as he spoke.
But you think what you do not say, persisted Peleg.
I think Colonel Clark is doing the only thing which will bring help
to our stations. Either the Indians or we are to live in this country.
It is a pity that we cannot say, the Indians and we; but from
the feeling they have shown, and the way in which I know many of the
whites look upon them, I am afraid such a plan will be impossible.
There is then only one thing for us to do.
What is that?
It must be decided once for all whether the country is to be
occupied by the white men or by the red. There can be but one answer.
However, continued Boone, I have little time to discuss these matters
with you, now. It is a time for action, and much as you and I may
dislike to leave our homes, we cannot lightly regard such a summons as
Colonel Clark has sent us.
What is the plan?
He proposes to raise an army of one thousand men, as I said, and
march to destroy the Indian villages.
Where do we meet?
At the Falls of the Ohio. I have seen Colonel Logan, and he is to
assemble his men and march in one body to the meeting-place. My own
judgment is that it would be better for the force to split up into
smaller parties, but that is not for me to say. I have, however,
arranged with Colonel Logan for you and six other men to go as a band
of scouts to the north of the route we are to take, and at the same
time have several bands move to the south. I do not believe there will
be any danger before we arrive at the meeting-place, but it is well to
provide for what may happen before it comes to pass. As you know, that
has always been my plan. I do not think I ever had a fight with an
Indian that I did not try to think what he would do, or what I would do
if I were in his place, before the real contest began.
Are you to lead the scouts on the south?
That is for the King to say, replied Boone, smiling as he quoted
the well-known saying of Sam Oliver.
The following morning Peleg, as leader of his little band of scouts,
departed for the place of assembly. The advance to the Falls of the
Ohio would require three days or more. It was not believed that there
would be anything more than occasional attacks on the main body by
small bands of Indians, for few braves would dare to oppose the coming
of this great army.
In Peleg's little band was Sam Oliver, the hunter. Sam now was
plainly showing the effects of the passing years. He was suffering from
rheumatism acquired by exposure in the many winters during which he had
been known throughout the settlements as a great hunter. His visits to
the stations were more frequent than formerly, and he remained longer
than in the preceding years. He was still sensitive, however,
concerning his physical strength and skill, and refused to listen to
any suggestion that he was not in condition to accompany the younger
men on their way to the meeting-place of the army.
Peleg, said Sam Oliver, when the party, all mounted, had set forth
on their expedition, I know a little Indian town about seventy-five
miles from here where we can get some horses.
Is it on our way?
It is not far from the river. If we can get a dozen or more horses
it will make the heart of Colonel Clark rejoice.
In explanation of the hunter's words, it may be said that stealing
horses from the Indians was not looked upon as any crime by the early
pioneers. Such a conviction may have been due in part to the fact that
the tribes and white settlers were usually in a state of war with one
another. The Indians' intense distrust of the early settlers had, as we
know, long ago deepened into enduring hatred.
There were few who believed the Indians were governed by any other
than treacherous, bloodthirsty motives. So intense had become this
belief along the border that it was well-nigh impossible for the men of
that time to look upon the simple questions of right and wrong in any
way that might favour the red men or even do them simple justice. To
them they simply were enemies that must be driven from the region or
Late in the following afternoon Sam Oliver, when his friends halted,
donned his Indian garb. In his disguise he was scarcely to be
distinguished from one of the warriors.
I have learned the lingo, too, he said laughingly. A good many
times I have gone right into their villages and no one has suspected
that I was a white man. I want to get about fifteen horses, continued
Sam, and I want almost as much to get one of the Indians alive.
What for? demanded Peleg in surprise.
It was seldom that prisoners were made of the warriors at that time,
because whenever a fight occurred it was usually a struggle to the
death. The Indians, however, occasionally, as we know from the
experiences of the great scout himself, not only made captives of their
prisoners, but at times adopted them into their tribes in place of
young braves that had been killed in battle.
I want one for a pet, laughed Sam Oliver.
I would sooner have a rattlesnake, declared one of the party.
That is what I used to say, said Sam, but then that was years ago
when I was young and slender. I know more about them now, and if I can
get one alive I am going to make a pet of him.
You will be making a mistake, declared Schoolmaster Hargrave, who
also was one of Peleg's band. It had been long since he had wielded the
ferrule or had taught the boys and girls in Boonesborough. In recent
years he had been toiling in the fields, as had the great scout and
Peleg. He was, however, scarcely more successful in raising tobacco
than he had been in training the children in his school. The title of
Schoolmaster still clung to him, and when Sam Oliver laughed loudly
and turned to answer his protest, he said, Well, Schoolmaster, I can
understand how you do not like the Indians. You had some pretty wild
experiences yourself, in the schoolhouse. I understand that two or
three of the boys disguised themselves the way I have and put you out
through the window. Is that true?
Whether the statement was true or not it was never explained, for
the hunter suddenly warned his companions to become silent as they were
approaching the village he was seeking.
Advancing with three of his companions and leaving Peleg and the
remainder of the party behind to await their return, Sam stealthily
began to make his way toward the little Indian village which he said
was located only a few yards distant from the spot where a halt had
Sam was absent only two hours. His approach was heard by his waiting
companions long before the hunter could be seen. It was plain, too,
that he had been successful. The noise of snapping branches and an
occasional whinny indicated that Sam was not returning empty-handed.
Did I not tell you what I would do? boasted the hunter, when he
returned. I said I wanted a dozen horses. I have six, so that I am
only half as happy as I ought to be.
You are happier now than you soon will be, retorted Peleg, unless
we leave this part of the country right away.
The horses which had been secured were all young and only partly
broken. It was impossible for the party to mount them, and there were
times when it was difficult even to lead them by the leathern straps
which were fastened about their necks.
Sam acknowledged the seriousness of the situation, and no urging was
required to make the men push forward rapidly.
When night fell they selected for their camp a spot on the bend of a
little stream. Two of the men were assigned positions in the rear of
the camp to watch for any pursuing Indians. There was no fear of an
attack from the opposite side of the stream.
At midnight the guard was relieved, and as it was Peleg's turn to
take the position, he said quietly, I can do this alone. All the rest
of you turn in and get your sleep.
His directions were speedily followed. The night passed without
alarm, and the young scout was beginning to think that either the
warriors of the village were aware of the plan of Colonel Clark, and
had departed to join their own bands, or that they were absent from the
village at the time, and had not yet learned of Sam's theft.
The first faint streaks of the dawn had appeared, and Peleg, taking
a little bucket, stepped to the brook to secure some running water. The
fire which had been kept alive throughout the night was burning low.
When Peleg returned to the camp he was startled when he discovered by
the dim light that the water in his bucket was muddy. There could be
but one explanation, and the young scout hastily aroused his
The brook was not muddy last night, but it is now, said the young
leader. To my mind that shows that we are being followed, and the
Indians are coming down the stream to creep close to us.
Just then the schoolmaster was seized with sharp pains and began to
groan and writhe in his suffering. No one understood the nature of the
attack, and the simple remedies which were used apparently produced no
relief. At last the suffering man was covered with a blanket and placed
near the ashes of the fire. All the men except Peleg then lay down once
more upon the ground. A strenuous day was awaiting them, and whether
Master Hargrave was ill or not, they must get their necessary rest.
They were inclined to believe, too, after their long wait, that no
Indians were near them. The stream might have been muddied by any one
of half a dozen other means. Probably a 'coon had been the guilty
And yet all unknown to the little body of settlers a band of twelve
warriors had been furtively approaching them in the very manner Peleg
had suspected. Their noiseless footsteps had even brought them within a
few yards of the camp. Only the coming of the morning was required to
enable them to attack.
CHAPTER XXX. CONCLUSION
The light of the rising sun had appeared when the crouching Indians
together fired upon the silent little camp.
By some strange chance almost all the bullets took effect in the
body of the suffering schoolmaster. There was not even a cry from the
stricken man, and as the Indians sent forth a wild whoop every one in
the camp leaped to his feet and fled from the spot.
There had been no time for plans to be made, and consequently every
man fled by himself. They were followed by the shots and the cries of
the pursuing Indians, but no one knew what had befallen his comrade.
Peleg, who was fully dressed and better equipped than his friends
for flight, with Singing Susan in his hand, suddenly fell as he ran
along the border of a swamp which he had not noticed before.
The warriors swept past him, all believing that the young scout had
been shot, and that his scalp might be secured when they returned.
Waiting only until the howling band had passed him, Peleg made his
escape. He sped swiftly back in the direction of the camp, hoping to
secure one of the stolen horses. When he arrived, however, his
disappointment was keen when he found that not one of the horses was
Exerting himself to the utmost, and still gripping Singing Susan,
Peleg ran swiftly into the forest in the direction of the meeting-place
which Colonel Clark had selected.
Several hours elapsed before the young scout arrived at the
rendezvous. Before night fell three of his recent companions also
appeared, but Sam Oliver was not of their number, and in fact he was
never heard of again.
Daniel Boone was now present, and when he and Peleg were together as
darkness fell over the camp Boone said: I am more hopeful now that we
shall soon have peace than I have ever been before.
Just now, suggested Peleg with a laugh, I am thinking more of
something good to eat than I am of getting into the Indian villages.
That suggests the one mistake which I fear has been made. In his
eagerness, the colonel has assembled his men before he has secured
supplies. The result is that almost every man is hungry to-night.
I think I can endure it if the rest of the men do not complain,
said Peleg sturdily. I have not been with you through all these years
without learning that I must not cry if everything I want does not come
to me just when I want it.
That is well. I do not think we will remain here long. It may be
that we shall start within a few hours. All the men are eager to be
gone, and there is nothing to be gained by delay. Without sufficient
supplies for our horses as well as our men, the sooner we start the
better it will be for us all.
Are all here who are expected? inquired Peleg.
There are about one thousand here now, including the regulars.
This conversation was interrupted by the announcement that they
would depart at once. There was a sufficient number of horses in the
camp to provide one for Peleg and for others who had come on foot.
Just previous to the start the great scout explained to Peleg, We
are not far from one of the largest villages of the Indians. It may be
that we shall come to it before morning. That will depend upon the pace
at which our men advance.
The morning dawned, and still no sign of the first of the Indian
villages had been seen. Not a trace of a warrior had been discovered
throughout the night, nor had any been seen when several hours of the
new day had passed. Whether or not the Indians had been informed of the
approach of their enemies was not known.
Steadily the hungry men pressed forward, their conviction that the
time had arrived for them to obtain lasting relief from the attacks of
the treacherous Shawnees being even stronger than their feeling of
Peleg and the great scout were in the front lines, if indeed the
advancing body could be said to be moving with any appearance of order.
It is true the men kept closely together, but the nature of the ground
over which they were moving and the forests through which they passed
made any approach to military order well-nigh impossible.
The men near Peleg abruptly halted when not far before them on the
opposite shore of a large pond they spied a solitary Indian. The
warrior was standing as motionless as the nearby trees as he gazed
steadily at his approaching enemies.
Suddenly he turned and fled into the forest, disregarding the calls
of the men and even unmindful of the few scattered shots which followed
Who was that? whispered Peleg to Daniel Boone.
It was Henry.
I believe it was, declared Peleg excitedly. What will he do now?
He will give the alarm to the village. We are not more than a mile
from it now, and he will be there long before our horses can carry us
over such ground as we have had for the past few miles.
Just at that moment there was a sharp call for an advance. The
entire body at once responded, although the hungry horses were in no
condition for swift action.
The words of the great scout were fulfilled when the force drew near
the Indian village. Not one of its people was to be seen. Fires were
still smouldering and even the meat which was being roasted and the
corn that was boiling in the kettles had been abandoned in the
precipitate flight of the Indians.
The discovery of the food was perhaps more welcome to the hungry men
than would have been the sight of their foes. At all events, a halt was
made, and such food as could be obtained was speedily allotted.
At the right of the village a large field of corn was seen, and the
discovery that the corn was in the ear and ripe for food was good news
indeed. It was not long before the hunger of every man was appeased, in
a measure at least, and the entire force was ready for the further
commands of Colonel Clark.
The village was set on fire in several places, and flames were also
kindled in the field. In less than an hour the men departed, leaving
behind them only the smoking embers of what a short time before had
been a prosperous village of the red men.
Colonel Clark now urged his men forward with increasing speed. At
times the force divided and the task of burning certain villages was
assigned to the different bands. At other times the entire force
proceeded as one body. But their enemies still had not been seen.
Occasionally a solitary Indian would crawl within gunshot when the camp
was pitched, discharge his gun, and then instantly flee; and once a
small party of warriors, mounted upon superb horses, advanced boldly
within gunshot. The red men coolly surveyed the little army, but when a
force was sent to attack them they rode away so swiftly that pursuit
Village after village was burned to the ground, and rich fields of
corn were left in ruins. The pioneers were determined to rid themselves
once and for all of further possibilities of attacks by the ferocious
The alarm over the advance of Colonel Clark had spread throughout
the entire region, and with one accord the red men had abandoned their
homes and fled into the wilderness beyond.
When the attacking forces at last disbanded and the men returned to
their homes, Daniel Boone and Peleg Barnes went back with their friends
into Kentucky. The warfare with the Indians was ended. The Kentucky
homes were now free from the attacks of the Shawnees or Cherokees.
Peleg was no longer a boy. The years that had passed during these
pioneer days had made of him a man. He now had his own home and a tract
of land adjoining that of his great friend, Daniel Boone.
Not a word was heard concerning Henry. There were occasional vague
reports of the presence of a white man among the Shawnees, but whether
or not this referred to the white Shawnee was never known.
As for Daniel Boone, it seemed as if the days of his peril were
ended. The region which he had opened up for the incoming people had
now become well settled. The sound of the axe was heard more frequently
than the rifle. Prosperity smiled upon the efforts of the sturdy
settlers, and the steadily advancing civilization and the spread of
education wrought wonders among the people.
In the diary of Daniel Boone there occurs the following:
Two darling sons and a brother I have lost by savage hands
have also taken from me 40 valuable horses and abundance of
Many dark and sleepless nights have I spent, separated from
cheerful society of man, scorched by the summer's sun, and
by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the
Another writer has left the following:
He (Boone) has left behind him a name strongly written in the
annals of Kentucky, and a reputation for calm courage softened
humanity, conducted by prudence, and embellished by a singular
modesty of deportment. His person was rough, robust, and
strength rather than activity; his manner was cold, grave, and
taciturn; his countenance homely but kind; his conversation
unadorned, unobtrusive, and touching only upon the needful. He
never spoke of himself unless particularly questioned.
As the years passed he showed more and more the spirit which has
been described by one of his admirers in the following words:
There never beat in man a kindlier or more philanthropic
While he was a stranger to selfish and sordid impressions he
alike above mean actions; and he lived and toiled for others,
hardships and sufferings that would have crushed thousands of
The simple-hearted scout, shrewd in his dealing with the Indians,
was honest and straightforward with the men of his own race, and looked
for similar treatment from them. One can therefore imagine his surprise
and indignation when he was informed that he had no legal right to an
acre of the land which he had discovered, and into which he had led
many families that already were sharing in the steadily increasing
prosperity. The clearing he had made, the acres he had cultivated, he
was informed, were not his property now, but belonged to a man who
had signed certain papers!
Boone intensely loved Kentucky. Its rocks and trees, its rivers, its
forests, its very soil, were dear to his heart. In Kentucky he had
experienced his deepest sorrows and many of his highest joys. Perplexed
as well as disheartened, the great scout departed from the settlement
which in a large measure was his own work. He was homeless in a land in
which he had helped so many to secure homes for themselves.
Deep as was Boone's sorrow, he was, as we know, a man whose feeling
did not find expression in useless words. Quietly he returned to the
banks of the Delaware where he had been born, and then went on to
Virginia. On the borders of the great Kanawha he dwelt for five years
in the woods with his dogs and gun.
Meanwhile his son and a brother had gone out into the remote and
almost unknown land beyond the Mississippi River. Their reports and
appeals were so strong, that at last, when the great scout was sixty
years of age, once more accompanied by his faithful wife, he journeyed
away from civilization and went to join his sons in the faraway
The name of the great scout was so well-known and his character was
so much admired that the Spanish Governor at once made him a present of
eighty-five hundred acres of land in what is now the State of Missouri.
Here the great scout in a measure renewed the experiences of his
early life. By working steadily and saving the money which he received
from his crops and his furs he acquired a considerable sum. He then
returned to Kentucky and looked up every man to whom he owed any money
through the loss that had come to him by his inability to retain his
land in the region he had loved. It was not long, however, before he
went back to Missouri, his heart lighter and also his pocketbook.
When the scout was seventy-five years of age, he still was a great
hunter. Friendly with the Indians in the region, he paddled in his
light canoe over the creeks and the little streams in the new
territory, and it is said that even along the banks of the great
Missouri River he set many of his traps for the beaver.
As long as the Spanish and French were in control of the Missouri
country, Boone continued to hold his land safely; but when Napoleon
sold the vast territory to the United States Boone once more suffered a
heavy loss, for his own government refused to recognize his claim to
any part of the region. It seemed almost as if the closing days of the
great scout were to end in darkness.
Through his friends, Daniel Boone now appealed to the legislature of
Kentucky to see that justice was done him. Eager to recognize the
services of the man who had done so much for their state, the
legislature urged Congress to do justice to the white-haired old scout.
After some delay the petition was granted, and a gift of eight hundred
and fifty acres of land was voted Daniel Boone.
It was in December, 1813, when Daniel Boone received word of this
gift, but his relief and pleasure were lessened by the death of his
wife. Selecting a choice spot that overlooked the river for her grave,
the old scout said that when he, too, should die he wished to be buried
by her side.
Seven years later, when he was eighty-five years old, this last
request of Daniel Boone was granted.
Missouri, however, was not to be the final resting-place of the
famous old scout and his wife. A quarter of a century later the
legislature of Kentucky requested the children of Boone to permit the
people of the state for which he had done so much to bring the bodies
of the great scout and his wife to Frankfort, Kentucky.
To-day, on a beautiful site overlooking the banks of the Kentucky
River, looking down upon the city of Frankfort, a fitting monument
marks the place where all that is mortal of Daniel Boone lies resting.
THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS GARDEN CITY, N. Y.