Posts Tagged ‘Pioneers’

Will Carleton – The World Rides on Without You

October 16, 2012

“When the hill of toil was steepest;
When the forest-frown was deepest,
Poor, but young, you hastened here;
Came where solid hope was cheapest—
Came—a pioneer.
Made the Western jungles view
Civilization’s charms;
Snatched a home for yours and you,
From the lean tree-arms.
Toil had never cause to doubt you—
Progress’ path you helped to clear;
But to-day forgets about you,
And the world rides on without you—
Sleep, old pioneer.

WILL CARLETON.

Title: Silhouettes from Life on the Prairie, in the Backwoods
Author: Anson Uriel Hancock
Publisher: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1893

(Google Book Link)

Image of the Poor House and poem from Hillsdale County Community Center

OVER THE HILL TO THE POOR HOUSE

By Will Carleton

Over the hill to the poor-house I’m trudgin’ my weary way—
I, a woman of seventy, and only a trifle gray—
I, who am smart an’ chipper, for all the years I’ve told,
As many another woman that’s only half as old.

Over the hill to the poor-house—I can’t quite make it clear!
Over the hill to the poor-house—it seems so horrid queer!
Many a step I’ve taken a-toilin’ to and fro,
But this is a sort of journey I never thought to go.

What is the use of heapin’ on me a pauper’s shame?
Am I lazy or crazy? Am I blind or lame?
True, I am not so supple, nor yet so awful stout:
But charity ain’t no favor, if one can live without.

I am willin’ and anxious an’ ready any day
To work for a decent livin’, an’ pay my honest way;
For I can earn my victuals, an’ more too, I’ll be bound,
If any body only is willin’ to have me round.

Once I was young an’ han’some—I was, upon my soul—
Once my cheeks was roses, my eyes as black as coal;
An I can’t remember, in them days, of hearin’ people say,
For any kind of reason, that I was in their way.

‘Tain’t no use of boastin’, or talkin’ over free,
But many a house an’ home was open then to me
Many a han’some offer I had from likely men,
And nobody ever hinted that I was a burden then.

An when to John I was married, sure he was good and smart,
But he and all the neighbors would own I done my part;
For life was all before me, an’ I was young an’ strong,
And I worked the best that I could in tryin’ to get along.

An so we worked together; and life was hard, but gay,
With now and then a baby for to cheer us on our way;
Till we had half a dozen, an’ all growed clean an’ neat,
An’ went to school like other, an’ had enough to eat.

So we worked for the child’rn, and raised ‘em every one;
Worked for ‘em summer and winter, just as we ought to ’ve done;
Only perhaps we humored ‘em, which some good folks condemn.
But every couple’s child’rn’s a heap the best to them.

Strange how much we think of our blessed little ones!—
I’d have died for my daughters, I’d have died for my sons;
And God he made that rule of love; but when we’re old and gray,
I’ve noticed it sometimes somehow fails to work the other way.

Strange, another thing: when our boys an’ girls was grown,
An when, exceptin’ Charley, they’d left us there alone;
When John he nearer an’ nearer come, an’ dearer seemed to be,
The Lord of Hosts he come one day an’ took him away from me.

Still I was bound to struggle, an’ never to cringe or fall—
Still I worked for Charley, for Charley was now my all;
And Charley was pretty good to me, with scarce a word or frown,
Till at last he went a-courtin’, and brought a wife from town.

She was somewhat dressy, an’ hadn’t a pleasant smile—
She was quite conceity, and carried a heap o’ style;
But if ever I tried to be friends, I did with her, I know;
But she was hard and proud, an’ I couldn’t make it go.

She had an edication, an’ that was good for her;
But when she twitted me on mine, ‘twas carryin’ things too fur;
An’ IL told her once, ‘fore company (an’it almost made her sick),
That I never swallowed a grammar,or ‘et ‘rithmetic.

So ‘twas only a few days before the thing was done—
They was a family of themselves, and I another one;
And a very little cottage one family will do,
But I never have seen a house that was big enough for two.

An’ I never could speak to suit her, never could please her eye,
An’ it made me independent, and then I didn’t try;
But I was terribly staggered, an’ felt it like a blow,
When Charley turned ag’in me, an’ told me I could go.

I went to live with Susan, but Susan’s house was small,
And she was always a-hintin’ how snug it was for us all;
And what with her husband’s sister, and what with child’rn three,
‘Twas easy to discover that there wasn’t room for me.

An’ then I went to Thomas, the oldest son I’ve got,
For Thomas’s buildings’d cover the half of an acre lot;
But all the child’rn was on me—I couldn’t stand their sauce—
And Thomas said I needn’t think I was comin’ there to boss.

An’ then I wrote to Rebecca, my girl who lives out West,
And to Isaac, not far from her—some twenty miles at best;
And one of’em said’twas too warm there for any one so old,
And t’other had an opinion the climate was too cold.

So they have shirked and slighted me,an’ shifted me about-
So they have well-nigh soured me,an’ wore my old heart out;
But still I’ve borne up pretty well, an’ wasn’t much put down,
Till Charley went to the poor-master, an’ put me on the town.

Over the hill to the poor-house–my chil’rn dear, good-by!
Many a night I’ve watched you when only God was nigh;
And God ‘ll judge between us; but I will al’ays pray
That you shall never suffer the half I do to-day.

“People Count Themselves to Death in This Life”

September 24, 2012

Image from Today in Literature

Superior Sagas

By INEZ ROBB

This country has run plumb out of frontier. But despite the laments of the pessimists, it has not run out of the bold, freewheeling pioneer spirit before which the frontier vanished.

That, says an expert (borrowing from Freud) is the reason we Americans are crazy about westerns; We read ’em by the thousands to sublimate our intense yearning to pack up the covered-wagon and git for the great open spaces.

And that goes for President Eisenhower, too, who is one of the most consecrated devotees of western fiction in the country.
So says Louis L’Amour (his square name), walking encyclopedia of the Old West and author of “Hondo” and other superior sagas of the wild and woolly.

“The American is still a tough hombre, rough and ready, no matter what sociologists say about the debilitating effects of central heating, can openers and air-conditioned autos,” said L’Amour when I cornered him for luncheon the other day.

*     *     *

Product of West

A product of the Old West and the descendant of pioneers, at least one of whom lost his hair to the Sioux, the author bases this heartening appraisal of his fellow citizens in part on his experience with them in a tank destroyer unit in Europe during World War II.

“It may take a jolt to waken that tough, rough and ready streak in him, but he’s got it, even here in the effete East,” says L’Amour.

Born in North Dakota, this is one western author who spent his childhood playing cowboy and Indians with real cowboys and bona fide Indians. There he began to collect, subconsciously, the extraordinary range of western lore that makes the background of his western as authentic and factual as a history of the period.

“I’ve got no time for this Hopalong Cassidy stuff,” said L’Amour, who looks as big and rough hewn as any of his heroes. Having committed heresy, he went on to say that his hero gets the girl, if any, and doesn’t have to go around kissing horses in the sunset.

Even though the Indians scalped his great-grandfather, the author has affection and respect for the noble Redskin and treats him as a man with problems, mainly the pale face, in his fiction.

Not only is L’Amour recognized as a real long-hair student of the Old West as pertains to the pioneers but as an expert on the American Indian, his life and hard times. The two fields mesh and L’Amour is toying with the idea of writing a dictionary or encyclopedia on both.

Most Americans today, he pointed out, don’t even know such elementary facts as why the pioneer used oxen rather than horses or mules on the trek west, or how much goods and gear a covered wagon held.

*     *     *

Lot More Tasty

Fully loaded, the wagon would tote 2500 pounds. And nature provided the oxen with large hoofs which didn’t sink into sand or sod as did the dainty hoofs of horses and mules. And, in addition, oxen were a lot more tasty in the stew pot if worse came to worst and an animal had to be killed for food.

L’Amour always intended to be an author, but never of westerns. His first novels were about the East Indies, on which he is also an expert. In fact, this inexhaustible man is a student and expert on a dizzying number of subjects, Indian archeology and the 12th Century, to name two.

He recently signed a contract to do two novels on the 12th Century theme. But in the intermin, he has a number of novels on the fire for Americans who long for a home where the buffalo roam and who, when they settle down with a good book, begin to hum “Don’t Fence Me In.”

Albuquerque Tribune (Alburquerque, New Mexico) Aug 12, 1954

This Writer’s Life Better Than Stories

By HAL DOYLE

NEW YORK (AP) — “People count themselves to death in this life,” said Louis L’Amour, declining to give his age.

With L’Amour, one of America’s  most prolific adventure writers, keeping his age to himself isn’t a matter of vanity. It’s a philosophy.

“It isn’t the number of years you’ve lived that’s important,” he said, “It’s a mistake to measure living in terms of years. It’s how you’ve spent the years that puts real meaning into existence.”

Judged by most standards, L’Amour has had enough experiences to last the ordinary man through several reincarnations.

The average adventure writer is a swivel chair dreamer who would think twice before picking a quarrel with his dentist.  L’Amour not only looks like the adventure heroes he writes about — he probably could whip one of his own heroes in a fight with either fist or gun.

The big 6-foot-1 inch author weighs 200 and is a judo expert as well as an authority on desert or jungle survival. He has been a sailor, a miner, a hobo, a professional boxer — he won 54 bouts, lost 5 — and an antitank combat officer in World War II.

At 15 he left his home in Jamestown, N.D., and joined a circus as the first step in a search for adventure that has carried him to almost every place in the world.

“Even then I knew I wanted to write,” he recalled. “But I figured I could learn more out of school than in it. I felt I had to see life before I could write about it.”

“I had 200 stories rejected before I sold my first one for $10,” he recalled.

His career has now reached the jackpot stage. He has published more than 400 short stories, turned out half a dozen adventure novels, including “Hondo,” made into a movie starring John Wayne, to whom he bears a strong physical resemblance. Recently he sold a magazine serial for $15,000, sat down and wrote another book, “We Shape the Land,” in 55 hours at the typewriter in 5 days.

L’Amour, whose own experiences have proved a fruitful gold mine, has no patience with people who think of adventure as something limited to the glamerous past.

“It isn’t,” he said soberly. “There is more adventure alive in the world today than there ever was, plenty of unexplored places. Adventure is there waiting for any man with the courage to go and find it. But you’ll never discover it by looking at the calendar — and counting yourself to death.”

Abilene Reporter News (Abilene, Texas) Apr 25, 1955

*     *     *

Proving, once again,  that “going to school” is not the same thing as “receiving an education”:

Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, Indiana) Sep 16, 1954

*     *     *

Panaman City News (Panama City, Florida) Jul 16, 1969

*     *     *

One of several Louis L’Amour books made into a movie:

Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana) Sep 27, 1956

*     *     *

A real “corker” of a quote:

The Daily Intelligencer (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) Dec 27, 1955

Teacher is Born in a Wagon Train

September 7, 2012

PACIFIC GROVE, Aug. 25. —  Mrs. Alice Ede Gamman, Former high school teacher in this state and in Nevada, and now a resident of this city, is another “covered wagon baby.” She was born near the Platte river in June, 1862, while her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Ede, were on their way west in a wagon train from Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Mrs. Gamman’s parents settled in Summit, now Chilkoot, Plumas county, where her brothers engaged in the cattle business. In 1875 the family moved to Reno, Nev. Mrs. Gamman was educated in the public schools of Nevada and California, and graduated from the old Napa college in 1883. Afterward she taught in grammar and high schools of Nevada and California for nearly 30 years.

In 1905 she married Robert W. Gamman, son of another pioneer family. He died in 1918.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Aug 25, 1925

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Feb 9, 1915

Image from Find-A-Grave

Mrs. Alice Gamman Dies in California

Mrs. Alice Ede Gamman, former resident of Nevada, died Friday at her home at Pacific Grove, Calif., friends in Reno were informed yesterday. She was the eldest daughter of the late Stephen Ede, old-time resident.

Mrs. Gamman left here several years ago to reside on the coast. She was an aunt of Mrs. Harry J. Frost of Reno and leaves other relatives in western Nevada and Sierra valley,

Funeral services will be held in Oakland Tuesday at 11 a.m. followed by cremation. The ashes will be accompanied to Reno for burial in Mountain View cemetery.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 21, 1935

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 30, 1935

The Pioneers

September 23, 2010

Image posted by Jackie on Picassa

THE PIONEERS

We talk of times, in times like these,
As if we should be born to ease;
They hewed their houses from the trees.

We talk of tasks, as if our toil
Should take an hour and run in oil;
They dug their substance from the soil.

We talk of needs, as though they meant
The cushions of the indolent;
They plowed and sowed, and were content.

We talk of wealth, as if it would
Make all things possible and good;
Wealth was to them a livelihood.

We talk of times, as if alone
By talking fields are cleared and sown;
We talk of times — they made their own.

(Copyright, 1935, Douglas Malloch)

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Jun 18, 1935

Forty-Niner Profile: Stewart E. Bell

December 12, 2009

Previous California Gold Rush posts mentioning Stewart E. Bell:

“A Pocket Full of Rocks Bring Home”

The Ohio 49′ers: Some Stay, Some Return

*****

Stewart E. Bell came from good pioneer stock:

Stewart E. Bell died March 11, 1896, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Arthur Phinney, in Sandusky, Ohio. He was born in Middleberry township, Hartford county, Connecticut, November 25th, 1809. He was the son of Elizur Stewart Bell and wife Polly.

His father, with a party of eighteen families, left Connecticut for Ohio in September, 1815, making the journey with oxen, cows and wagons — Mr. Bell’s father being the only one of the party having a horse ; one other of the party, Mr. Beatty, father of General Beatty, having a very long eared donkey, which gave much amusement to the children during the journey. After spending about six weeks on the way, they arrived in Sandusky the latter part of October. Mr. Beatty owned a large tract of land in the vicinity of Sandusky, and sold parcels of it to the members of the party.

Schooner (Image from http://www.schoonerman.com)

Mr. Bell‘s father purchased 140 acres at $4 per acre. Mr. Bell’s father was a ship carpenter and soon after his arrival he built a schooner, which he named ” Polly of Huron,” after his wife. The boat was built about a mile and a half from the lake shore and it took forty yoke of oxen — all there were in the counties — to haul it to the lake. The hauling was done in one day. He died in October, 1816, and his widow subsequently married a man by the name of Munger but lived with him but a short time.

Mr. Stewart E. Bell, on May 8, 1834, married Elvira Dibble, who was born in Connecticut but emigrated from the city of New York with a brother to Sandusky in 1832. They first located on Hancock street, but later bought a house on Adams street, where they resided till 1870, when they moved to their country home about two miles from Sandusky on Columbus avenue.

Mr. Bell was a ship carpenter, following the trade of his father. In 1849 he caught the gold fever and went to California, where he remained about sixteen months. During the fore part of his stay there he worked at his trade, making the first boat ever built at Sacramento Harbor ; for which he received sixteen dollars per day and board. He afterwards went to the mines, but before securing much gold he was called home by sickness.

After the death of his wife in 1887, Mr. Bell lived with his daughter, Mrs. Arthur Phinney, at whose home he died as above stated, aged 87 years.

Underground Railroad (Image from http://strattonhouse.com)

His wife, Elvira Dibble, was an active member of the Underground Railway and assisted many runaway slaves on their way to Canada. Two sons and one daughter survived him. Both sons reside in Columbus, Ohio, and his daughter, Mrs. Phinney, died January 7, 1898.

From:
The Fire Lands pioneer (1882)
Author: Firelands Historical Society
Volume: 12, ns. p.533-534
Ohio — History Periodicals
Publisher: Norwalk, Ohio : Fire Lands Historical Society

*****

This next article isn’t about Stewart E. Bell (although it mentions him,) but about John Beatty and some of the other pioneers mentioned above:

Seventy-Five Years in Perkins.

BY W.D. GURLEY.
FOR THE REGISTER.

At the close of the war of 1812 the Rev. John Beatty and Julius House, then living in Connecticut, formed a colony of twelve families. Late in the fall of ’15 they arrived in Erie county and selected their farms in Perkins township on the sand ridge now leading from Bogarts to Bloomingville, then an Indian trail. Each family built his own campfire and slept in their wagons while building their one story log cabins. The country being new, they were surrounded by wild beasts and savage tribes. These cabins were built without boards, nails or glass. During the winter of ’15 they organized the first M.E. church on the Firelands, John Beatty being a local preacher and Julius House an exhorter. Mr. House was chosen class leader, which office he held for more than fifty years. The number of members was about fifteen. At a meeting in ’36 there was 108 added to their number. This society has prospered for the last seventy five years under such preachers as the Rev. John H. Powers, Wm. Runnells, John Rellam, Adam Poe, Rev. T.B. Gurley, Sawyer, Dunn, McMahon, Mitchell, Barkdull, Breckenridge, Broadwell, Thompson and a host of others.

The Rev. James Gray has been returned for the second year to Perkins for to persuade the people to come out to church and receive the blessings reserved for them. These old pioneers, fathers and mothers, went to work, fenced and cleared their land, plowed the ground, set out several apple orchards which grew and thrived and in a few years furnished apples and cider not only for the neighborhood but also for Sandusky.

In a few years those old log cabins were removed, frame buildings took the place of the old ones, barns and outhouses were erected, rail fences torn down and picket and board fences became the fashion of the day. These old pioneer fathers went to work, toiled hard early and late for more than half a century, then they one by one passed away, leaving their homes to their children and grand children.

There are today six of those children living who came with their parents to Perkins seventy-five years ago: Mr. Stuart Bell, of Sandusky; Mrs. Susan O. Monnett, of Norwalk; Mrs. Riley, of Avery; Mrs. Green, of Perkins; Ellery Taylor and Lindsley House, were all children when they arrived here.

The new generation that has sprung up was not satisfied with those old pioneer orchards because they were old fashioned and somewhat infirm with age, so they have all been cut down and cleaned away.

Mr. T.B. Taylor, grandson of Jessie Taylor, now occupies his grandfather’s old homestead of seventy-five years. A magnificent mansion has just risen on the sight of the old cottage by Mr. Taylor. It is built in the latest French style, its windows filled with French cut glass, while those of the hall are Chinese glass. The building fronts the road and is built with its hip roof, its stack chimneys and surmounted spires; it is roofed with slate and painted in the latest style of the nineteenth century. The driveway leading from the road to the stable curves to the east parlor door, then passes through a beautiful potochere, a French name, and is a very convenient part of he house. The way is covered with slate and pebble stones; the sidewalk leading from the gate to the house is laid with long square flag stones imported from some foreign port. Shrubbery occupies the yard, while in front of the house stands a beautiful row of maples. The old barn has been removed a little back and a magnificent one erected on the site of the old one, with its surmounted cupola and spire; it is painted red and tipped with white. Thrift and fashion have removed the old land marks by Mr. Taylor and introduced a new era into the shady paradise of the past.

Mr. Taylor and family are now comfortably settled in their new home and the well arrainged furniture shows the taste of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor.

There was one of these old pioneers’ apple trees standing in the door yard which had escaped the notice of hte woodman’s axe.

Sandusky Daily Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Dec 29, 1890

See previous post The Pioneer Apple Tree HERE

Sudden Death

Mr. Charles L.* Bell, well known in Sandusky, died suddenly of appoplexy at his home on King avenue in Columbus on Saturday morning, July 6. Mr. Bell was in the sixtieth year of his age, eldest son of Mr. Stewart E. Bell and brother of Mrs. Arthur Phinney, of this city.

Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Jul 9, 1895

*(probably should be Charles Stuart/Stewart Bell)

An Ohio Pioneer Woman’s Obituary

October 16, 2009

pioneers river

From the TRIBUNE.

DIED — December 31st, 1870, Mrs. Martha Alford, re???? of Esquire R.B. Alford, late of Portsmouth. Mrs. Alford was born in Mason County, Kentucky, about the year 1797, the precise date not known. She came to Portsmouth in the spring of 1812, consequently she has resided in Portsmouth and vicinity nearly fifty-eight years.

Her father’s family emigrated from Maryland to Kentucky in 1793, while the Indians were yet prowling along the banks of the Ohio, watching for an opportunity to decoy boats within their power, so as to murder and scalp the defenceless emigrants and plunder their boats of whatever they contained. However, the boat containing the family of Griffith Jones ran the gauntlet in safety without any thing more serious happening to them than a false alarm or two and hearing an occasional war whoop or a yell from the infurate savages.

Mrs. Alford was born into the Methodist church and always lived a consistent member of that denomination, and was a truly exemplary christian mother in Israel. In order to have cicar conception of her christian character it is necessary to go back a little and see under what circumstances she became a christian.

Her father joined the Methodist church before the revolutionary war under the preaching of the first founders of Methodism in America. When such preachers as Freeborn, Garrettson and Abbott, and other of lesser note were carrying every thing before them with their powerful preaching. His house was always the preacher’s home.

A rude log cabin, perhaps it generally was, yet the weary “itinerant,” with his horse and saddle bags, always found a welcome home at the house of Griffith Jones. So that Martha, the youngest child of a large family, as was said above, was literally born into the Methodist church. As to how well she performed the duties of a christian, all those who were acquainted with her can testify.

She was twice married. The first time to a man by the name of Lodge, who died early with the consumption. She had three children by her first husband who inherited their father’s disease and all died soon after coming to maturity. She had no children by her last husband, consequently leaves no descendants.

She was the last survivor of a large family, who flourished here in the early settlement of Portsmouth. Some few of the Glovers and Joneses yet remain amongst us.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 7, 1871

The Dangers of a “Squatter Life”

September 29, 2009
Log Cabin (Image from http://photographs.mccumber.us)

Log Cabin (Image from http://photographs.mccumber.us)

SQUATTER LIFE.

Among the early settlers of the West were many who moved out and selected sites for their homes upon the unoccupied land they might find, and, by clearing a portion of it and building a cabin, they obtained a pre-emption right to the soil, or, at least, a certain portion of it, and in possession of which they have been protected by the government, at least, so far as that no one could dispossess them without paying them an equivalent for the improvements; and even then they had a prior claim, or privilege of purchasing at government price over every other purchaser. Such pioneers have been denominated “Squatters.”

In an early day a man, who had left the sterile soil of an Eastern State, started with his young and rising family to better his condition in the rich and fertile valley of the West. He was a poor, but honest man; had struggled hard to raise his family, and by patient industry was enabled to obtain an outfit of a horse and cart to journey to the West. Passing through what was then a wilderness, he at length reached a spot on the Illinois river, about two hundred miles from its mouth, where he pitched his tent, and subsequently erected his cabin. His family consisted of a wife and three children the eldest, a boy, was in his nineteenth year, the next a girl, in her eighteenth year, and the youngest a boy of fourteen. They were all vigorous, the very material suited for the hard toil and poor fare of pioneer life.

One day there came to the squatter’s cabin three Indians, professing to be friendly, who invited the father to go out on a hunting excursion with them. As the family subsisted mostly upon game, he finally concluded to accompany them, taking with him his eldest son. They expected to be absent about a week, as they intended to take a somewhat extensive range.

After three days had passed away, one of the Indians returned to the squatter’s house, and deliberately lighting his pipe and taking his seat by the fire, he commenced smoking in silence. The wife was not startled at hsi appearance, as it was frequently the case that one, and sometimes more, of a party of Indian hunters, getting discouraged, would leave the rest and return. This was usually the case when they imagined they discovered some bad sign, and it would not only be useless, but disatrous, for them to hunt under such circumstances.

The Indian sat for some time in sullen silence, and at length, removing his pipe from his mouth he gave a significant grunt to awaken attention, and said —

“White man die.”

The squatter’s wife at his replied,

“What is the matter?”

“He sick; tree fall on him; he die. You go see him.”

Her suspicions being somewhat aroused at the manner of the savage, she asked him a number of questions. The evasiveness and evident want of consistencly of the answers, at length confirmed her that something was wrong. She judged it best not to go herself, but sent her youngest son, the eldest, as we have seen, having gone on a hunt with his father. Night came, but it brought not the son or the Indian. All its gloomy hours were spent in taht lone cabin by the mother and daughter; but morning came without their return. The whole day passed in the same fruitless look out for the boy; the mother felt grieved that she had sent her child on the errand, but it was now too late. Her suspicions were now confirmed that the Indians had decoyed away her husband and sons. She felt that they would not stop in their evil designs, and that, if they had slain the father and his boys, they would next attack the mother and daughter.

No time was to be lost; and she and the daughter, as night was approaching, went to work to barricade the door and windows of the cabin in the best manner they could. The rifle of the youngest boy was all the weapon in the house, as he did not take it when he went to seek his father. This was taken from its hangings, and carefully examined to see that it was well loaded and primed. To her daughter she gave the axe, and thus armed they determined to watch all night, and, if attacked by the savages, to fight to the last.

About midnight they made their appearance, expecting to find the mother and daughter asleep, but in this they were disappointed. They approached stealthily, and one of the number knocked loudly at the door, crying,

“Mother! Mother!”

The mother’s ear was too acute and she replied, “Where are the Indians, my son?”

The answer, “Um-gone,” would have satisfied her, if she had not been before aware of the deceit.

“Come up, my son, put your ear to the latch-hole. I want to tell you something before I open the door.”

The Indian applied his ear to the latch-hole. The crack of the rifle followed and he fell dead.

As soon as she fired, she stepped on one side of the door, and immediately two rifle balls passed through it, either which would have killed her.

“Thank God!” said the mother in a whisper to her daughter, “there are but two. They are the three that went to hunt with your father, and one of them is dead. If we can only kill or cripple another we shall be safe. Take courage, my child; God will not forsake us in this trying hour. We must both be still after they fire again. Supposing they have killed us, they will break down the door. I may be able to shoot one,” — for in the meantime she had re-loaded the rifle, “but if I miss, you must use the axe with all your might.”

The daughter, equally courageous with her mother, assured her that she would do her best.

The conversaton had hardly ceased when two more rifle balls came crashing through the window. A death-like stilness ensued for the space of several minutes, when two more balls, in quick succession came through the door, followed by tremendous strokes againt it with a heavy stake. At length the door gave way, and an Indian with a fiendish yell, was in the act of springing into the house; but a ball from the boy’s rifle, in the mother’s hand, pierced his heart, and he fell across the threshold. The surviving Indian, daring not to venture — and it was well for his skull that he did not — fired at random, and ran away.

“Now,” said the mother to the daughter, “we must leave;” and taking the rifle and the axe, they hastened to the river, jumped into a canoe, and without a morsel of provisions, except a wild duck and two blackbirds which the mother shot on the voyage, and which they ate raw, they paddled their canoe down the river until they reached the residence of a French settler at St. Louis.

Some time after, a party of hunters started over into Illinois, and scoured the country in every direction; but they returned without finding either the squatter or his boys. Nor have they been heard of to this day. Should the traveler pass by the beautiful city of Peoria, in his westward wanderings, the old settlers in that neighborhood can point out the spot where stood the cabin of the squatter, so heroically defended by his wife and daughter, and who so nobly avenged the death of the father and sons.

The pioneer women of the West, like the men, were made of sterner stuff than enters into the composition of most of our modern ladies and gentlemen. They were brave in entering the wilderness, and they showed themselves equally so in grappling with its difficulties, and encountering its perils.

Pioneer of the West.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 11, 1857

*****

Pretty awesome educational site: SQIDOO

The creator is a retired teacher/homeschooling mom and so the info is geared for children/teachers.  This particular page is full of information about the 1780s.

Tragedy on the Texas Frontier

December 30, 2008
Comanche Men

Comanche Men

Here is a news account of a family from Kansas, who had just arrived by covered wagon to start a new life on the Texas frontier, when a violent incident changed their lives forever.

Western Texas.
SAD STORY OF A MISSOURI FAMILY.
(From the Sedalia Bazoo.)
A family, consisting of a man and wife and three children, passed through this city this morning, slowly wending their way northward to their old home in Ralls county. They were in a covered wagon, and had a team which, some day, had been a good one; but its travel-worn appearance, together with the jaded look of the travelers, attracted the attention of a Bazoo reporter, who elicited the following particulars of their journey to the western portion of Texas — and how their number was now one less than when they started from their Ralls county home:

Mr. Ressler was a well-to-do farmer, who in an early day went to the State of California, and by hard work amassed what he considered a sufficiency for a good start in farming life. He returned home to Missouri, married and settled down to regular farming life.

This spring, when emigration commenced Texaswards, the old fever which had taken him to California in 1851 began to rage, and although he had a good home he grew restless, and concluded to try his fortune in Texas.

He was looking for cheap lands, and passed through Grayson county west into Cook and out into the western portion of Montague county. This country, though wild and subject to frequent incursions of the nomadic tribes of Indians that infest the western border, is rather rich and full of game. Mr. Ressler pitched his camp on a little stream, near a good spring, some four or five miles from any habitation, and little dreamed of danger.

On the fourth day of their stay there, the oldest daughter, a young lady of seventeen, went to the spring for a bucket of water, but, alas! she never came back.

One scream like that of the surprised panther was carried to the ear of the mother, who was at the camp, the father being out hunting. The mother rushed to the rescue of the first-born, only to hear the receding footsteps of the Comanche ponies. The mother was paralyzed with grief and fainted away as soon as she realized the fate of her daughter.

The father returned in a few hours and examined the locality of the spring, and found that about fifteen ponies had been hitched hard by, and the Indians had evidently crept up to the spring and were lying in wait for their victim. Mr. R. cared for his wife, and at once started for the next neighbor, and the alarm was given that a

YOUNG LADY HAD BEEN STOLEN.

The frontier Texan is ever ready to jump into his saddle at a moment’s notice, and a party of ten determined men were soon on the trail of the red fiends, which had taken a westerly direction. The superior horses of the Texans rapidly gained on the poor ponies of the Indians, and after traveling all night on a warm trail, came up with the Indians the next morning, just as they had come to a halt, and a fight ensued, in which the object of the chase

LOST HER LIFE,

And was scalped, all of the Indians getting away but three. One of the three killed had the gory scalp of the young girl attached to his belt. They had killed her just as soon as attacked. The father was almost distracted, and absolutely frenzied with grief, and when the chase was given up by the others he could hardly be kept back. The young lady

WAS BURIED WHERE KILLED

In the western wilds of Texas, and the family could no longer remain in the country that has caused them so much misery.
The [Bazoo] reporter asked what became of the scalp. The tear-dimmed eyes of the mother looked in the direction of a substantial chest in the wagon, and she said: “It is there.” We asked if they had any objection to showing it. They said no and the father unlocked the chest and produced a long lock of dark hair, cut from the crown of the head, with about an inch and a half in diameter of the scalp. When this was produced, the entire family gave way to loud sobs; and we wondered why so ghastly a memento was kept, that would ever keep fresh in their memory the tragic end of their beloved daughter and sister.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 15 Jul 1874