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´╗┐Title: The Bark Covered House - Or, Back In the Woods Again; Being a Graphic and Thrilling Description of Real Pioneer Life in the Wilderness of Michigan
Author: Nowlin, William, 1821-1884
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bark Covered House - Or, Back In the Woods Again; Being a Graphic and Thrilling Description of Real Pioneer Life in the Wilderness of Michigan" ***

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THE BARK COVERED HOUSE,

OR

or, BACK IN THE WOODS AGAIN;
BEING A GRAPHIC AND THRILLING DESCRIPTION OF REAL PIONEER LIFE IN THE
WILDERNESS OF MICHIGAN

BY WILLIAM NOWLIN, ESQ.

1876



PREFATORY NOTE.


I little thought when I left my farm yards, horses and cattle in the care
of other men, and began to write, that I should spend nearly all the
winter of 1875 in writing; much less, that I should offer the product of
such labor to the public, in the Centennial Year. But I have been urged
to do so by many friends, both learned and unlearned, who have read the
manuscript, or listened to parts of it. They think the work, although
written by a farmer, should see the light and live for the information of
others. One of these is Levi Bishop, of Detroit, who was long a personal
friend of my father and his family, and has recently read the manuscript.
He is now President of the "Wayne County Pioneer Society," and is widely
known as a literary man, poet and author.

W.N.



KEY.


Sketch of the lives of John and Melinda Nowlin; of their journeying and
settlement in Michigan.

Thrilling scenes and incidents of pioneer life, of hopes and fears, of
ups and downs, of a life in the woods; continuing until the gloom and
darkness of the forest were chased away, by the light of civilization,
and the long battle for a home had been fought by the pioneer soldiers
and they had gained a signal victory over nature herself.

Hope never forsook them in the darkest hours, but beckoned and cheered
them on to the conquest of the wilderness. When that was consummated hope
hovered and sat upon her pedestal of realization. For better days had
come for the pioneers in the country they had found. Then was heard the
joyful, enchanting "Harvest Home;" songs of "Peace and Plenty."

Crowned with honor, prosperity and happiness--for a time.



PREFACE.


I have delineated the scenes of this narrative, from time to time, as
they took place. I thought at the time when they occurred that some of
them were against me.

I do not place this volume before its readers that I may gain any
applause: I have sought to say no more of myself than was necessary.

This is a labor of love, written to perpetuate the memory of some most
noble lives, among whom were my father and mother who sought a home in
the forests of Michigan at an early day. Being then quite young, I kept
no record of dates or occurrences, and this book is mostly sketched
from memory.

It is a history of my parents' struggles and triumphs in the wilderness.
It ought to encourage all who read it, since not many begin life in a new
country with fewer advantages than they.

It is said that "Truth is stranger than fiction." In this I have detailed
the walks of ordinary life in the woods. In these pictures there is
truth. All and more than I have said have been realized. My observations
have been drawn from my own knowledge, in the main, but I am indebted to
my sisters for some incidents related. Together, with our brother, we
often sat around the clay hearth and listened to father's stories, words
of encouragement and counsel. Together we shared and endured the fears,
trials and hardships of a pioneer life.

This work cannot fail to be of deep interest to all persons of similar
experience; and to their descendants for ages to come who can never too
fully appreciate the blessings earned for them by their parents and
others amid hardships, privations and sufferings (in a new country) the
half of which can never be told.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER.


     I--TALKING OF MICHIGAN
    II--DISAGREEABLE MUSIC
   III--HOW WE GOT OUR SWEET, AND THE HISTORY OF MY FIRST PIG
    IV--OUR SECOND HOUSE AND FIRST APPLE TREES
     V--THE JUG OF WHISKY AND TEMPERANCE MEETING
    VI--HOW WE FOUND OUR CATTLE
   VII--TROUBLE CAME ON THE WING
  VIII--HARD TIMES FOR US IN MICHIGAN
    IX--A SUMMER HUNT
     X--HOW WE GOT INTO TROUBLE ONE NIGHT AND I SCARED
    XI--THE INDIANS VISIT US--THEIR STRANGE AND PECULIAR WAYS
   XII--THE INSIDE OF OUR HOUSE--A PICTURE FROM MEMORY
  XIII--METHEGLIN; OR, THE DETECTED DRINK
   XIV--OUR ROAD--HOW I WAS WOUNDED
    XV--PROSPECT OF WAR
   XVI--FISHING AND BOAT RIDING,
  XVII--HOW I GOT IN TROUBLE RIDING IN A CANOE
 XVIII--OUR CLEARING AND THE FIRST RAILROAD CARS
   XIX--TREES
    XX--DRAWING CORD-WOOD--HOW THE RAILROAD WAS BUILT--THE STEAM WHISTLE
   XXI--HOW I HUNTED AND WE PAID THE MORTGAGE
  XXII--BEAR HUNT
 XXIII--GRANDFATHER'S POWDER HORN--WAR WITH PIRATES
  XXIV--LIGHT BEGINS TO DAWN
   XXV--MAKING A BARGAIN
  XXVI--HOW I COMMENCED FOR MYSELF--FATHER'S OLD FARM
 XXVII--THOUGHTS IN CONNECTION WITH FATHER AND EARLY PIONEER LIFE
XXVIII--FATHER'S NEW HOUSE AND ITS SITUATION--HIS CHILDREN VISIT HIM
  XXIX--MY WATCH LOST AND VISIT TO CANADA
   XXX--MOTHER'S VISIT TO THE EAST
  XXXI--LEAVING NEW YORK CITY FOR HOME



ILLUSTRATIOINS.


"THE MICHIGAN"
THE BARK-COVERKD HOUSE
THE THOMPSON TAVERN
HOUSE BUILT IN 1836
FIRST RAILWAY CARS
HOUSE BUILT IN 1854



CHAPTER I.

TALKING OF MICHIGAN.


My father was born in 1793, and my mother in 1802, in Putnam County,
State of New York. Their names were John and Melinda Nowlin. Mother's
maiden name was Light.

My father owned a small farm of twenty-five acres, in the town of Kent,
Putnam County, New York, about sixty miles from New York City. We had
plenty of fruit, apples, pears, quinces and so forth, also a never
failing spring. He bought another place about half a mile from that. It
was very stony, and father worked very hard. I remember well his building
stone wall.

But hard work would not do it. He could not pay for the second
place. It involved him so that we were in danger of losing the place
where we lived.

He said, it was impossible for a poor man to get along and support his
family; that he never could get any land for his children there, and he
would sell what he had and go to a better country, where land was cheap
and where he could get land for them.

He talked much of the territory of Michigan. He went to one of the
neighbors and borrowed a geography. I recollect very well some things
that it stated. It was Morse's geography, and it said that the territory
of Michigan was a very fertile country, that it was nearly surrounded by
great lakes, and that wild grapes and other wild fruit grew in abundance.

Father then talked continually of Michigan. Mother was very much opposed
to leaving her home. I was the eldest of five children, about ten or
eleven years of age, when the word Michigan grated upon my ear. I am not
able to give dates in full, but all of the incidents I relate are facts.
Some of them occurred over forty years ago, and are given mostly from
memory, without the aid of a diary. Nevertheless, most of them are now
more vivid and plain to my mind than some things which transpired within
the past year. I was very much opposed to going to Michigan, and did all
that a boy of my age could do to prevent it. The thought of Indians,
bears and wolves terrified me, and the thought of leaving my schoolmates
and native place was terrible. My parents sent me to school when in New
York, but I have not been to school a day since. My mother's health was
very poor. Her physician feared that consumption of the lungs was already
seated. Many of her friends said she would not live to get to Michigan if
she started. She thought she could not, and said, that if she did,
herself and family would be killed by the Indians, perish in the
wilderness, or starve to death. The thought too, of leaving her friends
and the members of the church, to which she was very much attached, was
terribly afflicting. She made one request of father, which was that when
she died he would take her back to New York, and lay her in the grave
yard by her ancestors.

Father had made up his mind to go to Michigan, and nothing could change
him. He sold his place in 1832, hired a house for the summer, then went
down to York, as we called it, to get his outfit. Among his purchases
were a rifle for himself and a shot gun for me. He said when we went to
Michigan it should be mine. I admired his rifle very much. It was the
first one I had ever seen. After trying his rifle a few days, shooting at
a mark, he bade us good-by, and started "to view" in Michigan.

I think he was gone six or eight weeks, when he returned and told us of
his adventures and the country. He said he had a very hard time going up
Lake Erie. A terrible storm caused the old boat, "Shelvin Thompson" to
heave, and its timber to creak in almost every joint. He thought it must
go down. He went to his friend, Mr. George Purdy, (who is now an old
resident of the town of Dearborn) said to him: "You had better get up; we
are going down! The Captain says 'every man on deck and look out for
himself.'" Mr. Purdy was too sick to get up. The good old steamer
weathered the storm and landed safely at Detroit.

Father said that Michigan was a beautiful country, that the soil was as
rich as a barn-yard, as level as a house floor, and no stones in the way.
(I here state, that he did not go any farther west than where he bought
his land.) He also said he had bought eighty acres of land, in the town
of Dearborn, two and a half miles from a little village, and twelve
miles from the city of Detroit. Said he would buy eighty acres more, east
of it, after he moved in the spring, which would make it square, a
quarter section. He said it was as near Detroit as he could get
government land, and he thought Detroit would always be the best market
in the country.

Father had a mother, three sisters, one brother and an uncle living in
Unadilla Country N.Y. He wished very much to see them, and, as they were
about one hundred and fifty miles on his way to Michigan, he concluded to
spend the winter with them. Before he was ready to start he wrote to his
uncle, Griffin Smith, to meet him, on a certain day, at Catskill, on the
Hudson river. I cannot give the exact date, but remember that it was in
the fall of 1833.

The neighbor, of whom we borrowed the old geography, wished very much to
go West with us, but could not raise the means. When we started we passed
by his place; he was lying dead in his house. Thus were our hearts,
already sad, made sadder.

We traveled twenty-five miles in a wagon, which brought us to
Poughkeepsie, on the Hudson river, then took a night boat for Catskill
where uncle was to meet us the next morning. Before we reached Catskill,
the captain said that he would not stop there. Father said he must. The
captain said he would not stop for a hundred dollars as his boat was
behind time. But he and father had a little private conversation, and
the result was he did stop. The captain told his men to be careful of
the things, and we were helped off in the best style possible. I do not
know what changed the captain's mind, perhaps he was a Mason. Uncle met
us, and our things were soon on his wagon. Now, our journey lay over a
rough, hilly country, and I remember it was very cold. I think we passed
over some of the smaller Catskill Mountains. My delicate mother, wrapt
as best she could be, with my little sister (not then a year old) in her
arms, also the other children, rode. Father and I walked some of the
way, as the snow was quite deep on the mountains. He carried his rifle,
and I my shot-gun on our shoulders. Our journey was a tedious one, for
we got along very slowly; but we finally arrived at Unadilla. There we
had many friends and passed a pleasant winter. I liked the country
better than the one we left, and we all tried to get father to buy
there, and give up the idea of going to Michigan. But a few years
satisfied us that he knew the best.

Early in the spring of 1834 we left our friends weeping, for, as they
expressed it, they thought we were going "out of the world." Here I will
give some lines composed and presented to father and mother by father's
sister, N. Covey, which will give her idea of our undertaking better than
any words I can frame:

"Dear Brother and Sister, we must bid you adieu,
We hope that the Lord will deal kindly with you,
Protect and defend you, wherever you go,
If Christ is your friend, sure you need fear no foe.

"The distance doth seem great, to which you are bound,
But soon we must travel on far distant ground,
And if we prove faithful to God's grace and love,
If we ne'er meet before, we shall all meet above."

About twenty years later this aunt, her husband and nine children
(they left one son) sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and grand-children
visited us. Uncle had sold his nice farm in Unadilla and come to
settle his very intelligent family in Michigan. He settled as near us
as he could get government land sufficient for so large a family. With
most of this numerous family near him, he is at this day a sprightly
old man, respected (so far as I know) by all who know him, from
Unionville to Bay City.

Now as I have digressed, I must go back and continue the story of our
journey from Unadilla to Michigan. As soon as navigation opened, in the
spring, we started again with uncle's team and wagon. In this manner we
traveled about fifty miles which brought us to Utica. There we embarked
on a canal boat and moved slowly night and day, to invade the forests of
Michigan. Sometimes when we came to a lock father got off and walked a
mile or two. On one of these occasions I accompanied him, and when we
came to a favorable place, father signaled to the steersman, and he
turned the boat up. Father jumped on to the side of the boat. I attempted
to follow him, did not jump far enough, missed my hold and went down, by
the side of the boat, into the water. However, father caught my hand and
lifted me out. They said that if he had not caught me, I must have been
crushed to death, as the boat struck the side the same minute. That,
certainly, would have been the end of my journey to Michigan. When it was
pleasant we spent part of the time on deck. One day mother left my little
brother, then four years old, in care of my oldest sister, Rachel. He
concluded to have a rock in an easy chair, rocked over and took a cold
bath in the canal. Mother and I were in the cabin. When we heard the cry
"Overboard!" we rushed on deck, and the first thing we saw was a man
swimming with something ahead of him. It proved to be my brother, held
by one strong arm of an English gentleman. He did not strangle much; some
said the Englishman might have waded out, in that case he would not have
strangled any, as he had on a full-cloth overcoat, which held him up
until the Englishman got to him. Be that as it may, the Englishman was
our ideal hero for many years, for by his bravery and skill, unparalleled
by anything we had seen, he had saved our brother from a watery grave.

That brother is now the John Smith Nowlin, of Dearborn.

Nothing more of importance occurred while we were on the canal. When we
arrived at Buffalo the steamer, "Michigan," then new, just ready for her
second trip, lay at her wharf ready to start the next morning. Thinking
we would get a better night's rest, at a public house, than on the
steamer father sought one, but made a poor choice.

Father had four or five hundred dollars, which were mostly silver, he
thought this would be more secure and unsuspected in mother's willow
basket, which would be thought to contain only wearing apparel for the
child. We had just got nicely installed and father gone to make
preparations for our embarkation on the "Michigan," when the lady of
the house came by mother and, as if to move it a little, lifted her
basket. Then she said, "You must have plenty of money, your basket is
very heavy."

When father came, and mother told him the liberty the lady had taken, he
did not like it much, and I am sure I felt anything but easy.

But father called for a sleeping room with three beds, and we were shown
up three flights of stairs, into a dark, dismal room, with no window,
and but one door. Mother saw us children in bed, put the basket of silver
between my little brother and me, and then went down. The time seemed
long, but finally father and mother came up. I felt much safer then. Late
in the evening a man, with a candle in one hand, came into the room,
looked at each bed sufficiently to see who was in it. When he came to
father's bed, which proved to be the last, as he went round, father asked
him what he wanted there. He said he was looking for an umbrella. Father
said he would give him umbrella, caught him by the sleeve of his coat;
but he proved to be stronger than his coat for he fled leaving one sleeve
of a nice broadcloth coat in father's hand. Father then put his knife
over the door-latch. I began to breathe more freely, but there was no
sleep for father or mother, and but little for me, that night.

Everything had been quiet about two hours when we heard steps, as of two
or three, coming very quietly, in their stocking feet. Father rose, armed
himself with a heavy chair and waited to receive them.

Mother heard the door-latch, and fearing that father would kill, or be
killed, spoke, as if not wishing them to hear, and said: "John have the
pistols ready," (it will be remembered that we had pistols in place of
revolvers in those days) "and the moment they open the door shoot them."
This stratagem worked; they retired as still as possible.

In about two or three hours more, they came again, and although father
told mother to keep still, she said again: "Be ready now and blow them
down the moment they burst open the door."

Away they went again, but came once more just before daylight, stiller
if possible than ever; father was at his station, chair in hand, but
mother was determined all should live, if possible, so she said "They are
coming again, shoot the first one that enters!" &c., &c.

They found that we were awake and, do doubt, thought that they would meet
with a little warmer reception than they wished. Father really had no
weapons with him except the chair and knife. I said, the room had no
window, consequently, it was as dark at daylight as at midnight. The only
way we could tell when it was daylight was by the noise on the street.

When father went down, in the morning, he inquired for the landlord and
the man that came into his room; but the landlord and the man with one
sleeve were not to be found. Father complained to the landlady, of being
disturbed, and showed her the coatsleeve. She said it must have been an
old man, who usually slept in that room, looking for a bed.

We went immediately to our boat. As father was poor and wished to
economize, he took steerage passage, as we had warm clothes and plenty of
bedding, he thought this the best that he could afford. Our headquarters
were on the lower deck. In a short time steam was up, and we bade
farewell to Buffalo, where we had spent a sleepless night, and with about
six-hundred passengers started on our course.

The elements seemed to be against us. A fearful storm arose; the captain
thought it would be dangerous to proceed, and so put in below a little
island opposite Cleveland, and tied up to a pier which ran out from the
island. Here we lay for three weary days and nights, the storm
continually raging.

Finally, the captain thought he must start out. He kept the boat as near
the shore as he could with safety, and we moved slowly until we were near
the head of the lake. Then the storm raged and the wind blew with
increased fury. It seemed as if the "Prince of the power of the air" had
let loose the wind upon us. The very air seemed freighted with woe. The
sky above and the waters below were greatly agitated. It was a dark
afternoon, the clouds looked black and angry and flew across the horizon
apparently in a strife to get away from the dreadful calamity that seemed
to be coming upon Lake Erie.

We were violently tempest-tossed. Many of the passengers despaired of
getting through. Their lamentations were piteous and all had gloomy
forebodings of impending ruin. The dark, blue, cold waves, pressed hard
by the wind, rolled and tumbled our vessel frightfully, seeming to make
our fears their sport. What a dismal, heart-rending scene! After all our
efforts in trying to reach Michigan, now I expected we must be lost. Oh
how vain the expectation of reaching our new place, in the woods! I
thought we should never see it. It looked to me as though Lake Erie would
terminate our journey.

It seemed as if we were being weighed in a great balance and that
wavering and swaying up and down; balanced about equally between hope and
fear, life and death.

[Illustration: "THE MICHIGAN."--AFTER LEAVING THE ISLAND IN THE
SPRING OF 1834.]

No one could tell which way it would turn with us. I made up my mind, and
promised if ever I reached terra-firma never to set foot on that lake
again; and I have kept my word inviolate. I was miserably sick, as were
nearly all the passengers. I tried to keep on my feet, as much as I
could; sometimes I would take hold of the railing and gaze upon the wild
terrific scene, or lean against whatever I could find, that was
stationary, near mother and the rest of the family. Mother was calm, but
I knew she had little hope that we would ever reach land. She said, her
children were all with her and we should not be parted in death; that we
should go together, and escape the dangers and tribulations of the
wilderness.

I watched the movements of the boat as much as I could. It seemed as if
the steamer could not withstand the furious powers that were upon her.
The front part of the boat would seem to settle down--down--lower and
lower if possible than it had been before. It looked to me, often, as
though we were going to plunge headforemost--alive, boat and all into the
deep. After a while the boat would straighten herself again and hope
revive for a moment; then I thought that our staunch boat was nobly
contending with the adverse winds and waves, for the lives of her
numerous passengers. The hope of her being able to outride the storm was
all the hope I had of ever reaching shore.

I saw the Captain on deck looking wishfully toward the land, while the
white-caps broke fearfully on our deck. The passengers were in a terrible
state of consternation. Some said we gained a little headway; others said
we did not. The most awful terror marked nearly every face. Some wept,
some prayed, some swore and a few looked calm and resigned. I was trying
to read my fate in other faces when an English lady, who came on the
canal boat with us, and who had remained in the cabin up to this, time,
rushed on deck, wringing her hands and crying at the top of her voice,
"We shall be lost! we shall be lost! oh! oh! oh! I have crossed the
Atlantic Ocean three times, and it never commenced with this! We shall be
lost! oh! oh! oh!"

One horse that stood on the bow of the boat died from the effects of the
storm. Our clothes and bedding were all drenched, and to make our
condition still more perilous, the boat was discovered to be on fire.
This was kept as quiet as possible. I did not know that it was burning,
until after it was extinguished; but I saw father, with others, carrying
buckets of water. He said the boat had been on fire and they had put it
out. The staunch boat resisted the elements; ploughed her way through and
landed us safely at Detroit.

Some years after our landing at Detroit, I saw the steamboat "Michigan"
and thought of the perilous time we had on her coming up Lake Erie. She
was then an old boat, and was laid up. I thought of the many thousand
hardy pioneers she had brought across the turbulent lake and landed
safely on the shore of the territory whose name she bore.

But where, oh where "are the six hundred!" that came on her with us? Most
of them have bid adieu to earth, and all its storms. The rest of them are
now old and no doubt scattered throughout the United States. But time or
distance cannot erase from their memory or mine the storm we shared
together on Lake Erie.



CHAPTER II.

DISAGREEABLE MUSIC.


It was night, in the Spring of 1834, when we arrived at Detroit, and we
made our way to the "United States Hotel" which stood near where the old
post office was and where the "Mariner's Church" now stands, on
Woodbridge street.

The next morning I was up early and went to view the city. I wished to
know if it was really a city. If it looked like Utica or Buffalo.

I went up Jefferson Avenue; found some brick buildings, barber
poles, wooden clocks, or large watches, big hats and boots, a brass
ball, &c., &c.

I returned to the Hotel, satisfied that Detroit was actually a city, for
the things I had seen were, in my mind, sufficient to make it one. After
I assured myself that there was a city, so far from New York, I was quite
contented and took my breakfast. Then, with our guns on our shoulders,
father and I started to see our brand-new farm at Dearborn. First we went
up Woodward Avenue to where the new City Hall now stands, it was then
only a common, dotted by small wooden buildings.

Thence we took the Chicago road which brought us to Dearbornville. From
there the timber had been cut for a road one mile south. On this road
father did his first road work in Michigan and here afterwards I
helped to move the logs out. The road-master, Mr. Smith, was not
willing to allow full time, for my work; however I put in part time.
Little did I think that here, one mile from Dearbornville, father
would, afterwards, buy a farm, build a large brick house, and end his
days, in peace and plenty.

From this point, one mile south of the little village, we were one mile
from father's chosen eighty, but had to follow an Indian trail two miles,
which led us to Mr. J. Pardee's. His place joined father's on the west.
We crossed Pardee's place, eighty rods, which brought us to ours. I dug
up some of the earth, found it black and rich, and sure enough no stones
in the way. Late in the afternoon I started back to mother, to tell her
that father had engaged a Mr. Thompson (who kept tavern in a log house,
half a mile east of Dearbornville) and team, and would come after her in
the morning. When I reached the Chicago road again, it seemed anything
but inviting. I could just see a streak ahead four or five miles, with
the trees standing thick and dark either side.

If ever a boy put in good time I did then. However, it was evening when I
reached Detroit, and I had traveled more than twenty-six miles. Mother
was very glad to see me, and listened with interest, to her boy's first
story of Michigan. I told her that father was coming in the morning, as
he had said; that Mr. Joseph Pardee said, we could stay with him while we
were building. I told her I was glad we came, how nice the land was, what
a fine country it would be in a few years, and, with other comforting
words, said, if we lived, I would take her back in a few years, to visit
her old home.

The next morning father and Mr. Thompson came, and we were soon all
aboard the wagon. When we reached Mr. Pardee's his family seemed very
much pleased to see us. He said: "Now we have 'Old Put' here, we'll
have company."

Putnam county joined the county he came from, and he called father "Old
Put" because he came from Putnam county.

Father immediately commenced cutting logs for a house. In one week he had
them ready, and men came from Dearbornville to help him raise them. He
then cut black ash trees, peeled off the bark to roof his house, and
after having passed two weeks under Mr. Pardee's hospitable roof, we
moved into a house of our own, had a farm of our own and owed no one.

Father brought his axe from York State; it weighed seven pounds; he gave
me a smaller one. He laid the trees right and left until we could see the
sun from ten o'clock in the morning till between one and two in the
afternoon, when it mostly disappeared back of Mr. Pardee's woods.

Father found it was necessary for him to have a team, so he went to
Detroit and bought a yoke of oxen; also, at the same time, a cow. He paid
eighty dollars for the oxen and twenty-five for the cow. These cattle
were driven in from Ohio. The cow proved to be a great help toward the
support of the family for a number of years. The oxen were the first
owned in the south part of the town of Dearborn. They helped to clear the
logs from the piece father had cut over, and we planted late corn,
potatoes and garden stuff. The corn grew very high but didn't ear well.
The land was indeed very rich, but shaded too much.

The next thing, after planting some seeds, was clearing a road through a
black ash swale and flat lands on our west section line, running north
one mile, which let us out to the point mentioned, one mile south of
Dearbornville. We blazed the section line trees over, cleared out the old
logs and brush, then felled trees lengthwise towards each other,
sometimes two together, to walk on over the water; we called it our
log-way. We found the country was so very wet, at times, that it was
impossible to go with oxen and sled, which were our only means of
conveyance, summer or winter. When we could not go in this style we were
obliged to carry all that it was necessary to have taken, on our
shoulders, from Dearbornville.

We had many annoyances, and mosquitoes were not the least, but they did
us some good. We had no fences to keep our cattle, and the mosquitoes
drove the oxen and cow up to the smoke which we kept near the house in
order to keep those little pests away. The cattle soon learned, as well
as we, that smoke was a very powerful repellant of those little warriors.
Many times, in walking those logs and going through the woods there would
be a perfect cloud of mosquitoes around me. Sometimes I would run to get
away from them, then stop and look behind me and there would be a great
flock for two rods back (beside those that were around me) all coming
toward me as fast as their wings could bring them, and seeming only
satisfied when they got to me. But they were cannibals and wanted to eat
me. All sang the same song in the same old tune. I was always glad when I
got out of their company into our own little clearing.

[Illustration: THE BARK COVERED HOUSE--1834.]

But Mr. Pardee was a little more brave; he said it was foolish to
notice such small things as mosquitoes. I have seen them light on his
face and run in their bills, probe in until they reached the fountain of
life, suck and gormandize until they got a full supply, then leisurely
fly away with their veins and bodies full of the best and most benevolent
blood, to live awhile, and die from the effects of indulging too freely
and taking too much of the life of another. Thus at different times I saw
him let them fill themselves and go away without his seeming to notice
them; whether he always treated them thus well or not, I cannot say, but
I do know they were the worst of pests. Myriads of them could be found
any where in the woods, that would eagerly light on man or beast and fill
themselves till four times their common size, if they could get a chance.
The woods were literally alive with them. No one can tell the wearisome
sleepless hours they caused us at night. I have lain listening and
waiting for them to light on my face or hands, and then trying to slap
them by guess in the dark, sometimes killing them, and sometimes they
would fly away, to come again in a few minutes. I could hear them as they
came singing back. Frequently when I awoke I found them as wakeful as
ever; they had been feasting while I slept. I would find bunches and
blotches on me, wherever they had had a chance to light, which caused a
disagreeable, burning and smarting sensation.

Frequently some one of us would get up and make a smudge in the room to
quiet them; we did it by making a little fire of small chips and dirt, or
by burning some sugar on coals, but this would only keep them still for a
short time. These vexatious, gory-minded, musical-winged, bold denizens
of the shady forest, were more eager to hold their carniverous feasts at
twilight or in the night than any other time. In cloudy weather they were
very troublesome as all the first settlers know. We had them many years,
until the country was cleared and the land ditched; then, with the
forest, they nearly disappeared.

As I have said our oxen were the first in our part of the town. Mr.
Pardee had no team. Father sold him half of our oxen. They used them
alternately, each one two weeks, during the summer. For some reason, Mr.
Pardee failed to pay the forty dollars and when winter came father had to
take the oxen back and winter them. The winter was very open, and much
pleasanter than any we had ever seen. The cattle lived on what we called
"French-bogs" which grew all through the woods on the low land and were
green all winter.

We found wild animals and game very numerous. Sometimes the deer came
where father had cut down trees, and browsed the tops. Occasionally, in
the morning, after a little snow, their tracks would be as thick as
sheep-tracks in a yard, almost up to the house. The wolves also, were
very common; we could often hear them at night, first at one point, then
answers from another and another direction, until the woods rang with
their unearthly yells.

One morning I saw a place by a log where a deer had lain, and noticed a
large quantity of hair all around on the snow; then I found tracks where
two wolves came from the west, jumped over the log, and caught the deer
in his bed. He got away, but he must have had bare spots on his back.

One evening a Mr. Bruin called at our house and stood erect at our north
window. The children thought him one of us, as father, mother and I were
away, and they ran out to meet us, but discovered instead a large black
bear. When they ran out, Mr. Bruin, a little less dignified, dropped on
all fours, and walked leisurely off about ten rods; then raised again,
jumped over a brush fence, and disappeared in the woods.

Next morning we looked for his tracks and, sure enough, there were the
tracks of a large bear within four feet of the window. He had apparently
stood and looked into the house.

[Illustration:]

The first Indian who troubled us was one by the name of John Williams. He
was a large, powerful man, and certainly, very ugly. He used to pass our
house and take our road to Dearbornville after fire-water, get a little
drunk, and on his way back stop at John Blare's. Mr. Blare then lived at
the end of our new road. Here the Indian would tell what great things he
had done. One day when he stopped, Mrs. Blare and her brother-in-law,
Asa, were there. He took a seat, took his knife from his belt, stuck it
into the floor, then told Asa to pick it up and hand it to him; he
repeated this action several times, and Asa obeyed him every time. He,
seeing that the white man was afraid, said: "I have taken off the scalps
of six damned Yankees with this knife and me take off one more."

When father heard this, with other things he had said, he thought he was
the intended victim. We were all very much frightened. Whenever father
was out mother was uneasy until his return, and he feared that the
Indian, who always carried his rifle, might lay in ambush, and shoot him
when he was at work.

One day he came along, as usual, from Dearbornville and passed our house.
Father saw him, came in, took his rifle down from the hooks and told
mother he believed he would shoot first. Mother would not hear a word to
it and after living a year or two longer, in mortal fear of him, he died
a natural death. We learned afterward that Joseph Pardee was the man he
had intended to kill. He said, "Pardee had cut a bee-tree that belonged
to Indian."

According to his previous calculation, on our arrival, father bought, in
mother's name, eighty acres more, constituting the south-west quarter of
section thirty-four, town two, south of range ten, east; bounded on the
south by the south line of the town of Dearbon. A creek, we called the
north branch of the River Ecorse, ran through it, going east. It was
nearly parallel with, and forty-two rods from, the town line. When he
entered it he took a duplicate; later his deed came, and it was signed
by Andrew Jackson, a man whom father admired very much. Mother's deed
came still later, signed by Martin Van Buren.

This land was very flat, and I thought, very beautiful. No waste land on
it, all clay bottom, except about two acres, a sand ridge, resembling the
side of a sugar loaf. This was near the centre of the place, and on it we
finally built, as we found it very unpleasant living on clayey land in
wet weather. This land was all heavy timbered--beech, hard maple,
basswood, oak, hickory and some white-wood--on both sides of the creek;
farther back, it was, mostly, ash and elm.



CHAPTER III.

HOW WE GOT OUR SWEET, AND THE HISTORY OF MY FIRST PIG.


We made troughs, tapped hard maples on each side of the creek; took our
oxen, sled and two barrels (as the trees were scattered) to draw the sap
to the place we had prepared for boiling it.

Now I had an employment entirely new to me: boiling down sap and making
sugar, in the woods of Michigan. This was quite a help to us in getting
along. We made our own "sweet" and vinegar, also some sugar and molasses
to sell. Some springs, we made three or four hundred pounds of sugar.
Sugar was not all the good things we had, for there was one added to my
father's family, a little sister, who was none the less lovely, in my
eye, because she was of Michigan, a native "Wolverine."

Now father's family, all told, consisted of mother and six children. The
children grew to be men and women, and are all alive to this day,
January 26, 1875.

After we came to Michigan mother's health constantly improved. She soon
began to like her new home and became more cheerful and happy. I told
her we had, what would be, a beautiful place; far better than the rocks
and hills we left, I often renewed my promise that if she and I lived and
I grew to be a man, we would go back, visit her friends and see again the
land of her nativity.

To cheer her still more we received a letter from Mr. G. Purdy of York
State, telling us that he was coming to Michigan in the fall, with his
wife (mother's beloved sister, Abbie,) and her youngest sister, Sarah,
was coming with them.

Asa Blare, the young man who picked up the Indian's knife, bought forty
acres of government land joining us on the east, built him a house, went
to Ohio, married and brought his wife back with him.

Now we had neighbors on the east of us, and Mr. Henry Travis (a
brother-in-law of Mr. Pardee) came, bought land joining Mr. Pardee on
the west, built and settled with a large family. About the same time
many families from the East came and settled along the creek, for miles
west of us.

Now we were on the border of civilization. Our next clearing of any
importance was the little ridge. Father commenced around the edge, cut
the brush and threw them from the ridge all around it to form a brush
fence; then all the trees that would fall into the line of the fence were
next felled, also, all that would fall over it, then those which would
reach the fence were felled toward it. Then we trimmed them, cut the logs
and piled the brush on the fence. I felt very much interested in clearing
this piece. When father took his ax and started for work I took mine and
was immediately at his side or a little behind him. In this manner we
returned and we soon had the two acres cut off and surrounded by an
immense log, tree-top and brush fence; at least, I thought it was a great
fence. Now came the logging and burning, father worked with his oxen and
handspike, I with my handspike. Some of the large logs near the fence he
swung round with the oxen and left them by it. Others we drew together
and when we piled them up, father took his handspike and rolled the log,
I held it with mine until he got a new hold. In that way I helped him
roll hundreds and thousands of logs. We soon had them all in heaps but
they were green and burned slowly, some of them would not burn at all
then. We scratched round them and put some seeds in every spot. We could
do but very little with a plow. Father made a drag out of the crotch of a
tree and put iron teeth in it; this did us some service as the land was
exceedingly rooty.

In raising our summer crops we had to do most of the work with a hoe.
Sometimes where it was very rooty we planted corn with an ax. In order to
do this we struck the blade into the ground and roots about two inches,
then dropped the corn in and struck again two or three inches from the
first place which closed it and the hill of corn was planted.

Now I must go back to the first season and tell how I got my first pig.
It was the first of the hog species we owned in Michigan. Father went to
the village and I with him. From there we went down to Mr. Thompson's
(the man who moved us out from Detroit). He wished father to see his
hogs. They went to the yard, and as was my habit, I followed along. Mr.
Thompson called the hogs up. I thought he had some very fine ones. Among
them was an old sow that had some beautiful pigs. She seemed to be very
cross, raised her bristles and growled at us, as much as to say, "Let my
pigs alone."

[Illustration: "THE THOMPSON TAVERN"--1834.]

I suppose Mr. Thompson thought he would have some sport with me, and
being generous, he said: "If the boy will catch one I will give it to
him." I selected one and started; I paid no attention to the old sow, but
kept my eye on the pig I wanted, and the way I went for it was a caution.
I caught it and ran for the fence, with the old sow after me. I got over
very quickly and was safe with my pig in my arms. I started home; it
kicked and squealed and tried to get away, but I held it tightly, patted
it and called it "piggy." I said to myself, '"Now I have a pig of my own,
it will soon grow up to be a hog, and we'll have pork." When I got home I
put it in a barrel, covered it up so it could not get out and then took
my ax, cut poles, and made it a new pen and put it on one place in Adam's
world where pig and pig-pen had never been before. Now, thought I, I've
got an ax, a pig and a gun.

One morning, a day or two after this, I went out and the pig was gone.
Thinking it might have gone home, I went to Mr. Thompson's and enquired
if they had seen it. I looked in the yard but the pig was not there. I
made up my mind that it was lost, and started home. I followed the old
trail, and when within sixty rods of the place where I now live, I met my
pig. I was very glad to see it, but it turned from me and ran right into
the woods. Now followed a chase which was very exciting to me. The pig
seemed running for its life, I for my property, which was going off,
over logs and through the brush, as fast as its legs could carry it. It
was a hard chase, but I caught the pig and took it back. I made the pen
stronger, and put it in again, but it would not eat much and in a few
days after died, and away went all my imaginary pork.

Mr. Pardee had bought a piece of land for a Mr. Clapp, of Peakskill, New
York, and was agent for the same. He said the south end of this land was
openings. It was about one mile from our place, and Mr. Pardee offered to
join with father and put corn on it, accordingly, we went to see it.
There was some brush, but it was mostly covered with what we called
"buffalo grass," which grew spontaneously. Cattle loved it very much in
the summer, but their grazing it seemed to destroy it. It soon died out
and mostly disappeared, scrub-oak and other brush coming up in its place.

Mr. Pardee and father soon cleared five or six acres of this land, and
with the brush they cut made a light brush fence around it, then tore up
three or four acres and planted it with corn. The soil was light yellow
sand. When the corn came up it was small and yellow. They put in about
two acres of buckwheat. A young man by the name of William Beal worked
for Pardee. He helped to tend the corn. One morning, as they were going
up to hoe the corn, William Beal took his gun and started ahead; this he
frequently did very early. He said, when about half way to the corn, he
looked toward the creek and saw a black bear coming toward him. He stood
in the path, leading to the corn-field, which they had under-brushed.
The bear did not discover him until he was near enough, when he fired
and shot him dead. This raised quite an excitement among us. I went to
see the bear. It was the first wild one I saw in Michigan. They dressed
it, and so far as I know, the neighbors each had a piece; at all events,
we had some.

They hoed the corn once or twice, and then made up their minds it was no
use, as it would not amount to much, the land being too poor. The whole
crop of corn, gathered there, green at that, nubbins and all, was put
into a half bushel handle basket, excepting what the squirrels took.

The buckwheat didn't amount to much, either. Wild turkeys trampled it
down and ate the grain, in doing which, many of them lost their lives. I
began to consider myself quite a marksman. I had already, with father's
rifle, shot two deer, and had gotten some of the turkeys.

Father never cropped it any more on the openings, and his experience
there made him much more pleased with his own farm. That land is near
me, and I have seen a great many crops growing on it, both grain and
other crops, but never one which I thought would pay the husbandman for
his labor.

Father's partnership with Mr. Pardee was so unsuccessful on the openings,
and in having to take the oxen back, and buy hay for them when that
article was very high (their running out helped him some) that he
concluded to go into partnership with Mr. Pardee, no more.

He sold half of his oxen to Asa Blare, who paid the money down, so their
partnership opened in a little better shape. This partnership, father
said, was necessary as our money had become very much reduced, and
everything we bought, (such as flour and pork) was extremely dear;
besides, we had no way to make a farthing except with our "maple-sweet"
or the hide of a deer.

Father could not get work, for there were but few settlers, and none near
him, who were able to hire. So he economized to save his money as much as
possible, and worked at home. The clearing near the house grew larger and
larger, and now we could see the beautiful sun earlier.

Father worked very hard, got three acres cleared and ready for wheat.
Then he went away and bought about four bushels of white wheat for seed.
This cost a snug sum in those days. About the last of August he sowed it
and dragged it in with his drag. He sowed about a bushel and a peck to
the acre. (I have for many years back, and to the present time, sowed two
bushels to the acre).

His wheat came up and looked beautiful. The next spring and early summer
it was very nice. One day a neighbor's unruly ox broke into it. I went
through it to drive him out and it was knee high. Father said take the ox
home. I did so. The neighbor was eating dinner. I told him his ox had
been in our wheat and that father wished him to keep the ox away. He said
we must make the fence better and he would not get in. This was the first
unkind word I had received from a neighbor in Michigan. The wheat escaped
the rust, headed and filled well and was an excellent crop. It helped us
a great deal and was our manna in the wilderness.

Father and I continued our chopping until we connected the two clearings.
Then we commenced to see the sun in the morning and we thought it shone
brighter here than it did in York State. Some of the neighbors said that
it really did, and that it might be on account of a reflection from the
water of the great lakes. Perhaps it was because the deep gloom of the
forest had shaded us so long and was now removed. Israel like, we looked
back and longed for the good things we had left, viz:--apples, pears and
the quince sauce. Even apples were luxuries we could not have and we
greatly missed them. We cleared new ground, sowed turnip seed, dragged it
in and raised some very large nice turnips. At this time there was not a
wagon in the neighborhood, but Mr. Traverse, being a mechanic and
ingenious, cut down a tree, sawed oft two short logs, used them for hubs
and made the wheels for a cart. These he took to Dearbornville and had
them ironed oft. He made the body himself and then had an ox-cart. This
was the only wheeled vehicle in the place for some years. As Mr. Traverse
was an obliging man the neighbors borrowed his cart. Sometimes it went to
Dearbornville to bring in provision, or other things, and sometimes it
went to mill. (There was a mill on the river Rouge, one mile north of
Dearbornville.) With this cart and oxen the neighbors carried some of
their first products, sugar, butter, eggs, &c., to Detroit. Some young
sightseers, who had not seen Detroit since they moved into the woods and
wished to see it, were on board. They had to start before midnight so it
would be cool traveling for the oxen. This was the first cart and oxen
ever seen in Detroit from our part of the town of Dearborn.

They reached home the following night, at about ten o'clock, and told me
about the trip.

We wanted apples, so father took his oxen, went and borrowed the cart,
loaded it with turnips, went down the river road half way to Detroit,
traded them with a Frenchman for apples and brought home a load which
were to us delicious fruit. In this way we got our apples for many years.
These apples were small, not so large and nice as those we had been used
to having; but they were Michigan apples and we appreciated them very
much. They lasted us through the winter and did us much good.



CHAPTER IV.

OUR SECOND HOUSE AND FIRST APPLE TREES.


Father said he would get us some apple trees. He had heard there was a
small nursery below Dearbornville. One morning he and I started for the
village; from there, we went to Mr. McVay's, about two miles east, near
the Rouge.

Of him father bought thirteen apple trees, did them up in two bundles,
his large, mine small. We took them on our shoulders and started home,
through the woods, thus saving two miles travel. On our way we explored
woods we had never seen before.

We planted the apple trees on the west end of the little ridge. They are
now old trees. I passed them the other day and thought of the time we set
them. Now some of them look as if they were dying with old age. I counted
and found that some of them were gone. I thought there was no one but me,
who could tell how, or when, those trees were planted, as they are nearly
forty years old.

East of those trees father built his second house in 1836. He made the
body of this house of large whitewood logs, split oak shakes with which
to cover it, and dug a well east of the house. Into this well he put the
shell of a large buttonwood log; we called it a "gum." It was said that
water would not taste of buttonwood; we had very good water there.

Father borrowed Mr. Traverse's cart, loaded up our things and we were
glad to leave our Bark Covered house, clay door-yard and Mr. Pardee's
woods, to which we had lived so near, that we could see the sun only for
a short time in the afternoon.

In the house we were leaving we had some unwelcome visitors, an Indian,
John Williams, and a snake. One day, towards evening, mother was getting
supper, and as the floor boards were lain down loosely they would shake
as she walked across the floor. Some member of the family heard a
strange noise (something rattling) which seemed to come from a chest
that stood in the back part of the room on legs about six inches high.
Every time mother stepped on the board upon which he was coiled up, his
snakeship felt insulted and he would rattle to let them know that he was
there and felt indignant at being disturbed. Mother said they all tried
to find out what it was; they finally looked under the chest and there,
to their astonishment, they saw a large black rattlesnake all curled up
watching their movements and ready, with his poisonous fangs, to strike
any one that came within his reach. He was an interloper, a little too
bold. He had, however, gotten in the wrong place and was killed in the
room. He had, no doubt, crawled up through a hole in the floor at the
end of a board.

The children were very much alarmed and mother was frightened. She said
she thought it was a terrible place where poisonous reptiles would crawl
into the house. Near the house sometime after, brother John S. and sister
Sarah were out raking up some scattering hay. I suppose sister was out
for the sake of being out, or for her own amusement. While she was raking
she saw a large blue racer close by her with his head up nearly as high
as her own, looking at her and not seeming inclined to leave her. I never
heard of a blue racer hurting any one and this was the only one I ever
knew to make the attempt. Sister was greatly scared and hallooed and
screamed, as if struck with terror. Brother John S., then a little way
off ran to her as quickly as possible; while he was running the snake
circled around her but a few feet off and seemed determined to attack
her. Though brother was the younger of the two his courage was good. With
the handle of his pitchfork he struck the snake across the back, a little
below the head, and wounded him. Then he succeeded in sticking the tine
of the pitchfork through the snake's head; at that sister Sarah took
courage and tried with her rake to help brother in the combat. As she
held up the handle the snake wound himself around it so tightly that he
did not loosen his coils until he was dead. That snake measured between
six and seven feet in length.

We knew nothing of this species of reptile until we came to Michigan. I
have killed a great many of them, but have found that if one gets a rod
or two the start, it is impossible to catch him. I well recollect having
run after them across our clearing (where we first settled). They would
go like a streak of blue, ahead. I make this statement of the reptiles,
so that the people of Wayne County, or Michigan, who have no knowledge
of such things may know something about the vexatious and fearful
annoyances we had to contend with after we settled in Michigan.

We were all pleased when we got into the new house. We had a sand
door-yard, and lived near the centre of our place. East of this house, on
the little ridge, we raised our first patch of-water-melons, in Michigan.
Father said they raised good melons on Long Island, where it was sandy
soil, and he thought he could raise good ones there. He tried, and it
proved to be a success; the melons were excellent. When they were ripe
father borrowed the cart, picked a load of melons and (just before
sundown) started for Detroit. Mother and my little Michigan sister,
Abbie, went with us. I think it was the first time mother saw Detroit
after she left it, on the morning following her first arrival there. She
wished to do some trading, of course. Father and I walked. We took a
little hay to feed the oxen on the road. The next morning we reached
Detroit. The little market then stood near where the "Biddle House" now
stands, or between that and the river.

Father sold his melons to a Frenchman for one shilling apiece. The market
men said this was the first full load of melons ever on Detroit market;
at all events, I know it was the first load of melons ever drawn from the
town of Dearborn.

Mother's youngest sister lived in the city, and was at the store of Mr.
Cook, or "Cook & Burns," where we did some of our trading. Their store
was on Jefferson avenue. Mr. Cook was an eccentric man, and had his own
way of recommending his goods, and one which made much sport. Auntie
called for some calico. Mr. Cook took a piece off the shelf, threw it on
the counter, threw up both arms, put his hands higher than his head, then
picked it up again shook it and said: "There, who ever saw the like of
that in Michigan? Two shillings a yard! A yard wide, foot thick and the
colors as firm as the Allegheny Mountains!"

But an old colored woman came in who rather beat the clerk. She inquired
for cheap calico; the clerk threw down some and told her the price. She
said, "Oh that is too much! I want some cheap." Then the clerk threw down
some that looked old and faded. With a broad grin, showing her teeth and
the white of her eyes not a little, she said: "Oh, ho! my goot Lo'd dat
war made when Jope war paby!"

When father and mother had traded all they could afford, it was nearly
night, and we all got into the cart and started for home. We got upon the
Chicago road opposite where the Grand Trunk Junction now is, and stopped.
Mother thought she could not go any farther, and the oxen were tired.
Father went into a log house on the north side of the Chicago road and
asked them if they could keep us all night. They said they would, and we
turned in. They used us first-rate, and treated us with much respect.
Next morning after breakfast we went home.



CHAPTER V.

THE JUG OF WHISKY AND TEMPERANCE MEETING.


I have already said that, as money was getting short; father sold Asa
Blare half of his oxen. They thought they could winter the oxen on marsh
hay. They found some they thought very good on the creek bottom, about a
mile and a quarter from where we lived. They said they would go right at
work and cut it before some one else found it. As there was some water on
the ground, and they would have to mow in the wet, they thought they
would send and get a jug of whisky.

In the morning we had an early breakfast, and they ground up their
scythes, then started, I with the jug, they with their scythes. We went
together as far as our new road. Father told me after I got the whisky,
to come back round the old trail to a certain place and call, when they
heard me they would come and get the jug.

I went to Dearborn, got my jug filled, paid two shillings a gallon, or
there-abouts, and started back. When I had gone as far as the turn of the
road, where Dr. Snow now lives, out of sight, I thought to myself I'd
take a drink. I had heard that whisky made one feel good and strong and
as my jug was heavy, took what I called "a good horn;" I thought,
however, it did not taste very pleasant. After that I went on as fast as
I could, a little over a mile, till I got beyond where the road was cut
out and into the trail, when I made up my mind I was stouter and my jug
really seemed lighter. There I stopped again and took what I called "a
good lifter." It burnt a little but I went on again till I came to the
creek, then I called father who answered.

I felt so wonderfully good that I thought I'd take one more drink
before he came in sight. So I took what I called "a good swig." When
father came he said they had found plenty of good grass and he wished
me to go and see it. I told him I didn't feel very well (I was afraid
he would discover what I had been doing, I began to feel queer) but I
followed along.

The grass was as high as my head in places and very heavy. It was what we
call "blue-joint," mixed with a large coarse grass that grew three square
at the butt. I got to the scythes where they had been mowing, told father
I could mow that grass, took his scythe, cut a few clips and bent the
blade very badly. (He often told afterwards, how much stronger I was than
he, said he could mow the stoutest grass and not bend his scythe, but I
had almost spoiled it.) I lay down the scythe, everything seemed to be
bobbing up. I told father I was sick, he said I had better go home and I
started gladly and as quickly as possible. The ground didn't seem to me
to be entirely still, it wanted to raise up. I struck what I called a
"bee-line" for home. When I got there I told mother I was sick, threw
myself on her bed and kept as quiet as possible. When father came he
inquired how I was; I heard what he said. Mother told him I was very sick
but had got a little more quiet than I had been. He said they had better
not disturb me so I occupied their bed all night, the first time I had
ever had it all alone one night. The next morning I felt rather
crest-fallen but congratulated myself in that they did not know what the
trouble was, and they never knew (nor any of the rest of the family until
I state it now). But I knew at the time what the trouble was, and the
result was I had enough of whisky for many years, and took a decided
stand for temperance.

Some years after that, there was a temperance meeting at a log
school-house two miles and a half west of us. I was there and the house
was full. After the opening speech, which pleased me very much, others
were invited to speak. Thinking I must have a hand in I found myself on
the floor. When I got there and commenced speaking, if it had been
reasonable, I would have said I was somebody else, I would have been glad
to have crawled out of some very small knot-hole, but I found it was I
and that there was no escaping, so I proceeded.

Of course I did not relate my own experience, nor tell them that I had
been sick. I gave them a little of the experience of others that I had
heard. I had an old temperance song book from which I borrowed some
extracts and appropriated them as my own. I swung my arms a little and
with my finger pointed out the points. I stepped around a little and
tried to stamp to make them believe that what I said was true. As I
advanced and became more interested I spoke loud, to let them know it was
I, and that I was in earnest. I admonished them all to let whisky alone.
Told some of its pernicious effects; how much money it cost, how many
lives it had taken, how many tears it had caused to flow and how many
homes it had made desolate.

When I came away I was pleased with myself, and thought I had made quite
a sensation. A few days afterward I met my friend, William Beal, and
asked him how the neighbors liked the temperance meeting. Of course, I
was anxious to know what they said about my speech. He told me the old
lady said I was "fluent and tonguey," that I was like a sort of a lawyer,
she named, who lived at Dearbornville. I knew this man well, and hadn't a
very good opinion of him. But what she said was not so much of a breaker
as what the old gentleman said, for I considered him in many respects a
very intelligent man. He came here from Westchester County, near
Peakskill. He owned the farm and lived on it (I have seen where he lived)
which was given to John Spaulding for the capture of Major Andre. His
occupation there was farming and droving. He drove cattle to New York
city in an early day, when that great metropolis was but a small city. I
have often heard him tell about stopping at Bullshead. He said that was
the drovers' headquarters. I know he was worth ten thousand dollars
there, at one time; how much more I cannot say, but somehow his thousands
dwindled to hundreds and he came here to seek a second fortune.

Of course I thought a man of his experience was capable of forming a
pretty correct opinion of me. He said, "Who is he? His father brought him
here, and dropped him in the woods; he's been to mill once and to meeting
twice. What does he know?"

When I heard this it amused me very much, although the decision seemed
to be against me. I made no more inquiries about temperance meeting, in
fact, I didn't care to hear any more about it.

Writing my first temperance effort has blown all the wind out of my
sails, and if I were not relating actual occurrences I should certainly
be run ashore. As it is, sleep may invigorate and bring back my memory.
When relating facts it is not necessary to call on any muse, or fast, or
roam into a shady bower, where so many have found their thoughts. When
relating facts, fancy is hot required to soar untrodden heights where
thought has seldom reached; but too freely come back all the weary days,
the toils, fears and vexations of my early life in Michigan, if not
frightened away by the memory of the decision of the old lady and
gentleman, on my temperance speech.

Perhaps I should say, in honor of that old gentleman, Mr. Joseph Pardee,
now deceased, that he was well advanced in years when he came to
Michigan, in the fall of 1833, stuck his stakes and built the first log
house on the Ecorse, west of the French settlement, at its mouth, on
Detroit River. He was a man of a strong-mind and an iron will. He cleared
up his land, made it a beautiful farm, rescued it from the wilderness,
acquired, in fact, a good fortune. When he died, at the good old age of
eighty-one years, he left his family in excellent circumstances. He died
in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine.



CHAPTER VI.

HOW WE FOUND OUR CATTLE.


The old cow always wore the bell. Early in the spring, when there were no
flies or mosquitoes to drive them up the cattle sometimes wandered off.
At such times, when we went to our chopping or work, we watched them, to
see which way they went, and listened to the bell after they were out of
sight in order that we might know which way to go after them if they
didn't return. Sometimes the bell went out of hearing but I was careful
to remember which way I heard it last.

Before night I would start to look for them, going in the direction I
last heard them. I would go half a mile or so into the woods, then stop
and listen, to see if I could hear the faintest sound of the bell. If I
could not hear it I went farther in the same direction then stopped and
listened again. Then if I did not hear it I took another direction, went
a piece and stopped again, and if I heard the least sound of it I knew it
from all other bells because I had heard it so often before.

That bell is laid up with care. I am now over fifty years old, but if
the least tinkling of that bell should reach my ear I should know the
sound as well as I did when I was a boy listening for it in the woods
of Michigan.

When I found the cattle I would pick up a stick and throw it at them,
halloo very loudly and they would start straight for home. Sometimes, in
cloudy weather, I was lost and it looked to me as though they were going
the wrong way, but I followed them, through black-ash swales where the
water was knee-deep, sometimes nearly barefooted.

I always carried a gun, sometimes father's rifle. The deer didn't seem to
be afraid of the cattle; they would stand and look at them as they passed
not seeming to notice me. I would walk carefully, get behind a tree, and
take pains to get a fair shot at one. When I had killed it I bent bushes
and broke them partly off, every few rods, until I knew I could find the
place again, then father and I would go and get the deer.

Driving the cattle home in this way I traveled hundreds of miles. There
was some danger then, in going barefooted as there were some massassauga
all through the woods. As the country got cleared up they disappeared,
and as there are neither rocks, ledges nor logs, under which they can
hide, I have not seen one in many years.

One time the cattle strayed off and went so far I could not find them. I
looked for them until nearly dark but had to return without them. I told
father where I had been and that I could not hear the bell. The next
morning father and I started to see if we could find them. We looked two
or three days but could not find or hear anything of them. We began to
think they were lost in the wilderness. However, we concluded to look one
more day, so we started and went four or five miles southeast until we
struck the Reed creek. (Always known as the Reed creek by us for the
reason, a man by the name of Reed came with his family from the State of
New York, built him a log house and lived there one summer. His family
got sick, he became discouraged, and in the fall moved back to the State
of New York. The place where he lived, the one summer, was about two
miles south of our house and this creek is really the middle branch of
the Ecorse).

There was no settlement between us and the Detroit River, a distance of
six miles. We looked along the Reed creek to see if any cattle had
crossed it.

While we were looking there we heard the report of a rifle close by us
and hurried up. It was an Indian who had just shot a duck in the head.
When we came to him father told him it was a lucky shot, a good shot to
shoot it in the head. He said, "Me allers shoot head not hurt body." He
took us to his wigwam, which was close by, showed us another duck with
the neck nearly shot off. Whether he told the truth, or whether these two
were lucky shots, I cannot tell, but one thing I do know, in regard to
him, if he told us the truth he was an extraordinary man and marksman.

Around his wigwam hung from half a dozen to a dozen deer skins; they hung
on poles. His family seemed to consist of his squaw and a young squaw
almost grown up. Father told him we had lost our cattle, oxen and cow,
and asked him if he had seen them. We had hard work to make him
understand what we meant. Father said--cow--bell--strap round neck--he
tried to show him, shook his hand as if jingling a bell. Then father
said, oxen--spotted--white--black; he put his hand on his side and said:
black--cow--bell--noise, and then said, as nearly as we could understand,
"Me see them day before yesterday," and he pointed in the woods to tell
us which way. Father took a silver half-dollar out of his pocket, showed
it to the Indian, and told him he should have it if he would show us the
cattle. He wiped out his rifle, loaded it and said, "Me show." He took
his rifle and wiper and started with us; we went about half a mile and he
showed us where he had seen them. We looked and found large ox's tracks
and cow's tracks. I thought, from the size and shape of them, they were
our cattle's tracks. The Indian started upon the tracks, father followed
him, and I followed father. When we came to high ground, where I could
hardly see a track; the Indian had no trouble in following them, and he
went on a trot. I had hard work to keep up with him. I remember well how
he looked, with his bowing legs, it seemed as if he were on springs. He
moved like an antelope, with such ease and agility. He looked as if he
hardly touched the ground.

The cattle, in feeding round, crossed their own tracks sometimes. The
Indian always knew which were the last tracks. He followed all their
crooks, we followed him by sight, which gave us a little the advantage,
and helped us to keep in sight. He led us, crooking about in this way,
for nearly two hours, when we came in hearing of the bell. I never had a
harder time in the woods but once, and it was when I was older, stronger,
and better able to stand a chase, that time I was following four bears,
and an Indian tried to get them away. I was pleased when we got to the
cattle. Father paid the Indian the half-dollar he had earned so well, and
thanked him most heartily, whether he understood it or not. Father asked
the Indian the way home, he said, "My house, my wigwam, which way my
home?" The Indian pointed with his wiper, and showed us the way.

Father said afterward, it was strange that the Indian should know where
he lived, as he had never seen him before. I never saw that Indian
afterward.

The cattle were feeding on cow-slips and leeks, which grew in abundance,
also on little French bogs that had just started up. We hallooed at them
very sharply and they started homeward, we followed them, and that night
found our cattle home again. Mother and all the children were happy to
see them come, for they were our main dependence. They were called many
dear names and told not to go off so far any more.



CHAPTER VII.

TROUBLE CAME ON THE WING.


Among the annoyances common to man and beast in Michigan, of which we
knew nothing where we came from, were some enormous flies. There were two
kinds that were terrible pests to the cattle. They actually ate the hide
off, in spots. First we put turpentine, mixed with sufficient grease so
as not to take the hair off, on those spots. But we found that fish oil
was better, the flies would not bite where that was.

What we called the ox-flies were the most troublesome. In hot weather and
in the sun, where the mosquitoes didn't trouble, they were most numerous.
They would light on the oxen in swarms, on their brisket, and between
their legs where they could not drive them off. I have frequently struck
these flies with my hand and by killing them got my hand red with the
blood of the ox.

The other species of flies, we called Pontiacers. This is a Michigan
name, and originated I was told, from one being caught near Pontiac with
a paper tied or attached to it having the word Pontiac written upon it.

These flies were not very numerous; sometimes there were three or four
around at once. When they were coming we could hear and see them for some
rods. Their fashion was to circle around the oxen before lighting on
them. I frequently slapped them to kill them, sometimes I caught them, in
that case they were apt to lose their heads, proboscis and all. These
flies were very large, some were black and some of the largest were
whitish on the front of the back. I have seen some of them nearly as
large as young humming birds. The Germans tell me they have this kind of
fly in Germany. But with the mosquitoes, these flies have nearly
disappeared.



CHAPTER VIII.

HARD TIMES FOR US IN MICHIGAN, 1836-7.


The oxen having worked hard and been used to good hay, which we bought
for them, grew poor when they were fed on marsh hay. Then Mr. Blare
wanted to sell his part to father; then the cattle would not have so much
to do. Father was not able to buy them, as his money was nearly gone. He
said he would mortgage his lot for one hundred dollars, buy them back,
buy another cow and have a little money to use.

He said he could do his spring's work with the cattle, then turn them
off, fatten them, and sell them in the fall for enough to pay the
mortgage. Mother said all she could to prevent it, for she could not bear
the idea of having her home mortgaged. It seemed actually awful to me,
for I thought we should not be able to pay it, and in all probability we
should lose the place. I said all I could, but to no avail. The whole
family was alarmed; one of the small children asked mother what a
mortgage was, she replied that it was something that would take our home
away from us, if not paid.

Father went to Dearbornville and mortgaged his lot to Mrs. Phlihaven, a
widow woman, for one hundred dollars, said to be at seven per cent., as
that was lawful interest then. We supposed, at the time, he got a hundred
dollars, but he got only eighty. Probably the reason he did not let us
know the hard conditions of the mortgage, was because we opposed it so.
Mrs. Phlihaven said as long as he would pay the twenty dollars shave
money, and the seven dollars interest annually, she would let it run. And
it did run until the shave money and interest more than ate up the
principal.

Father bought the oxen back for the old price, forty dollars, and bought
another cow, of Mr. McVay, for which he paid eighteen dollars, leaving
him twenty-two dollars of the hired money.

It was now spring, the oxen became very poor, one of them was taken sick
and got down. Father said he had the hollow horn and doctored him for
that; but I think to day, if the oxen had had a little corn meal, and
good hay through the winter, they would have been all right.

After the ox got down, and we could not get him up he still ate and
seemed to have a good appetite. I went to Dearbornville, bought hay at
the tavern and paid at the rate of a dollar a hundred. I tied it up in a
rope, carried it home on my back and fed it to him. Then I went into the
woods, with some of the other children, and gathered small brakes that
lay flat on the ground. They grew on beech and maple land, and kept green
all winter. The ox ate some of them, but he died; our new cow, also, died
in less than two weeks after father bought her. Then we had one ox, our
old cow, and two young cattle we had raised from her, that we kept
through the spring. In the summer the other ox had the bloody murrain
and he died.

Then we had no team, no money to get a team with, and our place was
mortgaged. Now when father got anything for the family he had to bring it
home himself. We got out of potatoes, these he bought at Dearbornville,
paid a dollar a bushel for them, and brought them home on his back. He
sent me to the village for meal. I called for it and the grocerman
measured it to me in a quart measure which was little at the top, such as
liquors are measured with. I carried the meal home. In this way we had to
pack home everything we bought.

When potatoes got ripe we had plenty of the best. On father's first visit
to Michigan he was told that the soil of Michigan would not produce good
potatoes. We soon found that this was a mistake for we had raised some
good ones before, but not enough to last through the summer.

We still had wheat but sometimes had to almost do without groceries. We
always had something to eat but sometimes our living was very poor.
Sometimes we had potatoes and milk and sometimes thickened milk. This was
made by dampening flour, rolling it into fine lumps and putting them into
boiling milk with a little salt, and stirring it until it boiled again.
This was much more palatable than potatoes and milk.

One afternoon two neighbors' girls came to visit us. They stayed late.
After they went away I asked mother why she didn't give them some tea;
she said she had no tea to give them, and that if she had given them the
best she had they would have gone away and told how poor we were.

Mother had been used to better days and to treating her guests well, and
her early life in Michigan did not take all of her spirit away. She was a
little proud as well as I, but I have learned that pride, hard times and
poverty are very poor companions. It was no consolation to think that the
neighbors, most of them, were as bad off as we were. This made the thing
still worse.



CHAPTER IX.

A SUMMER HUNT.


Father and I went hunting one day. I took my shot-gun, loaded with half a
charge of shot and three rifle bullets, which just chambered in the
barrel, so I thought I was ready to shoot at anything. Father went ahead
and I followed him; we walked very carefully in the woods looking for
deer; went upon a sand ridge where father saw a deer and shot at it. I
recollect well how it looked; it was a beautiful deer, almost as red as a
cherry. After he shot, it stood still. I asked father, in a whisper, if I
might not shoot. He said, "Keep still!" (I had very hard word to do so,
and think if he had let me shot, I should have given it a very loud call,
at least, I think I should have killed it.) Father loaded his rifle and
shot again. The last time he shot, the deer ran away. We went to the
place where it had stood. He had hit it for we found a little blood; but
it got away.

It is said "the leopard cannot change his spots nor the Ethiopian his
skin," but the deer, assisted by nature, can change both his color and
his hide. In summer the deer is red, and the young deer are covered with
beautiful spots which disappear by fall. The hair of the deer is short in
summer and his hide is thick. At this time the hide is most valuable by
the pound. His horns grow and form their prongs, when growing we call
them in their velvet; feel of them and they are soft, through the summer
and fall, and they keep growing until they form a perfect horn, hard as a
bone. By the prongs we are able to tell the number of years old they are.

In the fall of the year when an old buck has his horns fully grown to see
him running in his native forest is a beautiful sight. At that season his
color has changed to a bluish grey. When the weather gets cold and it
freezes hard his horns drop off, and he has to go bareheaded until
spring. Then his hair is very long and grey. Deer are commonly poor in
the spring, and at this season their hide is very thin and not worth
much. So we see the deer is a very singular animal. As I have been going
through the woods I have often picked up their horns and carried them
home for curiosities. They were valuable for knife-handles.

When the old buck is started from his bed and is frightened how he
clears the ground. You can mark him from twenty to thirty feet at every
jump. (I have measured some of his jumps, by pacing, and found them to
be very long, sometimes two rods.) How plump he is, how symmetrically
his body is formed, and how beautiful the appearance of his towering,
branching antlers! As he carries them on his lofty head they appear like
a rocking chair. As he sails through the air, with his flag hoisted, he
sometimes gives two or three of his whistling snorts and bids defiance
to all pursuers in the flight. He is able to run away from any of his
enemies, in a fair foot race, but not always able to escape from flying
missiles of death.

Before the fawn is a year old, if frightened and startled from its bed,
it runs very differently from the old deer. Its jump is long and high.
It appears as though it were going to jump up among the small tree tops.
The next jump is short and sometimes sidewise, then another long jump
and so on. It acts as though it did not know its own springs, or were
cutting up its antics, and yet it always manages to keep up with the
rest of the deer.

[Illustration]

Father had killed some deer. He shot one of the largest red bucks I had
seen killed. After this we wanted meat. Father said we'll go hunting and
see if we can get a deer. He said I might take his rifle and he would
take my gun. (For some reason or other he had promoted me, may be he
thought I was luckier than he.) We started out into the woods south of
our house, I went ahead. There was snow on the ground, it was cold and
the wind blew very hard. We crossed the windfall. This was a strip of
land about eighty rods wide. It must have been a revolving whirlwind that
past there, for it had taken down pretty much all the timber and laid it
every way. Nothing was left standing except some large trees that had
little tops, these were scattered here and there through the strip. It
struck the southeast corner of what was afterward our place. Here we had
about three acres of saplings, brush and old logs that were windfalls.

I think this streak of wind must have passed about ten years before we
came to the country. It came from the openings in the town of Taylor,
went a northeast course until it struck the Rouge (after that I have no
knowledge of it.) In this windfall had grown up a second growth of
timber, saplings and brush, so thick that it was hard work to get through
or see a deer any distance. We got south of the windfall and scared up a
drove of deer, some four or five.

The woods were cracking and snapping all around us; we thought it was
dangerous and were afraid to be in the woods. Still we thought we would
run the risk and follow the deer. They ran but a little ways, stopped and
waited until we came in sight, then ran a little ways again. They seemed
afraid to run ahead and huddled up together, the terrible noise in the
timber seemed to frighten them. The last time I got sight of them they
were in a small opening standing by some large old logs. I remember well
to this day just how the place looked. I drew up the rifle and shot.
Father was right behind me; I told him they didn't run. He took the rifle
and handed me my gun, saying, "Shoot this." I shot again, this gun was
heavily loaded and must have made a loud report, but could not have been
heard at any great distance on account of the roaring wind in the
tree-tops. The deer were still in sight, I took the rifle, loaded it, and
shot again; then we loaded both guns but by this time the deer had
disappeared. We went up to where they had stood and there lay a beautiful
deer. Then we looked at the tracks where the others had run off, and
found that one went alone and left a bloody trail, but we thought best to
leave it and take home the one we had killed. When we got home we showed
our folks what a fat heavy deer we had and they were very much pleased,
as this was to be our meat in the wilderness.

A man by the name of Wilson was at our house and in the afternoon he
volunteered to go with us after the other deer. We took our dog and
started taking our back tracks to where we left; we followed the deer but
a very little ways before we came across the other one we had hit; it had
died, and we took it home, thinking we had been very fortunate. Here I
learned that deer could be approached in a windy time better than in any
other. I also learned that the Almighty, in His wisdom, provided for his
creatures, and caused the elements, wind and snow, to work together for
their good.

Now we were supplied with meat for a month, with good fat venison, not
with quails, as God supplied his ancient people over three thousand years
before, in the wilderness of Sinai, or at the Tabernacle, where six
hundred thousand men wept for flesh, and there went forth a wind and
brought quails from the Red Sea. No doubt they were fat and delicious,
and the wind let them fall by the camp, and around about the camp, for
some distance. They were easily caught by hungry men. Thus was the wind
freighted with flesh to feed that peculiar people a whole month and more.

When the terrific wind, that helped us to capture the deer, raged through
the tree-tops it sounded like distant thunder. It bent the tall trees, in
unison, all one way, as if they agreed to bow together before the power
that was upon them. When they straightened up they shook their tops as
though angry at one another, broke off some of the limbs which they had
borne for years, and sent them crashing to the ground.

Some of the trees were blown up by the roots, and if allowed to remain
would in time form such little mounds as we children took to be Indian
graves when we first came into the woods. Those little mounds are
monuments, which mark the places where some of those ancient members of
the forest stood centuries ago, and they will remain through future ages
unless obliterated by the hand of man.

We thought that the wind blew harder here than in York State, where we
came from. We supposed the reason was that the mountains and hills of New
York broke the wind off, and this being a flat country with nothing to
break the force of the wind, except the woods, we felt it more severely.



CHAPTER X.

HOW WE GOT INTO TROUBLE ONE NIGHT, AND I SCARED.


One warm day in winter father and I went hunting. I had the rifle that
day. We went south, crossed the windfall and Reed creek, and went into
what we called the "big woods." We followed deer, but seemed to be very
unlucky, for I couldn't shoot them. We travelled in the woods all day and
hunted the best we could.

Just at sundown, deer that have been followed all day are apt to stop and
browse a little. Then if the wind is favorable and blowing from them to
you, it is possible to get a shot at them; but if the wind is blowing
from you to them, you can't get within gunshot of them. They will scent
you. They happened to be on the windward side, as we called it. I got a
shot at one and killed it. It was late and, carelessly, I didn't load the
rifle. It being near night, I thought I should not have a chance to shoot
anything more.

It was my custom to load the rifle after shooting, and if I didn't have
any use for it before, when I got near home, I shot at a mark on a tree
or something. In that way I practiced shooting and let the folks know I
was coming. In this way I also kept the rifle from rusting, as sometimes
it was wet; when I got into the house I cleaned it off and wiped it out.

In a few minutes we had skinned the two fore quarters out. Then we
wrapped the fore part of the hide around the hind quarters, and each took
a half and started. It was now dark, and we did not like to undertake
going home straight through the woods, so took our way to the Reed house,
from which there was a dim path through to Pardee's, and we could find
our way home.

We were tired and hungry, and our feet were wet from travelling through
the soft snow. As Mr. Reed had moved away there was no one in the house,
and we went in and kindled a fire in the fireplace. The way we did it, I
took some "punk" wood out of my pocket, held flint stone over it, struck
the flint with my knife, and the punk soon took fire. We put a few
whitlings on it, then some sticks we had gathered in the way near by the
house. We soon had a good fire and were warming and drying our feet.

This "punk" I got from soft maple trees. When I wanted some I went into
the woods and looked for an oldish tree, looked up, and if I could see
black knots on the body of the tree, toward the top, I knew there was
"punk" wood in it and would cut it down, then cut half way through the
log, above and below the black knot, and split it off. In the center of
the log I was sure to find "punk" wood. Sometimes, in this way, I got
enough to last a year or two from one tree. It was of a brown color and
was found in layers, which were attached and adhered together. When I
chopped a tree I took out all I could find, carried it home, laid it up
in a place where it would get drier, and it was always ready for use.

We had to use the utmost precaution not to get out of this material.
Sometimes I have known my little Michigan sister, Abbie, to go more than
a quarter of a mile, to the Blare place, to borrow fire; on such
occasions we had to wait for breakfast until she returned. I do not know
that the fire was ever paid back, but I do know that we had callers
frequently when the errand was to borrow fire.

When I went hunting I was careful to take a piece of this with me. I
broke or tore it off (it was something like tearing old cloth). With
this, a flint and a jackknife I could make a fire in case night overtook
me in the woods and I could not get out. Fire was our greatest protection
from wild animals and cold in the night. This was the way we kindled our
fire in the Reed house, before "Lucifer matches" or "Telegraph matches"
were heard of by us, although they were invented as early as 1833. After
we got a little comfortable and rested, and the wood burned down to coals
we cut some slices of venison, laid them on the coals and roasted them.
Although we had no salt, the meat tasted very good.

Late in the evening we took our venison and started again. It was hard
work to follow the path in the thick woods, and we had to feel the way
with our feet mostly as it was quite dark. We had got about eighty rods
from the house when, as unexpected as thunder in the winter, broke upon
our startled ears the dismal yells and awful howls of wolves. No doubt
they had smelled our venison and come down from the west, came down
almost upon us and broke out with their hideous yells. The woods seemed
to be alive with them. Father said: "Load the rifle quick!" I dropped my
venison, and if ever I loaded a gun quick, in the dark, it was then. I
threw in the powder, ran down a ball without a patch, and, strange to
say, before I got the cap on the wolves were gone, or at least they were
still, we didn't even hear them run or trot. What it was that frightened
them we never knew; whether it was our stopping so boldly or the smell
of the powder, or what, I cannot say; but we did refuse to let them have
our venison. We got away with it as quickly as possible and carried it
safety home.

Another wolf adventure worth relating: I had been deer hunting; I had
been off beyond what we called the Indian hill and was returning home. I
was southwest of this hill, and on the north side of a little ridge which
ran to the hill, when two wolves came from the south. They ran over the
little ridge, crossing right in front of me, to go into a big thicket
north. I had my rifle on them. They did halt, but in shooting very
quickly I did not get a very good sight, however, I knocked one down and
thought I had killed him. (They were just about of a size, and when I
shot, the other went back like a flash the way he came from.) I loaded
the rifle, but before I had it loaded the one I had shot got up and
looked at me. I saw what I had done. I had cut off his lower jaw, close
up, and it hung down. Another shot finished him quickly. He measured six
feet from the end of his nose to the point of his tail.

I have seen many wolves, I have seen them in shows, but never saw any
that compared in size with these Michigan wolves. It takes a very
large, long dog to measure five feet. There was a bounty on wolves. I
went down through the woods to Squire Goodel's, who lived near the
Detroit river, got him to make out my papers and got the bounty. These
pests were more shy in the day-time. They were harder to get a shot at
than the deer. There were many of them in the woods, and we heard them
so often nights that we became familiar with them. When the "Michigan
Central Railroad" was built, and the cars ran through Dearborn, there
was something about the iron track, or the noise of the cars which
drove them from the country.



CHAPTER XI.

THE INDIANS VISIT US--THEIR STRANGE AND PECULIAR WAYS.


Some three or four years after we came to the country there came a
tribe, or part of a tribe, of Indians and camped a little over a mile
southwest of our house, in the timber, near the head of the windfall
next to the openings. They somewhat alarmed us, but father said, "Use
them well, be kind to them and they will not harm us." I suppose they
came to hunt. It was in the summer time and the first we knew of them,
my little brother and two sisters had been on the openings picking
huckleberries not thinking of Indians. When they started home and got
into the edge of the woods they were in plain sight of Indians, and they
said it appeared as if the woods were full of them. They stood for a
minute and saw that the Indians were peeling bark and making wigwams:
they had some trees already peeled.

They said they saw one Indian who had on a sort of crown, or wreath, with
feathers in it that waved a foot above his head. They saw him mount a
sorrel pony. As he did so the other Indians whooped and hooted, I
suppose to cheer the chief. Childlike they were scared and thought that
he was coming after them on horseback. They left the path and ran right
into the brush and woods, from home. When they thought they were out of
sight of the Indian they turned toward home. After they came in sight of
home, to encourage his sisters, my little brother told them, he wouldn't
be afraid of any one Indian but, he said, there were so many there it was
enough to scare anybody. When they got within twenty rods of the house
they saw some one coming beyond the house with a gun on his shoulder. One
said it was William Beal, another said it was an Indian. They looked
again and all agreed that it was an Indian. If they had come straight
down the lane, they would have just about met him at the bars, opposite
the house, (where we went through). There was no way for them to get to
the house and shun him; except to climb the fence and run across the
field. The dreaded Indian seemed to meet them everywhere, and if possible
they were more scared now than before. Brother and sister Sarah were over
the fence very quickly. Bessie had run so hard to get home and was so
scared that in attempting to climb the fence she got part way up and fell
back, but up and tried again. Sister Sarah would not leave her but helped
her over. But John S. left them and ran for his life to the house; as
soon as they could get started they ran too. Mother said Smith ran into
the house looking very scared, and went for the gun. She asked him what
was the matter, and what he wanted of the gun; he said there was an
Indian coming to kill them and he wanted to shoot him. Mother told him
to let the gun alone, the Indian would not hurt them; by this time my
sisters had got in. In a minute or two afterward the Indian came in,
little thinking how near he had come being shot by a youthful hero.

Poor Indian wanted to borrow a large brass kettle that mother had and
leave his rifle as security for it. Mother lent him the kettle and he
went away. In a few days he brought the kettle home.

A short time after this a number of them had been out to Dearbornville
and got some whisky. All but one had imbibed rather too freely of
"Whiteman's fire water to make Indian feel good." They came down as far
as our house and, as we had no stick standing across the door, they
walked in very quietly, without knocking. The practice or law among the
Indians is, when one goes away from his wigwam, if he puts a stick across
the entrance all are forbidden to enter there; and, as it is the only
protection of his wigwam, no Indian honorably violates it. There were ten
of these Indians. Mother was washing. She said the children were very
much afraid, not having gotten over their fright. They got around behind
her and the washtub, as though she could protect them. The Indians asked
for bread and milk; mother gave them all she had. They got upon the
floor, took hold of hands and formed a ring. The sober one sat in the
middle; the others seemed to hear to what he said as much as though he
had been an officer. He would not drink a drop of the whisky, but kept
perfectly sober. They seemed to have a very joyful time, they danced and
sang their wild songs of the forest. Then asked mother for more bread and
milk; she told them she had no more; then they asked for buttermilk and
she gave them what she had of that. As mother was afraid, she gave them
anything she had, that they called for. They asked her for whisky; she
said she hadn't got it. They said, "Maybe you lie." Then they pointed
toward Mr. Pardee's and said, "Neighbor got whisky?" She told them she
didn't know. They said again, "Maybe you lie."

When they were ready the sober one said, "Indian go!" He had them all
start in single file. In that way they went out of sight. Mother was
overjoyed and much relieved when they were gone. They had eaten up all
her bread and used up all her milk, but I suppose they thought they had
had a good time.

Not more than two or three weeks after this the Indians moved away, and
these children of the forest wandered to other hunting grounds. We were
very much pleased, as well as the other neighbors, when they were gone.

Father had a good opinion of the Indians, though he had been frightened
by the first one, John Williams, and was afraid of losing his life by
him. He considered him an exception, a wicked, ugly Indian. Thought,
perhaps, he had been driven away from his own tribe, and was like Cain, a
vagabond upon the face of the earth. He was different from other Indians,
as some of them had the most sensitive emotions of humanity. If you did
them a kindness they would never forget it, and they never would betray a
friend; but if you offended them or did them an injury, they would never
forget that either. These two traits of character run parallel with their
lives and only terminate with their existence.

I recollect father's relating a circumstance that happened in the
State of New York, about the time of the Revolutionary War. He said an
Indian went into a tavern and asked the landlord if he would give him
something to eat. The landlord repulsed him with scorn, told him he
wouldn't give him anything and to get out of the house, for he didn't
want a dirty Indian around. There was a gentleman sitting in the room
who saw the Indian come in and heard what was said. The Indian started
to go; the gentleman stepped up and said: "Call him back, give him what
he wants, and I'll pay for it." The Indian went back, had a good meal
and was well used; then he went on his way and the gentleman saw him no
more, at that time.

Shortly after this the gentleman emigrated to the West, and was one of
the advanced guards of civilization. He went into the woods, built him a
house and cleared a piece of land. About this time there was a war in the
country. He was taken captive and carried away a long distance, to an
Indian settlement. He was tried, by them, for his life, condemned to
death and was to be executed the next morning. He was securely bound and
fastened. The chief detailed an Indian who, he thought, knew something of
the whites and their tricks and would be capable of guarding the captive
safely, and he was set as a watch to keep him secure until morning. I
have forgotten what father said was to have been the manner of his
execution; whether he was to be tomahawked or burned, at all events he
was to meet his fate in the morning. Late in the night, after the
warriors were fast asleep and, perhaps, dreaming of their spoils, when
everything was still in the camp, the Indian untied and loosed the
captive, told him to be careful, still, and follow him. After they were
outside the camp, out of hearing, the Indian told the white man that he
was going to save his life and show him the way home. They traveled until
morning and all that day, and the night following, the next morning they
came out in sight of a clearing and the Indian showed him a house and
asked him if he knew the place; he said he did. Then the Indian asked him
if he knew him; he told him that he did not. Then he referred him to the
tavern and asked if he remembered giving an Indian something to eat. He
said he did. "I am the one," said the Indian, "and I dare not go back to
my own tribe, they would kill me." Here the friends par Led to meet no
more. One went home to friends and civilization; the other went an exile
without friends to whom he dared go, with no home, a fugitive in the
wilderness.

There was a man by the name of H. Moody who often visited at father's
house he told me that when he was young he was among the Mohawk Indians
in Canada. This tribe formerly lived in what is now the State of New
York. They took up on the side of the English, were driven away to Canada
and there settled on the Grand River. Mr. Moody was well acquainted with
the sons of the great chief, Brant, and knew the laws and customs of the
tribe. He said when they considered one of their tribe very bad they set
him aside and would have nothing to do with him.

If one murdered another of the same tribe he was taken up and tried by a
council, and if it was found to be wilful murder, without any cause, he
was condemned and put to death; but if there were any extenuating
circumstances which showed that he had some reason for it, he was
condemned and sentenced, by the chief, to sit on the grave of his victim
for a certain length of time. That was his only hope and his "City of
refuge." If any of the relatives of the deceased wanted to kill him
there they had a right (according to their law) to do so. If he remained
and lived his time out, on the horrible place, he was received back
again to the fellowship of his tribe. This must have been a terrible
punishment. It showed, however, the Indian's love of his tribe and
country, to sit there and think of the danger of being shot or
tomahawked, and of the terrible deed he had committed. He had taken away
what he could never give. How different was his case from the one who
left tribe, friends and home, and ran away to save the life of a white
man who had given him bread.

About two and a half miles southwest of our house there was a large sand
hill. Huckleberries grew there in abundance. I went there and picked some
myself. On the top of that hill we found Indian graves, where some had
been recently buried. There were pens built of old logs and poles around
them, and we called it the "Indian Hill." It is known by that name to
this day. The old telegraph road runs right round under the brow of this
hill. This hill is in the town of Taylor. I don't suppose there are many
in that town who do not know the hill or have heard of it, and but few in
the town of Dearborn. I don't suppose there are six persons living who
know the reason it is called the "Indian Hill" for we named it in a very
early day.

Some twelve or fifteen years after this a man by the name of Clark had
the job of grading down a sand hill nearly a mile south of Taylor Center.
In grading he had to cut down the bank six or seven feet and draw it off
on to the road. He hired me with my team to go and help him. I went. He
had been at work there before and he showed me some Indian bones that he
had dug up and laid in a heap. He said that two persons were buried
there. From the bones, one must have been very large, and the other
smaller. He had been very careful to gather them up. He said he thought
they were buried in a sitting or reclining posture, as he came to the
skulls first. The skulls, arm and thigh bones were in the best state of
preservation, and in fact, the most that was left of them.

I took one thigh bone that was whole, sat down on the bank and we
compared it with my own. As I was six feet, an inch and a half, we tried
to measure the best we could to learn the size of the Indian. We made up
our minds that he was at least seven, or seven and a half, feet tall. I
think it likely it was his squaw who sat by his side. They must have been
buried a very long time. We dug a hole on the north side of a little
black oak tree that stood on the hill west of the road, and there we
deposited all that remained of those ancient people. I was along there
the other day (1875) and as I passed I noticed the oak. It is now quite a
large tree; I thought there was no one living in this country, but me,
who knew what was beneath its roots. No doubt that Indian was a hunter
and a warrior in his day. He might have heard, and been alarmed, that the
white man had come in big canoes over the great waters and that they were
stopping to live beyond the mountains. But little did he think that in a
few moons, or "skeezicks" as they called it, he should pass to the happy
hunting ground, and his bones be dug up by the white man, and hundreds
and thousands pass over the place, not knowing that once a native
American and his squaw were buried there. That Indian might have sung
this sentiment:

"And when this life shall end,
  When calls the great So-wan-na,
Southwestern shall I wend,
  To roam the great Savannah."

--_Bishop_,

No doubt he was an observer of nature. In his day he had listened to the
voice of Gitche Manito, or the Great Spirit, in the thunder and witnessed
the display of his power in the lightning, as it destroyed the monster
oak and tore it in slivers from top to bottom, and the voice of the wind,
all told him that there was a Great Spirit. It told him if Indian was
good he would go to a better place, where game would be plenty, and, no
one would drive him away. No doubt he had made preparation for his
departure and wanted his bow, arrow, and maybe other things, buried with
him. If this was so they had disappeared as we found nothing of the kind.
It is known to be the belief of the Indian in his wild state, that he
will need his bow and arrow, or his gun and powder horn, or whatever he
has to hunt with here, to use after lie has passed over to the happy
hunting ground.

About the time that Clark dug up the bones, I became acquainted with
something that I never could account for and it has always been a
mystery to me. An Englishman was digging a ditch on the creek bottom, to
drain the creek, a little over three-quarters of a mile west of
father's house. He was digging it six feet wide and two feet deep, where
brush called grey willows stood so thick that it was impossible for a
man to walk through them. He cut the brush and had dug eight or ten
inches when he came to red earth. Some day there had been a great fire
at this place. The streak of red ground was about an inch thick, and in
it he found what all called human bones. I went to see it myself and the
bones we gathered up were mostly small pieces, no whole ones; but we saw
enough to convince us that they were human bones. The ground that was
burned over might have been, from the appearance, twelve feet square. It
must have been done a great many years before, for the ground to make,
and the brush to grow over it.

This creek, the Ecorse, not being fed by any rivulets or springs from
hills or mountains, is supplied entirely by surface water. It is
sometimes quite a large stream, but during dry weather in the summer time
it is entirely dry. The Englishman was digging it deeper to take off the
surface water when it came.

It is possible that, sometime, Indians had burned their captives there.
In fact there is no doubt of it. It must have been the work of Indians.
We may go back in our imaginations to the time, when the place where the
city of Detroit now stands was an Indian town or village, and ask its
inhabitants if they knew who were burned twelve miles west of there on a
creek, they might not be able to tell. We might ask the giant Indian of
the sand hill, if he knew, and he might say, "I had a hand in that; it
was in my day." But we have no medium, through which we can find out the
dark mysteries of the past. They will have to remain until the light of
eternity dawns, and all the dead who have ever lived are called to be
again, and to come forth. Then the dark mysteries of the past which have
been locked up for centuries will be revealed.



CHAPTER XII.

THE INSIDE OF OUR HOUSE--A PICTURE FROM MEMORY.


As I have been led away, for some years, following poor Indian in his
belief, life and death, and in doing so have wandered from my story, I
will now return to the second or third year of our settlement. I
described how the body of our second house was made, and the roof put on.
I now look at its interior. The lower floor was made of whitewood boards,
in their rough state, nailed down. The upper floor was laid with the same
kind of boards, though they were not nailed When they shrunk they could
be driven together, to close the cracks. The chimney was what we called a
"stick" or "Dutch chimney." The way it was built; two crooked sticks, six
inches wide and four inches thick, were taken for arms; the foot of these
sticks were placed on the inner edge or top of the second log of the
house, and the upper ends laid against the front beam of the chamber
floor. These sticks or arms were about six feet apart at the mouth of the
chimney. Father cut a green black oak and sawed off some bolts, took a
froe, that he brought from York State, and rived out shakes three inches
wide and about an inch thick. Of these and clay he laid up the chimney.
It started from the arms and the chamber beam. After it got up a little
it was like laying up a pen. He spread on some clay, then laid on four
sticks and pressed them into the clay, then spread on clay again,
covering the sticks entirely. In this way our chimney was built, and its
size, at the top, was about two by four feet. It proved to be quite a
good and safe chimney.

[Illustration: "THE HOUSE BUILT 1836."]

The last thing before retiring for the night, after the fire had burned
low and the big coals were covered with ashes, was to look up chimney and
see if it had taken fire. If it had, and was smoking on the inside,
father would take a ladder, set it up in the chimney, take a little water
and go up and put it out. This was seldom necessary, as it never took
fire unless the clay cracked in places, or the weather wore it off.

When there was a small fire in the evening, I could stand on the clay
hearth and look through the chimney at the stars as they twinkled and
shone in their brightness. I could count a number of them as I stood
there. Father drove into a log, back of the fire place, two iron eyes on
which to hang a crane; they extended into the room about one foot.
Around, and at one side of these he built the back of the fireplace of
clear clay a foot thick at the bottom, but thinner when it got up to the
sticks; after the clay dried he hung the crane. It is seen that we had
no jambs to our fireplace. Father sometimes at night would get a backlog
in. I have seen those which he got green, and very large, which were
sometimes twenty inches through and five or six feet long. When he got
the log to the door, he would take a round stick as large as his arm,
lay it on the floor, so that his log would come crossways of it, and
then crowd the log. I have seen him crowd it with a handspike and the
stick would roll in opposite the fireplace. He would tell us children to
stand back and take the chairs out of the way. Then he would roll the
log into the fireplace, and very carefully so as not to break or crack
the clay hearth, for mother had all the care of that, and wished it kept
as nicely as possible. When he had the log on to suit him, he would say,
"There, I guess that will last awhile." Then he would bring in two green
sticks, six or eight inches through and about three feet long, and place
them on the hearth with the ends against the backlog. These he called
his Michigan andirons; said he was proud of them. He said they were wood
instead of iron, to be sure, but he could afford to have a new pair
whenever he wanted them. When he brought in a large fore-stick, and laid
it across his andirons, he had the foundation for a fire, for
twenty-four hours.

On the crane hung two or three hooks, and on these, over the fire, mother
did most of her cooking. As we had no oven, mother had what we called a
bake kettle; this was a flat, low kettle, with a cast cover, the rim of
which turned up an inch or two, to hold coals. In this kettle, she baked
our bread. The way she did it; she would heat the lid, put her loaf of
bread in the kettle, take the shovel and pull out some coals on the
hearth, set the kettle on them, put the lid on and shovel some coals on
to it. Then she would watch it, turn it round a few times, and the bread
was done, and it came on the table steaming. When we all gathered around
the family board we did the bread good justice. We were favored with
what we called "Michigan appetites." Sometimes when we had finished our
meal there were but few fragments left, of anything except the loaf,
which was four or five inches through, a foot and a half across, and four
and a half feet in circumference.

Later, mother bought her a tin baker, which she placed before the fire to
bake her bread, cake, pies, etc. This helped her very much in getting
along. It was something new, and we thought it quite an invention. Mother
had but one room, and father thought he would build an addition at the
west end of our house, as the chimney was on the east end. He built it
with a shed roof. The lower floor was made of boards, the upper floor of
shakes. These were gotten out long enough to reach from beam to beam and
they were lapped and nailed fast.

This room had one window on the west, and a door on the east, which led
into the front room. In one corner stood a bed surrounded by curtains as
white as snow; this mother called her spare-day bed. Two chests and a few
chairs completed the furniture of this room; it was mother's sitting room
and parlor. I remember well how pleased she was when she got a rag-carpet
to cover the floor.

Now I have in my mind's eye a view of my mother's front room. Ah! there
is the door on the south with its wooden latch and leather string. East
of the door is a window, and under it stands a wooden bench, with a water
pail on it; at the side of the window hangs the tin dipper. In the corner
beyond this stands the ladder, the top resting on one side of an opening
through which we entered the chamber. In the centre of the east end
burned the cheerful fire, at the left stood a kettle, pot and
bread-kettle, a frying pan (with its handle four feet long) and griddle
hung over them. Under the north window stood a table with its scantling
legs, crossed, and its whitewood board top, as white as hands and ashes
could scour it. Farther on, in the north-west corner stood mother's bed,
with a white sheet stretched on a frame made for that purpose, over it,
and another at the back and head. On the foot and front of the frame were
pinned calico curtains with roses and rosebuds and little birds, some
perched on a green vine that ran through the print, others on the wing,
flying to and from their straw colored nests. These curtains hung, oh,
how gracefully, around that bed! They were pinned back a little at the
front, revealing a blue and white coverlet, of rare workmanship. In the
next and last corner stood the family cupboard. The top shelves were
filled with dishes, which mother brought from the state of New York. They
were mostly blue and white, red and white and there were some on the top
shelf which the children called their "golden edged dishes."

The bottom of the cupboard was inclosed; by opening two small doors I
could look in. I found not there the luxuries of every clime, but what
was found there was eaten with as much relish as the most costly viands
would be now. It was a place I visited often. In hooks attached to a beam
overhead hung two guns which were very frequently used. A splint broom
and five or six splint bottomed chairs constituted nearly all the
furniture of this room. Before that cheerful fire in one of those
chairs, often sat one making and mending garments, little and big. This
she did with her own hands, never having heard of a sewing machine, as
there were none in existence then. She had to make every stitch with her
fingers. We were not so fortunate as the favored people of ancient times;
our garments would wax old.

Mother made a garment for father to work in which he called his frock. It
was made of linen cloth that she brought from the State of New York. It
was like a shirt only the sleeves were short. They reached half way to
his elbows. This he wore, in place of a shirt, when working hard in warm
weather. Southeast of the house father dug into the ground and made him
an out door cellar, in which we kept our potatoes through the winter
without freezing them. We found it very convenient.

Father wanted a frame barn very much but that was out of his reach. We
needed some place to thrash, and to put our grain and hay, and where we
could work in wet weather, but to have it was out of the question, so we
did the next best thing, went at it and built a substitute. In the first
place we cut six large crotches, went about fourteen rods north of the
house, across the lane, dug six holes and set the two longest crotches in
the center east and west. Then put the four shorter ones, two on the
south and two on the north side so as to give the roof a slant. In the
crotches we laid three large poles and on these laid small poles and
rails, then covered the whole with buckwheat straw for a roof. We cut
down straight grained timber, split the logs open and hewed the face and
edges of them; we laid them back down on the ground, tight together and
made a floor under the straw roof.

This building appeared from a distance something like a hay barrack. Now
we had a sort of thrashing-floor. Back of this we built a log stable. So
the north side was enclosed but the east and west ends and the south side
were open. We had to have good weather when we threshed with our flails,
as the snow or rain would blow right through it. It was a poor thing but
the best we had for several years, until father was able, then he built
him a good frame barn. It stands there on the old place yet (1875). I
often think of the old threshing floor. When I got a nice buck with large
horns I cut off the skull with the hide, so as to keep them in a natural
position, and nailed them on the corners of our threshing floor in front.
The cold and storms of winter did not affect them much. There they
remained, mute and silent, to guard the place, and let all passers by
know that a sort of a hunter lived there. Father had good courage and
worked hard. He bared his arms and brow to the adverse winds, storms,
disappointments, cares and labors of a life in the woods. He said, if he
had his health, some day we would be better off. In a few years his words
of encouragement proved true. He fought his way through manfully, like a
veteran pioneer, raised up from poverty to peace and plenty. This he
accomplished by hard labor, working days and sometimes nights.

One time father wanted to clear off a piece of ground for buckwheat by
the first of July. He had not much time in which to do it. We had learned
that buckwheat would catch and grow very stout on new and stumpy ground.
Sometimes it filled very full and loaded heavy. It was easily gathered
and easily threshed, and helped us very much for our winter's bread. One
night after supper, father sat down and smoked his pipe; it was quite
dark when he got up, took his ax in his hand and went out. We all knew
where he had gone. It was to put up his log heaps, as he had some
burning. Mother said, "We will go and help pick up and burn." When we
started, looking towards the woods, we could see him dimly through the
darkness. As we neared him we could see his bare arms with the handspike
in his hands rolling up the logs. The fire took a new hold of them when
he rolled them together. The flames would shoot up bright, and his
countenance appeared to be a pale red, while thousands of sparks flew
above his head and disappeared in the air. In a minute there was an
awkward boy at his side with a handspike, taking hold and doing the best
he could to help, and there was mother by the light of the fires, who a
short time before in her native home, was an invalid and her life
despaired of, now, with some of her children, picking up chips and sticks
and burning them out of the way.

We were well rewarded for our labor. The buckwheat came up and in a
little time it was all in bloom. It put on its snow white blossoms, and
the wind that caressed it, and caused it to wave, bore away on its wings
to the woods the fragrance of the buckwheat field.

The little industrious bee came there with its comrades and extracted its
load of sweet, then flew back to its native home in the forest. There it
deposited its load, stored it away carefully against the time of need.
Nature taught the bee that a long, cold winter was coming and that it
was best to work and improve the time, and the little fellow has left us
a very bright example to follow.



CHAPTER XIII.

METHEGLIN OR THE DETECTED DRINK.


As will be remembered by the early settlers of Michigan, bee hunting and
wild honey constituted one of the comforts and luxuries of life. Father
being somewhat expert in finding bees found a number of trees, one of
which was a large whitewood and stood full a mile or more, from home. One
day he and I cut it down. It proved to be a very good tree, as far as
honey was concerned. We easily filled our buckets and returned home,
leaving a large quantity in the tree, which we intended to return and get
as soon as possible. When we returned we found to our surprise, that the
tree had caught fire and was burning quite lively where the honey was
secreted. The fire originated from the burning of some straw that father
had used in singeing the bees to prevent their ferocious attacks and
stinging. We found that the fire had melted some of the honey and that it
was running into a cavity in the tree which the bees had cleaned out. It
looked as nice as though it had dripped into a wooden bowl. Father said
there was a chance to save it, and we dipped out a pailful of nice clear
honey, except that it was tinged, somewhat, in color and made a little
bitter by the fire.

This formed one of the ingredients used in making the metheglin. We also
secured some more very nice honey. Father said, judging from the amount
we got, he should think the tree contained at least a hundred pounds of
good honey, and I should think so too. And he said "This truly is a
goodly land; it flows with milk and honey." He also said, "I will make a
barrel of metheglin, which will be a very delicious drink for my family
and a kind of a substitute for the luxuries they left behind. It will
slake the thirst of the friendly pioneers, who may favor us with a call
in our new forest home; or those friends who come to talk over the
adventures of days now past, and the prospects of better days to come."

But in order to make the metheglin, he must procure a barrel, and this he
had to bring some distance on his back, as we had no team. When he got
the barrel home, and ready to make his metheglin, he located it across
two sticks about three feet long and six inches through. These he placed
with the ends toward the chimney on the chamber floor, and on them next
to the chimney, he placed his barrel. He filled it with metheglin and
said that the heat of the fire below, and warmth of the chimney above,
would keep it from freezing. Being placed upon the sticks he could draw
from it at his convenience, which he was quite sure to do when any of the
neighbors called. Neighbors were not very plenty in those days and we
were always glad to see them. When they came father would take his mug,
go up the ladder and return with it filled with metheglin. Then he would
pour out a glass, hand it to the neighbor, who would usually say, "What
is it?" Father would say, "Try it and see." This they usually did. He
then told them: "This is my wine, it was taken from the woods and it is a
Michigan drink, the bees helped me to make it." It was generally called
nice. Of course he frequently, after a hard day's work, would go up in
the chamber, draw some and give us all a drink. It tasted very good to
all, and especially to me, as will be seen by what follows. It so
happened that the chamber where the barrel was kept, was the sleeping
apartment of myself and brother, John S. I played the more important part
in the "Detected drink;" at least I thought so.

I found, by examining the barrel, that by removing a little block, which
was placed under the side, taking out the bung and putting my mouth in
its place I could roll the barrel a little, on the sticks, and by being
very careful, could get a drink with ease. Then replacing the bung and
rolling the barrel back to its place, very carefully so as not to make a
noise or arouse suspicion, I would put the block in its place thinking no
one was any wiser, but me, for the drink which I thought was very
palatable and delicious. Not like the three drinks I had taken from the
jug some time before.

This continued for sometime very much to my comfort, as far as good drink
was concerned. It was usually indulged in at night, after I had undressed
my feet, and father and mother supposed I had retired. There was one
difficulty. I was liable to be exposed by my little brother, John S., who
slept with me; so I concluded to take him into my confidence. There were
two reasons for my doing so: first, I wished him to have something good;
and second, I wanted to have him implicated with myself, fearing that he
might reveal my proceedings. So we enjoyed it together for a few nights.
I would drink first, then hold the barrel for him while he drank. We
thought we were faring like nabobs. But alas for me! One evening brother
John S. and I retired as usual, leaving father and mother seated by the
fire, I suppose talking over the scenes of their early days or, more
probably, discussing the best way to get along and support their family
in this their new forest home.

I thought, of course, we must have some of the good drink before we shut
our eyes for the night, and no sooner thought than we went for it. As
usual, I removed the block and out with the bung, then down with my mouth
to the bung hole and over with the barrel until the delightful liquid
reached my anxious lips. My thirst was soon slaked by a good drink, I
relished it first rate.

Then came brother John S.' turn, and, some way, in attempting to get his
drink I let the barrel slip. He was small and I had to hold it for him,
but this time the barrel went. I grabbed for it, made some racket and
some of the metheglin came out, guggle, guggle, good, good, and down it
went to the chamber floor, which was made of loose boards. It ran through
the cracks and there was a shower below, where father and mother were
sitting. I was in a quandary. I knew I was doomed unless I could use some
stratagem to clear myself from the scrape in which I was so nicely
caught. When lo! the first thing I heard from below was father,
apparently very angry, shouting, "William! what in the world are you
doing with the metheglin barrel?" Then came my stratagem. I began to
retch and make a noise as if vomiting, and hallooed to him that I was
sick. Of course, I wanted to make him believe that it was the contents of
my stomach that was falling at his feet in place of the metheglin. He
said he knew better, it was too sudden an attack, and too much of a
shower of the metheglin falling at their feet. I found that I could not
make this ruse work. He started for me, his head appeared above the top
of the ladder, he had a candle and a gad in his hand. I had been glad to
see him often, before, and was afterward, but this time I saw nothing in
him to admire. I found I had entirely failed. I told him that I would not
do that again. "Oh honestly!" if he would only let me off, I would never
do that again.

He would not hear one word I said, but seized hold of my arm and laid it
on. Then there might have been heard a noise outside, and for some
distance, like some striking against a boy about my size, if there had
been any one around to have heard it. He said he did not whip me so much
for the metheglin, as for lying and trying to deceive him. I do not think
I danced a horn but I did step around lively, maybe, a little on tip He
said, he thought he had cured me up, that the application he gave would
make me well. I crawled into bed very much pleased indeed to think the
mat was settled, as far as I was concerned. John S. had crawled into bed
while I was paying the penalty. Father excused him because he was so
young; he said I was the one to blame, and must stand it all. I thought
as all young Americans do that it was rather hard to get such a tanning
in Michigan, and I had begun to think myself quite a somebody.

From that day, or night, I made up my mind that honesty was the best
policy, at all events, for me. When I went to bed, at night, after that I
gave the metheglin barrel a wide berth and a good letting alone, for I
had lost my relish for metheglin. The metheglin story is once in a while,
until this day, related by John S., especially when we all meet for a
family visit. It not unfrequently causes much laughter. I suppose the
laughter is caused as much by the manner in which he tells it (he trying
to imitate or mimic me) as its funniness. It sometimes causes a tear,
perhaps, from excessive laughter and may be, from recollections of the
past and its associations. It may once in a while cause me to give a dry
laugh, but never a sad tear since the night I spilt the metheglin.

One way the bee-hunter took of finding bee trees was to go into the
woods, cut a sappling off, about four feet from the ground, square the
top of the stump and on this put a dish of honey in the comb. Then he
would take his ax, cut and clear away the brush around the place so that
he could see the bees fly and be able to get their course or line them.
This he called a bee stand. In the fall of the year, when there came a
warm, clear and sunny day, after the frost had killed the leaves and
flowers, and the trees were bare, was the best time to find bee trees.
Sometimes when father and I went bee-hunting he took some old honey comb,
put it on a piece of bark or on a log, set it on fire and dropped a few
drops of anise on it from a vial. If we were near a bee tree in a short
time a lone bee would come. When it came it would fly around a few times
and then light on the honey comb in the dish which it had scented. No
doubt, it had been out industriously hunting and now it had found just
what was desired. Very independently it would commence helping itself and
get as much as it could possibly carry off to its home. Then it went and,
no doubt, astonished some of its comrades with its large load of wealth.
It was obtained so quickly and easily and there was plenty more where it
came from. Then some of the other bees would accompany it back, all being
very anxious to help in securing the honey they had found ready made. In
a short time there were several bees in the dish and others were coming
and going; then it was necessary for us to watch them. It required sharp
strong eyes to get their line. They would rise and circle around, higher
and higher, until they made out their course and then start like a streak
straight for their colony. After we had staked or marked out the line the
next thing was to move the honey forty or fifty rods ahead. At this the
bees sometimes appeared a little suspicious. It was sometimes necessary
to make a few of them prisoners even while they were eating by slipping a
cover over them, and moving them ahead on the line. This made them a
little shy, however, but they soon forgot their imprisonment. They had
found too rich a store to be forsaken. After a little while they would
come flocking back and load themselves as heavily as before. If they flew
on in the same direction it was evident that the bee tree was still
ahead, and it was necessary to move the honey again. Then if the bees
flew crooked and high and zigzag it was plain to the bee-hunters that
they were in close proximity to the bee tree. When the hunters could get
sight of the bees going back or up towards the tree tops it was an easy
matter to find the bee tree, as that would be between the two stands or
right in the hunter's presence.

The little bees had, by their unceasing industry and through their love
of gain, labored hard extracting their sweet and had laid it up
carefully. Now they pointed out their storehouse by going directly to it
when anxious eyes were watching them. The little aeronautic navigators
could be seen departing from and returning to their home. Sometimes they
went into a small hole in the side of the tree and at other times they
entered their homes by a small knot-hole in a limb near the top of the
tree. I saw that a swarm which father once found went into the tree top
more than eighty feet from the ground. At that distance they did not
appear larger than house-flies.

The first thing that father did after finding a bee-tree was to mark it
by cutting the initials of his name on the bark with his pocket-knife.
This established his title to the bees. After that they had a legal
owner. The mark on the tree was one of the witnesses. I knew a man who
happened to find a bee tree, and said that he marked it close down to
the ground and covered the mark with leaves so that no one could find
it. That appeared more sly than wise, as it gave no notice to others,
who might find the tree, of his ownership, or of its having been
previously found.



CHAPTER XIV.

OUR ROAD AND HOW I WAS WOUNDED.


Father got our road laid out and districted for a mile and a half on the
north and south section line. One mile north of our place it struck the
Dearborn road. Father cut it out, cut all the timber on the road two rods
wide. After it was cut out I could get on the top of a stump in the road,
by the side of our place, and look north carefully among the stumps, for
a minute, and if there was any one coming, on the road, I could
distinguish them from the stumps by seeing them move. In fact we thought
we were almost getting out into the world. We could see the sand hill
where father finally bought and built his house. Father was path-master
for a number of years and he crosswayed the lowest spots and across the
black ash swales. He cut logs twelve feet long and laid them side by side
across the center of the road. Some of the logs, that he put into the
road on the lowest ground, were more than a foot through; of course
smaller poles answered where the ground was higher. We called this our
corduroy road. In doing our road work and others doing theirs, year
after year, in course of time we had the log way built across the
wettest parts of the road. When it was still I could hear a cart or
wagon, coming or going, rattling and pounding over the logs for nearly a
mile. But it was so much better than water and mud that we thought it
quite passable. We threw some clay and dirt on to the logs and it made
quite an improvement, especially in a dry time. But in a wet time it was
then, and is now, a very disagreeable road to travel, as the clay gathers
on the feet of the pedestrian, until it is a load for him to carry. This
gave it, in after times, the name of the "Hardscrabble Road." When it was
wet it was almost impossible to get through with a team and load. At such
times we had to cross Mr. Pardee's place and go around the ridge on a
road running near the old trail. Now the "Hardscrabble Road" is an old
road leading to the homes of hundreds. Sometimes there may be seen twelve
or fifteen teams at once on the last half mile of that road, besides
footmen, coming and going all in busy life. They little know the trouble
we once had there in making that road.

Father had very hard work to get along. He had to pay Mrs. Phlihaven
twenty-seven dollars every year to satisfy her on the mortgage, as he was
not able to pay the principal. That took from us what we needed very
much. If we could have had it to get us clothes it would have helped us,
as we were all poorly clad. Some of the younger children went barefooted
all winter a number of times. I often saw their little barefooted tracks
in the snow.

As we had no team we had to get along the best we could. Father changed
work with Mr. Pardee: he came with his oxen and plowed for us. Father
had to work two days for one, to pay him. In this way we got some plowing
done. There was a man by the name of Stockman who lived near
Dearbornville. He had a pair of young oxen. Being a carpenter, by trade,
he worked at Detroit some of the time. He would let father use his oxen
some of the time for their keeping, and that he might break them better,
as they were not thoroughly broken. They would have been some profit to
us it they had not crippled me.

One day I was drawing logs with them. I had hitched the chain around a
log and they started. I hallooed, "Whoa!" but they wouldn't stop. They
swung the log against me, caught my leg between the log they were drawing
and the sharp end of another log and had me fast. It cut the calf of my
leg nearly in two, and tore the flesh from the bone, but did not break
it. I screamed and made an awful ado. Father and Mr. Purdy heard me and
came running as fast as they could, they took me up and carried me to the
house. It was over three long months before I could take another step
with that leg. This accident made it still harder for father. I know I
saved him a good many steps and some work. I am sure he was pleased when
I got over my lameness and so I could help him again. I took a great
interest in everything he did and helped him all I could.

Finally father got a chance to work by the day, for the government, at
Dearbornville. He received six shillings a day in silver. He said he
would leave me, to do what I could on the place, and he would try working
for Uncle Sam a part of the time. In haying and harvesting he had to work
at home. He cut all the grass himself and it grew very stout. We found
our land was natural for timothy and white clover. The latter would come
up thick in the bottom, of itself, and make the grass very heavy. It was
my business to spread the hay and rake it up. In this way we soon got
through with our haying and harvesting. We had already seeded some land
down for pasture. We went to Dearbornville and got hayseed off of a barn
floor and scattered it on the ground, in this way we seeded our first
pasture. Father sometimes let a small piece of timothy stand until it got
ripe. Then took his cradle, cut it and I tied it up in small bundles and
then stood it up until it was dry. When dry it was thrashed out; in this
way we soon had plenty of grass seed of our own, without having to buy
it. We began to have quite a stock of cows and young cattle. We had
pasture for them a part of the time, but sometimes we had to let them run
in the woods. At night I would go after them. When I got in sight of them
I would count them, to see if they were all there. The old cow (which had
been no small part of our support and our stand-by through thick and
thin) would start and the rest followed her. When they were strung along
ahead of me and I was driving them I would think to myself: now we've got
quite a herd of cattle! From our first settlement mother wanted to, and
did, raise every calf.

Father worked for the government what time he could spare. He had to go
two miles morning and night. He carried his dinner in a little tin pail
with a cover on it. When the days were short he had to start very early,
and when he returned it would be in the evening, I recollect very well
some things that he worked at. The arsenal and other buildings were up
when we came here. They built a large brick wall from building to
building, making the yard square. The top of the wall was about level. I
think this wall was built twelve or fifteen feet high, it incloses three
or four acres. There thousands of soldiers put on their uniforms and with
their bright muskets in their hands and knapsacks strapped upon their
backs drilled and marched to and fro. There they prepared themselves for
the service of the country and to die, if need be, in defending the old
flag of stars and stripes which waved there above their heads. Little
thought they that the ground under their feet, so beautiful and level
inside that yard was made ground, in some places for six or eight feet
deep, and that it was done at Uncle Sam's expense for the pleasure of his
boys in blue. It was their school yard in which to learn the science of
war. My father helped to grade this enclosure. They drew in sand from the
sand ridge back of the yard, from where the government barn now stands,
with one-horse carts.

Father was very fond of Indian bread which he called "Johnny cake." When
mother had wheat bread for the rest of us she often baked a "Johnny cake"
for him. One day he took a little "Johnny cake," a cup of butter and some
venison, in his little tin pail, for his dinner. He left it as usual in
the workshop. At noon he partook of his humble repast. He said he left a
piece of his "Johnny cake" and some butter. He thought that would make
him a lunch at night, when his day's work was done and he started home.
He went for his pail and found that his lunch was gone, and in place of
it a beautiful pocket knife.

He said there were two or three government officers viewing and
inspecting the arsenal and ground that day. He said they went into the
shop where he left his dinner pail and lunch. He was sure they were the
ones who took his lunch. He said they knew what was good, for they ate
all the "Johnny cake" and butter he had left. The knife was left open and
he thought they forgot and left it through mistake. But I think more
probably they knew something of father's history.

He was one who would have been noticed in a crowd of workmen. I have no
doubt the boss told them that he was a splendid workman. That he had had
bad luck, that he lived on a new place, two or three miles back in the
woods, that he had a large family to support and came clear out there
every day to work. "Here is his dinner pail" one says, "let's look in it"
and what did they see but a piece of Indian bread and some butter?
Methinks, one of the officers might have said: "I have not eaten any of
that kind of bread since my mother baked it down in New England. Let's
try it." Then took out his knife, cut it in three or four pieces, spread
the butter on and they ate it. Then he said, "Here is my knife, worth
twelve shillings, I will leave it open; he shall have it. I will give it
him as an honorary present, for his being a working man, and to
compensate him for what we have eaten. It has reminded me of home." Now
if the view I have taken is correct, it shows that they were noble,
generous and manly; that they felt for the poor, in place of trifling
with their feelings.

After father finished working there, he sold some young cattle and
managed in some way to buy another yoke of oxen. We had good hay for
them. Father went to the village and bought him a new wagon. It was a
very good iron axletree wagon, made in Dearbornville by William Halpin.
We were very much pleased to have a team again and delighted with our
new wagon.

We had very good luck with these oxen and kept them until we got a horse
team, and in fact longer, for after I left my father's house (and I was
twenty-two years old when I left) he had them. Then he said his place was
cleared up, and the roots rotted enough so that he could get along and do
his work with horses. He sold his oxen to Mr. Purdy, and they were a good
team then.



CHAPTER XV.

PROSPECT OF WAR--A.D. 1835.


The dark portentous cloud seemed to hang above our horizon. It looked
dark and threatening, (and more terrible because the disputants were
members of the same family). We thought it might break upon our heads at
any time. The seat of war being so near us, the country so new and
inhabitants so few, made it look still more alarming to me. I asked
father how many inhabitants we had in our territory and how many the
State of Ohio contained. He said there were as many as fifteen or twenty
to our one. I asked him if he thought the Michigan men would be able to
defend Toledo against so many. He said that Michigan was settled by the
bravest men. That almost every man owned a rifle and was a good shot for
a pigeon's head. He thought they would be able to keep them at bay until
the government would interfere and help us. He said, to, that Governor
Mason was a fearless, brave, courageous man. That he had called for
militia and volunteers and was going himself with General Brown, at the
head of his men, to defend the rights of Michigan.

One day, about this time, I was at Dearbornville; they had a fife and
drum there and were beating up for militia and volunteers. A young man by
the name of William Ozee had volunteered. I was well acquainted with him;
he had been at our house frequently. Sometimes, in winter, he had chopped
for us and I had hunted with him. He had a good rifle and was certainly a
sharp shooter. I found that he beat me handily, but I made up my mind it
was because he had a better rifle and I was considerable younger than he.
I saw him at Dearbornville just before he went away. He told me to tell
my folks that he was a soldier and was going to the war to defend them;
that Governor Mason had called for troops and he was going with him. We
heard in a short time that he was at Toledo. We also learned that
Governor Lucas, of Ohio, with General Bell and staff, with an army of
volunteers, all equipped ready for war, had advanced as far as Fort
Miami. But Governor Mason was too quick for the Ohio Governor. He called
upon General Brown to raise the Michigan militia, and said that his bones
might bleach at Toledo before he would give up one foot of the territory
of Michigan; said he would accompany the soldiers himself, to the
disputed ground. He, with General Brown, soon raised a force of about a
thousand men and took possession of Toledo; while the Governor of Ohio,
with volunteers, was fooling away the time at Fort Miami. When we heard
that Governor Mason had arrived at Toledo, we wondered if we should hear
the roar of his cannon. Sometimes I listened. We thought if it was still
and the wind favorable, we might hear them, and we expected every day
there would be a battle.

But when Governor Lucas learned how determined Governor Mason was, and
that he had at his back a thousand Michigan braves, and most of them
with their rifles in their hands, ready to receive him, he made up his
mind that he had better let them alone. We afterward learned that
Governor Lucas only had six or eight hundred men. The conclusion was,
that if they had attacked the Michigan boys at Toledo, they would have
gotten badly whipped, and those of them left alive would have made good
time running for the woods, and would have wished that they had never
heard of Michigan men. Perhaps the Ohio Governor thought that discretion
was the better part of valor. He employed his time for several days,
watching over the line. May be he employed some of his time thinking if
it could be possible that Governor Mason and General Brown were going to
subjugate Ohio, or at least a part of it, and annex it to the territory
of Michigan.

Let this be as it may; while he seemed to be undecided, two commissioners
from Washington put in an appearance and remonstrated with him. They told
him what the fearful consequences, to him and his State, would be, if he
tried to follow out his plan to gain possession of the disputed
territory. These commissioners held several conferences with both
Governors. They submitted to them several propositions for their
consideration, and for the settlement of the important dispute. Their
proposition was this: that the inhabitants, residing on the disputed
ground, should be left to their own government. Obeying one or the other,
as they might prefer, without being disturbed by the authorities of
either Michigan or Ohio. They were to remain thus until the close of the
next session of Congress. Here we see the impossibility of man being
subjected to and serving two masters, for, "He will love the one and hate
the other, or hold to the one and despise the other."

Governor Lucas was glad to get out of the scrape. He embraced the
proposition, disbanded his men and left the disputed ground. Governor
Mason considered himself master of the situation; Toledo and the disputed
territory were under his control. He would not compromise the rights of
his people, and he considered that it rightly belonged to Michigan. He
disbanded a part of his force and sent them home, but kept enough
organized so that he could act in case of emergency. He kept an eagle eye
upon the "Buckeyes" to see that our territorial laws were executed
promptly and they were executed vigorously. In doing it one Michigan man
was wounded, his would-be murderer ran away to Ohio and was protected by
Governor Lucas. The man who was wounded was a deputy-sheriff of Monroe
County. He was stabbed with a knife. His was the only blood spilled. Some
few surveyors and Ohio sympathizers were arrested and put into jail at
Monroe. But Uncle Sam put his foot down, to make peace in the family. He
said if we would submit, after awhile we might shine as a star in the
constellation of the Union. So we were promised a star in a prominent
place in the old flag and territory enough, north of us, for a State. To
be sure it is not quite so sunny a land as that near Toledo, and our
Governor and others did not like to acquiesce in the decision of the
government, yet they had to yield to Uncle Sam's superior authority.

Then they did not imagine that the upper peninsula was so rich a mining
country. They little knew at that time that its very earth contained, in
its bosom and under its pure waters, precious metals, iron, copper and
silver enough to make a State rich. Finally our people consented and the
Territory of Michigan put on her glory as a State. Became a proud member
of the Union; her star was placed in the banner of the free. It has since
sparkled upon every sea and been seen in every port throughout the
civilized world, as the emblem of the State of Michigan.

In the excitement of the Toledo war we looked upon the Ohio men
unfavorably. We were interested for ourselves, and might have been
somewhat selfish and conceited, and, maybe, jealous of our neighbors, and
thought them wrong in the fray. We had forgotten that there were then men
living in Ohio, in log houses and cabins, some of them as brave men as
ever walked the footstool; that they came to Michigan and rescued the
country from the invaders, the English and savages, long before some of
us knew that there was such a place as Michigan. When Michigan was almost
a trackless wilderness they crossed Lake Erie, landed at Malden, drove
the redcoats out of the fort and started them on the double quick. They
made for the Canadian woods, and the British and Indians, who held
Detroit, followed suit. They were followed by our brave William Henry
Harrison, accompanied by Ohio and Kentucky men to the Thames. There, at
one blow, the Americans subjected the most of Upper Canada and punished
the invaders of Michigan, who had the hardihood to set their hostile feet
upon her territory. It seems as though it must have been right that the
strip of country at Toledo was given to the brave men, some at least of
whom long years before, defended it with their lives and helped to raise
again the American flag at Detroit.

In about five years from the time of the Toledo War, William Henry
Harrison, of Ohio, was nominated, by the Whig party, for President, and
John Tyler, of Virginia, for Vice President, of the United States. The
intelligence spread like wild-fire. It went from town to town and from
county to county, through the brand-new State of Michigan. General
Harrison appeared to be the coming man. The Whigs of Ohio and Michigan
met and shook hands, like brothers, over the difficulties of the past;
now they had a more patriotic undertaking before them. In union with the
rest of the Whig party of the United States, they were to elect the old
farmer of the West, the good man who loved his country. In its defence he
had won imperishable honors. After he laid down his armor he resided in a
log house and was often clad in the habiliments of a husbandman. Now he
was nominated for President of the United States. With such a candidate
for the presidency men's hearts leaped for joy in anticipation of a
victory at the ballot-box in the fall of 1840.

The nomination of General Harrison raised quite an excitement throughout
the entire country. Even in Dearborn, what few Whigs there were in the
town united as one man, entered upon the campaign and banded themselves
together to work for the good of the Whig party. Alonzo T. Mather was one
who stood at the head of the party in Dearborn. He was a man noted for
his good religious principles, and was one of the most prominent and
influential citizens of the town. He was sent to the Legislature, at
Detroit, for Wayne county, one term and held other offices of trust and
honor. He was the chieftain of his party and one of the prime movers in
getting up a log cabin in Dearborn. This log cabin was built on large
truck wheels. When finished it appeared somewhat the shape of a log car.
It was thought necessary to have something on board to eat and drink. It
was desired to make all typical and commemorative of the veteran,
pioneer, farmer and general who had escaped the bullets of the savages at
Tippecanoe, although he was a special mark for them, without a scar and
the loss only of a lock of hair, which was clipped off by a bullet. This,
too, was the man who shared his own supplies with his soldiers when they
were reduced to the necessity of eating horse flesh. Now, in honor to
such a man, the Whig bakers of Dearborn made a "Johnny cake" at least ten
feet long and the width of it was in proportion to the length. They
patted it with care, smoothed it over nicely and baked it before the
fire. It was a good, plump cake, and nothing like it was ever seen in
Dearborn, before or since. Careful hands put it on board the log cabin,
also a barrel of hard cider was put on board.

At this time, although the country was new, politics ran high in
Dearborn. A friendly invitation was sent around to the farmers to come,
at a certain time, with their ox-teams and help draw the log cabin to its
destination and accompany the Whig delegation with it to Detroit. I knew
one Democrat who, when invited, refused to go. He appeared to be rather
eccentric. He said, "I allow that my oxen are not broke to work on
either side, and they are too Democratic to pull on both sides of the
fence at one and the same time." He considered the excitement of the
people, their building log cabins and baking such "Johnny cakes" boyish
and foolish. He said, in fact, that those who were doing it were "on the
wrong side." Many of the Democratic frontier men admired General Harrison
for his great worth as a man and liked his having a national reputation
for bravery. They said he was an honor to America as an American citizen
and soldier, but that he was on the wrong side.

At that time I was in my teens and looking anxiously forward for time to
help me to the elective franchise. Perhaps, I should state here that
father was a Democrat as long ago as I can remember. In York State he was
a strong Jackson man and coming into the woods of Michigan did not change
his political principles. He was an irrepressible Democrat and remained
one. Jackson was his ideal statesman. When he went to Dearbornville to
attend town meeting or election, he almost invariably carried a hickory
cane, with the bark on it as it grew, in honor of "Old Hickory." He was
always known by his townsmen as a staunch Democrat. It was natural for
his young family, to claim to be Democrats in principle, in their
isolated home.

The first settlers in our neighborhood, on the Ecorse, were Democrats,
with one exception, and that one was Mr. Blare. He often visited at our
house, and to tease my little brother, then five or six years old, told
him that he must be a Whig, he would make a good one, that he was a Whig,
he appeared like one and so forth. Brother denied it stoutly and said
that he would not be a Whig for any one. This amused Mr. Blare very much
for some time. Finally, when he called one day, he said he was going to
have company, he could see plainly that J.S. was changing to a Whig very
fast. J.S. denied it as strongly as ever, but it was evident that the
idea of being a Whig troubled him greatly. One morning (a short time
after Mr. Blare had been talking to him) he was crying bitterly. Mother
said she thought it very strange that he should cry so and tried
sometimes, in vain, to persuade him to tell her what the trouble was.
Finally she threatened to punish him if he did not let her know what the
difficulty was. At last he said he was afraid he was turning to be a
Whig. Mother assured him that it was not so. She said there was no danger
of her little boy changing into a Whig, not in the least. J.S. has often
been reminded, since he became a man, of the time Mr. Blare came so near
making a Whig of him.

But back to that cabin. There were plenty of men who volunteered and took
their teams. They hitched a long string of them, I think twenty-two yoke
of oxen, to the trucks. Quite a large crowd, for Dearborn, of old and
young, were on hand to witness the start. Most of them appeared very
enthusiastic. Each gave vent to some expression of admiration like the
following: "The General is the man for me;" or, "He is one of the people,
one with the people, one for the people, one with us and we are for him."
That's my sentiment, said one and another. After such exclamations and
the singing of a spirited campaign song, the order was given to start the
teams. The large wheels rolled and the log cabin began to move. Nearly
all appeared to be excited and there was some confusion of voices. Cheer
after cheer arose clear and high for the honest old farmer of North Bend.
I learned afterward that the march to Detroit was one continued ovation.

As a matter of course, I didn't go with them. I was too busy, at that
time, taking lessons and studying my politics, and all that sort of thing
at home in the woods.



CHAPTER XVI.

FISHING AND BOATING.


In the spring of the year when the ice broke up, in the creek, the
(pike) or (pickerel) came up in great abundance from Detroit River, and
they were easily caught. At such times the water was high in the creek,
often overflowing its banks. Sometimes the Ecorse appeared like quite a
river. We made a canoe of a white-wood log and launched it on the
Ecorse. Sometimes we went fishing in the canoe. At such times it needed
two, as the pickerel were fond of lying in shallow water or where there
was old grass. By looking very carefully, on the surface of the water, I
could see small ripples that the fishes made with their fins while they
were sporting in their native element. By having a person in the back
end of the canoe, pole it carefully, toward the place where I saw the
ripples, we would get up in plain sight of them, and they could be
either speared or shot.

I think the most successful way was shooting them, at least I preferred
it. If the fish lay near the surface of the water, I held the gun nearly
on it, and if it was six inches deep I held the gun six inches under it,
and fired. In this way, for the distance of two or three rods, I was
sure to kill them or stun them so that they turned belly up and lay till
they were easily picked up with a spear. In this way I frequently caught
a nice string. I have caught some that would weigh eight pounds apiece.
Sometimes I stood on a log that lay across the creek and watched for them
when they were running up. I recollect one cloudy afternoon I fished with
a spear and I caught as many as I wanted to carry to the house. Sometimes
they would be in a group of three, four or more together. I have seen
them, with a big fish below, and four or five smaller ones above him,
swimming along together as nicely as though they had been strung on an
invisible string, and drawn along quietly through the water. I could see
their wake as they were coming slowly up the creek keeping along one side
of it. When I first saw them in the water they looked dark, I saw it was
a group of fishes. It looked as though the smaller ones were guarding the
larger one, at least they were accompanying it. They appeared to be very
good friends, and well acquainted, and none of them afraid of being eaten
up, but any of them would have eagerly caught the smaller ones of another
species and swallowed them alive and whole. I do not know that they
devour and eat their own kind, I think not often, for nature has given
the pickerel, when young and small, the ability to move with such
swiftness that it would be impossible for a larger fish to catch them.
They will be perfectly still in the water, and if scared by anything they
will start away in any direction like a streak. They go as if it were no
effort and move with the rapidity of a dart. I have cut some of the large
pickerel open and found whole fish in them, five or six inches long.

But I must finish describing that group of fishes! As they were swimming
up, the smaller ones kept right over the large one. I stood until they
got almost to me and I killed four of them at once and got them all. It
is known that it is not necessary to hit a fish with a bullet in order to
get it. It is the force of the bullet, or charge, striking the water that
shocks or stuns him, and causes him to turn up.

These fish ran up two or three weeks every spring. Then those which were
not caught went back again into the Detroit River. Father made him what
he called a pike net which had two wings. By the time the fish were
running back, the water was settled into the bed of the creek. Then
father would set his net in the creek, stretch the wings across and stake
it fast. The mouth of the net opened up stream. This he called a funnel;
it was shaped like the top of a funnel. It was fastened with four hoops.
The first one was about as large around as the hoop of a flour barrel,
the next smaller, the third smaller still, and the last one was large
enough for the largest fish to go through.

When the net was fastened around these hoops it formed a tunnel about
four feet long. Then we had a bag net eight or ten feet long. The mouth
of this was tied around the first or large hoop of the tunnel, so when
the fish came down and ran into that they could not find their way out.
Father said when the fish were running back to Detroit River, it was
right to catch them, but when they were going up everybody along the
creek ought to have a chance. I never knew him to put his net in, so
long as the fish were running up. When they got to going back, as they
most all run in the night, in the evening he would go and set his net,
and next morning he would have a beautiful lot of fish. In this way, some
springs, we caught more than we could use fresh, so salted some down for
summer use. They helped us very much, taking the place of other meat. For
years back there have hardly any fish made their appearance up the
Ecorse. Now it would be quite a curiosity to see one in the creek. I
suppose the reason they do not come up is that some persons put in gill
nets at the mouth of the Ecorse, on Detroit River, and catch them, or
stop them at least. It is known that fish will not run out of a big
water, and run up a small stream, at any time except in the night.

These denizens of the deep have their own peculiar ways, and although man
can contrive to catch them, yet he cannot fathom the mysteries that
belong alone to them. Where they travel he cannot tell for they leave no
track behind.

It is seen that I used a hunter's phrase in my description of holding the
gun while shooting fish. The hunter will readily understand it as given.
If he has seen a deer and it has escaped him, and you ask him why he
didn't shoot it; he almost invariably says, "I couldn't get my gun on it
before it jumped out of my sight." To such as do not understand that
phrase I will say, the expression is allowable, as the bullet or charge
of shot flies so swiftly (even in advance of the sharp report of the
gun). The distance of twenty rods or more is virtually annihilated: Hence
the expression, "I held the gun on it," (though it was rods away.) If he
sighted his gun straight toward the object he wished to hit whether it
was in the air, under water, or on the ground, he would claim that he
held his gun on it.

I said that the bullet flew in advance of the report of the gun. That is
true, on the start, or until it struck an object. If the object was at a
reasonable distance, but if the distance proved too far, it of course
would fall behind the sound. The bullet is the bold--fearless--and often
cruel companion of the report of the gun, and loses in its velocity the
farther it flies, being impeded and resisted by the air, and at last is
left flattened and out of shape, a dead weight, while the report of the
gun passes on very swiftly, and dies away in the distance to be heard no
more. I have often heard the reports of guns very plainly that were fired
at ducks on Detroit River, six or seven miles away. With what velocity
their sounds approached me, I leave Dr. Derham to determine. According to
his calculation it must have been at the rate of eleven hundred and
forty-two feet per second. It has also been ascertained with what
velocity the ball leaves the gun and pierces the air. The following is
the practical result ascertained by the experiments of Mr. Robins, Count
Rumford, and Dr. Hutton: "A musket ball, discharged with a common charge
of powder, issues from the muzzle of the piece with a velocity between
sixteen and seventeen hundred feet in a second."



CHAPTER XVII.

HOW I GOT IN TROUBLE RIDING IN A CANOE.


I often rode in my canoe when I did not go fishing. I took one ride in it
that I shall always remember, at least the remembrance of it has forced
itself upon my mind a number of times, in the days gone by, and I expect
to think of it a few times more. Of course my oldest sister, Rachel, who
is now Mrs. Crandell, of Dearborn, became acquainted with the young
ladies of the neighborhood. One fine afternoon, in the spring of the year
when the water was high, two of her friends came to see her. They were
considered very fine young ladies. One was Miss Lucy Lord, the other I
will call nameless, but she is an old resident and lives near by. If at
any time this should meet her eye she will vouch for the truth of it.
They came to spend the afternoon with sister.

Of course (as all young men do, I believe) I felt a little flattered, and
thought, no doubt, one object of their visit was to see me. Whether my
humble self was once in all their thoughts, when they were making their
toilet that day or not, I gave them the credit of it. I thought I had
never seen one of them, at least, look any better than she did that
afternoon. Her hair was arranged very nicely and she was very graceful.
Of course, when my sister told me they wished very much for a boat ride,
I could not very well to refuse to go with them. I hoped to let them see
with how much skill I could manage my canoe. But alas for my skill! The
flat was covered with water from our little ridge to the creek, a
distance of twenty rods. It looked like a large river. The canoe was
anchored near the ridge; the young ladies got in and we started from the
landing. I had to look out for the stumps and hummocks so as not to run
against them nor run my boat aground. I had my passengers aboard and I
stood in the hind end of the canoe, and with a hand pole I set it along
with greater rapidity than it could have been paddled. We glided over the
water, on the flat, amid the joyful acclamations and gleeful laughter of
my fair companions. One said, "I haven't had a boat ride before in
Michigan." Miss Lucy, who sat on the bow end of the boat, waved her
handkerchief and said, "Oh, bless me! isn't this pleasant, sailing on the
water!" Another said, "How nice we go!" Of course I propelled along with
considerable speed. I thought I had one of the nicest, prettiest and most
intelligent load of passengers that had ever been in my canoe or on that
water, and I would give them a nice ride.

At last we got round as far as the creek. There the water ran more
swiftly than it did on the flat. I told the young ladies I thought we had
better not try to navigate that, but they all said, "Let us ride up the
creek!" I thought I was master of the situation and could manage the
canoe. I did not want to tell them that I was afraid, for fear they would
say I was fainthearted. I thought that would be very much against me, and
as I had such a brave crew, I made up my mind to go up the strong
current. I turned the bow of the boat up against the current, as much as
I could with one hold, but could not get it straight against the current.
It shot ahead its length or more, then I moved my hand pole to get a new
hold. Now we were over the creek and the water being four or five feet
deep, it was impossible for me to get my pole down to the bottom again in
time to save us. While I was trying to do that, the current being
stronger than I supposed, turned the boat sidewise. I saw that we were
gone for it. The girls sprang to one side of the boat and down we went,
at one plunge, all together into the water. My craft was foundered,
filled with water and went down, (stream at least). Miss Lucy Lord was
the heroine of the occasion; luckily, she saved herself by jumping,
though she got very wet. She got on to a little hummock on the bank and
was on terra-firma.

As soon as I took in the situation, I exerted myself to save the rest of
the crew. The nameless girl's head came in sight about the same time my
own did. As soon as she could halloo she said, "Lord have mercy! Lord
help!" Miss Lucy held out her hand and said, "Come here and Lord will
help you." I helped her and my sister to the bank as quickly as possible.
I had to be very lively in securing the white pocket handkerchief that
had been our flag while sailing.

After they got fairly out, they started like three deer, as three dears
they were, for the house, each one for herself. The way they made three
wakes through that water was something new to me. I had never seen the
like of that before. Miss Lucy went ahead full of life. They went through
the water from one to two feet deep all the way to the ridge. There were
father, mother and all the rest, to witness their safe arrival on the
shore, and join them in their merry, though I think sad laugh. I knew it
would all be laid to me. After I watched them to the house and knew they
were very jolly, I started for the canoe. It had gone down in the water
to a large log that lay across the creek and lodged against it.

I was as wet as I could be, and I jumped in again, drew it from the log
and pulled it along full of water, up the creek, until I got where the
bank was a little higher. Then I drew the front end up and the water ran
over the back end. When it was so that I could tow it, I took it across
the flat in front of the house, and left it there in its place.. Then I
went in the house. They had coined a brand new title for me; they called
me "Captain." They said I had come near drowning my passengers. Mother
said it was not safe for young ladies to ride with me on the water.
Father said, he thought I was not much of a sailor, that I did not
understand navigation; and I made up my mind that he was correct, that I
was not much of a water-man.



CHAPTER XVIII.

OUR CLEARING AND THE FIRST RAILROAD CARS IN 1838.


Our prospects began to brighten a little, and it is needless for me to
attempt to describe what our feelings were, when we got a strip of the
primeval forest cleared away. Our clearing now extended across the two
lots, being half a mile east and west. It was about eighty rods wide on
the west side, running this width to the east a little over half way, and
it was forty or fifty rods wide on the east line. It contained about
sixty acres mostly logged and cleared off, but a few logs remained lying
on some of it.

We had burned the wood all up on the ground, as there was no market for
it, it was worthless. We burned up out of our way enough timber to have
made five thousand cords of cordwood. Father's big ax, which he brought
from the State of New York, and mine, by striking innumerable blows, had
been worn out long before this strip was cleared. The heavy, resounding
blows of those axes had been heard, and before them many trees had
fallen. They stood before the blows and trembled and swayed to and fro
and at last fell with a thundering crash, to the earth, to rise no more.
Some of their bodies broken, their limbs broken off, wounded and
bruised, and stripped of their beautiful foliage. The noise of their fall
and the force with which they struck the earth made the ground tremble
and shake, and let the neighbors know that father and I were chopping,
and that we were slaying the timber.

The grand old forest was melting away. The sides of many a tree had
been cleft, and the chips bursted out, and they had disappeared all but
their stumps. The timber was tall, I cut one whitewood that was about a
foot through at the butt, and measured eighty-three feet to a limb. It
ran up as straight as a liberty pole. I think our large timber was
about one hundred feet high. It was, to me, a little singular that the
smaller timber should run up so tall, equally as high as the large
timber. All appeared anxious to look at the sun, bask their green tops
in his rays and nestle and wave, in ruffles of green, above the high
arching boughs of the trees. Once I saw them wave, arrayed in a
different coat. Beautiful workmanship of nature was displayed in the
growth of that timber.

It is not always necessary to peer through glass slides in order to take
a panoramic view of the brilliant scenes dame nature presents, her
varying pictures and beautiful face. Her handiwork as exhibited by
herself is the most enchanting. Sometimes, the spectacle after a storm of
rain and sleet is grand and sublime, but the effect of such a storm is
not often seen as we view it now.

Early one spring, after nature had covered her face with a mantle of
snow and appeared to repose, she aroused from her winter slumber, and
adorned herself in a silvery robe. It was formed by drops of cold rain
showered down upon the little snow that was left, upon the trees and,
in fact, upon everything not under cover. Every bush and little twig was
loaded and hung down its head. The bodies and limbs of the trees were
alike covered and the boughs bent down under the heavy load of icy
armor. Icicles, glistening like jewels, hung from the eaves of the
house, from the fence rails, and from the limbs of our little fruit
trees. The currant brush, the rose bushes, the briers and prickly ash
were all encased in ice. From the points and ends of all the boughs,
small and large, icicles formed and hung down like tapers. To the point
of each was hanging a silver-like gem which had been frozen fast while
in the act of dropping.

Some of the trees were loaded so heavily that the limbs broke off and
went tearing down to the earth in a heterogeneous mass. The limbs broke
in pieces and their icy coat and icicles broke up like glass.

The next morning the "Whirl-dance of the blinding storm" of sleet had
passed away, but it had left its impression behind. There was formed a
crust on the little snow left which gave it a shining coat, transparent
as crystal. It was most beautiful. The sun shone clear and bright and
cast his golden rays across the face of nature. The trees and tree-tops,
the bushes and shrubs shone and glistened like so many thousand diamonds
and the earth was dazzling to look upon. It appeared mystical as a
silvery land, everything aglow and sparkling with radiant hues. The trees
and earth seemed vying with each other in most charming beauty like many
of earth's pictures.

It was a scene too bright and strange to last. A change was soon caused
by the warming rays of the sun. The icicles, which hung down like jewels,
melted, let go their hold and fell to the earth. The icy covering of the
trees began to melt and fall like tears. Very soon the snow and ice were
all gone and the ground left bare. Father said that he thought the trees
were more beautiful when clothed in green leaves than when covered with
ice though they were ever so bright. But to the clearing again.

Now finally I thought we had quite a clearing. I could stand by our
house, and look to the west, and see Mr. Pardee's house and the smoke of
his chimney. I could see Mr. Pardee and his sons when they came out in
the morning and went to their work. I could look to the east and there,
joining ours, was the clearing and house of Mr. Asa Blare, and he could
be seen. Then it began to seem as if others were living in Michigan, for
we could see them. The light of civilization began to dawn upon us. We
had cleared up what was a few years before, the lair of the wolf and the
hunting ground of the red man. The Michigan bird of the night had no more
chance to make his nest in hollow trees or live there, but had to go back
to the woods. There we could hear him almost any evening hallooing.
"Whoo! whoo! whoo!" His nearest neighbor would answer him, "Whoo! whoo!"
then they would get together and have a great talk about something.
Whether they were talking about our chickens, or our clearing off their
woods and driving them away, or something else, I cannot say as I did not
understand what they said.

Father said: "Now our best wood is worth something, as the road," which
is now the Michigan Central Railroad, "has got as far as Dearborn, and
they are building it farther west." He thought we could cut some of our
best timber into cord wood and sell it to the managers of the road, and
make something from it. We drew some of the first cord wood that they
used on the railroad, and continued to furnish a share of it for years.
We had learned what day the first steam car was expected out to Dearborn.
I went to see it, as it was to be there at a certain time of day. I was
in time and with others waited anxiously for its appearance. While we
were waiting I heard that there was to be a race from Mr. Conrad
TenEyck's, a distance of one mile, to Dearborn. William Cremer, a young
man who lived at TenEyck's, had made up his mind to have the race on his
own hook and let the people of Dearborn see him come in. He got his
sorrel, white-faced pony, had him saddled and bridled, and wailed in
readiness, so that when the iron horse came opposite he could try him a
race to Dearborn, and likewise try the speed of his pony. I don't suppose
the railroad men knew any thing about his arrangement. As the TenEyck
tavern, where he started, stood within twenty rods of the railroad, no
doubt some of the railroad men saw him when he started. Toward the
village the roads ran nearer and nearer together for about a hundred
rods, then came side by side for a short distance. As he had a little the
start, and came to the narrows first, he must have been in plain sight of
the men on the cars. It is easy to imagine how the puffs of the iron
horse scared the little sorrel and gave him, if possible, more speed. The
passengers who saw him might have thought it was another "train band
captain, John Gilpin," running after his wife. Nearly all the people of
Dearborn (who were but few at that time), had gathered in front of the
arsenal, in the Chicago road, at the side of the Dearborn House and were
anxiously waiting. From this point we could see half a mile down the
Chicago road east, and we could see the smoke of the engine beyond the
TenEyck place ...

The time appointed was up and we were very impatient, waiting and
looking, for the least sign of the approach of the long-talked-of cars.
As we were waiting some one said the cars would stop for Mr. TenEyck, as
he was the richest and most influential man there was in the town, and
the road ran a long way through his farm. Some said, "of course they will
stop and take him on." At last we could hear a distant rumbling like the
sound of a thousand horses running away, and we saw the smoke. As they
came nearer we saw a long string of smoke disappearing in the air. The
cars were approaching us rapidly, and stopped for no one. When they got
opposite Mr. Thompson's tavern, sure enough, there on the Chicago road
came William Cremer, like a streak, with his hat off, waving it in his
hand, looking back over his shoulder at the cars, hallooing like a
trooper and his horse running for dear life. He had beat them for the
mile. Of course, before Cremer got up to us, we all started for the
railroad, which was about twenty-five rods to the south, to see the iron
horse come in. He came prancing and pawing upon the iron track, and he
disdained to touch the ground. His body was as round as a log. His bones
were made of iron, his veins were filled with heat, his sinews were of
brass, and "every time he breathed he snorted fire and smoke." He moved
proudly up to the station, little thinking that he had just been beaten
by a Dearborn horse. "With his iron reins" he was easily controlled and
held in subjection by his master. His groom pampered and petted him,
rubbed him down, oiled his iron joints and gave him water to drink. He
fed him upon the best of cord-wood, as he relished that very well, and
devoured it greedily. The contents of his iron stomach seemed to be
composed of fire. While he was waiting he seemed to be very impatient,
letting off and wasting his breath and seeming eager for a start. He was
sweating profusely. The sweat was falling in drops to the ground. When
all was ready, the cry was, "All aboard!" and away he went snorting at
every jump.

[Illustration: FIRST RAILROAD CARS IN WAYNE COUNTY, MICH.---DETROIT TO
DEARBORN, 1837.]

I went home and told the wonderful story of the sight I had seen. There
was but little talked about, at our house, except the cars, until the
whole family had been to see them. We thought, surely, a new era had
dawned upon us, and that Michigan was getting to be quite a country.



CHAPTER XIX.

TREES.


There were two stately trees which stood near the center of the place. In
view of their antiquity it seemed almost wrong to cut them. One was an
elm which stood on the flat of the Ecorse. The other was what we called a
swamp white oak. It stood in a little hollow at the west end of the ridge
(where we lived) about twenty rods north of the elm. They appeared as
though they were about the same age. They were nearly the same size. They
were five or six feet through at the butt.

Father often said that the tree recorded within itself a true record of
its own age. After a tree was cut down, I have known him frequently to
count the grains or yearly rings and from them extract a register by
which he learned how many years old it was.

How my mind reaches back forty years and views again that venerable old
oak and elm. Trees whose history and lives began before the first
settlement of America. How familiar still their appearance to me, as they
stood with their arms stretched out bidding me the most graceful
salutations. They seemed almost like friends, at least there was some
companionship about them, their forms were very familiar to me.

On the west side of the elm, just above the ground and running up about
six feet, there was a huge knot which grew out of the side of the tree.
It was large enough to stand upon, when upon it, but there was not room
enough for us to stand upon it and chop. We had to build a scaffold
around the tree, up even with the top of the knot to stand upon. In that
way we were able to cut the great tree down. It was a hard job and was
attended with danger. When the tree started we had to get down very
quickly and run back to a place of safety, for the tree was very angry in
the last throes of its dissolution. It broke other trees down, tore other
trees to pieces, broke off their limbs, bent other small ones down with
it as it went, and held their tops to the earth. Other trees went nearly
down with it but were fortunate enough to break its hold and gained again
their equilibrium with such swiftness that their limbs which had been
nearly broken off, yet, which they retained until they straightened, then
their stopping so suddenly, the reaction caused the fractured and dry
limbs to break loose, and they flew back of where we had been chopping.
They flew like missiles of death through the air, and the scaffold upon
which we stood but a minute before was smashed into slivers. In the mean
time we were looking out for our own safety.

No man, unless he has experienced it himself, can have an adequate idea
of the danger and labor of clearing a farm in heavy, timbered land. Then
he knows something of the anxieties and hardships of a life in the
woods: the walking, the chopping and sweating, the running and the
dodging like Indians behind trees. He trusts to their protection to save
him from falling trees and flying limbs, although he is often lacerated
and bruised, jambed and torn by them. I knew a man and a boy in our town
who were killed by falling limbs. Sometimes he is cut by the ax and is
obliged to go home, over logs, between stumps and through brush, leaving
a bloody trail behind him.

Father's farm was rescued from the wilderness and consecrated to the plow
and husbandry through sweat and blood. We ofttimes encountered perils and
were weary from labor, often times hungry and thirsty, often suffered
from cold and heat, frequently destitute of comfortable apparel and
condemned to toil as the universal doom of humanity--thus earning our
bread by the sweat of our brows.

Father and I labored some years in sight of the great elm stump. It
appeared like a giant, with a great hump on his back, overlooking the
surrounding stumps. It was about eight feet high. But it was doomed to
decay, and entirely disappeared long years ago.

The oak tree was more fortunate and escaped the fatal ax, a number of
years after all the timber around it had been chopped and cleared away.
On account of its greatness, and its having so nice a body, father let it
stand as monarch of the clearing. But few came into our clearing without
seeing his majesty's presence. His roots were immense. They had been
centuries creeping and feeling their way along, extracting life from
mother earth to sustain their gigantic body. The acorn, from which that
oak grew, must have been planted long before, and the tree which grew
from it have been dressed many times in its summer robe of green, and it
was, doubtless, flourishing when the "Mayflower" left the English
Channel. When she was slowly making her way from billow to billow,
through the then almost unknown sea, bearing some of the most brave and
liberty-loving men and women the world, at that time, could produce; when
the hearts of the Pilgrim Fathers were beating high with hopes of liberty
and escape from tyranny, when their breath came low and short for fear of
what might await them; when they landed on the American shore--yes! when
that little band of pilgrims were kneeling on Plymouth Rock, and offering
up thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty, who had brought them safely
o'er the trackless deep, that oak was quietly standing, gathering
strength to make it what it was when we came to Michigan. There it had
stood, ever since the days of yore, spreading its boughs over the
generations of men who have long since passed away. Around it had been
the Indian's camping and hunting ground. When we came to plow and work
the ground near it I found some of their stone arrows which had been
worked out very beautifully. Their edges and points showed very plainly
where they had been chipped off in making. We also found stone hatchets,
the bits of which were about two and a half inches broad and worked to an
edge. They were about six inches long. The pole or head was round. From
their appearance they must have been held in the hand using the arm for a
helve. For an encounter with bruin or any other enemy, it is possible
they bound a withe around the pole and used that as a handle. Much
ingenuity and skill must have been required to work out their implements
when they had nothing better with which to do it than other stones.

I often picked up the arrows and hatchets and saved them as relics of
past ages, knowing that they had been in other hands long years before. I
have some of them now (1875). The stones from which they were made must
have been brought from some distance as there were few other stones found
in this part of the country.

If that oak could have talked, what a wild, wild story it might have
told, not only of lost arrows and hatchets, but also of their owners,
about whom the world has little knowledge. It might have told also of the
hundreds of years it had stood there and showered down its acorns upon
the earth, enough in one season to have planted a forest of its own kind;
how often its acorns had been gathered by the Indian youth, and devoured
by the wild beasts of the forest; how many times its leaves had been
changed by the autumn frosts from a green to a beautiful golden hue; how
the cold wind swept them off and they flew down in huddled races to the
ground, carpeted and cushioned the earth, protected the roots and
enriched the soil. How, after it had been shorn of its leaves, its life
current had been sent back through the pores of its body to its roots and
congealed by the cold freezing frosts of winter; how the wind sighed and
moaned through its branches while it cracked and snapped with the frost.
But there was to be an end to its existence. The remorseless ax was laid
at its roots and there is nothing left of it, unless it be a few old oak
rails. There are some moss-covered rails on the place yet that were made
at an early day. How my thoughts go back and linger round that oak whose
branches gave shelter to the deer, furnished them with food, protected
the Indian and his home--the place where I, so long afterward, advanced
to manhood.

It is no wonder that Boston men are so careful in protecting their trees.
With their usual care and foresight they have guarded the celebrated elm
on Boston common. Thousands of the American people from every State in
the Union, even from the Pacific coast, visit the beautiful city of
Boston but are not satisfied until they visit the ancient elm, read its
history, as far as known, from the iron plate, and gaze with admiration
on the wonderful tree and the fence that surrounds it.

The full history of that tree is not known, but it reaches back prior to
the settlement of Boston. It was a good sized tree in 1656. "A map of
Boston made in 1722 showed the tree as one of the principal objects."
That tree is a sacred relic of the past. Its branches waved over the
heads of honored colonial ancestors.

Trees are our most beautiful and best antiquities. "It was a beautiful
thought," says Ruskin, "when God thought of making a tree and giving it a
life so long." Another says: "What vicissitudes mark its life, almost
tender with suggestion. Trees are the Methuselahs of nature. The famous
Etna chestnut is a thousand years old. There is a cypress tree in Mexico,
over forty feet in diameter, whose zones record nearly three thousand
years. The baobab trees of the Green Cape are fully four thousand years
old. The great dragon tree at Ortova, Teneriffe, (recently said to be
dying), is said to be five thousand years old--a life that runs parallel
to almost the entire period of human chronology." No doubt some of those
trees will last as long as time. Is it any wonder that I claim some
companionship to trees, since I passed so many years of my youth among
them? Trees often prevented sharp eyes from seeing me, secreted me and
helped me to luck, which was very gratifying to me. Trees, when it rained
and the wind was piercing, have often protected, sheltered and kept me
dry and comfortable for hours.

I frequently when at some distance from home, hunting, and night coming
on, began traveling, as I supposed, toward home. I often came to tracks
in the snow which, at first, I thought were made by some one else, but,
upon a more particular examination, would find that they were my own
tracks. Then I would know that I had been circling round and round, that
the "wigwam was lost" and I had the gloomy prospect of remaining in the
woods all night--"out of humanity's reach." Then I would trust to the
trees, look at them, take their directions and start again in a new
course. This would seem wrong to me, but I always came out right. Trees
never deceived, but showed me the way home.

When I have been in the woods, hungry, trees furnished me food. When
thirsty, they often supplied me with drink. When cold and almost
freezing, trees have warmed and made me comfortable. Trees furnished most
of the material for father's "bark-covered house," which sheltered us for
more than two years.

If trees have done so much for one, surely all humanity have
derived great good from them. The earth itself is adorned and
beautified by trees.



CHAPTER XX.

DRAWING CORD-WOOD--HOW THE RAILROAD WAS BUILT--THE STEAM WHISTLE.


Father commenced chopping cord-wood and he said I could draw it as fast
as he could chop it. I was so much engaged that, when the moon was in its
full, I often started with my load of wood a little before plain
daylight. Of course I felt cheerful, I thought we were doing some
business. Sometimes I walked by the side of the team and load and
sometimes behind them. Hallooing at my team, driving them, singing,
whistling and looking into the woods occasionally, occupied my time until
I got to Dearbornville.

One morning I met William Ozee. I told him I had seen two or three deer
as I was coming along. Told him where they stood and looked at me and the
team, until we were out of sight, and that I thought they were there yet.
He said he would attend to them. He had his rifle on his shoulder, and he
said he would go for them. I saw him afterward and he said he had taught
them better than to stand and look at anybody so impudently as that. He
had killed some of them.

I made up my mind that if I could get a good rifle, I could make as
much, or more, with it than father and I both could make cutting and
drawing wood. Father said I might have a new one made. Accordingly I went
to John W. Alexander and selected a rifle barrel, from a pack of new
barrels that he had. I tried to select as soft a one as I could, as I
considered those the best in frosty weather. I selected what I thought
was about the right calibre, and told him I wanted him to make it with a
raised sight so I could shoot any distance. I told him to make a buster
for me, one that couldn't be beat. He said he would try and do it for
twenty dollars. I told him I wanted him to make it as quickly as he
could; in a short time he had it done. I thought it was a beautiful
rifle. The name of the maker was inscribed on the barrel. I took it home
feeling very good. I tried it shooting at a mark; shooting the distance
of ten rods at a mark the size of a two shilling silver piece. With a
rest, when there was not much wind, I could hit it every time and did do
it five or six times in succession. Frequently when shooting the bullet
holes would break into one another, and sometimes two bullets would go
into the same hole. The only way I could tell where the last shot struck
was by plugging up the old holes. Often the little white paper would fly
away, the pin in the center having been shot away.

I made up my mind I had a splendid rifle, one that it would be hard to
beat. That same rifle now stands in my bedroom. It was made over
thirty-five years ago, with the bright name of John W. Alexander on it.
He is now an old resident of Dearborn, a useful and ingenious man, and
fills a prominent place in society; if he were gone it would be
difficult to find a man capable of filling his place.

But I must return to my drawing wood. The place where we heaped it was on
the north side of the railroad, about fifteen rods east of where the
postoffice is now kept. The woodyard, including the depot, I should
judge, was not more than one hundred feet square. Here we piled our wood,
sometimes ten feet high. We were to have seven shillings a cord for it
and if we chopped and hauled three cords a day we thought we did well. I
drew it as fast as I could, sometimes I got to Dearborn just as the old
Solar made his appearance in the east. The Lunar had already done her
work toward helping me, veiled her face and disappeared. When we had
drawn a lot of wood in father had it measured up and got his voucher for
the amount. One time when he went to Detroit to get his money I went with
him. We went on the cars. The depot and railroad office, where father did
his business, stood where the City Hall now stands. I thought the
railroad was a splendid thing. We went in so much nicer, easier and
quicker than we could have gone on foot, or with our ox-team.

Now we were going to get some money of the railroad officers, I thought
we would have money to pay the interest on our mortgage and help us
along. Father got his pay in Michigan State scrip, a substitute for
money. It was good for its face to pay State taxes; but to turn it into
money father had to sell it for six shillings on a dollar. Here it will
be seen, that what we really received for our wood, was a little over
sixty-five cents per cord, and that when we drew in three cords a day
(which was as much as father could chop, and all that I and the team
could draw) we made a little over a dollar and ninety-five cents per day.

What would some of the workingmen of the present day who get together and
form "Union Leagues," "Trade Unions," strike for higher wages and
conspire against their employers and their capital, doubtless thinking
such a course justifiable, think of such wages as that, and provisions
very dear, as they were at that time? I began to think myself rough and
ready and was able to grapple with almost anything and do a good days'
work. Father, I and the team all worked hard and with the wood thrown in
we all together did not make two dollars a day.

As father had a small job in the building of the railroad and some of the
time I was with him, I will describe as well as I can, how the railroad
was built. They first graded the road-bed and made it level, then took
timbers as long as the trees would make them, hewed them on each side and
flattened them down to about a foot in thickness, then laid them on
blocks which were placed in the bed of the road. They were laid
lengthwise of the road, far enough apart so that they would be directly
under the wheels of the cars, and the ground graded up around them. In
this manner they continued until the road-bed was finished.

The next thing was to get out the ties. These were made from logs nine
feet long, which were split open through the heart, then quartered and
split from the heart to the center of the back, until the pieces were
about six or seven inches through on the back. Then the backs of the ties
were hewed flat, making them about three square, when they were ready to
be used on the road. They were placed back down across the bed pieces and
spiked fast to them. They were laid about three feet apart the length of
the road. Over those sills, in the upper edge of the ties, they cut out
two gains. In those gains they laid two stringers running directly over
the sleepers. These stringers were sawed out about four by six inches
square. They were laid in the gains of the ties, spiked fast and wedged
with wooden wedges. Then the woodwork was finished and everything ready
for pulling on the iron. They used the strap rail iron. The bars were two
inches and a quarter wide and half an inch thick. These bars were laid
flat on top, and next to the in-edge, of the stringers and were spiked
fast to them. In this way our railroad was built. The cars running away
west on it, penetrating Michigan as the harbinger of civilization, opened
up a way for the resources of the country.

The strap iron which they used first proved to be very poor iron. In
after years, if a spike came out or the bar cracked off at the spike
hole, the bar would turn up like a serpent's head and if not seen in time
it was liable to throw the train off the track and do damage. I was at
Dearborn at one time when an accident, of this kind, happened to a
freight train, a little west of the village. There was considerable
property destroyed, barrels broken in pieces and flour strewed over the
ground, but no lives were lost.

Father said the railroad was a good thing for us and our country, and
that they would soon have one, and the cars running on it to the State of
New York. Then I reiterated my promise to mother. I said if the cars ran
through our native place, we could go back there without crossing Lake
Erie, the thought of which chilled me every time I spoke to mother about
going back to make a visit. Time sped on, days, months, and some years
had passed, since the first of the Michigan Central Railroad was built,
and the cars running east and west loaded with passengers and freight,
when one morning I heard a strange noise. It was terrible and
unaccountable to me, as much so as it would have been if I had heard
heavy thunder at mid-day, from a clear sky. I heard it from the direction
of Dearbornville; It appeared to originate there, or in the woods that
way. I heard it two or three times, several days in succession.

If there had come a herald from Dearbornville and told me that the man of
the moon had stepped out of his old home, and down on to our earth, at
Dearborn, and that he had a great horn, twenty feet long, in his hand,
and that it was him, I had heard, tooting on his horn to let us know, and
the inhabitants of his own country, that he had arrived safe on the
earth, I might not have believed what he said in regard to the arrival of
the supernatural being and his visit to us; but I could have believed
almost anything wonderful in regard to the horn for I had heard its
thrilling blast myself.

Father, mother and, in fact, none of us were able to think or imagine
what it could be. It came through the woods as swift as lightning and its
shrill and piercing voice was more startling than thunder. It echoed and
re-echoed across our clearing, from woods to woods and died swiftly away
in the distance. What on earth could it be? Could it be the voice of a
wild animal? That seemed impossible, it was too loud. I thought such an
animal would need lungs as large as a blacksmith's bellows, and a voice
as strong as a steamboat, to have raised such an unearthly yell.

It was enough to scare all the bears and wolves to death, or at least,
enough to make them hide away from the voice and face of the dragon. But
there was a man, who lived one mile south of Dearbornville, by the name
of Alonzo Mather; he was a little more sensible and courageous. He
thought he knew what made the strange noise. When he came out of his
house one morning, all at once, the terrible sound broke upon his ear. He
had heard it two or three times before, about the same place in the
woods, toward Dearbornville. He said to his hired man, a Mr. Whitmore,
who was utterly astonished and seemed to be all in a fright, "Hear that!
I know what it is! It is a bear, and he lives right over there in the
woods. I have heard him two or three times in the same place. Don't say a
word to anyone; not let the hunters know anything about his being there
and I'll shoot him myself.'" He took down his rifle immediately, and
started on the double quick, followed by the hired man, who could help
him in case of trouble.

He went through the woods looking carefully in every direction, scanning
the old logs and large hollow trees and searching from top to bottom to
see if he could find a hole large enough for a bear to crawl in. In this
way he looked all around, near the railroad, where he thought the noise
originated, but he could not find a track or sign of Mr. Bruin, for the
bear wasn't there, so, in disgust, he gave up the hunt.

About the next day after Mr. Mather's hunt, he and all the rest of us
learned what had caused the excitement. It was a new invention, the steam
whistle of the cars; something we had never heard before.



CHAPTER XXI.

HOW I HUNTED AND WE PAID THE MORTGAGE.


The mortgage which had hung so long over us, like a dark cloud obscuring
our temporal horizon and chilling our hopes, was at last removed, May
first, 1841. After the mortgage was on the place it hardly seemed to me
as if it were ours. It was becoming more and more valuable all the time,
and I thought it was dangerous to let the mortgage run, as the old lady
might foreclose at any time and make us trouble and expense. The mortgage
was like a cancer eating up our substance, gnawing day and night as it
had for years. I made up my mind it must be paid. I knew it caused mother
much trouble and although, father said very little about it, I knew that
he would be over-joyed to have it settled up. I told him I thought I had
better hunt during one fall and winter and that I thought I could, in
that way, help him raise money to pay the mortgage. I was about twenty
years old at that time and thought I had a very good rifle and knew how
to use it.

I went to my friend William Beal, and told him I had concluded to hunt
through the winter. I asked him if he didn't want to join with me and we
would hunt together, at least some of the time. He said he would. I
told him I thought we could make more money by hunting than we could in
any other way as deer were worth, on an average, from two and a half to
five dollars a piece at Detroit, and we could take them in very handily
on the cars.

We found the deer very numerous in the town of Taylor, next south of the
town of Dearborn. Sometimes we went and stayed a week. We stopped nights
with an old gentleman whose name was Hodge. He always appeared very glad
to see us and gave us a hearty welcome. As he and his old lady (at that
time) lived alone, no doubt they were glad of our company. They must have
felt lonesome and they knew they would be well rewarded with venison and
money for the trouble we made them. Mrs. Hodge took as much pains for us
and used us as well as mother could have done. We carried our provisions
there on our backs, flour, potatoes, pork and whatever we needed. We
carried pork for the reason we relished it better a part of the time than
we did venison. Mrs. Hodge prepared our meals at any time we wanted them.
Sometimes we ate our breakfast before daylight and were a mile or two on
the runway of the deer when in became light. The woods and oak openings
abounded in deer and we had very good luck as a general thing. We made it
a rule to stay and not go home until we had killed a load, which was not
less than six. Then we went and got father's oxen and sled to go after
and bring them home. After we brought them home we took the hind
quarters, the hide, and sometimes whole deer, to Detroit and sold them.
In this way we got considerable money. In fact my pocket-book began to
pod out a little. Of course, we saved enough, of the fore-quarters for
our family use and for our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hodge. But we
couldn't afford to let them have the saddles; we wanted them to sell as
we were going in for making money.

It would be impossible for me to delineate the occurrences incident to
my hunting days. The story told in full would fill a volume, but if it
were not in connection with my father's family and how we got along,
when I was at home with him, I should not mention it at all. As it is, I
will try to describe one day's hunt after deer, which might be called a
successful day, and another hunt after bears, which was not successful
and one or two deer fights. My comrade and I started from father's very
early one morning. A nice tracking snow, three or four inches deep, had
fallen during the fore part of the night. In the morning it was warm and
pleasant. When we came near the head of the windfall, we found the
tracks where three large bucks had been along. It is not common that
those large deer go together. They are generally scattering, one or two,
or with other deer, but in this case, it seemed, three old bucks had
agreed to go together. We followed them about half a mile to the west
until they crossed what is now the old telegraph road in the town of
Taylor, south of where Mr. Putnam lives. We thought the deer went into a
large thicket, that stands there yet. We made up our minds they were
lying in that thicket. William said he would go around and stand on the
ridge, beyond the thicket, in a good place to see them when they were
driven out. I told him I wanted him to be sure and down with one, so
that I could see how they looked. I stood where he left me about half
an hour, to give him plenty of time to get around, then I started along
slow on the tracks.

I followed them about ten or fifteen rods when I found, that instead of
going into the thicket where we supposed, they had turned into a little
thicket, near a fence and clearing that had been made at an early day. I
little thought they were lying there, but sure enough, in a minute, they
jumped up and away they went, one after the other, toward the big
thicket. They seemed desirous of making all the sport of me they could;
as they were running across a little opening they showed me their white
flags. I shot very quickly at the middle one. I told him by the report of
my rifle, which rang out clear on the morning air, that I wanted him to
stop, and he struck his flag.

They were running from me a little diagonally, and were about twenty-five
rods off, when my bullet struck his side, it being partly toward me. They
ran right into the big thicket where we first supposed they lay. I loaded
my rifle and went where they were running when I shot. I saw that the
blood flew in small particles on the snow and I was sure he was ours. He
ran for one breath, got out of my sight and fell dead, having made his
last tracks, being shot through the lights.

I hurried across to my friend Beal and told him I had shot a noble buck.
That he was running away from me and that I would not allow him to do
so. The other two had gone out of the thicket, over the ridge, so far
east that he didn't see them at all. We hurried back to where the one we
had got lay, took out his entrails, climbed up a sapling, bent down the
top and fastened the gambrels of the old buck to it; then sprinkled
powder on his hair, so as to keep the ravens from picking him, let go
the sapling and it straightened up with him so that he was out of the
way of the dogs and wolves. Then we started as quickly as possible after
the other two. They went a south-west direction about eighty rods, then
turned south-east and went straight for the Indian hill, went over it
and took their course nearly east. They had ceased to run and were
walking. There was another large thicket east of us, which was about
half a mile through and we thought, possibly, they might stop in that
before they went through into the woods. It was agreed that I should go
around, that time, to the lower end of the thicket, and stand. He was to
try and drive them through if they were there. I went south to, what we
called, the south branch of the Reed creek. It was frozen over and there
were three or four inches of snow on the ice; I went on it without
making any noise. I ran down a little over half a mile very quickly;
when I was below the thicket I turned north, went through the brush that
grew on the bank of the creek, up to a little ridge where it was open
and stopped by the side of a tree, which was about twenty or thirty rods
from where I turned north.

I didn't stand there but a very short time before I heard and saw some
partridges fly away, and I knew they had been disturbed by something in
the thicket. Then I saw the two deer coming just as straight toward me as
they could run, one right after the other. When they got within about
eight or ten rods of me I had my rifle ready. They saw me and, as they
went to jump side-wise, my rifle spoke to another one and the voice of it
forbade him going any farther. That was the second word my rifle had
spoken that morning.

The deer turned and ran in a semi-circle half round me in plain sight,
then off, out of sight, over the ridge where Doctor Snow's farmhouse now
stands, in the town of Taylor. In a few moments out came my comrade; I
asked him, what the report of my rifle said, as it burst through the
thicket by him and echoed over the Indian hill. He said he thought it
spoke of luck. We followed the old buck a little ways over the ridge and
came to where he had made his last jump. He was a beautiful fellow,
equally as fine as the first one.

Then we thought we had done well enough for one day, we had each of us
one. So we cut a wooden hook, put it into his under-jaw, both took hold
and drew him up where the other one hung. We put them together and
started slowly for home. We were following along an old trail and had
drawn both deer about half a mile together, when we came to where five or
six deer had just crossed. They were going south-east and we were going
north-east. While we were looking at the tracks two men came in sight.
One was Mr. Arvin Sheldon, the other Mr. Holdin. We knew them very well
and knew that they were good hunters. They looked at our deer and said
that we must hang them up, said they would help us. So we bent down two
saplings and hung the deer up, side by side, then we started with them.
It was early in the day, perhaps about ten o'clock. We followed the deer
beyond what is now Taylor Center, and into the west woods two miles from
there. Near Taylor Center, Holdin left us. He thought there were too many
of us together, and went off to try his luck alone and followed another
flock. We found that these deer were very shy and it seemed impossible
for us to get a shot at them.

After we got into the west woods we were bound to stick to the same ones.
It was late in the afternoon and as we were getting so far from home, we
thought we had better use a little stratagem. We would go very slowly; it
was agreed that I should follow the tracks and that the other two should
be governed by my movements. One was to go to my right, and keep as far
off as he could and see me, through the woods; he was to keep a little
ahead of me. The other was to manage in the same way at my left. When we
started we were something in the shape of a letter V, only spread more.
If I went fast they were to go fast and if I went slowly they were to do
the same. They were to watch me and look out ahead for the deer. We
traveled some little distance in this way when I saw a deer standing
about thirty-five rods off. It was a long shot, but I drew up my rifle
and fired. Mr. Sheldon had two clogs with him and when I shot they broke
from him and ran after the deer we had been following. They went yelling
after them, out of hearing. It was always my practice, after I shot, to
stand in my tracks and load my rifle, keeping my eye on the place where
the deer were. When I shot, my comrades started for me and soon we three
friends were together. Sheldon remarked, that he guessed I hadn't hit
that one. I asked him why. He said the dogs had already gone out of
hearing and that if I had killed one, they would have stopped. I left the
tracks and walked along in the direction of where the deer had stood,
watching upon the snow and brush to see if I could see any signs where
the bullet had struck a bush or twig, until I came to the place where the
deer had stood. It proved to be, not one of those we had been following,
but an old buck that had just got up out of the bed where he had been
lying and was standing over it when I fired. I looked and saw some short
hair lying on the snow, and told Mr. Sheldon that that looked as if I had
made a square shot and that the dogs had gone after the well ones we had
been following, that this one was an old buck which we hadn't disturbed
before. I thought perhaps he had got up to see the flock that we were
following go by. We didn't follow him more than ten rods before we found
where he lay last. He was a very large buck, a full mate for either of
those we already had.

A little ways back we had crossed a coon's track and we knew that he had
been along in the latter part of the night, as it snowed in the earlier
part of the night. We thought he hadn't gone far, so we agreed that
Sheldon should follow his tracks and find his tree, (at that time coon
skins were valuable) while we went back about a mile, to a lone
settler's, by the name of Plaster, (who lived on the openings) and
borrowed an ax. When we came back to the woods we were to halloo and he
was to answer us. We had to do what we did very quickly as it was getting
near night. When we had borrowed the ax and were nearly back to the woods
again, we heard the report of Sheldon's rifle, as it rang out of the
timber clear and sharp and died away in the oak openings. When we got
into the woods we hallooed for him, he answered and we went to him; he
had found the tree. We asked him what he had shot at, he said at a deer,
but missed him. We cut down the tree and were rewarded by getting four
coons. Afterward I sold the coon skins in Detroit for a dollar apiece.
That Mr. Arvin Sheldon is now an old resident of the town of Taylor and
lives about two miles south-west of me.

After we got the tree cut down and the coons secure, it was between
sundown and dark. We were six or seven miles from home and then had to
take the ax home. Late that evening, when I got back under the old
paternal roof, there was one there who was very tired but the excitement
of the day helped him a little. By hunting (and it was hard work for me
as I made a business of it) I accumulated a considerable sum of money.
Father had earned and saved some money, so that with what I had, he made
out enough to pay off the mortgage to Mrs. Phlihaven and had it
cancelled. Then his farm was clear. If I had not felt anxious about it
myself, the joy expressed by the other members of the family, when they
knew that the mortgage was paid, would have been a sufficient reward for
all the labors I had performed, for all the weary walks, the running and
racing done, while upon the chase, both day and night.

It is a little singular that an animal as mild and harmless as the deer
ordinarily is, should when cornered or wounded have such courage that he
will fight man or dog in his own defense, jumping upon them, striking
with his feet. As their hoofs are sharp they cut to the quick, at the
same time they are hooking with their horns. I will relate one or two
incidents. One of which came under my own observation:

I was out hunting with R. Crandell. We were near the Reed creek when he
shot a buck. The deer fell. Crandell thought he was sure of him; handed
his rifle to me. I told him to stand still and load his gun, but he ran
like an Indian; he took long steps. When he got up near, the old buck had
gotten a little over the shock the bullet gave him and he got up, turned
upon Crandell, raised the hair upon his back so that it stood forward.
Then the scene changed; Crandell ran, and the deer ran after him. He came
very near catching Crandell and must have done so if he had not dodged
behind a tree, and around it he went and the deer after him. Crandell
said he called upon his legs to be true to his body then if ever; and I
thought, judging from the way those members of his organism were carrying
him around that tree, that they were exerting every nerve to save him. He
hallooed every minute for me to shoot the deer. But the race was so
amusing, I did not care to hurry having never seen such an exhibition of
Crandell's speed before. (Without doubt he did his level best). Soon,
however, I thought it necessary and I shot the deer. Crandell said I had
laughed enough to kill myself. He appeared to be displeased with me; said
I was too slow, and might have released him quicker.

Some two or three years after this, Crandell had another hunt with a Mr.
Holden, of Dearbornville. The incidents of which are given in his own
words: "Being anxious for a hunt, Holden and myself started out for a
deer hunt on our southern hunting ground. After traveling about
three-fourths of a mile from Dearbornville, Holden, being a little way
from me, started a buck, he running directly south; I told Holden where
to go on a certain road, newly cut out, and stand and I would drive the
deer to him from the east. As expected, I soon started him and Holden's
dog followed the deer straight to him. In about three minutes whang went
Holden's gun; I ran with all my might. The dog had stopped barking and I
knew the deer was ours. But, when I got to the road, I heard Holden
hallooing loudly for help. The deer had jumped across the road into the
old tree tops and the dog caught him. Holden saw that the deer was
getting the better of the dog, laid down his gun, took out his knife and
went for the deer. When he got up to the deer the deer paid all his
attention to him instead of the dog. The deer had gotten Holden down
between two logs and stood on him, stamping and hooking him desperately.
Holden said: 'For God sake kill him or he will kill me.'

"I was so much excited I was afraid to shoot for fear of killing Holden
or the dog, but I shot and the deer fell lengthwise on Holden, I rolled
him off and Holden got up, all covered with blood from head to foot,
with his clothes torn into shreds. He looked at himself and said
despondingly, 'What a spectacle I am!' I peeled some bark, tied his rags
round him, patched him up the best possible and we started for home
through the woods, got as near his home as we could and not be seen,
then I left him, went to his house and got him some clothes, took them
back to him and helped him put them on. When clothed he went home a
bruised and lacerated man."



CHAPTER XXII.

BEAR HUNT OF 1842.


One day in winter my brother-in-law, Reuben Crandell, and myself started
to go hunting deer, as we supposed. We went south across the windfall,
started a flock of deer and were following them. We had a good tracking
snow and thought it was a good day for hunting. We followed the deer
south across Reed Creek and saw a little ahead of us quite a path. It
appeared as though a herd of ponies had passed along there. (Then there
were plenty of French ponies running in the woods.) When we came up to
the trail or path, that we saw they had made, in the snow we discovered
it was four bears which had made the path. They had passed along a little
time before for their tracks were fresh and new. There seemed to be a
grand chance for us and we started after them. We either walked very fast
or ran, sometimes as fast as we could stand it to run.

In this way we had followed them several miles and expected to see them
every minute. We were going a little slower when I looked one side of us
and there was an Indian, on a trot, going in the same direction that we
were. I told Crandell that he had seen our tracks and knew that we were
after the bears and that he was trying to cut us off and get the bears
away from us. Just then I saw the bears and drew up my rifle and shot at
one, as he was standing on an old log. The Indian then turned and ran up
to the bear tracks to see, probably, if I had killed one. I told Crandell
to go on with him and not let him get the start of us and I would load my
rifle, as quickly as possible, and follow.

Being in a hurry, I did not place my bullet right on the patch, in the
muzzle of the rifle and it bothered me in getting down. When it was
loaded, I broke for them. I could just see Crandell putting in the best
he could and trying to make two-forty time; but he was alone the Indian
had left him. Then there might have been seen some long steps and tall
running done by me, in those woods, (if any one had been there to
witness it) for about eighty rods. When I came up with Crandell I asked
him where the Indian was; he said, "Yonder he goes almost out of sight."
I asked him what he let him get ahead for; he said that he could not
keep up with him, and that he had told him, two or three times, to stop
and wait for me, but he would not pay the least attention to what he
said. I told him to keep on the tracks as fast as he could, and I would
try to stop the Indian.

I saw that the four bears' tracks were all together yet, and Crandell
said I didn't hit one when I shot. I thought it was singular and that
perhaps my bullet had struck a bush or twig, glanced off and saved Mr.
Bruin's hide. Now it looked as though the Indian was going to get our
bears away from us, sure enough, and now for a chase that is more
excitable than is often seen in the woods.

The Indian was on a good lope after the bears and I on a good run after
him. I had the advantage of the Indian, the bears would run crooked.
Sometimes they would run on a large log and follow it its whole length
right in another direction from the way they had been going. The Indian
had to follow their tracks; I followed him by sight and cut off the
crooks as much as I could. In this way I ran at least half a mile after
leaving Crandell and was cutting off and gaining on the Indian fast, and
had got near enough to have hallooed at him and told him to stop. But I
though that would do no good, that it was necessary for me to overtake
him, and I was bound to stop him. I had got up to within fifteen rods and
as good luck would have it, the bears turned from an easterly course
around to the northwest. The Indian turned also and I struck across the
elbow and came to the tracks ahead of him. I stood facing him when he
came up and informed him that the bears were ours. I told him that he
should not follow them another step, and to wait, right where he was,
until the other man came up. I am sure the Indian thought the white man
had outrun him and maybe he did not think how it was done. He stood there
perfectly still, and I guard over him. I thought he looked ugly and mad;
he would hardly say a word. In two or three minutes Crandell came up,
puffing-and blowing like a porpoise. The sweat was running off him in
profusion, and while wiping it from his brow with his hands, he said to
the Indian: "You would not stop when I told you to, if I had got a good
sight of you I would have shot you." Of course Crandell only said this
because he wanted to scare the Indian as he had no thought of shooting,
or hurting him in the least.

We started slowly off on the bear tracks and left the Indian standing and
looking at us. I told Crandell I thought the Indian was scared and very
mad at us for his threatening to shoot him, and my stopping him; that if
he got us both in range, it might be possible he would shoot us. I told
him to walk at least a rod one side of me so as not to get both in range
of his rifle and I thought he would not dare to disturb us. As we walked
away I would once in a while turn an eye over my shoulder and look back
to see the Indian. He stood there like a statue until we were out of
sight and I never saw that Indian again.

As soon as we were fairly out of sight of him we walked fast and finally
tried running, some of the time as long as we could stand it. One of the
bears was large, another about the common size and two were small; the
small ones followed behind. They were a fine sight passing through the
woods, but they led us a wild chase. Late in the afternoon they crossed
the Reed Creek going north, partly in the direction of father's home.
Crandell said, "Now I know where we are. I can follow up the creek until
I get to the Reed house and then take the path home. I am so tired I
cannot follow the bears another step." So he sat down to rest. I told him
to come on, it was necessary for us to have two or three of those bears
and I thought if we could kill one of the large ones the small ones would
be likely to hang around until we could shoot them. But I could not get
him to go another step. He said he was going home and I told him I was
going to follow the bears. I went after them as fast as it was possible,
and after awhile came in plain sight of them. The large one was standing
with his fore feet upon a log, broadside to me and looking back at me. I
thought Crandell would see how much he missed it leaving me. I drew up my
rifle and fired, "ping went the rifle ball" and it made the woods ring,
but away went the bears. I expected to see the bear drop, or at least
roll and tumble. I loaded my rifle and went up to where Mr. Bruin had
stood. I looked to see if I had not cut off some of his hair, but could
see no signs of having touched him with the bullet. I followed along a
little ways and made up my mind I had not hit him. I thought it strange;
it was a fair broadside shot, not more than twenty or twenty-five rods
off, and what the reason was I had missed him I could not tell. I
followed them on, very much discouraged and miserably tired, after a
little they were making almost straight for father's clearing. I followed
them into the windfall within half a mile of home. It was then about
sundown and as their tracks turned off I thought I would leave following
them until next morning, and would then start after them again.

As I came in sight of our clearing I thought, as usual, I would fire off
my rifle at a mark, which was on the side of a tree, about ten rods off;
I drew it up and shot. My parents knew by the report and sharp song of my
rifle that I was coming; it was my parting salute to the forest. As the
sound of it penetrated the lonely gloom and died away in the darkness of
the woods I looked at the mark on the tree, to see where my bullet had
struck. I had shot nearly a foot right over it. Then I looked at the
sight of my rifle and found that the back sight had been raised clear up.
Strange to say, I had not noticed it before. No doubt it was done by one
of my little sisters or John S. They must have taken it down and been
fooling with it, on the sly. Then I knew the reason of my bad luck. I
think a more tired and discouraged hunter than I was, never crawled out
of the woods. With my, hitherto, trusty companion I had met with a signal
defeat. I had carried it hundreds of miles on my shoulder and was not
afraid, with it, to face anything in the woods, day or night; but this
time it failed me and the bears escaped.

The report of my rifle, that evening, seemed changed as if the very sound
told of my bad luck. I made up my mind, as I went into the house, that
the next morning; we would raise as many men and as many dogs as there
were bears and try them again. Of course I was too tired to notify any
one that night myself, so John S. went down to Mr. Purdy's. I knew he had
a large dog, which he called Watch, that was not afraid to tackle
anything that ran in the woods, on four legs. I told J.S. to tell Mr.
Purdy that I had been following a pack of bears, and that I wanted him to
come early the next morning, and be sure and bring his dog to go with me
after them. We had a good dog, and I sent Crandell word to be ready with
his dog. James Wilson volunteered to go with us and take his dog; they
were to be on hand at daylight in the morning. After we got together
ready to start after the bears I told them that I thought the dogs would
at least tree the small bears. We all started for the bear tracks. We
took my back tracks; when we got to the tree I showed them the shot I
had made the night before, and told them the reason I was not able to
take one, or more, of those bears by the heels the day before, and then I
might have examined them at my leisure.

We followed my tracks until we found where I left the bear tracks, then
we followed them. T supposed they were so tired they would lie down and
rest, probably in the windfall. But they were too badly scared for that.
They seemed to have traveled all night. We followed them across the north
part of the town of Taylor, through-the oak openings, into what we called
the west woods and into the town of Romulus. They had given us a wide
range before we came up to them, but here in a swamp or swale, between
two sand ridges, we found them. They saw us first and ran. As soon as we
saw we had started them we let the dogs go. They started with a rush.

"And then the dogs the game espy;
An ill bred and uncivil pack;
And such a wild discordant cry!
Another fury on his back!"

--_Bishop_.

We could hear them yelp, yelp, yelp, while they were on the tracks and
heard them when they came up to the bears. Then there was a wonderful
confusion of voices. We could hear our dogs and they seemed to be
struggling hard for their lives. "Bow-wow, bow, bowwow, yelp, yelp, yelp,
tii, tii, tii."

When the dogs got to the bears we were about half a mile from them. We
hurried through the brush and over the logs, as fast as possible, to help
our canine friends for we supposed that they were in a life and death
struggle. It is now my opinion that there never was such a noise and
conflict in those woods before, nor since, at least heard by white men.
When we were about half way to where the battle raged most furiously, it
was all at once still; we could not hear a sound from them any more. We
went a little farther and met old Watch, and some of the other dogs
crawling back. Watch, by his wounds, gave a good report of his courage
himself. He was bleeding; had been wounded and torn badly. He was hurt
the worst of any of the dogs. Before we reached the battle ground we met
the last one; he was not hurt at all, he had kept a proper distance. But
they were all badly whipped or scared. They had got enough of the bears.

"Sir Bruin to his forest flew,
  With heart as light as paws were fleet;
Nor further dare the curs pursue,
  It was a 'masterly retreat.'"
--_Bishop._

When we got to the battle ground we could see where they had fought,
clenched and rolled over and over. The blood of the dogs was sprinkled
all around on the snow. We saw that it was the large bears which did the
fighting. They would not leave the small ones but fought for them. We saw
in one place, where the fight was the most severe, one bear had attempted
to climb a tree. He went up a piece on one side of it and down the other,
then jumped off, before we got in sight, and ran. We could see by the
marks of the claws, on the bark of the tree, and the tracks, where he
jumped oft, that he had climbed part way up.

I have seen hundreds of times in the woods where bears had reached up as
high as they could around little trees and scratched them. It showed the
plainest on beech trees as their bark is smooth. It is easy to see the
size of the bear's paws and his length from the ground by these marks on
the trees.

That day we saw where the bears had done some marking of dogs as well as
trees. We found that the dogs had separated the bears, some having gone
one way and some another. The grit had been taken out of us as well as
out of the dogs, and the bear hunt had lost its charms for us. We were a
long ways from home and we thought it best to get our wounded dogs back
there again, if we could. We gave up the chase and let those bears go. I
felt the effects of the previous day's chase and tired out more easily; I
wished I had let the Indian have the bears to do what he was a mind to
with, and that I had never seen them.

I presume there are now many persons in Wayne County, who little think
that thirty-three years ago, 1842, there could have been four wild bears
followed, in different towns in that county, for two days; yet such was
the case. This was about the last of my hunting. My attention was called
to other business, of more importance which I thought it was necessary
for me to attend to, so I hung up my rifle and have not used it to hunt
with, in the woods, six full days since. That Indian, who wanted the
bears, was the last Indian I ever saw in the woods hunting for a living.
I don't think there is a wild deer in the town of Dearborn at this day
and but very few, if any, in Wayne County. I heard that there was one
bear killed by a man, near the mouth of the Ecorse, last fall, 1874. He
was a stranger and, no doubt, far from his native home. He was the first
one I have heard of being seen in this country for years.



CHAPTER XXIII.

GRANDFATHER'S POWDER-HORN--WAR WITH PIRATES.


Time sped on. The earth had traveled its circuit many times since father
sold his little place in Putnam County, State of New York, and bade adieu
to all the dear scenes of his childhood and youth and came to battle, for
himself and family in the wilds of Michigan. And he did his part bravely.
He was a strong man; mentally and physically strong, and possessed just
enough of the love of a romantic and strange life, to help him battle
successfully with the incidents and privations common to such as settle
in a new country, with but little capital. He worked his way through. He
had a very retentive memory and possessed the faculty of pleasing his
visitors, to no common extent.

Father at the close of the Tripoli war, 1805, was about the age that I
was when we started for Michigan. He often told me of the war with
Tripoli and trouble with Algiers. He gloried in the name of an American
and often related the prowess and bravery of our soldiers, in defending
their flag and the rights of American citizens, at home and abroad, on
the land and on the sea.

Of course when the Fourth of July came round I went to celebrate the day.
As cannon were almost always fired at Dearbornville, on that day, I would
go out there to listen to the big guns and their tremendous roar, as they
were fired every minute for a national salute. The sound of their booming
died away beyond Detroit River, in Canada, and let the Canadians, and all
others in this part of the universe, know that we were holding the Fourth
of July in Dearbornville. When I went home at night I told father about
it, and what a good time I had enjoyed, and that they fired one big gun
in honor of Michigan.

On such days his patriotic feelings were wrought up and he talked much of
wars, patriotism and so forth. On such an occasion he told me that his
father, William Nowlin, was a captain of militia, in the State of New
York, when he was a boy. That I was named for him and that, when he was
done with it, I should have my grandfather's ancient powder-horn. It is
red and carved out very nicely, covered with beautiful scrolls and
old-fashioned letters. The two first letters of my grandfather's name, W.
N., are on it, and toward the smaller end of the horn--my father's given
name, John. These were inscribed on it long since the horn was made. It
was made when Washington was about twenty-five years old, and, no doubt,
saw service in the French and Indian war, in the defence of the English
colonies of America. Its history, some of it, is shrouded in mystery. It
has passed down through the revolutionary war, and the war of 1812,
through four generations of men, and was given to me by my father as an
heir-loom, a relic of the past.

Next to my father's given name is the inscription, E.b. Then follows
these old lines:

"I, powder, with my brother ball,
 A hero like, do conquer all."

"'Tis best abroad with foreign foes to fight,
 And not at home, to feel their hateful spite,
 Where all our friends of every sex and age,
 Will be expos'd unto their cruel rage."

--Lieut. Abl Prindel's. Made at No. 4. June 30th, 1757.

The letters are old fashioned, the "s" on it is made as an "f" is made
now. I presume it was a present from Lieut. Prindel to grandfather. This
horn is sixteen inches long, measures nine and one-half inches around the
butt and would hold fully four pounds of powder.

Father said in the war with Tripoli, 1803, one of the Barbary States,
Captain Bainbridge sailed, in the Philadelphia, to Tripoli and chased one
of the pirate boats into the harbor. He ventured a little too far and ran
aground. The officers were made prisoners and the crew slaves, to the
Turks, and joined their countrymen who had preceded them. But, father
said, the Americans were too brave a people to be subjected to slavery.
Other Americans rescued them and it was proved that the United States
would protect their flag throughout all the world. He often told me of
Commodore Decatur and William Eaton. They were among his ideal American
heroes. He said that Decatur conceived the idea of retaking the
"Philadelphia" and destroying her. He sailed into the harbor of Tripoli
at night and up to the "Philadelphia," made his vessel, the "Intrepid,"
fast to her side and sprang on board. There he had often walked before
under very different circumstances, in the light of other days, when
thousands of miles away and among his friends. Now how changed the scene!
The "Philadelphia" was in an enemy's hands, and her guns loaded, to turn
on her former owners at a moment's notice. Decatur was followed by
seventy or eighty men, as brave Americans as ever walked on deck. The
surprise was complete, and the astonished Turks now saw the decks
swarming with Americans, armed and with drawn swords in their hands. Some
of the Tripolitans lost their heads, some of them cried for quarters,
others tried to climb in the shrouds and rigging of the ship and some
jumped overboard.

In ten minutes' time, Decatur and his crew were masters of the frigate.
Now what grieved him most was that the noble ship, which they had rescued
from the barbarous Arabs, had to be burned, it being impossible to remove
her from the sandbar where she lay. So they brought, on board the
"Philadelphia," combustible material, which they had with them on the
"Intrepid," and set her on fire. In a short time the flames were leaping
and dancing along the sides of the doomed ship. The devouring fire,
greedily burning, cracking and hissing, destroyed the timbers, leaped up
the spars, caught hold of the rigging and lighted up the whole place. It
could have been, and was, seen for miles. The spectacle was awfully grand
as well as sublime. Tripoli was lighted up and hundreds of people could
be seen in the streets, by the light of the burning ship.

The land forts and corsairs were all in plain sight of the American
fleet. The light enabled the enemy to see the bold "Intrepid," with her
valiant crew, leaving the burning ship and sailing away toward the
American blockading fleet. The forts and some of the galleys opened fire
upon them; it was one continuous roar of cannon belching forth fire and
missiles of death. The balls and shot went singing over their heads and
around, some striking the water and raising a cloud of spray which flew
in all directions. But the victorious crew paid no attention and quietly
sailed away to join their country's defenders. They were soon beyond the
reach of the foe and out of danger. Then they had time to consider what
they had accomplished. They had entered the enemy's stronghold,
re-captured and burned the "Philadelphia" and put her Arab crew to the
sword, or driven them into the sea. All this they did without the loss of
a single man. Father said that the inhabitants of Tripoli were Turks who
exacted taxes and received tribute from all Christian nations; that they
had taken some of the American seamen and held them as slaves. The Bashaw
declared war with America, (a country about which he knew but very
little.) He put his American slaves in chain-gangs, in this way they were
obliged to labor for that government. There was no chance for them to
escape and they must remain in slavery unless rescued by their
countrymen. Father said that the Turks of Tripoli were a band of pirates,
in disguise, robbers upon the high seas.

The war occurred during the administration of President Jefferson.
Congress sent Commodore Preble with a squadron of seven sail, and a
thousand men, armed with heavy cannon. They appeared before Tripoli; the
reigning Bashaw refused to treat for peace or give up his slaves, without
he received a large ransom. Then it was that the thunder of the American
cannon broke upon Tripoli and the bombardment of that city commenced,
1830. They were answered by hundreds of the enemy's guns. The earth
trembled, the sea shook, the wild waves danced and the white caps broke
as the cannon balls glanced on, plowed their way and plunged into the
water. The strong buildings of Tripoli trembled to their foundations and
hundreds of Arabs, who were out upon their roofs when the battle
commenced, to witness it, in five minutes' time were skedaddling for
their lives. The Bashaw's castle and the entire city felt severely the
heavy blows of the American cannon. The enemy's fleet took refuge under
the forts and away from the ships of North America. The "Constitution"
sunk one of their boats, run two aground and the rest got under shelter
the best they could.

One of the last wonders of the wrath of the Americans was poured out upon
Tripoli in the shape of a fire ship. It contained one hundred barrels of
powder stored away below deck, in a room prepared expressly for its
reception. On the deck, over the powder, was placed hundreds of shells
and pieces of iron, which the powder, when it exploded, would hurl as
messengers of destruction among the enemy. The "Intrepid" was the ship
selected for the daring deed. She was Decatur's favorite; with her he
captured the "Philadelphia." There were twelve American braves who
volunteered to take the fire-ship into the enemy's squadron and, near the
fort, to fire it with a slow match. Then they were to try and escape back
to their countrymen, in a small boat. When it was night they hoisted
their sails and the ship quietly started through the darkness, but
before they had gone as far as they wished to get, among the enemy's
boats, they were discovered from the fort and an alarm raised.

The great Decatur, with his comrades, stood gazing at the craft as it
receded from them and the sails disappeared in the distance and darkness
of the night. What must have been their feelings, as the noble ship
disappeared? They were, no doubt thinking of their comrades, so brave,
who might be going into the jaws of death. Could it be possible that they
would never return, that they would never meet any more? They looked and
listened, but they were gone, no sound of them could be heard. Awful
suspense--all at once the fort opened fire on the brave crew. The light
of their batteries brightened up the shore and the thunder of their
cannon shook sea and earth. But where were the twelve Americans? Brave
fellows, where were they? They had, no doubt, failed to get as far as
they wished to, before they were discovered, and risked their lives a
little too long. They applied the fire to the trail of powder and the
ship was blown up. Tripoli had never been shaken before, nor had she ever
witnessed such a sight. The flames shot up toward the sky; the whole city
was illuminated and the report and awful force caused by the blowing up
of the ship, made the enemy's vessels in the harbor heave to and fro, and
rock as though in a storm. Men's hearts failed them; they did not know
but that they were going to sink. The city itself was shaken to its
foundation, from center to circumference. Men stood trembling and gazed
with horror and astonishment. Not another cannon was fired, and the noise
they made was no more when compared with the noise of the explosion,
than the sound of a pop-gun compared to the sound of a cannon. In fact it
was no comparison at all. Thousands stood ghastly and pale not knowing
what the next moment might reveal. The proud Bashaw had been badly "shook
up" and disturbed in his dreams of conquering the Americans. He had heard
of the advance of William Eaton and he made up his mind that it was
dangerous, for him, to carry on a war with beings who fought more like
devils than men, so he concluded that he would go in for peace. The
twelve brave men, who went with the fireship, were never heard of again.
They returned to their comrades, to tell the thrilling story of their
last adventure, never, no never. They had sold their lives, for their
country, dearly. They were never to see their homes in North America, or
their loved ones again; they had met their fate bravely and sacrificed
their own lives for their country's glory.

Father also related the adventures and hardships that were encountered
and overcome by William Eaton, who formed a union with Hamet, the elder
brother and rightful heir to reign at Tripoli. Hamet had been driven from
his country and family, wife and children, and was in hopes, by the aid
of Eaton and the American war, of being reinstated at Tripoli. He joined
with General Eaton, who had received his commission from the American
government, and assumed the title of General. In conjunction with Hamet,
he raised an army of twelve hundred men, adventurers of all nations, who
volunteered to fight under the American flag. They started from
Alexandria, in Egypt, and marched a thousand miles across the desert of
Barca. They bore in their advance the American flag, something that had
never been seen in that country before. After a tedious march they
arrived at Derne, a city on the Mediterranean, belonging to Tripoli.
General Eaton summoned the city to surrender. The Governor sent him this
reply, "My head or yours." Then the American general drew up his men and
rapidly advanced to attack the fort, which defended the city. He met with
a strong resistance, the enemy numbering about three thousand. A terrible
fire of musketry enveloped the combatants in fire and smoke. The voice of
General Eaton, though he was wounded, was heard, amid the din of battle,
encouraging his men.

After a severe contest of about two hours they charged and carried, by
storm, the principal fort. They tore down the Tripolitan flag and ran up
the stripes and stars in its place. This was the first time it had ever
been raised over a fort on the Mediterranean Sea, or in fact the old
world. General Eaton was fortifying, making the place stronger, receiving
some volunteers, through the influence of Hamet, and preparing to march
upon Tripoli to help the American fleet. But he was in need of supplies
and every day was expecting to receive them.

As the city and harbor were under his control, he had everything in
readiness for his march, excepting the supplies, when the American
Frigate, the "Constitution," appeared and announced that peace was
declared, 1805. The conditions were that Hamet should leave the country
and his wife and children should be sent to him. The American prisoners
were to be exchanged and the American seamen not to be compelled to pay
tribute any more.

The Americans who had been enslaved by the government of Tripoli were to
be paid for the labor they had performed. It is evident that the reigning
Bashaw was alarmed for his own safety and was glad to compromise.

Father said it always grieved him to think, that the Americans who had
been held as slaves at Tripoli never returned to their native home. They
were paid for their service during the time they had been enslaved, went
on board a ship, sailed for North America and were never heard of again.
They slept the sleep of death with the twelve most brave beneath the dark
cold waves, never more to see their families or friends.

Father often repeated such stories in our wilderness home in regard to
this war, the revolutionary war and the war of 1812. I and the other
children always listened to these tales with much attention and interest.
It was the way I received most of my knowledge, in regard to such things,
in those days. As we lived in the woods of Michigan my means of acquiring
book-knowledge were very limited. Now, I believe, if I were to read the
sum and substance of the same thing every month in the year, for years;
the way he related those old stories would still be the accepted way to
my mind. Although they might be clothed in language more precise and far
more eloquent it would not appear so to me.



CHAPTER XXIV.

LIGHT BEGINS TO DAWN.


Father's farm improved with astonishing rapidity and became quite a
pleasant place. Some of the stumps rotted out, some we tore out and some
were burned up. In these ways many had disappeared and it began to look
like old land. It was rich and productive and, in truth, it looked as
level as a house floor. Some seasons it was rather wet, not being
ditched sufficiently to take the water off. Yet father raised large
crops of corn, potatoes, oats and wheat. Wheat grew very large but
sometimes ran too much to straw; some seasons, rust would strike it and
then the grain would shrink, but as that and gets older, and the more
the clay is worked up with the soil, the better wheat it raises. In my
opinion it will be as good wheat land as the oak openings or prairies of
the West for all time to come.

Father built him a good frame barn and was getting along well. He bought
him a nice pair of black horses which proved to be very good and
serviceable. It began to seem like home to mother. She too possessed
very good conversational powers. Her conversation was always accompanied
with a style of frankness and goodness, peculiar to herself, which gained
many friends, who became warmly attached to her, enjoyed her hospitality,
witnessed her good cheer, as they gathered around her board and enjoyed
luxuries, which in some of the years past we had not been able to
procure. The learned and illiterate, the rich and the poor, shared alike
her hospitality. No one ever asked for bread, at her door, who was
refused, if she had it, even to the poor Indian. We had many comers and
goers, and I think there were but few in the town of Dearborn who had
more friends than father and mother.

Several years after we planted the first thirteen apple trees, father set
out a little orchard of fifty trees, west of them. Some of these proved
to be very good fruit and supplied us with better apples, of our own
raising, (and in fact some earlier apples) than we had been used to
getting from along the Rouge. Then it could be said of us that we sat
under our own vine and apple tree and ate the fruit of our hands, without
any one to molest us or make us afraid. And, it could be said of father,
that he made the place, where the wilderness stood, to blossom as the
rose. Everything seemed to work together for our good and all nature
seemed more cheerful.

The evening breeze that kissed the rose and made the morning glory (that
grew by our window) unfold its robe, so that it would be ready in the
morning to display its beauty, and caused the sunflower, aided by the
evening dew, to change its face so that it would be ready to look toward
the sun, bore away on its wings, over the fields, the fragrance of the
rose and the joyful songs of civilization. In the stillness of the
beautiful evenings the air, under the starry canopy of heaven was made
vocal with the songs and tunes of other days, which had been learned and
sung oftimes before in a native land nearly eight hundred miles away.

Now the pioneer felt himself safe. He could retire to his bed, in his log
house, and quietly rest in sleep, without draining any more of the
redman's approach, or having by his own strong arm, to defend his family.
Now he need have no fear of Mr. Bruin entering his pig pen and carrying
off his pig, as he did ours one night some years before. He tore the hog
so badly that it died, although it was rescued by father and his dog. The
bear escaped to the woods. Now how changed the scene with us. We could
retire and sleep soundly; feeling as secure as if we had gone to bed way
down in the State of New York. We could leave the leather string of the
door latch hanging out for any one to enter, as nearly all the early
settlers were friends. The ax was now left stuck in the wood block on the
wood pile. The rifle hung in its hooks, not to be disturbed. In other
nights, of our first settlement, father did not feel safe; the string of
the door latch was taken in, the door was fastened and blockaded on the
inside, his ax and rifle were placed with care back of the curtains, at
the head of his bed. None of us knew what might happen before the light
of another morning, for we were in a wilderness land and neighbors were
far apart. How different a few years have made it! Now nature seems to
smile upon us and the evening, when it comes in its beauty, seems to
offer us quiet and repose, rest and security. Now when nature puts on her
sable habiliments of night, the blue canopy was covered with stars, that
glistened and shone in their glory, as they looked down upon us and
seemed to witness our prosperity. How they illumined our beautiful spring
nights! The beautiful feathered songsters, that had returned from the
south, warbled their songs in our ears anew and seemed to exert
themselves, to make their notes clear, and let us know they had come. The
little grey phebe-birds, the robins and the blue birds were the first
harbingers of spring. As night put on its shade their little notes were
hushed in the darkness, then the whip-poor-will took up the strain. He
would come, circle around and over our house and door yard and then light
down. He too came to visit us, he had found our place again. In fact, he
found us every spring after we settled in Michigan, and cut out a little
hole in the woods. At first his song seemed to be "whip-poor-will,
whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will;" then, by listening, it could be made out
to say, "good-will, good-will." In later years, by the aid of
imagination, his notes were interpreted, "peace and plenty, peace and
plenty." But, whatever we might imagine him to say, his song was always
the same. He was a welcome visitor and songster, and his appearance in
spring was always hailed with joy.

Sometimes I would rise early in the morning and go out of the door just
at daylight. I could hear the notes of the little songsters, just waking,
singing their first songs of the morning. I would listen to see if I
could hear the gobbling of the wild turkeys. I hardly ever failed to hear
them, sometimes in different directions. I frequently could hear two or
three at once. The old gobblers commonly selected the largest trees, in
the thickest woods, with limbs high up, for their roosts and as soon as
it came daylight, in the east, they would be up strutting and gobbling.

They could be heard, in a still morning, for a mile or two. The gobbling
of the turkey, the drumming of the partridge upon his log, the crowing of
our and the neighbors' roosters and the noise of woodpeckers pounding the
tops of old trees, were the principal sounds I could hear when I set out
with my rifle in hand. I made my way through the prickly ash brush,
sometimes getting my clothes torn and my hands and face scratched, when
going into the dark woods in the early morning. I went for the nearest
turkey that I heard, often wading through the water knee deep, the woods
being nearly always wet in the spring.

If the turkey did not happen to be too far off and I got near it, before
it was light, and got my eye on it, before it saw me and flew away, I
would crawl up, and get behind some tree that came in range between me
and it so that it could not see me. I had lo be careful not to step on a
stick, as the breaking of a stick or any noise that I was liable to make
would scare the turkey away. If I had the good luck to get up to that
tree without his discovering me, I would sit or stand by it and look with
one eye at the old turkey as he gobbled, strutted, spread his wings then
drew them on the limb where he stood and turned himself around to listen
and see if there was anything new for him to gobble at. If he heard the
distant woodpecker, pounding away with his beak, on the old hollow top,
he would stretch up his neck and gobble again as cheerfully as before.
Then I would put my rifle up aside the tree to see if it was light
enough for me to see the sights on it. If it was not I would have to take
it down and wait a few minutes for it to get lighter.

I felt very uneasy and impatient, while waiting, and wanted to take that
turkey, by the legs, and carry him home over my shoulder. When it was
light enough so I thought it was dangerous to wait, as the turkey might
discover me or fly off his perch then I would draw up my rifle, by the
side of the tree, and shoot at him. Sometimes the old turkey would retain
all his feathers, fly away and leave me, to wade back to the house,
thinking to myself I had had a hard job for nothing. The great trouble in
shooting wild turkeys on the roosts, in the spring of the year and in the
early morning, is in not being able to see the sights on the rifle plain
enough. Of course, I was sometimes rewarded, for my early rising and wet
feet, by a nice turkey to take home to father and mother for dinner.

This style of hunting for the wild turkeys was known by the settlers in
an early day. Another way I had of capturing the turkeys by shooting
them, was by the use of a small instrument that I almost always carried
in my vest pocket when in the woods. It was made from the hollow bone of
a turkey's wing. I called it a turkey call. By holding the end of my hand
and sucking it right, it would make a noise, or squeak, very similar to
the turkey's voice. Sometimes, when I heard one gobbling in the woods, I
would go as near as I could, and not let him see me, and hide myself
behind an old log, or root, where a tree had been blown down, take the
hollow bone out of my pocket and call. I have seen them come up on the
run, sometimes one, at other times more. While lying in ambush once I
shot two, at the same time, with one rifle bullet and got them both.

I have often shot at a flock, in the woods. They would scatter and fly in
all directions. I would run ahead, near where I thought they lighted,
hide and call. If a lone turkey heard the shrill note, he would answer
and was easily decoyed up to me. In this way I was very sure to get him.

Father made one of the luckiest shots at wild turkeys of which I ever
knew. They had a notion of coming into his buckwheat field and filling
their crops with buckwheat, sometimes two or three times a day. Father
discovered them in the field; he went away round and approached them from
the woods, on the back side of the field, where they came in. The turkeys
discovered him through the brush and fence and huddled up, with their
heads together. He said they were just getting ready to fly. He shot
amongst them, with a shot gun, and killed four at once. There are at the
present time, 1875, scattering wild turkeys in the town of Dearborn, but
they have mostly disappeared. Tame turkeys, in abundance, have long since
taken their place.



CHAPTER XXV.

MAKING A BARGAIN.


When I was twenty-one we had a good young team, of our own, and father
made it a rule to go to Detroit once in two weeks, with butter and eggs.
When he had other farm products he went oftener. Every other Friday was
his market day, for butter and eggs. His butter was contracted at Detroit
by the season, for one shilling a pound, and father thought that did very
well. By starting early, he could go and do his marketing and return by
noon. How different from what it was when it took us two nights and a
day, and sometimes more, to go to Detroit and back. Father had to sell
his produce cheap; when we had commenced raising and had some to sell,
all appeared to have an abundance to sell. Detroit market then seemed
rather small not having its outlets for shipping, and everything we had
to sell was cheap. We also bought cheap; we got good tea for fifty cents
a pound, sugar was from six to ten cents per pound, and clothing much
cheaper than it was when we came to Michigan.

We could buy brown sheeting for from six to eight cents per yard. Very
different from what it was, when everything we bought was so dear, and
when we had so little to buy with. One day father and I went to Detroit
with a large load of oats. We drove on to the market and offered them for
sale; eighteen cents a bushel was the highest offer we could get for them
and father sold them for that price. We fattened some pork, took it to
Detroit and sold it for twenty shillings per hundred. In days back,
father had often paid one shilling a pound for pork and brought it home
on his arm, in a basket over two miles. Now we were able to sell more
than we had to buy. The balance of trade was in our favor and, of course,
we were making some money; laying up some for a rainy day, or against the
time of need.

I told father, as we had a good team, it would be handy if I got me a
buggy. I could take mother at her pleasure, and it would be very handy
for me to go around with, so I went and bought one. It was a double buggy
with two seats. After the buggy was bought, when mother and my sisters
wished to go to meeting or to visit friends, I would hitch up the team
and take them in, what I thought, pretty good style. We had, what I
called, a gay team and, in fact, a good rig for the woods of Michigan. I
took care of the team, and when I went out with them I tried to make
those horses shine. I trimmed their head stalls with red balls, as large
as hens' eggs, and from them hung scarlet ribbons six inches long. When I
came home in the evening between, sun down and dark, through the woods,
the little blacks made the evening breeze fan my passengers and we left
the little musical songsters in the shade. I now worked very hard and
helped father all I could in fixing up his farm. He had everything around
him that was necessary to make him and mother comfortable.

About this time I formed a more intimate acquaintance with a young lady,
Miss Traviss, although her name was very familiar to me and sounded very
beautifully in my ear, some how or other I wished to have it changed.
After I made this acquaintance I thought I would go to Detroit and spend
the next "Fourth" and see what they were doing there and try city life a
little. As one of my sisters wanted to go I gave Miss Traviss an
invitation to go with us, which invitation she accepted. So when the
morning of the "Fourth" came, we started for town. We put up at the
"Eagle Tavern" on Woodbridge street and spent the day very patriotically.
We had what we thought a very splendid dinner. We had the first cherry
pie that some of us had eaten since we came to Michigan. We visited all
the sights we could hear of, and honored almost every display with our
presence. When the salute of the day was fired, of course, we were there;
they fired one big gun for Michigan. As the cannon thundered forth its
fire and smoke, it seemed to fairly sweep the street with its tremendous
force; it was terrible and grand. It seemed to bid defiance to all the
world. It was the salute of the cannon of American freemen. We thought we
would go over to Canada to see what was going on there. When we were
across, we observed that the people didn't seem to be paying any
attention to the "Fourth." But we felt very much like holding
Independence and thought we would take a walk, down toward Sandwich. Of
course, I was seeing all I could of Canada, but Miss Traviss took the
greater part of my attention. The more I enjoyed her company, the more I
thought, in view of future life, that it was necessary for me to make a
private bargain with her.

After we had walked as far as we thought it was pleasant, we turned back
toward Windsor; when we were nearly there we met a colored man. I pointed
over the river toward Detroit, and asked him, saying, "What place is that
yonder?" "Why," said he, "dat am die United States ob 'Merica ober dar."
He answered me like a man, with frankness, supposing that I was a
stranger to Detroit, and accompanied by beautiful young ladies of Canada
he naturally supposed that I did not know the place. I left Canada
thinking that all of the North American Continent ought to belong to the
United States.

We sailed back to Detroit, the beautiful "City of the Straits." We all
felt as though we were at home, in our own country and thanked our stars,
that we did not live in Canada; that we lived in the land of the free,
and that our flag, the old star-spangled banner, waved over "the home of
the brave." We went back to the "Eagle Tavern;" I told the hostler I
wanted my team. In a very few minutes he had it ready and we were on our
way home, enjoying our evening ride. I was very attentive and vigilant,
in the presence of my company.

When we were home we told our parents all the incidents of the day. We
had had a good time and had enjoyed ourselves very much. Then I attended
to hard work and farming, and think it would have been difficult to find
a man, who would have performed more labor than I did until I was past
twenty-two years old.

In the mean time, I was having an eye out and thinking of domestic
affairs and life. I will not tell what old folks would call it, but I
call it falling in love with Miss Traviss. I made a private bargain with
her and got the consent of her father and mother, which was a hard job
for me although they acquiesced willingly. It was also approved by my
parents. We had it ratified by a minister and afterward I heard her
called, by others, Mrs. William Nowlin. She had taken a new name upon
herself. I left my father's home to build up one for myself and another,
and never more to return to my father's house and call it my home.



CHAPTER XXVI.

HOW I COMMENCED FOR MYSELF--FATHER'S OLD FARM IN 1843.


When I commenced for myself, father gave me a strip across the two lots
on the south end of his farm, south of the Ecorse, containing forty-two
acres and lying on the town line between Dearborn and Taylor. Thus
fulfilling (as far as I was concerned) what he had said long before; he
wanted land for his children. I supposed, at the time, I should build a
house, live there and make it my home. I had a chance to trade it off
even, for eighty acres of land lying half a mile west of it, subject to a
mortgage of one hundred and fifty dollars. I made the trade, paid the
mortgage and afterward built on the place, the house in which I now live.

Father bought back the forty-two acres which he had given me, and he
easily paid for it--two hundred and fifty dollars. Then he had the old
farm together again, with money left, which he had saved by his frugality
and industry. He made up his mind that he would buy another place, which
was offered for sale, out one mile toward Dearbornville, beyond the clay
road. It had a good barn on it and a comfortable farm house. He moved
there in 1848 and lived on one of the most beautiful building places in
the town of Dearborn and on the corner where three roads met.

About this time, my second sister became acquainted with a young man, by
the name of Michael Nowlin, and married him. She was more lucky than most
young ladies; she did not have to change her name, only from Miss to Mrs.
Nowlin. She went with her husband to live near Romeo, Macomb County,
Michigan. He was a farmer there. Father did not like to have one of his
children so far away. I told him it would be well for him to let my
brother-in-law and sister have ninety acres of the old farm, which would
make them a good home. So he offered it to them, and they came and
settled on it, and lived where I had lived so long before, with my father
and mother, brother and sisters, in the woods of Michigan.

Father let them have it on easy terms, and gave Sarah what he considered
was her portion as far as he was able. My brother-in-law easily met the
payments, paid for his place and had a good farm. He, being a good
business man, soon had his farm clear and things comfortable around him.
But he was not entirety satisfied with the place, though it was the best
of land, and he was a man capable of knowing and appreciating it. He
thought he was laboring under some disadvantages. In the spring of the
year the clay road was very bad and he had hard work to get out and in.
School privileges were also poor, not such as he desired for his
children, and he made up his mind to sell has place. He sold it in two
parts, at a good advantage. The last piece for over a hundred dollars an
acre. He bought him a nice house and lot in the city of Ypsilanti, is
nicely situated there and has given his children a liberal education. So
ninety acres, of what was once my father's old farm, were disposed of.

After I had left home, a few years passed and my brother, John Smith
Nowlin, was married and started out in life for himself. Father let him
have the west seventy acres of the old farm. He, being the youngest son,
father desired to see him settled comfortably in life near him. He gave
him the place so cheap and on such easy terms that he was able to pay for
it in a short time, right off of the place, with the exception of what
father gave him as his portion. Father said he gave him his part. He soon
had as nice a little farm as any one need wish to own in the State of
Michigan, and he had it clear from debt. After my brother-in-law moved
away my brother became lonesome, dissatisfied and was not contented with
so good a place. He sold it in two pieces and bought a farm out within
half a mile of Dearbornville, beyond father's. He moved on to it and
lives there now right in sight of the village.

It is not my intention to delineate, at any length, the circumstances of
any of the family unless in connection, with my father and mother, or the
old place where we first settled in the wilderness, where I labored so
hard, in my young life, and took so much interest in my father's getting
along during his trying days in the woods of Michigan.

I was along there, by what was father's old place, one day this winter,
1875. I looked at the barn and saw that it was getting old. I noticed the
two little orchards, some of the trees had disappeared and others looked
as if they were dying, with old age. I saw young orchards on the place,
which were set out by other hands, those who knew but little of us. I
thought things looked strange; that there was not one of the Nowlin name
who owned a foot of the old farm. I suppose to this day no part of it,
nor the whole of it, could be bought for less than one hundred dollars an
acre, probably not for that.

I counted the dwelling houses that have been built on it, there are five
of them; three very good frame houses, well painted and built in good
style, the other two houses are not so nice. I noticed there were four
good frame barns on it. The old place is inhabited by an industrious race
of men. It is divided up into German farms.

Men may cover mother earth with deeds and mortgages, call her their own
and live upon her bounty, little thinking of the hardships, toils and
privations, that were endured by those who preceded them. How they
labored, toiled and sweat, sometimes without enough to eat and not
knowing where the next meal was coming from. I know this was the case
with some of the first settlers.

In view of the hardships and sufferings of the pioneer and his passing
away, I exclaim in the language of another, "This earth is but a great
inn, evacuated and replenished by troops of succeeding pilgrims."

"One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, and man here
hath no continuing city."

[NOTE.--Since this was written, I have learned that I made a slight
mistake in regard to the forty-two acres, of the old farm, which father
gave me, as it passed through other hands before my brother and
brother-in-law came in possession of it; but it was finally divided as I
have stated.]



CHAPTER XXVII.

THOUGHTS IN CONNECTION WITH FATHER AND EARLY PIONEER LIFE.


I follow father, in my mind, to his last farm which he bought in 1849,
where he lived out his days. It was not cleared up, as he wished to have
it, and he continued to labor as hard as ever before, trying to fix it up
to suit him and to get it in the right shape for his comfort and
convenience. The soil was as good as the place he left. He raised large
crops on it. One day I went to father's and inquired for him. Mother said
he was down in the field cutting corn. I went to him; he had a splendid
field of corn and was cutting it up. The sweat was running off from him.
I told him it was not necessary for him to work so hard and asked him to
let me take his corn-cutter, as though I was going to cut corn. He handed
it to me, then I said I am going to keep this corn-cutter: I want you to
hear to me. Let us go to the house and get some one else, to cut the
corn; so we went to the house together.

But it was impossible for me or anybody else to keep him from hard
labor, although he had plenty. He had become so inured to hard work
that it seemed he could not stop. He finally got all of his farm cleared
that he wanted cleared. A few of the last years of his eventful life, he
let some of his land to be worked on shares and kept his meadow land and
pasture. He needed all of that, for he kept quite a stock of cattle,
sheep and horses and took care of them himself, most of the time, up to
his last sickness.

He was a great lover of good books; and spent much of his leisure time
reading. He did not often refer to the hardships which he had endured in
Michigan; but often spoke of the privations and endurance of others.
Thus, in his latter days, not thinking of what he had done, he seemed to
feast on the idea, that America had produced such and such ones, who had
been benefactors and effectual workers for the good of our race.

Most of those men who came here in the prime of life, about the time that
father came, are gone. The country shows what they have done, but few
consider it properly. Some know what it was then and what it is now and
know also, that it has arrived at the exalted position it now occupies
through the iron will, clear brain and the steady unflinching nerve of
others. Yet they pass on in their giddy whirl and the constant excitement
of the nineteenth century, when wealth is piled at their doors, and
hardly think of their silent benefactors.

Who can think of what they have done and not feel their heart beat high
with gratitude, admiration and love to the Giver of all good, in that he
ever raised up Such glorious people as some of the Michigan pioneers
were? So enduring, so self-sacrificing, so noble--in fact, every element
necessary to make beings almost perfect seemed concentrated in them. I do
not say it would be right, for me to wish the pioneer to live forever
here, and labor and toil as is the common lot of man. He might be
surrounded by friends and loved ones and plenty of this world's goods,
and have time to look back upon his past life and see what he had been
through and accomplished. He had gone into the forest, built him a house,
cleared up a farm, and lived where a white man had never lived before.

I would say to him as Daniel said, 2426 years ago, to King Darius, who
visited, very early in the morning, the cavern where he was confined. The
king asked him, in a mournful voice, if his God, whom he served, had been
able to deliver him. Daniel said, "O King, live forever!" It has been the
belief of good men, in all ages of the world, that they were going to
have a better and happier existence in the future after this life had
passed away. Darius had spent a restless and sleepless night fasting. No
instruments of music were brought into his presence, his mind was too
much troubled thinking of the prophet, who lay in the lions' den.
Thinking how his faithful servant had been divested of his scarlet robe,
golden chain and office, and might be devoured by the lions. In the early
gray of the morning the king hurried to the cavern and cried out in a
sorrowful voice to his friend and said, "Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the
living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver
thee from the lions?" Daniel answered the king and said, "O King, live
forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths."
Daniel was aware that the King wished him no evil, but had set his heart
on him to deliver him and that he had labored hard to save him. He knew,
that the king had been caught in a snare which was set for him by the
crafty princes. That he had been persuaded by them to sign a decree,
which according to law could not be changed. It was gotten up, through
jealousy and envy, for the purpose of taking Daniel's life. When Daniel
heard the doleful voice of the king, calling him, he answered, and with
an honest heart exclaimed; "O King, live forever!"

This was not wishing, as some might suppose, that the king might live
forever, on the earth, in his natural or mortal state, or forever reign
over his kingdom in this world, but this acclamation was "Live forever."
As it was evident he could not live long in this world, Daniel wished him
a better existence in a future state.

Man has not been able to find, in this world, the land of perpetual youth
or spring of life. Nearly all the veteran pioneers, who have fought with
the forests of Michigan, and labored for themselves and others, until
they grew old, and wrinkled and their heads were silvered o'er with gray,
have passed from the storms of life.

They failed to find such a land as Ponce de Leon, looked for in Florida,
in the year 1512. He was so delighted with the variegated flowers, wild
roses, ever green and beautiful foliage, and the fragrance of the air,
that he thought that these woods must contain the fountain of life and
youth and that that must be the place upon the earth where men could live
and never grow old.

When I was quite young, a few years after our settlement, I think in
1838, Mr. Elijah Lord came and settled about a mile and a half
north-west of father's. He came down with his oxen by father's place to
get small, hard-maple trees, out of the woods, that he wanted to take
home and set out on his place. He was then about a middle-aged man. He
set out the trees on both sides of the road, running through his place,
for about eighty rods, in front of his house. I asked him if he expected
to see them grow up; he said he did not set them out for himself, but for
the benefit of other people, for the good of the generations that would
follow him.

Some years after that, I visited Mr. Lord in his last sickness. He looked
very much older than he did when he planted the trees. He looked careworn
and sad; his locks were gray and he was very feeble. He was fighting his
last battle of life and he soon went to that bourne, whence no traveler
returns. He was a good man, a deacon of the Presbyterian church at
Dearbornville at the time of his death.

The hard maple trees, which he set out, are grown up to be large trees.
When leaved out, they have the most beautiful tops, with the most perfect
symmetry that could be imagined. They make splendid shade for the road.
In summer weather, when the rays of the sun were very hot, thousands have
enjoyed walking under their protecting boughs. The poor horses and cattle
that travel that road alike enjoy the benefit of those trees. The farmer
as he is going or coming from market and stops his team, to rest under
their shade, enjoys their cooling and refreshing influence. The
pedestrian, who sits down by the fence to rest his weary limbs, takes off
his hat and with his handkerchief, wipes the perspiration from his brow,
as he fans himself with his hat talks to his neighbor about the price of
things and the beautiful shade, that is around and over them. Neither of
them know anything about the benevolent man, who over thirty-five years
before set out the maple trees, whose shade they enjoy and which protects
them, from the scorching rays of the sun, and makes them so comfortable.

Now, in looking at the shortness of human life, which is compared to a
hand's breadth or to the vapor, which appears in the morning is seen but
a little while and then vanishes away to be seen no more; and thinking
that the pioneers stopped but so short a time to enjoy the fruits of
their toil and the labor of their hands, I would exclaim again in
language similar to that of the good man of old, "O, pioneers, pioneers,
live forever!"

O, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
Man passes from life to his rest in the grave.

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around and together be laid;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust and together shall lie.

So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To report every tale that has often been told.

For we are the same our fathers have been;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, and view the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.

The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking our fathers would shrink;
To the life we are clinging they also would cling;
But it speeds for us all like a bird on the wing.

Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
We mingle together in sunshine and rain;
And the smiles and the tears, the song and the dirge.
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud,
O, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

--_Selected._

It appears to me that it will be interesting to men, who in the future
shall live along the Ecorce and enjoy their beautiful homes and farms, to
know who were the brave, sacrificing, benovolent men who first settled
the country, and were a few of the many who have made the State of
Michigan what it will be to them.

I give together the names of some of those early worthies whom I have
mentioned before in this sketch. They were the first settlers of the
southeast part of the town of Dearborn. Their names are arranged
according to the time of their settlement along and near the Ecorce with
the years and seasons of their settlement in the wilderness.

Joseph Pardee--Fall of 1833.

John Nowlin--Spring of 1834.

Asa Blare--Fall of 1834.

Henry Traviss--Summer of 1835.

George Purdy--Fall of 1835.

Elijah Lord, about--1837 or 1838

Let these bright names be imperishable! Let them be indelibly written, in
letters of gold, on leaves as white as snow and live in the light. Let
them be handed down through future ages, in the archives and annals of
the country, until the end of time.

Of the six, whom I have mentioned here, only one survives. That one
is Mr. George Purdy. He lives on the Ecorce yet and owns a good
farm. (1875.)

Recently a wise man said to me: "We can engrave the names of our kindred
and the friends of humanity upon stately monuments of marble and they
will crumble to dust, be obliterated and rubbed out by the hand of time;
but, if inscribed upon the flat surface of a written page, their names
will live."

Men of all ages have delighted to honor their heroes and to perpetuate
their names. It is right to give honor to whom honor is due. We cannot
tell how many of the names of the good and great of the earth's true
philanthropists were engraven upon tablets of dead stone, who have long
since been forgotten and the knowledge of them lost in the past.

The blight--mildew--blackness and creeping moss of time have hidden their
names from earth. How few, in comparison to the many, have been handed
down to us in history.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

FATHER'S NEW HOUSE AND ITS SITUATION--HIS CHILDREN VISIT HIM.


I have said that I tried to persuade father to take life more easily and
not to labor so hard himself on the new place he had bought. It was a new
place to him; but in an early day it was the oldest place south of
Dearbornville. The first log house built south of Dearbornville, in the
town of Dearborn was built on it by John Blare in the year 1832 or 1833.
It was one mile south of Dearbornville. So there was a house standing
there when we were slowly making our way to Michigan. When we came, it
was the first house south of Dearbornville. Mr. Joseph Pardee, who
crossed Lake Erie, with his family, the fall before when father came
viewing, built his house a mile south of that. These two houses were the
first ones, south of the village of Dearborn, in the town of Dearborn.
When we came in and built, our bark covered house was the next.

It was at this house of Mr. J. Blare that the Indian, John Williams,
threw his knife on the floor and commanded Asa Blare to pick it up. There
he sat in his chair, flourished his knife, looked at its frightful edge
and told what it had done. If the Indian told the truth, it had cleaved
the locks and taken off the scalps of six of the Anglo Saxon race--some
body's loved ones. It had been six times red with human gore, and was
going to be used again, to take off one more scalp, one of the few who
was then in the woods.

This house of Mr. Blare's had long since been torn down and had
disappeared. I could now go within five rods, and I think less, of where
the house stood. When Mr. Mather bought the place he built him a frame
house across the road, beyond where Blaire's house stood. It was built on
a hill, on five acres of ground, that he owned there by itself as a
building spot.

Mather sold these two places to Barnard and Windsor and father bought
the places of them, and moved into the Mather house. Father talked, from
an early day, that when he got able to build a house, he would like to
build it of brick or stone. He said if he had stone, he could build a
house for himself. I have no doubt that he would have built his house
himself, if he had had the stone, as old as he was, when he got the
money to do it with.

He thought himself quite a stone mason, at least he thought he could lay
a stone wall as strong as any one. I stated that I had seen where he had
built stone walls. The walls I had reference to then were walls for
fence. I saw where he had built one large out door stone cellar and
arched it over with stone; I also saw where he had built a smaller one,
that opened into what was styled a cellar kitchen. He also built the
three walls of the kitchen, on the back side and two ends, of stone; the
front of the house being wood.

[Image: HOUSE BUILT 1854.]

The practice of laying stone, in his early life, made him want to build
him a stone house in Michigan. If he had settled in another part of
Michigan, he might have done it; but he found that stone were hard to get
here, being too far away. So he made up his mind, he would build him a
brick house. He said brick buildings were safer, in regard to fire, and
were more durable, that they did not require so much repairing, were
warmer in winter and cooler in summer than wooden buildings.

So he went at it, and built him a good, substantial plain, brick
farm-house in 1854. Not so palatial as some might admire, but a good
substantial house; a brick basement under the whole of it, with two
stories above. He set it right facing the "Hard scrabble road" and right
in front of his door yard was the junction of three roads. He lived on
the corners and, by looking south, he could see to the place where he
first settled in Michigan, from his own door. He built across the front
side of his house a double stoop or piazza, running the whole length of
the front. There he could sit, in the cool of the day, and rest himself,
accompanied by some of his family. Two of my sisters yet lived at home;
the rest of the family had gone for themselves. While sitting there he
could see people passing and repassing, coming and going in every
direction. What a contrast it was to our early life in Michigan. Now he
could sit on his veranda in the twilight, when it was pleasant, and when
the shadows of evening were spread over the face of nature, he could peer
away into the distance to the south and southwest, for a mile and more,
and see lights in different places glistening and shining like stars
through the darkness. They were the lights of lamps and candles, burning
in his distant neighbors' dwellings and shining through their windows. He
could go to his north window and see lights all along, from his house to
Dearbornville, for he was in plain sight of the village. Now he lived in
what might be styled, if not an old country, a thickly inhabited part of
the country.

A few years before, when father and I were out and could not get home
until after dark, we frequently walked through the woods a mile or two
without seeing a light. When we came to our clearing we could see one
light, and that was mother's lone light in the window waiting for us. It
was three or four years, after we settled in Michigan, before the light
of any neighbor's window could be seen, from our house. Father's
situation was very different when he was comfortably settled in his new
house. When he had it built he told me that he lacked a very little of
paying for it. I asked him how much he needed. He said, "Not more than a
hundred dollars." I told him I could let him have it as well as not. So I
gave it to him and he sat down and wrote me a note of a hundred dollars,
ten per cent interest per annum. I told him I didn't want any note. He
said I must take it if he took the money. So I took the note, looked at
it, saw that it was upon interest and told him that I would not take any
interest of him. But I took the note home and laid it away. I was pleased
to think that father had so good a house and was so well situated. He
built him a very strong house and located it upon a commanding eminence
overlooking the country in every direction. From its very solid
appearance shortly after it was built it was called "Nowlin Castle;" it
is now known to many by that name.

Father and mother enjoyed their new home very much. They usually invited
their children, and their companions home all together once in a year or
two. They often got into their carriage and rode down to see me and I was
always glad to see them. I usually counseled and consulted with father
when I thought of transacting any business of importance.

After a year or two father spoke to me about the hundred dollars; I told
him I didn't want it, that he could keep it just as long as he wanted
it, until he could pay it just as well as not and it wouldn't cost him
any interest.

Time passed on until about five years were counted after father built,
when he came down one day, on foot, to see me. He brought in his hand a
little leather bag of silver money--mostly half dollars. He said he had
come down to pay me that note, that he didn't need the money at all and
wanted me to take it out of his way. I looked up the note, sat down by
the table, turned out the money and counted it. I saw there were just
fifty dollars; then I looked at the note and saw it had been given about
five years before.

I told father that I had said I shouldn't take any interest of him, but
it had run so long, I didn't know but what it would be right, for me to
have the interest. I couldn't quite afford to give so much. The fifty
dollars was just enough to pay the interest and I could endorse it on the
back of the note. I turned a little in my chair, to look at father, as he
sat off at one side and said but little to me, to see what I could make
out in mind reading. I found that I failed; I could not make out, by
what he said nor by his silence, what he thought of me. Then I told him,
that I had a little job or two on hand, which I wanted him to help me
about. I asked him it he would help me. He said he would if I didn't
bother him too much. I told him I wanted him to have his stoop painted
over, it would preserve and make the wood last longer, and make it look
better. And I wanted him to go to Detroit for me, as soon as he could
conveniently, and get some oysters, and other good things, and bring home
with him. Then I wanted him to invite all of his children to come and
take dinner with him and mother and enjoy the day together. Besides, I
wanted him to take the fifty dollars, toward paying the expenses, and
also take that note out of my way, toward what I was owing him.

In a few days after that I was invited up to the castle to spend the day.
We were all there, father, mother, brother, sister, and our companions.
We had a good dinner. The table was spread with the bounties of life. We
passed a very pleasant day, and listened to father's stories of wars, and
stories connected with his early life. He would relate them as nobody
else could. He told us stories that I had often heard him relate before.
Still there was a charm in his manner of telling them and they seemed to
be always good and new; his old stories were certainly as attractive,
interesting and pleasing as ever before.

It would make almost any one laugh who listened to them, though he always
looked rather grave while repeating them. It pleased him to think that
they all enjoyed them so much; but what pleased him still more was that
his children were all alive at home. As they were most all singers,
sometimes, he would set them singing for him, songs new and old, as he
was no singer himself.

Mother was a beautiful singer. He often got her to sing for him, and
sometimes asked her to sing his favorite song, which was styled "The Star
in The East." I have heard her sing it for him, at different times, ever
since as long ago as I can remember hearing her sing. It was a beautiful
piece, connected with the Messiah's advent, which happened over eighteen
hundred years before. One verse of it was this:

"Cold on his cradle the dew drops were shining,
 Low lies his head, with the beasts of the stall;
 Angels adore him in slumber reclining,
 Maker and Monarch and Savior of all."

It is claimed by some, that the human voice is capable of producing more
different sounds and is more musical and pleasing to the ear than
anything else earthly; that it is but little below the seraphic strains.
"The Star in The East" referred back to the most glorious night, for the
human race, that earth ever knew. A multitude of the heavenly hosts came
down in the east of Judea; the darkness of night was driven away and the
place became more beautiful than day, for glory shone around them. They
announced to the wise men of the East, that the Savior of mankind was
upon the earth, and that he was at Bethlehem. They told them how and
where they would find him. The Heavenly visitors showed them a star or
meteor of exceeding brilliancy and told them it would conduct them to the
place where he was. They started with the star in advance; it lighted
their path and conducted them to the place. There was heard sung, that
night, one of the most heavenly, beautiful, thrilling and enchanting
songs that ever broke upon the ear of mortal men. It was sung by angels,
this was their song: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men." Then the bright messengers plumed their pinions,
spread out their snow white wings, filled up their shining train and in a
cloud of glory flew away to Heaven.

Now as I have strayed a little in thinking of the subject of "The Star in
The East" I find myself back again in the presence of the one who sung
father's favorite song.

I told mother she must get ready, and, in the fall, we would go back to
the state of New York. I asked father to go with us, and tried to get him
to say he would go. But he thought he would have to stay at home and take
care of things while we were gone. Mother concluded she would go and said
she would get ready for the journey and we would go and see the old
native places, and old friends and make the visit we had talked about so
long. The thought of Lake Erie had always been a dread to mother,
whenever we spoke of going back. But now we could go back very easily and
in a very short time with the cars on the "Great Western Railway" I told
her it would be as easy, for her, as though she were sitting in a parlor.
I encouraged her all I could, for she was getting quite old and feeble,
and it looked like a big undertaking to her. I said, to encourage her,
that she would be able to stand it first rate, and the trip, no doubt,
would do her good. I think the thought of going was pleasing to her.

But we met not many more times at my father's house, under so favorable
and happy circumstances, nor gathered around his board with everything in
such good cheer, and prospects so bright.



CHAPTER XXIX.

MY WATCH LOST AND VISIT TO CANADA.


Mother's maiden name was Melinda Light. Her mother died when she was
quite young. She and father were married when she was about nineteen
years old. She took one of her youngest brothers to live with her, and
she acted more the part of a mother than a sister to him. She sent him to
school and gave him a good education. His name was Allen Light and he was
thoroughly qualified to officiate in the capacity of a pedagogue. He
taught a number of terms, prudently saved his wages and bought father's
little farm, before we left the state of New York. He married a young
woman, who had some capital of her own, before we came away, and they
settled on father's old place, and lived there when we came to Michigan.
For this uncle I did some of my first working out, mostly picking up
stone; he gave me a shilling a day. I worked for him until I had, what I
thought was quite a purse of money and I brought some of it to Michigan.

As father lived in a hired house I had my own time, during my vacations
when I was not going to school. One man was quite displeased with me,
because I refused to work for him for sixpence a day. Another man for
whom I did work in haying, and spread hay after two or three mowers and
raked after, never paid me anything. I supposed he would give me eighteen
cents or two shillings a day. I worked for him four days; he was a rich
man at that time. I wanted father to ask him for it for me, but he said
if the man wasn't a mind to pay it let him go.

Thirty years afterward, when I was there, I met the same man, he was
riding a horse down a hill as we were going up. I asked my cousin who he
was and when he told me I remembered the work I had done for him. I
inquired, of my cousin, about his circumstances; he said that he used to
be a rich man, but that he had lost his property and was poor. I am sure,
I didn't feel much like sympathizing with him.

Uncle Allen wrote to mother very often after she came to Michigan. He
told her how much he missed her, that she had been a mother to him. He
said the doors of the house, as he turned them on their hinges, seemed to
mourn her absence. It was this brother and his family that we wanted to
see the most. We heard from him often and learned that he had been
successful in business. He bought two farms, joining the one he bought of
father, and one about a mile off and paid for them, they were farms which
father and mother knew very well. We learned, from others, that he was a
wealthy, prominent and influential man, in that old country. Fickle
fortune had smiled on him and he had taken what she offered to give. In
the fall we were going to see them. The war of the rebellion had
commenced, 1861, when we got ready to go and see them.

Some three or four years before this I hired three or four colored men,
who came from Canada, to work for me. The right name of one of them, I
think I never knew, it was necessary for him to keep it to himself.
Campbell and Obadiah were the names of the other two.

The people of the United States, both North and South, were very much
excited, at that time, upon the subject of slavery. The Government had
passed a law, in favor of the South, thundering forth its penalties
against any one who should aid or harbor, feed or employ one who was a
fugitive slave. That law required northern men to turn out when notified,
leave their business, help to hunt and chase the fugitive down, capture
him and help to put on his fetters. So it was not for me to know the name
of the one, who had been recently a slave.

Campbell had a considerable confidence in me and told me a little of the
history of the escaped slave, (some things I knew already); that when he
ran away, from the land of bondage, he was guided in his flight by the
north star. The slave had heard of Canada and knew if he could reach that
country he would own himself and be a free man. If he ever had a family
his wife and children would be his, and would not be owned by any one
else. They would belong to himself and not another. To gain his freedom
he traveled mostly nights. When he came to a creek or river, if he
couldn't find a bridge or boat, he either swam or waded across. While on
his journey he subsisted on fruit or grain, anything he could get hold
of. When he saw it was coming light, in the morning, he would select him
a place a little way from the road, if he happened to be in one, in a
swamp or woods, or any place that offered him a hiding spot, and there
spend the day sleeping or watching. When everything was quiet in the
evening he would come out of his hiding place, set his face toward the
north and hurry on. He was trying to leave his master as fast as
possible, and every night he was making the distance greater between
them. Sometimes, when he reached the road, he would stop and listen to
see if he could hear the sound of horses' hoofs, or men approaching him,
or the shrill yelp of the blood hounds, that might have discovered his
whereabouts or been on his tracks. If he heard nothing to alarm him he
hastened on. Sometimes he was bare-footed and bare-headed, with no one to
pity him, or know the anguish of his heart, but his Creator.

When night had spread her mantle over him, and the innumerable stars
appeared, sprinkled over the vault of heaven, millions of miles away, all
joined together to shower down upon the poor fugitive slave their rays of
light. The faithful old north star, with its light beckoned him on to
freedom until he got among friends and was safely taken, by the
under-ground railroad, into Canada.

So I knew these colored men, while working for me, had some fear that one
of them, at least, might be arrested and taken back into slavery. They
didn't feel safe in working so far from Canada. But I am sure if I had
heard of his master's approach, or his agent's, I should have conducted
him, or the three, six miles, through the woods, to Detroit River,
procured a boat and sent them across to Canada, regretting the existence
of the "Fugitive Slave Law," and obeying a higher law.

As I have said I hired these three, from Canada, to help me through my
haying and harvesting. I also gave them some other jobs. I relate this
circumstance as it comes in connection with mother's visit to the East
and what I said to my uncle there.

The names of two of these men were Campbell and Obadiah, as I have
already stated, and these were all the names I ever knew for them.
Campbell was an oldish man, and I found him to be very much of a man,
trusty, ingenious and faithful in everything he did for me. Obadiah was a
young man. He told me his parents died when he was young, that he had a
sister younger than himself and a brother still younger. He said that he
wanted to keep them together and provide them a home. This young woman
kept house for my three workmen. She frequently came down to our house
and helped Mrs. Nowlin. She seemed to be very nice and smart and had
access to our house.

After I had finished my haying and harvesting they moved back to what, I
think, was styled the "Reservation" in Canada, near Windsor. A short time
after they were gone I missed my watch. It was kept hanging up in my
room. It had unaccountably disappeared and seemed to be gone. I made up
my mind, after all of my kindness to the colored people, that the girl
had taken my watch and given it to her brother, Obadiah, or that at least
he knew something about it, and that they had carried it to Canada. I
wanted my watch and hated to lose it; what made it seem worse was its
being taken from me under such circumstances. I made up my mind that I
could contrive to get it again.

I went out to Dearborn, saw the Deputy-Sheriff of Wayne County, Daniel D.
Tompkins, told him the circumstances and what my suspicions were, and my
plan, and asked him if he would go with me to Canada. He said he would. I
told him that I would come out with my team, he and I would go to Canada
and decoy Obadiah across the river, have the papers ready and arrest him
in Detroit. I had made up my mind that he had the watch or knew its
whereabouts. I thought he would be glad to give it up in order to get out
of the scrape, and all I wanted was, somehow, to get my watch.

Accordingly, in the morning I took my team and we started, went to
Detroit, drove down to the wharf and waited for the large ferry boat to
come to her wharf. Mr. Tompkins was a shrewd man. He thought that he
would cross on the little ferry boat, that was then in, and see what he
could learn on the other side, and got aboard and went over. While I was
waiting I spoke to a mulatto and asked him if he was acquainted in
Canada, and what they called the reservation back of Windsor, three or
four miles. I told him I wanted to find a man by the name of Campbell. (I
thought I should be able to find Campbell as he was the oldest man and he
would be able to tell me where Obadiah was.) The mulatto asked me what
his given name was. I told him I didn't know, I always called him
Campbell. He said there were two men by the name of Campbell there; they
were brothers and one of them was a preacher. I told him I thought one of
them was the man I wanted to see. He stepped back by the corner of a
saloon and commenced talking with another colored man privately; soon
another one joined them, and there were three. I noticed them, as they
cast sly glances at me, and I thought they were making some remarks about
me, or my rig. I had a large team hitched to a covered carriage,
double-seated. I led my horses on to the ferry boat, and when it started,
two of the colored men stepped aboard. We went across to Canada, I led my
horses on to the wharf and found my comrade there waiting for me. I asked
him if he had found out where they lived; he said not. We got into the
carriage and started for the reservation, being sure that no one knew
anything about our business but ourselves, however, I thought, from what
I had seen, that things appeared rather suspicious.

We drove up the river road. There was another road running back farther
from the river, into the country, which also led to the reservation. We
drove along a pretty good jog for a mile or two, and who should we meet
but the old man Campbell! He seemed very glad to see me, and came right
up to shake hands with me. He wondered how I came to be in Canada, and
inquired very particularly about the health of my family. I asked him
where Obadiah was, told him I wanted to see him. He pointed across the
road and said, that he came down with him and stopped there to get an ax
helve. Said he would run in and tell him, that I had come, and in a
minute out they came; Obadiah laughing and looking wonderfully pleased
to see me. Of course I had to appear friendly, although I didn't feel
very well pleased. I supposed that I would have to wear two faces that
day; but I was spared the disagreeable task. I told Campbell and
Obadiah, that I had come over to see them, that I had a little job on
hand which I wanted to have done and that if they would go to Detroit
with me I would tell them about it. They said they would go and I told
them to get into the carriage. They said they could walk, they were
afraid of soiling it; I told them to tumble in and I would take them to
Windsor in a few minutes.

While we were talking up came a colored man on horseback, his horse upon
the jump, breathing as if he had rode him fast. He spoke to Campbell and
took him one side and talked with him. Then Campbell stepped back to me
laughing and told me what the man said. He said: "Heaps of colored
people" thought I was a "Kentuckian;" they said, I looked like one and
that my team and carriage looked like a Kentucky rig. The man would not
believe but that I was one, and thought that I had come to get a colored
woman, who had been a slave in Kentucky; and he said, that there was a
great excitement among the colored people about it.

I learned something of the circumstance; that woman had been a slave in
Kentucky. Her master thought a great deal of her, treated her with much
kindness, in fact made quite a lady of her and gave her liberties and
privileges, which thousands of other slaves never enjoyed. But she made
up her mind, that she wouldn't be the property of any one; her life
should be her own. She ran away to Canada to gain her liberty. When she
arrived there, she didn't find every thing as pleasant as she had
expected and expressed a willingness to return to her master and slavery,
in the land of bondage. Through a secret agent, her master had learned
where she was. He made a bargain with the preacher, Campbell, to get her
back. He was to have quite a sum of money if he succeeded in persuading
her to return to her master.

The colored people had found it out and every man of them branded the
preacher Campbell, as a traitor and enemy to his race. They were watching
him and the colored woman, and were determined, that no one who had
gained their liberty should ever be subjected to slavery again, if they
could prevent it.

Campbell and Obadiah got into the carriage. By this time we had
convinced the first trooper, that I actually was a Michigan man (for he
saw for himself, that I had no woman) and we started back toward
Windsor. We shortly after met another horseman following up; when he met
us he turned with us. They had alarmed all of the colored people on the
road and nearly every man had volunteered for duty. They told us that
some men had gone on the other road, on horse back, to cut us off in
case we turned that way.

I began to make up my mind that, sure enough some how or other, we had
raised quite an excitement among the colored people. We were attended by
quite a cortege. They seemed to be paying a good deal of attention to a
couple of Michigan men. We had attendants on foot and on horse back,
before and behind, and we were quietly making our way toward Windsor. If
persons, who did not know us, and knew nothing of the affair or
circumstance, had stood in the main street in Windsor, opposite the
ferry, and seen us come in, attended by our retinue, they might have
thought, that I, a Michigan farmer, had the King of the Sandwich Islands
accompanied by some great Mogul, that I was their driver and that the
Deputy Sheriff, of Wayne County, Michigan, was their footman.

When we came up opposite the ferry, the crowd of colored men was so
great, we had to stop and give an account of ourselves. They had raised
the alarm in Detroit and she had furnished her quota of colored men for
the emergency. The excitement had helped the ferry business a little.

We found ourselves surrounded by a large concourse of people. I told
them, that I did not know anything about the woman nor of Kentucky. Some
of them wouldn't believe but what there was actually a woman in the
carriage and they had to step up and look in and examine it, in order to
satisfy themselves. Luckily, some of those who came across from Detroit
knew me and knew that I was no Southerner.

Campbell was my main spokesman. He was a very sensible man and more than
an average talker. He said: "Why gemman, I know this man well; he libs in
Dearbu'n. I worked for him heaps of times, often been to his house. We're
goin to Detroit wid him to see 'bout a job."

One colored man, more suspicious than the rest, crowded his way through
up to the carriage, opened the door, took Obadiah by the arm and told him
to get out, that he wouldn't let him go across; he said he was a young
man and it was dangerous for him to go over. Obadiah said that he knew
"Misser Nowlin fust rate," that he had worked for him and that he had
more work for him to do and he must go over. Other men, who knew me,
reasoned the case with them, and they finally concluded it was a false
alarm, closed the carriage door and we were permitted to drive on to the
ferry. We soon crossed back to Detroit; to what some of the colored
people considered so dangerous a place for their race.

I had Campbell hold the horses while my friend, Mr. Tompkins, and I
consulted together concerning Obadiah. I told my friend, that I hadn't
been able to detect any guilt in Obadiah from the first to the last. I
thought if he had been guilty he would have been alarmed, and have
allowed himself to have been taken out of the carriage in Windsor, and
would not have crossed the river with us. Mr. Tompkins had made up his
mind to the same thing. T stepped back to them and said, that I had
consulted with my friend and changed my mind, that I wouldn't do anything
about the job then. I have no doubt, they thought the colored people had
raised such an excitement it had discouraged me and cheated them out of a
job. (It is seen that the job I wished done just then, was to get my
watch, and I had thought that Obadiah was the one who could help me
accomplish it.) I told them, some other time when I had work I would
employ them, and I did employ Campbell a number of times after that. I
gave them money to get them some dinner and to pay their passage back, as
I had paid it over. I left them feeling first rate; they never knew the
object of my visit. They must have thought that I treated them with a
great deal of respect.

When I reached home at night my pocket book was a little lighter, my trip
had cost me something. I told my folks that if they had made out in
Canada, that I was a southern man and that I was after that woman, it
would have been doubtful about my ever getting home and that it would
have taken three hundred Michigan troops to have gotten us out of
Windsor, dead or alive. But I do say to exonerate those colored people
from all suspicion, in the affair, that, some time after, the watch was
found, nicely wrapped up in a piece of cloth and in a bureau drawer,
where it had been laid away carefully and forgotten.



CHAPTER XXX.

MOTHER'S VISIT TO THE EAST--1861.


I go with her, accompanied by my wife and brother John S. As the train we
wished to take did not stop at Dearborn I had a hired man, with my team,
take us to Detroit. Father went with us to Detroit and to the Michigan
Central Depot. We went aboard the railroad ferry boat and were soon
across the river and on the cars on the "Great Western Railway." We were
soon receding very fast from Michigan; going across lots and down through
the woods of Upper Canada. I tried to see as much as I could of the
country, while we were swiftly passing through it. I told mother we would
manage it so as to see the whole route, either going or coming, by
daylight. I didn't see anything in particular to admire in Canada until
we got down near London and beyond. Then I saw some good country and I
thought it would compare favorably with Michigan land.

Just before sundown we got to the swinging bridge, which hangs over and
across Niagara River. We crossed it very carefully. Just as the sun was
about half hid beyond the Western horizon our car reached terra-firma in
the state of New York. I felt a little more secure and at home, than I
felt when leaving Canada, when we had reached our native state.

In a little while we were aboard the cars of the "New York Central
Railroad" and making our way through the darkness rapidly, toward the
east. I told mother we must try and get a good rest, that night, on the
way to Albany. We located ourselves the best we could for the night. We
had only gone a little ways when, all at once, there was a terrible
rattling and jingling, made by the passing of another train. It made a
noise something like the shelf of a crockery store tumbling down and
breaking in pieces glass ware, earthen ware and all. This noise was
accompanied with a heavy rumbling sound which shook the ground and the
car we were in and caused them to tremble. The flash of the light of the
passing train, as it sped on its way, was so quick by us that it was
impossible to see whether it was a light or not. It appeared like the
ghost of a light or a spectre in its flight through the darkness, for a
moment and it was gone. It left no trace behind that I could see. There
had two or three of those trains of cars passed us before I was able to
make out what made the extra noise. Not having any knowledge that there
was a double track there, and never having rode where there was one
before, it took me a little while, to make up my mind in regard to it.

Both trains going at full speed, in the night, the one we passed
vanishing so quickly, yet not taking the impression it made on us with
its whizzing, hissing, tearing sound, it seemed like some fierce demon
from Tartarus bent on an errand of annihilation. But it was only another
train, like unto the one we were enjoying, and, if as successful as the
officers of the "New York Central Railroad" wished, it would only seem to
annihilate time for its transient occupants. For the coal miner's
invention seemed to make as much discount on time as any wonder of the
last age except our American Morse' lightning talker. We found there was
but very little sleep or rest for us that night. I could look out of the
car window and peer into the darkness and see lights dotted along here
and there; every once in a while, they seemed low down and looked some
like the lights from the back windows of low log cabins. I made out that
they were lights on board of canal boats. I recollected having passed
along there about thirty years before, and that I jumped into the canal
and got terribly wet. Now we were traveling at a more rapid rate; yes, as
far in one hour as we did in all day then, with a large train of
passengers. It was impossible for mother to get any rest that night. Just
as it got nicely light, in the morning, we arrived at Albany.

No doubt there were on that train, who rode through the night with us,
the churchman, the statesman, the officer and men who would quickly dress
themselves in blue and march, under the old flag to defend our country.
Farmers and mechanics, men and women of almost every station in life were
there. Some went one way and some another, each intent upon what they
thought concerned them most at the time.

We went to a restaurant for breakfast and especially to get a good cup of
tea for mother. (It had been rather a tedious night for her.) Then we
went on board a ferry boat and crossed over the North River, then took
the "Harlem Railroad" for Pattison, where we arrived about noon. This
was within three miles of where mother was brought up and I was born. We
hired a livery team to take us to Uncle Allen Light's. In going we passed
by a school house where I learned my "A, B, Abs."

Mother's heart beat high with emotions of joy as she neared her much
beloved brother's dwelling. She had always thought of him as the young
man she left thirty years before; but she found that the frosts of thirty
winters had changed his locks as well as hers.

I asked the driver if Allen Light was much of a farmer; he said that he
was. I asked him if he kept a good many cattle; he said he did. I told
him when he got there to let the valises remain in the carriage, and to
cover them up, after we got out, with the robes so they would not be
seen, and that I wanted him to wait a little while, and I would try and
buy uncle's fat cattle. At least, I would sound him a little and see what
kind of mettle he was made of, and he would see the result. I made a
special bargain with mother and she promised to keep still and keep her
veil over her face until I introduced her. She told me afterward, she
never would make another such a bargain as that with me. She said, it was
too hard work for her, when she saw them to keep from speaking.

Just before we made this visit, my brother and I went to see friends
west, and viewed some prairies of Illinois. We visited Chicago, the great
city of the West, went through it where we saw a great deal of it. We
went into the City Hall, or Court House, and up its winding stairs to a
height so great, that we could overlook most of the city. I saw that the
city covered a good deal of ground. From the elevated position we were
occupying, we looked down and saw men and women walking, in the street
below us, and they looked like a diminutive race. As I looked I thought
the ground was rather flat and level for a city, but we made up our minds
it was a, great place. Some of the merchandise of all the world was
there. We came home feeling very well satisfied with our own city,
Detroit. For the beauty of its scenery and the location of the city I
should give my preference to the "City of the Straits."

Now I had gotten away down east. I had rode a little ways on the outside
of Cowper's wheel. We had all got out of the carriage, in front of
uncle's house, went up to the door and knocked and all went in. I asked
if Mr. Light lived there. Uncle said he was the man. Aunt brought chairs
for the ladies and they sat down. She asked them if they would take off
their things, they refused, as much as to say, they were not going to
stop but a few minutes. I asked uncle immediately, if he had some fat
cattle to sell. He said he had some oxen that he would sell, and we went
out to look at them. Of course I was more anxious to see how uncle
appeared than I was to see the cattle. They were in the barnyard near the
house. I tried to make uncle think, that I had cattle on the brain the
most of anything. I walked around them, viewed them, felt of them,
started them along, asked uncle how much they would weigh, &c. I kept a
sly eye on uncle, to see how much in earnest he was and how he looked. He
was a portly, splendid looking man. He appeared, to me, to be a good,
hale, healthy, honest farmer, well kept and one who enjoyed life. He
would sell his property if he got his price, not otherwise. He was rather
austere and independent about it. He asked me my name and where I was
from. (This is a trait of eastern men, down near Connecticut, to ask a
man his name and where he lives and, sometimes, where he is going.) I saw
that uncle was getting me in rather close quarters, but I talked away as
fast as possible, walking around and looking at the cattle. I asked him
what he would take for them, by the lump, I was trying to evade the
questions, that he had asked me.

I told him that my home was wherever I happened to be, that I paid the
cash for every thing which I bought, that I had just come from Illinois,
where I had relatives, and down through Michigan. I told him that I was
very well acquainted in some parts of Michigan, that I had been in Canada
and that a great many people there called me a "Kentuckian;" and I didn't
know as it mattered what I was called so long as I was able to pay him
for his cattle. I wanted to know the least he would take for them; he
told me. Then I said, I would consider it, we would go to the house and
see how the ladies were getting along.

Going along I made up my mind that uncle thought I was rather an
eccentric drover. He seemed to be interested in what I had said about
Michigan and wanted to know something about the country. When we went
into the house, I saw that mother was getting impatient and our livery
driver sat there yet, waiting to hear how it came out and to deliver
our satchels.

Mr. Light, your name sounds very familiar to me, I have heard the name,
Light, often before. Have you any relatives living in the West? He said
he had two sisters living in Michigan, in the town of Dearborn. Why, said
I, I have been in the town often and am well acquainted there I know a
good many of the people. It is ten miles west of Detroit on the Chicago
road. I saw he began to take great interest in what I said. I asked if he
thought he would know one of his sisters if she were present. He said he
thought he would. I told him there was one there.

Then they threw off all restraint and met as only loved ones can after so
long a separation. Uncle was overjoyed to see her again, upon earth, and
mother was delighted to see him and Aunt Betsey. The light of other days,
youth and happy associations of life flashed up before them in memory
clear and vivid, which touched the most sensitive chord of their hearts
and caused them to vibrate, in love for one another. They visited as only
two who love so well and have been separated so long can visit. Minds
less sensitive, than theirs, cannot imagine with what degree of intensity
of spirit and feeling, they told over to each other, first some of the
scenes of their youth, which they enjoyed together so many years before,
then the absence of loved ones dear to them both. A father, two brothers
and a sister had departed their life since mother moved to Michigan. Ah!
what changes thirty years had produced! Their voices, which mother had
heard so often there, she never would hear again and the smile of their
countenances would never greet her more. They were gone and their places
left vacant. A great many former acquaintances of mother had also
disappeared. They talked about the hardships they had endured while apart
and of some things they had enjoyed which were as bright spots, or
oases, in the desert of their separation.

Now as I was there, I wished to visit the place where I had been in days
of yore, in my childhood. The places had changed some but I could go to
every place I remembered. The distance, from one place to another, didn't
seem more than half as far as I had it laid out in my mind.

The country appeared very rough to me. What we used to call hills, looked
to me like small mountains. I supposed the reason was because I had been
living so long in a level country. The rocks and stones appeared larger
and the stones seemed to lie thicker on the ground than I had supposed.
The ledges and boulders appeared very strange to me I had been gone so
long. I found that the land was very natural for grass, where it wasn't
too stony. It produced excellent pasture upon the hillsides, good meadow
on the bottom and ridges, where it was smooth enough and not so stony but
that it could be mowed.

I went to see our old spring. It was running yet. Uncle had plenty of
fruit. I looked for the apple trees that I used to know and they had
almost entirely disappeared. I saw where they had raised good corn and
potatoes on uncle's place. Oats, that season, had been a very poor crop.
Wheat, uncle said they couldn't raise, but they could raise good crops of
rye. I passed by another school house where I had attended school. The
same building where I got one pretty warm whipping for failing to get a
lesson. The school buildings which I saw there both looked old and
dilapidated. I thought they looked poor in comparison to our common
school houses in Michigan. I had a good many cousins, who lived there;
scattered around. I went to see as many of them as I could. I had one
cousin, who lived off about four or five miles. I wished very much to see
her for I remembered her quite well, we were young together. Uncle's
folks said she was married and lived on a ridge that they named. Cousin
Allen said he would go with me to see her, so we started. Before we got
there we had about a mile to go up hill. Cousin got along very well and
didn't seem to mind it, but it was up hill business for me to climb that
ridge. I wondered how teams could get up and down safely; they must have
understood ascending and descending better than our Michigan teams or, it
seemed to me, they would have got into trouble. We finally got on to the
top of what they called a ridge. I found some pretty nice table land up
there, for that country, and two or three farms. After we reached the
highest part of the ridge we stopped and I looked off at the scenery, it
appeared wild and strange. I could look north and see miles beyond where
uncle lived and see hills and ridges. I could look in every direction and
the same strange sights met my view. I think my cousin told me, that to
the southwest of us, we could see some of the mountains near the North
river. While I looked at the rugged face of the country, it didn't seem
hardly possible that that could be so old a country, and Michigan so new.

West of us we could look down into a hollow or valley. The flat appeared
to be about eighty rods wide, on the bottom between the ridges. West of
the hollow there arose another great ridge, like unto the one on which we
stood. Along this hollow there was a creek and a road running lengthwise
with the hollow. I saw a man, with a lumber wagon and horses, driving
along the road; from where I stood, and looked at them, they didn't
appear larger than Tom Thumb and his Shetland ponies.

We finally got to my cousin's, I found that she had changed from a little
girl to an elderly woman. She was very glad to see me and wanted me to
stay longer than I felt inclined to, for I wanted to be back to the old
home again, viewing the scenes of my childhood as, to me, there was a
sort of fascination about them.

Up there I noticed a small lake, near the top of the ridge. I thought
it a strange place for a lake. I asked cousin if there were fish in it,
he said there were, that they caught them there sometimes. I asked if
the lake was deep; he said in some parts of it they could not find
bottom. I looked over it away down into the hollow beyond, and thought
there might be room enough below for it to be bottomless; it might head
in China for all I knew. As I gazed I thought, can it be possible that
this country appears so much rougher, to me, than it used to, and yet
be the same? As I stood and peered away from one mountain and hill to
another, at the gray and sunburnt rocks, jagged ledges, precipices and
the second growth of scrubby timber, that dotted here and there and
grew on the sides of hills, where it was too stony and steep for
cultivation, it astonished me.

My friends appeared well pleased with their native hills and vales and I
have no doubt they thought, as they expressed it to me, that they lived
near the best market and that New York was ahead. But the place how
changed to me! If I could have seen some wigwams and their half nude
inhabitants, on the hill sides, in the room of the houses of white men,
and have witnessed the waving of the feathery plume of the red man, above
his long black hair, I should have thought, from the view and the face of
the land, that that old country was very new and wild and that Michigan,
where I lived at least, was the old country after all.

Nature seemed to be reversing the two countries. It appeared to me like
the wild--wild--west Yosemite valley and mountains, or some other place.
How strange! Here I am standing upon my native soil. I used to think it
was the brightest spot upon this dim place men call earth.

In coming down the hill, I had to be cautious how far I stepped, in order
to keep upright, as I was liable to move too fast, get up too much
motion, I had to hold back on myself and keep one knee at a time crooked.
In that way I got safely down. I was a little cautious, for I had on me
scars made by falling on stones and cutting myself, when near that place
long years before, when I was a little boy driving father's cows, to and
fro, night and morning, from the new place he bought, (the buying of
which was one great reason of our going to Michigan to find a new home
and live where white men had never lived before.)

I went back to uncle's and told him, that I had made him a pretty good
visit. I tried to get him and some of the rest of my friends to promise
me to go west and see our country and judge of it for themselves. They
said we western men had to bring our produce, and whatever we had to
sell, down to the New York market, in order to dispose of it. I made up
my mind, if New York was the head and mouth of Uncle Sam, that his body
and heart were in the great central West, his hands upon the treasury at
Washington and his feet were of California, like unto polished gold,
washed by the surf of the Pacific Ocean. When Uncle Sam wished them wiped
he could easily place them on his snow topped foot-stool, the Rocky
mountains, and Miss Columbia, with a smile would wipe them with the
clouds and dry them in the winds of the Nevada, while she pillowed his
head softly on the great metropolis, New York, where the Atlantic breeze
fans his brow and lets him recline in his glory, the most rapidly risen
representation of a great nation that the world has ever seen.

When Uncle Sam brings his hand from Washington it is full of green backs
and gold, which he scatters broadcast among his subjects. Here and there
across the continent it flies, like the leaves in autumn, so that it can
be gathered by persevering men, who till the soil or follow other
pursuits of industry. It is free for all who will get it honestly.

A little east and north of the garden city, is Michigan, one of Uncle
Sam's gardens. I think it is a beautiful place, dotted here and there and
nearly surrounded by great fountains that sparkle, glimmer and shine, in
the sun, like the rays of the morning--beautiful garden. It is
interspersed, here and there, with groves of primeval evergreens and
crossed now and then by beautiful valleys and dotted by flowery walks and
pleasant homes of the gardeners. It abounds in picturesque scenery, has a
very productive soil and helps to furnish some of Uncle Sam's family, of
about forty millions, with many of the good things of life, even down in
"Gotham." So we get some of their money, from down there, if they are
ahead of us and the head of America. I am satisfied for one, to live in
one of the peninsula gardens of the West.

As my wife wished to visit her native place on the Hudson River, we would
have to stop there a short time, and as my wife and brother wished to
visit the city of New York we bade good by to uncle and his family and
started. Took the "Harlem Railroad" and in a short time were in the city.
We put up at the "Lovejoy Hotel" opposite the City Hall. We had rooms and
everything comfortable. We visited the Washington market and some of the
ships that lay in the harbor. We went on board one ocean steamer, went
through it and examined it. We crossed the river to Brooklyn. Visited
Greenwood Cemetery and saw all the sights we could conveniently, on that
side of the river. One night we visited Barnum's American Museum, after
this we went to see the Central Park and other places. We made up our
minds that we had seen a good deal and that New York was an immense city.



CHAPTER XXXI.

LEAVING NEW YORK CITY FOR HOME.


We thought it was about time we started for home. We began to want to get
back to Michigan, so we agreed to start. Brother J. S. was to take the
"Harlem Railroad," go to uncle's, stop and visit, get mother and meet us,
on a certain day at Albany. My wife and I took the "Hudson River
Railroad" and came as far as Peekskill. We visited together the place of
her nativity, where she lived until she was twelve years old. She found
many very warm friends there among her relatives. We passed through
Peekskill hollow to visit some of her friends. There I saw some beautiful
land. It looked nice enough for western land, if it had not been for the
rugged scenery around it.

When the day came, that we were to meet mother at Albany, we took the
cars and started. When we passed Fishkill I knew the place well. I had
been there a number of times before, when I was a boy. Newburg, on the
opposite side of the river, appeared the most natural of any place I had
seen. Along the river it appeared beautiful, and the mountains grand. It
was the first time I had been there since we moved to Michigan. We soon
passed Poughkeepsie, the place where we took the night boat, so many
years before, bound for the territory of Michigan.

As we approached the Catskill mountains, I should say ten or fifteen
miles away, they looked like a dark cloud stretched across the horizon;
and when we came nearer and nearer the highest one, and it was in plain
sight, it appeared majestic and grand. From the car window, we could see
the mountain house that stood upon its towering summit. We could see
small clouds, floating along by the top of the mountain. That was the
greatest mountain I had ever seen; yet it is small in comparison to some
in our own country. Not one third so high in the world as Fremont's peak,
where he unfurled the banner of our country, threw it to the breeze and
it proudly floated in the wind, higher than it had ever been before.

We soon got to Albany, went to a hotel near the railroad depot, called
for a room and told the landlord that we would occupy it until the next
morning. As mother could not rest on the cars, I thought it would be
easier for her to stay there over night, and we would see some of the
western part of the state of New York the next day.

After dinner we locked up our room and Mrs. Nowlin and I went out to take
a look at Albany. We went up to the state house, the capitol, and visited
the room, where the legislators of the "Empire state" meet to make laws
for her people. There we saw the statue of the extraordinary man,
Secretary of State and statesman, William H. Seward. He, who shortly
after, was attacked by an assassin, where he lay sick upon his bed, in
his room at Washington and was so severely wounded, that the nation
despaired of his life for some time.

We went back to the hotel, and as the time was nearly up for the Harlem
train from New York City, I went back across the river to meet mother and
brother John Smith. The train shortly came in and they had come. Brother
had mother upon his arm. She was very glad to see me. I got hold of her
and she had two strong arms of her boys to lean upon. I told her we had a
room over in Albany and were keeping house; that we would stop there all
night and start again in the morning. It would make it more easy for her,
and we would not have those jingling, rattling cars passing in the night,
to keep us awake. We crossed over the river and went to our quarters. We
four were all together again and had some new things to tell each other
as we had been apart a few days. We passed the night very comfortably.

Early the next morning a regiment of soldiers, from the west, came
hurrying on to the seat of war to defend the flag of our Country and the
glorious Union. It rained very hard, I stood one side and noticed the
"Boys in Blue" as they came pouring out of the depot. Their officers did
not seem to have them under very good control. Their discipline wasn't
very good yet; after they got out, there were several of them who seemed
to be inclined to go on their own hooks. The officers had about all they
could do to keep them along. One physically powerful, hardy looking man
passed near me. He said, he thought it was a little hard, early in the
morning, after a fellow had been jammed and bruised all night and it
rained that he couldn't be allowed to stop and take a drop. The officer
told him to keep in the ranks. I felt interested to know if they were
Michigan men, but was not able to learn where they were from.

In a few minutes we were aboard of our train and started again for
Michigan. The prospect of getting home soon elated mother very much. She
had lost most of her attachment for her native place, and it was no
comparison, in her mind, to her Michigan. She said uncle offered to give
her a farm, if she would move back there and spend the remainder of her
days by him. But it was nothing in comparison to Michigan, it was an
inducement far too small for her to consider favorably. We were coming
home as fast as steam could bring us and it was raining all the time. I
told mother I thought we should run out from under the rain clouds before
night, but that was a mistake. It rained all day long and was dark when
we got to the suspension bridge. When we got off the cars, the runners
were a great annoyance to mother. I told her not to pay any attention to
them, we would find a good place. There was a gentleman standing near us,
who heard what I said. He told me that there was a good house, the "New
York Hotel," which stood close by. Said he was not interested for any,
but that that house was a good one. I told mother we would go there and
we started. I was helping mother along and told my wife and brother to
follow us. It was hard work for them to get away from the runners. They
hated very much to give them up, and they were making as much noise over
them as a flock of wild geese. But my wife and brother left them and
followed us. We got to the "New York House" and called for a room. We
found it to be a very good house. We wanted to stay over night there, as
it would be better for mother and we wished to go up and see the Falls
next day. The next morning after breakfast my wife, brother and I went up
to the Falls. As it was still raining mother stayed in her room, she
didn't wish to go.

We went up on the American side and went down three hundred steps of
stairs to the foot of the Falls. After this we viewed Goat Island, went
across it to the stone tower, went up its rickety winding stairs to the
top and looked upon the majestic scenery of nature, which was spread out
before us there. I saw no place there where it appeared so terribly grand
to me as it did when I stood at the foot of the Falls. There we went out
on the rocks as far as we could, and not get too wet with the spray, and
viewed the water as it poured over the cataract and plunged into the
abyss below, beat itself into foam and spray, which settled together
again and formed the angry waves that went rolling and tumbling away to
the sea. There I heard the sound of many waters thundering in their fall
and I thought, while looking at that sublime and wonderful display of
nature, that the waters of the river and creeks of my own "Peninsula
State," after turning hundreds of mills, slaking thirst and giving life
to both man and beast, came there for an outlet. It plunges into Niagara
River and goes gliding away to the ocean; some of it to be picked up by
the wind and rays of the sun and rise in vapor. When formed into clouds
in the atmosphere it is borne back on the wings of the wind, condensed by
the cold air and falls in copious showers of rain upon the earth, to
purify the atmosphere, moisten and fertilize the fields and cause
vegetation to spring forth in its beauty. The rain falling upon the just
and the unjust makes the heart of the husbandman leap for joy, at the
prospect of a bountiful harvest, causes the foliage and the gardens to
put on a more beautiful green, the lilies of the valley and the rose in
the garden ("the transient stars of earth") to unfold themselves more
beautifully. Then the cloud passes away, bearing and sprinkling the
limpid fluid upon other lands, and the sun looks out upon the cool,
healthful, invigorating and refreshing scene. The beautiful rainbow, in
its splendor, seems to span the arch of heaven, placed there as a token
of remembrance, so long before. It lasts but a little while and then
disappears, the cloud also passes away. In this and similar ways the
rivers and creeks are kept supplied with water and the Falls of Niagara
kept continually roaring.

We went back to the "New York House" and shortly after took the cars for
Dearborn. We arrived there about ten o'clock in the evening. Mother
walked home, to the "Castle," a mile, very spryly. She seemed to feel
first rate. She was pleased to get home. Father and the family had
retired for the night when we got there, but father soon had a light and
a fire and was ready to listen to our stories. We told him how near we
had come losing mother. That uncle had offered to give her a farm if she
would come back, live on it and spend her days by him. We told him what
farm it was; he knew the place as he was well acquainted in that country.
We told him if she went back they could go together and he could carry on
the farm. But the inducement was far too small for them to entertain the
thought of going, for a moment. Michigan was their home, had won their
affections and was their favorite place.

I told father, that he must go and visit his native place, see how rough
it was and I would go with him. I thought it would appear rougher to him
than he expected or could imagine. He said he would like to go back
sometime and see the country once more. He kept putting it off from year
to year. It is said, "Procrastination is the thief of time." He never
went. He bought him eight acres more land joining his two places. He paid
for it seventy dollars an acre and had some money left.

Part of the eight acres was a ridge covered with chestnut trees. Father
enjoyed himself there very much, a few of the last falls of his life,
picking up chestnuts. He was a man a little over six feet tall. He walked
straight and erect until the sickness, which terminated his existence in
time, at the age of seventy-six years, in the year 1869. He went the way
of all the earth. The rest of the family and I, missed him very much. Our
counselor and one of our best friends was gone. He had fought his last
battle and finished his course.

Mother survived him. She gave each of the children a silver piece (they
were all old coins of different nations and times, each worth a dollar or
more) which father had saved in an early day. They were in mother's work
basket in the dark room at Buffalo, were brought in it, through the
fearful storm on Lake Erie, to Michigan and saved through all of our hard
times in the wilderness. I have my piece yet, as a keepsake, and I think
my brother and sisters have theirs. After father's death, mother still
lived at the "Castle" and my sister Bessie, who took all the care of her
in her old age that was possible, stayed with her. All the rest of the
children did every thing they could for her comfort. She felt lonesome
without father, with whom she had spent nearly fifty years of her life.
She lived a little over three years after he was gone and followed him.
She was seventy-one years old, in 1873, when her voice was hushed in
death and mother too was gone.

We laid her by father's side in a place selected by himself for that
purpose. It is a beautiful place, about a mile and a half southwest of
where they lived and in plain sight of what was their home.

Long before this there was a voice of one often heard in prayer in the
wilderness, where we first settled, and that voice was mother's.
Father and mother believed in one faith and mother from her youth. For
years they tried to walk hand in hand, in the straight and narrow path,
looking for and hastening to a better country than they had been able to
find on this mundane sphere.





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