The Project Gutenberg eBook, Benjamin of Ohio, by James Otis

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Title: Benjamin of Ohio

A Story of the Settlement of Marietta

Author: James Otis

Release Date: February 23, 2015 [eBook #48344]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



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and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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Map to illustrate
the Story of
Benjamin of Ohio

Benjamin of Ohio

A Story of the Settlement of Marietta




Copyright, 1912, by


W. P. I



The author of this series of stories for children has endeavored simply to show why and how the descendants of the early colonists fought their way through the wilderness in search of new homes. The several narratives deal with the struggles of those adventurous people who forced their way westward, ever westward, whether in hope of gain or in answer to "the call of the wild," and who, in so doing, wrote their names with their blood across this country of ours from the Ohio to the Columbia.

To excite in the hearts of the young people of this land a desire to know more regarding the building up of this great nation, and at the same time to entertain in such a manner as may stimulate to noble deeds, is the real aim of these stories. In them there is nothing of romance, but only a careful, truthful record of the part played by children in the great battles with those forces, human as well as natural, which, for so long a time, held a vast[4] portion of this broad land against the advance of home seekers.

With the knowledge of what has been done by our own people in our own land, surely there is no reason why one should resort to fiction in order to depict scenes of heroism, daring, and sublime disregard of suffering in nearly every form.




Benjamin's Story 9
The Ohio Company 10
Rufus Putnam 13
Colonel Putnam, the Engineer 15
The First Emigrants 16
Building a Fleet 18
Campus Martius 19
The Arrival of General Putnam 21
The Work of the First Emigrants 23
Clearing the Land 25
How Our Company was Formed 27
Making Ready for the Journey 28
Concerning Myself 31
Setting Out 32
Mistress Devoll's Outfit 34
At Providence 37
On the Road to Blooming Grove 39
Plans for the Future 40
On the Water Once More 42
Feasting on Honey 43
Among the Moravians 45
The Rope Ferry 47
The Way through Pennsylvania 49
The Shame of the Girls 50
Meeting with Parson Cutler 51
Ohio Cornfields 53
The Governor and Judges 54
The Name of the Town 56
Campus Martius 58
Independence Day 59
Master Devoll's House 62
The Indian Mounds 63
At Harrisburg 64
Isaac Barker's Sport 66
Uncle Daniel Carter 67
Uncle Daniel Joins Our Company 69
Hard Traveling 71
Mud and Water 72
A Storm of Snow 74
Across the Mountains 76
A Friendly Dunkard 78
Master Hiples's Kindness 80
A Surly Landlord 82
Isaac Flogs the Landlord 83
A Much Needed Lesson 85
A Time of Rest 87
Pack Trains 89
A Night Adventure 90
Fears about the Women and Children 92
Descending the Mountains 95
At the Foot of the Hills 96
Nearing the End of the Journey 98
At Sumrill's Ferry 100
Parting with Uncle Daniel 101
Our Flatboat 102
The Cattle are Sent Away 104
At Pittsburgh 106
Too Much Water 108
Escape of the Women and Children 110
Repairing Damages 112
Our Pilot 114
A Change of Weather 116
Noisy Fear 117
A Real Feast 119
Finding the Canoe 120
Buffalo Creek 122
The March across the Country 124
At Marietta 126
Plans for the Future 128
Inspecting the Town of Marietta 130
A Temporary Home 132
Buying Land 134
Visiting the Savages 137
Captain Haskell's Advice 140
A New Friend 141
Fishing through the Ice 142
The Sabbath in Marietta 144
A Regular Business 146
A Visit from the Savages 147
Building a Home 149
A Great Project 150
The Two Millers 152
The Savages on the Warpath 153





It seems a very long while since I promised to tell you of what I did after coming into this Ohio country, and yet even now I cannot well begin the tale without telling something about the Ohio Company, which was formed, as you know, by General Rufus Putnam.

Twice I have begun the story, and twice I have stopped, understanding that you would not be able to make out why we did this or that, unless you first knew how it chanced that we came to make our homes here.

When you and I, while we were both in Massachusetts, talked about my journeying into this country, I may have spoken in such a way as to give you the idea that I believed it would be possible for me to do much toward the making of a new town.

In fact, I did really then believe that my services would be of great value to those men who expected to[10] build a village here on the Muskingum River; but, although only two years have passed, I already understand that a boy of my age is not of much worth in such an enterprise, more particularly when men like Parson Cutler and General Putnam are at the head of affairs.

Do you remember how old I am? Well, there is here in this town of Marietta a fellow by the name of Jeremy Salter, who has become quite a friend of mine, and the other day he asked my age.

I told him that I was born in December of the year of the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, the election of General Washington to be commander in chief of the armies, and the battle of Bunker Hill, yet, if you will believe me, the dolt was not able to fix the date.

However, my age has nothing to do with our coming from Mattapoisett into Ohio, and now let me try to make it plain how it happened that we of Massachusetts could come so far away and take up land simply because of having bought shares in the Ohio Company.


This is the story as I have heard it from General Putnam himself. It seems that when our war for independence came to an end, the government did not[11] have money enough with which to pay the soldiers for their services, or, as Parson Cutler says, the country was much the same as bankrupt; General Washington himself declared that a wagonload of Continental money would be hardly sufficient to purchase a wagonload of provisions.

Now of course these soldiers must have their wages, and some men in the Congress proposed that the government sell land in the western country in order to raise enough money.

Rufus Putnam surveying land

While this matter was being talked about, Congress ordered that a survey be made of the western lands, and Rufus Putnam himself received an appointment as one of the surveyors; but, not being able to attend[12] to the work personally, he induced an old comrade, by the name of Benjamin Tupper, to take his place.

meeting of the citizens of Massachusetts

When Master Tupper came back to the eastern colonies, after having been over the land, he told General Putnam what a great, grand country it was; and it is said that the two old comrades sat up all night talking over plans for buying land enough to form a colony, and that by daybreak they had decided to call a meeting of the citizens of Massachusetts and the near-by states, to be held at the Bunch of Grapes tavern in Boston, early in the month of March, 1786.[13] This meeting was held, and a company was organized, to be known as the Ohio Associates.

The government had decided to use this land, as I have said, to pay off the soldiers, and this company, formed by General Putnam, employed Parson Manasseh Cutler and Master Winthrop Sargent to make a bargain with Congress. These two men offered to buy one million, five hundred thousand acres of land at one dollar an acre, paying down five hundred thousand dollars when the contract was signed, with the debts due the soldiers reckoned as so much ready money.

Those who had banded themselves together could not raise the remaining million dollars, and the result was that the government cut down the agreement so that our Ohio Company had at its disposal a little more than a million acres of land, instead of a million and a half.


You surely remember what General Putnam has done for his country, or, I should say, what he did, even before he came to Ohio. In 1757, when only nineteen years old, he enlisted as a common soldier in the Provincial army,—for there was then war between England and France,—and served faithfully four years, until the surrender of Montreal, when the army was disbanded.[14] Then he went to his home in New Braintree and worked at the trade of millwright; but he soon discovered that his education was not sufficient to enable him to continue the business to the best advantage, therefore he devoted every moment of his spare time to the study of mathematics.

Rufus Putnam studying mathematics

Seven or eight years afterward, when it was believed the British government would give to those soldiers who had served in the French war certain lands somewhere in the wild western country, Rufus Putnam was selected as one of a party to find out where it would be well for the people to settle.

No sooner had the battle of Lexington been fought than Rufus Putnam was among the first to enlist; and it shows that he gained a good military reputation, for he was made[15] lieutenant colonel of the first regiment raised in Massachusetts.


Because of his knowledge of mathematics he was chosen by the leaders of the American army to lay out the line of defenses round about Boston, and did more than a full share in forcing the British to evacuate that city, because of the skill with which he established the fortifications on Dorchester Heights.

Colonel Putnam, the Engineer

Later he was sent to New York, where he took charge of the defenses on Long Island at Fort Lee, and King's Bridge; and during the year when our people made their formal declaration of independence, Rufus Putnam was appointed engineer, with the rank of colonel and pay at sixty dollars a month.

The next year Colonel Putnam went back to Massachusetts, where he raised and took command of a[16] regiment which he afterward led in the battle of Stillwater and again at Saratoga, covering himself with glory, so I have heard Parson Cutler say.

After the surprise at Stony Point, Colonel Putnam was appointed to the command of a regiment in General Wayne's brigade, continuing to serve with credit to himself, and to the best interests of his country, until 1783, when Congress promoted him to the rank of brigadier general; he remained in the service of the people, filling one position or another, until this Ohio Company was formed, as I have told you.

Another matter which you should bear in mind while thinking of us so far away, is that when Parson Cutler made the trade with the government for land in the Ohio country, he induced the Congress to set aside two entire townships, of thirty-six square miles each, for the support of a university, and in each of the other townships one square mile to be used solely for the support of schools and churches. Therefore, even before any man had begun the building of a home here on the Muskingum River, schools and churches were provided for, which is more, I believe, than can be said regarding most new settlements.


You remember all the talk and excitement in Massachusetts at this time, when so much was being told re[17]garding the beauties of the Ohio country, and you know how eager I was to set out with that first party which left Danvers under the leadership of Major Haffield White on the first day of December, in the year 1787.

the first immigrants

As you also know, these men were to halt somewhere on the Youghiogheny River to build boats, in order to continue the journey by water, and a second party, under the command of General Putnam himself, was to leave Hartford in Connecticut shortly afterward, to join those from Massachusetts.

This second company was really led by Colonel Ebenezer Sproat because General Putnam was forced to go to New York on some business of his own, and did not succeed in overtaking the people until they had come to Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania.



Major Haffield White's party arrived at Sumrill's Ferry, after a long and tedious journey over the old Military Road, on the twenty-third day of January, in the year 1788, and immediately began building boats.

Campus Martius

On the fourteenth of February, General Putnam's party, by which I mean those who set out from Hartford, joined those who were already at the ferry, and the two companies landed here on the bank of the Muskingum River the seventh day of April, in the year 1788.

All this is an old and familiar story; but it is well for me to remind you of it, so that you can the better un[19]derstand how I, who had believed and hoped I was coming into a new country to do my full share in building up a town, found everything, as one might say, ready to hand.

Instead of cutting through the wilderness in order to build houses, we found the land so far cleared that we might get about the home making at once, and during the time the work was being carried on, the people lived in the fort, which General Putnam calls Campus Martius. It is situated near Fort Harmar, a fortification standing on the west bank of the Muskingum River near its mouth, and not far from this town of Marietta. It was built in 1785, and Colonel Josiah Harmar is now in command.


What do I mean by Campus Martius, when I claim to be living in the town of Marietta? When General Putnam and his company arrived here, the first thing they did was to build a fort for the protection, not only of themselves, but of those who might come after; concerning this fort I will tell you later, but first you may be, and probably are, as curious as I was regarding the name.

I asked General Putnam, and he told me it was named after a certain lot of land in the city of Rome, which was used for popular assemblies and military[20] exercises. However, the town itself is called Marietta, after Marie Antoinette of France, who was so brutally killed by her subjects during the Reign of Terror.

building the fort, Campus Martius

Perhaps it would be better if I begin this story by telling you how we got here, for the journey was not only long, but tiresome, and made at the cost of much labor. But yet it seems best to set down all within my knowledge concerning those men who first came out, meaning the party which left Danvers in Massachusetts, and that which started from Hartford in Connecticut.

All that I know about Major White's company during the march is that they came over what is called the old Military Road, across Pennsylvania, until they arrived at the Youghiogheny River, which they crossed, and then went into winter quarters at Sumrill's Ferry.


There they set about building a flatboat, which they called the Mayflower, making her forty-six feet long and twelve feet wide, with a roof deck and a sharp bow, to be propelled by either sails or oars; they built also a smaller flatboat and several canoes.

building a flatboat


It was while they were building this fleet that General Putnam's party joined them, and on the first day of April the new Mayflower, together with the smaller craft, began the voyage down the Ohio, arriving opposite Fort Harmar on the seventh day of April. There were forty-eight men on board the vessels: four surveyors with twenty-two others to attend them, six boat builders, four carpenters, one blacksmith, and eleven so-called common hands.

I myself have heard General Putnam say that when his company arrived at Swatara Creek it was frozen[22] over, but not sufficiently hard to bear the weight of the wagon, and they spent one entire day cutting a passage through the ice. Then, later, he says so great was the quantity of snow as to block up the roads, and when they got as far as Cooper's, at the foot of the Tuscarora mountains, they found old snow twelve inches deep. Nothing save pack horses had passed over it, therefore it was necessary to build sleds and harness the animals one before the other, with the men marching in front to break out the roads, and thus they continued until arriving at the Youghiogheny, as I have already said.

the new Mayflower going down the Ohio River

As you know, our town of Marietta is on the Muskingum River at its mouth where it empties into the Ohio, and I am sending you such a drawing as I have been able to make, so that you may know just where we are located.



Most likely General Putnam decided upon this particular place in which to build a town because Fort Harmar, erected here in the year 1785, would afford a very timely place of refuge in case the Indians made an attack upon our people before they were in condition to defend themselves.

drawing of Marietta

Fort Harmar is on the lower bank of the river, while our town of Marietta is on the opposite side, or what might be called the upper point of land between the Muskingum and the Ohio.


Allen, who is a son of Captain Jonathan Devoll, and came with the first party from Danvers, told me that as soon as our people landed they set about making huts of boards which had been brought with them from Sumrill's Ferry, and at the same time put up a canvas tent for the use of General Putnam, wherein he could transact the business of the new colony, and in such shelters they lived until the fort had been completed.

laws nailed to a tree

The surveyors immediately began laying out the town lots and the farms for those people who had bought shares in the company, and many laws or regulations were made by General Putnam and his friends, which were nailed to the trunk of a large tree on the river bank where all might see them.

The place was then, and is now, as beautiful a spot[25] as one could well imagine. There are fish in the rivers in abundance, and game of every kind to be found in greatest plenty. Just fancy herds of buffaloes and deer roaming through the forest and over the plains, while wild turkeys are found in such numbers as would do your heart good, especially after a good plump one has been cooked on a spit in front of a roaring fire.

There was very little hunting done for sport, however, so Allen Devoll told me. Those people who went out in search of game did so only that they might provide themselves and their companions with food; for the work on every hand was abundant.


Enormous trees in the forest were to be girdled and thus killed that they might the more easily be hewn down, and the soil had to be prepared for planting. That these newcomers were not idle may be understood when I tell you that, during the first spring they were here, one hundred and thirty acres of corn were planted.

Of course there were no cleared fields, such as one might see about Mattapoisett. The seed was put in among stumps, where only the underbrush had been cleared away; therefore a plow could not be run to make a straight furrow.

The greater portion of the work was done with hoes and spades; and already I have had disagreeable ex[26]perience in that kind of labor, which causes one's back to ache woefully and blisters the hands even of those who are accustomed to such toil.

man using hoe in corn field

And now after all this, which is what you might call the beginning of my story, I will tell you of our leaving home, and of that long, wearisome journey across the mountains, when we forded creeks and, if you please, might be said to have walked from one side of the state of Pennsylvania to the other.

I have sometimes regretted that I was not with the company led by Major White, or under the leadership of Colonel Sproat, so that I could say that I was one of the first to step foot in this Ohio country with the idea of making a home; but those voyagers were only men[27] who could perform such work as boat building or surveying, and boys were neither wanted nor allowed.


First you should know that Captain Jonathan Devoll was a member of the company that came here under the leadership of Major White, setting out from Danvers. He had left his family behind in Providence, and because of that fact perhaps, I was given an opportunity to come.

Having neither father nor mother, and being dependent upon those who were willing to provide me with work whereby I might gain a livelihood, there was no one to push forward my claim to become one of the emigrants, save only Mistress Devoll herself, who needed some one to aid her in caring for the children during the journey, for she is not a very strong woman.

Master John Rouse had bought a share in the company and was making ready to start with his family, when he received word that he should bring with him all Captain Devoll's family. Then there was Captain Haskell in our town of Mattapoisett, an old sailor who owned a large covered wagon and two horses.

Master Rouse had only one team of horses; therefore he proposed to Captain Haskell that they join forces, and surely it was a good trade for Master Rouse,[28] since he had a large family to take with him, while the old captain was alone in the world.

Because of the labor involved in driving four horses during so long a time as would be required for the journey, it was decided that young Ben Cushing should be hired as driver, and thus the party was made up, until Mistress Devoll so kindly interfered in my behalf, claiming that she had a right to take with her at least one more lad.


I wish I could describe to you the excitement under which we all labored while making ready for the long journey!

Do you remember the Rouse family? First there is Michael, twenty-two years old; then Bathsheba, who is nineteen or thereabouts; and Elizabeth, two years younger. Cynthia is two years younger than Elizabeth; Ruth is only eleven years old; Stephen, six, and the twins, Robert and Barker, only four.

Now if Mistress Devoll had not needed my services, I should have found ample opportunity of earning my way across to the Ohio country by taking care of the Rouse children.

The most important matter was the preparing of the wagon, where the women would sleep during such nights as we failed to find lodgings in taverns or farm[29]houses, and it was with infinite care that Master Rouse and Captain Haskell almost rebuilt this cart, which was what I believe is generally called a Conestoga wagon, although why it should be given such a name I do not understand, unless it may have been made in some town by the name of Conestoga.

packing the wagon

With so many in the company, you can fancy that it was a difficult matter to decide just what should be taken and what left behind, for it was of the utmost importance that the baggage be reduced to the smallest possible amount, and in order that it might be packed with the greatest economy, boxes were made to fit exactly into the bottom of the wagon, so that no space would be left unoccupied. On top of these were stowed the beds[30] and bedding, while cooking utensils hung around on the inside, where we might get at them handily at mealtime, for, as it proved, very many days we were forced to do our cooking by the roadside, with such fireplaces as could be built up with rocks which we lads gathered.

boys preparing a cooking fire

Two trunks were placed at one end of the wagon, where they served as a barrier to prevent the twins from falling out when they played on the bedding, and upon the axles were hung buckets and such tools as might be needed during the journey, thus giving the outfit a decidedly comical, but perhaps homelike, appearance.

We took with us only a small amount of grain for the horses, trusting to buy all that might be needed until we had journeyed as far as Carlisle in Pennsylvania. After that there would be less chance of coming upon farms where such things could be purchased, and then the animals would be forced to subsist only on grass.



My part of the outfit consisted of the clothes I wore, for I am ashamed to say that I did not own a second coat which would have been presentable in any company. Therefore I did not allow myself to be troubled when the women complained long and bitterly because they had so little with which to work or make themselves comfortable, and for the only time in my life it did seem as if my poverty was really a blessing.

I lived in a perfect fever of excitement during the three weeks we were making ready for the voyage, and on the evening before the eventful day I was so wrought up in my mind that to sleep was an impossibility. From the time I laid myself down on my bed in Master Rouse's stable, until the sun rose, I did not close my eyes in slumber; then I acted as if I had never seen a horse or harness before, for when Ben Cushing called on me to aid him in putting the animals to the pole, my hands trembled so that I could not fasten a buckle, let alone arrange the straps to his liking.

Ben is a careful driver and one who ever looks after the welfare of his beasts. To him a strap too long or too short, a buckle out of place or liable to break, is almost the same as a sin.

I need not have allowed myself to be worked up to[32] such an extent, however, for the first part of our journey was nothing more nor less than pleasure. Half a dozen young girls, on horseback, set off with us, expecting to ride as far as the Long Plain, which is six miles out from Mattapoisett, and the entire population, as it appeared to me, had turned out to see us get under way with that long Conestoga wagon covered with canvas, on the sides of which had been painted, "To the Ohio Country."

starting out in the wagon


What a cheering and shaking of hands, and what a showering of good wishes upon us took place in that Mattapoisett street!

If we could have had Parson Cutler with us to give what you might call an official sanction to the start,[33] as was done when Major White's party set off from Danvers, then I would have been more content. Surely, however, there was no need for me to make complaint, because never before had I witnessed such a scene of excitement as when Ben Cushing gathered up the reins, and the townspeople stood around the heavy wagon until Mistress Rouse cried out in alarm lest some of them be run over. The twins, insisting on going the first mile or more afoot, ran here and there until it seemed to me at times that they were under the very feet of the horses during three minutes of every four.

children in the Conestoga wagon

It was really a relief, when we had drawn out of the town so far that the more excited ones could no longer call out to say once more "good-by" or "God bless you." I ought not to have been so impatient, for many a long day was to pass before I again saw faces on which I could read expressions of good will and friendliness toward me.


This first portion of our journey was quite like a merrymaking. The young women rode either side the wagon; the Rouse girls walked, or sat beside their mother in the big cart, as pleased them best, and the twins, soon tiring of striving to entangle themselves with the horses' legs, were ready to come in under the shelter of the canvas.

We drove only six miles, and indeed this was quite a journey for the first day, because the animals were not accustomed to traveling together and gave Ben Cushing no little trouble. Besides, our departure had been delayed so long, owing to the townspeople, that it was nearly noon before we had left Mattapoisett behind us, and the day was nearly done when we had come to the Long Plain, and there stopped at the home of Mistress Devoll's cousin.


We had but one wagon for all our party from the time we left Mattapoisett until coming to Providence. Mistress Devoll and Mistress Rouse are sisters and were much together at Mattapoisett after Captain Devoll set off for the Ohio country. It was while the captain's wife was in our village that she made me the offer to pay my passage to the Muskingum River by looking after her belongings.

Mistress Devoll expected to join Master Rouse's[35] company at her home in Providence, where she was to have ready a wagon in which would be all her household goods that could be transported over the mountains. She was to have a team of four horses, and her brother, Isaac Barker, was to act as driver, while I played the part of helper.

Ben Cushing driving wagon with Benjamin beside him

Therefore on leaving Mattapoisett I ran ahead or behind Master Rouse's wagon, or clambered up by the side of Ben Cushing when the seat next to him was not occupied, for he was a good friend of mine and could be counted on to give me a hint now and then, if I overstepped my bounds.

The stay at the Long Plain overnight was what you might call a friendly visit for all the members of[36] the company save Ben Cushing and me; but we two were not lonely, for we laid ourselves down to sleep in the wagon, after having had a bountiful meal at the home of Mistress Devoll's cousin, and it is safe to say that during the first night after starting for the Ohio country we slept more comfortably, if not more soundly, than on any other during the journey.

Ben Cushing and Benjamin sleeping in the wagon

We were up at break of day, however, for the horses were to be groomed and fed, and Master Rouse had decided that we must travel as far as Providence before nightfall.

The young women who had come out from Mattapoisett with us, went back some time late in the evening after Cushing and I were asleep, and when breakfast had been eaten we set off once more, just as the sun was rising. It seemed as if this was really the beginning of the journey, for we were alone, plodding[37] over the dusty road which, to look into the future, seemed as if it would have no end.


An hour after sunset we halted in front of Mistress Devoll's house. The horses were unhitched and taken to a stable, where Ben and I were speedily joined by Isaac Barker, whom we had seen more than once in Mattapoisett, and we three, while caring for the animals, discussed at great length the undertaking which lay all before us.

boys pushing the wagon up the moutain road

A rare hand at making sport was Isaac Barker, and many a time after leaving Providence it did seem to me that but for his quips and jokes we might have given up in despair at trying to gain this country, for the way was hard over the best of the roads we found, and there were many moments, after we got into Pennsylvania, when all the members of the company were forced to lay hold of ropes[38] tied to the tops of the carts to prevent them from oversetting. Then it was that Isaac's nonsense really served to hearten us.

You can well fancy that when we were once among the mountains the way was exceedingly hard to travel, and again and again I have laid my shoulder against the hind end of one of the wagons, straining every muscle to help the horses on, while every other man and boy was doing the same, and doing it to the utmost of his power.

We lost no time in leaving Providence next morning. Mistress Devoll's wagon was packed and ready, and after eating a breakfast which had been prepared by some of the neighbors, we set off, I walking with the men either ahead or behind the teams, for there was not sufficient room in both wagons for all our company to ride. There are five of the Devoll children: Sally, twelve years old; Henry, two years younger; Charles, aged eight; Barker, five; and Francis, a baby not much more than a year old.

Isaac Barker cracked jokes as he swung the whip over the backs of the horses; the Rouse girls sang until they were hoarse; the smaller children screamed with delight because we were finally on our way to the wilderness; and everything went on as if we were still simply bent upon pleasure during this third day of the journey.



Now it is not in my mind to set down an account of every day's journey while we were in what you might call civilized country, for we simply drove the horses as far as we could each day, with due care to a resting place at night, passing through Farmington, Litchfield, and Ballsbridge, to the Hudson River.

Of course it was necessary to cross the water, and to do this, Master Rouse and Captain Haskell hired two large boats into which we could stow the wagons as well as the horses. By the aid of both sails and oars the clumsy craft were navigated from Fishkill to Newburgh, where we took to the road again, traveling ten miles to a village called Blooming Grove. There we stopped at a tavern kept by a man named Goldsmith.

Benjamin cleaning horses hooves and Goldsmith

There is no particular reason why I should have remembered that man's name so long, had it not been[40] that seeing me rubbing the legs of Mistress Devoll's horses, on that evening, he took me kindly by the ear and said that I was a likely looking lad such as he stood in need of to help him about the tavern, proposing, if I would remain with him, to give me my board and clothes during the first year, allowing me to attend school meanwhile, at the same time promising that when such term of service had expired he would make another bargain, which should include a certain sum of money as wages.


Perhaps it might have been better for me had I accepted the good man's offer, and yet there was in my mind such a desire to go out into that Ohio country where even the poorest lad, if he was willing to work to the best of his ability, could make a home for himself, that I could not bring myself to think of remaining at the tavern doing chores for this farmer or that, and getting no farther ahead in the world.

All of which I told him, and when I had come to an end of my talk, he replied that he could not blame me for holding to the choice I had made, and said he hoped it might be possible for me to do all that was in my mind. At the same time he assured me that if I found this part of the country different from what I had fancied, and was ready to come back into civiliza[41]tion, where I might have the comforts of home, I should present myself to him.

Master Rouse,
Captain Haskell, and Benjamin walking on bridge

Although I have not advanced so far in the world as I had hoped might have been possible, I have not fallen in the race of life. I am no worse off than when I landed here at Marietta, and have laid up for myself some few dollars, in addition to the knowledge that I am of service in the settlement; therefore I cannot regret the choice I made at Blooming Grove.


After leaving that village we journeyed over good roads through the towns of Chester and Warwick, finally crossing the state line into New Jersey, and coming to the town of Newton.

We had neither adventure nor mishap during this portion of our travels, for the roads were good, the horses inclined to move at a reasonably rapid pace, and those who would have walked from choice found themselves speedily distanced. More than once were Master Rouse, Captain Haskell, and I so far behind the wagons that the drivers believed it necessary to halt in order that we might join the company.

From Newton we went past Sussex Court House, or the Log Jail as it is called, through the towns of Hope and Oxford, to the village of Easton, which is situated at the forks of the Delaware River.


Here we were forced to take to the water once more, in order that we might cross over into the state of Pennsylvania, and because there was but one flatboat to be hired at this place, no little time was spent in making the passage.

It was near nightfall when we were safely landed on the Pennsylvania shore, and then came the question as to where we might spend the night.

The ferryman had told Captain Haskell that five[43] miles down the road was a farm owned by an old German who was disposed to care for travelers who were well-behaved and willing to pay a certain small sum for the service he rendered. We therefore hastened our pace, moving as rapidly as possible, until, half an hour after the sun had set, we came to a farm, the buildings of which would have delighted the eyes of any man who had a care for such things.

Ferryman and Captain Haskell

Surely no one could have been more hospitable than were the old German and his wife, to say nothing of the four sons and three daughters, all of whom made us welcome and insisted that we come into their kitchen to eat supper with them, rather than make any attempt at providing our own meals, as we had been doing nearly all the time since leaving Mattapoisett.


How Ben Cushing and I did eat that night! The owner of the farm had given especial attention to the[44] raising of bees and had a large store of honey on hand. The farmer's wife and daughters baked such cakes of buckwheat as I never before tasted, and these, plentifully covered with the golden honey, made up a meal which still lingers in my memory.

eating buckwheat cakes at the German farmer's hous

We passed the night there, all the company except Ben Cushing, Isaac Barker, and me, sleeping on the floor of the kitchen and living room, where beds had been spread for their comfort.

Captain Haskell showed how a sailor could take advantage of every inch of space, for when the women claimed that there was not room in which to make up beds for all and dispose of their clothing properly during the hours of the night, the captain turned down the chairs so that the backs of them would serve as heads for the beds, thus making pillows, and pointed[45] out that the spaces underneath could be filled with the clothing where it might be found readily in the morning.

Ben, Isaac, and I found snug resting places for ourselves in the sweet-smelling hay on the mow, and slept, I dare say, quite as soundly and sweetly as did those who were sheltered in the house.

When morning came, that is to say, when there was the first evidence of the dawning of a new day, we three set about making ready the horses for the journey, and were no sooner come to an end of our labors than we were summoned by one of the girls to the kitchen, where, the beds having been removed from the floor, a table was spread most bountifully.


Among the Moravians in Bethlehem

The next day of our journey was most entertaining, at least so it seemed to me, for we came to the town of Bethlehem, which is settled almost entirely by those ardent Christian men and[46] women who are known as Moravians and who have already sent out missionaries among the Indians, doing no small amount of good.

Those Moravian people were exceedingly hospitable, urging us to partake of food in their houses, insisting on feeding our horses, and allowing us to wander wheresoever we would.

Indeed there was much to be seen in their town, for at one of the houses was a pet bear which was most amusing, and the smaller children, as well as Ben Cushing and I, spent more than an hour watching the little fellow's clumsy, and at the same time comical, antics. There were also a number of pet deer wandering about the streets, and when we had fed them with clover, to our heart's content, we were delighted at seeing a large throng of little girls coming from school, dressed in what was to me a most singular fashion, although not unbecoming.

girls coming home from school

They all wore short gowns with gayly-colored petti[47]coats, which came an inch or two below the frock itself, and had small, white linen caps which caused them to look much like old ladies. Prim and demure they were while marching in an orderly manner through the streets, and yet I saw more than one cast a sidelong glance toward our company of children, with a twinkle in their eyes as token that, were they so permitted, they could show us that they had in their natures quite as much love for fun as any other boy or girl.


We stayed longer in Bethlehem than we were warranted in doing, when one takes into consideration the length of the journey before us; but it was all so entertaining, so peaceful, and there was such an air of friendliness among the people, that I was sorry when we drove out of the town, hoping to find lodgings for the night at the house of a German, eight miles beyond.

And so we journeyed on without adventure until we came to the Lehigh River, and there I saw what I dare say no fellow in Massachusetts has laid eyes upon. It was called a rope ferry, by means of which we were to cross the river.

Ben Cushing claims that there is nothing wonderful about this ferry, for it consists simply of a rope stretched from one bank of the river to the other; to this, attached by a noose, or, in other words, a hawser which[48] will readily slip, the ferryboat is made fast in such a manner that the stern is lower downstream than the bow, and the current catching this, forces the boat along.

rope ferry

Perhaps I haven't made this very plain to you, but it is operated on the principle of force applied to what might be called an inclined plane; therefore, since the craft cannot be shoved downstream by the current, it must be urged toward the opposite shore.

At all events to me it was a great curiosity, whether Ben Cushing thought it so or not, and I studied the general arrangement so carefully that if we should need anything of the kind in this country, I am quite certain I could build one.



Now our way lay through Allentown and Kutztown to Reading; the roads over which we traveled were so good, and the horses so willing, that every member of our company enjoyed himself to the utmost.

buying needed item from farmers

Cynthia Rouse and Sally Devoll visited back and forth from wagon to wagon during each day, their favorite seat being with the driver, where they could see what was going on and sing to their heart's content.

We were treated kindly by the people, who sold us bread and butter, milk or meat, and now and then we came to a store or tavern where we could lay in additional supplies of provisions, but, as a rule, thus far we had found it possible to buy from farmers all that we might need.

At night, when we were stopping at a farmhouse, and after the small children had been put to bed, the[50] older girls would set about preparing provisions for the next day, perhaps borrowing cooking utensils, for our own were few in number and fitted rather for use on a rough fireplace out of doors than in a well-ordered kitchen.

It had become the rule that Isaac Barker, Ben Cushing, and I were to sleep in the wagons during the night to guard against the possibility of evil-disposed persons. Up to this time, however, we had had no trouble of the kind; but Captain Haskell insisted that we remain constantly on our guard, claiming that the day might come when we would fall in with people not so friendly as those who had thus far cheered us on our way.


On the day when we went into Reading, Cynthia Rouse and Sally Devoll were on the front seat of Isaac's wagon, and as they rode along the girls saw two old German women swingling, or as they called it, "scutchelling" flax.

The old ladies presented a most comical appearance, and the girls laughed loudly, never thinking for a moment that they were being rude; but when the flax swinglers looked up angrily and saw the legend on our wagon cover, one of them shouted to the girls that if they were going into the Ohio country, the day would[51] soon come when they also would be swingling flax, if they did their duty.

German women swingling flax

As may be supposed, this caused the girls no little shame, for being thus reproved by their elders was not pleasant, more particularly when they knew they had been guilty of rudeness.

This town of Reading was the most considerable place we had seen since leaving Massachusetts, and Master Rouse decided that we should remain there at least one day because of the number of shops where we could buy such articles as were needed, or otherwise put ourselves in readiness for the rougher journey which we knew lay before us.


It was owing to this decision that we got late and trustworthy news concerning the land where we counted on making our homes, for there we met Parson Cutler himself.

I despair of making you understand how surprised[52] and delighted we were at meeting the parson midway in our journey.

Parson Cutler in his sulky

We all knew that during the summer he had set out in his sulky intending to drive from Ipswich to Marietta; but since we did not leave until October, we supposed, if indeed we gave very much heed to the matter, that Master Cutler must have returned long ere this.

The parson appeared quite as well pleased to see us as we were to see him, and straightway commended Master Rouse and Captain Haskell upon their spirit in thus going out into the Ohio country, where he assured them they would find such farming lands as had never been seen in Massachusetts. In addition to this, he set Mistress Devoll's mind at rest regarding her husband and spent no little time explaining to her what the captain had done in the way of building the[53] Mayflower and the other boats which carried the first settlers down the river.


Among other things, he told us of the enormous fields of corn which had been planted, described to us the cabins our people had built, which were little more than low huts covered in with walnut bark, and declared that the houses and the corn seemed to grow at the same time, although the corn speedily overshadowed the small dwellings, for it grew so tall that one had to stand on tiptoes to break off an ear, while in Massachusetts it was often necessary for a farmer to stoop.

Ohio cornfields

"One could as[54] easily be lost in a cornfield on a cloudy day as in a cedar swamp," Parson Cutler said, and then went on to tell how much like a forest were these fields, where the green grain grew above one's head with leaves so huge as to shut out all rays of light from one furrow to another.

He rather dampened the ardor of some of the women when he said that the surveyors were forced to do their work under the protection of a guard of armed men, for fear of prowling Indians, and the children looked at each other in alarm as he told of one of the settlers who had been bitten, when asleep, by a copperhead snake.


We heard also from Parson Cutler that General Arthur St. Clair had been appointed governor of the Ohio district. He was a citizen of Pennsylvania, had been a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary army, and president of Congress, in addition to which he stood high in the confidence of Washington. Samuel H. Parsons of Connecticut, and James M. Varnum of Massachusetts, both of whom were directors in the Ohio Company, and John Cleves Symmes of New Jersey had been made judges, with Winthrop Sargent of New Hampshire as secretary of the territory.

The judges arrived at Marietta in June, and on the[55] 9th of July, Governor St. Clair joined them. He was escorted by a detachment of troops under Major Doughty, who had gone up to Pittsburgh from Fort Harmar some days before to meet him, and was received with military honors and a salute.

governor greeting with rounds from fieldpiece

One of the soldiers afterward told me that when the governor landed he was greeted with thirteen rounds from a fieldpiece. When he approached the garrison, the music played a salute, the troops paraded and presented their arms, and he was also welcomed by a clap of thunder and a heavy shower of rain as he entered the fort. It seemed to this soldier a very pleasant way of receiving the governor of a new territory.

As might have been expected, Parson Cutler was enthusiastic in his praise of our town of Marietta, and[56] he read to us that which General Washington himself had written, which was this:—

"No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum. Information, property, and strength will be its characteristics. I know many of the settlers personally, and there never were men better calculated to promote the welfare of such a community."

There was little need for Parson Cutler to try to strengthen us in the determination to continue the journey, for none of our party were weak-kneed; but it pleased us much to know that such a man as General Washington could praise so heartily those who had begun the building of Marietta.


And now, lest I forget it, and since it is brought to my mind by what Parson Cutler said to us, let me tell you that this town came very near being named Adelphia. It was the Parson's idea, and he said much to us concerning it, complaining, as I thought, because it had been called Marietta. The meaning of Adelphia is "brethren," so he said, and he claimed that by having constantly before them the idea that they were to dwell there as brethren, the people might be more inclined to act as such.


Later, when he had gone, I heard Master Rouse and Captain Haskell discussing the matter, and both allowed that the good parson was really irritated because his suggestion had been cast aside, for one could readily see that Master Cutler had set his mind stoutly upon the name Adelphia. In my opinion, however, Marietta is much better.

four deer eating ripe grapes in Muskingum bottom

Among other things, Parson Cutler told us that game was so plentiful even close about Marietta, that we need have no fear of ever being hungry. He said that in the course of a walk one morning up the Muskingum bottom he saw four deer, and there were ripe grapes hanging in profusion all around him. In addition to that, he found clam beds on the shores, and, what was not quite so pleasant, killed a rattlesnake that lay coiled up in his path.


I don't claim to be timorous under ordinary circumstances, and am ready to stand my chances against Indians or bears; but when it comes to snakes, I must say that there is a bit of cowardice in me, for a fellow can't guard himself against such enemies, and it seems to me that they, with the savages, make up the disagreeable features in all the pictures that were drawn for us of our new home.


Now listen to this description which Parson Cutler gave us of Campus Martius, and I have since come to know that he did not set forth its characteristics any too strongly.

Campus Martius

It is a kind of house, or castle, if you please, instead of a regular fort, made in the form of a hollow square, of which the sides measure one hundred and eighty feet, and is surrounded by a heavy line of palisades,—[59] meaning a high log fence,—as protection against, the Indians.

This building contains seventy-two rooms, each eighteen feet square or more, and General Putnam had told the Parson that in case of necessity nine hundred people could live within its walls.

Surely it seems like a city of itself, when one attempts to go from end to end inside the broad passages, and sees the doors leading to rooms in which an entire family might contrive to live with more or less comfort.

Parson Cutler was twenty-nine days driving from Ipswich to Marietta in his sulky, so he told us; but do not understand that such a journey may always be made in so short a time. He took advantage of the best season of the year in which to make the trip, and returned before the snow came; consequently, and because of traveling without very much baggage, and with a stout horse to draw his light sulky, he could make many more miles in a day than could such wagons as ours.


He told us of the Fourth of July celebration, which was held in Marietta on that first Independence Day after the settlers arrived there. They set about making a feast, and verily it must have been one. There were venison barbecues,—meaning deer roasted whole,—[60] buffalo steaks broiled over the glowing coals, bear meat cooked in every manner that could be devised with the few cooking implements our people possessed, small pigs roasted whole, and, as the greatest delicacy of all, an enormous pike, more than six feet long, said to be the largest ever caught in the Ohio River.

Independence day feast

The feast was kept up until twelve o'clock at night, and then the tired merrymakers went to their cabins and slept until late in the forenoon, as the parson said, in such a tone as if he believed they were wasting their time by thus remaining in bed after the sun had risen.


Then came, according to Parson Cutler's story, at a later date, the opening of the first court in the territory, and it must have been a wondrous spectacle. The sheriff, who, as you know, is Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, holding a drawn sword in his hand, marched with a military escort, ahead of the governor, the judges, the secretary, and others, to Campus Martius, where the court was held.

roasting meat for the feast

There are Indians in plenty about Marietta, and Parson Cutler said that when these savages saw Colonel Sproat, who as you know is an unusually tall man,[62] they at once gave him the name of Hetuck, or Big Buckeye, which was the same as if they had called him one of the huge trees of the forest.

Colonel Sproat or Big Buckeye


Nor was the growth of our town of Marietta the only thing concerning which the good man told us, for he gladdened Mistress Devoll's heart by describing to her the house her husband was building, which was to be forty feet long by eighteen feet wide, and the height of two stories.

Best of all, there was to be a brick chimney, perhaps more than one, as soon as a kiln had been made and the bricks burned. It was to be by far the largest[63] building, with the exception of Campus Martius, in the town.


Parson Cutler told us during that night, when we sat around him at Reading, about queer-shaped mounds of earth in various forms, which had evidently been thrown up many hundred years before, perhaps by the Indians, perhaps by some race of people regarding whom we know nothing; but certain it is there were very many about Marietta. In fact, Campus Martius was built on one of these mounds.

These embankments, as they might really be called, are of various shapes, some like serpents, many, many hundred feet long and I can't say how many feet high, and of such huge proportions that they may be seen from a long distance. There is one, we were told, shaped something after the fashion of an elephant; others are formed in circles, and still others appear to have been made for fortifications.

When we went to bed that night Ben Cushing and I talked until well past midnight concerning what these things might have been, and he announced that it was his intention to dig beneath them, believing there he would find much in the way of treasure; but when he saw the enormous embankments, he soon realized that neither one man nor twenty could make much headway digging beneath them.


I heard General Putnam say it was his belief these mounds had something to do with the religious ceremonies of those who had built them; that they had a certain significance in the worship of the Great Spirit; but as for there being treasure beneath them, he laughed at the idea.

If I should set down all Parson Cutler told us on that night concerning the country to which we were going, I might never get further in my story, for the good man talked long and fast, describing so many things of interest, such as the trapping of turkeys, the hunting of bears, and the different methods of killing deer, that my hair would be gray before I could write it all out fairly.

Therefore, instead of attempting to repeat his stories, I will go on with my tale of how we journeyed from Massachusetts into the Ohio country.


It was near the close of October when we arrived at the Susquehanna River, at a settlement called Harrisburg, and a very slovenly looking town it was, as I thought, for those who built it, only two years before, had thus far not taken the trouble to uproot the stumps of trees which still stood in the roadways and gave the entire place a wild, neglected appearance.

I was told that the settlement had formerly been[65] called Louisburg, and the only reason I can think of for the change of name is that there can be found a ferry in charge of a man named Harris, and before any houses were built near by it was known as Harris's Ferry.

Harris's Ferry

We remained at this place all night, the women and children going into a log tavern to sleep, while we men and boys made our beds in the wagons, or on the hay in the stable, as best pleased us.

Because of not caring to spend so much money as would be necessary to buy a supper for all our company, only the women and small children partook of the tavern fare, the older girls, the men, and we boys eating our meals in the tavern yard, after having cooked them in the tavern kitchen.


The next day's journey was only thirteen miles, and then we arrived at Carlisle, which was a military station during our war for independence, and where were yet to be found barracks made of bricks, like regular houses. There were two or three shops, and a number of good dwellings, better than one would expect to find even in a town that had been settled so long.

Because we had not been fed overabundantly since leaving that farmhouse where we feasted on buckwheat cakes, Master Rouse decided that we should all have dinner at the tavern, and a bountiful meal it was, although not quite so satisfactory to me as I could have wished, because of the fact that just then Isaac Barker took it into his head to play what he considered a funny trick.


When a huge platter of meat was being brought on the table, and we were all looking at it with most pleasant anticipations, for it appeared to have been cooked to a turn, Isaac seized the dish in both hands, ran out of the room as if intending to eat it all himself, and the older girls followed him, racing around and around the building with shouts of mirth, while the tavern keeper and his wife looked on in amazement, until Isaac tired of running.


Then he replaced the meat on the table; but by this time it had grown cold, and instead of having hot venison steak, we were forced to eat lukewarm meat, and it is not needed that I should say anything concerning the disagreeable flavor of deer flesh when it has been kept too long from the fire.

Isaac running with platter of meat

There are times when one really wearies of Isaac's sport, and, as Ben Cushing said when we drove away from Carlisle, a little fun now and then is relished by the saddest of men; but when one keeps it up from morning until night, and again from night until morning, it grows wearisome.


When we left Carlisle it was to journey to a settlement called Big Springs, where, much to our surprise and delight, we came upon Uncle Daniel Carter with[68] his three yoke of oxen hitched to a Conestoga wagon, and having as a load all Uncle Daniel's household goods as well as his family.

Uncle Daniel

Uncle Daniel was an old acquaintance of ours, for he lived but a few miles from Mattapoisett and had started for Ohio some two weeks before we left home.

There had been no expectation in our minds that we should meet him on the journey, for it was believed that, moving as slowly as he must with his ox team, he, if not his wife, would grow weary of attempting to gain the Ohio country, and turn off at some inviting-looking point long before having arrived thus far in Pennsylvania.

But the old man was not made of such stuff; he had set out to join Rufus Putnam's company at Marietta, and declared that he would continue on if it took a year to make the trip.

What a meeting that was with the old man and his family! It was like coming upon Mattapoisett suddenly. I had never before realized how much affection[69] one may unwittingly have for his neighbors, until we saw Uncle Daniel outside the log hut where he had stopped for the night, watching us with an odd expression on his face as if doubting whether we should recognize him.


Mistress Carter insisted that she and her two daughters prepare the evening meal for all our company, and it seemed much as if we were doing her the greatest favor, when we consented joyfully to share what we had every reason to believe was a goodly portion of Uncle Daniel's scanty store of food.

Uncle Daniel telling stories by the fire


When the meal was ended, Isaac and Ben Cushing built a lively fire outside the hut, for the night was chilly, and with the children wrapped in their warmest garments, all of us sat, or stretched out at full length, around the cheering blaze, listening to Uncle Daniel's story of his journey, or telling him of that which had happened to us since we left home.

Before we crawled into the wagons that night it was decided, and without any controversy, that Uncle Daniel should join our company, the only question being as to whether the horses would not travel so much faster than his oxen that we could not well keep together.

The old man put an end to any speculation of that kind, however, by declaring that when night came we should find him not far behind us, and he laid plans for the journey of future days, by saying that we were to give no heed whatsoever to him in the morning; he would feed his cattle and be off, most-like before break of day.

"I'll be on hand when it's time for supper, an' don't make any mistake about that part of it," he said cheerily. "I'm willin' to agree that my creeters can't walk as fast as your horses; but they can keep it up a good while longer, an' you'll find it's the slow an' steady that comes out ahead in the long run. So look for your Uncle Daniel before sunset, an' if he fails[71] to show up, then you can set it down as a fact that his wagon has gone to smash, or the oxen have turned tail for Massachusetts."


Next morning Ben Cushing would have it that we had come upon bad luck in meeting Uncle Daniel, for at daybreak the rain came down in torrents, and speedily the roads, which were none of the best even in dry weather, became like quagmires. Before we were well on our way the wheels of the heavy wagons sank deep in the mud; the women were forced to remain under the covers or withstand the pelting of the rain, and we men, who walked alongside in order to help the horses with their loads, were speedily drenched to the skin.

traveling in heavy rain


Mistress Devoll would have insisted that we turn back and remain at the log shanty until the rain ceased; but both Captain Haskell and Master Rouse put an end to any such proposition by saying that now had come the season when we might rightly expect storms, and if we were to delay our journey save at such times as the weather was fair, winter would overtake us among the mountains where we might find it impossible either to go ahead or to retreat.

Therefore we plodded on, and instead of overtaking Uncle Daniel, as Ben Cushing had predicted we should, before noon, we saw nothing of him until night came. Then there was no bad luck in having a cheery blaze in the fireplace of a log tavern, and every arrangement possible made for our comfort, to all of which the old man had attended before looking after his own comfort.


It seemed to me as if the rain fell incessantly, and you can fancy what the roads were after eight and forty hours had elapsed.

In Massachusetts we would have said that they were impassable at the best, and now they had been converted into veritable swamps by the downpour of water, or filled in places with blocks of sandstone over which the wagons could not cross save we all put our[73] shoulders to the hinder part helping the horses along, unless we stopped to clear away the obstacles.

logs attached to wagons to go downhill

Again the ascents were so steep that the horses from both wagons must be hitched to one in order to get it up the hill, and when we came to the other side it was necessary to put locked chains on the wheels, and, in addition, fasten large logs or tree tops to the back of the vehicles that they might drag behind and thus prevent us from going ahead too swiftly.

And all this was done in a heavy downpour of rain, when the women and girls must of necessity remain under cover, except at such times as it was absolutely necessary for them to alight in order to lessen the load.

As if to add to our discomfort, two of the animals began to show signs of faltering, and Ben Cushing told me confidentially one night when we were halted in the[74] foothills, with no shelter save the body of the wagon, and doing our utmost to keep a fire burning amid the rain, that it was his belief we should not succeed in gaining the river before the poor beasts were entirely worn out.

The way lay over a succession of sharp rises and yet sharper descents, with the road in places falling off so much to one side that we were obliged to fasten ropes to the tops of the wagons, and all of us men lay hold, to prevent them from oversetting.

Such work as this might be necessary more than once in half a mile, we all the while wading knee-deep in the mire, and at times finding it difficult to raise our feet because of the mud.


Then came the time when the rain changed to snow, and you can well fancy that if the road was well-nigh impassable before, it was soon in such a condition that one might say it would be impossible to go farther.

Even the children were forced to get out and walk again and again, and I have seen Mistress Devoll and Mistress Rouse stop many a time to pick up their shoes which had been pulled from their feet by the clinging mud.

Fancy such traveling while the snow came down like feathers, weighting every branch of the trees and[75] every bush until they stood far out over the narrow roadway, shedding their frosty burdens upon the passer-by!

It seemed to me that I could see the horses grow weaker with each mile we advanced, and when night came, after we had traveled no more than six or eight miles at the expense of the most severe labor, it was as much as we could do to keep them on their feet until the harness was removed.

snow storm

This was the time when Uncle Daniel had the advantage of us, for his oxen plowed their way through the mire, giving apparently no more heed to the weight of the wagon than if it had been a child's toy cart, and again and again did the old man unyoke the patient beasts in order to bring them back, at times more than half a mile over a hard road, to help one or the other[76] of our wagons out of the mud, when, but for his assistance, they might have stayed there until the crack of doom, so deeply were the wheels embedded.

oxen pulling a wagon

I can look back upon many days we spent while journeying from Massachusetts to the Ohio country with the greatest pleasure; but never do I think of the time passed among the foothills, when the weather was so bitter and the way so hard, without real mental distress, for that journey, during at least eight days, was more like some horrible nightmare than a reality.


If I were to make any attempt at describing our passage across the Blue Mountains, the Middle and the Tuscarora Mountains, it would simply be to repeat what I have already set down. Never once did we find a bit of the road where there was easy traveling, and it seemed to me that either the rain or the snow fell incessantly, until, wearied to the verge of[77] exhaustion by day, we were forced to remain half frozen and wet to the skin from night until morning.

The women and children, if we camped at night where there were no houses in which to take shelter, slept in the wagons, while the men and boys made shift as best they might beneath the carts, getting such warmth as could be had under the few blankets at their disposal and the fires built close by, which were not of much avail because we could find no dry fuel with which to feed them.

Descending the last of the Tuscarora mountain range

Then came a day which I remember more vividly than any other of all that long journey, when we descended the last of the Tuscarora Range, and came to a fruitful valley, which we afterward learned was[78] called Ahwick, where was a small settlement, while here and there, when we were on the higher land, could be seen farms which one might almost say were ready for planting, despite the snow that yet lay deep among the hills.

Master Rouse's wagon was leading the way and Uncle Daniel with his plodding oxen brought up the rear. It was Saturday night; we expected to remain at least two days, at the first place where we might sleep in comfort, and it was necessary we find housing for all, which might not be possible at the small log tavern we had heard would be found on the road a short distance away.


Therefore our party came to a halt at the first promising-looking house, and Master Rouse set about learning what we might expect in the way of entertainment.

The farm was owned by a German named Christian Hiples, who was of that religious persuasion known as Dunkard, and a right friendly gentleman he proved to be.

It really appeared to give him pain because he could not take all our company in and give us the comforts of home; but it seemed to me that he was doing even more than his share when he agreed that Master Rouse[79] and the members of his party should remain there, while the others of us continued on to the tavern.

I regretted sorely that it was not my good fortune to be one of Master Hiples's guests, for I had heard much concerning these people who call themselves Dunkards, during our traveling through the state, and was most eager to see them at home.

Captain Haskell and the Dunkards

Captain Haskell had told me that the Dunkards were Baptists who had been driven from Germany early in the eighteenth century, when they took refuge in Pennsylvania. So far as I could find out, their religion consists in condemning warfare, and setting their faces against suits at law. They have a peculiar belief regarding baptism, which Captain Haskell said has to do with triple immersion. They wash each others' feet before the Lord's Supper, and give to all members of their faith[80] what is called the kiss of charity. It is in their eyes almost the same as a sin to dress other than plainly and cleanly, and from what I saw of Master Hiples's house during the short time we halted in front of it, I came to believe that cleanliness of home and its surroundings is one of the articles of their belief, for I had not seen so pleasing a place since we came out of Massachusetts.

When Master Rouse's family were thus comfortably housed, Mistress Devoll's team, with Uncle Daniel's oxen plodding patiently behind, continued on to a log tavern a short distance away, and the contrast between this place and that where Master Rouse's people were staying was so great that for the first time since leaving Mattapoisett, I was nearly homesick.


We had comfortable quarters, if one judges comfort by being sheltered from the rain and having sufficient heat; but it was far from pleasant at the inn, and as soon as the horses had been properly cared for, I, despite the fact that my legs were weary with long traveling, ran back down the road to gaze with envy on Master Rouse and his family.

The old German was a kindly-faced man, with a long, white beard extending to his waist, and a voice[81] as mild and gentle as any woman's. He had five or six grown daughters, and when I got back to the farm these young women were doing all they might for the comfort of the guests, without hope or expectation of being paid for the labor.

baking bread in an outdoor oven

There was, just outside the house, a huge brick oven in the open air, and these young women, aided by their father, were already heating it as if for a cooking bee. Sally Devoll told me it was their intention to bake a large quantity of bread to be given to us when we set off once more on our journey.

Therefore I came to have a friendly liking for these Dunkards, and before we left Ahwick Valley I was fully persuaded they were what might truthfully be called the salt of the earth.



When I got back to the log tavern there was considerable going on in the way of excitement. The landlord, who had but one eye, having lost the other, so we heard, during a fight when he was a younger man, was anything but gentle in manners, and his appearance was such that one felt as if the lightest word would provoke harsh treatment.

Now it so chanced that the racks in his stable had been built by nailing slats up and down at the end of the stalls, and into the places thus formed the hay was thrown from the loft.

Isaac Barker and Ben Cushing were both very careful to see that their teams were well fed, and more particularly was it necessary now since we had with us two horses that were ailing.

When the animals were put into the stalls, after having been groomed and their coats dried, Isaac found that while the innkeeper intended to charge us for a certain amount of hay, the slats at the end of the stalls were placed so closely together that the poor beasts could not get a single wisp, struggle as they might.

Without delay he went to the landlord and told him that some different arrangement must be made in regard to the racks, if our company was expected to pay for hay.


The innkeeper declared that he would conduct his tavern as best pleased him; the hayracks had been built by him, and built to suit him, therefore they would remain as they were. If our horses and oxen were stabled there, then would we pay so much money for each head on account of hay, whether they got it or not, the surly man claiming it was no fault of his if the animals were unable to get what was before them.

You can well fancy that Isaac's temper was aroused by this injustice, and straightway he told the man what he thought of such dealing, claiming that unless the landlord himself was willing to remedy matters at once, he would take the affair into his own hands.


The landlord threatened, so Uncle Daniel said, to punish severely whoever dared to damage his property, and I arrived just at the time when Isaac, with a heavy ax, was breaking out every other slat in the racks, thereby giving the beasts ample opportunity to feed, the innkeeper meanwhile standing outside as if it was his purpose to lay hands on Isaac the moment he left the stable.

As we afterwards learned, the man had been considered, in his younger days, a skillful fighter, and most likely believed there were few who could stand against[84] him, so he had no doubt about his ability to punish Isaac.

I had never heard that Isaac was noted for skill with his fists, and believed he was likely to suffer severely, if the landlord should attack him. I therefore entreated Uncle Daniel to stand by with me in order to lend assistance, for I was not minded that one of our company come to grief at that place.

Isaac breaking slats with an ax

Uncle Daniel grimly said that Isaac Barker could take care of himself, and that he was not fond of interfering, unless it was absolutely necessary in order to save life.

Therefore, instead of appearing concerned, Uncle Daniel quietly took up his station near the door of the stable, where he stood whittling a bit of pine stick, while the innkeeper raged furiously, and Isaac continued to break out the slats until he had completed the task.

Then he came out of the last stall where he had[85] been working, threw the ax on the floor without very much regard as to how it might fall, and began in a businesslike way to roll up his sleeves, keeping an eye meanwhile on the movements of the landlord.

The two came together while I was waiting to see how they might begin the battle, and in a twinkling, as it seemed to me, both were rolling here and there about the stable floor, but in such a manner that one with half an eye could see Isaac was by no means getting the worst of it.


As a matter of fact he flogged that miserly innkeeper severely, never letting up until the fellow cried that he had had enough; then Isaac said that he counted to be back that way in the spring, and if the slats in the hayracks had been replaced, he would give him another flogging compared with which this one would seem like child's play.

Isaac and the Innkeeper fighting

I confess that I[86] was frightened even after Isaac had acquitted himself in such a manly fashion, for I believed the landlord would contrive in some way to make the remainder of our party suffer for what had been done; but, strange as it may seem, he was as mild as one could desire, and instead of moving about in a surly fashion, finding fault with everything, as he had done when we first arrived, the fellow seemed striving earnestly to do all he might for our welfare, whereupon Uncle Daniel grimly observed that "all he needed in order to make him a decent kind of a man was a sound flogging every morning."

supper with the Hipple family

I would not recommend this method of insuring good treatment from landlords in general; but I must say I was sorry Isaac had not been sufficiently provoked some time before, that he might have tried the same treatment upon some of those innkeepers who had been so surly to us. In[87] fact we met more than one so-called landlord during our journey across the state of Pennsylvania, by the side of whom one of Uncle Daniel's oxen would have appeared gentlemanly.

On Sunday, all of us, even including Isaac Barker, went to meeting with Master Hiples's family, and not only were repaid by hearing a goodly discourse, but received an invitation to take supper with the good Dunkard's family.


The meal was an enjoyable one, although I fear, as I told Ben Cushing, that he and I came very near disgracing, not only ourselves, but all our companions, by eating more than was seemly.

It was the most pleasant Sunday we had spent since leaving Mattapoisett, and a day that seemed more fitting for goodly thoughts than any other I could remember. As Uncle Daniel said when we stretched ourselves out to sleep on the floor of the stable, the two rooms in the tavern having been given up to the women and children, it had been a very profitable time.

Monday also was a profitable day, for then Master Hiples's daughters worked with a will, making bread in such quantities that one might have thought they counted on provisioning an army, and all our women[88] folks did what they could to assist, while we boys and men cut and lugged fuel, so that we might not draw too heavily upon the old German's store of wood.

That night, when it was known we were to set off next day, Master Hiples laid out a large supply of vegetables for all our company, and this was a gift, in addition to the bread, since he refused to take payment therefor, asking only as much in the way of money as would suffice to pay for the grain and the hay eaten by Master Rouse's horses.

Thanks to this friendly German, we were well supplied with food when we left Ahwick Valley, Tuesday morning, and flattered ourselves with the belief that the greater portion of the hardships were passed, for the ailing horses seemed to be much improved, and traveled with no little spirit, thus causing us to believe they were rapidly recovering from their sickness.

During three days we journeyed over roads that were far from good, save by comparison with those we found while crossing the mountains, and then we came to the town of Bedford. We had in the meanwhile crossed Sideling Hill, and forded some of the main branches of the Juniata, not without considerable difficulty and the assistance of Uncle Daniel's oxen, for the fords were deep, and in some cases the bed of the river so soft that had a wagon remained still ever so short a time, it would surely have been mired.



During the last three days we had seen evidences that in this wild country there was being carried on business of various kinds, for after leaving Ahwick Valley we met here and there on the road long lines of pack horses, loaded with furs and ginsing, a root somewhat like a potato, except that it has branches or roots shooting out from the upper part, and is sent by our merchants to China, where it is considered very valuable as a medicine. There were other pack horses loaded with salt, or bales of dry goods and groceries, which were being carried to the traders of Pittsburgh.

pack train

These pack trains, as Uncle Daniel called them, were very interesting. The foremost horse wore bells, and it was he, rather than the driver, who had charge of[90] the beasts, and who did the guiding, for he went on as intelligently as could a human being, the remainder of the train, usually nine or ten horses, following him obediently.

Because there were no roads across the state of Pennsylvania from Carlisle to Pittsburgh over which heavily loaded wagons could pass, we were told that all the traffic was carried on by pack horses, and it was considered that one man could care for no more than ten animals.

One night, when we were told by the landlord of a small tavern about these pack trains, Uncle Daniel said that we had best put aside from our minds all thought of buying anything at Pittsburgh, for if all the goods were carried there on horseback, then the charges must be so heavy that ordinary people could not afford to pay that which the merchants would demand.


On the day of leaving Bedford we had our most disagreeable adventure. About four miles beyond that town the road divided, one trail leading directly to Pittsburgh, and the other to Sumrill's Ferry on the Youghiogheny River, which last was the path we must take, because it was the place where the Mayflower had been built, and there we proposed to take[91] boat for Marietta in order to avoid the wearisome traveling on foot.

women, children, Isaac and Master Rouse resting

The women and children had been walking for some time, owing to the miry road, and on coming to this place they decided to remain there awhile in order to rest. It so chanced that Isaac Barker took it into his head to loiter with them, leaving Captain Haskell to drive his team.

Master Rouse also stayed behind, for no reason that any one could give; thus we went on without them, never doubting but that within an hour they would overtake us, for according to the rate we had been traveling, those who were on foot could speedily come up with our jaded horses who were having all they could do to pull the wagons.

Uncle Daniel had on this day, as during the last two or three days, outstripped us with his slowly moving[92] oxen, because they continued on steadily, being so strong that the wagon, which was loaded as heavily as either of ours, was not mired.

The hours passed, and we still remained in advance, with no sign of the coming of the women and children, yet nothing strange was thought of it at the time, and when I spoke of the matter to Ben Cushing as if it might be serious, he laughed at me, declaring that a foot passenger could make his way without difficulty.

About half an hour before sunset we came to a small log hut which was called an inn by the man who owned it. It had but one room, which served alike as kitchen, barroom and a place in which to sleep; but there was shelter for the tired beasts in the stable, and a huge fireplace wherein we might pile fuel to our heart's content. We were therefore not disposed to find fault.

We toasted ourselves well before the fire, wondering meanwhile how soon we might be able to satisfy our hunger; for we could not have supper until the women came to cook it, this inn being only a housing place.


One hour passed, and even Captain Haskell began to show signs of anxiety. Another sixty minutes went by without bringing our companions; but after a third hour, Captain Haskell declared that some misad[93]venture must have befallen them, and set off over the road we had just traveled, refusing to allow any of us to accompany him.

Captain Haskell searches for the women and children

It was nearly midnight before the captain and the other members of our party arrived. The poor children could hardly drag one foot after the other, and the women looked as if nothing save the fear of remaining in the open air during the hours of darkness had forced them to continue the journey.

While Ben Cushing and I were cooking supper, for the girls and the women were far too weary to do any work at the time, we learned that the party had halted at the dividing of the ways much longer than they realized, and it was nearly nightfall before the journey was continued.

Then, when the sun had set, it was impossible for them to make their way along the faintly outlined road, save by clutching the bushes on either side, and even then they strayed again and again into the thicket,[94] until, what with this additional traveling and the exertion of plowing their way through the mire, all save Isaac Barker were plunged into a most gloomy, disagreeable frame of mind.

women and children at the tavern

Mistress Devoll declared that but for him who made sport when the difficulties were the worst, and sang loudly when the others of the company were too thoroughly exhausted even to speak, they could not have continued.

One can well fancy how welcome to them was the fire in the log tavern. The smaller children stretched themselves out at full length on the puncheon floor in front of the blaze, while their mothers and sisters gave no heed to anything save the delicious sensation of being able to rest, enjoying to the utmost, I dare say,[95] the feeling of security which came to them on arriving at that inn.


Despite the fact that none of our company had had sufficient sleep, we continued our journey as soon after daybreak as we could, and it was during this day that our hearts were cheered by what might seem to some people a foolish thing.

children picking berries

On either side of the road could be seen the little green leaves and bright scarlet berries of the partridge vine, or checkerberry plant, such as we all had seen each year roundabout Mattapoisett, and it had such a homelike appearance that it was as if we had suddenly come upon a friend. The small children loitered behind the wagons to pick the tiny red berries, while the girls chewed the aromatic leaves, and more than one of the men followed their example, for it was like being in Massachusetts again after a long disagreeable dream.


The log inn at which we had slept the night previous was evidently built on what is generally called the "height of the land," for now we were descending the Allegheny Mountains, cheered by the fact that the streams of water from the springs ran with us along our road, telling that we had come to where the greater portion of the remainder of the journey would be on descending ground. These streams were to accompany us on our way now, instead of running in the opposite direction as during all the time we had been among the foothills.


When we had come to the base of the mountains we found ourselves on a broad, level range, which was called "The Glades." Captain Haskell said it had very much the appearance of a prairie. If this be true, which I have no reason to doubt, then I have no desire to see a prairie; for The Glades was a most forlorn place, being but sparsely dotted with trees and covered with a coarse grass, at which even the oxen turned up their noses.

Then, having slept in the open two nights, we came to Laurel Ridge, which bounds the western side of The Glades, and must have been so named because of the laurel which grows in such profusion on the rocky cliffs.


Now we were forced to climb once more over a road quite as rough as any we had come upon, and again all the women and the children were forced to walk, much to their discomfort, for on this ridge the snow had fallen in large quantities. Every one was soon wet to the knees, and plodding through the snow and mud rendered walking quite as difficult as any we had yet experienced.

women and children visit at the Irish woman's house

On this day the women and children, remembering what had occurred just after we left Bedford, went on ahead of the wagons. When the afternoon was about half spent they came upon a stream of water at the western foot of the ridge, which was far too deep for them to ford, therefore they were obliged to wait until we came up.


Luckily for them, however, there was a small log house near by the road in which dwelt a motherly-looking Irish woman, and with her our people visited, much to their pleasure and comfort, until we arrived.

Because of the difficulties in the way, the wagons did not come to the stream until nearly nightfall; but then the passage was quickly made, and we hurried on two miles farther, to where was an inn, said to be as good as any other to be found between Sumrill's Ferry and Carlisle.


Next day we crossed Chestnut Ridge, the last of the hills, and so named because of the wondrous growth of chestnut trees which just then were yielding up their fruit to the nipping frost. Our children and girls filled their pockets with the nuts, while more than once all three of the wagons were halted that we might lay in a store of what would, on a pinch, serve as food.

We had climbed mountain after mountain, crossed ridge after ridge, until it seemed as if all the earth was a succession of ascents and descents; we had waded knee-deep through mire or snow, and literally fought our way along all that weary distance from Mattapoisett to the Youghiogheny River, until we had come to Sumrill's Ferry, where it was believed we could make arrange[99]ments for a more comfortable continuation of the long journey.

arrival at Sumrill's Ferry

Well it was that we arrived at this time, which was near the last of November, with winter close at hand, for the two horses which had been ailing now seemingly grew worse, and during the eight and forty hours before our arrival at the ferry, they were hardly more than able to keep their feet, let alone doing any portion of the pulling.

I believe that a few days more of traveling would have killed them, and indeed they were hardly more[100] than dead beasts when we took them out of the harness at the ferry, congratulating ourselves upon having come thus far on our journey without mishap.


Here we learned of those people who went out from Danvers and Hartford. We saw where they built the Mayflower, and, in fact, we lodged at the very inn where some of them had lived while making ready for the journey down the river.

Uncle Daniel and Benjamin Slocomb

Sumrill's Ferry is not a large settlement, but a thriving one. Here were boat builders, ready to make any kind of craft needed.

To hear them talk of what they believed must have been our experiences during the journey, one would have said they looked upon us as more than foolish to have ventured so much in order to make a settlement in the wild Ohio country.

Before we had been at this settlement an hour,[101] Uncle Daniel came upon Benjamin Slocomb and his family, who had left Danvers nearly four weeks before we started from Mattapoisett. Master Slocomb had waited at the ferry nine days until a boat could be finished in a manner to please him, and was on the point of setting off when Uncle Daniel saw him.


Master Slocomb's craft was not so well loaded but that he could, without inconvenience, take on board Uncle Daniel's wagon with all its belongings, except the oxen, so he urged the old man to finish the journey with him, the two having been friends for many a long year. The result was that Uncle Daniel parted company with us before nightfall, leaving his oxen to our care, but taking everything else he owned.

Uncle Daniel's wagon on a flatboat


"I'll have a farm picked out for you folks, an' made ready to plow," the old man cried cheerily, as Master Slocomb's clumsy craft was poled out into the current. All our company stood on the river's bank watching the departure, and really sorry to part with our fellow traveler, who had always shown himself willing to lend a hand when it was needed, without regard to the labor.

We called after him until he was beyond earshot, Isaac Barker cracking jokes as usual, and then we set about making arrangements for our own journey down the river.


There were several boats already built and for sale, and Master Rouse and Captain Haskell decided upon one which was not yet finished, so far as the accommodations for passengers were concerned, since it had no roof. It was by far the best craft, to my thinking, of all we saw there.

It was about forty feet long and twelve feet wide, of ample size and depth to carry all our wagons, as well as our people, to say nothing of as much space as would be required in which to house not only our horses, but Uncle Daniel's oxen.

It was not our purpose to take the beasts in the boat at that time, but rather to send them across the land[103] to a settlement called Buffalo, at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, fifty-three miles from the ferry, whereas the distance was considerably more than a hundred miles by the waterway.

This was to be done not simply because we wanted to avoid the labor of caring for them, but because the Youghiogheny River was so shallow at that season of the year that a boat drawing more than eighteen or twenty inches of water could not float upon it.

The craft which Captain Haskell and Master Rouse had bought would draw, perhaps, seventeen inches with all our belongings, save the horses and oxen, on board, therefore we would send them across the country in charge of Michael Rouse, Isaac Barker, and Ben Cushing, counting to take them up when we came to Buffalo Creek, for there the river was deeper, the current swifter, and we should have no difficulty in carrying them.

A great time we had of it, packing our goods into the boat in a way to economize every inch of space, and when this had been done, and we learned how much of the craft could be given over to our own use, we set about making arrangements for comfort, first by covering the stern of the boat with mud to the depth of ten or twelve inches, and then building around it a fireplace of stone, where the cooking could be done without danger of setting fire to the timbers.



With blankets and sheets we made a covering for the after part of our ark, so that the women and children would be kept dry in case of a storm.

When all this had been done, and we had bought as much in the way of provisions as could be purchased at a reasonable price, Isaac, Michael, and Ben set off with the beasts.

covered area on flatboat

It gave me a homesick feeling to see them march away; we had been together so long and had gone through so many hardships.

Within half an hour after the horses and oxen, with their drivers, had disappeared, we pushed off from the shore, and very strange did it seem to be carried along[105] by the current, instead of fighting one's way through mud.

I said to myself that now it was the same as coming to the end of our journey, for we had simply to sit still and let the river do the work.

keeping the flatboat from running aground

This, however, I soon understood was a mistake, for although we were not forced to trudge through mud and snow, there was ample work for men and boys in holding the clumsy craft out from the shore where she was like to go aground, or again, in leaping overboard and actually lifting her off some shoal on which she had grounded, as it seemed to me, in a very spirit of perverseness.

It is true that we were forced to work quite as hard in navigating the boat as when we plodded over the miry road, and yet there was this advantage, we were able to eat our meals at regular times.


What with rowing and poling, and now and then leaping waist deep into the water to shove her from the shoals, we contrived, after a considerable time, to get as far as the Monongahela River, where the water was deeper and the current swifter, permitting us to get some rest now and then, and for the first time since leaving Mattapoisett did this journey begin to seem pleasing.

It was Sunday evening when we arrived at Pittsburgh, making our clumsy craft fast to a stake on the shore at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the Ohio in full view.


The town of Pittsburgh, the largest we had seen since coming into the state of Pennsylvania, appeared to me a most prosperous settlement. There was the fort called Pitt, and half a dozen shops, in addition to the houses which I was told sheltered about five hundred people. Therefore you can understand that it was indeed a place of considerable consequence.

It was not so late in the day but that Master Rouse and Captain Haskell went up into the town, after our boat had been made fast to the stake as I have said, in order to attend to some business, for on the frontier one does not observe so religiously the Sabbath as at home, and travelers who must continue their journey[107] with as little delay as possible, are allowed to make necessary purchases even on Sunday.

the town of Pittsburgh

When the two men went on shore there was nothing said as to how soon they might come back; but we supposed both would return as soon as their business was done.

Therefore the girls at once set about cooking supper; but when the meal was ready our gentlemen were not returned, and we waited for them until the corn cake was nearly cold, while the fish which we had caught during the day were much the worse for having remained from the fire so long.

About nine o'clock Mistress Rouse and Mistress Devoll decided that the younger children must be fed,[108] in order that they might be put to bed at a reasonable hour, and therefore we ate the meal without waiting longer.

Well it was that we did so, if we counted on satisfying our hunger that day, for two hours later the men were yet absent, and then Mistress Devoll told me we should make our preparations for the night.

Now you know that this was no small task. The beds and bedding were stowed in the wagons during the day, and when night came, all must be taken out and spread upon the bottom of the boat for the women and children, while the boys—and of course I was numbered among them—slept in one of the wagons.

On this night, however, because Captain Haskell and Master Rouse had not returned, Mistress Rouse believed that I should make my bed at the end of the boat near the fireplace, where I could stand guard, or, in other words, where I might be ready to do whatsoever would be needed during the hours of darkness.


I congratulated myself not a little that I was to sleep upon a very comfortable sack of feathers, which had thus far served Captain Haskell. Without giving very much heed to the fact that the men yet remained in town when there was every reason why they should have come back to the boat, I laid myself down, and[109] was speedily lost in slumber, for the work during the day had been severe, and I was needing rest sorely.

I may have slept two or three hours, certainly as long as that, when suddenly I was awakened by a sense of discomfort, and, turning over, was brought to my feet very quickly by discovering that the water had come in even over the top of my bed.

too much water in the flatboat

I cried out, not from fear, but rather from surprise, and on the instant the women, as well as the older girls, being awakened, started aft to learn what might be the matter, when they plunged nearly to their knees in water.

Straightway the outcry was great, for they, as well as I, believed that the boat was sinking beneath us.

Strangely enough, the women seemed to consider that I was able to play the part of a man at such a[110] time, and Mistress Devoll asked in a tone of fear what ought to be done.

During an instant I stood undecided, hardly having my wits about me, and then, still believing the clumsy craft was going to the bottom, I urged that we get on shore as speedily as possible.


a house in which to dry out

Fortunately for us the boat had been moored with a short hawser, in such a manner that when Captain Haskell and Master Rouse left us they could readily leap from the gunwale to the land, and after the women were gathered on the shoreward side of the boat, instead of being obliged to jump, I found that they might readily step over the rail without wetting their[111] feet in water, although they sank above the tops of their shoes in mud.

a man with a lantern

Once they had what might be called a firm footing, I passed the younger children over, and while doing so the twins made a great outcry, whereupon Mistress Devoll and Mistress Rouse commanded them to remain quiet.

Our cries and shouts awakened a man who proved to be of great assistance. His house stood on the shore near where our boat was moored, and he came to the door quickly, calling out to know what was the matter, whereupon I told him our boat was sinking and that some half-drowned women and children were shivering on the shore.

All of us were soaked to the skin, for we had floundered about in the water when first awakened, and the man cried out that we should remain where we were[112] until he could light a lantern and come to our assistance, which he did in a very short space of time.

Then, without waiting to learn what might be happening to the boat, he insisted that all should go to his house, which was hardly more than a hundred paces away, and once there he built a big fire in the fireplace, after which he proposed that we older boys go with him to look after the craft, while the women and children dried their clothing.


When we came to the boat again it was seen that there would have been no danger of her sinking, even though we remained aboard all night. It seems that the river had fallen after we made fast to the shore, and the landward side of the boat rested on the river bank as the waters receded, thus allowing the outer portion of the craft to settle in the stream until the water ran through the seams in the planking about the gunwale, for they were badly calked, having been hurriedly finished by the builders at Sumrill's Ferry while we were putting our goods on board.

There was no possibility of our shoving the huge boat into deeper water, therefore the kindly stranger awakened some of his neighbors, who, with such small aid as I could give, set about taking out the bedding and the clothing which had been wetted completely,[113] carrying the stuff up to the house that it might be dried, and this work served to keep us busy until sunrise, when Master Rouse and Captain Haskell came down to the shore.

They had been busy with some people who intended to go to Marietta, and were so eager to make certain business arrangements that it seemed best to sleep at the tavern, rather than return at a late hour to the flatboat, and one can readily imagine their surprise at finding us with a good third of our cargo on shore.

emptying the flatboat

The kind man who had labored nearly all night in our behalf lived alone in a large log hut, and insisted on preparing breakfast for all our company, not even allowing the girls to do their share of the work, thereby showing himself to be a skillful cook as well as a friendly neighbor.

When Master Rouse would have paid him for his[114] labor, as well as for the food which he had provided, the man refused to take a penny, claiming that he had done only as he would be done by, and therefore I still have a kind feeling in my heart for Pittsburgh.

Master Rouse, Captain Haskell, and I soon had the water bailed out of the flatboat and the bedding, now dried, on board; before the afternoon was more than half spent, we were ready to set out on the last stage of our long journey.


We had, however, a new member of the company, an old trapper and hunter by the name of Bruce. Our gentlemen had met him at the tavern, and learned that he was familiar with the river, knowing all the shoals, or at least claiming that he did, and I have no reason to doubt his statement in view of what occurred before we arrived at Marietta.

old trapper in dugout canoe


He had intended to travel in his canoe, which was neither more nor less than a dugout, by which I mean the trunk of a tree hollowed out to make a shell-like craft which would carry a very heavy load. It required delicate handling because of its liability to overset in case any of the cargo was suddenly shifted. In fact, the old hunter laughingly said that if he shifted his pipe from one side of his mouth to the other the canoe would heel.

He had with him flour, half a dozen or more sides of bacon, a number of beaver traps, his camp kettle and equipage, not to speak of his rifle, blankets, and ammunition sufficient to last him during the winter season, while he was in the wilderness far from any other human being.

old trapper steering the flatboat

His canoe was lashed alongside the flatboat and he stood at the huge steering oar which swung from the stern, or rather from that end of the craft which we chose to call the stern, for, it being square at both ends, we might as well have called one the bow as the other.



It was about three o'clock when we started. The sky was overcast, and there were signs of rain in the south, while the wind shifted here and there until almost any one might have proved himself a weather prophet by predicting a storm.

Within an hour of sunset the wind swung around to the northwest and blew fiercely across the bend of the river where we then were, kicking up such a sea as to send the crests of the waves over the side of the boat, threatening to sink, if not overset, the unwieldy craft.

We men and boys worked at the oars to the best of our ability, striving to force the clumsy vessel toward the Pennsylvania shore, for the opposite bank, or what was called the Indian side, was said to be infested with savages who, even though they were supposed to be at peace with white people, robbed flatboats and killed travelers at every favorable opportunity.

Master Bruce's huge canoe pounded and thumped against the side of the boat until it seemed certain she would stave in the planks, and finally, regardless of the fact that all his property was on board, the old hunter cut her adrift.

Then, while we rode more easily, the danger was lessened but little, for the wind increased in force,[117] and the waves grew higher, until all of us boys were forced to work at bailing in order to keep the water from rising so high as to soak our goods.

I had not realized that there was any actual danger until I heard the old hunter say to Captain Haskell that we must take our chances of being attacked by the Indians, because it was impossible to force the flatboat over to the Pennsylvania shore, therefore we ought to make harbor wherever we could.


Up to this time the women and the girls had remained reasonably quiet, apparently too much frightened to make any sound; but overhearing what Master Bruce said regarding the necessity of our taking shelter on the Indian shore, they set up a great outcry.

Captain Haskell and Master Rouse, although they were needed at the oars, could do no less than go amidships where the shrieking ones were gathered, and literally force them to hold their peace, for it was most distracting to hear the noise while we had as much as we could do to work the craft.

The old hunter showed that he knew much regarding the handling of such a boat as we were then aboard; for in a short time, by skillful pulling at the plank that served as rudder, aided by those of us who tugged at the oars, she was brought under a high bluff, on the[118] Indian side of the river, and there made fast by a hawser to trees growing near the water's edge.

We were no sooner moored than Mistress Devoll sprang over the side of the boat to the land, declaring that while the storm raged as it did then she would not trust herself on board even though the Indians might be near, and her example was speedily followed by the other women and girls.

mooring the flatboat along the shore

It seemed to me a foolhardy act to go on shore when we knew there was danger the Indians might make an attack, yet Master Rouse and Captain Haskell held their peace, allowing the women to do as they pleased, while the old hunter set about putting up a shelter for them by means of four poles, with blankets stretched across after the fashion of a tent.

There the women made beds for themselves and the[119] children, rather than go back to the boat, even though to my mind it was safely secured and could not come to any harm.

Master Bruce was not content with having done this. Just before having landed we saw a thin thread of smoke rising from the trees half a mile distant, and he set off as soon as the makeshift tent had been put up, running the chances of coming upon the savages, in order to discover who our neighbors might be.


Now it so happened, fortunately for us, that the smoke had come from the camp of white men, and of them Bruce begged, or bought, half of a fat deer, broiling enough steaks on the coals to satisfy the hunger of the younger members of the party, while he roasted a goodly portion, hunter-fashion, on a hickory skewer stuck up in the earth in front of the fire.

old trapper cooking deer on open fire


The girls made coffee and corn bread, and we feasted that night.

Captain Haskell and I went on board the boat to sleep, and I was not sorry we did so, for before morning another storm came up, and when we looked out from beneath the wagon covers, after sunrise, snow covered the ground to the depth of two inches.

The sun was shining brightly; the wind had died away until there was not sufficient air stirring to lift a feather, and nothing prevented us from continuing the journey without delay, which we did, the girls broiling venison steaks in our fireplace at the stern of the boat while we sailed along.

Master Bruce told us we might take no little credit to ourselves, for we most likely were the first white people to venture on the Indian shore and remain there all night, since Pittsburgh had become a town.


It surprised me not a little because the old hunter failed to mourn the loss of his canoe, for on board was all his equipment for the winter's work, and, having lost it, he must go back to Pittsburgh to replenish his stores and procure another craft.

However, it is folly for one to worry and fret over that which cannot be avoided. Master Bruce might[121] have made himself miserable bewailing the loss of his goods and nothing would have been changed.

retrieving the lost canoe

Near noon we saw the craft on the Pennsylvania side of the river, where it had been blown by the wind, lying there comfortably ashore, as if waiting for us to take it in tow.

It was a difficult matter to pull our craft around to get hold of the canoe; but we finally did so, and would have worked more than one day rather than allow the old hunter to meet with a loss.

When it was made fast alongside once more, and we were drifting with the current, Master Bruce went on board to learn what portion of his goods had been lost during the storm, and to his surprise found that only one of the traps was missing, although the flour was more or less wet.

Why the canoe was not overset by the wind, unstable as it was, I could not understand until Master Bruce explained that the weight of the flour and the traps, resting on the bottom of the boat, must have served as ballast to hold it steady, and again,[122] most-like, it went ashore within a short time after having been cut adrift.

I supposed we had quite a journey before us from Pittsburgh to Buffalo Creek, and therefore was surprised when at sunset I asked Master Bruce concerning the distance, and he told me that within an hour we would arrive at the place where we were to take on the cattle and horses, for it was Master Rouse's intent to carry with us Uncle Daniel's oxen, if the old man had not succeeded in loading them on his friend's craft.

arriving at Buffalo Creek


It was not yet nine o'clock when we came within sight of the few twinkling lights in the settlement of Buffalo, and I could hear Isaac Barker's boisterous laugh while we were yet half a mile away, therefore I knew he was indulging in his quips and jokes.

It must have been that he was on the lookout for us, for before the flatboat was made fast to the shore, he,[123] with Michael Rouse and Ben Cushing, was calling out words of welcome, and asking how the journey had progressed. As soon as they were on board, our craft having been made fast, we learned without surprise that the two ailing horses had died during the march.

A few moments later, as I was about to overhaul the bedding in order to make it ready for the children, whose time for going to sleep had already passed, Mistress Rouse said to me that she had no intention of remaining on board the boat during the night.

The fear that another storm might come up, or that we might be half-swamped as at Pittsburgh, caused the good woman to shrink from spending the night on the boat when it was possible to sleep ashore. Isaac was therefore urged to find some shelter, which he speedily did by proposing that they take possession of a log hut which stood on a point of land near the mouth of Buffalo Creek, where he, with Michael and Ben, had slept the night before.

The building had been abandoned, as it seemed, or else its owner was making a long journey, perhaps on a hunting trip, and would not complain if we made free with his property, it being the custom on the frontier for travelers to take advantage of such shelter as they might find unoccupied.



I counted on hearing from Ben Cushing and Isaac Barker entertaining stories that night, concerning the march across the country, but much to my disappointment they had nothing of interest to tell.

loading Uncle Daniel's oxen on the flatboat

Forced to accommodate their pace to the slowly moving oxen, they trudged along hour after hour, starting well before daylight and continuing as long as it was possible to see at night, in order to cover the greatest possible distance, with nothing whatsoever to break the monotony of the march.

We were up long before the sun next morning, for now it was necessary to take the live stock on board[125] our flatboat. We were forced to embark Uncle Daniel's oxen, he having passed Buffalo some time before Isaac and Ben arrived there, and when we had all the beasts on board we were packed like herring in a box, each in his own special place and with very little opportunity to move about.

However, we were nearly at our journey's end; the current of the river ran swiftly as compared with the stream at Pittsburgh, and there was no longer reason to fear that the Indians might do any harm, even if there had been cause before.

In exactly four days from the time of leaving Pittsburgh, we arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum. It was well we had come to an end of our journey so soon, for ice was already beginning to form in the river, and before daylight the Muskingum was frozen quite solidly.

Within an hour after we had moored the flatboat to the bank, Master Devoll came on board.

Although I have not said that this march of ours was attended with danger, and in fact it was not, yet there were many chances that one or another of us, if not all, might have fallen by the wayside, owing either to the roughness of the way, or the fatigue caused by such incessant labor with insufficient lodging, to say nothing of the poor food owing to the fact that we had not the necessary vessels in which to prepare it.



Before we had really made the flatboat fast, Mistress Devoll and Mistress Rouse were almost at their wits' ends with fear, for in the woods and on the sides of the hill back of Fort Harmar could be seen hundreds upon hundreds of camp fires, and one of those idlers who are ever to be found at the riverside of a settlement, told us there were no less than three hundred savages encamped there, having come to make a treaty with our people on the 9th of January.

at Marietta

Master Devoll laughed at his wife's fears, claiming that the savages were as peaceful as lambs, although at the time I doubted very much whether he believed his own words.


However, the women and children did not remain aboard our flatboat, for Master Devoll took them to the Mayflower, which was moored near by, where were better accommodations for sleeping, and in our craft only Ben Cushing and I were left on guard.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing keeping guard

We two lads spent a full hour that evening, congratulating ourselves upon having finished the journey and questioning as to what we would do now we were come into this Ohio country.

We had been more than eight weeks on the road, advancing all the time, one day after another, except the eight and forty hours which were spent with Master Hiples in that village where live the Dunkards, and, save for the death of the two horses, we had come through with no greater mishap than the loss of a two-quart tin measure and a blanket belonging to Mistress Rouse. This was doing remarkably well, when you consider that never one of the party, not even the men, had undertaken such a journey before.


In the morning we found the Muskingum River frozen from shore to shore, and until spring came the stream was never so free of ice that we could have propelled our boat, therefore we arrived, as one might say, just in the nick of time, for a delay of four and twenty hours would have found us frozen in at some point above the town, from which it would have been necessary to continue on foot.


Uncle Daniel was on the river bank to meet us next morning, before we put the animals ashore, and then, very much to my disappointment, he announced that it was not his intention to remain long in Marietta.

It appears that he, with several others, had decided to go thirteen miles down the Ohio River, where they had already staked out a town, and there build for themselves a settlement which should be wholly made up of those who had been neighbors in Massachusetts. However, he was forced to remain with us at Marietta during the winter.

Master Devoll took his family from the Mayflower at an early hour next morning and moved their belongings to Campus Martius, where he hoped to remain until his house was finished, and there did Mistress Devoll bid me come, saying I should find a home with them until it was possible to settle upon plans for the[129] future, while Master Devoll told me that if I wanted to work at fair wages as a farm hand, he would give me employment as soon as spring had come.

Benjamin thanking Master Devoll for the offer of employment

It may be that I was a simple for not accepting the offer which was made in all kindness of heart, and yet I had a desire to become something more than an ordinary laborer, so, thanking him heartily for his generosity, I went out into the world on my own account, having as partner Ben Cushing.


We two young fellows had no idea of what it might be possible for us to do. This new country was all so different from what we had seen in Massachusetts; the ways of the people would be different now they had come so far from home, and we were without means of gaining a livelihood, save for our willingness to work and the strength of our bodies.


However, penniless and undecided though we were, there was no intention on our part to force matters, and after the flatboat had been unloaded, we set about looking the town over, eager to see what had been done in so short a time, and speculating as to what we might do at some future day.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing walk around Marietta

I am free to confess that the fortification with the high-sounding name of Campus Martius was pleasing to look upon. It was an imposing building, not such a one[131] as you would expect to find in a wild country, and it lent to its surroundings a certain sense of security, because one could readily understand that it was built in a manner to defy the attacks of the savages.

Outside the palisade, extending in either direction along the river bank were ten log cabins, very few of which were occupied by their owners, for those who had built them had not as yet brought their families to Marietta. The streets were laid out in regular order, but like those we saw in Harrisburg, they were still filled with the stumps of trees, and the only signs of highways were the tiny paths looking much like sheep tracks as they wound in and out among the trees, avoiding the wet places, and leading where the way was most easy to travel.

No one gave any heed to us, and we wandered here and there looking into this house or criticizing another which was but half finished, until we came to where we could see Fort Harmar with the Indian encampment behind it. Then we decided upon the next day's entertainment, for Ben Cushing insisted that since this was our first chance to see a savage, we should spend at least a few hours there.

While it promised a novelty, I was by no means easy in mind regarding an inspection of the red men. Nevertheless I kept all these fears to myself, hoping Ben might give over his excursion when we[132] learned that the ice was not strong enough to bear us up.

Unfortunately, however, it was possible to gain Fort Harmar, for the night was very cold, and ice formed of a thickness to render traveling on the river safe, therefore I was forced to agree to his proposition again.


Before we could inspect these Indian visitors, it was necessary we should make some provision for food and shelter, for neither of us wanted to present himself to Mistress Rouse or Mistress Devoll as a beggar, therefore we set about providing for ourselves a temporary home.

I have no doubt but that we would have been allowed to take possession of any of the log houses which were not occupied; but that would have been much like begging a shelter, therefore we proposed to Master Devoll that we occupy the flatboat during the time that it remained fast in the ice.

It proved to be a happy idea. He told us that it was his intention to allow the boat to remain where it was until spring, since he could do no different because of the ice, and then it could be used by those who proposed to make a settlement fourteen miles farther down the Ohio. He also said that we were[133] at liberty to use it as we saw fit during the entire winter, providing, of course, that we did no damage to the craft; but at the same time advising that, instead of trying to keep house by ourselves, we live either with his family or Master Rouse's.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing with Master Devoll

He said we should find plenty of game in the woods, and proposed that we borrow his gun whenever we were in need of meat, promising to supply us with ammunition; but this last we agreed to only with the understanding that he keep a strict account of what was used, so that when we had earned sufficient money with which to cancel the debt, we might pay him.

At this he laughed, declaring that we were indeed high and mighty for lads who yet had their way to make through the world; but at the same time clapping us heartily on the shoulders as he vowed he liked our[134] spirit and had no doubt but that we should succeed in making our way, for there must be ample opportunity for willing lads to earn fair wages when spring had come.


Another thing Master Devoll did for which both Ben and I have good reason to bless him. He insisted that we make a bargain with Colonel Putnam for one of the eight-acre lots, agreeing to pay for it within a year's time, and inasmuch as the price fixed upon for those who had come to settle was the same as that made by the government, meaning one dollar an acre, it surely seemed as if we could contrive within a twelve-month to earn that much money in addition to supporting ourselves.

Without loss of time we went to the small building which Colonel Putnam called the "Land Office," and there made application for one of the lots as Master Devoll had advised. On the instant after Colonel Putnam spoke, we understood that Master Devoll had not contented himself simply with giving advice, but had been to the land office before us, stating who we were and what were our intentions, therefore Colonel Putnam not only was ready to receive us, but had much to say which sounded to my ears like unwon praise.

"It is such lads as you that we want here in Mari[135]etta," he said heartily. "Your records are good, so far as I have learned, and it pleases me to set aside an eight-acre lot for you. Decide upon any one of those which have not already been taken, and I will enter it in your names."

at the land office buying land

Then he put before us a plan of the town of Marietta, whereon each piece of land was marked out, and we, instead of going out to look for ourselves that we might decide which was the most valuable or desirable, said to him that he should put our names down on whatever lot he saw fit, whereupon he laughingly did so, and we afterward learned that we had been, perhaps, wise in leaving to him the selection.

That night after we had become landowners, as you might say, we slept on board the flatboat with no covering save such a shelter as could be made with[136] branches of trees, and because we were not disposed to ask either Mistress Rouse or Mistress Devoll to lend us blankets, we made a lively blaze in the fireplace, laying ourselves down with our feet toward it.

The night was cold indeed and we suffered not a little before morning; but, as Ben said, it was better to be a trifle chilly than to feel ourselves beholden to any one, even for that with which we covered ourselves.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing chopping firewood

I insisted that our first duty should be to get together a supply of fuel, and indeed there was no scarcity about. The trees grew so near the water's edge that we could hew them into four-foot lengths, and almost toss them into the flatboat.

It was my proposition that we fill the craft entirely[137] with fuel before doing anything else, but Ben was so set upon seeing the Indian encampment, that he refused to do more than cut enough to last during one night, and when I asked him what he intended to do about breakfast, he quietly announced that he would rather go hungry one day, than miss the chance of seeing those savages with whom we might, at some time in the near future, find ourselves fighting for our lives.

I also was eager to see the Indians; but not to such an extent that I would cross over to Fort Harmar with an empty stomach. I therefore told him that I should first make it my duty to go into the woods in search of game.


He, however, was so insistent that we finally agreed that the forenoon should be spent in looking at the savages, and after that he was to go with me hunting.

It was odd, when we had come to Fort Harmar, to see so many of the brown-skinned people dressed in fanciful garb, as if taking part in some comical festival; but there was about them so much which was disagreeable, that I could not really enjoy the visit.

I fancied that more than one of them looked in an unfriendly manner at us, as if taking offense because of our curiosity, and I was willing to postpone any[138] further acquaintance with them until we were somewhat familiar with their habits and customs.

Ben was not so eager as he had been, and when noon came was ready to accompany me on a hunting trip, as had been agreed upon.

visiting the Indian camp

I wish I had the time to tell you all we did during that first afternoon, for indeed it was most interesting.

Roaming through a dirty Indian encampment was not for a single moment to be compared with the pleasure of making one's way among the huge trees, where game was so abundant that a fellow might pick and choose.

Before we had gone half a mile from the fortification, we came upon pigeons and rabbits in what seemed countless numbers, and more than once did we get a[139] glimpse of wild turkeys; but as yet we were not sufficiently versed in hunting to be able to kill them.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing hunting for meat

Within two hours we had enough meat for the coming week, and, hastening back to our flatboat home, were able before sunset to cut so much wood that Ben declared we might live like gentlemen of leisure during the next few days.

"If we are to make for ourselves names of worth in this country, there must be no idleness," I said half laughingly. "You and I have decided that we will strike out for ourselves, therefore it stands us in hand to earn money, and that without loss of time."

"We will begin bright and early to-morrow morning," Ben replied cheerily. "You shall go one way and I another, each seeking to find some way by which we can earn an honest dollar, and each seeing to it that whatever business is engaged upon, shall be for two, because, as I understand it, you and I are to work in one yoke while we remain here in this town of Marietta."



We did not do exactly as Ben proposed when another day had come, and it was none other than Captain Haskell who prevented us from carrying out our plans.

We met the captain just as we were coming out from beneath our shelter, he having strolled that way in order to learn how we might be getting on. Seeing that we were blue and shivering with the cold as we strove to kindle a fire in the stern of the flatboat, he said to us that it would be a good idea if we made of the craft a comfortable home during the winter months.

Benjamin and Ben Cushing building a shelter on the flatboat

Then he showed us how, with a little labor, we could build in the stern of the flatboat a shelter which would be quite as good as any hut on shore, save that we might be lodged in one of the best rooms in Campus Martius, and advised that we set about the work before striving to find employment. At the same time he assured us there was no doubt whatsoever in his mind but that


two lads who were willing to work, and who would work, might make for themselves a home and a name.

Having given this advice, he turned squarely about, never waiting to see whether we might be willing to follow it, and walked rapidly toward the fortification.

We pondered over his suggestion no longer than it might take a man to count twenty, and then began to discuss how we had best begin the work, in the meanwhile warming up what remained of the roasted pigeons we had cooked for supper.


While we were thus engaged, the lad Jeremy Salter, of whom I have already spoken, came down to the shore, curious to see who might be remaining on board a flatboat when there was shelter to be had in the town, and without waiting for an invitation, joined us at breakfast, eating considerably more than his share. He told us exactly how we ought to set about making the shelter, and what it might be possible for us to do in the way of gaining employment.

At first it nettled me that this boy should presume to advise us, for he was considerably younger than I; but before he had done with his suggestions, both Ben and I saw that they were not without merit.

He was the son of one of the Salters who had come out from Danvers, and considered himself an old


resident of the country because of having been here two months or more. It appeared that he was not very eager to gain employment for himself, claiming that his father was one of those who expected to go farther down the river in the spring to make there another settlement.

However, I must say in his favor that he took hold with us heartily, borrowing two axes, and advising which trees might be felled the easiest, performing himself a due share of the labor, with the result that before two days had passed, thanks to his assistance and advice, we had as good a hut built over the fireplace in the stern of the flatboat as one could desire.


Then Jeremy Salter told us how we might lay in a store of provisions without spending powder and ball. His scheme was to go a short distance from the point, and there fish through the ice.

He not only gave this advice but went so far as to provide us with fishing tackle, and seemed to enjoy himself hugely while aiding in laying up a store of food.

It was no labor, but rather sport, to catch fish in this fashion. We caught them as fast as it was possible to haul in the lines, until when night came and we had made a sort of sled with branches of trees, we had as much of a load as we cared to drag over the ice.


By this time they were all frozen, therefore we stacked them up like fuel in the bow of the flatboat, and I dare say that had we lived on fish alone, we had in the ten hours' fishing enough food for a month.

During all this time that we were building our hut and fishing, Ben Cushing was eager to pay another visit to the Indian encampment; but Jeremy declared that the savages were not in the most friendly mood, even though they had come to make a treaty, and his father had told him plainly that he must not venture near the lodges, lest harm might come.

Jeremy, Benjamin and Ben ice fishing

Such talk as this served to take away Ben's desire to see the wild savages in their own camps, and I was glad because of it, for instead of spending half a day when time was precious, we, with Jeremy's aid, set about laying up a greater store of fuel, until the flatboat had a full cargo of wood and fish, therefore we need not fear hunger or cold during the winter.



I was glad indeed when the Sabbath came, for I had worked hard and the time of rest was what all of us, including Jeremy, who was living with us rather than in Campus Martius with his parents, most needed.

The greater number of the people assembled in one of the rooms of Campus Martius during the forenoon, where prayers were read and some of the older men talked to us in serious fashion.

Parson Cutler preaching

The words at that time took even more hold on me than those which I had heard from Parson Cutler's lips at home, for we were indeed needing the protec[145]tion of God, since there were none of this world who could aid if the savages attacked us suddenly. I believe that both Ben and I came away from that meeting better in heart and with better resolutions for the future, than we had ever had before.

Bright and early on Monday morning Captain Haskell made us another visit and commented favorably upon the shelter we had built, at the same time that he looked curiously at our stack of fish.

Captain Haskell visits the shelter on the flatboat

"I see no reason why you lads should not sell me half a dozen of these," he said, picking out some of the finest, and Ben Cushing replied promptly that he might have all he wanted for the carrying away.

The captain refused any such offer, saying that he would buy them, otherwise he would go without, and declaring that if we wished, we might sell to the people inside the fortification no small amount of fish during the winter season, for there were plenty who did not feel disposed to spend their time on the river while the weather was so cold.



He gave us a shilling for as many as he could carry, and bade us follow him to Campus Martius, where within an hour we took orders for as many as we had in the flatboat, at prices much the same as that paid by the captain, and straightway without our seeking it, there came to us a means of earning money sufficient to provide ourselves with ammunition for hunting.

You would not have the patience to read all I could write about our work during that winter.

Benjamin and Ben carrying a deer they killed

There was never man nor woman in Campus Martius who could come out and beckon us, but that we were ready to furnish him or her with as much fish as was wanted, until we had gathered in no less than seven dollars and three shillings, by working in a way which was much like sport. Of this amount we spent a little more than one half to purchase a store of powder and lead, for it was our intention to add the business of hunting to that of fishing.


Thanks to Jeremy Salter, we borrowed from a kind man who had come out with Colonel Sproat two muskets, with the understanding that if at any time before spring we were ready to pay twelve dollars for each, they might become our property.

From this time on we fished when the weather was too stormy for successful hunting, and roamed the woods during pleasant days, coming back to our flatboat home each night literally laden with game or fish; and although any man in Marietta could have done the same, we had no difficulty in selling it all.

Of the ceremony of making the treaty with the Indians we saw nothing, and for the very good reason that we could not afford to spend the time.


Just then it seemed as if every man in the settlement was eager to know what might be going on around Fort Harmar, and therefore the demands upon us hunters increased to such an extent that we could hardly supply the food which was desired.

In addition to the fact that we were unable to be present during the treaty making, save at the price of losing the chance to earn considerable money, Ben Cushing had lost all desire to see the savages at close quarters.

One afternoon just before sunset, when we had


come in from fishing, two Delaware braves came over to our flatboat and made themselves very much at home, without any invitation. In fact, they carried matters with a high hand, as if having the right to do as they pleased, and when Ben made a stout protest against their eating the food intended for our own supper, one of them behaved in such a threatening manner that for a moment I thoroughly believed he was about to strike the lad down, therefore I hastily caught up one of the axes, believing I should be called upon to fight for my life.

Indians visit the flatboat shelter

When the Indians had eaten until it was impossible to eat more, they having literally forced us to cook for them, the two stalked away, and from that


time forth Ben never said anything regarding a desire to visit the encampment.

We hunted or fished during every moment of daylight while the treaty making was going on, and when it had come to an end we had so many dollars in our possession as satisfied us fully for having failed to witness the ceremony.


It was at this time, when we were so prosperous, that Jeremy Salter declared we ought to set aside a certain day in each week for the work of building a house for ourselves on the eight-acre lot, which we now knew could be paid for at any time, since we had more than sufficient money in our possession.

building a house

Thus, thanks to Jeremy, we set about building our home, working whenever the demand for game or fish was light, or when it stormed so furiously that we could not well go on the river or in[150] the woods. When spring came and the snow had disappeared, we had as solidly built a cabin as could be found anywhere in Marietta outside Campus Martius.

Thus far we had accomplished a portion of our purpose. The people had come to understand that if we promised to provide them with a certain kind of game or fish, the promise would be kept to the letter. I am saying this not to praise myself, but simply to show we were making a name for ourselves as lads who told the truth, and kept strictly to their bargain.

As I looked at the matter, this was of greatest value to us. We had set about gaining a good reputation, and verily we had begun aright, though only in small matters. It remained to show whether we were of such stuff as settlers in a wild country should be made.

Before the first day of March we had paid for our eight-acre lot, had built a cabin of two rooms, in which was stored as much frozen game and fish as would keep sweet until warm weather came, and, in addition, had nineteen dollars which we could call our own.


One day, when the rain came down in torrents, and we were not inclined either to fish or hunt, Captain Haskell came to make a friendly call, and, in no spirit of curiosity, but rather because of the interest which he had evidently taken in us, asked how we were progressing.


Without hesitation I told him exactly how we stood in the world, whereupon he praised us highly, and then proposed a scheme which fairly caused me to hold my breath in amazement, for it did not seem possible we could venture so far as his plan led.

a watermill between two flatboats

His idea was that we build a water mill by buying from himself and Master Rouse the flatboat in which we were still living and by putting alongside of it a second one, the two to be fastened side by side in such a manner that a water wheel could be worked between them, and the double craft anchored in the current, where sufficient power could be had to drive the mill.

As to the stones for grinding and such small pieces of machinery as we might need, he figured that we[152] could buy them either in Pittsburgh or from some craft which came up the river, and when I asked him how far he thought our store of money would go in such a project, he laughingly replied that Uncle Daniel and he would lend us a sufficient amount to pay for all we might need, and take from us in return three-quarters of the entire earnings until the debt, with interest, had been canceled.

When Ben Cushing asked if he believed we should find business enough to warrant the undertaking, he replied:—

"There are about two hundred people here now and twice as many coming from Massachusetts during the summer. Now, since there is no mill here and all the corn must be ground by hand, I am asking whether you do not believe that by harvest time a single mill such as Uncle Daniel and I propose you shall build, will be kept running during every hour of daylight?"


We discussed the matter earnestly, as you may well suppose, and Uncle Daniel, coming aboard before we had finished the conversation, did his share of arguing. Before nightfall it was settled that on the following morning we should begin work on a second flatboat, and also repair the old craft in which we had come down from Sumrill's Ferry.


And all this we did, working with a hearty will far into each night, because it was possible to see before us a way of getting on in the world faster than we had ever dared to dream, and you may be sure we wasted no minute of daylight.

We had expected to cultivate our eight acres, and, in fact, when spring came we did put in a crop of corn; but the making of the mill and providing ourselves with food occupied so much of our time that we could not well afford to spend many hours as farmers, more particularly since both Uncle Daniel and Captain Haskell insisted that as soon as the mill was in working order we could earn double or treble as much as it would be possible to get from the ground.

And it all came about as these two good friends of ours predicted. The mill was a success from the first day we were ready to turn the wheel, and has continued so until now, when we are in sorest trouble.


From the time of our coming into this Ohio country, Marietta had steadily increased in size, the people coming, as it seemed to me, from every part of the eastern colonies, and just when Ben and I were congratulating each other that our lines had been cast in peaceful, pleasant places, even though we were settled in the wilderness, the Indians began their bloody work[154] which we now fear may result in wiping out this settlement.

The treaty which had been made by the savages just after we arrived was kept only by the white men. Hardly more than two weeks ago news came that Captain King had been killed at that settlement to which Uncle Daniel went in the spring, while four others were slain in the forest, and one taken prisoner.

Indians on the warpath

The savages are in arms against us. We have been forced to come into Campus Martius for safety; work of all kinds has been abandoned; our mill is moored far up the Muskingum River, where we have a faint hope it may escape destruction.

Although it may be that within the next four and twenty hours both Ben and I will have fallen beneath[155] the tomahawk, yet must I bear witness that God has been good to us indeed. He has permitted two lads so to make their way in the world with nothing save their own hands as stock in trade, that now, as I have good reason for believing, we are counted among the responsible citizens of the town.

And of this it seems to me I had good proof no longer ago than yesterday, when I heard General Putnam say while he and some other of the men were discussing the possibilities of an Indian war:—

"If evidence were needed that it is well for young, willing workers to come into the wilderness, then I would point out to you that lad who journeyed with Mistress Devoll, and who, with his comrade, has laid up more than a fair share of this world's goods by unceasing work and unswerving honesty. He has done no more than many another might have done; but it has pleased me to watch the lad, and when I think of him it is always as our cheery-faced, upright miller, Benjamin of Ohio."




Baldwin, James: Conquest of the Old Northwest. American Book Company.

Buel, Miss Rowena: Memoirs of Rufus Putnam. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Drake, Samuel Adams: Making of the Ohio Valley States. Charles Scribner's Sons.

Earle, Alice Morse: Home Life in Colonial Days. The Macmillan Company.

Ellet, Mrs.: Pioneer Women of the West. John C. Winston Company.

Elson, Henry William: History of the United States. The Macmillan Company.

Harper's Magazine: Vol. 71, p. 552.

Hildreth, S. P.: Pioneer History. H. W. Derby & Co.

Hinsdale, B. A.: The Old Northwest. Silver, Burdett & Co.

Howells, William Dean: Stories of Ohio. American Book Company.

Jones, N. E.: Squirrel Hunters of Ohio. Robert Clarke Company.

Mowry, William A.: American Pioneers. Silver, Burdett & Co.

Powell, Lyman P.: Historic Towns of Western States. G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Roosevelt, Theodore: Winning of the West. G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Thwaite, Reuben Gold: Early Western Travels (Buttrick). Arthur H. Clarke Company.

Walker, Charles M.: History of Athens County, Ohio. Robert Clarke Company.




Transcriber’s Note



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