Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents: Alone In The Wilderness She Founded A Settlement

Among the chapters of accident and casualty which make up the respective diaries of the families who left their eastern homes after the Revolution and joined the ranks of the Western immigrants there is none more interesting than that of Mrs. Jameson. She was the child of wealthy parents, and had been reared in luxury in the city of New York. Soon after peace was declared she was married to Edward Jameson, a brave soldier in the war, who had nothing but his stout arms and intrepid heart to battle with the difficulties of life. Her father, dying soon after, his estate was discovered to have been greatly lessened by the depreciation in value which the war had produced. Gathering together the remains of what was once a large fortune, the couple purchased the usual outfit of the emigrants of that period and set out to seek their fortunes in the West.

All went well with them until they reached the Alleghany River, which they undertook to cross on a raft. It was the month of May; the river had been swollen by rains, and when they reached the middle of the stream, the part of the raft on which Mr. Jameson sat became detached, the logs separated, and he sank to rise no more. The other section of the raft, containing Mrs. Jameson, her babe of eight months, and a chest of clothing and household gear, floated down-stream at the mercy of the rapid current.

Bracing herself against the shock, Mrs. Jameson managed to paddle to the side of the river from which she had just before started. She was landed nearly a mile below the point where had been left the cattle, and also the ox-cart in which their journey had been hitherto performed, and which her husband expected to carry over the river on the raft, returning for them as soon as his wife and babe had been safely landed on the western bank. The desolate mother succeeded in mooring the remains of the raft to the shore; then clasping her babe to her bosom, followed the bank of the river till she reached the oxen and cart, which she drove down to the place where she landed, and by great exertions succeeded in hauling the chest upon the bank. Her strength was now exhausted, and, lying down in the bottom of the cart, she gave way to grief and despair.

Her situation may be easily imagined: alone in the forest, thirty miles from the nearest settlement, her husband torn from her in a moment, and her babe smiling as though he would console his mother for her terrible loss. In her sad condition self-preservation would have been too feeble a motive to impel her to make any further effort to save herself; but maternal love—the strongest instinct in a woman's heart—buoyed her up and stimulated her to unwonted exertions.

The spot where she found herself was a dense forest, stretching back to a rocky ledge on the east, and terminated on the north by an alluvial meadow nearly bare of trees. Along the banks of the river was a thick line of high bushes and saplings, which served as a screen against the observations of savages passing up and down the river in their canoes. The woods were just bursting into leaf; the spring-flowers filled the air with odor, and chequered the green foliage and grass; the whole scene was full of vernal freshness, life, and beauty. The track which the Jamesons had followed was about midway between the northern and southern routes generally pursued by emigrants, and it was quite unlikely that others would cross the river at that point. The dense jungle that skirted the river bank was an impediment in the way of reaching the settlements lower down, and there was danger of being lost in the woods if the unfortunate woman should start alone.

"On this spot," she said, "I must remain till some one comes to my help."

The first two years of her married life had been spent on a farm in Westchester County, New York, where she had acquired some knowledge of farming and woodcraft, by assisting her husband in his labors, or by accompanying him while hunting and fishing. She was strong and healthy; and quite, unlike her delicate sisters of modern days, her lithe frame was hardened by exercise in the open air, and her face was tinged by the kisses of the sun.

Slowly recovering from the terrible anguish of her loss, she cast about for shelter and sustenance. The woods were swarming with game, both large and small, from the deer to the rabbit, and from the wild turkey to the quail. The brooks were alive with trout. The meadow was well suited for Indian corn, wheat, rye, or potatoes. The forest was full of trees of every description. To utilize all these raw materials was her study.

A rude hut, built of boughs interlaced, and covered thickly with leaves and dry swamp grass, was her first work. This was her kitchen. The cart, which was covered with canvas, was her sleeping-room. A shotgun, which she had learned the use of, enabled her to keep herself supplied with game. She examined her store of provisions, consisting of pork, flour, and Indian meal, and made an estimate that they would last eight months, with prudent use. The oxen she tethered at first, but afterwards tied the horns to one of their fore feet, and let them roam. The two cows having calved soon after, she kept them near at hand by making a pen for the calves, who by their bleating called their mothers from the pastures on the banks of the river. In the meadow she planted half an acre of corn and potatoes, which soon promised an amazing crop.

Thus two months passed away. In her solitary and sad condition she was cheered by the daily hope that white settlers would cross her track or see her as they passed up and down the river. She often thought of trying to reach a settlement, but dreaded the dangers and difficulties of the way. Like the doe which hides her fawn in the secret covert, this young mother deemed herself and her babe safer in this solitude than in trying unknown perils, even with the chance of falling in with friends. She therefore contented herself with her lot, and when the toils of the day were over, she would sit on the bank and watch for voyagers on the river. Once she heard voices in the night on the river, and going to the bank she strained her eyes to gaze through the darkness and catch sight of the voyagers; she dared not hail them for fear they might be Indians, and soon the voices grew fainter in the distance, and she heard them no more. Again, while sitting in a clump of bushes on the bank one day, she saw with horror six canoes with Indians, apparently directing their course to the spot where she sat. They were hideously streaked with war-paint, and came so near that she could see the scalping knives in their girdles. Turning their course as they approached the eastern shore they silently paddled down stream, scanning the hanks sharply as they floated past. Fortunately they saw nothing to attract their attention; the cart and hut being concealed by the dense bushes, and there being no fire burning.

Fearing molestation from the Indians, she now moved her camp a hundred rods back, near a rocky ledge, from the base of which flowed a spring of pure water. Here, by rolling stones in a circle, she made an enclosure for her cattle at night, and within in it built a log cabin of rather frail construction; another two weeks was consumed in these labors, and it was now the middle of August.

At night she was at first much alarmed by the howling of wolves, who came sniffing round the cart where she slept. Once a large grey wolf put its paws upon the cart and poked its nose under the canvas covering, but a smart blow on the snout drove it yelping away. None of the cattle were attacked, owing to the bold front showed to these midnight intruders. The wolf is one of the most cowardly of wild beasts, and will rarely attack a human being, or even an ox, unless pressed by hunger, and in the winter. Often she caught glimpses of huge black bears in the swamps, while she was in pursuit of wild turkeys or other game; but these creatures never attacked her, and she gave them a wide berth.

One hot day in August she was gathering berries on the rocky ledge beside which her house was situated, when seeing a clump of bushes heavily loaded with the finest blackberries, she laid her babe upon the ground, and climbing up, soon filled her basket with the luscious fruit. As she descended she saw her babe sitting upright and gazing with fixed eyeballs at some object near by; though what it was she could not clearly make out, on account of an intervening shrub. Hastening down, a sight met her eyes that froze her blood. An enormous rattlesnake was coiled within three feet of her child, and with its head erect and its forked tongue vibrating, its burning eyes were fixed upon those of the child, which sat motionless as a statue, apparently fascinated by the deadly gaze of the serpent.

Seizing a stick of dry wood she dealt the reptile a blow, but the stick being decayed and brittle, inflicted little injury on the serpent, and only caused it to turn itself towards Mrs. Jameson, and fix its keen and beautiful, but malignant eyes, steadily upon her. The witchery of the serpent's eyes so irresistibly rooted her to the ground, that for a moment she did not wish to remove from her formidable opponent.

The huge reptile gradually and slowly uncoiled its body; all the while steadily keeping its eye fixed on its intended victim. Mrs. Jameson could only cry, being unable to move, "Oh God! preserve me! save me, heavenly Father!" The child, after the snake's charm was broken, crept to her mother and buried its little head in her lap.
We continue the story in Mrs. Jameson's own words:—

"The snake now began to writhe its body down a fissure in the rock, keeping its head elevated more than a foot from the ground. Its rattle made very little noise. It every moment darted out its forked tongue, its eyes became reddish and inflamed, and it moved rather quicker than at first. It was now within two yards of me. By some means I had dissipated the charm, and, roused by a sense of my awful danger, determined to stand on the defensive. To run away from it, I knew would be impracticable, as the snake would instantly dart its whole body after me. I therefore resolutely stood up, and put a strong glove on my right hand, which I happened to have with me. I stretched out my arm; the snake approached slowly and cautiously towards me, darting out its tongue still more frequently. I could now only recommend myself fervently to the protection of Heaven. The snake, when about a yard distant, made a violent spring. I quickly caught it in my right hand, directly under its head; it lashed its body on the ground, at the same time rattling loudly. I watched an opportunity, and suddenly holding the animal's head, while for a moment it drew in its forked tongue, with my left hand I, by a violent contraction of all the muscles in my hand, contrived to close up effectually its jaws!

"Much was now done, but much more was to be done. I had avoided much danger, but I was still in very perilous circumstances. If I moved my right hand from its neck for a moment, the snake, by avoiding suffocation, could easily muster sufficient power to force its head out of my hand; and if I withdrew my hand from its jaws, I should be fatally in the power of its most dreaded fangs. I retained, therefore, my hold with both my hands; I drew its body between my feet, in order to aid the compression and hasten suffocation. Suddenly, the snake, which had remained quiescent for a few moments, brought up its tail, hit me violently on the head, and then darted its body several times very tightly around my waist. Now was the very acme of my danger. Thinking, therefore, that I had sufficient power over its body, I removed my right hand from its neck, and in an instant drew my hunting-knife. The snake, writhing furiously again, darted at me; but, striking its body with the edge of the knife, I made a deep cut, and before it could recover its coil, I caught it again by the neck; bending its head on my knee, and again recommending myself fervently to Heaven, I cut its head from its body, throwing the head to a great distance. The blood spouted violently in my face; the snake compressed its body still tighter, and I thought I should be suffocated on the spot, and laid myself down. The snake again rattled its tail and lashed my feet with it. Gradually, however, the creature relaxed its hold, its coils fell slack around me, and untwisting it and throwing it from me as far as I was able, I sank down and swooned upon the bank.

"When consciousness returned, the scene appeared like a terrible dream, till I saw the dead body of my reptile foe and my babe crying violently and nestling in my bosom. The ledge near which my cabin was built was infested with rattlesnakes, and the one I had slain seemed to be the patriarch of a numerous family. From that day I vowed vengeance against the whole tribe of reptiles. These creatures were in the habit of coming down to the spring to drink, and I sometimes killed four or five in a day. Before the summer was over I made an end of the whole family."

In September, two households of emigrants floating down the river on a flatboat, caught sight of Mrs. Jameson as she made a signal to them from the bank, and coming to land were pleased with the country, and were persuaded to settle there. The little community was now swelled to fifteen, including four women and six children. The colony thrived, received accessions from the East, and, surviving all casualties, grew at last into a populous town. Mrs. Jameson was married again to a stalwart backwoodsman and became the mother of a large family. She was always known as the "Mother of the Alleghany Settlement."


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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents The Moon and Stars Giveway



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Shadows in a Timeless Myth is a modern day tale of love, horror and survival whose roots lay in the distant past. It is the tale of three immortals who dared defy the Fates...and the humans who paid the price.

The Lindsey Mountain Massacre was a woeful tale of dark magic, love and sacrifice that all began in an candlelit, backwoods manor one cold and frightful winter's night more than a century ago....
Shadows in a Timeless Myth, an enduring tale of love and horror available in large print paperback, and for Amazon's Kindle and in epub for Barnes and Noble's Nook and other readers.



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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents The Heroines of Bryant's Station

 The heroines of Bryant's Station deserve a place on the roll of honor, beside the name of the preserver of Fort Henry, since like her their courage preserved a garrison from destruction. We condense the story from the several sources from which it has come down to us.

The station, consisting of about forty cabins ranged in parallel lines, stood upon a gentle rise on the southern banks of the Elkhorn, near Lexington, Kentucky. One morning in August, 1782, an army of six hundred Indians appeared before it as suddenly as if they had risen out of the earth. One hundred picked warriors made a feint on one side of the fort, trying to entice the men out from behind the stockade, while the remainder were concealed in ambush near the spring with which the garrison was supplied with water. The most experienced of the defenders understood the tactics of their wily foes, and shrewdly guessed that an ambuscade had been prepared in order to cut off the garrison from access to the spring. The water in the station was already exhausted, and unless a fresh supply could be obtained the most dreadful sufferings were apprehended. It was thought probable that the Indians in ambush would not unmask themselves until they saw indications that the party on the opposite side of the fort had succeeded in enticing the soldiers to an open engagement.

Acting upon this impression, and yielding to the urgent necessity of the case, they summoned all the women, without exception, and explaining to them the circumstances in which they were placed, and the improbability that any injury would be done them, until the firing had been returned from the opposite side of the fort, they urged them to go in a body to the spring, and each to bring up a bucket full of water. Some, as was natural, had no relish for the undertaking; they observed they were not bulletproof, and asked why the men could not bring the water as well as themselves; adding that the Indians made no distinction between male and female scalps.
To this it was answered, that women were in the habit of bringing water every morning to the fort, and that if the Indians saw them engaged as usual, it would induce them to believe that their ambuscade was undiscovered, and that they would not unmask themselves for the sake of firing at a few women, when they hoped, by remaining concealed a few moments longer to obtain complete possession of the fort; that if men should go down to the spring, the Indians would immediately suspect that something was wrong, would despair of succeeding by ambuscade, and would instantly rush upon them, follow them into the fort, or shoot them down at the spring. The decision was soon made.

A few of the boldest declared their readiness to brave the danger, and the younger and more timid rallying in the rear of these veterans, they all marched down in a body to the spring, within point blank shot of more than five hundred Indian warriors! Some of the girls could not help betraying symptoms of terror, but the married women, in general, moved with a steadiness and composure which completely deceived the Indians. Not a shot was fired. The party were permitted to fill their buckets, one after another, without interruption, and although their steps became quicker and quicker, on their return, and when near the gate of the fort, degenerated into a rather un-military celerity, attended with some little crowding in passing the gate, yet only a small portion of the water was spilled. The brave water carriers were received with open arms and loud cheers by the garrison, who hailed them as their preservers, and the Indians shortly after retired, baffled and cursing themselves for being outwitted by the "white squaws."

Provided through sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth: Enter for your chance to win.

Shadows in a Timeless Myth is a modern day tale of love, horror and survival whose roots lay in the distant past. Set in the Appalachian Mountains, it is the tale of three immortals who dared defy the Fates...and the humans who paid the price.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents The Green Mountain Woman


In the words of Daniel P. Thompson, author of "The Green Mountain Boys":—

"The women of the Green Mountains deserve as much credit for their various displays of courage, endurance, and patriotism, in the early settlement of their State, as was ever awarded to their sex for similar exhibitions in any part of the world. In the controversy with New York and New Hampshire, which took the form of war in many instances; in the predatory Indian incursions, and in the War of the Revolution, they often displayed a capacity for labor and endurance, a spirit and firmness in the hour of danger, a resolution and hardihood in defending their families and their threatened land against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, that would have done honor to the dames of Sparta."

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Monday, February 6, 2017

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The Lindsey Mountain Massacre was the stuff of legend—a spine chilling, wicked-cruel kind of tale that evil-humored folk like to share on a dark and moonless night. It is a tale of magic, mystery and fragile hearts.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Present Mrs. Pentry: Hunter and Frontier Heroine


In the year 1672 a small party of hunters arrived at the mouth of the Kennebec in two canoes. The larger one of the canoes was paddled up stream by three men, the other was propelled swiftly forward by a man and a woman. Both were dressed in hunters' costume; the woman in a close-fitting tunic of deerskin reaching to the knees, with leggins to match, and the man in hunting-shirt and trowsers of the same material. Edward Pentry, for this was the name of the man, was a stalwart Cornishman who had spent ten years in hunting and exploring the American wilderness. Mrs. Pentry, his wife, was of French extraction, and had passed most of her life in the settlements in Canada, where she had met her adventurous husband on one of his hunting expeditions. She was of manly stature and strength, and like her husband, was a splendid shot and skillful fisher. Both were passionately fond of forest life, and perfectly fearless of its dangers, whether from savage man or beast.

It was their purpose to explore thoroughly the region watered by the upper Kennebec, and to establish a trading-post which would serve as the headquarters of fur-traders, and ultimately open the country for settlement. Their outfit was extremely simple: guns, traps, axes, fishing-gear, powder, and bullets, &c., with an assorted cargo of such trinkets and other articles as the Indians desired in return for peltry.

In three weeks they reached the head-waters of the Kennebec, at Moosehead Lake. There they built a large cabin, divided into two compartments, one of which was occupied by three of the men, the other by Mr. and Mrs. Pentry. All of the party were versed in the Indian dialect of the region, and as Mrs. Pentry could speak French, no trouble was anticipated from the Indians, who in that part of the country were generally friendly to the
French.

The labors of the men in felling trees and shaping logs for the cabin, as well as in framing the structure, were shared in by Mrs. Pentry, who in addition did all the necessary cooking and other culinary offices. They decided to explore the surrounding country for the purpose of discovering the lay of the land and the haunts of game. No signs of any Indians had yet been seen, and it was thought best that the four men should start, each in a different direction, and having explored the neighboring region return to the cabin at night, Mrs. Pentry meanwhile being left alone—a situation which she did not in the least dread. Accordingly, early in the morning, after eating a hunter's breakfast of salt pork, fried fish, and parched corn, the quartette selected their several routes, and started, taking good care to mark their trail as they went, that they could the more readily find the way back.

It was agreed that they should return by sunset, which would give them twelve good hours for exploration, as it was the month of July, and the days were long. After their departure Mrs. P. put things to rights about the house, and barring the door against intruders, whether biped or quadruped, took her gun and fishing-tackle and went out for a little sport in the woods.

The cabin stood on the border of Moosehead Lake. Unloosing the canoes, she embarked in one, and towing the other behind her, rowed across a part of the lake which jutted in shore to the southwest; she soon reached a dense piece of woods which skirted the lake, and there mooring her canoe, watched for the deer which came down to that place to drink. A fat buck before long made his appearance, and as he bent down his head to quaff the water, a brace of buck-shot planted behind his left foreleg laid him low, and his carcass was speedily deposited in the canoe.

The sun was now well up, and as Mrs. P. had provided for the wants of the party by her lucky shot, and no more deer made their appearance, she lay down in the bottom of the boat, and soon fell fast asleep. Hunters and soldiers should be light sleepers, as was Mrs. Pentry upon this occasion.

How long she slept she never exactly knew, but she was awakened by a splash; lifting her head above the edge of the boat, she saw nothing but a muddy spot on the water some thirty feet away, near the shore. This was a suspicious sign. Looking more closely, she saw a slight motion beneath the lily-pads, which covered closely, like a broad green carpet, the surface of the lake. Her hand was on her gun, and as she leveled the barrel towards the turbid spot, she saw a head suddenly lifted, and at the same moment a huge Indian sprang from the water and struggled up through the dense undergrowth that lined the edge of the lake.

It was a sudden impulse rather than a thought, which made Mrs. P. level the gun at his broad back and pull the trigger. The Indian leaped into the air, and fell back in the water dead, with half a dozen buck-shot through his heart. At the same moment she felt a strong grasp on her shoulder, and heard a deep guttural "ugh!" Turning her head she saw the malignant face of another Indian standing waist-deep in the water, with one hand on the boat which he was dragging towards the shore.

A swift side-blow from the gun-barrel, and he tumbled into the water; before he could recover, the brave woman had snatched the paddle, and sent the canoe spinning out into the lake. Then dropping the paddle and seizing her gun she dashed in a heavy charge of powder, dropped a dozen buck-shot down the muzzle, rammed in some dry grass, primed the pan, and leveled it again at the savage, who having recovered from the blow, was floundering towards the shore, turning and shaking his tomahawk at her, meanwhile, with a ferocious grin. Again the report of her gun awakened the forest echoes, and before the echoes had died away, the savage's corpse was floating on the water.

She dared not immediately approach the shore, fearing that other savages might be lying in ambush; but after closely scrutinizing the bushes, she saw no signs of others, besides the two whom she had shot. She then cut long strips of raw hide from the dead buck, and towing the bodies of the Indians far out into the lake sunk them with the stones that served to anchor the canoes. Returning to the shore, she took their guns which lay upon the shelving bank, and rapidly paddled the canoe homeward.

It was now high noon. She reached the cabin, entered, and sat down to rest. She supposed that the savages she had just, killed were stragglers from a war-party who had lagged behind their comrades, and attracted by the sound made by her gun when she shot the buck, had come to see what it was. The thought that a larger body might be in the vicinity, and that they would capture and perhaps kill her beloved husband and his companions, was a torture to her. She sat a few moments to collect her thoughts and resolve what course to pursue.

Her resolution was soon taken. She could not sit longer there, while her husband and friends were exposed to danger or death. Again she entered the canoe and paddled across the arm of the lake to the spot where the waters were still stained with the blood of the Indians. Hastily effacing this bloody trace, she moored the canoes and followed the trail of the savages for four miles to the northwest. There she found in a ravine the embers of a fire, where, from appearances as many as twenty redskins had spent the preceding night. Their trail led to the northwest, and by certain signs known to hunters, she inferred that they had started at day-break and were now far on their way northward.

When her four male associates selected their respective routes in the morning, her husband had, she now remembered, selected one which led directly in the trail of the Indian war-party, and by good calculation he would have been about six miles in their rear. Not being joined by the two savages whose bodies lay at the bottom of the lake, what was more likely than that they would send back a detachment to look after the safety of their missing comrades?

The first thing to be done was to strike her husband's trail and then follow it till she overtook him or met him returning. Swiftly, and yet cautiously, she struck out into the forest in a direction at right angles with the Indian camp. Being clad in trousers of deer skin and a short tunic and moccasins of the same material, she made her way through the woods as easily as a man, and fortunately in a few moments discovered a trail which she concluded was that of her husband. Her opinion was soon verified by finding a piece of leather which she recognized as part of his accoutrements. For two hours she strode swiftly on through the forest, treading literally in her husband's tracks.

The sun was now three hours above the western horizon; so taking her seat upon a fallen tree, she waited, expecting to see him soon returning on his trail, when she heard faintly in the distance the report of a gun; a moment after, another and still another report followed in quick succession. Guided by the sound she hurried through the tangled thicket from which she soon emerged into a grove of tall pine trees, and in the distance saw two Indians with their backs turned toward her and shielding themselves from some one in front by standing behind large trees. Without being seen by them she stole up and sheltered herself in a similar manner, while her eye ranged the forest in search of her husband who she feared was under the fire of the red-skins.

At length she descried the object of their hostility behind the trunk of a fallen tree. It was clearly a white man who crouched there, and he seemed to be wounded. She immediately took aim at the nearest Indian and sent two bullets through his lungs. The other Indian at the same instant had fired at the white man and then sprang forward to finish him with his tomahawk. Mrs. Pentry flew to the rescue and just as the savage lifted his arm to brain his foe, she drove her hunting knife to the haft into his spine.

Her husband lay prostrate before her and senseless with loss of blood from a bullet-wound in the right shoulder. Staunching the flow of blood with styptics which she gathered among the forest shrubs, she brought water and the wounded man soon revived. After a slow and weary march she brought him back to the cabin, carrying him part of the way upon her shoulders. Under her careful nursing he at length recovered his strength though he always carried the bullet in his shoulder. It appears he had met three Indians who told him they were in search of their two missing companions. One of them afterwards treacherously shot him from behind through the shoulder, and in return Pentry sent a ball through his heart. Then becoming weak from loss of blood he could only point his gun-barrel at the remaining Indians, and this was his situation when his wife came up and saved his life.
After receiving such an admonition it is natural to suppose the whole party were content to remain near their forest home for a season, extending their rambles only far enough to enable them to procure game and fish for their table; and this was not far, for the lake was alive with fish; and wild turkeys, deer, and other game could be shot sometimes even from the cabin door.


The party were also deterred by this experience from attempting to drive any trade with the Indians until the following spring, when they expected to be joined by a large party of hunters.

The summer soon passed away, and the cold nights of September and October admonished our hardy pioneers that they must prepare for a rigorous winter. Mrs. Pentry made winter clothing for the men and for herself out of the skins of animals which they had shot, and snow-shoes from the sinews of deer stretched on a frame composed of strips of hard wood. She also felled trees for fuel and lined the walls of the cabin with deer and bear skins; she was the most skilful mechanic of the party, and having fitted runners of hickory to one of the boats she rigged a sail of soft skins sewed together, and once in November, after the river was frozen, and when the wind blew strongly from the northwest, the whole party undertook to reach the mouth of the river by sailing down in their boat upon the ice. A boat of this kind, when the ice is smooth and the wind strong, will make fifteen miles an hour.

They were interrupted frequently in their course by the falls and rapids, making portages necessary; nevertheless in three days and two nights they reached the mouth of the river.

Here they bartered their pelts for powder, bullets, and various other articles most needed by frontiersmen, and catching a southeast wind started on their return. In a few hours they had made seventy miles, and at night, as the sky threatened snow, they prepared a shelter in a hollow in the bank of the river. Before morning a snow-storm had covered the river-ice and blocked their passage. For three days, the snow fell continuously. They were therefore forced to abandon all hopes of reaching their cabin at the head-waters of the Kennebec. The hollow or cave in the bank where they were sheltered they covered with saplings and branches cut from the bluff, and banked up the snow round it. Their supply of food was soon exhausted, but by cutting holes in the ice they caught fish for their subsistence.

The depth of the snow prevented them from going far from their place of shelter, and the nights were bitter cold. The ice on the river was two feet in thickness; and one day, in cutting through it to fish, their only axe was broken. No worse calamity could have befallen them, since they were now unable to cut fuel or to procure fish. Mr. Pentry, who was still suffering from the effects of his wound, contracted a cold which settled in his lame shoulder, and he was obliged to stay in doors, carefully nursed and tended by his devoted wife. The privations endured by these unfortunates are scarcely to be paralleled. Short of food, ill-supplied with clothing, and exposed to the howling severity of the climate, the escape of any one of the number appears almost a miracle.

A number of bear-skins, removed from the boat to the cave, served them for bedding. Some days, when there was nothing to eat and no means of making a fire, they passed the whole time huddled up in the skins. Daily they became weaker and less capable of exertion. Wading through the snow up to the waist, they were able now and then to shoot enough small game to barely keep them alive.

After the lapse of a fortnight there came a thaw, succeeded by a cold rain, which froze as it fell. The snow became crusted over, to the depth of two inches, with ice that was strong enough to bear their weight. They extricated their ice-boat and prepared for departure. One of the party had gone out that morning on the crust, hoping to secure some larger game to stock their larder before starting; the rest awaited his return for two hours, and then, fearing some casualty had happened to him, followed his trail for half a mile from the river and found him engaged in a desperate struggle with a large black she-bear which he had wounded.

The ferocious animal immediately left its prey and rushed at Mrs. Pentry with open mouth, seizing her left arm in its jaws, crunched it, and then, rising on its hind legs, gave her a terrible hug. The rest of the party dared not fire, for fear of hitting the woman. Twice she drove her hunting knife into the beast's vitals and it fell on the crust, breaking through into the snow beneath, where the two rolled over in a death-struggle. The heroic woman at length arose victorious, and the carcass of the bear was dragged forth, skinned, and cut up. A fire was speedily kindled, Mrs. Pentry's wounds were dressed, and after refreshing themselves with a hearty meal of bearsteak, the remainder of the meat was packed in the boat.

The party then embarked, and by the aid of a stiff easterly breeze, were enabled, in three days, to reach their cabin on the head-waters of the Kennebec. The explorations made along the Kennebec by Mrs. Pentry and her companions attracted thither an adventurous class of settlers, and ultimately led to the important settlements on the line of that river.

The remainder of Mrs. Pentry's life was spent mainly on the northern frontier. She literally lived and died in the woods, reaching the advanced age of ninety-six years, and seeing three generation of her descendants grow up around her. Possessing the strength and courage of a man, she had also all a woman's kindness, and appears to have been an estimable person in all the relations of life—a good wife and mother, a warm friend, and a generous neighbor. In fact, she was a representative woman of the times in which she lived.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Monday, January 16, 2017

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents Mrs. Frank Noble The Pioneer Woman Who Persevered


Mrs. Frank Noble, in 1664, proved herself worthy of her surname. She and her husband, with four small children, had established themselves in a log-cabin eight miles from a settlement in New Hampshire, and now known as the town of Dover.

Their crops having turned out poorly that autumn, they were constrained to put themselves on short allowance, owing to the depth of the snow and the distance from the settlement. As long as Mr. Noble was well, he was able to procure game and kept their larder tolerably well stocked. But in mid-winter, being naturally of a delicate habit of body, he sickened, and in two weeks, in spite of the nursing and tireless care of his devoted wife, he died. The snow was six feet deep, and only a peck of musty corn and a bushel of potatoes were left as their winter supply. The fuel also was short, and most of the time Mrs. Noble could only keep herself and her children warm by huddling in the bedclothes on bundles of straw, in the loft which served them for a sleeping room. Below lay the corpse of Mr. Noble, frozen stiff. Famine and death stared them in the face. Two weeks passed and the supply of provisions was half gone. The heroic woman had tried to eke out her slender store, but the cries of her children were so piteous with hunger that while she denied herself, she gave her own portion to her babes, lulled them to sleep, and then sent up her petitions to Him who keeps the widow and the fatherless. She prayed, we may suppose, from her heart, for deliverance from her sore straits for food, for warmth, for the spring to come and the snow to melt, so that she might lay away the remains of her husband beneath the sod of the little clearing.

Every morning when she awoke, she looked out from the window of the loft. Nothing was to be seen but the white surface of the snow stretching away into the forest. One day the sun shone down warmly on the snow and melted its surface, and the next morning there was a crust which would bear her weight. She stepped out upon it and looked around her. She would then have walked eight miles to the settlement but she was worn out with anxiety and watching, and was weak from want of food. As she gazed wistfully toward the east, her ears caught the sound of a crashing among the boughs of the forest. She looked toward the spot from which it came and saw a dark object floundering in the snow. Looking more closely she saw it was a moose, with its horns entangled in the branches of a hemlock and buried to its flanks in the snow.

Hastening back to the cabin she seized her husband's gun, and loading it with buckshot, hurried out and killed the monstrous brute. Skilled in woodcraft, like most pioneer women, she skinned the animal and cutting it up bore the pieces to the cabin. Her first thought then was of her children, and after she had given them a hearty meal of the tender moose-flesh she partook of it herself, and then, refreshed and strengthened, she took the axe and cut a fresh supply of fuel. During the day a party came out from the settlement and supplied the wants of the stricken household. The body of the dead husband was borne to the settlement and laid in the graveyard beneath the snow.

Nothing daunted by this terrible experience, this heroic woman kept her frontier cabin and, with friendly aid from the settlers, continued to till her farm. In ten years, when her oldest boy had become a man, he and his brothers tilled two hundred acres of meadow land, most of it redeemed from the wilderness by the skill, strength, and industry of their noble mother.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents The Founding Brides of Virginia


THE VIRGINIA WIFE-MARKET

TWO SHIPLOADS OF SWEETHEARTS AND THE PRICES PAID FOR THEM.

The first English settlement in America that came to anything was made in the most absurd way possible. A great company of London merchants set about the work of planting an English colony in Virginia, and they were very much in earnest about it too; but if they had been as anxious to have the scheme fail as they were to make it succeed, they could hardly have done worse for it than they did in some respects.

They knew that the colonists must have something to eat and must defend themselves against the Indians, and so it ought to have been plain to them that the first men sent out must be stout farmers, who could cut down trees, plough the ground, raise food enough for the people to eat, and handle guns well, if need be. The work to be done was that of farmers, wood-choppers, and men who could make a living for themselves in a new country, and common-sense ought to have led the London Company to send out nobody but men of that kind to make the first settlement. Then, after those men had cleared some land, built some houses, and raised their first crop, men of other kinds might have been sent as fast as there was need for their services.

But that was not the way in which the London Company went to work. They chose for their first settlers about the most unfit men they could have found for such a purpose. There were one hundred and five of them in all, and forty-eight of them—or nearly half of the whole company—were what people in those days called "gentlemen"—that is to say, they were the sons of rich men. They had never learned how to do any kind of work, and had been brought up to think that a gentleman could not work without degrading himself and losing his right to be called a gentleman. There were a good many "servants" also in the party, and probably most of them were brought to wait upon the gentlemen. There were very few farmers and not many mechanics in the party, although farmers and mechanics were the men most needed. There were some goldsmiths, who expected to work the gold as soon as the colonists should find it, and there was a perfume-maker. It is hard to say in what way this perfume-man was expected to make himself useful in the work of planting a settlement in the swamps of Virginia; but, as there were so many fine "gentlemen" in the party, the perfumer probably thought his wares would be in demand.

None of the men brought families with them. They were single men, who came out to this country, not to make comfortable homes for wives and children, by hard and patient work, but to find gold and pearls, or to grow rich in some other quick and easy way, and then to go back and live in ease in England.

It is a wonder that such men ever succeeded in planting a settlement at all. From the first it does not seem to have been clear to them that they ought to raise plenty of food for themselves and learn how to live by their own work. They expected the company in London to send them most of their food and everything else that they needed. They had plenty of rich land and a good climate, but they expected to be fed by people three thousand miles away, across a great ocean.

Luckily, there was one man of sense and spirit among them—the celebrated Captain John Smith—who got them to work a little, and, after many hardships and two or three narrow escapes from failure, the colony was firmly planted.

The London Company sent out ships every year with supplies and fresh colonists; but, strange as it seems, most of the men sent were unmarried, and even those who had wives and children left them in England.
When we think of it, this was a very bad way to begin the work of settling a new country. The bachelors, of course, did not intend to stay all their lives in a country where there were no women and children. They meant to make some money as quickly as they could and then go back to England to live. The married men who had left their families behind them were in still greater haste to make what they could and go home. In short, for a dozen years after the colony was planted, nobody thought of it as his real home, where he meant to live out his life. If the colonists had been married men, with wives and children in Virginia, they would have done all they could to make the new settlement a pleasant one to live in: they would have built good houses, set up schools, and worked hard to improve their own fortunes and to keep order in the colony.

But year after year the ships brought cargoes of single men to Virginia, and the settlement was scarcely more than a camp in the woods. After the company had been trying for a good many years to people a new country by landing shiploads of bachelors on its shores, it began to dawn upon their minds that if the Virginia settlement was ever to grow into a thriving and lasting colony, there must be women and children there to make happy homes, as well as men to raise wheat, corn, and tobacco.

Sir Edwin Sandys was the wise man who saw all this most clearly. He urged the company to send out hard-working married men, who would take their wives and children with them to Virginia and settle there for good. But this was not all. There were already a great many bachelors in the colony, and there were no young women there for them to marry. Sir Edwin knew that if these bachelors were to stay in Virginia and become prosperous colonists they must have a chance to marry and set up homes of their own. So he went to work in England to get together a cargo of sweethearts for the colonists. He persuaded ninety young women of good character to go out in one of the company's ships, to marry young men in Virginia.

The plan was an odd one, but it was managed with good sense and did well for everybody concerned. It was agreed that the company should provide the young women with such clothing and other things as they would need for the voyage, and should give them free passage on board the ship. When they landed in Virginia they were to be perfectly free to marry or not, as they pleased. If any of them did not at once find husbands to their liking they were to be provided for in good homes until they chose to marry.

But no man could marry one of these young women without paying for her in tobacco, which was used instead of money in Virginia. The girls were not to be sold, exactly, but it was expected that each colonist who married one of them should pay the company as much as it had spent in bringing her across the ocean.

And the men of the colony were glad enough to do this. When the shipload of sweethearts landed at Jamestown a large number of men who were tired of bachelor life hurried to the wharf to get wives for themselves if they could. They went among the young maids, introduced themselves, got acquainted, and did all the courting that was necessary in a very little time. The young women were honest, good, well-brought-up girls, and among the many men there were plenty of good, industrious, and brave fellows who wanted good wives, and so all the girls were "engaged" at once. The men paid down one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco apiece—for that was the price fixed upon—and, as there was nothing to wait for, the clergymen were sent for and the weddings took place immediately.

It was an odd thing to do, of course, but the circumstances were very unusual, and the plan of importing sweethearts by the cargo really seems to have been a very good one. It must have been a strange sight when the girls landed and met the men who had come to the town to woo and marry them. And many of the girls must have felt that they took great risks in coming three thousand miles from home and marrying men whom they had known for so short a time; but it seems that the marriages were happy ones, in spite of the haste in which they were made. The newly-married pairs went to work in earnest to create good homes for themselves, and when their English friends learned from their letters how happy and prosperous they were, another company of sixty sweethearts set sail for the colony and became the wives of good men.

It was in this way that the English camp at Jamestown was changed into a real colony of people who meant to live in America and to build up a thriving community here. Now that the men had wives and children to provide for, they no longer lived "from hand to mouth," hoping to make a fortune by some lucky stroke, and then to leave the colony forever. They went to work, instead, to cultivate the land, to build good houses, to make and save money, to educate their children, and to become prosperous and happy in their homes. Virginia, which had been a mere stopping-place to them, was now their own country, where their families lived and their nearest friends were around them. There they expected to pass their lives in efforts to better their own fortunes, and to make the country a pleasant one for their children and grandchildren after them to live in. They were anxious to have schools and churches, and to keep up right standards of morals and proper manners in the colony, so that their children might grow to be good and happy men and women.

That is the way in which the first English colony in America became prosperous, and many of the men who afterwards became famous in the history of the nation were the great-great-grandsons of the women whom Sir Edwin Sandys sent out as sweethearts for the colonists.

The Pilgrims, who settled at Plymouth about the time that all this happened, brought their families with them, and quickly made themselves at home in America. The planting of these two colonies—the first in Virginia and the second in Massachusetts—was the beginning from which our great, free, and happy country, with its fifty millions of people, has grown.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
Teresa
************************************
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915