BLTC Press Titles

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Adventures of pioneer children, or, Life in the wilderness

by E. Fenwick Colerick



Much has been written, and many are the songs that have been sung, in praise of the adventurous pioneers, the avant couriers of civilization, who, in the primitive days of the settlement of the "North-west Territory," * established homes in the depths of the far-off wilderness, opening the way that others might follow and occupy with them a territory unsurpassed in beauty cf landscape, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate—

* The territory including Western Pennsylvania and Virginia, and what is now known as the States of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. (1)

having to contend at every step with the hostile merciless savages, who knew full well that an empire of the white race in their country could only be erected upon the ruins of their own.

There is nothing to be found in the annals of chivalry to equal the acts of heroism performed by these people, in braving the dangers which beset them on every hand, in the accomplishment of the great work they had undertaken. And now, before the obliterating hand of time erases from the tablets of our memories the recollections of those perilous times, I shall endeavor to perpetuate, by its portrayal, the part performed in this eventful, thrilling drama, by the children of the pioneers, of whom but little mention has ever been made, although their record for bravery, sagacity, and endurance equals that of their elders. I do this also that the youth of the present day may better appreciate the many great blessings and privileges they are enjoying, by contrasting their life of comparative comfort and ease with the life of deprivation and peril led by the pioneer children, to whom, with their associates, we are so largely indebted for the advanced state and spread of our civilization.

I shall begin my task by giving a description of the rude homes and their surroundings, and the life led by these young heroes, as I often heard my grandfather describe them. His father was one of the very earliest settlers in the "North-west Territory."

Leaving Pennsylvania in the early fall, after a wearisome journey of many hundred miles, having with axes to cut a roadway through the forest; in company with several other families, each with a two-horse wagon, in which was stored as many indispensable articles as it was possible to carry without overloading the team, together with the women and the younger children—the older ones, with the men, having to walk—they at last reached their point of destination, in the solitudes of the vast wilderness, far from the r.oise and tumult of civilized life; where, by the united efforts of all, each family soon had a log cabin erected for itself, some of them at a con. siderable distance from the others—each family having selected a spot that best suited its fancy.

These cabins were built alike, consisting of one large room. Overhead was a garret, access to which was had by means of a ladder in one corner of the cabin. My grandfather and his brothers used this for a sleeping apartment. "Here," said he, "we were lulled to sleep by the pattering rain upon the clapboard roof, which was all that separated us from the outer world. And how often in the winter time, on arising in the morning —never later than four o'clock—did we find our bed covered with snow, driven through the crevices by the piercing winds." The cracks between the logs were filled with clay, in which .was mixed the coarse dry grass of the prairies. Thic held the clay together, and kept it from cracking and falling out. The fireplace was broad and deep, constructed of large stones obtained from the bed of a creek near by, and would accommodate a back log six feet in length, which was rolled into position with handspikes, and would last for days. The floors were constructed of boards split from long straight logs, generally oak, and were smoothed on one side with the axe, laid rough side down, and made fast to the joists by wooden pins driven in holes made with an augur. This was called a puncheon floor.

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