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David Crockett - The Camp and the Cabin

The army, far away in the wilds of Southern Alabama, on the banks of the almost unknown Chattahoochee, without provisions, and with leagues of unexplored wilderness around, found itself in truly a deplorable condition. The soldiers had hoped to find, in the Indian village, stores of beans and corn, and quantities of preserved game. In the impotence of their disappointment they applied the torch, and laid the little village in ashes.

A council was held, and it was deemed best to divide their forces. Major Childs took one-half of the army and retraced their steps westward, directing their course toward Baton Rouge, where they hoped to find General Jackson with a portion of the army with which he was returning from New Orleans. The other division, under Major Russel, pressed forward, as rapidly as possible, nearly north, aiming for Fort Decatur, on the Tallapoosa River, where they expected to find shelter and provisions. Crockett accompanied Major Russel's party. Indian sagacity was now in great requisition. The friendly savages led the way through scenes of difficulty and entanglement where, but for their aid, the troops might all have perished. So great was the destitution of food that the soldiers were permitted to stray, almost at pleasure, on either side of the line of march. Happy was the man who could shoot a raccoon or a squirrel, or even the smallest bird. Implicit confidence was placed in the guidance of the friendly Indians, and the army followed in single file, along the narrow trail which the Indians trod before them.

Crockett, in this march, had acquired so much the confidence of the officers that he seems to have enjoyed quite unlimited license. He went where he pleased and did what he would. Almost invariably at night, keeping pace with the army, he would bring in some small game, a bird or a squirrel, and frequently several of these puny animals. It was a rule, when night came, for all the hunters to throw down what they had killed in one pile. This was then divided among the messes as equitably as possible.

One night, Crockett returned empty-handed. He had killed nothing, and he was very hungry. But there was a sick man in his mess, who was suffering far more than he. Crockett, with his invariable unselfishness and generosity, forgot his own hunger in his solicitude for his sick comrade. He went to the fire of Captain Cowen, who was commandant of the company to which Crockett belonged, and told him his story. Captain Cowen was broiling, for his supper, the gizzard of a turkey. He told Crockett that the turkey was all that had fallen to the share of his company that night, and that the bird had already been divided, in very small fragments, among the sick. There was nothing left for Crockett's friend.

On this march the army was divided into messes of eight or ten men, who cooked and ate their food together. This led Crockett to decide that he and his mess would separate themselves from the rest of the army, and make a small and independent band. The Indian scouts, well armed and very wary, took the lead. They kept several miles in advance of the main body of the troops, that they might give timely warning should they encounter any danger. Crockett and his mess kept close after them, following their trail, and leaving the army one or two miles behind.

One day the scouts came across nine Indians. We are not informed whether they were friends or enemies, whether they were hunters or warriors, whether they were men, women, or children, whether they were in their wigwams or wandering through the forest, whether they were all together or were found separately: we are simply told that they were all shot down. The circumstances of the case are such, that the probabilities are very strong that they were shot as a wolf or a bear would be shot, at sight, without asking any questions. The next day the scouts found a frail encampment where there were three Indians. They shot them all.

The sufferings of the army, as it toiled along through these vast realms of unknown rivers and forest glooms, and marshes and wide-spread, flower-bespangled prairies, became more and more severe. Game was very scarce. For three days, Crockett's party killed barely enough to sustain life. He writes:

"At last we all began to get nearly ready to give up the ghost, and lie down and die, for we had no prospect of provision, and we knowed we couldn't go much farther without it."

While in this condition they came upon one of those wide and beautiful prairies which frequently embellish the landscape of the South and the West This plain was about six miles in width, smooth as a floor, and waving with tall grass and the most brilliaintly colored flowers. It was bordered with a forest of luxuriant growth, but not a tree dotted its surface. They came upon a trail leading through the tall, thick grass. Crockett's practised eye saw at once that it was not a trail made by human foot-steps, but the narrow path along which deer strolled and turkeys hobbled in their movement across the field from forest to forest.

Following this trail, they soon came to a creek of sluggish water. The lowlands on each side were waving with a rank growth of wild rye, presenting a very green and beautiful aspect. The men were all mounted, as indeed was nearly the whole army. By grazing and browsing, the horses, as they moved slowly along at a foot-pace, kept in comfortable flesh. This rye-field presented the most admirable pasturage for the horses. Crockett and his comrades dismounted, and turned the animals loose. There was no danger of their straying far in so fat a field.

Crockett and another man, Vanzant by name, leaving the horses to feed, pushed across the plain to the forest, in search of some food for themselves They wandered for some time, and found nothing. At length, Crockett espied a squirrel on the limb of a tall tree. He shot at the animal and wounded it but it succeeded in creeping into a small hole in the tree, thirty feet from the ground. There was not a limb for that distance to aid in climbing. Still the wants of the party were such that Crockett climbed the tree to get the squirrel, and felt that he had gained quite a treasure.

"I shouldn't relate such small matters," he writes, "only to show what lengths a hungry man will go to, to get something to eat."

Soon after, he killed two more squirrels. Just as he was reloading his gun, a large flock of fat turkeys rose from the marshy banks of the creek along which they were wandering, and flying but a short distance, relighted. Vanzant crept forward, and aiming at a large gobbler, fired, and brought him down. The flock immediately flew back to near the spot where Crockett stood. He levelled his rifle, took deliberate aim, and another fine turkey fell. The flock then disappeared.

The two hunters made the forest resound with shouts of triumph. They had two large, fat turkeys, which would be looked at wistfully upon any gourmand's table, and for side-dishes they had three squirrels. Thus they were prepared for truly a thanksgiving feast. Hastily they returned with their treasure, when they learned that the others of their party had found a bee-tree, that is, a tree where a swarm of bees had taken lodgment, and were laying in their winter stores. They cut down the tree with their hatchets, and obtained an ample supply of wild honey. They all felt that they had indeed fallen upon a vein of good luck.

It was but a short distance from the creek to the gigantic forest, rising sublimely in its luxuriance, with scarcely an encumbering shrub of undergrowth. They entered the edge of the forest, built a hot fire, roasted their game, and, while their horses were enjoying the richest of pasturage, they, with their keen appetites, enjoyed a more delicious feast than far-famed Delmonico ever provided for his epicurean guests.

The happy party, rejoicing in the present, and taking no thought for the morrow, spent the night in this camp of feasting. The next morning they were reluctant to leave such an inviting hunting-ground. Crockett and Vanzant again took to their rifles, and strolled into the forest in search of game. Soon they came across a fine buck, which seemed to have tarried behind to watch the foe, while the rest of the herd, of which he was protector, had taken to flight. The beautiful creature, with erect head and spreading antlers, gallantly stopping to investigate the danger to which his family was exposed, would have moved the sympathies of any one but a professed hunter. Crockett's bullet struck him, wounded him severely, and he limped away. Hotly the two hunters pursued. They came to a large tree which had been blown down, and was partly decayed. An immense grizzly bear crept growling from the hollow of this tree, and plunged into the forest. It was in vain to pursue him, without dogs to retard his flight. They however soon overtook the wounded buck, and shot him. With this treasure of venison upon their shoulders, they had but just returned to their camp when the main body of the army came up. The game which Crockett had taken, and upon which they had feasted so abundantly, if divided among twelve hundred men, would not have afforded a mouthful apiece.

The army was in the most deplorable condition of weakness and hunger. Ere long they reached the Coosa, and followed up its eastern bank. About twenty miles above the spot where they struck the river there was a small military post, called Fort Decatur. They hoped to find some food there. And yet, in that remote, almost inaccessible station, they could hardly expect to meet with anything like a supply for twelve hundred half-famished men.

Upon reaching the river, Crockett took a canoe and paddled across. On the other shore he found an Indian. Instead of shooting him, he much more sensibly entered into relations of friendly trade with the savage. The Indian had a little household in his solitary wigwam, and a small quantity of corn in store. Crockett wore a large hat. Taking it from his head, he offered the Indian a silver dollar if he would fill it with corn. But the little bit of silver, with enigmatical characters stamped upon it, was worth nothing to the Indian. He declined the offer. Speaking a little broken English, he inquired, "You got any powder? You got any bullets?" Crockett told him he had. He promptly replied, "Me will swap my corn for powder and bullets."

Eagerly the man gave a hatful of corn for ten bullets and ten charges of powder. He then offered another hatful at the same price. Crockett took off his hunting-shirt, tied it up so as to make a sort of bag, into which he poured his two hatfuls of corn. With this great treasure he joyfully paddled across the stream to rejoin his companions. It is pleasant to think that the poor Indian was not shot, that his wigwam was not burned over his head, and that he was left with means to provide his wife and children with many luxurious meals.

The army reached Fort Decatur. One single meal consumed all the provisions which the garrison could by any possibility spare. They had now entered upon a rough, hilly, broken country. The horses found but little food, and began to give out. About fifty miles farther up the Coosa River there was another military station, in the lonely wilds, called Fort William. Still starving, and with tottering horses, they toiled on. Parched corn, and but a scanty supply of that, was now almost their only subsistence.

They reached the fort. One ration of pork and one ration of flour were mercifully given them. It was all which could be spared. To remain where they were was certain starvation. Forty miles above them on the same stream was Fort Strother. Sadly they toiled along. The skeleton horses dropped beneath their riders, and were left, saddled and bridled, for the vultures and the wolves. On their route to Fort Strother they passed directly by the ancient Indian fort of Talladega. It will be remembered that a terrible battle had been fought here by General Jackson with the Indians, on the 7th of December, 1813. In the carnage of that bloody day nearly five hundred Indians fell. Those who escaped scattered far and wide. A few of them sought refuge in distant Florida.

The bodies of the slain were left unburied. Slowly the flesh disappeared from the bones, either devoured by wild beasts or decomposed by the action of the atmosphere. The field, as now visited, presented an appalling aspect. Crockett writes:

"We went through the old battle-ground, and it looked like a great gourd-patch. The skulls of the Indians who were killed, still lay scattered all about. Many of their frames were still perfect, as their bones had not separated."

As they were thus despairingly tottering along, they came across a narrow Indian trail, with fresh footmarks, indicating that moccasined Indians had recently passed along. It shows how little they had cause to fear from the Indians, that Crockett, entirely alone, should have followed that trail, trusting that it would lead him to some Indian village, where he could hope to buy some more corn. He was not deceived in his expectation. After threading the narrow and winding path about five miles, he came to a cluster of Indian wigwams. Boldly he entered the little village, without apparently the slightest apprehension that he should meet with any unfriendly reception.

He was entirely at the mercy of the savages Even if he were murdered, it would never be known by whom. And if it were known, the starving army, miles away, pressing along in its flight, was in no condition to send a detachment to endeavor to avenge the deed. The savages received him as though he had been one of their own kith and kin, and readily exchanged corn with him, for powder and bullets. He then returned, but did not overtake the rest of the army until late in the night.

The next morning they were so fortunate as to encounter a detachment of United States troops on the march to Mobile. These troops, having just commenced their journey, were well supplied; and they liberally distributed their corn and provisions. Here Crockett found his youngest brother, who had enlisted for the campaign. There were also in the band many others of his old friends and neighbors. The succeeding day, the weary troops, much refreshed, reached a point on the River Coosa opposite Fort Strother, and crossing the stream, found there shelter and plenty of provisions.

We know not, and do not care to know, who was responsible for this military movement, which seems to us now as senseless as it was cruel and disastrous. But it is thus that poor humanity has ever gone blundering on, displaying but little wisdom in its affairs. Here Crockett had permission to visit his home, though he still owed the country a month of service. In his exceeding rude, unpolished style which pictures the man, he writes:

"Once more I was safely landed at home with my wife and children. I found them all well and doing well; and though I was only a rough sort of backwoodsman, they seemed mighty glad to see me, however little the quality folks might suppose it. For I do reckon we love as hard in the backwood country as any people in the whole creation.

"But I had been home only a few days, when we received orders to start again, and go on to the Black Warrior and Cahaula rivers, to see if there were no Indians there. I know'd well enough there was none, and I wasn't willing to trust my craw any more where there was neither any fighting to do, nor anything to go on. So I agreed to give a young man, who wanted to go, the balance of my wages, if he would serve out my time, which was about a month.

"He did so. And when they returned, sure enough they hadn't seen an Indian any more than if they had been, all the time, chopping wood in my clearing. This closed my career as a warrior; and I am glad of it; for I like life now a heap better than I did then. And I am glad all over that I lived to see these times, which I should not have done if I had kept fooling along in war, and got used up at it. When I say I am glad, I just mean that I am glad that I am alive, for there is a confounded heap of things I ain't glad of at all."

When Crockett wrote the above he was a member of Congress, and a very earnest politician. He was much opposed to the measure of President Jackson in removing the deposits from the United States Bank--a movement which greatly agitated the whole country at that time. In speaking of things of which he was not glad, he writes:

"I ain't glad, for example, that the Government moved the deposits; and if my military glory should take such a turn as to make me President after the General's time, I will move them back. Yes, I the Government, will take the responsibility, and move them back again. If I don't I wish I may be shot."

The hardships of war had blighted Crockett's enthusiasm for wild adventures, and had very considerably sobered him. He remained at home for two years, diligently at work upon his farm. The battle of New Orleans was fought. The war with England closed, and peace was made with the poor Indians, who, by British intrigue, had been goaded to the disastrous fight. Death came to the cabin of Crockett; and his faithful wife, the tender mother of his children, was taken from him. We cannot refrain from quoting his own account of this event as it does much honor to his heart.

"In this time I met with the hardest trial which ever falls to the lot of man. Death, that cruel leveller of all distinctions, to whom the prayers and tears of husbands, and even of helpless infancy, are addressed in vain, entered my humble cottage, and tore from my children an affectionate, good mother, and from me a tender and loving wife. It is a scene long gone by, and one which it would be supposed I had almost forgotten. Yet when I turn my memory back upon it, it seems but as the work of yesterday.

"It was the doing of the Almighty, whose ways are always right, though we sometimes think they fall heavily on us. And as painful as even yet is the remembrance of her sufferings, and the loss sustained by my little children and myself, yet I have no wish to lift up the voice of complaint. I was left with three children. The two eldest were sons, the youngest a daughter, and at that time a mere infant. It appeared to me, at that moment, that my situation was the worst in the world.

"I couldn't bear the thought of scattering my children; and so I got my youngest brother, who was also married, and his family, to live with me. They took as good care of my children as they well could; but yet it wasn't all like the care of a mother. And though their company was to me, in every respect, like that of a brother and sister, yet it fell far short of being like that of a wife. So I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't do, but that I must have another wife."

One sees strikingly, in the above quotation, the softening effect of affliction on the human heart There was a widow in the neighborhood, a very worthy woman, who had lost her husband in the war. She had two children, a son and a daughter, both quite young. She owned a snug little farm, and being a very capable woman, was getting along quite comfortably. Crockett decided that he should make a good step-father to her children, and she a good step-mother for his. The courtship was in accordance with the most approved style of country love-making. It proved to be a congenial marriage. The two families came very harmoniously together, and in their lowly hut enjoyed peace and contentment such as frequently is not found in more ambitious homes.

But the wandering propensity was inherent in the very nature of Crockett. He soon tired of the monotony of a farmer's life, and longed for change. A few months after his marriage he set out, with three of his neighbors, all well mounted, on an exploring tour into Central Alabama, hoping to find new homes there. Taking a southerly course, they crossed the Tennessee River, and striking the upper waters of the Black Warrior, followed down that stream a distance of about two hundred miles from their starting-point, till they came near to the place where Tuscaloosa, the capital of the State, now stands.

This region was then almost an unbroken wilderness. But during the war Crockett had frequently traversed it, and was familiar with its general character. On the route they came to the hut of a man who was a comrade of Crockett in the Florida campaign. They spent a day with the retired soldier, and all went out in the woods together to hunt. Frazier unfortunately stepped upon a venomous snake, partially covered with leaves. The reptile struck its deadly fangs into his leg. The effect was instantaneous and awful. They carried the wounded man, with his bloated and throbbing limb, back to the hut. Here such remedies were applied as backwoods medical science suggested; but it was evident that many weeks would elapse ere the man could move, even should he eventually recover. Sadly they were constrained to leave their suffering companion there. What became of him is not recorded.

The three others, Crockett, Robinson, and Rich, continued their journey. Their route led them through a very fertile and beautiful region, called Jones's Valley. Several emigrants had penetrated and reared their log huts upon its rich and blooming meadows.

When they reached the spot where the capital of the State now stands, with its spacious streets, its public edifices, its halls of learning, its churches, and its refined and cultivated society, they found only the silence, solitude, and gloom of the wilderness. With their hatchets they constructed a rude camp to shelter them from the night air and the heavy dew. It was open in front. Here they built their camp-fire, whose cheerful glow illumined the forest far and wide, and which converted midnight glooms into almost midday radiance. The horses were hobbled and turned out to graze on a luxuriant meadow. It was supposed that the animals, weary of the day's journey, and finding abundant pasturage, would not stray far. The travellers cooked their supper, and throwing themselves upon their couch of leaves, enjoyed that sound sleep which fatigue, health, and comfort give.

When they awoke in the morning the horses were all gone. By examining the trail it seemed that they had taken the back-track in search of their homes. Crockett, who was the most vigorous and athletic of the three, leaving Robinson and Rich in the camp, set out in pursuit of the runaways. It was a rough and dreary path he had to tread. There was no comfortable road to traverse, but a mere path through forest, bog, and ravine, which, at times, it was difficult to discern. He had hills to climb, creeks to ford, swamps to wade through. Hour after hour he pressed on, but the horses could walk faster than he could. There was nothing in their foot-prints which indicated that he was approaching any nearer to them.

At last, when night came, and Crockett judged that he had walked fifty miles, he gave up the chase as hopeless. Fortunately he reached the cabin of a settler, where he remained until morning. A rapid walk, almost a run, of fifty miles in one day, is a very severe operation even for the most hardy of men. When Crockett awoke, after his night's sleep, he found himself so lame that he could scarcely move. He was, however, anxious to get back with his discouraging report to his companions. He therefore set out, and hobbled slowly and painfully along, hoping that exercise would gradually loosen his stiffened joints.

But, mile after mile, he grew worse rather than better. His head began to ache very severely. A burning fever spread through his veins. He tottered in his walk, and his rifle seemed so heavy that he could scarcely bear its weight. He was toiling through a dark and gloomy ravine, damp and cold, and thrown into shade by the thick foliage of the overhanging trees. So far as he knew, no human habitation was near. Night was approaching. He could go no farther. He had no food; but he did not need any, for a deathly nausea oppressed him. Utterly exhausted, he threw himself down upon the grass and withered leaves, on a small dry mound formed by the roots of a large tree.

Crockett had no wish to die. He clung very tenaciously to life, and yet he was very apprehensive that then and there he was to linger through a few hours of pain, and then die, leaving his unburied body to be devoured by wild beasts, and his friends probably forever ignorant of his fate. Consumed by fever, and agitated by these painful thoughts, he remained for an hour or two, when he heard the sound of approaching footsteps and of human voices. His sensibilities were so stupefied by his sickness that these sounds excited but little emotion.

Soon three or four Indians made their appearance walking along the narrow trail in single file. They saw the prostrate form of the poor, sick white man, and immediately gathered around him. The rifle of Crockett, and the powder and bullets which be had, were, to these Indians, articles of almost inestimable value. One blow of the tomahawk would send the helpless man to realms where rifles and ammunition were no longer needed, and his priceless treasures would fall into their hands. Indeed, it was not necessary even to strike that blow. They had but to pick up the rifle, and unbuckle the belt which contained the powder-horn and bullet-pouch, and leave the dying man to his fate.

They then, by very expressive signs, told him that if he did not take some nourishment he would die and be buried there--"a thing," Crockett writes, "I was confoundedly afraid of, myself." Crockett inquired how far it was to any house. They signified to him, by signs, that there was a white man's cabin about a mile and a half from where they then were, and urged him to let them conduct him to that house. He rose to make the attempt. But he was so weak that he could with difficulty stand, and unsupported could not walk a step.

One of these kind Indians offered to go with him; and relieving Crockett of the burden of his rifle, and with his strong arm supporting and half carrying him, at length succeeded in getting him to the log hut of the pioneer. The shades of night were falling. The sick man was so far gone that it seemed to him that he could scarcely move another step. A woman came to the door of the lowly hut and received them with a woman's sympathy. There was a cheerful fire blazing in one corner, giving quite a pleasing aspect to the room. In another corner there was a rude bed, with bed-clothing of the skins of animals. Crockett's benefactor laid him tenderly upon the bed, and leaving him in the charge of his countrywoman, bade him adieu, and hastened away to overtake his companions.

What a different world would this be from what it has been, did the spirit of kindness, manifested by this poor Indian, universally animate human hearts!

"O brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother: Where pity dwells the peace of God is there; To worship rightly is to love each other, Each smile a hymn, each kindly word a prayer."

The woman's husband was, at the time, absent. But she carefully nursed her patient, preparing for him some soothing herb-tea. Delirium came, and for several hours, Crockett, in a state of unconsciousness, dwelt in the land of troubled dreams. The next morning he was a little more comfortable, but still in a high fever, and often delirious.

It so happened that two white men, on an exploring tour, as they passed along the trail, met the Indians, who informed them that one of their sick countrymen was at a settler's cabin at but a few miles' distance. With humanity characteristic of a new and sparsely settled country they turned aside to visit him. They proved to be old acquaintances of Crockett. He was so very anxious to get back to the camp where he had left his companions, and who, knowing nothing of his fate, must think it very strange that he had thus deserted them, that they, very reluctantly, in view of his dangerous condition, consented to help him on his way.

They made as comfortable a seat as they could, of blankets and skins, which they buckled on the neck of one of the horses just before the saddle. Upon this Crockett was seated. One of the men then mounted the saddle behind him, threw both arms around the patient, and thus they commenced their journey. The sagacious horse was left to pick out his own way along the narrow trail at a slow foot-pace. As the horse thus bore a double burden, after journeying an hour or two, Crockett's seat was changed to the other horse. Thus alternating, the painful journey of nearly fifty miles was accomplished in about two days.

When they reached the camp, Crockett, as was to have been expected, was in a far worse condition than when they commenced the journey. It was evident that he was to pass through a long run of fever, and that his recovery was very doubtful. His companions could not thus be delayed. They had already left Frazier, one of their company, perhaps to die of the bite of a venomous snake; and now they were constrained to leave Crockett, perhaps to die of malarial fever.

They ascertained that, at the distance of a few miles from them, there was another log cabin in the wilderness. They succeeded in purchasing a couple of horses, and in transporting the sick man to this humble house of refuge. Here Crockett was left to await the result of his sickness, unaided by any medical skill. Fortunately he fell into the hands of a family who treated him with the utmost kindness. For a fortnight he was in delirium, and knew nothing of what was transpiring around him.

Crockett was a very amiable man. Even the delirium of disease developed itself in kindly words and grateful feelings. He always won the love of those around him. He did not miss delicacies and luxuries of which he had never known anything. Coarse as he was when measured by the standard of a higher civilization, he was not coarse at all in the estimation of the society in the midst of which he moved. In this humble cabin of Jesse Jones, with all its aspect of penury, Crockett was nursed with brotherly and sisterly kindness, and had every alleviation in his sickness which his nature craved.

The visitor to Versailles is shown the magnificent apartment, and the regal couch, with its gorgeous hangings, upon which Louis XIV., the proudest and most pampered man on earth, languished and died. Crockett, on his pallet in the log cabin, with unglazed window and earthern floor, was a far less unhappy man, than the dying monarch surrounded with regal splendors.

At the end of a fortnight the patient began slowly to mend. His emaciation was extreme, and his recovery very gradual. After a few weeks he was able to travel. He was then on a route where wagons passed over a rough road, teaming the articles needed in a new country. Crockett hired a wagoner to give him a seat in his wagon and to convey him to the wagoner's house, which was about twenty miles distant. Gaining strength by the way, when he arrived there he hired a horse of the wagoner, and set out for home.

Great was the astonishment of his family upon his arrival, for they had given him up as dead. The neighbors who set out on this journey with him had returned and so reported; for they had been misinformed. They told Mrs. Crockett that they had seen those who were with him when he died, and had assisted in burying him.

Still the love of change had not been dispelled from the bosom of Crockett. He did not like the place where he resided. After spending a few months at home, he set out, in the autumn, upon another exploring tour. Our National Government had recently purchased, of the Chickasaw Indians, a large extent of territory in Southern Tennessee. Crockett thought that in those new lands he would find the earthly paradise of which he was in search. The region was unsurveyed, a savage wilderness, and there were no recognized laws and no organized government there.

Crockett mounted his horse, lashed his rifle to his back, filled his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, and journeying westward nearly a hundred miles, through pathless wilds whose solitudes had a peculiar charm for him, came to a romantic spot, called Shoal Creek, in what is now Giles County, in the extreme southern part of Tennessee. He found other adventurers pressing into the new country, where land was abundant and fertile, and could be had almost for nothing.

Log cabins were rising in all directions, in what they deemed quite near neighborhood, for they were not separated more than a mile or two from each other. Crockett, having selected his location on the banks of a crystal stream, summoned, as was the custom, some neighbors to his aid, and speedily constructed the cabin, of one apartment, to shield his family from the wind and the rain. Moving with such a family is not a very arduous undertaking. One or two pack-horses convey all the household utensils. There are no mirrors, bedsteads, bureaus, or chairs to be transported. With an auger and a hatchet, these articles are soon constructed in their new home. The wife, with the youngest child, rides. The husband, with his rifle upon his shoulder, and followed by the rest of the children, trudges along on foot.

Should night or storm overtake them, an hour's work would throw up a camp, with a cheerful fire in front, affording them about the same cohorts which they enjoyed in the home they had left. A little meal, baked in the ashes, supplied them with bread. And during the journey of the day the rifle of the father would be pretty sure to pick up some game to add to the evening repast.

Crockett and his family reached their new home in safety. Here quite a new sphere of life opened before the adventurer, and he became so firmly settled that he remained in that location for three years. In the mean time, pioneers from all parts were rapidly rearing their cabins upon the fertile territory, which was then called The New Purchase.

Back to: Biography of David Crockett

Source: David Crockett: His Life and Adventures by John S. C. Abbott

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