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A log fort was at once begun,' and on April 15th Boone sent a message to Judge Henderson telling the Transylvania Company of his success. In it he said: "My advice to you, sir, is to come or send as soon as possible. Your company is desired greatly, for the people are very uneasy, but are willing to stay and venture their lives with you; and now is the time to flusterate their [the Indians'] intentions, and keep the country whilst we are in it. If we give way to them now, it will ever be the case.”
Henderson soon arrived, accompanied by nearly forty more men, many pack-horses and considerable equipment necessary for frontier life. The reinforcement so delighted Boone that he hurried back to the Clinch River for his family and other settlers, convinced that the long awaited time for a general advance was at hand. He was right. The people of the settlements received his announcement of conditions in the “Kentucke” region with a satisfaction equal to his own, and in September or October he started westward again over the Wilderness Road that he had himself created, at the head of the first community caravan which was to make the march in uninterrupted security. His companions were twenty-six men, four women, half a dozen children in baskets and the usual live stock. At the head of this cavalcade, identical in its picturesque appearance with the one stopped by Indians on a previous occasion, he travelled safely through the forests, and at last the voices of white women, the laughter of children, the melancholy call of cattle and the squealing of pigs were heard in the promised land. By the end of the year several hundred people were established at Boonesborough, Harrod's Town and other settlements which at once sprang into being.
1 The fort was about 250 feet long by 150 feet in breadth. At each corner was a house about 20 feet square and two stories high, built of hewn logs. The four houses were connected by a continuous stockade of pointed timbers planted side by side. Along the interior of the stockade on all its sides were rows of cabins built of rough logs. The gates were thick slabs of timber hung on wooden hinges. The fort was finished on June 14th. "He had started with a few wagons, but had to abandon them at the outset.
It is not to be imagined that Boone's Trace was in any respect an easy road to travel, in spite of the fact that families and their belongings began to move over it from the first days of its existence. It was easy only in comparison with the untouched and unexplored wilderness, through which one man alone could never have conveyed his household by his unaided strength. That was why so many people had to march together on the Wilderness Road, even after the element of danger from Indians had been eliminated from the journey. By proceeding in the old community method the mishap of one individual could be remedied by all the rest, and only in that way was organized travel possible over it. Fortunately for a modern conception of the difficulties with which a trip from the eastern settlements to “Kentucke" was made at the period in question, there exists an original diary in which the journey is described. It was written by William Calk, of Virginia, who started from Prince William county in that state on March 13, 1775, and reached Boone's fort on April 20th. Calk was one of those who went westward with Judge Henderson. No better way can be found of describing the travel conditions that then prevailed throughout the country — except on the few established highways of the Atlantic seaboard — than by quoting from Calk's record. Some of his experiences were set down in the following manner:
1775, Mon. 13th - I set out from prince wm. to travel to Caintuck on tuesday Night our company all got together at Mr. Priges on
* Calk's original diary is still in possession of his Kentucky descendants. It was incorporated by Thomas Speed in his monograph on the Wilderness Road, published by the Filson Club, from which the extracts here quoted are taken.
38.—Backwoodsman putting his wife on a pack-horse in preparation for a journey. Sketch by Joshua Shaw. rapadon which was Abraham hanks philip Drake Eanock Smith Robert Whitledge and my Self thear Abrams Dogs leg got broke by Drakes Dcg.
Wednesday, 15th,--We started early from priges made a good Days travel and lodge this night at Mr. Cars on North fork James River.
Thursday, 16th—We started early it rained Chief part of the day Snowed in the Eavening very hard and was very Coald we traveled all day and got to Mr. Blocks at the foot of the Blue Ridge.
Friday 17th-We started early. cross the Ridge the wind Blowsz very hard and cold and lodge at James loyls.
Monday 20th - We start early cross the ferry and lodge this night at Wm. Adamses on the head of Catauby.
Wedns 22nd —We start early and git to foart Chissel whear we git some good loaf Bread and good whiskey.
fryday 24th-we start early and turn out of the wagon Road to go across the mountains to go by Danil Smiths we loose Driver Come to a turable mountain that tired us all almost to death to git over it and we lodge this night on the Lawrel fork of holston under a granite mountain and Roast a fine fat turkey for our suppers and Eat it without
Satrd 25th-We start early over Some more very Bad mountains one that is called Clinch mountain and we git this night to Danil Smiths on Clinch and there we staid till thursday morning on tuesday night and wednesday morning it snowed Very hard and was very Coald and we hunted a good deal there while we staid in Rough mountains and kild three deer and one turkey Eanock Abram and I got lost tuesday night and it a snowing and Should a lain in the mountains had not I a had a pocket compas by which I got in a littel in the night and fired guns and they heard them and caim in By the Repoart.
thusd 30th — We set out again and went down to Elk gardin and there suplid our Selves With Seed Corn and irish tators then we went on a littel way I turned my hors to drive before me and he got scard ran away threw Down the Saddel Bags and broke three of our powder goards and Abrams beast Burst open a walet of corn and lost a good Deal and made a turrabel Austration amongst the Reast of the Horses Drakes mair run against a sapling and noct it down we cacht them all again and went on and lodged at John Duncans.
fryd 31st — We suplyed our Selves at Dunkans with a 103 pounds of Bacon and went on again to Brileys mill and suployed our Selves with meal' and lodged this night on Clinch By a large cainbraike and cuckt our Supper.
April Saturday 1st - This morning there is ice at our camp half inch thick we start early, and travel this Day along a verey Bad hilley way cross one creek whear the horses almost got mired some fell in and all wet
1 In the Clinch River valley. The travellers' last chance to supply themselves with pro. visions other than game.
their loads we cross Clinch River and travell till late in the Night and camp on Cove Creek having two men with us that wair pilates.
mond 3rd - We start early travel Down the valey cross powels river go some through the woods without aney tracka cross some Bad hills git in to hendersons Road' camp on a creek in powels valey.
Tuesday 4th — Raney we Start about 10 oclock and git down to Capt. martins in the valey where we over take Col. henderson and his Company Bound for Caintuck and there we camp this Night there they were Broiling and Eating Beef without Bread.
Wednesday 5th — Breaks away fair and we go down the valey and camp on indian Creek we had this creek to cross maney times and very bad banks Abrams saddel turned and the load all fell in we got out this Eavening and kill two Deer.
thursd 6th — this morning is a hard frost and we wait at Camp for Col. henderson and company to come up they come up about 12 oclock and we goin with them and camp there still this night waiting for some part of the company that had their horses ran away with their packs.
fryday 7th — this morning is a very bad snowey morning we still continue at Camp being in number about 40 men and some neagros this Eaven. Comes a letter from Capt. Boone* at caintuck of the indians doing mischief and some turns back.
Saturday 8th — We all pack up and started crost Cumberland gap about one oclock this Day Met a good many peopel turned back for fear of the indians but our Company goes on Still with good courage we came to a very ugly Creek with steep Banks and have to cross it several times on this Creek we camp this night.
tuesday with — this is a very loury morning and like for Rain but we all agree to start Early and we cross Cumberland River and travel Down it about 10 miles through some turrabel cainbrakes as we went down Abrams mair Ran into the River with her load and swam over he followed her and got on her and made her swim back agin it is a very raney Eavening we take up camp near Richland Creek they kill a beef Mr. Drake Bakes Bread without washing his hands we Keep Sentry this Night for fear of the indians.
Wednesday 12th - this is a Raney morning But we pack up and go on we come to Richland Creek it is high we tote our packs over on a tree and swim our horses over and there we meet another Companey going Back" they tell such News abram and Drake is afraid to go aney farther there we camp this night.
thursday 13th — this morning the weather seems to trake and Be
· Evidently none of the party had ever, penetrated so far to the westward.
2 In coming down from Virginia Calk did not hit on Boone's new route until the day this extract was written.
* Meaning the road Boone had just blazed for the Transylvania Company.
This letter was sent by Boone before the one already quoted.
6 Those who were returning to civilization were small parties made up of men alone. The movement of entire families in caravans did not begin until the autumn of the year.