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iair Abram and Drake turn Backi we go on and git to loral River we come to a creek Before wheare we are able to unload and to take our packs over on a log this day we meet about 20 more turning Back we are obliged to toat our packs over loral river and swim our horses one hors ran in with his pack and lost it in the river and they got it agin.
sunday 16th — cloudy and warm we start early and go on about 2 miles down the river and then turn up a creek that we crost about 50 times some very bad foards with a great Deal of very good land on it in the Eavening we git over to the waters of Caintuck and go a little down the creek and there we camp keep sentel the fore part of the night it Rains very har all night.
tuesday 18th fair and cool and we go on about 10 oclock we meet 4 men from Boones camp that caim to conduck us on we camp this night just on the Beginning of the good land near the Blue lick they kill 2 bofelos this Eavening.
thursday 20th — this morning is clear and cool. We start early and git Down to caintuck to Boons foart about 12 o'clock where we stop they come out to meet us and welcome us in with a voley of guns.
fryday 21st warm this Day they begin laying off lots in the town preparing for people to go to work to make corn.
Sunday 23rd — this morning the peopel meets and draws for chois of lots this is a very warm day.
monday 24th — We all view our lots and some Dont like them about 12 oclock the combses come to town and Next morning they make them a bark canew and set off down the river to meet their Companey.
wednesday 26th - We Begin Building us a house and a plaise of Defense to Keep the indians off this day we begin to live without bread.
Satterday 29th — We git our house kivered with Bark and move our things into it at Night and Begin housekeeping Eanock Smith Robert Whitledge and myself.
So ends the journal of William Calk. He and those others of whom he tells wrote chiefly in deeds, not language; with rifle and ax instead of pen and ink. By the light of camp-fires at night he traced a few words, but with his footsteps he traced the Path through the wilderness. To him more than to any other one man who made the journey over Boone's Road are later generations indebted for a picture of the conditions that accompanied the commencement of westward travel in America. Calk's narrative is short and fragmentary, but it tells more
1 After all the trouble Abram had had with his "mair," and had overcome, it seems a pity to find that he gave up before reaching the goal.
39.—Sketch showing a traveller and his pack-horse climbing a hill against a brisk wind. In this manner Kentucky and Tennessee were first reached and settled by caravans moving over Boone's
Wilderness Road. Drawn by Joshua Shaw.
than is actually set down. His diary not only suggests the toil and exhaustion of the marches and the physical difculties along the trail, but the mental attitude of the pioneers as well. It displays the brave man, the weakling and the coward; it reveals the philosophy with which those men met and surmounted hardship, and their rare moments of dejection. Only once — when he alludes to a creek which he "crost about 50 times" — does Calk display any sign of impatience, and on that occasion the irritation was doubtless due to the persistence of a comparatively petty obstacle rather than to the necessity for severe exertion. It was as though a mosquito bothered him and could not be got rid of. And the matter-of-fact way in which he refers to the coming of a new party to Boone's fort, its prompt departure in a bark canoe made by its own members, the meeting of the pioneers in popular assembly, their drawing for town lots, the building of cabins, preparations for planting and the practically instantaneous transformation of the travellers into a community of methodical habits and set purpose, unintentionally portrays the character, resourcefulness and adaptability of the people in a manner more valuable than volumes of theorizing could do it. That is why a few words like his, handed down from an earlier century by a man who has lived what he tells, are so esteemed in present days. Nothing is asked but that the spirit of a vanished time shall still live in the things he describes. The man who helps to make an empire may spell as he chooses.'
Contemporary drawings made by men who themselves beheld the conditions of travel during the generation in which the West was first invaded are even more unusual than manuscript descriptions of the same scenes. The sketches of the sort included in these pages were recently found, and are the work of the early American artist Joshua Shaw.' Certain details in them aside from the period covered by Shaw's life -- indicate that the drawings were made after the year 1800. In all essential features they reveal the people as they appeared during their journeys in the period between 1775 and 1825. The lines of the artist's pencil show that he was making his sketches from knowledge gained by his own eyes.
Notwithstanding British and Indian hostilities, the Kentucky settlers, reinforced from time to time by new accessions, not only managed to hold their own but even to undertake aggressive measures against their enemies. In 1778-79 George Rogers Clark and his buckskin-clad warriors conquered the Illinois country. Their marches on that memorable expedition, particularly the one from Kaskaskia to Vincennes in midwinter across the flooded bottom lands of the Wabash, are among the most notable achievements in western history, but they are too well known to need description here. It is sufficient to say that American domination in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the region northwest of the Ohio was a direct result of the westward movement over the Wilderness Road.
Having followed the first cabin dwellers on their journey to Kentucky, it now remains to consider what they did when they got there. For this purpose the reference made by Calk to the assemblage of the immigrants in public meeting furnishes a starting point. It was believed by the pioneer arrivals at Boone's Fort and elsewhere that the Transylvania Company was founding a practically independent self-governing community. Separated as they were from all organized governmental processes by hundreds of miles of unoccupied wilderness the early white people of Kentucky were subject to no control except that of their own choosing, and the conditions which confronted them at once showed the necessity of joint action in regulating their affairs. The most important problem was that of insuring a supply of food sufficient to maintain them until a crop could be planted and harvested. When the first parties arrived they were almost wholly dependent on the country for sustenance, but fortunately found a seemingly inexhaustible abundance
game. The bison, deer, bear and wild turkey existed in the forests and canebrakes in such astonishing numbers that the woodsmen, experienced as they were, had no thought that the animal life about them would disappear. Yet within six weeks all the edible beasts and birds were gone and the settlements had to send hunting parties twenty miles into the woods in order to secure food. No sooner was the significance of this condition realized than the colonists formulated laws which protected the game except for food purposes, and "foreigners who came to hunt” were warned that their visits and activities were not wanted in that region. So the white men, as soon as they secured the country, adopted the policy of the Indians and by so doing justified the course previously pursued by the red men when they, as proprietors of the land, had similarly objected to the presence of alien people.
The belief of the settlers regarding the future of Henderson's project was soon altered. Both Virginia and North Carolina declared that the Transylvania Company's purchase of territory was void, and Virginia exercised proprietorship over the region until after the adoption of the Constitution.