Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston

Daniel Boone's Daughter and Her Friends

[79] DANIEL BOONE and his brother picked out a good place in Kentucky to settle. Then they went home to North Carolina. They took with them such things as were curious and valuable. These were the skins of animals they had killed, and no doubt some of the heads and tails.

Boone was restless. He had seen Kentucky and he did not wish to settle down to the life of North Carolina.

In two years Boone sold his farm in North Carolina and set out for Kentucky. He took with him his wife and children and two brothers. Some of their neighbors went with them. They traveled by pack train. All their goods were packed on horses.

When they reached the place on the Kentucky River that Boone had chosen for a home they built a fort of log houses. These cabins all stood round a square. The backs of the houses were outward. There was no door or window in the back of a house. The outer walls were thus shut up. They made the place a fort. The houses at the four corners were a little taller and stronger than the others. [80] There were gates leading into the fort. These gates were kept shut at night.

In the evening the people danced and amused themselves in the square. Indians could not creep up and attack them.

When the men went out to feed the horses and cows they carried their guns. They walked softly and turned their eyes quickly from point to point to see if Indians were hiding near. They held their guns so they could shoot quickly.

The women and children had to stay very near the fort so they could run in if an Indian came in sight.

Daniel Boone had a daughter named Jemima. She was about fourteen years old. She had two friends named Frances and Betsey Calloway. Frances Calloway was about the same age as Jemima.

One summer afternoon these three girls went out of the fort. They went to the river and got into a canoe. It was not far from the fort. They felt safe. They laughed and talked and splashed the water with their paddles.

The current carried them slowly near the other shore. They could still see the fort. They did not think of danger.

Trees and bushes grew thick down to the edge [81] of the river. Five strong Indians were hiding in the bushes.

One Indian crept carefully through the bushes. He made no more noise than a snake. When he got to the edge of the water he put out his long arm and caught hold of the rope that hung down from the canoe. In a moment he had turned the boat around and drawn it out of sight from the fort. The girls screamed when they saw the Indian. Their friends heard them but could not cross the river to help them. The girls had taken the only canoe.

Boone and Calloway were both gone from the fort. They got home too late to start that day. No sleep came to their eyes while they waited for light to travel by.

As soon as there was a glimmer of light they and a party of their friends set out. It was in July and they could start early.

They crossed the river and easily found the Indians' tracks where they started. The brush was broken down there.

The Indians were cunning. They did not keep close together after they set out. Each Indian walked by himself through the tall canes. Three of the Indians took the captives.

Boone and his friends tried in vain to follow [82] them. Sometimes they would find a track but it would soon be lost in the thick canes.

Boone's party gave up trying to find their path. They noticed which way the Indians were going. Then they walked as fast as they could the same way for thirty miles. They thought the Indians would grow careless about their tracks after traveling so far.

They turned so as to cross the path they thought the Indians had taken. They looked carefully at the ground and at the bushes to see if any one had gone by.

Before long they found the Indians' tracks in a buffalo path. Buffaloes and other animals go often to lick salt from the rocks round salt springs. They beat down the brush and make great roads. These roads run to the salt springs. The hunters call them streets.

The Indians took one of these roads after they got far from the fort. They could travel more easily in it. They did not take pains to hide their tracks.

As fast as their feet could carry them, Boone and his friends traveled along the trail. When they had gone about ten miles they saw the Indians.

The Indians had stopped to rest and to eat. [83] It was very warm and they had put off their moccasins and laid down their arms. They were kindling a fire to cook by.

In a moment the Indians saw the white men. Boone and Galloway were afraid the Indians would kill the girls.

Four of the white men shot at the Indians. Then all rushed at them.

The Indians ran away as fast as they could. They did not stop to pick up their guns or knives or hatchets. They had no time to put on their moccasins.

The poor worn-out girls were soon safe in their fathers' arms.

Back to Boonesborough they went, not minding their tired feet. When they got to the fort there was great joy to see them alive.

I do not believe they ever played in the water again.


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