Early Settlers

This information was taken from the  1884 book "Counties of Cumberland, Jasper & Richland, Illinois"

    The early immigration into Illinois was principally from Kentucky, and across its territory from the states farther to the south and east. About 1812 the inflow of population, which had been gaining force and numbers from the beginning of the century, was rapidly spreading over Southern Illinois along the main water courses. but the hostilities which broke out in that year and continued during succeeding three years, gave a sudden check to, and subsequently diverted the course of, this tide of immigration. The “Wabash Country” was famed far and near, and many adventurous pioneers came into what is now Crawford County as early as 1811, and even during the Indian hostilities, those pioneers received accessions. After coming to this land the danger of attack seemed so imminent that a considerable number were forced to remain cooped up in a palisade fort at Palestine until the cessation of the Indian troubles in 1814-15. In the meantime the more western portions of the State were considered safer, from the denser character of its settlements and its remoteness from the Indiana country where Indian hostilities seemed more vigorously carried on. the consequence was that this region of the state was abandoned by settlers and suffered a considerable delay in its development. When this cause was no longer operative, the large navigable streams attracted the earlier settlements, and it was nearly 1830 before the region was embraced in Cumberland County received its first settlement.

It will be observed, from a foregoing part of this work, that the Indian title to the larger part of the state was extinguished as early as 1816. the savages did not at once abandon the territory ceded, but under a provision of these treaties lived and hunted here for years, while numerous reservations in favor of individuals and families made these relics of a peculiar race, like dying embers of a great fire, a familiar sight for years to many of the present generation. Until about 1825, the natives were in full possession of the territory of Cumberland County, though their numbers gradually grew less, until the black Hawk war, in 1832, took them all away. The Kickapoo tribes furnished the larger part of those who found a home in this region. these received annuities at Vincennes, and had villages on the old Perry place and further up the Embarrass river. This tribe, in 1763, occupied the country southwest of the southern extremity of Lake Michigan, but on the removal of the Illini followed southward, making their villages on the Mackinaw and later on the Sangamon river. The settlers of Southern Illinois found them all along the Embarrass. They were more civilized, industrious, energetic and cleanly than the neighboring tribes, and it was also true that they were more implacable in their opposition to the whites. They were prominent among the tribes that for a century carried on the exterminating war against the friendly Illinois confederation. They were prominent in all the Indian struggles against General Harmer, St. Clair and Wayne; and maintained their hostility to the whites and friendly tribes to the last. During the years 1810 and 1811, in conjunction with the Chippewas, Pottawatomies and Ottawas, they committed so many thefts and murders on the frontier settlements, that Governor Edward's was compelled to employ force to suppress them. When removed from Illinois they still retained their old animosities against the Americans and went to Texas, then a province of Mexico, to get beyond the jurisdiction of the United States. They claimed relationship with the Pottawatomies, and perhaps the Sacs and Foxes, and Shawness.

The white settlement of Cumberland County came close upon the retreat of the savages. Indeed, the squatter and hunter who constitute the advance line of the permanent settlement was here before, and from 1820 to 1830 this region was a common hunting ground for both the white  and red man. It is difficult at this time to ascertain who first made his permanent settlement here. It is probable, however, that JOHN TULLY was the original pioneer in the territory now embraced within the limits of Cumberland County. He was a native of East Tennessee, and came early to Marion County, Ill. from this section he moved in 1828 to the site of Johnstown, in Cottonwood Township, for the purpose of establishing a still and grist-mill. The two enterprises were naturally and frequently associated at that time, and the settlements which had been formed further north gave abundant promise of a good patronage. He first built a still-house in the edge of the timber, and in 1829 built a small log water-mill, and afterwards another cabin for a residence. Early in this year, ___HUNT, with his two sons-in-law, HENRY LANCE and PURCELL, settled in the vicinity of TULLY. this family came from Indiana, but were originally from Tennessee. A little later, in 1829, the families of LEVI and DAVID BEALS were added to the settlement Muddy Point, and in 1830, the family of  JOSEPH BERRY,  from Maury County, Tenn. In the fall of 1829, a settlement was formed on the Embarress near Sconce’ Bend. JAMES GILL, a native of Kentucky, and one of the occupants of old Fort LaMotte, at Palestine, in Crawford County, came here. After the pacification of the Indians at the close of the war in 1812, he settled on the sand prairie, and married there. Soon afterward, with his family and house hold effects, he came on horseback to the site of the old homestead which he now occupies, and has lived there ever since. This was in December, 1829, and without other assistance than his horses and wife, he erected a pole cabin in which he passed the winter, near the Ryan Ford. He subsequently moved to the site of his present dwelling. In the same fall, A.Y. DOBBS, a native of Alabama, came to the vicinity of Sconce Bend. In the following year came to this settlement ALEXANDER BAKER, three families of the ASHBYS, all Kentuckians by birth; ____PINER, who stayed but a short time before he left the region, and THOMAS SCONCE, who came from Kentucky in 1830. There was at this time a strong settlement on the upper part of the Embarrass, and not a cabin along the route of the projected National road. In 1830, a strong settlement was begun on Bear Creek, most of the families forming it coming from Indiana, but originally coming from the border States of the South. Of these were JOHN INGHRAM, originally from Tennessee; JOHN FULLER, from the same State; GEORGE LAKE, and several other families, originally from Kentucky via Indiana considered a permanent resident. GREENUP had his residence in Vandalia, and the settlement at locality also about 1833, but two years later moved to to the more thriving village of Greenup,    In 1832, the work began on the National road through this county, and attracted settlements along its line. The road had been surveyed before this, but no work was performed on it here until about this time. WM. C. GREENUP, had been connected with the engineer corps that laid out the road, and subsequently, in company with JOSEPH BARBOUR, took a contract to construct the bridge at or near the village which bears his name, IRA B. ROSE, then a resident of Martinsville, in Clark County, found employment with him, and seeking to enter into a speculation at the same time, secured forty acres just west of the present village and built his cabin, subsequently platting a town. BARBOUR came from Louisville, and brought a stock of goods, but never was “Rosedale” while of some size, was chiefly made up of temporary sojourners, workers on the road. But among these were a few whose names are still familiar sounds in the county. Of these were the families of LATHROP, EWART, HAZELWOOD  and VANDIKE.  About 1833, GEORGE HENSON and DAVID HENSON, with JACK HOUTCHINS, cut out the National road through this county, and settled in Woodbury. As early as 1831, GEORGE WOODBURY had built his cabin here, but he made no improvements and did not own the land, though he gave his name to the village platted her. THOMAS B. ROSE,  a native of Kentucky, came to this but soon afterward returned. LEVI BEAL came down from Muddy Point in this year and kept a tavern. West of Woodbury was quite a strong settlement. CHIPMAN WEBSTER came in 1832, and settled on the National road about a mile and a quarter west of Woodbury, where he kept a tavern, and about one and three quarters miles further west was ABRAM MARBLE. JOHN and WILLIAM OWENS, natives of Kentucky, were in this region as early as 1830, and JAMES MULLEN, a native of Ohio, in 1832; in 1824, the family of JAMES GREEN, a native of Richmond, Va., about a mile west of Woodbury. D.B.GREEN was a lad of some five years when his father came first to the county in 1832. The family was then in Ohio, and his father brought some find horses and a jack from Maysville, Ky., to Charleston, to sell. Young GREEN rode the jack while his father rode one and led three more. Selling these animals in this vicinity of the State, MR. GREEN selected land in this county, and entered it, moving his family two years later. D.T. WISER came here in 1833 or 1834, to work on the National road. He was but a boy, and apprenticed to JOHN BUSTER, a tanner, of Shelbyville, Illinois. The trade does not seem to have pleased him, and he sought the public work for employment. He remained here and was for a long time closely identified with this county. SAMUEL KINGERY and son were early settlers of Cumberland. they came in 1834, from Ohio, and made their home in this vicinity. HENSON BRIGHT  was an early settler on the Embarrass river, between the settlement at Sconce’ bend and Greenup. he was a native of Kentucky, and one of the families in the fort at Palestine; he came to cumberland County about 1830. HENRY NEES, a native of tennessee, was another of the occupants of the fort, and came here about the same time, settling near the Ford which still bears his name. FEWEL HAMPTON was among the settlers of 1830, and was noted as a great “fiddler.” It is said that he would carry his violin about with him as most of the pioneers did their guns, and it was no unusual thing to find him playing on his favorite instrument when he ought to have been hoeing his corn. AARON MAHAFFEY was another eccentric settler of 1830. He was noted as a great hunter, and supported himself entirely by his rifle.  Among those who came in to reinforce these various settlements, from 1835 50 1845, were DANIEL DECIUS, from Ohio, in 1835 or 1836; DR. SAMUEL QUINN, about 1838, from Ohio; DR. JAMES EWART, from the same State, about 1838; SILAS HUFFCUT, a local Methodist preacher, from New York, in 1840; WADE, about 1842; EDART TALBOTT, from Ohio, in 1844; JAMES WARD, from Ohio, about 1840; CHARLES and JAMES McKNIGHT, about 1843; ISAAC SAYERS; SHIPLORS, two families; HOUSE, DOW, DRUMMOND, PETERSONS, JACOB GREEN, ARMOURS, BENI WHITE, WATON, etc.

In 1843, when the county of Cumberland was formed. there were about 2,000 inhabitants, but from this time to 1850, immigration almost ceased, and emigration was sufficient to keep the growth of the population at about a standstill. In 1845, the cholera proved fatal to many here, and in 1848 and 1849, a considerable number joined the current setting toward California. About 1850, however, the land warrants issued to the soldiers of the Mexican war began to bring about a change. These warrants got into the hands of persons about to seek new homes, and from 1850 to 1853 almost every acre of public land was entered, and largely by actual settlers. The early settlements were all made in some point of timber, at Muddy Point, Sconce’ Bend, Nees’ Ford, Greenup, Woodbury and Bear Creek, thus encircling the central part of the county, which for years was almost a marsh, water standing all over the prairie portion up to a horses belly until August. DANIEL KINGERY lost faith in the country and returned East, but after a year or to came back to this county. In his published reminiscences he says Greenup was a hamlet then of a half dozen cabins; from that point to Towertown there was but one house, and from thence to Wisner’s the families of WEBSTER, SARACOOL, and JOHN GARDNER were the only residents. Between where he now lives and Dutchtown, or Teutopolia, there was but one cabin, and the latter village consisted only of a double log house, which was used as store and dwelling by JNO. TRACKFORT. From the residence of Wisner to Newton, in Jasper County, there was but one cabin, and that was occupied by ALBERT CALDWELL. A traveler from Ohio, on his way to the West to purchase land, came along the national road and leaves an account of his impressions of the lower part of the county, written in a diary. On the 16th of November, 1838, he reached Marshall, in Clark  County, “and from thence rode thirty miles into the prairie to Greenup, making thirty-three miles of poor country and thinly settled. On Saturday, left Greenup; the weather cold and prairie large. Noticed several large hewed log houses; look like our double barns. They were mostly deserted and vacant, the people appearing to be all in the streets standing about a fire that had been kindled in the streets. They seemed in fine spirits, or fine spirits in them; the latter is supposed to be the case.” The other villages do not seem to have attracted his attention.

The earlier site chosen for the frontier cabin were along the high points of timber that skirted the streams. The prairie at that time was covered with joint grass, which at times reached the enormous height of ten or twelve feet. there was little natural drainage, and the rain fall lay upon the ground, after saturating the soil, until the whole prairie area was one great swale. Accustomed to a timbered and rolling country, the first settlers could not believe that the open land could ever be tilled; and it was practically impossible for the pioneers, few in number and limited resources, to cultivate it. The site chosen for a farm, therefore, was in the timber. This cabin was a simple log pen with a door, a window, and a puncheon floor. At first glass was not to be had, and greased paper. which was proof against the rain, and at the same time admitted a faint light, was used as a substitute. It was no unusual thing for cabins to be erected without a nail, wooden pegs supplying their place, and most of these first structures were erected with but a limited supply. the work on the farm was carried on by the men and boys under similar disadvantages. A space cleared of its timber was ploughed with the rude implement of the time and planted to corn. What the crows, black-birds and squirrels left was ample for the needs of the family. There was no accessible market for the produce, and few farmers but had plenty of “hog and hominy.” There were very few large farms. The range of wild grass, the moss and roots were so abundant in the woods that hogs, cattle and horses required but little other food, and that was in general corn alone. It is probable that a single corn-field of five acres constituted the majority of the early farms. Wheat was not sown for some years, as there were no mills to grind it if a crop had been secured. Mills were a prime necessity of the early days, but even when secured, the demands of the farm or the difficulties of early traveling prevented the settler from “going to mill.” Resort was then had, so long as the corn was soft, to the “grater” made a perforated tin, or sheet iron. Upon the rough side of this crude instrument the corn was reduced to a condition which made it adapted to the use of the pioneer housewife. Later, when the corn became hard, it had to be reduced in a mortar of handmill. almost every family had its “hominy block.” This was formed from a large block or stump. A large hole, “kettle shaped,” was made in it by burning and scraping. Over this, suspended to a hugh “sweep,” often by a wild grape vine, was a heavy stick of wood, the lower end of which was provided with an iron wedge. the “sweep” was converted into a spring-pole by fastening the lower end by stakes driven into the ground. By such machinery hundreds of bushels of corn were reduced to hominy and a coarse meal, furnished the corn-pone. An improvement upon this was the handmill, which some of the well to-do farmers sometimes possessed. this consisted of one stone running upon another in a frame, the upper one being provided with ab “eye” and a handle, and with this the boys were accustomed to grind the family's supply of meal.

It was not long before power-mills were built. the streams afforded good sites and power for water-mills, for a part of the year, but the lack of good mechanics often forced the pioneers to depend upon the horse-mill. this consisted of a small run of stone, manufactured by the miller our of “nigger-heads.” The power was conveyed to this by a large cog-wheel of ten or fifteen feet diameter, placed upon a perpendicular axle, which was caused to revolve by levers placed in it at right angles near the ground, to which horses were attached. The earliest mills in the county were erected at Johnstown. Here is 1829, JOHN TULLY had a little water-mill, but as the river did not always afford power to run it, he erected a horse-mill, and in low stages of water he was accustomed to transfer the home made buhrs from the mill to the horse-power. Another horse-mill was built in Woodbury, by LEVI BEALS, and in 1832 a good mill was established at Greenup. these mills drew patronage from miles around, and were generally run to their fullest capacity. the abundance of corn, and the small demand for it gave rise to another industry, which was of doubtful advantage to the community. Distilleries were generally built part of the miller’s establishment, or near at hand. HOLLY had one which was patronized fully as much as the mill, and was probably more influential in making the place one of importance. H.B. RUSSELL operated the still in later year, using a steam still. the product was sold to farmers in exchange for corn, and to the stores and groceries in the neighborhood where it was often the principal commodity for sale. Whiskey was a regular beverage, and very few pioneers were without it. At the “still” whiskey was kept in a large vessel, and a cup near by, and every one was welcome to so much as he cared to drink. After tansy came up in the spring, this was added, and “tansy bitters” was then kept for the public entertainment.

Some reminiscences, by DANIEL KINGERY, and published in the recent issue of the Democrat, give an interesting account of the resources of the southwestern part of the county at an early date: “His place of marketing and trading was at Woodbury and Dutchtown, generally at Woodbury. WISNER kept a stock of goods such as was needed by the people at that time, and in addition to this he kept a supply of “fire water,” and it was here they used to congregate and indulge their appetites and practice their pugilistic skill. At those times as well as now there were some who “went considerable,” and even prided themselves upon their muscular powers. He says he has seen as much as ten gallons of whisky drank here in one day. Of course that much whiskey in men who naturally produce considerable fight. For milling he depended on the horse-mill at Towertown, owned and operated by a MR. BEALS. For meat he depended to a great extent upon the woods. There was plenty of deer here then. But UNCLE DANIEL says he had never been trained to the chase and was not much of a Nimrod. But he had brought with him an excellent gun with the intention, of course, of shooting deer, for amusement, if nothing else. He relates his first experience in deer hunting which was taken with his brother STEPHEN, who was an experienced hunter. early in the morning they were in the woods. Just north of what is now known as the “Good” farm they separated, and in a short time up jumped a deer and he thought he had a dead shot for sure, and fired, and away went the deer. His shot brought his brother to him. after carefully examining the ground they found some blood which was evidence he had hit the deer--so they took the track expecting every moment to come upon the dead deer. around and around they followed the deer track (there was snow on the ground), supposing the deer was “gut” shot. This they kept up until evening when the deer passed upon the prairie close home. He then called his dog which run it up near the GARDNER’S, who put on a fresh dog and caught it.  After putting in a whole day of continued travel, he came up to find another reaping the reward of his hard days chase. It was found that instead of a gut wound he had only cut the deer a little on the inner side of a hind leg. His next and last experience in deer hunting he took sometime after his. The next time he concluded he would ride. Starting out one morning he had gone but a short distance when a large buck presented a broadside view; this time certain of his game he up and fired and away went the buck. He rode back home, laid his gun up, and says that settled his deer hunting.”

Game of all kinds was abundant, and most of the men were good marksmen. Fur-bearing animals were the most remunerative, as their skins found a ready sale at their cabin doors. A branch of the American Fur Company was established at St. Louis, and its agents found their way throughout this country. One gentleman relates that he caught 184 coons one season, and disposed of them all at a good price, some of them as high as seventy-five cents. Wolves were found here in great numbers, and were hunted as a means of protection from their depredations. Three kinds infested the company, the timber wolf, a large, fierce animal; the gray wolf, a large but not so powerful as the former, and the coyote, or prairie wolf. None of these animals were bold enough to attack persons, but small pigs, calves and sheep fell an easy prey to them. Their howling at night was calculated to unnerve those who were fresh in the country, or those who knew something of the fiercer timber wolf of Kentucky and Ohio. A bounty subsequently offered by the State and county stimulated the hunters, and these animals were early driven from this region.

 The work of the women was of that arduous kind found everywhere on the frontier or in a new settlement. The hatchel and brake, the spinning wheel and loom were in almost every cabin. A few sheep were maintained in spite of the depredations of wolves and dogs, and the wool once shorn from the animal was turned over to the housewife to be converted into clothing, for men and women. Housekeeping was crowded into the smallest possible space, to give room to the more exacting duties of preparing cloth and clothing. the principal amusements of the women were the outgrowth of these latter duties. Wool picking, spinning parties and quilting were the harmless dissipation's of the women, and besides these there were husking bees, loggings and an occasional camp meeting for diversion.

The dress of the people of Cumberland was of the most primitive. Coon-skins furnished caps for men, while buckskin furnished durable if not so pleasant pants for the men. This, with the linsey-woolsey blouse completed the usual attire of the men. Linsey-woolsey was the material with which the women clothed themselves, and was their only wear, save, perhaps, a calico dress for special occasions. But this was not considered a great privation, where all fared alike, and with wholesome food the work of pioneer times could be and was accomplished with less repining than are the duties of more favored times. A very sore trial, and one keenly felt, was the regular attack of the ague or miasmatic fevers which haunted this country until recent years. This infliction visited the who country impartially, and some entire communities were prostrated at the same time. MR. VANDIKE relates that at Greenup he was the only well person in the village, and as he then had no family of his own to care for, he was pressed into the service of the beleaguered town, and found it difficult to answer the demands made upon him for assistance. Physicians were few, and located at distant points, but if this had not been the case, the settlers did not have the means to employ them for every recurrence of this familiar malady. Each family had a store of receipts and a stock of herbs, and these were made into decoctions which generally weakened the force of the recurring “shakes.”

 Of the social status, an exhaustive series of articles, contributed by an “Old Settler” to one of the papers of the county, may complete this branch of the subject. He writes as follows:
“It is a notable fact that in the early settlement of Cumberland County, her pioneer settlers, generally speaking, were rude and eccentric in manners, and their education in the important art of reading and writing sadly neglected. the educational status of the people in those palmy days of perilous adventures, was the result of unavoidable and adverse circumstances, over which the most ambitious aspirant for scholastic honors had no control, however ardent the disposition in that direction. This want of  ‘book larnin’,’ as the natives were pleased to term it, was not exclusively confined to the borders of Cumberland County, but the unenviable legacy had been distributed with a lavish and prodigal hand throughout the wide expanse of the whole State. In reverting to this marked feature of the ‘old settlers’ there is nothing censurable to that noble class, as a different conclusion could not have been reasonably expected with a fair and just knowledge of their progenitors. They were the sons and daughters of those illustrious characters, who, while yet basking in the sunlight of joyous manhood and womanhood beyond the eastern slopes of the Alleghanies, had listened with wonder and astonishment to the marvelous stories of the pilgrim travelers, who pictured in ‘rhapsody of words’ the rich and the beautiful domain that stretched out in its native and original grandeur toward the setting sun, the borders of Cumberland County, but the unenviable legacy had been distributed with a lavish and prodigal hand throughout the wide expanse of the whole State. In reverting to this marked feature of the ‘old settlers’ there is nothing censurable to that noble class, as a different conclusion could not have been reasonably expected with a fair and just knowledge of their progenitors. They were the sons and daughters of those illustrious characters, who, while yet basking in the sunlight of joyous manhood and womanhood beyond the eastern slopes of the Alleghenies, had listened with wonder and astonishment to the marvelous stories of the pilgrim travelers, who pictured in ‘rhapsody of words’ the rich and the beautiful domain that stretched out in its native and original grand­ern toward the setting sun. They were the descendants of those who, casting aside the endearments of their native heath, first erected the home of civilization upon the productive soil of Ohio and Ken­tucky. Here they were compelled to assist their parents in the toilsome task of clearing their newly-made settlement. Schools and institutions of learning which now dot the area of those once western wilds, were then slumbering in embryo. Without the advantages and facilities of acquiring an ordinary education, and with energies, incessantly engaged in the important object of averting dangers that environed them, and procuring raiment and subsistence for their families, it could not be supposed that they could progress very rapidly in educational matters. Under such disadvantages they arrived at the age of maturity, and having inherited the adventurous spirits of their progenitors began to glance significantly towards the vast prairies of the West. Collecting the scanty and available means at their disposal they journeyed hither, where they settled down and invested in Uncle Sam's ‘celebrated s’il.’ With the advantage of long experience, and the additional advantage of natural cleared farms, they soon began to prosper and rapidly accumulated in worldly possessions.

“In the midst of their thrifti: .ss and prosperity they began to realize the importance of cultivating and developing the unpolished minds of their children, and placing them under the tutelage of some learned prodigy that had performed the remarkable feat of ‘going through’ Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, and accomplished the then looked upon ‘double-summersault-act’ of advancing mathematically as far as ‘vulgar fractional- figures.’ By consultation and discussion among each other, an interest was awakened in each neighborhood, and soon schoolhouses, though rude and unprepossessing in appearance, began to loom up all over the country. The schoolmaster with his direful rod and terrible facial contour was not long in forthcoming. Re soon introduced himself in the various communities or neighborhoods to the delight of parents and dismay of unruly urchins. He was viewed as a natural prodigy and sat upon his throne like a petty monarch of a limited principality. He was consulted upon matters that happened to arise either public or private, and his decision was then regarded with the same deference as those of the Supreme Court are now.

“Morally speaking, we would not offer the ‘old settler as an example and model, worthy of imitation if we cherished the least inclination to advance and improve the moral standard of the youth of the country. They were extremely pertinacious in manifesting marked disrespect for the author of the first commandment, and persistently adhered to the execrable fashion in those days of introducing d—n’ in peaceful conversation. This despicable custom and habit arose not from any intended sacrilege, but was the result of want of acquaintance with the English descriptive adjectives. If profanity was a marked feature in the social and friendly Tete-a-tete of the ‘original inhabitants how uninviting to the sensitive and fastidious ear of morality must have been the immediate vicinity of warm and angry political discussions. over which the conscience exercises no restraint. Very frequently have we witnessed a meeting of two friends in days gone by, and listened to their exchange of words, and noted the observation ‘that d—dest’ sometimes accompanied with its superlative addition, was a substitute for all and every adjective known to the English idiom- He can beat any man swearing I ever heard,’ was the expression used in giving a graphic description of some celebrity of more than ordinary capacity and prominence. He was always adjudged by the hearer to be a ‘devil of a fellow.’ “Horse-racing, shooting matches and amusements of similar character were indulged in to a considerable extent. These horse races, in which the most speedy material was brought into requisition, approximated to what we now-a-days term a contest between 'scrubs-’ These races were usually largely attended and seldom failed to convoke all the ‘old settlers.’ Those were the periodical fetes and gala days that amused the ‘old settlers’ and gave unlimited license and excuse for them to run riot and confusion. The termination or close of these entertainment's generally concluded with a series of engagements for pugilistic honors, in which the contestants figured and were disfigured. Morally speaking the ‘old settlers’ had a failing that has been handed down unimpaired to the present generation. He couldn't forego the ecstatic pleasure to be derived from a stiff glass of old bourbon. It was his first love, and how consoling it must be to look back through a dark vista of years with the proud consciousness that he never ‘went back ‘on his first love. Almost every individual had an acquired fondness for whisky, and was inconsolable when some unforeseen accident separated him from his liquid idol, and he was prevented from his regular devotions at the shrine of Bacehus.

The most commendable feature that clusters around the memories of early days was the manifest sociability of the people. Although they possessed some inherent attributes that were obnoxious to refined ideas and culture, yet in their social intercourse with each other they displayed those exemplary traits of character which can only emanate from a warm and generous heart. If they deviated from the strict rules of morality and indulged themselves in habits and excesses that have been discarded by progressive civilization as enervating and ruinous, they still retained those estimable virtues which are inseparably allied with a generous and hospitable people. Unpretentious and unostentatious. they tendered whatever hospitality their houses afforded, and were assiduous in their efforts to provide for the comfort of those who, by chance, were cast within the purview of their domestic circles. There was not any affectation in their liberal entertainment of their visitors and guests and selfishness and motives of interest cannot be rightfully adjudged as the prompting and incentive by which they were influenced in the bestowal of their benignity upon the hungry and shelterless. History may ascribe to the old settlers’ of days gone by, ignorance immorality, eccentricity and rudeness of manners. but it never can. without a manifest spirit of injustice, but speak in praise and commendation of their excellence as a hospitable people No footsore traveler, seeking rest and shelter from his wearisome ploddings, was ever refused admittance to their homes- They manifested no distinction or partiality in opening their doors to the weary and hungry The penniless wanderer, covered with the dust of his journey and clothed in the garments of destitution and poverty, was as kindly welcomed to their thresholds, as the arrogant nabob, drawn by his richly caparisoned steeds, and integumented in the gaudy trappings of wealth. It was sufficient for them to know that their hospitality was solicited. and the 'sissing hog’ and 'steaming hominy’ bespoke the stranger's welcome “In the way of repast, for the entertainment, of their guest, the ‘old settlers’ supplied their festal board with porkling. hominy.‘sassafrack tay’ and ‘gobs’ of hoe-cakes, which in the absence of  modern luxuries were disposed of  with remarkable relish. The adornments and convenience of the table were notable only by their absence. Ordinary table furniture was had only in a limited supply, but the far was none the less enjoyed, nor the welcome less real.


Return To The Main Index