Woman on the American Frontier

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2004
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            *** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WOMAN ON THE AMERICAN FRONTIER ***

            Produced by Wendy Crockett, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.

 WOMAN ON THE AMERICAN FRONTIER.

 

            A Valuable and Authentic History

 OF THE HEROISM, ADVENTURES, PRIVATIONS, CAPTIVITIES, TRIALS, AND NOBLE LIVES AND DEATHS OF THE "PIONEER MOTHERS OF THE REPUBLIC."
 

            By WILLIAM W. FOWLER, M.A.

 ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.
 

 PREFACE.

 

            The history of our race is the record mainly of men's achievements, in war, in statecraft and diplomacy. If mention is made of woman it is of queens and intriguing beauties who ruled and schemed for power and riches, and often worked mischief and ruin by their wiles.

            The story of woman's work in great migrations has been told only in lines and passages where it ought instead to fill volumes. Here and there incidents and anecdotes scattered through a thousand tomes give us glimpses of the wife, the mother, or the daughter as a heroine or as an angel of kindness and goodness, but most of her story is a blank which never will be filled up. And yet it is precisely in her position as a pioneer and colonizer that her influence is the most potent and her life story most interesting.

            The glory of a nation consists in its migrations and the colonies it plants as well as in its wars of conquest. The warrior who wins a battle deserves a laurel no more rightfully than the pioneer who leads his race into the wilderness and builds there a new empire.

            The movement which has carried our people from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and in the short space of two centuries and a half has founded the greatest republic which the world ever saw, has already taken its place in history as one of the grandest achievements of humanity since the world began. It is a moral as well as a physical triumph, and forms an epoch in the advance of civilization. In this grand achievement, in this triumph of physical and moral endurance, woman must be allowed her share of the honor.

            It would be a truism, if we were to say that our Republic would not have been founded without her aid. We need not enlarge on the necessary position which she fills in human society every where. We are to speak of her now as a soldier and laborer, a heroine and comforter in a peculiar set of dangers and difficulties such as are met with in our American wilderness. The crossing of a stormy ocean, the reclamation of the soil from nature, the fighting with savage men are mere generalities wherein some vague idea may be gained of true pioneer life. But it is only by following woman in her wanderings and standing beside her in the forest or in the cabin and by marking in detail the thousand trials and perils which surround her in such a position that we can obtain the true picture of the heroine in so many unmentioned battles.

            The recorded sum total of an observation like this would be a noble history of human effort. It would show us the latent causes from which have come extraordinary effects. It would teach us how much this republic owes to its pioneer mothers, and would fill us with gratitude and self-congratulation—gratitude for their inestimable services to our country and to mankind, self-congratulation in that we are the lawful inheritors of their work, and as Americans are partakers in their glory.

            In the preparation of this work particular pains have been taken to avoid what was trite and hackneyed, and at the same time preserve historic truth and accuracy. Use has been made to a limited extent of the ancient border books, selecting the most note-worthy incidents which never grow old because they illustrate a heroism, that like "renown and grace cannot die." Thanks are due to Mrs. Ellet, from whose interesting book entitled "Women of the Revolution," a few passages have been culled. The stories of Mrs. Van Alstine, of Mrs. Slocum, Mrs. McCalla, and Dicey Langston, and of Deborah Samson, are condensed from her accounts of those heroines.

            A large portion of the work is, however, composed of incidents which will be new to the reader. The eye-witnesses of scenes which have been lately enacted upon the border have furnished the writer with materials for many of the most thrilling stories of frontier life, and which it has been his aim to spread before the reader in this work.

 ILLUSTRATIONS.

 

 A VIRGINIA MATRON ENCOURAGING THE PATRIOTISM OF HER SONS AT THE DEATH-BED OF THEIR FATHER,

 

 LOST IN A SNOW STORM,
 
 THE HUNTRESS OF THE LAKES SURPRISED BY INDIANS,
 
 A HEROIC EXPLOIT IN SUPPLYING WITH POWDER A BLOCK-HOUSE BESIEGED BY INDIANS,
 
 DARING EXPLOIT OF MISS VAN ALSTINE,
 
 FOOD AND CLOTHING SUPPLIED TO THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY BY PATRIOTIC WOMEN,
 
 PERILOUS CROSSING OF THE ALLEGHANY RIVER,
 
 WAGON TRAIN ON THE PRAIRIE,
 
 STRATAGEM OF MRS. DAVIESS IN CAPTURING A KENTUCKY ROBBER,
 
 TWO KENTUCKY GIRLS CAPTURED BY INDIANS,
 
 PARTED FOR EVER,
 
 AN EQUESTRIAN FEAT,
 
 TREED BY A BEAR,
 
 RESCUING A HUSBAND FROM WOLVES,
 
 DEFEAT OF GUERILLAS,
 
 MASTERING BANDITS,
 

 CONTENTS

 

 CHAPTER I.

 

            WOMAN AS A PIONEER,
  America's Unnamed Heroines.
  Maids and Matrons of the "Mayflower."
  Woman's Work in Early Days.
  Devotion and Self-sacrifice.
  Strange Story of Mrs. Hendee.
  Face to Face with the Indians.
  A Mother's Love Triumphant
  Woman among the Savages.
  The Massacre of Wyoming.
  Sufferings of a Forsaken Household.
  The Patriot Matron and her Children.
  The Acmé of Heroism.
  Adventures of an English Traveler.
  Woman in the Rocky Mountains.
  A Story of a Lonely Life.
  Nocturnal Visitors and their Reception.
  Life in the Far West.
  Mrs. Manning's Home in Montana,
  Female Emigrants on the Plains.
  A True Heroine.
 

 CHAPTER II.

 

            WOMAN'S WORK IN FLOODS AND STORMS,
  The Frontier two Centuries ago.
  The Pioneer Army.
  The Pilgrim "Mothers."
  Story of Margaret Winthrop.
  Danger in the Wilderness.
  A Reckless Husband and a Watchful Wife.
  Lost in a Snow-storm.
  The Beacon-fire at Midnight.
  Saved by a Woman.
  Mrs. Noble's Terrible Story.
  Alone with Famine and Death.
  A Legend of the Connecticut.
  What befel the Nash Family.
  Three Heroic Women.
  In Flood and Storm.
  A Tale of the Prairies.
  A Western Settler and her Fate.
  Battling with an Unseen Enemy.
  Emerging from the Valley of the Shadow.
  Heartbroken and Alone.
 

 CHAPTER III.

 

            EARLY PIONEERS.—WOMAN'S ADVENTURES AND HEROISM,
  In the Maine Wilderness.
  Voyaging up the Kennebec.
  The Huntress of the Lakes.
  Extraordinary Story of Mrs. Trevor.
  Two Hundred Miles from Civilization.
  Sleeping in a Birch-bark Canoe.
  A Fight with Five Savages.
  A Victorious Heroine.
  The Trail of a Lost Husband.
  Only just in Time.
  A Narrow Escape,
  Voyaging in an Ice-boat.
  Snow-bound in a Cave.
  Fighting for Food.
  Grappling with a Forest Monster.
  Mrs. Storey, the Forester.
  Alida Johnson's Thrilling Narrative.
  Caught in a Death-trap.
  A Desperate Measure and its Result.
  The Connecticut Settlers.
  Their Courage and Heroism.
 

 CHAPTER IV.

 

            ON THE INDIAN TRAIL
  A Block-house Attacked.
  Wild Pictures of Indian Warfare.
  Exploits of Mrs. Howe.
  A Pioneer Woman's Record.
  Holding the Fort alone.
  Treacherous "Lo."
  Witnessing a Husband's Tortures.
  The Beautiful Victim.
  Forced to Carry a Mother's Scalp.
  The Fate of the Glendennings.
  A Feast and a Massacre.
  Led into Captivity.
  Elizabeth Lane's Adventures.
  In Ambush.
  Siege of Bryant's Station.
  Outwitting the Savages.
  Mrs. Porter's Combat with the Indians.
  Ghastly Trophies of her Prowess.
  "Long Knife Squaw."
  Smoking out Redskins.
  The Widows of Innis Station.
  A Daring Achievement.
  The Amazon of the Stockade.
 

 CHAPTER V.

 

            CAPTIVE SCOUTS—HEROINES OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY,
  The Poetry of Border Life.
  Mrs. Mack in her Forest Fort.
  The Ambush in the Cornfield.
  The Night-watch at the Port-hole.
  A Shot in the Dark.
  The Hiding Place of her Little Ones.
  A Sad Discovery.
  An Avenger on the Track.
  Massy Herbeson's Strange Story.
  On the Trail.
  Miss Washburn and the Scouts.
  An Extraordinary Rencontre.
  A Wild Fight with the Savages.
  Mysterious Aid.
  Passing through an Indian Village.
  Hairbreadth Escapes.
  Courageous Conduct of Mrs. Van Alstine.
  Settlements on the Mohawk.
  Circumventing a Robber Band.
  How she Saved him.
  The Pioneer Woman at Home.
 

 CHAPTER VI.

 

            PATRIOT WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION
  Times that Tried Men's Souls.
  The Women of Wyoming.
  Silas Deane's Sister.
  Mrs. Corbin, the Cannoneer.
  A Heroine on the Gun-deck.
  The Schoharie Girl.
  Women of the Mohawk Wars.
  Concerning a Curious Siege.
  The Patriot Daughter and the Bloody Scouts.
  What she Dared him to do.
  Brave Deeds of Mary Ledyard.
  Ministering Angels.
  Heroism of "Mother Bailey."
  Petticoats and Cartridges.
  A Thrilling Incident of Valley Forge.
  Ready-witted Ladies.
  Miss Geiger, the Courier.
  How Miss Darrah Saved the Army.
  Adventures of McCalla's Wife.
  Love and Constancy.
  A Clergyman's Story of his Mother.
 

 CHAPTER VII.

 

            GOING WEST.—PERILS BY THE WAY,
  After the Revolution.
  Starting for the Mississippi.
  Curious Methods of Migration.
  A Modern Exodus.
  Incidents on the Route.
  Wonderful Story of Mrs. Jameson.
  Forsaking all for Love.
  A Woman with One Idea.
  That Fatal Stream.
  Alone in the Wilderness.
  A Glimpse of the Enemy.
  Strength of a Mother's Love,
  Saved from a Rattlesnake.
  Individual Enterprise.
  Migrating in a Flat-boat.
  A Night of Peril on the Ohio River.
  Terrifying Sounds and Sights.
  A Fiery Scene of Savage Orgies.
  Coolness and Daring of a Mother.
  An Extraordinary Line of Mothers and Daughters.
  A Pioneer Pedigree and its Heroines.
 

 CHAPTER VIII.

 

            HOME LIFE IN THE BACKWOODS,
  The Nomads of the West.
  Romance of a Pioneer's March.
  How the Cabin was Built.
  Where Mrs. Graves Concealed her Babes.
  Husband and Wife at Home.
  Rather Rough Furniture.
  Forest Fortresses.
  Fighting for her Children.
  Mrs. Fulsom and the Ambushed Savage.
  Domestic Life on the Border.
  From a Wedding to a Funeral.
  Among the Beasts and Savages.
  Little Ones in the Wilds.
  Woman takes Care of Herself.
  Ann Bush's Sorrows.
  The Bright Side of the Picture.
  Western Hospitality.
  A Traveler's Story.
  "Evangeline" on the Frontier.
  An Eden of the Wilderness and its Eve.
 

 CHAPTER IX.

 

            SOME REMARKABLE WOMEN,
  Diary of a Heroine.
  The Border Maid, Wife, Mother, and Widow.
  Strange Vicissitudes in the Life of Mrs. W.
  Adopted by an Indian Tribe.
  Shrewd Plan of Escape.
  The Hiding-place in the Glen.
  Surprised and Surrounded, but Safe.
  Successful Issue of her Enterprise.
  Mrs. Marliss and her Strategy.
  Combing the Wool over a Savage's Eyes.
  Marking the Trail.
  A Captive's Cunning Devices.
  A Pursuit and a Rescue.
  Extraordinary Presence of Mind.
  A Robber captured by a Woman.
  A Brave, Good Girl.
  Helping "the Lord's People."
  A Home of Love in the Wilderness.
  A Singular Courtship.
  The Benevolent Matron and her Errand.
  Story of the Pioneer Quakeress.
 

 CHAPTER X.

 

            A ROMANCE OF THE BORDER,
  The Honeymoon in the Mountains.
  United in Life and in Death.
  A Devoted Lover.
  Capture of Two Young Ladies.
  Discovery and Rescue.
  The Captain and the Maid at the Mill.
  The Chase Family in Trouble.
  The Romance of a Young Girl's Life.
  Danger in the Wind.
  Hunter and Lover.
  Treacherous Savages.
  Old Chase Knocked Over.
  The Fight on the Plains.
  An Unexpected Meeting.
  Heroism of La Bonte.
  The Guard of Love.
  The Marriage of Mary.
  Miss Rouse and her Lover.
  A Bridal and a Massacre.
  Brought back to Life but not to Joy.
  A Fruitless Search for a Lost Bride.
  Mrs. Philbrick's Singular Experience.
 

 CHAPTER XI

 

            PATHETIC SCENES OF PIONEER LIFE,
  Grief in the Pioneer's Home.
  Graves in the Wilderness.
  The Returned Captive and the Nursery Song.
  The Lost Child of Wyoming
  Little Frances and her Indian Captors.
  Parted For Ever.
  Discovery of the Lost One.
  An Affecting Interview.
  Striking Story of the Kansas War.
  The Prairie on Fire.
  Mother and Children Alone.
  Homeless and Helpless.
  Solitude, Famine, and Cold.
  Three Fearful Days.
  The Burning Cabin.
  A Gathering Storm.
  A Dream of Home and Happiness.
  Return of Father and Son.
  A Love Stronger than Death.
  The Last Embrace.
  A Desolate Household.
 

 CHAPTER XII.

 

            THE HEROINES OF THE SOUTH WEST,
  Texas and the South West.
  Across the "Staked Plain."
  Mrs. Drayton and Mrs. Benham.
  A Perilous Journey.
  Sunstrokes and Reptiles.
  Death From Thirst
  Mexican Bandits.
  A Night Gallop to the Rendezvous.
  Escape of our Heroines.
  A Ride for Life.
  Saving Husband and Children.
  Surrounded by Brigands on the Pecos.
  Heroism of Mrs. Benham.
  The Treacherous Envoy.
  The Gold Hunters of Arizona.
  Mrs. D. and her Dearly Bought Treasure.
  Battling for Life in the California Desert.
  The Last Survivor of a Perilous Journey.
  Mrs. L., the Widow of the Colorado.
  Among the Camanches.
  A Prodigious Equestrian Feat.
 

 CHAPTER XIII.

 

            WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE ON THE NORTHERN BORDER,
  March of the "Grand Army"
  Peculiar Perils of the Northern Border.
  Mrs. Dalton's Record.
  A Dangerous Expedition.
  Her Husband's Fate.
  A Trance of Grief.
  Between Frost and Fire.
  A Choice of Deaths.
  Rescued from the Flames.
  One Sunny Hour.
  The Storm-Fiend.
  Terrific Spectacle.
  In the Whirlwind's Track.
  The Only Refuge.
  Locked in a Dungeon.
  A Fight for Deliverance.
  Arrival of Friends.
  Another Peril.
  Walled in by Flames.
  Passing Through a Fiery Lane.
  Closing Days of Mrs. Dalton.
  A Story of Minnesota.
  What the Hunters Saw.
  A Mother's Deathless Love.
 

 CHAPTER XIV.

 

            ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD BEASTS—COURAGE AND DARING,
  Personal Combat with a Bear.
  The Huntress of the Northwest.
  An Intrepid Wife and her Assailant.
  Combat with an Enraged Moose.
  A Bloody Circus in the Snow.
  Trapping Wolves—a Georgia Girl's Pluck.
  A Kentucky Girl's Adventure.
  A Wild Pack in Pursuit.
  The Snapping of a Black Wolf's Jaws.
  Female Strategy and its Success.
  A Cabin Full of Wolves.
  Comical Denouement.
  A Young Lady Treed by a Bear.
  Some of Mrs. Dagget's Exploits.
  Up the Platte, and After the Grizzlies.
  Catching a Bear with a Lasso.
  What a Brave Woman Can Do.
  Facing Death in the Desert.
  A Woman's Home in Wyoming.
  A Night with a Mountain Lion.
 

 CHAPTER XV.

 

            ACROSS THE CONTINENT.—ON THE PLAINS,
  Voyaging in a Prairie Schooner.
  A Cavalry Officer's Story.
  The Homeless Wanderer of the Plains.
  Mrs. N. Battling alone with Death.
  A Fatherless and Childless Home.
  The Plagues of Egypt.
  Murrain, Grasshoppers, and Famine.
  Following a Forlorn Hope.
  A Bridal Tour and its Ending.
  On the Borders of the Great Desert.
  An Extraordinary Experience.
  Women Living in Caves.
  A Waterspout and its Consequences.
  Drowning in a Drought.
  Fleeing from Death.
  A Woman's Partnership in a Herd of Buffaloes.
  The Huntress of the Foot-hills.
  A Charge by Ten Thousand Bison.
  Hiding in a Sink-hole.
  A Terrible Danger and a Miraculous Escape.
  A Prairie Home and its Mistress.
 

 CHAPTER XVI.

 

            WOMAN AS A MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS,
  The Heroine and Martyr among the Heathen.
  Mrs. Eliot and her Tawny Protegés.
  Five Thousand Praying Indians.
  Mrs. Kirkland among the Oneidas.
  Prayer-meetings in Wigwams.
  The Psalm-singing Squaws.
  A Revolutionary Matron and her Story.
  A Pioneer Sunday-school and its Teacher.
  The Last of the Mohegans and their Benefactors.
  Heroism of the Moravian Sisters.
  The Guardians of the Pennsylvania Frontier.
  A Gathering Storm.
  Prayer-meetings and Massacres.
  Surrounded by Flame and Carnage.
  An Unexpected Assault.
  The Fate of the Defenders.
  A Fiery Martyrdom.
  Last Scene in a Noble Life.
  Closing Days of Gnadenhutten.
  Massacre of Indian Converts.
  The Death Hymn and Parting Prayer.
 

 CHAPTER XVII.

 

            WOMAN AS A MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS, (CONTINUED),
  Missionary Wives Crossing the Rocky Mountains.
  Buried Alive in the Snow.
  Shooting the Rapids in a Birch Canoe.
  Sucked Down by a Whirlpool.
  A Fearful Situation and its Issue.
  A Brace of Heroines and their Expedition.
  Women Doubling Cape Horn.
  A Parting Hymn and Long Farewell.
  A Missionary Wife's Experience in Oregon.
  All Alone with the Wolves.
  A Woman's Instinct in the Hour of Danger.
  Dr. White's Dilemma and its Solution.
  A Clean Pair of Heels and a Convenient Tree.
  A Perilous Voyage and its Consequences.
  A Heartrending Catastrophe.
  A Mother's Lost Treasure.
  A Savage Coterie and the White Stranger.
  Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spalding.
  A Murderous Suspicion.
  The Benefactress and the Martyr.
 

 CHAPTER XVIII.

 

            WOMAN IN THE ARMY,
  The Daughter of the Regiment.
  A Loving Wife and a True Patriot.
  Mrs. Warner in the Canadian Campaign.
  The Disguised Couriers.
  Deborah Samson in Buff and Blue.
  A Woman in Love with a Woman.
  A Wound in Front and what it Led to.
  Mrs. Coolidge's Campaign in New Mexico.
  Bearing Dispatches Across the Plains.
  A Fight with Guerillas.
  A Race for Life.
  Two against Five.
  Frontier Women in our Last Great War.
  Their Exploits and Devotion.
  Miss Wellman as Soldier and Nurse.
  The Secret Revealed.
  A Noble Life.
  A Devoted Wife.
  Life in a Confederate Fort.
  The Little Soldier and her Story.
  A Sister's Love.
  The Last Sacrifice.
 

 CHAPTER XIX.

 

            ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS,
  A Woman's Adventures on the Platte River.
  On a False Trail, and What it Led To.
  Over a Precipice, and Down a Thousand Feet.
  All Alone on the Face of the Mountain.
  Mrs. Hinman's Extraordinary Situation.
  Swinging Between Heaven and Earth.
  What a Loving Wife Will Do.
  Living or Dying Beside her Husband.
  A Night on the Edge of a Precipice.
  Out of the Jaws of Death.
  The Two Fugitive Women of the Chapparel.
  A Secret Too Dreadful to be Told.
  The Specters of the Mountain Camp.
  Maternal Sacrifice and Filial Love.
  The Cannibals of the Canon.
  The Insane Hunter and his Victims.
  A Woman's Only Alternative.
  Female Endurance vs. Male Courage.
  Mrs. Donner's Sublime Devotion.
  Dying at her Post of Duty.
 

 CHAPTER XX.

 

            THE COMFORTER AND THE GUARDIAN,
  The Ruined Home and its Heroine.
  The Angel of the Sierra Nevada.
  Mrs. Maurice and the Dying Miners.
  The Music of a Woman's Word.
  The Young Gold Hunter and his Nurse.
  Starving Camp in Idaho.
  The Song in the Ears of the Dying.
  The Seven Miners and their Golden Gift.
  A Graveyard of Pioneer Women.
  Mrs. R. and her Wounded Husband.
  The Guardian Mother of the Island.
  The Female Navigator and the Pirate.
  A Life-boat Manned by a Girl.
  A Night of Peril.
  A Den of Murderers and an Unsullied Maiden.
  The Freezing Soldiers of Montana.
  A Despairing Cry and its Echo.
  The Storm-Angel's Visit.
 

 CHAPTER XXI.

 

            WOMAN AS AN EDUCATOR ON THE FRONTIER,
  A Mother of Soldiers and Statesmen.
  A Home-school on the Border.
  The Prairie Mother and her Four Children.
  A Garden for Human Plants and Flowers.
  The First Lesson of the Boy and Girl on the Frontier.
  The Wife's School in the Heart of the Rocky Mountains.
  A Leaf from the Life of Washington.
  The Hero-Mothers of the Republic.
  A Patriot Woman and a Martyr.
  A Mother's Influence on the Life of Andrew Jackson.
  Woman's Discernment of a Boy's Genius.
  West, the Painter, and Webster, the Statesman.
  The Place where our Great Men Learned A. B. C.
  Miss M. and her Labors in Illinois.
  A Martyrdom in the Cause of Education.
  Woman as an Educator of Human Society.
  Incident in the Life of a Millionaire.
  What a Mother's Portrait Did.
  A Woman's Visit to "Pandemonium Camp."
  An Angel of Civilization.

 

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