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humbler people of the border seem churlish to travelers. When Federal garrisons were established along the Ohio the officers were largely dependent for their social pleasures on the gentle-folk of the neighborhood. One of them in his journal gives several rather curious glimpses of the life of the time.26 He mentions being entertained by Clark at "a very elegant dinner," 27 a number of gentlemen being present. After dinner the guests adjourned to the dancing school, “where there were twelve or fifteen young misses, some of whom had made considerable improvement in that polite accomplishment, and indeed were middling neatly dressed considering the distance from where luxuries are to be bought and the expense attending the purchase of them here"-for though beef and flour were cheap, all imported goods sold for at least five times as much as they cost in Philadelphia or New York. The officers sometimes gave dances in the forts, the ladies and their escorts coming in to spend the night; and they attended the great barbecues to which the people rode from far and near, many of the men carrying their wives or sweethearts behind them on the saddle. At such a barbecue an ox or a sheep, a bear, an elk, or a deer, was split in two and roasted over the coals; dinner was eaten under the trees; and there was every kind of amusement from horseracing to dancing
In the “Magazine of Am.
26 Major Erkuries Beattie. Hist.,” I, p. 175.
27 Aug. 25, 1786.
Though the relations of the officers of the regular troops with the gentry were so pleasant there was always much friction between them and the ordinary frontiersmen; a friction which continued to exist as long as the frontier itself, and which survives to this day in the wilder parts of the country. The regular army officer and the frontiersman are trained in fashions so diametrically opposite that, though the two men be brothers, they must yet necessarily, in all their thoughts and instincts and ways of looking at life, be as alien as if they belonged to two different races of mankind. The borderer, rude, suspicious, and impatient of discipline, looks with distrust and with a mixture of sneering envy and of hostility upon the officer; while the latter, with his rigid training and his fixed ideals, feels little sympathy for the other's good points, and is contemptuously aware of his numerous failings. The only link between the two is the scout, the man who, though one of the frontiersmen, is accustomed to act and fight in company with the soldiers. In Kentucky, at the close of the Revolution, this link was generally lacking; and there was no tie of habitual, even though half-hostile, intercourse to unite the two parties. In consequence the ill-will often showed itself by acts of violence. The backwoods bullies were prone to browbeat and insult the officers if they found them alone, trying to provoke them to rough-and-tumble fighting; and in such a combat, carried on with the revolting brutality necessarily attendant upon a contest where gouging and biting
were considered legitimate, the officers, who were accustomed only to use their fists, generally had the worst of it; so that at l'ast they made a practice of carrying their side-arms—which secured them from molestation.
Besides raising more than enough flour and beef to keep themselves in plenty, the settlers turned their attention to many other forms of produce. Indian corn was still the leading crop; but melons, pumpkins, and the like were grown, and there were many thriving orchards; while tobacco cultivation was becoming of much importance. Great droves of hogs and flocks of sheep flourished in every locality whence the bears and wolves had been driven; the hogs running free in the woods with the branded cattle and horses. Except in the most densely settled parts much of the beef was still obtained from buffaloes, and much of the bacon from bears. Venison was a staple commodity. The fur trade, largely carried on by French trappers, was still of great importance in Kentucky and Tennessee. North of the Ohio it was the attraction which tempted white men into the wilderness. Its profitable nature was the chief reason why the British persistently clung to the posts on the Lakes, and stirred up the Indians to keep the American settlers out of all lands that were tributary to the British fur merchants. From Kentucky and the Cumberland country the peltries were sometimes sent east by pack-train, and sometimes
the Ohio in bateaus or canoes. In addition to furs, quantities of ginseng were
often carried to the Eastern settlements at this period when the commerce of the West was in its first infancy, and was as yet only struggling for an outlet down the Mississippi. One of those who went into this trade was Boone. Although no longer a real leader in Kentucky life he still occupied quite a prominent position, and served as a Representative in the Virginia Legislature,28 while his fame as a hunter and explorer was now spread abroad in the United States, and even in Europe. To travelers and new-comers generally, he was always pointed out as the first discoverer of Kentucky; and being modest, self-contained, and self-reliant, he always impressed them favorably. He spent most of his time in hunting, trapping, and surveying land warrants for men of means, being paid, for instance, two shillings current money per acre for all the good land he could enter on a ten-thousand acre Treasury warrant.29 He also traded up and down the Ohio River at various places, such as Point Pleasant and Limestone; and at times combined keeping a tavern with keeping a store. His accounts contain much quaint information. Evidently his guests drank as generously as they ate; he charges one four pounds sixteen shillings for two months' board and two pounds four shillings for liquor. He takes the note of another for ninety-three gallons of cheap corn whiskey. Whiskey cost sixpence a pint, and rum
28 Draper's MSS., Boone MSS., from Bourbon Co. The papers cover the years from 1784 on to '95.
29 Do., certificate of G. Imlay, 1784.
one shilling; while corn was three shillings a bushel, and salt twenty-four shillings, flour, thirty-six shillings a barrel, bacon sixpence and fresh pork and buffalo beef threepence a pound. Boone procured for his customers or for himself such articles as linen, cloth, flannel, corduroy, chintz, calico, broadcloth, and velvet at prices varying according to the quality, from three to thirty shillings a yard; and there was also evidently a ready market for “tea ware," knives and forks, scissors, buttons, nails, and all kinds of hardware. Furs and skins usually appear on the debit sides of the various accounts, ranging in value from the skin of a beaver, worth eighteen shillings, or that of a bear worth ten, to those of deer, wolves, coons, wildcats, and foxes, costing two to four shillings apiece. Boone procured his goods from merchants in Hagerstown and Williamsport, in Maryland, whither he and his sons guided their own pack-trains, laden with peltries and with kegs of ginseng, and accompanied by droves of loose horses. He either followed some wellbeaten mountain trail or opened a new road through the wilderness as seemed to him best at the mo
Boone's creed in matters of morality and religion was as simple and straightforward as his own character. Late in life he wrote to one of his kinsfolk: “All the religion I have is to love and fear God, believe in Jesus Christ, do all the good to my neigh
80 Do., passim.