[To “Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read”]

The Juvenile Polyanthos
by Henry Wightman (1835)

The Juvenile Polyanthos is a collection of stories, nonfiction, and poetry apparently aimed at a young audience and probably appealing more to teenagers than to younger readers. The word likely comes from “polyanthea,” an early word for an anthology, a collection of the “flowers” of literature; a monthly magazine titled The Polyanthos was published in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1805 to 1814. Very much a product of its time, the Juvenile Polyanthos is a collection mostly written by Henry Wightman, known by only three works.

All of Wightman’s works appear to have been published in 1833, including what seems to be the first edition of The Juvenile Polyanthos, published by Wightman & Wood in New York, 1833. This edition is 105 pages, and the subtitle states that it is “embellished with prints”; the Olds edition probably comes from this one. (Pages 106 and 107 are not numbered.) The 1833 edition was microfilmed as part of American fiction, 1774-1910: vol 1 (1774-1850) Supplement 1; reel 10, no. 2710A. In 1833, Wightman also published at least two works of a religious nature, with John H. Turney: The Honeysuckle, or Sabbath School Premium; being a collection of short prayers, hymns, and other religious exercises, systematically arranged for the use of young persons (New York: J. H. Turney, 1833; reprinted in 1841 as The Every Day Gift. New York: W. Mather) and History of Palestine; including a historical sketch of the Jewish Nation, from its beginning to its final dispersion; with a geographical view of the country at the present time (New York: John H. Turney, 1833). Wightman is otherwise unknown.

The Juvenile Polyanthos has as its subtitle “A Selection of Amusing Stories,” but modern readers probably will find little amusement; entertainment appears to be what the titler was going for. Entertainmentwise, however, the stories are an odd combination: a vicious story of the destruction of a Native American village and the deaths of its inhabitants; a tale about a dog rescuing its owner; an incident during the American Revolution; a description of elephant hunting; a comedy about a prank played by two boys on a gullible family; two stories of rescues of whites by Native Americans; and a melodrama involving a Spanish widow saving the life of an enemy soldier. At the end, a poem by British poet Thomas Kibble Hervey (1799-1859) describes the generic joys of simple living.

Why was Hervey’s poem included? To use up the blank pages at the end of the book. Printed and folded sheets would lead to a book having a number of pages divisible by four (chapbooks tended to be 16 pages; children’s periodicals at the time were usually 4, 16, or 32 pages). With Wightman’s text ending on page 105, the book would need 108 pages, three of them blank. So, a two-page poem and a table of contents placed at the end use up the paper.

Benjamin Olds printed and reprinted a number of works between 1818 and 1857 (see Frank Pierce Hill and Varnum Lansing Collins, comp. Books, Pamphlets, and Newspapers Printed at Newark, New Jersey, 1776-1900; 1902. available at archive.org). The Juvenile Polyanthos is a serviceable product with two small illustrations at the end of short pages of text. Punctuation comes and goes, with dialog sometimes set off by double quotation marks and sometimes not. Spelling occasionally shifts: a character in “The Lost Boy” is named Stanape and Sanape; the Native Americans in “Legend of the West” are the “Chipaway” and “Chippaway.”

Was The Juvenile Polyanthos the amusing book promised by the title? Apparently not, given the lack of later reprints. Nineteenth-century readers may have found the book as generic as it appears to modern readers. The stories are rife with stereotypes: the noble Native American who seems to exist only to rescue a helpless white character, the woman who is either hapless maiden or pious mother. The horror of an entire village of Native American men and women and children dying by gunshot or fire leaves the attackers reflecting that “our enemies deserved the punishment they had received,” though “we could not but regret, as we surveyed the bloody scene before us, that painful necessity that required the effusion of so much blood, and the sacrifice of so many human victims.” Hervey’s poem extolling the contentment of “the humble and the poor” explores characters as stereotypical as those in the stories.

The Olds edition is presented here, with scans of its title page and its illustrations.

The Juvenile Polyanthos, by Henry Wightman. (Newark, New Jersey: Benjamin Olds, 1835)

[title page]

A Selection of Amusing Stories.




[p. 2 blank]

[p. 3]




Being on an exploring expedition to the westward, during the summer of 1829, I had occasion to pass from the infant capital of Illinois to the Wabash river, and, as the most expeditious mode of travelling, was mounted upon an Indian pony. Having engaged a young Winnebago for a guide, I commenced my journey through the trackless forest. My Indian guide having been much among the whites, spoke our language with tolerable ease, and being of a lively disposition, with a natural propensity for humorous mischief, I found him not an unpleasant companion, though I was not a little provoked at times with his

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tricks of native waggery. As we were both armed with rifles, and game of every description abundant, we spared no little portion of our time during the first day, in trying our respective skill in gunning, which generally resulted in triumph on my own part, and a corresponding mortification on the part of my guide. Being ignorant of the peculiar sensibility of an Indian to raillery, I joked him not a little on his want of success, which he received with his native good humor, but shaking his head with a significant air said, “Indian no fool.” Without stopping to reflect upon how much might be implied in this laconic answer, we continued our journey and our sport until darkness began to admonish us of seeking out a resting place for the night.

Near a spring of cool water we kindled a fire, and cooking some of the game that we had taken, with the aid of such refreshments as we had brought with us, made a comfortable repast; and, having turned my

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pony loose to shift for himself through the night, laid ourselves down to rest. On the following morning, we arose before the sun to prepare for our journey, and while I was engaged in cooking our breakfast, my guide went in search of the pony. In a short time I saw him returning, and when within about fifty yards distance, halted suddenly, and with a grin of exultation pointed to his forehead, and again exclaimed, “Indian no fool yet,” and suddenly wheeling with the little animal, which seemed no less disposed to mischief than himself, darted away through the forest in an instant. Without reflecting, I snatched my rifle, and was about to fire at him when I saw the flint had been removed; and to increase my mortification, he turned toward me and uttered a yell of triumph, and away he went, leaving me almost paralyzed with vexation at the awkwardness of my condition.

As there, however, appeared no remedy, and my journey was about half completed,

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I took my baggage upon my shoulder, and resumed my journey. By the help of a compass, I directed my course to the eastward, and just before sunset found myself emerging from the forest into an opening, where I was in hopes of meeting with a settlement, and resting for the night. On entering it, I found that it contained some two or three hundred acres, and bore the marks of having been cultivated at no very remote period. But in wandering about for some time in search of a human habitation, I could discover nothing that induced me to believe that it was inhabited or occupied at the present time. As I was hesitating whither I should next direct my course, I saw near one corner of the opening, a heap of rubish, [sic] which appeared like the ruin of a habitation, and on reaching it, found it to be the remains of two or three log cottages, which had at some former period been consumed with fire. From the whole scene of desolation, I at once concluded that the deserted opening had once

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been the settlement of some enterprising band of adventures, who had probably fallen victims to Indian barbarity; and as I was looking for some farther proof of my conjecture, I discovered a footpath which led into the forest. Thinking that it might bring me to some human habitation, I followed it for some two or three miles, when it brought to another small opening, where I discovered a pleasant little cottage, and on rap[p]ing at the door, I was met by a gentleman whose appearance and manner was altogether different from what I should have expected in a place so remote from civilized society. He was apparently about thirty-five years of age, of an intelligent and manly countenance, was dressed in a style that showed that he was not entirely excluded from an intercourse with fashionable society, and on bidding me enter displayed an air of politeness that tended still further to confirm my opinion. As I entered his humble, yet comfortable dwelling, I was introduced to

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his family, which consisted of his wife and three children, whose language and manners, like those of the father, were strikingly different from that of the back settlers in general.

Each seemed anxious to testify their joy at the visit of a traveller, and every thing was done on their part to make me comfortable. The supper table was soon spread with a hearty meal, of which we all partook with cheerfulness, and feeling a desire to know something more of my host and his interesting family, I made some inquiries, which he answered by relating the following interesting narrative of


Several years said he, preceding the last war with Great Britain, my father, with several enterprising families of his acquaintance, removed from the state of P—, and formed a settlement on the western bank of the Wabash. I need not tell you of the hardships that they suffered, nor the many labors that it cost them to

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convert the forest into a fruitful field; suffice it to say, that in the course of six or seven years they had cleared a sufficient quantity of their land of its native forest to begin to indulge in something like a respite from their toils, and enjoy the fruit of their labours in peace. The greater part of the emigrants settled a few miles further down the river, but my father and an intimate friend, who had been companions in their childhood and youth, chose their situation near to each other, and effected the settlement through which you passed on your way hither; and during the whole time we continued to reside in our new settlement, the most friendly feelings continued to exist between every branch of the two families. I was the eldest of my father’s family, and the eldest of our friend’s being a son, and of about the same age as myself, it was very natural that an intimacy and attachment but little short of fraternal, should exist between us. From our childhood we had

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become familiar with every rural sport. We had learned to attack the wolf and the panther in their own dominions, and to pursue the elk and the buffalo over the boundless prairie. Our respective dwellings were richly stored with the trophies of the chase, and in this manner our early youth passed away, and we had attained our twentieth years, when the late war between our country and Great Britain was declared. Our respective parents having each a daughter next younger than ourselves as it might be expected in our isolated condition, an attachment was formed by each of us for the sister of the other, and we began to look forward to a more intimate connexion between us, when our settlement became exposed to all the horrors of a frontier warfare.

Such was the state of things when the news of war reached us, and we began to awaken to a sense of the threatening danger. Knowing that we were surrounded by several tribes of hostile savages, who

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were only waiting the signal of their British masters, to fall upon our defenceless settlement, a plan was immediately suggested, of collecting the emigrants into some place suitable for the purpose, of erecting a block house and other means of defence, and of thus being prepared to stand upon our guard till the approaching danger had passed over. As it was necessary to confer with the other settlers on the subject, my companion and myself were deputed to visited our friends farther down the river, for the purpose of apprising them of our intention. As we did not anticipate any immediate danger, we took leave of our friends on a pleasant summer’s morning, and with cheerful hearts directed our steps to the southern settlements, from which we expected to return in peace on the following day. We found our friends, as we had expected, ready to adopt the proposed measure, and commenced our return with the pleasing prospect of seeing those whom we prized more dear, soon

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placed in a state of security, when it was our intention to volunteer our services for a while in the cause of our country. With these pleasing visions of youthful ambition, as the day was drawing to a close, we came in sight of the friendly opening, and were already beginning to anticipate the welcome greeting of our friends, on the success of our mission, when coming suddenly in sight of our beloved cottage, where the day preceding we had left our friends in peace and cheerfulness, our eyes were saluted with a blackened heap of ruins, enveloped in a cloud of smoke and flame. Paralyzed with the shock at the first moment, we stood like statues gazing upon the spot. At length, however, we moved forward without speaking a word, and soon arrived at the place, when judge ye what were our feeling in surveying the scene of devastation and horror before us.

Our beloved home was reduced to a smoaking [sic] heap of ruin, and amid the embers, lay the headless body of my father;

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by his side lay that of my mother, mangled in the most shocking manner, and consuming amid the smoke and flame. Still nearer to us, lay the interesting little sister of my companion, with her brains dashed out, and her scalp taken off, while at the threshold lay my younger sister, with her head partly severed with the tomahawk of a savage, but of our remaining friends nothing could be discovered. When the first emotion of surprise and horror was so far abated as to allow us the power of utterance, we, as if with one consent raised our hands to heaven, and vowed to avenge their deaths with an awful retribution, or perish in the attempt. As a deathlike silence seemed to prevail throughout the neighbourhood, we readily concluded that those of our friends who had not been slain were carried away captive, and having gathered the mangled bodies, and consigned them to the grave, we held a consultation as to what was next to be done.

After searching for some time by the aid

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of our faithful dog, we fell upon the trail of our enemies, and found that they could not consist of less than fifty in number, and as their course lay to the northwest, we judged that they were a department of the Chipaways, whose nearest town was about three days’ journey in that direction. Having made these discoveries, we sat out immediately for the settlement from whence we had just returned, and though it was not less than twenty miles distant, we reached it about four o’clock the next morning.

Great indeed was the excitement which our tidings produced upon the defenceless settlers; and waving all inferior considerations, the elder part of the men, together with the women and children, commenced an immediate retreat to the fort, which was only five miles distant, while the young men, consisting of between thirty and forty in number, immediately volunteered their services to go with us in attempting to rescue our friends. Never have I

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witnessed more striking instances of patriotism; for while the young men were burning with indignation, and impatient to commence the pursuit, even their mothers encouraged their laudable zeal, and the elder men not only aided us with their advice, but, implored the blessing of heaven to attend us in so just and laudable a cause. By eight o’clock in the morning, we were all completely armed and organized, and ready immediately to commence our march.

Toward evening, we fell upon their trail, and continued our march through the greater part of the night. On the following morning, our detachment was divided into two divisions, the command of one was given to myself, the other to my companion, and to prevent falling into an ambush, we advanced in two extended lines, which gave us an opportunity of seeing our way before us. The whole day was spent without any farther discovery, than that we were gaining upon our ene-

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mies, who were still a considerable distance in advance. As it was an object with us to overtake them before they should arrive at their town, where our small detachment might be overpowered by numbers, we commenced our march at an early hour the following morning, and about three o’clock in the afternoon came to a place where it appeared that they had halted but a short time previous, which encouraged us to hope that we should overtake them before nightfall.

Every heart appeared to be elated with this discovery, and after snatching a hasty meal, we resumed our march with vigour, and had not advanced far, before we found that the party had separated, and taken two different routes. This circumstance threw us into a perplexity, and for a while we were in doubt which of the two trails we should follow, when a young Winnebago, who was with us, and who was acquainted with the country, gave it as his opinion that the party was composed of

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warriors from two of the Chippaway villages, the farthest of which lay toward the north, and was still two day’s journey distant, and that we could probably overtake the party that was bound thither in a few hours, and that the other village, consisting only of about thirty families might be attacked with perfect safety on our return. With this advice we immediately complied, and following the northern trail, just before sunset we came in sight of the party, where they had halted for the night. The place where they had stopped was by the side of a deep stream of water, with a sudden rise of ground directly in their rear, and as it was impossible to approach near enough to attack them on the side where we then were, we immediately drew back, and after concluding upon the plan of attack, our two divisions by different routes sought to gain their rear, and were so far successful as to gain the desired post without being discovered; we now found ourselves not more than twelve rods

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distant from the whole party, consisting of about thirty Indians, and four prisoners, one of which was my elder sister, who was engaged in marriage to my companion. The other three were a younger brother of mine, about fifteen years of age, and two younger brothers of my companion, the one about fourteen and the other about twelve years of age. They were all bound with thongs, and fastened to the bodies of small trees, except my sister, who was suffered to go at large. Having made these discoveries, we were preparing to select our objects, and fire simultaneously, when the chief of the party took his seat by the side of my sister, and as she shrunk from him with horror, he raised his tomahawk in a menacing manner. As my companion saw this, he was so much enraged, that, without waiting for the others to get in readiness, he discharged his rifle at the merciless savage, who immediately sprang forward to complete his bloody deed, but just as his tomahawk was raised, with

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a view of severing her skull, another ball passed through his heart, and he tumbled lifeless to the ground. While these things were passing, the Indians sprang immediately upon their feet, and prepared for their defence, but our whole party rushing immediately upon them, all excepting one were either instantly killed or wounded. With our bayonets we immediately completed the work of death, without sustaining the loss of a single man, though three were slightly wounded.

When it was discovered that one of their number had escaped, the young Winnebago, with the sagacity of his nature, perceiving him to direct his course toward the trail of the other party, and judging that it was his intention to apprise them of the pursuit, instantly seized a loaded rifle and set off with full speed in pursuit. Knowing how much depended on his success, we watched his retreating footsteps with the greatest anxiety, as we were sensible if the surviving party were apprised of

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their danger, they would immediately dispatch their prisoners, and make their escape. Both the pursuer and the pursued however vanished from our sight, and notwithstanding our fatigue, we loosed the prisoners, whose joyful surprise at being thus unexpectedly rescued we will not attempt to describe and commenced our pursuit with all possible haste.

We had not however advanced far, before we heard the exulting whoop of the young Winnebago, whom we saw approaching with the scalp of the other Indian, whom he had overtaken and dispatched, and brought with him the bloody trophy of his victory. As there was no longer any necessity of advancing with so much haste, we concluded to encamp for the night, and had leisure to listen to the melancholy relation that my sister gave us of the horrid massacre. She informed us, that while the family was at dinner, during the day that my companion and myself

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were returning from our mission to the neighbouring settlement, without the least intimation of the danger that awaited them, a large number of Indians rushed into the house of my father, and falling first upon my parents, dispatched them with their tomahawks, before they had time to discover the perpetrators of the deed. They next fel upon the two little girls, probably because they considered them unable to accompany them on their retreat. They then seized the remainder of both families, which consisted of the father, mother, and two sisters of my companion, together with the four prisoners already mentioned, hurried them away into the forest, after which a part of their number returned to the house, and having plundered it of whatever they considered valuable, set it on fire, and commenced their journey through the forest. She farther stated, that they informed her, that it was their intention to put all the prisoners to death, excepting herself and the other young lady,

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as soon as they should reach their villages; and that the chief of the party to which she was consigned, had several times told her that she must become his wife as soon as they should arrive at their town.

On the following morning we resumed our march, and at an early hour fell upon the track of our remaining enemies, and as our Indian guide informed us that it was not more than fifteen miles to their town, and we were probably not far behind them, we advanced with less haste than we had before done, as we thought it most prudent to defer our attack until the darkness of night would enable us to do it to the best advantage.

In this manner we continued our pursuit till near dusk in the evening, when our guide again informed us that we were within a short distance of the village, and that it was most advisable for us to remain where we were until it was dark, as it was situated in the middle of an open plain, through which it would be impossible for

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us to advance without discovery, unless it was under the cover of night. He farther informed us, that the village was situated in the bend of the river, which inclosed it on three sides; and by forming a line across the narrow neck of land, we should be enabled to hem them in, as it was impossible for them to pass it unless it was in their canoes. After gaining this information, we concluded to defer the attack, till about ten in the evening, and as it had now become dark, I determined to improve the intermediate time in gaining a better knowledge of their situation. I took my Indian guide with me, and after advancing a short distance over an intervening eminence, came in full view of the village. I now saw that several fires were kindled, with other demonstrations of joy that usually attend the return of Indian warriors from a successful expedition. I also discovered that the statement of the guide was correct, as to the situation of the village, and the best method of making the

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attack; but fearing that they might escape with the prisoners in their canoes, when it should be commenced, I made known my fears to him, who immediately volunteered his service to go with me and loose them from the shore.

We immediately went to the river a short distance above the village, and descending under the cover of its bank where their canoes lay, we succeeded in setting them afloat, and in effecting our retreat without discovery. We then returned to our party, and after informing them of what we had done, and giving the necessary instruction, we commenced our advance, and succeeded in approaching within musket shot, without being discovered. Having agreed upon a silent signal for commencing our attack, we remained for sometime [sic] in our present condition, for the purpose of watching their motions. They had probably returned but a short time before us, as we discovered them sitting in council so deliberate upon the fate of the prisoners,

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which is usually the first thing when a party of warriors return to their village. Just as we had taken our last station, the council broke up, and it was not a difficult matter to determine what was the result, as we saw three large fires kindled, and three of the prisoners, namely, the father, mother, and younger sister of my companion, brought forward, strongly bound with thongs, while the elder of the young ladies was brought forward, supported by two young Indians, to witness this cruel instance of savage barbarity. The prisoners, it appeared, had fully made up their minds to meet their approaching fate with composure, as not a word was uttered by either of them, nor could we discover any other demonstration of fear; but being led a little aside from the main body of the Indians, they seemed to look upon these preparations with indifference. While these things were passing, I placed myself as near my companion as possible, to prevent his fiery temper from hurrying him again upon the

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attack, before it could be made to the best advantage, and it was with no small difficulty that I could prevent him from rushing headlong upon the contest. It was not long however, that we were kept in suspense, for having, as was before observed, committed the prisoners to the care of a small number of warriors, the remainder, consisting of not less than a hundred men, women, and children, joined in the war dance, which usually precedes the burning of captives. As they commenced the dance, the signal was given from one to another to be in readiness, and as soon as they became a little more concentrated, another signal was given, when with one consent, every gun was discharged at the same instant, and not less than thirty lusty savages were prostrated at the same moment. Alarmed at this sudden and unexpected attack, they gave a yell of horror, upon which we arose and formed an entire line across the narrow neck of land, which completely cut off their retreat in that

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direction. As we had expected, they fled to the river with a view of escaping in their canoes, but finding them gone, they gave another yell of fear and disappointment, and while some plunged into the rapid stream, and attempted to escape by swimming, the greater part, as their last resort, fled to their wigwams, barricaded their doors, and made a feeble attempt at defence. But as the time occupied in these movements gave us an opportunity of reloading our pieces, we immediately shot down all the stragglers that we saw, and to complete the work of death, fire was set to the thatched roof of one of the wigwams, which, communicating immediately with the rest, the whole village was soon reduced to a heap of ashes. Gladly would we have saved the women and children, and called out to them from time to time to come out to us, and we would spare their lives, but to no purpose, as they all without exception remained and perished together. We now released the prisoners from their

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bands, whose joy and gratitude can more easily be conceived than described at this timely and unlooked for deliverance. Here we remained until the following morning, when successful as had been our expedition, and justly as our enemies deserved the punishment they had received, we could not but regret, as we surveyed the bloody scene before us, that painful necessity that required the effusion of so much blood, and the sacrifice of so many human victims. We then commenced our return, and after a journey of three days through the forest, arrived at the place from whence we commenced our march, where our return was welcomed by our anxious friends, whose prayers had been unceasing for our success. Not long after this, when the grief for our murdered friends was somewhat assuaged, my companion and myself were united in marriage to the young ladies before mentioned. Having placed them with the rest of our friends, beyond the reach of a ruthless savage foe, we were

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about to resume our customary avocations, when we each received a commission under the general government, and calling upon our old companions in arms once more to accompany us on an expedition against the enemies of our country, they volunteered for a year’s service on the northern frontier, and joining the army of our brave General H. were soon enabled to acquire a name among the heroes of our country; and as to myself, my little services had been so highly rated as to procure me a seat in our national legislature.

Being so much interested in the above narrative, I took the liberty of inquiring the name of my host, and was agreeably surprised in recognizing in him the brave Colonel M., whose heroic virtues had long been the subject of my highest regard and admiration.

[p. 30]


On the coast of the Atlantic, not far from the city of Bostom, lived a poor fisherman and his family, whose cottage was only a few yards from the beach, where they cultivated a little garden, and when the weather was fair the father spent his time in fishing.

Though they were very poor, and knew but little of what was passing in the wide world, they had been taught to love one another, and hence they enjoyed greater happiness than many of the most rich and opulent. Betsy, the eldest of the children, supplied the place of mother, to her brother and sister, because her mother had gone to heaven. John was three years younger than Betsy, a bold, fearless lad, was very

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kind to his two sisters, and had a great desire to be a sailor[.]

Little Maria was the youngest of the three, a sweet little girl, about six years old, very much beloved by the rest of the family, and a great romp.

They had also in the family a favourite dog, of the Newfoundland breed, who was very trusty and affectionate. They called him Neptune, because he was very fond of swimming in the water, and had once saved little Maria from ddrowning, when she fell into the surf.

One hot day in summer, their father having gone a fishing with his small sail boat, Betsy was attending to her household duties, John was sailing his small boat in a tub of water, and Maria as usual was romping about the house and garden, when suddenly a heavy clap of thunder seemed to break almost over their heads, and the sun which had before shone so brightly, was suddenly overspread with a thick cloud.

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“There is a storm coming on,” said Betsy; “I thought it grew dark very fast. Neptune never makes that noise unless a storm is brewing.”

“Yes, Neptune can read the clouds as well as a sailor,” exclaimed John, throwing on his hat; “let’s go down to the beach, and look out for father’s boat.”

John and Neptune set out instantly; and Betsy charged her brother to run back and bring her word if the Triton was to be seen.

The storm came on very fast; at first it muttered and shrieked in the distance; as it came nearer, the skies grew blacker and blacker, the large heavy drops came pelting down, and the thunder broke over the roof of their humble dwelling with a loud and startling crash.

Little Maria clung close to her sister’s gown, and spoke not a word.

“My poor father!” exclaimed Betsy; “If he is out in his boat during this terrible tempest, what will become of him? It seems as if John would never come back.

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I cannot stay here. I must go down to the beach, to see if the Triton is coming in.”

Maria begged not to be left alone; and though the lightnings glared, and the rain fell in torrents, her anxious sister took her in her arms, and trudged toward the beach. They soon discovered John leaning against a rock, holding his hand before his face, and straining his eyes to the utmost, to catch a glimpse of his father’s boat.

“Do you see any thing, John?” asked Betsy, as soon as she came within speaking distance.

“No; but Neptune does,” he replied; “I am sure he sees the boat, by his actions.”

“There is a little speck on the waters, a great ways off,” said Betsy.

“I have seen it for some minutes,” said John; “but I cannot make out whether it is a boat.”

It was many minutes more, before the terrified children could determine whether

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it was a boat they saw in the distance; but at last, they knew it was a boat, and no other than the Triton. They were alone on that wide and solitary beach. The winds howled, the thunders roared, the lightnings flashed, the sea birds screamed, and the great green waves tumbled and foamed about their father’s boat, as if they were hungry monsters striving to devour it. The Triton now reeled on one side; now was seen careering on a mountain of waters; and now plunged beneath the billows as if swallowed by the sea. Still it kept its course onward, until the face of the old fisherman, their father, might be distinctly seen. So great was the anxiety of the two elder children, that their hearts seemed to cease beating, and they did not know they breathed. Neptune crouched beside them, watching the tumult of the waters with as much intense eagerness as if he had been a human being. He never moved his eyes from the boat, and every muscle in his body seemed ready for a spring.

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As the Triton came nearer, hope triumphed over fear; and Betsy involuntarily bent forward, as if to catch her dear father in her arms. But a great gust of wind rose, the boat upset, a mighty wave rolled over it, and the drowning father was struggling in the water, in the very sight of his helpless, shrieking children. John would have plunged into the sea at once; but Betsy held him back, saying, “You can do no good, dear John; and you will perish too.”

But Neptune, quicker than thought, has sprung into the sea; he is struggling against the waves; he has seized his sinking master by the coat; he is holding him above water, and tugging for the shore; he has brought him so near, that John and Betsy can reach him with their hands; the old man is on the beach—senseless, but not dead.

“God be praised!” exclaimed Betsy; and her aching heart was relieved by one long, hysterical sob of joy.

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“My brave dog! my beautiful dog1” exclaimed John, throwing his arms around Neptune’s neck. “Good Neptune!” said little Maria, patting the dog, and sobbing as if her heart would break.

When the first gush of feeling was over, John was despatched to call the assistance of the neighbours, in conveying the fisherman to his home.

Aid was soon brought. The old man was placed in a comfortable bed; a physician soon arrived; God blessed his efforts; and the father was restored to his affectionate children.

The first use he made of returning consciousness was to thank his Heavenly Father for his wonderful preservation; the next was to thank and bless his children; nor was Neptune forgotten. The fisherman actually wept, as he put out his hand to welcome the dog; and the faithful creature seemed to understand his emotions, and feel grateful for them; for he rubbed along close to his master, nestled his face

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against his knee, and looked up most affectionately. That was a happy night in the fisherman’s hut. When they all knelt in prayer, before retiring to rest, the tears flowed fast down Betsy’s cheek, and little Maria was heard sobbing aloud; but they wept in the fulness of joy.

woman and child near a grave

[p. 38]


It is a circumstance much to be regretted, that immediately after the revolutionary struggle, the attention of the histories of our country were so much engrossed with the more important man, by which the new order of things was established, that numberless instances of individual bravery, patriotism, and suffering, were neglected to be recorded till they have at length fallen into oblivion. When we take a view of our country as it was situated during that momentous period, exposed, on its eastern boundary, to an undefended sea coast of two thousand miles, where our common enemy could enter into its very heart, opposed by no other obstacle than that of physical strength; on its

p. 39

three remaining sides presenting a defenceless frontier from the Gulf of Mexico to the lakes of the north, and from thence to the Atlantic, lined by a powerful and relentless savage foe. Add to these the internal commotions by which people of the same neighbourhood, and children of the same family, were armed against each other; in such a state of things it cannot be expected but that many deeds of cruelty and outrage should have been perpetrated, with corresponding deeds of bravery, suggested by the laws of self-preservation, that might have vied with the feats of chivalry for which the ages of romance were celebrated.

Being engaged for several years as a teacher, in one of our western towns, which formed a frontier settlement during the period of the revolution, and following the social habit of boarding among my employers, it afforded me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with many surviving heroes of the revolution, with whom I usually spent

p. 40

the long winter evenings around the pleasant fire side of some prosperous Dutch yeoman, in listening to legends of former days, of which they had been the actors. Among many interesting narratives that I gleaned from these surviving fathers of our liberty, and of which I kept a faithful record, is the following adventure of


When the expedition against Quebec was undertaken by the brave, yet unfortunate General Montgomery, a regiment of infantry was raised along the valley of the Mohawk, and placed under the command of Col. Daton, whose intrepid bravery had been fully tested in the French war, and rendered him universally beloved and esteemed by the whole regiment that he commanded. He commenced his march from Albany, and joined the main army at Ticonderoga, where they had halted a few days for the purpose of collecting such

p. 41

military stores as were necessary for them during the remainder of their march.

They commenced their advance a few days after, and having arrived at the banks of the St. Lawrence, within a few miles of Quebec, and as the enemy were gathering to oppose them, and they were ignorant of the nature of the country over which they were yet to pass, they halted until the necessary information could be obtained. As it was necessary to send forward a detachment to make the necessary observation, Col. Daton readily volunteered his service, and taking with him a detachment of about thirty men, set out on the expedition, under the cover of night. They succeeded in gaining the desired post, and notwithstanding this could only be effected by passing the enemy’s line, they succeeded in effecting it without discovery. As it was now but a little past midnight, and knowing the danger to which a discovery would subject them, they immediately commenced their retreat, but had

p. 42

not advanced far before the sky was overspread with thick clouds, the rain began to fall in torrents, and they were left to grope their way in the midst of almost total darkness. Finding it impossible to advance with any degree of safety, it was thought most advisable to defer the retreat until the first dawn of morning, when they hoped to repass the enemy’s line without discovery.

“But what is to be done in the meantime,” said a fiery young subaltern, highly in the confidence of the Colonel; “are we to stand here till daylight, exposed to the pelting of the storm. I had rather go and rout yon slumbering red coats, though they were twenty times our number, and pass a few shots with them merely for the purpose of passing away the time.” “I like your courage,” said the Colonel., “better than your prudence. Remember that our present enterprise is one of much importance, and the success of it depends

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upon our being able to return without discovery.”

“True,” said the subaltern, “still it is vexatious to suffer so good an opportunity to pass without a little sport,” when they were startled at the sound of a musket only a few yards distant. The signal was soon repeated by the next sentinel, and in a moment after, the whole encampment of the enemy which was only about a half mile distant, was in motion. As the darkness prevented them from seeing their way before them, they retreated a few paces, when one of their number, who was acquainted with the country, proposed to guide them past the encampment by a circuitous rout[e], which they easily effected, and gained about a mile in the advance, and as the rain and darkness had in no wise abated, he advised them to remain where they were until morning.

They accordingly sought shelter in a neighboring [sic] barn, where they remained till the first dawn of morning, when they

p. 44

purposed to depart, but on seeking for their guide, he was no where to be found. Whatever might have been his object in deserting them, they felt but little alarm, as they now supposed themselves beyond the reach of their enemies, and as the storm had passed over, they were enlivened by the balmy air of the morning, and set forward with cheerful hearts, as the object of their enterprise was happily, so far, accomplished.

Having proceeded about three miles, they came to a place in the road where it was bounded by the river, on one side, and by an impassable swamp or morass on the other. Seeing nothing however to excite suspicion, they proceeded onward when, just as they were approaching the pass abovementioned, a large body of the enemy’s troops sallied out from the woods and formed a solid column directly across the road. As there was but little prospect of escape by retreating, and to be taken prisoners, at that stage of the contest, was a lot not

p. 45

much less to be dreaded than death itself, the determination of the Colonel was at once formed; and though the enemy consisted of more than twice his number, he ordered his men to fix their bayonets and rush forward. So sudden a charge on the part of the assailants, who were urged on by that courage that is inspired by desperation, paralyzed for a moment their opponents, the greater part of whom gave way, and at first there appeared a fair prospect of their gaining the pass without opposition. But the rear rank of the enemy stood unmoved, and those who gave way closing in the rear, the little band were completely surrounded. Notwithstanding they were taken at such disadvantage, and so far outmatched in numbers, their desperate condition supplied in courage what was wanting in other circumstances, and they succeeded in gaining the pass with a loss of only five of their number. Colonel Daton, was the last who passed the disputed point, and supposed that

p. 46

the whole of his surviving party was before him, but on looking back, he saw his young subaltern posted with his back against a tree, and bravely defending himself with his musket against two sturdy Britons.

His generous heart was moved at the spectacle, and regardless of the danger that he had just escaped, shouted to his companions and immediately returned to the charge, and being bravely seconded by them, they were in a moment again beyond the pass, driving their enemies before them. As more than twenty of the enemy had already fallen, and several others were desperately wounded, the contest was more equal than at first, and supported on both sides with increditable courage, Colonel Daton received a ball in his hip which immediately brought him to the ground. He beckoned his men to retreat, who did so in good order, while the enemy who had witnessed such a fine specimen of yankee courage,

p. 47

seemed willing to give up the contest by suffering them to retire without farther molestation. The young subaltern however, for whose sake the Colonel had incurred this last danger, refused to leave him, and defended him with his musket for several minutes, though he was wounded in several places. Being finally overpowered by numbers, he was compelled to surrender himself a prisoner.

There is nothing which serves so much to recommend us to a generous enemy as bravery—and so it proved on this occasion. No sooner had Colonel Daton and his young companion surrendered themselves as prisoners, than every possible attention was paid to their comfort. They were taken immediately to the encampment, where their wounds were dressed, and though they were kept in close confinement, every thing was done to make them as comfortable in other respects as they could reasonably desire.

It will be remembered that in the first

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breaking out of the revolution, the British policy forbade their entering into any negociation [sic] with the Continental army, that would seem to acknowledge them as an independent people, and in consequence of this, it was a long time before they so far conceded the point, as to admit of an exchange of prisoners, which was a cause of much suffering on both sides, especially on that of the Americans. Officers and privates without distinction, were cast into prison, and treated as rebels and traitors, instead of prisoners of war. So it proved with Colonel Daton and his companions, for, being sent to Quebec, as soon as they recovered from their wounds, they were cast into the city prison, where they remained until the following spring, without experiencing any thing in particular, unusual to men in their condition.

They were then informed, that it had been determined to send them to England for trial, with several other American officers. As this was no more than they had

p. 49

expected, they were but little moved at the unwelcome tidings, but determined to make at least one effort to escape a fate that they considered but little preferable to death itself. Their attention was at first directed to the means of escape, but after carefully examining their prison room, this was found impracticable, and they came to the determination of being governed by circumstances in future. A few days, however, elapsed without learning any thing further as to their destiny, when they were informed by their keeper that it was intended to remove them on board of a vessel, which was to sail for England on the following day, and if they wished to write to any of their friends they would have an opportunity during the day, as he had been directed to convey them on board in the evening. A gleam of hope now crossed their minds, that an opportunity would be afforded them of making a desperate attempt to regain their liberty. The colonel had a brace of small pocket pis-

p. 50

tols, which had fortunately escaped the observation of his captors, though neither of them were charged, and ammunition was an article, that they could not obtain. They determined, however, to make the best use of them as they were, and giving one of them to his companion, impatiently awaited the approach of evening.

At the time appointed, they were waited on by the keeper, who, with a small escort, conducted them to the wharf, where he, after taking leave, delivered them to the care of on [sic] officer of marines, who was waiting with a boat to convey them on board of the vessel.

The barge was manned by four sturdy seamen, besides the marine before mentioned, who took his seat at the helm, and ordered them to row to the ship, which lay about two miles distant, toward the mouth of the harbor. Colonel Daton took his station between the marine and the boatmen, while his young companion

p. 51

took a seat in the bow. As the moon shone with brightness, it gave them a full view of the harbour, and as the southern shore appeared to be uninhabited, our adventurers, saw nothing to prevent their escape, if they could succeed in gaining it. It is true, that five against two was a fearful odds, still, they did not despair of success, and when the distance was about half gained between the town and vessel, by a significant glance, each learned the other’s thoughts, upon which they instantly drew their pistols, and rising upon their feet, Colonel Daton, in a voice like thunder exclaimed, while he placed the muzzle of his pistol within a few inches of the head of the marine; tack about, and steer for the southern shore, or by the heavens above I’ll blow your brains out! while his companion, holding his in a menacing manner, threatened instant death to the first of the crew, who should dare to make the smallest resistance.

Taken so suddenly by surprise, neither

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of the crew made any resistance, but the boat was turned toward the shore, which was about two miles distant, and not a word more was uttered until it was gained. Colonel Daton observing that the marine was armed with a fusee, and a good stock of ammunition, (an article so necessary for them on their intended journey through the forest,) ordered him to cast them upon the beach, which he immediately obeyed. They then disembarked themselves, without molestation, when the whole crew, who had before not spoken, burst out in an unrestrained torrent of abuse, not sparingly seasoned with oaths and imprecations, to which Colonel Daton very calmly replied, if you are brought into a similar situation again, I hope you will not be frightened at an empty brace of pistols. He then bade them a good evening, and sought a shelter in the neighbouring forest.

Though this enterprise had thus far proved as successful as they could desire,

p. 53

and they were threatened by no immediate danger, their condition was by no means free from peril. The army of Montgomery and Arnold, had some weeks previously retreated from Canada, and most of the fortresses on the northern frontier had fallen into the hands of the enemy. They were now four hundred miles from home, and the greater part of their way, lay through an enemy’s country. As they possessed no means of disguising their uniform, without exposing themselves to discovery, they sought the deepest recesses of the forest, and by directing their course to the southward, after a tedious journey of twenty-four days, over mountains, glens, and desert forests, arrived at Albany, where they were received with great demonstrations of joy, by their old companions in arms.

[p. 54]


Among the brute creation there are none that exhibit a sagacity approaching nearer to reason than the Elephant. Nor is this, like many tricks that are taught to domestic animals, derived from instruction; as in a state of nature their sagacity appears fully equal to those in a domestic condition. On the south-eastern coast of Africa they are found in great abundance, and it has recently become a favourite pastime among the colonists, to hunt them in the forests. Their object in hunting them is principally for the sake of getting their tusks, though they often find it necessary to kill them to prevent their destroying fiends of grain; and as a mark of their sagacity, as well as to show the manner of hunting them, I will relate the following anecdote, copied from Branch’s travels in South Africa.

p. 55

“Stopping a few days at the house of a Dutch friend, with whom I had formed an acquaintance at the Cape, a Hottentot servant came running from the field one morning in great haste, stating that an elephant had just passed into a neighbouring forest, upon which preparations were immediately made by the servants and sons of my worthy host, to follow him. I was also invited to accompany them, with which I complied, and after following the track about two miles, we discovered him on the top of a high hill. We were then apprised that it was unsafe for us to approach any nearer, and only two of the servants went to make the attack. When they are found upon high ground, it is considered unsafe to make an attack until the hunters can get above them, so that in case of danger they can make their escape, as it is difficult for an elephant to run very fast up hill. One of the servants, however, on this occasion, neglected this precaution, and fired at him as soon as he

p. 56

came near enough. The wounded elephant immediately commenced the pursuit, upon which the servant rode directly toward us, and ere we were aware, both the pursuer and the pursued were just upon us; we now gave ourselves up for lost; but the elephant passed through our ranks without seeming to notice us, and continued his pursuit, until the horse of the servant unfortunately stumbled, when coming up in great rage, with his trunk he struck the young man dead in a moment. I expected nothing else than he would have next fallen upon us, but having punished the aggressor, he suffered us to pass without further molestation.”

[p. 57]


During the summer of 1816, the season in the interior of the state of New-York was very dry, and as most of the wells and springs of water failed in that part of the country, great inconvenience was felt for the want of pure water. Among others there was a deacon N., a respectable farmer in the town of W., who, like his neighbours, was blessed with that most useless of all articles, a dry well.

On a remote part of his farm, there were the remains of an old settlement, formerly occupied by a Mr. R., a country merchant, who had been one of the first settlers, but the road being subsequently altered, the establishment of Mr. R. was literally

p. 58

thrown in the back ground, and being soon after forsaken, nothing now remained to point out its place but an old chimney, a never failing well of water, and a large mound of leached ashes, the remains of Mr. R’s. ashery.

It may be well here to mention, that Mr. R[.] had formerly in his employment a boy of about fourteen years of age, who disappeared very suddenly, and being never heard of afterward, it was whispered around among the gossips of the neighbourhood, that the lad had been disposed of in some unlawful manner, and notwithstanding more than twenty years had passed away, the story had lost nothing by age, but was often the subject of conversation among the neighbouring urchins, with such additions as time had added.

To the well before mentioned deacon N. was under the necessity of sending for water for the family, a task that usually fell to Jonathan, the deacon’s hired man.

It was now the season for gathering

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hay, and one hot summer’s evening in July, the labourers returned from the field about dusk in the evening, and Jonathan, as usual, was despatched to the old well for a bucket of cool water, with which to dilute their evening dram of Santa Cruze.

Jonathan accordingly set off for the well, we will not say entirely free from the apprehension of meeting with some being of an unearthly form, for, having been bred up in the old school of superstition, he was a firm believer in witches, ghosts, hobgoblins, and the like, and possessed a mortal dread of grave yards, uninhabited houses, old wells, &c.

He however arrived at the place without any further disaster than being two or three times sadly frightened by starting a snipe from his path, and once scared almost out of his wits, by mistaking the deacon’s white mare, who stood with her nether parts toward him, for a person without a head, wrapped in a winding sheet. He however approached the well, and drew down his

p. 60

bucket, which had no sooner come in contact with the water, than a horrid and unearthly sound, resembling the groan of a person in great distress, ascended as from the dark orifice.

He stood for a moment petrified with terror, but recovering himself a little, and thinking that his senses might again have deceived him, drew down the bucket a second time, when if possible, a groan more horrid than before ascended from the well. He did not wait any longer to inquire into causes and effects, but thinking it no time for philosophizing, set off for home, with all his remaining energy, leaping rocks, hedges, and stiles, and did not pause even to look behind him till he had reached the precincts of the deacon’s kitchen.

The family were not a little surprised, as well as disappointed, in seeing Jonathan return in such a plight, and without the water, and tried to prevail upon him to return again for it, as they were sorely annoyed with thirst, but all to no purpose,

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as he positively declared that not even the deacon’s farm would induce him to go to the well again after sunset.

As there was no alternative, deacon N. himself set out for the water, and on approaching the well, he could not forbear partaking in some measure of the fears of Jonathan, in spite of his better judgment, and what was his surprise when, drawing down the bucket, he heard a groan even more terrible than that which Jonathan had attempted to describe, arising as from the bowels of the earth.

His first impulse was to run, but reflecting that it would but ill comport with his dignity, he drew his water with a trembling hand, and returned to the house to confirm the story that Jonathan had related.

As we may well suppose, the family were not a little astonished at such a confirmation of the wonderful story, and the subject, which had before occasioned not a little merriment, now assumed a more grave

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aspect, and thinking it to be no trifling matter, as soon as supper was over, all hands set off for the mysterious place.

Being provided with a lantern, when they arrived at the spot they carefully examined every place, where persons might have concealed themselves, without making any discovery, after which deacon N. again drew down the bucket, and as before, when it came in contact with the water, another groan arose, which caused them all to stand aghast with terror. Deacon N., as soon as he could sufficiently recover himself, demanded in a solemn tone, who and what was there. To this he was answered, if he would come to the place on the following evening with a competent number of witnesses, he should learn the reason why the well was thus infested. They now returned home not a little astonished at the mysterious occurrence, and before noon of the next day, not a family within the compass of several miles but had heard of the wonderful event. Dark

p. 63

hints and suspicions were whispered around among the credulous neighbours, and the old story of the lost boy was again renewed, not a little to the discredit of Mr. R. who was now a respectable merchant in a neighbouring village; and at an early hour in the evening, a large company was assembled at the well, waiting with the most intense curiosity.

Deacon N. in presence of the whole company now advanced to the orifice, and demanded of his ghostship a performance of the promise he had made on the preceding evening, of informing them why the well was haunted. To this he was answered by the invisible speaker, that he was the spirit of the lost boy, who had been murdered twenty years before by Mr. R., and if they would remove the neighbouring mound of ashes, they would find his bones under an old potash kettle, in their centre, and that until they were decently interred, and the offender brought to justice, he should continue to haunt the neighbourhood.

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We will not attempt to describe the effect produced upon the wondering spectators, nor the various plans that were suggested for doing justice to the troubled spirit. Some were for arresting Mr. R. immediately, before the news should reach him, and he should make his escape; others more considerate, and hesitating as to how far the testimony of his spiritship would go in sustaining such a procedure in a court of justice, thought it most advisable to defer such a measure until some corroborating circumstance should warrant them, and it was finally concluded that the first thing to be done was to remove the mound of ashes in search of the bones, a task but little less than that of opening an Egyptian pyramid.

Though it was the most busy season of the year, a competent number of the neighbouring farmers readily volunteered their service to remove the ashes, and early on the following morning the Herculean task was commenced[.]

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Day after day found them plying the spade, shovel, and wheelbarrow, while the well was nightly visited by a numerous company, who, however incredulous when they came, went away satisfied that it was a mystery surpassing their knowledge, though after the night before mentioned, nothing save groans and unearthly sounds were heard.

About ten days had passed away in this manner, and notwithstanding the constant labour of the workmen at the ash heap, their task was far from being completed, when an accident occurred, which brought the mysterious subject to light.

A young man on his way to join the company at the well, as his nearest route, attempted to cross the field, and becoming entangled among the bushes, came unexpectedly upon two boys, who were partially concealed among a copse of willows, by the side of a small ridge of rising ground. As they were too intent upon their own business to observe any thing beside, he

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approached them without discovery, and as his curiosity was a little excited, he stopped a moment to observe their movements. One of them would first apply his ear to the ground, and then his mouth, uttering some inarticulate sounds, while the other was shrugging his shoulders in a convulsive fit of laughter.

Recognising them as two neighbouring urchins, of about twelve years of age, who had long been notorious for mischief, he readily concluded they must be in some way connected with the haunted well, and sought to secure them, but they eluded his grasp and decamped through the bushes as fast as possible. He immediately gave the alarm, and a pursuit was commenced, while the remaining part of the company went to the place where they had first been discovered. Here they found a projecting pump log leading to the well, which was only a few rods distant, and as the water had fallen a considerable distance below its usual depth, it was now empty. They

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were not a little mortified at their own credulity, when they discovered by what means the sound had been conveyed to the well. These logs had been laid by Mr. R., who had built the well some twenty years before, for the purpose of conveying water to his ashery, and if the circumstance had ever been known to any of the present inhabitants, it was now forgotten; and, as a bunch of willows had sprung up at the place where they projected from the rising ground, they had escaped observation, till discovered by the two boys before mentioned while employed in play, who, having either heard or learned from experience that sound could be conveyed to any distance through a hollow tube, and knowing also, that deacon N. was in the habit of sending Jonathan hither for water in the evening, concluded that it would be a good joke to scare him a little, and for this purpose took their stand at the pump log, on the evening first mentioned; and, having succeeded so well in their first attempt they

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found it necessary to carry on this deception, and for this purpose they revived the old story of the lost boy, and thus continued, till discovered as above.

But they did not enjoy their sport entirely free from expense, as they were overtaken in their retreat, and brought back to the well, where each received a good sprouting by their respective fathers, who had been engaged several days in removing the ash heap, with no little detriment to their domestic concerns.

The whole company now enjoyed a hearty laugh at their own gullibility, and returned home very well satisfied.

a bunch of flowers tied with ribbon

[p. 69]


A short time previous to the revolution, a Mr. Carlton, an enterprising young man from one of the eastern states, set out on an exploring expedition to the westward, and arrived in safety at a little Indian town on the banks of the Alleghany. Here he stopped a few days to rest himself, and became intimately acquainted with the chief, whose name was Sanape.

Mr. Carlton being well acquainted with the Indian customs, endeavoured to make himself as agreeable as possible, and so far succeeded as fully to gain the confidence of his new acquaintance, and was treated by them with every mark of kindness. The old chief, in a particular manner, who

p. 70

was not considerably advanced in life, called him his son, and did every thing in his power to render his visit agreeable.

Day after day they pursued the chase together, and as Mr. Carlton was very alert and active in every rural sport, his Indian friends considered him almost a prodigy, and seemed to testify the greatest pleasure in his company.

When [he] had tarried with them about three weeks, they were visited by a delegation of warriors from the north, accompanied by a young British officer and the eldest son of the chief, who had until now been absent.

A council was immediately convened, consisting of the delegation of warriors and the elder men of the village. They continued in session the greater part of the night, and as the debate was conducted with a good deal of warmth, Mr. Carlton concluded the subject must be one of importance, but as he did not understand their language, was unable to learn its object.

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On the following morning, Stanape requested Mr. Carlton to take a walk with him, and when at some distance from the village, addressed him in the following manner. Young man, since you came to us here, you have been to me as a son, and I grieve that it has now become necessary to send you away. But since you have been here, a war has commenced between your people and the country that you came from, and my people are leagued with your enemies. They have already taken up the tomahawk, and you can no longer remain with us in safety. I will go with you to the nearest settlement, where you can continue your journey without molestation. Return to your friends, as it is no longer safe to travel in the forest, as the enemy may fall upon you when you least expect him. He then took from his bosom a belt, very beautifully decorated with hedgehog quills and wampum, and handing it to Mr. Carlton, said, “take this, and should you engage in the war against our

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people, wear it about you, and should you ever fall into their hands it will save your life, as it will show that you have been our guest.”

They then continued their journey together, and toward evening arrived at a settlement of white people, where they took a friendly leave of each other, when Stanape returned to his village, and Mr. Carlton continued on his way. When he returned home, he learned the truth of what his Indian friend had told him, that the long expected war had finally broken out, and was raging with great violence. He immediately joined the army that was then preparing for an expedition to the westward, and was appointed the lieutenant of a company of cavalry. They soon arrived at the western frontier, when several skirmishes soon ensued between them and their Indian enemies. On one of these occasions, a small scouting party under the command of Mr. Carlton, fell in, unexpectedly, with a large body of Indians who at-

p. 73

tacked them with great fury, and as they were armed with rifles, and fought under cover of the forest, the detachment were unable to make but a feeble defence.

In attempting to retreat, Mr. Carlton was wounded, and had his horse shot from under him almost at the same moment. As he fell to the ground he was immediately seized by a stout and brawny savage, who was just upon the point of plunging his knife into his breast, when a chief who happened to be near, seized his hand and ordered the other to desist. He was immediately obeyed, and as the other Indians gathered around him, the chief pointed to the belt of wampum, at which they appeared not a little su[r]prised. Mr. Carlton was then taken by four of their number and carried to their encampment, where his wound was dressed, and he was treated in the most friendly manner.

When he had sufficiently recovered to be able to converse, the chief asked him by what means he came in possession of the

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belt. Mr. Carlton then gave them an account of the manner in which he came by it, when the chief raised his eyes to heaven and exclaimed, Manito be praised that I have saved the life of my father’s friend. Sanape is a great chief and I am Biard his son, and though I have raised the tomahawk against your countrymen, I must not injure the friend of my father.

He then ordered a horse to be brought, and as the wound of Mr. Carlton was not so bad as to prevent him from riding, he was placed upon it, and accompanied by his Indian benefactor, set out for the American camp.

When they had arrived in sight of the fortress, the Indian took Mr. Carlton by the hand and observed, it is not safe for me to go any farther, Manito be praised that I have saved your life. When the war is over, and the tomahawk is again buried, if Biard be still alive, come again to our village, and you shall find that he has not forgotten his friends. Mr. Carlton then ex-

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pressed to him his warmest thanks, and assured him that he would remember that he owed his life to his kindness. They then took an affectionate leave of each other and separated.

When the war was over, Mr. Carlton was married, and removed into the western part of the state of Pennsylvania, and settled near the foot of the Alleghany mountains. Remembering his promise to his Indian benefactor, he went again to the Village, and found him still alive, though Sanape his father had been dead for several years. Their former acquaintance was immediately renewed, and the most intimate friendship continued to exist between them.

In this manner several years passed away, during which time the family of Mr. Carlton was frequently visited by their Indian friend, when a circumstance occurred which laid them under another obligation to his kindness.

One summer’s morning about ten o’clock,

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Edwin, the youngest son of Mr. Carlton, a little boy about six years old was missing, and as no one was able to give any account of him, since an early hour in the morning, he was supposed to be lost in the forest, and a search for him was immediately commenced. They first looked for him in the stream and in the neighbouring fields, but he was no where to be found. They next searched the nearest forest, until about three o’clock in the afternoon, with no better success than before.

An alarm was then spread through the settlement, and in a short time the neighbours had gathered for several miles around, and the search was resumed upon a more extensive plan. In an extended line they swept the forest for some miles around, until darkness compelled them to return without having made any discovery as to the fate of the lost boy.

We will not attempt to describe the feelings of the distressed parents, at the idea that their youngest and darling child was

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now exposed to all the dangers of the forest, or perhaps had already fallen a prey to wolves, or the mountain cat. “Oh my Edwin!” said Mrs. Carlton as the company were about to give up the search for the night, “Oh my little Edwin! my darling, where are you?” then falling into hysteric convulsions, she was borne to the house in a state of insensibility.

On the following morning, at an early hour, the search was again resumed, and the day was nearly spent with no better success than the preceding. As every part of the forest except the mountain had been thoroughly searched, the company, at a preconcerted signal, assembled at the place appointed to deliberate upon what was next to be done.

While these things were passing in the forest, Biard, their Indian friend, being on a journey to Philadelphia, to dispose of his pack of furs and skins, stopped at the house of Mr. Carlton, to spend the night. When he entered the dwelling he found no one

p. 78

at home but an old negro woman, whose infirmity prevented her from engaging in the search.

“Where is my brother?” said Biard, “I see him not.” “Oh! a sorrowful hap,” said the old woman, [“]our dear little Edwin, our darling, has been lost these two days in the forest, and the whole family and neighbourhood are engaged in searching for him.[”] “Blow the horn” said the Indian, “and call your master home, I will find his child.” The family soon returned, when the Indian ordered them to bring him the shoes and stockings that the little boy had worn last. When they were brought him, he caused his dog to smell of them, and then commenced a circle of more than a mile in diameter, ordering his dog to smell of the ground over which they passed. Before the circle was half completed the dog stopped and began to bark. He then set off upon a run, followed by the company, though they were unable to keep up with him.

p. 79

In about a half an hour they heard him bark, and in a short time after returned, with an evident joy in his countenance and manner that indicated his success. “I am sure” said the Indian, “that he has found the child,” but whether living or dead it was impossible to determine.

The dog immediately set off again in the direction from whence he came, followed by the Indian, who soon arrived at the place, where he found the little boy lying upon the ground, at the foot of a large tree, apparently lifeless. But on taking him up, the motion seemed to awaken him, and he opened his eyes, and feebly pronounced the name of mother.

The Indian had not carried him but a short distance when he was met by the whole company, who immediately raised a shout of joy, that was almost deafening. The happy parents, though they were in some measure prepared for the event, were so overcome by their feelings that it was a long time before they could express their

p. 80

thanks to their kind benefactor. They now returned to the house, where a plentiful repast was prepared, and the day that began thus sorrowfully was ended with joy and festivity.

The Indian resumed his journey on the following morning, enriched with the munificent gifts of his friend.

[p. 81]


On the southern banks of the St. Lawrence, not far from the city of Quebec, lived a Captain Murray, who had formerly commanded a frigate in the service of his Britannic majesty, but falling undeservedly under censure, he resigned his commission and removed to an humble dwelling, where he determined to spend the remainder of his days in retirement. Having lost his wife some years before, his family now consisted only of a daughter, who was very near to him, and was just ripening into the charms of womanhood when he retired to his rural mansion.

As she seemed in a great measure to

p. 82

partake of her father’s disposition, in choosing retirement, in preference to the noise and bustle of a city life, two years passed away in their quiet retreat, without a murmuring word or repining thought.

Not far from them, lived a lonely Indian, who had formerly been a chief of a powerful tribe, but as his people had gradually fallen, either in wars or by the consequence of intemperance, which has annihilated so many of the native tribes, Shanusko, for such was his name, now only remained as the guardian of the graves of his people. Between him and Captain Murray, the most intimate acquaintance sprang up, which gradually ripened into friendship, and each seemed to testify the greatest pleasure in the other’s company.

Shanusko carefully instructed his new friend in all the arts of native cunning, by which he was soon enabled to vie with him in ensnaring the wolf, and the catamount, and surprising the beaver in his own dominions.

p. 83

In this manner, day after day passed in pursuit of some rural adventure, while the evening was usually spent by the pleasant fire side of Captain Murray, in listening to some legend of native warfare, related by Shanusko, enlivened by the song or lute of Louisa, who, though truly a child of nature, was not wanting in the more fashionable accomplishments of her sex.

From a long and intimate acquaintance, a most perfect confidence was established between her and her father’s friend, and she often accompanied him through the forest, and along the banks of the river, gathering wild flowers, and learning from him the virtues and properties of different vegetables, with which the natives of our country are gifted to an astonishing degree.

The friendly Indian seemed to manifest the greatest pleasure in storing her innocent mind with such knowledge as he was enabled to impart, and not unfrequently would he spend hours together in instructing her the art of converting bullrushes

p. 84

into vases and baskets, or in ornamenting moccasons and bracelets of buckskin with wampum and the quills of the hedgehog.

One summer’s morning, as Captain Murray had been called to the city on business, and Shanusko had gone to the forest in pursuit of game, Louisa took a ramble by the side of the river, and came at length to the place where she found the canoe of her Indian friend lying among the rushes, and resting upon the shore.

She took her seat within it, under the shade of a large spreading oak, and commenced making a basket of the rushes, and soon became so intent upon her work that the hours passed away unnoticed, and she did not observe the rapid progress of the tide till awakened from her reverie by the motion of her canoe, which had already floated several yards from the shore, and was just entering the roaring current, where destruction appeared inevitable.

Aroused to a full sense of her danger, she uttered a shriek of despair and fell

p. 85

senseless into the frail bark, which, thrown out of its balance by her fall, instantly capsised, [sic] and plunged her lifeless form into the raging stream.

Aroused by the impulse, she seized the canoe, and both floated down the stream for a considerable distance, when a young huntsman from the opposite shore approached, and without a moment’s hesitation plunged into the water, as if determined to save her, or perish in the attempt. But the current overpowering his efforts, he was compelled to abandon his hazardous undertaking, and with no small difficulty regained the shore, where he surveyed the melancholy spectacle with a feeling little short of distraction.

But just as the strength of the young lady appeared to be exhausted, and she was about to loose her hold upon the canoe, an Indian rushed through the forest with all possible speed, plunged into the stream, and in a few moments succeeded in bringing her and the canoe safe to land.

p. 86

The young huntsman now uttered a shout and discharged his musket as a signal of joy, and mounting his steed, plunged into the water, and was by the side of the young lady and her preserver in a moment. In a few minutes after, they were joined by Captain Murray, who had now returned, and was attracted to the spot by the outcry. Louisa soon recovered so far as to be able to walk to the house, supported upon the arm of the young huntsman and the friendly Indian.

An explanation here took place of the whole transaction. The young huntsman was an officer in the British garrison on the opposite side of the river, and being engaged in hunting a few days before, had a view of Louisa as she was walking in the forest, and being smitten with the beauty of an object so interesting and unexpected in that part of the forest, and anxious again to see, as well as hear something more of her condition, had come thither under the pretence of gunning,

p. 87

when her shriek attracted him to the spot, just as she had fallen into the stream.

About this time Shanusko had returned from the forest, and learning that Louisa had been absent several hours, and fearing that some accident might have befallen her, went to seek her in her usual walk, when the lamentation of the young man after his fruitless attempt to save her, brought him to the spot just in time to rescue her from a watery grave.

The expressions of gratitude both of the father and daughter knew no bounds. Affectionately did the grateful Captain Murray shake the hand first of his Indian friend and then that of the young huntsman, who was invited to visit them as often as circumstances would permit, which offer he modestly accepted and then took his leave.

On the following day he called again to inquire after the health of the young lady, which was now nearly recovered, and the acquaintance being thus commenced, soon

p. 88

ripened into a more tender passion, and need we add, in a few weeks after, Louisa and the amiable young officer were joined in wedlock, amid the good wishes of a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

[p. 89]


In one of the secluded valleys of Spain, near the foot of the Pyrenees, lived a widow named Paula Sevilla, with her little family, the two eldest of which were a son and daughter, called Antonia and Juan, who will be more particularly noticed in the following story.

Their cottage though humble, was beautifully shaded with woodbine and flowery shrubs, and from a little plot of ground that they cultivated, and the milk of two or three goats, they derived their whole subsistence.

But contentment, which softens the hardest lot, shed its blessings over their cottage, and the widow and her children never broke bread without having first lifted up their hands, in silent gratitude to

p. 90

Him, whose bounty provideth food for his creatures, from the children of men down to the humblest insect that crawleth in the dust.

Pedro Sevilla, the husband of Paula, had followed the humble and peaceable life of a shepherd and herdsman, till that disastrous period when the lawless ambition of Napoleon Buonaparte caused Spain to become the seat of warfare, making many a happy home desolate, many a wife a widow, and many a mother childless.

While feeding his flocks on a distant part of the mountain, Pedro was summoned to join the troop which had been raised in the defence of his country; nor was he allowed the melancholy satisfaction of bidding farewell to his wife and children, but was instantly marched away to the distant camp.

The flock returned bleating to the fold that night without their shepherd, and Paula beheld her husband no more; he fell, defending one of the secret passes of

p. 91

his native mountains, overpowered by numbers.

Antonia and Juan wept with their mother; or strove to comfort her with hopes that it might yet be possible that their father would return; but Paula had seen and talked with those who had looked on the dead face of her husband, and she felt that she was indeed a widow, and her children fatherless. But her’s [sic] was a common case; every hamlet contained widows that mourned for their beloved partners who had fallen in the war, and Paula submitted herself humbly to the chastening hand of affliction, and said, “it is the will of the Lord.”

Antonia and Juan were kind and dutiful children to their mother, and were so fondly attached to each other that their chief happiness appeared to consist in being near one another, to render acts of kindness, by which they might give proofs of their mutual affection.

Together they tended the little flock;

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all that the rapacity of the enemy had left them. There was no crag so steep but Juan would climb it, if Antonia but cast a wistful look at the mountain flowers that hung upon its brow. The clustering hazel nuts, or mountain berries, he sought for to fill her little rush basket. If the goats strayed, it was Juan who hastened to recall them, while Antonia rested on the grass, or, seated on some mossy stone beside the little rill that flowed rippling over its rocky bed, dancing and sparkling in the sun beams, pursued her knitting, or plied her needle with industrious zeal.

As these children resembled each other in features, so they appeared to be alike in mind; they loved the same pursuits, the same flowers, the same walks—to sing the same songs, and to listen to the same tales; and the countenance of Paula would brighten into smiles of maternal affection, as her ear caught the sound of their sweet joyous voices in the valley, chanting snatches of the old Moorish ballads which

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she had been accustomed to sing to them in happier days. Sometimes she turned her wheel at the cottage door, as they stood before her, their little hands fondly linked together, listening with alternate tears and smiles to her songs or tales of other times.

About this time the inhabitants of the neighbouring hamlets were greatly distressed by the frequent incursions of the French, who were stationed among the passes of the adjacent mountains, from whose heights they made frequent descents to plunder the cottages of the peasantry, seizing the corn and food which had been preserved from their previous depredations; nor were there wanting instances of those who cruelly put to the sword, or levelled the dwellings of such of the starving peasantry as endeavoured to protect their little substance from their lawless and rapacious oppressors.

These acts of cruelty rendered the very name of a Frenchman hateful to the ears of a Spaniard; and those who would have

p. 94

shown mercy to the merciless invaders of their country, would have been regarded by their indignant brethren as traitors and enemies to Spain.

There is no hatred so terrible as national hatred, which is regardless of the universal love and forbearance that Christian should exercise toward Christian: it makes men forget, that in the midst of judgment it is good to remember mercy.

One evening, the widow’s children were sharing with their mother the scanty supper of chestnut bread and goats’ milk, when the ruddy gleam of light which the setting sun cast through the open lattice, was suddenly intercepted by a dark shadow, and on looking up to ascertain the cause, they beheld a stranger, of pale and ghastly countenance, wrapped in a soiled and blood stained soldier’s cloak. His eyes were sunken, his cheeks hollow, and his whole appearance bespoke the extremes of misery and famine. In broken Spanish, he requested a morsel of bread and a cup of

p. 95

water; but it was with the look of one who did not expect to receive what he asked for.

Paula drew back with a feeling almost of dread as the French accent fell upon her ear; the remembrance of her suffering country, of her dead husband, and all the woes she had lately witnessed, rushed upon her mind. “How can the destroyer of our corn fields, of our vineyards, and our flocks, ask food at our hands? the murderers of our husbands and children, seek our protection? the ruthless levellers of our hamlets, look for shelter beneath our roofs?” thus was she about to exclaim; but touched by the expression of hopeless wretchedness in the unfortunate soldier, she checked the unkind words.

At this moment the young Antonia, who had been regarding the poor stranger with tearful eyes, approached him, and placing in his hands her yet untasted supper, said, “take this; it is all the French have left us.”

p. 96

“God reward you, my child” murmured the soldier; and sinking upon a vacant bench by the cottage door, and covering his face with his hands, he burst into tears.

A really benevolent heart cannot look on distress unmoved; and Paula, now forgetting the national hatred which existed among her people, remembered only the words of Him, who has commanded us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate and despitefully use us; who has said, “if thy enemy hunger, give him bread; if he thirst, give him drink.” “And shall I refuse the cup of cold water which he has asked, and which my Redeemer has commanded me to bestow on all such as ask in his name?” she said, mentally, as she approached her unfortunate guest, and offered him shelter, rest, and such scanty food as the plunder of the enemy had left in her power to bestow.

Paula was aware, that in affording an asylum to a French soldier, even of a few hours, she was exposing herself and her

p. 97

children to danger from the indignation of her countrymen; but she feared God rather than man; and said in her heart, “surely at my hands will God require the life of this stranger if I refuse to give him food and shelter in his dire necessity.”

The broken and hardly intelligible thanks and blessings of the war worn soldier, sent a glow of joy to the hearts of the generous widow and her children, who seemed to vie with each other in showing kindness to their sick and sorrowful guest. He was one of the fugitives, as he informed them, from a late conflict, in which his regiment had been nearly cut to pieces; and had passed many days among the secret recesses of the neighbouring mountains, till driven to desperation by hunger and thirst, he had ventured to ask for food at the door of an enemy’s cabin.

For many days the poor foreigner remained extremely ill and weak, owing to the hardships he had endured, as well as from the breaking out of a wound which was not

p. 98

quite healed. Paula’s knowledge of the medicinal properties of some of the mountain herbs, enabled her to administer to the sufferings of her guest, who at length began to appear more cheerful.

He often spoke of a wife and children in his native country, on whose names he seemed to dwell with tender affection.

“If I return to my country,” he would say, “my little ones shall learn to bless the names of Paula Sevilla and her children, as the preservers of their father’s life. And should I ever have it in my power to befriend you, Paula,” he added, with impressive earnestness, “you shall not find Philippe Marcet unmindful of the time when he was sick and wounded, and you gave him shelter; hungry, and you fed him; thirsty, and you gave him drink; and enemy, and you befriended him.”

A report had by some means reached the inhabitants of the hamlet, that a French refugee had been seen in the neighbourhood of the widow’s cabin; and Marcet,

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alarmed for the safety of this generous hostess and her family, now resolved to leave them, his health being much restored.

Antonia and Juan, who had contracted a great friendship for their sick guest, now hung weeping on either side of him, lamenting that the time of his departure was so near; while Paula, anxious for the further preservation of the life she had saved, prevailed on him to exchange his uniform for the simple habit of an Andalusian shepherd.

But when she saw him arrayed in the very dress that had been worn by that beloved husband whose blood had been shed by Marcet’s countrymen, her heart yielded to the bitterness of her grief, and she burst into tears. “Go,” she said, at length, turning weeping away, as Marcet expressed his inarticulate thanks for her kindness; “go, and should the chance of war ever place the widow and orphans of a Spaniard at your mercy, remember Paula and her children.”

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The soldier’s heart was full; he wrung the hand of the widow in silence; and tenderly embracing her little ones, hastily left the cottage, and bending his steps toward a distant path that led through the mountains, speedily disappeared. Scarcely had his retreating shadow been lost among the rocks, before the cabin of Paula was surrounded by persons clamorously requiring her to give up the unhappy refugee. The widow and her trembling children were led out, while every part of the cabin was searched. But there was a feeling of conscious virtue in the mind of Paula, which supported her courage, as with firm voice she replied, to the charge of having concealed an enemy in her house, “that she had indeed afforded succour, and a temporary shelter to an unfortunate stranger, who was on the point of perishing from want and sickness. Soldiers and Spaniards!” she continued, addressing herself to them, with intrepid look, “should you not have blushed for your country-

p. 101

woman, could she have been base enough to have betrayed to his enemies a dying fugitive, who threw himself on her protection? I know ye would, or ye are not Spaniards; nor the followers of that Redeemer who has expressly charged us to forgive our enemies.”

A murmur of applause was heard from among the crowd; and without offering any further molestation to the family, they slowly dispersed toward their several homes.

The long lonely winter passed heavily away, and the returning spring found Spain still the seat of warfare, and suffering from the miseries of want and rapine. The troops of the enemy had again made good their station in the neighbouring plains, and frequent skirmishes took place between the two hostile forces.

“Mother, when will this frightful war be at an end?” asked the weeping Antonia, clinging to her mother’s arm, as the distant report of a cannon shook their lowly

p. 102

cabin. “The end of all things is in the hand of the Lord, my child;” replied her mother, folding her hands meekly on her breast.

“Hark, mother! there is a sound of battle on the heights above,” exclaimed Juan, who had been listening with intense eagerness to the distant tumult.

The roar of the musketry now became fearfully audible, and the dun wreaths of sulphureous smoke might plainly be discerned from the cottage door.

The widowed mother clasped her terrified children to her breast, while she raised her thoughts in silent supplication to the Lord: for she well knew “that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but that it is God that giveth the victory.”

The event of the battle remained for a long time doubtful; at length a re-enforcement of French troops decided the victory in their favour. The Guerillas were obliged to retreat to their secret holds in the

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mountains; and the enemy, elated by their success, proceeded to plunder and lay waste the adjacent villages, destroying with fire and sword the habitations of the unfortunate peasants. Nor did the humble dwelling of the Spanish widow escape their notice; a band of the ruthless soldiery had surrounded it, and were already on the point of levelling it to the ground, when a stern voice commanded them to desist, and a French officer hastily approached the spot where stood the widow, with her children clinging in terror to her knees.

A cry of joy burst from the lips of Antonia and Juan, as the sounds of that well remembered voice reached their ears; and springing toward Phillippe Marcet, for it was indeed the French fugitive, whom they had sheltered and befriended, they implored him to save them from these cruel men.

“Soldiers!” he said, “touch not, I command, any thing belonging to this widow and her children. She saved the life of

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your captain, when he must have perished but for her generous aid. Take not a morsel of bread from her, nor let one single stone be removed from her hearth, as you would answer for it with your lives. Paula Sevilla,” he added, turning toward her, “happy am I, that the life you once preserved, has proved the means of protecting you and your children from the lawless violence of these men; nor need you fear, for the name of Philippe Marcet will be sufficient to protect you from any further molestation.[”] While he yet spoke, the cries of distress from the neighbouring hamlet smote on the ears of Paula, and blanched the cheeks of her children.

“You have saved the lives of your friends, generous signor,” said the widow, “add yet further to your goodness, by shielding from the vengeance of the soldiers, the inhabitants of yon village.”

The French officer heard no more, but hastened to use his influence to save the hamlet from destruction, nor was his voice

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heard in vain; and the grateful peasants now acknowledged they had reason to bless the hour when Paula and her children gave shelter and succour to a distressed enemy!

[p. 106]



How sweet the rest that labour yields

The humble and the poor,

Where sits the patriarch of the fields

Before his cottage door!

The lark is singing in the sky

The swallow in the eaves,

And love is beaming in each eye

Beneath the summer leaves!


The air amid his fragrant bowers,

Supplies unpurchased health,

And hearts are bounding ’mid the flowers,

More dear to him than wealth;

Peace, like the blessed sunlight, plays

Around his humble cot

And happy nights and cheerful days

Divide his lowly lot!

[p. 107]


And, when the village Sabbath bell

Rings out upon the gale,

The father bows his head to tell

The music of its tale:

A fresher verdure seems to fill

The fair and dewy sod,

And every infant tongue is still,

To hear the word of God!


Oh! happy hearts! To Him who stills

The ravens when they cry,

And makes the lily ’neath the hills

So glorious to the eye,

The trusting patriarch prays, to bless

His labour with increase;

Such “ways are ways of pleasantness,”

And all such “paths are peace!”


[table of contents]


Legend of the West, … 3

Fisherman’s Family, … 30

Revolutionary Tale, … 38

Hunting the Elephant, … 54

Haunted Well, … 57

Lost Boy, … 69

Friendly Indian, … 81

Spanish Widow, … 89

Cottage Door, … 106

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