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Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Argument. Condition of the frontier Settlements of western Pennsylvania and Virginia. Characteristic Traits of the Pioneers generally. Manners and Customs: 1. Costume of the Hunters: the Hunting-shirt; Pantaloons; Breech-cloth and Leggins; Moccasin. 2. Habitation: the Log Cabin; its Location; internal Appearance. 3. Employments: the respective Duties of Man and Wife. 4. Diet: Meats; wild Game; Bread; Pone , Journey-cake; Hog and Hommony; Substitutes for Tea and Coffee. 5. Settlement Rights: Nature and Extent; tomahawk Improvements. 6. Fort, or Station: Form and Construction; its Location and Use; Stations in Kentucky. 7. Hunters: Science of Hunting; a hunting Camp; Game; Hides; Peltries. 8. Caravans: annual Trips' to Baltimore and Frederic; Equipment of Caravan; solitary Route across the Mountains; Order of March; Fare. 9. The moral Sense: state of Morals; natural Honesty and Sense of Honor the supreme Law; force of Public Opinion; "Lynch Law;" "Regulators." 10. Social Virtues: Hospitality; Sociality; Conviviality; a marriage Party; Sports and Amusements. 11. Boatmen: general Character; Costume; Habits; peculiar Traits of Character. 12. National Character: Diversity of People and Languages blended; Peculiarities of Feelings and Habits neutralized; Influence of free Government upon the Enterprise and moral Character. 13. Religious Traits: Religion disconnected with civil Power; Ministers dependent for Support upon their own Merit; religious "Awakenings," or "Revivals," in the West; "Camp-meeting" Scene; Origin of Camp Meetings in Kentucky and Tennessee; Camp Meeting at Cane Ridge; at Desha's Creek; at Cabin Creek; astonishing Influence of sylvan Preaching, and the attendant Circumstances; extraordinary Conversions; Disturbance of mental and nervous Systems.
WHATEVER pertains to manners and customs of the early-pioneer settlers on the tributary waters of the Ohio, applies, with nearly equal correctness, to the early white population of all the western half of Pennsylvania and Virginia, no less
than to Kentucky and Tennessee, from the year 1770 to 1794, and to the white settlements northwest of the Ohio, until the termination of the Indian war by the victorious arms of General Anthony Wayne. All the settlements on the northwest, as well as those on the southeast side of the Ohio, during the hostilities of the western tribes, were placed in nearly the same circumstances in every thing pertaining to frontier life.
[A.D. 1770-1794.] One general trait has always characterized most of the frontier settlers contiguous to hostile tribes of Indians, and that is a daring, fearless, and enterprising spirit; a hardy, robust, and patient constitution, unaccustomed to the refinements, luxuries, or comforts of the older Atlantic colonies. The circumstances by which they were surrounded were such as tended to form constitutions capable of enduring almost any privation or bodily exposure without danger of serious disadvantage, mentally or physically.
Such qualifications were indispensable to those whose situation compelled them to brave the inclemency of the seasons, far remote from civilized life, and to contend with the fierce beasts of prey, and with the wily savage in his native haunts and forests. The pioneer who advances into the American wilderness against the consent of the fierce and vindictive savage, must possess no ordinary share of courage, and an iron constitution to sustain him.
To form a proper estimate of the character of the western pioneer, we must view him in all the relations of life, under the circumstances in which he is placed; examine him in his manners, customs, mode of life; in his pursuits, pastimes, and his domestic relations. Living in constant intercourse with the savage tribes, his costume, manner of life, habits, and customs were necessarily half savage and half civilized, and often the whole character of the savage was assumed.
1. The costume of the pioneer was simple, plain, and well adapted for use, comfort, and durability, and not unlike that of the native savages. The ordinary apparel of the hunter consisted of a peltry cap, pantaloons, buckskin moccasins, and a hunting-shirt, girded with a leather belt. Over this was worn the cross-belt of the shot-pouch and powder-horn, crossing from the left shoulder to the right side. On actual hunting duty, and during inclement weather, a pair of "leggins" were closely wrapped upon the legs and lower portion of the thighs,
of dressed deer-skin made smooth and firm. The pantaloons, worn tight and close to the legs, were made of domestic linsey, or tow-linen, but more commonly of soft and pliant dressed buckskin, which was both elastic and durable.
Sometimes, instead of pantaloons, the hunter adopted the "long leggins" of the Indian, which extended to the upper part of the thighs, while the breech and loins were covered with the more convenient breech-cloth of the savage, secured by a girdle around the waist. This covering was formed by a piece of cloth or linen, nearly a yard long, and eight or ten inches wide, passed between the thighs, with the two extremities carried under the belt, in front and rear, and the loose ends hanging over the girdle behind and before served as ornamental flaps. These flaps were often ornamented with coarse embroidery. The leggins were attached by straps, or suspenders, to the same girdle. With this dress, the upper part of the thighs and hips, for the sake of free action, were partially exposed, unless covered by the skirt of the hunting-shirt.
After the settlements had advanced to some degree of civilized refinement, this costume, formed of dressed buckskin, had been adopted by the young beaux as a fancy dress to display their fine forms and persons. To do this more effectually, it has been no uncommon occurrence for them to make their appearance in church during public worship, and gravely take their seat in the congregation, or stand gazing with stoical indifference, in imitation of Indian curiosity, but not contributing in the least to the sedate devotion of the young ladies present. 
The hunting-shirt was a characteristic article of costume among the western emigrants. Although many declined assuming the leggins and breech-cloth of the Indian, and still adhered to the pantaloons and breeches of their ancestors, all adopted the hunting-shirt as an overcoat, peculiarly adapted to their frontier mode of life, from its comparative simplicity of form, and its convenience in their rambles and hunting excursions through brush and the forests. Hence, as Dr. Doddridge observes, "the hunting-shirt was universally worn. It was a kind of loose frock, reaching half way down the thighs, with large sleeves, open before, and so wide as to lap over a foot
or more when belted. The cape was large, and sometimes handsomely fringed with a raveled piece of cloth, different in color from the hunting-shirt itself." The bosom of this dress, above the belt which encircled the waist, served as a wallet to carry a chunk of bread and "jerked beef," cakes, tow for the gun, and other necessaries for a hunter and warrior. The belt, which was always tied behind, served to hold the dress close and in order. On the right side was suspended a tomahawk, and on the left a scalping-knife, each in a leathern case.
The hunting-shirt was generally made of linsey, sometimes of coarse linen, and occasionally a very fine one for summer was made of calico, or of dressed deer-skins for winter; the latter were very warm in cold and dry weather, but were not well adapted for rain. Sometimes the deer-skin hunting-shirt was ornamented with numerous tassels and bands of fringed deer-skin around the skirts, the cape, and even around the sleeves near the shoulders and wrists.
Under the hunting-shirt was often worn an ordinary vest, made of the same material, while a common cotton or linen shirt was worn next the skin. Such was the apparel adapted to freedom of action, and to the life of a hunter.
The "moccasins" are Indian coverings for the feet instead of shoes. These were made of thick, dressed buckskin, in a single piece, gathered by a single seam on top of the foot from the toe to the instep, and by another from the bottom of the heel to the top without gathers, as high as the ankle joint, or higher. Flaps were left on each side, which, in cold weather, could be closely adjusted around the ankle and lower part of the leg; but in dry weather these flaps were permitted to hang down over the upper side of the foot. These flaps in the Indian moccasin were often highly ornamented by a species of figures, embroidered with variegated porcupine quills and shells, similar to our modern bead-work; in fact, many of them were handsomely covered with the brilliant colors of bead embroidery.
In cold weather the moccasin was well stuffed around the feet with loose deer-hair, wool, or leaves, to protect the feet from the inclement weather. The seams in this covering for the feet were sewed and gathered by means of an awl and thongs of buckskin, or the sinews of the deer, which were known by the general term of "whangs" Every hunter's shot
pouch was supplied with a rude moccasin-awl and a roll of buckskin, and whangs for mending and patching his moccasins at night. It was the use of buckskin moccasins in wet weather, and cold spring thaws, doubtless, that laid the foundation for the inveterate cases of rheumatism so common among the early settlers of the Ohio region. 
2. Habitations. The log cabin was the primitive abode of the agricultural population which first advanced west of the mountains upon the waters of the Ohio. These habitations of the western settlements were rude and simple, and well adapted to the circumstances by which they were surrounded. Almost the only tools possessed by the first settlers were axes, hatchets, knives, and a few augers. They had neither sawmills nor carpenters, nails nor glass, bricks nor masons. Each house erected was of similar construction, and consisted of one or more log pens, in the shape of a square or parallelogram, with the logs notched at each end, and riding transversely on each other, forming the body of the house. The logs were cut to one length, and were selected of nearly the same size; they were put up, either round, and with the bark on, or were neatly hewed on two sides, just as the taste and means of the builder might prompt. After the pen was raised to the height of eight or ten feet from the foundation, the gable ends were carried up with ridge poles extending lengthwise for the support of the clap-board roof. The clap-board shingles were laid in regular courses, over each of which a weight pole was laid, and retained in its place by short blocks of wood at right angles intervening.
The roof being completed, a door was cut out and faced, and also a window, if it were deemed necessary or desirable.
The spaces between the logs of the house were closed by "chinking," or small blocks of wood riding upon each other, and afterward daubed and plastered with tempered clay or mud. An opening was also cut out for the chimney, and a wooden square stack, of small pieces of wood, rudely dove-tailed to one end of the house, was built up, tapering to the top. It was so connected with the house as to form a large fireplace and chimney literally outside of the house. This chimney was chinked, daubed, and plastered similar to the house, except that the plastering was chiefly inside, and quite thick, to protect the wooden
structure from the action of the fire within. The jambs and back of the fireplace were also further secured by three upright, large, flat stones laid in mud.
The earth was often the only floor, but more commonly the floor was made of "puncheons," or slabs split from logs, hewed smooth on the upper side, and resting bedded upon poles raised above ground. The "loft," or attic story, sometimes had a puncheon floor, and a rude ladder in one corner served as a stairway. The door was made of thick clap-boards split from oak logs, and pinned to cross-pieces, and were hung upon wooden hinges, and fastened by a wooden latch. The open door or the broad chimney admitted light by day, and a rousing fire and a bear-grease lamp, or a buffalo-tallow candle, were their resource at night.
As soon as the mechanic and merchant appeared, sashes with two or four lights of glass might be seen set into gaps cut through the side logs. Contemporaneously, old barrels began to constitute the tops of chimneys, and joists and plank, sawed by hand, took the place of puncheons. 
At first log cabins were built in villages or clusters, and surrounded with stockades formed by logs set upright in the ground, and made bullet-proof for mutual protection against Indian surprise and massacre.
The location of the house was generally in some vale or dell, near a running stream of water, or near some permanent spring. Thus they consulted their own convenience in obtaining a constant supply of water, and also, considering that every thing coming to the house from abroad is more easily carried "down hill" than up, the house was seldom placed upon an eminence. In all the first locations the bottoms were selected, and the contiguous ridges formed the boundaries of the tract. This continued until the system of square surveys was introduced, when the boundaries of tracts were straight lines, and not the natural features of the country.
The inside appearance of a frontier habitation was also unique, and adapted to the circumstances of the times. Bureaus, side-boards, and armors were unknown, and so were their uses. The whole furniture of a room consisted of one home-made bedstead, and one trundle bedstead under it for children, both well furnished with bear skins and buffalo robes
instead of blankets; a few split-bottom chairs, and a few three-legged stools, a small movable bench or table, supported by two pairs of cross-legs, for the family meals; a shelf and water-bucket near the door. The naked wood and clay walls, instead of the ornamental paper and tapestry of the cities, were embellished with the whole wealth of the family wardrobe. The frocks, dresses, and bed-gowns of the women, the hunting-shirts, pantaloons, and arms of the men, all were suspended around the walls from wooden hooks and pegs, and served as a good index to the industry and neatness of the mistress of the house. The cooking utensils and table furniture consisted of a few iron pots, "pewter plates and dishes," spoons, knives and forks, which had been transported from the east with their salt and iron; besides these, a few wooden bowls, or "trenchers," "noggins and gourds," completed the list of cooking and eating utensils. 
The domestic employments of the women were chiefly in the household affairs. They milked the cows, and prepared food and clothing for the family; washed the clothing, and regulated the minutiae of domestic affairs.
3. The employment of families was arranged by common custom. The husband was chiefly engaged in procuring food and materials for clothing; in erecting cabins and enclosures; in clearing and cultivating the land; and in building forts and stations for mutual protection against Indian hostilities. Much of his time in the cold season was spent in roaming the forests in quest of deer, bear, or other game, with which the unfrequented forests abounded. The dressed skin of the bear, the buffalo, and the deer, with its coat of long and shaggy hair, often served the double purpose of bed and blanket, and much more effectually protected the delicate from the rigors of winter.
As the settlements advanced in age and improvement, during the cessation of Indian hostilities, the exceptions to these general remarks became more frequent.
4. The diet was plain and homely. Wild game constituted the chief portion of animal food. The flesh of the bear was highly prized, and could easily be made a good substitute for beef and bacon; the deer yielded the most delicious venison, far preferable to veal; occasionally the flesh of an elk or buffalo supplied the place of fresh beef. The flesh of the partridge,
the wild pigeon, the pheasant, the wild turkey, and the like, yielded a more delicious fare than any domestic fowl. The squirrel, the rabbit, the opossum, and many other smaller quadrupeds, supplied the delicacies of veal, lamb, mutton, and pork.
Corn-meal, pounded in a wooden mortar, or ground in a hand-mill of steel, supplied the place of flour, and all the preparations of wheat. The dough, properly prepared, was spread upon a piece of shaved clap-board from three to four inches wide, and from fifteen to twenty inches long, and baked upon the hearth. When both sides were perfectly done, it was called "journey-cake," or Johnny-cake. A journey-cake board was an indispensable implement of frontier cooking. Johnny-cake and pone were the only varieties of bread used among the early frontier settlements for breakfast and dinner. At supper, milk and mush were the standard dish. When milk was not plenty, the lack was supplied by the substantial dish of hommony, or pounded corn thoroughly boiled. Sometimes maple molasses or bear's oil, and the gravy from fried meat, served as a substitute for milk in the regular supper dish. 
After domestic stock began to multiply, one of the standing dishes in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky was "hog and hommony." Vegetables at length began to be cultivated in abundance, and every garden yielded a supply of common culinary vegetables, such as peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, cabbage, and many other choice articles; while the "truck-patch" close by furnished a supply of roasting ears, squashes, pumpkins, and potatoes. The standard "dinner dish" at log-rolling, house-raisings, and harvest days was a large "pot-pie," inclosing minced meats, birds, or fruits.
Tea and coffee were unknown, and many of the native frontier inhabitants attained to the age of manhood without having ever seen or tasted these luxuries; yet the root and bark of the sassafras furnished a valuable substitute for the exotic from China, while parched rye and beans formed a substitute for coffee. In many of the remotest settlements, such articles as tea-cups and saucers were unknown. At length the manufactures and agricultural products of the older settlements, and cattle and hogs, were introduced, and the frontier manners yielded to the civilized.
5. Settlement Rights. In forming settlements and making locations of land, each settler had a valid claim under the provisions of the Virginia laws. One of these allowed to each emigrant as a settlement right four hundred acres of land, besides a preference right to one thousand acres more contiguous. The boundary lines between any contiguous settlement rights were generally adjusted amicably by the parties interested, before actual survey was made. In these adjustments, they were guided chiefly by the ridges or water courses, or some other natural boundary. In this manner, much of the country of western Pennsylvania and Virginia was parceled out among settlers, and subsequently nearly all the country between the Muskingum and the Ohio on the east.  These settlement rights were often selected and marked with the initials of the claimant's name on several beech-trees near "his clearing," where he had cut down a few trees, and probably erected a small hut, often many months before he took up his actual residence on the land. Yet these "tomahawk rights," as they were called, were recognized by other emigrants, and none would trespass upon them. Some were contented with one settlement right, and made no efforts to enlarge their landed estates; while others, as in all new countries, having a desire for accumulating wealth in landed estates, became speculators in lands, and purchased up great numbers of inchoate titles, in hopes of future gain in their augmented value.
During the continuance of Indian hostilities, every neighborhood was provided with a "stockade fort" for the common protection, to which all retired upon any alarm of Indian incursion. As all the frontier settlements west of the Blue Ridge, from the commencement of the French war in 1754, with only short intermissions, were continually exposed to Indian hostilities, in one form or another, "the Fort," or "Station," became a characteristic feature in the western settlements. In Western Pennsylvania and in Western Virginia, north of the Big Sandy, these stockades were commonly denominated "forts," while in Kentucky and Tennessee, in later times, they were known by the name of "stations."
6. The Fort or Station. A station, in most cases, was constructed for the protection of a large number of families, as a safe retreat in time of danger. It consisted of an enclosure of
cabins, stockades, and block-houses, embracing about two acres or more, in the shape of a parallelogram or square; the inclosure being formed generally by cabins on two sides and by stockades on two sides. A large station sometimes presented three sides inclosed with cabins, the windows and doors all on the inner side. The outside wall of the cabin was generally ten or twelve feet high, without external openings, and perfectly bullet-proof, with the roof sloping downward to the inside. The cabins otherwise were finished in the usual manner, for the residence of families. The gate or entrance was a strong puncheon door between the parallel walls of adjoining cabins, and protected by a platform and sentry-box above. The remainder of the inclosure was completed by strong palisades set in the ground, with their sharpened points standing ten feet above ground. The whole inclosure, cabins and stockades, was provided with port-holes for defensive firing. In time of danger the gate was closed, and securely barricaded each day at sunset. During the day, if no immediate danger threatened, the inmates dispersed to their several homes or employments, until nightfall again approached.
Some larger stations in Kentucky were securely fortified against the most formidable attacks of the largest Indian army. Such were defended at the opposite angles by block-houses, or bastions, built of hewed logs, two stories high, and extending a few feet beyond the line or outer range of the stockade, each bastion commanding two sides of the stockade. These blockhouses were bullet-proof, and provided with double sets of portholes for defense, and so arranged that the riflemen could at all times clear the walls in case of assault, and prevent any secret lodgment near them.
Some small settlements were protected by a single blockhouse, surrounded by a strong palisade inclosure, so as to form a secure retreat for the families in case of Indian alarm. Every station or fort, however, was invariably located near some permanent spring or water course.
In Kentucky the stations were generally large, and protected a greater number of families, who in time of danger lived in the cabins of the station as in a fortified village, having their little farms and improvements in the immediate vicinity, upon which they remained engaged in the labors of husbandry during the day, returning to the fort for safety at night. Sometimes
the stations in Kentucky contained three parallel rows of cabins, the two outer rows being connected by the line of palisades. As the Indians were without artillery, and had very little desire to take any fortified place by storm, these stockades proved amply sufficient to withstand all the attacks which they could make with their rifles and small arms. Many of these stations during the Indian hostilities were invested by large bodies of warriors, sometimes for several weeks together, yet it was a rare occurrence for one of them to be captured.
In the absence of Indian alarms and "signs," the people left the station and dispersed upon their respective farms and improvements, and resided in their own individual residences. But so soon as any alarm was given, or any "Indian sign" was found, they again retired into the station for security.
7. The Hunter. "Hunting" constituted an important feature in the life of a western emigrant. By this means he supplied his family with a large proportion of their subsistence. Often their chief food was derived from the woods; while the skins and furs taken from the game supplied them with the only convertible medium of currency and exchange for the purchase of rifles, salt, and iron from the settlements east of the mountains. The "fall" and early part of the winter were the seasons for hunting the deer, and the whole winter and part of the spring for bears and animals which yield furs. The fur was said to be good in every month in whose name the letter r is found; besides, the annoyance and danger from Indian hostilities was less apprehended during the winter than in any other season. Every man, who was a farmer and husbandman in summer and autumn, became a hunter in winter. "As soon as the leaves were pretty well down, and the weather became rainy, accompanied with light snows, these men, after acting the part of husbandmen, so far as the state of the war permitted, began to feel that they were hunters. They became uneasy at home. Every thing about them became disagreeable. The house was too warm, the feather bed was too soft, and even the good wife, for the time, was not thought a good companion. The mind of the hunter was wholly occupied with the camp and the chase."
A hunting party being formed, "a day was soon appointed for the march of the little cavalcade to the camp. Two or three horses, furnished with pack-saddles, were loaded with
flour, Indian meal, blankets, and every thing else requisite for the use of the hunter." 
The hunting camp is at length erected in a suitable situation; in some valley or dell protected by hills from the northern blasts, as well as from discovery by Indians. The hunting camp is a half-faced cabin, made of logs or stakes driven into the ground, enclosed on three sides with slabs, bark, or skins, and covered on top with the same, the roof sloping from the open front backward. In front is the log fire; inside are the slabs, moss, and skins for the bed. Sometimes a hunting camp serves for several years, especially when made with care.
"Hunting was not a mere ramble in pursuit of game," without skill and calculation. The hunter must be skilled in the nature and habits of the animals he expects to take, in the weather, and their predilections; in what situation the game is to be found, whether on hill-sides, bottoms, or on high hills. In stormy weather the deer always seek the most sheltered places, and on the leeward side of hills; in rainy weather, with but little wind, they generally keep in the open woods, and on the highest ground.
It is requisite, also, to know the direction of the lightest winds, the cardinal points, and many other hunting sciences, which none but hunters know, to enable them to traverse the pathless forest in search of game. "The whole business of hunting consists in a succession of intrigues. From morning to night the hunter must be on the alert to gain the windward of his game," in order to avoid discovery. If a deer were killed, it was skinned and hung up out of the reach of wolves, and the chase was resumed and pursued until evening, when he returned toward the camp and prepared to cook the supper. The supper being ended, the adventures of the day furnish a theme for the tales of the evening. The spike buck, the two and three pronged buck, the doe, and the barren doe figure through the tales and anecdotes of the day. After hunting some time in the same range, the hunter becomes acquainted with all the "gangs" or herds of deer in that range, and can easily recognize each when he sees them. The manoeuvers of these are themes of discourse. Often some old buck, by his superior sagacity and watchfulness, has saved his little gang from the hunter's skill by giving timely notice of his approach.
The cunning of the hunter and that of the old buck are often staked against each other; and not infrequently, at the close of the hunting season, the old fellow is left the free, uninjured tenant of the forest; but if his rival succeeds in bringing him down, it is a victory followed by no small share of boasting on the part of the conqueror. 
Is the weather unsuited to the chase? The skins and carcasses of the game can be brought in, and a proper disposition made of them. Some hunters refrain from the chase on the Sabbath from motives of piety; others, from a superstitious belief that it brings "bad luck" to hunt on the Sabbath. Nor do those who revere the day, and abstain from their usual labors, lose their reward; for they are sure of a prosperous hunting season.
The spoils of the hunting season, the skins and furs taken during the winter, constitute the stock in trade for the purchase of sundry articles which are necessary in a new and wilderness country. Of these the most indispensable were salt, iron utensils, and implements. To purchase these, every family carefully preserved the furs and skins collected during the whole year, for the purpose of sending them over the mountains to be bartered for such necessaries as were not to be had in the wilderness. For this purpose, it was customary, in the western settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia, from the Kenhawa to the Alleghany River, every fall, for each little neighborhood of a few families to dispatch "a caravan" to the settlements east of the mountains. Unlike their prototypes which traverse the deserts of Africa, they were generally few in number, and their merchandise of but little comparative value.
8. The caravan, when organized, consisted of a master, two or three young men, and one or two boys; a few horses, with pack-saddles on their backs, stuffed bells on their necks, and a pair of hickory-withe hopples attached to each pack-saddle. On each pack-saddle was secured a bag of shelled corn for provender on the way, to be deposited at convenient distances for the return route. A large wallet, well filled with bread, jerked bear's meat, or boiled ham and cheese, contained the provision for the drivers. Thus equipped, the cavalcade set out from the wilderness east of the Ohio for Baltimore, Frederic,
Hagerstown, or Oldtown in early times, and subsequently to Fort Cumberland and Winchester.
As these places successively, in the order of their names, became the marts of the western trade, the whole amount of hides and peltries, ginseng, snakeroot, and bear's grease were exchanged or bartered for salt, nails, and other articles of iron, and occasionally for a few pewter plates and dishes for the table. The bartering for the settlement being finished, the caravan was ready for its retrograde march. Each horse without a rider carried two bushels of salt, weighing eighty-four pounds to the bushel, besides a few light articles superadded.
The caravan route from the Ohio River to Frederic crossed the stupendous ranges of the Alleghany Mountains as they rise, mountain behind mountain, in the distant prospect. The path, scarcely two feet wide, and traveled by horses in single file, wound over hill and dale, through mountain defile, over craggy steeps, beneath impending rocks, and around points of dizzy heights, where one false step might hurl horse and rider into the abyss below. To prevent such accidents, the bulky baggage was removed in passing the dangerous defiles, to secure the horse from being thrown from his scanty foothold. This route, selected by experienced woodsmen, differed but little from that selected for turnpikes and rail-roads by professed engineers at a much later day.  Such was the danger in passing the mountain ranges from the old settlements of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, to the settlements then forming on the branches of the Monongahela, the "Yough," and the Upper Ohio.
The order of the march, going and returning, was the same. The horses with their packs were marched along in single file, the foremost led by the leader of the caravan, while each successive horse was tethered to the pack-saddle of the horse before him. A driver followed behind to keep an eye upon the proper adjustment of the packs, and to urge on any horse that was disposed to lag. In this way two men could manage a caravan of ten or fifteen horses, each carrying about two hundred pounds burden. When night came, a temporary camp and a camp fire protected the weary travelers; while the horses, released of their burdens, with hopples on their feet, and their bell-clappers loosed, were turned loose to graze near the camp.
Salt, in the frontier settlements near the Ohio, was an expensive article for a backwoodsman; for a bushel of alum salt was equivalent to a good cow and calf. The salines of Kenhawa were then unknown, and the cattle multiplied without money.
In those early days, in the dawn of civilization in the West, the manners and customs, as well as the sense of propriety, were regulated by the state of things in the wilderness. A backwoodsman, in his first trip to Baltimore, could not conceive a more awkward predicament than the loss of his horse-bell and his hopples when about to enter the city.  Children who had been raised on the frontiers, when they reached the settlements east of the mountains, were surprised to find that all houses were not made of logs and chinked with mud; that all dishes and table-ware were not of pewter and wood. To them the luxuries of tea and coffee were nauseous or unknown; and they "wondered how people could show a fondness for such slops," which neither had gust for the palate nor "stuck to the ribs." The cups and saucers from which it was drank were themselves but emblems of a depraved taste and unmanly luxury, or, at most, were adapted to the effeminate or the sick. 
9. The state of morals was as might be expected; men were untrammeled by law or gospel; each man did that which was right in his own eyes. The line which separates Western Pennsylvania from Virginia was not defined, and for many years the civil jurisdiction of both states was withheld. Hence natural justice, and the sense of right and wrong, were unsophisticated by lawyers and courts, magistrates, sheriffs, or constables. "Their own consciences were a law unto themselves;" and if they erred, "it was human to err." Public opinion was the aggregate of individual judgment, and ruled with the force of the purest democracy. In those times, each man who could shoulder his rifle was a citizen-soldier, and as such was valued as a defender of his country, and ranked among her heroes. Conscious of his own importance, each man considered his neighbor his equal, and each was anxious to merit the general esteem. Industry in hunting or work, bravery and fortitude in war, honesty, candor, and hospitality in private life, entitled a man to his full share of public honor and confidence, which
was never withheld. The incorrigible offender received the sentence which the majesty of moral virtue pronounces against vice and turpitude, and he was "hated from society." Courage was a virtue, and military duty was performed with alacrity. He who refused to appear in arms, fully equipped, at a moment's notice, found public censure resting upon him, and he was "hated from the place." Did a neighbor wish to erect a cabin, or to roll his logs, or to gather his harvest, each man was a willing hand, and in turn received aid from others. At such places an idler or an indifferent spectator dared not approach, or the contempt of the hardy pioneers settled upon him. Did any contract a debt, it was paid in labor or by the exchange of commodities; and the force of the moral sense, sustained by public sentiment, was a stronger guarantee than all the forms of law, which often serve as a protection against honest demands. Did a man want a bushel of salt, he received it in exchange for a cow and calf. So equal was the distribution of their scanty wealth, that no one envied that of his neighbor: if any were in want, they freely received from those who could give. Was any so base as to steal, with these advantages, "the law of Moses" was enforced, and forty stripes, save one, were freely given; but if the theft were small, in memory of the "old thirteen," as his reward, thirteen stripes disgraced his back. But such was the impression, and so firmly were the stripes applied, that they were not likely soon to fade away. In the absence of a judge and court, and the forms of law, "Judge Lynch" was sure to mete his just deserts to every disturber of the peace.
Lynch Law. Although the pioneers in the West were a hardy, enterprising, honest race of men, yet the frontier settlements are often a retreat for loose and unprincipled individuals from the old settlements, who, if not familiar with crime, have very blunt perceptions of virtue. The genuine pioneer, the woodsman, is independent, brave, and upright; but, as the jackal follows in the footsteps of the lion, so the sturdy hunter is followed by the miscreant destitute of noble qualities; men who are the pests of the human race, averse to labor, impatient of the wholesome restraints of law, or the courtesies of civilized life. Some, indeed, are desperadoes, flying from justice, to escape the grasp of the law in older settlements; and in the frontier settlements he bids the civil law defiance. For such
intruders the frontiers had a law of their own, a lex loci, known as Lynch law, which seldom failed to purge the community of his unwelcome presence. Its operation was often indispensable when a horse-thief, a counterfeiter, or other desperate vagabond infested a neighborhood, evading justice by cunning, or by a strong, audacious arm, or by the number of his confederates. The citizens formed themselves into a regulating party, commonly known as "regulators" a kind of holy brotherhood, whose duty required them to purge the neighborhood of such unruly members. Mounted, armed, and commanded by a leader, they proceeded to arrest the object of their mission. Night was the season for their official acts. Chief-justice "Birch" established his tribunal under a forest canopy; before him the culprit was arraigned, and with form and ceremony tried, and, as a matter of course, convicted. Sentence was pronounced, and without delay the penalty was inflicted, without stint or mercy. Tied securely to a tree, he was made to feel the rod, dealt by many sturdy hands, until justice was satisfied. If perchance he were an old offender, or had claims to the title of a "British Tory," his wounds were dressed, not with oil and wine, but with "tar and feathers." As the culprit retired from this ordeal, he was informed by Judge Lynch that the operation would be repeated in a few days unless he withdrew from the jurisdiction of the court. If there were confederates in crime, this warning served for all.
This tribunal was resorted to only in extreme cases; and, although liable to occasional abuse, it was a great protection to honest people against the most abandoned intruders, who defied the usual forms of law. 
10. Social Virtues. Hospitality was a duty as well as a virtue; with the stranger or wayfaring man, they would readily divide their rough fare without pay or reward. In their settlements all lived together in harmony and rude simplicity. Warm and constant in their friendships, they lived and worked, feasted or suffered together in cordial harmony.
Was a man's honor or integrity impeached, the offender must prove his manhood on the spot. If he were unable to fight at fisticuff, or "rough and tumble," his friend must maintain the contest in his place. When the contest was decided, the combatants, reconciled, often shook hands, and there the
matter ended. Pitched battles between two rival heroes sometimes were seen, when fists, and feet, and teeth were used; but knives and fire-arms were deemed dishonorable and base.
In these rude settlements female virtue was safe without the protection of law. Each brother and kinsman was the prompt avenger of a sister's wrongs, and the penalty was not delayed by the slow process of law; but a want of chivalry in defense of female weakness was never known.
A marriage was the signal of a general jubilee among the friends of both parties. Days passed in anxious expectation of the appointed festival, when all hearts were to indulge in mirth and feasting.
At the appointed time, the rustic guests began to arrive from every quarter, males and females on horseback and on foot. No broad-cloth or beaver adorned their persons. Men were clad in their western dress, shoe-packs, or moccasins, leather breeches, leggins, and hunting-shirts. The women were dressed in their best, in linsey petticoats or gowns, coarse shoes, home-made stockings, handkerchiefs on their necks, and, if the weather was very cold, with leather gloves or woolen mittens on their hands. Few were able to adorn themselves with buckles, rings, or ruffles. Their horse caparisons were of the same rude stamp. The company, thus arrayed, began to arrive in single file about noon, when the rustic mirth began: with the swains, the bottle was an indispensable companion, and each made frequent draughts upon its inspiration.
The marriage ceremony over, all sat down to a wholesome dinner of backwoods fare. Beef, pork, fowls, baked or roasted, and sometimes venison or bear's meat, loaded the rustic board, together with vegetables of all kinds in great profusion; rude pies, pastry, and fruits served for dessert. The dinner past, a rustic dance engaged the joyous friends until the dawn of the following day, when they began to separate for their respective homes.
In sketching these traits of pioneer life, we have left much untold, which may be found in the excellent Notes of Dr. Doddridge. But such traits of pioneer life have long since vanished from Western Virginia, and are scarcely to be found, at this time, even in the remote West; yet, as they did exist, they constitute an important portion of early pioneer history, and as such demand a passing notice, without which the history of the pioneers would be incomplete.
The sports were characteristic of the frontier mode of life. Running, jumping, and wrestling were the pastimes of the boys as well as of the men. Throwing the tomahawk was common, and gave skill in the arts of war. When the stock of ammunition would permit, the men preferred the more warlike exercise of the rifle, with which the diameter of a cent upon a target was pierced at the distance of fifty steps at every shot by half the men present, and some could lodge two successive balls in the same place. The best marksman always took the prize, for which all were zealous competitors.
After the settlements had become more dense on the Monongahela and on the Ohio, a new class of men sprung up, whose life was unique in the West. This was the class of
11. Boatmen. These were a hardy, fearless set of men, who always kept just in advance of civilization and luxury. They were athletic, persevering, and patient of privations. They traversed in their pirogues, barges, or keels, the longest rivers, penetrated the most remote wilderness upon their watery routes, and kept up a trade and intercourse between the most distant points. Accustomed to every species of exposure and privation, they despised ease and luxury. Clothed in the costume of the wilderness, and armed in western style, they were always ready to exchange the labors of the oar for offensive or defensive war. Exposed to the double force of the direct and reflected rays of the sun upon the water; their complexion was swarthy, and often but little fairer than the Indians. Often, from an exposure of their bodies without shirts, their complexion, from the head to the waist, was the same.
Steam had not exerted its magic influence on the western waters, and the rich cargoes which ascended the Mississippi in keel-boats and barges were propelled by human labor for nearly two thousand miles, slowly advancing against the strong current of these rivers. The boatmen, with their bodies naked to the waist, spent the long and tedious days traversing the "running board," and pushing with their whole force against their strong setting-poles firmly fixed against the shoulder. Thus, with their heads suspended nearly to the track on the running-board, they propelled their freighted barge up the long and tedious route of the river. After a hard day's toil, at night they took their "fillee," or ration of whisky, swallowed their homely supper of meat half burned and bread half
baked, and retiring to sleep, they stretched themselves upon the deck, without covering, under the open canopy of heaven, or probably enveloped in a blanket, until the steersman's horn called them to their morning "fillee" and their toil.
Hard and fatiguing was the life of a boatman; yet it was rare that any of them ever changed his vocation. There was a charm in the excesses, in the frolicks, and in the fighting which they anticipated at the end of the voyage, which cheered them on. Of weariness none would complain; but rising from his hard bed by the first dawn of day, and reanimated by his morning draught, he was prepared to hear and obey the wonted order, "Stand to your poles and set off!" The boatmen were masters of the winding-horn and the fiddle, and as the boat moved off from her moorings, some, to cheer their labors, or to "scare off the devil and secure good luck," would wind the animating blast of the horn, which, mingling with the sweet music of the fiddle, and reverberating along the sounding shores, greeted the solitary dwellers on the banks with news from New Orleans.
Their athletic labors gave strength incredible to their muscles, which they were vain to exhibit, and fist-fighting was their pastime. He who could boast that he had never been whipped was bound to fight whoever disputed his manhood. Keel-boatmen and barge-men looked upon rafts-men and flat-boatmen as their natural enemies, and a meeting was the prelude to a "battle-royal." They were great sticklers for "fair play," and whoever was worsted in battle must abide the issue without assistance.
Their arrival in port was a general jubilee, where hundreds often met together for diversion and frolick. Their assemblages were often riotous and lawless to extremes, when the civil authorities were defied for days together. Had their numbers increased with the population of the West, they would have endangered the peace of the country; but the first steam-boat that ascended the Ohio sounded their death-knell, and they have been buried in the tide, never more to rise.
12. National Character. Here we design to sketch in the western people the perceptible, but slight peculiarities which are the results of the peculiar circumstances and conditions of western pioneer life, and the influx of eastern and foreign immigration.
[A.D. 1795-1810.] The people of the Mississippi Valley are constituted from all nations, characters, languages, and conditions of men. Not a nation of Europe, not a class in all those nations, except royalty, which has not its full representation here; not a state in the Union which has not sent out its colonies to people more western regions; not a sect or denomination of Christians who have not their churches and their ministers here. The subjects of despotic monarchies, and the citizens of the freest republics in the world, all commingle here, and unite to form one people, unique in feeling, character, and genius. The Puritan of the North, the planter of the South, the German and the Iberian, the Briton and the Gaul, and even the sable sons of Africa and the northern Swede, all are here, each bringing with him his peculiar prejudices, local attachments, and predilections, and side by side they have set down together, and have gradually become assimilated in language, feelings, manners, and usages. Mutual prejudices have been effaced by contact and intimate connection, and the people, thus released from the narrow prejudices of birth and education, become more liberal, enlarged in feeling, more affectionate and agreeable, and, of course, more unprejudiced than a people who have long been unique in birth, education, and national character.
The rough, sturdy, and simple habits of the western people, living in a new and wilderness country, amid that abundance which God and Nature provide, and requiring only their own industry and exertion, give to them that fearless independence of thought and action which constitutes a characteristic trait in the American pioneers. Accustomed to the fascinating, but faithless intercourse of refined society and of great cities, men acquire habits of thought and feeling, and are subject to those restraints which give them a different mental development from the fearless, unrestrained freedom of feeling which characterizes the native of the great Valley of the Mississippi. Here candor, truth, sincerity, independence, and equality predominate over the more degenerate traits of character inculcated in old and densely-populated countries. Inhabiting a country of immense extent, with boundless prairies and forests, and traversed by the most magnificent rivers of the globe, their ideas travel, and distance is correspondingly enlarged. Free to roam at will through the whole extent, with facilities unheard of in the
Old World, with them the field of ordinary travel is one which, in Europe, would embrace many nations and languages. Accustomed to the independent control of property and their own action, the western people become habitually more ardent, more energetic, and more enterprising than the serfs and minions of arbitrary power. The constant toils and active life prompted by interest and a hope of personal gain, in a salubrious and fertile country, give energy of action and a patent endurance unknown to human nature chained in its efforts and limited in its aspirations. 
13. The Religious Character. The experiment is being made in this vast region of future empires upon a broad scale, which will test the question whether religion, as a national trait, can be maintained without legislative aid, or a union with the civil power. Men are here left free to adopt such religious views and tenets as they choose, and the laws protect every man alike in his religious opinions. Ministers of the Gospel and priests being presumed as devoted to humanity, charity, and general benevolence, are precluded by many of the state constitutions from any active participation in the legislative authority, and their compensation depends upon the voluntary aid of those among whom they labor in charity and love. In a wide country with large districts as yet sparsely populated, there are comparatively few stationary ministers; yet there are thousands, embracing all denominations, who traverse the whole country, forming an itinerant corps, who visit in rotation, within their respective bounds, every settlement, town, and village. Unsustained by the rigid precepts of law in any privileges, perquisites fixed revenue, prescribed reverence or authority, except such as is voluntarily acknowledged, the clergy find that success depends upon the due cultivation of popular talents. Zeal for the great cause, mixed, perhaps, with a spice of earthly ambition the innate sense of emulation, and laudable pride, a desire of distinction among their cotemporaries and brethren, prompt them to seek popularity, and to study all the arts and means of winning the popular favor. Traveling from month to month through dark forests, with such ample time for deep thought as they amble slowly along the lonesome horse-path or unfrequented road, they naturally acquire a pensive and romantic turn of thought and expression, which is often favorable to
eloquence. Hence this preaching is of a highly popular cast, its first aim being to excite the feelings and mold them to their own: hence, too, excitements, or, in religious parlance, "awakenings," or "revivals," are common in this region. Living remote from each other, and spending much of their time in domestic solitude in vast forests or wide-spreading prairies, the "appointment" for preaching is often looked upon as a gala day or a pleasing change, which brings together the auditors from remote points, and gratifies a feeling of curiosity, which prompts them to associate and interchange cordial congratulations.
Religious excitements sometimes pervade a town or settlement, or even an extensive section of country, simultaneously. People in every direction are fired with a desire to be present at the appointed time and place of meeting. They assemble as to an imposing spectacle; they pour in from their woods and remote seclusions to witness the assemblage, and to hear the new preacher, whose eloquence and fame have preceded him. The preaching has a scenic effect; it is a theme of earnest discussion, with apt illustrations, forcible arguments, and undaunted zeal. The people are naturally more sensitive and enthusiastic than in older countries. A man of rude, boisterous, but native eloquence rises among these children of the forest, and of simple nature, with his voice pitched to the highest tones, and his utterance thrilling with that awful theme to which each string of the human heart responds, and while the woods echo his vehement declamations, his audience is alternately dissolved in tears, awed to profound ecstasy of feeling, or, falling convulsed by spasms, attest the power of western pulpit eloquence.
In no instance are these effects more striking than at a regular "camp meeting." No one who has not seen and observed for himself can imagine how profoundly the preachers have understood what produces effect among the western people, and how well they have practiced upon it. Suppose the scene to be in one of those regions where religious excitements have been frequent and extensive, in one of the beautiful, fertile, and finely watered valleys of Tennessee, surrounded by grand and towering mountains. The notice has been circulated for several weeks or months, and all are eager to attend the long-expected occasion. The country, perhaps, for fifty miles around,
is excited with the cheerful anticipation of the approaching festival of religious feeling and social friendship. On the appointed day, coaches, chaises, wagons, carts, people on horseback and on foot, in multitudes, with provision-wagons, tents, mattresses, household implements, and cooking utensils, are seen hurrying from every direction toward the central point. It is in the midst of a grove of beautiful, lofty, umbrageous trees, natural to the western country, clothed in their deepest verdure, and near some sparkling stream or gushing fountain, which supplies the host with wholesome water for man and beast. The encampment spreads through the forest over hundreds of acres, and soon the sylvan village springs up as if by magic; the line of tents and booths is pitched in a semicircle, or in a four-sided parallelogram, inclosing an area of two acres or more, for the arrangement of seats and aisles around the rude pulpit and altar for the thronging multitude, all eager to hear the heavenly message.
Toward night the hour of solemn service approaches, when the vast sylvan bower of the deep umbrageous forest is illuminated by numerous lamps suspended around the line of tents which encircles the public area, besides the frequent altars distributed over the same, which send forth a glare of light from their fagot fires upon the worshiping throng and the majestic forest with an imposing effect, which elevates the soul to fit converse with its creator, God.
"The scenery of the most brilliant theatre in the world is only a painting for children compared to this. Meantime, the multitudes, with the highest excitement of social feeling, added to the general enthusiasm of expectation, pass from tent to tent, and interchange apostolic greetings and embraces, and talk of the approaching solemnities. A few minutes suffice to finish the evening repast, when the moon (for they take thought to appoint the meeting at the proper time of the moon) begins to show its disk above the dark summits of the mountains, and a few stars are seen glimmering, in the west, and the service begins. The whole constitutes a temple worthy of the grandeur of God. An old man in a dress of the quaintest simplicity ascends a platform, wipes the dust from his spectacles, and, in a voice of suppressed emotion, gives out the hymn, of which the whole assembled multitude can recite the words, to be sung with an air in which every voice can join. We should esteem
meanly the heart that would not thrill as the song is heard, ‘like the sound of many waters,’ echoing among the hills and mountains." The service proceeds. "The hoary orator talks of God, of eternity, of a judgment to come, and of all that is impressive beyond. He speaks of his ‘experiences,’ his toils and his travels, his persecutions and his welcomes, and how many he has seen in hope, in peace, and triumph gathered to their fathers; and when he speaks of the short space that remains to him, his only regret is that he can no more proclaim, in the silence of death, the unsearchable riches and mercies of his crucified Redeemer." 
"No wonder, as the speaker pauses to dash the gathering moisture from his own eye, that his audience is dissolved in tears, or uttering exclamations of penitence. Nor is it cause for admiration that many who poised themselves on an estimation of a higher intellect and a nobler insensibility than the crowd, catch the infectious feeling, and become women and children in their turn, while others, ‘who came to mock, remain to pray.’"
And who constitute the audience, and who are the speakers? "A host of preachers of different denominations are there, some in the earnest vigor and aspiring desires of youth, waiting an opportunity for display; others are there who have proclaimed the Gospel as pilgrims of the cross, from the remotest lakes of Canada on the north to the shores of the Mexican Gulf on the south, and who are ready to utter the words, the feelings, and experience which they have treasured up in a traveling ministry of fifty years, and whose accents, trembling with age, still more impressively than their words, announce that they will soon travel and preach no more on earth." 
But the ambitious and the wealthy, too, are there; for in this region opinion is all-powerful. They are there, either to extend their influence, or lest even their absence might prejudice their good name. Aspirants for office are there, to electioneer and to gain popularity. Vast numbers are there from simple curiosity, and merely to enjoy the spectacle. The young and beautiful are there, with mixed motives, which it were best not to scrutinize severely. Children are there, and their young eyes glisten with intense interest of eager curiosity. The middle-aged fathers and mothers are there, with the sober view of
people whose plans of life are fixed, and who wait calmly to hear. Men and women of hoary hairs are there, with such thoughts, it may be hoped, as their years invite. Such is the congregation, consisting of thousands. 
It was about the year 1800 that camp meetings were introduced in the western country, and for several years afterward they became a remarkable feature in the religious exercises of several denominations of Christians, but with none more than the Presbyterians and Methodists. The operations of the Spirit at these meetings were often remarkable and extraordinary to an astonishing degree. Conversions were exceedingly numerous and effectual, producing in most cases a thorough change in the disposition, feelings, and conduct of the individuals, which continued through subsequent life. At some of these meetings, which were continued from five to ten days, no less than forty or fifty persons professed conversion by a powerful and extraordinary change. During the revivals, which often extended over wide sections of country, several hundreds, and even thousands, were operated upon in like manner.
The first important camp meeting on record was held at "Cane Ridge," in Tennessee, in the summer of 1799. The revivals and protracted meetings which had preceded it caused it to be attended by a vast concourse of people, encamped in the dense forest, where the religious exercises were continued day and night. This novel mode of worshiping God excited great attention, and people flocked to it from a distance of fifty and sixty miles; many came from Lexington, Kentucky, a distance of one hundred and eighty miles. At night the grove was illuminated with lighted candles, lamps, and torches. The stillness of the night, the serenity of the heavens, the vast concourse of attentive worshipers wrapped in the deep solemnity which covered every countenance, the pointed and earnest manner in which the preachers, in different portions of the vast concourse, exhorted the people to repentance, prayer, and faith, denouncing the terrors of the law upon the impenitent, produced the most awfully-solemn sensations in the minds of all present. A general scene of penitential sorrow, mingled with the ecstasy of joy and gladness,
spread over the encampment, such as had never been seen before. During this meeting one hundred persons professed a thorough conversion, and thousands were deeply impressed with the solemnities of the occasion.
At this meeting about three thousand persons fell under the power which overshadowed the encampment. Among them were several Presbyterian ministers, who had before possessed, by their own confessions, only a speculative knowledge of religion and its influences.
Such was the vast concourse at this meeting, that it was estimated at twenty thousand persons. As no one man's voice could reach half the audience, the people assembled into several large congregations, in different portions of the encampment, and were addressed by as many speakers at one and the same time. The whole grove became vocal with the praise of God and the cries of the penitent. At night the scene became peculiarly awful and solemn. The long ranges of tents, the glare of the illuminated forest from the midst of the encampment, the moving masses of anxious and admiring people passing to and from, some preaching, some praying for mercy, others, in the ecstasy of joy, praising God for his pardoning love, produced a scene of indescribable awe and solemnity. 
The majority were wrought upon by a silent, inward awakening, to a solemn concern for salvation, which brought them from "a state of nature to a state of grace." In some, however, the inward concern and mental agony occasioned the most extraordinary effects upon the whole physical system.
The next important camp meeting was on Desha's Creek, near Cumberland River. This meeting was attended by many thousands of people from the distance of fifty and sixty miles. The same scenes were again witnessed in a still more remarkable manner. Hundreds were struck down insensible and powerless, as by lightning, under the solemn exercises; others fell "like corn before a storm of wind," in the most intense mental agony. From this state, after a longer or shorter time, they would rise, "with divine joy beaming in their countenances," praising God in strains of ecstasy and earnest exhortation, which was perfectly irresistible to the most obdurate sinner. Speaking the pure and heavenly feelings of the heart, and burning with rapture, their words were "sharper than a two-edged
sword" in piercing the heart and extorting the cry, "What shall I do to be saved?" In many of these impassioned and burning exhortations, the young and modest females, as well as the sterner sex, were endued with a fluency and a power of eloquence which "confounded the wisdom of the learned" and subdued the most stubborn hearts.
Curiosity was excited far and near, and the newspapers of that day abounded with descriptions of the operations exhibited in this work, both defending and condemning the reality of the astonishing influences there operating. Yet all tended to excite public curiosity to the gratification of a desire to be eyewitnesses of the phenomena said to have been exhibited. 
Not only the openly profane, the carnal-minded, the irreligious, but the formal professor, beheld these strange exercises with mingled emotions of pity and abhorrence. The natural enmity of the carnal mind, the pride of philosophy, and the prejudices of education and religious bigotry created a formidable array of opposition, which was displayed in a variety of modes. Some would scoff, others would philosophize; some would dogmatize in terms of religious intolerance while they beheld those manifestations which, by the friends of the cause, were believed to be the true power and grace of God.
Yet all arguments on these points were answered by a fact which none could deny: that those, in many instances, who had been most violent in their opposition, and most vociferous in their denunciations against the "wild-fire" and hypocrisy of the converts, had subsequently yielded to its influence, and had become convinced of its power; in such it had melted their hearts within them, and caused them to fall down upon their faces and to worship God, "declaring that of a truth God is here." Blasphemers, scoffers, persecutors, and bigoted dogmatizers were struck dumb; and "the tongue of the dumb was made to sing," and the enemies of the work became living witnesses of its power and divine influence.
[A.D. 1801.] At Cabin Creek, Kentucky, in the summer of 1801, twenty thousand persons are said to have attended the camp meeting, and but few escaped its influence and its mysterious power. On the third night multitudes fell, and remained unconscious of external objects for hours together; and, to prevent their being trodden under foot by the crowd, they
were carried and collected into one of the squares of the meeting-house in the charge of their friends, until they should pass through the strange phenomena of their conversion. 
Those who have witnessed these scenes can recall the picture faintly in their minds, but it is impossible to impart the conception to those who have never been present to witness for themselves. It is impossible to revive the thrilling sensations produced by the solemn melody reverberating through the sounding forest and echoed from the surrounding hills, bearing aloft the swelling anthems of thousands, rolling like the sound of many waters, wave after wave, and in sweet, melodious harmony, rising up to heaven.
"The groves were God's first temples: ere man learn'd
The ministers who led the way in these exciting revivals were William and John M'Ghee, the Rev. Messrs. Gready, Hoge, and Rankin, of the Presbyterian Church, and William M'Kendree, William Burke, John Sale, and Benjamin Lakin, of the Methodist Church. 
Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=monette2.html