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Fifty-Five Years Ago in the Wilderness - Page 2
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as though he thought man an intruder on so sacred a spot of the garden of the Most High; see the wild plum orchards, the hazelnut rows, the rush-brakes, the mighty oaks, the gurgling rivlets, dancing at your feet,--these are the views of the wilderness.  It will enlarge the soul and cause the man to raise his eyes to the Builder and adore Him.  Such was the wilderness of Missouri and Texas fifty years ago; but man has come in with his fire-water and weapons of death, and, alas! there is a sad change now.

There was a man moved from Virginia to Missouri in the year 1818.  He settled where Clay county is now, fifty miles above any white settler; Chariton, at the mouth of Grand river, being then the uppermost, white settlement.  This man was a lover of Nature in its purity; he built him a camp, killed him a bear and buck, took the venison ham and turkey breast, dried them and beat them up in a mortar, pouring a little bear's oil and honey over it, then cooked it; that makes the bread of the wilderness.  You have no taxes to pay, no lawyers to fee, no juries to set on, nor debts to pay--you are free!  Such was the condition of this man that had just moved into the wilderness of Missouri.  We had the wild un-Americanized Indians for our neighbors--two powerful tribes, the Big Osage and the Sioux-the Osage numbering fifteen hundred warriors, and the Sioux 2000 braves.  They had never shed white man's blood.  Their law was, eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth; but the whites had never been among them.  They were glad to see us, by their gestures and signs.  We smoked the pipe of peace, and was comforted.  It was our great desire to remain in perfect peace with these superstitious wild men of the wilderness.  Now, here, I will give you my humble opinion of Providence, the great Washington was raised up to be the Father of his country--therefore, the ball could not kill him; Daniel Boone to be the first pioneer of Kentucky--the Indian could not kill him.

Martin Parmer was to break the way for the settlers of Clay county--the ball couldn't kill him.  Such are the wonders of the wilderness!  But, nine of the Osage went to Chariton; they there found the white man's fire water, or the medicine death.  All Indians love whiskey.  They got drunk; they learned to steal; they stole from old McElwee his little red-headed daughter, believing she would be a great

Compilation and transcription by Kameron Searle.  Copyright 2005 by Kameron Searle.

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