Chapter 11. The Hardy Frontiersman

Praying Indians

Rev. John Eliot preached the gospel to the Tatnicks on Pulpit Rock in Woodstock, Connecticut. Susan J. Griggs wrote, “Several villages of Praying Indians were scattered or murdered during the war of 1675. A decade later, the white man came and possessed the land.” In 1886, Pulpit Rock was marked with a plaque: “Sacred Forevermore.”

Cheap land in Connecticut

In 1780 a man could buy two hundred acres in the Connecticut woods at less than a dollar an acre.

William Cooper

Storekeeper, and land speculator, William Cooper got a hold of several thousand acres by Otsego Lake in upstate New York, sold it cheaply, and did what he could to keep his customers alive before the woods were cleared and the roads had bridges. He extended debt when he knew he would be paid back, and bought their pork and saltpeter when he knew he could sell it for more than he paid plus the cost of transport.

Westward migration

West of Pittsburgh, toward the Ohio River, nothing but land is cheap and mostly your payment is your labor, families moving by foot with a light cart and a single horse, sometimes carrying all they own on their backs.

Davy Crockett

Before Davy Crockett died at the Alamo, before he got elected to Congress, he was known as an Indian fighter, having served in the Tennessee militia in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson, although his unit didn’t see much action, so he was more occupied hunting game for the soldiers than killing Creek warriors.

In the opinion of Rev. Timothy Flint

Even though we are three hundred miles from a court of justice, truly lawless crimes happen somewhere else. A virtuous man has little to fear from “gamblers, gougers, and outlaws.” Backwoodsmen are crude and ready to uproot themselves but generally are not rude.

Hardships and perils

Just as the frontier was a wilderness, so it was dangerous, and deprived of the comforts of civilization. A traveller makes his bed in the cold wet darkness. Bears and wildcats exist there to deprive him of life.