It will be readily imagined that we felt our own religious exercises at home to be more edifying than such as this, and that we confined ourselves to them for the future.
The return of our brother, Robert Kinzie, from Palestine (not the Holy Land, but the seat of the Land Office), with the certificate of the title of the family to that portion of Chicago since known as “Kinzie’s Addition,” was looked upon as establishing a home for us at some future day, if the glorious dreams of good Dr. Harmon, and a few others, should come to be realized. One little incident will show how moderate were the anticipations of most persons at that period.
The certificate, which was issued in Robert’s name (he representing the family in making the application), described only a fractional quarter-section of one hundred and two acres, instead of one hundred and sixty acres, the river and Lake Michigan cutting off fifty-eight acres on the southern and eastern lines of the quarter. The applicants had liberty to select their complement of fifty-eight acres out of any unappropriated land that suited them.
“Now, my son,” said his mother to Robert, “lay your claim on the corn-field at Wolf Point. It is fine land, and will always be valuable for cultivation; besides, as it faces down the main river, the situation will always be a convenient one.”
The answer was a hearty laugh. “Hear mother!” said Robert. “We have just got a hundred and two acres—more than we shall ever want, or know what to do with, and now she would have me go and claim fifty-eight acres more!”
“Take my advice, my boy,” repeated his mother, “or you may live one day to regret it.”
“Well, I cannot see how I can ever regret not getting more than we can possibly make use of.” And so the matter ended. The fifty-eight acres were never claimed, and there was, I think, a very general impression that asking for our just rights in the case would have a very grasping, covetous look. How much wiser five-and-twenty years have made us!
* * * * *
During my sojourn of two months at Chicago, our mother often entertained me with stories of her early life and adventures. The following is her history of her captivity among the Senecas, which I have put in the form of a tale, although without the slightest variation from the facts as I received them from her lips, and those of her sister, Mrs. William Forsyth, of Sandwich (C.W.), the little Maggie of the story.
It is well known that previous to the war of the Revolution the whole of the western portion of Pennsylvania was inhabited by different Indian tribes. Of these, the Delawares were the friends of the whites, and, after the commencement of the great struggle, took part with the United States. The Iroquois, on the contrary, were the friends and allies of the mother-country.