Author: Zane Grey
Release Date: September 11, 2004 [EBook #1239]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK the spirit of the border ***
This etext was prepared by Bruce Metcalf of Chattanooga, TN.
BY ZANE GREY
To my brother
With many fond recollections of days spent in the solitude of the forests where only can be satisfied that wild fever of freedom of which this book tells; where to hear the whirr of a wild duck in his rapid flight is joy; where the quiet of an autumn afternoon swells the heart, and where one may watch the fragrant wood-smoke curl from the campfire, and see the stars peep over dark, wooded hills as twilight deepens, and know a happiness that dwells in the wilderness alone.
The author does not intend to apologize for what many readers may call the “brutality” of the story; but rather to explain that its wild spirit is true to the life of the Western border as it was known only a little more than one hundred years ago.
The writer is the fortunate possessor of historical material of undoubted truth and interest. It is the long-lost journal of Colonel Ebenezer Zane, one of the most prominent of the hunter-pioneer, who labored in the settlement of the Western country.
The story of that tragic period deserves a higher place in historical literature than it has thus far been given, and this unquestionably because of a lack of authentic data regarding the conquering of the wilderness. Considering how many years the pioneers struggled on the border of this country, the history of their efforts is meager and obscure.
If the years at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century were full of stirring adventure on the part of the colonists along the Atlantic coast, how crowded must they have been for the almost forgotten pioneers who daringly invaded the trackless wilds! None there was to chronicle the fight of these sturdy, travelers toward the setting sun. The story of their stormy lives, of their heroism, and of their sacrifice for the benefit of future generations is too little known.
It is to a better understanding of those days that the author has labored to draw from his ancestor’s notes a new and striking portrayal of the frontier; one which shall paint the fever of freedom, that powerful impulse which lured so many to unmarked graves; one which shall show his work, his love, the effect of the causes which rendered his life so hard, and surely one which does not forget the wronged Indian.